My Sworn Evidence on the Sturgeon Affair 472


UPDATED In addition to the substantial and very careful redactions made before publication, I have now made six more specific redactions at the request of the Crown Office, which is very agitated. I do not think this prevents the publication of these affidavits from still being useful.

I swore on oath two affidavits for my trial for contempt of court, and adopted them as my evidence today. I didn’t get to actually give the evidence orally as almost the entire trial was done on paper; although my QC specifically made a point of saying I was happy to take the stand for cross-examination by the Crown or questions by the judges, this was not taken up. When you go through the process you realise that this giving of evidence on oath is quite a solemn thing, so I am simply going to give you the text of my evidence for now without any comment, but redacted to prevent jigsaw identification of court protected identities.

Affidavit 1

AFFIDAVIT
of
CRAIG MURRAY, redaction Edinburgh, EH10 redaction

At Edinburgh on the TWENTY FIFTH day of AUGUST 2020, in the presence of David James Finlay Halliday, solicitor and notary public, Halliday Campbell WS, solicitors, redaction, Edinburgh, EH16 redaction, COMPEARED CRAIG MURRAY, redaction, Edinburgh, EH10 redaction who being solemnly sworn hereby DEPONES as follows:-

1. My name is Craig Murray, I reside at redaction, Edinburgh, EH10 redaction. I am 61 years old, a retired diplomat, now a historian and journalist.

2. I was Rector of the University of Dundee (2007-2010) and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law (2005-9). I am the author of books including Sikunder Burnes, Master of the Great Game (2017), The Catholic Orangemen of Togo (2010) and Murder in Samarkand (2007). The website academia.edu lists over 130 academic peer reviewed articles referencing my work.

3. I was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan 2002-4. Other roles included Deputy High Commissioner to Ghana (1999 – 2002), Deputy Head (Equatorial), Africa Department FCO (1997-9), First Secretary, British Embassy, Warsaw (1993 – 1937), Head of Maritime Section, FCO (1991-3) and Head of Cyprus Section, FCO (1989 -91).

4. Special responsibilities included Head of FCO Section, Embargo Surveillance Centre (1990-1), Alternate Head of UK Delegation to UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1991-3) and Head of UK Delegation to the Sierra Leone Peace Talks (1998-2000).

5. I have been awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity (USA) 2005 and the Primo Alto Qualita Della Citta di Bologna (Italy) 2006 and am an Officier of the Order of Mono (Togo). I have turned down three honours from the British state, OBE, LVO and CVO on grounds of Scottish nationalism, the last two being in the personal gift of Her Majesty the Queen.

6. As a journalist in new media, my output has been focused on my own website, which is nowadays my primary source of income. My articles have however been published in newspapers including the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and very many others both nationally and internationally.

7. I have been shown paragraph 11 of the Lord Advocate’s written submissions, which suggest that I published material not in the public domain because the stated purpose of my blog is to use insider knowledge of government to interpret contemporary events.  What I said is not a reference to acquiring material from inside the Scottish Government and publishing it.  It is a reference to using my experience at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide authoritative commentary on, and interpretation of, contemporary events, whether in Scotland, the United Kingdom or the wider world.

8. In August of 2018 I read the salacious account published by the Daily Record of an alleged sexual assault by Alex Salmond on a civil servant in Bute House. Aspects of the story appeared to me highly unlikely, in particular the willingness of the civil servant to simply obey his instruction of going to the bedroom and lying on the bed. On August 26 2018, I therefore published an article on my blog expressing this opinion.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/08/a-short-article-not-mentioning-alex-salmond/

9. I made no attempt to discover the identity of the civil servant involved, but I did make strenuous efforts to discover who had leaked the story to the media, calling and meeting a wide range of contacts in Edinburgh and Glasgow. To my surprise, I discovered with a high degree of certainty that the leaker was Liz Lloyd, Chief of Staff to Nicola Sturgeon. I also discovered that she had a personal history with the journalist concerned and did not link it in my mind to anything wider than that.

10. In January 2019, I published an article following Mr Salmond’s resounding victory in his judicial review case against the Scottish government. My article focused on the abuses of civil service procedure in the pursuit of Alex Salmond by Leslie Evans and Judith Mackinnon, and called for them both to be sacked.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/01/the-salmond-stitch-up-the-incredible-facts-and-why-mackinnon-and-evans-must-be-sacked/
11. The article concluded that if Nicola Sturgeon failed to act against them, it might indicate that she was herself involved in the campaign of false allegation against Alex Salmond.

12. As a result of this article, Alex Salmond, with whom I had only very slight prior acquaintance, invited me to meet him in the George Hotel in Edinburgh. Here, for the first time, he told me that Nicola Sturgeon had been behind the process designed to generate false accusations against him. He said as well as Mackinnon and Evans, Liz Lloyd was responsible for the actual orchestration.

13. Mr Salmond further said that the Scottish Government had made every effort to withhold vital evidence from Lord Pentland, who had ordered a process of commission and evidence on the available documentation. It was on the day that witnesses from Nicola Sturgeon’s private office were due to give evidence as to her own knowledge and involvement, that the Scottish Government suddenly conceded the case rather than have this evidence heard.

14. Mr Salmond further told me that there was a massive police operation underway to try to get accusers to come forward against him. This was going to ludicrous lengths. He showed me an email from one woman to him, in which she stated that she had been called in and interviewed by the police because many years ago Alex Salmond had been said by another person to have been seen kissing her on the cheeks in a theatre foyer. The woman stated she had told them it was a perfectly normal greeting. She wished to warn Alex of the police fishing expedition against him. He understood that over 400 people had been interviewed by the police.

15. He said those interviewed by the police had included all the personal protection officers he had as First Minister. They had all said they had seen him do nothing wrong, and they were watching him very closely, as was their job. At least one of these policemen, now retired, had been given a rundown of the evidence by the policeman sent to interview him. The retired officer challenged the interviewer as to how he could be involved in such a corrupt stitch up. He stated that the fact it was a stitch-up was evidenced by the fact all the accusations emanated from the same small coterie, there was not a single accusation from an outside or independent source.

16. That observation stayed with me as I followed and investigated the case over the next year and it remains a key fact. I was strongly inclined to believe Alex Salmond. I am of much the same generation of the Scottish political class and it is a small country. We tend to know each other or of each other. I had never in forty years heard a hint of gossip surrounding Alex Salmond and sexual behaviour, with the single exception of a rumoured romantic attachment redacted attachment with redacted. But that had not involved any rumour of unwanted advances by Mr Salmond, quite the opposite ; it was rather widely believed in nationalist circles that she had set her cap at him. The common joke was that redacted was a booby prize.

17. It had been impossible to follow the judicial review case without concluding that a very unfair process had been undertaken against Alex Salmond, and that it was impossible this could have happened without the knowledge and approval of Nicola Sturgeon. That was a shocking realisation to an Independence supporter like myself. But what Alex Salmond was now telling me went further, which was that Nicola Sturgeon was involved in the orchestration of fake complaints against him. This was fairly astonishing on first hearing.

18. I asked what the motive could be. Alex replied that he did not know ; perhaps it lay in King Lear. He said that he had genuinely intended to quit politics and had lined up a position as Chairman of Johnstone Press, which had fallen because of these allegations. But he had retired from the party leadership before, and then come back, and perhaps Nicola had concluded he needed a stake through the heart. He had made plain to her that he was not happy with her lack of progress towards an Independence referendum following the Brexit vote.

19. Alex Salmond was plainly very unhappy. He said that he believed that Nicola was banking on his loyalty to the SNP and to the Independence movement, thinking that he would not split the party by revealing what or who was behind the allegations against him. At this crucial time, a Salmond/Sturgeon split could derail the chance for Independence and have a truly historic effect. I asked him directly whether this meant he did not want me to publish this information at the moment. He confirmed I should not publish. This conversation was in confidence but, as my blog was highly influential within the Independence movement, he thought it vital that I know the truth as matters develop.

20. I told him that Sturgeon’s hostility towards him seemed to be longstanding. I recounted a story I had been told by Robin McAlpine, of an occasion shortly after his resignation when Alex Salmond had arrived at the Scottish Parliament for a function and the First Minister’s Office had refused to sign him in. Alex replied that this was true ; it was particularly embarrassing as the occasion had been to hand over a large cheque for funds raised for charity following a campaign he had initiated as First Minister. They had been forced to do the photoshoot in the rain outside instead.

21. I advised Alex Salmond that he should continue to fight any allegations vigorously and should not worry in the least about any consequential damage to the SNP or the Yes movement, which were both very robust. If the SNP leadership were behind the attacks on him, it was much better that people know.

22. I also told him I knew exactly how he felt, having been myself subject to false accusation when as British Ambassador I blew the whistle on UK Government collusion with torture in the War on Terror. To be subject to a fit-up, particularly by those you knew and considered friends, was extremely disorienting. I was probably one of the few people in the UK who knew precisely how he felt.

23. The meeting concluded with Alex making the observation that he blamed himself for having established far too centralised a system of power in Scottish Government and the SNP, and not taking account of how far that was open to abuse by a person of ill-will.

24. In June 2019 (I do know the precise date, time and venue but to give it might aid identification of my source with deleterious consequences for them) I met with a person well known in the Independence movement who informed me that they had been present at a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon and key members of her inner circle, including ministers, which had gamed the possible outcome of the Salmond affair. My source was trusted as a Sturgeon loyalist,

25. The view of the meeting was that if Alex Salmond could be convicted on just a single count, he would be destroyed politically forever, which was explicitly the objective. He would be on the register of sex offenders and branded a rapist in the public mind, even if the actual offence convicted was knee touching. I was also told that the Law Officers were confident of a conviction for something, which is why the multiplicity of charges. They apparently advised that, faced with a whole raft of charges, juries tended to compromise in the jury room to reach agreement and convict on a lower charge.

26. What struck me, both at the time and still, was that it was impossible to understand the account as given without it involving of necessity corrupt collusion between Nicola Sturgeon’s ministers and aides and the Crown Office over the handling of the Salmond case and the charges being brought.

27. I directly asked my source why they had been regarded as so trustworthy as to be included in such a meeting. They replied that they were generally highly supportive of « Nicola » and her leadership and had been on the fringes of her inner circle for a while. But they were not happy with the « fitting-up » of Alex Salmond, which they described as « unnecessary ».

28. I was aware that in telling me this my source was playing a double game. I was a British diplomat for over twenty years and a member of the Senior Management Structure of the FCO for over six. Obtaining confidential information from inside government circles, and assessing the credibility of the source and the information, is a core skill set for a diplomat, and I was a highly successful diplomat, becoming the UK’s youngest Ambassador.

29. I considered, using the FCO learnt criteria, the access and motivation of my source and my background knowledge of them, all of which I researched further. My conclusion was that this was a highly credible source with good access. This also squared with my impression ; they had seemed straightforward and no inconsistencies had appeared under question. I had known them for some years. I believed their account, and I still do.

30. At a later date, but substantially in advance of his trial, I informed Alex Salmond in broad terms of this conversation.

31. Equally crucially, this proved not just entirely consistent with all the further information I received, but a good explanation of it. In March 2020 I had explained and briefly shown to me by a source with good access the content of evidence related to the Salmond trial, much of which was to be excluded from the trial itself by the judge as collateral.

32. This material included the message from Peter Murrell, Chief Executive Officer of the SNP, to Sue Ruddick, Chief Operating Officer, to the effect that it was now the right time to put pressure on Police Scotland to move forward against Alex Salmond. It included the message from Ms Ruddick (I do not recall the recipient) to the effect that the problem was with Police Scotland refusing to detail precisely what evidence they required. If they would specify, then she could get that evidence for them. It included the message from Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, after the Scottish Government had abandoned its judicial review case, to the effect that they had lost a battle but won the war.

33. It included the message from redacted to another complainer to the effect that she had a plan that would enable them to have a strongly detrimental effect on Alex Salmond but have anonymity. It included the message from redacted to the effect that she did not want to attend any further meetings regarding a possible complaint if redacted were going to be present as redacted made her feel pressured rather than supported. It included the message from Ian McCann to the effect that he would sit on redacted’s complaint until it became necessary to deploy it. It included a number of messages from redacted which gave the impression she was playing a central role in orchestrating and organising complainers, but I do not recall any specific details of those particular individual messages.

34. Even more crucially, this account was consistent with what actually happened at the trial. In common with many observers, I was unimpressed by the performance of Alex Prentice for the prosecution and the truly pathetic and hopeless nature of a number of allegations. The inclusion of daft allegations like the « hair pinging » incident or the easily disproved hand on the knee in the car, are universally agreed to have weakened rather than strengthened the prosecution’s case when there were much more serious incidents admitted to have some basis in truth. Nor did these minor incidents contribute to « Moorov », being of a much lesser order than the main charges. The only way I could make sense of the Crown’s approach was in the light of what had been explained to me months earlier, the idea that the jury might settle on a lesser charge as a form of compromise. So here again, as in other ways, subsequent events are entirely consistent with what I was told in June 2019, and I am confirmed in my belief of corrupt collusion between the Crown Office and Nicola Sturgeon’s office.

