Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Dozen Mystery Objects Suddenly Popped Out Of Hangars At Tonopah Test Range Airport

This suggests that a new fleet of stealthed fighters is becoming operational and we will soon know all about it as well.

This site tracks what is happening through satellite feeds.  Thus we have a set of informed eyeballs.  Of course it is none of our business and what we get to see is what we can expect anyway.

All interesting and good to know...

A Dozen Mystery Objects Suddenly Popped Out Of Hangars At Tonopah Test Range Airport

The base is known to be the shadowy home of aircraft that move from a developmental state at Area 51 and into an operational, but still secretive one.

By Tyler Rogoway 

December 17, 2019

The War Zone


Tyler Rogoway


Tonopah Test Range Airport, located along the northern edge of the sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range, may not get all the pop culture attention that nearby Area 51 gets, but in many ways, it is just as fascinating. It was born out of a program that saw American fighter pilots secretly flying captured MiGs against their fellow aviators. Not long after that program spun-up, the remote installation was greatly expanded to house the F-117 Nighthawk force during the early and deeply classified part of its career. It has since housed the semi-mothballed F-117 fleet following its official retirement more than a decade ago. It was also the original home of RQ-170 Sentinel. Today, the high-security base continues to support a number of secretive programs, as well as testing at the nearby range. Now, highly unusual activity around a dozen hangars at the shadowy installation has been caught on satellite.

The image in question was snapped at around 10:15 AM local time on December 6th, 2019 by one of Planet Labs' PlanetScope satellites that image the vast majority of the earth daily. The three-meter resolution image shows the front row of the southern-most 'canyon' of hangars, which were originally built for the F-117 program, with seemingly identical craft sitting in front or at least protruding out of the hangars. These are also the hangars that appear to house at least one secretive aircraft, which has been spotted peeking out in multiple prior satellite images in the past. But the December 6th image is unique in that we could not find a similar phenomenon after checking hundreds of similar images that span months of time.

It appears that some program was uniquely active that day with a small fleet that makes up the contents of those hangars being involved. 

New Video Offers Sweeping Views Of Secretive Tonopah Air BaseBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone

Censored Craft Near Hangar Appears In Satellite Image Of Secretive Tonopah Test Range AirportBy Tyler Rogoway and Joseph Trevithick Posted in The War Zone

F-117 Spotted Playing Stealthy Aggressor Against F-15s And F-22s Over Nellis RangeBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone

Check Out This Rare Footage Of Red Eagle MiGs At Tonopah Test Range Airport By Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone

New Video Of F-117s Flying Out Of Tonopah Emerges Despite Their Fates Being SealedBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone

It remains unclear exactly what we are seeing in the images. Morning shadows are clearly present, but in our experience with using and examining thousands of the PlanetScope images, objects appear smaller than they are due to the lower resolution, not the other way around. Wings and other appendages on smaller airplanes seem to disappear making them look smaller overall than they actually are. The size of the blobs we see in the image are roughly fighter-sized, which you will see for yourself in a moment.

The question is what type of aircraft are we seeing if indeed that is the case? If they are the elusive unmanned combat air vehicles the USAF won't even acknowledge or RQ-170 Sentinel derivative aircraft, which is quite possible, they could be totally outside of their hangars based on their size. If they are larger aircraft, they could have a good portion of their fuselages sitting forward of the hangar doors. 


One reason for this could be to establish and troubleshoot any satellite data-link issues before the aircraft taxi to the hammerhead and then depart. Advanced unmanned aircraft, in particular, which don't need to even rely on operators located at the same bases from which they fly, would put a premium on checking out their beyond-line-of-sight data-links before heading out toward the runway. Other potential explanations exist, as well. For instance, maybe this is how they are fueled, although a dozen fuel trucks fueling aircraft at the same time seems highly unlikely, especially based on historical higher resolution satellite imagery of the facility. Fuel trucks are not an exact fit for what we are seeing here either, but even if that were the case, it means a dozen aircraft of an unknown type were going out on a mission together for one reason or another.

Even the flyable force of F-117 force that still calls the base home is estimated at around four to six aircraft max in size, not nearly a dozen. In addition, the F-117s don't occupy the "Red Hangar" cluster seen here, they use the "White Hangar" cluster to the far north of the ramp. The Blue hangar cluster lies between the two. 

