Please Sign the Open Letter 306


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)

Details of charges against Mark Hirst are here. The indictment against me is here. You can sign the letter against this persecution here.


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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306 thoughts on “Please Sign the Open Letter

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  • Nick

    Name submitted
    Important to do so…they must be made aware that a large number of people are aware of what they are attempting to do.

  • Rose

    The link doesn’t work for me. Can someone suggest another way of signing this letter?R

      • Rose

        Thanks Rita. Still no luck with that link either. I try not to be spirry, but it does make you wonder …..

    • `Carlyle+Moulton

      Likewise.

      I have tried 2 different browsers Firefox & Seamonkey. As soon as I attempt to type a character into any of the fields all the input fields vanish.

      Also another gripe. Why do form creators insist on outlining input fields in sky blue which is as close as possible to being invisible except for pale yellow. Even with magnification turned on it is difficult to work out whether a horizontal blue line is the top or bottom line of one input field or the top line of another. This form does not seem to end boxes with vertical lines.

      I am not a Windows user preferring Linux, are any of the others who can’t access the form also Linux Users?

      • pete

        Sometimes, if your browser has add ons, it behaves differently. I use Linux and run a separate browser, Opera, without any add ons just for difficult to access sites. In these cases I use Opera. You might like to try that.

    • Lee Eunsim

      Assange has forgot himself for all.
      But all have forgotten him for each.

    • `Carlyle+Moulton

      I think I have finally managed to submit a signing.

      I used google Chrome as browser and used visual aids to zoom the screen by 4.

      I think the problem is those pale blue nearly invisible lines which one assumes mark the boundaries of input fields. I don’t think that they actually do this. There are only 2 input fields and they are marked by field names in maroonish red marked by asterisks. You may have to mouse click on these text fields to activate the input field before typing.

      In order to see the faint blue horizontal lines with enough clarity to discern their meaning I needed to turn visual aid zoom on with a factor of 4. Only then did I stop confusing top lines of a field with large vertical depth for bottom lines of a field with little vertical depth.

      I will look back in a few hours to see if the signing has worked.

  • douglas clark

    I hope I have signed the letter. As I have no idea what their sorting criteria are, it is hard to tell.

    Best wishes anyway.

    • Twirlip

      Wait for them to update the page (which they do every few hours), then search for your name (Ctrl-F in Firefox, for example).

      • Twirlip

        I see there’s a “Clark Kent” on the list! Is there a way to let the organisers know that someone is playing silly buggers?

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Twirlip June 2, 2020 at 12:36
          You didn’t expect them to write ’77th Brigade’, did you? They might have got sacked.

    • Giyane

      Douglas Clark

      If we’re supposed to write our name where it says “your answer ” then I have signed it.
      But why does it use the word answer ?
      Maybe nobody has signed this form correctly.

  • Skye Mull

    Take care Craig;
    This Wikipedia entry seems so applicable to much of what is going on;
    “[Sturgeon] feed by extending their siphon-like mouths to suck food from the benthos. Having no teeth, they are unable to seize prey, though larger individuals and more predatory species can swallow very large prey items, including whole salmon.”

  • Diane Nicoll

    Corruption, even in the courts, is taking over and we have to put s stop to this happening..!!

    • Pyewacket

      I agree Diane, Corruption taints many areas of public life and has always been there. What appears different today is the blatency with which it is undertaken, it is in your face, and the perps know damn well they are protected and can act with impunity.

  • Graham Harris Graham

    Letter signed.

    Happy to be added to Police Scotland’s “terror watch list” in response to my absolute, inalienable right to freedom of expression.

  • Peter

    Signed.

    The 10th June hearing is quite possibly going to be the most heavily attended court event ever.

    Good luck Mr Murray, we’re all with you – all the way.

    See you there.

  • Peter Brunskill

    The Justice system has to be seen to be even handed, and must not be selectively used like this.

  • Alex McLaren

    This demonstrates that plenty stinks in the modern state of UK. Civil liberties need defending more than ever in Scotland. And NOW is the time for Scottish INDEPENDENCE!

  • Glynis Walker

    We need to be sure of complete integrity in our court system our police and our government

  • Willie

    I’ve emailed a request to have virtual access granted to the proceedings on 10th June 2020 to the email address of [email protected] .

    Despite having requested an acknowledgement of receipt of my email so that I can know that it has been received, and will in turn be auctioned, I have received no response whatsoever. Time is marching on, it is as Craig Murray says vitally important that legal proceedings are not carried out in camera by a star chamber.

    Can anyone advise of whether my failure to get a response is typical.

