Tuesday, June 26, 2012




Ave, lector!

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Happy reading!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

23 June 2011 – Buffalo Springfield and the Valley of Death

There’s something happening here / What it is ain’t exactly clear   - Buffalo Springfield, 1967

On Sunday 7 June 1998, CNN telecast the first edition of a new show.  Entitled “Newsstand: CNN & Time”, the show was to be a joint venture by the two journalistic titans, and to whet the public’s appetite for the fare on offer, they had one whiz-banger of an opening segment:




“Valley of Death”: the U.S. military and a top-secret target. American defectors.

JIM CATHY (ph), FORMER AIR FORCE RESUPPLY FOR SOG COMMANDOS: I believe they were turn-toads. I believe they were traitors.

ANNOUNCER: The U.S military and a top-secret weapons.

MICHAEL HAGEN, OPERATION TAILWIND VETERAN: Nerve gas. The government don’t want it called that, but it was nerve gas.

GREENFIELD: The U.S. on a top-secret mission. Operation Tailwind.

JAY GRAVES (ph), FORMER SOG RECONNAISSANCE LEADER: Because they were using nerve gas in that shit and not telling anybody about it.

GREENFIELD: A mission in far away secret war, unreported, until now.

ROBERT VAN BUSKIRK, OPERATION TAILWIND VETERAN: They’re shooting anything that moves. This was the “valley of death.” [Note A]

“The Valley of Death.”  Peter Arnett reporting, with images of US troops in Vietnam, and Buffalo Springfield playing in the background (I’m not kidding, it’s in the transcript), with the inimitable Steve Stills asking Hey, what’s that sound, and exhorting everybody to look at what’s goin’ down. 

Groovy.  As for the CNN-Time report, what a scoop, eh?  A secret program, launched under the Nixon Administration, to send US Special Forces personnel into Laos - a country that both sides in the conflict had deemed off-limits - to use nerve gas, specifically Sarin (also known as GB), to slaughter US military defectors?  Was it the biggest bombshell since the Pentagon Papers?  Since Watergate? 

Or was it a giant crock of crap?

Yeah, it was a giant crock of crap.  This post isn’t about journalistic bias, or the inexplicably persistent obsession of the left-wing elements of the US media with the Vietnam War (and more particularly, the glory days of Woodward and Bernstein), or even the deep-seated willingness of some elements of that community to believe just about anything negative about military folks, and the more calumnious the better; no, it’s about what happens when neophyte writers who don’t know anything about the subject they’re writing about get their hands on a tiny bit of information that looks too good to be true, and are too biased, too lazy or just too dumb to do the research necessary to find out what’s really “goin’ down.”

Basically, here’s what happened.  The principal producer on the show, CNN’s April Oliver, interviewed a couple of Vietnam veterans who for reasons that are unclear - possibly over-exposure to the cinematic works of Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone, or an attack of Sudden John Kerry Syndrome - decided to embellish their personal accounts of a relatively minor operation in the course of the war.  To a CNN reporter, these fellows no doubt sounded plausible.  There were a few fragments of what appeared to be circumstantial evidence; and there was at least a patina of truth to some of what they were saying.  After all, Operation TAILWIND really did happen.  It just didn’t have anything to do with US military defectors, or nerve gas.

As those of us who have worked in the Policy Group can imagine, the airing at 2200 hrs on a Sunday night of a news documentary critical of the military sparked a burst of activity at the Pentagon.  The following morning, then-SecDef Bill Cohen directed the military departments (Army, Navy, Air Force) and the CJCS to investigate the charges and report back to him within 30 days.  The order ended up being directed to two key recipients: the US Army and the JCS investigated the allegation that the operation had been intended to hunt down and murder US military defectors; and the US Air Force was directed to investigate the allegation that nerve gas bombs had been dropped in the course of the operation.

For obvious reasons, I’m more interested in the nerve gas allegations.  Ironically, I came across Op TAILWIND while doing research not on nerve gas, but on the use of CS or “tear gas” in military operations.  CS (the chemical name is O-chlorobenzylidene malonitrile) was originally developed for the US military, which was looking for a more effective irritant compound than CN (2-chloroacetophenone, commonly called “Mace” after the trade name adopted by one manufacturer).  ”Tear gas” is a misnomer; a crystalline powder, CS is usually thermally dispersed by heating, producing a fine particulate aerosol that irritates the mucous membranes and provokes coughing.  In high concentrations, it has been known to cause vomiting and “intestinal upset” (decorum prohibits a more fulsome description).  Although severe reactions are rare, some individuals prove to be hypersensitive to CS, and can display symptoms ranging from prolonged dermatitis to multisystem responses included kidney and liver damage.  There are numerous cases of people expiring in jail after being tear-gassed, although the agent itself is not always the cause.

Cast your minds back to the fall of 1970.  Nixon, having won the 1968 election in large part on the strength of his promise to extricate the US from Johnson’s Southeast Asian quagmire, was having great difficulty finding a means of doing so.  Troop draw-downs were progressing, but “Vietnamization” was proceeding poorly; news of the My Lai massacre and the impending courts-martial were percolating through the public consciousness; Kissinger was discovering, through talks with Le Duc Tho, that the North Vietnamese were, like any professional revolutionaries, prepared to simply wait Washington out; the ouster of Prince Sihanouk by Lon Nol had thrown Cambodia into civil chaos; Nixon had expanded the war into Cambodia as a result; and the Kent State killings had convulsed the nation.

Operationally, General Abrams was facing an impossible situation, restricted by policy from interdicting troop and supply movements on the Ho Chi Minh trail - a situation that would not be resolved until ARVN forces began to launch attacks against the trail early in 1971.  One of the proposed means of interfering with NVA and VC movement along the trail was to blanket choke points with CS.  Dispersed as a powder, CS retains much of its potency as an irritant; and once improved formulations had been trialled to mitigate the degrading effects of a damp jungle environment, it proved to be both effective and persistent.  When deployed via thermal dispersion (e.g., in a grenade or smoke pot), CS in its crystalline form is used.  For area denial missions, however, two new versions were produced: CS1, which was micronized CS mixed with 5% silica gel to aid its flow characteristics; and CS2, which improved both flow and persistency by microencapsulating the micronized powder with silicone, making it less likely to “cake” and easier to disperse from carrier vessels equipped with spraying attachments.

