Russian Observers Suspect ‘Special’ Voting Technologies in Scotland

Russian observers have suspicions over the "special" voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum.

Russian observers have suspicions over the “special” voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum.

Topic: Scotland on the Eve of Independence Referendum

EDINBURGH, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian observers have suspicions over the “special” voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum and expect the announcement of results that will either confirm or disprove their suspicions.

“The absence of lines at voting offices could indicate the use of special voting technologies. About 20 percent vote in advance, via post. From our experience, we know that in 2012 Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney during presidential elections in early [stages of the] voting. That is, he won prior to the day of the election. Whether this technology was used during the referendum, we will know when the votes have been counted,” Igor Borisov, the chairman of the Council of the Russian Public Institute of Election Law and the head of the Russian observation mission, told RIA Novosti.

“If the organizers of the referendum announce the results of the postal votes separately from the results received on the day of the election, then it will be possible to assess how great the influence of technologies on the vote was,” he added.

Borisov noted that voter turnout is very high. According to members of the polling offices, by 10-11 a.m. BST (09:00-10:00 GMT) as many people came to vote as there were during the European Parliament elections in spring.

“At the same time, I cannot say that people wait to vote. I haven’t noticed anything like that. Although, there are lines of two-three people to take to the ballot,” Borisov said.

The Russian observation mission arrived in Edinburgh yesterday evening, comprising four specialists to monitor the Scottish independence referendum. Russian representatives will also monitor the vote count.

Why Musicians Will Be Disappointed Today That Scotland Voted ‘No”

David Maclean

David Maclean is the drummer and producer for Django Django. He grew up in Edinburgh, Fife and The Highlands
Although I would’ve voted ‘Yes’ if I still lived in Scotland – I’m now in London – I was always of the belief that the way people were galvanised to become active about politics in Scotland during the Referendum was so important and something that has to keep going. Not just in Scotland but across the rest of Britain: it’s a time for change and if Scotland can achieve that as part of Britain, that’s good.You’d be hard pressed to find anyone voting – or supporting – ‘No’ yesterday in the music industry.


From Honeyblood to Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and Björk to Belle & Sebastian, the only person who seemed to express support for a ‘No’ was David Bowie.


I suspect it has something to do with creative people being quite open-minded and having a good vision. Whether you’re a musician, writer or film-maker, you have to use your imagination to picture what you’re trying to achieve and it takes vision to see a political and social construct changing. It means the status quo alters and you take a risk. Creative people are quite good at taking risks both in their work and in their own life because they don’t always know where the pay packet is coming from. I think they’re more willing for change. Also a creative person’s psyche makes them aware of injustice and often vocal about fighting against it.


Austerity in Scotland hit people hard, particularly things like youth clubs and libraries; the sense that community was being dismantled is very difficult for a socialist country like Scotland to accept. But in a way it is fertile ground for the creation of art and music if you have something to fight against. Would people make great music if they were all funded properly and comfortable? Probably not. You need to have something to battle against.
Also musicians usually have a problem with authority and strictures will only restrict your creative output. How will the music landscape in Scotland change now the votes has come through? Maybe people will make angrier music. If you had two timelines and you looked back on a ‘yes’ and ‘no’, the music would probably be different. But thing I’m sure of is that music in Scotland will be fine. It’s embedded in our culture and our psyche and I think music is in safe hands no matter where the nations go. Music scenes will come and go regardless of politics. You won’t see Django Django making a nationalist metal or screamo record any time soon but it does influence our thinking.


There is a kinship between Scottish people in the music industry. We all draw towards each other with a sense of camaraderie and a shared bond. I’ve been following Stuart Braithwaite, Limmy and Alex Kapranos’ tweets and Steve Mason always has a good outlook on it.


But it’s never “Gung ho! Freedom! Let’s run off into the sunset!” It’s much more of a skeptical hope. Everybody understands that politics and politicians can be tricky. Just by becoming independent doesn’t mean it’s all going to be roses. People are aware of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I didn’t begrudge David Bowie or anyone who voted ‘No’ and, actually, part of me did want the country to vote ‘No’ so we could change Britain together. There’s definitely value in that.


Salmond: “The Dream Shall Never Die”

Scotland's First Minister Alec Salmond reacts as he concedes defeat in the independence referendum at the "Yes" Campaign headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland September 19, 2014. (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)

Scotland’s First Minister Alec Salmond reacts as he concedes defeat in the independence referendum at the “Yes” Campaign headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland September 19, 2014. (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)

Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) is resigning from office after losing Thursday’s independence referendum.

