Minot/Barksdale Nuclear Bent Spear Incident-Part I by Richard Scott

Bookmark and Share

Dandelion Salad

by Richard Scott
http://www.boilingfrogspost.com
7. December 2009

An Analysis & Critique

Over 36 hours on August 29-30 2007, six AGM-129_ACM Air Launched Cruise Missiles each containing one W80_(nuclear_warhead) were removed from safeguarded weapons storage facilities at the Minot AFB in North Dakota, loaded aboard a B-52 bomber and flown 1500 miles to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. While removed from secure storage, these weapons passed through six separate links in the chain of custody without being discovered, without being visually inspected and were left unguarded and unsecured on the runways of both Minot and Barksdale for 15 hours and 12 hours respectively before the Ordnance Unloading Team at Barksdale discovered the error, established a security zone and activated a Nuclear Security Alert to further safeguard the warheads.

Attempting to conceal the incident as part of the DOD’s policy on neither confirming nor denying the presence of nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Robert Gates notified President Bush and ordered in internal Air Force Investigation of the incident, the first of it’s kind in the 40+ years of nuclear weapons handling. This lasted 6 days until the story of the incident was broken by the Military Times, quoting unnamed sources and picked up by the MSM. Soon after, the Air Force announced that the Minot Munitions Squadron commander was relieved of command and 25 airmen were disciplined. They also assured the public that the weapons never left the custody of Air force personnel and the public was never in danger. The results of that investigation saw the commanders of the 5th Bomb wing and the 5th Maintenance Group at Minot and the 2nd Operations Group at Barksdale relieved of command, four senior NCOs of the 5th Bomb Wing received “administrative action”, all personnel of the 5th Bomb Wing were stripped of their nuclear certifications, 65 airmen lost their Personnel_Reliability_Program certifications and all tactical weapons ferry operations were suspended, citing:

“There has been an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards at Minot Air Force Base and at Barksdale Air Force Base.”

[…]

via Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Post | Home of the Irate Minority.

see

Air Force Pulls the Plug on Cyber Command by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, August 18, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

In July, Antifascist Calling reported on the imminent launch of U.S. Air Force Cyber Command (AFCYBER).

With a unified organizational structure and a $2 billion budget for its first year of operations, and a projected $30 billion cost for the first five years of operations, AFCYBER promised an offensive capability that would deliver withering attacks on adversaries.

As I wrote, “Eventually, if Air Force securocrats have their way, it ‘will grow into one of the service’s largest commands.’ With a mission to ‘deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade, and destroy’ an enemy’s information infrastructure, the potential for mischief on the part of American ‘warfighters’ and ‘public diplomacy’ black propaganda specialists shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Now however, numerous reports reveal that the Air Force has suspended plans for the controversial unit. NextGov broke the story Wednesday. According to investigative journalist Bob Brewin,

The Air Force on Monday suspended all efforts related to development of a program to become the dominant service in cyberspace, according to knowledgeable sources. Top Air Force officials put a halt to all activities related to the establishment of the Cyber Command, a provisional unit that is currently part of the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, sources told NextGov.

An internal Air Force e-mail obtained by NextGov said, “Transfers of manpower and resources, including activation and reassignment of units, shall be halted.” Establishment of the Cyber Command will be delayed until new senior Air Force leaders, including Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz, sworn in today, have time to make a final decision on the scope and mission of the command. (“Air Force Suspends Cyber Command Program,” NextGov, August 13, 2008)

Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick told Federal Times, the “freeze” was necessary “because we have new leaders and they want to make sure they’re on the right course.” But he said the Air Force “remains committed to cyberspace.”

With an October 1 launch date, it appears that aggressive efforts by Major General William Lord, the unit’s commander, to hype its capabilities may have been its undoing. Brewin reports the “hard sell” by Lord and other AF securocrats “seemed to be a grab by the Air Force to take the lead role” in U.S. cyberdefense efforts.

Bureaucratic in-fighting may play a significant role in pulling AFCYBER’s plug. Philip Coyle, a senior adviser with the Center for Defense Information (CDI), a liberal defense think tank, told NextGov that he believes “the Navy’s Network Warfare Command and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center have led the way in cyberspace. The Army engages in cyberspace operations daily in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Coyle, who served as assistant secretary of Defense and director of its operational test and evaluation office from 1994 to 2001.”

Accordingly, Coyle believes the decision may have come from Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who wants to see a more “robust role” for the Navy in cyberspace. Lord’s high public profile and hard-sell may have shot-down AF plans to “dominate cyberspace” and the AF “is now suffering from its own hubris.”

It appears that AFCYBER’s aggressive public posture and its assertion that cyberspace is a “warfighting domain,” may have angered Department of Defense bureaucrats who favor a “softer” approach when it comes to plans for imperialist domination.

In this light, recent Air Force scandals, including the unauthorized transfer of nuclear weapons in 2007 and the dismantling of the service’s top command by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as a result, the Air Force’s lax organizational structure may have been a deciding factor.

In June, Gates fired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Mosley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne for their incompetence over the service’s handling of nuclear weapons.

Many readers will recall that on August 30, 2007 a B-52 Stratofortress bomber flew nearly 1,500 miles from Minot Air Force base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles fixed to its wings. For nearly six hours the Air Force was unable to account for the weapons. When Military Times broke the story, it elicited a yawn from major media outlets that amounted to self-censorship.

While brief media reports emphasized that the public was “never in danger,” as physicist Pavel Podvig reported,

The point is that the nuclear warheads were allowed to leave Minot and that it was surprised airmen at Barksdale who discovered them, not an accounting system that’s supposed to track the warheads’ every movement (maybe even in real time). We simply don’t know how long it would’ve taken to discover the warheads had they actually left the air force’s custody and been diverted into the proverbial “wrong hands.” Of course, it could be argued that the probability of this kind of diversion is very low, but anyone who knows anything about how the United States handles its nuclear weapons has said that the probability of what happened at Minot was also essentially zero. (“U.S. loose nukes,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 12 September 2007)

In the wake of the scandal, Mosley and Wynne were forced to fall on their swords. Similar forces may be at play regarding AFCYBER. According to CDI researcher Chelsea Dilley,

It is unclear what AFCYBER’s exact mission is, what capabilities are being developed, what circumstances warrant a cyber attack, what actions will be taken in response to an attack, who can authorize an attack, what steps will be taken to prevent crisis escalation, what the budgets are and exactly where the money is coming from. AFCYBER’s relation to the Department of Homeland Security and to the Air Force Space Command is also hazy, which could prove problematic, as all have claimed some responsibility for maintaining control of cyberspace.

Alarmingly, there are many similarities in the ways used to promote AFCYBER and those used in the Air Force’s increasingly belligerent counterspace mission. The diction used in the 2004 Air Force Counterspace Operations Doctrine and the 2008 Air Force Cyber Command Strategic Vision is in many places exactly the same, and it is uncertain if the task that was given to the Air Force Space Command to maintain cyberspace has actually been transferred to or just appropriated by the new Cyber Command. (“Air Force Cyber Command: Defending Cyberspace, or Controlling It?,” Center for Defense Information, August 7, 2008)

Whether or not a bureaucratic tussle amongst competing branches of the military and the Department of Homeland Security may have played a role in AFCYBER’s apparent demise, the Air Force is continuing to develop new and more hideous weapons to insure that the American Empire’s dream of global domination remains a viable option for our capitalist masters.

New Scientist reported August 12 on an airborne laser weapon, dubbed the “long-range blowtorch.” According to defense analyst David Hambling,

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is to be mounted on a Hercules military transport plane. Boeing announced the first test firing of the laser, from a plane on the ground, earlier this summer.

Cynthia Kaiser, chief engineer of the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate, used the phrase “plausible deniability” to describe the weapon’s benefits in a briefing on laser weapons to the New Mexico Optics Industry Association in June. (“U.S. Boasts of Laser Weapon’s ‘Plausible Deniability’,” New Scientist, August 12, 2008)

As readers are aware, “plausible deniability” is a term used to describe aggressive covert operations where those responsible for an event, say the assassination of a political opponent or the terrorist bombing of a civilian target, could plausibly claim to have neither knowledge nor involvement in the atrocity since command responsibility by design is highly compartmentalized.

According to Hambling, “a laser is silent and invisible. An ATL can deliver the heat of a blowtorch with a range of 20 kilometres, depending on conditions. That range is great enough that the aircraft carrying it might not be seen, especially at night.”

Whatever the eventual fate of AFCYBER rest assured, as Aviation Week reported back in December, “U.S. Air Force leaders working on the nascent cyber command believe there will be a ‘huge’ need for contracted services to support the embryonic effort as it faces personnel, technology and funding headwinds.”

Army, Navy, Air Force? Who cares! Enterprising corporate grifters will certainly be there, pushing for “full-spectrum dominance” as they lunge after multiyear, high-end contracts that just might hit the corporatist “sweet spot”!

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9862

see

Air Force Cyber Command: Building the Infrastructure for High-Tech War Crimes

Attention Geeks & Hackers: Uncle Sam’s Cyber Force Wants You!