The US used a lot of CS in Vietnam, procuring more than 3000 tons of the powder in the first three years of its widespread use (1966-69).  At the time, there were three principal munitions for the aerial delivery of CS.  The simplest was the BLU-52, a 750-pound repurposed fire bomb casing:

 Figure 1: The BLU-52A, a “dumb bomb” for CS dispersal

BLU-52, it turned out, was not a terribly effective means of dispersing CS as an area-denial agent.  Although it carried 260 pounds of micronized CS, it simply scattered the agent by breaking apart on impact, producing very uneven coverage.  According to a declassified top secret RAND report from 1968 examining the results of experiments in the Panama Canal zone, blanketing a single grid square (1000 m x 1000 m) with enough CS to produce the concentration necessary to achieve the desired irritant effects would require 120 BLU-52A munitions, which in turn would require 20 F-4 Phantom sorties, or 60 F-100 sorties.  As laydown attacks require flying at low level, the number of sorties required is always a matter of concern, as more sorties expose more aircraft and pilots to ground fire - a significant problem in Vietnam, given the profusion of small-calibre AA guns that were available to the NVA and VC forces.

A better option was a cluster munition known as the CBU-19.

 Figure 2: The CBU-19, a primitive cluster munition for CS dispersal

Known as the XM165 while in development, the CBU-19 had originally been designed for crowd control by helicopter.  Although it contained much less agent than the BLU-52 - a mere 14 pounds of CS - the fact that the agent was dispersed by 528 BLU-39 grenade-sized submunitions (using the traditional thermal dispersion technique) made for far more even coverage.  Testing in the Canal Zone in Panama had confirmed that a grid square could be covered by only 40 munitions, necessitating only 4 sorties by A-1 Skyraiders, or 7 by A-37 Cessna Dragonflys.  This made CBU-19 a far preferable munition for area denial missions.  Except for one problem - something that’s probably obvious from the designators for the aircraft used in the tests.  As the shape of the CBU-19 suggests, the munition was not optimized for use by high-performance aircraft like the F-100 and F-4; it tended to break apart at high speed.  If it was to be used, it could only be used by low-speed aircraft like the piston-engined Skyraiders and Dragonflys.

Enter the CBU-30.

 Figure 3: The SUU-13 / CBU-30

Figure 4: The SUU-13 / CBU-30

Based on the SUU-13 (“Suspension Unit, Universal”) carrier munition, the CBU-30 was designed for use by high-performance strike aircraft.  With 1280 BLU-39 submunitions (more than twice the number carried by the CBU-19) in a downward-dispensing configuration, the CBU-30 carried 66 pounds of CS, and only 14 munitions were required to blanket a grid square with agent.  By 1970, the CBU-30 was the weapon of choice for carrying out area-denial missions with CS; the USAF report on TAILWIND notes that the CBU-19 was “little used after 1969.”

Speaking of Operation TAILWIND, let’s get back to it.  According to the official report prepared by the US Air Force in response to Secretary Cohen’s June 1998 directive, TAILWIND began on 11 September 1970 when Marine CH-53 and AH-1G helicopters (the latter in a supporting role) carried a combined team of 16 Americans and a Special Commando Unit (SCU) of Montagnard troops into Laos, near Chavane.  The American personnel were indeed Special Forces types, from Company B, Command and Control Central, Military Advisory Command Studies and Observation Group (MACSOG).  The mission, which was originally intended to be only three days long, had two purposes: reconnaissance and intelligence collection; and to serve as a diversion for a larger operation which was taking place simultaneously to the north.

During the operation, the team received continuous air support by Air Force, Army and Marine assets.  Seventh Air Force provided Forward Air Control and Airborne Command and Control Centre support, and flew 76 combat sorties in support of TAILWIND, using the code word “Prairie Fire” to identify infiltration and exfiltration operations.  The report notes that “Prairie Fire” was the customary MACSOG code word for cross-border operations into Laos at the time.

According to Air Force records, most of the strike missions in support of TAILWIND employed high explosive fragmentation bombs and napalm.  However, one A-1 Skyraider was always loaded with smoke and CS bombs. 

Figure 5: A munitions load pattern for an A-1 Skyraider in Search-And-Rescue configuration (from a USAF report on SAR missions in Southeast Asia, 1 July 1969 - 31 December 1970).  Note the two CBU-30s on the inboard hardpoints (“stubs”).  The M47s are smoke bombs used for concealment

Aircraft so configured (which according to the historical reports of 56 Special Operations Wing were called “Gas Birds”) were kept available for use in operations to extract downed pilots in contact with the enemy.  The enemy had apparently become very adept at responding quickly to shoot-downs of US aircraft, and understood that closing with a downed pilot was the best means of staying alive.  CS could be used to blanket an area, and if the pilot were incapacitated along with his would-be captors, most considered it a small price to pay to avoid an extended stay in the “Hanoi Hilton” (at best).

One downed US Air Force pilot gave a graphic account of what it was like to be treated to a heavy dose of CS in the course of being rescued:

They laid it all along the top of the ridge . . .[some of] it hit me . . . I might as well tell you what it feels like when that stuff goes off. I ran into a tree and was wrapped around the tree urinating, defecating, and retching all at the same instant. . .It also made me want to sneeze. It was a beauty to have 500 pounders and everything go off because it would give me a chance to sneeze. . .It goes into effect instantaneously. Physically and mentally you can’t control yourself. . .After that every time I’d come up on the air and ask for Vodka (A-1s carrying CBU-19), as soon as I’d tell them where, how far and the heading, I’d tell them “Don’t get it close to me.”

Clearly, CS got used from time to time.  Not so sarin.  The USAF investigation into TAILWIND turned up a number of documentary records that, in addition to demonstrating the lack of any foundation for CNN’s charges, at least help to explain why the producers made the mistakes they did.  During the broadcast, Peter Arnett (he of “Reporting to you from under a coffee table in Baghdad” fame) made the following statement:

ARNETT: Oliver asked Admiral Moorer about a special weapon the military called CBU-15, a cluster bomb unit that was filled with GB, sarin nerve gas. Moorer confirmed that nerve gas was used in Tailwind.

