Sep 052018
 

Duncan Harley reviews Alan Stewart’s new book.

Five years in the making, Alan Stewart’s new book ‘North East Scotland At War’ will appeal to anyone even remotely interested in the history of the North-east of Scotland.
There are plenty of books out there which record the difficult years between the Chamberlain peace accord and the Soviet conquest of Berlin. Osborne’s ‘Defending Britain’ and Gordon Barclay’s ‘If Hitler Comes’ are the classics.

But this book is slightly different and there is certainly room for further historical accounts of the dark days when Hitler threatened our shores.

With a decidedly local slant, North East Scotland At War launches the reader into the minutiae of the defence of the North-east against what was, for a brief few years, perceived as the Nazi threat.

The archaeology of those distant times is laid bare and many of the official documents which record the difficult days inhabit the pages.

A ground-based Invasion never came. But preparations were firmly in in place and Alan’s finely researched history brings the day to day story of those difficult times sharply into focus.

Fougasse – developed by the Petroleum Warfare Department as an anti-tank weapon, Dragon’s Teeth and Railway Blocks feature in this book along with the stories of the stop-lines, the Home Guard roadblocks and of course that secretive plan to harry the invaders using suicide squads tasked with assassinating both their own commanders – who might betray them under torture – and German officers.

Air crashes also inhabit these pages. Alongside the enemy casualties, and they were in the hundreds, Alan details the stories behind some of the Commonwealth gravestones which litter the cemeteries of the North-east.

Training accidents accounted for many of the casualties.

A Czech fighter pilot killed when his Spitfire spiralled into the ground, an air-sea rescue crew lost in a collision with railway wagons on the perimeter of RAF Dyce Airfield and the gravestone of Flight Lieutenant Wheelock – killed attempting an emergency landing – again at Dyce – are featured.

This is one of those books which is difficult to set aside. The minutiae of the location of pill boxes and the stark reality of the bombing maps, feature alongside some difficult tales of children killed on the local sands, not by the Germans, but by the very defences intended to keep them safe.

Landmines and barbed wire were as much a hazard as air-borne bombs and machine gun bullets.

Alongside the difficult descriptions of civilian carnage, Alan has included a number of images of official documents which give a flavour of the times. In a memo marked TOP SECRET, a Colonel Geddes, commander of Aberdeen Garrison, expresses his concern regarding the vulnerability of Tullos Hill.

“I am a little uneasy” he writes, 

“about the defence of TULLOS HILL – Area 4624. This is a very commanding feature, on which the following units are located: A.B. 2 Site, Heavy A.A Bty, Detachment 319 Search-Light Regiment, RAF Wireless Installation and Royal Observer Corps Post.”

And there are literally dozens of such so-far hidden documents sprinkled throughout this account of the time when the invasion of our shores seemed such a certainty.

Profusely illustrated and replete with a plethora of new information gleaned from both local and national records, this is a local history book which I am pleased to include on my bookshelves.

North East Scotland At War – by Alan Stewart is Available from http://www.cabroaviation.co.uk/book.html at £21.99 + £3 P&P

ISBN 9781527215689
Cover image © Alan Stewart

Sep 022017
 

A protest is to take place at Trump International Golf Course on Saturday 9th Sept 12 noon in opposition to the frightening standoff between the US and North Korea. With thanks to Jonathan Russell Chair Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

The cycle of threat and counter-threat is creating an appalling situation in which warfare between nuclear states is being discussed as a serious option on both sides.

The threat of the use of nuclear weapons by both sides has never happened before

Trump’s outbursts against the North Korean regime are deeply troubling. What impact can threat’s of ‘fire and fury’ have but to escalate tension and increase the likelihood of a catastrophic confrontation?

The urgent priority must be the opposite, to de-escalate and pursue a negotiated resolution to the crisis, which major players in the region are trying to achieve and most commentators recognise as possible.

China and Russia have put forward a proposal that the United States, Japan and Korea stop its military exercises and North Korea suspend its ballistic missile programme.

This would, however, require a sharp change of direction from both sides, including from the US, which has dramatically increased its military capabilities in South Korea and its military presence in the area. Already US B-1 bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons have flown from Guam over the Korean peninsula, joining the South Korean and Japanese air forces in joint exercises.

