Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

I still beat old tired hacks to good stories

Although I’ve drifted away from most media related material, I used to like spotting viral or mainstream media material days before some tired old hack, probably desperately looking for stuff to go running to their editor in the hope of winning a cheque in return, spotted the same items.

Last week I spotted a drone ‘scare video’ produced around the idea that AI would be out to ‘Kill Us’ if we didn’t ban such things as so-called Killer Robots.

Notable since it used sunny EDINBURGH as the setting for its dystopian assassination scenes.

It’s taken almost a week, but someone at the BBC eventually raised the appearance of this video – and its setting.

Try harder… we’ll wait for you 🙂

Edinburgh used for ‘killer drone’ film

Little Red Drone

Little Red Drone

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November 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, military, Surveillance | , , , | Leave a comment

Will baby SCROTUS throw a tantrum if his toys are taken away?

As an outside observer, I’m amazed (or am I?) that the people of the US have allowed this orange moron to stay in power for so long, and make them look so stupid.

From the days of the Cold War, I had gained the impression the President of the United States had the authority to launch a nuclear strike without asking anybody, or having to seek approval.

Sadly, it seems my impression was correct, and ‘The Button’ is his to press if he so wishes.

I think I felt safer during the Cold War, when we had people like Stanislov Petrov looking after us.

One can only hope that those who might receive the order today, and actually have to initiate the final launch from the silos, have some sense of responsibility, and are not mindless automatons, despite their training and commitment. Or, consider the reality of a ‘Legal Order’ (see Update below).

See These Women Are the Last Thing Standing Between You and Nuclear War

For the first time in over 40 years, Congress has examined a US president’s authority to launch a nuclear attack.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing was titled Authority to Order the Use of Nuclear Weapons.

Some senators expressed concern that the president might irresponsibly order a nuclear strike; others said he must have the authority to act without meddling from lawyers.

The last time Congress debated this issue was in March 1976.

In August, Mr Trump vowed to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea if it continued to expand its atomic weapons programme.

Last month, the Senate committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Bob Corker, accused the president of setting the US “on a path to World War 3”.

Via Senate committee questions Trump nuclear authority

Big Poopy Baby

Big Poopy Baby

Update

There was an interesting article that appeared AFTER I noted this: US nuclear chief would resist ‘illegal’ presidential strike order

The top nuclear commander in the US says he would resist any “illegal” presidential order to launch a strike.

Air Force Gen John Hyten, said as head of the US Strategic Command he provided advice to a president and expected that a legal alternative would be found.

His comments come just days after US senators discussed a president’s authority to launch a nuclear attack.

Some of them expressed concern that President Donald Trump might irresponsibly order such a strike.

Others though said a president must have the authority to act without meddling from lawyers. It was the first such hearing in more than 40 years.

While Senators and expert witnesses agree the president has full authority to defend the nation, commentators have pointed out that because there is no all-encompassing definition of “imminent attack”, the president is not given an entirely free hand.

“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do,” Gen Hyten said.

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say: ‘Mr President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works.

“It’s not that complicated,” Gen Hyten added.

He added: “If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”

President Trump has not publicly commented on Gen Hyten’s remarks.

He’s probably waiting for somebody to draw them for him, in pictures.

Coincidence!

I featured Baby Poopy Trump on:

World Toilet Day

ROFL

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Cold War, military | , , , , | Leave a comment

Well, that’s Edinburgh off my list!

Just kidding of course, but it was interesting to see Edinburgh chosen as the setting for the assassination sequence in this campaigning video fantasy.

It’s also a shame that those who think a simple ban is the solution to emergent AI technology and the dangerous uses it can be turned to.

It’s rather like the near total ban we now have on firearms in Scotland – yet for some strange reason reports of firearms being used in crimes continue to appear in the media, and our police are now carrying more guns as a matter of course.

Calls for a ban on AI are about as sensible (and effective) as the firearms ban, and represent the ill-informed knee-jerk reaction to a real problem, which needs a properly thought out system applied.

