Jake Wallis Simons v Craig Murray 252

I have been given legal advice that I am permitted to publish the formal claim and defence documents. These are much less informative than the witness statements, which I am not allowed to publish, but at least it gives you some idea what is going on.

Over 3,000 people have now contributed to my defence fund. I can not tell you how touched I am by this overwhelming support. I should add that the letters and communications from those sending good wishes but financially unable to assist are equally valuable in maintaining my morale.

This is the original Claim:

This is my Defence

This is the Reply to the Defence

This next document goes to the heart of the astonishing system of repression that is English libel law. These are the claimants’ judge approved costs of £104,000, which should I lose I might well have to pay, in addition to my own costs plus assessed damages. The wildly disproportionate effect of using a libel claim to bankrupt somebody and destroy their lives needs to be highlighted. This means for the wealthy to silence and ruin the poor needs to be exposed for what it is.

This interview with Mark Lewis, the lawyer suing me, is headlined “UK’s Foremost Libel Lawyer Sets His Sights on Israel’s Enemies.” It characterises opponents of Israel as “Nazis” and opines “I am quite happy to take their homes off them… at least they can be a homeless Nazi.” I sincerely hope he does not consider me a Nazi, though plainly this case is started by my falsely being smeared as an anti-Semite. But no matter how objectionable somebody may find my views on Israel/Palestine, how does it serve justice that “at least my” wife and 8 year old son “can be homeless.” That is however precisely what Mr Lewis seeks to achieve and to be plain, he has threatened me in person with bankruptcy. The money, of course, would go to Mr Lewis and his team still more than to Mr Wallis Simons.

English libel law is recognised throughout the world as a draconian affront to democracy. Its survival is due not only to the fact that it is an invaluable tool for the wealthy to use against poor radicals, but also to the fact that libel is a very wealthy industry, feeding money to rich and influential individuals, including of course not only the libel lawyers but also the judges and court system which are all part of this massive vested interest, which is extremely well represented in the Westminster parliament.

All of which I am afraid leads me to renew my appeal for funds for my defence, which despite the extremely generous response so far, do not yet match the scale of the threat. I should say that I was extremely depressed and humiliated a few days ago in having to ask for money in this way, but the response has been so overwhelming and so kind, and accompanied by so many warm words for my work over the years, that the feelings of deep shame have been completely displaced by gratitude, friendship and affection.

On a practical point, a number of people have said they are not members of Paypal so could not donate. After clicking on “Donate”, just below and left of the “Log In” button is a small “continue” link which enables you to donate by card without logging in.

For those who prefer not to pay online, you can send a cheque made out to me to Craig Murray, 89/14 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8BA. As regular readers know, it is a matter of pride to me that I never hide my address.

252 thoughts on “Jake Wallis Simons v Craig Murray

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  • Laing french

    Surely if their ( claimant) quote is taken out of context , by simply pointing out the complete paragraph of which the said quote was extracted from would hopefully clear things up? I would assume that one cannot extract a quote and stamp their own interpretation on it,
    http://Www.Kirklees Council
    ‘ unfamiliar with qualitive methods, such as grounded theory, template analysis, content… familiar with the context of the interview … what is important is that any quotation or extract used should support your interpretations and explanations.
    Quoting OUT OF CONTEXT : sometimes referred to as CONTEXTOMY or QUOTE MINING.
    ( is an informal fallacy and a type of FALSE attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to DISTORT its intended meaning. Wickapedia.
    Laing french.

  • John Goss

    Somebody questioned whether Israel had any legitimacy, that is any legal right to exist, and since we, the UK made it possible for that existence should we not be taken to court. From that I presume that person was referring to the Balfour declaration (which is no more than a letter). Anyway this is what is happening in the occupied territory Israel stole from a Palestinian viewpoint.


  • m biyd

    Just read your old blog on this- to my mind you don’t say” Israel “as he claims but a ” theocratic overlay”.

    Anyway, isn’t Israel 20% Arab?

      • Jon

        Interesting, I’d always assumed support for the monarchy to be running at 70%-odd. Brenda got a good cheer when she popped down to see the folks at Grenfell, and to be fair, she didn’t have to do that.

        In my fantasy world, Brian will grumpily agree to pass the throne to Willy, and when Willy finally gets it, he’ll make a speech about how all this royalty silly-buggers is rather old hat, and can we all move on now? However, I suppose that the reigning monarch only has the power to abdicate, rather than dissolve the whole institution, so he’ll have to be creative.

