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Bernie and the Nuclear-capable F35s

Renee Parsons

Fresh off what the MSM is celebrating as a surprise victory for a Bernie Town Hall on Fox News, lurking in the background is his inexplicable support over the years for basing the highly controversial F35 at the Burlington International Airport. We now know, thanks to a conscientious citizen who bothered to read the fine print, that those F35’s will be nuclear-capable and of immense explosive power.

In September, as the fall colors begin to change in Vermont, City of Burlington residents may not be in the streets waving American flags as eighteen F35 Lightning II radar-evading stealth fighter jets land at the Burlington Airport. As part of a Pentagon plan to deploy 2,500 jets nationwide, the F35’s will join the 158th Fighter Wing, a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, affectionately known as the Green Mountain Boys as its aging F-16 jets are replaced.

Not just known for its foliage, cheese and maple syrup, Vermont is also host to an active aero space industry which already supplies 2,000 jobs. The jet’s bay door and GAU-22 gun system will both be produced in Vermont. With the Air Force spending $84 million per jet from Lockheed Martin, the DOD will spend $100 Million for infrastructure improvement and a new training center at Burlington where they will share one runway with commercial air traffic.

Basing more than a dozen F35’s in Burlington will bring a totally new generation of aircraft to Vermont as new high tech jets, not yet fully mature with all of its kinks and safety issues worked out, normally experience more accidents and ‘incidents’ in a shake down – and the F35 has had more than its share.

The F35 was commissioned by the Pentagon in 1995 at a cost of $1.5 Trillion, becoming the most expensive weapon system in US history as well as providing significant technical challenges including a “catastrophic engine failure” with total damage estimated at $50 million, a “life threatening ejection seat malfunction” and a crash in South Carolina due to a faulty fuel tube. The new controversial bomber jet fighter planes will be located in a dense area surrounded by public schools, a college and residential neighborhoods.

While the seven year debate over the F35 has been an intense round of public hearings and debates and public meetings, at least one lawsuit, and three of the most affected communities all formally opposing the F35 and even a successful anti F35 voter referendum which was adopted by the public, the state’s elected political leadership chose to ignore the outcome.

But it wasn’t until retired Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco was reading through a 68,000 heavily redacted Air Force document related to the lawsuit that she discovered vague references about the F35 carrying nuclear bombs.

Researching further, Greco who has thirty years of intelligence experience with the highest security clearances, is a specialized expert in nuclear weapons and arms control and a member of the US START delegation, confirmed the stunning news that the F35 was designed from the outset and had always been intended to carry a nuclear payload as it was to become an integral part of the US nuclear strategy.

Throughout all the furor, the Air Force never informed Vermont residents that the F35 was designed as a dual-capable plane; that is, able to deliver either a conventional weapon or a nuclear weapon or that its new guided bomb, the B61-12 was being specially designed to fit into the F35’s bay.

As if that belated information were not reason enough for the entire State of Vermont to be explosively irate at being lied to by the Pentagon, the state’s elected political leadership has yet to feel the full wrath of a citizenry that has only just begun to realize the consequences of being consistently lied to by its favorite sons. During the entire seven year campaign, both Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy refused to meet with citizens who opposed the F35. In a short, pithy joint statement in 2016, the state’s entire Congressional delegation echoed their support for the F35 being based in Vermont.

And the B61 is one hell of a bomb – its range can be adjusted from .03 kilotons up to 50 kilotons. The bomb that killed 150,000 people in Hiroshima was a 15 kiloton bomb. Greco makes the point that the Green Mountain Boys could now directly initiate on their own ala Dr. Strangelove or participate in a nuclear war as ordered by the President. In addition, Vermont now becomes a central target in any potential conflagration since it is the delivery system that is the target. With no aircraft to carry them, bombs per se are not the target. The Burlington International Airport will now become Ground Zero.

When Greco’s revelations regarding the jets nuclear capability became public, Sanders and Leahy were unwavering in their denials and refutations which have been in direct contradiction with Air Force and DOD statements in the public record.