The North Koreans have fired a missile right across Japan. Such provocative actions on both sides must end. We must demand our governments focus on a peaceful resolution to this confrontation.

The alternative is not worth contemplating as not only would the Korean people who historically have already faced huge suffering be effected but China could also be dragged into a war which could include the use of Nuclear weapons. Leading to parody Trump to fire and fury like the world has never seen. We have to hope that sense will prevail.

Don’t let Trump and Kim Jong-Un lead us into Nuclear War. Protest at the entrance to the Trump International Golf Course by the A90, Saturday 9th Sept 12 noon.

The standoff between the US and North Korea is frightening. Be part of the protest which will present an open letter to Trump International Management.

Come by car or bus numbers 61, 62, 63 or 68 from stances 10, 11 or 12 at Union Square bus station, Aberdeen. The bus will take you to the stop at Menie – a short walk back to the Trump International entrance.

For more info contact Jonathan Russell by phone on: 01224-586435 or 07582-456-233 or via email: jhamiltonrussell@hotmail.co.uk 

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Aug 042017
 

With thanks to Jonathan Russell Chair Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

During the final stage of World War II, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.

The United States had dropped the bombs with the consent of the United Kingdom as outlined in the Quebec
Agreement.

The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

We meet to honour the dead and remind ourselves about the horror that would be inflicted if nuclear weapons were ever used again.

Yu Aoki who lives in Aberdeen but comes from Hiroshima will speak at the event. We will lay flowers in the shape of the CND peace symbol and there will be some songs and poetry.

Hiroshima Memorial
Sunday 6th August 2017
12-2pm
Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen.

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Jun 232017
 

With thanks to Jonathan Russell from Aberdeen and District CND, and Maya Evans.

Aberdeen and District CND will host a public meeting on July 10 focusing on the ongoing Afghan conflict.
At the end of 2014 NATO/US forces declared ‘Mission Complete’ in Afghanistan.
Two years on, foreign forces remain within Afghanistan while the Taliban are thought to have gained control of at least 40% of the country. ISIS are now also carrying out attacks.

Today Afghan people have to contend with crushing poverty, mass drug addiction, climate crisis catastrophe and huge internal displacement.

With no faith in the Government people are turning to the grassroots for real change.

One such group are the Afghan Peace Volunteers – young non-violent peace activists who run the ‘Borderfree Peace Centre’ in Kabul; with 18 projects on the go they include: a Street Kids School, the Women’s Duvet Project, Permaculture and the non-violence dance troop and football team.

They are an inspiring group comprised of young Afghans who have known nothing but war and violence, but want to respond and rebuild peace in a creative non-violent way.

This talk will give a political overview on the ‘forgotten war’, the internal problems that people face, and the foreign. Most recently the US unleashed the largest non nuclear bomb in its arsenal on Nangarhar Province, East Afghanistan. The immediate consequences have so far seen the Taliban retaliate by slaughtering over 150 Afghan soldiers during an ambush on a military base.

Speaker Maya Evans, UK Co-ordinator of ‘Voices for Creative non-violence’, has visited Kabul 8 times over the last 6 years. She has seen first hand how the war has worsened and how the Afghan Peace Volunteers have developed and expanded. Her talks are full of funny, moving and uplifting stories, as well as up to date facts.

Hear how the Afghan Peace Volunteers cope and respond to the deepening crisis, being inspired and moved by their relentless work and daily lives.

THE AFGHANISTAN CONFLICT ‘VOICES FOR PEACE’
Meeting taking place on July 10th at 7.30pm at UNITE, 42-44 King Street. 

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Jun 082017
 

With thanks to Jonathan Russell Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and member of Aberdeen Climate Action also Duncan Hart who produced the you tube videos.

On March 25th Aberdeen Climate Action and Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament jointly sponsored a meeting on the above.

The idea of the meeting was to share ideas of the challenges faced by diversification and to kick-start change.

This is the fith of five articles being produced for Aberdeen Voice and concerns a talk on the ‘Politics of Diversification’ from  by Myshele Haywood Co-convenor of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party and a Sociologist.

Myshele Haywood puts forward that all the major decisions about how we live are political, whether they be food, health, energy or lifestyle. The Oil and Gas collapse in the North Sea and what we do about it depends on political factors.

