Authoritarianism is Shoddy 394


Well, it is really happening. It is something of a shock to see yourself listed as a criminal for writing the truth. I have a tiny extra glimpse now into the way my friend Julian has been feeling.

Three appeal court judges even at the procedural hearing – though not unheard of, that is not normal. The state is sparing no resources on this; in a sense I am flattered.

There will be no jury at the eventual trial, and this worries me. Not least because the indictment (called a “petition”) contains within itself evidence that this process is a stitch up. Please help me here, and read paras 49 to 56 of the indictment after reading this explanation.

Para 49 of the indictment is an utter garble. It states that I sent a twitter message beginning “It is respectfully submitted…”.

I sent no such twitter message. Para 50 is missing. This is not a misnumbering, para 50 really is missing. I assume my twitter message, intended to be quoted at para 49, and whatever led in to the Crown’s argument beginning “it is respectively submitted” were in the missing section.

At para 53 the same thing happens again. It explicitly states that I published another tweet starting: “it is respectfully submitted that”.

I published no such tweet. Again the indictment does not give the actual text of the tweet complained of, even though it claims to do so. This time two paragraphs are clearly missing, and again this is not just a misnumbering, because of the missing material. It jumps from 53 to 56.

In short, the indictment from paras 49 to 56 is an inoperable jumble, with three paras missing from two different locations and which does not even contain – though it states it does – the very tweets which form part of the alleged offence with which I am charged.

You may argue this does not matter, and clerical errors are easily corrected. But that is to miss the point. I used to prepare official documents in my 20 year diplomatic career, from ministerial replies to members of the public to fully fledged international treaties.

A Diplomatic Note to a foreign government, which has a legal status, might be the best comparator from my work to this indictment or petition. I always scrupulously proof read every one I sent before signing. It is unthinkable that a Diplomatic Note would be sent containing not one but a series of major, material errors.

Is this document any less solemn? It is an indictment on which they are attempting to brand me a criminal and potentially send me to prison for up to two years. It is signed by Alex Prentice, Depute Advocate General on behalf of the Lord Advocate, and by the senior judge, Lord Turnbull.

But one thing is abundantly clear. Neither Alex Prentice nor Lord Turnbull can have carefully read through the document before they signed it. I do not believe for one moment that they would knowingly sign off a document containing such major errors. The judge, in particular, is meant to weigh carefully the matter to see if there really is a case to answer before he signs the Crown’s “petition”. But, I say it again, plainly Lord Turnbull has not actually read through it; or he would never have signed this garbled mess.

I am advised that it may be “contempt of court” for me to point out that Lord Turnbull signed this without reading it. But when a law makes it illegal to point out a blindingly obvious fact, then the law is an ass.

If Lord Turnbull does not wish to be criticised, he should try doing his job properly and actually paying attention to what he signs.

Contempt is the right word. I have a great deal of contempt for anybody who would send me such a portentous legal document rotten through with utterly careless error which would have been spotted by even a cursory reading of the document.

They did not read it. The judge who approved it did not read it.

Neither of them bothered to read the indictment or petition because it had already been decided to “get” Craig Murray and it therefore did not matter what the document actually said. The content of the charges is immaterial to them. Otherwise, they would have read them before signing. There can only be two reasons for that failure. The first is incompetence. The second is corruption. In a sense, it does not matter which it is in this case.

A state which is turning to authoritarianism to crush dissent does not need to be very careful about matters of process.

The failure of both Prentice and Turnbull to read before signing is not important for the mistakes in the document, which can be remedied by a new document. It is important because of the clear indication of attitude. This prosecution is abuse of process, a clear Article Six violation under the European Convention on Human Rights.

A series of facts make this abundantly plain. The abuse of process lies in this combined with the extraordinary selectivity in prosecuting me, when others who can be objectively proven to have much more effectively produced “jigsaw identification” are not prosecuted. There is a very clear political motivation behind the selection of who to prosecute and who not to prosecute.

