Lord Advocate Launches War on Twitter 420


In what we think is a world first, the Lord Advocate of Scotland is claiming in the contempt of court case against me that I am legally responsible for the content of replies to my tweets.

The claim is founded on an argument that when you tweet, there is a menu which enables you to hide replies. If you do not hide a reply, you are therefore the publisher of that reply. As the Lord Advocate is putting it:

2. That the Twitter account under profile name @CraigMurrayOrg is operated by the Respondent. When the user of such an account publishes a post on Twitter, there is an option for readers to post publicly available comments in relation to each post and to reply to other readers’ comments. Replies to original posts will appear on the timeline of the author of the original post and on the timeline of the author of the reply. The user of the account who published the original cannot delete comments by others but, since November 2019, has the option to hide replies to their original post.

Note this is a very different argument to the accepted principle that if you publish a defamatory or otherwise illegal tweet, you bear a responsibility for people retweeting or passing on the information.

What the Lord Advocate is saying is that you can post a perfectly legal tweet, but you are responsible for any illegal replies. So if you post “Joe’s Fish and Chips are Great”, and somebody replies “But old Joe is a paedophile”, you become the publisher of the reply and liable in law for it (presumably unless you hide it, but that has not been stated in terms). The Lord Advocate is arguing that the reason that this has not previously been the law is that it is a new situation, with the “hide reply” option only being added in November 2019.

The reason this argument is being made is that the Crown is struggling to prove I published anything illegal myself, but believes a reply to one of my tweets is more obviously illegal.

The situation on Twitter is very different to a blog or media website. This website is mine. It is registered to me, I am the publisher and I accept responsibility for its content. Even there, however, the law on comments is much more nuanced than people realise and I am not generally liable for comments unless there was something in the content of my original post that was illegal or encouraged illegality, given that reasonable arrangements for moderation are in place.

But neither you nor I nor any other user is the publisher of Twitter. There is no sensible view in which you are the publisher of replies to your tweets. Twitter is the publisher of tweets and users are responsible for what they tweet.

The Lord Advocate’s approach would have a massive chilling effect on Twitter and fundamentally change its nature. When you tweet there is an option to limit who can reply. People would be loathe to allow replies at all if they were liable in law for what other people might say. Nobody wants to have to be constantly checking replies to their tweets, including to old tweets, in case somebody – who may be somebody you never heard of – tweeted something illegal.

For good or ill, Twitter has become a major medium of social and political debate. That dialogue would be entirely changed if replies are routinely turned off. What troubles me is that, in stretching for a way to convict me, the Lord Advocate appears completely oblivious to the very wide consequences of this argument for free speech. The Lord Advocate is of course not only Scotland’s chief prosecutor, he is also a member of the Scottish Government, appointed by the First Minister.

I cannot help but put this together with the Hate Crime Bill, which was condemned as an attack on free speech by every reputable body you can possibly imagine, and conclude that Scottish Government has no concern whatsoever for the concept of freedom of speech. It simply does not feature in their internal thinking, and is of no concern unless hammered upon them from outside.

The doctrine that Twitter users are the legal publishers of replies to their tweets has massive implications were it to succeed in court. That it should be recklessly resorted to as part of this vindictive attack on me, shows how deep down the rabbit hole we are going.

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420 thoughts on “Lord Advocate Launches War on Twitter

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  • Mark+Rowantree

    That is an extremely novel interpretation of the existing law of contempt.
    The author of a Tweet on Twitter has little or no control really over the replies that they receive on the platform. Furthermore, out with that cohort of users that they have blocked or muted there is little the user can do to censor replies on a practical level. Particularly, as most Tweets are made by private individuals who have neither the time or indeed faculty to check every reply made to a tweet.

    • terence callachan

      Exactly, you could get a million replies to a tweet , if you are famous enough and have the followers but how long would it take to read them all ? A million minutes is 21 months !

      Even if it only took you ten seconds to read each tweet reply it would take you six and a half months of reading tweets 24 hours a day , to get through them all ?

      And just think what replies Donald trump has had to some of his crazy tweets

  • J

    This is well worth everyone taking note: https://www.cryptogon.com/?p=59192

    The video report on the page describes how massive private intelligence agencies such as Cambridge Analytica and Integrity Initiative have been influencing elections around the world, staffed by former state intelligence heads including MI6 and CIA. The author of the documentary, Millie Weaver, was arrested and charged with ‘robbery, tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, and domestic violence’ immediately after its release:

    https://www.rt.com/usa/498201-weaver-shadowgate-youtube-removes-twitter/

    https://www.rt.com/usa/498072-millie-weaver-documentary-arrest-shadowgate/

    Among other things, the documentary makes detailed allegations about the toppling of Ukraine, how it was done and who was involved; how various alleged ‘Russian hacks’ were in fact carried out by these companies, and how these companies blanketed social media with highly individualised and individually targeted influence campaigns in order to win elections.

