Mystery surrounds deaths of Minot airmen
Sat, 22 Sep 2007 23:10:30
Capt. John Frueh
Six members of the US Air Force who were involved in the Minot AFB incident, have died mysteriously, an anti-Bush activist group says.
The incident happened when a B-52 bomber was « mistakenly » loaded with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander.
The plane was carrying Advanced Cruise Missiles from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base on August 30.
The Air Combat Command has ordered a command-wide stand down on September 14 to review procedures, officials said.
The missiles, which are being decommissioned, were mounted onto pylons on the bomber’s wings and it is unclear why the warheads had not been removed beforehand.
In addition to the munitions squadron commander who was relieved of his duties, crews involved in the incident, including ground crew workers had been temporarily decertified for handling munitions.
The activist group Citizens for Legitimate Government said the six members of the US Air Force who were directly involved as loaders or as pilots, were killed within 7 days in ‘accidents’.
The victims include Airman First Class Todd Blue, 20, who died while on leave in Virginia. A statement by the military confirmed his death but did not say how he died.
In another accident, a married couple from Barksdale Air Force Base were killed in the 5100 block of Shreveport-Blanchard Highway. The two were riding a 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, with the husband driving and the wife the passenger, police said.
« They were traveling behind a northbound Pontiac Aztec
driven by Erica Jerry, 35, of Shreveport, » the county
sheriff said. « Jerry initiated a left turn into a
business parking lot at the same time the man driving
the motorcycle attempted to pass her van on the left
in a no passing zone. They collided. »
Adam Barrs, a 20-year-old airman from Minot Air Force Base was killed in a crash on the outskirts of the city.
First Lt. Weston Kissel, 28, a Minot Air Force Base bomber pilot, was killed in a motorcycle crash in Tennessee, the military officials say.
Police found the body of a missing Air Force captain John Frueh near Badger Peak in northeast Skamania County, Washington.
The Activist group says the mysterious deaths of the air force members could indicate to a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the Minot Air Base incident.
Missteps in the Bunker
By Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 23, 2007; 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. »
Missteps in the Bunker
The air base where the incident took place is one of the most remote and, for much of the year, coldest military posts in the continental United States. Veterans of Minot typically describe their assignments by counting the winters passed in the flat, treeless region where January temperatures sometimes reach 30 below zero. In airman-speak, a three-year assignment becomes « three winters » at Minot.
The daily routine for many of Minot’s crews is a cycle of scheduled maintenance for the base’s 35 aging B-52H Stratofortress bombers—mammoth, eight-engine workhorses, the newest of which left the assembly line more than 45 years ago. Workers also tend to 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles kept at the ready in silos scattered across neighboring cornfields, as well as hundreds of smaller nuclear bombs, warheads and vehicles stored in sod-covered bunkers called igloos.
« We had a continuous workload in maintaining » warheads, said Scott Vest, a former Air Force captain who spent time in Minot’s bunkers in the 1990s. « We had a stockpile of more than 400 . . . and some of them were always coming due » for service.
Among the many weapons and airframes, the AGM-129 cruise missile was well known at the base as a nuclear warhead delivery system carried by B-52s. With its unique shape and design, it is easily distinguished from the older AGM-86, which can be fitted with either a nuclear or a conventional warhead.
Last fall, after 17 years in the U.S. arsenal, the Air Force’s more than 400 AGM-129s were ordered into retirement by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Minot was told to begin shipping out the unarmed missiles in small groups to Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, La., for storage. By Aug. 29, its crews had already sent more than 200 missiles to Barksdale and knew the drill by heart.
The Air Force’s account of what happened that day and the next was provided by multiple sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the government’s investigation is continuing and classified.
At 9:12 a.m. local time on Aug. 29, according to the account, ground crews in two trucks entered a gated compound at Minot known as the Weapons Storage Area and drove to an igloo where the cruise missiles were stored. The 21-foot missiles were already mounted on pylons, six apiece in clusters of three, for quick mounting to the wings of a B-52.
The AGM-129 is designed to carry silver W-80-1 nuclear warheads, which have a variable yield of between 5 and 150 kilotons. (A kiloton is equal to the explosive force of 1,000 tons of TNT.) The warheads were meant to have been removed from the missiles before shipment. In their place, crews were supposed to insert metal dummies of the same size and weight, but a different color, so the missiles could still be properly attached under the bomber’s wings.
A munitions custodian officer is supposed to keep track of the nuclear warheads. In the case of cruise missiles, a stamp-size window on the missile’s frame allows workers to peer inside to check whether the warheads within are silver. In many cases, a red ribbon or marker attached to the missile serves as an additional warning. Finally, before the missiles are moved, two-man teams are supposed to look at check sheets, bar codes and serial numbers denoting whether the missiles are armed.