Public Domain

F-117 near the White hangar group decades ago.

A few of the hangars at Tonopah Test Range Airport also hold foreign ground-based threat systems that get used for certain exercises, like Russian-built Scud and SAM missile launchers. But many of those systems are stored in single hangars, not a single system in one hangar, as seems to be indicated in the photo, nor has there ever been the impression that entire rows of hangars are full of these systems. Beyond that, placing single examples of identical systems or near-identical systems in front of each hangar makes little sense, but it is something to consider.

There is has been a substantial amount of activity at the base in the latter half of 2019. Nearly all of the visible daytime activity picked up on satellite occurs on the northern end of the ramp, between the Blue and White hangar clusters. U.S. Special Operations Command's CASA CN-235 transports, similar ones likely operated by private contractors, and other special operations aircraft have a common presence on the ramp in this area. The base is an established testing locale for USSOCOM aviation-related initiatives. The F-117s can also be seen fairly regularly using this ramp area exclusively. As many as four have been seen there at one time in daily satellite imagery, which you can see below. 


An image taken on September 9th, 2019 shows a row of four F-117s sitting across from a pair of special operations transports and what is likely an Army Black Hawk, which also have a presence in this part of the ramp from time to time.

The F-117s seen in this image also provides good context to the size of objects seen in the image in question. As such, they appear to be roughly similar in size, but the mystery aircraft could be substantially larger if they are only sitting partially out of their hangars.

Beyond that, clearly advanced airborne signature testing is conducted out of the northern ramp area. The Air Force's shadowy NT-43A, which goes by the callsign "RAT 55" and is used as an airborne signature measurement laboratory, is a common visitor to this part of the base, as are other airliner-sized testbed conversion aircraft. Read all about RAT 55 in this past piece of mine.

This isn't surprising because, as posited years ago, the flying F-117s are involved with signature control experiments and RAT 55's services are surely used by other more modern, but undisclosed tenants of the base. It's also worth noting C-17s grace the ramp somewhat regularly in this area, as well.


A September 24th, 2019 image showing two airliner derivative aircraft and what appears to be a C-21 and CN-235 on the ramp between the Blue and White hangars. One is very likely RAT 55, the other may be the 757 F-22 testbed aircraft.

Below is a high-resolution image from March 13, 2019, of the base showing RAT 55, some CN-235s, and what appears to be a group of people watching some sort of flight on the north end of the White hangar section. Also, note all the cars that line the rear of the northwesternmost trio of Blue hangars. It seems these are used constantly for SOCOM operations and assets. 


High-resolution image taken on March 12, 2019. It's worth noting that the reconstruction of some of the base's operating surfaces has largely been completed now. When this was taken construction was deeply underway. The rumors of some huge expansion of the base are false. Like any airfield, the runway and movement areas need maintenance and rehabilitation. The only new taxiway area is the small cutout on the northernmost taxiway that stops abruptly. It is likely used for engine runs.

But once again, the activity between the White and Blue hangar sets occurs in broad daylight, this is far less the case farther south on the base. With this in mind, whatever we are seeing in the image in question made a somewhat rare daytime appearance.


Tyler Rogoway @Aviation_Intel

Rare shot of an F-117 rolling out from the canyons and toward the gated taxiway at Tonopah Test Range Airport. It's funny, the hangar right to the rear right-hand side of the F-117's tail is the where this mystery craft popped up on Google Earth recently:  
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24495/censored-craft-near-hangar-appears-in-satellite-image-of-secretive-tonopah-test-range-airport …

As for any major exercises that may have been related to this occurrence, the Air Force Weapon's School's capstone exercise was underway the week after, but it could have begun sooner. Cutting-edge tactics and systems are often part of this highly complex undertaking that makes heavy use of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) and its many assets, some of which are extremely shy. F-117s appeared to provide support for the exercise in the adversary role the following week, but once again, the hangars of interest are not where the F-117s live nor are there a dozen of them flying regardless.

With all this in mind, whatever is calling that row of hangars home remains a mystery—one that keeps surfacing and growing. Historically, Tonopah has proven itself as the natural place where secret aircraft migrate to after being in an experimentation and development state at Area 51. At Tonopah, they move to a semi-operational and even fully operational state while still remaining under a cloak of secrecy. We saw this with the F-117 and the RQ-170.

