Notes From the Northern Colony

Greum M. Stevenson, Scottish Writer

by Greum M. Stevenson

There are activists, and journalists, and people who are both, who have blind spots about the dangers of surveillance technology even when writing about it.

In this article, Mike Small, editor of Bella Caledonia, begins: “I ‘sign-in’ to my phone with my fingerprint.”

No journalist or activist should use fingerprint (or face) recognition on their phone. While seductively convenient, it's dangerous. Police aren’t allowed to force you to give them your password so they can get into your phone, but they’re allowed to force you to open it with your fingerprint. This exposes not only the owner of the phone, but everyone they communicate with. A strong password, entered every time you check your phone, is surely worth the inconvenience.

#mikesmall #bellacaledonia #surveillancecapitalism #privacy #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

Manifesto found near the River Kelvin, Maryhill.

#maryhill #glasgow #scotland #scottishindependence #scottishnotbritish #endlondonrule #graffiti #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

This quote from Primo Levi was spotted by the poet Babs Nicgriogair at St. George's Cross.

#antifascism #antifa #subvertising #culturejamming #cityascommons #babsnicgriogair #greummstevenson #glasgow #scotland #radicalsignage #primolevi

by Greum M. Stevenson

Craig Murray reports that his trial for contempt of court, which could end with him being imprisoned for two years, will be without a jury. The evidence he presents that the judge will not be impartial is convincing — and chilling.

The hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh is on June 10. Murray writes:

TWO WAYS YOU CAN HELP

The hearing on 10 June is supposed to be public, but it will be virtual because of coronavirus. While it is a case management hearing, I shall nevertheless be grateful if you are able to “attend” virtually, as I am very keen indeed that I am not stitched up out of the public eye. Please send an email requesting access to the virtual hearing on 10 June to judicialcomms@scotcourts.gov.uk. I am very keen as many people do this as possible. Journalists please in addition copy in communications@scotcourts.gov.uk for accreditation.

Secondly, many people come to this blog through social media and I am currently suffering a very high level of suppression, on Facebook and especially on Twitter. Rather than just retweet and share any soical media post that brought you here, (which may appear on the face to have worked but the dissemination will be suppressed), I would be very grateful if you could also write your own new posting and put a link. If you have your own blog or access to one, a commendation of this post with a link would be very welcome, even if it is not your normal policy. And finally of course, the entire post is free as always to copy, republish and translate as you wish.

#craigmurray #alexsalmond #scotland #snp #markhirst #lordturnbull #alexprentice #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

Neil Gaiman's ability to make up stories has brought him wealth and fame. But his creative powers seem to be failing him when he's challenged about how he thinks his wealth entitles him to ignore the law and put people's lives at risk.

Gaiman is English but based in America. He was recently in New Zealand with his family. He had a quarrel with his wife, and the couple decided they needed some space from each other. Instead of getting himself a rental in New Zealand, which is under lockdown, he flew to America, where he caught a connecting flight to London, where he borrowed a car and drove to Scotland, to a house he owns on Skye, even though Scotland is also under lockdown, and even before the lockdown people were told not to bring COVID-19 to the Highlands and Islands by trying to escape from the cities.

But such rules are for peasants, not Gaiman.

He was so unashamed, he described the trip on his blog. But, in response to criticism, his story has been so inconsistent, it would never make it into any of his novels. Perhaps he needs an editor in real life.

“I'm currently a UK taxpayer and on the Scottish voting rolls,” Gaiman said. “I went home.” But, when his wife posted online that she was “heartbroken” at his leaving, he wrote, “Yes, I've seen the newsfeed headlines saying I've moved to the UK, and even that we're divorcing. No, I haven't moved the UK.” A few days later, he wrote that he has lived in the UK since 2017.

So... Neil Gaiman has lived in the UK since 2017. He just went home. But he doesn't live in the UK, and hasn't moved here...

Gaiman might want to think about moving to his country of origin, England. With his clumsy lying, narcissism, and belief that his position entitles him to do whatever he wants, he'll fit in with his country's government.