When you put together the facts that there is overwhelming evidence that mainstream media journalists were more guilty of “jigsaw identification” than I, that systematic police action is being taken to harass only supporters of Alex Salmond, and that they don’t even care what the indictment to be used against me actually says, the overall picture becomes very, very clear.

Authoritarianism doesn’t have to worry about mistakes in the indictment, because it can just smash you in the face with the jackboot. That is what is happening here.

My own view is that they were so keen to “get” Craig Murray they just signed without any proper scrutiny whatsoever. I don’t see any other conclusion. Do you?

They do not have the excuse that this is routine. Major prosecutions for contempt in Scotland are extremely rare – the last one was Aamer Anwar about a decade ago (it failed).

So why could the state be so keen to prosecute Craig Murray, that is doesn’t even care what is in the indictment, or even if it is drawn up with the most basic level of competence? Well, I refer you to this excellent letter setting out the fact that the state is only acting against those who defended the innocent Alex Salmond, even though his detractors were much more in contempt of court. And I refer you to the Panelbase opinion poll which showed that very substantially more people who know the identities of the accusers, learnt them from the mainstream media.

I remain clear that I identified nobody. If I had wanted to, I would have done so openly. I have never been noted for cowardice.

The other accusation, that I wrote articles stating that the prosecution of Alex Salmond was a fit-up, is something I state again here. It is a proper exercise of my freedom of speech under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Actually, you don’t have to go past the very first sentence of the indictment to understand what is happening here. It reads “On 23 January 2019, Alexander Elliott Anderson Salmond was arrested by police officers in relation to a number of incidents that had taken place in Scotland.”

“That had taken place”.
Not “alleged to have taken place”.
“That had taken place”.
And Prentice wrote this, and Turnbull signed it off, after the acquittal.

After independent witnesses gave eye witness accounts that several of the incidents had not taken place at all. After it was demonstrated in court that the accuser of the most serious offence was not even present when she claimed the offence took place.

After the jury threw out the pile of ordure that the very same Alex Prentice as prosecuting counsel presented to them.

“That had taken place”. No, most of the incidents had not taken place at all, and none in the form alleged.

Right at the start, this wording gives away the motivation. The conspirators have still not psychologically processed the fact their attack on Alex Salmond was foiled by the jury. The Crown is now coming at Mark Hirst and at me in an effort to get some kind of victory from this massive waste of public resources. The conspirators seek to assuage their massive humiliation in the failure of a prosecution that stank and quite obviously ought never to have been brought.

I am not going to pipe down under this abuse of process and attack on freedom of speech. On the contrary, this will be a reasoned, forceful and very public resistance.

TWO WAYS YOU CAN HELP

The hearing on 10 June is supposed to be public, but it will be virtual because of coronavirus. While it is a case management hearing, I shall nevertheless be grateful if you are able to “attend” virtually, as I am very keen indeed that I am not stitched up out of the public eye. Please send an email requesting access to the virtual hearing on 10 June to [email protected] I am very keen as many people do this as possible. Journalists please in addition copy in [email protected] for accreditation.

Secondly, many people come to this blog through social media and I am currently suffering a very high level of suppression, on Facebook and especially on Twitter. Rather than just retweet and share any soical media post that brought you here, (which may appear on the face to have worked but the dissemination will be suppressed), I would be very grateful if you could also write your own new posting and put a link. If you have your own blog or access to one, a commendation of this post with a link would be very welcome, even if it is not your normal policy. And finally of course, the entire post is free as always to copy, republish and translate as you wish.

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394 thoughts on “Authoritarianism is Shoddy

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        • Piotr+Berman

          Because the town is disfigured by a ruined military facility in Rothesay, while Saughton was cited for the finest prison libriarian in UK?

          • Piotr+Berman

            The castle in question was a military facility when it was in good shape. I am sorry for an opaque joke.