Air Force Unit’s Nuclear Weapons Security Is ‘Unacceptable’

Dandelion Salad

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 31, 2008; Page A03

The same Air Force unit at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota that was responsible for mishandling six nuclear cruise missiles last August failed key parts of a nuclear safety inspection this past weekend, according to a Defense Department report.

The 5th Bomb Wing was given an “unacceptable” grade in security of nuclear weapons, according to the review by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In another category, management and administration, it received a grade of “marginal,” based on deficiencies in recording changes that affected the operational status of nuclear cruise missiles and gravity bombs.

…continued

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

B-52s

Welch Whitewash: We Still Don’t Know What That Aug. 30 Nuke Incident Was About

Dandelion Salad

By Dave Lindorff
After Downing Street
Feb 25, 2008

A new report on the August 30 incident in which six nuclear-armed advanced cruise missiles were effectively “lost” for 36 hours, during which time they were, against all regulations, flown in launch position mounted on a pylon on the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress, from Minot AFB in North Dakota across the continental US to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, has left unanswered some critical questions about the event.

Directed by retired Air Force Gen. Larry D. Welch, the task force’s Report on the Unauthorized Movement of Nuclear Weapons found plenty wrong with the way the US military handles its nuclear weapons, but appears to have dealt lightly with the specific incident that sparked the inquiry—only giving it a few paragraphs.

According to the report, when nuclear-capable missiles are placed onto a pylon assembly (in the case of the B-52, these pylons can hold six missiles), procedures call for a clear distinction to be made as to whether they are armed with nuclear weapons or with dud warheads. In the storage bunker, pylons with dud warheads are supposed to be encircled with orange cones like those used by highway repair crews, and placards announcing that the warheads are duds are supposed to be hung on all four sides. This reportedly was not done, leaving no distinction between one pylon containing six nuclear-armed missiles, and two others that had missiles carrying nukes.

A second failure was in record keeping. According to regulations for handling nuclear weapons, every step in moving a nuke requires written verification and manual checking. When the weapons were taken from storage racks and installed on the missiles, there should have been written records, including the serial numbers of each warhead. When a breakout crew moved the nuclear-armed missiles on the pylon and passed it to a convoy crew for removal from the storage bunker to the airfield for mounting on the plane, there was supposed to be a visual verification of the warheads by the convoy crew, and another written record of the transfer of ownership. When the convoy crew handed over the pylon to the crew chief for mounting on the plane, there was supposed to be another warhead verification check by the crew chief and another written record. Finally, the aircrew was required to verify the payload, warhead by warhead.

Reportedly, none of these steps were taken. In other words, there was a failure to check the payloads of the missiles not just once but at every step of the way—an astounding breakdown in controls and procedures, which at a minimum suggests that the US nuclear arsenal is as vulnerable to theft, extortion and nefarious misuse as those in the former Soviet Union or in Pakistan—not a pleasant thought.

A third failure, more systemic, which was identified in this latest report, was a general decline—even a breakdown—in the decades-long tradition of high standards and professionalism in the US nuclear force itself. The Strategic Air Command, which oversaw all nuclear equipment, has been eliminated, and command and control of nuclear weapons have been integrated into the regular forces, right down to the storage of nuclear devices themselves, which are now routinely kept together with conventional warheads—a recipe for disaster not just because of the kind of confusion that allegedly led to the Aug. 30 incident, but also because of the possibility of accidents in which a non-nuclear device could detonate, scattering nuclear debris. Furthermore, the report documents that the nuclear force, once a prime career choice for advancement-minded military professionals, has become a dumping ground for mediocrity—a place where military personnel go to be forgotten. Pilots of B-52s, for example, no longer even get nuclear certified—so unlikely is it that they will be called upon to fly nuclear missions, the report states.

The report is a catalog of failure and ineptitude, and should lead to a complete overhaul. But it is also failure itself.

This is because as disastrous as the picture it paints of America’s nuclear forces and handling procedures may be, the report also ignores the big questions that remain about the recent incident which led to the Welch investigation in the first place. Primary among these questions is why, if all the various teams that handled the six nuclear-tipped Advanced Cruise Missiles up at Minot, from the guards and handlers in the storage bunker to the pilots, failed to note that the warheads on the missiles were nukes, was the ground crew that went out onto the tarmac to service the plane after it landed at Barksdale able to spot them and identify them as nukes almost immediately upon arriving at the plane?

After all, the personnel at Minot knew they were handling weapons in a bunker, and coming from a bunker, that stored nuclear weapons, and so should have been on alert to the possibility. The crew at Barksdale, however, had absolutely no reason to expect nuclear weapons. Not only was the delivery of these cruise missiles to Barksdale part of a long, on-going routine process of ferrying the obsolete weapons in for decommissioning and destruction. In addition, for the last 40 years, it has been against military rules to fly nuclear weapons over domestic airspace except in specially outfitted military cargo planes. That is to say, prior to this incident no B-52 or other bomber has carried a nuclear weapon in launch position over US territory since 1967!

Given that history, one has to assume that the warheads on those six missiles on the pylon must have been literally screaming out that they were nukes, for the ground crew to have noticed.

Surely Gen. Welch and his colleagues should have addressed the question of why those Barksdale workers were so easily able to spot the “mistake” while, allegedly, no one in the chain of possession of the weapons at Minot managed to do it.

The position of the report was clearly, from the start, that this whole thing was a mistake. That is to say, it’s conclusion was foreordained. But we should know from the incredible, bald-faced lie about the reason for shooting down a spy satellite last week—that it posed an environmental and health threat because of a relatively small 1000 lb. fuel tank containing toxic hydrazine fuel that allegedly could make it to earth and then pose a health threat—that Pentagon explanations are often dishonest, or deliberately confusing. (Hyrdazine is no more dangerous than many toxic chemicals, and for someone to seriously be put at risk, he or she would have to walk up to the smoking tank after it hit earth, and hang around the noxious vapours breathing them in for some time—something few people would be likely to do. Moreover, the probability of an explosive fuel tank making it through searing re-entry to ground without bursting and releasing the material harmlessly in the upper atmosphere was always negligeable. The explanation for the $60-million missile shot was clearly a cover-up of a Pentagon scheme to test its space-warfare capability without having to admit what it was doing.)

Could the Minot nuke incident have been something other than a mistake?

A careful reading of the Welch report—both what it says and what it fails to say—has to leave that question unanswered.

Recall that back in August and September, the Bush/Cheney administration was, as it is now, ratcheting up the talk about an attack on Iran over its nuclear activities and over its alleged support for insurgent attacks on American troops in Iraq. While the military top brass, as well as the secretary of defense are known, for the most part, to oppose such plans, there certainly are some, particularly within the Air Force, who have a higher opinion of the effectiveness of airpower,

Recall too that in the weeks and days prior to and immediately following the Aug. 30 Minot nuke incident, no fewer than six airmen associated with Minot, Barksdale and the B-52 fleet died either in vehicle accidents or alleged suicides. One of the two suicides involved a Minot airman whose job was guarding the base’s nuclear weapons storage facilities. The Welch report doesn’t even mention this strange cluster of deaths—none of which has even been investigated by the military, according to local police and medical examiners contacted.

Could someone at the top level of government—perhaps the Vice President, who is particularly belligerent towards Iran—have attempted to set up an alternative chain of command to “spring” a few unaccounted for nukes for use in some kind of “false flag” or rogue operation that, were it to succeed, could set a war against Iran in motion? Barksdale AFB, it should be noted, bills itself as the main staging base for B-52s being sent overseas for Middle East duty.

The way the Aug. 30 incident came to light, which was thanks to Air Force whistleblowers who contacted a reporter at the Military Times newspaper publishing office—makes such an idea seem at least plausible. Clearly, some uniformed personnel were so upset at what happened that they were willing to risk their military careers to go outside of the chain of command and alert the public in the only way they knew how. Clearly too, they were so distrustful of their superiors, right on up to the office of the Secretary of Defense, that they did not consider taking their information to anyone within the Pentagon.

Maybe it’s asking too much to expect a retired general, tasked to investigate this incident by the Secretary of Defense who himself was appointed by the White House, to look into such a theory, which after all if true would represent an act of treason. And yet, the failure of this report to at least explore the idea makes it into something of a cover-up.

The obvious answer here is that Congress should be holding public hearings into the incident, and asking these tough questions. Incredibly, this has not happened. The Democratic-led Congress, here as in virtually every issue that has come before it (with the exception of steroids in professional sports!), has ducked its responsibility. In this case Congress has been content to let Air Force officials, behind closed doors, offer them information about the incident—which is a far cry from holding hearings where the officers would be grilled under oath about what they know.

Given this gutless and irresponsible behavior by legislators who, I am sure, would be holding high-profile hearings had the same kind of incident occurred in Russia, China, or Pakistan, we are left having to hope that someone with real knowledge of what happened at Minot will come forward and tell the story to a reporter.

