Jul 142016

Aberdeen and District CND group has organised a rally with local politicians and music outside M&S in St. Nicholas Square at 11am, Saturday 16th. With thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair, Aberdeen and District CND

Trident demo 2016

David Cameron has used a speech at the NATO summit in Warsaw to announce that the long-awaited vote on Trident replacement will take place on Monday 18th July. It isn’t yet known whether MPs will be asked to support replacement in principle, or whether they will be asked to consent to the building of four new submarines, at a cost of £41bn.

CND analysis has shown that the lifetime cost of Trident replacement will be at least £205bn.

Jonathan Russell Chair Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated

“At a time of disarray in politics this is not the most sensible time to be making this decision. Such a decision has profound implications and should not be treated as a political football. The renewal of Trident goes against the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“Rather than acting as a deterrent having nuclear weapons makes us a more likely target in the event of nuclear war ever happening. They are weapons of mass destruction that can kill millions. They don’t keep us safe, divert resources from essential spending and are based in Scotland.”

Opposition to Trident is growing both inside and outside Parliament. MPs from every major party are expected to oppose the Government proposals.

Speakers will include:

  • Kirsty Blackman MP;
  • Kevin Stewart MSP;
  • Plus speakers from other political, union and faith groups and music

For more info phone: Jonathan Russell on 01224-586435. Mobile 07582-456233

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Mar 112016

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

cnd52 The Aberdeen and District CND’s AGM takes place on Monday March 14th at 7.30pm in the Unite building 42-44 King Street Aberdeen. Please come along to find out more about our work and get involved.

Following the previous year’s activity around the Independence Referendum we had expected a quieter year but no!!

The General Election led to a disappointing overall result but Scotland elected 56 SNP and 1 Labour MP all of whom oppose Trident.

Following the General Election there was the election of a new Labour Leader and the surprise result was the election with a large majority of Jeremy Corbyn MP who for years has been a major figure in both CND and Stop the War. Trident has rarely been out of the news since then as have the on-going conflicts in the Middle East.

We started the year with a well-attended and lively AGM with guest speaker Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, who spoke on the future strategy of CND. Among those in attendance was one SNP MSP and two future MPs.

Given the Westminster General Election we held a very successful ‘Defence and Foreign Affairs Hustings’ in partnership with Aberdeen University Politics and International Relations Society. We had speakers from the SNP, Labour, Conservative, and Green party with around 70 in attendance.

We held a weekly public stall leading up to the General Election which was well attended.

Local members attended the Bairns not Bombs demonstration in Glasgow on April 4th and the Faslane blockade on April 13th.

Also on April 13th Alan Mackinnon, the then Secretary of Scottish CND gave an interesting talk on NATO’s Eastward March towards Russia which led to a particularly stimulating and wide ranging discussion. Alan who was the long term chair of CND and also chaired the Stop the War Iraq demonstration in Glasgow sadly died later in the year


We have raised concerns through local MPs about the UK Government’s plan to send back-up troops to the Ukraine.

We had a stimulating meeting on 24th July on ‘The SNP’s Strategy on Trident at Westminster’ and how the local group would support this with Stuart Donaldson the new SNP MP for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine.

Hiroshima Day on 6th August was well attended with speakers from political and Christian groups as well as poems and songs

We had a lively and informative meeting on 12th August on the theme of ‘The Trident Whistle blower and the ‘Safety of British Submarines’ led by John Ainslie, the co-ordinator of Scottish CND.

On Friday 23rd October we showed the film ‘We are Many’ about the opposition to the Iraq war at Kemnay Village Hall. The film was very well attended and we had a panel with representatives from Scottish CND, the Aberdeen Trades Union Council, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign as well as Izhar Khan.

Our One World Concert held on 31st October had some great music, poems and dance. Unfortunately some performers pulled out and there was a very disappointing turn out.

We had a very enjoyable New Year Party

A major event started the year with many members and supporters travelling to the London Main Gate scrap Trident demonstration on 27th February. This was a great action and speakers at the rally at Trafalgar Square included Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn.