Actually, Admiral Moorer (who was CJCS at the time of TAILWIND) never confirmed any such thing.  Here’s the transcript of his interview with April Oliver:

OLIVER: So, CBU-15 was a top secret weapon?

MOORER: When it was it should of been. Let me put it that way.

OLIVER: What’s your understanding of how often it was applied during this war?

MOORER: Well, I don’t have any figures to tell you how many times. I never made a point of counting that up. I’m sure that you can find out that from those that used them.

OLIVER: So isn’t it fair to say that Tailwind proved, that CBU- 15 G-B is an effective weapon?

MOORER: Yes, I think -- but I think that was already known, otherwise it never would have been manufactured.

Oliver never asked Moorer whether the US had used nerve gas in Vietnam; she asked him about “CBU-15 GB”.  Thing is, at the time there was no such thing as a “CBU-15”, either loaded with “GB” or anything else.  I don’t know what Moorer heard; he was 85 at the time of the interview, and might have thought “GB” was some sort of designator rather than Sarin; surely he would have responded differently to allegations about nerve gas being used in Vietnam.

A word about nomenclature.  The CBU-14 and CBU-25 were both used in Vietnam, and both were based on the SUU-14, a different universal suspension unit from the SUU-13 used for the CBU-30 CS munition.  The CBU-14 and CBU-25, moreover, were cluster bomb dispensers; CBU-14 dispensed large grenades for use against light vehicles like trucks, while CBU-25 dispensed smaller grenades for anti-personnel use.  It helps to go back to the ammunition expenditure records.  The USAF report included a 39-page printout from the Southeast Asia Database (SEADAB) of all operational missions flown in Laos during the period 11-14 September 1970.  The vast majority of air-delivered weapons, not surprisingly, consisted of the classic Mk-82 500-pound HE bomb (either in the Slick, i.e. normal, or Snakeye, i.e. retarded configuration).  The strikes during that period also included Mk-83, Mk-36 and Mk-117 bombs, laser-guided Mk-82s, LAU-3 and LAU-59 rockets, Mk-20 antitank missiles, CBU-24 and 25 cluster bombs, the AGM-12 Bullpup missile, Blu-32 firebombs, air-delivered sensors, M47S smoke bombs, MK-24 flares, CBU-49 mines, BLU-27 firebombs (the casing upon which the BLU-52 CS bomb was based), AIM-9 Sidewinders, AIM-7 Sparrows, and even leaflets.

But there were definitely some tear gas bombs used.  According to the strike mission database, in Mission 1624, two USAF A-1 Skyraiders that took off from Nakhon Phanom airbase on 13 September expended four “CBU30RIOTCTRL” at 0225 hrs.  While no target is listed (which is not unusual in the database), the same aircraft are listed as having also used sixteen CBU-25 cluster bombs and four LAU-3 rockets against “Personnel/Any”.  Roughly two hours later, another pair of A-1s (Mission 1478) expended two more CBU-30s against “Personnel/Any”. It should be noted that “Personnel/Any” is a very common notation in the strike database, accounting for roughly half of the identified targets.  “Personnel/Any” received another four CBU-30s courtesy Mission 1479, another pair of A-1s, at 0540 hrs on the 14th of September; and two more at 0815 hrs (Mission 1623).  All of these missions were flown by the 56th Special Operations Wing (SOW), and were listed as “Armed Recon” missions.

Figure 6: An entry from the SEADAB database showing CBU-30s expended by 56 SOW A-1 Skyraiders, at 0815 hrs on 14 September 1970 during an ‘armed recon’ mission in Laos

The USAF historians conducting the report cross-referenced the SEADAB database with the CACTA, the Combat Air Activities Database, for the period 11-14 September 1970.  Swinging through 49 pages of printouts looking at the names of the thousands of items of ordnance expended during those three days is a bit of a pain, but the CACTA records do show that a USAF Skyraider, call-sign “Hobo”, expended CBU-30s on 14 September 1970.

Well, what was going on during those days?  You guessed it - extraction of the TAILWIND team.  As of 12 September the team was in heavy contact with the enemy, and declared a “Prairie Fire emergency”, triggering massive air support, which operation personnel later described as “magnificent”.  The first attempt at extraction, under heavy fire from enemy forces in contact, took place on 13 September and was unsuccessful, resulting in the loss of a Marine CH-53 (the helicopter was destroyed, but the crew was saved).  The second extraction attempt, at 1500L on 14 September, succeeded (another Marine CH-53 was lost in this attempt).  Both exfiltration attempts were supported by dozens of aircraft flying strike sorties - including, according to the reports of the operation, the use of CBU-30s by 56 SOW Skyraiders (call-signs Firefly 24 and Hobo 46 on the 13th, and Firefly 44 and Hobo 20 on the 14th).

As for sarin...well, there’s no such thing as a “CBU-15” among lists of US chemical munitions or other explosive ordnance, and there is no record of any nerve agent munitions ever being shipped to Southeast Asia, let alone being used in theatre.  The CNN allegations were vigorously denied by everyone interviewed in the course of the USAF investigation.  The most convincing denials were provided by those most knowledgeable about munitions handling; the transport and storage of the types of air-deliverable unitary nerve agent munitions stockpiled by the US in those days required special equipment and procedures, none of which were in place in Vietnam.  LCol Wilfred Turcotte (Ret’d), commander of the 456 MMS at the time of TAILWIND, said during an interview that the idea of having sarin in Vietnam was a “startling concept” to him; the men who worked in his squadron loading munitions onto aircraft did so with no protective gear and often worked “stripped to the waist”.  The munitions depots had no protective equipment, masks, aprons, gloves, decontamination equipment or medical treatment kits for dealing with nerve agent.  The lack of any safety precautions pretty much precludes the presence of a nerve agent - especially a highly volatile one like sarin, which has very high percutaneous toxicity, and which vaporizes quickly in hot temperatures, forming lethal gas clouds.