With this in mind, are we seeing a force of unmanned combat air vehicles, stealth helicopters, or even a manned spy aircraft that has existed in the black for many years, or something totally different? We just don't know, but this image serves as an additional reminder that a pocket fleet, or pocket fleets, of secret aircraft, may very well be living in the shadows at Tonopah.

In fact, we would be amazed if that wasn't the case.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com

US Official Gold Reserves Auditor Caught Lying

First off, over a decade ago, i satisfied myself regarding the feasibility of substantially displacing gold directly with tungsten.  This provided a plausible methodology that could easily be used to steal the majority of the gold.  My interest in this was based on my continuing observation of the gold market from the late 70's through to 2000 in particular.  I had come to the conclusion that the USA was selling off its gold stores into the open market during this time period.

The tungsten method provided a plausible route for an agency independent of the USA government to actually steal this gold.

Now this provides us with continuity of custody that would have allowed exactly this event to take place. Of course the folks involved were all CIA who by then had firm control of the Presidency under Bush and Clinton who likely did not need to know either.  Of course the auditor knows exactly what the story happens to be and is likely on a death watch now.

1990's Arclein Conjecture:  Most of the gold in USA storage has been sold into the open market during the Bush and Clinton administrations.  

Trump does not know this in particular.

All the gold will need to be completely remelted and recast into much smaller standard sized ingots as the Chinese chose to do once they got wise to the problem.  I suspect other holders are also quietly remelting their gold in order to confirm amount.  That is also why it took so long for the Germans to regain possession of their own gold.

US Official Gold Reserves Auditor Caught Lying

Wed, 12/18/2019

Submitted by Jan Nieuwenhuijs of Voima Gold

In my previous post, from March 2018, on the audits of US official gold reserves, I have exposed that during the audit procedures of the US official gold reserves from 1974 through 2008, repeatedly audit staff deviated from the auditing protocol, while internal control meant to prevent this was failing. Many audits and assay reports have been destroyed. For decades a significant share of the metal was excluded from verifications for no apparent reason. And, the US government went to great lengths in withholding information and spreading false information about the audits, among other findings in documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. All in all, these findings made me question the integrity of the auditor.

After my last publication, I have obtained more documents from the US Treasury through FOIA requests, which expose another falsehood that puts the auditor in an even more peculiar position. In conflict with the audit protocol, the permanent seals of the vault compartments have been broken, time and again. In addition, the auditor has lied about these events, and when confronted, it’s unable to explain its actions. By now, I have lost faith in the auditor fully.


It’s been a very long investigative journey that has led me to make bold statements, such as the ones above, about the auditor of the world’s largest gold holding. I wouldn’t claim anything of this magnitude if I didn’t thoroughly do my homework and research every single possibility that could have caused the auditor to have accidentally spread inaccurate material, including asking the auditor for an explanation.

If any of their statements appeared to be false, surely, they would be able to explain what I was missing. The head auditor said during a congressional hearing in 2011 (source video 42:50):
Transparency is our business.
Who would disagree? The US official gold reserves, weighing over 8,000 metric tonnes, deserve nothing less than an accurate audit.

My journey started in 2014, when I first discovered—in contrast to what I was accustomed to reading on blogs and in newspapers—that the US official gold reserves are audited every year. I published an article on my discoveries, titled A First Glance At US Official Gold Reserves Audits, which was basically a summary of all publicly available documents about the audits. Logically, these documents present a narrative that looks to be credible at the surface, but I found some questions left unanswered, and wrote in my article “this post will be part one of a series.” (Little did I know what I got myself into.) Given the importance of the subject, I intended to submit FOIA requests at the US government, in an open-minded attempt to have my concerns removed.

Since 2014 I have been prosecuting the US government. I have emailed staff of all related institutions—the US Treasury, The Office of Inspector General of the Treasury, the US Mint, and National Archives—that were initially replied, but as I got closer to the details, ceased altogether. I have submitted several dozen FOIA requests to all related institutions, some of which were honored, some not. In search of answers, I repeatedly called the Inspector General. In one of those calls, my contact simply hung up while I was talking. This incident is emblematic of this whole investigation.

On one occasion, the Mint wrote me a specific FOIA request would cost $3,145 “based on an estimate of 1,200 pages of responsive documentation and the duplication costs associated with the requested documents. This estimate also includes 40 hours of estimated search time and 8 hours of estimated review time…” The costs seemed outrages to me, but I got financed through a crowdfunding campaign and paid the Mint. A few months late(r), I received 223 redacted pages that contained 68 pages of reports I didn’t ask for and 21 pages that were copied twice. Effectively, I got 134 pages for $3,145. After some pressure on the Mint, they agreed the costs had been estimated too high, and I got the full amount refunded. (And I ordered my crowdfunding platform to refund all my donors.) The barrier of the costs was used to keep me at bay. To no avail, instead, I got some essential pages in my possession.

In total, I have written nine articles to inform my audience about the developments (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIX). After the last one, which was a comprehensive overview of every piece of information I had found (published on March 28, 2018, at the BullionStar website), a reply to another FOIA request came into my mailbox. I received a document that irrefutable reveals a lie by the auditor.

Today’s article is about this falsehood, and numerous other false statements by the auditor, that all have one thing in common: they hide the fact that most vault compartments have been re-opened multiple times after being put under permanent seals, which were meant to prevent re-opening of the doors. Upon request, the auditor provided me one argument for these actions—the “re-opening” of compartments. Alas the argument is in conflict with another statement by them, made under oath, so the auditor still stands as unable to answer a critical question.

Unfortunately, and contrary to how it could have been done, the entire audit process from 1974 until 2008 is extremely complicated. The account below is simplified—I can’t discuss every detail in every article—but for the ones that want to know the details I have added external sources (in parentheses with hyperlinks), which can be used to cross-check my statements. (Also, you can read my previous posts, and if anything is still unclear, I invite anyone to ask me to expand on my conclusions in the comment section below this article. I’m willing to substantiate any findings—as one should when making bold claims.)

Let’s start with some background information, and then we will discuss the heart of the matter.


The US official gold reserves are the largest globally at 8,134 metric tonnes (owned by the US Treasury). Although this gold does not back the US dollar at a fixed parity as it did before 1971, it does provide essential support as a final backstop to the dollar and thus credibility to the present world reserve currency.

The majority of the gold is located at the US Mint depository at Fort Knox. Smaller amounts are stored at US Mint depositories in Denver and West Point. Aggregated this metal is referred to as Deep Storage gold and is captured within 42 sealed vault compartments. The remainder is at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

When the audits commenced in 1974, the protocol designed was simple (page 534). The following excerpt is from the first auditing committee:
In performing the audit, the gold bars are physically moved from one vault compartment to another. During this operations [sic], the melt numbers and the number of bars in each melt are verified with an inventory listing, and one in fifty melts is randomly selected for weighing and test assay.
One melt averages about twenty bars cast from one crucible of molten gold.

The audit protocol follows that “these actions, having once been performed by an authorized committee, in accordance with established procedures, will not have to be repeated as long as the assets verified remain under an unimpaired joint seal.” Compartments physically verified were placed under Official Joint Seal (OJS) to “avoid the necessity of verifying all assets in each annual or special settlement (audit).” The US Treasury pledged to do a “periodic, cyclical inventory” to “ensure that about 10 percent of the gold” was physically inspected annually, eventually to have audited “all the gold for which the US government is accountable” “by 1984.” The essence of the “established procedures” was to open, audit and seal each compartment once. We will return to this fundamental topic later on.

Since the stated purpose of joint sealing was to avoid the need of “re-audits,” all the gold could (after 1984) be verified by simply checking if the seals were unimpaired. Great intentions, but this is not what happened.

The current auditor of the US monetary gold is the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). Representing the OIG, Eric M. Thorson attended the congressional hearing for the Gold Transparency Act (not enacted) that was initiated by Ron Paul in 2011. Mr. Thorson’s testimony at the hearing serves as the official statement by the government on the audits. Having weighed his words carefully, Thorson spoke under oath:
… 100 percent of the U.S. Government’s gold reserves in the custody of the Mint has been inventoried and audited. … I can say that without any hesitation, because I have observed the gold and the security of the gold reserves myself.