We had our first of two planned meetings on the Middle East entitled ‘Voices from the Middle East’ in the form of an open discussion on the escalating Middle East Conflicts at which Izhar Khan gave a historical account of the background to the conflicts, Dr Khaled Bashir spoke about Libya and Murat Galem spoke on the Kurds.

We continue to send out emails to our supporters who have signed up to our Yahoo group collective and have a very active Facebook Page which has been liked by over 500 people.

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Mar 032016

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

CND Bullets

The meeting should be of interest to all those who want to get a greater understanding of the conflict in the Middle East

The horrendous, bloody, escalating and never ending conflicts in the Middle East are rarely out of the news but few of us have a huge understanding of what is really going on, why and what the solutions could be.
Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Aberdeen Student Left are hosting two open discussion meetings the first of which Friday takes place on March 11th at 6.30pm.

All the speakers will come from the Middle East and the venue for the Open Discussion will be the MacRobert Lecture Theatre, the Macrobert Building, University of Aberdeen.

At our first meeting Izhar Khan the well-known local Consultant, Lecturer and activist will be giving a Historical account of the background of the conflicts. Next we will have Dr Khaled Bashir also an International Lawyer who lives locally and teaches Arabic will speak about Libya. Depending on his availability we hope next to have Murat Galem who will speak about the Kurds. Izhar Khan will speak about the Yemen in one of the meetings. The second meeting will concentrate on Iraq and Syria.

The open discussions will also encompass the conflict between Sunni and Shia, Russia and the West and the role of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel and Egypt play in these conflicts.

The meeting should be of interest to all those who want to get a greater understanding of the conflict in the Middle East and those concerned about the devastating effects on the people who live in these countries and on the refugee crises.

Jonathan Russell Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said:

“We will be inviting local politicians from Westminster and the Scottish Parliament to the meeting but the open discussion is for everyone concerned about these tragic conflicts which have killed over a million people injured many more, destroyed communities and countries and led to the present refuge crises”

For more information please contact Jonathan Russell Chair Aberdeen and District CND mobile 07582456233 landline 01224 586435. E- mail jhamiltonrussell@hotmail.co.uk

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Feb 112016

By Jonathan Russell, Chair Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

No Trident CNDOn Saturday 27th February the CND is calling a massive demonstration in London to protest against the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system: Trident.
The demonstration is being supported by local politicians from across the political divide the SNP, Labour and the Greens in Scotland who are all opposed to the renewal of Trident

Commenting Kirsty Blackman SNP, MP (Aberdeen North) said:

“The UK Government is on entirely the wrong track with its support for out-dated, immoral nuclear weapons.  A great turn out from members of the public at anti-Trident events keeps the pressure up on the Westminster Government.”

 Commenting Dame Anne Begg ex Labour MP (Aberdeen South) said:

“I have been a lifelong unilateralist and have therefore never supported the UK having nuclear weapons.  I would like to see Britain get rid of our nuclear weapons to set an example to other countries. However, the first step should be to cancel any replacement of the Trident nuclear system and carry out a proper defence review looking at where the threats to our country come from today.

“We need a defence policy which addresses the world geo-political landscape at the beginning of the 21st century and not one which supposedly protects us from the threats from the mid-20th century. While I can’t be there, I do hope people from Aberdeen will travel to London on 27th Feb to join the anti-Trident demonstration.”

Maggie Chapman Co-Convenor of Green Party commented:

“Weapons that cause indiscriminate death and destruction are always immoral. Those that can’t be deployed are also useless. The Westminster government claims we can’t afford to have good jobs for our young people, decent care for our older people and clean energy for the future. Yet they want to waste obscene sums of money on weapons that are both useless and immoral.

“We must do everything we can to oppose Trident renewal. The 27th February march will be an important step on the road to ending nuclear weapons.”