So why did CNN automatically jump to the conclusion that the US had used nerve agent in Laos?  It seems they had been given some documents that raised questions.  One of them was a shipping label for 2.75” rockets sent to the theatre in January 1970 that contained the notation “poison gas”:

Figure 7: The suspicious shipping label

Leave aside the fact that the US has never put nerve agent into 2.75” rockets (the M-55 sarin-filled free-flight artillery rockets that the US has been destroying for the past decade are a little over 4” in diameter).  This mystery was resolved by referring to Department of Transport regulations, which require any munition carrying a chemical agent to be labelled as “Poison Gas” regardless of the agent in question.  The rockets referred to in the shipping label, according to the USAF report, were probably XM99 CS rockets for Army use; these were still experimental in 1970, but the Army was eager to deploy them.

(You’ve seen something similar to the XM99, incidentally; they were based on white phosphorous incendiary rockets, one version of which were packaged in rectangular four-rocket pods for multiple-launch applications.  Rae Dawn Chong can be seen using one of these pods as a shoulder-fired weapon to blow up a car following her and Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Commando”.)

Matrix: Where did you learn how to do that?
Cindy:I read the instructions.

She didn't read it very thoroughly, as she was holding the thing backwards.  Hey, it ain't about the realism - later on, Arnie slaughters a battalion of enemy troops with an 8" belt in his M-60. 

Well, what about the “CBU-15”?  The USAF historians researching TAILWIND found more than 2000 mentions in the SEADAB of “CBU-15 Anti-Material” munitions being dropped by Skyraiders.  They knew this was an error, as CBU-15 was not then a designator for any explosive munition, and it seemed unlikely that a nerve agent weapon could’ve been dropped secretly more than 2000 times without anyone noticing.  As it turned out, the problem originated in the transfer of the database during the period 1972-1974, when “415” was selected as an item code for the CBU-14 anti-material cluster bomb mentioned above.  The error was transmitted through to the 1974 edition.  The bottom line is that in 1970, when the dropping of non-existent “CBU-15 Sarin gas bombs” was supposedly taking place, “CBU-15” was not a munition code anywhere in the US military; the card code was “415”, and this referred to CBU-14’s.  When the 1970 SEADAB tapes were re-run using the 1970 card codes, the munitions came up with their proper designators: CBU-14, CBU-24, and CBU-25 (all high explosive cluster bombs) and CBU-30 (“Tear Gas”).  Mystery solved.

So, what came of all of this?  CNN officials got to sit down to a healthy meal of crow.  The network conducted a review of its reporting in the “Valley of Death” series and, on 2 July 1998, slipped the following out with a minimum of fanfare:

Our central conclusion is that although the broadcast was prepared after exhaustive research, was rooted in considerable supportive data, and reflected the deeply held beliefs of the CNN journalists who prepared it, the central thesis of the broadcast could not be sustained at the time of the broadcast itself and cannot be sustained now. CNNs conclusion that United States troops used nerve gas during the Vietnamese conflict on a mission in Laos designed to kill American defectors is insupportable.

CNN should retract the story and apologize.[Note B]

I said this wasn’t going to be a screed about journalistic integrity, but I have to point out that the reason the network ended up airing such an enormous crock of nonsense in the first place was precisely because the story “reflected the deeply held beliefs of the CNN journalists who prepared it” - specifically, their deeply held belief that the government of the United States is sufficiently execrable that it would use nerve gas to murder American citizens (a belief that resonates today in the “9/11 Truther” movement, I might add).  Or as Buffalo Springfield put it,

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid...

See, the reporters’ beliefs were the cause of their ludicrously scurrilous allegations, not an explanation or an excuse for them.  The “Valley of Death” series exemplifies what happens when supposedly objective researchers who know bugger-all about the subject they’re studying succumb to confirmation bias and use ideology in the place of evidence.  The best that can be said of Miss Oliver and her cohorts in this debacle is that at least they didn’t manufacture fake documents to support their story.  That’s more of a CBS thing, I guess.

Sure sells books for worn-out journalistic hacks, though.

Incidentally, I seem to recall Arnett doing most of his Baghdad reporting from a prone position under a coffee table while SLCMs buzzed past his window.  I could be wrong, though.

By the way, while the US didn’t use nerve agent in Vietnam, the Soviets DID use nerve agent in Afghanistan.  Some governments really are execrable.  Just something to think about.

There’s a lot more to be said about Op TAILWIND and the use of CS in Vietnam, and the place that the history of such events holds in the evolution of international efforts to prohibit the use of riot control agents in warfare - efforts that culminated in paragraph 5 of Article I of the Chemical Weapons Convention, under which States Parties to the Convention undertaken never to use riot control agents “as a method of warfare”. But that’s more of a paper than a CoP post, and frankly it’s a lot less interesting than uncovering the real history behind allegations about secret programs to nerve-gas US defectors, so let’s leave it for another day.

If you’re interested in a copy of the Op TAILWIND report, you can get it here

Trust me...it’s groovy.




[A] [http://www.aim.org/publications/special_reports/NewsStand06-07.html]

[B] [http://articles.cnn.com/1998-07-02/us/9807_02_tailwind.findings_1_operation-tailwind-cnn-broadcast-inaugural-broadcast?_s=PM:US]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

15 June 2011 – Nonlinearity and the indispensability of data


For some years now, I’ve been beaking off (and, from time to time, writing) about the unreliability of methodologies designed to enable analysis of “alternative futures” as a means of informing the policy and force development and planning processes.  I don’t object to the whole “speculative fiction” part of the enterprise; as an avid sci-fi fan who traces his fascination with “what-if” literature all the way back to Danny Dunn and the Automatic House, I love a good yarn, and the more convincingly-told, the better.  Heck, Asimov’s Foundation series is predicated on the idea that rigorous, methodologically valid science (“psychohistory”) will someday be able to predict the human future; and some of Robert Heinlein’s most famous narratives derive from his “future history” series of novels.

My problem with the present mania for FSA derives from a methodological concern that can be summed up in the question, “how do we get there from here?”  The answer is simple: you can either use some form of projection of existing trends, or you can guess.  I won’t bother addressing the latter, as there’s no methodology to critique.  In trend assessment, however, the methodologies boil down to two: projection of historical trends; or modelling, with varying degrees of rigour.  Both methodologies are crippled by the same flaw: the fact that non-linear trends are virtually impossible to project or model, because they tend to be interdependent (often with trends about which we may know little or nothing), and because they may be exquisitely sensitive to minute changes in initial conditions.  Edward Lorenz sketched out the first inklings of what we refer to today as “chaos theory” when he attempted to model weather patterns for purposes of prediction in the 1960s.  He noticed that infinitesimal changes in starting conditions for an experiment can quickly lead to vast divergences between sequential experimental runs.