    Interestingly, one of the main contenders, a Canadian company called CGI is implicated in election rigging in the United States also partnered with private elections management IDOX in a £6.5 million contract to “deliver Scotland eCount” in the 2017 Scottish elections: https://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/10_-_idox_elections.pdf

    IDOX also managed Indie Ref and every major election in the UK after 2010. IDOX’s role in the 2019 General Election caused intense controversy through its dissolved subsidiary Halarose, after Halarose was dissolved within two weeks of the election. It appears IDOX is only one strand in a bundle of many private companies with links to State intelligence who are working to deliver the election result desired by their employers.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      The first rule of politics is to understand that when a hobgoblin is created it is to distract people from the same accusations being targeted toward the actual criminals….

  • Mighty Drunken

    3. The respondent “hide” particular comments which were in contempt of court. The Twitter feature to hide comments, does not hide but merely places them at the bottom in a separate page. By knowingly “hiding” these comments we assert that the respondent actually drew attention to these contemptuous tweets by separating them off from the usual babble.

  • Jm

    Maybe you support the wrong football team?

    Still…at least its not a malicious prosecution against you…

    Ho ho.

    Thats an absolutely absurd statement by the Lord Advocate.

    Best of luck Craig.

  • Cubby

    Craig, you are getting some vitriol on WGD but the man you still respect is happy for it to go unchallenged. If anyone challenges they are told to stop arguing by WGD and go away or worse he stops their posts. So he is happy for one side character assassinations to take place in his site whilst at the same time saying that sort of thing is for other sites to do if they so wish but not his site. Humbug and hypocrisy of the highest order and that’s not taking into the acount that he is not telling his readers the truth about the Salmond scandal.

    It is worth noting that the comments are all of a personal nature about you because none of them want to look at the facts involved in the scandal. Truly head in the sands stuff.

    • Vronsky

      Ironically, I only discovered the WGD blog when it was mentioned here. I don’t read it because it’s not the citizen journalism a political blog should be (imo), just a sort of wry sketch of the day’s events. Still, I was very disagreeably surprised by his attack on Wings, revealing as it did his more conservative side and heroic contempt for facts. Craig’s response was kinder than he deserved.

  • Hetty

    The powers that be do not like twitter because they can only control it so much. They must crave the days when the media was all that people had access to for information. Twitter is a sharing and discussion platform for ordinary people who reject the one size fits all media wall to wall propaganda posing as news etc. Twitter,uncontrolled, is a threat to the rule of the elite, so they will try to stop it and scare people off by claiming illegality where non exists.
    Scary times, shut down open discussion and freedom of speech and we are in dangerous territory.
    The Scottish government need to take a stance and not allow freedom of speech to be tampered with because of an agenda that is politically motivated, rather than because it is hate speech. Freedom of speech is a right, hate speech is not there is a difference, the Lord Advocate seems to be attempting to blur the lines.

    • terence callachan

      Remember this though, the , the Lord Advocate is independent of the Scottish government in legal actions , the Scottish government can’t tell the Lord Advocate what to do nor can Nicola Sturgeon.

      I’m certain that the Lord Advocate will not succeed in getting Craig convicted on the basis that he is responsible for replies to a tweet he made.
      Twitter the company is responsible for anything that breaks its code of behaviour or breaks the law .

  • Olly Perry

    Ah but what if the content or thread is shared with others as I believe it can be on Twitter (maybe I am wrong, please correct me if I am wrong) before the recipient has a chance to ‘Hide’ it? I mean how ridiculous does the Lord Avocado want to appear? No, they are grasping at burning straws in their desperation and will get their fingers deservedly burnt.

  • Joh Cofy

    Dear Lord Advocate (Sturgeon’s appointee)
    I’m thinking of all the choice things that I’d like to say about you and your boss.
    None of these would include justice, due process, honesty, democracy etc.
    I’m afraid that my comment would fall into your definition of a “hate crime”, which you rightly deserve.
    My suggestion is that you and your boss’s other cronies should leave the “free world” and dwell in some dictatorial hell hole of your own creation. Perhaps a super max in Colorado is a suitable accommodation for you but thenj by royal decree the punishment meted out to William Wallace could be revived for you and your cronies. 🙂

  • Mike Barson

    Cant be serious – how does someone with a large following deal with this? Donald Trump gets 60,000 responses from one tweet, if he gets such responses to 4 tweets per day thats 240,000 reply’s he’s responsible for and needs to check? Hows he going to run America?

  • WT

    Hello Craig,
    I had to go to WGD to see if Cubby was right in saying you were being attacked there, and I found that you were indeed being discussed in the comments section. However, it was not about your website that discussions centred upon, the references were about a tweet you made:

    “In the first sixty seconds she is on screen for this vicious attack on Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon blinks 133 times. If you refuse to believe Sturgeon was behind the plot against Salmond, I challenge you to watch this interview and still say that.https://t.co/ytMVGWlfGF

    I do not use social media so I am not sure if this tweet is accurate, however, if it is accurate then I have to take up your challenge to say that I am not convinced that Sturgeon was behind the plot against Salmond. She might have been, sure – but I am not convinced.

    I think your website and your opinions are often right on the mark. The coverage of the Salmond trial and the Assange trial being two examples of many. I also know that sometimes you get things wrong but we all do that. Better to be wrong sometimes than miss the big important stories that the MSM do not report – or that they lie about. (I know some people will ask for an example of when you got it wrong so I will just mention the photo of the two Russians at border control – not important to me but an example).