The majority of people in Scotland and increasingly those in the UK oppose nuclear weapons. They are weapons of mass destruction that can kill millions. They don’t keep us safe and they divert resources from essential spending. And they are based here in Scotland.

Commenting Kevin Stewart SNP, MSP added:

 “When nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan, at the end of the Second World War, over 200,000 people died. Over seven decades later, that level of death and suffering might be hard for some to comprehend. Unfortunately, over that time our world leaders have developed new nuclear warheads, capable of even greater destruction.

 “Yet, the damage done by nuclear weapons extends further than that. It’s estimated that replacing trident will cost £167 billion. At a time that people are being punished by the UK Government’s budget cuts, that money could make huge differences to lives up and down the country.

 “Instead of punishing poor people, disabled folk, and our youngsters with harsh cuts while money is thrown at trident, we could instead prioritise nurses over nukes, teachers over trident and bairns over bombs.”

Let’s get the message out loud and clear: let’s have a large Scottish block on the march to say Scrap Trident.

Christian Allard SNP, MSP commented:

“With regular marches and meetings in the North East and beyond it is apparent there is strong, popular opposition to the renewal of trident from the people who live here in Scotland.

 “We have political consensus as well in the Scottish Parliament, with the vast majority of MSPs voting against the renewal of the weapons system back in November 2015.

 “The last piece of the puzzle remains convincing UK politicians that getting rid of trident is the right thing to do. This march in London should be a catalyst that gets the Westminster government moving in the right direction.”

 Jonathan Russell Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said:

“There will be people from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire travelling by both bus and train to the demonstration everyone who opposes Trident renewal is welcome to join us”

Buses will leave Glasgow (George Square) at 2100hrs on the Friday then onto Edinburgh (approx. 1hr 15mins later) then down to London. This will have us arriving early morning (so that the driver gets a rest).

We leave London at 1800hrs on Feb 27th. Accommodation available in Edinburgh if needed.
Tickets are £40 and £20. If you can’t come but want to help you can give a DONATION  via Eventbrite to help subsidise the cost.

The EventBrite link is now open:

Bus from Scotland to CND Stop Trident Demo in London 27 Feb

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Feb 012016

No Trident CNDBy Jonathan Russell, Chair Aberdeen and District CND

On 27th February the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is calling a massive demonstration in London to protest against the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system: Trident. Join us to say No to government plans to buy a new system at a cost of £100 to 150 billion.

Parliament will be voting on this in 2016. So this is urgent – we can’t delay. Be part of history and join the Demonstration.

The majority of people in Scotland oppose nuclear weapons. They are weapons of mass destruction that can kill millions.

They don’t keep us safe and they divert resources from essential spending. And they are based here in Scotland.

Let’s get the message out loud and clear: let’s have a large Scottish block on the march to say Scrap Trident.

We leave Glasgow (George Square) at 2100hrs on the Friday then onto Edinburgh (approx. 1hr 15mins later) then down to London. This will have us arriving early morning (so that the driver gets a rest).

We leave London at 1800hrs on 27th February .Accommodation available in Edinburgh if needed.
Tickets are £40 and £20. If you can’t come but want to help you can give a DONATION  via Eventbrite to help subsidise the cost.

The EventBrite link is now open:

Bus from Scotland to CND Stop Trident Demo in London 27 Feb

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Aug 072015

With thanks to Jonathan Russell.


Concerns raised regarding “the ‘scary’ shortage of personnel to work on the Trident missile system.”

Aberdeen and District CND are to host a public meeting on Monday 10th August. Speaker, John Ainslie (Coordinator, Scottish CND) will focus on ‘The Trident Whistle Blower and the Safety of British

On 17 May this year the Sunday Herald published serious allegations of safety and security weaknesses on Britain’s Trident submarines.

The article was based on an 18page report from Able Seaman William McNeilly.