#neilgaiman #covid19 #coronavirus #scotland #lockdown #uk #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

The Dockyard Press Harbourmaster's Loug has Bart Lessard's story “Gang Aft Agley and Deek Brodie's story “Company” — two very different tales, both set in Maryhill, Glasgow.

Also on the Loug is “If Is Cave wis in Glasgow” a Zen Buddhist poem by dubh.

The Shetland poet and novelist Robert Alan Jamieson is recovering from suspected coronavirus, and has been writing a sequence of poems during the process, which are being published on Bella Caledonia.

The new issue of Northwords Now has a Gaelic section, with Zen poetry by Caoimhin MacNeill, and poems by Babs Nicgriogair, Aonghas Phadraig Caimbeul, Meg Bateman and others. In the English-language part of the magazine, there are seven haiku by me (pen name: Barry Graham), though on the online edition they're bunched together like one poem. The excellent prose includes this story by Maggie Wallis and this essay by Chris Arthur.

Babs Nicgriogair's poem “Because the night belongs to us” was first published in both Gaelic and English on The Harbourmaster's Loug.

#scottishwriting #scottishpoetry #gaelicpoetry #babsnicgriogair #bartlessardauthor #barrygrahamauthor #robertalanjamieson #maggiewallis #deekbrodie #dubhauthor #chrisarthur #aonghasphadraigcaimbeul #megbateman #caoimhinmacneill #northwordsnow #dockyardpress #bellacaledonia #zenpoetry #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

Looking west from Maryhill, Glasgow, these days is like seeing the view for the first time. Or like seeing a high-resolution image instead of a faded photograph. You can see farther, and in more detail, and there are colours that were previously invisible.

It only took a couple weeks of reduced pollution because of the lockdown for us to be able to see — and breathe — so clearly. Of course, the polluters are receiving billions in financial bailouts. When the pandemic ends — which will not be soon, according to a professor of the evolution and epidemiology of infectious disease at Harvard — a more common sickness will likely return. Our view of the distance, near and far, will fade, and we will once again be breathing in the chemicals that blur our vision.

If we saw as clearly with our hearts and minds as we now get to see with our eyes, we would ban all private cars from our cities.

#glasgow #scotland #cities #pollution #covid19 #coronavirus #lockdown #pandemic #environment #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

As discussed here previously, Scottish mainstream media made no mention of Craig Murray's being removed by police from the High Court in Edinburgh during Alex Salmond's trial. Since then, Murray has published a J'accuse that, in forensic detail, makes a compelling case that there is a conspiracy against Salmond.

And apparently not just Salmond.

Paul Hutcheon, political editor at the Daily Record, has investigated Murray's home and his personal finances and published a misleading article, without addressing any of his concerns. The paper also published a photo of Murray's home.

In his article in response, Murray writes:

The key point is not one mainstream media journalist has even attempted to refute the facts of my article J’accuse. It is packed with facts. Might not the political editor of the Daily Record better spend his time researching the conspiracy against Alex Salmond, rather than threatening an independent journalist for the crime of doing journalism? ...What I am now waiting for is all these people to step in and condemn the publishing of my home and the subsequent risk to the security of my wife and family, with as much vigour as they today defended the privacy of the Edinburgh third house of the Head of MI6.

#craigmurray #alexsalmond #paulhutcheon #dailyrecord #scotland #alexsalmondtrial #alexsalmondconspiracy #snp #mediaharassment #bullying #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

It didn’t take the jury long to decide whether Alex Salmond was guilty of rape, attempted rape, and the other sex crimes he was on trial for at Edinburgh High Court. Deliberations began last Friday, and on Monday Salmond was acquitted of all 13 charges.

Since then, there has been talk of a conspiracy against Salmond. But, in all the news reports and opinion pieces, one thing has been glaringly absent: any mention of Craig Murray, and his being removed from the courtroom the day before the trial ended.

