Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"This is serious business but it was not dangerous business"

This story will give S. Starr a little chuckle.

Notice the reporter's name, she could be kin, Scott.
I note that you've been posting your genealogy, was she in there?

From Barbara Starr

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six nuclear warheads on cruise missiles were mistakenly carried on a flight from North Dakota to Louisiana last week, prompting a major investigation, military officials have confirmed.

A B-52 is seen on the ground at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, in this file photo.
(not really, this is a scale model B52 that crashed, as you can tell there was no spread of radio active debris, no one was glowing.)

The plane took the cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base for decommissioning Thursday, the Air Force said.

"This is a major gaffe, and it's going to cause some heads to roll down the line," said Don Shepperd, a retired Air Force major general and military analyst for CNN.

The warheads should have been removed from the missiles before they were attached to the B-52 bomber, according to military officials.

The crew was unaware that the plane was carrying nuclear weapons, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the extraordinary sensitivity and security surrounding the case.

The mistake was discovered after the plane's flight to Louisiana.

Minot Air Force Base is in north central North Dakota and Barksdale Air Force Base is in northwest Louisiana near the Texas border.

Lt. Col. Ed Thomas said that while the military does not publicly discuss nuclear weapons procedures, in this case the Air Force decided to acknowledge the incident in order to reassure the public.

"The public was never in any danger," Thomas said.

But officials also said the incident was a major breach of security rules surrounding nuclear weapons. One Air Force official said that he could not recall anything similar happening.

The Air Force announced that all flights of fighters and bombers in the United States will be halted on September 14 to allow for a review of procedures.

Because the incident involved nuclear weapons, it was serious enough that President Bush was notified, according to military officials. Once the mistake was discovered, the Air Force immediately began an inventory of all of its nuclear weapons, a military official said.

Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, director of Air and Space Operations at the Air Combat Command in Langley, Virginia, has been ordered to investigate how the nuclear-tipped missiles were flown across the country without anyone knowing, officials said.

One officer already has been relieved of duty, and several others "decertified" from handling nuclear weapons, officials said.

A military official told CNN there was no nuclear risk to public safety because the weapons were not armed. Officials believe that if the plane had crashed or the missiles somehow had fallen off the wings, the warheads would have remained inert and there would have been no nuclear detonation, though conventional explosive material in the warhead could have detonated.

Military officials also say the missiles could not have been launched because of multiple security procedures required to be enacted before any launch would have been authorized.

Shepperd said the U.S. had agreed in a Cold War-era treaty not to fly nuclear weapons. "It appears that what happened was this treaty agreement was violated," he said.

He agreed with military officials that the situation could not have caused a nuclear detonation, but added, "Any time you have nuclear material on board, if the airplane crashes, nuclear material can be spread in the immediate area of the crash, so you get radioactivity in the immediate area of the crash."

"This is serious business but it was not dangerous business," Shepperd said.

The story was first reported by the Army Times, a privately published newspaper.

1 comment:

S. Starr said...

Well judging by Barabara Starr's visage- it is possible that she is a distant relative. She looks Cherokee somewhat. Who knows? But, after all aren't we all related?

This story has an element that sort of reminds me of the first ozone alert day for Dallas/Ft. Worth. There I was communting in the sweltering heat of Dallas. The brown shroud of toxic haze that surrounds the city often these days was particularly gnarly that day in 1997 I believe. I had just witnessed a lightning bolt leap out of the hazy smog. A voice on my car radio began to tell me that today was the first ever "ozone alert day" for the metroplex. His next sentence was, "But don't worry, there is nothing to be alarmed about." This second statement left me considerably vexed- wondering if there was nothing to be alarmed about why we were having an ALERT. I watched another lightning bolt leap out of the layer of smog wafting above and just muttered someting foul under my breath and popped in my Filter CD so I could listen to "Hey Man Nice Shot" at full volume.

And finally...Sooner or later the majority of people in this country will wake up to the realization that treaty honoring and/or keeping for this particular nation- state is not even a value. Yes, I said it. The examples are too tedious and voluminous for me to presently take the trouble to list and comment on here. These examples are not restricted to the case of "American Indians" who have the worthless paper on somewhere around 500 treaties that have been ignored or broken by the U.S. The examples are right out of current global trends and affairs, headline stories and foreign policy. This nation only keeps and honors treaties inasmuch as it is convenient and expedient. Perhaps it is the same with all nation states... or most... or its just an aspect of human nature.
Keeping covenants is not an actual value or conviction of our government machine at all.

p.s. I don't believe this was an accident except for the getting caught part.