This chap has a better approach, but I doubt anyone who has an agenda to win votes, or be ‘liked’ will pay any attention to his words:

I’m a pacifist, so why don’t I support the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots?

This video has high production values, but still reeks of fantasy and exaggeration intended to evoke an emotional rather than considered response.

Still wonder why they framed their shots to make Edinburgh clearly and easily identifiable as the setting.

 

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, military, Surveillance | , , | Leave a comment

Poles in Dalmarnock beat stars in Glasgow

Unfortunately for their fans, although I’ve recently come across quite a few shared photos and stories of Glasgow streets being converted to American streets to allow filming of their next blockbuster, I couldn’t care less about most people introduced to me as ‘celebrities’ nowadays, so I can’t tell you the ‘Who, What, or Where’ behind this.

But the media’s noses were stuck to their backsides, so I’m sure the details will be easy enough to find in online news articles.

Although I’ve never actively followed up this thought, I’ve always wanted to go catch some pics of the Polish community I’m immersed in within the east end of Glasgow.

I did start this a few years ago, collecting a number of Polish shops that had been open in the east end for some time, but I decided I had left it too late, as the number was growing and I realised I was finding many more than even I had expected, and that even more were opening as I covered the area. Since I knew I’d be missing many (and new ones as they opened) I gave this up as I’d wanted to catch most of them, but realised it wasn’t going to be possible, at least not without more effort than it was worth (I don’t get paid enough).

I seldom walk along the street without hearing conversations in Polish, and when I’m in any of the Lidl stores I can reach, it’s rare to overhear a conversation in English – you may even recall a news article that broke a few months ago, where Lidl staff were ordered NOT to speak in Polish (which I think was ridiculous – I never spotted a follow-up, and still wonder if that was even legal).

Lest anyone think this is somehow racist, or wants to try to twist this observation (and post) into some sort of racist issue (this has happened in the past, when one clown kept accusing me of all sorts of fantasies they made up), nothing could be further from my mind. For what it’s worth (not a lot since I’m 100% Glasgow born and bred), I’ve discovered I’m Polish, but thanks to that nice Mr Stalin and his postwar victimisation of Poles who joined and fought with the Allies, it seems my family went into hiding to avoid having all they owned being seized at best, or being shot at worst.

I found I should really have been able to speak Polish and German (as well as Glaswegian), but this never happened as it might have given ‘us’ away.

I’d love to be able to listen in on all those conversations. (Yes, I’m sneaky that way).

Rather than see America in Glasgow, I prefer to see Poles (or poles even), or Poland in Dalmarnock, where there are sometimes quite a few ‘imported’ foreign registered vehicles to be found on the streets, and you have to look twice, to make sure you have not been teleported while not looking.

Poles In Dalmarnock

Poles In Dalmarnock

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, military, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Stanislav Petrov died back in May 2017 – but who cares?

It’s at least six years since I first wrote about Stanislav Petrov (elsewhere, not in here), and I simply have no idea how long I knew about him before I decided to share. (I might add I was always interested in lesser known Cold War history, having lived through it).

In death, he’s probably become more well-known than in life, as I see all the media outlets have now run some sort of story about his passing… when the new eventually filtered down IN SEPTEMBER!

As in his life, his death was largely ignored (I hesitate to use the word ‘suppressed’ – it would be closer to the truth to say that there was just no recognition, or sharing), and it was only due the interest of others that anything ever got to be known of Petrov.

I won’t repeat the story of the events that took place, most of the recent media articles have done that, I’ll merely summarise by noting that when the Soviet-era nuclear warning system signalled an incoming attack from the West, Petrov was smart enough to reason that it was a false alarm and did pass on the alert, thereby preventing a nuclear response – which would probably have been the start of World War III.

Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

Petrov was suitably rewarded for his alertness, and given a reprimand for not following orders and signalling the attack to his superiors, demoted, generally forgotten and passed over, and eventually retired to live out the rest of  his life in a small flat on a small pension.

While the Soviets preferred to brush him under the ‘Red Carpet’, the rest of the world eventually came to hear of his action on that day, and he collected a number of awards in later years.