        I’m in favour of a smooth handover – all existing royals get all existing benefits, but as new folks are born into the lineage, they become commoners. As the buildings and palaces are no longer needed, they can pass into public hands, held in trust for perpetuity. People who would have been royal but for the new decree get a lifetime visitors’ pass, like a Blue Peter badge.

  • Giving Goose

    I think what this whole affair shows is that you have to be always on top of you game, Craig.
    You are just one person taking on a very powerful machine.
    If you are going to speak out on subjects such as Israel, or Scottish Independence then you can expect to be playing against skillful opponents who have vast resources to draw upon.

    I would urge you to be very careful in future, and smarter, if only to keep the stress levels down.

    I really enjoy reading your blog and sincerely hope that you win this case.

    All the best wishes.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        More likely a little gift from one of the rag’s advertisers. His subject, going by his PhD thesis, is the holocaust….surprise, surprise. The greater part of the thesis is his own holocaust novel, which he subsequently published; nice work if you can get it. UEA, Creative Writing, and how much more appropriate do you want it to be?. UEA has a lot to answer for (it completely wrecked a mate of mine’s prose style, too)

        • Ba'al Zevul

          I’m not linking to the DM any more, as a matter of policy, but this was a very plush P&O cruise, which he has since (Thursday) written up in glowing terms for the Mail Online. Advertorial, so conceivably subsidised at least. The Mail also operates its own Norwegian (and other) cruise – booking service, and I imagine there’s a tie-in there.

    • Republicofscotland

      I’m more curious as to how you came across this site, afterall it does sound a bit like a US
      legal cannabis selling site. 😀

      • Sharp Ears

        He was boasting about it in his rag describing himself as ‘Associate Global Editor’! The piece is virtually an advertorial.

        The ad that came up with it was for a holiday in Eilat. No thanks!

        Britannia rules the waves! A great British cruise is the best way to see the spectacular Norwegian fjords
        A record 1.7million Britons took to the waves on cruise ships last year
        Aboard P&O’s flagship, Britannia, there are excellent facilities for all the family
        The Norwegian fjords are spectacular when viewed from the luxury of the ship
        Visiting a different port every day was a great way to explore the country

        He is repellent. Smug.

  • Sharp Ears

    Live on the news channels, US Marine Corps General Dunford, Chairman of the Jojint Chiefs of Staff , is holding forth in NY on the 16th anniversary of 9/11. The usual dross.

    Followed by Mattis. Trump and Melania are there too.

    Trump speaks.

    9/11 is still being used to prolong the war or terrrrr.

  • Republicofscotland

    The British press are pushing the Rohingya refugee crisis. As Myanmar’s relations with the west, only began to semi-stablise from 2012.


    In my opinion, their plight is remarkably similar to that of the Palestinian people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. No real coverage from the British media here though.

    The Rohingya people are considered “stateless entities.”

    Leaked government documents that reveals an increasing ghettoisation, sporadic massacres, and restrictions on movement on Rohingya peoples.

    It sounds all too familiar


  • David

    He quoted you, you called him a liar. In or out of context probably doesn’t make much difference to your response to his quote. He ambushed you no doubt and the court action is ridiculous, but the fact remains……

    Genuinely wish you all the best of luck with this one, but unless you countersue to muddy the waters I think your going to struggle.

    His claims of reputational damage are a nonsense, did he lose his job, or any contract current or pending ? I doubt it, so no reputational damage has been done, or can be proven. He hasn’t suffered any financial loss, other than his own actions of starting a court case, and as too hurt feelings…… is “ahh didums” a valid defence ( it should be !)

    TV is a dangerous medium.

  • Kat

    I haven’t finished reading all the documents yet but the one thing that stands out for me at the moment is – you state in your defense that you did not know until the show aired if anyone else would be involved (other than a presenter of course). However according to the programme transcript, Mr Simons own words clearly indicate that he had forewarning/foreknowledge of your appearance. Why else would he have been on your blog that morning taking notes?

    Why would Sky News tell Mr Simons and not you about the other person appearing on the programme? Looks to me like you have been set up, not just by Mr Simons (preparing in advance of the interview with defamatory quotes from your blog), but also by Sky News who informed only one of the two parties to the programme about the other.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      That’s absolutely right, assuming Craig’s correct in what he says, and I don’t believe a court will bloody well like it. J

      • glenn_uk

        I doubt very much he’d been taking notes just that morning. Quote-mining that disingeniously would have taken quite a bit of research, probably he’d put a few of his interns on it for about a month.

