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Monday, March 11, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

[h. brown is running against Gavin Newsom for supervisor in District 2.]

“I want you to get it out that he's fuckin' his cows."

"But Lyndon, we can't prove anything like that."

"We don't have to prove it. We just gotta get him to deny it."

– Lyndon Johnson & an aide

Lord knows I'm against negative campaigning. If I thought I could run this race for supervisor in the 2nd District without saying anything bad about my opponent, wellll, you can just bet I'd rush right in there & pledge to do so.

But a man can't deny his nature. It's just not … not … not natural.

I know that despite my best wishes, my instincts will surely overcome & I'll end up saying vile & cruel things about Lieutenant Newsom. Oooops, I forgot, Gavin never fulfilled his military obligation. Anyway, since I know I'm sure to revert to form & he's sure to use some of that Getty-generated money to do what they call “opposition research” on me, I thought I'd better put some spin out there before the fact.

There's so much bad to find out about me. I guess the sensible place to start is in the 2nd District. Folks will want to know how I've behaved on their home turf. Actually, there is only one little item. That would be the time I passed nuclear “secrets” to the Russians at their consulate on Green street.

My life as a spy

I've always tried to devote my life to the most important things in the world.

Back in the early 1980s, I deemed that to be nuclear weapons. Their proliferation. Their control. Defending against them (impossible).

My guru at the time was a Desoto cabbie named George Roth. George knew more about nuclear weapons and strategy than anyone in the world. But he couldn't type. So I spent literally years transcribing his data.

It was fascinating. Took years to learn the basic materials. Weapons systems. Delivery vehicles.

For instance, did you know that the most dangerous weapon on earth is the Trident II submarine, armed with D-5 warheads & guided by Navstar satellites? Those puppies have a cpm of 100 feet at a distance of 7,000 miles. They're what are called silo busters. They're a first-strike weapon and those are the worst kind. They threaten the basis of the theory of MAD (mutually assured destruction) and make the other side do crazy things. Add in their ecm (electronic countermeasures) capabilities & ya got your basic doomsday scenario.

ECM by the way is the principle reason Bush's ABM system is a joke. For 100 billion dollars (enough, incidentally, to house every homeless person in America) you get a system that cannot hit a single missile coming from a point you know, headed in a direction you know & having absolutely no countermeasures. Think of shooting a rifle bullet out of the air (2,000 mph) & increase the degree of difficulty by 10x (warheads re-enter the atmosphere at 20,000 mph), then multiply that by another 10,000 or so (when MIRV's deploy, they spray metal chads & emit other goodies). Multiply that times 6,000 to stay current (it was much worse when the FBI chased me) … you get an idea of the odds against successful defense.

Millions to one. Literally.

So my old buddy George, he had me set down on paper what the Russians could do in response to Trident II (this sub is actually larger than many WWII aircraft carriers). They'd have to have shorter boost phases in launch, go to higher state of alert … that sort of thing. There was a list of half a dozen or more defensive measures which he elucidated clearly.

I typed them up & we sent them to the president. That would be Reagan.

No reply.

We made a bunch of copies of the piece & in one day I mailed them to major newspapers and Reagan … & I hand-delivered one to the Russian Consulate on Green Street in San Francisco. What a scene.

In those days, the parking on Green Street was all agents in cars with cameras. I walked. Went to the gate. They told me to come back to their rear entry in two hours. I went to a library in the Marina to wait.

Two people followed me. When I went to take a whiz, they stole a letter I was writing to my mom (I had George's treatise with me in my backpack).

I went back to the consulate. They ushered me through the back gate & into a dark & heavily draped room that reminded me of Herman's front room in the “Munsters.” They asked why I was giving them nuclear secrets and what I wanted. I told them it wasn't secret, that anyone who read Jane's Weekly, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and 30 to 50 more publications a month could have put it together.

"You don't want anything?" the guy asked.

I left. … the feds were waiting.

A woman rushed up & asked if I'd sign her petition. I said no.

A guy opened a car door & jumped in front of me & asked if I had a light for his cigarette while another guy in the car took my picture.

It was actually kind of cool. I thought I'd fuck with them. I didn't want them following me home & wondered how to shake them. I was running 100 plus miles a week back then and marathoning regularly. I simply walked to the next corner & got on the 24 Divisadero that was just pulling up. I sat in the back seat & waved to the pursuing Ford with the chick with the clipboard & another guy in it. They pursued a few blocks, then passed & started following from in front of us. They knew the bus route.

I relaxed, rode that sucker all the way across Market, through the Castro & to the top of the hill above Noe Valley, then tightened the straps on my backpack, jumped off the bus & took off at my best 5 minute mile clip.

The chick with the clipboard now had a walkie talkie and was yapping into it. The guy driving her was just standing by their car. I waved and ran.

It was a real rush. Zig-zagging through busy streets. Down dead ends they couldn't go but where I could. Back across the crowded Castro. Down Market & back into the Mission. Back across Market & into the Western Addition. I ran for over an hour, then came up through Chinatown & came into my crib through the back gate. No way they'd have been able to follow. I was smug.

Two months later I got a large envelope with no return address. Inside was an English version of Pravda. They'd printed the key excerpts from our piece. The Russians used it to argue their position at the next START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks).

I've always thought that was probably the most important work I ever did … my work as a Russian spy.

Later in the campaign, I'll tell you about my early years as an American spy. There's always been a bit of the double agent in me.

remember - d2 in 02: sobone@juno.com