cold war

SATURDAY MATINEE 3 – HOLLYWOOD AND THE PENTAGON

A shortish but good documentary about the history of Hollywood and the pentagon working together.

I also wrote a review of it which you can read here.

DID I MISS A MEETING?

The BBC are reporting something about the G7 nations pledging to fight the economic crisis.

The BBC don’t mention this apparent miscount.

G7 . Did I miss a meeting? I thought it was the G8.

Is this Russia’s punishment for not doing what the USA wants – they are to be excluded from the fruity little club of world leaders?

Have Russia excluded themselves or just not been invited?

More information please if anyone has any.

MEDIA BIAS?

The BBC reported that Russia’s electoral commission “admitted media coverage for Sunday’s presidential election has been unequal.”

What a shock.

This reminds me of a little story John Pilger occasionally mentions about two Soviet officials in the time of the Cold War who went to the USA to see how the media worked in a free country™. The two officials were astonished and said that they were amazed – to ensure this level of compliance from their media they had to send people to prison and Siberian work camps, just how had the Americans achieved this?

The BBC defends its election coverage on the basis of the main parties being assigned a certain amount of time (a 5:5:3 or 5:5:4 share in terms of the three main parties).

This of course does not allocate any time to the public, millions of whom don’t vote because they don’t see the difference between the parties. And the smaller parties don’t get much time although they are given a certain amount of election broadcasts.

Then of course we come to the issue of protest. At the time leading up to the Iraq war, a study done by a German newspaper found that the BBC showed the least amount of dissenting opinion of any major broadcaster (only 2% compared with ABC with 7%).

RASPUTIN COMES OUT OF RETIREMENT TO BRING PEACE

Too strange, this story was just too strange to leave alone…

mapGeorgia has hired a member of 1970s pop group Boney M, famous for songs like Daddy Cool and Rasputin, in its fight for control of breakaway South Ossetia.

Marcia Barrett played a concert in a small frontline village not far from the rebel capital Tskhinvali.

Thousands of people came in cars, buses, trucks and on foot through a mountain pass skirting separatist territory to hear her sing.

The rebels have close ties with Russia and are trying to secede from Georgia.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told the BBC he hoped the music would persuade people to lay down their arms.

“We hope that we’ll lure out people from their trenches, force them to drop [their] Kalashnikovs, come here and dance with the others and understand that nothing is as nice as peace, nothing is as nice as reconciliation,” Mr Saakashvili said.

“This place was only famous for killings, violence, crime past and present. And now it’s like adding some new thing, it’s looking much more colourful, much less violent, just normal, and being normal is such a novelty here,” he added.

Why that person I hear you ask? Well, apparently…

Boney M have a loyal following in the former USSR. Their songs were among the few approved under Communist rule.

WEEKEND OFF

I had a bit of a weekend off from blogging because I have limited net access at the moment and I have lots of things to be getting on with, one of which was looking after my friends dog, which is on its last legs.

I was just hoping it would live till she came back and I wouldn’t be blamed for killing the thing. Thankfully, it made it.

Anyway, I shall be back with a proper new post later but for now I am reposting this because it seems to have been getting an inordinate amount of hits. I think the reason this story is never really told is that it is about a hero who disobeyed orders. That is why this story is rarely told to the general public, even though this man probably saved us all…

GREATEST HERO YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF

I thought instead of talking about what is crap all the time I should lighten things up and talk about nuclear war.

You see, there is someone you may not have heard of, or will be only vaguely aware of, that probably saved billions of lives. Information about him is incredibly scarce and I can’t find any pictures of him available on the net.

His name was Vasily Arkhiphov.banksy-cnd.gif

In the Cuban missile crisis an American fleet had started to drop depth charges in order to force a Russian submarine to surface. Unknown to them at the time, the Russians had managed to put nuclear weapons onto their submarines by this point.

The captain gave the order to fire. Arkhipov managed to persuade the other officers to refuse the order.

This is from the Washington Post. Thomas S. Blanton is executive director of the National Security Archive at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

washingtonpost.com: Good morning, Tom, and thanks for joining us. You just recently wrapped up a conference in Havana with some of the key players of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even with all you know about those 13 days, what surprised you to uncover?