Scots voted to stay in the UK following an intense campaign. The ‘No’ campaign rallied 55 percent of votes against 45 percent ‘Yes’ votes.

“We lost the referendum vote but Scotland can still carry the political initiative,” he told journalists and supporters.

“For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.”

In terms of who will replace him, Salmond says there are a “number of eminently qualified and very suitable candidates for leader.”

When asked what his reasons were for resigning, Salmond said “I had to make a judgement as to whether I’m best placed to take that opportunity forward – and I think others are.”

Deputy First Minister and Deputy SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is the overwhelming favourite to replace Salmond as party leader.

The First Minister spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday. He said the PM would not commit to a second reading vote by March 27 on a devolved powers ‘Scotland Bill’, which had been promised by former-PM and ‘No’ campaigner Gordon Brown during the campaign.

“I suspect he cannot guarantee the support of his party,” Salmond said, referring to the backbench Tory rebellion against new powers to Scotland.

“But today the point is this. The real guardians of progress are not the politicians at Westminster, or even at Holyrood, but the energised activism of tens of thousands of people who I predict will refuse meekly to go back into the political shadows.”

Leadership nominations will open at the SNP’s Annual Conference in Perth, November 13-15, said Salmond.

“After the membership ballot I will stand down as First Minister to allow the new leader to be elected by due Parliamentary process.

“Until then I will continue to serve as First Minister. After that I will continue to offer to serve as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East.”

Salmond said it had been “the privilege of my life” to serve as First Minister.

Closing his statement, he outlined the position facing supporters of independence.

“The position is this. We lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative. More importantly Scotland can still emerge as the real winner.”

Alex Salmond resigns hours after Scotland’s no vote is revealed

Rory Gallagher: Irish Guitar Maestro

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

The much-admired Irish guitar maestro Rory Gallagher, is a player whose fans include Johnny Marr, The Edge and Brian May.

William Rory Gallagher; 2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and raised in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. He was a talented guitarist known for his charismatic performances and dedication to his craft. Gallagher’s albums have sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide.

Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London, UK at the age of 47.

First coming to notice with Cork’s blues-rockers Taste in the late ’60s, his solo recording career started in earnest in 1971 with the release of his reflective, self-titled debut. Running concurrently with the hard-gigging guitarist’s incessant touring – including, of course, his fondly-recalled stop-offs in Belfast as The Troubles raged – his discography would include such outstanding works as Irish Tour ’74, Calling Card and Live In Europe. Sadly, Gallagher would die in 1995, but thanks to his estate, archival sets have continued to sate fans’ appetites with such packages as 1999’s BBC Sessions and 2013’s hard boiled graphic novel/album package Kickback City.

Influences he discovered, and cited as he progressed, included Woody Guthrie, Big Bill Broonzy, and Lead Belly. Initially, Gallagher struck out after just an acoustic sound. Singing and later using a brace for his harmonica, Gallagher taught himself to play slide guitar. Further, throughout the next few years of his musical development, Gallagher began learning to play alto saxophone, bass, mandolin, banjo, and the coral sitar with varying degrees of proficiency. By his mid-teens, he began experimenting heavily with different blues styles.

In 2003, Wheels Within Wheels, a collection of acoustic tracks, was released posthumously by Gallagher’s brother Donal Gallagher. Collaborators on this album included Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, The Dubliners, Spanish flamenco guitarist Juan Martin and Lonnie Donegan.

Many modern day musicians, including The Edge from U2, Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Johnny Marr of the Smiths, Davy Knowles, Janick Gers of Iron Maiden, James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard, Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa, cite Gallagher as an inspiration in their formative musical years.

Brian May, lead guitarist of Queen, relates: “so these couple of kids come up, who’s me and my mate, and say ‘How do you get your sound Mr. Gallagher?’ and he sits and tells us. So I owe Rory Gallagher my sound.” In 2010, Gallagher was ranked No. 42 on’s List of their Top 50 Guitarists of All Time. Gallagher was also listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, ranked at 57th place.