Here’s an example.  One of the simplest equations that demonstrates instability in response to a slight change in initial conditions is the “logistic equation”, which in a mapping function can be expressed as:

Xn+1 = RXn(1-Xn)   [Note A]

Setting the value of R to 4 (any higher integer causes the equation to quickly produce near-infinite results), let’s look at two curves, both of which follow this equation through 100 iterations for a starting value of 0.300000:
Remember, there are two curves on the screen - a blue one, and a pink one.  We only see the pink one because both curves are identical - they follow the same equation from the same initial conditions.  However, if we alter the initial conditions for the two curves only very slightly, we see something quite different.

By increasing the starting value for the second curve by only 0.000001, or three ten-thousandths of a percent, the result is a line which, although it closely resembles the original line for the first dozen or so iterations, begins noticeably to diverge by the 14th or 15th iteration.  By the 22nd iteration, the curves are virtually opposed; the value for the first (blue) curve is 0.94, and for the second (pink) curve, 0.03.  Beyond this point, there is no noticeable similarity between the curves.  A 30% divergence between the curves shows up at iteration 19, and a divergence of more than 100% shows up at iteration 21.

And what happens if we increase the starting value by another three ten-thousandths of a percent?  Check it out:

Once again, the curves are indistinguishable for the first dozen or so iterations, but by the 15th, they are beginning to diverge, and thereafter their behaviour appears to be entirely independent and offers very different results.  For example, at the 19th iteration, the curves come very close to each other, with values of 0.97, 0.99, and 0.98; but only three iterations later, their values are far apart again, at 0.94, 0.03, and 0.67.

This is a demonstration of the sensitivity to initial conditions displayed by nonlinear phenomena.[Note B]  This was Lorenz’s key insight: that because weather systems are chaotic and nonlinear, long-term behaviour is exquisitely dependent upon minute variations in starting conditions, and thus attempts to predict the behaviour of weather systems will always be enormously less reliable as time goes on.  The nonlinearity of the system means that variations in starting conditions that are so small as to be undetectable can very quickly result in massive differences in outcome.  This is why weather forecasts are more or less reliable a day or two into the future, pretty spotty about a week out, and utterly worthless beyond two weeks.  No matter how good your understanding of the equations, or how minutely you are able to measure initial conditions, predictive accuracy rapidly goes out the window because the system is nonlinear.  

To further illustrate the problem, imagine we were able to achieve a one hundred-fold increase in our ability to accurately measure initial conditions; i.e., the difference between the starting values for two curves is 0.0000001, or in the case of the next chart, three millionths of one percent.

Once again, the two curves are very similar through the first few iterations - in this case, up to about iteration #17.  The first serious divergence (>50% of the starting value) shows up at iteration 25.  By iteration 27, the divergence exceeds 100% of the starting value, and by iteration 29, the divergence is close to 300%.  Comparing this to the first divergence chart, we find that when the starting conditions differed by only three ten-thousandths of a percent, a 100% divergence first showed up at iteration 20.  This means that a 100-fold improvement in one’s ability to measure initial conditions yields only 7 more iterations (from 20 to 27) before divergence reaches 100% and predictive confidence consequently goes right out the window.  What this means is that even the most enormous and technologically unattainable improvements in our ability to measure the initial conditions of a nonlinear system will yield only tiny incremental increases in predictive utility, because the system by its very nature is nonlinear.

The bottom line is that anyone who claims predictive accuracy in long-term modelling of the behaviour of nonlinear systems isn’t doing science; they’re doing something else.

Why does this matter?  Because it demonstrates a crippling weakness inherent in attempts to model the future behaviour of nonlinear systems, and it highlights the far greater predictive validity of methodologies that employ historical trend projection based on observed data.  I mention this because yesterday, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) dropped a fairly significant bombshell when it stated that all major empirical measures of what’s going on with the Sun suggest that we are in for a major and prolonged decline in solar activity leading to cooling likely to last for decades, with consequent impacts on Earth’s environment.[Note C]

The Sun exhibits a number of important cycles; the one most folks are familiar with is the 11-year sunspot cycle.  We’re currently in the midst of Cycle 24 (they’re numbered from when we began assigning them numbers back in the 17th Century), and the Sun has been working up towards the peak of that cycle, exhibiting (for example) increasing if somewhat erratic sunspot activity. 

However, this is only one of the Sun’s major cycles; the overall trend in sunspot activity and irradiance is beginning to decline.  First, the average magnetic field strength of sunspots is declining, and when it drops below 1500 Gauss, sunspots will no longer be visible on the Sun’s surface.  Based on observed data, that’s likely to happen in the next decade or so.
Second, the polar jetstreams associated with sunspot formation in a given cycle begin to form in the preceding cycle, and at present, they are absent.

The absence of polar jetstreams points to a very weak, possibly missing, Cycle 25.  The combination of all three phenomena - missing jetstreams, declining magnetic field strength in sunspots, and lower activity near the solar poles suggests that even as the Sun is becoming more active as a consequence of peaking in Cycle 24, it is almost certainly heading for a very weak Cycle 25, and very likely for a long-term period of dormancy.  Richard Altrock, the manager of the US Air Force’s Coronal Research Programme, put it this way:

“Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we’ll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all. If the rush to the poles fails to complete, this creates a tremendous dilemma for the theorists, as it would mean that Cycle 23’s magnetic field will not completely disappear from the polar regions (the rush to the poles accomplishes this feat). No one knows what the Sun will do in that case.”

All three of these lines of research to point to the familiar sunspot cycle shutting down for a while.