    The thing I disagree with you about is to do with ‘due process’. You often cite this yourself. You will point out when process is being subverted (as in the Assange trial) as you deem process to be highly important. For you then to join voices such as the Reverend Stuart Campbell in making decisions on an individual’s guilt or innocence by video, rumour, opinion – or even inside knowledge – is wrong. That is where the MSM went with Alec Salmond and it was wrong then just as it is wrong now. Salmond was innocent but it was widely assumed and disseminated that he was guilty.

    To accuse someone of lies because of the number of times they blink is using this crude measure way out of context and scientific reliability. I am sure that you will agree with that. Blinking is about as reliable a measure of truth and lies as the polygraph, that’s why George W Bush came up with waterboarding. I assume he found blink counts – although internationally acceptable – less than useful.

    Even if Sturgeon was lying, you do not know the reason behind her lies. People lie for many reasons and often not for the reasons that the evidence and your own discernment may highlight. The old clichéd movie example being an accused not using his alibi (an affair) to protect the woman’s identity and honour and so his guilt of the crime is assumed.

    People lie to protect themselves. People lie to protect others. People lie to hide things. People lie to misdirect. People lie for lots of reasons and you should not make assumptions as to why never mind as to whether.

    I am not a fan of Nicola Sturgeon and I don’t know if she is or isn’t lying but as a supporter of justice I think we should give her the benefit of the same as I was glad we had for Alec.

    There are many things being discussed on independence websites presently that are side show issues whilst the key political issues are ignored. When was the last time the actions of the UK government were examined on WOS for example? How about child poverty? Social housing in Scotland? There’s more on nation cymru than there is on WOS.

    As for your own particular situation, I think it is appalling that you are being taken to court for your reports on Alec’s defence and I find the actions of the Lord Advocate at best bizarre and at worst… well, I won’t say in case it gets you into trouble. Attacks on our freedoms are coming thick and fast from many directions (including both Scottish and UK Governments) and we need to continue to fight to maintain the rights our forebears fought so hard to obtain.

    • Dawg

      Why so serious already? Many of Mr Murray’s tweets are tongue-in-cheek – with a serious underlying point. I don’t think he’s seriously proposing a blink count as a reliable lie detector test. I think he’s just having a bit of a cheeky jab at Queen Nicola, who seemed more unsettled than ever before. If CM thinks he knows why (on the basis of information he can’t publish), why not let him have a snigger at her expense?

    • Contrary

      Hi WT,

      I’m not sure the reasons behind the lies are that important – or maybe I mean, the motivation behind the reasons…? Well, anyway, I agree that trying to imply the number of eye blinks means lying is definitely not proof, and seems a silly thing to pick on – easily dismissed: ‘dry environment’, ‘eye infection’, etc. She might even be menopausal, that can cause all sorts of stupid things like dry eyes.

      But, there is plenty evidence of her lying and evidence that points to the most likely cause being her lying, here is a different perspective from Gordon Dangerfield’s blog, he is looking at the actual evidence presented to the committee and analysing it from a more legal perspective – worth a look through all his posts:

      https://gordondangerfield.com/2020/10/09/salmond-inquiry-lies-lies-lies/

      • Tatyana

        A lot of blinking, and facial expressions, and turning her head in many ways, and shoulders too – the general impression is that she is nervous, agitated. Perhaps too much of coffee?

        • Contrary

          Or cocaine withdrawal 😉

          Yes, but the twitches and micro expressions should only be used for supporting an actual piece of evidence (like: ‘she only blinked rapidly when asked about the evidence the government wasn’t handing over’)

          In fact, there is a barefaced lie right there – why on earth would the committee lie about the ScotGov, the convener being SNP herself too, not handing over the goods and delaying everything? – yet NS still insists they are doing the opposite – and they aren’t!

          Typically Nicola Sturgeon is a cool customer under interrogation, so her behaviour was unusual – but to bring it up as ‘proof’ she was lying, takes away from the substance, and was akin to trolling rather than critical analysis. But, we’re all human (most of us anyway), and a brief dig isnt the worst thing that can be said, for sure.

          The smirks and giggles at the end of each massive evasion or untruth, I thought the biggest giveaway. Bill Browder does the same thing. I thought it was sociopathic behaviour but someone has also suggested it’s typical of a narcissistic personality disorder, though one doesn’t exclude the other.

        • Squeeth

          Craig poisoned her with Novichok, that well-known lethal nerve agent. She’ll be all right after a few anti-Putin headlines.

    • Cubby

      WT

      “I don’t know if she is or isn’t lying”

      Well WT Craig has already agreed (above) that it wasn’t a good idea to mention the blinking but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t lying. She was lying and more than once as well – there was also a high level of deflection. But worse of all was her dog whistle smears/attacks on Salmond. If you could not see this then you need to do more of your own fact finding – Craig has already laid a lot of it out on a plate for you. Or alternatively just take the word of people who have done their own research.

      With regards to motive I have previously posted why I think it is important Sturgeon keeps forgetting the meeting in March.

      WT thanks for checking out I was telling the truth about WGD. I wouldn’t have known that without you confirming it.

