You may have read the story in the newspaper or on a news website - but not on television because neither TVNZ or TV3 bothered to report it.

It's the case of the United States B 52 bomber that was 'mistakenly' armed with six nuclear missiles and flew for more than three hours across several American states.

The plane carried Advanced Cruise Missiles from the Minot airforce base in North Dakota in the upper Midwest to the Barksdale base in the southern state of Louisiana on 30 August.

However the US Air Force has not permitted its bombers to overfly U.S. territory since the late 1960s when a series of nuclear weapons accidents involving the U.S. Air Force in the United States and abroad created embarrassing scandals.

Except for all out nuclear war, nuclear weapons are supposed to be transported as cargo in specialized secure aircraft or trucks, not on operational aircraft.

The scenario is this: having been removed from their safe storage bunkers in North Dakota, those six nuclear weapons were loaded onto a B 52 bomber, flown hanging from the wing pylons of the bomber over at least six or seven of the United States for three and a half hours, and then parked on a runway ramp for another 10 hours, while no one in while no one in the White House, the Pentagon, or in the Air Force's top leadership apparently knew anything about it.

The Air Force has relieved the squadron commander in charge of Minot’s munitions crews of all duties pending the investigation, and called for a stand down to review safety and security procedures on September 17. Why the stand down was not ordered immediately after the August 30 incident has not been explained.

Although I'm wary of conspiracy theories, there are a lot of unanswered questions about this incident.

Nuclear warheads and conventional warheads are not kept in the same storage facilities, so there could of been no confusion as to what was being loaded on to the B 52.

This story also only appears to have come to light because someone within the US Defence Department tipped the media off.

It's only since the story hit the media has the military acted and the Minot squadron commander appears to have been made the scapegoat.

Nuclear security standards and procedures are extremely stringent. An individual, even a squadron commander, just can't unilaterally sign out a nuclear warhead at the weapon storage area - high level authorization is required for any nuclear warhead movement and pre planning for the movement is necessary.

Or are we expected to believe there was a complete breakdown in the chain of command?

The story becomes even more sinister when we add in the factor that Barksdale Air Force Base is a staging post for deployment to the Middle East - where last week the Iranian Government put its military on a war footing, fearing an impending attack by the United States.


Post a Comment

Comments are moderated.