A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.

The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961. The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage.

Each bomb carried a payload of 4 megatons – the equivalent of 4 million tons of TNT explosive. Had the device detonated, lethal fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and as far north as New York city – putting millions of lives at risk.

Though there has been persistent speculation about how narrow the Goldsboro escape was, the US government has repeatedly publicly denied that its nuclear arsenal has ever put Americans’ lives in jeopardy through safety flaws. But in the newly-published document, a senior engineer in the Sandia national laboratories responsible for the mechanical safety of nuclear weapons concludes that “one simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe”…”It would have been bad news – in spades,” he wrote…

Jones found that of the four safety mechanisms in the Faro bomb, designed to prevent unintended detonation, three failed to operate properly. When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device, and it was only that final, highly vulnerable switch that averted calamity. “The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52,” Jones concludes.

The document was uncovered by Schlosser as part of his research into his new book on the nuclear arms race, Command and Control. Using freedom of information, he discovered that at least 700 “significant” accidents and incidents involving 1,250 nuclear weapons were recorded between 1950 and 1968 alone.

A significant portion of the crap we are fed about classifying military and spy tales appears to be in place to keep anyone from discovering what bumbling idiots we have running our government, our military.



  1. Captain Obvious says:

    Duke sucks. I would be in favor of this “accident”.

  2. dusanmal says:

    “…what bumbling idiots we have running our government…” – and yet even bigger bumbling idiots vote in people who promise more and bigger Government in charge of more stuff (to fail).

  3. KMFIX says:

    Play with fire, eventually you’re going to get…

  4. AdmFubar says:

    ♫ Nothing could be finer than nuking Carolina in the mooorrrrnin’ ♫

    Q.“…what bumbling idiots we have running our government…”
    A. The military industrial complex…

    Q.– and yet even bigger bumbling idiots vote in people who promise more and bigger Government in charge of more stuff (to fail).

    A. See previous answer.

  5. Ah_Yea says:

    You will enjoy reading this. While there is a lot of loose talk there is also a wealth of info here as well.

    http://fdungan.com/duke.htm

  6. Ah_Yea says:

    Well, either entertained or pee in your pants.

  7. Tim says:

    ”bumbling idiots,

    perhaps. But they are also psycotic and incredibly dangerous decievers who don’t really seem concerned about the wellbeing of the slaves — just the opposite.

    We’re the government. We’re inherently good — that is why you have a constitution. We do not lie. We do not put cancer in your vaccines, or pump radiation into your kids, or flood subways with LSD, or make you hear voices, or make you passive and stupid with flouride. We did not imprison millions to protect patented drugs and textiles. We did not destroy the gulf of mexico — that’s why it’s illegal to scratch down and build a sand castle because doing so might harm the beaches. We don’t listen to folks’ phone calls. We did not do 9/11. The nukes we drop on Carolina are quality assured safety nukes and we don’t really dissapear people who suggested otherwise.

    Incidentally, if anyone sees Lindsey Graham tooling around Tibee Island wearing a speedo and sporting a snorkel and hammer, just please, please, please harpoon the bastard.

    • Tim says:

      “”After a tense 12 minutes searching for the pin, the bombardier decided, correctly, that it must be high up in the bomb bay and invisible because of the curvature of the bomb. A short man, he jumped to pull himself up to get a look at where he thought the locking pin should be. Unfortunately, he evidently chose the emergency bomb-release mechanism for his handhold.

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  8. MikeN says:

    So they had four safety mechanisms, and the cheapest one worked the best? Just like in New Orleans, where the expensive corruption and kickback mob dams failed, but the sandbags held.

    Meanwhile, the government has kept classified how they shot down TWA 800.

    • Tim says:

      “”Meanwhile, the government has kept classified how they shot down TWA 800.

      A missile would be my guess.

  9. Stinger says:

    Luckily, we learned our lesson. We don’t transport armed nuclear weapons inside the U.S. anymore, …right?

    That would be stupid and irresponsible. …right?

    Hope that applies to biological weapons, too …right? ……right?

  10. bobbo, we think with words, some better than others says:

    Well, y’all know how I hate the gubment too, except when it gives me stuff for free, but…………

    3 out of 4 safety checks failed to work? thats pretty bad even for SAC. I prefer the story I heard: that 3 of the 4 worked as intended and the forth that stopped the nuke was simply defective.

    If anyone comes across specific info on what failed and how I would appreciate the link. Lots of disinfo floating around.