          • Hamish Kirk

            That military facility was rendered useless by the Duke of Argyll and the Campbells. We are still waiting for the forces of Charles Edward Stuart, his heirs and successors to come and rebuild it.

  • Jm

    It seems very clear to me Craig that in all of this affair you are one the very few NOT showing contempt for the whole judicial process.

    Your truth and integrity stands in marked contrast to your persecutors.

    If Prentice,COPFS and the judges go through with this they will undoubtedly be doing irreparable reputational damage to justice and legal process in Scotland.They’d be wise to step back from this abysmal path.

    Its a shameful and blatant abuse of power.

  • Goose

    This so-called ‘jigsaw identification’ is highly subjective. It seems it would require, at the very least, other intimate knowledge to simply make an educated guess at the identities. Quite how they can argue it warrants this prosecution and jail time, only in your case, and not numerous other mainstream outlets which have reported similar information, is a mystery?

    • Bayard

      It is difficult, when you know something, to put yourself in the position of someone who doesn’t know it. This is why so many manuals are next to useless: they are written by people who understand what they are writing about and don’t understand what it is like not to understand what they are writing about. All the people on the prosecution side of this case know who the alphabet sisters are, so they look at the world with that knowledge and without the knowledge of what it is like for people who don’t have it. Crossword clues are always easier to solve if you have the right answer and just need to work out why it is the right answer.

      • Goose

        Can only say from my perspective, I honestly haven’t got a clue who they are. It seems to me everything Craig put out there was already in the public domain due to countless other media reports on events.

        You have to wonder, were Craig a columnist for any big newspaper or publication (one with a legal team and bigger public audience would events be unfolding like this?

  • Kat

    So I went through those tweets they list as replies to your tweets and I found some interesting stuff:

    >One of the quoted replies to your tweet of 29 March is from an account that doesn’t exist.
    >The twitter handles for Jim Monaghan and Bella Spandangle are incorrect.
    >I could not find the replies from Bella Spandangle, either through searching for the text or scanning their twitter timeline.
    >They claim you tweeted something on 2 April but all the quoted replies are from your tweet dated 3 April.

    As well as being an appalling attack on you and free speech, this is yet more evidence of incompetence within the corridors of power in Scotland. It’s getting more embarrassing by the day.

    • Patrick Roden

      If they have got the dates wrong then the case collapses.
      If they have the names of people wrong then that evidence isn’t admissible.

      I wasn’t involved at any point in the following incident and heard it second hand from several people, but any legal eagles on here can perhaps advise if this may be true and still relevant today:

      I once knew a guy who’s name was wright who was caught with a lot of illegal drugs in his house.
      he was taken to court but when the trial began and he was asked if he was Mr Wright (name withheld) his lawyer intervened on his behalf and told the court that his client was not the person mentioned in the indictment.

      It ended up that the arresting officer has spelled his name wrong and this had worked its way throughout the case until it reached the court.

      The judge was very unhappy with the police but had to acquit the defendant.
      I’m not sure if this is still the way the legal system works in Scotland but if it is, then the incompetence of getting dates and names wrong would surely make it ‘unsafe’ to proceed with any trial.

  • Jess

    Maybe it will eventually sink in that all government is evil. Not just when it’s called Conservative or Scottish National Party but always. It exists to benefit insiders and punish outsiders when they don’t submit. Doug Casey says “The most realistic scenario for the origin of government is a roving group of bandits deciding that life would be easier if they settled down in a particular locale, and simply taxing the residents for a fixed percentage (rather like “protection money”) instead of periodically sweeping through and carrying off all they could get away with. It’s no accident that the ruling classes everywhere have martial backgrounds. The violent and corrupt nature of government is widely acknowledged by almost everyone. That’s been true since time immemorial, as have political satire and grousing about politicians. Yet almost everyone turns a blind eye; most not only put up with it, but actively support the charade.” Time to stop supporting the charade.

    • DevonshireDozer

      Well said.

