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Posted October 5, 2006
Utterly implausible explanation for cold-war disaster
At first a compelling but soon unbelievable account of K-129, the Soviet sub whose 1968 loss spurred ¿Project Jennifer¿ salvage endeavor involving ¿Glomar Explorer¿. The authors claim 1) K-129 had been commandeered on the orders of high-ranking Kremlin ideologues to launch her missiles against Hawaii and trigger an American-Chinese war and 2)contrary to reports that ¿Jennifer¿ salvaged only part of K-129, the project was completely successful. ¿Rogue¿ appears well-documented, but few-if-any sources corroborate the authors¿ points ¿ the authors actually spend more time repudiating others claims than substantiating their own, which are themselves nonsensical. The authors base their ¿hijack/attack¿ theory on the presence of about 11 extra men whose existence the authors never corroborate (and given that these men were supposed to have been placed by Politburo, the authors have a built-in explanation that any corroborative records could have easily been altered or destroyed.) The authors claim that the plot was intended to frame Red China, but that would require that the attack appear to be the work of the Chinese. Red China lacked any real SLBM capability until (at the earliest) the 1980¿s, and certainly none of their weapons had the megaton-yield of the warheads on K-129. The authors offer nothing that would have led anybody to believe that K-129 was anything other than a Soviet sub, with a Soviet crew and uniquely identifiable Soviet weapons. The authors claim that K-129 was sunk when the hijacking crewmen incorrectly bypassed launch safeguards and exploded one of the ship¿s missiles - but also suggest that the hijackers were special KGB troops who had access to nuclear weapons, raising the question of why such hijackers would need to bypass anything, or why such a possibility (with its risk of exposure) hadn¿t been factored into by the plotters. While making a good case for a missile explosion, the author¿s leap to missile-launch isn¿t supported ¿ undermined by the Soviet record of missile disasters. (A 1961 missile accident killed about 100 people include a red army Marshal, the Soviet moon-landing effort was routinely hamstrung by missile failure Submarine K-219 in 1986 sunk after a fire traced to a missile tube, but is never considered here.) The authors insist that America succeeded in raising the entire hulk of -129, desperate to have some bargaining chip against the Soviets. However, according to the authors, the Americans then desperately and inexplicably hide their prize ¿ likely cutting the sub up for scrap, as if the US had suddenly decided they were more scared to admit they found the sub than the Soviets were to have lost it. These are only the main sticking points of a book that puts about as many demands on your suspension of disbelief as ¿The Philadelphia Experiment¿, one that seems to gain ground mostly on the eagerness of readers to instinctively disbelieve whatever is official or accepted or mainstream, no matter how unreasonable the alternative is.
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Posted December 22, 2011
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