Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nukes and leaks (UPDATE)

The most significant news story of the day is the revelation that a nuke-laden B-52 traveled from Minot, North Dakota, to Barksdale, Louisiana. Former CIA man Larry Johnson explains:
So I called a old friend and retired B-52 pilot and asked him. What he told me offers one compelling case of circumstantial evidence. My buddy, let’s call him Jack D. Ripper, reminded me that the only times you put weapons on a plane is when they are on alert or if you are tasked to move the weapons to a specific site.

Then he told me something I had not heard before.

Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations. Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can’t imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations?

His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else.
The official explanation is that the nukes were transferred by mistake. (Worry not, we are told: The transportation was done safely at all times. As though this were a safety issue.) That piece of spin seems unlikely, to say the least. We are, after all, talking about nuclear weapons.

Larisa Alexandrovna reacts thus:
Is this a move to hit Iran?
Maybe (I hope to god not)

Is this a botched conspiracy theory thing (as some people have suggested)?
No, not likely (I could be wrong, but I feel this is highly unlikely)

Is this saber rattling against Iran?
Maybe

Would we really nuke Iran?
Well, consider the evidence thus far. Is it conclusive? No. Can things change? Yes. But is there enough evidence to believe this is possible? Yes.
Some have argued that the leaking of the information constitutes either an attempt to frighten the American people or a psyop against the Iranians. I would not discount the latter possibility. Even so, I think this event is very real, and I am inclined to extrapolate from the initial reports, taken at face value. The nukes were transferred, and thus readied for use. Someone within the intelligence community was so concerned, or outraged, that he turned blabby.

Much evidence indicates that powerful figures within the military and the intelligence community are infuriated by the drive to war with Iran. Consider, for example, the new revelations made by unnamed CIA officers to Sidney Blumenthal about the run-up to the Iraq war. Bush has enemies within the power structure -- a fact which just may prove salvific.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Go here.
Comments:
Bush has enemies within the power structure -- a fact which just may prove salvific.

There should be hundreds.
Some of the old timers that went under the radar while BushCo was fucking everyone over at the CIA would be my first guess.
You don't fuck with those people and not think they aren't going to remember.
There has been speculation for a couple of years that top military brass may just throw a monkey wrench into their warmongering plans when the real scope of their plans came out, which is what is happening now.
I just hope there are some sane people high up that can have a positive impact.
 
They keep leaking it to wear out the public, so when they finally do attack Iran, they hope the public reaction will be so what? or I told you so. So yes, I believe it is a psyop.
 
Worst case scenario,,we nuke Iran in one hellish conflagration...a short itme later..we suffer from a terrible 911 conflagration which is "perceived" as an "Iranian terrorist" response..so Bush declares martial law and the game is over,checkmate, we lose.
Democratic wimpey response is nullified so they crawl back into their caves and relax..no more need to work so hard at running, we have a King now so shut up..and no more negative blogs Cannon..get a job.
 
This article was just posted and it appears democracy is coming to an end in the not too distant future.

http://crazyrichguy.wordpress.com/2007/09/07/northcom-plans-5-day-martial-law-exercise/

with all the new articles recently published about Bush waging war with Iran, I fear this is going to happen sooner than later.
 
Joseph,

check out this new article:

http://www.exopolitics.org/Exo-Comment-58.htm

Was a Covert Attempt to Bomb Iran with Nuclear Weapons foiled by a Military Leak?

On August 30, a B-52 bomber armed with five nuclear-tipped Advanced Cruise missiles traveled from Minot Air Force base, North Dakota, to Barksdale Air Force base, Louisiana. Each missile had an adjustable yield between five and 150 kilotons of TNT which is at the lower end of the destructive capacities of U.S. nuclear weapons. For example, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 13 kilotons, while the Bravo Hydrogen bomb test of 1954 had a yield of 15,000 kilotons. The B-52 story was first covered in the Army Times on September 5 after the nuclear armed aircraft was discovered by Airmen. What made this a very significant event was that it was a violation of U.S. Air Force regulations concerning the transportation of nuclear weapons by air. Nuclear weapons are normally transported by air in specially constructed planes designed to prevent radioactive pollution in case of a crash. Such transport planes are not equipped to launch the nuclear weapons they routinely carry around the U.S. and the world for servicing or positioning.