      I often think of Rudyard Kipling’s book & the excellent film “The man who would be King”, in the context of various independence groups. Underneath a thin veneer of “I’m on your side against [insert group or theme]” all they really want are the keys to the toybox so that they can play full-time at somebody else’s expense. More of the same, but a different coloured rosette.

  • James Cook

    “My own view is that they were so keen to “get” Craig Murray they just signed without any proper scrutiny whatsoever. I don’t see any other conclusion. Do you?”

    Having been inside the “rabbit hole” I am not a strong believer in “coincidence” or “clerical errors”, so………………………the state knows your habits and convictions and can predict how you will behave when confronted in a specific manner………perhaps the intent was to get you to do exactly what you have done in this latest of posts????????

    Being predictable can very helpful to your antagonists!

    • James

      ummmm …. what? making themselves look stupid and incompetent in a very public way is all part of a Baldrick-style cunning plan?

      Maybe you’re right ……

      • James Cook

        Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice, that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”.

        Craig should know this.

        • Piotr+Berman

          There is a difference between stupidity and negligence. Stupidity is typically an objective deficiency, while negligence may be a rational decision about husbanding limited mental resources. Should you spend your mental energy on careful reading of soul killing claptrap, or on toading and other activities preserving and advancing social standing etc.

      • Andrew Mcguiness

        “what? making themselves look stupid and incompetent in a very public way is all part of a Baldrick-style cunning plan?

        Maybe you’re right ……”

        Maybe – but it’s also worth noting that, in order for an authoritarian abuse of law to send the correct message, it is important that it be identified as an authoritarian abuse – as a selective application of a somewhat ambiguous law – rather than as the rule of law impartially applied.

  • Jon

    Gosh, I am sorry this is still happening, Craig. I would have some confidence that this would be chucked out if there was a jury. As it stands, I’ve no idea.

    I wonder if I can raise an uncomfortable topic, but perhaps a practical one. Should you be jailed for a period, I suspect it will help ease your mind if you know that your family have some funds to keep them going. I expect you have made some planning for this, but I expect your readership would be willing to chip in if necessary, either to the main blog fund, or to a separate one.

  • Rookiescot

    Sue them for wrongful persecution. Get those people accusing you into court and have them justify their actions.

  • AlexT

    Just wondering – isn’t Lord Turnbull obvious botched job in itself a contempt of court ? I’d guess an interested citizen could refer him for this very disrespectful handling of the court case ?

  • pasha

    Okay, Craig, you got it. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more. I have requested a link to the hearing, as follows.

    I refer your attention to the sitting, details of which appear below, to be held on Wednesday June 10th 2020. I understand that this is to be a public hearing, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it will be held virtually rather than in person. I humbly request access to this hearing via a suitable electronic link and would be grateful if you could furnish same to me at this electronic address.
    As a UK citizen resident in North Carolina, USA, where British roots grow deep, it occurs to me that many people, both expatriates like myself and US citizens, will be very interested in these workings of British jurisprudence. I shall be investigating whether there might be statewide interest by contacting my local newspaper, The New Bern Sun Journal; also the Charlotte Observer, which serves a population of more than 900,000; and the Raleigh News and Observer, with its metropolitan area population of more than 1.2 million. 
    As an expatriate voter in the constituency of Durham North, I shall also be writing to my MP, Kevan Jones, to discuss this matter.

    We shall see what we shall see.

    • Giyane

      Craig

      Please remember it is political, not personal.
      You are being attacked with the blunt instruments of the 27th century because Scotland has remained crushed since that era. The British state extremely unwisely decided to use torture on fellow human beings, and so doing awoke a sleeping giant.

      It would have been far better for them not to have raised the indignation of Salmond and his colleagues in the SNP of Putin, of Muslims, Christians and Jews and atheists who believe in human dignity and Rights.

      They have tried to suppress the damning information about torture rendition under Bush/ Blair and Obama/ Cameron for 20 long years. So appalling is the prospect of discovery that they have imprisoned Assange on wicked false charges. Thou shalt not bear false witness. A flagrant violation of God’s commandments.
      They fear neither God nor Man.

