Nuclear Bomb in Vieques?

HomeHistoryNavy History


RED ALERT 2: "THE COVER-UP" Noticentro 4 (WAPA TV)

This is the transcript of the first part of the special report RED ALERT 2: "THE COVER-UP", transmitted on Wednesday August 9, 2000, by the News program "Noticentro 4" in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Channel 4, WAPA TV) by news reporter Pedro Rosa Nales.

Part I

FIVE YEARS AGO NOTICENTRO DENOUNCED IN AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT THE COMPLICATED SITUATION LIVED BY THE PEOPLE OF VIEQUES DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF THE NAVY AND THE MILITARY MANEUVERS ON THE ISLAND. DURING THE SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, "RED ALERT", IT WAS ALSO DENOUNCED THAT AN INCIDENT WITH A NUCLEAR BOMB HAD OCCURRED IN VIEQUES DURING THE MID 60’S.

THE HIGH COMMAND OF THE NAVY IN PUERTO RICO CATEGORICALLY DENIED IN 1995 THAT SUCH AN INCIDENT EVER OCCURRED AND COMMENCED A CAMPAIGN TO SUPPRESS AND HARRASS THIS TV STATION AND OUR REPORTER. NOW, AFTER FIVE YEARS OF INVESTIGATIONS, NOTICENTRO HAS FOUND NEW EVIDENCE THAT CONFIRMS THE OCCURRENCE OF THE NUCLEAR INCIDENT AND ITS COVER-UP. LET'S GO TO PEDRO ROSA NALES AND THE FIRST PART OF THE SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT "RED ALERT 2: THE COVER-UP".

ON FEBRUARY, 1995 WE PRESENTED, FOR THE FIRST TIME ON TELEVISION IN PUERTO RICO, THE SHOCKING IMAGES OF THE OCEAN FLOOR IN THE AREA THAT THE NAVY USES FOR WAR GAMES IN VIEQUES, AND THE DAMAGES TO CORAL REEFS AND MARINE SPECIES CAUSED BY THE BOMBS DROPPED BY THE NAVY. WE DENOUNCED THE LARGE AMOUNT OF BOMBS THAT HAVE BEEN LEFT ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN AND ON THE BEACHES -UNEXPLODED BOMBS--, WE ALSO EXPOSED THE FACT THAT THE NAVY USED DEPLETED URANIUM AND NAPALM, AND ALSO THE HIGH INCIDENCE OF CANCER AMONG VIEQUES’ RESIDENTS. BUT CIVILIAN SECURITY GUARD DAVID SANES HAD TO DIE BEFORE THE PUERTO RICANS COULD GAIN AWARENESS OF THE DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE MILITARY EXERCISES. MOREOVER, WE DENOUNCED IN AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT AN INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED IN '66 WITH A NUCLEAR BOMB JUST A FEW MILES OFF THE COAST OF VIEQUES.

------------------------SOUND----------------VOICE FROM THE RED ALERT REPORT FROM 1995:

"While the Vietnam War was at its height, United States Navy aircraft accidentally dropped --near the coast of Vieques-- a nuclear bomb. By chance, the bomb --which power was stronger than that of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki-- did not explode."

THE NAVY’S HIGH COMMAND REACTED WITH ANGER. THEY DENIED, CATEGORICALLY, THE TRUTH OF THE NUCLEAR BOMB INCIDENT AND EVEN RIDICULED THIS REPORTER AND THE LOCAL NEWS MEDIA, CALLING US LIARS.

------------------------SOUND----------------VOICE FROM REPORTER EFREN ARROYO, OF WAPA TV, REGARDING THE 1995 LETTER FROM NAVY ADMIRAL ERNEST CHRISTIANSEN:

"In his letter Admiral Christiansen questions the standards used by the news media in Puerto Rico. Some, considering the sender, could consider it a praise."

AND NOT SATISFIED WITH THAT, ADMIRAL ERNEST CHRISTIANSEN, WHO WAS THEN IN CHARGE OF THE ROOSEVELT ROADS BASE, FILED A COMPLAINT BEFORE THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION REQUESTING THE REVOCATION OF THIS STATION’S LICENSE DUE TO THE TRANSMITAL OF THE INFORMATION ON THE NEWS PROGRAM. EVEN MORE, HE ACCUSED THIS REPORTER OF VIOLATING ESPIONAGE LAWS.

-----------------------------SOUND------------------HON. DAVID NORIEGA, THEN MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN P.R. (1995):

"This is bona fide journalism, why are they trying to apply the Espionage Law which is the product of the Cold War era, and they know is not applicable?"

