Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

12.20 How School Segregation Divides Ferguson — and the United States

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

12.20 5 Countries where Solar Power is making a Revolution

12.20 British wave power hit by uncertainty over funding, says report

12.20 EPA issues new regulations for handling coal ash

12.20 Green light for world’s largest planned tidal energy project in Scotland

12.19 The World's Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline

12.19 Cheaper oil could damage renewable energies, says Richard Branson

12.18 Gov. Cuomo Makes Sense on Fracking

12.18 2014 will be the hottest year on record

12.18 Obama Bars Oil And Gas Development In Alaska's Bristol Bay

12.18 Chemical company executives indicted in West Virginia spill

News Media

12.19 'Nobody stood up': George Clooney attacks press and Hollywood over Sony hack fallout

12.15 The media treats Dick Cheney like the royals on vacation. He should be in jail

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & Culture

12.20 A Vermont Senator Asks, Why Not a Socialist President?

12.18 Jeb Bush may be 'the smart brother' – but he's as much of a climate denier as any conservative

12.17 If Elizabeth Warren Says No, What Is Progressives' Backup Plan?

12.16 Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the 'Other America'

12.16 Something snapped for defeated Democrats in bruising budget battle

12.15 'What Are You Willing to Fight For?': Democrats' Depressing New Reality

12.15 Cromnibus Pension Provisions Gut Forty Years of Policy, Allow Existing Pensions to Be Slashed

Justice Matters

12.18 S.C. boy executed for 1944 murder is exonerated

12.17 Los Angeles lawyers stage die-in protest against police – video

High Crimes?

12.19 The lack of any official condemnation for CIA torture ensures it will happen again

12.18 The Depravity Of Dick Cheney

Economics, Crony Capitalism

12.20 Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives

12.19 Bleeding the IRS Will Make the Tax System Worse

12.18 Joseph Stiglitz: Economics Must Address Wealth and Income Inequality

12.18 Wealth Gap between America’s Rich and Middle-Class Families Widest on Record [charts]

12.18 Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise

International

12.20 Turkey’s Descent Into Paranoia

12.20 Sean Penn on Sony Pulling "The Interview": This Sends ISIS an "Invitation"

12.20 North Korea proposes joint inquiry with US into Sony Pictures hack

12.20 The Pope Francis stardust worked over Cuba. Could it work with Isis and the Taliban?

12.20 Sony pulling The Interview was 'a mistake' says Obama

12.19 MATERIAL QUESTION

12.19 2014 science breakthroughs: no more ageing, cave art and landing on a comet

12.19 Hyperloop Reality Check: Elon Musk's High-Speed Scheme Is Alive And Kicking

12.18 On Cuba, Republicans Trapped By Old Think

12.18 Welcome Back, Cuba!

12.18 As Havana Celebrates Historic Shift, Economic and Political Hopes Rise

12.18 U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility

12.18 Student raises thousands of pounds for homeless man who offered her money

12.18 Good Riddance to a Ridiculous Cuba Policy

12.18 Breakthrough on Cuba Highlights Pope’s Role as Diplomatic Broker

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  This was No Accident: Nuclear Weapons are Different
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

This was No Accident: Nuclear Weapons are Different

by Dave Lindorff

The chances that those Advanced Cruise Missiles and their W80-1 nuclear warheads were loaded accidentally on that B-52 are exactly zero. So the question is: who ordered this flight, and why?
Nobody should fall for a story that those six (yeah, it was first reported as five, but now the original military whistleblowers have told Army Times it was six) nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that were flown in launch position on a B-52 from Minot, ND to Barksdale, LA, were put on there inadvertently.

I had some experience with the way nuclear weapons get handled, as compared to conventional weapons, and I can assure you that there is no way anyone would just “accidentally” pick up the wrong weapons.

Back in 1978, I was working as an investigative producer/reporter for the news program “28-Tonight” at KCET-TV in Los Angeles. I got word from some anti-nuke/peace organization that there were nuclear weapons being stored at the Seal Beach Naval Station south of Los Angeles. There was concern about this on two counts: first of all, it was a very densely populated urban area, and second, the weapons were allegedly being stored under the flight path of a busy civil airport, where a crash could easily happen.

Together with a cameraperson, I went down to the base. It was bisected by a highway. On either side of that two-lane road were big mesh wire fences. On the south side of the road, the fences were older, and topped with ordinary barbed wire. On the north side, there was a higher, new looking fence topped with coiled razor wire. There was then an interval of bare soil beyond which was a second fence, also topped with razor wire. Clearly, the security on the north side of the road was much greater.

Beyond the south fence were the weapons bunkers-long high mounds of earth, covered with parched sod. Each was perhaps 75 feet long, and 15 feet high. There was a concrete doorframe in the middle of each with an old iron door in the middle. No one was visible anywhere.

On the north side, however, where there were similar bunkers, but these mounds were bigger—perhaps 20 feet high and much longer. The piled up earth looked newer, and the entrances were much more solid looking. As well, the door to each had an armed guard standing in front of it.

Clearly whatever was being stored in the bunkers on the north side of the street were much more important than those on the south side.

We stopped our car and got out, and the photographer started snapping still photos of the scene.

Immediately there was commotion inside the compound. Within less than a minute, a jeep came roaring towards us, filled with marines who were armed to the teeth. Guns drawn they ordered us, from behind the fence, to stop photographing and to stand where we were. Moments later there were sirens, and more armed jeeps came towards us from both directions down the road. We were quickly surrounded by armed marines who asked us what we were doing.

We told them we were investigating the nuclear weapons storage at the base.

They told us we had to go to the base headquarters, and took the camera. (The photographer, a pro at this stuff, had already snapped a role and stashed it in her pocket, so when they later took out and exposed the roll of film in the camera, we still had our visual evidence).

At base headquarters, the commander grilled us. Our station was called, and after it was confirmed that we were indeed journalists, they took the film, chastised us for bothering them, and, refusing to comment on whether or not there were nukes on the base, sent us on our way.

My point in recounting this journalistic adventure is to note that nuclear weapons and warheads are not stored together with conventional weapons. They are also guarded much more tightly than are conventional weapons. There is simply no way that a ground crew could accidentally stroll into a weapons storage center and pick up the wrong missiles. (There's good reason for this, too, even aside from security issues: nuclear weapons have fail-safe triggers, and are not prone to just exploding on their own, but conventional weapons are different. They can and often do go off by accident, and if one were stored amidst nuclear weapons and this happened, it could shatter the nuke and spread dangerous nuclear material all over the place. As a result, whether at Seal Beach Naval Station or at Minot AFB, nuclear weapons are strictly segregated from other weapons materials.)

It's clear that so far, no one in Congress or in the corporate media is asking the hard questions about this very disturbing incident.

I would say that the chances that those Advanced Cruise Missiles and their W80-1 nuclear warheads were loaded accidentally on that B-52 are exactly zero. So the question is: who ordered this flight, and why?

Until we have answers to those questions, we have to assume the worst—that this was deliberate, and thus sinister in the extreme—not the best.


Lindorff speakingAbout the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on September 10, 2007.
 


Public Service Ads: