“Wait, what the f*** is that?”
Julien Solomita finally managed to spit that out after two minutes of dumbfounded silence as he recorded an unidentified flying object from a rooftop parking lot in Van Nuys, California on Saturday night.
He had been gathering footage for his video blog when he noticed a strange light in the sky. The light flared several times before developing a tail that expanded into a purple cone. The object then radiated nebulous purple rings and burst into a bright white bullet at the front of a huge white cloud, through which a vivid blue streak trailed across the night sky. Afterward, Solomita said:
“For a brief moment, when the cloud got bigger, I was wondering, ‘Should we run?’ It looked so close.”
His video has been viewed over 6 million times on YouTube. And the phenomenon was seen as far north as San Francisco and as far inland as Utah. Photographer Abe Blair got pictures of it above the San Francisco skyline, with the Golden Gate Bridge and Sutro Tower in view. And Justin Majeczky managed to capture it with time-lapse photography from a similar vantage.
Social media exploded with reports of UFO, comet, or missile sightings.
As the US military confirmed, it was indeed a missile, and a nuclear-capable one too. What everyone saw was a test-fire of a Trident II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a submarine off the coast. The bursts and flare-ups were probably the engine separations of the three-stage rocket.
The Pentagon claimed it was part of “scheduled, ongoing tests.” However, the launch was unannounced, except for being mysteriously foreshadowed the night before when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared that all Los Angeles International airport (LAX) traffic must avoid flying over the nearby waters of the Pacific.
A second test-launch off the west coast was conducted Monday afternoon.
Following the launches, John M. Daniels, spokesman for what amounts to the Navy’s Armageddon Office, stressed that:
“It’s important that we test these missiles for our national security…”
How exactly would it enhance “national security” to test ICBMs in clear view of America’s second-biggest city? A hint was provided when The Los Angeles Times reported that:
“The Navy is considering posting additional photos — and possibly video — of the missile launches after the current exercises are completed, Daniels said, but it has yet to decide.”
This was more a demonstration than a test. That is the only plausible explanation for giving such a public light show.
A demonstration for the benefit of whom? Well it was over the Pacific, across which the US has been playing warship “chicken” with nuclear China in the South China Sea as part of its “Asian Pivot.”
And as Jason Ditz reported, the Pentagon is trying to use tensions with Russia to justify a long-running, “massively expensive plan to revamp the entire US nuclear weapons arsenal.”
Indeed, Daniels admitted to The Washington Post that:
“As a result of doing these operations, it does show any adversary that would wish to do us harm the capabilities that we have…”
Loren Thompson, a military analyst and nuclear strategy expert, thought that the saber-rattling was mishandled:
“You could have demonstrated same point to the Russians or the Chinese without getting people really concerned in L.A. I suspect the Navy underestimated the social media reaction they were going to get.”
Thompson should cure his naïveté by reading some Randolph Bourne. The chief reason that governments wage wars, hot or cold, against foreign enemies is to use the “national emergency” to better dominate domestic enemies: its own subjects.
The unnerving spectacle made its biggest impression on the Americans who saw it first-hand. And they were probably its chief intended audience. “Getting people really concerned in L.A.” is exactly what the regime wanted.
Why else would the government clear the skies to paint them with nuclear war games precisely when and where it would have the biggest audience with the best visibility: near a basin full of people in the most densely populated region in the country, at a time (around 6:00 pm) when it is nice and dark, yet millions would be out and about, returning from work, or heading out to dinner?
This was “Shock and Awe” for domestic consumption: an exercise in missile test terrorism. A spooked herd is an easily steered and stampeded herd. And what better way to spook the American herd than by giving it nuclear nightmares?