        • Rob Royston

          The article where the quote was mined from was 18 months before the TV confrontation. I’m sure it was sitting in a file waiting on an opportunity to use it to entrap Craig.

        • Node

          Glenn I doubt very much he’d been taking notes just that morning.

          From transcript of Sky programme, submitted to court :

          DEFENDANT: “I did not write that on my blog, it is not …”
          CLAIMANT: “I … I jotted it down this morning from your blog”

  • m biyd

    I’m astonished that the lawyer acting for Simon can deal with this case given his own ideological views. H1e cannot demonstrate that he isn’t motivated by external influences and personal interests which is a professional conduct and ethics requirement under law society rules? Did you lodge a complaint with the Law Society.?

    • Njegos

      Agreed. Judging from his words, Lewis’ true motive for taking on this case would appear to be a wish to destroy Craig Murray.

  • Margaret Pollock

    Hi Craig, I wonder if this could be of help.
    There was an interview on BBC World Service this morning,11th sept at 03.06 am onwards.
    HARDTALK – where Steven Sackur talked with Howard Jacobson ( Mann-Booker prize winning Jewish author) about many things but at 03.15 they discussed Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionist; how they are completely different things, one is political one not and it is ‘perfectly possible to be pro-Palestine’ without being anti-Semitic. We know that but well worth a listen as the man speaking is a respected Jewish writer and that is his view.

    Thought of you immediately.

    Good luck and’ Haudfast’

  • Andy Cyan

    Hello Craig,
    You were falsely accused and mis-paraphrased in the interview and your reaction was natural since you had wrote neither the exact words that you were accused of writing or their altered meaning. But we see the threat of a technically bodged legal misruling – that can’t be permitted for the sake of speaking truth to power. I will donate when I can. Shalom !

  • James Chater

    Craig, I think you should win this. Just one point that observation : you claim that their is a “witch hunt”, and it will help your defence if you can substantiate that in court. You could cite several court cases (such as the one involving that historian who claimed the Holocaust did not exist and he lost when sued someone), and cases of academics at US universities being dismissed because they criticized Israel.
    Secondly, the sheer fact that you are being sued proves your allegation. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is rather like if I am a dissident in the Soviet Union and I protest against suppression of liberty of expression, and I am arrested and charged with “slandering the state” – even as the state has taken an action which PROVES the allegation.
    Good luck, and I hope this helps.

  • nevermind

    Cue Interlude….. and in the background plays the Hangman’s Blues by Al Dean whilst we watch the DUP MP’s cooing excitedly in prospect of a good whipping.

    Off course they would vote anything in for a billion, straw pellet boilers or not, they are the canon fodder in the battle of democracy vs. dictatorship, minions who have busted the good Friday agreement, political whores who will recreate violence like they recreate their annual puppet show in bowler hats.

    I hope any sane Tory left will vote to stop this repeal bill.

  • Ian

    You could say that the quote was so wrenched out of context and framed in such a misleading, offensive way, that you genuinely could not conceive of promoting such an idea, or displaying such prejudice. So you acted according to your conscience, and denied any such construction of your views. Of course it was a trap which you fell into, but the fact that even you, the author, could not recognise the attribution when it was framed this way, rather proves the point that the calculated way it was distorted was clever and slick enough to fool even you. Thus proving the deliberate intent to deceive and misrepresent you, since it deceived even you. Therefore your protest against the deceptive construction from a phrase of yours shorn of its context was an honest one, since you reacted to the deliberately false implication of this chicanery, and not the far narrower point of whether you said the half dozen words he has displaced into an entirely false allegation of antisemitism.

  • A Film Made Dom

    I’ve added my two cents financially as I’m not a legal expert.
    Strange though, that, by using the word quote, JWS makes his accusation almost unfathomable. Are we talking about the collection of words within the quote marks? Are we talking about the meaning of the words within the quote marks (without the word Israel, they could mean any number of things). Or are we talking about the meaning of the words within the quotes, taking into consideration other words outside the quotes.
    This is real Marx brothers stuff. What about the sanity clause?

  • Njegos

    I am no lawyer but I think a fair question would be:

    Is it unreasonable to accuse someone of lying if one has no memory of something one has been accused of writing because the quote has been taken out of context?