… the Committee for Continuing Audit of the U.S. Government-owned Gold [The Committee that started the audits] performed annual audits of Treasury’s gold reserves from 1974[*] to 1986. … by 1986, 97 percent of the Government-owned gold held by the Mint had been audited and placed under joint seal. So once you have done that, and that seal remains unbroken, then I am not sure what other benefit there would be to going back into it at that point. …

Since 1993, when we [OIG] assumed responsibility for the audit, my office has continued to directly observe the inventory and test the gold. In fact, my auditors signed the official joint seals … placed on those compartments, inventoried and tested in their presence. At the end of Fiscal Year of 2008, all 42 compartments had been audited by … the Committee for Continuing Audit of the U.S. Government-owned Gold, or my office, and placed under official joint seals.
Thus, in summary:
  • From 1974 until 1986, 97 percent of the gold at the Mint had been verified by the Committee for Continuing Audit.
  • In 1993 the OIG became responsible for the audits, and by 2008 all compartments had been verified and sealed.
The conclusions we derive from Thorson’s testimony:
  • From 1987 until 1992, there were no audits.
  • From 1993 until 2008, the remaining 3 percent of the gold was verified.
Thorson doesn’t mention anything about vault compartments having been re-opened.

The Problem

First of all, the OIG did not assume responsibility for the audits since 1993, but since 1982 as disclosed in one of the few documents that survived the 1980s (page 2).
Effective October 1, 1982, the Internal Audit Staffs of BGFO and the United States Mint [Committee for Continuing Audit] were reorganized under the Department of the Treasury, Office of the Inspector General [OIG].
Ever since the OIG became part of the audits in 1982, exactly what was not supposed to happen, did happen: vault compartments that had been physically verified and sealed were re-opened. Read with me, from the 1986 audit report regarding the Fort Knox (page 8) and Denver (page 9) depositories:

For some reason, starting in 1983, “re-audits” were performed over 1,929 tonnes “in accordance with the plan approved by the Treasurer.” However, in 1983, both depositories had already been fully audited, while West Point had not. Why were these compartments re-opened when the protocol stated that, “these actions” (physical verification) “having once been performed … will not have to be repeated as long as the assets verified remain under an unimpaired joint seal”? The OIG can’t explain this to me, and neither can it explain to me what “the plan approved by the Treasurer” was.

What Thorson carefully refrained from mentioning under oath, he mentions in a written statement for the Gold Transparency Act. At the surface, his official testimony seems identical to his written statement, but when I compared both word for word, the latter crosses a topic that’s excluded in the former. Thorson never spoke about this in the congressional hearing (page 45):

From 1987[**] to 1992, the Mint continued to perform an annual inventory and verification of the gold reserves in accordance with its own policies over those compartments that had not been placed under Official Joint Seal…
Note that from the quote above, we learn that the US Mint—mind you, the custodian of the gold—audited the US monetary gold “in accordance with its own policies” from 1987 through 1992. This is arguably like a bank opening its customers’ safety deposit boxes. According to universal auditing principles, a custodian is not authorized to audit its client’s assets. An independent entity should audit custodial gold. This might explain why Thorson failed to mention this in the congressional hearing.
Note also that Thorson writes that the Mint exclusively opened “those compartments that had not been placed under Official Joint Seal.” This is false, and I can prove it.

I have obtained copies of the seals that were placed by the Mint on 5 Deep Storage compartments (together containing 795 tonnes of gold) between 1987 and 1992 (download here). Thorson’s written statement is false, as these compartments had, for a fact, already been verified and sealed, because they were all at Fort Knox and Denver, which were fully audited by 1982. Let’s have a look at one of the seal copies.

We can see the “date sealed” at the top, “July 25, 1990,” and the depository is “Fort Knox, Kentucky.” Thus, Thorson lied to us when he said that the Mint was only verifying “those compartments that had not been placed under Official Joint Seal,” because we know Fort Knox was fully audited, and thus all of its compartments put under Official Joint Seal, by 1982.

We can also see on the seal when this compartment was “sealed previously.” It was in 1976 (underlined in red). Confirming it was a “re-audit.” If it was the first audit, the “sealed previously” date had to be prior to 1974, before any audits were performed.