I don’t think any of the media mentioned the web site dedicated to Stanislav Petrov, his response on the day, or the various awards he later received, so I suggest having a look here, rather than at the rest of the media:

Stanislav Petrov web site

Stanislav Petrov web site

At least there was a man in the system

While Petrov’s story may alarm some, we can at least take some comfort from it not being the tale of a ‘Fail-deadly’ system.

For that, we have to look at the Soviet ‘Judgement Day‘ machine – a system called ‘Perimeter‘.

In the West it was called ‘Dead Hand‘ because the missiles could be launched to destroy the potential enemy even if all its personnel were dead.

It was a computer complex that could analyse the situation and once it detected a nuclear attack it would automatically launch a command missile that would fly over the territory of the USSR and unblock nuclear warheads on the ground, at sea, and in the air. The Secretary-General could launch the system and divest himself of responsibility for the counterstrike.

It was designed to lie semi-dormant until switched on by a high official in a crisis. Then it would begin monitoring a network of seismic, radiation, and air pressure sensors for signs of nuclear explosions. Before launching any retaliatory strike, the system had to check off four if/then propositions: If it was turned on, then it would try to determine that a nuclear weapon had hit Soviet soil. If it seemed that one had, the system would check to see if any communication links to the war room of the Soviet General Staff remained. If they did, and if some amount of time—likely ranging from 15 minutes to an hour—passed without further indications of attack, the machine would assume officials were still living who could order the counter-attack and shut down. But if the line to the General Staff went dead, then Perimeter would infer that apocalypse had arrived. It would immediately transfer launch authority to whoever was manning the system at that moment deep inside a protected bunker—bypassing layers and layers of normal command authority.

It basically meant that all life would be destroyed on earth automatically. It was the main deterrent for other countries preventing them from attacking the USSR.

This Russian language blog entry features the only Judgement Day machine working until 1995, and it had been in place since 1983.

Заброшенный ядерный бункер – Emil

The ‘good’ news is that I’ve been following many Russian bloggers over the years since the Cold War was considered to have been ended, and from their visits and pics know that most of these places have been abandoned and lie derelict, most often smashed and stripped by scavengers and metal thieves who have left little behind.

But…

Some of those bloggers have also visited such sites and found the silos and doors securely locked and bolted, with power still present, and the sound of humming machinery coming from behind those doors. They’re also fitted with modern alarm sensors, and have barracks nearby, and security forces arrive if any sensors are tripped or attempts are made to open those doors. Those same bloggers flee the moment they think they may have been detected, and watch the arrival of security forces from a very safe distance.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Cold War, military | , , , , | Leave a comment

One for the Spitfire fans as another is saved

For such a small aviation museum run by volunteers, the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum punches above its weight, and is an impressive performer.

It’s a long time since I’ve been there, but I have watched its steady progress online.

Slightly irritatingly, I learned that before I made my visit I had regularly spent days within sight of the museum, but did not realise it was there. This was in the days when I used to (try to) fly RC helicopters, and attended annual fly-ins held on the old airfield runway.

Oh well…

The museum’s most recent success is the restoration of a World War II Spitfire that saw service in the Battle of Britain, but crashed during a training flight from Ayr in 1941, killing the Czech pilot.

The plane was finally salvaged from of Loch Doon in 1982, following a four-year search by divers after the museum’s founders commissioned the salvage project in 1977, not long after the museum opened.

This article covers the recovery operation: The Loch Doon Spitfire is Found

Since then, it has taken 35 years of work to restore the aircraft’s bodywork – although an expert (from Yorkshire) was able to restore the fuselage, it seems ill-health prevented further work, but the museum was able to raise fund to buy wings, and allow this part of the work to be completed.

However, there remains much to be done – while the exterior has been largely completed, the interior remains as the next stage of restoration.