    And given that the accusation of lying was a reaction to a distortion and was followed by a retraction, can it be seriously argued that the defendant had any intention of slandering the plaintiff?

    Surely these are very important mitigating factors.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  • Dec

    The only problem here is the admission afterwards. This reduces the case to transient malice or recklessness. Craig was correct to call him a liar because the words quoted were not what was written, and did not represent the original meaning even in paraphrase. They were not “taken out of context” they were a different statement with a different meaning. Indeed, they were clearly distorted to support the libel that Craig is anti-Semitic and so were both wrong and malicious in themselves.

  • Sharp Ears

    From Robert Stuart (Saving Syria’s Children)

    Media on Trial with John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley & more, London, 19 October 2017

    Be good to see you all here!

    Thursday 19 October 2017, 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
    Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8EP. Map here. http://www.bloomsbury.org.uk/contact
    Tickets (£5 – £10) available here

    What should we expect from the mainstream media? Accurate reporting? Impartial analysis? Speaking truth to power? At times of proposed war or foreign intervention the public has a right to expect all these.

    Establishment media tends to be dismissive of independent journalism. With its greater size and influence the mainstream media (MSM) has avoided critical questions about its own reporting and journalistic standards and deflects calls for corroboration, verification and independent analysis.

    The leviathan that is the mainstream media has formed the narrative and stifled dissent but that’s going to change. Our panel of seven experts including legendary investigative journalist John Pilger, will be applying the scrutiny to mainstream media reporting which we should all demand, given its power to sway opinion when our government is seeking consent for war.

    Specific instances of falsehoods which have led to disastrous and deadly campaigns will be highlighted with fact based evidence. Examples of insidious propagandist reporting for war will be analysed.

    It’s time to hear ‘the other side’ – the one that the mainstream media blocks from the airwaves and print media.

    Panel: John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley, retired British diplomat Peter Ford, Patrick Henningsen, Professor Piers Robinson, Robert Stuart and Professor Tim Hayward.

    • SA

      It will be very interesting to see this but of course none of this is likely to receive publicity.
      In this context what is happening in Syria is relevant. There is a media blackout almost of what the SAA has achieved in reclaiming huge areas of territory back from Daesh with the help of the RuAF and the relief if the 5 year siege of Dier Ezzor. This is accompanied by soft propaganda of disparaging and incorrect reporting by John Humphries, Jeremy Bowen and the like from the BBC .
      Recently there have been two other events, during the last few days the US backed SDF have decided to “liberate Der Ezzor from Daesh ” . I kid you not. They have now reached the northern approaches of the cityof and it looks as if there will be s big confrontation between the SDF and the SAA unless the Russians pull out another deconflicting zone. The aim is to deny the SAA liberation of territory east of the Euphrates and connection with the Iraq border.

      On the other hand , Israel has started spoiling tactics by threats personally against Assad even implying direct assassination, and by repeated bombing of Syrian army sites.
      You will find very little of this in the MSM.

  • mark golding

    With regard to Craig’s blog titled ‘The Racist Concept of Israel’ Wallis said, “Israel, claims tribal superiority over the entire rest of the world. and that is NOT correct because Craig wrote within the framework of Israel’s accompanying aggressive theocratic overlay that demands advantage.

    Thus the accuracy and correctness of the Wallis quote and Craig’s response was such that Craig Murray believed it (the quote) was false, erroneous and therefore untrue to which any court of law in this country considering libel would legitimately dismiss.

    My own gifting to Craig is, in reality, intended to advance the thoughts and judgement of a true champion of human rights.

    • nevermind

      It could be argued, dear Mr. Simmons, that Israel does aspire to past’s ueber alles aspirations when one regards the myriad of broken UN resolutions, resolutions that have been passed for a reason, by the world community represented at the UN.
      That same view which eventually struck down the Arian myth as being rather selfish and dictatorial, is not there anymore.
      Those who rallied against the NSDAP policies and territorial ambitions, are not alarmed or screaming when foreign territory is being stolen, the Golan, Sheeba farms, south Lebanon, the west bank, vast parts of the Sinai, all ‘annexed’ by this rogue state without declared borders.