McNeilly was training to be a missile technician on a Trident submarine and had been  on board HMS Victorious throughout its patrol from January to April 2015. He said:

“the Trident programme is a disaster waiting to happen”

John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND has stated:

“McNeilly’s report should not be dismissed as the ill-informed views of a junior sailor. One of his main concerns was the ‘scary’ shortage of personnel to work on the Trident missile system. Official reports show that there is a 25% shortfall in this area and that the lack of suitable people is the greatest risk to the safety of the defence nuclear programme.”

John Ainslie has produced a report on these and other safety concerns entitled. Substandard ‘The Trident Whistle Blower and the safety of British Submarines’.

McNeilly’s report brings together descriptions of what he saw on board HMS Victorious and accounts that he heard of incidents and problems on other nuclear submarines. He outlines safety concerns, defects, security breaches and careless practice.

Official reports show that the Navy does not have enough Suitably Qualified and Experienced submariners to operate the Trident missile system or the reactors on nuclear submarines and that the greatest risk to the safety of the Defence Nuclear Programme comes from a shortage of personnel.

An overemphasis on operational requirements, at the expense of safety, has contributed to a number of submarine incidents in recent years.

The Trident missile was designed in a way that introduces a greater risk than other types of nuclear missile. Between 2009 and 2012 fires on British nuclear submarines took place at a rate of around one every six weeks. Problems identified on a fire on one submarine in 2004 were repeated in a subsequent fire two and a half years later.

There are 13 known collisions involving British nuclear submarines and 11 incidents when submarines have run aground. There have been three major generic defects with the reactor designs on British nuclear submarines. These were discovered in 1989, 2000 and 2012. There is an unacceptable risk of a terrorist attack on a Trident submarine in the Faslane shiplift and there have been instances of sabotage on submarines in service with other navies.

The reactors on British submarines are much less reliable than those on American submarines. This means that there is a significant risk that a submarine could go into an uncontrolled dive.

The Trident Whistle Blower and the Safety of British Submarines.

Public meeting organised by Aberdeen and District CND.
Monday 10th August at 7.30pm
Unite the Union
42-44 King Street.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

May 032012

This is one of a series of articles being produced by Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). You can read further articles in both past and future editions of Aberdeen Voice. With thanks to Jonathan Russell.

Approximately 35 percent of the energy from a nuclear explosion is an intense burst of thermal energy.

The effects are similar to the effect of a two-second flash from an enormous sun-lamp.

  • Initially, most of the energy goes into heating the bomb materials and the air in the vicinity of the blast.
  •  Temperatures of a nuclear explosion reach those of the interior of the sun, about 100,000,000 Celsius.
  • Two pulses of thermal radiation emerge from the fire ball that is created. The first pulse, lasting a tenth of a second, consists of radiation in the ultra-violet region. The second pulse lasts for several seconds. It carries 99 per cent of the total thermal radiation. It is this radiation which causes the skin burns and eye injuries suffered by exposed individuals.
  •  It also causes all combustible materials to break into flames, the amount of damage greater in clear air than cloud. The fireball itself – an extremely hot and highly luminous spherical mass of air and gaseous weapon residues, (see article on blast effects) occurs within less than one-millionth of one second of the weapon’s detonation, the fireball rising like a hot air balloon.

Immediately after its formation, the fireball begins to grow in size engulfing the surrounding air. This growth is accompanied by a decrease in temperature (because of the increase in size).

As explained, the fireball rises like a hot air balloon. Within seven tenths of one millisecond from detonation, the fireball from a one megaton weapon is about 440 feet across, and this increases to a maximum size of 5,700 feet across in 10 seconds.
It is then rising at a rate of 250 feet per second.

After a minute, the fireball has cooled to such an extent that it no longer emits visible radiation. It has risen roughly 4.5 miles from the point where it burst.

As the fireball increases in size and cools the vapour condenses to form a mushroom cloud containing solid particles of the weapon’s debris, as well as many small drops of water derived from air sucked into the rising fireball. Added to this, winds suck in dirt and debris from the earth.

Flash burns are one of the serious consequences of nuclear explosions. They result from the absorption of radiant energy by the exposed skin.