35. I should state that I did not take notes at any stage in this investigation, in any meetings, and I am speaking entirely from memory here. That is why I am not giving verbatim messages but my memory of them. I have no doubt my memory is correct in essence. All of these messages are in the Crown’s possession and I trust will be produced to support this statement.

36. Again, my not taking notes reflects FCO training not to write down sensitive information outside of a fully secure environment but rather to remember. In a case involving sexual abuse, I was particularly concerned not to take notes that, if lost or overseen, might identify individuals.

37. In August of 2019, I learnt that my friend the veteran investigative journalist Laurie Flynn had been digging into the events which led to the Court of Session judicial review, and had an article written. I offered to host it on my blog. It was extremely interesting and highlighted the role of redacted, a name that was coming up again and again.

38. I therefore published Laurie’s article on 23 August 2019, and added further comments particularly on the role of redacted, whom I was beginning to consider a rather sinister figure. At this time I had no idea redacted. Indeed, it is very strange indeed, and quite out of order, that redacted was such an active member of the Scottish Government judicial review committee which had decided to contest the civil case, at great expense, and was to decide to concede it, at great expense.

39. In November 2019, I was told by a senior contact within the SNP whom I have known for many years (not the same source from June) that a deal had been struck between Peter Murrell, redacted and redacted whereby redacted would make an allegation of attempted rape against Alex Salmond, and Murrell would redacted return to front line politics redacted. The cold-bloodedness of this infuriated me. By around this time I had learnt the identities of, I believe, all of the complainers, not from a single source but by asking around my contacts. It was not difficult.

40. I realised that something extraordinary and morally disgusting was happening. If the public knew the identities of those being put up to make allegations, and just how close to Nicola Sturgeon they were, they would immediately understand what was happening. But the convention protecting the identities of those making allegations of sexual assault, made such allegations the perfect vehicle for a positive campaign to frame on false charges, while the perpetrators of this conspiracy to pervert the course of justice had the protection of the courts against exposure.

41. That accusers included :

redacted Nicola Sturgeon. First Minister of Scotland Leader of the SNP ;
redacted Ian Blackford, UK Parliamentary Leader for the SNP ;
redacted Angus Robertson, Former UK Parliamentary Leader of the SNP ;
redacted

It would cause a massive political storm were it known to the public, and raise major and in fact fully justified suspicions about motive. The combination of the anonymity of these accusers, and the exclusion from the trial on the grounds of « collateral evidence » – and continued intention of the Crown Office to suppress – of the messages implicating Peter Murrell and Sue Ruddick in the conspiracy, has resulted in the denial to the Scottish public of information which there is the strongest possible public interest in knowing, in order for them to judge the actions of those in power over them.

42. The weight of all this knowledge, and of not being allowed to tell it, was a heavy burden upon me. In general, I strongly support the principle of anonymity for people alleging they are victims of sexual assault. But this was an absolutely unique case. Where the « victims » are actually those wielding very considerable power in the state, and conspiring to frame an innocent man, is the principle of protection for sexual abuse victims of greater public interest than the public interest in being able to form an informed opinion on the massive abuse of state power which was in train ?

43. It was at this stage that I formed the opinion that there were questions here that urgently needed to be addressed, but it was not for me to decide. I therefore formed the view that, after the trial of Alex Salmond was concluded, this question would have to be put before a court, and, when the time came, I acted upon that conviction.

44. There was a period of several months when I was fully aware of the names of the accusers, and also fully aware that there was no general law or court order in place preventing me simply from publishing. That, however, would not have been responsible journalism and I determined to wait until I could put the matter before the court. The fact I did not publish the names when I could, over months, makes ludicrous the accusation of the Lord Advocate that I intentionally leaked out little bits of information as jigsaw identification.

45. I should explain that I was not enjoying this investigation at all. In fact, I hated it and was becoming quite seriously depressed by the shock of what I was uncovering. I had moved back to Scotland in 2014 specifically in order to campaign for Scottish Independence. I have been a member of the Scottish National Party since 2011. It was horribly disillusioning to discover the corruption at the heart of the Scottish Government.

46. I was also in a deep dilemma as to what to do about it ; the same dilemma Alex Salmond was, and is, in. To expose that it was Nicola Sturgeon who masterminded the conspiracy against him would be a real blow to the Independence movement. But to watch a plot to imprison an innocent man potentially for the rest of his life unfold before my eyes was also horrifying. Particularly as the most cynical part of the plot, to use the court anonymity granted to accusers of sexual abuse, to disguise who was actually behind the allegations, appeared to be working.

47. I should add that in May 2019 I met Alex Salmond in London to record a 50 minute interview for his TV company about my life and career, and that I met him again in approximately November 2019 in London for dinner with my good friend, the journalist Peter Oborne. On neither occasion was there substantive discussion of the charges against him.

48. On 21 November 2019, the Crown released substantial details of the charges against Alex Salmond. On 22 November, I looked through the newspapers and every Scottish newspaper had massive front page coverage of the accusations against him, in detail. The front page headline of the Herald read « 10 women ; 14 sexual offences ; Alex Salmond accused ». The details of all charges were printed on the front page, which had no other content. There were two other full pages on it inside.

49. The front page of the Scottish Daily Mail had the headline « Salmond in the dock » and the sub-heading « Former SNP Chief appears at High Court to deny 14 sex offences, including attempted rape, while First Minister ». There was no other story on the front page. There were eight full pages of further coverage inside.

The Daily Record front page had « Salmond on Trial the Charges : 1 attempted rape, 1 intent to rape, 2 indecent assaults, 10 sexual assaults, In the Dock ; 10 women accuse former First Minister of attacks. » There were two further full pages inside.

The Scottish Sun had « Salmond Rape Bid at Bute House  Ex-First Minister sex rap ; 10 women, 14 charges ; « pinned a victim down » and no other story on the front page.

The Daily Express had « Salmond Made Naked Rape Bid – Full details of 14 sex charges revealed ; Claims involve 10 women over 6 years ; I am innocent says ex-First Minister » and no other story on the front page, with four more pages inside.

The Scotsman had « Salmond, the charges ; Former First Minister accused of lying naked on top of woman and trying to rape her in Bute House » and no other story on the front page.

50. Broadcast media took the same tone. I was deeply concerned by the entire tenor of the press coverage, which appeared to be highly hostile to Salmond and present matters in a way that would be bound to influence potential jurors against him. I was also surprised by the sheer detail in the charges which the Crown Office had presented to the media.

51. This worried me because it creates a huge imbalance in media coverage and thus in public opinion. The Crown can release salacious detail about attempted rape while lying naked on top of somebody in bed, and the media can echo this to the heavens. But from that moment, nobody can publish anything to contradict the Crown without being in contempt of court. It seemed to me that, in these circumstances, the Crown ought to have been a great deal more restrained in the amount of salacious detail it was making available. Certainly, there was nothing in what was happening which would contradict the information I had been given of the Crown Office being party to a political plot to destroy Salmond.

52. In mid January 2020 I took part in an AUOB march through Glasgow which took place in a major storm. It was followed by a press conference at which I spoke and then by a joint strategy meeting with Plaid Cymru, all in soaked clothes. I have heart and lung conditions of longstanding and the over-exertion and hypothermia resulted in an ambulance being called later that evening. I refused hospitalisation because I was too busy.

53. However, the scare led me to write my « Yes Minister Fan Fiction » article of 18 January 2020 because, as the article plainly states, there were things I would not wish to die without having told.

54. It was, however ,a challenge to work out how to tell them without being in contempt of court given the charges against Alex Salmond. I therefore very carefully used a number of strategies not to be in contempt of court. Not to evade contempt of court charges ; actually not to be in contempt of court.

55. Perhaps the most vital strategy was what I would call post-dated cheque information. By which I meant, to leave information that people would not understand the ramifications of now, but would after the trial or once further evidence emerged. This applies most clearly to the edacted deal of redacted.

56. In January 2020, it was not widely known at all that redacted. Therefore, when I wrote : « I was thinking more of his wife, Permanent Secretary. redacted » my readership had no idea what I was talking about.

57. As with other information recounted above, it is remarkable how precisely events as they have unfolded have proven my sources were right. It is now notorious in Scottish political circles that the National Executive of the SNP last week adopted measures which effectively redacted, and did so in order to redacted. Many articles have appeared in the media to that effect. I regret that, redacted identity still being protected, I am not able to republish my article to show that I knew in advance and show what lies behind it. Nobody reads old articles on the blog ; very few people read articles below the first two on the homepage, and it is rare for articles to be read at all once they fall off the homepage (about two weeks). This is particularly true as Google de-ranks alternative or independent news sites.

58. At the time I wrote this article there was no order in force against publication of names. I nevertheless decided not to do that. I did not name redacted, instead using the alias « marmalade ». This was a private joke to myself referencing redacted. I was not in fact particularly thinking of redacted, or I would have called him « Keiller ».

59. I also did not give the names of either Sturgeon, Evans redacted Ms Sturgeon’s private secretary was, of course, male.

60. I further wrote the article as a satirical piece to disguise the nuggets of truth, in the manner of a Yes Minister script. As Jack Point put it :
« Oh winnow of my folly and you’ll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff »
Satire has been for centuries a licensed vehicle for literary, social and political commentators, from Martial through Chaucer, Pope and Swift to Peter Cook. I find it hard to believe the Lord Advocate is seeking to prosecute satire – or I would have found it hard to believe, had I not been on this extraordinary journey of revelation of the corruption of the Scottish state.

61. I was particularly keen to satirise the Moorov doctrine. A lot of mince is still just mince – it does not turn into sirloin steak just because you have a lot of it. But, in doing so, I was also referencing the account I had been given in June 2019 of the tactics being employed by the prosecution, and seeking to make it plain to the Sturgeon circle that I knew precisely how their scheme was supposed to operate. That would have been entirely obscure to the general reader.

62. I was engaged in booking acts for the Doune the Rabbit Hole music festival, of which I am a director. I came up with the pseudonym « Orpheus » for Alex Salmond because I had just finished booking the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir. I came up with the pseudonym Barclay simply because I was making bank payments.

63. The notion that this cryptic, satirical article, described as fiction, on a personal blog, would influence a jury is fanciful. When compared to the absolute torrent of hostile mainstream media material fed by the Crown Office, as detailed above, and vicious social media comment, aimed at Alex Salmond, the fact that the Crown Office are prosecuting only an extremely rare news source sympathetic to Salmond is, in my view, deeply sinister in the light of everything I have stated so far about the Crown Office – and more is to come.

64. On 21 January 2019, I received an email from the Crown Office requesting me to take down my Yes Minister Fan Fiction article as they considered it to be in contempt of court. I did not consider it to be in contempt of court- I had written it carefully not to be – so I did not take it down.

65. I was concerned about the constitutional implications of the Crown’s letter, and I still am. The Crown gave no indication of why they believed the article to be in contempt of court. When , many weeks later, I received the Lord Advocate’s Petition and Complaint, it appeared to indicate that they considered it was in contempt for jigsaw identification – but that made no sense, as when the Crown wrote to me on 21 January 2019 there was no order in place to protect the identities. The Petition gives no indication that the Crown was alleging that article might prejudice the jury. That argument only arrives months later again, in the Lord Advocate’s written submission.

66. I considered the matter very carefully. The rule of law is not arbitrary. If the Crown, without the intervention of a judge, has the power to censor publication, we are putting liberty in Scotland back several hundred years. The Crown Office cannot just order censorship on entirely spurious grounds thought up several months later.

67. I made a very conscious decision to content myself with the idea that, if they really thought I was in contempt of court, they would bring it to court and a judge could decide whether I was right or they were right. If they genuinely thought my article might influence a jury, given they were well aware of the article and wrote to me about it, the Crown Office had an obvious public duty to act before a trial to prevent that evil. I would have happily turned up in court and argued my case. To wait until long after the trial, after it is far too late to avert the evil they purport to be concerned about, and then make that allegation against me, is plainly pointless and vindictive and, again, sinister.

68. I visited the High Court before the trial to find out how to attend and report. I attempted to register as a journalist, but was given the absolute runaround between the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service and Judicial Communications. I suspect this is simply because their systems are geared to the outdated days of traditional media. I was unable to obtain accreditation, and thus could not be present for the prosecution evidence.

