Crass – Thatchergate Tape And News Broadcasts – January 1984


Music mostly by Crass, radio collage and mix including the Thatchergate tapes in full by David Tibet

Capital Radio News Broadcast

Penny on KSK Honolulu

Penny on U.S National Public Radio

Andy Palmer on the phone to a Russian News Agency – Jan 1984

Dry Weather – Richard Skinner show – July 1981

Phony Reagan-Thatcher Tape

Crass became particularly infamous for their politically motivated hoaxes, including the so-called Thatchergate tape: a cassette, leaked to the press, featuring what seemed to be a private telephone conversation picked up by accident as a result of crossed lines.

Around 1984, a tape was spliced together in which Thatcher and Ronald Reagan appear to discuss the Falklands War, with her admitting to purposely starting it, and him threatening to nuke Europe to defend American pride.

The tape found its way into the hands of the US State Department, who issued a categorical denial of its veracity. It was then included in a study released to the press about the increasingly “fine-tuned” technological disinformation tactics being employed by the KGB.

On the Thatchergate tape they discuss the sinking of the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War, and appeared to allege that Europe would be used as a target for nuclear weapons in any conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Copies were leaked to the press, and the US State Department believed the tape to be propaganda produced by the Soviet KGB, a story reported by both the San Francisco Chronicle [and The Sunday Times. Although put together totally anonymously, the British Observer newspaper was somehow able to link the tape with the band.

When it came to light that the tape had in fact been compiled by Crass bassist Pete Wright (Sybil Right) and leaked by Crass, the State Department looked ridiculous.

The tape was actually constructed by Crass using edited recordings of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s voices; on the tape they discussed the sinking of the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War, and appeared to suggest that Europe would be used as a target for nuclear weapons in any conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union

The band had struck another victory for subversion and found themselves doing interviews and speaking out all over the British and American press. The “Thatchergate” tape would be the last controversy for the band.

The full Thatchergate tape:

Thatcher. own business!

Reagan. I urge restraint. It’s absolutely essential or the area ‘be “through the roof”.

T. Look, our objectives are fundamentally different. Al Haig…

R. Secretary Haig….

T. doesn’t seem to be able to find a solution.

R. Why eliminate “Belgrano”? You directed this. The Argentinians were then going…. Secretary Haig reached an agreement.

T. Argentina was the invader! Force has been used. It’s been used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.

R. Oh, God, it’s not right! You caused the “Sheffield” to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on screens. You must have too, and not let them know. What do you hope to gain?

T. What I said before -“Andrew”- ….As “cruise” go in, I want incentives at all levels….

R. There’s a deal….a third more submarine ballistic missiles, and you will see that the United States forces remain deployed. The intermediate range missiles are U.S. defence. You proposed building them in Europe. Build up the economy. They don’t work, they’re social programmes…. The United Kingdom is a….er….little nation….

T. You still need those nations, and you’re given long term international markets.

R. We are supported by our allies, whether they want, or not.

T. I, I don’t understand you….

R. In conflict, we will launch missiles on allies for effective limitation of the Soviet Union.

T. ‘mean over Germany?

R. Mrs Thatcher, if any country of ours endangered the position, we might bomb the “problem area”, and correct the imbalance.

T. See, my….

R. It will convince the Soviets to listen. We demonstrate our strength….The Soviets have little incentive to launch an attack.

T. Our British people….

R. London! ….

T. I think….

R. Let that be understood…………………………………….

Sunday Times article:

[reprinted in its entirety from The Sunday Times, January 8, 1984]

A fake tape of a purported conversation between President Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was circulated in Europe this spring, possibly by the KGB, the State Department said yesterday.

“This type of activity fits the pattern of fabrications circulated by the Soviet KGB, although usually they involve fake documents rather than tapes,” the department said in a written response to reporter’s questions.

The department said that although the recording is of “poor quality,” a technical analysis revealed that the voices were those of Reagan and Thatcher.

But the department indicated the voices were spliced together and said they were not part of an actual conversation.

“We checked with the White House, which advised they no such conversation took place,” the department said.

The President’s part in the recording apparently was lifted from his Nov. 22, 1982 speech on nuclear disarmament,” it said. “We are not sure where Mrs. Thatcher’s remarks came from.

The department said a copy of the tape was received by the U.S. embassy in the Netherlands a week before the British elections.

The tape dealt with the Falklands crisis and U.S. missiles in Britain, the department said.

It said, “From the drift of the tape, the evident purpose was to cause problems for Mrs. Thatcher by blaming her for the sinking of the British destroyer Sheffield and also for us by stirring trouble on the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) issue.”

