Was That Nuclear-Armed B-52 Flight Destined for Iran?

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There’s something definitely screwy about the August 30 incident in which a B-52 bomber flew from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana carrying five fully armed Advanced Cruise Missiles, each equipped with nuclear bombs capable of exploding at anything from 5 kilotons to 150 kilotons.

The government has been quick to say that the flight, which violated a number of long-standing orders regarding shipment of nuclear weapons in US airspace, was a “mistake.”

But was it a mistake?

The biggest question is why a B-52 armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles would fly to Barksdale AFB. If, as reported, the weapons were being transported to be decommissioned, which supposedly is the destination for 400 of these doomsday weapons, then they should have been destined for Kirtland AFB in New Mexico, near the Pantex plant outside Amarillo, TX, where they would be dismantled. As Michael Salla writes in a disturbing piece in Saturday’s edition of OpEdNews (http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_michael__070907_was_a_covert_att...), the weapons should also not have been flown at all on a B-52, as there have been standing orders for 40 years against such flights over US soil, following several accidents in which bombs or nuclear-armed rockets were lost because “broken arrow” incidents including inadvertent bomb drops or crashes. A second order, issued in 1991 at the end of the Cold War by George Bush’s father, barred the loading of nuclear weapons on any bomber. Any pilot would have known this, as would any ground support people loading the missiles on the B-52.

According to Salla, if these five cruise missiles were really being transported by air to Texas for decommissioning, they should have been disarmed and flown in specially designed transport planes that are built to resist nuclear leakage in the event of a crash. They would never be transported under the wings of a B-52.

What makes the incident even more suspicious is that Barksdale AFB is a staging area for B-52s being sent to the Middle East for combat duty. As the website GlobalSecurity.org (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/barksdale.htm)reports: “Barksdale Air Force Base is headquarters for the 2d Bomb Wing, Eighth Air Force and 917th Wing. The 2d Bomb Wing provides global combat capability and trains all B-52 combat crews.”

The official Barksdale AFB website (http://www.barksdale.af.mil/) says: “Barksdale warriors and B-52s have a proud tradition serving both at home and abroad in support of the Global War on Terrorism; they have played vital roles in combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

The original expose of the B-52 flight appeared in the newspaper Army Times (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/09/marine_nuclear_B52_070904w/). Staff writer Michael Hoffman writes that his initial source for the story was three officers “who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.”

So this is a case where some military officers who knew something wrong was happening did the honorable, patriotic thing and went public with a publication they trusted, both to do the right thing, and to protect them.

So what is going on here?

Salla suggests the worst: that this was likely a deliberate action, ordered through a chain of command outside the Pentagon. Salla notes that it has been widely reported that the top brass in the US military (note: with the exception of some wackoes in the Air Force), have staunchly opposed any use of nuclear weapons in the event of an air attack on Iran. So an order to send nuclear-armed cruise missiles to the Persian Gulf region, if that’s what this flight was, would not likely have come through the normal chain of command from the Secretary of Defense through the Strategic Air Command. It would, Salla hints darkly, have come through the back channel set up since even before 9-11 by Vice President Dick Cheney, who is known to be pushing for an attack on Iran, and who would like nothing better than to use nuclear weapons to disable Iran’s nuclear processing facilities.

We’re talking about treason here, if Salla is right.
And the seriousness of what happened—five nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, in firing position, flown across the width of the continental US in violation of all standing orders to a base that is a staging area for B-52 flights to the Persian Gulf war zone—demands a full public investigation.

`The Democrats in charge of Congress, and the Republican minority, may not have the stomach to stand up to the Bush administration’s obsession to keep the bloodletting going in Iraq, and they may not have the courage even to put a stop to plans to attack Iran, but even the most reprehensible weasels and cowards among them should have the basic decency to know that this bizarre and suspicious flight needs to be investigated to the fullest to get to the bottom of what was going on.

Salla suggests that behind the scenes, Gates and the generals, who clearly distrust and dislike the vice president and who don’t want an Iran attack, will use this incident to go after the vice president and force him into a “medical” resignation. He says that the exposure of the flight will also put any attack on Iran on hold, because military leaders will be worried that there are other nuclear weapons that have been introduced into the equation secretly, either for use in Iraq or for a “black flag” operation against US forces.

Let us hope so they are right, and that this will be Cheney’s undoing.

I’m not as confident as Salla, however.

If it turns out that Cheney was behind this incident, that its goal was as sinister as Salla suspects, and that it was only the brave action of several officers who went public and leaked information about it that led to the undoing of the plan, it may take more than behind-the-scenes pressure from the Defense Department to take down the vice president.

Moreover, if Cheney simply resigned, without the incident being exposed publicly, Americans would not ever know how close we came to global disaster, martial law, and the end of America as we know it. It is essential that Congress get to the bottom of this one.

Every person remotely connected to this mission needs to be called before Congress and put under oath to explain what happened. An independent prosecutor should also be named to start a criminal investigation.