Last but not least, at the very bottom of the seal, we see a date, “February 16, 1993” (in the red oval), which is when this seal was removed by the OIG (presumably for yet another “re-audit”). More evidence that the OIG must have known what happened to these compartments in between 1987 and 1992. As, removing the seal in 1993 by the OIG, clearly would have shown the history of this compartment. Attentive readers might see a pattern emerging.

From 1993 until 2008, additional compartments were “re-audited.” Thorson, again, did not mention these “re-audits” under oath, but in this specific period, more than 2,000 tonnes*** of gold saw the light of day again. I know through an excel sheet (download here) the OIG sent me in response to a FOIA request. When I asked the OIG for confirmation on how much they audited since 1993 they replied (source):

[Since 1993]…we observed the counting of 246,203 bars, which equates to 81,638,569 FTOs (or 2,539 tonnes).
When I asked my contact at the OIG why thousands of tonnes had been “re-audited” in periods from 1983 until 2008, he replied:

Unfortunately, the OIG stopped responding to my emails by late 2016. Everything had to be submitted through FOIA requests, I was told, which made my investigations take a few years extra.
Notice that the OIG doesn’t mention “the plan approved by the Treasurer,” which at least could have explained the “re-audits” from 1983 until 1986.

An explanation of why so many compartments had been “re-verified (in some cases) was because occasionally vault contents would have to be moved.” However, this argument makes no sense. It is true that since 1974, when the audits started, gold has been moved. Roughly 1,900 tonnes were moved from the New York Assay Office to West Point. But this movement occurred in 1982 before any “re-audits” began. There have been no other substantial movements of gold (read the chapter “Problem 11”).

Additional evidence indicating there hasn’t been any movement of Deep Storage gold comes, ironically, from Thorson. Let’s go back to the congressional hearing with Paul and Thorson in 2011. After Thorson’s testimony, a Q&A follows wherein Paul asks Thorson about the audits from 1974 until 1986, and if it would be “worthwhile to inventory and assay [audit] this portion of the gold” again. Thorson replies that would be unnecessary because (39:00):
. . . there is no movement. Those doors aren’t opened. There is nothing there that can happen. Because once those doors are sealed … it’s very obvious if those seals are ever broken. … There is no movement. Those doors are not opened.
A strange thing to say, for Thorson, as this is exactly what he was continuously doing: re-opening the compartment doors. With this statement, Thorson confirms that any compartment should never have been re-opened. Not only is this what happened time and time again, but it also started precisely from the moment Thorson’s department (OIG) became involved with the audits in 1983.

In trying to think of any legitimate reason why compartments have been re-opened, ever, I decided to submit a FOIA request for the audit protocols that prevailed after 1992. Maybe the audit approach had changed? If the OIG can’t explain it to me, maybe I can find the answers in some documents? What if I’m still missing something?

Eventually, I received the Mint’s 2005 audit directive that shows us whenever a compartment has been “verified. . . the annual verification [i.e., audit] will be limited to inspection of the Seals.” Put differently: once physically verified the doors remain closed (from page 11):

Makes sense as this auditing approach matches the one from the 1970s. Like Thorson said during the congressional hearing in 2011: “So once you have done that [physical verification], and that seal remains unbroken, then I am not sure what other benefit there would be to going back into it at that point. . . . There is no movement. Those doors are not opened.” (Note in the quote above that “An OIG Representative must be present for any subsequent opening.” The issue isn’t whether it’s possible to re-open a compartment. Gold inside a compartment that can never be opened again has no value. You might as well put it in a rocket a blast it into the sun. The point is that barring legitimate reasons to re-open a compartment (e.g., selling the metal inside), they should remain closed.)     


Altogether, the vast majority of Deep Storage vault compartments have been re-opened for dubious reasons. (For exact data on “re-audits,” see my article “Audits Of US Monetary Gold Severely Lack Credibility.”)

After years of prosecuting, these are the facts as they lay in front of us:
  • Under oath, the auditor, Thorson, carefully avoided the subject of “re-opening” compartments.
  • In another written statement, the same auditor lied about the subject of “re-opening” compartments.
  • When this auditor was asked for an explanation regarding the “re-opening” of compartments, it could only muster an unfitting one.
I find it astonishing that all falsehoods the auditor (OIG) has spread have in common that they hide the fact compartments have been “re-opened.”

