Sep 142015

Alex Salmond head and shouldersWith thanks to Tom Collins, Press Officer, Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MP MSP

Alex Salmond MSP (Aberdeenshire East) MP (Gordon) has welcomed the latest official figures showing a huge decrease in crime across Aberdeenshire and Scotland.
New official statistics show that recorded crimes of handling an offensive weapon, including knife crimes, in Aberdeenshire have fallen by 64 per cent since 2006-07.

This has contributed to a fall in overall recorded crime levels across Scotland to a 41 year low.

Since the SNP came to power, an additional 1,000 police officers have been delivered, as well as enforcing legislation, the No Knives, Better Lives campaign is educating young people about the risks and consequences of carrying a knife.

Between 2006-07 and 2013-14 the number of young people under 19 convicted of handling an offensive weapon fell by 80 per cent – from 812 to 165.

Commenting, Mr Salmond said:

“I very much welcome this substantial fall in the handling of offensive weapons. Communities in Aberdeenshire along with the rest of Scotland can feel safer knowing that there are now fewer weapons and more police on our streets.

“Crime has fallen for eight years in a row, which is testament to the SNP Government’s record in office.

“In particular, the work of the Violence Reduction Unit and the No Knives, Better Lives campaign have made a substantial contribution to this reduction in offensive weapons crimes.

“It is important that we continue to educate young people about the serious consequences of carrying knives to ensure this welcome trend continues.”

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Jun 112015
Killiecrankie (2)

Alan Larsen as one of Bonny Dundee’s Cavalry with a captured French Standard from the Battle of Waterloo.

With thanks to James Rattray.

What does the 1689 Battle of Killiecrankie have in common with the 1815 Battle of Waterloo? The two battles set 120 years apart have one thing in common in the 2015 commemorations and that is New Zealander called Alan Larsen.

Alan Larsen grew up in New Zealand, at a very early age he discovered he had a passion for history.

At the age of 13 years old, when all his friends wanted to ride motor bikes, he decided he needed to learn to ride a horse. Being from Invercargill farming stock, his Aunty Isobel McIntyre provided him with his first horse.

At the age of 17 years he was in communications with Brigadier Peter Young, the founder of the Sealed Knot, the UK‘s oldest re-enactment society, formed in 1968. Alan says:

“Brigadier Peter Young said, come to England and join my Life Guard of Horse. So I did just that. I started my re-enacting journey in 1977.”

His passion for his hobby has led to an unusual career path, Cavalry consultant, advisor to English Heritage, historical event manager, the partial recreation of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the list goes on.

At this year’s June 15th Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, ‘the most impressive reconstructions ever seen in Europe, with 5,000 re-enactors, 300 horses and 100 canons.’ Alan Larsen plays the Duke of Wellington.

Five weeks later at the Soldiers of Killiecrankie on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July, Alan is one of Bonnie Dundee’s Gentlemen of Horse or cavalry.

James Rattray Chairman of Soldiers of Killiecrankie said:

“Alan Larsen was instrumental in starting the Soldiers of Killiecrankie, his enthusiasm is infectious. He said he would bring Bonnie Dundee’s cavalry back. So with the support of the Killiecrankie Battlefield owners and local farmer, last July we organised our first large event.” 

He continued:

“We had lots of really good feedback and non-more so than from the re-enacting world, word went out that Killiecrankie is a great event to take part in. This year we are anticipating even larger numbers of re-enactors, with a contingent travelling from Ireland who are going to tell us why the Irish were at the 1689 Battle.”

The Soldiers of Killiecrankie weekend has cavalry and infantry displays, battlefield tours, a living history camp that gives a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the daily life of the government troops as they wait to go into battle, showing the way in which lives are lived, how the weapons are maintained, the mealtimes, the care of the wounded, the making of musket balls.

There are also ‘period sensitive’ events from traditional storytelling, waulking cloth, dressing up for the whole family in traditional highland clothing for men, women and children, stalls, food, traditional crafts and other activities from targe and sword making for the youngsters, archery, golf, basket weaving, Battlefield Horse stunts, Executions through the Ages, and a popular Saturday night Battlefield Ceilidh.