      Sturgeon says in the Sky interview this is not about my behaviour but Salmond’s conduct – of course that is not true because it is all about her behaviour and the Scottish gov she leads – that is what the Scottish parliament inquiry is looking at. Salmond’s behaviour was considered at the judicial review and the criminal trial both of which he won. A classic piece of deflection and untruth by Sturgeon. She also throws in a women (her) having to account for a man’s conduct as well for good measure. Of course she is actually having to account for her own and her government’s conduct. Sturgeon must be setting a precedent in this scandal. A First Minister who tries to claim her government’s actions are nothing to do with her.

      So WT there is NO doubt so there is no benefit of the doubt to give to Sturgeon.

      • Contrary

        Serious deflection! There was so much *wrong* with that interview I don’t know where to start!

        That was sexism at the end ,,, that must her version of a ‘fairer and more equal society’ – she basically said ‘I’ve decided to betray and backstab a ‘friend’ of 30 years because he’s a man (and my career would look better with him out the way)’.

        I really don’t think she understands what is so badly wrong with all her ‘justifications’ and ‘reasoning’ and doesn’t quite accept her lies are not working they same way they did even a year ago.

        She is still using the same ‘justifications’ for everything, trying to appeal to people’s emotions,,, but it’s like she has so little understanding of emotions, she can’t see that she’s making it worse for herself: still claiming he was a friend of 30 years, how shocked she was blah blah – so a friend of 30 years who has done she herself no harm whatsoever (and she’s never claimed to have suffered any) and who was exonerated of wrongdoing in a criminal court – she attacks him publicly on tv, accusing him of evil deeds, for no reason ( displaying an obvious bias) – as the saying goes; “with friends like that, who needs,,,” – that’s what most of the general public will be thinking.

        That whole cabal are away with the fairies, they aren’t living in the real world, and seem to have no idea how badly they come across with each exposure. I’ve never seen such a bad performance from NS, and I’ve seen some uncomfortable ones. If she can betray a friend of 30 years so easily, and stick the knife in even more, for some minor indiscretions, what’s to stop her betraying her country for any perceived sleight?

        Her reaction was too extreme, too pompous, too judgemental (for behaviour, let’s face it, 80% of the population are or would be guilty of, depending on opportunity), too vindictive and downright nasty ,,,, to be considered ‘caring’ or ‘doing the right thing’. However much the MSM will latch on to the ‘sexual misconduct’ part to get at Alex, anyone (not ‘blind’) who’s watched that interview will not be impressed with her.

        • Cubby

          Contrary

          You are right there is so much wrong with that interview that I was thinking of doing a full analysis of it split into two segments – lies and smears – identifying each one and explaining why. Will take some time as there is so much material. Perhaps Craig is thinking of doing this – Craigs will obviously be better eg like the Garavelli demolition but he may be working on other articles.

        • Piotr+Berman

          It reminds me Tory decision at some point not to campaign on issues but on personality of Theresa May. Not campaigning on issues was brilliant, as they did not have suitable phoney issues prepared. But they didn’t prepare phoney vignettes on May personality either…

          • Cubby

            Piotr+Berman

            The strong and stable of the Tories ain’t looking too good at the moment. But they are having a good time ripping off the public purse to enrich themselves and their pals.

    • Beware the Leopard

      WT: Regarding the Sky New interview with Sturgeon (“Sophy Ridge on Sunday”), I thought it was interesting to compare the version uploaded to YouTube by Wings Over Scotland (and linked to by Craig’s tweet), which shows in full the Salmond-focussed segment of that interview, to the de-fanged, selectively edited version uploaded to YouTube by Sky News.

      Sky News de-fanged version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdePhl3sewM

      Full uncensored version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KtcvSVgf-A

      The Sky News upload edits out two pieces of Sturgeon’s answers, namely the nasty knife-sticking pieces.

      • Cubby

        Beware the Leopard

        Very interesting. I wonder why they did that? I always record stuff so look at the original.

        • Beware the Leopard

          Cubby: I wonder why, too.

          I mean, if you want my opinion, it looks to me as though there has been a character assassination on live television, and then the version of that event which Sky News chose to upload to YouTube has conveniently had all-and-only the actual stabby-stab parts cut out of it.

          To what end, I’m not sure. But I suspect that if your aim is to sow division, it is probably helpful to be able to propagate subtly different “alternative realities”.

          Transcript of first elision, Sky News sanitised version (18:18 – 18:54):

          “[Sophy Ridge:] So why do you think that [Salmond] is saying that these messages should have been shared then?”

          “[Nicola Sturgeon:] Look, you’d have to ask him that. I understand that for Alex Salmond it probably is better for the focus of this to be on people wanting to believe that there is a big conspiracy against them as opposed to the focus being on his conduct. I can understand that. I can understand why the people in my party might want an alternative explanation for all of this. [ * MATERIAL REMOVED HERE, at mark 18:43 ] This is Age-Old here, that, you know, «Man Accused of Misconduct Against Women» and often it’s a woman that ends up sitting, answering for them.”