For the record, I’m ready and waiting, pen in hand…

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based investigative journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

B-52s

Loose Nukes, Here and There by Gordon Prather

US Bombed Syria: Report

The Air Force Cover-Up of That Minot-Barksdale Nuke Missile Flight by Dave Lindorff

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

Loose Nukes, Here and There by Gordon Prather

Dandelion Salad

by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com
February 16, 2008

According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, entitled “Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues,”

“The main security challenges for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are keeping the integrity of the command structure, ensuring physical security, and preventing illicit proliferation from insiders.

“While U.S. and Pakistani officials express confidence in controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, it is uncertain what impact continued instability in the country will have on these safeguards.”

U.S. officials confident that Pakistani nukes are safeguarded and secure against outsiders?

The Pentagon has just released its Defense Science Board Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Surety Report on the Unauthorized Movement of Nuclear Weapons.

If the Pakistani “surety” measures taken by “insiders” are no better than those of our Air Combat Command, we’re all in a heap of trouble.

According to the DSB Task Force Report, on August 29th, 2007, a pylon – carrying six cruise missiles, each armed with nuclear warhead – was without authorization removed from a nuclear weapons stockpile storage site at Minot AFB, transported without authorization – and mated without authorization – to a B-52 bomber. The nuke laden B-52 then sat, improperly, unguarded overnight, and was then, without authorization, allowed to take off the following morning, make an unauthorized flight to Barksdale AFB, to make an unauthorized landing, and then sit, unguarded, until alert Barkdale personnel discovered the six nukes, just sitting there on their tarmac.

For more than 36 hours no one in the U.S. nuclear weapon command-and-control system knew where those nukes were, or in whose possession.

Not to worry. The Task Force seems to conclude that it was a paperwork problem. An ACC documentation problem.

…continued

h/t: Greg

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Nukes Over America: Just a Stupid Mistake. Sure It Is By Dave Lindorff

Nukes Over America! by Davis Fleetwood (video)

Dandelion Salad

davisfleetwood

MORE @
http://www.nocureforthat.com
Title sequence by GLENNPW
http://www.youtube.com/user/glennpw

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

see

US Bombed Syria: Report

The Air Force Cover-Up of That Minot-Barksdale Nuke Missile Flight by Dave Lindorff

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

More Questions About the Minot Nukes by Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

by Dave Lindorff
This Can’t Be Happening!
Sun, 11/04/2007

The Pentagon has been stonewalling on my requests for answers to key questions. For two weeks a public affairs office has been declining to respond to my question about whether the six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles flown by B-52 from Minot AFB to Barksdale AFB were programmed for specific targets, and if so what theose targets were, or even whether the team that investigated the incident checked to see if they were targeted.

The Air Force and Pentagon have also declined to explain whether US nuclear weapons in storage in US bunkers have been provided with the same alarm and motion-detection sensors that the National Nuclear Security Agency helped to install on the nukes being stored on Russian bases.

Clearly if such devices are standard on US nukes, as several Air Force active and retired personnel have assured me is the case, then there is no way that those weapons could have been removed from the Minot bunker by “mistake” as claimed the Air Force’s official report on the incident.

The Pentagon has also refused to state whether the missiles were fueled up or not.

Finally, there is another big question that has not even been asked. Supposedly the reason the B-52 was flying to Barksdale with 12 missiles is that they are part of a total of 400 of these things, all of which have been declared obsolete and slated for destruction. But if all those Advanced Cruise Missiles are obsolete, then there is simply no reason for having any of them fitted with nuclear warheads. If they’re obsolete, none of them would be on stand-by status. No one at Minot would ever be mounting a nuke on a cruise missile. Note that the Air Force is not claiming that the initial mounting of six warheads onto six missiles was a “mistake.” Only that nobody in the subsequent chain of events was alerted to the fact that the warheads had been mounted. But why would warheads have been mounted on obsolete weapons in the first place?

Meanwhile, I have no knowledge as to the accuracy of this, but one Air Force vet tells me that the Advanced Cruise Missiles that were nuclear armed and mounted on a launch pylon on the B-52 in question would have been electronically linked to the plane automatically (which has the capability to program and re-program the targeting of the missiles), and that therefore the pilot of the plane would have instantly seen on his instrument console that he had nukes on board that flight. He also told me that the idea that the pilot would only have checked out the missiles mounted on one wing–by chance the wing that had the six missiles with dummy warheads–instead of both pylons and all 12 missiles as required, which is the claim of the Air Force report, is ludicrous. As he notes, pilots on these aging Stratofortresses see the pre-flight check as a life-or-death matter. Anything wrong on these planes can mean loss of the plane and even loss of the lives of the entire crew and of people on the ground. That would include the secure mounting of the missile cargo.

As a former semi-trailer driver myself, I know that those checks of all the main systems–air brakes, trailer linkage, tire pressure, lights, etc.–are not taken lightly. Before you head out on the road with a trailer truck, you check out all the critical systems, because you know your life depends on their working properly. Surely this would be much more true with a strategic bomber, especially when it is carrying 12 missiles under its wings.

There is another question, raised by an Air Force vet in a comment below, which also bears investigation. The Air Force is claiming that the B-52 was supposedly ferrying 12 unarmed cruise missiles to Barksdale for disassembly. But a B-52, an antique aircraft which requires a big crew, demands enormous amounts of sevicing and repair and wastes a prodigious amount of fuel, is a terribly inefficient way to ferry these weapons to a graveyard. It would be infinitely cheaper to truck the missile bodies overland, or to stack and ship them in cargo planes, and in fact it simply defies belief that the Air Force would be doing this with Stratofortresses.

The more you look at this story, the more obvious it is that the Air Force claim that this was all just a big “mistake” has to be a blatant cover-up of the truth.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Could those loose nukes have been meant for the Syrian strike? by The Other Katherine Harris

US Bombed Syria: Report

The Air Force Cover-Up of That Minot-Barksdale Nuke Missile Flight by Dave Lindorff

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

Could those loose nukes have been meant for the Syrian strike? by The Other Katherine Harris

Editor’s note: I can’t seem to get to this link, Jerusalem Post at the end of Katherine’s post. She says that it works, so please let me know if you can or cannot view it. Thanks, Lo

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
Nov. 4, 2007

If it’s true, as recently reported, that one of two USAF planes carrying low-power tactical nukes bombed the alleged nuclear facility being built in Syria — with Israeli planes along just to fly cover (never mind that their government belatedly said they did it) — this might relate to yet another mystery. There’s an awfully close coincidence of date between the raid (Sept. 6) and when six nuclear warheads were illegally moving around within the U.S. (August 29 and 30) on missiles attached to the launch rack of a bomber from Minot AFB. Because those ended up at Barksdale AFB, the principal staging base for B-52s going to the Middle East, the speculation has been that they were meant eventually to pound targets in Iran. But what if two of them had a more immediate purpose? Very interestingly, these particular warheads afford the ultimate in versatility, being adjustable to detonate with explosive power from as low as five kilotons up to 150 kilotons.

Both the air strike in Syria and the loose nukes episode have been cloaked in secrecy extreme even for our obsessively Delphic despots in Washington. Adding an extra frisson to the murky and sinister picture, an Oct. 31 blog by Dave Lindorff pointed out a stunning number of recent deaths among personnel at Minot and Barksdale and others conceivably associated with the nukes’ movement.

If you’re behind on news of the nukes, Lindorff’s blog will catch you right up. As for the strange evolution of the Syrian bombing story, everybody involved has been trying like the devil to keep a lid on it. A sequence of events through Oct. 26 is nicely presented by BBC News and what seems to be the latest update of substance came out today at Jerusalem Post.

see

US Bombed Syria: Report

The Air Force Cover-Up of That Minot-Barksdale Nuke Missile Flight by Dave Lindorff

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

The Air Force Cover-Up of That Minot-Barksdale Nuke Missile Flight by Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

by Dave Lindorff
Wed, 10/31/2007

“It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.”
—Pentagon official

There is something deeply disturbing about the Air Force’s official report on the Aug-29-30 “bent spear” incident that saw six nuclear warheads get mounted on six Advanced Cruise Missiles and improperly removed from a nuclear weapons storage bunker at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, then get improperly loaded on a B-52, and then get improperly flown to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana—a report that attributed the whole thing to a “mistake.” According to the Air Force report, some Air Force personnel mounted the warheads on the missiles (which are obsolete and slated for destruction), and another ground crew, allegedly not aware that the missiles were armed with nukes, moved them out and mounted them on a launch pylon on the B-52’s wing for a flight to Barksdale and eventual dismantling. Only on the ground at Barksdale did ground crew personnel spot the nukes according to the report. (Six other missiles with dummy warheads were mounted on a pylon on the other wing of the plane.)

The problem with this explanation for the first reported case of nukes being removed from a weapons bunker without authorization in 50 years of nuclear weapons, is that those warheads, and all nuclear warheads in the US stockpile, are supposedly protected against unauthorized transport or removal from bunkers by electronic antitheft systems—automated alarms similar to those used by department stores to prevent theft, and even anti-motion sensors that go off if a weapon is touched or approached without authorization.

While the Air Force report doesn’t mention any of this, what it means is that if weapons in a storage bunker are protected against unauthorized removal, someone—and actually at least two people, since it’s long been a basic part of nuclear security that every action involving a nuclear weapon has to be done by two people working in tandem—had to deliberately and consciously disable those alarms.