And here, if you’re in need of inspiration, is a powerful dose of the man himself…


Rory Gallagher – Shadow Play – TV Show Germany


Rory Gallagher –  The Beat Club Sessions – 1971-1972


Rory Gallagher – 1976 – Live at Rockpalast (Cologne)


Hear Julian Casablancas + the Voidz’ Wonderfully Bizarre New LP ‘Tyranny’

The last time Julian Casablancas released an album outside of the Strokes, 2009’s Phrazes for the Young, Rolling Stone described it as “his version of Thom Yorke’s The Eraser,” a record featuring “guitars submarined by wild-angled synths, off-kilter beats tripping up big ballads.” “A few songs have the old leather-jacket kick,” Jon Dolan wrote. “But things get weirder as he explores alienation from a Lower East Side he once ruled.”

Having moved upstate, the Strokes frontman is now backed by a band called the Voidz – Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai on guitar, Jeff Kite on keys, Jake Bercovici on bass and Alex Carapetis on drums – and together, they are ready to release an incredibly eclectic new album, simply titled Tyranny. The LP hits stores Tuesday (and can be pre-ordered at the Cult Records website), but you can listen to an exclusive advance stream of all 12 songs right here. It’s even got some of that old leather-jacket kick.

“Tyranny has come in many forms throughout history,” Casablancas said in a statement, explaining the title. “Now, the good of business is put above anything else, as corporations have become the new ruling body. Most decisions seem to be made like ones of a medieval king: Whatever makes profit while ignoring and repressing the truth about whatever suffering it may cause (like pop music, for that matter).”

Obama’s ‘stupid stuff’ turned upside down – By Pepe Escobar

Obama’s ‘stupid stuff’ turned upside down
By Pepe Escobar
PARIS – I’ve been rovin’ around Europe for a while and the star of the show is definitely The Caliph. Former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has totally outstripped Vladimir Putin as Doctor Evil of the hour. Where’s a good ol’ Cold War 2.0 when you need it? Well, upstaged by the Pentagon’s “long war” – our familiar GWOT (Global War on Terror).

First Obama promised there would be no ground troops to fight The Caliph – as in a re-invasion of Iraq. Then General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that if the current gambit of Obama’s self-defined “Don’t So Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine does not work – and it won’t – he’ll go for ground troops, embedded or otherwise.

Right on cue, The Caliph went Hollywood, releasing the trailer of The Caliphate’s upcoming mega-production, Flames of War. Directed by Michael Bay (Fall, 2014). Will that go straight to Netflix?

You just can’t beat the Marvel Comics school of geopolitics.

Confide in me, baby
Meanwhile, in Paris, President General Francois Hollande is itching to deploy his Rafales and get into a new war – considering that’s about the only thing that could lift the mood of a wretched president, whose administration has barely survived a “confidence” vote; compare that “confidence” with the nasty epithets with which his team is showered by largely unemployed, taxed to death or swamped by red tape Parisians.

Obama has already sent 475 extra military “advisers” to Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan. There are at least 1,600 US military already on the ground in Iraq. That’s how Vietnam started. The CIA, supported by unmatched ground intel, swears there are exactly 31.785 jihadis fighting for The Caliph. Well, roughly. Two-thirds of these are supposed to be in Syria. So the new war, in fact, is all across “Syraq”. Or what The Caliph calls IS, Islamic State, his own private emirate.

The no less meticulous Dempsey, for his part, is sure it will take up to five months to train and weaponize a new bunch of “moderate” rebels to fight the Caliph. Wait a minute; foolish global public opinion was supposed to believe the previous “moderate” rebels – supported by Qatar – would one day fulfill the “Assad must go” Obama mandate. Well, they didn’t.

“Our” bastards at the petrodollar racket known as GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) have duly promised to help Obama’s new war, alongside Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Turkey will only get involved in the “humanitarian” front – while allowing smuggled oil sold by The Caliph’s goons into its territory.

The members of the wretched Arab League have solemnly promised to be “determined” in cutting off the flux of weapons and cash to The Caliph show. Yet they would never have the balls of the Kurdish peshmerga, who have just killed the Mosul chief of IS. This kind of ground intel, plus following the money, as in the oil smuggling routes, would finish off the Caliphate in no time. But that’s not what endless GWOT is all about.

Caliph, give us a hand
With such an array of Hollywood thrills on show, who cares about Ukraine? Well, it may have been snuffed out of the news cycle after the latest nasty package of US/EU sanctions, but it’s back in the spotlight this Thursday, as Ukrainian oligarch turned president Petro Poroshenko visits The Caliph’s nemesis in Washington.