The discovery of the nuclear armed B-52 was, according to Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, the first time in 40 years that a nuclear armed plane had been allowed to fly in the U.S (see: ). Since 1968, after a SAC bomber crashed in Greenland, all nuclear armed aircraft have been grounded but were kept on a constant state of alert. After the end of the Cold War, President George H. Bush ordered in 1991 that nuclear weapons were to be removed from all aircraft and stored in nearby facilities.

Recently, the Air Force began decommissioning its stockpile of Advanced Cruise missiles. The five nuclear weapons on the B-52 were to be decommissioned, and were to be taken to another Air Force base. An Air Force press statement issued on September 6 claimed that there "was an error which occurred during a regularly scheduled transfer of weapons between two bases." Furthermore, the statement declared: "The Air Force maintains the highest standards of safety and precision so any deviation from these well established munitions procedures is considered very serious." The issue concerning how a nuclear armed B-52 bomber was allowed to take off and fly in U.S. air space after an 'error' in a routine transfer process, is now subject to an official Air Force inquiry which is due to be completed by September 14.

Three key questions emerge over the B-52 incident. First, why did Air Force personnel at Minot AFB not spot the 'error' earlier given the elaborate security procedures in place to prevent such mistakes from occurring? Many military analysts have commented on the stringent security procedures in place to prevent this sort of mistake from occurring. Multiple officers are routinely involved in the transportation and loading of nuclear weapons to prevent the kind of 'error' that allegedly occurred in the B-52 incident. According to the Air Force statement, the commanding officer in charge of military munitions personnel and additional munitions airmen were relieved of duties pending the completion of the investigation. According to Kristensen, the error could not have come from confusing the Advanced Cruise Missile with a conventional weapons since no conventional form exists. So the munitions Airmen should have been easily able to spot the mistake. Other routine procedures were violated which suggests a rather obvious explanation for the error. The military munitions personnel were acting under direct orders, though not through the regular chain of military command. This takes me to the second question

Who was in Charge of the B-52 Incident?
Who ordered the loading of Advanced Cruise missiles on to a B-52 in violation of Air Force regulations? The quick reaction of the Air Force and the issuing of a public statement describing the seriousness of the issue and the launch of an immediate investigation, suggests that whatever occurred, was outside the regular chain of military command. If the regular chain of command was violated, then we have to inquire as to whether the B-52 incident was part of a covert project whose classification level exceeded that held by officers in charge of nuclear weapons at Minot AFB. The most obvious governmental entity that may have ordered the nuclear arming of the B-52 outside the regular chain of military command is the last remaining bastion of neo-conservative activism in the Bush administration.

Vice President Cheney has taken a very prominent role in covert military operations and training exercises designed for the "seamless integration" of different national security and military authorities to possible terrorist attacks. On May 8, 2001, President Bush placed Cheney in charge of "[A]ll federal programs dealing with weapons of mass destruction, consequence management within the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies". Cheney subsequently played a direct role in supervising training exercises that simultaneously occurred during the 911 attacks (click here).

According to former Los Angeles Police Officer Michael Ruppert, Cheney had a parallel chain of command that he used to override Air Force objections to stand down orders that grounded the USAF during the 911 attacks. Ruppert learned that the Secret Service had the authority to directly communicate presidential and vice presidential orders to fighter pilots in the air thereby circumventing the normal chain of command. (Crossing the Rubicon, pp. 428 - 429). Furthermore: "It is the Secret Service who has the legal mandate to take supreme command in case of a scheduled major event - or an unplanned major emergency - on American soil; these are designated "National Special Security Events"." (click here).

Ruppert and others have subsequently claimed that 911 was an "inside job;" and Cheney through the Secret Service, played a direct leadership role in what occurred over 911. Consequently, it is very possible that Cheney played a similar role in circumventing the regular chain of military command in ordering the B-52 incident. It is likely that the B-52 incident was part of a contrived "National Special Security Event" directly controlled by Cheney by virtue of the authority granted to him by President Bush, and through the Secret Service which has the technological means to by pass the regular chain of military command.