Since the Air Force report does not explain how this hurdle to unauthorized removal of the six nukes could have been surmounted by “mistake,” the report has to be considered a whitewash, at best, or a cover-up.

Continued…

h/t: nwmuse

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see
Nukes Over America: Just a Stupid Mistake. Sure It Is By Dave Lindorff

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

Missing Nukes: Treason of the Highest Order by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, October 29, 2007

Missing Nukes on August 29-30, 2007

According to a wide range of reports, several nuclear bombs were “lost” for 36 hours after taking off August 29/30, 2007 on a “cross-country journey” across the U.S., from U.S.A.F Base Minot in North Dakota to U.S.A.F. Base Barksdale, near New Orleans, in Louisiana. [1] Reportedly, in total there were six W80-1 nuclear warheads armed on AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACMs) that were “lost.” [2] The story was first reported by the Military Times, after military servicemen leaked the story.

It is also worth noting that on August 27, 2007, just days before, three B-52 Bombers were performing special missions under the direct authorization of General Moseley, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. [3] The exercise was reported as being an aerial information and image gathering mission. The base at Minot is also home of the 91st Space Wings, a unit under the command of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

According to official reports, the U.S. Air Force pilots did not know that they were carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Once in Louisiana, they also left the nuclear weapons unsecured on the runway for several hours. [4]

U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Requirements, Major-General Richard Y. Newton III commented on the incident, saying there was an “unprecedented” series of procedural errors, which revealed “an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards” [5]

These statements are misleading. The lax security was not the result of procedural negligence within the U.S. Air Force, but rather the consequence of a deliberate tampering of these procedures.

If a soldier, marine, airman, or sailor were even to be issued a rifle and rifle magazine — weaponry of a far lesser significance, danger, and cost — there is a strict signing and accountability process that involves a chain of command and paperwork. This is part of the set of military checks and balances used by all the services within the U.S. Armed Forces.

Military servicemen qualified to speak on the subject will confirm that there is a stringent nuclear weapons handling procedure. There is a rigorous, almost inflexible, chain of command in regards to the handling of nuclear weapons and not just any soldier, sailor, airman, or marine is allowed to handle nuclear weapons. Servicemen specialized in handling nuclear weapons and the loading procedures for nuclear weapons are only perm certified to handle, access, and load nuclear weapons.

Every service personnel that moves or even touches these weapons must sign a tracking paper and has total accountability for their movement. There is good reason for the paperwork behind moving these weapons. The military officers that order the movement of nuclear weapons, including base commanders, must also fill out paper forms.

In other words, unauthorized removal of nuclear weapons would be virtually impossible to accomplish unless the chain of command were bypassed, involving, in this case, the deliberate tampering of the paperwork and tracking procedures.

The strategic bombers that carried the nuclear weapons also could not fly with their loaded nuclear weaponry without the authorization of senior military officials and the base commander. The go-ahead authorization of senior military officials must be transmitted to the servicemen that upload the nuclear weapons. Without this authorization no flights can take place.

In the case of the missing nukes, orders were given and flight permission was granted. Once again, any competent and eligible U.S. Air Force member can certify that this is the standard procedure.

There are two important questions to be answered:

1. Who gave the order to arm the W80-1 thermonuclear warheads on the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACMs)?

2. If this was not a procedural error, what was the underlying military-political objective sought by those who gave the orders?

The Impossibility of “Loosing” Nuclear Weapons

As Robert Stormer, a former U.S. lieutenant-commander in the U.S. Navy, has commented: “Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with.” [6]

Stormer also makes a key point, which is not exactly a secret: “There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons. Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must sign off for tracking purposes.” [7]

Stormer continues:

“Two armed munitions specialists are required to work as a team with all nuclear weapons. All individuals working with nuclear weapons must meet very strict security standards and be tested for loyalty — this is known as a ‘[Nuclear Weapons] Personnel Reliability Program [DoDD 5210 42].’ They work in restricted areas within eyeshot of one another and are reviewed constantly.”[8]

Stormer unwraps the whole Pentagon cover-up by pointing out some logical facts and military procedures. First he reveals that: “All security forces assigned [to handle and protect nuclear weapons] are authorized to use deadly force to protect the weapons from any threat [including would-be thieves].” [9]

He then points out a physical reality that can not be shrugged aside: “Nor does anyone quickly move a 1-ton cruise missile — or forget about six of them, as reported by some news outlets, especially cruise missiles loaded with high explosives.”

He further explains another physical and procedural reality about nuclear weapons assembly:

“The United States also does not transport nuclear weapons meant for elimination attached to their launch vehicles under the wings of a combat aircraft. The procedure is to separate the warhead from the missile, encase the warhead and transport it by military cargo aircraft to a repository — not an operational bomber base that just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations.” [10]

This last point raises the question of what were the nuclear weapons meant for? In this context, Stomrer puts forth the follwing list of important questions to which he demands an answer:

1. Why, and for what ostensible purpose, were these nuclear weapons taken to Barksdale?
2. How long was it before the error was discovered?
3. How many mistakes and errors were made, and how many needed to be made, for this to happen?
4. How many and which security protocols were overlooked?
5. How many and which safety procedures were bypassed or ignored?
6. How many other nuclear command and control non-observations of procedure have there been?
7. What is Congress going to do to better oversee U.S. nuclear command and control?
8. How does this incident relate to concern for reliability of control over nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in Russia, Pakistan and elsewhere?
9. Does the Bush administration, as some news reports suggest, have plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons?

It is a matter of perception, whether it is “clear” or “unclear”, as to why the nuclear warheads had not been removed beforehand from the missiles.

For those who have been observing these series of “unclear” events it is becoming “clear” that a criminal government is at the helm of the United States. There was no way that the six nuclear missiles could have been “mistakenly” loaded, especially when their separate warheads had to be affixed to them by individuals specialized in such a momentous task.

It is also being claimed that military teams in both U.S.A.F. Base Minot and U.S.A.F. Base Barksdale made major procedural errors. What are the probabilities of this occurring simultaneously in two locations? It is also worth noting that original reports from military sources talked about only five of the six nuclear warheads from Minot being accounted for in Barksdale. [11] Nuclear warheads are also kept in specialized storage areas or bunkers. Moreover, nuclear weapons are not being decommissioned at Barksdale.

The Role of the Nuclear Weapons Surety Program: What happened to Electronic Monitoring?

The Nuclear Weapons Surety Program is a joint program between the U.S. Department of Defence and the U.S. Department of Energy. The National Security Agency (NSA) is also involved as well as other U.S. federal government agencies. The Nuclear Weapons System Safety Program is part of this program, which involves a monitoring and safeguards regime for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Nuclear Weapons Security Standard falls under the Nuclear Weapons Surety Program and is in place to disallow any “unauthorized access to nuclear weapons; prevent damage or sabotage to nuclear weapons; prevent loss of custody; and prevent, to the maximum extent possible, radiological contamination caused by unauthorized acts.”

Under this or these safeguards system there also exists a rigorous control of use scheme, which is tied to the military chain of command and the White House.

“Command and Control (C2)” and “Use Control”

“Use control” is a set of security measures designed to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear weapons. These measures involve weapons design features, operational procedures, security, and system safety rules.

“Command and Control” or “C2” involves the Office of the President of the United States of America. C2 is an established line of command, which is tied to the White House. Without it, nuclear weapons cannot be deployed or armed as they were in U.S.A.F. Base Minot. It is these two control elements that establish the basis of authorization through which “absolute control of nuclear weapons” is maintained “at all times.”

In addition to the checks and balances in place in regards to handling nuclear weapons, the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and its partners manually and electronically inspect and monitor all U.S. nuclear weapons through the Nuclear Weapon Status Information Systems.

More Unanswered Questions: What Happened to the Computerized Tracking System?

The Nuclear Management Information Systems “interface with each other and provide [the U.S. Department of Defence] with the ability to track the location of nuclear weapons and components from cradle-to-grave [meaning from when they are made to when they are decommissioned].” [12]

Military Times also makes an omission that the exposes the official narrative as false and indicates that the event was not just a mistake; “The Defense Department uses a computerized tracking program to keep tabs on each one of its nuclear warheads, said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. For the six warheads to make it onto the B-52, each one would have had to be signed out of its storage bunker and transported to the bomber.” [13]

This is where the chain of command in regards to military officers falls into play. If any of the stocked inventories of nuclear weapons are moved to an authorized location they will be noticed and tracked by the DTRA and will require the relevant authorization. There is also a code system involved that is tied to the chain of command.

The fact that the incident only apparently became known to the U.S. Air Force when military personnel reported it, suggests that either the nuclear weapons were ordered to be moved or that the electronic tracking devices had been removed or tampered with. This scenario would need the involvement of individuals with expertise in military electronics or for those responsible for the monitoring of nuclear weapons to look the other way or both.

Mysterious Deaths in the United States Air Force: Whitewash and Cover-up

Several military personnel died under mysterious circumstances shortly before and after the incident. There are now questions regarding the fate of these individuals in the U.S. Air Force who could have had relationships in one way or another to the incident or possibly have been directly involved. It is also necessary to state that there is no proof that these deaths are linked to the August flight from Minot to Barksdale in question.