Consequently the United States will maintain and enhance as necessary, the capability to forward-deploy nuclear bombers…around the world. We are committed to upgrading the DCA with the nuclear-capable F35 aircraft.”
Department of Defense, 2018 Nuclear Posture Review Chapter VII, “Current and Future US Nuclear Capabilities”, p 54

Further, the MIC boasts of a nuclear loaded F35 for its “..combination of accuracy and low-yield make the B61-12 the most usable nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal. This makes using nuclear weapons thinkable for the first time since the 1940s” as if that is a good thing!

Further military assessments suggest “Yet the most dangerous nuclear bomb in American’s arsenal may be the new B61-12.” And that “What makes the B61-12 bomb the most dangerous nuclear weapon in American’s arsenal is it usability.”

State political leaders have been so supportive that former Governor Peter Shumlin traveled to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida came away declaring that “Listening has been a real eye opener. It is surprising how quiet the F35 is.” Noise abatement is a major issue since the F35 is four times louder than the F16’s being replaced and required the destruction of 200 homes identified
as being within the zone that exceeded acceptable decibel level. How nearby public school students or at the nearby college will be expected to learn and concentrate in an environment unfit for residential habitation remains to be seen.

During a 2016 campaign debate in which F35 supporters cited the local Air Guard’s efforts after the 911 attack, Burlington Mayor Milo Weinberger, another politically elite F35 supporter responded that “They flew over an area already devastated by a terrorist action. I don’t believe they stopped a single thing from happening.” Without meaning to, his comments raise a valid question about why the Pentagon funds local Air National Guard unit other than as a glorified jobs program.

In justifying his support in 2016, Sanders said it was not the plane but the jobs and economic advantage of the F35 that he supports. “In the real world, if the plane is built … and if the choice is if that goes to Vermont … South Carolina or Florida. What is your choice as a United States Senator?” he asked. “And that’s what the Vermont National Guard wants, and that means hundreds of jobs in my city. That’s it.”

Sanders claim that the project will add 1,100 new jobs to the Airport is fraudulent, according to Greco who says that with departure of the F16s’, there will be a one for one swap with the previous F16 employees being trained on the F35s.

The question is when did Bernie and the doddering Sen. Leahy, who apparently was the prime mover and shaker to bring the F35 to Vermont, discover that the F35 would be nuclear capable? And most importantly given his Presidential ambitions, will Bernie lie from the Oval Office to cover up war crimes or create false flag attacks or hide information like the F35 suddenly becoming part of the government’s nuclear deterrence program? Greco says that public records shows that after Vermont was initially explored and dismissed by the Air Force as being an unsuitable location with South Carolina being the preferred location, Leahy personally intervened to bring the F35 to Vermont.

It is inconceivable that the Air Force would keep that level of pertinent information secret from two US Senators who had become its reliably pro- F35 allies while they opposed and deceived the best interests of their own constituents .

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter.

Filed under: empire watch, latest, United States

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Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter.

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A few years ago, the US Air Force was forced to accept transport planes it didn’t want. I forget the name but it was a medium size twin turboprop, something like an Aeritalia 222. The USAF said , we’ve got enough transport planes, we don’t need any, anyway those aren’t big enough for our needs and don’t have the range, they’re no use. But they were told they had to take them anyway because they were produced in a politically important district, to keep some politicians sweet. The USAF said okay, we’ll take half a dozen, we may be able to find some use for them, but we don’t know what. In the end, they were forced to take over 200. They were never used, and just stored gathering dust in hangars at vast expense. In the end, the USAF gave them away free to anyone who would take them. I think Thailand got some.

JPH
JPH

“The F35 was commissioned by the Pentagon in 1995 at a cost of $1.5 Trillion,”
That’s simply not true. The F35 was initially presented as a much lower cost fighter and has ended up as not a real fighter but a stealthy light strike bomber wit rudimentary self defense capability but not really suited for the air superiority role. That initially much lower cost of course should have resulted in a much lower total program cost, but that’s history….. So it was not committed in 1995 at a cost of $1.5 Trillion. The latter is the current (probably still optimistic) cost estimate.

