- 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
- 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.
(The weapons went unnoticed for 10 hours in Barksdale, but that's 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.)
- 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 plane, 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 Air Force, at a press conference announcing the results
of its investigation, didn't answer this question. It appears the 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
- 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
- And what we know is that this couldn't have been what
the Air Force, six weeks and one "investigation" late, is calling