Citizens for Legitimate Government has pointed towards the involvement of the U.S. Air Force in a cover-up and has linked several deaths of U.S. servicemen to the incident. Lori Price has also stated for Citizens for a Legitimate Government that “you need about fourteen signatures to get an armed nuke on a B-52.”

Based on several news sources, including the U.S. military, we provide below a detailed review of these mysterious and untimely deaths of U.S. servicemen.

Airman 1st Class Todd Blue went on leave days after the nuclear weapons were “lost.” Blue died under questionable timing while on leave, visiting his family in Wytheville, Virginia at the age of 20 on September 10, 2007. He was a response force member assigned to the 5th Security Forces Squadron. What does this mean?

Airman Todd Blue occupied a key position in weapons systems security at Minot. [14] At Minot U.S.A.F. Base the 5th Security Forces Squadron to which he belonged was responsible for base entry requirements and a particular section, the Weapons System Security section, was responsible for preventing the unauthorized removal of military property. The latter is responsible for security of all priority resources, meaning the security of nuclear weapons. In other words not only did the 5th Security Forces Squadron keep eyes on what entered and left Minot, but they kept an eye on and monitored the nuclear weapons.

U.S. Air Force Captain John Frueh is another serviceman who could have been indirectly connected to the “lost” nuclear weapons. He was reported as being last seen with a GPS device, camera, and camcorder being carried with him in a backpack. Local police in Oregon and the F.B.I. seemed to be looking for him for days. His family also felt that something bad had happened to him.

On September 8, 2007 Captain Frueh was found dead in Washington State, near his abandoned rental car, after the Portland Police Department contacted the Skamania County Sheriff’s Officer. [15] The last time he spoke with his family was August 30, 2007. He had arrived from Florida to attend a wedding that he never showed up at. The Oregonian reported that “Authorities in Portland found no activity on his credit or bank cards since [Frueh] was last seen (…) [and that] the last call from his cell phone was made at 12:28 p.m. [August 30, 2007] from Mill Plain Boulevard and Interstate 205 in Vancouver [Washington State].” [16]

His background was in meteorology and the study of the atmosphere and weather. He was also reported to be a U.S. Air Force pararescue officer. [17] He was also a major-select candidate, which means he was selected for a promotion as a U.S. Air Force major, but was not officially promoted.

Captain Frueh belonged to the U.S.A.F. Special Operations Command. U.S.A.F. Special Operations Command has its headquarters in Hurlburt Field, Florida and is one of nine major Air Force commands. It is also the U.S. Air Force’s component of U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base, which is also in Florida. The force provides special operations forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to regional unified commands, such as CENTCOM. Its missions include conduct of global special operations. These operations — and this is where careful attention should be paid — range from “precision application of firepower, such as nuclear weapons,” to infiltration, exfiltration (the removal of “devices,” supplies, spies, special agents, or units from enemy territory), re-supply and refuelling of special operational elements.

In Captain Frueh’s case his death is questionable too. The U.S. Air Force would not let a missing persons’ investigation go forward by the police without conducting its own investigation. Usually the different service branches of the U.S. military would investigate for missing servicemen, to see if these individuals are Absent Without Authorized Leave (AWAL) or have deserted, before an individual’s case is handed over to the police.

Another military weatherman, along with his wife, also died after August 30, 2007. Senior Airman Clint Huff, belonging to the 26th Operational Weather Squadron and his wife Linda Huff died in a motorcycle accident on September 15, 2007. [18] The husband and wife fatality happened on Shreveport-Blanchard Highway, near U.S.A.F. Base Barksdale, when according to the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Officer a Pontiac Aztec, a medium-sized SUV, initiated a left turn at the same time that the couple attempted to pass on a no passing zone and collided. [19]

First-Lieutenant Weston Kissel, a B-52H Stratofortress Bomber pilot, also died in a reported Tennessee motorcycle accident. This was while he was on leave in, less than two months from the nuclear B-52 flights, on July 17, 2007. [20] His death came after another single-vehicle accident by another Minot serviceman, Senior Airman Adam Barrs. [21]

Senior Airman Barrs died as a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Airman 1st Class Stephen Garrett, also from Minot. Garrett, also belongs to the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The death of Barrs was reported as being part of a single-vehicle car accident. Associated Press reports state that “[Minot] Base officials say 20-year-old Barrs was a passenger in a vehicle that failed to negotiate a curve, hit an approach, hit a tree and started on fire late Tuesday [July 3, 2007] night.” [22] Barrs was pronounced dead on the scene of the accident, while Garrett was taken the hospital with no updates released by the U.S. Air Force. Adam Barrs also belonged to the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, where he was responsible for the maintenance and securing of the electronic communicational and navigation mission systems aboard the B-52H Stratofortresses on base. The 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is also one of the units that are responsible for loading and unloading weaponry onto the B-52H Stratofortresses.

The deaths of Kissel and Barrs could be dismissed as irrelevant because they occurred prior to the incident. However, Barrs and Kissel could have been in one way or another connected to the advanced planning of the special operation, prior to the incident (special operations are not planned in a few days and may take months and even longer). There is, of course, no proof and only an independent investigation will be able to reveal whether these deaths are connected to the incident.

If there was an internal and secretive operation bypassing most military personnel, a few men in key positions would have to have been involved over a period of time prior to the August 29-30, 2007 flight. Senior Airman Barrs, due to his expertise in communication and navigational systems, could potentially have been involved in the preparations that would have allowed the nuclear weapons to escape detection by military surveillance and be ready for takeoff.

Reprimands, Replacements and Reassignments in the U.S.A.F. Chain of Command

Senior officers, including three colonels and a lieutenant-colonel, are among 70 personnel that will reportedly be disciplined for negligence, allowing a B-52H Stratofortresses Bomber to fly across the U.S. carrying six nuclear-armed cruise missiles that should never have been loaded under its wings. [23]

According to the Military Times, George W. Bush Jr. had been swiftly informed. This is a lockstep procedure. This illustrates the importance tied to the authorization needed for handling nuclear weapons. This is part of a two-way process in regards to authorization from the White House.

The commander of the 5th Munitions Squadron and the commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, Colonel Bruce Emig, have been replaced along with a series of other senior officers. This implies that the U.S. Air Force chain of command is directly involved in this event. None of these senior officers have been authorized to speak or make statements, according to U.S. military sources. Will any of these officers receive lucrative departure packages? Have they been reassigned?

More generally, the nature of the reprimands directed against senior officers involved has not been fully disclosed.

The “memory” of the incident is being erased through a reorganization of the ranks and a purge at U.S.A.F. Base Minot. The streamlining of the chain of command as well as the mysterious deaths of personnel who could have been involved in the incident, raise a series of far-reaching questions.

There are several important issues regarding the senior officers’ chain of command at Minot, which will be addressed in this article. Once again, the most important questions in regards to the missing nukes are: Who gave the orders and authorization for the operation and what where the underlying objectives of loading armed nuclear missiles?

Other Mysterious Deaths: Was the Missing Nukes Incident connected to US War Plans directed against Iran?

A U.S. Air Force official, Charles D. Riechers, has been found dead on October 14, 2007. [24] Riechers was a retired Air Force officer and master navigator specializing in electronic warfare. He was a member of the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Air Force, and was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Management. A description of his duties includes “providing sound expert advice and guidance on acquisition and procurement policies, as well as formulating, reviewing and, as assigned, execution of plans, programs and policies relating to organization, function, operation and improvement of the Air Force’s acquisition system.”

He apparently killed himself by running his car’s engine inside his suburban garage in Virginia. The death of Charles D. Riechers has been casually linked by The Washington Post to his involvement in fraudulent activities and embezzlement. [25] The Washington Post reported that the Air Force had asked defense contractor, Commonwealth Research Institute (C.R.I.), to give him a job with no known duties while he waited for official clearance for his promoted rank in the Pentagon. Riechers is quoted as saying: “I really didn’t do anything for C.R.I.,” and “I [still] got a paycheck from them.” The question, of course, was whether the contractor might expect favors in return upon his assignment to the Pentagon last January. [26] A mysterious suicide letter expressing shame was subsequently reported; the letter was reportedly from a man who had already admitted without shame that he was receiving money for doing nothing. This was known to the U.S. Senate, which had approved his promotion.

In a report featured by Pravda, Russian Intelligence analysts have said that the reported suicide of Charles D. Riechers was a cover-up and that he was murdered because of his involvement in the controversial flight of nuclear weapons over the continental United States.

Pravda reports that “Russian Intelligence Analysts are reporting today that American War Leaders have ‘suicided’ [sic] one of their Top US Air Force Officials Charles D. Riechers as the rift growing between the U.S. War Leaders and their Top Military Officers over a nuclear attack on Iran appears to be nearing open warfare.” [27]

According to the Pravda report, the incident was linked to an operation to smuggle nuclear weapons from the U.S. military in connection to launching a war against Iran.

