Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Theory of Law

One last post for 2012. There will be more in 2013.

A reader wanted to know why I hadn’t thought of “this.”: Orin S. Kerr, observing that law review editors frequently demand citations for claims that are “obvious or obscure” or “made up or false,” proposes a solution:

bq. Legal scholars need a source they can cite when confronted with
these challenges. It should be something with an impressive but generic title. I offer “this page,”: with the following conclusion: If you have been directed to this page by a citation elsewhere, it is plainly true that the author’s claim is correct. For further support, consult the extensive scholarship on the point.

Quite a generous offer. I’m annoyed that I didn’t think of it, but at least another Kerr did.

Canada and Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

In case anyone’s interested, “this”: appears to be Canada’s policy statement regarding nuclear cooperation agreements.

bq. Before Canada will consider nuclear cooperation with any non-nuclear-weapon State, that state must make a legally binding commitment to nuclear non-proliferation by *becoming a party to the NPT or an equivalent international legally binding agreement* and accepting the application of *full-scope safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)* on all of its current and future nuclear activities.

There are lot of other similarities to U.S. 123 agreements:

bq.. any country wishing to enter into nuclear cooperation with Canada must conclude a legally-binding bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) which includes:

* assurances that Canadian nuclear exports will be used *only for peaceful,non-explosive* end-uses;

* Canadian control over any Canadian items subject to the NCA that are re-transferred to a third party;

* Canadian *control over the reprocessing* of any Canadian spent nuclear fuel;

* Canadian control over the storage and *subsequent use of any separated plutonium*;

* Canadian *control over the high enrichment of Canadian uranium and the subsequent storage and use of the highly enriched uranium*;

* implementation of bilateral safeguards in the event that IAEA safeguards are unable to be applied;

* assurances that Canadian nuclear items will be subject to adequate physical protection measures to ensure that they are not stolen or otherwise misused.

The provisions of NCAs apply to items directly or indirectly exported from Canada. *They also apply to non-Canadian equipment or nuclear material used in conjunction with Canadian nuclear items and to equipment manufactured on the basis of technology provided by Canada or through “reverse engineering”* of such technology.

R Einhorn on DPRK Missiles….15 Years Ago

An astute reader dug out “these”: October 1997 responses to QFRs by then- Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn.

The bulk of the information concerns North Korea’s missile programs. Here’s a statistic that I don’t remember seeing:

bq. The DPRK has a *production capacity of four to eight Scuds monthly*, both for export and for its own armed forces, and has hundreds of Scuds in its current arsenal.

Also, given the recent concern about Syria’s CW and nuclear programs, I found this section interesting:

bq.. Question 7. Has there been any cooperation between North Korea and
foreign countries regarding chemical or biological weapons?

Answer. Although North Korea is an active supplier of
missiles and related production technology, it has not yet
become a supplier of nuclear, chemical or biological warfare-
related technology.

p. Have a nice weekend.

URENCO Richie Enrichment Game

I’m sure someone has noted this before, but URENCO has several “games”: for kids designed to teach them about nuclear power.

They all feature Richie Enrichment. You can even download his theme song as a ringtone.

Here’s a trailer:

Canada on Iran’s Nuclear Program

It’s a bit old, but “last February”:, Donald Sinclair, Director General of the International Security Bureau of Canada’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Department, commented on Iran’s nuclear program during a Parliamentary hearing.

Apparently, Ottawa thinks Iran’s trying to develop nuclear weapons – as opposed to the mere option to develop such weapons:

bq.. At the same time as we believe *Iran is actively working to develop a nuclear device,* they are actively improving their missile capacity. You put these two together, and it more than doubles your worry; it is exponential. They have demonstrated that they can develop missile technology with a range that could cover Israel, for example, and most of Europe. It is no accident that NATO, in its response to the Iranian missile threat, is constructing a very expensive missile defence system to protect European territory from the horrific possibility of an Iranian missile attack. You take your defensive measures far in advance of the anticipated offensive capacity of a potential adversary. NATO is determined to build this missile defence system, which is directed at Iran’s activities.