    One of my favorite movie lines every from Strangelove: “Gentlemen, there is no fighthing in the War Room.” /// Just as it should be.

    Not to be a prig, but there is lots of current news about stuff that is actually happening RIGHT NOW rather than old news about stuff that didn’t happen. See the subtle difference?

    1. The colorado 1000 year flood…….raise your hand: who believes that???? All the bozo’s wanting proof of AGW—this ain’t it. Just “consistent” with it. Amusing?

    2. Chinese Chicken McNuggets allowed to be sold into the USA market. Why not?

    3. Forbes—RICH Porn annual Issue — our cuties need to make over 1.3 Billion to earn a place on the pole.

    4. Food Program for the Poor–CUT==while the RICH divide grows, while poor Southern White Trash clamor for further budget cuts.

    Can you smell it yet? So thick, you can even SEE it.

    Just Look.

    • bobbo, we think with words, some better than others says:

      A link from the link to the original document is about as close as we will probably get. I’m guessing an “incident” means the actual explosion of a device while an accident stops short? Fun to try to read between the lines.

      http://theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/sep/20/goldsboro-revisited-declassified-document

      I don’t know when Atomic Bombs were supposed to be un-armed in flight and “impossible” to explode==or what it would take to negate those safety measures. The aircraft breaking up should not be such an event… but we learn by accidents and incidents.

      • Tim says:

        An accident means you can put the underwear in the dishwasher to remediate the skidmarks.

        An incident means you must go to mom for money to buy new pants.

        • Tim says:

          oops, I had a little lexiconographical accident. It should read “you can hide the underwear amongst the dishes…”

    • Tim says:

      Thousand year event, huu? Then it is pretty alarming that they’ve had three others over the past hundred years —

      “”A string of menacing funnels materialized over the foothills on June 15, 1965, as a storm, which dumped 14 inches of rain in a little more than three hours, announced its presence with a blizzard of hail.

      “”In 1976, a storm dumped more than a foot of rain over Big Thompson Canyon and killed 144 people. It led to the establishment of safe areas and warning signs.

      “”The highest flood-related death toll was likely reached June 3-5, 1921, when torrential rains drenched Pueblo. Railroad cars were swept away, along with entire buildings, and after a fire started in a lumberyard, the raging waters carried burning planks through the city.

      “Hundreds of people died, with some death toll estimates as high as 1,500,” according to the National Climatic Data Center. “Many of the dead were likely carried far down river and never recovered.

      http://denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24134434/colorados-flood-history-led-changes

      And how is this “consistent” with AGW, in any case? It is the cooler Earth that leads to greater contrast in temperature with lattitude and elevation, thus, more extreme ‘weather’.

      • bobbo, we think with words, some better than others says:

        Excellent read and link Tim. Thanks. Yes–it reveals the hype around AGW, the misreporting, the End of the World sound bites to lead the news.

        I don’t know the “local” conditions that make it rain in one place and not the other a few miles away. The fact that it rains 14 inchs in one place may only be a 100 year storm while 9 inches as here could well be that 1000 year storm. I don’t know…. just saying …….. its all definitional and science can’t be done from news headlines.

        One squib I read said that the jet stream moved allowing the warm southern air to come up from the gulf and meet that colder north air in a way it doesn’t normally do. I don’t think that is an explanation of anything as that is how all frontal storms arise.

        I’m not a scientist, much less a climatologist but: “And how is this “consistent” with AGW, in any case? It is the cooler Earth that leads to greater contrast in temperature with lattitude and elevation, thus, more extreme ‘weather’.” /// At least you are including two—count them TWO variables in that thing we call climate.

        Good boy.

      • Rain man says:

        As the population grows and chooses to live in more exotic locations (over looking the cliff, or down by the river), they put themselves in harm’s way when bad things happen.

        Of course, if government funds rebuilding in the same spot, nothing will change.

        Nature is not beholding to the “hundred year storm” rule. Water… Can’t live with it. Can’t live without it.

        • bobbo, we think with words, some better than others says:

          I have a friend who lives in the area sending out iphone videos of the situation. He slapped his forehead some years ago when people built 1MM homes very close to the rivers/creeks: “If they overflow—those houses are goners..” /// And so they did.

          We DO IT to ourselves all the time. Here in Sacto–the USA’s second most risky area to flooding after New Orleans—housing permits are still given in the flood plain of the Sacramento/American river===because you know, thats what developers want.