The Commonwealth Research Institute (CRI), a registered non-profit organization is a subsidiary of Concurrent Technologies, which is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt charity, which is run by Daniel Richard DeVos. Devos is also an associate of John P. Murtha, who was investigated by the F.B.I. for his Saudi links.

Certainly the ties of the Commonwealth Research Institute (CRI), a non-profit organization working for the Pentagon, are questionable and the organization could be a front for internal operations that bypass most military personnel. The case appears to be part of an internal operation that was being kept a secret from the most of the U.S. military, but what for?

More than a month before the death of Riechers, General Russell Elliot Dougherty, a retired flag officer, was also reported to have died on September 7, 2007 at his home in Falcon Landing military retirement community in Potomac Falls located in Arlington, Virginia. [28] He once was one of the most senior individuals responsible for the nuclear arsenal of the U.S. military and also the former commander of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, which identified nuclear targets worldwide amongst its responsibilities. At Minot next to his obituary was a military information notice on suicide, telling servicepersons what the signs of suicide are. [29]

Russell Dougherty in the course of his military career in the U.S. Air Force had dealt with the issues pertaining to Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), full spectrum dominance, how to defeat the enemy and avoid a nuclear war, other uses for nuclear weaponry, Nuclear Primacy for the U.S., and tackling the effects of the wind and weather — due to their unpredictable natures — on the use of nuclear weapons.

The fact that the nuclear warheads were attached to the nuclear cruise missiles could mean that someone wanted to take the weapons in one step or to use them right away.

Timely Appointments at U.S.A.F. Base Minot

Several of the commanding officers at Minot were freshly appointed in June, 2007. This may have been part of standard procedures, but the timing should not be ignored.

Colonel Robert D. Critchlow was transferred, just before the incident, from the Pentagon to Minot and appointed commanding officer for the 91st Operations Group, a missileer unit and the operational backbone of the 91st Space Wing. In Washington, D.C. he was involved in research for the Congressional Research Services and later posted into Air Force Nuclear Response and Homeland Defence.

Colonel Myron L. Freeman was transferred from Japan to Minot in June, 2007. Colonel Freeman was appointed as the commander of the 91st Security Forces Group, which is responsible for securing Minot’s nuclear arsenal.

Colonel Gregory S. Tims was also appointed as deputy commander or vice-commander of the 91st Space Wing in June, 2007. However, Colonel Tims was transfered to Minot from California almost a year before.

One of the most senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) or non-commissioned members (NCMs), Chief Master Sergeant Mark R. Clark, was also transferred to U.S.A.F. Base Minot from Nebraska in July, 2007.

Colonel Roosevelt Allen was also transferred to Minot from Washington, D.C. to become commander of the 5th Medical Group.

Colonel Bruce Emig, the now-former commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, was also transferred to Minot from U.S.A.F. Base Ellsworth in South Dakota in June, 2007. Colonel Emig was also the base commander of Minot.

Colonel Cynthia M. Lundell, the now-former group commander for the 5th Maintenance Group, the unit responsible for loading and unloading weaponry onto the B-52H Stratofortresses was also freshly transferred from a NATO post in Western Europe in June, 2007. Were these appointment temporary? Were any of these appointments related to the six “lost” nuclear missiles?

Prior to the Missing Nukes Incident, Minot Airmen Meet with the President and the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff

On June 15, 2007, George W. Bush Jr. met senior officers from U.S.A.F. Base Minot at U.S.A.F. Base McConnell in Wichita, Kansas during a visit to Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems facility. Amongst them was Major Daniel Giacomazza of the 5th Operational Support Squadron.

Senator Patrick Roberts of Kansas was also present. “While he chaired the Senate Intelligence Committe from 2002 to 2007, [Senator] Roberts stonewalled attempts to investigate everything from the manipulation of intelligence in the rush to war in Iraq, President Bush’s warrantless wiretaps, and even allegations of the use of torture by the CIA,” according to Associated Press (AP) reports. [30] The same report also indicates that the U.S. President was in Wichita for a political fundraiser, and stopped at a new Boys and Girls Club of America to defray the costs of getting to Wichita via Air Force One for Senator Robert’s campaign.

Military sources have reported that a B-52H Stratofortress was flown to Wichita so that Boeing’s engineers could take a look in order to make adjustments to the war planes for a new military program. [31] Nothing has been reported about any private meetings between President Bush Jr. or any of his presidential staff and the personnel from Minot. However, reports have been made of meetings between military families and the U.S. President in his office on Air Force One.

General Moseley, the Air Force Chief of Staff, had previously visited Minot on March 14-15, 2007, a month before Minot airmen went to Wichita. [32] If a secret mission was being prepared, these events could have played a role in the recruiting phases for an important internal special operation. Following their recruitment, Minot servicemen could have symbolically met General Moseley or White House officials to understand that the mission was being sanctioned by the highest ranks and offices in the United States.

Orders had to Come from the Top: Treason of the Highest Order

Orders had to come from higher up.

The operation would not have been possible without the involvement of more than one individual in the highest ranks of the U.S. Air Force command structure and the Pentagon.

The only way to bypass these separate chains of command is “to be above them” (from higher up), as well as have the possibility of directly overseeing their implementation.

These orders would then have been communicated to lower levels in the US Air Force command chain in different locations, to allow for a so-called “oversight” to proceed. The alternative to this is “an alternative chain of command”, although this also needs someone in the highest ranks of office to organize and oversee it.

The post given to Riechers was politically motivated, given his track record in the U.S. Air Force. Riechers had been in a position of responsibility in the U.S. Air Force special operational support activities; something he had in common with Russell Dougherty, the former SAC commander. He would have been one of the best suited individuals for making arrangements in the case of an alternative command structure for a secretive nuclear operation. Moreover, he already had a record of corrupt behaviour through his involvement with the Commonwealth Research Institute. The possible involvement of U.S. Air Force weathermen and special operatives raises many questions as to what exactly was the objective of making the nuclear weapons disappear. [33]

The Investigation

The U.S. Air Force has publicly stated that it has made a “mistake,” which is very unusual and almost unprecedented for a military organization that tries to continually assure the American public of their safety.

The fact that seventy or more military personnel have been punished in the case of the “lost” nuclear weapons does not mean, however, that the senior commanding officers responsible for having carried out the special operation will be identified and punished.

Quite the opposite. The investigation could indeed result in a camouflage of the chain of command, where lower-ranking military personnel are accused and court-martialed, with a view to ultimately protecting those in high office who have committed an act of treason.

The series of deaths mentioned above, may have no ties whatsoever with the the August flight in question from Minot to Barksdale, but the issues of command, monitoring, and authorization cannot be overlooked or ignored. The American people have before them a case of treason that involves the highest offices of government and most probably the offices of the President and the Vice-President.

Once again, the “C2” process involves the Office of the President and Commander in Chief. It is an established line of command, without which nuclear weapons could not have been deployed or armed as they were in U.S.A.F. Base Minot. It is this command element that establishes the basis of authorization through which “absolute control of nuclear weapons” is maintained “at all times.”

With time it is possible that military servicemen and servicewomen may come forward with more information.

However, in the meantime, there has been a streamlining of military personnel at U.S.A.F. Minot. Base personnel have become dispersed and reassigned to other locations.

If they on the grounds of loyalty to their country, the United States of America, come forward and reveal what has taken place, they are to be saluted with full honour by all ranks. As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act,” and indeed these are deceitful times.

The fact that US Air Force officers came forward and reported this incident is contrary to U.S. military procedures, regulations and laws. The U.S. military will never release any information that will risk to damage its reputation. Any information in regards to nuclear weapons cannot be released without prior consultations with and authorization by the White House.

The nuclear weapons were armed and moved deliberately. Orders had to have come from the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

The question is what exactly were they meant for? Were they part of a war agenda or something else?

Bush Threatens Iran with Nuclear Weapons

What adds intrigue to an understanding of the missing nukes, are the international events and war games taking place just after the “lost” nuclear weapons incident, not to mention the President’s ongoing threats to attack Iran with nuclear weapons and Vice President Cheney’s repeated warnings that a second large scale terrorist attack on America is under preparation, with the support of Iran.

In the U.S., under the Vigilant Shield 2008 war games (initiated in September) and the TOPOFF anti-terrorism exercises, some form of nuclear terrorist attack on American soil had been envisaged. The roles of Russia and China had also been contemplated. The latter would be “a likely scenario” had the U.S. attacked Iran and as a result Russia and China had decided to intervene. [34] Under Vigilant Shield 2007, held in 2006, the possibility of a nuclear war with Iran’s allies, Russia and China had been contemplated in the war games scenario.

The Kremlin has responded by holding its own war games.[35]

An unveiled threat to trigger World War Three has been the response of George W. Bush Jr. to Russia’s statements warning that a US sponsored war with Iran, could result in an escalating World War III scenario.

The six nuclear warheads were not meant for use in theatre operations against Iran. This is obvious because if they were they would have been deployed via the proper procedural routes without the need to hide anything. Besides, there are already theatre-level nuclear weapons ready and armed in Europe and the Middle East for any possible Middle Eastern mission. There was something more to the incident.