----------------------------SOUND-------------------DR. RAFAEL RIVERA CASTAÑO, EPIDEMIOLOGIST FROM VIEQUES, MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE RESCUE AND DEVELOPMENT OF VIEQUES (1995):

"The letter from Admiral Christiansen to the Federal Communications Commission is evidence, once again, of the Navy’s efforts to conceal the great danger of its presence and its activities in Vieques and the rest of the Puerto Rican Archipielago."

-----------------------------SOUND------------------HON.DAVID NORIEGA, THEN MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF P.R. (1995):

"A copy of the letter was sent to the U.S. Attorney General in Puerto Rico and to the owners of WAPA, GE Capital. Why? With the obvious purpose of intimidating them."

BUT NOW WE HAVE NEW EVIDENCE THAT PROVES THAT THE INCIDENT WITH THE NUCLEAR BOMB INDEED OCCURRED AND THAT THE NAVY CONCEALED THE INFORMATION. THIS LETTER, THAT WAS A SECRET JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, WAS SENT BY ONE OF THE TOP MILITARY ASSISTANTS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: CAPTAIN F. COSTAGLIOLA, TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ATOMIC ENERGY OF THE U.S. CONGRESS, JOHN T. CONWAY. THIS LETTER UNVEILS THE SHROUD OF SECRECY THAT FOR 34 YEARS CONCEALED THE NUCLEAR INCIDENT IN VIEQUES. THE LETTER, DATED AUGUST 29, 1966, INCLUDES A SUMMARY OF THE OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE INCIDENT AND OF THE SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSION CARRIED OUT BY THE U.S. NAVY TO RECOVER THE NUCLEAR BOMB.

-------------------------------SOUND---------------DR. HERIBERTO TORRES, NUCLEAR PHYSICIST (2000)

"One bomb, even one of the smallest ones developed during that period in history, that detonates in that place, would have affected Puerto Rico and not only Puerto Rico, I believe that the United States as well."

TOMORROW [AUG. 10] WE WILL LEARN THE FACTS DESCRIBED IN THE REPORT. THE FACTS WILL SHOW HOW A NAVY AIRCRAFT HAD AN ACCIDENT AND DROPPED A NUCLEAR WEAPON NEAR THE COAST OF VIEQUES AND WE WILL SEE HOW THE NAVY CONDUCTED A RESCUE MISSION USING TRAINED DOLPHINS --DOLPHINS FROM THE THEN TOP SECRET MARINE MAMMAL PROGRAM. IN SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, PEDRO ROSA NALES, NOTICENTRO 4.

Part II

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN OFFICIAL REPORT, RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED, OF THE INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED ON JUNE 30, 1966 IN THE AREA THAT THE U.S. NAVY USES FOR MILITARY MANEUVERS IN WHICH A TEST BOMB WITH NUCLEAR CHARACTERISTICS FELL FROM AN A4C NAVY AIRCRAFT. THE REPORT REVEALS THAT THE NAVY WAS GOING TO DROP THE BOMB AT THE SIMULATED AIRFIELD INSIDE THE BOMBING RANGE ON THE EASTERN TIP OF VIEQUES AND THAT THE BOMB ACCIDENTALLY FELL INTO THE SEA DUE TO MECHANICAL MALFUNCTIONING OF THE DEVISE THAT FIRES AIRPLANE’S BOMBS. BUT, WAS THIS REALLY A NUCLEAR BOMB? NOTICENTRO SENT A COPY OF THIS REPORT TO A SPECIALIST IN NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND MILITARY WEAPONS WHO IS VERY WELL KNOWN IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. HE COOPERATED WITH THIS INVESTIGATION UNDER THE CONDITION OF ANONYMITY BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID OF RETALIATION BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. I WILL CALL HIM DR. X.

----------------------SOUND----------------DR. X, NUCLEAR SCIENTIST: "Absolutely. It’s a non-conventional weapon. I think that it had Uranium 238. But definitely it was a non-conventional weapon."

FOR ALMOST TWO MONTHS THE BOMB WAS LOST AT A SHORT DISTANCE FROM THE COST OF PUNTA ESTE RISKING THE LIVES OF ALL THE HUMAN BEINGS WHO LIVE IN THIS PART OF THE CARIBBEAN. DR. HERIBERTO TORRES WAS IN CHARGE OF THE NUCLEAR ENERGY PROGRAM IN PUERTO RICO. CURRENTLY HE WORKS IN THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO.

----------------------SOUND-------------------DR. HERIBERTO TORRES, SPECIALIST IN NUCLEAR ENERGY:

Dr. Heriberto Torres: "It's incredible to attempt to make a nuclear test in the atmosphere. It is possible that they wanted to drop a bomb without its combustible elements."

