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{SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1}The Tybee Island Bomb CD was prepared for ASSURE (American Sea Shore Underwater Recovery Expedition) and TybeeBomb (dot) com by Don Moniak, of Aiken SC; who has investigated the U.S. nuclear weapons since 1996. The CD is self contained in one application. Adobe Acrobat (pdf), meaning less likelihood of disruptions by switching between applications. Buyers must have at least Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 to use this. This is free read software found at http://www.adobe.com. A copy of the installation software that suits your computer can also be provided at no extra cost as part of the CD, upon request. The intent of this CD is informational and educational. It is to provide, in one place, information from the public domain that is not necessarily very public and that serves as basic information useful for laypersons, researchers, and writers alike. Anyone with a desire to understand the military strategy of our times has the right to do so, because Freedom of Information about government activities is a right. Nukes are the most powerful weapons in history, and the lumping of biological and chemical weapons with nuclear weapons is more of an effort towards bureaucratic efficiency than it is logical. Nobody can wear a mask or be vaccinated against the nearby effects of a nuclear detonation, explosives so powerful that eventual dismantlement of the weapons is an assumption---though it is never a given because the possession of a "nuclear deterrent" requires actual plans and willingness to use it. This is obvious in the literature, as the architects of surety are equally responsible for insuring detonation upon authorization as they are for preventing unauthorized energy from triggering the chain leading to a reliable nuclear explosive yield. The concept of strong-link and weak-link in this field is as far from a game as one gets.

The literature contained in this disk includes both the historic and the modern. Little of it is written at an 8th grade level, and the National Nuclear Security Administration DOE's black-tied nuclear weapons sub-bureaucracy-- has no website for kids. Neither is it dense and impenetrable after all, the authors wrote for recognition among their peers, and bad writing does not warrant recognition or prestige. In addition, many of the authors must possess strong written communication skills, since they are often the same people responsible for making sure bombs do not go off accidentally or as a result of sabotage. So not only is there historic and modern accounts of the thermonuclear bomb that was lost off the coast of Georgia in 1958, near the beaches of Tybee Island; there is also an abundance of often obscure, insightful government sponsored reports. These reports are seldom featured on the home pages of the government agencies involved, those sites are for the third, fourth, and fifth hand fluffy translations and interpretations. The literature was selected to provide a primer on how nuclear weapons work, but that is a light year or two from making them. Most people could not successfully build a pipe bomb with a good set of instructions, let alone a complex device like an atomic bomb. Those who seek to make nuclear weapons outside of the confines of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty are willing to steak and kill for the information; and certainly are willing to send their best and brightest to American and French Universities featuring nuclear engineering departments.

 The emphasis on government literature is to provide source documents because reading from the source has an entirely different impact than reading a second hand interpretation or a massaged news release. These are government officials and contractors writing for each other and speaking to each other in ways they seldom relate to the public or our elected officials. Or, as I say, if you read what they write for us you'll be in the dark, but if you read what they write for each other you might be enlightened." Along those lines, memos are the prime currency of the muckraker.

If you are seeking a range of opinion, there is a file of home pages that provide a starting point for the work of several dozen non governmental organizations who focus on nuclear issues. Contrary to the opinions of yellow journalists, many are not anti- nuclear, merely anti-stupid. The memos, reports, letters, and presentations herein were largely paid for with American tax dollars, part of the $6,000,000,000,000 (Six Trillion Dollar) cost to date of the nuclear arms race in America. The cost of this CD is to cover the cost of the equipment, Internet access, and know-how necessary to extract both the common and the uncommon from the Internet. Whether or not this CD might provide entertainment value is up to the individual. Many people quite justifiably are nauseated at the cold, cruel language of the nuclear weapons culture, if not the actual existence of nuclear weapons of mass death and destruction. One of the ironies of the 40-year Cold War was that it was a truly cold-hearted period in history. It is a curious language, one distant from our normal everyday discourse. For example, the concept of śreliability".can mean that a weapon that is designed to be 10 times more powerful than the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs is considered unreliable if it only explodes at a level five times more destructive. A nuclear fizzle can be 200 times more destructive than the Oklahoma City bomb. Highly notable is how the nuclear weapons industry perfected its own variation of the common refrain: no harm no foul.

 When you hear the words there was no risk posed to the public at any time, that is our public servants claiming that although they violated their own safety rules, there is no need for accountability because nobody got killed, there was no accident, or the accident was not a catastrophe. Los Alamos scientists actually published a report three years ago in which political consequences that threaten the lab's mission are considered on a par with workers being blown to death. When you read government reports extolling their own safety record, be sure to ask what their definition of safe is. 