Note: Back in the early 1970s, my wife and I knew an Air Force reservist who told us he was flying secret missions for the government, to Central America and to the Middle East. He never explained what these were, but it was clear that they were connected with secret operations of a military nature. This individual, who had turned belatedly against the Vietnam War, and had begun to question what he was doing in secret, died under mysterious circumstances in his apartment. His mother went to the morgue to pick up the body only to discovered to her horror that it was not her son. Someone had removed his corpse, making any investigation as to cause of death impossible. There are sinister operations carried on by this government, and this looks like one that is as sinister as it can get. The crew of that B-52 and the ground crew that loaded it, should be watching their backs.
DAVE LINDORFF is an investigative journalist and columnist based in Philadelphia. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is “The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now out in a paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscanbehappening.net


Only question I have about the nukes going to Barksdale...

would be: why fly them to Barksdale? A B-52, using inflight refueling, could easily make the long flight to the middle east or to any other destination without any problems. Pylon mounting is acceptable as a way to move these missles.

Were the plane to be spotted in international airspace, the missles look just like what they are: cruise missles. As to the warheads, no way to tell from a distance. Note that the Russians have been flying their bombers recently fully armed and have been doing shooting exercizes.

People who would have to know what was going on: Base commanders at both bases, base operations, loading crews/flightline personnel, and the aircrew and mission briefing crews. The aircraft commander would know as would his co-pilot and weapons officer. The crew chief would know, and so would the loadmaster tasked with loading and calculating weight and balance of the aircraft prior to flight. Armament specialists who would handle the movement of the weapons from depot to the aircraft would know, supply people would know. Too many people involved to not know around the base. Additionally, there would be special checklists for the groundhandlers, armament specialists, and the pilots would have to complete...in other words, a very long involved paper trail.

Too many holes in this so far.

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

Holes in the story

Yes there might be holes but there are many holes and dots that don't meet in the story since the Bush gang stole power.  911 is a an example of that. NORAD failed us yet the person responsible was promoted. The records sealed and testimony silenced.

They threaten, they use their power over others, and lie to us.

"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

Couple of things...

Heard early Sunday morning(ABC-KGO San Francisco)that the plane landed due to an unnamed malfunction. If it was not meant to land at Barksdale, then where was it meant to land? Also brought up on the same program was the fact that the flight was illegal...against US and world laws/rules/conventions.

Dove, NO%AD did not let us down. Shortly before 9-11, Rumsfeld took over the chore of ordering all response from our military. He was the party who directly ordered the AF to stand down. Used to be the president only who could do that. And where was Rumsfeld at the time...standing out in the crash zone trying to be of help and supposedly not in touch with his office. CT on top of CT but that was the world that was at the time.

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

A mistake revealed?


You might be right. There have to be some patriotic Americans left in this country.   Did we have Whistle Blowers here? 

 I'm sure the military would not be so careless as to lose track of nuclear weapons.  If they can be stolen or hidden by plane why not our ports?  Wayne Madsen claims arms are flowing out of our ports without our over sight. The ports are foreign controlled after we Americans said no (not to the British or Arabs or anyone).  It's a matter of security.  Add that to the long list impeachable crimes.  

U2 Powell's son said, nothing was secret since the enemy always knows before the American people.   It shouldn't be secret since there can a huge abuse of power....like dropping an atom bomb on us or the enemy and claiming military rule.

The President and VP are just plain crazy with power.  We are in danger yet our Congress won't impeach.  I'm surprised there hasn't been some type of arrest or court order against the VP for his crimes.  Halliburton, 911, missing day of Katrina, etc.  He like Bush is always AWOL in a national crisis (except on 911 where he was in a bunker in Maryland running as many as six military exercises leaving us open to attack). They ignore the laws and needs of the people.  Is this leadership?

For any leader to think we can just drop a bomb on Iran without consequences is just plain clueless. Other countries depend on their oil This would shorten the oil supply just like Iraq.   They would bomb the oil before giving it to us.  Bring an oil company person to power and the prices are higher and the supply less.  Now that is bad planning don't you think?

This President and his VP have angered just about everyone from this country to foreign ones.   You can't go around destroying and being arrogant without "what comes around goes around".  Step on too many toes and the result is not pretty. Hitler, Stalin, and Nepolean all learned that lesson the hard way.  

Remember Cheney may have been behind the curtin to bomb the Pentagon on 911.  He refused NORD respone to protect DC. The Defense Department lost people and records.  The finance department was destroyed with evidence of missing trillions.  Rummy knows where it went.

Would they drop a nuclear bomb in an area where we have troops? Guess depleted uranium didn't bother them regarding our troop exposure (that proves they don't care about our troops).  Where innocent people in the ME and Isreal would get radiation exposure?  It could circle the earth and cause health problems for many. 

Madeline Albright thought it was worth it . The Shock & Awe of innocents in Iraq and death of many for Empire was worth the price to her. Has she ever been shot at , lost family, property, wealth, freedom, or lived in fear? Worth it to her bank account maybe.  The powerful are just plain arrogant and selfish.

As Einstein stated....He didn't know what advanced weapons we would use in WWIII but WWIV would be fought with sticks and stones.

What happens under these triators rule would not be believed in any movie.  It is stranger than fiction.  Is Cheney going to fake death and be on that off-shore British Island with Kenny Lay, Suddam, Bin Laden, etc. (they are after all friends in crime).  That's my movie creativity thinking about these Neo Cons!

The holes are in the heads

  • Pippilin's picture
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of megalomaniacs Cheney and Bush. And we thought Saddam was evil. Did he ever kill as many Iraqi civilians as the
U.S. has?
I appreciate your having suspicions, Dave. In these topsy-turvy times, better to prepare for the worst and hope for the better than to worry about "holes" in your conclusions.
Experience, for the past 7 years has taught us that paranoia, when it comes to our government, should be a constant state of mind.