Pedro Rosa Nales (Reporter): Did they expect the bomb to detonate? Dr. Heriberto Torres: "That is totally incredible. I see that as something impossible, because one bomb, even one of the smallest ones, if it detonates in that place it was going to affect Puerto Rico and not only Puerto Rico but also the United States."

IN THE SEARCH FOR THE BOMB 13 SURFACE VESSELS PARTICIPATED, 7 OF WHICH WERE MINESWEEPERS AND 2 UNDERWATER RESEARCH VESSELS. ONE OF THE VESSELS WAS, THE ASHERAH. DOZENS OF DIVERS FROM THE MILITARY AND THE CIA ALSO PARTICIPATED. THESE WERE JOINED BY A GROUP OF DOLPHINS FROM THE THEN TOP SECRET NAVY MARINE MAMMAL PROGRAM THAT WERE TRAINED BY DR. MICHAEL GREENWOOD AND HIS WORK GROUP WHO WORKED AT LOCATING BOMBS AND CARRYING OUT OTHER MILITARY MISSIONS. AT THAT TIME THE NAVY’S DOLPHIN PROGRAM WAS SECRET AND WAS GROWING AS A RESULT OF THE COLD WAR AGAINST THE SOVIET UNION. THE REPORT CONFIRMS THAT THE SEARCH MISSION WAS COMPLICATED DUE TO THE CORAL REEFS AND THE SPONGES ON THE OCEAN FLOOR. IRONICALLY, IT WAS ALSO DIFFICULT DUE TO THE LARGE AMOUNT OF PIECES OF METAL DEBRIS PRESUMABLY FROM OTHER BOMBS, OF THE CONVENTIONAL TYPE, THAT HAD BEEN DROPPED IN THE PAST BY THE NAVY.

---------------------SOUND--------------DR. X, NUCLEAR SCIENTIST:

"What this proves is that the Navy had the intention to test a bomb in Vieques to see what would happen. The other thing is that the report says that the bomb did not detonate, right? Which means that it had explosives inside, they were probably conventional explosives to see what would happen when the bomb was dropped. The Navy was definitely conducting a test."

THE BOMB WAS FOUND BY THE UNDERWATER VEHICLE ASHERAH SOME 2 MILES NORTHEAST OF PUNTA ESTE, IN OTHER WORDS AT 6 MILES FROM ITS ORIGINAL TARGET. THE REPORT EMPHASIZES THAT THE BOMB DID NOT EXPLODE, THAT ITS CENTRAL BODY WAS INTACT BUT THAT FRAGMENTS OF THE BOMB WERE FOUND SCATTERED WITHIN A 300 FOOT DIAMETER. IT WAS TAKEN OUT OF THE WATER ON AUGUST 20TH AT 7:45 AT NIGHT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS FOUND AT 5:42 IN THE MORNING. TWO DAYS AFTER THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE WEAPON WERE SENT TO THE ROOSEVELT ROADS BASE AND THEN, ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, THEY WERE TAKEN TO THE MAIN NUCLEAR WEAPONS LABORATORY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, THE SANDIA BASE IN NEW MEXICO. TOMORROW [FRIDAY, AUGUST 11] WE WILL KNOW THE DETAILS OF THE COVER-UP BY THE AUTHORITIES. IN SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT PEDRO ROSA NALES, NOTICENTRO 4.

Part III

ON MAY 8 1995, SENATOR EUDALDO BAEZ GALIB ASKED THE PUERTO RICO SENATE FOR AN INVESTIGATION OF THE INCIDENT IN 1966 WITH AN ALLEGED NUCLEAR WEAPON IN VIEQUES. THE RESOLUTION WAS APPROVED AND THE SENATE FEDERAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE WAS ASSIGNED THE TASK OF INVESTIGATING THE MATTER.

-----------SOUND-------------------------------SENATOR EUDALDO BAEZ GALIB, PUERTO RICO SENATE:

"And that was a formal and official matter that ended in nothing because the U.S. Navy did not cooperate at all. On the one hand, they now have to admit that they lied. On the other hand, they owe an explanation to the people of Puerto Rico about what consequences that bomb could have had when the report itself indicates that fragments of the bomb were found scattered. What effect could that have had on the ecology of Vieques and on the general situation in that area."

THE SENATE HAD THE SAME LUCK AS THE MAYOR OF VIEQUES AND THE MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY OF VIEQUES, WHO REQUESTED OFFICIAL EXPLANATIONS AND RECEIVED NONE. FROM THE START, THE NAVY KEPT THE INCIDENT IN VIEQUES SECRET, AN INCIDENT WHICH TOOK PLACE 5 MONTHS AFTER THE NUCLEAR INCIDENT WHICH OCURRED IN PALOMARES, SPAIN.