An Exopolitical Perspective
If Cheney is identified as the architect of the B-52 incident, was he acting alone in a covert operation that bypassed the regular chain of command, and involved the nuclear arming of the B-52? In terms of my own analysis of 911 as an inside job, there is reason to believe that a more deeply entrenched parallel system of government exists than what has been created by Cheney through the Office of Vice President and the Secret Service (read article). Cheney and his neo-conservative allies could not have gained the necessary degree of bureaucratic and public control necessary for conducting the 911 operation in the eight month period between his assumption of power and the 911 attack, unless tacitly supported by a more entrenched system of parallel governmental power. This more entrenched parallel government is deeply nested within the military-industrial-educational complex and controls covert projects beyond the need the know of most civilian and military officials.

Evidence for the existence of covert projects outside of the regular chain of military command is illustrated in the case of Vice Admiral Tom Wilson who was J-2, head of Intelligence for the Joint Chief of Staff. In 1997, Dr Steven Greer and former Astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell had a private meeting with Admiral Wilson about classified projects related to extraterrestrial life. Greer claimed that he had been given a "secret document that had a list of the code names and projects names dealing with the extraterrestrial connected projects." When Wilson checked to determine if the projects existed, he was denied access. According to Greer:


Once Admiral Wilson identified this group, he told the contact person in this super-secret cell: "I want to know abut this project." And he was told, "Sir, you don't have a need to know. We can't tell you." Now, can you imagine being an admiral, J-2, the head of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon, and being told, "We not going to tell you"? Well, he was shocked and angry. (Steven Greer, Hidden Truth, Forbidden Knowledge, 158).

The existence of a parallel governmental system using military personnel for its own purposes has been suspected for some time as illustrated in comments by Senator Daniel Inouye at the 1987 Iran-Contra Senate hearings: "There exists a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, it's own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."

There is more recent testimony by two retired military personnel, Clifford Stone and Dan Sherman, who claim that they were routinely tasked to perform classified duties outside of the regular chain of command, and these were related to extraterrestrial life and technology. The existence of a parallel system of government that circumvents the regular chain of military command in approving highly classified covert projects predates the rise to power of Cheney and his neo-conservative allies in the Bush administration. It is likely that Cheney was influenced by a "shadow government" in formulating policies such as the 911 attacks and the B-52 incident as part of a wider global agenda by the shadow government. Consequently, in response to my second key question, the B-52 incident was not an 'error', but was actually ordered by Vice President Cheney who acts as the most public face of a parallel system of government that operates through compliant political operatives. I now move to my third key question.

Why were the nuclear weapons sent to Barksdale AFB? If initial reports that the weapons were being decommissioned, but were mistakenly transported by a B-52 bomber, then the weapons should have been taken to Kirtland Air Force Base. According to Kristensen, this is "where the warheads are separated from the rest of the weapon and shipped to the Energy Department's Pantex dismantlement facility near Amarillo, Texas." However, it has been revealed by a reliable source that Barksdale AFB is used as a staging base for operations in the Middle East. This is circumstantial evidence that the weapons were being deployed for possible use in the Middle East.

There has been recent speculation concerning a possible attack against Iran given reports that the Pentagon has completed plans for a three day bombing blitz of Iran according to a Sunday Times report. The Report claims that 1200 targets have been selected and this will destroy much of Iran's military infrastructure. Such an attack will devastate Iran's economy, create greater political instability in the region, and stop the oil supply. A disruption of the oil supply from the Persian Gulf could trigger a global economic recession and lead to the collapse of financial markets. In a synchronistic development, there have been reports of billion dollar investments in high risk stock options in both Europe and the U.S. that would only be profitable if a dramatic collapse of the stock market were to occur before September 21. Similar stock options were purchased weeks before the 911 attack in 2001, and investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible insider trading. The combination of the Sunday Times report and the Stock market option purchases is circumstantial evidence that plans for a concerted military attack against Iran have been secretly approved and covert operations have begun (read article).

Seymour Hersh in May 2006 reported the opposition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.

In late April, the military leadership, headed by General Pace, achieved a major victory when the White House dropped its insistence that the plan for a bombing campaign include the possible use of a nuclear device to destroy Iran's uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. …. "Bush and Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning," the former senior intelligence official told me. "And Pace stood up to them. Then the world came back: 'O.K., the nuclear option is politically unacceptable.' (read article).

Given earlier opposition by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it is likely that the present attack plans for Iraq drawn up by the Pentagon don't involve the use of nuclear weapons. In order to circumvent the regular chain of command, opposed to a nuclear attack, it is very likely that Vice President Cheney contrived a "National Special Security Event" that involved a nuclear armed B-52. This would have given him the legal authority to place orders directly through the Secret Service to the Air Force officers responsible for the B-52 incident.

Conclusion: Exposing those Responsible for the B-52 Incident
Consequently, there is considerable circumstantial evidence to argue that the nuclear armed B-52 was part of a covert operation, outside the regular chain of military command. The most plausible authority responsible for this was Vice President Cheney. He very likely used the Secret Service to take charge of a contrived National Special Security Event involving a nuclear armed B-52 that would be flown from Minot AFB. The B-52 was directed to Barksdale Air Force base where it would have conducted a covert mission to the Middle East involving the detonation of one or more nuclear weapons most likely in or in the vicinity of Iran. This could either have occurred during a conventional military strike against Iran, or a False Flag operation in the Persian Gulf region.

The leaking and discovery of the nuclear armed B-52 at Barksdale was not part of the script. According to a confidential source of Larry Johnson, a former counter-terrorism official from the State Department and CIA, the discovery of the nuclear armed B-52 was leaked. Johnson concludes: "Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don't know, but it is a question worth asking."

While the general public is likely to be given a watered down declassified report by the Air Force over the B-52 incident on September 14, the real investigation will reveal that it was part of a covert operation that intended to bypass the regular chain of command in using nuclear weapons in the Middle East. This will likely result in a furious backlash by key figures in the regular military chain of Command such as Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the Commander of Central Command, Admiral William Fallon, who have direct responsibility for the conduct of military operations in the Middle East. The US. Air Force, the Secretary of Defense and Commander of Central Command, is now aware of what was likely going to be the true use of the B-52 and the responsibility of the Office of the Vice President. It is very likely that the exposure of the B-52 incident will lead to an indefinite hold on plans to attack Iran given uncertainty whether other nuclear weapons have been covertly positioned for use in the Middle East. Significantly, public officials briefed about the true circumstances of the B-52 incident will almost certainly place enormous pressure on Vice President Cheney to immediately resign if it is found that he played the role identified above. It is therefore anticipated that in a very short time, the public will learn that Cheney has resigned for health resigns.

The forthcoming September 14 Air Force report will likely describe the B-52 incident as an "error" and an "isolated incident" as foreshadowed in the September 6 press statement. This will create some difficulty in exposing the actual role played by Cheney and more entrenched government interests that supported him. There will be a need for continued public awareness of the true events behind the B-52 incident in order to expose the actual role of Cheney. Only in that way can Cheney be held accountable for his actions, and the more deeply entrenched shadow government that tacitly supported his neo-conservative agenda be exposed. Regardless of whether Cheney's role as the prime architect of the B-52 incident is exposed to the public, the official backlash against his covert operation should force his resignation. In either case, a very dangerous public official would be removed from a powerful position of influence. More importantly, the world has been spared a devastating nuclear war by courageous American airmen who revealed the true contents of an otherwise routine B-52 landing at Barksdale, AFB headed for a covert nuclear mission to the Middle East.

Michael E. Salla, Ph.D
09/07/07
www.Exopolitics.Org


***
 
Someone, operating under a special chain of command within the United States Air Force, just stole a nuclear weapon.

ATS Premium Article by Chuck Simpson
www.abovetopsecret.com

Some History

Barksdale Missile Number Six deserves far more public attention than it's received to date. Missile Number Six is potentially the major story of at least this year.