Thomas S. Blanton: The most surprising new evidence revealed that we were even closer to nuclear war than the policymakers knew at the time, and that’s saying something, because on Saturday, October 27, Robert McNamara thought he might not live to see the sunrise. At the time, there was a crescendo of bad news: a U-2 shot down over Cuba, another U-2 straying over Siberia with US Air Force jets (also armed with nuclear air-to-air missiles) scrambling to head off possible MIG interception. The Joint Chiefs had recommended air strike and invasion of Cuba, as of 4 p.m. The Cubans were firing on all the low-level US recon flights. At the conference, we found out that exactly at that moment, US destroyers were dropping signaling depth charges on a Soviet submarine near the quarantine line that was carrying a nuclear-tipped torpedo — totally unbeknownst to the US Navy. The Soviet captain lost his temper, there could be a world war up there, let’s take some of them down with us, etc. Cooler heads prevailed, specifically the sub brigade deputy commander named Vasily Arkhipov, who was onboard and calmed the captain down. The sub came to the surface about 15 minutes after Soviet ambassador Dobrynin left Bobby Kennedy’s office carrying RFK’s urgent message to Khrushchev, time is running out, invasion in 48 hours, if you take the missiles out, we will pledge not to invade Cuba, plus we’ll take our missiles out of Turkey as long as you don’t mention that part of it publicly. Early the next morning, Khrushchev announced the Soviet missiles would be coming out.

Events can sometimes gather their own momentum. However, some of the greatest people in history were those who refused to be forced down the path directly in front of them. Looneys all around him, Vasily Arkhipov allowed rationality and sanity to be his guides.

So if you think the world needs a hero, try looking up to one of the people who said no to dogma and violence rather than one who said yes.

GREATEST HERO YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF

I thought instead of talking about what is crap all the time I should lighten things up and talk about nuclear war.

You see, there is someone you may not have heard of, or will be only vaguely aware of, that probably saved billions of lives. Information about him is incredibly scarce and I can’t find any pictures of him available on the net.

His name was Vasily Arkhiphov.banksy-cnd.gif

In the Cuban missile crisis an American fleet had started to drop depth charges in order to force a Russian submarine to surface. Unknown to them at the time, the Russians had managed to put nuclear weapons onto their submarines by this point.

The captain gave the order to fire. Arkhipov managed to persuade the other officers to refuse the order.

This is from the Washington Post. Thomas S. Blanton is executive director of the National Security Archive at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

washingtonpost.com: Good morning, Tom, and thanks for joining us. You just recently wrapped up a conference in Havana with some of the key players of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even with all you know about those 13 days, what surprised you to uncover?

Thomas S. Blanton: The most surprising new evidence revealed that we were even closer to nuclear war than the policymakers knew at the time, and that’s saying something, because on Saturday, October 27, Robert McNamara thought he might not live to see the sunrise. At the time, there was a crescendo of bad news: a U-2 shot down over Cuba, another U-2 straying over Siberia with US Air Force jets (also armed with nuclear air-to-air missiles) scrambling to head off possible MIG interception. The Joint Chiefs had recommended air strike and invasion of Cuba, as of 4 p.m. The Cubans were firing on all the low-level US recon flights. At the conference, we found out that exactly at that moment, US destroyers were dropping signaling depth charges on a Soviet submarine near the quarantine line that was carrying a nuclear-tipped torpedo — totally unbeknownst to the US Navy. The Soviet captain lost his temper, there could be a world war up there, let’s take some of them down with us, etc. Cooler heads prevailed, specifically the sub brigade deputy commander named Vasily Arkhipov, who was onboard and calmed the captain down. The sub came to the surface about 15 minutes after Soviet ambassador Dobrynin left Bobby Kennedy’s office carrying RFK’s urgent message to Khrushchev, time is running out, invasion in 48 hours, if you take the missiles out, we will pledge not to invade Cuba, plus we’ll take our missiles out of Turkey as long as you don’t mention that part of it publicly. Early the next morning, Khrushchev announced the Soviet missiles would be coming out.

Events can sometimes gather their own momentum. However, some of the greatest people in history were those who refused to be forced down the path directly in front of them. Looneys all around him, Vasily Arkhipov allowed rationality and sanity to be his guides.

So if you think the world needs a hero, try looking up to one of the people who said no to dogma and violence rather than one who said yes.