69. I therefore wrote up my commentary on Day 1 of the court case in an article entitled « The Alex Salmond Trial : Your Man Excluded from the Gallery » with some wider commentary about the context of the trial and the laws of evidence in Scotland, but with reporting of events in the trial itself entirely based upon what was published by other journalists inside the court. I was particularly following James Doleman, Philip Sim and Radio Forth and also the Grouse Beater blog which itself was purely drawing on published sources. I stated this explicitly in the article « If you look through the twitter lines, you will see that journalists between them have missed at least three quarters of what is said in court. Because I am not there I am dependent on their selection of material. » I published nothing of the evidence – literally nothing – that had not been published by other journalists.

70. I had clearly at the forefront of my mind the desire to avoid identification of redacted, even though there was at that time no order in place to protect her identity. I am satisfied that I succeeded in this.

71. By my next report on 12 March, I was a little more organised and had sources inside the court giving me additional information. I thus knew fairly well in real time of the order protecting identities, and was still more careful. It was necessary, for the public to have an understanding of the basics of the case, to explain that several of the accusers held senior positions in SNP structures, but I was very careful to ensure I gave no details of actual positions or who worked in Edinburgh, who worked in London etc. This continued throughout the trial.

72. On 18 and 19 March, when I finally gained access to the court, I continued this policy of taking great care. In writing up that evening, I google searched on two particular pieces of evidence to check I was not giving away identities. For example, I searched many combinations of terms for Salmond, Alexander Anderson, helicopter, Stirling Castle and Gleneagles to ensure that my article could not lead to identification of redacted. I was satisfied it could not, and published my account with good conscience.

73. On the other hand, I found that google searches around the meeting of Geoff Aberdein with Nicola Sturgeon on 29 March very readily brought up the fact that redacted. I therefore amended my draft to delete reference to her presence at that meeting, even though that meeting is, from a political point of view, perhaps the most significant fact to have emerged from the trial, as it shows Nicola Sturgeon to have misled Parliament about when she first knew of allegations.

74. By contrast, the entire mainstream media published details of that meeting including redacted . Stuart Campbell has been pursuing this fact in correspondence with the Crown office. Kirsty Wark repeated this very simple jigsaw identification of redacted in the recent BBC documentary The Trial of Alex Salmond.

75. There is a very good list of articles which included this jigsaw information which I rigorously excluded to be found in the letter from the Crown Office to the Reverend Stuart Campbell of 19 August which you can see here :
https://wingsoverscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/copfs19aug2020-1.jpg

76. I was much more careful to avoid jigsaw identification here than the mainstream media. After I was astonished to be charged with contempt by the Crown Office, I sought objective proof of this by commissioning an opinion poll from Panelbase.

77. This poll, conducted according to industry leading survey techniques, cannot establish whether anybody is correct in their presumed identification of witnesses. But it shows that, of those who believe they have identified witnesses, 66% believe they learnt the identities from TV or newspapers. One person named my blog as a source – in among many more names of mainstream media journalists. The individual who was most named as giving away identities, most named by a margin, was journalist Dani Garavelli. It is of course possible that the individual who named my blog was referring to the re-publication for comment of one of Garavelli’s articles on my blog.

78. I am not a lawyer. But, to a layman, it is remarkable to me that the Crown Office is prosecuting me citing my commentary on Garavelli’s article as contempt of court, whereas Garavelli’s article itself has not led to Garavelli being prosecuted, even though opinion poll evidence shows she was named far more than I as a source of identification. Given that Garavelli’s work is vehemently anti-Salmond while the Crown Office is prosecuting the most prominent pro-Salmond journalist, I would say this is, in the context of all else I have testified, sinister.

79. In publishing all of my accounts of the trial, I was extremely mindful of both the law of contempt of court and of my desire not to identify witnesses. The constraints were not just at the back of my mind, but right at the front of my mind, to the extent that there is highly considered discussion of these issues included in my articles throughout my reporting of the case.

80. But I was also strongly aware of a public duty to inform the public of the defence evidence. As already noted, the Crown had given the media, and the media had extravagantly published, salacious detail of the prosecution’s charges from long before the trial. When the prosecution evidence was led, there was again for the first few days an absolute frenzy of front page, news bulletin leading reporting, again focused exclusively on the most salacious and sensational extracts from what the accusers said in court.

81. Then, when the defence witnesses stood up one after another, without the benefit of anonymity, and gave their evidence under oath, there was virtually nothing. I witnessed the ranks of media in front of the public gallery literally shut their notebooks. Virtually no media reporting appeared of the fact that redacted could not have had her alleged morning exchange with Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh because the latter’s father had died that morning. Nor of the two separate eye witnesses, feet away, who testified that redacted was not groped at the Stirling Castle photocall. No account was given of Janet Watt, line manager, denying she had been told of incidents as claimed. Nor of Alex Bell, who detests Alex Salmond, nevertheless testifying that he did not see the claimed scene by the Jack Vettriano painting. I could go on and on with all the defence evidence which the media did not mention.

82. The general media situation is perfectly exampled in the subsequent BBC documentary, « The Trial of Alex Salmond », broadcast by the BBC on 17 and 18 October and fronted by Kirsty Wark. While purporting to be a day to day account of the trial and adopting a « Day 1 », « Day 2 » etc format, incredibly the documentary simply skipped from Day 7 to Day 10 and missed out the defence witnesses. That is just what the overwhelming majority of the media did – quite deliberately, of course. There can be no serious argument against the proposition that the Scottish mainstream media is overwhelmingly hostile to Alex Salmond.

83. It is a simple statement of fact that the only reason any measurable section of the Scottish population has the slightest idea of what the defence evidence was, is that it was published on my blog. Otherwise they would only have the false mainstream media presentation of highly selective quotes from Gordon Jackson to the effect that Salmond could have been a better man, but inappropriate does not mean criminal, and the deliberately created false impression that the jury was faced with only « he said, she said » decisions. The third party eye witnesses who challenged key aspects of accusers’ evidence went mostly unreported, except by me.

84. In a case with such massive political ramifications, in giving a fair account of the defence evidence I fulfilled a democratic duty I felt a strong obligation to fulfil. I am very proud of my role. And I did it while all the time keeping a very careful eye indeed on the line of jigsaw identification and contempt of court. That I was up to the line I readily admit ; a fast bowler does not deliver from behind the stumps lest he overshoot the crease and bowl a no ball. But I was very careful indeed not to cross the line.

85. It was put to me during the trial (I believe by the court reporter James Doleman, who I know from our both covering the Julian Assange hearing) that the law of contempt of court dictates in sexual abuse cases that the prosecution case can be widely reported but the defence case cannot be reported. The reason is jigsaw identification. He told me as a warning to be very careful.

86. His reasoning went like this. The Crown at the time of charge releases to the media details of all the charges. So they have released, for example, that a hypothetical woman X was assaulted in Bute House on 1 January. So when woman X gives evidence, you can publish it in detail because the Crown had already released it. However, if, in recounting the defence evidence, it were a relevant fact that she had a blue car, you could not mention it, because of jigsaw identification. The fact that her being in Bute House on 1 January would quite literally be a million times more identifying than possession of a blue car was irrelevant. So you could report the accusation but not the defence.

87. I considered this very carefully with regard to my reporting of the case, and it relates directly to the charges against me. It is highly identifying to say that a woman was with Alex Salmond in an official capacity on a visit to China, close enough to him to travel in his car and be with him in the lift. That is all extremely identifying ; everybody reported it because it was part of the prosecution case. Yet there is only one person that can be. But for me to report as part of the defence that she had curly hair – as do over 15% of the population – is jigsaw identification. I considered the argument the Lord Advocate now puts forward, before I published the piece, and considered it patently absurd.

88. I also considered that, if that were truly a statement of Scots Law, then the effect is obviously perverse. That only the prosecution case may be published and not the defence, would mean that even an innocent man found innocent, would forever be damaged in the eyes of the public who would know the detailed accusations against him but not why he was found innocent. That cannot be the intention of the law.

89. Nor can it be the intention of the law, as in the Alex Salmond verdict, that the accusers should even after the not guilty and not proven verdicts, continue a massive media campaign from behind the veil of anonymity against the acquitted man. This appears to me a massive abuse of the court order granting anonymity and I cannot believe that this was the intention of Lady Dorrian when she granted the order. I shall return to this subject shortly.

90. On the morning of 20 March, I was as usual waiting with my ticket to enter the public gallery, when Alex Prentice emerged from a door to the left of a court room entrance, paused and appeared to stare at me before continuing on into the courtroom. The supposed start time for the court came and went with the queue still outside, and then I was approached by two police officers, in front of everyone, and marched from the court. This was very humiliating, particularly as some pleasure was evident among the queue of mainstream media journalists who had come to demonise Alex Salmond.

91. The police were very pleasant but, in reply to my direct question, stated that they had no idea why I was being removed. The court staff at the front door stated the same. I therefore went home.

92. I now know that the court had heard a motion for my exclusion from the prosecution on the grounds of alleged contempt of court. I believe strongly that it was contrary to natural justice that the judge and prosecution should have been discussing me while I stood directly outside the court door, and I was not given any hearing or even accorded the common decency and respect of being informed what was happening. This is in stark contrast to events on the morning of the 10th March when an accredited member of the media, said to have tweeted out an identity – much more than I had done – was permitted to be present while the matter was discussed in closed court and was asked if he had anything to say.

93. My only complaint of the court refers to my own treatment, and, while I believe my treatment was wrong, I accept that the judge had infinitely weightier matters to deal with and was perhaps irritated by this minor distraction. As I stated directly in my article, my impression of both judge and jury in the two days I was permitted in to the Salmond trial is that they were doing their jobs in a highly impressive manner. On 18 March I published :

94. « The Court itself was impressive ; Lady Dorrian presided with exemplary fairness, dealing quickly and sensibly with points that arose on admissibility of evidence. The jury of 15 citizens looked engaged and earnest throughout. The impression of my first day is that it is a process that deserves respect and trust, something I never felt at an Assange hearing ».

95. On 19 March I published :
« There I will bow to the judge – who I continue to find very fair ».

96. After exclusion from the court on 20 March, I wrote an article complaining about the arbitrary manner of my treatment. I also phoned the court for more information, and was eventually called back by the clerk of the court, who could not tell me exactly why I had been excluded, but did tell me that the exclusion was for the duration of the trial, not just for the day. Neither he nor the other court staff of whom I had inquired as to what was happening told me that an order had been made banning the publication of the fact I had been excluded from the court. That seems a quite extraordinarily arbitrary proceeding – not only to ban a journalist from a public trial without allowing him any representations, but to also make it illegal to state he was banned. It sounds like something from a dictatorship, not from Scotland.

97. I have a strong basis in knowledge of human rights from my diplomatic career and have a sound knowledge of the Council of Europe (to whose Parliamentary Assembly I have indeed given evidence on human rights, as I have to the Westminster Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights and to the European Parliament Committee on Human Rights). I had no doubt that the entire circumstance surrounding my arbitrary banning from court without representation and the banning of any mention of that fact raises serious concerns.

98. I note the Crown Office claim to have written to me at this stage. I received nothing from them, either by email or post. Their letter of 21 January I had received both by email and by post, and had to sign for the postal letter. I do not know what happened about their subsequent purported communication, if anything.

99. Following the verdict, Alex Salmond stood on the steps of the High Court, referred to the evidence he had not been permitted to lead, and stated that a day of reckoning would come when the full truth would be set out, but explained that this would have to be deferred until after the Covid crisis has passed.

100. This came as a massive disappointment to me. Having known all about the conspiracy that lay behind his trial, I had hugely been looking forward to the day when it would be possible to publish the truth about the conspiracy behind these charges. I had assumed that Alex Salmond would himself immediately point the finger at Nicola Sturgeon, Peter Murrell, Sue Ruddick and the other conspirators who could be named because they did not have the court granted anonymity of redacted and others. But I deferred to Alex Salmond’s wishes in not publishing the full truth. As I published in my article of 30 March 2020, « I have, absolutely against my own instincts, deferred to Alex Salmond’s noble but in my view over-generous wish to wait until the Covid-19 virus has passed before giving all the names of those involved and presenting the supporting documents ».

101. The documents to which I referred were those mentioned above ; they proved the culpability of people including Murrell, Ruddick and McCann, whose anonymity is not protected. I was not aware when I wrote that the effort to suppress these documents – which frankly will be key documents in the course of Scottish history – was going to extend beyond the trial, that they would be kept even from the Holyrood inquiry, and that the Crown would seek to deny their use for my own trial.

102. I had been struck by the facts surrounding the exclusion of juror RR. He had been loud in asserting that he believed Salmond to be innocent. I found the circumstances surrounding juror RR’s reporting to the police very suspicious, just as I find the circumstances surrounding the taping of Gordon Jackson on the train very suspicious. If a juror said too much in conversation, a minority of people might know enough to tell him he really should not be talking that way. To walk away and clipe him up to the police seems to me an extreme and entirely unnatural reaction. It seems to me a great deal more likely that juror RR was set up ; particularly as the lady who engaged him in the conversation worked for a Scottish Government agency.