The Sheffield was sunk by Argentine forces last year during the war with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Britain and the United States took part in a NATO decision to install intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe late this year as a counter to similar Soviet forces if an agreement on restriction such weapons is not reached.

The State Department said the tape-recording was sent with a covering letter from an anonymous person to Dutch journalists.

It is said an analysis by the language experts “suggests that the author was not a native speaker.”

The Reagan administration has contended for some time that the KGB has contended for some time that the KGB has a forgery factory producing false documents to mislead target audiences.

‘Soviet’ faked tape is rock group hoax

[reprinted in its entirety from The Observer, January 22, 1984]

A TAPE recording, purporting to carry details of a secret telephone conversation between Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan, has been revealed as a hoax manufactured deliberately by an anarchist rock group.

The recording was taken to newspapers throughout Europe –including The Observer– but, apart from one Italian newspaper, nobody had been taken in by the hoax tape until it appeared in the Sunday Times earlier this month.

That newspaper described it as part of a KGB propaganda war. Unfortunately the tape was recorded not in Moscow but in an Essex farmhouse.

The New York correspondent of the paper reported that the State Department believed the tape was evidence of ‘an increasingly sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign.’

The real authors of the hoax tape, the anarchist punk rock group Crass, said that they had been ‘amused and amazed’ that the tape had been attributed to the KGB.

The recording first appeared in the offices of a number of Continental newspapers shortly before the British general election last year.

A covering note said it was a recording of a crossed line on which was heard part of the two leaders’ telephone conversation, and that the person who sent it wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Key lines in the tape include Mr. Reagan apparently asking why the Belgrano was sunk during the Falklands war, when Secretary of State Haig was nearing a peace agreement. Mrs Thatcher appears to reply: ‘Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.’

Mr. Reagan then says: ‘Oh God, it is not right. You caused the Sheffield to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on the screen. You must have, too, and not let them know.’

Later, in a discussion on nuclear strategy, Mr. Reagan is made to say: ‘If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.’

The tape was first brought to The Observer by a Belgian journalist last June. We concluded, like most of the other newspapers, that it was a fake.

The quest for the real hand behind the tape led to an isolated farmhouse in north Essex, where the eight members of the band live with their children.

Reluctantly the members of the band, who sport names like Joy Be Vivre, G Sus and Sybil Right, admitted faking the tape. They showed how they had put it together over two and a half months, using parts of TV and radio broadcasts made by the two leaders, then overdubbing with telephone noises.

‘We wanted to precipitate a debate on those subjects to damage Mrs. Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appalling way Tam Dalyell was treated over the Belgrano debate,’ they said.

‘We believe that although the tape is a hoax, what is said in it is in effect true.’

Crass ‘KGB tape’ hoax

[reprinted in its entirety from Sounds, January 28, 1984]

CRASS have been uncovered as the perpetrators of a bogus tape of a telephone ‘conversation’ between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

The tape was originally circulated last summer before the General Election and was claimed to be a recording of a crossed line between the two leaders. Needless to say it is not complimentary to either states person.

During the course of the ‘conversation’ Thatcher replies to Reagan’s question about the Belgrano by saying: “Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.”

And later in a discussion about nuclear strategy Reagan says: “If there is any conflict we a shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays with stays within its borders.”

Most newspapers recognised the tape as a fake but the Sunday Times attributed it to KGB propaganda a couple of weeks ago and last Sunday’s Observer took considerable delight in tracking the tape back to Crass’s HQ in Essex.

Invoking the spirit of one of Reagan’s predecessors, George Washington, they explained that the tape had been put together from TV and radio broadcasts overdubbed by telephone noises.

They justified their actions by saying: “We wanted to precipitate a debate on the Falklands and nuclear weapons to damage: Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appalling way Tom Dalyell (almost the only MP to raise any awkward questions over the Falklands affair) was treated over the Belgrano debate in the House of Commons.

“We believe that although the tape is a hoax what is said in it is in effect true. We were amazed and amazed that the tape had been attributed to the KGB.”

  1. Brian
    September 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm


    Thanks for what you’ve posted about Crass. Could you please send me, or let me know where I can get, the complete recording of the Thatchergate tape?

    Appreciate it.



  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    September 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    The nearest thing to the complete recording is on the Dave Tibet mix on this God Told Me To Do It post here: Towards the end of the mix you can hear the recordings throughout. I am sure Southern Studios will re-release the full recording (without a musical backing) onto some thing to do with the recent Crass remixed series.

  3. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    September 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Brian I have now made the post above a little fatter and that now also has the David Tibet mix including the Thatchergate tapes at the top of the post.

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