      However, , I do believe you are exactly correct in saying that no Judge could possibly have read the indictment before signing it. That makes them look incredibly foolish. Your cause is just. Be patient and you will persevere. Inshallah.

  • Helen Smith

    Craig,
    As requested, I have read the extracts you posted. I am far from being a legal expert, but, even as a simple narrative, I agree they do not make sense.

    Imho Paragraphs 49 and 53 the actual tweets alluded to in their ‘respectful submissions’ have been omitted.

    To my eye both para look like the result of lazy, amateurish misuse of cut & paste by someone totally unsuited to the task of producng a legal document. In para 49 the tweet is overwritten within the quote marks and in para 53 cut completely.

    This would have picked been up by anything more than cursory skimming of the document prior to signing. That it wasn’t points to complacency and a breathtaking lack of professionalism and commitment all round – unacceptable at any time but especially in this context.

    • Piotr+Berman

      It is also puzzling why the “numbered list” was not used, since it would automatically number the entries consecutively. If you make references to the entries, it is a bit tricky (making labels, keeping track of labels), but this is where a professional clerical worker would be better than an amateur.

  • Maggie

    University to remove Alex Salmond’s tuition fees stone

    A university is to remove a stone unveiled by Alex Salmond pledging free tuition fees.

    The stone was installed at Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh on Mr Salmond’s last day as first minister in November 2014.

    It is inscribed with the message: “The rocks will melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scotland’s students.”

    The university has said it will be replaced with an artwork that appeals to its “international community”.

    It said the decision to remove the stone was taken after consultation with the Student Union.

    ‘Alternative location’

    Mr Salmond was Scotland’s first minister for seven-and-a-half years, steering the SNP to two terms in office.

    His government introduced the policy of free tuition in higher education for students from Scotland and from most of the European Union.

    But students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland do pay fees similar to those south of the border.

    A date for the removal of the stone, first reported by The Daily Record, is yet to be agreed.

    A spokesman for the university said: “The stone will be carefully looked after until an alternative location is found for it in future.”

    Scotland’s current first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said she will never support bringing in tuition fees for Scottish university students.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-52748722

    • Bayard

      “Scotland’s current first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said she will never support bringing in tuition fees for Scottish university students.”

      “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” Otto von Bismarck

    • Giyane

      Maggie

      In the last verses of the Qur’an, God describes the sea exploding on the day of judgement presumably in a sodium orange street light colour. On a smaller scale than the Day of Judgement Molten lava hitting seawater expllodes into steam.

      The judges who want to suppress truth will have their special place in shackles on that day.

    • Baalbek

      “Scotland’s current first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said she will never support bringing in tuition fees for Scottish university students.”

      There is a considerable difference between Salmond’s statement that he will never allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scottish students and Sturgeon’s comment that she will never support fees for Scottish uni students.

      When a person says something like “I will never allow measure x to be passed” it implies a strong commitment to one or more principles and taking action to uphold that commitment.

      Pledging “support” for or against something is a much weaker statement. One can “support” all kinds of things (or claim to) and never actually demonstrate any meaningful commitment to principle.

      Politicians love “supporting” all kinds of sensible things because it’s very easy to later make excuses as to why that wonderful thing they supported did not come to fruition.

    • Republicofscotland

      Humana Yousaf, is blocking an attempt to have judges in Scotland declare their interests outside the courts, and I’m not talking about hobbies or past times.

    • Cubby

      So why do we need a cabinet post for a job that does not exist?

      No wonder he gave a good speech in George Square last November he has plenty of time to prepare for it.

      The SNP/ Scotgov need a clearring out of all the Britnats. Is purge the correct word to use?

    • craig Post author

      Probably. But there is no jury in this hearing, which makes a big difference as the major ground for contempt in such circumstances is material that could influence the jury.