Why the warheads were not noticed in this case is not publicly known. But once the missiles were certified as unarmed, a requirement for unique security precautions when nuclear warheads are moved—such as the presence of specially armed security police, the approval of a senior base commander and a special tracking system—evaporated.
The trucks hauled the missile pylons from the bunker into the bustle of normal air base traffic, onto Bomber Boulevard and M Street, before turning onto a tarmac apron where the missiles were loaded onto the B-52. The loading took eight hours because of unusual trouble attaching the pylon on the right side of the plane—the one with the dummy warheads.
By 5:12 p.m., the B-52 was fully loaded. The plane then sat on the tarmac overnight without special guards, protected for 15 hours by only the base’s exterior chain-link fence and roving security patrols.
Air Force rules required members of the jet’s flight crew to examine all of the missiles and warheads before the plane took off. But in this instance, just one person examined only the six unarmed missiles and inexplicably skipped the armed missiles on the left, according to officials familiar with the probe.
« If they’re not expecting a live warhead it may be a very casual thing—there’s no need to set up the security system and play the whole nuclear game, » said Vest, the former Minot airman. « As for the air crew, they’re bus drivers at this point, as far as they know. »
The plane, which had flown to Minot for the mission and was not certified to carry nuclear weapons, departed the next morning for Louisiana. When the bomber landed at Barksdale at 11:23 a.m., the air crew signed out and left for lunch, according to the probe.
It would be another nine hours—until 8:30 p.m.— before a Barksdale ground crew turned up at the parked aircraft to begin removing the missiles. At 8:45, 15 minutes into the task, a separate missile transport crew arrived in trucks. One of these airmen noticed something unusual about the missiles. Within an hour, a skeptical supervisor had examined them and ordered them secured.
By then it was 10 p.m., more than 36 hours after the warheads left their secure bunker in Minot.
Once the errant warheads were discovered, Air Force officers in Louisiana were alarmed enough to immediately notify the National Military Command Center, a highly secure area of the Pentagon that serves as the nerve center for U.S. nuclear war planning. Such « Bent Spear » events are ranked second in seriousness only to « Broken Arrow » incidents, which involve the loss, destruction or accidental detonation of a nuclear weapon.
The Air Force decided at first to keep the mishap under wraps, in part because of policies that prohibit the confirmation of any details about the storage or movement of nuclear weapons. No public acknowledgment was made until service members leaked the story to the Military Times, which published a brief account Sept. 5.
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. »
While Air Force officials see the Minot event as serious, they also note that it was harmless, since the six nuclear warheads never left the military’s control. Even if the bomber had crashed, or if someone had stolen the warheads, fail-safe devices would have prevented a nuclear detonation.
But independent experts warn that whenever nuclear weapons are not properly safeguarded, their fissile materials are at risk of theft and diversion. Moreover, if the plane had crashed and the warheads’ casings cracked, these highly toxic materials could have been widely dispersed.
« When what were multiple layers of tight nuclear weapon control internal procedures break down, some bad guy may eventually come along and take advantage of them, » said a former senior administration official who had responsibility for nuclear security.
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. »
« Lost » B-52 nuke cruise missiles were on way to Middle East for attack on Iran
publication date: Sep 23, 2007
Sept. 24, 2007 -- SPECIAL REPORT—« Lost » B-52 nuke cruise missiles were on way to Middle East for attack on Iran; Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater.
WMR has learned from U.S. and foreign intelligence sources that the B-52 transporting six stealth AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles, each armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead, on August 30, were destined for the Middle East via Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
However, elements of the Air Force, supported by U.S. intelligence agency personnel, successfully revealed the ultimate destination of the nuclear weapons and the mission was aborted due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community.
Yesterday, the Washington Post attempted to explain away the fact that America’s nuclear command and control system broke down in an unprecedented manner by reporting that it was the result of « security failures at multiple levels. » It is now apparent that the command and control breakdown, reported as a BENT SPEAR incident to the Secretary of Defense and White House, was not the result of a command and control chain-of-command « failures » but the result of a revolt and push back by various echelons within the Air Force and intelligence agencies against a planned U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional weapons.
The Washington Post story on BENT SPEAR may have actually been an effort in damage control by the Bush administration. WMR has been informed by a knowledgeable source that one of the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles was, and may still be, unaccounted for. In that case, the nuclear reporting incident would have gone far beyond BENT SPEAR to a National Command Authority alert known as EMPTY QUIVER, with the special classification of PINNACLE.
Just as this report was being prepared, Newsweek reported that Vice President Dick Cheney’s recently-departed Middle East adviser, David Wurmser, told a small group of advisers some months ago that Cheney had considered asking Israel to launch a missile attack on the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz. Cheney reasoned that after an Iranian retaliatory strike, the United States would have ample reasons to launch its own massive attack on Iran. However, plans for Israel to attack Iran directly were altered to an Israeli attack on a supposed Syrian-Iranian-North Korean nuclear installation in northern Syria.