103. I actually drafted all that, but then did not publish it as it would have been in contempt of court. I decided instead to give no details at all. I am genuinely puzzled as to what the Lord Advocate thinks is actionable on that.

104. Unfortunately, Alex Salmond’s declaration of a « covid truce » on proceedings was not matched by the conspirators. They immediately began a concerted campaign to undermine the verdict in public opinion and to attack the reputation of the court and the jury. The campaign was fronted by Rape Crisis Scotland, an almost entirely Scottish Government funded organisation whose funding is under the control of officials whose management line redacted whose story of a knee grab on the very short ride from Pizza Express Holyrood to Waverley Station had been comprehensively debunked at trial.

105. The nine complainers in the case signed a joint letter maintaining their accusations against Alex Salmond, which was carried at saturation levels by the entire Scottish media, and was curious given that the complainers were purported by the Crown to be unconnected to one another. In a whole series of interviews across all Scottish media, Rape Crisis Scotland argued, in effect, that the verdict had been perverse, an example of the justice system failing abused women, and even was used by Rape Crisis Scotland to argue directly for the abolition of jury trials in sexual assault cases.

106. The campaign culminated at that time in an article written by Dani Garavelli for Tortoise Media and repeated in Scotland on Sunday, the Sunday edition of the Scotsman, which it is impossible to read other than as a sustained attack upon the court and the verdict. It was a particularly tendentious piece of work because it again repeated all the major accusations, with sympathetic personal interviews with five of the complainers, while omitting to mention a single one of the defence witnesses or any of the defence evidence that had shown them to be wrong and, in several cases, actually lying.

107. What is more, the Garavelli article again made very plain the identity of redacted by jigsaw identification and potentially of others, including redacted who redacted. It is of definite significance that, in the opinion poll I commissioned to get objective evidence of jigsaw identification, Dani Garavelli was by a significant margin the most named source by the public for complainer identification. The decision by the Lord Advocate to prosecute me, a very rare Salmond supporter with an audience, and not prosecute Garavelli, the media cheerleader for the anti-Salmond cause, appears not just selective prosecution, it is political persecution.

108. The great irony of this is that I am the one upholding the dignity of the court and explaining to the public why a diligent jury reached the sound verdict it did, while Garavelli is attacking the verdict of the court and doing so by omitting the crucial defence evidence that the jury heard. She also characterises individual jury members in her article. Yet it is I, the supporter of the court, who is allegedly in contempt, while the attackers of the court are not. The truth is, of course, that the failed prosecutors are favouring those who support the prosecution ; that these failed prosecutors get to decide who is tried for contempt is an abuse of process.

109. I decided that the best way to deal with the Garavelli article and with the entire avalanche of anti-court propaganda was to write my article « I have a plan so we can remain anonymous but have maximum effect » in which I reproduced Garavelli’s article in its entirety, with paragraphs of my commentary under her paragraphs where appropriate. The Crown production of this article in the bundle given to me has not printed out the contrasting colours, so the court will find it extremely difficult to follow what is me and what is Garavelli. This however is Garavelli :

« When the time came, the foreman stood up and said Not Guilty to 12 of the 13 charges. The verdict of the charge involving woman F – sexual assault with intent to rape – was found Not Proven, which is also an acquittal. None of the verdicts were unanimous. The foreman seemed content with decisions he was conveying, but others were not. One young-ish juror with glasses sat with his head bowed »

Followed by me commenting on Garavelli

« Garavelli has no idea how that youngish juror voted. Here again is a blatant attempt to convey that this was a perverse verdict… Garavelli is incidentally in very grave contempt of court in clearly identifying an individual juror and how she thinks he voted. Garavelli will of course be protected by the Establishment from any consequences of this ».

110. I was absolutely correct on all counts. It is a further example of the extreme consciousness of the law of contempt of court with which I wrote throughout. I had a great deal more respect for the rules of contempt than the Lord Advocate, who plainly only applies them to opponents of his prosecution of Alex Salmond.

111. As the accusers continued their public campaign against the verdict of the court, and continued their conspiracy after the verdict to destroy Alex Salmond politically from behind the screen of court enforced anonymity, I decided the time had now come to put before a court the question of whether that anonymity should be upheld even in these extreme and unique circumstances. The public interest in knowing that it was those in positions of great power in the Scottish Government who had colluded against Alex Salmond might well outweigh the general public interest in anonymity for complainers of sexual abuse.

112. On 31 March 2020, I therefore contacted my solicitor to find a QC to draw up a petition to court for the court to decide. We received a draft application from Craig Sandison QC on 15 April 2020, funded at my own expense. I was considering how to proceed, particularly in the light of Covid lockdown, when I was astonished to find myself charged with contempt of court a week or so later.

113. On 23 April 2020, two policemen came to my door and left on the doorstep a letter which, when I opened it a day later (early Covid precaution!), was from the Crown Office telling me I was charged with contempt of court.

114. Remarkably, within minutes of the police arriving, I received an email from Kieran Andrews of the Times newspaper, stating that

« The Crown Office has confirmed that it has started contempt of court proceedings against you in relation to the Alex Salmond trial. Would you like to comment? « 

We are not children. This is plainly a polite lie. Mr Andrews had not telephoned the Crown office that day and asked « I say, did you happen to charge Craig Murray with anything today ? ». What had happened was that the Crown Office, in keeping with its highly politicised and corrupt behaviour through all of the events which I have here recounted, had phoned a reliably anti-Salmond journalist and tipped him off about the charges against me. I believe that the Crown Office is deeply corrupt.

115. In reading the Lord Advocate’s petition and learning of the charge of jigsaw identification, it seemed to me that his charge was entirely subjective. The Lord Advocate appeared to appreciate the need for some kind of proof, as he prayed in aid a number of tweets as evidence that people had identified. But his understanding of Twitter appeared extremely naive. With a single exception, not one of these tweets showed they had correctly identified anyone (and that single one did not prove I was the reason). On the contrary, many of them were from bad faith actors or Twitter « trolls » with fake identities – « Tamara Patel » is a good example of a long term troll on my account with multiple other identities, including « Harry Johnson » and « James », whose claim to identify from my posts the Lord Advocate foolishly takes at face value. Others show in their Twitter handles that they are dedicated political opponents, i.e. some show union flags and one profile describes a « unionist » and « Rangers supporter ».

116. Nevertheless, in quoting these evidentially valueless tweets the Lord Advocate did seem to be acknowledging the desirability of some objective measure of likelihood to identify, so I set myself to think about whether I could help supply the Lord Advocate’s deficit of reason.

117. I came up the idea that whether or not I had been likely to identify would be objectively demonstrable by obtaining a sufficiently large sample of the population, and that the way to do this was through a professional survey company. I therefore commissioned an opinion poll from Panelbase, the results of which I append and which I believe will assist the court.

118. The survey could not check whether people really know the identities of failed complainers, but it does show that a remarkable 8% of the population believe that they do – that equates to about 350,000 adults in Scotland who think they know one or more identities. The number will have risen since, particularly after the Kirsty Wark BBC documentary which pretty plainly identified redacted.

119. Asked how they know identities, 66% said they knew from newspaper, TV or radio reporting. Given a free field to identify individual sources, seventeen different news sources were named, several multiple times, with a single mention of my website. Eight different journalists were named, some multiple times, and not including me. The most mentioned source as Scotland on Sunday/The Scotsman, where Dani Garavelli’s article appeared, and the most mentioned journalist was Dani Garavelli, who is the prosecution’s biggest cheerleader, and is not being charged.

All of which is the truth as the deponent shall answer to God.

Signed

Affidavit 2

SUPPLEMENTARY AFFIDAVIT
of
CRAIG MURRAY, redacted, Edinburgh, EH10 redacted

At Edinburgh on the TWENTY FIFTH day of JANUARY 2021, in the presence of David James Finlay Halliday, solicitor and notary public, Halliday Campbell WS, solicitors, redacted, Edinburgh, EH16 redacted, COMPEARED CRAIG MURRAY, redacted, Edinburgh, EH10 redacted who being solemnly sworn hereby DEPONES as follows:-

1. My name is Craig Murray, I reside at redacted, Edinburgh, EH10 redacted. I give this affidavit in supplement to the one I have previously given in connection with the contempt of court proceedings brought against me. My intention in doing so is to provide more information for the Court on the context in which I published my articles and tweets, and my reasons for doing so.

2. I was Rector of the University of Dundee (2007-2010) and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law (2005-9). I am the author of books including Sikunder Burnes, Master of the Great Game (2017), The Catholic Orangemen of Togo (2010) and Murder in Samarkand (2007). The website academia.edu lists over 140 academic peer reviewed articles referencing my work.

3. I was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan 2002-4. Other roles included Deputy High Commissioner to Ghana (1999 – 2002), Deputy Head (Equatorial), Africa Department FCO (1997-9), First Secretary, British Embassy, Warsaw (1993 – 1997), Head of Maritime Section, FCO (1991-3) and Head of Cyprus Section, FCO (1989 -91).

4. Special responsibilities included Head of FCO Section, Embargo Surveillance Centre (1990-1), Alternate Head of UK Delegation to UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1991-3) and Head of UK Delegation to the Sierra Leone Peace Talks (1998-2000).

5. I have been awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity (USA) 2005 and the Primo Alto Qualita Della Citta di Bologna (Italy) 2006 and am an Officier of the Order of Mono (Togo). I have turned down three honours from the British state, OBE, LVO and CVO on grounds of Scottish nationalism, the last two being in the personal gift of Her Majesty the Queen.

6. As a journalist in new media, my output has been focused on my own website, which is nowadays my primary source of income. My articles have however been published in newspapers including The Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and very many others both nationally and internationally.

7. In or around March 2019, and from time to time over several months thereafter, I became aware of information tending to show that senior members of the SNP had sought improperly to involve themselves in the Salmond case. This included meeting with women to urge them to make or persevere with complaints to the police, coordination of complainers and their stories, liaison with the police over charges and attempts to persuade individuals other than the complainers to come forward as witnesses to allegations, which attempts were unsuccessful. I formed the view that these were genuine accounts, as they came from complementary sources who had access to the material under discussion.
I believed this to constitute prima facie evidence of, at the very least, politically motivated efforts to recruit and encourage complainers, and of illegitimate attempts to persuade “witnesses” to give evidence that, taken together, could amount to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. As this involved some of the most politically powerful individuals and forces in Scotland, I believed there to be the strongest possible public interest in these facts and in publication of them.

8. Before I published many of the articles and tweets that are the subject of these proceedings, I saw the information listed in this paragraph. I was not given copies of any of these documents and have never possessed any, other than Ann Harvey’s email, which was given to my solicitors at Ms Harvey’s request on 19 January 2021 to assist in my defence and is now produced as production 41 and which I can confirm was the version I saw. I wish to make plain the documents were each shown to me briefly on a screen and my recollection of them is from memory. Doubtless there will be minor errors in my recollection but I have no doubt of the purport, gist and individuals involved. The information was:

(a) A series of written communications involving Peter Murrell, Chief Executive Officer of the SNP, and Sue Ruddick, Chief Operating Officer of the SNP. They discussed inter alia a pub lunch or similar occasion between Ian McCann, a SNP staff member working for them, and redacted, one of the complainers in the HM Advocate v Salmond trial. At the lunch, Mr Murrell and Ms Ruddick expected redacted to firm up her commitment to giving evidence against Alex Salmond, and to discuss progress on bringing in others to make complaints. They expressed dissatisfaction at Mr McCann for his performance in achieving these objectives and expressed doubt as to his commitment to the cause.

(b) A communication from Ms Ruddick to Mr Murrell in which she explained to Mr Murrell that progress on the case was being delayed by Police Scotland and/or the COPFS saying there was insufficient evidence, and in which communication she expressed the sentiment that, if the police/Crown would specify the precise evidence needed, she would get it for them.

(c) Text messages from Mr Murrell to Ms Ruddick stating that it was a good time to pressure the police, and that the more fronts Alex Salmond had to fight on the better.

(d) Communications from Ms Ruddick about her visits to a number of locations, including the Glenrothes area, and including in conjunction or discussion with redacted. These communications detail their unsuccessful attempts to find witnesses who would corroborate allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Alex Salmond. They include a report of a meeting with young people who were small children at the time of the incident they were seeking to allege, who did not provide the corroboration sought.

(e) A message from redacted stating that she would not attend a meeting if redacted were also present as she felt pressured to make a complaint rather than supported.

(f) Messages in the WhatsApp group of SNP Special Advisers, particularly one saying that they would “destroy” Alex Salmond and one referring to Scotland’s ‘Harvey Weinstein moment’, employing the #MeToo hashtag.