Soldiers of Killiecrankie is on the Saturday and Sunday 25th and 26th July 2015, 11am to 5pm. Entry is £6 adult, £5 Concessions, £3 children under 16 years, family of four £16 and free car parking.

For further information –
or contact: – James Rattray or 01796 473335.

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Jan 232015
SNP CND conference2

Members of the SNP CND conference in Glasgow

With thanks to Gavin Mowat and Paul Robertson.

North East MSP Christian Allard renewed calls to scrap Trident during a speech at the SNP Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) conference at the weekend. Mr Allard took the opportunity to urge SNP members to work more closely with local CND groups to get more SNP MPs elected so “we can get rid of Trident”.

His comments come as a Survation poll found that 59.9 per cent of Scots want nuclear weapons removed from the Scottish waters.

As a member of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Mr Allard has taken part in many events in the North East calling for the removal of weapons of mass destruction from Scottish waters and he urged new members to do the same.

The North East MSP spoke of how many SNP members signed up to the CND at the Music Hall in Aberdeen during First Minister Nicola sturgeon’s stadium tour.

Commenting, Christian Allard said:

“With membership now standing at more than 93,000 the SNP is the strongest vehicle for progressive change in UK politics.

“When Nicola came to the Music Hall in Aberdeen I saw many SNP members signing up to the CND – I hope these members become active in the Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, adding to the strong local voice against weapons of mass destruction.

“The General Election in May represents a fantastic opportunity for a large group of SNP MPs to force Westminster to rethink its policy on Trident.”

A House of Commons debate today [Tuesday 20] – called by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party – offers an opportunity for MPs of all parties and from all parts of the UK to oppose spending £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons at a time of continued austerity.

Commenting on the news that Labour would ‘boycott’ the debate on Trident renewal at Westminster, Mr Allard said:

“Labour are clearly hiding from this debate because they find themselves in an untenable position.

“They simply cannot defend spending £100bn on weapons of mass destruction while backing £30bn of more austerity cuts.”

MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford added:

‘’It is absolutely indefensible and morally repugnant to waste £100bn on weapons of mass destruction whilst food bank use is rocketing, and more and more children are being pushed into poverty. I voted to oppose nuclear weapons in Parliament this week so that we can better spend these colossal sums of money on making a positive difference to our society.”

“It is a sad indictment of what the Scottish Labour party has become that they voted to support the renewal of Trident – only a week after they voted to push through more Tory cuts.”

“With a strong team of SNP MPs after the General Election, Scotland can hold the balance of power and can force Westminster to abandon this disastrous commitment – and ensure these immoral weapons are removed from Scotland for good.”

Note: The SNP CND conference was held on Saturday 17 January at the Boyd Orr Building at Glasgow University. For more on the Survation poll:

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Nov 072014

Jonathan Russell will be giving a talk on the arms trade this Monday 10th November at 7.30pm at UNITE the Union, 42-44 King Street, Aberdeen

arms sales graph“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

“The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

— Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech on April 16, 1953

We live in a world that faces huge challenges due to climate change, natural disasters and with the majority of the world’s population struggling to get enough resources to survive. Yet a much bigger priority for many governments is promoting their arms sales or buying arms. In times of recession selling arms becomes a greater priority and it can be argued that acquiring resources, in particular oil, has been a major reason for starting conflicts.

The arms trade is the main beneficiary of this. At a time when the world economy is stagnating, arms shares are rising rapidly with shares of the top 12 publicly listed firms – based on a list by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – rising by almost 30 per cent on average in the last year.

Stock price data on the 12 companies reveal most have benefitted in a year in which the number of conflict zones in Europe, the Middle East and Africa has risen. 2011 saw a massive rise in sales by the US and the UK to Saudi Arabia who in turn where arming ISIS.