WMR has learned that a U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional weapons was scheduled to coincide with Israel’s September 6 air attack on a reputed Syrian nuclear facility in Dayr az-Zwar, near the village of Tal Abyad, in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. Israel’s attack, code named OPERATION ORCHARD, was to provide a reason for the U.S. to strike Iran. The neo-conservative propaganda onslaught was to cite the cooperation of the George Bush’s three remaining « Axis of Evil » states—Syria, Iran, and North Korea—to justify a sustained Israeli attack on Syria and a massive U.S. military attack on Iran.
WMR has learned from military sources on both sides of the Atlantic that there was a definite connection between Israel’s OPERATION ORCHARD and BENT SPEAR involving the B-52 that flew the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale. There is also a connection between these two events as the Pentagon’s highly-classified PROJECT CHECKMATE, a compartmented U.S. Air Force program that has been working on an attack plan for Iran since June 2007, around the same time that Cheney was working on the joint Israeli-U.S. attack scenario on Iran.
PROJECT CHECKMATE was leaked in an article by military analyst Eric Margolis in the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, the Times of London, is a program that involves over two dozen Air Force officers and is headed by Brig. Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem and his chief civilian adviser, Dr. Lani Kass, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who, astoundingly, is now involved in planning a joint U.S.-Israeli massive military attack on Iran that involves a « decapitating » blow on Iran by hitting between three to four thousand targets in the country. Stutzriem and Kass report directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Michael Moseley, who has also been charged with preparing a report on the B-52/nuclear weapons incident.
Kass’ area of speciality is cyber-warfare, which includes ensuring « information blockades, » such as that imposed by the Israeli government on the Israeli media regarding the Syrian air attack on the alleged Syrian « nuclear installation. » British intelligence sources have reported that the Israeli attack on Syria was a « true flag » attack originally designed to foreshadow a U.S. attack on Iran. After the U.S. Air Force push back against transporting the six cruise nuclear-armed AGM-129s to the Middle East, Israel went ahead with its attack on Syria in order to help ratchet up tensions between Washington on one side and Damascus, Tehran, and Pyongyang on the other.
The other part of CHECKMATE’s brief is to ensure that a media « perception management » is waged against Syria, Iran, and North Korea. This involves articles such as that which appeared with Joby Warrick’s and Walter Pincus’ bylines in yesterdays Washington Post. The article, titled « The Saga of a Bent Spear, » quotes a number of seasoned Air Force nuclear weapons experts as saying that such an incident is unprecedented in the history of the Air Force. For example, Retired Air Force General Eugene Habiger, the former chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, said he has been in the « nuclear business » since 1966 and has never been aware of an incident « more disturbing. »
Command and control breakdowns involving U.S. nuclear weapons are unprecedented, except for that fact that the U.S. military is now waging an internal war against neo-cons who are embedded in the U.S. government and military chain of command who are intent on using nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive war with Iran.
CHECKMATE and OPERATION ORCHARD would have provided the cover for a pre-emptive U.S. and Israeli attack on Iran had it not been for BENT SPEAR involving the B-52. In on the plan to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran involving nuclear weapons were, according to our sources, Cheney, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; members of the CHECKMATE team at the Pentagon, who have close connections to Israeli intelligence and pro-Israeli think tanks in Washington, including the Hudson Institute; British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, a political adviser to Tony Blair prior to becoming a Member of Parliament; Israeli political leaders like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu; and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who did his part last week to ratchet up tensions with Iran by suggesting that war with Iran was a probability. Kouchner retracted his statement after the U.S. plans for Iran were delayed.
Although the Air Force tried to keep the B-52 nuclear incident from the media, anonymous Air Force personnel leaked the story to Military Times on September 5, the day before the Israelis attacked the alleged nuclear installation in Syria and the day planned for the simultaneous U.S. attack on Iran. The leaking of classified information on U.S. nuclear weapons disposition or movement to the media, is, itself, unprecedented. Air Force regulations require the sending of classified BEELINE reports to higher Air Force authorities on the disclosure of classified Air Force information to the media.
In another highly unusual move, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked an outside inquiry board to look into BENT SPEAR, even before the Air Force has completed its own investigation, a virtual vote of no confidence in the official investigation being conducted by Major General Douglas Raaberg, chief of air and space operations at the Air Combat Command.
Gates asked former Air Force Chief of Staff, retired General Larry Welch, to lead a Defense Science Board task force that will also look into the BENT SPEAR incident. The official Air Force investigation has reportedly been delayed for unknown reasons. Welch is President and CEO of the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), a federally-funded research contractor that operates three research centers, including one for Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and another for the National Security Agency. One of the board members of IDA is Dr. Suzanne H. Woolsey of the Paladin Capital Group and wife of former CIA director and arch-neocon James Woolsey.