Until 1968 under the Airborne Alert Program, informally called Operation Chrome Dome, the Air Force routinely kept about a dozen strategic bombers with nuclear weapons flying at all times.

One predictable result was crashes and incidents. In 1968 the Department of Defense published a list of 13 serious nuclear weapons accidents that occurred between 1950 and 1968. In 1980 the list was revised to include 32 incidents through that year.

Notably, the Pentagon has not acknowledged any accidents since 1980. This alone highlights the importance the Pentagon is placing on the recent transportation of nuclear weapons from North Dakota to Louisiana.

Through 1968, several reported incidents involved plane crashes or malfunctions, beginning with the crash of a B-29 near Fairfield, California in August 1950. The resulting blast was felt 30 miles away.

In July 1950 a B-50 crashed near Lebanon, Ohio. The high-explosive trigger for the nuclear weapon detonated on impact. The blast was felt over 25 miles away.

In May 1957 a nuclear weapon fell from the bomb bay of a B-36 near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Parachutes malfunctioned and the weapon was destroyed on impact.

In October 1957 near Homestead, Florida a B-47 crashed. The nuclear weapon was burned.

In March 1958 a B-47 accidentally dropped a nuclear weapon near Florence, South Carolina. The high-explosive trigger detonated on impact.

In November 1958 a B-47 crashed near Abilene, Texas. The trigger of the nuclear weapon exploded upon impact.

In July 1959 a C-124 crashed near Bossier City, Louisiana. Both plane and nuclear weapon were destroyed.

In October 1959 a B-52 with two nuclear weapons was involved in a mid-air collision near Hardinsburg, Kentucky. One weapon partially burned.

In January 1961 a B-52 broke apart in mid-air near Goldsboro, North Carolina. Two nuclear weapons were released. The parachute on one weapon malfunctioned, and contamination was spread over a wide area. The uranium core was never recovered. Daniel Ellsberg reported that detonation was a very real risk because five of six safety devices failed.

In that month near Monticello, Idaho a B-52 carrying nuclear weapons exploded in mid-air. No information was made available as to the weapons.

In March 1961 a B-52 with two nuclear weapons crashed near Yuba City, California.

In January 1964 a B-52 carrying two nuclear weapons crashed near Cumberland, Maryland.

In January 1966 a B-52 carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed after a mid-air collision near Palomares, Spain. Two weapons exploded on impact, with resulting plutonium contamination. A months-long program was undertaken to locate and extract the other two weapons from the ocean. Major policy changes were taken under consideration.

In January 1968 a B-52 carrying four hydrogen weapons crashed and burned near Thule AFB in Greenland. Explosives in one bomb detonated, spreading plutonium contamination. Apparently, the other three weapons have never been accounted for.

Following large public protests Denmark, which owns Greenland and prohibits nuclear weapons on or over its territory, filed a strong protest. A few days later the Secretary of Defense ordered the removal of nuclear weapons from planes. After that order was issued, all aircraft armed with nuclear weapons were grounded but kept in a constant state of alert.

In 1991 by Presidential order, nuclear weapons were removed from all aircraft. Bomber nuclear ground alerts, during which nuclear weapons are loaded onto bombers during test and training exercises, were halted. After that time, all nuclear weapons to be delivered by plane were permanently maintained in secure storage facilities.


August 30, 2007

All of which makes the transport of nuclear weapons in combat position on a combat plane so newsworthy.

On August 30, for the first time since 1968, nuclear warheads in combat position were carried by an American bomber. Numerous international treaty provisions were violated in the process.

That Thursday, a B-52H Stratofortress flew from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana while carrying twelve cruise missiles. Either five or six of those missiles were armed with nuclear warheads.


Cruise Missiles

The missiles on the B-52 were AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile units, specifically designed to be launched from wing pods of B-52H planes.

A total of 460 units were manufactured by Raytheon. A total of 394 units are currently maintained by the Air Force. Apparently, 38 are to be modernized and upgraded in Fiscal Year 2008 and the other 356 are to be decommissioned pursuant to the 2002 Moscow treaty.