9. That information formed some of the basis for the articles and tweets I published before and during the trial. I supplemented that information from my own attendance at the trial as a journalist and from other media reports of the trial. In my articles, I sought to provided reporting of, and commentary on, the HM Advocate v Salmond trial, and also to provide wider commentary on the trial and the political context in which it took place.

10. It was in the course of that wider commentary on the trial that I stated my reasonable belief, based on the information I had seen, that the criminal charges against Alex Salmond were the result of orchestrated work by senior members of the Scottish Government and the Scottish National Party.

11. Before publishing my articles and tweets on the wider context of the trial, I saw the information set out at paragraph 8(a)-(f) above. As I have stated at paragraph 3 above, I considered that this information was genuine. I also considered that it showed that: (i) that senior members of the Scottish Government/SNP had sought improperly to involve themselves in the inquiry into Alex Salmond; (ii) they had discussed the possibility of pressuring the police; and (iii) certain of the complainers had felt pressured by the involvement of senior members of the Scottish Government or SNP.

12. I considered that, as a journalist, I acted responsibly and in the public interest in publishing my articles and tweets, and that I did so because of the information I had seen. It was, and remains, a matter of considerable public interest and importance that high-ranking members of the SNP would improperly involve themselves in an investigation into a political rival, and express sentiments such as a desire to obtain whatever evidence the police needed and a desire to pressure the police.

13. I emphasise that my reason for publishing the articles and tweets was what I understood from the information I saw before I published. My intention was not to publish the names of the complainers, but rather the names other members of the Scottish Government/SNP who had engaged in the actions set out above.
All of which is truth as the deponent shall answer to God.

Signed:

—————————————————–

 
 
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472 thoughts on “My Sworn Evidence on the Sturgeon Affair

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  • J

    Trouble on the horizon. Section 3 pertains to Scotland and makes clear (as far as I can tell – any experts on Scottish law say otherwise?) the provisions of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill apply to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Basically, it legalises all criminality carried out by the English state which has been characterised as ‘covert intelligence’ and carried out by agents of the English government, i.e. any thug they hire to do whatever dirty work. You should probably read it.

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-01/0188/200188.pdf

    Authorities to be capable of authorising criminal conduct (1) Section 30 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000…

    C1 – The Serious Fraud Office; The intelligence services
    D1 – Any of the intelligence services; The armed forces
    E1 – Any of Her Majesty’s forces; Revenue and Customs
    F1 – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs; Government departments
    G1 – The Department of Health and Social Care.
    H1 – The Home Office.
    I1 – The Ministry of Justice; Other bodies
    J1 – The Competition and Markets Authority.
    K1 – The Environment Agency.
    L1 – The Financial Conduct Authority.
    M1 – The Food Standards Agency.
    N1 – The Gambling Commission.

    • Goose

      Is there any western country with comparable laws?

      The govt claim they are still bound by the ECHR, but as Mark Urban pointed out in his BBC Newsnight report on these powers, a case can only proceed with actionable evidence – and since agencies tend not to leak , getting that information will be nigh on impossible i.e. back to square one.

      If govt won’t protect its own citizens from people who can rape and kill, with total impunity, then it calls into question the whole purpose of govt?

      • J

        I don’t know Goose, but I would be surprised if some other states don’t follow suit. Isn’t that the way it goes? Too depressing for words.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      I always got the impression that Habbakuk was a name lifted from the play ‘Law is a Bottomless Pit ‘ or ‘John Bull’, in which an honest and truthful Calvinist is tricked and rendered ineffective through a plot spun by a wily Habbakuk. In other words assumed to discredit Craig . I suppose I was right to support union membership at Cheltenham HQ when it was opposed by Thatcher,but don’t know whether trolls and alters should be card carrying union members.

    • bevin

      Thanks for the Twitter link.
      Readers should follow the link there to Tony Greenstein’s comprehensive critique (much more than The Guardian tame ‘leftist’ deserves) of Owen Jones’s essay into long form political pornography.

    • Giyane

      The Lord Advocate clutching at straws like a tweet from troll Habbakuk , as he swirls around the vortex of the drain of his career, reminded me of Alice in Wonderland drowning in one of her own tears.

      This malicious prosecution does seem to have inspired Craig to write a brilliant put down of his boring opponents. Grist to the mill. Two birds with one stone.

  • Robert Campbell

    I am stunned to say the very least, as I am now retired and do not live in Scotland, but have been an SNP supporter since the early 60s. I find the revelations Very disturbing I do not doubt you for 1 second and find it difficult to see a way out of the situation that you and Scotland are in I just hope and pray that you find a way of getting to the man on the street to scare the living daylights out of people responsible for this travesty of justice.

    You’re avid reader and supporter R Campbell

  • extremebuilder

    Gutted.

    I have just unsubscibed from my local group of expats here in France who ignore or deny absolutely any credence to or any kind of government interference or influence in proceedings that are of huge private and international importance.

    I forwarded your posts, with recommendations to read and digest and got nowt, no replies, no questions, no denials, nowt.

    I despair, I go to bed depressed. Good luck my friend Mr Murray, I hope your friends are truer than mine x

    • IMcK

      Haha I expect at least some have read what you sent them, had their lifelong beliefs challenged and been presented with too much verifiable detail for them to counter from their MSM formed repertoire

  • Justin

    The Rev Campbell (Wings Over Scotland) has posted a hard-hitting and well-illustrated piece that gets to the nub of this story: The Silent Witness

    “So, what just happened is this: a former UK ambassador has published two statements sworn on oath (for which he therefore risks prosecution and imprisonment for perjury if they aren’t true), stating that the former First Minister of Scotland told him the current First Minister of Scotland engaged in a criminal conspiracy to imprison her predecessor on false allegations of attempted rape, and that the Scottish Government had engaged in a criminal contempt of court in an attempt to conceal evidence from a senior Scottish judge.

    “But apparently in Scotland that isn’t interesting news.

    “The blog was published at around 1.49 in the afternoon – easily early enough for the Scottish media to notice it, write it up and get it cleared by lawyers. Yet as far as we can discover, not a single one has reported it. Iain Macwhirter’s tweet [below] is just about the only reference to it we can find from any Scottish mainstream journalist.

    “That’s quite remarkable, isn’t it, readers?”

    By way of contrast, he shows some of the lurid front-page headlines about Alex Salmond at the time: eg. “BOOZED-UP SALMOND ‘TOUCHED WOMAN’S BREAST AND BUM'” (Daily Record).

    And don’t miss Iain Macwhirter’s neat illustration of the “Peppa Pig” jigsaw conundrum! – https://twitter.com/iainmacwhirter/status/1354430927900913664

    • Shatnersrug

      Commenters are a bit deluded on that blog. They just don’t want to see what’s staring them in the face, that Nicola is very much a part of the British state. Controlled opposition, a kinnoch in their midst if you will. Like the kinnochs, (and boy are the Murrells like the Kinnochs) they are not Mi6 operatives, because they don’t need to be, they know they’re on to a good thing by allowing the status Quo to continue. Just like Neil (and keir) are perfectly happy to be failing as opposition leaders. Nicola is perfectly happy to play the brave feminist forever fighting off the misogynist and irresponsible Boris, people wonder what their meet up was about today. I’m betting it was Craig’s affidavit. I’m quite sure that in the past, behind closed doors those two enjoyed a celebratory drink about how well they keep the proles divided.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “I’m quite sure that in the past, behind closed doors those two enjoyed a celebratory drink about how well they keep the proles divided.”

        A “dog and pony show”, as they say in America.

  • Dungroanin

    Wow.

    That’s judo that is.. great move CM.

    I was not ever interested in knowing the identities of the fake victims and still am not. Just as I am not interested in glorifying mass murderers who want to be remembered. I do think the proven perjured accusers should have been arrested immediately the verdict came in though.

    But while the conspirators tried to use the dumb complainers as bait for CM and co as a diversion from the top level traitors of Scottish Independence, the Ambassador has just used the move against him to spill the can of worms.

    Are there any of you who still believe Nicola is on your side?

    The English Aristos are disturbed enough to send in their Mini Winnie Bozo to buttress her, taking him away from the great BrexShit/Covid swindle payoff boot filling and his mass murdering of the UK’s civilian population already double the original Winnos record for the whole of WW2. Queenie defo won’t be purring much longer.

    Where are the independent Investigative Journalists Prizes for Craig?

    One thing I am not clear on – there were 3 judges? Only one spoke? Are they barraisters??

    • Name (required)

      Its not only a great move, it is an extremely well considered move.

      there have been hints in Craig’s thinking over his previous articles.

      (i attribute to the ‘assange’ trial and the ‘reading into record’ stuff)

      it is a wonder to watch a chess master play.

      we can all see the pieces, we all know the rules (well we like to think we do)

      and yet a pawn move, corners a queen, frees up a knight and allows a rook

      to appear at an inquiry. where of course said rook can refer to the public record,

      of the pawns move… absolute class

      and ofc

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-55863264

      the pawns move is not now needed.

      Kasparov would be proud.

      i certainly am

  • Contrary

    Well said Craig, and thank you for publishing this much. I went back and reread that article on Judith Mackinnon and Leslie Evans, and wow is it out of date – hasn’t aged that well, though the conclusions still stand. Leslie Evans certainly should not still be in post.

    I’ve been looking at the evidence as given to the committee, and have still go at lot to read on the complaints handling phase, and I have to say that none of the actions by the key actors – which I would say includes Nicola Richards (though maybe not in the planning, but definitely in the execution, it was her that appointed Mackinnon as Investigating Officer (IO), and was organising things all the meetings and sharing the draft procedure with complainers, alongside Mackinnon) and Barbara Allison.

    I’ve already posted this on Gordon Dangerfield’s blog, but thought I’d share some thoughts here on how valid I think the reasoning of Evans and Nicola Sturgeon is:

    Leslie Evans has made many claims, repeated ones, throughout her many – I think that’s the 5th now – testimonies to the Harassment Committee investigating the mishandling of complaints against Alex Salmond.

    One of these claims is that she has zero tolerance for sexual harassment, and Nicola Sturgeon has said herself often, publicly, that she does too. I agree with this sentiment – there is never ever any excuse for harassment of any kind, and sexual harassment in particular, in the workplace. Someone using their position, authority or power to force someone else to behave in a certain way, or worse to force personal physical contact on them – it’s the intimacy of sexual harassment that makes it particularly insidious – is wrong in every sense – legally and morally, and also creates a horrible, unproductive, working environment.

    Unfortunately, as we have found out, what Nicola Sturgeon says rarely bears any relationship to what she does. Can we assume the same of Leslie Evans, and is this so in this case?

    I’m looking back at WHY the procedure for former ministers – a workplace procedure, to “create a safe working environment, free from harassment” as Leslie Evans says – was created in the first place. Was it a reasonable response to what she says the reasons were – all policies were being reviewed and updated because of recent (in 2017) scandals in Westminster, then the former ministers procedure added because of the hashtag-MeToo campaign.

    Nicola Sturgeon had written a letter to Westminster earlier in 2017 – the same stilted wording of the official commissioning letter of the 22nd of Nov – to say that all these scandals were no good & sexual harassment needs stamped out. Leslie Evans appoints a director to lead a team of HR specialists in spring of 2017 to investigate and report on the culture within the government’s civil service. On the 31st of Nov 2017 the cabinet – Nicola Sturgeon because “the responsibility for developing employment policies and procedures for staff is delegated to the FM of Scotland” – commissioned a review of all government staff policies.

    That looks good, looks like they were determined and keen to stamp out any harassment.

    Now let’s look at, in what way, does a policy and procedure for looking into harassment of former minister – or rather THEIR procedure as drafted and still exactly the same to this day – actually enhance the aim of stamping out harassment. Well, first of all, the person complained about by definition is no longer in the workplace, so as a ‘workplace’ procedure it seems a bit extreme. But ignoring that, they say it was in response to the hashtag-MeToo movement that was sweeping throughout the world in October 2017.

    Let’s look at a couple of other responses to this movement and how institutions dealt with concerns of historic complaints:

    The Scottish Parliament (not so far away from the government you’d think,,,), on the 6th of Nov 2017, sets up a reporting hotline so that people with concerns can be directed to the correct place for either advice or reporting to the police. This sounds like a fast and efficient response, and it means potential victims are put in contact with people qualified to deal with the situation.

    The SNP HQ, on receiving a concern on the 5th of Nov 2017 had the response – McCann by text message – that they would ‘sit on it and hope we don’t need to deploy it’. The concern was raised by someone that later became an accuser at the criminal trial, so the procurator fiscal thought it enough of a criminal offence. We heard in Peter Murrell’s testimony that the SNPs procedures for staff has not been updated in decades, and so no extra action or provision was made in 2017 to try and stamp out sexual harassment, and indeed the seriousness with which the SNP treated the concern raised was so lacking to almost sounding happy about there having been alleged harassment within the party. The ‘sit on it’ is effectively telling the complainer to shut up – hardly a hashtag-MeToo response. I’ll come back to this, obviously.