Through our investments and pension funds we can unwittingly also be beneficiaries. For instance, our very own North East Pension fund for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire invests in the Arms trade. The end of the cold war led to a decline in arms sales but new enemies were soon found to allow business to continue as usual. New arms technologies such as drones and security technology open up new markets

The 5 UN Security Council permanent members are generally the largest arms dealers (though others such as Germany and Italy often feature quite high and Israel is rapidly expanding its exports with its expertise in drone warfare and surveillance

World’s largest arms exporters

The units in this table are so-called trend indicator values expressed in millions of U.S. dollars at 1990s prices. These values do not represent real financial flows but are a crude instrument to estimate volumes of arms transfers, regardless of the contracted prices, which can be as low as zero in the case of military aid. Ordered by descending 2013 values. The information is from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

2013 rank Supplier Arms exports
1  Russia 8283
2  United States 6153
3  China 1837
4  France 1489
5  United Kingdom 1394
6  Germany 972
7  Italy 807
8  Israel 773
9  Spain 605
10  Ukraine 589
11  Sweden 505
12  Belarus 338
13  South Korea 307
14  Netherlands 302
15   Switzerland 205


Global Spending on Arms

List by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2013)[1]
Rank Country Spending ($ bn.) % of GDP World share (%)
World total 1747.0 2.4 100
1 United States 640.0 3.8 36.6
2 People’s Republic of China[a] 188.0 2.0 10.8
3 Russia[a] 87.8 4.1 5.0
4 Saudi Arabia[b] 67.0 9.3 3.8
5 France 61.2 2.2 3.5
6 United Kingdom 57.9 2.3 3.3
7 Germany[a] 48.8 1.4 2.8
8 Japan 48.6 1.0 2.8
9 India 47.4 2.5 2.7
10 South Korea 33.9 2.8 1.9
11 Italy[a] 32.7 1.6 1.9
12 Brazil 31.5 1.4 1.8
13 Australia 24.0 1.6 1.4
14 Turkey 19.1 2.3 1.1
15 United Arab Emirates 19.0 4.7 1.1

China has increased its spending on arms by 12.2% this year. A major reason for this is Obamas strategic decision to move the majority of the US military complex to Asia Pacific. This was done to try and contain China’s rising power and has inevitably led to the beginnings of an arms race similar to the one that took place in the cold war between the Soviet Union and the US and its allies.

India and Japan are also rapidly increasing arms spending which in turn ratchets up the amount of arms spending by China. Who benefits most from this is the arms trade.

The arms industry is not an industry like any other its products aim to maim or kill human beings or destroy infrastructure. A buy product of the later is also killing and maiming human beings. War has changed dramatically since the beginning of the 20th Century when only 5% of casualties were civilians now 90% of people killed are civilians.

The aim increasingly with the use of drones etc is to limit to a minimum casualties from the country which is firing the weapon. War is a major contributor to instability and poverty. Of the 30 least developed countries in the world half have been involved in conflicts. The Lancet estimated from household data that 654,965 Iraqis died as a direct effect of the conflict from 2003-2006 and of course there have been daily killings since then.

The UN has estimated that 93,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict. Trade and food production are badly effected and countries are left with lack of power supplies. Shortages always lead to corruption and joining militias can become a way of surviving.

On top of this many people are displaced from their own countries living at best in refugee camps. This puts huge burdens on surrounding countries and money that could be spent on helping refugees is rather spent on more weapons.

Vietnam, where over two million deaths took place, is still recovering from the use of ancient orange and napalm. Mines laid and left behind in conflicts have been another source of human tragedy. In more recent conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya depleted uranium has been used in bombs and this has led to horrific birth defects.

 Every year, the US Congressional Research service releases an  report looking at arms sales transfers to the developing word.

The report released on August 24th 2012 entitled ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2004-2011′ known as the Grimmett report after its author Richard F Grimmett.