So expect a frantic rerun of Evil Empire rhetoric – plus ample indignation caused by the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine. That will last barely a day. “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” changes its tune like surfing on iTunes. And the tune now is the “Syraq” offensive; yet another Obama “kinetic” operation, Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell remixed.

That leaves plenty of space for US Think Tankland to carp that Russia “aggression” will profit from the new tune to “advance” in Central and Eastern Europe, and the China “threat” will profit to “dominate” the Western Pacific. So what’s more crucial for the Empire of Chaos; Russia, China or “Syraq”? They don’t have a clue. They are just trying not to do “stupid stuff”.

For all that volcanic Beltway paranoia, the Big Picture in the long run spells out Moscow expanding its Pipelineistan nodes throughout Eastern Europe all the way to Western Europe, thus enlarging, commercially, its “soft” zone of influence. No “invasion” required.

On Ukraine, the Big Picture spells out the European Union mired in a horrendous crisis, under a third recession in five years, obviously without the cash, not to mention the will, to pay Ukraine’s humongous bills. Sooner – with negotiations starting this Saturday in Berlin – or later the EU will have to find an accommodation with Moscow to guarantee its precious gas supplies.

That leaves warmongering NATO – as in the EU under the Pentagon’s thumb. All rhetoric about that puny “rapid reaction force” aside, the fact is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization won’t have the balls to confront Russia, via troops deployed in Ukraine. And there will be no Obama “Stupid Stuff” aerial bombing of federalists in Donbass – as if Russophones in Ukraine defending their land and their language against a form of slow motion ethnic cleansing could be compared to The Caliph’s multinational goons in “Syraq”. US public opinion very well knows – well, maybe not – that people in Donbass are not threatening to cross into El Paso tomorrow.

So much hard work to pivot from GWOT to the Big Boys in Eurasia. So little time – and competence. The Caliph’s goons have announced on the record they would go for beheading Putin. If only the Pentagon would subcontract the job.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

The agony of defeat: Public reaction Scottish referendum

Reuters / Russell Cheyne

Reuters / Russell Cheyne

RT news

Voters in Scotland chose to stay within the United Kingdom on Thursday night, following an intense campaign which almost saw the country become an independent state.

And while thousands of Scots voted – many for the first time – to break from the union, their hopes were dashed when the ‘No’ campaign pipped them to the post.

 Here's our map showing the #indyref results for each Scottish local authority, put together by @CullinaneCarl 4:46 AM - 19 Sep 2014

Here’s our map showing the #indyref results for each Scottish local authority, put together by @CullinaneCarl
4:46 AM – 19 Sep 2014

The outcome of the vote upset many who spent weeks campaigning for Scotland’s’ independent future, and they expressed their disappointment on social media:

Marc: If its a No vote I will be so ashamed and embarrassed to live in a country where people chose fear over hope #indyref #ScotsDecide
8:09 PM – 18 Sep 2014

Barry Dwyer: Scotland! The SNP tried, but U blew the chance to rid yourselves of Tories, Monarchy, Imperialism, & Westminster elite forever – try again!

UK: “I’m now an ex-Scot” Edinburgh’s Yes campaigners gutted by result

In Glasgow- the city that overwhelmingly voted ‘Yes’, voters took to the streets and celebrated despite it all.

“Shove the union up your a**e” they chanted.

‘Shove your union up your arse!’ Yes supporters on indyref results

Some Scottish nationalists even went as far as to say the referendum was rigged:

Steven Delahunty: The Referendum was rigged! POSTAL VOTE FRAUD! @bbcscotlandnews
5:26 AM – 19 Sep 2014

Chris Franck: Scotland Referendum rigged? –
4:18 AM – 19 Sep 2014

Published on Sep 18, 2014
There is damning evidence that shows that this vote is a fraud. Just from the video and the pictures alone, we can see errors! Can you imagine how much is wrong? This is the Best Video proof you will also ever get showing the votes were changed to NO on purpose!

While others suspected that the secret service was behind the ‘No’ victory:

J. @Kirktonparkie: #ScotlandDecides has MI5 targeted Scotland’s YES city count? #indyref #yes #VoteYes
8:39 PM – 18 Sep 2014

Robert Ryan: RT @meljomur: My friend who worked in MI5, did tell me back in June, that there was no way in hell the Establishment would let Scotland go.
9:00 PM – 18 Sep 2014