          * Removed material (mark 7:04 – 7:13 in Wings Over Scotland version): “[…for all of this.] You know, *I* might like to think there’s an alternative explanation. Although you know maybe at times he didn’t behave as he should have done. But I’m afraid that’s not the case. [This is Age-Old here…]”

          Transcript of second elision, Sky News sanitised version (19:45 – 20:11):

          “One of the worst things that I’ve faced — in a political sense, because nothing’s worse than the COVID stuff I’m going through right now, that we’re all going through right now — but in a political sense one of the worst things I’ve faced was being confronted with the reality that my predecessor and my mentor of 30 years, somebody I considered a friend, closer to me than probably anybody outside my family was facing serious allegations of sexual misconduct. At every stage I’ve tried to do the right thing and–[ * MATERIAL REMOVED HERE, at mark 20:12 ]

          * Removed material (mark 8:43 – 9:00 in Wings Over Scotland version): “[… to do the right thing and] not covered it up and I think the reason perhaps he is angry with me — and he clearly is angry with me — is that I didn’t cover it up, I didn’t collude with them to make these allegations go away and perhaps that is at the root of why he is as annoyed as he appears to be.”

          • Cubby

            Beware the Leopard

            Many thanks for detailing the words removed by Sky. Yes if you think about the bits removed it is clear Sturgeon is throwing Salmond under the bus – a man who cleared his name in two trials – a judicial review and a criminal trial – she comes across as being vindictive – the agressor. Is it actually protecting Sturgeon by removing these bits? Or are they worried about being sued in the future? Who knows with the MSM other than nothing they do is designed to assist Scottish independence.

            As an aside I find it unbelievable people are suggesting Salmond and Sturgeon should just kiss (well not in a covid era), make up and let bygones be bygones. Now this is living in a fantasy world.

          • Cubby

            Beware the Leopard

            I meant to also ask – do Sky actually say anywhere they have edited/deleted the YouTube version and why?

          • Contrary

            Beware the Leopard

            How strange; you would, of course, expect the edited version to be broadcast (‘we only had two minutes for that report, so we only had time for the pack of lies’ is an often made excuse), and the full version on YouTube:

            but, I suppose if this was live, and they expected far better quality from NS (usually she is reliable for being at least clearly spoken, and usually sounds reasonable – which is what makes this so very bizarre), so they decided the final cut needed to be well-cut.

            Their choice of what parts to cut – well researched by the way – it’s not an easy task spotting what is missing! – do seem to be making her our in a better light; they managed to keep in the parts that could be called slander (or is it defamation, I always forget which?), but left out the bits show her to be stark raving bonkers. Odd thing to do, unless their agenda is to somehow protect her reputation.

        • Beware the Leopard

          Cubby and Contrary:

          Below is a speculative template for the editorial rationale, elements of which I seem to recall first encountering here, described in one of our host’s articles. (If anyone knows which of Mr Murray’s articles here I might be thinking of, I would be grateful for a pointer to it, to refresh/confirm my vague memory of it, and to think more carefully about it.)

          Sturgeon makes an appearance on a widely viewed television program. The event will be discussed, and let us say certain parties wish for that discussion to divide supporters of independence, whether to prevent the formation of consensus or to promote its erosion.

          Show audience A, which tends to skew in one direction, the full event. Show audience B, which tends to skew in some other direction, a slightly different version — one with the dirtier, more egregious bits suppressed.

          Audience A and B have not witnessed the same event. Few will be aware, and even fewer will suspect this was intentionally arranged.

          In the ensuing discussion, audience B (the witnesses of the sanitised version) will tend to be repelled by the vehemence with which audience A makes assertions insufficiently supported by the sanitised version witnessed by audience B. In this way, audience A is marginalised.

          Great success. Few will be aware that audiences A and B never witnessed the same event in the first place, that the basis of discussion was poisoned, deliberately, at the outset.

          • Contrary

            Oh yes, that sounds exactly like the reasons behind the editorial decisions, Beware the Leopard, but I can’t think of which of Craig Murrays articles covered this type of behaviour. It is good to be alerted to it for sure.

            I find that in any discussion on the economy as regards to independence and the mention of Richard Murphy (he of Tax Research UK blog), those supporting the union will invariably pull out a badly edited video of Mr Murphy in a committee meeting to prove what an imbecile he is – while in fact, in the original he came across well. To attack the person and not debate the subject, is of course a technique used by the ignorant.

            It does indeed make things difficult when the source material is untrustworthy – referring to the YouTube version to make your case while not realising it’s not the same one you watched,,, awkward. In this case we are attacking the person I suppose, which doesn’t make me that comfortable except the world does contain some seriously nasty people, and we should always take a hard line when they do us harm.

            In fact we are in the very awkward position of needing rid of Nicola Sturgeon just to have any chance of mitigating the very real and serious harm Boris Johnston plans for us. By being compliant and submissive to the British regime, Nicola Sturgeon is making our lives hell, and will only keep on making it more hellish.

    • Ivan

      I think alot of people’s problem is that NS and her government are doing the utmost to impede due process in the inquiry. You heard her on the interview trying to shovel all of the blame/attention on Salmond, dodging direct questions time and again. If the interviewer was more on the ball it would have been illuminating to see her put it directly at NS that the submission they were making to the inquiry was not requested and was infact a naked attempt at smearing Salmond by airing a document deemed inadmissable due to apparent bias by the Court of Session.