      • pete

        I am concerned that the “dial in” system to view Craig’s court appearance may fail. The reporter from computer weekly at the Assange hearing reports on twitter (https://twitter.com/Williamrt) “The court dial in system does not really work for journalists. There are too many non-journalists on the line holding private conversations during the hearing”

        Lord alone knows how all the people who have signed up to witness Craig’s appearance are going to gain access…

  • Christina Fisher

    Free speech is an important right and a tool for airing injustices and freeing up discussions.

    • Keith

      The fact that people are repeating this tautology suggest we have already lost what past generations took for granted. The politics textbooks I read on my undergraduate days years ago used call the UK a ‘pluralist’ polity, wherein corruption would never take place out of the convention of decency!! – implying no written constitution needed for ‘decent British folk! Like the USA its one of two of the most socially backward nations in the developed/semi-developed world; a proverbial ‘banana republic’.

  • David Life

    At a time when freedom of speech is under attack and we seem to be moving into dangerous autocratic society it is even more important for everyone to know that there will be few escapees from authoritarian abuse of power in the future. Real journalism and freedom of speech are the first rights to be seized.

  • Willie

    Re time for judicial communications to respond.

    I have now received an email from Judicial Comms.

    On responding I have been advised that an access code will be issued most likely the day before the calling of the case, that there is a fifteen minute window after which access will be closed and that individuals accessing the virtual hearing will be subject to the same rules to those that would apply were an individual attending in person.

    For completeness I under note the response received.

    ” Thank you for your email in relation to the Procedural Hearing in the case HCA/2020-06/XM (Craig Murray) scheduled for 10 June 2020.

    Judicial Communications will email an expected starting time; dial-in number; and access code in advance of the case calling. This will most likely be sent on 9 June 2020.

    The hearing will be closed 15 minutes after it starts so you are advised to dial-in within that time.

    Although not physically attending court, those dialling in are subject to the same rules as if they were present in Court. Anyone failing to obey or respect the authority of the Court may be subject to Contempt of Court proceedings. In particular, those accessing a hearing:

    · must not record or store the proceedings

    · must not broadcast the proceedings

    · must not, during the course of a hearing, comment on the proceedings using live texted based communications (such as Twitter).

    The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service retain the copyright of live audio recordings of Court proceedings. Although you are welcome to listen to the proceedings, the re-use, capture, re-editing or redistribution of the material in any form is not permitted. You should be aware that any such use could attract liability for breach of copyright or defamation, in addition to the possibility of contempt of court proceedings.

    I hope you find this helpful.”

    Kind regards

    Judicial Communications

    • bj

      Just capture for your own personal use (cannot be enforced), make a transcript from that, and put (portions from) that up somewhere.

  • James Cook

    I recognize that Craig and readers here in believe in institutions past who have more or less respected the concepts of blind justice and “doing the right thing” to enforce societal laws for the well being of all.

    The problem I must point out is that things have changed and people with differing beliefs and agendas now inhabit the corridors of power and are prepared to use those powers to silence opposition.

    Is everyone here comfortable with making LISTS of like-minded people and actually sending (giving) the list to this group of people forging a “new method of administering the plebs”??????????

    p.s. I also recognize there are many and expanding digital methods to make these “lists”, but I question the benefit of making it easier for them……..and no I do not wear a tinfoil hat, but I do know first hand that those in power like and have their “lists”.

    • Ingwe

      James Cook at 14:57 on 2 June 2020-you have a good point. As a longtime anti-apartheid activist and Marxist, we were always cautious about having lists that could be, and were, used by British Intelligence. But there comes a point where it is more important to stand up and be counted despite the personal risk of appearing on a public list, available to the intelligence services.

      In any event, as you have pointed out, there are already many ways where they can obtain and collate details about us so in this digital age, I fear that horse has bolted.

  • John Boyle

    Opposition to every power structure is worthwhile, if only to keep people on their toes and watching their backs.

    “You can’t fool all the people all the time”.

    It’s our duty to make that maxim true!

  • GAUTIER Nicole

    Bonjour,
    Je soutiens à 100% la cause et Julian Assange. Les lois ne sont pas respectées. Elles sont bafouées jour après jour, et pendant ce temps, Julian Assange meurt doucement.
    Ils commettent un crime au vu et au su du monde entier.
    Et moi, française de 69 ans, je suis écoeurée et je veux bien echanger ma place avec la sienne.


    Hello,
    I support the cause and Julian Assange 100%. Laws are not respected. They are flouted day after day, and during this time, Julian Assange is slowly dying.
    They commit a crime in full view of the whole world.
    And me, a 69 years old Frenchwoman, I am disgusted and I would willingly take his place.