My investigation concerns the audits, which appear to have been executed with an inadequate degree of integrity. Accordingly, there should be a new audit authorized by Congress, which, incidentally, is also the opinion of former US Mint Director Edmund C. Moy (see tweet below).

@HereTizz @EdmundCMoy @KoosJansen a "qualitative" audit where Dr. Ron Paul selects a bar randomly for assay? How much would that cost?
@NotoriousCLO @HereTizz @KoosJansen Not much but wouldn't satisfy him. IMO there should be a comprehensive audit authorized by Congress.

Naturally, if the OIG or Treasury wants to respond to my findings, that would be more than welcome, and I would be happy to engage with them.


*: The original documents states “1975” but for the sake of simplicity I have changed it into “1974”. Officially, the Committee for Continuing Audit of the U.S. Government-owned Gold started in 1975, but because they accepted the audit performed in 1974 in their program effectively their program started in 1974.
**: The original documents states “1986” but to improve the readability of this post I have changed it into “1987.”
***: An overview of the “re-audits”:
– From 1983 until 1986, 1,929 tonnes were “re-audited.”
– From 1987 until 1992, 796 tonnes were “re-audited.”
– From 1993 until 2008, 2,296 tonnes were “re-audited.” (By 1986 only 243 tonnes at West Point were not audited. According to the OIG, from 1993 until 2008, 2,539 tonnes were audited. 2,539 minus 243 is 2,296, which is the amount “re-audited” from 1993 until 2008.)

Altogether from 1983 until 2008, 5,021 tonnes have been “re-audited” for unclear reasons.

Why Cruise Lines Keep Cutting Their Ships in Half

 relates to Why Cruise Lines Keep Cutting Their Ships in Half

This is inspiring.   Obviously the ship designers are all planning their ships with this possibility in mind. 

My thought experiment regarding floating oceanic cities can also stand an upgrade as well. The original structure can be built with a stern and bow section each holding the necessary urban amenities and service equipment that nicely supports both the initial compliment of condominium towers. along with the transportation corridor.

That corridor needs to hold six lanes of road traffic as swell as a pair of freight tracks under a pair of light train tracks to move people.  All this can be below the upper deck allowing open promenading.

Such a construct would still be large but not unreasonably so and remain well within current engineering knowledge..  It would still be a large bathtub that would be say two to four blocks long and three blocks wide.  This is a huge build, but  not out of sight either.

Then, once floated to its permanent location, the two halves can be easily cut and separated to allow a new one block long section to be inserted easily. It could even be engineered to allow just the front to be separated.

As I have already posted, this would be an excellent way to properly bridge the Salish Sea where wind action is well controlled by geography.  The same technology may well be already large enough to also shrug of deep sea conditions and hurricanes as well.

Why Cruise Lines Keep Cutting Their Ships in Half

The economics of cruising are as fascinating as they are counterintuitive.

A few weeks ago, John Delaney, president of Seattle-based Windstar Cruises, stood on a scaffold at a historic shipyard in Palermo, Italy, and took a blowtorch to the Star Breeze, a 30-year-old, 212-passenger motor yacht.

With sparks flying, and shipyard workers and invited guests cheering him on, Delany made the final vertical cut to chop Star Breeze in half. But he was hardly destroying the small ship—he was doing just the opposite.

In a process called “stretching,” the Star Breeze is getting pulled apart to make room for a new, 84-foot, 1,250-ton prefab midsection addition. Think of it like unsnapping (or unwelding) two Legos and putting another block in between. But with a boat.

After four months of surgery, the all-suite Star Breeze will be bigger, more luxurious, and more profitable. When she debuts again in February, she’ll have 50 new suites to house 100 additional guests, a 50% increase in passenger capacity, and command higher rates for her shiny new cabins. Delaney says it should add at least 20 years to the ship’s life span

Stretching, it turns out, is so good for Windstar’s bottom line that the company will similarly expand two more ships by the end of 2020, spending a total $250 million to increase its overall capacity by 24%.