Apr 122012

This is the first of a series of articles for Aberdeen Voice, to be written by members of the Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). These articles are intended to raise awareness of nuclear issues for people in the North-East of Scotland, as a part of CND’s wider campaign against nuclear weapons. These articles will also be going in letter form to Ministers, MP’s, MSP’s, MEP’s, Councillors and other key decision makers. Aberdeen and District CND will also be making suggestions on alternative ways of dealing with regional and global conflict. With thanks to Johnathan Russell.

For most of us nuclear weapons have been a part of the world we live in for all of our lives. We can as such often put into the back of our minds just how horrific these weapons would be if used.
As part of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the New Start Treaty of December 2010, nearly 50% of these monstrous weapons have been destroyed. This has to be heralded as enormous progress.

This May the UK is participating in the United Nations non proliferation treaty conference in Vienna.

This is an opportunity for the UK Government, rather than to be involved in criticising other countries, to take responsibility itself by putting forward concrete proposals for UK disarmament.

The old arguments of unilateral or multilateral disarmament no longer stand, as the aim of the Non-Proliferation treaty is to stop new weapons being produced and gradually getting rid of the stockpiles that already exist. You could in fact argue that by building a new weapons system we are being unilateralist in going against the non-proliferation treaty.

The question for the UK Government and opposition parties is how active a part we want to play in the process of reducing our nuclear weapons with an eventual aim of having a nuclear free world. The renewal of Trident flies right in the face of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The United Kingdom can hardly expect countries like Iran (who are signed up to the Non- Proliferation Treaty) and North Korea (who were signed up to the treaty before President Bush called them one of the axis of evil) to not produce Nuclear Weapons when we intend to do the same ourselves.

We should at least be clearly saying to these countries if you do not produce Nuclear Weapons, neither will we. Or alternatively we could lead by example and not replace Trident which would have a considerable ripple effect.

Michael Portillo, an ex Defence spokesman for the Conservative Party, said on BBC‘s Moral Maze programme recently that Trident is no more than a prestige symbol which would not even be used if any major conflicts were to take place. Yet the Conservative Party, despite some honourable exceptions, are committed to replace Trident.

Of equal concern the Labour Party leadership at both UK and Scottish levels is supportive of the replacement of Trident. This policy continues despite significant public expenditure cuts taking place; and with polls showing that the majority of Labour supporters are opposed to Trident.

The opposition to Trident has always been strong in Scotland with the SNP, Green Party and the majority of Labour MP’S, some Liberals and according to public opinion polls a clear majority of Scottish citizens being opposed to Trident.

However, the countries of the old Soviet Union, (Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) have become nuclear free. South Africa has set a great example by unilaterally getting rid of its nuclear weapons. Argentina and Brazil stopped their Nuclear Programmes in the 1980’s.

But failure to act on the comprehensive test ban treaty by leaders in the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, France, United Kingdom and North Korea and to cut off production of nuclear weapons materials continues to put the world at risk from continued development of nuclear weapons. There are still 19,500 Nuclear Weapons – enough to destroy our world several times over. Nuclear power stations if hit directly or if they caught fire in a nuclear strike would add to the conflagration.

and yet at a time of severe cuts the UK government is considering renewal of the Trident system at Faslane.

There has been a growth in Nuclear Weapons of a smaller size in India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Under NATO the United States has nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Turkey – in breach, many would say, of the Non Proliferation Treaty. The Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and the Korean peninsula are all areas where the potential for conflict has been heightening at a worrying rate.

Israel is the only nuclear armed country in the Middle East: their arsenal of nuclear bombs, though known about, is not admitted to. A climate is being created in Israel which is very worrying and could lead to airstrikes against Iran, even nuclear ones. In the background to the conflict between North and South Korea is potential conflict between the United States and China along possibly with Russia.

In February there was good news following talks between North Korea and the United States in Beijing with North Korea agreeing to halt uranium enrichment and the testing of long range missiles in return for food aid. This agreement has been rescinded following North Korea’s plan to launch a long range missile in honour of the 100th anniversary of their original leader Kim IL Sung.