    The Scottish government response was to write a torturously complex quasi-judicial procedure that didn’t tie into any of their other ones and upended the roles of FM/civil service, involved a lot of legal advice and the time of very high ranking civil servants – at a time when ALL policies were being reviewed – and even when they raced through cobbling something together, still wasn’t published for two months. Luckily they’d got a few complaints already in the bag ready for when the policy was ready eh. The procedure also means that people NOT qualified to deal with potential victims – and the police told them that before the procedure was signed off – would be supporting, advising, investigating and deciding on their complaints. At no point were the complainers directed towards proper advice or support.

    I vote that the Scottish Parliament response was the best one.

    The question then arises, of course, that – if Nicola Sturgeon’s aim was to stamp out all forms of harassment and sexual Harrassment – WHY WASNT SHE FURIOUSLY UPDATING SNP POLICY TOO?! It obviously needed, and needs, done.

    That response from the SNP was abysmal.

    We also have, on the 31st of October, just as the government policy review was being commissioned, this SNP staffer in Westminster being texted about having any gossip on Alex Salmond, here was the testimony in the criminal trial from Craig Murray’s reporting:

    “The final witness of the day was Ms Ann Harvey, who worked in the SNP whips’ office at Westminster from 2006-9 and 2011 to present. She had been present at the Glasgow East by-election. In response to a question from Gordon Jackson, she replied that she had witnessed nothing inappropriate there when Alex Salmond visited.

    Gordon Jackson asked whether she had more recently been asked anything relevant? Ms Harvey replied that on 31 October 2017 she had received a series of 16 text messages to her private number asking for information and whether she could disclose anything about the past. Gordon Jackson asked what the messages said specifically and who they were from.

    At this point, Alex Prentice rose for the prosecution and objected to this line of questioning. The jury was dismissed and a legal argument was held on the admissibility of this information. I am not allowed to report the legal discussion. In the end the judge ruled the evidence inadmissible and Ms Harvey was dismissed.”

    So we don’t know who was on a fishing expedition then – well before the fishing expedition of the police in late 2018 and in 2019 – and well before anyone knew anything about any possible allegations about Alex Salmond.

    To me, the supposed reasoning doesn’t match up with the official reponses, for either Evans or Sturgeon. No consistency, no practicality, and no care given or thoughts about actual victims. They were playing politics.

    • Giyane

      Contrary

      Law is like a trawler’ s fishing net. If it catches a nuclear sub, it’s going to operate in reverse and be a means for the trawler to be dragged down. This is not specific to one party or one country or one ideology. Law is always inconsistent, so that it’s keepers are not caught by the same restrictions it places on others.

      Hence the need for absolute refusal to release the texts , on pain of imprisonment. Boris didn’t come to Scotland yesterday for any other reason than to remind her that a law must never be allowed to pull the lawmaker down. Neither her little devolved administration, nor his little devolved administration, nor even Biden’s little devolved administration.

      The lighthouse being a symbol of a fixed peg firmly rooted into dry land. God forbid anyone could conceive of Democracy as easily manipulated or moved by public opinion. The state is a stable entity, supported by electronic algorithms, against any ignorant fluctuations of public opinion. Plus, the bottomless pit of debt caused by the pandemic means that nothing must change for another 40 years. Put it in your mind.

      • amanfromMars

        “The lighthouse being a symbol of a fixed peg firmly rooted into dry land. God forbid anyone could conceive of Democracy as easily manipulated or moved by public opinion. The state is a stable entity, supported by electronic algorithms, against any ignorant fluctuations of public opinion. Plus, the bottomless pit of debt caused by the pandemic means that nothing must change for another 40 years. Put it in your mind.”
        — Giyane January 29, 2021 at 04:14

        Some folk would actually believe all of that being true, Giyane, with others more sure they be much more certainly out of their minds.

        Things nowadays though, and forever more into the future, will be completely different from the past which with its memories plaguing and paralysing the present, create madness and mayhem to market and chaos and conflict in markets, for greater effective universally applicable controls have shifted into the command of significant A.N.Others.

        🙂 There is priceless stealth ensuring guaranteed security of safe passage of future plans and missions delivered to that revelation in most folk not believe all of that being true, even though it be crystal clearly advised to both them and A.N.Others on ACTive Duty in Myriad Assorted AWEsome MODified Fields of Vital Virulent Endeavour. 🙂 I Kid U Not.

        And you know what they say about such things …. If you can’t or won’t or don’t trust anything said to be honestly true and indisputable, simplying verifying it from another source of other sources easily proves or disproves its veracity.

      • Contrary

        Very poetic Giyane, we had hope there was going to be an opportunity to escape the State, and the disappointment is huge. The degree, the extent to which we’ve been taken for a ride – the political rhetoric has been so opposite from the plans and intentions, and still many prefer the warm blanket of pretence that all is well, it has well and truly scunnered us, putting progress back by years, at a critical time.

        My wee bit of effort is to examine the detail, of the civil servants actions and test that against purported intentions – to make people think, and to keep pressure up of the committee investigating it. It feels pointless at times, but I’ll keep going so that I know enough detail to be able to rip apart the report the committee produces.

        There has not been a peep from the Scottish media regarding Craig’s affidavit, not a peep. Bastards. Also not a peep about how a plebiscite GE in May is the most popular option, not a referendum. But there are still many moves to come, the show isn’t over yet.

        • Tom Welsh

          “Very poetic Giyane, we had hope there was going to be an opportunity to escape the State…”

          But on the other hand… as Aldous Huxley perceptively pointed out, “One of the many reasons for the bewildering and tragic character of human existence is the fact that social organization is at once necessary and fatal. Men are forever creating such organizations for their own convenience and forever finding themselves the victims of their home-made monsters”.

          Can’t live with ’em; can’t live without ’em.

          A recipe for perpetual war.

          • Giyane

            Tom Welsh

            From the ” Finding themselves the victims of their home made monsters.”

            2007 banking crisis refers.
            I’m worried about Boris Johnson’s simplified for oiks understanding of global capitalism. The South Sea Bubble only failed because of lack of faith in the market. The financial markets only collapsed in 2007 because of socialist interferers like the EU and Jeremy Corbyn worrying about human rights I stead of profit.

            The destruction of the left, Corbyn and Salmond is premised on the Boris theory that capitalism will only flourish if disbelievers in the God of the market are ruthlessly eliminated.

            Aldous Huxley’s generation despised washing machines, what would they think about mobile phones? And yet here we are still in existence as bono sapiens, proving Aldous Huxley’s comment to be universal, because the super electronically equipped state has failed to prevent its own downfall , again, by dint of 12 honest jury men and women

            The Tories think they’ve fixed their gremlins in the banking system.
            I am looking forward after the covid vaccine fix to an anti-algorithm vaccine solution for democracy which I am absolutely certain will come soon. Like a raddle fitted on every ram red or blue in permanent dye.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            “The Tories think they’ve fixed their gremlins in the banking system”

            Delusional or liars?

  • Stuart

    I am absolutely shocked to the core having read through your blog here Craig. I myself was not a supporter of the independence movement but respect that there is strong support for this. I mention this because I was not a great fan of Alex Salmond however, in this instance I would stand by his side, shoulder to shoulder. I cannot stand double standards or corruption and it appears that the so called “Lord Advocate” is writing or adapting the law to suit himself here. What the hell is going on? Talk about rats on a sinking ship. This stinks to high heaven Craig. All the corrupt eejits desperately trying to throw one another under a bus now. Thank God Mr Salmond was found to be not guilty. The minute these spurious allegations came to light, my wife and I immediately felt that they were false and part of a devious callous, attempt to smear Mr Salmond. You know nowadays, its the perfect filth to throw at a man isn’t it? The majority of people, have you down as guilty straight away of any form of sexual charge against you alleged by a woman. But they fail to realise that these are simply “allegations” at this stage, until tested by the courts. It really annoys us when press and public bay for blood before the trial has even started. As I said perviously Craig, never been a supporter for Mr Salmond but on this occasion, I would stand shoulder to shoulder with him.

  • Mazza

    It’s like the Assange trial all over again: tumbleweed time in the media. This should be front page news everywhere. That it isn’t, and the Assange trial wasn’t, is all the proof you need that the media is no longer fit for purpose – unless, of course, its true purpose is protecting the establishment, in which case it’s doing a sterling job. That they don’t even bother to report it, albeit with a predictable dismissive bent is downright disturbing. Pinter said it best: “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

    • Shardlake

      Never a truer word written. Last week The Guardian published a piece by Simon Jenkins who advocated the abolition of juries because they were expensive. In the responses to his article I didn’t read a single comeback that agreed with his position – in every comment, including my own in which I referenced Mr Assange’s case without naming him as I believe the very mention of his name leads to an automatic deletion of the comment. Perhaps it was my respectful comparison of Mr Assange’s journalistic work and his own that led to the deletion of my comment, I’ll never know. Mr Murray now faces a similar set of circumstances and I wish him the very best in his coming legal proceedings. I hope, for his own sake, Sir Simon doesn’t find himself in a position where he has the need of a jury while simultaneously facing a judge like Vanessa Baraitser.

  • Arthur Spiggit

    The dam is leaking and I expect it will soon collapse. The attempted diversionary statement from Nicola Sturgeon this week is an indicator of the level of panic now rising.

    When they recognised the appeal of anonymity the Spite Girls displayed a handy appreciation of how the processes of the law might be used for advantage. As the ship lists, the girls (and some “boys”) may now engage in an unseemly stampede for the plea deal life boats in the knowledge that charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perjury are inevitable. Probably sooner rather than later. Upon conviction the only publicly acceptable disposal available to the courts will be substantial custodial sentences notwithstanding mitigation statements. That assumes the court doesn’t take the hump at having been played as a frivolous make-up brush to dust over the glaring cracks and crevices of the Spite Girls passing themselves off as singers.

    My money would be on woman H setting a new 100 metres world record across the boat deck. In context her reported texts and testimony are difficult to distinguish from prima facie evidence of conspiracy and perjury, making her odds-on favourite. Woman A may may have to settle for the runner-up medal in the sprint but she may emerge with the biggest haul overall given the number of events for which she is eligible. Bronze is too close to call in a field this size.

    We can remain anonymous and see maximum repercussions.

    Half right.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Your predictions are predicated on the COPFS showing and interest in prosecuting those instrumental in the conspiracy. Clearly, James Wolffe has their backs. Clearing out the COPFS is a task of Stygian [Augean] stables proportions, it requires political will that ain’t present. The Murrells must be dealt with before any progress is feasible. Hopefully, Craig will be acquitted on all charges and this will be the first domino to fall in a political scandal that clears out the whole rotten, corrupt cabal.
      Just my (probably ill informed) prediction.

      • Republicofscotland

        Vivian.

        If the COPFs cannot prosecute, then the second option is to spend copious amounts of taxpayers cash trying to cover up their illegal actions in attempting to do so.

        In an interesting article in the press today, which showed that malice from the COPFS has so far cost the Scottish taxpayer a whopping £25 million pounds, the Tory we love to hate (we hate them all I’d imagine) Adam Tomkins has broached the subject to the Lord Advocate and to the Justice secretary of just how much more taxpayer money will need to be paid out due to COPFS malice, in an astonishing admission from the COPFS its understood that an action currently underway, could see the Crown Office have to pay out another £25 million quid of taxpayers money.

    • Giyane

      Arthur Spiggit

      Britain has hundreds of years of dirty tricks experience in Ireland – starving, de-populating, imprisonment, propaganda and false-flags if the carrot and stick dialogue method fails. In fact you could say it has already begun in Scotland from the moment this fit-up of Alex Salmond was begun.

      If you could just remember, unlike the Northern Irish, who is the perpetrator of your past and future woes, instead of embracing your persecutor in ever closer union, hopefully your pain will be shorter. Every Iraqi or Somali or Syrian or Libyan remembers who created their problems and who were the perpetrators’ local agents. That way they survive.

      • James B

        Giyane – are you trying to say that Nicola Sturgeon was a carefully orchestrated Whitehall plant?

