Letters to Craig Murray #14

Letter #14 Delivered 14 Nov 21

Hi Craig,

I hope you’re well, and that each day brings fresh optimism about your impending release.

I came across a thread on Twitter from my friend Ian Grigg, which very much remined me of your predicament:

A friend introduced me to Samizdat which is “a form of dissident activity across the socialist Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader.”

What piqued my attn was the very last section in Wikipedia:

After Bell Labs changed its UNIX licence in 1979 to make dissemination of the source code illegal, the 1976 Lions book which contained the source code had to be withdrawn, but illegal copies of it circulated for years.

“The act of copying the Lions book was often referred to as samizdat. In hacker and computer jargon, the term samizdat was used for the dissemination of needed and hard to obtain documents or information.”

What a laugh! I have copies of those books, I did the late Prof Lions course way back when. So when I mentioned this to a mate from those times, he said, DID YOU KNOW…

“It’s now released for sale on Amazon!!!

“looks like you and Swine doing a copy…”

holy smokes batman… it does a bit :) Swine’s the big hairy guy on the left, leaving the bespectacled weed on the right. And yes it was always me that was caught red handed, in this case with book on photocopier.

But actually, probably wasn’t us. Not that time. Not with that photocopier…

But the meme is true – these books were the first DRM’d in my experience, I still recall the little slip of paper to get the special text, pay the special fee at a special window, with signed contract.

The more rebellious of us fought to get copies. I’ve still got mine, with many pencil scrawls, in a box on some continent.

It was fun to play at Samizdat, to bite the thumb at AT&T, but we didn’t really risk more than a slap – not like those in East Europe, who risked death.

These days I’m more interested in how to play high stakes Samizdat. Which is being played for real today in courts in the UK as Julian Assange, as the Samizdatel-in-chief of WikiLeaks is slowly killed in a British prison.

For the same crime as Samizdat – spreading the truth.

Samizdat is coming to the West. If Assange trial goes badly, and they manage to kill him in British or American jail, all of journalism will be too scared to publish the truth.

This system does NOT like emojis in the text :(


Craig’s reply 18 Nov 2021

Hi Chris,

Thanks for that food for thought. The publication of “Spy Catcher” also comes to mind, a happy parallel to the Streisand Effect. It was in fact a very dull book.

It is however interesting how much knowledge of the Salmond Trial truths for which I am imprisoned is spreading following the end of lockdown. Just talking to people continues to be socially important.

But the biggest problem remains the development of Twitter and Facebook as corporate gatekeepers to Internet traffic. I don’t think any of us predicted that danger well enough ten years ago.



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