The North Koreans say that the rocket is linked to their peaceful advance of their space programme but critics fear that the launch is linked to North Koreas nuclear programme. Both South Korea and Japan have threatened to shoot it down if it enters their territory. The unexpected re-election of the Conservative Saenuri party in South Korea further complicates the situation.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has recently moved their clock one minute further forward i.e. five minutes to midnight before when they think nuclear war could happen.

One of the main differences between a nuclear and a conventional explosion is that the use of nuclear weapons would be many thousands (and with the largest bombs held by the United States millions of times) more powerful than the largest conventional detonations.

The UK, as with other parts of the western world, is in financial and economic meltdown, and yet at a time of severe cuts the UK government is considering renewal of the Trident system at Faslane. Costs have already increased from £4.5 billion to £12.153 billion, and as with all procurement costs are likely to continue to increase. The BASIC Trident Commission supported by a independent cross party group of MPs suggests that cancelling Trident would save £83.5 billion between 2016-2062.

There will be forthcoming articles in Aberdeen Voice on the economic costs of retaining or getting rid of Trident.

The referendum about whether the people of Scotland want to stay in the UK or become an Independent nation has raised a major conundrum in that the SNP have pledged to get rid of Trident in Scottish waters and there are no other obvious bases for Trident in other parts of the UK. The Trident issue will be a major issue in the Independence debate which is starting to take place, and we will be aiming to raise our viewpoint at every opportunity.

Opinion poll after opinion poll has indicated that a clear majority of people in Scotland want to see the end of Trident. 

If the UK gave up its Nuclear weapons we believe this would have a considerable knock- on effect, helping to rid the world of these monstrous weapons.

We need to make this happen.

Sep 162011

With thanks to Dave Watt.   

HiroshimaNagasaki Atomic Bombings – 66 years On’ Exhibition

AbCND has arranged a photographic exhibition in the City Library running from 19th to 30th Sept. The exhibition depicts the devastation caused by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Nuclear weapons burn people to ashes at temperatures of thousands of degrees and release radiation that damages every cell in a victim’s body.  During the two attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the resultant radiation induced illnesses over two hundred thousand people have died.

There are about twenty three thousand nuclear warheads in the world today, each posing a direct threat to the survival of humanity.

For further details see:www.banthebomb.org/AbCND 
Apr 292011

Voice’s Old Susannah casts her eye over recent events, stories, and terms and phrases familiar as well as freshly ‘spun’, which will be forever etched in the consciousness of the people of Aberdeen and the Northeast.

It was yet another event-packed week in Aberdeen. Some of us hunted for Easter eggs while the SNP, Greens and Labour were outside Marks & Spencers on Union Street Saturday, hunting for votes.

The public square outside of M&S served as an ‘exciting, vibrant hub in the heart of the City’ where people could come together – and it didn’t even cost £140 million to create. Not quite enough concrete there, though.

Anyway, the Friends of UTG and the anti-deer cull lobby spoke to the assembled politicians and passers-by and generated a great deal of interest.

On the other hand, the (not very) Liberal (not really) Democrats were conspicuous by their total absence on the day.  Whatever party you can from, whatever cause you support – everyone was in agreement that Councillor West of the SNP was the life and soul of the party. Who could forget his warm smile, beard, black suit and friendly banter as he offered all comers a bright yellow SNP balloon?

The SNP balloon is filled with hot air, and is likely to burst sometime in the near future, probably on 5 May. Perhaps the LibDems were right to stay away – their popularity might have caused a riot.  However, at the time of writing on Monday 25th April, there is no sign in the Press & Journal that such lively debate, lobbying and protesting ever took place concerning UTG and the deer.

The night before I stayed up all night to watch the skies for a meteor shower (not much joy really,- just wound up very tired Saturday), caused by Comet Thatcher. If I understand the science correctly, the frozen, lifeless Thatcher left a massive trail of debris which we will all still experience for generations to come. I’m sure there is some kind of metaphor in this somewhere but I can’t think what it might be.