  • keith

    How long does it take for one’s name to go on list of signatories? I posted mine about 3 hours ago but not there

    • Tom Kennedy

      Hi Keith, the list doesn’t appear to have been updated for a long time today, whereas yesterday there were fairly regular updates. They do state that the list is refreshed manually so perhaps they are busy at the moment. There may also be technical considerations – the list is 5000+ signatories and counting and their database may be at its limit, depending on the software they are using.

      • James

        Tom Kennedy – do you know how they verify that the email addresses belong to real people and how they verify that all the people who sign are different?
        I used my `work’ email – so that they just need to look up the web page on the associated server to verify that I’m real – but I can’t see how, in general, the email address by itself verifies very much. Do you know what they’re doing here?

        • Tom Kennedy

          Hi James, last time I checked I had no email asking me to confirm. But I see they have updated the list in the last hour or so.

      • nevermind

        I have not looked at the inclusion on my name, cant see what one name more will do.

        All thpse that expressed the wish tp sign on this blog and could not, for various reasons, are all in support of free speech and are part of this action.
        The 10th. of June marks an important day in the history of free speech in Scotland, two journalists are, by the self destructing forces of the Scottish justice system, dragged through the courts for nothing more than informing the public factually from the AS trial.

        This should be made clear to the Msm via a black press release, written on dark paper in white, the only two distinguishing tones understood by them.
        they should be made aware, as should the SNP, that this retrograde step into barbary, is not supported by hundreds if not thousands of people who are yearning for true reporting and facts, not the msm’s twisting innuendo distortion and lies.
        As somebody elsr mentioned, the control and interferences from Westminster is becoming untenable and INDEPENDENCE NOW should be on anyones lips.
        If you are brave enough, why not done a mask, stand 3m apart and hold up a black and white placard ‘the end of free speech’ .
        See whether they all those busybody policemen who, after arresting journalists, confiscating their working tools, having nothing better to do then to get busy on behalf of a sour grapes judiciary, after AS won his trial hands down will be ‘ protecting the public’ around the court on the day.

  • fwl

    Two books for those with time:

    The Crash of Flight 3804: A Lost Spy, A Daughter’s Quest, And The deadly Politics Of The Great Game Of Oil by Charlotte Dennett. A life time’s work. Definitely worth a read.

    Dark Star Rising: Magick & Power In The Age of Trump by Gary Lachman aka Gary Valentine (the early days bass player of Blondie fame, who later played with Iggy). An esoteric but easy to read account of the influence of magical ideas from new age positive thinking to chaos magic on politics in Trump’s America. The esoteric idea is that reality is in your mind. The crude political interpretation is that truth doesn’t exist and you can just make shit up and so long as you repeat it enough and get some meme magic working stuff can start to happen. Not for everyone but interesting.

  • Herbie

    Aye, but the thing is.

    Look at it from the perspective of Game Theory.

    This is the simplest of binary games.

    You win the case, you win, obviously. Scotland wins. That’s a Win.

    And

    You lose the case.You’re a martyr to the Cause, Scotland, the closest thing to your heart. Another Win.

    Can’t believe the current Scottish authorities have created this ultimately losing tactic for themselves.

    Anyway.

    It’d be helpful in an optics kinda way, Craig, should you lose, that you suffer the most miserable punishment, as close to William Wallace’s fate as possible.

    That one’s getting a bit stale.

    Thanks for all your hard work for the cause and all.

    • Squeeth

      I assume that it’s a foregone conclusion and that the appeal will be where the action is.

      • Herbie

        I mean, there are so many problems.

        Such prosecutions may be frowned upon by EU Central.

        They’re already quite busy dealing with transgressors from the former Communist bloc.

        Are the current Scottish authorities.concerned about upholding EU values.

        Anyway, Craig has been one of the most cited international journalists, particularly since 2016, with his breaking of many stories from that point on.

        He has friends with big voices across the world.

        There’ll be no silence on this.

  • Cubby

    Bloody hilarious watching MPs vote in the English parliament today. It was like a queue (possibly 1300m long) at Disney world but instead off going on a fun ride at the end they get to say yes or no. What a joke the place is.

    • James

      …. while (of course) Nicola Sturgeon wants to stop trial by jury – and presumably her next step is to stop voting by MSPs in Holyrood – legislation passed by edict by Nicola Sturgeon and her A-team.

      • Cubby

        James old chap – not sure what point you are making re my comment but if Sturgeon wants to make it that only Scottish political parties are to be represented in Holyrood, the Scottish parliament that is fine by me. At present there are 3 British parties, two Scottish parties and a British Presiding officer.