    • Joh Cofy

      WT did you actually watch the video?
      At every opportunity Nicola Sturgeon blamed the victim for the attack on himself.
      Also Nicola Sturgeon claimed that a woman is often unreasonable blamed for sexual assault allegations and that the victim was to blame.
      This is throwing more mud knowing some will stick.
      Nicola Sturgeon also exhibited extreme eye blinking and hyper active behaviour combined with evasive responses interspersed with attacks on the victim.
      Looking at it dispassionately it seems to demonstrate quite conclusively that Nicola Sturgeon should not hold public office and may be in need of medical assistance.
      In addition Nicola Sturgeon would appear to be an out right liar with far greater knowledge than she is willing to disclose.
      Why is it that the victim continues to be victimized by Nicola Sturgeon?
      I also do not accept that the video convicts Nicola Sturgeon for the crime against the victim but regardless of Nicola’s claims that the victim is angry with her, Nicola Sturgeon should immediately resign. She is unsuitable for public office.

      • Ken Kenn

        As in all cases you need evidence/proof.

        According to the court – there isn’t/wasn’t evidence.

        That was the decision of the Court.

        I can say x is a liar and the onus is on me to prove that he/she is a liar.

        I could only try to prove that the liar is a liar by providing evidence to convince the Court.

        If the Court doesn’t allow me to do that then that’s not down to me – that’s down to the Court.

        In other words the Judge/Court has to explain why they wouldn’t accept my evidence but only accept the complainants evidence.

        Get you later describes the latest attitude.

        No-one likes losing – do they?

        Otherwise you might look like a pratt.

    • Piotr Berman

      WT, you seem to have very solemn disposition. Concerning veracity of Nicola Sturgeon, Craig wrote a post with analysis that did not rely on blinking. However, it is a matter of style (that you may follow or not) to add some touch of humor and subjective impressions to what would otherwise be dry analysis. If such touches are the entirety of the message, the objection could be valid, but that was not the case.

  • bobo rebozo

    Incredible. What mean, despicable, contemptible, incompetent creatures our leaders in the Anglosphere be (not sure about New Zealand and Ireland). A reckoning must surely come. As an aside, how in the world did Alex Salmond bring that viper into his home, raise her, and anoint her as his successor, and not realize that she was poisonous and would go on to attempt to destroy him?

    • giyane

      Bobo rebozo

      An interview is like a taxi ride , a race against the clock by the passenger and slow motion process for the driver to get as much time in the clock.

      A blink is like a red light, a bonus for the driver and an annoyance for the person paying the fare. A lie slows you right down like a road works because you have to spend mental energy unraveling it.

      The purpose of a lie is not necessarily in order to deceive, just to waste time so you run out if time before getting to the truth.

      • Mistertaximan

        As a taxi driver myself, I feel compelled to address this slight on my trade. No taxi driver wants, or benefits from, time on the clock or a red light.

        Taxi meters record fares based on mileage while in motion. Yes, some areas also record additional fare based on time when stationary, but other areas are “stop clock” when stationary. Whichever is the case, all taxi drivers want to complete the job as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to move on to the next fare. Why? Because every fresh fare has a starting fare, or flag as it is termed, that doesn’t incur an overhead. The more flags the better.

        Hope that clears up any misconceptions.

        • arby

          Absolutely Mistertaximan, let’s not degrade the general discourse with easy stereotypes.

          My trade before lockdown involved the regular use of taxis and I never once got a feeling I was being ‘played’ regarding red lights or time on the clock.

          As for brush salesmen, however…

  • Marmite

    Poor guy. Cognitive fog, senility, and silver-spoon privilege seem to have been his mental ruination. I wonder if there is a care home that might take him?

  • kashmiri

    Let them proceed with such an absurd charge. Its absurdity will be your best defence.

    PS. Twitter admins also have an option to hide responses. The hosting company has an option of deleting the entire Twitter website. And the broadband provider has an option of cutting off the entire Twitter datacentre from the internet. Let the Lord Advocate sue them as well.

    PS 2. Nullum crimen sine lege. You were not the person who committed the proscribed act, and there is no plausible evidence that you _intended_ to have others commit it.

  • philipat

    Craig, your article just got picked up by Zero Hedge so it should get a lot of attention.

    Given that the “Twitter Reply” argument is central to the Prosecution case and would essentially destroy Twitter,if created as a legal precedent, will Twitter join the litigation as a “Amicus Curiae”?

  • Don Eden

    Where is the lord advocate going with this, next – policing the speaker for what others say in reply? A lot of readers will certainly want to get followup on this Scotland/Twitter story to know what is headed down the pike.

    • philipat

      That’s a great idea!! Please go ahead and do it!! Remember that 90% of the law depends on “where you sit”!!

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      My own sense of this whole issue is that the complainers must now be named.The anonymity they were given was never intended to protect perjurers or malicious mischief makers.My gut feeling is that anonymity for accusers is incompatible with justice.Part of the justice process is about testimony being tested by exposure.Of course there may well be circumstances where exposure is NOT desirable but a case where the accused is found not guilty suggests the need for an alternative explanation of the offence.

      One troubling aspect of the trial was the direct contradiction of the claim of attempted rape where the accuser/victim was not actually at the place and at the time that the attempted rape took place. There really has to be an explanation of such a glaring anomaly. For Copfs (and police making the investigation) to have made such an egregious error must be exposed to further investigation.One of the contradicting testimonies must be wrong ,suggesting perjury or bearing false witness.I am sure these are offences and make a mockery of our courts.