Local politicians may see the need to do something about carbon emissions but they are faced with the immediate needs of their constituents. There are also major players such as multi-nationals and financial institutions that have influence and they can be opposed to the Scottish Renewables lobby.

Even Adam Smith the advocate of free markets saw the need for Governments to intervene when competition was not meeting the needs of society. Political parties have been obsessed with the need for Economy’s to grow but growth, growth, growth is not sustainable and will have long term have dire consequences for our planet and the people that live on it.  

The shift of policy from Westminster has however been away from renewables and though Independence would face many of the same challenges she considers that it would open up more doors for positive change.

Below is Myshele Haywoods contribution in her own words.

The Facebook links to Aberdeen Climate Action and Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament:

https://www.facebook.com/aberdeenclimateaction/
https://www.facebook.com/Aberdeen-Campaign-for-Nuclear-Disarmament-CND-116237695080239/

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Jun 022017
 

With thanks to Veronica Tudhope organiser with Scottish CND and Jonathan Russell Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and member of Aberdeen Climate Action also Duncan Hart who produced the you tube videos.

On March 25th Aberdeen Climate Action and Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament jointly sponsored a meeting on the above.

The idea of the meeting was to share ideas of the challenges faced by diversification and to kick-start change.

This is the fourth of five articles being produced for Aberdeen Voice and concerns a talk on Diversification from Nuclear Weapons by Veronica Tudhope Organiser with Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament who has written the below as an introduction to her talk:

“Everybody was covered with blood and burned and blackened and swollen, and skin and flesh were hanging from their bones. Parts of their bodies were missing. Some were carrying their own eyeballs.”

The words of Satsuko Thurlow, a Japanese Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor) provide the context for the argument that we need Trident for jobs. We cannot set aside the moral issue to just talk about jobs.

Jackie Baillie’s famous claim that,’’1,000 jobs could be at risk’ without Trident is both morally bankrupt and wrong. In fact, 520 civilian jobs would be lost. The correct context for this is the regular loss of jobs in longstanding Scottish industries such as 7-900 jobs lost when Johnny Walker closed in Kilmarnock, repeated all over the country and widely disregarded. In fact Trident replacement is known to suck jobs away from other parts of the defence sector.

In a spirit of internationalism trade unions, can be expected to be against preparing to bomb workers in other countries but that’s clearly easier for unions without members in the defence sector. In fact, most, apart from the GMB have a clear anti-nuclear stance. The STUC and SCND have called for a Scottish Defence Diversification Agency, “whose main focus will be planning and resourcing the diversification of jobs away from defence projects such as Trident, and promoting the greening or the Scottish economy”

Imminent negotiations at the UN in New York which are expected to result in a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons on the 7th July 2017. It will prohibit nuclear weapons, and make using, possessing and developing nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

This can be expected to lead, eventually to Trident renewal cancellation, and an end to the erroneous justification of this deadly, inefficient job creation scheme.

The you tube clip below is Veronica Tudhope’s talk at the public meeting.

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May 252017
 

With thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and member of Aberdeen Climate Action and Duncan Hart  who produced the youtube videos.

On March 25th Aberdeen Climate Action and Aberdeen And District CND jointly sponsored a meeting on the above.

The idea of the meeting was to share ideas of the challenges faced by diversification and to kick-start change. 

This is the third of five articles being produced for Aberdeen Voice and concerns a talk on Community Renewables by Jelte Harnmeajer who works for the Hutton Institute and also runs his own consultancy in Community Renewables.

Jelte’s talk was entitled ‘Resilience through renewables’ and he gives examples of where local communities by running their own energy concerns can greatly benefit their local communities. In Denmark 86% of renewable projects are owned by local communities yet in the UK it is only 4%.

However, it is now the fastest growing means of developing renewables and has huge potential in the Aberdeen and surrounding areas if we start getting our act together.

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May 192017
 

With thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and member of Aberdeen Climate Action and Duncan Hart  who produced the youtube videos.

On March 25th Aberdeen Climate Action and Aberdeen And District CND jointly sponsored a meeting on the above.

The idea of the meeting was to share ideas of the challenges faced by diversification and to kick-start change. 