        You can legitimately blame the English for quite a lot – but not for Nicola Sturgeon, who seems to be a worse personification of evil than anybody who has come out of Whitehall (and there is some stiff competition)

        • giyane

          James B

          No, not a plant, but a student of politics getting to a roundabout and not certain of the way to go. The challenge of how to finance a new country is not easy, She’s obviously looked at getting finance from the EU, China, the US, Gulf Oil, private investment and by having a Scottish currency. But in the end maybe the Alistair Campbell looked the easiest, do them all, including privatise and sell Scottish assets to the global investment cabals. At this point having Alex Salmond becomes a problem, but the master of spin has a solution , a snare as it turns out, which at first looks like a clever ruse. Only later, when others in her government suggest additional ways of achieving her borrowed aims does she realise who and what she is now involved with. If she goes back to Alex Salmond, she will get a flat refusal to touch any of those financial thieves. And so on…

          At this point instead of sticking my tin hat on a stick above the parapet I can only dare to quote my Muslim father in law, ‘ if you put a woman in charge, the sheep are going to get shorn two times a year’. Oh yes , it is now a culinder, ideal for straining vegetables.

          • James B

            giyane – no – the `student of politics’ line doesn’t explain very much here. Yes – she is a Blairite. Yes – she is a career politician who is not committed to independence, but simply sees the independence issue as a way to get herself up the political ladder. Yes – since she has no real `life experience’ outside politics, she has been sucked into these games and has probably been convinced that she has to embrace a version of global capitalism in order to have a decent economy. Yes – I agree with you that she is wrong about this.

            BUT – that does not give any excuse at all for lies, slander and character assassination against Alex Salmond, the attempts to smear him and get him banged up in prison for the rest of his life on wholly false charges. This makes Scotland look more like Uganda or Zimbabwe and not like any Western democracy.

            It would have been very, very easy to sideline Salmond, while at the same time praising him to the skies for having led the independence movement so far (while making sure that he didn’t actually get his hands on any real power). Even if it wasn’t, the end here (getting Salmond out of the way) does not in any way justify the means.

        • Cubby

          James B

          Worse than Blair and his illegal war. Think again is my advice.

          Worse than all the old colonial PMs who slaughtered people across the globe. Think again is my advice.

          • James B

            Cubby – she is capable of anything. I cannot fathom the depravity of the mind that thinks that the sort of lies, slander and character assassination of Alex Salmond is somehow justified by the longer political perspective. She is the personification of evil.

            You’re right, though. It seems that Blair knew all along that there was no good reason to destroy the lives of millions of innocent Iraqis and yet he did it anyway, only because he reckoned it was important to remain chummy with the Americans.

  • nevermind

    Would now be the right time to meet up with likeminded Independence supporters with a view to work out plans and a roadmap for the coming election?
    This could contain new rules that clearly separate Government from the judiciary, new appointments to both, and an economic map that includes an EU re entry.
    For that candidates in the elections can either choose a determined way towards Indy, or a long grass version that includes more expensive wrangles with lawyers and an eventually granted referendum which very likely be rigged and pushed by the MSM, Westminster and the likes of spookies such as integrity initiative all over again, with another close outcome .
    Communications between members of this group should ideally be mouth to mouth, or if any, via signal.
    As an outsidet who supports Independence for Scotland I feel that it is important that voters get a concrete and positive alternative presented and in a language easy to understand.
    If anything is to happen this year…

  • Alan Laird

    Ye know, I really don’t care who said what to who. I don’t think that in the great scheme of things, it matters a toss. Except it has all, all, been cooked up to smear the independence movement – Alex, Nicola, Craig, you, me.
    And we are walking right into it.
    Alex admitted to some unseemly behaviour in Bute House. He should have known better. He’s still the man who so nearly got us independence. Why do we expect our politicians not to have even the occasional human failing. I don’t care – he’s the man.
    Nicola might have ‘forgotten’ a timeline of meetings that she wished she’d hadn’t but had, She may have takren bad advice, or given it. Did she feel threatened by the possiblity of a Salmond return? I don’t care. She’s the best asset the Indy movement have right now.
    So just listen to yourselves, (not the obvious Yoon trolls, you 77th fuckwits don’t think we’re on to ye, eh?), you’re doing the Unionist job for them.
    Think about it, Is any of this Eastenders-level gossip advancing the cause of independence one iota?
    Naw.
    Get a life.
    Get yoons telt.
    Get independence, that’s what we’re here for. That’s ALL we’re here for.

    • James B

      Alan Laird = you seem to be missing the very small matter of lies slander and character assassination and the attempts by Nicola Sturgeon to put Alex Salmond behind bars for the rest of his life. Whatever he did, he certainly didn’t do anything criminal.

      Independence is supposed to be a means to an end, the end being living in a decent country which is not a pig farm.

      • giyane

        James B

        Once again, under global capitalism , every option leads to becoming a pig farm. International Law was made for sovereign countries, not 1% trillionaire corporations. Every road you take allows the capitalists to scrap the humanitarian rules that took so long and hard to achieve. The bigger the economy you ally yourself to, the more saturated with corporate greed it will be. They have managed to convince an entirely patriarchal society with the largest oil fields in the world to float their national asset as Aramco.

        How and why? I suppose because the bill for defence , personal protection, education, protecting Sunnism from Shi’ism , harems, extended families, lawsuits etc eventually exceeded their annual budget. The corporate vultures can probably survive Covid19 by giving their chicks, us little things, bloody strips of furlough stripped from the fresh carcases of Saudi ‘ kings’.

    • Greg Park

      Sure, all just completely normal behaviour by a completely normal, admirable set of human beings. Move on, nothing to see, anyone who thinks otherwise is a Yoon troll.

    • Cubby

      Alan Laird

      It does matter. The true face of the SNP leadership has been revealed and I for one would not trust them with anything never mind delivering independence.

    • J

      You’d be right if there was not already a clear pattern of very serious abuses of power developing. For example, if someone had lied about you to the police resulting in your imprisonment, probably for the rest of your life, would you really be as sanguine? Would you not think it a gross abuse of power? A grave personal injustice against you? Genuinely curious.

      In any case, everyone has been remarkably restrained, given events.

    • giyane

      Daniel Messer

      Justice would not be , as Alan Laird suggests, covering up the scandal that is the Murrells’ Salmondgate, nor would it be imprisoning and fining Craig Murray for his work in exposing it. Justice would be for the SNP to finally understand that every just cause needs a broad range of debate and consultancy. Alex Salmond and Craig Murray must be brought into the party in order to be able to guide others with their lifetimes’ worth of hard experience. Maybe Nicola Sturgeon’s contribution will be that mixing sex with politics is a cardinal sin and nobody should be working alone late into the night with a bottle of wine.

      It’s a hard lesson to learn. Criticism is always useful. A lesson that Blair refused to learn when he forced through the abomination of invading Iraq in 2003.

      • Wikikettle

        Giyane. I strongly disagree that Craig should get involved in Politics. Its a dirty business and far to much stress for his health. He should stay as a journalist commentator, free to write about any subject and safe with his family.

        • Giyane

          Wikikettle

          You’re 100% right. Politics is for psychopaths whose sole purpose is to injure people and obstruct progress.
          Hell was made for political psychopaths.

        • Giyane

          Wikikettle

          Whatever took place in the private flats in
          Bute House will have been recorded by hidden cameras. This affords mind control over the politicians by the colonial power and its arselicker agents.

          It would be impossible to tell from these recordings what was actually going on, but just the existence of naked people getting into their pyjamas is not something shares willingly with the rest of the world.

          In conclusion, as Alan Laird said above, the malicious intent to disrupt the SNP was there from the beginning. Young Sturgeon seems to have become intoxicated on the power afforded by secret cctv recordings of private axtivities in the possession of the police. And the rest is history

          Human beings cannot cope with this illegal theft of their privacy, nor with the receipt of stolen goods of hidden camera cctv. Nobody can. But there is a class of people whose absolute servile worship of the powerful makes them ready to work in the spy industry. These people shiver at the raw satanic power of being able to perve on other people’s private lives. Sickos. Psychopaths. Wankers.

          These are the enablers of the powerful in Westminster to manage their remote colonies electronically. The prevalence of spying in the Ottoman empire means that many Muslims are already conditioned to serve them in this criminal ndustry.

          • Wikikettle

            Giyane. The dark forces, permanant government have files on all politicians, industrialists, media influencers, Generals, Celebrities, Scientists and up and coming high fliers from private schools and top universities. They actively subvert, corrupt, honey trap, pedo trap as with Epstein/Maxwell. I would guess every bit of dirt they can collect or engineer, to keep their “leaders” in full control. Its a sick world we live in.

          • Giyane

            Wikikettle

            My point is that intruding on privacy with digital cctv which can be altered is a psyops tool used in peace and war. The FM does not have to be a psychopath if she was presented with distorted cctv that made it appear that rape had occurred through mixing and editing audio and video.

            One man’s bum looks much like another’s. Voices can be impersonated. If London has invested its best Hollywood editors and story tellers to work on the Salmond fit-up, what is Sturgeon to do? Reveal all the scams of contemporary 4th generation warfare? Or place her hands voluntarily in the handcuffs and see the prosecution through?

            The corruption and psychopathy rests entirely with London. That is why we have a cuddly , completely dumb blonde for a Prime Minister.

            The BBC political drama Body Guard is one many dramas portraying this type of psyops. Only it goes far beyond Bute House into the realms of fantasy. The jury smelt the rat, but maybe bloggers on CM blog are not addicted to psyops thrillers. I don’t even have a TV.

          • Tom

            What about the infamous News of World Tommy Sheridan video? Tommy was alleged secretly filmed by a ‘comrade’. Tommy stated that it was a fake and he had been impersonated by the comedian Des McClean. It seemed perfectly plausible at the time and still does as many of us, myself included, can do a pretty convincing ‘Tommy Sheridan’. ‘Billy Connolly’ is another favourite 😀

        • Wikikettle

          The Hypocrisy of it all. High culture is to attend, at a concert, well heeled, well spoken, and sit and get swept away by Bach The Passion According to St Mathew. While all over the world we inflict The Passion According to St B52.

  • Jon Cofy

    Forgive me if I’m not keeping up but the situation seems to be that:
    Craig Murray had his day in court and he:
    didn’t get to say anything.
    has not been acquited
    is waiting on a reserved judgment that could take a year or more
    has a known medical condition
    is being subjected to psychological stress like Julian Assange all for the purpose of muzzling the press.
    In addition the Crown Office then demanded Craig further redact his sworn evidence to a court of public record
    In the process the legal industry pockets 150,000 + pounds of Craig’s money plus government money.
    Outrageous. Just like Australia. The law is broken.

  • Humbly

    Thank you Craig Murray,

    To be honest, none of this is a surprise. It is more or less what can be worked out if you follow what is happening and how the media write about it.

    The question I have that remains to be answered is WHY. To what purpose did they bother with this whole story? For a retired politician? It seems extravagant.

    I can see two obvious possibilities, though no evidence has come out for either:

    1. They started these accusations because of some personal grief regarding Salmond. They didn’t expect it would be so difficult to just slap him down, given how much control the SNP exercises over the media and the police. Then once the process began they had to keep digging.

    A second option of course is that the current SNP leadership has no intention of achieving independence. The media know this, which is why they treat Sturgeon like their baby princess. Boris knows this, which is why he lets her build her career on ‘talking back to him’. Because it is harmless toothless talk.

    If this is the case, and Alex Salmond actually would fight for independence, then they may want to get rid of him.

    Might SNP leadership be supported by England because the only place they are going to is shared toilets?

  • 6033624

    I note that the BBC have given your case zero coverage. Obviously want the outcome known before deciding whether to cover it at all. I’d expected even a few words, buried perhaps. Zilch. But controlling information IS how you control people..

  • Dungroanin

    While looking at the replies on how Twatter is choking back CM’s followers – it suddenly goes off into a wheel of doom!

    So where are we this Saturday midday? Aside from a no doubt well deserved hangover!
    Why the judge/judges need any more time to call the simple bollocks on the case is worrying? Are they being pressured?

    Has the maximum damage to the Independence cause been planned as in the burning of Atlanta ? Or the Partition of India? Etc.

    My bet is still on the GNU as Bozo takes the dive to enjoy his billionaire rest of life style payoff, and let’s the Great Knight Hope and St Nicola take the baton of delivering the SoT and joining Biden in the next ‘Vietnam’, that our Heroes will be sent to die and kill innocents in. Giving her the pre planned excuse of not bothering with Indy for the greater good!

    The full ‘evidence’ supposedly handed over at 5pm last night with a plea that it not be used or released because of Public Interest!

    It’s a race … can they get their new gnu done or will they cut her strings and use it for max damage? A lot of well meaning Scot has been led up the alley by Nicola and Co and the media just for the mugging and ensuing disillusion.

    I really think that Salmond and all genuine Indies should use the once in a decade doorstep Census to add one single question to all 16 year olds and above – keeping personalities, parties and purring Queenie out of it :

    ‘Do you want a fully Independent Scotland, Yes or No?’

    it can be that simple.

    • Wikikettle

      Angela Wooldridge. The guy whose channel this is on, in my view, has the same world view as the Security State, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is part of the Integrity Initiative Brigade.

  • Eileen Carson

    I’m looking for [legal] info on the following 2 Qs I’d be grateful if any legal buffs out there can advise.