Via: Loch Doon Spitfire goes on display in Dumfries

Longer story appeared later: Spitfire recovered from Loch Doon put on display

Dumfries And Galloway Air Museum Loch Doon Spitfire P7540

Dumfries And Galloway Air Museum Loch Doon Spitfire P7540 – Pic via BBC News

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Aviation, military, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

Military Museum Scotland has arrived

It’s almost exactly a year since I first heard of Military Museum Scotland, a project hoping to deliver a permanent museum to all aspect of Scottish military history.

The project came from Mobile Military Museum, which visited schools and events with its displays, but saw the need for a more permanent facility.

That has now arrived, and been in existence for some 11 weeks now, and reported to be progressing well.

It is a hands on museum where visitors get to handle most of the artefacts (they are not locked away in glass cases) and has both indoor and outdoor displays, a café, gift shop, and wheelchair access.

Military Museum Scotland’s aims are primarily education, covering Scottish military history from World War I to the present day. 95% of the displays are open, so most artefacts can be handled.

Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 – 16.00 (Mondays are reserved for booked school visits). The museum is also available for private evening bookings, and offers a drop in centre for military veterans.

More info at the following links:

Military Museum Scotland – VisitScotland

Mobile Military Museum – Twitter

Ex-soldier inspired by father’s wartime bravery launches Military Museum Scotland – Sunday Post

Military museum opened in West Lothian by son of war hero – Daily Record

They don’t have a web site, but are on Facebook – you’ll have to look for them there.

And here’s their pic of the sign at the door:

Military Museum Scotland Sign

Military Museum Scotland Sign

Details

Legion Hall, Louis Braille Avenue,
Linburn Centre,
Wilkieston,
West Lothian,
EH27 8EJ

Tel: 07799565243

email: milmussco@aol.co.uk

May 21, 2017 Posted by | military, World War I, World War II | , | Leave a comment

Find wartime bombing sites in Aberdeenshire

Two Google maps showing areas where raids were carried out during World War II have been created using records from the time.

One map shows areas where bombing raids caused damage and can be found here, and shows all the known attacks from 26 June 1940, until the last raid on 21 April 1943.

Some of the areas affected are quite small, so it’s best to zoom in on any area of interest as the marker may not be visible when he map is zoomed out to cover a wide area.

The other shows areas where enemy aircraft carried out attacks, and can be found here, and shows those recorded in the Aberdeen County Register of Air Raids and Alarms from 1940 – 1944.

Via: Map charts WW2 bombing of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

March 3, 2016 Posted by | council, military, World War II | , , , | 2 Comments

The last Vulcan display at Prestwick also had a hint of drama

I couldn’t make it to the display at Ayr, but it seems the real action took place at Prestwick, as I just learnt from this video I spotted.

The following description of events is quoted from the video owner:

On the 5th of September I went across to Prestwick to watch the Scottish Airshow 2015. Primarily I wanted to see the Vulcan one last time before she’s retired in the next month or so.
Having arrived at the airport we waited for the Vulcan XH558 with great anticipation.
Once we saw him over Ayr my excitement grew even more.
He called up Prestwick tower to do a flyover the airfield , then make a right hand turn to then land on runway 30.
However after he made that turn things seemed to go wrong. Rather than report final he then did a second flyover , and started entering orbits to the north of the airfield.
After it became clear he was having a nosewheel gear issue , a Spitfire of the BBMF called up and asked if there was anyway he could help by giving the vulcan an inspection from underneath the aircraft.
Once they had determined the Vulcans speed the spitfire confirmed that his nosewheel was not extended fully and that there was nothing blocking it from locking into place.
Following this the Vulcan entered into some very aggressive yawing , both left and right in an attempt to free whatever was holding the nosewheel back from extending and locking.
After some time they were successful and initiated a landing.
We were all waiting with bated breath, not knowing whether or not it had indeed fully locked into place.
Thankfully the landing went well, and as you can hear at the end of the video was great relief that everything had gone so well.
Praise must also go to the Spitfire pilot for taking the initiative in helping the crew of the Vulcan resolve the issue.

That brings back memories of the Prestwick Air Show (at the airport then) which had the drama of a World War II aircraft suffering a similar stuck undercarriage, which refused to be bumped loose, and eventually had to be ditched and lost in the sea off Turnberry, which was chosen as the beat way to ensure no other damage, and safe recovery of the pilot.