          How sad should I be when “♫…the levee breaks, ain’t no use in crying….♫” to these dip shits? A natural disaster?

          NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Only >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          Stupid Hoomans. ((and their undersized gubment not funded to protect us against our basic stupidity.))

          Yea, verily.

    • NewformatSux says:

      The colorado 1000 year flood…….raise your hand: who

      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2013/09/revisiting-consistent-with-canard.html

      • bobbo, we think words, and flower with movie references says:

        Yeap, good counter==almost except it is an analysis/comment in a vacuum. Compare and contrast: the storm is consistent with AGW -or- the storm is NOT consistent with AGW. This creates two different discussions.

        Why did I say consistent with? Because it is….AND… its not PROOF. Just as inconsistent events are not proof otherwise.

        What is it about the use of “consistent with” that troubles you?

        • NewformatSux says:

          Perhaps you should read the link again, and try to comprehend. Maybe Michael caine can help you.

          the storm is consistent with AGW -or- the storm is consistent with no AGW

  11. Uncle Patso says:

    For a list of such accidents

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_Arrow_(nuclear)

    One weapon still hasn’t been found, lost over the coast of Georgia. All this has been known about for some time — the reason it’s in headlines suddenly is due to the publication of the Schlosser book.

    • Tim says:

      I’ve got a bucket-full of rouge spheres I’m trying to figure out how to make a better potato battery with.

    • bobbo, we think with words, some better than others says:

      Yes, the Broken Arrows are “know about” but not the details. Hardly matters though does it?

      I will admit though the “SIZE” of these thermonuclear devices is rather mind blowing. x times the size Hiroshima? Blast radius, fall out… etc. Atom bomb, Hydrogen Bomb, Fission Bomb, Fusion Bomb.

      I’ve never understood why 1000’s and 1000’s of these bombs were made when 1-2 will end a war, and 5-6 will end humanity. MAD is achieved with a few dozen bombs–even if exploded over our own terrain.

      Why 1000’s and 1000’s =====>even today.

      Silly Hoomans.

      • Tim says:

        Who Speaks for Earth?

        “”The global balance of terror, pioneered by the United States and the Soviet Union, holds hostage all the citizens of the earth. Each side persistently probes the limits of the other’s tolerance, like; the Cuban missile crisis, the testing of anti-satellite weapons, the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars. The hostile military establishments are locked in some ghastly mutual embrace, each needs the other.
        But the balance of terror is a delicate balance, with very little margin for miscalculation. And the world impoverishes itself by spending a trillion dollars a year on preparations for war, and by employing perhaps half the scientists and high technologists on the planet in military endeavors.

        How would we explain all this to a dispassionate extraterrestrial observer? What account would we give of our stewardship of the planet earth? We have heard the rationales offered by the superpowers. We know who speaks for the nations, but who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for earth?

        http://youtube.com/watch?v=HjrmK8t6VYk

        • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

          Who speaks for Earth? /// NO ONE!!!! In real politik really the question of an imbecile. Who speaks for the dispossed/disadvantaged/trod upon/those who don’t have CAKE to eat?===>NO ONE!!!

          Same as it ever was.

          Who speaks for those killed by assault weapons?/// Who speaks for those inundated by anthropomorphic global warming??? >>>>>NO ONE!

          …..OH…okay. Small minor whispers. plangorous but ignored, EVEN contested.

          BLAME THE POOR: living rich off of food stamps. /// Would ANY OF US want to live on food stamps??? NO+++OF COURSE NOT. But lets scourge the poor for their condition and blame them for it.

          Silly EVIL humans. “Forgive them Oh Lord, for they know not what they DO!”

          But they do, do, the do do.

          same as it always was……… Silly Hoomans.

          • Tim says:

            The lower classes are a conundrum. Particularly, because they are worthless at resisting the upper classes; They do make good pink mist, though —

            http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y_sXxZVPxg8

          • Tim says:

            “”anthropomorphic global warming

            O.K. You done felled off the wagon there. Or, is that like a human visage-shaped pile of rubble on Mars what wants to dis-integrate us because we occult his view of Venus??

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            A double fail on your part Timmmmay.

            The death of all human kind is not a lower/upper class divide issue.

            Your babbling about AGW is undecipherable by me.

            SAY???!!!—Just for fun, if you would ever like to fully engage on the issue of AGW, I’d be happy to do so. We should wait for our good Eds to introduce the subject, then we could be off and running. I already know you are full of shit on the subject, its the details I’m interested in: how otherwise intelligent good folks drink the kool aide and turn their brains off.