        Still bloody hilarious watching the numpties file past one by one in Westminster and if they don’t say yes or no at the correct spot on the floor then they are told their vote does not count.

        HofCommons – a laughing stock – Bonking Brexiteer Britnat Boris – a laughing stock with his “world beating” Tracing app that doesn’t work.

        PS I hope the reference to her A- Team is nothing to do with a certain court case as we wouldn’t want you being accused of jigsaw identification now would we.

        • Herbie

          James’s point is highlighted below:

          “Nicola Sturgeon wants to stop trial by jury”

          Your response, Cubby,

          Is what?

          • Cubby

            Herbie

            I have in the past posted my opposition to removing trial by jury and just for you Herbie I will say it again – I am opposed to any changes to remove trial by jury. Are you now a happy Herbie.

            PS trial by jury has nothing to do with my initial post – just deflection.

        • James

          Cubby – no, no deflection.

          I see (a) attempt to remove juries from trials and (b) increasing power to the executive (and reducing the role of parliament) as two cheeks of the same posterior.

          Sturgeon is attempting to remove trial-by-jury. She has been quite blatant about this and it is no thanks to Sturgeon that we still have some trials by jury. In the same way, she’d probably like to see the role of the Holyrood parliament reduced – and more power to the executive.

          Just as juries can be annoying and give the wrong answer (as they did in the case of Michael Randle and Pat Pottle back in 1992), Sturgeon also takes the view that Holyrood parliament is capable of giving the wrong answer. She has shown that she wants to remove juries – you can therefore be sure that she’d like to see the executive with more power and the Scottish parliament with less.

          I’m not prepared to criticise Westminster for their attempts to hold votes in what are difficult circumstances – even if this attempt does (admittedly) look comical. At least they are having votes and they haven’t (yet) put all the power in the hands of Dominic Cummings.

          Westminster can justly be criticised for an awful lot – but not for this.

          • Cubby

            James

            1. “she’d probably liked to see the role of the Holyrood parliament reduced” – are you a mind reader or something.

            2. Westminster is spending billions refurbishing the building when it could have built a modern parliament with electronic voting and seats for all members for a fraction of the price. They are a joke. It took them 40 minutes to vote. You remain happy with this James the rest of the world is laughing. It will be even funnier when it is winter and the MPs are standing out in the rain and snow. It sums up Westminster’s total inability to plan ahead. The Britnats are full of Britain is best nonsense when Brexit and now the pandemic have shown then to be incompetent clowns.

          • James

            Cubby – I’m strongly against the electronic voting system. Much better if the MPs go into two lobbies – one for and one against. Electronic systems are open to corruption.

            Agreed that they haven’t found a good solution yet -and agreed that what they did was a bit of a joke.

            But any electronic system (which you seem to favour for some odd reason) is much worse and much more of a joke than what they are doing – and also open to corruption.

          • Cubby

            James

            Everything is open to corruption. So what is the risk of electronic voting being corrupted? Do you know of any instances of parliaments electronic voting system being corrupted. I don’t.

            Also please note that there is now a body of MPs who cannot vote because they cannot be there in person due to the virus risk. It seems you are advocating shutting people out of voting by advocating this system. Is that better than your perceived risk of electronic voting?

            Finally, Rees- Mogg showed by this decision his complete contempt to the other nations in the union who have different lockdown rules forcing MPs to break their own nations rules if they want to attend.

          • James

            Cubby – there was something about it in Poland – the cameras clearly show instances where an MP casts two votes – another MP has given them their card. So it does happen and there are recorded instances.

            I much prefer the Westminster-style division where an MP who votes has to vote in person and is seen to be going into the lobby. They can’t give their voting card to someone else – with all that that implies.

            Look Cubby – there is so much about Westminster politics that is sordid and corrupt – why do you have to pick on the rather trivial matter of the performance when they cast their votes? You should be concentrating on (a) the power of the executive (so that many important things don’t get voted on) and (b) the issues that they are voting on.

          • Cubby

            James

            I do agree that there is much that is sordid and corrupt about Westminster but I don’t see why I cannot comment on the ludicrous and unfair voting approach introduced by Rees-Mogg.

            With regards to people not voting for others “they can’t give their voting cards to others” in the Rees-Mogg system – sorry that is wrong. I saw an MP standing saying he was voting for himself and another MP as they walked through the H of Commons.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Cubby June 2, 2020 at 19:41
      ‘…It was like a queue (possibly 1300m long)…’
      Were they queuing from Victoria?

      • Cubby

        Paul Barbara

        Did you not see the coverage of MPs standing outside in winding queues arranged like a Disney ride. So no not at Victoria.

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