The Grimmett Report also notes that,

  • Developing nations continue to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers though most arms are supplied by just 2 or 3 major suppliers.
  • Despite the global economic climate, major purchases continue to be made by a select few developing nations in these regions, principally India in Asia and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
  • For arms suppliers, despite the impact the global economic situation has had on sales, a number of weapon-exporting nations have increased competition for sales going into areas and regions where they have may not have previously been prominent competition for sales will only intensify due to limits for growth.
  • Although recent years have shown a decline in sales, 2011 saw a massive jump, almost solely by an extraordinary increase in massive sales by the US, whose massive sales to Saudi Arabia distorted an otherwise downward trend in arms sales.
  • In 2011, the United States ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing nations with over $56.3 billion or 78.7% of these agreements, an extraordinary increase in market share from 2010, when the United States held a 43.6% market share. In second place was Russia with $4.1 billion or 5.7% of such agreements.
  • Saudi Arabian imports are even set to increase with additional deliveries of the Typhoon, and deliveries of 154 American F-15 jets, scheduled for 2015.
  • In 2013, according to SIPRI, Saudi Arabia also bought armoured vehicles from Canada worth $10 billion. Further orders may soon be placed for armoured personal carriers from Serbia and tanks from Germany
  • Between 2009 and 2013, Saudi Arabia and the UAE each received thousands of guided bombs from the USA. Saudi Arabia also received hundreds of air-launched Storm Shadow cruise missiles (with a range of approximately 300 kilometres) from the UK. Mounted on combat aircraft, and combined with refuelling airplanes acquired from Spain, the range of these cruise missiles could cover most of Iran.
  • In 2013 the USA was, for the first time, willing to negotiate the sale of hundreds of AGM-84H missiles to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Bahrain and the UAE also received surface-to-surface missiles from the US.

Arms sales also increased during this period from the UK from Mid 2008 until End-2010 arms sales to Saudi Arabia were 2,096m, Oman 377m and UAE 42m. From start of 2011 – mid 2013 they had increased dramatically sales to Saudi Arabia £3,436m, Oman £377m and UAE £139m- source Campaign Against Arms Trade – export liscences.

Largest arms industry companies.

This is a list of the world’s top 10 arms manufacturers and other military service companies. The information is based on a list published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for 2012.[14] The list provided by the SIPRI excludes companies based in China.

Rank Company Country Arms sales (US$ m.) Total company employment
1 Lockheed Martin  United States 36,000 120,000
2 Boeing  United States 27,610 174,400
3 BAE Systems  United Kingdom 26,850 88,200
4 Raytheon  United States 22,500 67,800
5 General Dynamics  United States 20,940 92,200
6 Northrop Grumman  United States 19,400 68,100
7 Airbus Group  European Union 15,400 140,000
8 United Technologies Corporation  United States 13,460 218,300
9 Finmeccanica  Italy 12,530 67,408
10 L-3 Communications  United States 10,840 51,000

Corruption and the arms trade

For a really good read on the arms trade I would suggest you read ‘The Shadow World Inside the Global arms trade’ by Andrew Feinstein (available in Aberdeen Central Library) where he reveals the corruption and cover-ups between the British and Saudi Governments to BAE’S controversial transactions in South Africa, Tanzania and Eastern Europe and the revolving door relationships that characterizes the Congressional-Military Industrial Complex.

He exposes in forensic detail both the formal government to Government trade in arms and the shadow world of illicit weapons and the links between the two. What I will concentrate on however will be the largest corruption scandal of them all between BAE systems and Saudi Arabia where Tony Blair blocked the enquiry in his final days of office.

The suspicion of bribery began even before the details of the deal were negotiated. Concerns were reported in the Arabic newsletter ‘Gourakia’ in October 21 1985 and picked up by the Guardian newspaper which had headlined on its front page:

“Bribes of £600 million in jets deal”

Denzil Davies then Labour’s Defense Spokesman raised concerns in parliament. The accusations were denied by Conservative Ministers.

Later the Conservative Defense Minister, Jonathan Aitken was charged with perjury. The Al Yamah deal worth 43bn to BAE was clinched by a meeting between Prince Banda bin Sultan and Margaret Thatcher. Much of the payment came in the form of oil and was as such of balance sheet transactions and as such particularly susceptible to corruption.

Richard Evans, later to become CEO and then Chair of BAE was later involved. Mark Thatcher who was also involved in dodgy deals in Africa was also claimed to be involved. An enquiry into the whole deal was quashed on grounds of higher British interests as one of his last acts as Prime Minister.

Prince Banda bin Sultan was head of Saudi Intelligence from 2012 until February 2014 and was responsible for funding and arming ISIS.

There is so much more to say since the second world war millions have died in Korea. Vietnam., numerous African States, Indonesia , South America and now the Middle East and Ukraine and many more conflicts.

The Merchants of Death and Corruption need to be stopped.

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Mar 282014

Alister coutts CNDScottish CND will be organising a walk from Scottish Parliament to Faslane and a demonstration and rally on Saturday 5th April in Glasgow. With thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair Aberdeen and District CND

At present all of the UK ‘s Nuclear weapons are based in Scotland at the Faslane Nuclear base on the West coast of Scotland  near to Glasgow and surrounding areas with Scotland’s highest density of population.