  • Jen

    I was always under the impression that it was the commentator who was personally responsible for their own comments on a blog not the author/poster of the original article. It is also presumptuous to assume that the originator of the article even bothers to read any or all of the comments which could amount to literally thousands. After all, the article could be mere ‘clickbait’ to garner in a few ‘ad impressions’ to generate some revenue. I don’t get what the ‘Lord Advocate’ is twittering on about. I really don’t. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    • Contrary

      I think the Lord Advocate is trying to build up an argument in relation to the Wightman ruling – the ruling ‘summary’ was lengthy and I can remember the details of it – part of which related to the way in which Wightman used his blog to *encourage* others to petition or campaign against the company suing for defamation etc – as evidenced by comments on his blog. Wightman won his case, but there was an amount of warning in there to say he had responsibility for the comments made on his blog,,,

      Which has nothing to do with Twitter! But: judges like to deliberate things in detail, like the meaning of the word ‘normally’, for several days at a time – so it has been thrown in as a time-wasting exercise. Though in a criminal trial, I’m not sure judges will get away with lengthy debate.

  • Stonky

    I think we all need a laugh in these difficult times.

    One of the logical consequences of the moronic idea that we are responsible for the replies to our tweets is that if Craig were to post a tweet, and somebody was to post a reply libelling Craig, then he would be guilty of libelling himself.

      • giyane

        ET

        The Scottish. Judiciary and Police have succeeded in making themselves look pretty stupid, by not accepting the verdict of the High Court.

        But they still managed to do it. By definition it’s fairly difficult to even go sxxw themselves but they seem to have succeeded in that as well.

        Why doesn’t M’Lud just ban Squitter in Squotland like Trump? What a pair of self-litigationists those two turned out to be . the only person allowed to tweet is people who agree with me.

        • ET

          Erm, I am not sure what you are addressing. I simply said one cannot lbel one’s self. In the same way as with comprehensive insurance to drive a car you cannot insure yourself. Otherwise you could deliberately crash and sue yourself for injury.
          Not sure to what High Court decision you are referring though I am going to assume you mean Alex Salmond’s aquittal.
          I wasn’t aware Trump had banned Twitter, in fact, I am fairly positive he has not.
          To be honest giyane, I have simply no idea what your post is saying or what relevance it has.

          • ET

            It wasn’t a “put down” but I am still unable to understand what point you were trying to get across to me given you addressed your post to me. Perhaps you could shed some light?

  • Mary

    Sad news about Paul Kavanagh. Best wishes to him.

    Craig Murray
    @CraigMurrayOrg
    1h
    Thoughts and prayers are winging their way from all over Scotland. Paul is widely respected and loved

    Peter Bellefleur
    @JesusH_Chrysler
    · 1h
    Just wanted to let everyone know my husband @weegingerdug was admitted to the hospital Monday morning after suffering a stroke. Because of covid I haven’t been able to see him since he was moved to the stroke ward, but we have spoke on the phone. It’s going to be a long process.’

    • Brianfujisan

      Best wishes for Paul …Last time I bumped into him was in the Kilt shop in Greenock…he was buying a kilt for his future Father in Law.

  • Alan

    So if the Conservative Party put up a billboard in a public place and I cover it in libellous graffiti will they be held liable for what I have written?

    Asking for a friend.

    • giyane

      Alan

      In 1987 I scrawled some hate Mrs T speech on Leominster Tory HQ. All they did was get it repainted. You did ask.

    • bj

      The Dear Lord under discussion here will come and tell you: hang a cloth in front of it and you’re good.

      • bj

        I mean to say: The Dear Lord under discussion here will come and tell the Tories: hang a cloth in front of it and you’re good.

  • David

    The Lord advocate probably knows this has very little legal traction, but that’s not the point. How much extra money will Craig need to find in order to bat this silliness away ?

    Its the oldest legal game around. If you have significantly more resources than the other guy you simply swamp them with paper work until they can no longer afford sound legal advice. You win by default.

  • nevermind

    Simple question to the FM.
    Why did you wait this long to come out with this interview, when you could have said something much earlier? given dates, forwarded your email exchange with AS to the courts just before or during his trial?

    You didn’t, which leaves to believe that you did not want it to be seen or heard in court.
    I think the woman is rather complaining to the media as to preempt the inevitable.

    She will resign to save Independence….fat chance. its.more like# me first

  • Reader

    The implications for free speech are significant. This should be picked up and reported as a major story by a certain self-styled media guardian of liberal values, for whom Craig has written articles in the past. But not a peep out of them. Not a word.

    Craig, your courage is admirable.

  • doug scorgie

    Reply ↓
    Tatyana
    October 12, 2020 at 06:37

    “Actually, if Mr. Murray hid that comment, then by doing so he would confirm the correctness of the guess. This would mean that Mr. Murray had disclosed the identity of the complainant to at least one person, namely the author of the hidden comment. And that would be in direct violation of the court order.”
    ————————————————————

    Well thought out Tatyana and very logical.

  • Dave

    Maybe I should open a new Twitter account? Start sabotaging every Tory MP, not to mention the Board of Deputies and everyone who smeared Corbyn. Could be really fun.