    1 Is there anywhere in the constitution of the SNP where the rules governing members calling an EGM are laid out? ie numbers etc.

    2 In International Law is there a mechanism for a group of citizens [not necessarily a political party or government] to demand a referendum on independence?

    Thanks in advance

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Eileen Carson,

      On the second question – it seems to me that since the right to self-determination is central to and deeply embedded in the United Nations system then also it ( i.e. the right to self-determination) is a central part of international law. The right to self-determination came first to the fore during the era of decolonisation. At present several human rights instruments and state practice have extended the application of the right to self-determination beyond the colonial context, as say had obtained in South Africa.

      An approach to the UN on a collective basis? How so – don’t really have that answer.

      • Eileen Carson

        That I know and have been posting about for many years, but it’s the collective basis bit I’m looking for an answer too. I recall the Scotland-UN committee were active between 1979 and 2007 but they seem to be wound up now and I can’t find a comparable group.

        • Alf Baird

          Eileen, being aware of Dr. Wilkie’s work, during research for my book (‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’) I made enquiries to the UN in regard to Scotland’s ‘status’ and predicament. This was after my research and resulting book, which was also submitted to the UN Secretary General, indicated that Scotland was politically treated no different to a colony, despite the existence of a Treaty and a supposed ‘union’ of equals. My question was specifically related to how to get Scotland ‘Listed’ as colony to be decolonized (with UN C-24, the Special Committee on Decolonization). In this context decolonization is the same as independence and the UN supports decolonization of all ‘peoples’ so Listed by C-24.

          The UN response was to the effect that all this requires is for another UN Member State country to propose Scotland’s ‘Listing’ with C-24. In my book I suggest that this is what SNP Ministers should (have) set their mind to achieving, as another and perhaps more certain route to secure self-determination independence, given the ongoing enforced undemocratic blockages and interventions of Westminster, ensuring UN support through an initial ‘Listing’ with C-24, which is the same route that has been taken by many UN Member States to become independent.

          Coincidentally during my research I also found that the UN considered Ireland to be a former British colony, despite Ireland also being, prior to its independence, like Scotland, a member of the UK ‘union’.

          • Eileen Carson

            Thanks for that Alf. That offers a route out of this mess but not one the SNP have utilised despite their/Scotland’s considerable international standing, I wonder why not?

  • Phil

    Some more grist to the mill:

    Claims Sturgeon adviser spoke of “getting” Salmond

    Alex Salmond has given a new submission to a Holyrood inquiry

    A claim has emerged from Alex Salmond saying a Scottish government adviser spoke of “getting” him in a criminal court case just before its own investigation into harassment claims was deemed unlawful.

    His comments come in a new written submission to the Holyrood inquiry into the handling of the claims.

    He also called the government’s behaviour in the affair “a disgrace”.

    The Scottish government would not comment on an unseen submission.

    Mr Salmond was acquitted of sexual assault charges in a criminal trial in March 2020.

    The committee on the Scottish government handling of harassment complaints was set up after a judicial review court case where the Scottish government admitted its internal investigation of two harassment complaints against Mr Salmond had been unlawful.

    The government had to pay out more than £500,000 in legal expenses to the former first minister, who was later cleared of 13 charges of sexual assault by a criminal court.

    ‘A disgrace’

    Mr Salmond has now made a written submission to the inquiry, ahead of an expected appearance later this month.

    In the submission, which has been seen by the BBC, Mr Salmond states: “During November 2018 we became concerned about the possibility of the government attempting to sist (delay) the judicial review and (mindful of their likely loss in court) seek to emphasise instead the police investigation.

    “We have a witness precognition (statement) which recounts that in late November 2018 a special adviser told the witness that the government knew they would lose the JR but that they would “get him” in the criminal case.”

    In his conclusion, Mr Salmond said: “The behaviour of the government was, in my view, a disgrace. But actions have consequences.

    “Accountability is at the heart of the Scottish Parliament. The rule of law requires that those who have acted illegally are held to account. It is now the job of this committee to resolve how that is best done”.

    A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “We can’t comment on a submission that we haven’t seen and that the committee has not yet published.

    “The committee has received both written and oral evidence, including from the Lord Advocate, explaining clearly the legal position taken by the Scottish government throughout the judicial review.

    “As the Lord Advocate set out in his evidence, when the judicial review was first raised the Scottish government was satisfied that it could answer all of the grounds raised by Mr Salmond in the judicial review.”

    The spokeswoman added: “The issue on which the case was ultimately conceded only emerged over time from late October into December.

    “The case was conceded as quickly as possible once it became clear that it could no longer be defended on the single ground of perceived bias.”

    On Friday, the Crown Office confirmed that it had handed over evidence to the Holyrood inquiry following an unprecedented move by MSPs to use legal powers to seek documents from the prosecution service.

    Mr Salmond looks set to appear before the inquiry on 9 February, while his successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is expected to give evidence the following week.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-55873821

  • Liz L

    “We have a witness precognition (statement) which recounts that in late November 2018 a special adviser told the witness that the government knew they would lose the JR but that they would “get him” in the criminal case.” – pretty explosive stuff if not incendiary.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Craig Murray will be found Guily of spilling an Enormous Can of Beans of Corruption…but THEY are doing really well, at not even covering the case – and reporting THE TRUTH…

      and they know its the truth..

      I don’t know what they are going to do with him, but just look at what they have done to Julian Assange.

      I know Craig turned downed an OBE and various other personal awards, and whilst I disagree with many of his political views, I have massive respect for his personal integrity, and the work he has done both inside and outside of The British Establishment.

      And I like men of courage and integrity.

      If Craig Murray is not released – a free man to go next week – wherever he wants to go – for telling the truth.

      I don’t know what to say.

      He hasn’t done anything wrong.

      Tony

      • Peter

        @ Tony

        I may be mistaken, but I get the impression you think I’m assuming a guilty verdict. I’m absolutely not. I, of course, have no way of knowing what the verdict will be but good words are being spoken of the judge so she very well may come to the correct decision which is, of course, not guilty. But equally, I presume, she will be under great pressure to do the opposite . We shall see – time (2-3 weeks) will tell.

        @ Ian & Tom

        2-3 weeks since Wednesday it is then.

        Many thanks for that.

      • Dungroanin

        I know I shouldn’t but :

        “ THEY are doing really well, at not even covering the case – and reporting THE TRUTH…”

        Are you finally seeing the light Compo or is it more wormtonguerry as usual. Your
        Go ask at 0077th-Gee which I have shown to be a Brittannia Unhinged Red/Brown propaganda site that is just a troll site.

        I’ll stop there.

        • Tony_0pmoc

          Dungroanin,

          I’m not disagreeing with you..about OffG. I always knew you weren’t daft, even when I didn’t agree with you….Still you got to stretch the limits. My terminal mistake there, was asking what time the current moderator, ended her shift. She really didn’t like it. I have been on the naughty step ever since, like you.

          Tony

          • DunGroanin

            Tony it is as usual disingenuous of you.

            You tolerate the CENSORSHIP at 0077th.

            You have never objected to it or asked about us who have been disappeared.

            You minimise it with relabelling it as a cutesy ‘naughty step’.

            And you are a fellow traveller in their BrexShittery and Covid Denialism.

            Tony these are your true colours.

            Anyway – as I said I really shouldn’t have – but thanks for biting.

  • james henry

    his whole case is based on supposition and maybes.Absolutely no case against the SNP..Can,t wait till Nicola chews this idiot up.

    • Cubby

      James Henry

      You seem to forget that Sturgeon has already lost her case – it was called the Judicial Review in the Court of Session – Scotland’s highest civil court – her Government was found to have acted unlawfully, unfair and in a manner tainted by apparent bias.

      What is happening now is an investigation into the actions of the FM, the Scottish Government and Special advisers by a Scottish Parliamentary Committee and a separate independent investigation into whether Sturgeon broke the Ministerial code.

      Care to explain why all these people who have appeared before the Committee have lied.

    • Giyane

      James Henry

      Middle class parents send their kids to university to get a degree in whatever and a BA in Sexual Politics.
      The civil servants in the Scottish parliament had both qualifications and used them both in their job. That’s what they were hired to do.

      Unfortunately you can pull the wool over the people’s eyes some of the time, but you can’t pull it all the time. Alex Salmond was fitted up by fully qualified staff working for a fully qualified First Minister. Now all with the additional qualifications of being completely chewed.

  • Navigator_Navigates

    Wow. IMO: redacted $paid$ redacted and …wants their $monies$ worth. Crown is obviously using American deepstate tactics. It appears (and, although this is 1st time I’ve read about this.) that Scottish people don’t really trust their govt because even “redacted for ?hire witnesses” appeared to be “not too keen” to follow thoroughly through”. Alas, there still might be “some hope” of keeping your country out of U.S. deepstate claws. Unfortunately, it appears that those in power (creating this HUGE MESS) THINK “your honest type” doesn’t belong in politics; so, THEY’VE “gotta go” and perhaps find employment at their local McDonald’s …or similar.

  • Mike Barson

    Wow looks like you wrote this one with the sword rather than the pen Craig,
    Most excellent Cut and Thrust,
    I cant imagine any one left standing!
    Good luck
    May justice prevail and the wicked reap the fruits of their deeds.

  • Hollie Greig Justice

    We always knew Scotland was corrupt …the warning signs were there from the start

    https://holliegreigjusticee.blogspot.com/2017/04/from-firm-first-minister-in-missing.html

    FIRST MINISTER IN MISSING RECORDS RIDDLE OVER HOLLIE GREIG ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
    2 April 2017
    The Scottish Government is refusing to disclose whether it has lost or destroyed communications records relating to the Hollie Greig case which may indicate when the First Minister Alex Salmond became aware of allegations of sexual abuse, which Ms Greig claims was carried out against her over many years whilst resident in the Aberdeen area.
    Last month the Scottish Ministers were compelled by the Information Commissioner to address a series of questions put to the First Minister in correspondence in relation to the case in January this year, the first of which was:

    “When did you first become aware of the allegations made by Hollie Greig about her being abused by members of a high-ranking paedophile ring in Scotland?”

    The commissioner required the Scottish Ministers to respond by today’s date or risk being held in contempt of court.
    It was reported in April 2009 that Greig received a payout of £13,500 from the criminal injuries compensation authority, and was described by Detective Inspector Iain Allen of Grampian Police as “a truthful witness to the best of her ability and an entirely innocent victim.”
    Two Grampian Police Officers interviewed Greig in September 2009. No charges have been brought against anyone in connection with sexual abuse.
    The Scottish Ministers’ response to the question, issued by the First Minister’s Private Secretary Terry Kowal stated:

    “Following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established we do not have a record of when the First Minister became aware of these allegations. Therefore, the information you require is not held by the Scottish Government.”

    However, The Firm has seen correspondence from the Crown Office dated 23 July 2009 addressed to the Greig family’s lay representative Robert Green, which suggests that correspondence addressed to the First Minister outlining the allegations was received over two years ago.

    “Thank you for your email of 20 June 2009 to the First Minister in which you raise concerns about the handling of the case involving allegations of abuse perpetrated against Hollie Greig,” the letter says.

    The letter then says that Green’s inquiry was passed to the Crown Office for response, given the nature of the subject matter.
    When pressed by The Firm to explain the apparent contradiction between the two positions, the First Minister’s office told The Firm today only that

    “we do not have a record of when the First Minister first became aware of these allegations”.

    The First Minister’s office have acknowledged receipt of The Firm’s subsequent query asking whether the records had been destroyed, but have offered no direct response, despite repeated requests.
    Russell Fallis of the Scottish Government communications team issued a statement to The Firm that said the First Minister’s office “receives a large volume of correspondence on a wide range of subjects, which is answered by that office or by relevant officials”, and added that the Government does not have “any indication that this information was recorded.”
    Pressed to confirm whether the correspondence was destroyed or lost, the First Minister’s office has provided no response.
    The correspondence questioning the First Minister was sent on 28 January and had received no response, despite a series of reminder letters. The Information Commissioner later ruled that the Scottish Ministers had failed to comply with their obligations under Sections 10(1) and 21(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.
    This afternoon the Information Commissioner confirmed he is now considering whether “further action is required” against the Scottish Government in respect of their handling of the original correspondence containing the six queries.
    In May, Andrew George MP wrote to Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland asking him to outline the options available to “those many people who remain concerned” about the “unsafe” investigations into the Hollie Greig case.

    “There appears to be a lot of evidence and allegations which point in one direction and indicates that this whole case deserves a through review,” George wrote in constituency correspondence.
    He adds that “many of the professionals with whom she came into contact…have allegedly failed in their duties or even covered up important facts.”

    George was the second Westminster MP to raise concerns about the case, following David Ruffely MP’s intervention earlier this year.

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