It is also worth noting that the Israelis launched an attack on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility that both Tel Aviv and the White House claim was constructed with the assistance of North Korea. This event has been used to draw a Syria-Iran-North Korea nuclear proliferation axis. [36]

In regards to the case of the missing nuclear weapons, weathermen and military personnel with an expertise in space and missile components were involved. The incident took place during a time when the U.S. missile shield projects in Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia, directed against Russia and China, were raising international tensions and alarms. On October 23, 2007 President Bush Jr. stated: “The need for missile defence in Europe is real and I believe it’s urgent.” [37]

Nuclear warfare, the militarization of space, and “the missile shield” are interrelated military processes. The overtones of Nuclear Primacy are hanging in the air. One of the goals of the U.S. military has been to effectively shield itself from a potential Russian or potential Russian and Chinese nuclear response to a nuclear “First Strike” from the U.S. military. [38] The militarization of space is also deeply linked to this military project. Like their advanced knowledge about the U.S. missile shield project, Russian and Chinese officials have got wind of these ambitions and are fully aware of what the U.S. intends to do.

NOTES

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).


Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7158

see

Nukes Over America: Just a Stupid Mistake. Sure It Is By Dave Lindorff

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

Nukes Over America: Just a Stupid Mistake. Sure It Is By Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

By Dave Lindorff
After Downing Street
Oct. 20, 2007

The Air Force’s Friday report on the August 29-30 nuclear weapons incident which saw six armed cruise missiles flown across the continental US in launch position on a B-52H bomber leaves all the big questions unanswered, attempting to shuck the whole thing off as an “unacceptable mistake.”

To be sure, Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Maj. Gen. Richard Newton, said that after a six-week investigation, five officers, including Col. Bruce Emig, commander of the Fifth Bomb Group at Minot AFB in North Dakota, where the flight originated, have been relieved of duty, and 65 other Air Force personnel were also removed from their duties, and both Barksdale and Minot were decertified for their strategic nuclear responsibilities. But that’s still pretty small beer for an incident so serious it’s never happened before in half a century of nuclear weapons handling.

There are, at this point, no court martials being contemplated, and nobody’s been discharged from the military.

Put simply, six 150-kiloton warheads were improperly attached to six Advanced Cruise Missiles, all loaded onto a wing launch pod, and then mounted on the wing of a B-52 H Stratofortress at Minot, along with six similar missiles with dummy warheads, which were loaded onto a launch pod on the plane’s other wing, an all 12 were improperly and illegally flown across the country to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

The Air Force, following its “investigation,” is saying the same thing it said before the investigation: it was all a big “mistake”—the result of “widespread disregard for the rules” regarding handling of nuclear weapons.

A few guys at Minot “inexplicably” screwed up and loaded the nukes and then there were a chain of mistakes because no one else treated the nuclear-tipped missiles as if they were armed with nuclear weapons.

The trouble with this theory, or story line if you will, is that while nobody at Minot, supposedly, noticed what was happening—even though ground crew workers spent eight hours laboring to get the pod with the six nuke-tipped missiles mounted on the plane’s wing. This despite the warheads are clearly visible and identifiable by the silver coating they exhibit when viewed through a little window in each nosecone cover, and because there are red coverings on the nuke nosecones—once the plane got to Barksdale, the ground crew there, which had no reason on earth to suspect it was looking at nuclear warheads, spotted them immediately upon going to the plane.

They had no reason to expect nukes because for 40 years it has been illegal for the military to carry nuclear weapons on bombers over US territory, and indeed since 1991, it has been illegal to even load nuclear weapons on a plane, period, even for training purposes on the ground.

How can it be that Air Force ground crew people at Barksdale could spot the nukes in a flash while nobody at Minot—not the workers who mounted the warheads on the missiles in the heavily guarded bunker, not the guards who are supposed to guard those weapons with their lives and prevent any unauthorized removal from the bunkers, not the ground crew that loaded them onto the plan, and not the pilot and crew of the bomber, who are supposed to check every missile before they take off—noticed they were nuclear warheads? (The weapons went unnoticed for 10 hours in Barksdale, but that’s only because no groundcrew visited the plane for that long, but when they did go to it, they reportedly spotted the nukes right off the bat.)

The Air Force, at a press conference announcing the results of its investigation, didn’t answer this question. It appears they reporters at the session didn’t ask it either.

Certainly the AP reporter didn’t ask it, because if she had, she would surely have included the Air Force’s answer, or it’s non-answer, in her story.

Nobody, apparently, asked the Air Force either about six mysterious violent deaths of Air Force personnel from Minot and Barksdale, and from a mysterious Air Force Special Commando Group, all of which occurred in the days and weeks immediately before, during and after the incident. Two of those deaths—of the Special Commando Group officer and of a Minot weapons guard—were reportedly “suicides.”

In an article in the current issue of American Conservative magazine, currently on newsstands, I report that incredibly, no federal investigators from the Pentagon or the federal government even bothered to contact the police investigators or medical examiners who investigated those six deaths—an remarkable failure of due diligence, given the seriousness of this incident.

One retired Navy officer who contacted me during my investigation, who worked in electronic warfare, told me it would be simply impossible for those weapons to have been moved out of the storage bunker. He claims to know for a certainty that all nuclear weapons in the US arsenal are equipped with high-tech tags (“like they have at WalMart and Kmart only better”) that would instantly trigger alarms when the weapons are moved, unless they were deliberately disarmed.

So what we have is pretty clearly a cover-up here.

A cover-up of what though?

Here we’re into speculation.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that Barksdale AFB, on its website, advertises itself proudly as the base that prepares B-52s for duty in the Middle East Theater.

Another thing we need to keep in mind is that Vice President Dick Cheney is trying hard to gin up a war against Iran, against the better judgment of top military leaders and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

And a third thing to remember is that these particular six warheads, called M80-1 warheads, are able to be adjusted to have a power of anywhere from 150 kilotons down to just 5 kilotons—a so-called “tactical” size.

Perfect for a tactical strike on an Iranian nuclear processing or research site, or for a “false flag” type attack that could be blamed on a fledgling nuclear power…like Iran.

Of course this is all speculation.

What we do know is that for 36 hours, six nuclear warheads went missing. Nobody at the Pentagon in authority knew they were gone or where they were. And when they were discovered, the initial Pentagon response was to cover it all up. The only reason we know about this incident is that three Air Force officers became whistle-blowers and contacted a reporter at Military Times, a private newspaper trusted by and popular with the rank-and-file military.

And what we know is that this couldn’t have been what the Air Force, six weeks and one “investigation” late, is calling a “mistake.”
————–

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based investigative journalist and columnist. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now out in paperback). His work is available at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see

Air Force Confirms Nuclear Warheads Flown Across US (short video)

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry Johnson

A Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken

US, NATO and Israel Deploy Nukes directed against Iran by Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 27, 2007

In late August, reported by the Military Times, a US Air Force B-52 bomber flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana with six AGM advanced cruise missiles, each of which was armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead. “… Missiles were mounted on the pylons under its wings. Each of the warheads carried a yield of up to 150 kilotons, more than ten times as powerful as the US bomb that leveled Hiroshima at the close of the Second World War.” (See Bill Van Auken, Global Research September 2007)

The Military Times byline was “B-52 mistakenly flies with nukes aboard”. The issue was casually acknowledged by The Washington Post and the New York Times. The reports quoted a US Air force spokesman. The matter was offhandedly brushed aside. The incident represented “an isolated mistake” and that “at no time was there a threat to public safety.” (Ibid) :

“As far as is known, the incident marked the first time that a US plane has taken off armed with nuclear weapons in nearly 40 years. …

… The transport of weapons from one base to another, however, is normally carried out in the holds of C-17 and C-130 cargo planes, not fixed to the wings of combat bombers.

Someone had to give the order to mount the missiles on the plane. The question is whether it was a local Air Force commander—either by mistake or deliberately—or whether the order came from higher up.

B-52s from Barksdale have been used repeatedly to strike targets in Iraq, firing cruise missiles at Iraqi targets in 1996 and 1998, and in the “shock and awe” campaign that preceded the 2003 invasion, carrying out some 150 bombing runs that devastated much of the southern half of the country.

Moreover, the weapon that was fixed to the wings of the B-52 flying from Minot air base was designed for use against hardened targets, such as underground bunkers.

Given the ratcheting up of the threats against Iran and the previous reports of plans for the use of “tactical” nuclear weapons against Iranian nuclear installations, there is a very real possibility that the flight to Barksdale was part of covert preparations for a nuclear strike against Iran.

If this is indeed the case, the claims about a “mistake” by a munitions officer and a few airmen in North Dakota may well be merely a cover story aimed at concealing the fact that the government in Washington is preparing a criminal act of world historic proportions by ordering—without provocation—the first use of nuclear weapons since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than sixty years ago.

In recent developments, Wayne Madsen (September 27) has suggested, based on US and foreign intelligence sources, that the B-52 carrying the advanced cruise missiles with bunker buster nuclear warheads was in fact destined for the Middle East.

Is the B-52 Barksdale incident in any way related to US plans to use nuclear weapons against Iran?

