Thursday, September 06, 2007

Perhaps I'm Reading This Wrong

Found an article on Slashdot about an American military plane (B-52) flying over the US with nuclear weapons attached under the wings. So far, so not unusual I thought. Then the kicker: the weapons were only noticed when the plane landed, and for the 3.5hr traveling time were unaccounted for and not missed by the airforce base the plane had taken off from.

The BBC reports the incident but doesn't mention something that was raised on Slashdot, namely that the base the plane flew to is a staging post for flights to the Middle East. The tin-foil hat brigade are split over whether; the fact the nukes weren't missed was because there are so many nukes being transported for use on Iran, or whether; they were moved and then this story leaked deliberately to let Iran/Iraq/Russia/Terrorists know that the US is prepared to use nuclear weapons again.

Now I'm somewhat against the Bush administration's sabre-rattling efforts and their constant attempts to bully the rest of the world into their version of capitalist consumerism (see the late Bill Hicks's routine about America being the Sheriff in the movie Shane, forcing the shepherd to pick up the gun, before shooting him because "he had a gun", sorry this was the only version I could find) and either of the above scenarios scares the crap out of me.

The one that scares me the most, however, is that this was - as is claimed by the USAF - a mistake made by a ground crew when loading a plane. Because for that to be true, the USAF's procedures for the storage, release and movement of nuclear weapons is less secure and rigorous than most company's stationery cabinets.



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