Just one last thing – I owe a sincere apology to XXXXXXXXXXXX about my having XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX. I am truly sorry; it was very very much out of character, honestly don’t know what possessed me, and I obviously promise never to XXXXXXXXXXXXXX   XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX again. I have taken out a super injunction against myself, and will never mention XXXXXXXXXXXXXX again. Mea maxima culpa.  I will have one fewer BrewDog this coming weekend than last. Well, maybe not – it’s down to London to see some old friends; apparently there is some big wedding on as well.

Now that that is all cleared up, onwards with a few more terms to define.


(adj – Great Britain) freedom from guilt or blame, not culpable.
(adj – USA) – suspicious, dangerous; a state of being which deserves incarceration without trial, redress, or contact with the outside world – which would normally be guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

I mean, without Guantanamo, how else would we have found all of those Weapons of Mass Destruction?

After over seven years of detention in Guantanamo Bay for hundreds, it seems the United States, land of the free and home of the brave, might just have to admit to keeping innocent people locked up in Guantanamo. Files have surfaced which seem to show that about 220 of the enemy combatants’ (or ‘people’ to you and me) were classed as dangerous terrorists but some 150 were innocent.

The rest of the world recognised this from day one of the camp’s creation and the American refusal to allow legal representtaives in but the US was deaf to international pleas for mercy, basic human rights and the rule of law to prevail.

Dear George ‘Dubya’ Bush was largely behind the camp’s existence and he and his aides came up with the strategy of calling the Guantanamo captives ‘enemy combatants;’ this was unique for two reasons: Firstly,  such a preposterous legal concept had never before been used. Secondly, no one thought Bush could manage a phrase with that many syllables.

Old Susannah might have tried to define a few tricky terms in the past but I’m not touching ‘enemy combatant’ with a bargepole.  I don’t have a bargepole.

Guantanamo did manage to release some of the blatantly blame-free over the years and with their emergence emerged tales of degradation, abuse, suicide attempts, physical and mental torture.  But if you’re innocent, you’ve got to accept this kind of thing.  Most of the inmates were guilty of being in Afghanistan or Pakistan at some time or other, so there you go.

Let us not forget:  if you want to preserve Democracy and Freedom, you’ve got to lock up a few ‘folk’ and torture them now and then.  I mean, without Guantanamo, how else would we have found all of those Weapons of Mass Destruction?  Remember, it’s not torture when the ‘good guys’ are doing it – it’s ‘persuasion’. Of course, it could never happen here (we just let the US use our airspace when moving these people around on the way to be ‘persuaded’).


(noun) protected species of rodent with flight capabilities; habitats of which are under threat.
(adj) slang for slightly crazy or unbalanced.

Scottish Natural Heritage sent me a letter ages ago, when plans for building in Union Terrace Gardens were first brought up, mentioning the presence of important birds and bats.

these guards sadly have ‘visual impact’ per our city experts, who  apparently prefer the visual impact of a suffering or dead animal

I understand from ‘moles’ in Union Terrace Gardens that the bats have been seen on recent evenings within the park.  It would be an awful shame if the presence of an EU-protected species of animal put any brakes on plans to build (another) shopping area in Aberdeen. Still, bats haven’t managed to stall plans for Loirston becoming home to a giant, glowing football stadium.

Other old bats can be found hanging around other city-centre buildings, particularly around the Marischal and St Nicholas areas. Many of these are of the blood-sucking variety, and should be avoided at all costs. Some are undoubtedly rabid.

‘Humane Cull’:

(noun) a way of killing something – such as a deer – whereby you need not feel too badly about it, particularly when the killing is wholly avoidable; the use of ‘experts’ to remove life in a sharing, caring, ‘humane’ kind of way. The feel-good factor in destruction.