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will be organising two major related events which the general public can get involved with to raise awareness of the horrific nature of Nuclear Weapons.

The first is a Spring Walk which will start on Tuesday April 1st at 12.15 pm outside the Scottish Parliament and takes in on its way Currie, Bathgate, Coatbridge, Glasgow, Dumbarton and eventually arriving at the Faslane Nuclear base on Monday 7th April.

One of our local members Alister Coutts ( pictured ) who is going on the walk gave the following reasons for doing so.

“Even though I’ve been involved in environmental activism for around 10 years, I’ve not been a member of Scottish CND for all that long and only went to Faslane for the first time in April 2013, but I’ve been opposed to nuclear weapons, and indeed nuclear power, for as long as I can remember. My first reason for joining the peace walk is therefore to do as much as I can to remind the public that the stunning countryside surrounding Gare Loch has been completely and utterly destroyed by the abhorrent presence of the Trident Nuclear Missile base for 50 years too long.  

 “The peace walk will also be a great opportunity to highlight the fact that the upcoming Independence Referendum presents the people of Scotland with the chance to start the process of ridding not only Scotland, but the UK as a whole, of these weapons of mass destruction forever. My hope is that this could also have a positive knock on effect and result in other countries around the world being pressurised into destroying the nuclear arsenals as well. 

“From a more personal viewpoint, having a daughter: Kate, a son: Robbie and three beautiful grandchildren: Alfie, Molly and Kenzie, my second reason for taking part in the march is to do as much as I can to ensure that their future is bright in a nuclear weapon free, and I would like to hope, an eventually neutral, Scotland.”

Included in the events of the walk but for all the public to get involved in will be a March and Rally on Saturday April 5th starting at 11.30am and ending at 12.30pm with a Rally. Speakers at the rally will include Nicola Sturgeon MSP Deputy First Minister, Patrick Harvey MSP. Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, Lesley Riddoch, Dave Moxham (STUC) and Rev Sally Foster-Fulton. Music will be provided by the Gleeboom drummers.

Local MSP Christian Allard has put out the following statement:

“There is clear opposition to nuclear weapons being based in Scotland. Yet the Westminster Government, in this latest budget, have missed their last chance to commit to getting rid weapons of mass destruction before the referendum. An SNP Government in an independent Scotland would be committed to removing Trident from Scottish waters for good.’’

 “In the meantime I would urge anyone who is concerned about the presence of nuclear weapons in Scotland to make sure their voice is heard at this series of events in April.”

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

“the Independence referendum gives the opportunity for Scotland to get rid of its Nuclear Weapons. He also challenged the Labour Party to end its present stance on replacing Trident.’ Nuclear weapons have the potential to kill us all and are a scourge on humanity. We need to see concerted efforts internationally to get rid of these weapons and here in Scotland we should be setting an example.”

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Feb 072014

Aberdeen and District CNDWith thanks to Jonathan Russell.

The Annual General Meeting of Aberdeen and District CND will be taking place at 7.30pm on Monday 10th February at Unite the Union 42-44 King Street. The Guest Speaker will be Flavia Tudoreanu Assistant Co-Ordinator of Scottish CND who will be giving a presentation on the work of Scottish CND.

Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has been very active over the past year.

Last year’s AGM was on February 11th at the Scottish CND AGM at the end of 2012 a motion for Scottish CND had been passed to support the Yes campaign but had caused some division in the membership.

Both of our delegates Mike Martin and Christian Allard had voted against the motion however at our AGM a clear majority supported the decision for Scottish CND and Aberdeen and District CND to support the Yes Campaign. The Yes Campaign is in favour of getting rid of the Trident Nuclear Weapon system from its base at Faslane in Scotland.

The first event of the year was an excellent debate about NATO. The SNP had at their Annual Conference of 2013 reversed their long held position of pulling out of NATO. This led to a number of members including two MSP’s leaving the SNP. One of these MSP’s John Finnie spoke against being involved with NATO and Alex Johnstone MSP for the Scottish Conservatives spoke in favour of NATO.