The state of the F-35 program:
https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2019/03/f-35-far-from-ready-to-face-current-or-future-threats/

Given the very limited number of F22 (187 produced and only 120-130 with operational squadrons) the USAF is now considering to buy F15X probably exactly for that air superiority role, but can’t state that explicitly without exposing F35’s lacking capability.

The design concept of having a common baseline and three variants has proved to be a disaster. That was also the lesson of the F111, but alas that lesson got ignored again. The level of commonality proved to be less than worthwhile, while the F35B VTOL properties have negatively impacted the F35A and F35C variants. Performance level of the F35A is at the level of the F105 Thunderchief with added stealth and a optical sensor suite not at the level of currently available pod mounted systems.

mark
mark

Thanks for the 187 figure. I thought it was 138 including prototypes. Only 20 B1s were produced ($2,200 million each), and I think 57 or 59 F117s. These cost literally more than their own weight in pure gold.

Something has gone badly wrong somewhere, when you think of the endless stream of cheap mass produced effective equipment of WW2. Though the UK is the same, with garbage like the SA80, Nimrod AEW and virtually every helicopter and other projects. I suppose you can get away with it if you’re only fighting the 21st century equivalent of Zulus and Fuzzy Wuzzies.

mark
mark

America used to produce some very good aircraft, from the Mustang and B17 to the F15/16/18s of the 70s.
Now all it produces are Flying Turkeys.
The F22 was supposed to involve a production run of over 1,000 aircraft, but it was such an abject failure that the production line was closed down after little more than 100 aircraft. Including prototypes, I think from memory the final figure was around 138. This was just a face saving way of not admitting it was a failure.
The F35 is even worse. This is the mother and father of all turkeys, the Daddy Turkey. The engines don’t work, the cannon doesn’t work, the computers don’t work, the oxygen system doesn’t work. the wings are too small for a fighter. It can’t bomb anything if the opposition involves anything more sophisticated than an Afghan peasant farmer with an AK47. And at around $400 million a pop, the turkeys don’t come cheap.
Canada gave up on this turkey as a bad job, and ordered more F18s instead, that The Turkey was supposed to replace.
This is reminiscent of Luftwaffe history, where new aircraft projects like the Heinkel 177 and Messerschmitt 210 were disastrous abject failures. Albert Speer and Goring eventually gave up on them as a bad job and went on producing obsolete Heinkel 111s and Ju87s till the very end of the war, so that the Luftwaffe at least had something to fight with, however inadequate.
America will probably go down the same path. They are already talking about putting the A10 back into production.
The problem for our point of view is that the multi billion 65,000 ton aircraft carriers, HMS White Elephant 1 and HMS White Elephant 2, that our very own Gavin Williamson is threatening China with, depend upon The Turkey.
Even if it was a rip roaring success, it is so expensive that Gav was planning to mothball one carrier (perhaps he could sell it to China?) and operate the other one with about half a dozen Turkeys instead of an air wing of 50-60 of them.
But I’m sure Our Gav will sort it all out for us.

Paul Spencer
Paul Spencer

It’s good news in some ways. US military hardware design is as incompetent as the corporatocracy’s chosen political leadership. As far as military aircraft, the designers had one moment of insight after WWII: the F16 and F18 were actually adequate for purpose, after Col. John Boyd harangued the Pentagon for decades about the uselessness of multi-purpose aircraft. The Warthog came along during the same time period, although via a different route, and became one of the most useful of all military aircraft – if you are looking for the ‘good’ in such things.

From various accounts in the MSM that US citizens rarely read, it appears that Chinese and Russian engineers have very nearly rendered ‘American’ hardware obsolete before they are even debugged. Of course, the US military maintains a numerical advantage in such devices to overwhelm superior design, which makes everything much more dangerous because, despite the Pentagon’s idea for usable nuclear weapons, the upshot will be that they will have to throw in everything that they have to avoid a loss in the game of war.

wardropper
wardropper

They won’t be mothballing any carriers.
They are actively mothballing us as we speak.

Isaac Parenteau
Isaac Parenteau

Too bad everything you said isn’t true. The F-35 is less than $90 mil a pop. The f-22 was shut down to political reasons. The f-22 is an air superior ity fighter unmatched by anything currently flying. It has been tested and proven. The f-35 had already seen action in both the middle East and by Israel. Israel was able to fly over Iran bomb a facility and fly out without being detected.