Dr. Frank Hill of the US National Solar Observatory had this to say about the observed results and analysis:

“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Dr. Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, said of the results. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”


“If we are right,” Hill concluded, “this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

Of course, this is only a problem if you happen to believe that “solar forcings” spawned by that big ball of fusion in the sky have anything to do with Earth’s climate.  The IPCC has dismissed solar forcing effects as a potential driver, calling the impact of the Sun on Earth’s climate “very small compared to the differences in radiative forcing estimated to have resulted from human activities.”[Note D]

If the IPCC says the Sun doesn’t matter, then should we really be concerned?  Well, the AAS results aren’t the only bit of research to come out recently.  Harking back to my first point - that it’s really hard to figure out where you’re going if you have no idea where you’ve been - I was fascinated by a new paper out of Brown University last week, which, using ice core data, attributes the extinction of the medieval Viking settlements in Greenland to “rapid climate change” - i.e., cooling.  It’s not the first time that this has been posited, but it IS the first time that somebody has supported the argument with local empirical data.

According to this paper [Note E], beginning around 1100 AD, temperatures in the lakes around the Viking settlements dropped by 4 degrees centigrade over a period of about 80 years (observe that Al Gore and the IPCC are sounding the tocsin because the average global temperature has risen about 0.6 degrees centigrade over the past 100 years):

“You have an interval when the summers are long and balmy and you build up the size of your farm, and then suddenly year after year, you go into this cooling trend, and the summers are getting shorter and colder and you can’t make as much hay. You can imagine how that particular lifestyle may not be able to make it,” D’Andrea said.

Archaeological and written records show the Western Settlement persisted until sometime around the mid-1300s. The Eastern Settlement is believed to have vanished in the first two decades of the 1400s.

What was going on?  Well, the Medieval Warm Period - which enabled the Viking settlements to be established in the first place in the 10th Century, and which the more ardent proponents of the anthropogenic global warming thesis have tried so valiantly to make disappear (see the controversy over Michael Mann’s infamous “Hockey Stick” graph, which purported to show that global temperatures were unchanging for the past 1000 years until humans started burning lots of oil in the 1900s) - was followed by the Little Ice Age.  While all civilizations suffer from cooling, it’s important to note that the ones that went extinct were not the civilizations with high technology or excess capacity or forgiving climates, but rather those that existed on the outskirts of more clement regions, surviving on the narrowest margins of crop and livestock viability.  A 10% reduction in the length of a growing season might not be important in a tropical country, but as we’ve seen in that past few weeks, with millions of acres in the US Midwest going unplanted due to unseasonal cold and rains, it can make the difference between subsistence and catastrophe.  Look to see food prices skyrocketing this fall, by the way - and this time, it won’t just be because the US government has mandated ethanol inclusions in motor gasoline.  It’ll be because the cold, wet spring prevented grain from being planted in the optimal growing season in the countries that traditionally produce a surplus of grains.  When you live where Canadians and Americans live, or where the Greenland Vikings lived, “global warming” is not the problem, especially when it isn’t happening.  Global cooling is.

And what causes cooling?  Well, climate, as noted above, is a complex interdependent system, so it’s probably the result of a lot of interrelated things.  But the only phenomenon that the long-term cooling trends have been demonstrated to correlate with is lowered solar activity (and, at much longer time scales, the Earth’s axial tilt, and the passage of the Solar System through the galactic spiral arms - but that’s a topic for another day).  The Little Ice Age correlated with a stark decline in solar activity that culminated with the Maunder Minimum, when the Sun’s visible activity all but ceased for more than half a century.  During the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings colonized Greenland, grapes grew in England; during the Maunder Minimum, when the Greenland settlements died out, Britons regularly walked across the frozen Thames.  History is a great teacher, especially when it correlates with what we know about the Sun’s behaviour over the past four centuries.

That’s NASA data, by the way - and the reason it doesn’t go beyond 2007 is because sunspot numbers show another massive plunge that’s something of an “inconvenient truth” for those insistent upon fingering human-produced carbon dioxide as the principal culprit in climate change.  You see, carbon dioxide concentrations have been climbing spectacularly, but both temperatures and solar activity have been declining.  Correlation may not be causation, but it certainly suggests where you ought to be looking for causal relationships. 

If the sunspot cycle, as historical trends and observed data suggest, is indeed going “into hibernation” for a prolonged period, then the implications for mankind are significant.  If you want to see “negative impacts of climate change”, you won’t have to wait for the postulated four-degree-per-century warming that the IPCC says will happen, and isn’t; you simply have to wait for the cooling that measured solar data suggest is on the way, and that temperature measurements tell us has been going on for more than a decade:

Comparing the IPCC’s low, ”best”, and high predictions for future temperatures to actual measured temperatures gives us a pretty good idea of how useful models really are when the modellers don’t understand the system they’re attempting to model. 

Or to put it a different way, as Steve Goddard likes to:

This shows James Hansen's temperature predictions based on CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.  The solid black line shows "business as usual" CO2 emissions (actually they've been higher than that); while the Scenario C line basically shows what would happen if human beings had disappeared from the planet in the year 2000.  The red and blue lines track measured temperatures.  In other words, temperatures are lower than if humans had drastically curtailed CO2 emissions 12 years ago, which we know did not happen.

Empirical data demonstrate that there is no correlation, and therefore no possibility of a causal linkage, between human-produced CO2 and global temperatures.  There is simply no data to support the principle contention of the anthropogenic global warming theorists.

It comes down to a choice between basing your analysis either on something concrete, like measured data, or on something artificial, like model outputs.  In my opinion, our responsibility as strategic analysts is to ground our guesses about the future in empirical data and the parsimonious, conservative projection of demonstrable historical trends, always acknowledging that nonlinear systems - whether the logistic equation, climate, or human society - are exquisitely sensitive to minor variations in initial conditions, and that predictive confidence therefore drops off rapidly the further out we look.  Sure, using actual data and acknowledging the constraints of this kind of methodology is a lot more challenging than just citing the IPCC, the Stern Report, or second- and third-hand analytical derivations penned by organizations of dubious scientific credentials and objectivity (it’s also harder than simply making stuff up, which is both easy AND fun); but working from hard data has the virtue of being methodologically rigorous, and the added bonus that you might possibly be proven right by design rather than simply by luck. 

Because that last chart shows what happens when people rely on models of nonlinear systems to try and predict the future.  It doesn't work.