The debate was hosted by the Politics Society at the University of Aberdeen and was attended by both students and the general public.

On Saturday 30th March we held an event outside Marks and Spencer’s  to promote the three days of action taking place on the 13th-15th April including a demonstration, nonviolence training and a blockade of Faslane. The event was opened by the Guarana street drummers and there were speakers from the SNP, CND, the Faslane Peace Camp, Aberdeen Against Austerity and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. This was followed in the evening by a party and non-violent action training on the Sunday.

We organised a nearly full bus to the Scrap Trident Demonstration on the 13th April which was a particularly lively event and attended by about 4,000 people.

Some of our members attended the non-violent training on the Sunday and a number of activists attended the blockade of Faslane on the Monday which obtained considerable media coverage. Darren MacDonald was arrested for sitting down and blocking the entrance to North Gate but later charges were dropped. Well done Darren!!

We had our annual Hiroshima Memorial event on August 6th with about 100 people in attendance. We had a wide variety of speakers from political, trade union, and religious groups, as well as poems and songs. We then released 200 paper lanterns down the river Dee.

On the 22nd September we had a music and poetry night to celebrate International Day of Peace. This was attended by about 80 people, and as well as having some magnificent performers, the concert helped us raise much needed funds.

We have been active concerning the war in Syria sending out press releases with some success. I was interviewed by STV (though the footage which was going to be national was not used). In particular we get excellent coverage in our local online newspaper Aberdeen Voice.

On the 27th September we held a public meeting ‘Why the NATO powers must not attack Syria’ with Dame Anne Begg MP and Mohamed  Janaby PhD, student in public international law as speakers. The turnout was not high but the standard of the debate was greatly enhanced as we had people from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Palestine in the audience.

We have had an influx of younger people into our local group and we are delighted that one of our most active members Christian Allard has become an MSP. Christian has offered to host a meeting at the Scottish Parliament to be organised by Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Many of our members attended the Yes rally in Edinburgh on 21st September

We have also raised concern with the Scottish National Party concerning any potential delay in getting rid of Trident

We were delighted that both of our local Labourl MP’s Frank Doran MP and Dame Anne Begg MP have signed EDM 150 and we have written to the Labour Party Shadow Defence Ministers Jim Murphy and then his replacement Vernon Crocker   supporting their actions and questioning strongly the Labour Party leaderships continuing position to support the replacement of Trident.

Unfortunately we received no reply.

We have also raised concern with the Scottish National Party concerning any potential delay in getting rid of Trident if Scotland becomes Independent.

We received a reply from Nicola Sturgeon stating:

“I am replying on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government is firmly committed to securing the withdrawal of Trident Nuclear Weapons from an Independent Scotland, and we will do this as quickly as can be both safety and responsibly achieved.

“While the detailed arrangements will require discussion with the United Kingdom Government following a vote for Independence I can reassure you that the removal of Trident from HMNB Clyde should be commenced and concluded without any unnecessary delay”

Local SNP MSP Kevin Stewart commented:

“There will not be any negotiations whether the Trident missile system will stay the negotiations will only be about the safest and ways to remove the weapons of mass destruction”

Mike Martin. Christian Allard and Jonathan Russell attended the Scottish CND AGM in November 2013 and we put forward a motion to re Missile Defence which was unanimously by the AGM Meeting

1)     Missile Defence

Submitted by Aberdeen and District CND with help from Yorkshire CND

a) Conference notes that:

i.        The US continues to pursue ‘full spectrum dominance’ by increasing its military activities in space;

ii.        The North of Sweden is being used by NATO as a military practice ground and to test and develop new killing technologies such as drones;

iii.        The US has helped establish a satellite ground station in the Svalbard islands in Norway which violates the Svalbard Treaty requiring the archipelago not be used for military purposes;

iv.        President Obama has increased the US deployment of missile defence bases in Europe which have been linked with those of NATO;

v.        The deployment of space, ground and sea based missile defence components by the US and NATO is undermining international stability and putting further agreements on nuclear disarmament at risk;

vi.        The Fylingdales radar in North Yorkshire is part of the US and NATO system;

vii.        The US spy base at Menwith Hill plays a leading role in US intelligence led warfare, providing information such as that used for targeting killer drones and is set to become a relay station for US space based missile defence components;

i.         To support the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and Keep Space for Peace week and efforts to close missile defence bases in the UK;

ii.         Distribute copies of the Yorkshire CND report ‘Lifting the Lid on Menwith Hill’ which describes the role of the base in some detail.

iii.        To produce a Missile Defence Briefing and other related materials to highlight the above issues;

We ended the year with a particularly successful Christmas Party with lots of laughter and lively debate

Over the coming year we intend to be doing the following.

