LIKE SEEING YOUR TOYS IN A TOY MUSEUM

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These are the (very) basic pieces of equipment I used to use during my 9 years in the Royal Observer Corps.  The white box is the GZI (ground-zero indicator), essentially a 4-faced pinhole camera loaded with photographic paper used to triangulate the explosion.  The instrument with a dial is the BPI (bomb power indicator), basically a sort of barometer measuring the peak overpressure.  The green things are the maroons, rockets also used to alert the coastguard (1 blast), lifeboat (2 blasts), with the 3 blasts indicating imminent arrival of fallout.  Out of shot on the left was the hand-operated siren to provide the familiar “air raid” warning (and perhaps the all clear…?).  The other box appears to be a version of the communications device used.  Missing is the radiac survey meter (RSM) used to measure the presence of radiation.

The ROC, part of the UK Warning & Monitoring Organisation, though wearing RAF uniforms and RAF-style ranks, and RAF bases for training, was finally stood down in 1995 after the end of the Cold War.  The several “secret” underground bases opened up around the UK in recent years were part of the same network, though most ROC people operated from small, 3-person subterranean posts…

The display is now in the Imperial War Museum in London.

For more information on the ROC, and its proud history including its vital role in the Battle of Britain, at D-Day and its postwar roles, see-

http://www.roc-heritage.co.uk/

EU REGULATION AMENDS RUSSIA SANCTIONS RE ROCKET FUEL

EU Regulation 2017/2212 amends Regulation 833/2014 with effect from 2nd December, to permit certain operations (import/export) involving hydrazine (CAS 302-01-2) in concentrations of 70% or more, which is included in the Common Military List of the EU.  Hydrazine has been used as fuel for many rockets and spacecraft, including the space shuttle.  It is considered necessary for the flight of the ExoMars carrier module and tests and flight of the ExoMars descent module in the framework of the ExoMars 2020 mission.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2017.316.01.0015.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2017:316:TOC

THE NEW NORTH KOREAN ICBM: A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT THAT MAY BE READY AS EARLY AS 2018

Specialist site, 38 North, on 30th November said that photographs and video released by North Korea reveal that the Hwasong-15 test fired on November 29th is not a modified version of the Hwasong-14, as it initially thought.  Worryingly, the article suggests that initial calculations indicate the new missile “could deliver a moderately-sized nuclear weapon to any city on the US mainland”, and that it is large and powerful enough to carry simple decoys or other countermeasures designed to challenge the existing national missile defence (NMD) system of the US.

http://www.38north.org/2017/11/melleman113017/

NEW SIPRI STUDY ON AUTONOMY IN WEAPON SYSTEMS: STATE OF PLAY AND OPTIONS FOR MOVING FORWARD

The study from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute aims to shed light on the current developments in autonomy in weapon systems and thereby provide important insights for informed international discussions, and should they be regulated within the framework of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).  “Autonomy” has many definitions and interpretations, and the study says it is already a reality of weapon systems development.  A key area examined by the study is the technology that enables weapon systems to acquire targets autonomously.  The report aims to help diplomats and members of civil society interested in the issue of lethal autonomous weapons to improve their understanding of the technological foundations of autonomy, and obtain a sense of the speed and trajectory of progress of autonomy in weapon systems. It also provides concrete examples that could be used to start delineating the points at which the advance of autonomy in weapons may raise technical, legal, operational and ethical concerns.

https://www.sipri.org/media/2017/new-sipri-study-autonomy-weapon-systems-state-play-and-options-moving-forward

Notice to exporters 2017/28: updates to 9 open licences delayed

The UK Export Control Joint Unit reports that planned updates to 9 open general export licences (OGEL) announced in notice to exporters 2017/27, which were due to come into force on 29th November 2017, have been delayed.

The planned updates reflect changes to the EU dual-use export control list in Annex I to regulation (EC) No 428/2009, which we expected to be published around 26th November 2017.

The ECJU anticipates that this change to the EU dual-use export control list will happen in the next few days. When it does, the changes to the OGEL will be made and a further notice to exporters will be issued.

OXFAM ALTERNATIVE TAX HAVEN LIST

EU Observer reported on 28th November that Oxfam believes that Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, and the Netherlands should be on the EU’s upcoming tax haven blacklist, but the 4 Member States will be excluded because the list will only cover non-EU jurisdictions.  Oxfam has published its own alternative list, and an interactive map detailing why those listed should be included.  Despite the recent Paradise papers, the Isle of Man is not on the map.

https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/blacklist-or-whitewash-what-real-eu-blacklist-tax-havens-should-look

https://public.tableau.com/profile/oxfam.eu.office#!/vizhome/ShadowEUtaxhavenblacklist_0/ShadowEUtaxhavenblacklist-map