I should be grateful if you would join Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, David Hare, Roger Waters, Robert Black, Kristinn Hrnafsson, Christine Assange and many others in signing the open letter against the politically motivated legal harassment of people including Mark Hirst and myself.
I am not asking you to endorse our political views; I am asking you to support free speech and oppose this rather startling authoritarianism and highly selective prosecution.
To the Lord Advocate
DEAR Mr Wolffe,
We are writing to you to express our growing concern over the actions of both the Crown Office and Police Scotland.
In recent weeks vocal independence supporters and backers of the former First Minister Alex Salmond, specifically the former UK diplomat, human rights campaigner and journalist Craig Murray along with fellow journalist Mark Hirst, have been arrested and charged in relation to comments they made publicly during and following the trial of Mr Salmond. Other supporters of Mr Salmond have also been contacted by police and warned over online comments they made in the wake of the trial.
We are particularly concerned to note that the investigating police officers are the same detectives who led the investigation against Mr Salmond over a period of two years and at considerable cost to the public purse.
As you know, the prosecution following from that investigation, pursued again at considerable cost to the public purse, resulted in the acquittal of Mr Salmond on all charges and now raises the most serious questions about why that investigation and that prosecution were pursued.
Whilst we appreciate that you cannot be involved in individual cases you will undoubtedly be aware that complaints of alleged Contempt of Court were made against six other individual journalists widely regarded as being hostile in their reporting of Mr Salmond. No action by the Crown Office or Police Scotland has been taken against any of those individuals. This leaves the distinct impression that Police Scotland, at the direction of the Crown Office, is acting in a manner that is both biased and disproportionate.
As you will be aware, for public confidence to be maintained in our independent legal system the law must be able to both demonstrate it is acting impartially and be seen to be doing so.
The actions taken so far risk establishing a public perception that both Police Scotland and the Crown Office are conducting themselves in a manner which is biased and is indeed political in nature.
Such perceptions risk seriously damaging confidence in the Scottish legal system.
We would welcome your fullest public response to the concerns raised in this letter and any meaningful public assurances you can offer that both Police Scotland and the Crown Office are complying with their obligations to act with complete impartiality and to apply the law fairly.
Professor Noam Chomsky (linguist and political scientist)
Yanis Varoufakis (Author, former Greek Finance Minister, philosopher, economist)
Professor Robert Black QC (Professor Emeritus of Scots Law, Edinburgh University)
Sir David Hare (Playwright, screenwriter and film director)
Kristinn Hrnaffson (Investigative journalist and Editor in Chief of Wikileaks)
Tariq Ali (human rights campaigner, journalist and historian)
Roger Waters (co-founder Pink Floyd, political activist)
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, (US Colonel, Ret, former Chief of Staff, US Department of State)
Paul Kavanagh (Columnist, The National newspaper)
George Kerevan (Journalist, Former SNP MP, former Associate Editor of The Scotsman)
Tommy Sheridan (Convenor, Solidarity and former MSP)
Ann Wright (US Colonel, Ret, and former US Ambassador)
Christine Assange (human rights campaigner and mother of Julian)
Gordon Dangerfield (Solicitor Advocate)
Hugh Kerr (Former Labour MEP, author and journalist)
John Kiriakou (CIA whistle-blower)
Coleen Rowley (Retired FBI Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, 2002 Time Magazine Person of the Year)
Ray McGovern (Former CIA Officer, Founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity)
Robert Tibbo (lawyer to Edward Snowden)
Annie Machon (former MI5 officer, author and journalist)
Katherine Gun (former GCHQ whistle-blower)
Clive Ponting (former MOD whistle-blower)
Stuart Campbell (Editor, Wings over Scotland)
James Kelly (Editor of SCOT goes POP! and columnist with The National)
Neil MacKay (Singer-songwriter, Scottish independence activist)
Liz Dangerfield (solicitor)
Campbell Martin (Broadcast journalist and former SNP MSP)
Elizabeth Murray (former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst)
Robin McAlpine (Political strategist)
Bogdan Dzakovic (9/11 aviation security whistle-blower, FAA Security, Ret.)
Robert Wing (former US Foreign Service Officer)
Marshall Carter-Tripp (Political science professor and former Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research)
This 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.
This is a procedural hearing before three appeal court judges. It is not the trial itself, but as with Julian Assange it is vital that the whole process is independently witnessed and that there is no potential for injustice to thrive in the dark. I am very grateful to the 700 people who have already registered.
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