Is it the absence of a nuclear detonation?

 Is it the absence of killing workers and/or the public mean the safety record is not blemished when a semi moving nuclear weapons loses control during a snowstorm in Nebraska? 

Is it the fact that the nuclear power plant has not had a melt down the reason it has a great safety record? Imagine getting a ticket for running a red light, and then arguing before the judge that this was just an incident or an occurrence not worthy of repercussions because nobody got hurt and there was no collision. Neither the Judge, the observers, or the insurance industry would discover much validity in the argument. But this is how the nuclear industry can publicly extol its superb safety record with a straight face because the criteria for unsafe is often a catastrophe. Fortunately, most of the safety professionals rarely think like their booster colleagues who peddle their opinions to a gullible public. Just read William Nickell's criteria for what constitutes a safety culture and you will get the picture. There is great workplace price in the weapons establishment....otherwise we'd be in a world of hurt. As with all things governmental, you will find the odd paradox of bureaucratic in competency side by side with the highest levels of competency and professionalism. The fact is, every day people go to work in the nuclear weapons complex, the vast majority are fully aware that if they are unsafe they are much more likely to die, and that death can be agonizing and slow or they could, like the technicians at Pantex who must take the high explosives off the primary nuclear explosive, that a big mistake can vaporize them. Nobody wants to die at work. I write all this because this CD is now available at a time when our Government wants to know more and more about us while disclosing less and less about itself. Government agencies are pressured to sanitize their web sites often by opportunistic NGO's who smell a grant opportunity by extolling the locking up of knowledge because it might be of use to a terrorist.  But Rand MacNally Atlases might have more benefits, and at anti-terrorism.com they can find out the specifications of the commercial anti-intrusion devices that company sells to nuclear power plants.

As the U.S. government withholds more and more information from us while conducting increased surveillance of our every move, it becomes harder and harder to learn the truth about the lost nuclear bombs all over the world, of which the Tybee Bomb is the most recognized today. All information contained here originated from the public domain, although some documents are no longer available from government websites that have been sanitized in recent years. While others remain available in the vast private archives of the web, but not on government sites. The removal of documents and the hindering of access has been on the rise since the Los Alamos spy scandal in the late 1990's. Whether or not documents removed from easy public access actually contains sensitive information is unknown. If many documents are mistakenly released to the public domain, the fact that it happened might be publicly disclosed, but the name of the documents and other details are kept secret. And a 200-page document might contain two lines of sensitive information--most people will have no idea of what it might be, and classification experts are notorious for disagreeing. Secrecy has been the hallmark of the nuclear era, but it was adopted to a dangerous extreme during the Cold War, and is returning to that extreme today. The difference is that today we are witnessing the spectacle of once public information suddenly being labeled as sensitive, rather than the typical non disclosure of the past. Thus, anyone with information once considered suitable for public distribution but now tagged as a security risk is in a difficult position. When the Tybee Bomb was jettisoned into the waters near Tybee Island, it was during a wave of accidents and secrecy that inspired great distrust to this day. In hindsight, without a culture of secrecy the nuclear weapons and power industries might have collapsed from their woeful early record. The Tybee bomb was just one of four in the first several months of 1958 alone. During this era, when the Strategic Air Command flew 24 hours a day on high alert, mid-air collisions were inevitable, and bombers damaged by accidents were forced to jettison their nuclear payload. In other cases an accident during take-off or landing that would have been serious without a nuclear bomb in the equation was suddenly news at the highest levels of government, particularly when a plutonium trigger, or pit, caught fire alongside the rest of the burning bomb. There were accidents across the U.S., and around the world.

Can you imagine undertaking your normal day in Mars Hill, South Carolina, and suddenly a bomb that fell from the sky because a bolt failed lands and several hundred pounds of advanced high explosives blast a hole in the ground and shatter your house, and for dessert there is uranium pie and men in white suits with Geiger counters are swarming the place like the Godzilla movie that just came out? Accidents that would incite a media frenzy today were routine in those days. In 1957 alone there was a huge plutonium fire at Rocky Flats plutonium plant in Colorado; a catastrophic explosion of a steel tank containing deadly radioactive waste in the Ural Mountains of Russia, and a nuclear reactor fire in Sellafield, United Kingdom that spread radioactive debris across the landscape. The hazards were so astonishing that the American Insurance Industry took one look at the classified information and has never insured a home or vehicle against radiation accidents or nuclear disaster ever since.

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Revised: September 08, 2003 .