Many questions are swirling over last night's launch of a rogue rocket, which it appears was a submarine launched ICBM from the Pacific, 35 miles west of Los Angeles. So far pretty much everyone has denied any involvement, and as per the NYPost, "according to Fox News, NORAD and NORTHCOM would only say they were aware of the launch" even as "a navy spokesperson previously told KCBS that no navy activity was reported in the region." Yet the closest approximation for what the reason for the launch may have been comes from Robert Ellsworth, former defense secretary: "On viewing the footage, former deputy defense secretary Robert Ellsworth speculated on KCBS that the launch could be a show of military muscle. "It could be a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine ... to demonstrate, mainly to Asia, that we can do that," Ellsworth said." And China has not even sold and US bonds yet. So did China Dagong in turn retaliate earlier by downgrading the US? At this point we can only hope that the Chairman can confine his FX war to Forex terminals, without actually involving a few strategically placed mushroom clouds.
Update: Karl Denninger muses whether the missile was even an American one:
What if this wasn't one of ours?
Who else has this capability? China? Russia? Is this some sort of warning to Obama and/or Bernanke?
Where was it launched from?
Sea-launched, as near as we can tell - but surface or submarine? Given the commercial and recreational vessel traffic in that area, if this was ship-launched someone should have seen the launching vessel. Now, more than 12 hours later, there are no reports of anyone having it on radar. Note that private vessel radars are quite-capable of resolving a ship large enough to launch something like this from the distance to the horizon. My ship's radar was quite-capable of resolving a vessel of this size if low to the water in the 10-12 mile range (curvature of the earth) and if the vessel had significant superstructure above the water, even further. If this thing was submarine launched then it gets even more interesting.
Why the silence?
I find it very unlikely this was one of ours - unless it was a mistake. An intentional launch - even of a missile with a dummy "warhead" - this close to LA? No way. A malfunction could have sent that thing right into downtown before it could be destroyed, and even unarmed it would do a hell of a lot of damage. For this reason I do not believe this was an intentional US test.
Where were the NOTAMs if this was ours?
Missing, that's where. Multiple reports now that there were NO notices posted for aviators. No way in hell our military intentionally launches a missile without posting NOTAMs for the civilian air system before it happens. This means it either wasn't ours, or wasn't intentionally launched.
Where are the people who heard the notices on VHF Marine Radios and others?
I live less than 5 miles from Eglin AFB. They run military exercises all the time out in the gulf. I boat in the gulf. There are not only NOTAMs posted all the time on their activity, but there are also notices posted for mariners when they intend to do things out in the deep blue sea. The military comes up on VHF regularly and announces their intentions - and if you get too close by accident they are rather explicit in their warnings to you as well. I have heard these warnings and notices dozens of times. The point is this: if this was a military exercise there would be hundreds if not thousands of mariners who would have heard about it, and it would have been pointed out by now in the media.