Claim of crown and police bias in approach to Salmond trial fallout

We are writing to you to express our growing concern over the actions of both the Crown Office and Police Scotland.

In recent weeks vocal independence supporters and backers of the former First Minister Alex Salmond, specifically the former UK diplomat, human rights campaigner and journalist Craig Murray along with fellow journalist Mark Hirst, have been arrested and charged in relation to comments they made publicly during and following the trial of Mr Salmond. Other supporters of Mr Salmond have also been contacted by police and warned over online comments they made in the wake of the trial.

We are particularly concerned to note that the investigating police officers are the same detectives who led the investigation against Mr Salmond over a period of two years and at considerable cost to the public purse.

As you know, the prosecution following from that investigation, pursued again at considerable cost to the public purse, resulted in the acquittal of Mr Salmond on all charges and now raises the most serious questions about why that investigation and that prosecution were pursued.

Whilst we appreciate that you cannot be involved in individual cases you will undoubtedly be aware that complaints of alleged Contempt of Court were made against six other individual journalists widely regarded as being hostile in their reporting of Mr Salmond. No action by the Crown Office or Police Scotland has been taken against any of those individuals. This leaves the distinct impression that Police Scotland, at the direction of the Crown Office, is acting in a manner that is both biased and disproportionate.

As you will be aware, for public confidence to be maintained in our independent legal system the law must be able to both demonstrate it is acting impartially and be seen to be doing so.

The actions taken so far risk establishing a public perception that both Police Scotland and the Crown Office are conducting themselves in a manner which is biased and is indeed political in nature.

Such perceptions risk seriously damaging confidence in the Scottish legal system.

We would welcome your fullest public response to the concerns raised in this letter and any meaningful public assurances you can offer that both Police Scotland and the Crown Office are complying with their obligations to act with complete impartiality and to apply the law fairly.

Professor Noam Chomsky (linguist and political scientist) Yanis Varoufakis (Author, former Greek MP and Finance Minister, philosopher, economist) Professor Robert Black QC (Professor Emeritus of Scots Law, Edinburgh University) Sir David Hare (Playwright, screenwriter and film director) Kristinn Hrafnsson (Investigative journalist and Editor in Chief of Wikileaks) Tariq Ali (human rights campaigner, journalist and historian) Roger Waters (co-founder Pink Floyd, political activist) Lawrence B. Wilkerson, (US Colonel, Ret, former Chief of Staff, US Department of State) Paul Kavanagh (Columnist, The National newspaper) George Kerevan (Journalist, Former SNP MP, former Associate Editor of The Scotsman) Tommy Sheridan (Convenor, Solidarity and former MSP) Ann Wright (US Colonel, Ret, and former US Ambassador who resigned in 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war in Iraq) Christine Assange (human rights campaigner and mother of Julian) Gordon Dangerfield (Solicitor Advocate) Hugh Kerr (Former Labour MEP, author and journalist) John Kiriakou (CIA whistle-blower) Coleen Rowley (Retired FBI Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, 2002 Time Magazine Person of the Year) Ray McGovern (Former CIA Officer, Founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) Robert Tibbo (lawyer to Edward Snowden) Annie Machon (former MI5 officer, author and journalist) Katherine Gun (former GCHQ whistle-blower) Clive Ponting (former Government whistle-blower) Stuart Campbell (Editor, Wings over Scotland) James Kelly (Editor of SCOT goes POP! and columnist with The National) Neil MacKay (Singer-songwriter, Scottish independence activist) Liz Dangerfield (solicitor) Campbell Martin (Broadcast journalist and former SNP MSP) Elizabeth Murray (former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst) Robin McAlpine (Political strategist) Bogdan Dzakovic (9/11 aviation security whistle-blower, FAA Security, Ret.) Robert Wing (former US Foreign Service Officer) Marshall Carter-Tripp (Political science professor and Foreign Service Officer (retired) and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research)

I’M writing to gain an insight and advice for talking with Unionists. They seem to only offer negative statements about our country and when challenged on this issues with facts or in some instances just a rebuttal of their opinion with your own, they react with such anger and fury.