Raytheon has publicly announced the AGM-129 missiles are to be modified to accomplish a "classified cruise missile mission". This has widely been interpreted to mean conversion to bunker-busters, most likely for use in Iran. This widely accepted explanation is being used to explain why armed cruise missiles are being flown in American airspace.


Nuclear Warheads

The AGM-129 was specifically designed to deliver a W-80 nuclear warhead. The W-80 weapon has a variable yield capability, of 5 to 150 kilotons. For comparison purposes, the bomb used on Hiroshima was 13 to 15 kilotons, or equivalent to 13,000 to 15,000 tons of TNT explosive.


News Stories and Flawed Explanations

The story of the B-52 flight was first reported by Army Times, owned by Gannett, on Wednesday September 5. Gannett relied on information provided by "anonymous officers". The story was picked up by Yahoo Wednesday morning, published by USA Today and The Washington Pos, and then quickly spread.

In response, the Pentagon quickly spread an official explanation.

The Air Force admitted to an inadvertent error: The intent was to transport ACMs without weapons. According to military officers, the nuclear warheads should have been removed before the missiles were mounted on the pylons under the wings of the bomber.


In the words of the Pentagon:

"There was an error which occurred during a regularly scheduled transfer of weapons between two bases. The weapons were safe and remained in Air Force control and custody at all times."

For almost the first time in the history of the nation, the military has publicly and promptly admitted it "made a mistake". This in itself is truly astounding.

To reinforce the military's claim that a mistake was made, a system-wide stand-down was ordered for September 14.

That official explanation was quickly explained away. The mistake was made intentionally, so a "deliberate leak" of a secret operation could occur.

The CIA and the Office of Counter-Terrorism in the State Department explained that Barksdale AFB is a "jumping off point" for re-supply of the Middle East.

The "deliberate leak" was intended to serve as a veiled warning to Iran. This deliberately misleading explanation is evidently intended to lead the public or Iran or both to logically conclude the missiles are bound for Iran.

Bluntly, State and the CIA converted a whistleblower leak by true American patriots into a deliberate leak by official Washington, to scare Iran.

By this means Washington has led the public to forget or overlook the real issue.

To begin, the multiple official explanations reek to high heaven. They collectively read suspiciously like flimsy cover stories concocted in hasty desperation. And no amount of pretty lipstick will be able to make the official explanations pretty.


Transportation Violations

More conflicting explanations followed. These missiles are part of a group scheduled to be decommissioned. This would explain why they were shipped out of North Dakota.

But the missiles were not transported on their way to decommissioning. Missiles are normally decommissioned at Davis-Monthan AFB at Tucson. Nuclear weapons are decommissioned at the Department of Energy's Pantex facility near Amarillo, Texas, accessed through Kirkland AFB in New Mexico.

And military policy requires minimization of the number of flights made with nuclear weapons aboard. So the weapons should not have been mounted on the missiles, flown to Louisiana, un-mounted and flown to New Mexico.

The mode of transportation is also a major issue not defused by official explanations. Per standard operating procedures, or SOPs, both missiles and nuclear warheads are transported primarily by air, in specially modified C-130s or C-17s. Under no peacetime circumstances do military SOPs allow transport of nuclear weapons mounted in cruise missiles mounted in combat positions on combat planes.

Department of Defense Directive Number 4540.5, issued on February 4, 1998, regulates logistic transportation of nuclear weapons.

By delegation of Commanders of Combatant Commands, movement of nuclear weapons must be approved by commanders of major service commands.

Commanders of Combat Commands or service component commanders must evaluate, authorize and approve transport modes and movement routes for nuclear weapons in their custody.

The Air Force is required to maintain a Prime Nuclear Airlift Force capability to conduct the logistic transport of nuclear weapons.

Under SOPs, combat planes with combat-ready nuclear weapons can only be flown on the authority of the Commander in Chief, the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the National Military Command Authority.

All of these transportation regulations were flagrantly violated on August 30.


Handling Violations

Violations of regulations concerning handling of the nuclear weapons in North Dakota are worse.