Madsen suggests, in this regard, that the operation of shipping the nuclear warheads was aborted “due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community”, which was opposed to a planned US attack on Iran using nuclear warheads.

To grasp the seriousness of the “Barksdale incident”, it is important to understand the broader context of nuclear weapons deployment respectively by the US, NATO and Israel.

We are not dealing with a single aborted operation of deployment of nuclear weapons to the Middle East.

There are indications that a large number of US made nuclear weapons are currently deployed in Western Europe and the Middle East including Israel.

This deployment pertains explicitly to targets in Iran.

Without downplaying the significance of the Barksdale incident, if Washington were to decide to use nuclear weapons against Iran, they could be launched at short notice from a number of military bases in Western Europe and the Middle East. Turkey has some 90 B61 tactical nuclear weapons which are fully deployed.(See details below).

We are dealing with a coordinated military operation in which US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) plays a central role. The main coalition partners are the US, NATO and Israel.

There are four interrelated “building blocks” pertaining to the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater:

1. CONPLAN 8022 formulated in 2004. CONPLAN integrates the use of conventional and nuclear weapons.

2. National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 35, entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization issued in May 2004

3. The deployment of Israeli nuclear weapons directed against targets in the Middle East

4. Deployment of Nuclear Weapons by NATO/EU countries, directed against targets in the Middle East

1. CONPLAN 8022

CONPLAN 8022 under the jurisdiction of USSTRATCOM sets the stage. It envisages the integration of conventional and nuclear weapons and the use of nukes on a preemptive basis in the conventional war theater. It is described as “a concept plan for the quick use of nuclear, conventional, or information warfare capabilities to destroy–preemptively, if necessary–“time-urgent targets” anywhere in the world.” CONPLAN became operational in early 2004. “As a result, the Bush administration’s preemption policy is now operational on long-range bombers, strategic submarines on deterrent patrol, and presumably intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).” (Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists)

CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN) 8022 now consists of “an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,’ (Japanese Economic Newswire, 30 December 2005, For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, op. cit.).

“CONPLAN 8022 is ‘the overall umbrella plan for sort of the pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons.’

2. Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization: NSPD 35 (2004)

National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 35, entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued in May 2004.

The contents of this highly sensitive document remains a carefully guarded State secret. There has been no mention of NSPD 35 by the media nor even in Congressional debates. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.

There are indications that B61-type tactical nuclear weapons have been deployed to the Middle East following NSPD 35. The B-61s would be used against Iran, if Iran were to retaliate to a US or Israeli attack (See Ibrahim Karagul, “The US is Deploying Nuclear Weapons in Iraq Against Iran”, Yeni Safak,. 20 December 2005, quoted in BBC Monitoring Europe).

3. Israeli Nukes

Israel is part of the military alliance and is slated to play a major role in case the planned attacks on Iran were to be carried out. (For details see Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, Jan 2006).

Israel possesses 100-200 strategic nuclear warheads. In 2003, Washington and Tel Aviv confirmed that they were collaborating in “the deployment of US-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Israel’s fleet of Dolphin-class submarines.” (The Observer, 12 October 2003). Coinciding with the 2005 preparations to wage air strikes against Iran, Israel took delivery of two new German produced submarines “that could launch nuclear-armed cruise missiles for a “second-strike” deterrent.” (Newsweek, 13 February 2006. See also CDI Data Base)

The Israeli military and political circles had been making statements on the possibility of nuclear and missile strikes on Iran openly since October, 2006, when the idea was immediately supported by G. Bush. Currently it is touted in the form of a “necessity” of nuclear strikes. The public is taught to believe that there is nothing monstrous about such a possibility and that, on the contrary, a nuclear strike is quite feasible. Allegedly, there is no other way to “stop” Iran. (General Leonid Ivashov, Iran Must Get Ready to Repel a Nuclear Attack, Global Research, January 2007)

At the outset of Bush’s second term, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped a bombshell. He hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the rogue enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it”.

“Rather than a direct American nuclear strike against Iran’s hard targets, Israel has been given the assignment of launching a coordinated cluster of nuclear strikes aimed at targets that are the nuclear installations in the Iranian cities: Natanz, Isfahan and Arak.(Michael Carmichael, Global research, January 2007)

Israel is a Rottweiler on a leash: The US wants to “set Israel loose” to attack Iran. Commenting the Vice President’s assertion, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS, confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants [former] Prime Ariel Sharon to act on America’s behalf and “do it” for us:

…”And the vice president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it.”

Beneath the rhetoric, what we are dealing with is a joint US-NATO-Israeli military operation directed against Iran and Syria, which has been in the active planning stage since 2004. US advisers in the Pentagon have been working assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran ( Seymour Hersh, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HER501A.html )

In recent developments, at the September 2007 meetings of the Vienna based IAEA, a critical resolution, implicitly aimed at Israel, was put forth which would put Israel’s nuclear program “under international purview.” The resolution was adopted with the US and Israel voting against it.

4. NATO Nukes. Nuclear Weapons Deployment by Five Non-nuclear States

Several Western European countries, officially considered as “non-nuclear states”, possess tactical nuclear weapons, supplied to them by Washington.

The US has supplied some 480 B61 thermonuclear bombs to five non-nuclear NATO countries including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, and one nuclear country, the United Kingdom. These weapons are ready for delivery to “known military targets”.

map; chart

See Details and Map of Nuclear Facilities located in 5 European Non-Nuclear States

As part of this European stockpiling, Turkey, which is a partner of the US-led coalition against Iran along with Israel, possesses some 90 thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs at the Incirlik nuclear air base. (National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005). These military facilities are part of the war plans directed against Iran.

B61-11 NEP Thermonuclear Bomb

Consistent with US nuclear policy, the stockpiling and deployment of B61 nuclear weapons in Western Europe are intended for targets in the Middle East. Confirmed by “NATO strike plans”, these thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs (stockpiled by the “non-nuclear States”) could be launched “against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran” ( quoted in National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005)

Moreover, confirmed by (partially) declassified documents (released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act):

“arrangements were made in the mid-1990s to allow the use of U.S. nuclear forces in Europe outside the area of responsibility of U.S. European Command (EUCOM). As a result of these arrangements, EUCOM now supports CENTCOM nuclear missions in the Middle East, including, potentially, against Iran and Syria”

(quoted in http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/nato.htm italics added)

Moreover, the U.S. military made arrangements in the mid-1990s for the use of these nukes outside the area of jurisdiction of European Command (EURCOM).For EUCOM, this would mean responsibility for the the delivery of nukes within CENTCOM (Central Command) area of jurisdiction, meaning that nuclear attacks on Iran and Syria could be launched from military bases in non-nuclear EU/NATO countries.

.. It is unclear whether [the] parliaments [of EU/NATO countries] are aware of arrangements to target and potentially strike Middle Eastern countries with nuclear weapons based in Europe.(http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/nato.htm

Nuclear Double Standards. Where is the Nuclear Threat?

While these “non-nuclear states” casually accuse Tehran of developing nuclear weapons, without documentary evidence, they themselves have capabilities of delivering nuclear warheads, which are targeted at Iran. To say that this is a clear case of “double standards” is a gross understatement.

France’ President Nicolas Sarkozy Endorses Bush’s Preemptive Nuclear Doctrine

France accuses Tehran of developing nuclear weapons against mountains of evidence that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

The Sarkozy government favors a military operation directed against Iran. Ironically, these threats by President Sarkozy and his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner were formulated immediately following the release of the IAEA Report. The latter confirms unequivocally the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

According to president Sarkozy in his September 26, 2007 address to the UN General Assembly:

“There will be no peace in the world if the international community falters in the face of nuclear arms proliferation … Weakness and renunciation do not lead to peace. They lead to war,”

France has also confirmed that it could use its own nuclear warheads estimated at between 200 and 300.on a preemptive basis.

In January 2006, President Jacques Chirac had announced a major shift in France’s nuclear weapons policy.

Without mentioning Iran, Chirac intimated that France’s nukes should be used in the form of “more focused attacks” against countries, which were “considering” the deployment of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

He also hinted to the possibility that tactical nuclear weapons could be used in conventional war theaters, very much in line with both US and NATO nuclear doctrine (See Chirac shifts French doctrine for use of nuclear weapons, Nucleonics Week January 26, 2006).

Chirac’s successor, Nicolas Sarkozy has embraced the US sponsored “War on Terrorism”.

France supports the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater, broadly following the principles formulated in the Bush Administration’s nuclear doctrine, which allows the use of nukes (against Iran or Syria) for “self-defense”.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

see

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen



To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is:
www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6918

Was a Covert Attempt to Bomb Iran with Nuclear Weapons foiled by a Military Leak? By Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.

Dandelion Salad

By Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.
ICH
09/13/07 “The Canadian

Critically exploring whether or not there was a covert attempt to instigate a catastrophic nuclear war against Iran is illuminated through an introduction using the recent B-52 Incident. On August 30, a B-52 bomber armed with five nuclear-tipped Advanced Cruise missiles travelled from Minot Air Force base, North Dakota, to Barksdale Air Force base, Louisiana, in the United States. 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. Continue reading