We are soon to have a cull (unless someone wants their political career to continue) of an unspecified number of the Tullos Hill Roe Deer, over an unspecified number of years. Cheaper than the tree guards which are successfully in use in Loirston Loch and Kincorth Hill – but these guards sadly have ‘visual impact’ per our city experts, who  apparently prefer the visual impact of a suffering or dead animal.

But don’t lose any sleep, councillors – it is going to be a ‘humane cull.’  Ms Malone and others might want you to think some sharpshooters pull a trigger and an animal will die within seconds. I would hate to burst anyone’s balloon (except Malone’s and West’s), but this is what will happen to at least some of the deer…

I quote from a website called ‘bluestar hunting – www.bluestar-hunting.com/bloodinmotion.html
Sensitive souls may wish to look away now.  Here are some quotes:-

* ” Pay attention to the reaction of the animal when it is shot… I have had many hunters tell me that they knocked the animal down, only to watch it suddenly jump up and run off, leaving lots of blood.  This is the one that I hate to hear the most.  First of all, body shots that do not impact the neck or spine rarely make an animal drop, and if the neck or spine is hit, the animal is usually disabled and cannot get up..”

*  “The falling down likely means the leg was broken; lots of blood usually indicates a muscle hit.  Muscle damage leaves lots of blood in the first 100 yards… if it was a lung hit, it can take time for the body cavity to fill and blood to be forced out.  Animals may run in the beginning… this will cause blood trains to be harder to see…

*  “A liver shot is always fatal… but it will most likely take until the next day or later for the deer to die…. the double lung shot is the best percentage shot to take, as it will cause massive internal bleeding and drowning, causing death within about 150 yards… the pattern will start out with little blood, but it will increase as the  animal starts blowing blood out the mouth and nose…”

And my personal favourite:

*  “Give the animal time to bleed out before  you start tracking…. I have found animals within 40 or 50 yards of the stand, where they died after having run 250 to 300 yards in a long arcing circle, trying to get back to the spot they were safe in before the shot.”

(This could be why I prefer taking pictures of wildlife rather than blasting it to a slow death).

All the while, the wounded animal is in total shock, indescribable pain,and complete and utter terror as it dies, either a fairly quick ‘humane’ death or the slow one.  It is safe to assume that at least some of the deer – some of which are pregnant – will get this latter, long, terrifying, agonising death.

No wonder Scottish Natural Heritage wanted the city to manage the news of the cull carefully.  Not everyone is down with this  ‘humane cull’ reality.  Someone send a copy of ‘Bambi’ to Ms Malone, thanks.

NB – the Deer now have about 11 days – and Councillor Malone has about 3 to call it off.


PS – Strictly confidential:

Grate a strong smelling soap around your plant beds. Some people will also tie soap bars to trees and bushes to keep deer away from a specific plant.

Sprinkle a mixture of red and black pepper, garlic and curry powder on and around plants deer like to eat to keep them away from your garden. Since this mixture will disappear when it rains, be sure to spread it out again after rain storms or after heavy watering sessions.

Try mixing a beaten egg with water and spraying on plants and around flower beds to keep deer away from your garden. Again, this will have to be reapplied after rains or heavy watering.

Use a commercial deer-repellent such as Deer-Off or Deer-Away. You can also try drops of animal urine such as coyote in your gardening beds. Some people report that human urine can work as well.

Plant plants deer won’t eat such as Lady’s Mantle, Butterfly Weed, Foxglove, St. John’s Wort, Lavender, Daffodil, Poppy and most pungent herbs.

Sprinkle human hair around your planting beds. Ask your hairdresser or a barber to save you a large bag next time you go in for your haircut.

Put a fence around your property to keep deer out. Some people have luck with tying white plastic shopping bags on the fence every couple of feet. The noise and movement of the plastic bags seems to scare deer and keep them away. A variation on the fence is to try a deer protection net. These nets are less obvious than a fence and may be more aesthetically pleasing to your garden.


Next week – more definitions, outcome of the deer situation, and previously-promised news on Freedom of Information