Will they have the capacity to use a nuclear device? There are a number of variables, of course. *They actually have to produce a nuclear weapon, miniaturize it, fit it onto a missile and develop their missile technology.* Since they are beavering away on those particular problems and issues, one has to take into account the horrific potential that the answer to your question could be yes, they could develop the capacity. They do not have it yet, fortunately, but *they have shown no indication of reversing their behaviour.* That is where we are today.

NORAD on DPRK Satellite Launch

I don’t write much about North Korea these days, but an apparently-successful Dec. 11 satellite launch would seem to warrant a mention.

“According to NORAD:”:

bq. U.S. missile warning systems detected and tracked the launch of a North Korean missile at 7:49 p.m. EST. The missile was tracked on a southerly azimuth. Initial indications are that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea. The second stage was assessed to fall into the Philippine Sea. Initial *indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit.* At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America.

ODNI on Iranian Ballistic Missiles

“Reuters”: got something of an update from ODNI on Iran’s ICBM capabilities:

bq.. Michael Birmingham, a spokesman for the office of the Director of National Intelligence, which leads the 17 organizations which comprise the U.S. intelligence community, said *views among spy agencies vary on the Iranian ICBM outlook*.

He added that the 2015 date cited by the Defense Department was “heavily caveated.”

VERTIC, Chemical Weapons, and International Law

The OPCW “noted”: the other day that Syria, as a party to the “1925 Geneva Protocol Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating,
Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare”:, “is obligated by international law not to use chemical weapons under any circumstances.”

This I knew. But VERTIC’s Scott Spence and Meghan Brown wrote a “piece”: this past August which discusses some other international legal aspects of CW use, such as the international criminal court and customary international law.

I won’t evaluate their arguments, but take a look. Interesting reading, given current events.

The article also reminds us of this provision of the CWC “Verification Annex:”:

bq. In the case of alleged use of chemical weapons involving a State *not Party to this Convention or in territory not controlled by a State Party,* the Organization shall closely cooperate with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. If so requested, *the Organization shall put its resources at the disposal of the Secretary-General* of the United Nations

VERTIC also points out that the UNSG has a Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons. It’s described in “this UN fact sheet.”:

Chemical Weapons Forensics and Iraq

After writing “this post”: about Iraq’s previous CW procurement efforts, I ran across “this BBC piece”: which discusses potential efforts to identify the suppliers to Iraq’s CW program. According to the BBC, a UK CW expert is discussing such work with the Kurdish government:

bq.. [“Hamish de Bretton-Gordon”:] says *it may also be possible to identify who supplied Saddam Hussein’s government with the basic chemicals used at Halabja*.

“We expect to *find samples of mustard gas in the mass graves*, as we have done in the cellars,” he [said].

“And *if we can break it down to its base molecule components, we will be able to see what its signature is, and then we can match it against a sample*.

This, he believes, will make it possible to *work out which country, even which factory, supplied the original chemicals for the mustard gas – it will not be possible to trace the source of the nerve agents*.

p. Mr. de Bretton-Gordon notes that it might be tough to get potentially-guilty parties to cough up the goods:

bq. “It’s going to be difficult to get a test sample from the manufacturers who allegedly made it… *if they handed it over and it matched, that’s irrefutable evidence, which the International Criminal Court and others would take a view on*.


bq. “…we know *there are still some chemical stockpiles in Iraq that are being dealt with*, which is open source information, and *we can probably get a sample from there and match it against what we’ve found here to provide conclusive evidence* – so technically it is possible.”

p. I can’t say this is an effort I’ve thought much about. One would think that they’d consult former UNMOVIC inspectors, but I obviously have no idea. In any case, the Kurdish government hasn’t approved the plan, the BBC says.

Lastly, I did not know that one can view details of chemical weapons displayed at the “Halabja Monument:”:

bq. Nowadays, some of the bombs which were used are displayed at the museum in Halabja. Many are equipped with internal fans, which were used to mix the chemicals together.