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Sliced and waiting, Silversea’s Silver Spirit during its 2018 stretching.
Source: Silversea
The Big Idea
Stretching cruise ships is hardly a new idea. Teijo Niemela, editor of CruiseBusiness.com, says the concept was borrowed from Scandinavian ferries that were sliced to add cargo space. He sailed on his first stretched ferry in Finland in 1972.

It was only six years later that Royal Caribbean added an 85-foot block to first expand a ship, the Song of Norway, starting a slow but steady industry trend. The defunct Royal Viking Line stretched ships in the 1980s; Norwegian Cruise Line added sections to three ships in the 1990s. More recently, MSC Cruises lengthened four ships and has announced plans to slice a fifth. The $143 million project, scheduled for 2021, will add 75,000 square feet to the MSC Magnifica, comprising 215 new staterooms (most of them in the popular balcony category), two restaurants, and a water park, as well as technology that’s more environmentally friendly.

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Star Breeze ​​​​​​gets pulled apart in Palermo, Italy.
Source: Windstar Cruises
Last year in Palermo, ultraluxury line Silversea added a 49-foot midsection to its Silver Spirit at a cost of $70 million, increasing the ship’s capacity from 540 to 608 passengers by adding 34 suites. It took 500 workers and about 450,000 man hours to complete the stretch.

“For cruise lines, it’s a quicker way to expand capacity compared to building a new cruise ship,” Niemela says. “A new cruise ship takes about 22 months or more [to build]. Add a new midsection, and it’s only a few months that the ship is out of service.”
Doing the Math
With estimates of about $175 million to build a 300-plus passenger vessel, stretching the older ones made more sense, Delaney says, especially when each project costs an average $80 million.

By lengthening its ships, Windstar will add 150 suites that will go for an average $450 to $550 per person per night. With those 300 additional passengers, the six-ship line, owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz’ Anschutz Corp., could add more than $49.2 million in annual revenue.

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Silversea added a 49-foot midsection to its Silver Spirit at cost of $70 million.
Source: Silversea 
There are also benefits downstream. While the guts of the ships are open, Windstar is replacing seven outdated engines with four new Wartsila engines that will meet the International Maritime Organization’s tougher emissions standards.

“Not only do we get to leverage the fuel against more people, we’re putting in much more fuel-efficient, energy saving, state-of-the-art engine technology,” Delaney says. “We get the benefit of that and reduced repairs and maintenance with the new engines.”

Fixed costs don’t change much when a ship is stretched. Build a new one, and you have to fully staff it; expand an old one, and it’s a matter of a few extra hires to maintain the same crew-to-guest ratio. (That, and a slightly longer shopping list to stock the kitchens.)

“The flow through on the extra hundred guests, that revenue, almost 90% goes to the bottom line,” Delaney says. “It’s significant. The return on the investment was much, much higher on the stretch.”

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Like a Lego block, a prefabricated middle section is added before being welded in place.
Source: Windstar Cruises
The Cutting Edge

The entire stretching process happens on a dry dock where workers have access to all sides of a ship—including the bottom—and can manually torch through structural walls with ease. There’s no room for error when your 13,000-ton yacht needs to (literally) stay afloat.

Six such stretchings, including those by Windstar, Silversea, and MSC Cruises, plus another two for ferries, have taken place over the last five years at the Palermo yard of Italian master shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA.

Once all the guts of a ship are removed, including pipes and cabling, engineers pull the front half of the ship forward on giant blocks, then use self-propelled platforms on wheels to maneuver a prefabricated middle section into place before welding it all back together. Unlike Frankenstein, Star Breeze will bear no visible scars when it leaves the shipyard early next year.

As with Silversea’s expansion of the Silver Spirit, which added, among other things, a seafood and steak restaurant, pizza parlor, outdoor aerobics studio, and additional sunny places for lounging, Star Breeze will also get upgrades along the way.

“When those ships were built [in the 1980s], things like a big pool, a really nice spa, a great gym weren’t as important,” Delaney says. Today, he notes, they’re expected. Star Breeze’s new pool is five times larger, and the fitness center now has a yoga studio. Other upgrades include a 1,374-square-foot, three-bedroom Grand Owner’s Suite and a handful of restaurants.

Plus, the ship’s profile gets longer, sleeker, and prettier. “It’s no longer short and stubby like a hatchback,” he laughs.