Thursday, September 27, 2007

Boom Chicka Boom

Atomic Bomb Code Name Baker, Bikini Atoll, Height Minus 90 Feet Underwater,Burst 21 kilotons Yield. July 23, 1946 0835 local time. photo US Military.
Atomic Bomb Code Name Baker, Bikini Atoll, Height Minus 90 Feet Underwater,
Burst 21 kilotons Yield. July 23, 1946 0835 local time. photo US Military.

Oh My Gods

The photo shown above is Baker, the second shot of Operation Crossroads, the world's fifth nuclear explosion, third nuclear test, and first underwater nuclear explosion.

Atomic Forum

Baker was the second shot on Bikini Atoll, the location for the nuclear tests fired during Operation Crossroads. The atoll is situated in the Marshall Islands group, in the western Pacific Ocean, some 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii and 4,150 miles from San Fransisco.

Baker Day was 25 July, 1946 and designated shot time was 0835 local. There were 68 target vessels in the array for Test Baker. Twenty-four small craft were beached on Bikini Island. The submarine USS Searaven (which had been submerged on 24 July), partially surfaced later in the day. It was finally resubmerged by 2300 on 24 July. Of the eight target submarines, six were submerged and two were on the surface for the test. Weather was not quite as important for Baker as for Able because the underwater detonation was expected to limit the cloud height and thus localize the radioactivity. Good visibility, however, was important for photography.

Baker was detonated on schedule at 0835 on 25 July 1946. The detonation command was sent by radio using coded signals.

The flash seemed to spring from all parts of the target fleet at once. A gigantic flash -- then it was gone. And where it had been now stood a white chimney of water reaching up and up. Then a huge hemispheric mushroom of vapor appeared like a parachute suddenly opening. . . . By this time the great geyser had climbed to several thousand feet. It stood there as if solidifying for many seconds, its head enshrouded in a tumult of steam. Then slowly the pillar began to fall and break up. At its base a tidal wave of spray and steam rose to smother the fleet and move on towards the islands. All this took only a few seconds, but the phenomenon was astounding as to seem to last much longer.”

- Oberver's account of the Baker detonation from a Navy PBM 15 nmi away
Another aircraft observer reported seeing a major ship "on [its] nose" before it sank and saw a water wave pass over one of the small islands between Bikini and Eneu islands about 2 minutes after the detonation. When the air over the fleet cleared, Arkansas, LSM-60, and four LCTs were not in sight. Saratoga was listing to starboard and her stern was low.

The underwater explosion inflicted heavy damage on the target fleet. Eight ships were sunk or capsized. Eight ships were immobilized or seriously damaged. Generally, ships beyond 1,500 yards were undamaged. Those between 1,100 and 1,500 yards sustained only slight damage. Those between 900 and 1,100 yards suffered moderate damage. Those inside 900 yards were seriously damaged or were sunk.

Baker Video
(Click the link or photo.Takes you to a different page. Start the video from there.)

This color footage of the Baker test shows the explosion from several different angles. The first three sequences were filmed from photographic aircraft; one of these was filmed directly above the explosion. The last two sequences were filmed from photographic towers built on several of the islands surrounding the lagoon. The shock wave wave racing toward the camera position is clearly visible in the last sequence.

Please allow 30 seconds to 2 minutes for video to load depending on connection speed. Adobe Flash is required to play video.
Several weeks ago the Group News Blog reported two stories to you.

First, Oops!, how six hydrogen bombs -- VASTLY more powerful than Test Baker -- were flown across the continental United States slung under the wing of a strategic B-52 Bomber. And no one, apparently, had a clue for hours, possibly even a day.

Second, Dial-a-Bomb, where the initial story being told started to break down, questions were raised, and left unanswered in a very, pretty damn scary way.


Since September 11, 2001, your ability to know when it is appropriate to be legitimately concerned (or afraid) has been systematically fucked with by the Bush Administration for their own political gain.
Aesop's Fables - 210 in Perry's numbering system. (Wikipedia - The Boy Who Cried Wolf.)

The Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf

A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: "Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep"; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.

There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
*talks calmly*

For 61 years the United States has been told we have perfect Command & Control over our nuclear arms.

On August 29, 2007, the unthinkable happened. The United States of America lost control of a plane full of nukes.

The Front Page of The Washington Post has the story. GNB will tease only; hit the jump to The Post and read the entire story please.
The Washington Post

Missteps in the Bunker

By Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 23, 2007; Page A01

Just after 9 a.m. on Aug. 29, a group of U.S. airmen entered a sod-covered bunker on North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base with orders to collect a set of unarmed cruise missiles bound for a weapons graveyard. They quickly pulled out a dozen cylinders, all of which appeared identical from a cursory glance, and hauled them along Bomber Boulevard to a waiting B-52 bomber.

The airmen attached the gray missiles to the plane's wings, six on each side. After eyeballing the missiles on the right side, a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles. The officer did not notice that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs.