  • Tom74

    I assume those sections have been omitted to avoid repeating in public a tweet that the prosecution would claim helps identify one of the accusers. Or am I missing something?

    • craig Post author

      Yes. It’s not a public document. The tweets don’t identify anyone anyway, and in other parts of the indictment other material they also claim helps identify somebody is reproduced.

  • Yalt

    I noticed this when I read the indictment initially. The missing pieces seemed to be precisely those that contained information the Crown is suggesting could compromise the anonymity of the Salmond accusers (just insert the respective tweets and the mishmash is resolved) and I thought Craig had censored the document himself in presenting it here, so as not to repeat an act the Crown had already alleged was contemptuous.

    Obviously I was wrong.

    Maybe the Crown has censored its own indictment before releasing it to the accused, and thus to the public?

    Or maybe it’s a clerical error of a peculiar sort. I’ve occasionally done copy editing of documents containing confidential names and personal data that I wasn’t authorized to see. That information would be removed before the document was sent to me, typically replaced by some code, and then restored by the author when I returned the edited copy. This looks like what would happen if the tweets were removed while the document was prepared by staff, then nobody remembered to restore them to the final version.

    • John Morris

      Exactly.

      What clearly happened is that the full, original version of the petition (with all the numbered paragraphs) was written and given to Prentice and Turnbull to approve. Some junior in the Fiscal’s office must then have been told to cut the sensitive information out of the version that was going to be sent out to Murray (who would inevitably publish it), and s/he messed it up.

      It’s a less exciting story than a deep state conspiracy, but possibly a wee bit more plausible.

        • John Morris

          The answer is “clearly”. When I wrote “possibly” in the last line, I was employing a rhetorical device called understatement.

      • James MacLean

        That court documents should have ever bit of evidence in it that the prosecution intend to use to prosecute, right down to the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. If it ain’t in it, you cant use it. They can add additional documents/evidence as things move forward, but that all has to be granted.

        This is why I find that court application so confusing.

  • Squeeth

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

  • Neil

    Craig, what they would love to see would be you getting stressed and angry and ill by all this. What they would hate to see would be you being bemused by their absurdity, even from a prison cell. Fight them, but don’t let them get to you.

  • iain

    They were stung awful sore by their failure to get Salmond and are now petrified that the media will be forced eventually into exposing the plot. Legal examples must therefore be made of anyone who identified the conspiracy. A chilling effect is essential if the institutions are to remain in good repute and careers are to continue to flourish.

  • Ilya G Poimandres

    So you have no right for a trial by jury for criminal contempt of court? Surely for this you could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights?

    My father went to prison an innocent man, he found it calming, and not too bad. Did the Shaw shank experience of working the officers’ tax and accounting, without the escape though!

    Worst case, get a group of bored inmates, and teach them anything of interest 🙂 (that is to say – at least there isn’t the being hanged, drawn, and quartered barbarity to fret about anymore.. Well, perhaps psychological torture as for Julian :s )

  • Colin Alexander

    Craig Murray

    I can totally get your anger and disgust etc. However, I’m not convinced that saying all this BEFORE your trial is the best way of going about things.

    Is there the risk you are giving the prosecution advance notice of errors ( such as, irrelevance and lack of specification) in their case against you? So giving them the chance to amend their case against you or even add new charges?

    You should always take advice from your legal experts before publishing anything. That’s part of the reason you are paying them.

    If they advise against publishing certain things, then I think you should take their advice.

    But, it’s your life, your decision: Your freedom that’s at stake here.

  • Mary

    To paraphrase John Locke – 1632 – 1704,

    ‘Where the law ends, tyranny begins’.

    Locke’s political theory was founded on social contract theory. Unlike Thomas Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature is characterised by reason and tolerance. … Locke also advocated governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke

  • William

    I never thought I would see the day. That the finest Legal System in these Islands would be used for political character assassination! There is now no Reason to allow OUR Courts to be independent. They .UST be brought back to the People!

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