            Lying Mike and McGuyver are already on your side. I stand alone. YOU are outnumbered.

            ……. same as it always was.

          • Tim says:

            Def. plangorous — Heart-felt, pissy, polemic, pussifytudinous, pansy-ish, platitudinal pillbug poop.

          • Tim says:

            “”Just for fun, if you would ever like to fully engage on the issue of AGW

            Naa, I’d rather play chess. Besides, we have no common ground. My position is that the provided policy is to make millions die and keep people starving and sick due to non-availability of energy. My position is a cooler earth is one that doesn’t let individuals grow plants. My position is that all you’ll do is argue over IPCC provided talking points you have no clue how to evaluate — I’d rather stay on the subject of falling hemmoroids and dirty undies.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            A wise move. Do you have a link to the talking points of the IPCC? I’ve never seen them.

            Your shit is what amuses me. Thinking that declaring a colder earth calls forth more dramatic weather.

            I laugh.

            No common ground?????…… the dictionary, common sense, logic, cause and effect…… I suspect you are right.>>>>no common ground.

            Ha, ha.

          • Tim says:

            Dictionary dick slaps —

            nychthemeron…. Oh, shit; That base-12 definition was yours… I’m out {for now}.

          • bobbo, we think words, and flower with movie references says:

            As stated: tangents aren’t my game. But like Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under: “I didn’t say I couldn’t shoot.”

            My tangent is indeed longer than yours. nychthemeron was not my definition but the dictionary’s–a longer tangent than yours on our futures/fates being written in the stars. YOUR tangent, not mine.

            Sucks, don’t it?

  12. sargasso_c says:

    Have we overlooked that a B52, “broke up in the air”?

    • bobbo, we think with words, some better than others says:

      No…. that caught my attention right off the bat. Planes were old 40 years ago….AND STILL BEING FLOWN.

      Still—at THAT time, relative “new.” Sounds like some kind of BS cover story to me.

      ………….we will never know. Like the origins of the universe… you know?

  13. Glow Worm says:

    Too bad it didn’t go off.

    I can only imagine what today’s political landscape might be like without historical assholes like Richard Nixon or the Kennedy’s.

    That’s right! I said it. JFK was a miserable failure as a President and now I can see that he was a bit of a dick too.

    As I recall, JFK was was in office at the time of this incident (1961) where he nearly started World War 3 with Russia over the famous Cuban Missile Crisis. Apparently, JFK was willing to go to any lengths now that we know North Carolina was almost nuked. And you can bet that if it had gone off that it would have catapulted the US into a nuclear war.

    Now, remember how I said JFK was a bit of a failure? Let’s also not forget that Bay of Pigs thing which didn’t go so well. And who could forget how Kennedy got us into Vietnam by assisting the French with more military advisers?! (And on a side note, isn’t it also funny how Jackie O wound up remarrying a Frenchman?)

    … Come to think of it, nuclear fallout on New York might not have been such a bad thing either. That’s where Wall Street is!

    • NewformatSux says:

      He didn’t nearly start WW3, he backed down, and let Russia take control of Cuba. The real failure was at an earlier summit, where Kruschev concluded he could walk all over Kennedy, which gave him the confidence to attempt to put missiles in Cuba. Kind of like Putin with Bush and Obama.

  14. bobbo, we think words, and flower with movie references says:

    And who could forget how Kennedy got us into Vietnam by assisting the French with more military advisers?! //// Not MEeeeeeee!! And they all sacrificed our troops for their own ego’s. Damn Hipocrisy of Old Men sending Young Men to War. F*cking A-holes = ALL. Missile Crisis was even worse…. arguably… and given the FU with Bay of Pigs I’m not willing to give him a pass on that. Finish up with he was sleeping with that Mobsters Mistress and cheating on Jackie and we have a fine example of a RICH man’s son in Politics. Only note he missed was going awol off the pt boat as Bush Jr would have done.

    (And on a side note, isn’t it also funny how Jackie O wound up remarrying a Frenchman?) /// Nope.

  15. Mac Guy says:

    Meh… I’ve been to Goldsboro before. Would’ve been an improvement.

  16. Tim says:

    I almost forgot — The EPA Office of Air and Radiation is in North Carolina. Everything would be ok now because EPA would decide a sierverts or two is not only harmless as long as CO2 is taxed but is also a very green technology for cooking moo-slabs without burning wood or fossile fuels.

    http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-air-and-radiation-oar


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