That detail would escape notice for an astounding 36 hours, during which the missiles were flown across the country to a Louisiana air base that had no idea nuclear warheads were coming. It was the first known flight by a nuclear-armed bomber over U.S. airspace, without special high-level authorization, in nearly 40 years.

The episode, serious enough to trigger a rare "Bent Spear" nuclear incident report that raced through the chain of command to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President Bush, provoked new questions inside and outside the Pentagon about the adequacy of U.S. nuclear weapons safeguards while the military's attention and resources are devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Three weeks after word of the incident leaked to the public, new details obtained by The Washington Post point to security failures at multiple levels in North Dakota and Louisiana, according to interviews with current and former U.S. officials briefed on the initial results of an Air Force investigation of the incident.

The warheads were attached to the plane in Minot without special guard for more than 15 hours, and they remained on the plane in Louisiana for nearly nine hours more before being discovered. In total, the warheads slipped from the Air Force's nuclear safety net for more than a day without anyone's knowledge.

"I have been in the nuclear business since 1966 and am not aware of any incident more disturbing," retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, who served as U.S. Strategic Command chief from 1996 to 1998, said in an interview.

A simple error in a missile storage room led to missteps at every turn, as ground crews failed to notice the warheads, and as security teams and flight crew members failed to provide adequate oversight and check the cargo thoroughly. An elaborate nuclear safeguard system, nurtured during the Cold War and infused with rigorous accounting and command procedures, was utterly debased, the investigation's early results show.

The incident came on the heels of multiple warnings -- some of which went to the highest levels of the Bush administration, including the National Security Council -- of security problems at Air Force installations where nuclear weapons are kept. The risks are not that warheads might be accidentally detonated, but that sloppy procedures could leave room for theft or damage to a warhead, disseminating its toxic nuclear materials.

A former National Security Council staff member with detailed knowledge described the event as something that people in the White House "have been assured never could happen." What occurred on Aug. 29-30, the former official said, was "a breakdown at a number of levels involving flight crew, munitions, storage and tracking procedures -- faults that never were to line up on a single day."


Officials familiar with the Bent Spear report say Air Force officials apparently did not anticipate that the episode would cause public concern. One passage in the report contains these four words:

"No press interest anticipated."

'What the Hell Happened Here?'

The news, when it did leak, provoked a reaction within the defense and national security communities that bordered on disbelief: How could so many safeguards, drilled into generations of nuclear weapons officers and crews, break down at once?

Military officers, nuclear weapons analysts and lawmakers have expressed concern that it was not just a fluke, but a symptom of deeper problems in the handling of nuclear weapons now that Cold War anxieties have abated.

"It is more significant than people first realized, and the more you look at it, the stranger it is," said Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress think tank and the author of a history of nuclear weapons. "These weapons -- the equivalent of 60 Hiroshimas -- were out of authorized command and control for more than a day."

The Air Force has sought to offer assurances that its security system is working. Within days, the service relieved one Minot officer of his command and disciplined several airmen, while assigning a major general to head an investigation that has already been extended for extra weeks. At the same time, Defense Department officials have announced that a Pentagon-appointed scientific advisory board will study the mishap as part of a larger review of procedures for handling nuclear weapons.

"Clearly this incident was unacceptable on many levels," said an Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Edward Thomas. "Our response has been swift and focused -- and it has really just begun. We will spend many months at the air staff and at our commands and bases ensuring that the root causes are addressed."

Some Air Force veterans say the base's officers made an egregious mistake in allowing nuclear-warhead-equipped missiles and unarmed missiles to be stored in the same bunker, a practice that a spokesman last week confirmed is routine. Charles Curtis, a former deputy energy secretary in the Clinton administration, said, "We always relied on segregation of nuclear weapons from conventional ones."

Former nuclear weapons officials have noted that the weapons transfer at the heart of the incident coincides with deep cuts in deployed nuclear forces that will bring the total number of warheads to as few as 1,700 by the year 2012 -- a reduction of more than 50 percent from 2001 levels. But the downsizing has created new accounting and logistical challenges, since U.S. policy is to keep thousands more warheads in storage, some as a strategic reserve and others awaiting dismantling.

A secret 1998 history of the Air Combat Command warned of "diminished attention for even 'the minimum standards' of nuclear weapons' maintenance, support and security" once such arms became less vital, according to a declassified copy obtained by Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists' nuclear information project.

The Air Force's inspector general in 2003 found that half of the "nuclear surety" inspections conducted that year resulted in failing grades -- the worst performance since inspections of weapons-handling began. Minot's 5th Bomb Wing was among the units that failed, and the Louisiana-based 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale garnered an unsatisfactory rating in 2005.

Both units passed subsequent nuclear inspections, and Minot was given high marks in a 2006 inspection. The 2003 report on the 5th Bomb Wing attributed its poor performance to the demands of supporting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wartime stresses had "resulted in a lack of time to focus and practice nuclear operations," the report stated.

Last year, the Air Force eliminated a separate nuclear-operations directorate known informally as the N Staff, which closely tracked the maintenance and security of nuclear weapons in the United States and other NATO countries. Currently, nuclear and space operations are combined in a single directorate. Air Force officials say the change was part of a service-wide reorganization and did not reflect diminished importance of nuclear operations.