Which sort of brings us to the last principle of trend analysis: when the data don’t confirm our predictions, which do we change? The data?  Or the way we make predictions?  How you answer that question determines whether you’re doing science...or something else.


B) There’s an excellent discussion, using some of the same examples, of how chaos theory invalidates the AGW hypothesis, here [http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/13/the-chaos-theoretic-argument-that-undermines-climate-change-modelling/#more-41556].

C) [http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/14/all-three-of-these-lines-of-research-to-point-to-the-familiar-sunspot-cycle-shutting-down-for-a-while/]

D) IPCC 4th Assessment Report, Report of Working Group 1, Chapter 2, p. 137.

E) [http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/05/vikings]

Sunday, June 3, 2012

7 June 2011 – Royal blush


Email being what it is, I found myself engaged in a series of exchanges yesterday that was launched when a certain colleague, who shall remain nameless, forwarded a copy of an article detailing a developing scandal in Sweden over allegations contained in a book published last year.  According to author Roger Lundgren, who penned The Reluctant Monarch, HM King Carl Gustav of Sweden frequented strip clubs in Slovakia and the US during travels in those countries.(Note A)  This initial article led to numerous observations about the pulchritudinal penchants of Europe’s throng of miscellaneous nobles, and how they all seem to evince similar proclivities for scandal.

HM King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden.  I wish my folks had named me after an anti-tank weapon.

Leaving aside the incongruity of the Scandinavian press with its Side 9 Pigern (“Page 9 Girls”) expressing puritanical shock and dismay at such reprehensible conduct, it wasn’t the “scandal” so much as the “sameness” of it that got me thinking about the similarities between so many royals.  While I’m something of a monarchist, I’m the opposite of a royal-watcher, and I certainly don’t purport to be an expert on genealogy; and I don’t subscribe to Thomas Carlyle’s “great man” theory of history (or at least not to all of it).  But as I’ve said before, history by its very nature is comprised of people and the impact of their actions on the flux and flow of international events.  We ignore interconnectivity between people at our peril.  To put it another way, given how often we have to listen to folks ramble on about “complexity”, it’s worth remembering that one of the characteristics of complexity (and therefore of ”complex systems”, another phrase used ad nauseum these days) is interdependence between individual actors.  Ceteris paribus, the greater the number of “nodes” where two or more individual actors interact, the greater the level of actual or potential complexity in a given system.

We don’t have to look to the computing sciences or delve into the mysteries of bosons, mesons and other members of the subatomic bestiary for examples of this sort of thing.  History - the history of people and their interactions, especially when the inter-actors are people who exercise power and influence - provides a wealth of examples of complex systems.  This was brought forcibly to my attention when, during a visit to Denmark in 1990 to be vetted by my future in-laws, I visited Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen and saw this painting:

 “Fredensborg Days”, Laurits Tuxen (painted 1863-1866)

The painting - which, at 5 x 7 metres, is bloody enormous - takes up a whole wall and depicts a fictionalized scene during the “Fredensborg Days” period of the monarchy of King Christian IX of Denmark (1818-1906), who was on the throne from 1863 until his death, making him one of the longer-reigning monarchs in Danish (and European) history.  The painting’s informal name is “The Father-In-Law of Europe” because of its depiction of the massive range of family connections enabled by Christian’s six children.  You can see Christian and his wife, Louise of Hesse-Kassel, seated on the blue settee.  There are a number of other notables in the painting; I’ll get to them in a few moments.

I won’t go into too much detail about how he ended up on the throne.  Suffice it to say that Christian, a scion of a lesser male branch of the ruling Oldenburg family, found himself at the centre of a succession debate resulting from the inability of King Frederick VII to father children.  Christian’s marriage to Louise proved to be fortuitous and an example of dynastic foresight; as a great-niece of Christian VII (b.1749, r.1766, d.1808) she actually had a better claim to the throne than her husband (save for the fact that Denmark adhered to a partial version of the Salic Law that prohibited - as Shakespeare put it in Henry V - “your highness claiming from the female”).  In 1847, the great powers of Europe put their heads together and nominated Christian to succeed Fredrick when the latter should shuffle off the mortal coil; Fredrick agreed in exchange for promises of financial support. 

When Fredrick died in November 1863 and Christian came to the throne, an immediate crisis exploded over possession and status of Fredrick’s hereditary domains of Schleswig and Holstein, two provinces on the Danish-Prussian border.  Christian signed the November Constitution, making Schleswig part of Denmark, and resulting in a brief war between Denmark and a Prussian/Austrian alliance in 1864.  While this Second War of Schleswig didn’t turn out well for Denmark (Schleswig and Holstein, along with Saxe-Laurenburg, became Prussian and Austrian possessions in 1865 under the Treaty of Vienna), it did include the famous Battle of Dybbøl Mølle, a defensive action outside of the southern Danish city of Sønderborg, which was notable for the use of complex defensive earthworks of a type that wouldn’t be seen again until 1914 (you can visit the site; the windmill - which is what mølle means - is still there).

“Kampene ved Dybbøl, 1864”, by Jørgen Valentin Sonne, 1871

It’s worth noting that the trench system constructed by the Danes at Dybbøl Mølle followed and was built on the line of the Danevirke, a system of fortifications more than a thousand years old, which had been begun by King Gudfred in 808 to defend against the Franks, recently united under Charlemagne.  There’s a reason that battles keep happening at strategic places; it’s called “geography”. 