[Description of reporter Pedro Rosa Nales about the nuclear accident in Palomares, Spain in January of 1966] THE INCIDENT WITH THE BOMB IN VIEQUES AND THE USE OF TRAINED DOLPHINS IN THE UNTIL RECENTLY SECRET NAVY MARINE MAMMAL PROGRAM HAS BEEN MENTIONED IN OTHER MEDIA. THIS INTERNET WEBSITE DEDICATED TO DOLPHIN ENTHUSIASTS PUBLISHED THE ARTICLE "THE PENTAGON'S DEADLY PETS" WHICH HIGHLIGHTS THE MISSION WITH DOLPHINS TO SEARCH FOR THE NUCLEAR BOMB THAT WAS LOST IN VIEQUES. THE ARTICLE STATES THAT, ACCORDING TO A SOURCE THAT WAS PART OF THE CIA'S DOLPHIN RESEARCH PROGRAM, THE PENTAGON DID NOT INFORM OF THE ACCIDENT IN VIEQUES IN ORDER TO AVOID ALARMING PUBLIC OPINION AND SO AS NOT TO AFFECT THE IMAGE OF A PROGRAM THAT WAS SUPPOSEDLY FAIL-PROOF. NOW, THE SENATE IS CHARGING BACK AND THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS TO ANSWER.

-------------SOUND-------------------------------SENATOR EUDALDO BAEZ GALIB, PUERTO RICO SENATE:

"If they come back and refute this again or if they come back with their fictitious excuses like they did last time, then I have one of two options. I would have to request from the Senate of Puerto Rico that it defend its honor and its pride which were disregarded back then by the Navy. And number two as Chairman of the Democratic Party in Puerto Rico, I would have to request from the leaders of the Democratic Party in Congress that they intervene in this matter because this is not child's play. We are dealing in this historic moment in particular with an issue of vital importance, not only for Puerto Rico but also for the United States because this is an issue that could affect the international relations of the United States if it is determined that there was a violation of the treaty, which had been signed, which prohibits nuclear weapons."

THE LEGISLATOR RECENTLY SENT A FORMAL REQUEST FOR AN INVESTIGATION OF THE INCIDENT TO PRESIDENT CLINTON. HOWEVER, THE NAVY THROUGH CAPTAIN MIKE BRADY OF THE HEADQUARTERS IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA ISSUED THIS BRIEF STATEMENT IN WHICH THEY ADMIT FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT THE INCIDENT DID OCCUR IN VIEQUES IN 1966 BUT CLAIM THAT THE BOMB WAS NOT NUCLEAR.

---------------SOUND----------------------CAPTAIN MIKE BRADY, ATLANTIC FLEET COMMAND IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA:

"The allegation concerning a nuclear weapon is completely false. It is an obvious lie intent on discrediting the Navy. What was dropped and recovered in 1966 was a training device which contained no nuclear material."

THE CLAIM BY THE NAVY RAISES NEW QUESTIONS. WHY THE DEPLOYMENT OF SO MUCH PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE SEARCH? WHY DID THEY SEND THE BOMB TO THE GOVERNMENT'S PRINCIPAL LABORATORY FOR ATOMIC ENERGY, IN SANDIA BASE? WHY WAS THE INCIDENT CONCEALED AS A NATIONAL SECRET FOR OVER 30 YEARS? WHY IS THE SPECIFIC BOMB TYPE STILL SECRET? WHY WAS THE SECRET REPORT SENT TO THE JOINT COMMITTE ON ATOMIC ENERGY OF THE U.S. CONGRESS? AND WHY DID THE ATOMIC ENERGY DEPARTMENT ITSELF CLASSIFY THE ACCIDENT AS NUCLEAR? IN THE PAST THE NAVY HAD DENIED THAT THEY STORED NUCLEAR BOMBS IN PUERTO RICO, BUT RECENTLY THEY HAD TO ADMIT IT. THEY DENIED THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM IN VIEQUES AND LATER HAD TO ADMIT IT. THEY ALSO DENIED THE USE OF NAPALM, AND LATER HAD TO ADMIT IT. THEY HAD DENIED THE EXISTENCE OF THE PROGRAM TO TRAIN DOLPHINS FOR MILITARY MISSIONS AND ADMITTED IT A FEW YEARS AGO. THEY ALSO DENIED THE INCIDENT IN VIEQUES AND NOW THEY HAD TO ADMIT IT. IN SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, PEDRO ROSA NALES, NOTICENTRO 4.