  • Holding a debate on Trident and NATO as part of the Aberdeen Festival of Politics on 28th March
  • Promoting and supporting the Peace Walk from the Scottish Parliament to Faslane 1st to 7th April
  • Holding Hiroshima Memorial event on August 6th
  • Having an International Peace Day Concert on 21st September
  • Having speakers on various topics including Alan Mackinnon on US military involvement in Africa and Libya
  • Holding a stall during the summer months

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Aug 192013

A benefit concert has been arranged in aid of George ‘Dod’ Copland whose Aberdeen home was at the centre of a dramatic armed siege on June 7. With thanks to Ruaridh McAilein.

The concert featuring Oi Polloi, Billy Liar, The Bucky Skanks and T34 takes place at Audio, 14 Midland Street, Glasgow this Friday, Aug 23.

As reported in a previous Aberdeen Voice article, much of Mr Copland’s property was damaged or destroyed as police forced entry to search his unoccupied house following what was later reported to be a hoax call.

Mr Copland is still seeking an apology and compensation from the police.

Ruaridh McAilein, lead singer of popular punk band Oi Polloi told Aberdeen Voice.

“Dod has clearly been the victim of a significant injustice here. It’s extremely disturbing to think that something like this can happen in the first place but the fact that he has still not been compensated for either the damage to his property or to his reputation – not to mention the adverse effect that this must have had on his health – simply beggars belief.

“We’ve known Dod for the best part of thirty years now and can vouch for how willing he has always been to put himself out to help other people in need both through his community work and also in his personal life – and we also know how much pleasure he has brought to others over the years through his musical endeavours with Toxik Ephex – so the least we can do is to attempt in some small way to return the favour now that he finds himself in these straits after being treated in this quite frankly disgraceful way by the police.

“It’s a sad indictment on the state of affairs in Aberdeen that the authorities appear to have done very little to put right this clear wrong and that it is left up to other ordinary people like ourselves to help someone in this situation.

“On the positive side, when we first suggested the idea of a benefit concert for Dod it was greeted very enthusiastically indeed by the many people in Edinburgh and Glasgow who have come to know Dod through his musical performances with Toxik Ephex.

“He has a lot of friends all over Scotland, and there will be plenty of us coming together in Glasgow on Friday night to not only raise some much needed cash to help Dod repair some of the damage to his house but also to enjoy a night of excellent music and partying of the kind that Dod himself has so often provided for us over the years.

“We are hoping to not only collect a decent sum for Dod but also to show him that he’s not alone in facing what’s happened and that he is held in considerable affection by a lot of people throughout the country who have come to know him through his music.

“We also hope that further publicising what exactly happened to Dod will help keep the pressure on the authorities to apologise and properly compensate him.

“We’d encourage as many people as possible to come along for a night of great live music and to support the cause of a person who has spent so much of his own time over the years helping and entertaining others.”

Bands: Oi Polloi, Billy Liar, The Bucky Skanks, T34

Venue: Audio, 14 Midland Street, Glasgow
Friday Aug 23, 8pm
£6 on the door

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Aug 012013

With Thanks to Jonathan Russell  and Aberdeen CND.

Tuesday 6th August sees the 68th anniversary of the first ever explosion of a nuclear weapon when the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. This was followed on the 9th August by the explosion of a further nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament have organised an event to mark the occasion and remind people of the potential horror of the use of nuclear weapons.

200 peace lanterns will be released onto the river Dee to commemorate the 200,000 men, women and children who died following the nuclear explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many more died later from injuries or prematurely from the horrendous health effects that followed.