    Double edged sword, the morons.

  • philipat

    The Met Police case against Darren grimes appears to be using very similar “legal” logic. He is being threatened with up to 7 years in prison for something said by someone he interviewed on his YouTube Channel. Although the legal pretexts are different, in Grimes case under the “Public Order” Act (remarkably), the legal logic is similar. These things are seldom coincidences and it would suggest that the Globalist Establishment is embarking upon a campaign to completely eliminate any dissent.

    These things are IMHO all related to the overall political situation and represent another step on the slippery slope towards totalitarianism and tyranny. Free speech is under severe threat on many fronts and people need to wake up quickly or it will be gone. “And then they came for me”……!!

    • U Watt

      I wouldn’t classify David Starkey spouting racist bilge as dissent, especially in a country led by the likes of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel.

      • philipat

        Which again, of course misses the critical points. First, freedom of speech includes speech you don’t agree with. second, it wasn’t Grimes who spoke. The “logic” behind both of these initiatives should be of great concern to everyone.

        • U Watt

          I specifically addressed your claim that Starkey’s racism is bold dissent. A claim you are seemingly standing by.

          • bevin

            Is dissent only permissible if it is ‘bold’ enough? Or is it that dissent is impermissible when it is too bold?
            One is either for free speech or not.

          • U Watt

            Defend it all you like on free speech grounds but please do not represent it as some kind of transgressive act of dissent.

      • Ron Soak

        Agreed on the specific. However, that is not the point phillipat is making.

        Once the general principle is established it becomes easier and commonplace to apply that legal approach and precedent set generally. The normal methodology is to pick an extreme case or outlier to establish the principle. Once this has succeeded you then move on in incremental steps to slightly less extreme cases until the point is reached in which any dissent is outlawed.

        Of course, if this can be achieved within a wider context in which those imposing whatever definition of ‘dissent’ suits their needs can also ensure it is socially as well as legally unacceptable all the better. I can think of at least three examples where this is currently in play. Each of which involves a widespread denial, across the party political spectrum, of long standing fundamental principles and practices which include the right to a defence and innocent until proven guilty.

        This is all the more dangerous when a Government has given itself widespread ‘Henry VIII’ type powers which it is using, with the support of a supine opposition led by a Knight member of the Trilateral Commission, to steamroller through Parliament the right of State Agencies to have immunity from criminal prosecution up to and including kidnapping, torture, and murder.

        Covering all the bases. If someone deemed a nuisance cannot be removed legally or socially isolated there are other soon to be available avenues.

    • Mart

      Incitement to racial hatred is an offence under the Public Order Act; given that, there’s nothing remarkable about the use of this law in the Grimes case. Whether Starkey’s expression of bigotry is such an incitement is debatable, but the fact that Grimes chose to publish it is not in doubt. The Met’s investigation of Grimes, the publisher, is a response to a complaint. There is very little use of similar “legal logic” here.
      Incidentally, Grimes, wallowing in his victimhood and railing against the BBC for not reporting it, considers his case “one of the most important regarding freedom of speech in this country”. It’s nothing of the sort, of course, and in light of the Old Bailey hearing I find his arrogance quite amusing.

  • U Watt

    Given the number of people who would be affected why is this landmark judgement onTwitter not headline news around the world?

    • philipat

      Um, perhaps because it not yet a “judgement” so does not yet represent “jurisprudence”? I did, however, raise the point in an earlier post that Twitter should be taking a very active interest in this case, if not supporting Mr Murray as a “Friend of the Court”.

      • U Watt

        It is the judgement of Scotland’s top legal officer so obviously they should be interested, as should the media and millions of Twitter users.

  • Blissex

    The actual publisher of the replies to your tweets is actually Twitter: hiding the replies only hides them *in your feed* retroactively, *after* they have been published by Twitter; any illegal content is published by Twitter, not by you, at most you can hide something that Twitter has injected in your feed. At most if you don’t hide illegal content you may be considered an accomplice, but the entity responsible for publishing *anything* in a Twitter feed is Twitter.

    • philipat

      Not so. And that is the crux of the developing legal arguments against Twitter in the US. At present they are NOT regarded as a publisher but merely as an intermediary between online correspondents (A little like Uber and other e-commerce platforms) Hence they are NOT subject to prosecution. Yet at the same time, they are censoring mostly conservative opinions. as the old saying goes “You can’t have it both ways”. Which is it?

      • Rhys Jaggar

        I think that if you studied US history you would find that all the great Robber Barons in US history DID have it both ways.

      • Blissex

        «And that is the crux of the developing legal arguments against Twitter in the US.»

        That argument relies on a specific provision of USA law (Section 230) that does not apply in the UK. Is the Lord Advocate suing Craig Murray in a USA court?

        • philipat

          No, he is trying to create a new legal precedent for Scotland to extend Scottish Government tyranny. My earlier response was to your suggestion that in fact Twitter is the “Publisher” of replies to Tweets. As a US Company, Twitter IS subject to US law, which indeed presently does not regard Twitter as a “Publisher”.

          • Blissex

            Twitter are subject to the law where they publish, not just where their main corporate us headquartered. Unless they somehow gained diplomatic immunity…

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