Murray is a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, turned whistleblower and columnist. He is also a friend of Alex Salmond’s. While Murray is a fine journalist, he tends to embarrass himself when writing in defence of his friends. He covered Julian Assange’s recent extradition hearing, and his portrait of Assange was such cringe-inducing hagiography that anyone who had read Andrew O'Hagan's reporting on Assange’s incompetence, grandiosity and dishonesty would be inclined to question anything else Murray wrote.

It got worse when Murray wrote about Salmond’s trial. In his fervour to praise Salmond’s record as First Minister, and trash Nicola Sturgeon’s, he praised Huawei, and, without offering evidence, cast doubt on Russia’s poisoning a former spy and his daughter in the UK.

But he wrote respectfully about the judge, Lady Dorrian, and had to admit his friend was getting a fair trial.

And then, the day before the trial ended, police removed Murray from the courtroom and told him he was banned for the duration of the trial. The prosecution had asked the judge to remove him because of a “possible contempt of court.” No further explanation was given.

Murray wrote:

To be excluded from a public trial on the basis of something I have “possibly” done, when nobody will even specify what it is I have “possibly” done, seems to me a very strange proceeding. I can only assume that it is something I have written on this blog as there has been no incident or disturbance of any kind inside the courtroom. But if the judge is genuinely concerned that something I have written is so wrong as to necessitate my exclusion, you would expect there would be a real desire for the court to ask me to amend or remove that wrong thing. But as nobody will even tell me what that wrong thing might “possibly” be, it seems only reasonable to conclude that they are not genuinely concerned, in a legal sense, about something I have written.

It was clear from the start that someone wanted to keep Murray out of the courtroom. First, it was announced that only “accredited media” (i.e. corporate and state media) would be allowed in — no independent or “citizen” journalists. Even though Murray’s blog has a bigger readership than some newspapers, and he has been praised by such journalists as John Pilger and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, this criteria excluded him. When the prosecution had finished making its case and it was time for the defence to begin, the public gallery was opened, and Murray sat there.

Until the police came for him.

Sources say Murray was so depressed by his banning — and the threat of a charge of contempt of court, which can get you two years in prison — that, during the weekend Salmond spent waiting to find out his fate, he was so worried about Murray that he called him to see if he was all right.

When the verdicts came in, Murray was so happy he got too drunk to write about it in any depth. So… not an impartial reporter, and not pretending to be. But, whether you think he’s a truth-teller, a friend blinded by loyalty, or a conspiracy theorist, why has there been nothing about his banning in any mainstream media? Both The Herald and The National have given copious space to theories that there was an SNP conspiracy against Salmond, but Murray’s existence hasn’t been acknowledged.

It’s enough to make you wonder if there’s a conspiracy.

#alexsalmond #craigmurray #snp #nicolasturgeon #alexsalmondconspiracy #alexsalmondtrial #scotland #greummstevenson

by Greum M. Stevenson

A man in Glasgow's Wyndford housing scheme has coronavirus symptoms, but has been refused a test and told to self-isolate.

The man, who lives with his wife and two small children, said today, “My daughter had a hacking cough last week. On Monday I developed the same but thought nothing of it as there were no confirmed cases at that point so I assumed it was too early. On Wednesday I phoned the doctor about it and was told it can't be because there isn't community transmission. By the evening of yesterday the government admitted there must be at least 5000 infections, and six people in Shetland were being hospitalised for it, none of whom had any contact with people from affected countries.

“I'm extremely angry. My symptoms have matched the virus, but they are only testing people who present at hospital with breathing difficulties or have been to one of the worst hit countries. The advice is self-isolate for seven days. I've been doing that as best I can, but I can't properly self-isolate until they shut the schools. It's a joke. You can't carry on with a market economy and also expect everyone to just bunker down. I'm keeping my distance from everyone, avoiding crowds and using self-checkouts etc and washing hands and surfaces religiously. At the moment I don't know what else I can do as nobody is taking it seriously.”

His daughter, who would no longer be infectious, is back at school. His son now has a hacking cough, and stayed at home today. His wife has a temperature and symptoms of a cold.

#coronavirus #glasgow #scotland #wyndford #greummstevenson

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