WMR has learned that neither the upper echelons of the State Department nor the British Foreign Office were privy to OPERATION ORCHARD, although Hadley briefed President Bush on Israeli spy satellite intelligence that showed the Syrian installation was a joint nuclear facility built with North Korean and Iranian assistance. However, it is puzzling why Hadley would rely on Israeli imagery intelligence (IMINT) from its OFEK (Horizon) 7 satellite when considering that U.S. IMINT satellites have greater capabilities.
The Air Force’s « information warfare » campaign against media reports on CHECKMATE and OPERATION ORCHARD also affected international reporting of the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution asking Israel to place its nuclear weapons program under IAEA controls, similar to those that the United States wants imposed on Iran and North Korea. The resolution also called for a nuclear-free zone throughout the Middle East. The IAEA’s resolution, titled « Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East, » was passed by the 144-member IAEA General Meeting on September 20 by a vote of 53 to 2, with 47 abstentions. The only two countries to vote against were Israel and the United States. However, the story carried from the IAEA meeting in Vienna by Reuters, the Associated Press, and Agence France Press, was that it was Arab and Islamic nations that voted for the resolution.
This was yet more perception management carried out by CHECKMATE, the White House, and their allies in Europe and Israel with the connivance of the media. In fact, among the 53 nations that voted for the resolution were China, Russia, India, Ireland, and Japan. The 47 abstentions were described as votes « against » the resolution even though an abstention is neither a vote for nor against a measure. America’s close allies, including Britain, France, Australia, Canada, and Georgia, all abstained.
Suspiciously, the IAEA carried only a brief item on the resolution concerning Israel’s nuclear program and a roll call vote was not available either at the IAEA’s web site—www.iaea.org—or in the media.
The perception management campaign by the neocon operational cells in the Bush administration, Israel and Europe was designed to keep a focus on Iran’s nuclear program, not on Israel’s. Any international examination of Israel’s nuclear weapons program would likely bring up Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu, a covert from Judaism to Christianity, who was kidnapped in Rome by a Mossad « honey trap » named Cheryl Bentov (aka, Cindy) and a Mossad team in 1986 and held against his will in Israel ever since.
Vanunu’s knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons program would focus on the country’s own role in nuclear proliferation, including its program to share nuclear weapons technology with apartheid South Africa and Taiwan in the late 1970s and 1980s. The role of Ronald Reagan’s Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Ken Adelman in Israeli’s nuclear proliferation during the time frame 1983-1987 would also come under scrutiny. Adelman, a member of the Reagan-Bush transition State Department team from November 1980 to January 1981, voiced his understanding for the nuclear weapons programs of Israel, South Africa, and Taiwan in a June 28, 1981 New York Times article titled, « 3 Nations Widening Nuclear Contacts. » The journalist who wrote the article was Judith Miller. Adelman felt that the three countries wanted nuclear weapons because of their ostracism from the West, the third world, and the hostility from the Communist countries. Of course, today, the same argument can be used by Iran, North Korea, and other « Axis of Evil » nations so designated by the neocons in the Bush administration and other governments.
There are also news reports that suggest an intelligence relationship between Israel and North Korea. On July 21, 2004, New Zealand’s Dominion Post reported that three Mossad agents were involved in espionage in New Zealand. Two of the Mossad agents, Uriel Kelman and Elisha Cara (aka Kra), were arrested and imprisoned by New Zealand police (an Israeli diplomat in Canberra, Amir Lati, was expelled by Australia and New Zealand intelligence identified a fourth Mossad agent involved in the New Zealand espionage operation in Singapore). The third Mossad agent in New Zealand, Zev William Barkan (aka Lev Bruckenstein), fled New Zealand—for North Korea.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff revealed that Barkan, a former Israeli Navy diver, had previously worked at the Israeli embassy in Vienna, which is also the headquarters of the IAEA. He was cited by the Sydney Morning Herald as trafficking in passports stolen from foreign tourists in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. New Zealand’s One News reported that Barkan was in North Korea to help the nation build a wall to keep its citizens from leaving.
The nuclear brinkmanship involving the United States and Israel and the breakdown in America’s command and control systems have every major capital around the world wondering about the Bush administration’s true intentions.
NOTE: WMR understands the risks to informed individuals in reporting the events of August 29/30, to the present time, that concern the discord within the U.S. Air Force, U.S. intelligence agencies, and other military services. Any source with relevant information and who wishes to contact us anonymously may drop off sealed correspondence at or send mail via the Postal Service to: Wayne Madsen, c/o The Front Desk, National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20045.