"Where nuclear weapons have receded into the background is at the senior policy level, where there are other things people have to worry about," said Linton F. Brooks, who resigned in January as director of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Brooks, who oversaw billions of dollars in U.S. spending to help Russia secure its nuclear stockpile, said the mishandling of U.S. warheads indicates that "something went seriously wrong."

A similar refrain has been voiced hundreds of times in blogs and chat rooms popular with former and current military members. On a Web site run by the Military Times, a former B-52 crew chief who did not give his name wrote: "What the hell happened here?"

A former Air Force senior master sergeant wrote separately that "mistakes were made at the lowest level of supervision and this snowballed into the one of the biggest mistakes in USAF history. I am still scratching my head wondering how this could [have] happened."
For 60 years we have been promised this could never, absolutely never ever happen.

I understand how it is the United States is in a Constitutional breakdown. I understand how our military has been badly damaged through being inside two wars simultaneously. I understand how the politicization of Flag Officer slots by the current administration is slow poison to hearing the truth from flag officers and long-term strategic thinking; the people who are genius level, the one's we need to stay in and dedicate their lives to our Service, just won't play that. They will resign rather after 20 or when asked to put their names to lies. You can destroy an entire military without it being at all obvious, simply by driving the top 15-20 thinkers out of the command & support structure, leaving the "almost as goods" running the show. A military to which that has happened will, quite literally, be slaughtered in the field by a military which has gives its genius full reign. This is the U.S. Military circa 2007.

I know all this.

But never -- not once, not in my wildest fantasy, never in even a passing thought -- did it occur to me, that the United States of America could even for a moment, lose Command & Control of a single weapon of its nuclear weapons. It. Simply. Doesn't. Happen.


This is worse than the United States being at war in Iraq. I'm giving you a professional military judgment. Worse than the roughly 1 million lives lost so far in Iraq.
Ozymandias -- Shelley - (Wikipedia; poem, other links)

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
That's what the United States is trusted with. By everyone.

Yes, we are hated now. The Bush's have put us in the world's doghouse. We may take three generations -- if ever -- to bring us back to that bright and shining city on a hill. We were beloved as no country in the history of the world has been beloved, and in seven years, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have destroyed us.

Today, I do not care.

We may be a decaying giant, a "colossal wreck, boundless and bare."

We sill control more actual direct force than any combination of nations the world knows or has ever known. At the command of the President and conformation from one other person on a very short list, higher animal life will simply cease to exist in large parts of the world. The President can order an entire country razed without a single American setting foot on its soil; afterwards, no human being will be able to walk there without protective gear for decades.
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!
And that's just nukes. Every mammal alive could die in weeks to months if the contents of Ft. Meade are ever unleashed. Or not... perhaps just everyone with a particular genetic marker. Or everyone not vaccinated with x.

In the midst of the world hating the U.S. for our actions in the middle east, please understand this:


I didn't say the world trusts the political infrastructure of the U.S. not to nuke Iran till it fucking glows.

No one trusts Dick Cheney; Cheney is a liar who wants to off Iran. No one trusts President Bush; he's an angry self-righteous drunk, a failure of a man who blows with the wind. Hopefully Daddy & Mommy have him under control as well as the Joint Chiefs.

What the world trusts is the U.S. Military in this one specific domain of competence. The world trusts -- from necessity of course but with a 60+ year perfect record -- that we don't fuck up where our nukes are, ever. All that screeched to a halt one month ago.

This isn't the Challenger explosion. We knew space travel was risky. This is something we've been told simply can not happen, Murphy be damned.

This scares me. And I don't get scared. Want to ask your Congressman & Senators something?

Ask them, How the FUCK did this happen?

Be clear, we're talking not about the facts -- the what happened -- but about a deep, bone rotten and dripping with pus to the core attitude -- deep, deep problem which strikes all the way down across not just the U.S. Air Force, but through and through every branch of the service and their authorizing committees.

Yes -- we got nailed with nuclear weapons here. That's the slap-in-the-face can't be mistaken the whole world just bolted out of bed alarm. But that isn't it. What is it is the attitude and the staffing cuts and the attitude and the training cuts and the attitude and the lack of respect by civilians and the attitude and the lack of respect by the media and the attitude and the failure to conduct no-shit penetration testing by op teams determined to rip through and penetrate, instead of "you scratch my back I'll scratch yours" testing by teams you know are coming. And the attitude.

It's a fucking farce and it has to stop.

The trust the world has had of the United States for 60+ years and still has in spite of 1 million dead in Iraq -- that our C&C over special weapons is inviolable -- simply is wrong.
  • How did we get here?
  • By when will it be fixed?
  • Who is accountable for fixing U.S. C&C before someone hacks it and, pardon me, uses it to Do.Terrible.Things?
  • We will never be forgiven if this happens.
Want something to be genuinely worried about? Worry about this. I am... And I don't worry.

This scares the shit out of me.