This is the second of five articles being produced for Aberdeen Voice. It is a talk by Erik Dalhuijsen who is co-chair of Aberdeen Climate Action a physicist by training who runs his own consultancy.

Erik’s talk is particularly pertinent to Aberdeen’s future given the decline in work in the oil industry. Erik outlines how the huge costs of decommissioning will increase over time and that there is a mismatch between the needs of Aberdeen for its future and Government policy. To reduce costs and save jobs de-commissioning should be the Aberdeen Economy’s number one priority.

Erik explains how the experts who are guiding Government policy are from the carbon past and have their own financial interests at heart in delaying de-commissioning and a noncarbon future.

The oil industry is projecting the need for more oil production at a time when Governments have signed up to reduce Carbon emissions to reduce Climate change. At the same time the costs of producing alternative energy are falling and at a time when other countries are moving rapidly to embrace alternative energy we here in Aberdeen are holding onto

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and member of Aberdeen Climate Action and Duncan Hart and Michael Reinsborough who produced the youtube videos.

On March 25th Aberdeen Climate Action and Aberdeen And District CND jointly sponsored a meeting on the above.
The idea of the meeting was to share ideas of the challenges faced by diversification and to kick-start change. The meeting was chaired by Fiona Napier who is a local trade unionist and activist.

There were four speakers

  • Veronika Tudhope, Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
  • Jelte Hammeijer, Hutton Institute,
  • Erik Dalhuijsen, Aberdeen Climate Action,
  • Myshele Haywood, Green Party.

Each of these talks will appear in Aberdeen Voice over the coming weeks.

We started however by a film about the Lucas Plan with an introduction from Michael Reinsborourgh from Breaking the Frame.

Michael had been involved with a similar event in Birmingham and who was pivotal in making the meeting in Aberdeen happen.

The Lucas Plan was a pioneering effort by workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. It remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change.

Today, in 2017 — 41years after the Lucas Plan — we’re facing a convergence of crises: climate chaos, militarism and nuclear weapons, and the destruction of jobs by automation.

These crises mean we have to start thinking about technology as political, as the Lucas Aerospace workers did.

The documentary is on you tube please open the link below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pgQqfpub-c&t=341s

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May 052017
 

Aberdeen and District CND goes to  With thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair Aberdeen and District CND.

Aberdeen and District CND are organising a vigil outside Faslane nuclear base on Saturday 20th May. There will be a transport going down on the day, leaving at about 8am, for the actual vigil which will take place between 12.30-3pm
The Clyde Naval Base in Faslane, Scotland is home to the UK’s nuclear weapons system, Trident.

The Vanguard-class submarines which transport Britain’s nuclear bombs are stationed here. Faslane also hosts visits from US Trident submarines.

Faslane also hosts a number of nuclear-powered attack submarines, known as hunter killers. These submarines carry conventional weapons, and are used to escort Trident submarines on their patrols.

Faslane is only 25 miles from Glasgow and its population of 600,000 people. 

Coulport:

Trident warheads are stored at the Royal Naval Arms Depot Coulport, adjacent to Faslane. The warheads are kept in concrete bunkers that have been built into the hillside, and then loaded onto the submarines from a specially built dock.

The warheads are regularly transported to the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire for maintenance work. A convoy of vehicles escort them from Scotland to the South of England. While the Ministry of Defence claims there is little risk of nuclear detonation during transport, in reality an accident could set off the explosive material being transported. The nuclear weapons convoys often pass close to or even through large towns, endangering the people living there.

If you live in Aberdeen. Aberdeenshire or Moray please get involved

There are several ways of getting to Faslane :

  • We have hired a 17 seater bus which will leave Aberdeen on the day at 8am
  • You could stay at the Peace Camp which is near the base.
  • You could make your own way there and book accomodation locally.

Please let us know on if you want to go by bus or stay at the Peace camp by e-mailing jhamiltonrussell@hotmail.co.uk.

If going by bus we will ask you to make a donation towards costs also if you are staying at the Peace Camp please bring some food, battries or household cleaning goods.

If you want to support the vigil but cannot make the day please send a donation to Aberdeen and District CND c/o 3 Springbank Place Aberdeen AB11 6LW

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