      It is powerful friends which are holding back from castigating Israel for what it truly represents, the co conspirators are many. And we have not even started to talk about the indigenous Arabs and Palestinians that have been hounded from pillar to post, denied housing or education.
      How can the Rohyngia be under ‘genocidal attacks from Myanmar’s forces’ when Palestinians have been killed enmasse and displaced into camps, from Beirut’s massacres under Ariel Sharon, to the alleged use of illegal weapons in Ghaza during the cast lead war/attack/atrocities?

  • giyane

    Craig should have smelt a rat when Sky asked him for an interview on anti-Semitism. They did not ask him to respond to a third party, which makes it something like malice aforethought. They knew, and Craig didn’t know, that the quote from Craig’s blog would be twisted out of recognition to mean something that Craig had not said.
    I turn down offers of work automatically from people who have previously acted in bad faith, bad payers, blacklister recruitment agencies and people who have treated me with disrespect. I am not invincible. If I suspect malice aforethought, I follow my gut instinct to refuse the offer of work. I can manage quite nicely in life if those who intend to stitch me up are kept, very directly and to their face, at arm’s length. For the same reason I don’t pray in any mosque which has participated in spying. like the Muslim Brotherhood.
    I wouldn’t let SKY news in my house.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    After Craig wins he can tell Sky he’s going to sue them for conspiring to defame him as an anti-Semite. That should unbutton a few pockets. J

    • John Goss

      Ha, ha. But suing (sueing – they both look wrong) is not Craig’s style.

      I envisage in years to come this nonsense of taking people to court to try and ruin them for making comments in good faith will have the same reputation as usury, or duelling. The accuser in a lawsuit is like the old challenger throwing down a gauntlet, slapping someone across the face with a glove, looking for satisfaction. This ridiculous code of honour practice produced some hilarious episodes in eighteenth and nineteenth century picaresque novels I might be tempted to caricaturise Mr Simons and his ‘pound of flesh’ lawyer in my next work of fiction.

  • Ishmael

    Well, I just tried to read some of the above you posted Craig, but it’s just mind bending stuff. But considering the end bit. It inspired a thought.

    I don’t know about others but for me it’s got little to do with some kind of exchange, why I donated. I was thinking about this earlier after I commented about people giving money meaning. And I thought how you did ask for it as (or in the context of) exchange. That’s how money is meant to operate I guess, but for me it’s a freely given donation to someone who needs it. That when added to many others will be more useful to you than me.

    It’s really nothing. It’s what people do in a million and one ways all the time, including yourself. From each according- etc.

  • Je

    “As a journalist and broadcaster there a few more damaging allegations than of concocting evidence or deliberately lying about the source of a quotation.”

    Being guilty of concocting evidence or deliberately lying about the source of a quotation might do a journalist some damage. It doesn’t follow that being accused of it would be damaging.

    What’s the evidence that the viewers were all convinced he was lying? Or anybody else? I doubt more than a handful of those viewing had the faintest clue who this journalist was – or any opinion on his reputation, or any influence over his career. By the middle of the next news item most of them had probably forgotten all about the piece.

    For a journalist disputes about accuracy are run of the mill. Its the profession where being called a liar is possibly the least damaging not the most. A doctor being accused of being a liar – that would be something. A journalist or a politician? All the time.

    Anyone who cared could easily look this up on the blog and find out how accurate he was being. His reputation wasn’t sullied by it at all.

    Supposing he had misquoted Craig’s exact words… not just trimmed them and claimed they represent a statement of anti-semitism. He would then have had to climb down and say he’d made a mistake. I doubt that would have really affected his career either. A little egg on his face – like Craig’s had. In the grown up world that happens sometimes. People survive.

    He might have been offended. He might object to other things Craig has said about him. And vice versa. This little part of this little spat – he comes out of it rather well. Damaged – not at all. He scored a real hit here. Till the point he started talking about suing. Journalist are supposed to uphold freedom of speech – not try and sit on it.

    • John Goss

      You make good points Je. I agree. I had never heard of Mr Jake Wallis Simons before Craig mentioned the law-case against him. If anything it has brought his name into the public arena. As they say a day is a long time in politics and the raised profile of JWS is something he might never otherwise have achieved. If I were him, though I would not wish to raise my profile in bad blood, I would accept the positives and retract.

    • SA

      Imagine if Tony Blair whose name has been repeatedly changed to Bliar sues all of us.the judicial system will have nothing else to occupy it for 100 years!

    • fwl

      Making up quotes harmed Boris Johnson’s career path as a young journalist in the short term, but did not damage him in the long term.

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