Anyway, back to Christian IX.  His accession to the throne put an end to the Oldenburg Dynasty and launched the Glucksburg dynasty, only the second dynastic change in the history of Denmark’s royal family (the Oldenburgs came to the Danish throne with the election of Christian I in 1448, replacing the succession of Viking and Medieval kings that had preceded them since Gorm the Old, who reigned from 936-958 AD).  The number of kids that Christian and Louise managed to produce over the next several years (as well as Christian’s staunch defence of the prerogatives of the monarchy and his resistance to the liberalizing forces sweeping Europe in the latter half of the Victorian era) created complex familial nodes that continue to dominate Europe’s royal relations today.  His children, their spouses, and their grandchildren included:

·         King Fredrick VIII of Denmark (1843-1912) m. Princess Lovisa of Sweden

o   King Christian X of Denmark

o   King Haakon VII of Norway

o   Princess Louise of Denmark

o   Prince Harald of Denmark

o   Princess Ingeborg of Denmark

o   Princess Thyra of Denmark

o   Prince Gustav of Denmark

o   Princess Dagmar of Denmark

·         Princess Alexandra of Denmark m. King Edward VII of the UK

o   Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence

o   King George V

o   Louise, Princess Royal

o   Princess Victoria

o   Prince Maud of Wales

o   Prince Alexander John of Wales

·         King George I of Greece m. Olga Konstantinovna of Russia

o   King Constantine I of Greece

o   Prince George of Greece and Denmark

o   Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark

o   Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark

o   Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark

o   Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark

o   Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark

o   Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark

·         Dagmar of Denmark m. Czar Alexander III of Russia

o   Czar Nicholas II of Russia

o   Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich

o   Grand Duke George Alexandrovich

o   Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna

o   Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich

o   Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna

·         Thyra of Denmark m. Ernst August of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland

o   Princess Marie Louise of Hanover and Cumberland

o   Prince George William of Hanover and Cumberland

o   Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland

o   Princess Olga of Hanover and Cumberland

o   Prince Christian of Hanover and Cumberland

o   Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick

·         Prince Valdemar of Denmark m. Marie of Orléans

o   Prince Aage of Denmark

o   Prince Axel of Denmark

o   Prince Erik of Denmark

o   Prince Viggo of Denmark

o   Princess Margaret of Denmark

Say what you like, that’s a perfectly astonishing brood.  And there are some pretty big names among Christian’s list of grand-kids.  If you take a swing around Europe’s royal families these days, quite a few of them still have a Viking somewhere in the woodpile.  Let’s try it out, starting with an easy one:

·         Margrethe II of Denmark: Fredrick IX - Christian X - Fredrick VIII - Christian IX of Denmark

·         Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom: George VI - George V - Princess Alexandra of Denmark - Christian IX of Denmark

·         Harald V of Norway: Olav V - Haakon VII - Frederick VIII of Denmark - Christian IX of Denmark

·         Albert II of Belgium: Astrid of Sweden - Princess Ingeborg of Denmark - Fredrick VIII of Denmark - Christian IX of Denmark

·         Constantine II of Greece (until the monarchy was abolished in 1973): Paul of Greece - Constantine I - George I - Christian IX of Denmark

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Henri of France, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Nicholas Romanov of Russia, and Hans-Adam II of Lichtenstein are not directly descended from Christian IX, putting them in something of a minority (especially as the French and Russian royal houses are considered ‘deposed’).  And while King Juan Carlos of Spain is not descended from Christian, his son and heir-apparent, Felipe Prince of Asturias, is, by virtue of Juan’s marriage to Sophia of Greece and Denmark (eldest child of Paul of Greece, and sister to King Constantine II of Greece) another descendent of Christian IX.  So once Juan Carlos disappears into the pages of history, the next King of Spain will be one Christian IX’s scions, further cementing that ancient gentleman’s hold on the thrones of Europe.

And what of our friend Carl XVI Gustav, whose indiscretions launched this whole line of discussion?  Well, it turns out that, unlike so many of his peers, he is not in fact, a descendent of Christian IX. 

Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Grandfather of King Carl Gustav, ca. 1933

But he came close.  Carl is the son of Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who was the daughter of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha - a chap infamous in the Swedish royal lineage for having been an Obergruppenfuhrer of the S.A.  Charles Edward was something of a scandal for the British royal family too.  He was the eldest (and only) son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, who was the eighth child and fourth son of Victoria and Albert. 

 Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (1853-1884)

Prince Leopold, a haemophiliac, was notoriously frail and, as such, his mother (protective at the best of times) did her best to keep him around the house.  Seeing marriage as his only chance for escape, Leopold expressed an interest in a number of prominent ladies of the era - including, interestingly, Alice Liddel, the daughter of the vice-chancellor of Oxford for whom Reverend Dodgson (aka Lewis Carrol) wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Leopold eventually married (at his mother’s suggestion, natch) Princess Helene Friederieke, the daughter of Georg Viktor, Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont, in 1882.  But before he did, he courted none other than Princess Karoline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, a great-niece of Victoria, and a daughter of one of Napoleon III’s paramours and Fredrick VIII, Duke of Schleswig Holstein.  Fred was the rival Oldenburg claimant to the duchies that were at stake when Christian IX took the Danish throne for the Glucksburgs in 1863, and later lost to Prussia and Austria.  Had his great-grandfather Leopold married Princess Karoline, Carl Gustav would’ve enjoyed an older (and Salic Law-compliant) claim to the Danish throne than its current occupant, Margrethe II. 

History is full of what-ifs.  For one of the best examples imaginable, take another look at that painting of Christian IX and his flock of relatives.  Two of the children depicted are the future King George V of the UK and the future Czar Nicholas II of Russia (probably added as the painting was being completed, seeing as how they were born, respectively, in 1865 and 1868). 

Here’s what Nick (on the left) and George (on the right) looked like forty years later, in 1913:

The resemblance is uncanny, and it goes beyond the mere physical.  Reigning monarchs, first cousins, and virtual twins, glorious in their finery - blissfully unaware that the world they knew would cease to exist in less than a year, and that only three years after that, the gentleman on the left, with all of his family, would be butchered by Bolshevik fanatics in a filthy basement in Yekaterinburg.

One line dies, another line lives on.  There’s something to be said for having big families - even if, from time to time, some of them get up to shenanigans.



P.S.      If you like big-scene paintings, here’s another one by Tuxen - the wedding of Nicholas II in 1895: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TsarNicholasIIWedding.jpg
P.P.S.   Tuxen’s also famous for being a member of the “Skagen School” of artists that painted realistic maritime scenes of the northernmost tip of Denmark.  I have a number of prints (my wife’s maternal grandfather was a merchant marine/fisherman).  Here’s an example of that sort of work: http://rubensgallery.org/upload1/file-admin/images/new22/Laurits%20Tuxen-227734.jpg

A) [http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/people/strip-club-scandal-pressure-mounts-on-swedish-king-20110607-1fpty.html].