Thank goodness the Vulcan trip to Scotland did not end in similar fashion – although I suspect they might have ultimately dumped fuel and done a belly landing with the larger aircraft. This is the procedure I’ve seen in the past, on American aircraft of the same size in recent years.

It seems the crew would have been aware of the problem before arriving back at the airport.

Looking at this recording of the full display, it includes views of the usual lowering and raising of the undercarriage for some of the passes, and while I can’t be categoric of the full sequence having been captured, it is clear that the nosewheel is not fully forward in any of the shots:

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Aviation, Cold War, military | , , | 2 Comments

Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War

submarine

World War I was not confined to the more well known venue of The Front, but also extended into the sea, with German submarines deployed in order to disrupt supplies – fishermen working off the coast were potential targets:

A new exhibition has been launched to honour the fishermen who died in service during the First World War.

Anstruther was one of the fishing communities affected when war broke out, as fishermen were called to fight.

Many men from Scotland’s fishing industry went to fight in the conflict, and fishing regions were highly affected by the injuries and casualties they suffered.

David Christie from Anstruther sank a German U-boat in 1918. His granddaughter Davina Knox has the casing of the shell and his medal.

She said: “They were on a drifter patrolling the Irish Channel and they only had one gun on board the ship and this U-boat must have come up and they had a wee battle seemingly and they fired a direct hit and they took the 36 men prisoner. There was no loss of life.”

David Christie’s story features in a new exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in the town.

via Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War | Dundee & Tayside | News.

The First World War had both personal and collective impacts on those involved, whether they were away fighting or at home.  In this exhibition we explore the specific effects that the war had on those who made their living from the sea.  Using objects from our collections and individual stories of those affected we paint a national picture of the war in Scotland’s coastal communities.

At the beginning of the war many fishermen entered the services and swapped the familiar hazards of life at sea for the dangers of the trenches or naval work.  For those who stayed at home fishing became severely restricted.  Fishermen were left with very small areas left to fish in and many boats were requisitioned for the Navy.

Exhibition Dates:

28th June – 26th October

Entry : included in museum admission, accompanied children FREE

A Shared Experience · What’s on · Scottish Fisheries Museum

June 30, 2014 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, Transport, World War I | , | Leave a comment

Helensburgh submarine museum funding on council agenda

submarine

I’ve been watching out for mentions of the proposed submarine museum in Helensburgh, and waiting until something positive appears that suggests it is moving forward and will materialise one day.

I’ve jumped on earlier mentions of forthcoming project of a similar nature in the past, because I want information about their existence to be out there, as it might be spotted by somebody who matters, but so far, feel as if I am getting my fingers burnt, as they all seem to fizzle out.

I’m not going to mention any specific past project, in case I say something wrong, as I am not privy to any special knowledge, but on the other hand, do know that one or two of these projects are still being pursued, but perhaps by different people and/or in slightly different directions.

So, back to the submarine museum:

Funding to the tune of £140,000 is also expected to be released by councillors for the Scottish Submarine Trust specifically towards the development of The Submarine Museum in Helensburgh. The condition of the funding mean the cash must be split evenly and released in two instalments of £70,000 when the following milestones are achieved; proof of legal ownership of the building; and receipt of Listed Building Consent. The museum aims to tell the history of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service will be told using new media and immersive 3D projected imagery and exhibits.

A 39 tonne ‘X’ Craft – or mini submarine – will be displayed as the centrepiece to the museum, which will also house an interactive electronic memorial in Remembrance of the 5,329 submariners who have given their lives in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.

The project, which aims to attract 10,000 visitors to the Burgh, is spearheaded by Visit Helensburgh.

The museum will be within the hall of the former St Columba’s Church, and the company will take formal ownership of the property on March 28 of this year.

Via: Submarine museum on today’s council agenda | Helensburgh & Lomond | News | Helensburgh Advertiser

May 14, 2014 Posted by | council, Maritime, military, Naval, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

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