A sophisticated computerized tracking system is used for nuclear weapons. Multiple sign-offs are required to remove the weapons from their storage bunkers.

The AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile was designed to carry nuclear weapons. No non-nuclear warhead is available for this missile. So the only possible error could have been loading nuclear warheads on the missiles instead of practice dummies.

The practice warheads have standard blue and yellow signs declaring "Inert, non-nuclear". The nuclear warheads have at least three distinctive red warning signs. This error is therefore highly improbable, absent tampering with signage.

Nuclear weapons are transported from the storage bunker to the aircraft in a caravan that routinely includes vehicles with machine guns front and rear and guards with M-16s. All steps in the process are done under the watchful eyes of armed military police.

Rules require that at least two people jointly control every step of the process. If one person loses sight of the other, both are forced to the ground face-down and temporarily "placed under arrest" by observant security forces. All progress stops until inspections are made to assure the weapons weren't tampered with.

All nuclear weapons are connected to sophisticated alarm systems to prevent removal or tampering. They could only be removed from the storage bunker by turning the alarm off. And the squad commander clearly would not have authority to turn off the alarm.


The Impossible Mistake

Bluntly, the mistake of loading nuclear weapons on a combat aircraft in combat-ready position is simply not possible to make. Safeguards are far too stringent and far too many people would be involved. Particularly given that the mounting was in violation of policy that's been in place without exception for almost 40 years.

No discipline is expected to be meted out. The New York Times tried to imply the commanding general had been fired. Actually, the squad commander in charge of munitions crews at Minot was "relieved of duty pending an investigation". He has not been removed from his position or disciplined. The crews involved have been "temporarily decertified pending corrective actions or additional training" but have not been disciplined. No mention has been made of the wing commander.

Note carefully: These actions amount to nothing at all. The wing and squad commanders are still in place and the crews can easily be re-certified.


Successful Confusion

Washington's efforts to confuse the public have been successful. Attention has shifted from the crucial issue.

This news has already become non-news. The August 14 stand-down will momentarily become news, followed by announcements of more stringent restrictions, improved safeguards and additional training. The public always has been and always will be safe.


One of the major issues will be avoided:

Someone in an irregular chain of Air Force command authorized loading and transport of nuclear weapons.

And that would never have been done without a reason. Given the magnitude of regulatory violations involved, the reason must be extremely important.

The paramount issue will be avoided, if necessary with repetition of the reassurance that the Air Force was in control at all times. The weapons were only missing during the 3.5-hour flight.

At Barksdale, the missiles were considered to be unarmed items headed for modernization or the scrap heap, and of no particular importance. They were left unguarded for almost ten hours.

According to one report, almost ten hours were required for airmen at Minot AFB to convince superiors that the nuclear weapons had disappeared. According to information provided to Congress, this time lapsed before airmen at Barksdale "noticed" the weapons were present. News reports will continue to overlook this fact also.

Even here the focus is on time. The number of missiles and warheads issue was overlooked.

Early news reports spoke of five nuclear warheads loaded onto the bomber. Apparently, this information was provided from Barksdale.

That number was later updated to six weapons missing from Minot, apparently based on anonymous tips provided to Military Times by people at Minot. This information has also been forgotten.


Conclusion

Six nuclear weapons disappeared from Minot AFB in North Dakota.

Five nuclear weapons were discovered at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

Which leads to my chilling conclusion:

Someone, operating under a special chain of command within the United States Air Force, just stole a nuclear weapon.


What next?

The answer has been provided several times, most recently by CIA Director and General Michael Hayden. On September 7, dressed in full military uniform, Hayden told assembled members of the Council of Foreign Relations:

"Our analysts assess with high confidence that al-Qaida's central leadership is planning high-impact plots against the U. S. homeland."

"We assess with high confidence that al-Qaida is focusing on targets that would produce mass casualties, dramatic destruction and significant aftershocks."

An eye for an eye. Use of nukes will justify use of nukes. A perfect excuse to wage nuclear war against Iran.

I suspect Hayden is absolutely correct, except for his mistaken identification of the "central leadership" that is planning detonation of a nuclear weapon on American soil.
 
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