Might want to do some research on the current state of the aircraft before spewing misinformation on airplanes you know nothing about.

Grafter
Grafter

The unholy alliance. Politicians and the manufacturers of death technology. As the fearmongering American “defence” industry corrupt and bribe their own people through well paid jobs they are spreading a cancer which may have fatal consequences for all who live on this planet. Those who profit by such an “industry” are becoming fantastically rich and their agenda of fear and perpetual war is vital for continuing with this madness. When will the American people wake up from this nightmare and return their country to a democracy ?….deafening silence.

dhfabian

America does war. This country has remained engaged in wars almost constantly, almost always by choice, for over 100 years. People are awake. There’s just nothing we can do about this, or the rest of the “major items of outrage” on the list. While it goes against everything Americans want to believe, we don’t have the power to change our government’s (both parties) agenda.

wardropper
wardropper

The answer to your question is, never.
The American people cannot remember a time when whatever their higher-ranking politicians wanted – either publicly or behind the scenes, was not for the public good.
It will take at least a generation of cold turkey before they will be able to face themselves, see that they have a problem, or see that they are the problem.
But who is going to administer that cold turkey?
I can’t think of anyone, except, perhaps, the Norwegians…?

intergenerationaltrauma

Bernie is an “anti-war” and “anti-U.S. imperialism” candidate in roughly the same sense that the Guardian, NYT’s and Washington Post are honest, reliable and trustworthy news organizations. Bernie’s shtick which he peddles to America’s young translates essentially to this: (“hey, how about the ‘same old non-stop intelligence propaganda operations AND imperial U.S. foreign policy,’ BUT WITH THE PERK of ‘free college and some healthcare?”). In the Orwellian world of U.S. political discourse this makes Bernie a “progressive” and a “democratic socialist.”

Gwyn
Gwyn

I’d quite like it if the RAF stopped flying over my house on their way to Snowdonia (which they use as a playground) from their base on Anglesey. Noisy buggers. They’re also currently training Saudi pilots there. Which is heartwarming to know.

I’m with the farmer who painted the following words on top of a barn: ”PISS OFF, BIGGLES.”

systemicfraud
systemicfraud

Mixing a civilian commercial transportation facility with a nuclear-capable DOD air facility definitely puts the public at risk. Beyond becoming marked as a target by enemy forces–there is also the possibility weapons could be stolen by enemy forces infiltrating the work force of the civilian airline crew. Obviously, the F-35 jets will have separate facilities–but a military base is fortified and further away from civilians.

The F-35’s (and military jets in general) may also have an unforeseen environmental impact upon the area–many US military airbases have left poisonous chemicals in the ground.

Finally, there is also the possibility the DOD may decide to add more to the mix–will DOD decide to add drones or other jet fighters down the road?

John
John

Bernie isn’t a fraud AOC is a fraud tulsi is a fraud anyone advocating these frauds is also a fraud

John
John

**Bernie is a fraud. God I hate predictive text it’s never accurate

Some Random Passer-by
Some Random Passer-by

@John
The man who invented predictive text died yesterday.

His funfair will be hello on Sundial.

Mikalina
Mikalina

Thank you for my first giggle of the day…….

dhfabian

Sen. Sanders is simply whatever middle class campaign donors want him to be.

Yarkob
Yarkob

sounds like tinkering around the edges. The US has the largest nuclear arsenal on earth. Nothing to do with (war hawk) Bernie. We need to be challenging US nuclear doctrine,. not worrying about whether or not some Vermontians were “lied” to about nuclear bombs..speak to the residents of Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Greenham about being lied to re nuclear bombs

Michael McNulty
Michael McNulty

It often can’t fly in the rain nor if the fuel gets too hot as it passes close to the engine, so the F-35 isn’t so much a Lightning, more of a…Lights out. They could replace it with the F-22 but seeing as how that plane doesn’t provide oxygen to the pilot it’s not so much a Raptor, more of a…Rupture.

