2946-10-12 – Editor’s Loudspeaker: Leaked New Rheims Committee Report

For those of you following the investigation into the disaster at New Rheims, the appearance of a supposed leaked copy of the New Rheims Committee final report is not news; here on Centauri it has been available for almost two full days. I did not wish to report on it until some attempt to verify it had been made, and have been in contact with Agent Durand, our favorite Naval Intelligence representative, the office of committee chair Sylja Nisi-Bonn, and other sources friendly to Cosmic Background. While no source was willing or able to verify that this was in fact the committee’s so far unpublished report, some of my sources did confirm that the report contains some accurate details about the closed-door sessions of the committee, and that the committee’s report had been completed more than a week ago.

Unfortunately, that is where my information ends. The supposed leaked report does apparently reflect the actual testimony before the committee, but it could be the product of anyone with knowledge of the proceedings and familiarity with the usual congressional report structure, and its conclusions and findings are not necessarily those of the committee.

In full honesty, I do hope that the wild conclusion the available report reaches is not the genuine conclusion of the proceedings of the previous months. The idea that the disaster was caused inadvertently by a weapons project initiated by the Confederated Navy in violation of the Treaty of Scherer is more horrifying than the most sinister of the conspiracy theories I’ve seen bouncing around the datasphere, but I find it quite unlikely.

This conclusion draws heavily on a combination of the closed-door testimony of Captain Samuel Bosch and two un-named whistleblowers who submitted textual testimony only. Apparently, the Naval Survey Auxiliary training squadron operating at the system’s edge was attacked by an unknown vessel of approximately cruiser size, but the fortunate arrival of Bosch’s patrol squadron interrupted their destruction. The vessel fled toward New Rheims and, when cornered in planetary orbit, performed a Carthage Strike on the planet in its last moments before being destroyed. None of this was in Bosch’s initial recorded testimony, further suggesting an attempted Navy cover-up.

How the committee got from this act of terrorism to a violation of the Treaty of Scherer is not clear; testimony from confidential witnesses is referred to but not included. It is possible that this is a convenient way to further a forged conclusion; New Rheims might just as easily be the victim of a terror plot by Rattanai Imperialists or Ladeonists, though I can’t see the benefit in any of this for either ideology.

Even if this report’s conclusion is not accurate, and the real report is forthcoming in the next few days, this will fuel the conspiracy theories; if it is a fake report, some testimony has been omitted from it, and there will inevitably be datasphere sources who insist that the facts and testimony of the later report not found in this one are hasty fabrications.

If this is in fact the committee’s understanding of the truth of the situation, we are in for an interesting few weeks. Legally speaking, Congress can’t remove the admirals responsible, but expect a move to cut all military funding until those persons are removed.