The first speaker at the event will be Christian Allard North East Scotland Regional Member of the Scottish Parliament and member of the international body Parliamentarians for Nuclear non-proliferation and Disarmament. Other speakers include Fiona Napier Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Chic Lidstone from the Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland,  Gabrielle Anderson from the Quakers, Euan Benzie of the Radical Indepence Conference and Jill from Aberdeen Against Austerity,

Poems will be read by Tommy Campbell from Unite and Aberdeen Trades Council. Kirsty Potts will provide some rousing songs.

The last speaker rounding of the event will be the well known Labour Party councillor Len Ironside

The memorial event which is open to all the public to attend will take place on Tuesday 6th August at 8.30pm by the side of the River Dee at the Fishermans hut off Riverside Drive (between the Bridge of Dee and Duthie Park –  see map below)

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

“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. 

“There are still however 19,500 Nuclear Weapons in the world – 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.”

Date: Tuesday 6th August 2013, at 8.30pm
Venue:  the Fisherman’s Hut on the River Dee
(by Riverside drive )

For further information please contact Jonathan Russell,
Tel 01224 586435
Mobile  07582-456-233

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Apr 092013

With thanks to Jonathan Russell.

A coalition of groups opposed to Trident known as Scrap Trident has been formed both at Scottish level and in Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire – see:
A weekend of Action will be taking place this coming weekend 13th/15th April as part of the Scrap Trident Campaign.

This will include:

  • A National demonstration against Trident in Glasgow this Saturday 13th of April
  • Mass workshops on non violent direct action training in Glasgow on Sunday 14th April
  • Finally next Monday 15th there will be a mass blockade of Faslane and supporting demonstration

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

“There are many reasons to get involved in particular abhorrence of Nuclear weapons and their potential for mass slaughter and ultimately their ability destroy our planet. At a time of massive cuts in public spending the one obvious cut is that of the replacement for Trident, estimated by Greenpeace at £97 billion

“Whether you are for, against or undecided on the question of independence, the actions will foreground the question on whether we should have nuclear weapons in Scotland, the UK or, indeed, anywhere in the world. These actions will be the largest anti-nuclear demonstration in Scotland and blockade of Faslane since the 1980’s”

Coaches will be going to the demonstration in Glasgow from Aberdeen on Saturday 13th April.

For further information please contact Jonathan Russell tel 01224 586435 mobile 07582456233 or via email:

Mar 272013

With thanks to Jonathan Russell.

A special event will take place on Saturday 30th March at 2 p.m. in St Nicholas Square, to raise awareness of the ‘Scrap Trident’ Weekend of Action coming up on the 13th to the 15th of April.
A coalition of groups opposed to Trident, known as Scrap Trident, has been formed, both at Scottish level and in Aberdeen and shire. Find out more at

The Weekend of Action will be taking place as part of this campaign. It will include:

  • A national demonstration against Trident in Glasgow on the 13th  of April; and
  • workshops on non-violent direct action training in Glasgow, on Sunday 14th of April.
  • Finally on Monday the 15th, there will be a mass blockade of Faslane and a supporting demonstration.

To raise awareness of these actions, there will be a gathering in St Nicholas Square Aberdeen, outside Marks and Spencer on Saturday 30th March at 2 p.m. The gathering will include music and speakers from trade unions, student bodies and a variety of political and pressure groups opposed to Trident.

The speakers will include Leonna O’Neill from Scrap Trident, who will also be running a workshop on non-violent direct action on Sunday 31st March, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Belmont Cinema. Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament says

“There are many reasons to get involved in the particular abhorrence of nuclear weapons, and their potential for mass slaughter and ultimately the destruction of our planet. At a time of massive cuts in public spending, the one obvious cut is that of the replacement for Trident, at a cost estimated by Greenpeace at £97 billion.

“Whether you are for, against or undecided on the question of independence, the debate will foreground the question of whether we should have nuclear weapons in Scotland, the UK or, indeed, anywhere in the world.”

Coaches will be going to the demonstration in Glasgow from Aberdeen on Saturday 13th April.

Further information:
A coach will leave for Glasgow from behind His Majesty’s Theatre at 7.30 a.m. on the 13th April and leave for Aberdeen on the return journey at 4 p.m. It will cost £12 for waged and £8 for unwaged people. If you want to book a place on the coach, or need further information, please contact Jonathan Russell on 01224-586435, mobile 0758-245-6233 or via email: .