Instead of developing a multi-role aircraft that can’t perform any, it would have been cheaper to develop three new aircraft with one specific role that each could excel at: fighter, bomber and ground attack. With these planes the US will lose an air war against able pilots in reliable aircraft, but I think it means nuclear exchange is more likely because the US will not want 7 billion people watch it lose.

BigB
BigB

Isn’t this the equivalent of a NIMBY (not in my back yard) protest? Doubling as a side swipe at the Bern?

How about an all out campaign for nuclear disarmament? Or a full on anti-war, anti-imperialism, peace protest? There is no real indication that Renee is anti the full-spectrum Americanisation of war …and only a minor indication that she may be anti-nuclear. So, it seems she wants the American imperialist way of life, the false sense of security, and the ersatz wealth stolen from pretty much the entire planet …so long as they don’t actually deploy the F-35s in Vermont?

Well, you know where you can stick that attitude. Roughly.

dhfabian

Realistically, we would have needed to find a way to build a movement that was large enough to be able to push back, similar to what was seen in the 1930s and 1960s.Those in power learned from history, and in recent decades, much work has gone into pitting us against each other (mainly by class and race), to ensure that this can’t happen.

Headlice
Headlice

The effed-35 has a range of about 1000 kms. So from Vermont they might target some Canadian herpes sufferers or some other global power.?

It is a piece of shit. Besides which it is not much more than a bad copy of the Soviet Yak.

Perhaps the UK can rebadge their trove of these useless things the spitpus or the coventry non climax or something.

Gav I’m a tragic fuckstick Williamson could um maybe write a poem about them. Maybe put panic rooms in them or safe spaces with say a comfort pig in them.

The sky is the limit.

Antipropo
Antipropo

They can fly off carriers and in any case will be forward deployed in NATO countries.

Jo
Jo

Norway is supposed to buying 52 of them….at the cost of every other form of defense…..in other words turning Norway into attack mode only……against whom we should ask…..

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum

‘foliage, cheese and maple syrup’ ?
You left out bloodthirsty psychopaths Renee.

harry stotle
harry stotle

‘And most importantly given his Presidential ambitions, will Bernie lie from the Oval Office to cover up war crimes or create false flag attacks or hide information like the F35 suddenly becoming part of the government’s nuclear deterrence program?’ – of course he’ll lie.

Here Bernie tries to spin regime change as the usual bollocks about the US ‘helping people’ (this time in Venezuela).
https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/02/26/bernie-sanders-maduro-venezuela-sot-vpx.cnn

Not a word about how the US (for decades) has used its considerable economic and military might to damage the very communities Bernie now claims he wants to help, while at the same time trotting out myths about the lack of free and fair elections, presumably because the citizens of Venezuela picked a president who is reluctant to kowtow to US corporations who have their beady eyes on Venezuela’s oil.

Such men calculate that enough people will be ignorant of the broader context (ie the evolution of neoconservatism into cryptofascism) typified by an uncritical media, excessive military zeal and transfer of real power from blustering politicians to corporate entities who control them (Hillary Clinton being an exemplar of the type of politician that was bound to emerge once such conditions became commonplace).

At some level wannabe leaders must know that if they deviate too far from the cryptofascists who control America they will probably get the JFK treatment, so at the present time it seems unlikely the US can change for the better from within.

systemicfraud
systemicfraud

Quite a huge difference between 2016 Bernie vs. 2019 Bernie

2016 Bernie spoke out against CIA overthrowing governments and regime change operations–obviously, what is currently happening in Venezuela is a CIA and National Security Council operation.

…but 2019 Bernie only speaks of being against US military intervention in Venezuela…Bernie criticizing US regime change and CIA overthrows apparently is not part of his platform anymore.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4782013/november-2016-bernie-spoke-cias-overthrowing-governments-regime-change

Archie1954
Archie1954

“Forward deploy nuclear bombers”? The US really is the anti Christ! What monsters.

hauptmanngurski

And they wrap their plans of aggression in nebulous language. Forward deploy, our interests, security = Aggressive, corporations fleecing other countries and these countries paying protection for full spectrum dominance, war preparations.

Is it not enough what they have destroyed in the last 18 years? How much more do they need to destroy to feel satisfied?