Monthly Archives: December 2020

Iran and SPND and MODAFL Addendum

Just a quick note about this post II wrote a little while ago about SPND and MODAFL…it wasn’t clear to me at the time that the SPND was actually part of MODAFL. I’m not sure that I saw hat fact mentioned anywhere except for this 2012 EU sanctions announcement and the 2020 State Compliance report (which describes the SPND as “subordinate to” MODAFL.) For example, the November 2011 IAEA report’s diagram seems to be ambiguous on that question.

1963 Australian Study on UK and Nuclear Weapons

This 1963 Australian Dept of External Affairs Policy Planning Study, titled An Examination of the Nature and Extent of Current British Economic Interests and Political and Military Commitments in South and South East Asia, their likely course over the next Ten Years, and the Implications for Australia has some interesting bits about the nuclear weapons in British foreign and defense policy. Here’s a good example:

To sum up, priority for the homeland and Europe, increasing dependence on the U.S. and the N.A.T.O. alliance, anti-nuclear sentiment in Africa and Asia, the likely contraction of bases, the decline in her relative economic and trading position, the need to reduce foreign expenditure, and continuing manpower shortages in the forces, are all factors limiting Britain’s ability to maintain an effective military presence east of Suez. She has sought to make the best of limited resources and adverse circumstances by a strategy of long-range mobile forces operating from a central reserve in the U.K. and, to date, a major theatre base in Singapore. The conventional role of those forces outside Europe is essentially that of fire brigades for small brush-fire wars; where, in fulfilment of her regional alliance commitments, it may become necessary to oppose Chinese Communist aggression, Britain would expect nuclear weapons to be used. British strategy in the Far East, therefore, is essentially one with a limited application which is likely to contract. The responsibility for the military containment of Communism in Asia is basically and increasingly one for the U.S. and the countries of the region.

R Einhorn on PRC Ring Magnets to Pakistan, 1997

During a 1997 Senate hearing , Robert Einhorn, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation provided one of the fullest explanations I’ve seen of the transfer of ring magnets from China to Pakistan:

Mr. Einhorn. We believe it is credible that central, senior-level Chinese authorities did not know of in advance and did not approve of that transaction, and the reason why we believe that is not just because senior Chinese officials told us that. It is because of our understanding of the Chinese system and how it operates. This transaction was probably less than $70,000. Ring magnets are very unsophisticated kinds of devices. They were treated under their export control system as general commercial goods and it is very plausible, in our view, that this transaction would have been treated as a routine kind of transaction. And the more we learn about the rudimentary State of Chinese export controls on dual-use items, the more plausible it becomes that this particular transaction would have been made without high-level governmental knowledge…

1960 Australian JIC Report on Chinese Nuclear Weapons

This 1960 report from the Australian Joint Intelligence Committee, titled Nuclear Weapons and Guided Missiles in Communist China up to the End of 1965, states that

We believe that China intends to acquire a full range of nuclear weapons and guided missiles as soon as practicable.


China has indigenous sources of uranium and is capable of producing uranium metal for use as fuel in a nuclear reactor. There is, however, no evidence to date of any activity which could be directly related to nuclear weapon trial or development and there are no known facilities for substantial production of the necessary fissile material.

China has the scientific and technical ability, unaided, to produce a very limited number of nuclear weapons and, assuming that a major effort is made, a nuclear weapon programme could be in operation by 1965.

China, of course, tested a nuclear weapon in 1964.

More Crass and Falklands

I have previously written about Crass and their involvement in fabricating a recording between Reagan and Thatcher. This Bandcamp profile has even more information about that episode:

“Around then, we started getting classified information from grunts and sailors who were actually in the service… What the hell do you do with classified information?!” Rimbaud recalls. “That is a serious offense! Then, we pulled our greatest trick ever.”

Using the classified information they had received, the band crafted a recording which appeared to be a conversation between Thatcher and Reagan discussing the sinking of The Sheffield and the General Belgrano, ships involved in the Falklands conflict. The band then sent the tapes to the British press anonymously, expecting chaos to ensue. Surely, such a hot item would be a major, stop-the-presses event…

“After we sent it to the press world, it completely disappeared and we heard nothing,” Rimbaud says. “And then four or five months later it appeared in the Pentagon and was described by them as being a KGB operation to undermine American power. They were saying it could lead to World War 3! We could sit here and say we did a tape and now it’s being put forward as this thing, which is very funny in one respect… but it’s not very funny in another. So we were always in this ambiguity.”

Eventually, someone informed the press that the culprits behind the scam were, indeed, Crass. To this day, the band doesn’t know who leaked that info, though by this time, their phones were being tapped by the police and possibly other third-parties. The Observer got in touch with the band, and through a series of negotiations, Rimbaud agreed to admit that they created the tapes… if The Observer published the entire transcript of the tape on its front page. To Rimbaud’s surprise, the paper did indeed publish the entire transcript, which included classified information previously only known to the British government. “Then, the shit really hit the fan,” Rimbaud says. All sorts of people were getting in touch with us, including the KGB.”

There’s more. Read the the whole thing.

State on Russian BW, November 2020

About a month ago, Chris Ford made a speech in which he asserted that Russia has a biological weapons program:

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce added to its “Entity List ” of persons and organizations found to be engaged in “activities contrary to U.S. national security and/or foreign policy interests” three institutions “associated with the Russian biological weapons program .” This action highlighted in public for the first time the fact that there is a Russian biological weapons program, and all should take note of this.

Here’s the relevant portion of the Commerce action to which he referred:

The ERC also has reasonable cause to believe that 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Kirov; 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Sergiev Posad; and 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Yekaterinburg are Ministry of Defense facilities associated with the Russian biological weapons program.