Despite remaining calm, lucid and offering a positive opinion on Scottish issues, they seem to take these remarks as a personal insult! Including one Tory councillor who stated I should be put against a wall and shot for supporting the SNP! This came from discussing the demerits of the D’Hondt system and how the economic balance sheet of our nation is misinterpreted to underplay our varied fiscal incomes, that are actually well suited to thriving in the modern world.

I’m wondering if other readers of The National experience such extreme views when they set out a positive case for an independent Scottish future? Also, how they deal with this hatred from citizens of their own country (traitors would be the word in other nations)? Copying their vitriol would seem to achieve nothing, yet walking away is not an option as we all have our duty to defend our homeland, any advice would be appreciated.

What confuses me is, we don’t meddle in their region or attack their values, so why do they feel the need to attempt to belittle, or even spread falsehoods about our rich and ancient Scottish culture? I’m thinking of examples portrayed recently in The National, like Ossians tales, the denial of Scotland preceding the other parts of these islands by centuries, the wearing of the kilt/tartan, Unionists ignoring the fact we have been a nation for 1200 years and William Wallace truly leading our ancestors against the yoke of tyranny. These are all facts that even extreme nationalists like the honorary president of the NTS would agree are the truth.

We live in beautiful Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling place at all, and covet nothing but our own.

Ben Hutton

St Andrews

LESLEY Riddoch, in common with her journalist colleagues on The National, displays a talent not only for exposing the hypocrisy, malevolence and fecklessness of the ragbag of imbeciles which masquerades as a UK Government, but she deploys an astute and welcome sense of humour (Why Scottish Tories’ revolt might signal the end of the Union, The National, May 28).

She hit the bullseye twice with her descriptions of Johnson as “a waffling boor” and Cummings as “an amoral manipulator”. However, she topped this with her reference to Johnson as a “sock puppet”.

I was also amused by your letter from Stephen Tingle, who dubbed Johnson “the marzipan blonde mugger” and Cummings “Beany de Hat the Merciful.”

I recall that some years ago, I read somewhere that when a politician becomes a figure of fun, he/she is finished. We can but hope.

Joe Cowan


COMMUNITIES Minister the Rt Honourable Robert Jenrick MP on Wednesday said that people should “get over” Cummings and his joke of a news conference and move on to more important issues. To move on, Mr Jenrick, all it requires is the departure of Mr Cummings from government and for Cabinet members to listen to 70% of the electorate and not make fools of themselves by trying to defend the indefensible.

By the way, weren’t you under fire for driving to your country home?

Mike Underwood


THE present stooshie involving the Tory party and Dominic Cummings reminds me of Orwell’s percipient novel Animal Farm. The pigs have taken over. Everyone is equal but some, like Dominic Cummings, are more equal than others. Does this make Dominic “Chief Piggy”? Or would that be Boris?

Andrew McCrae


AS I listened on Thursday to the FM meticulously laying out phase one of the plan to gradually ease lockdown, I reflected that it would still take only one prominent public figure to “drive a Cummings” through the restrictions to undo all the careful work. It’s simply impossible to “Cummings-proof” this life-or-death advice.

Derek Ball


I MUST congratulate Nan Spowart on her “Yes Yes” piece on May 24.

I remember voting against joining the Scottish Constitutional Convention because it seemed to be a Labour Party stitch-up. It was decided at a National Council in Port Glasgow I think.

As I wanted to be the National Council delegate I went to the Corstorphine Branch AGM; I also got nominated for Branch Chairman which I accepted – rather unwillingly.

Along came the campaign for a referendum, which I was wary of. Labour put through one question, then another; a third question was also requested by Mohammed Sarwar, a Labour MP for one of the Glasgow seats. I never knew quite what that was, but it was not accepted by Westminster.

I did not take much part in the campaign, as I mistrusted Labour but then thought to myself – in 1979 we had 11 MPs, now 18 years later we had six, I think. One of my SNP pals and I went leafletting in Leith Walk, in the course of that we bumped into Malcolm Chisholm, Labour MP for Leith. When I made a remark that this time we were on the same side he looked rather puzzled.

As regards the death of Princess Diana, we did expect a Unionist backlash, and campaigning was abandoned for a period. Professor Finlay’s comment about the difference between Scotland and England was highlighted for me when one of my Fife cousins had been visiting her uncle in Devon. She was astounded that people were crying in the supermarket queues!

Jim Lynch


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