Letter To Barrett Brown

Federal Correctional Institution Seagoville
P.O. Box 9000
Seagoville, TX 75159-9000

3rd October 2014

Dear Barrett,

As far as I recall I have only ever sent you a typed letter one other time in the last two years, and if you have been struggling with my handwriting over these long months then today’s good wishes will come to you as legible relief.

I am writing in OpenOffice today however, because I plan to post this letter straight on to my blog, probably because I have been unable in all that time to compose what I consider a satisfactory journalistic article about your case.

You said in one of your own Barrett Brown Review of Arts Letters and Jail articles that you had no talent for creative writing, but I should tell you now that, if anything, I must be the opposite.  I have worked as a journalist but now write fiction books for the most part, and although I still write the odd factual or opinion-based piece, these take me a long time.  In fact, I have written two pieces of journalism this year, and the second took me from June until September to complete, so panicked was I about being concise and correct — not issues that anybody has within the sphere of literary fiction, believe me.

In truth, I don’t think there’s much of an antagonism here although I am unable to forget a tweet of yours from 3 September 2012 — as follows —

For good measure I retweeted that this morning, and had another look back through your tweets, those messages that supposedly got you into trouble all those years ago.  These were not auspicious times, and the tweets from around the end of your timeline seem to be your deflecting abuse from @asherresearch and @rabite, but there is nothing that I could see could in earnest get a person arrested — I’ve always felt that.

I’ve tried to pitch articles about your case to news outlets here in Scotland, but Texas is very far away, and its prisons are full of deserving cases, and I don’t think that small circulation Scottish newspapers are that interested in covering each one individually.  But this is a case that affects us all!’ I complain, but for that to matter, you would need to have a Scottish connection, Barrett, and I don’t think you can unearth one.

If you DID have a Scots connection, then we could pitch something like:




Like I say, I have tried to pitch articles to the press, but there were no takers, although I’m pleased to say people across the world are still reporting on you, even as you commence your third year away from us.  I have tried handing out FREE BARRETT BROWN leaflets in Scotland recently, but because you are not anything to do with Scottish Independence, people are confused.

Where does this fit in?” they say.  Is he YES or NO?  There has only been one public talking point in Scotland this year and people are having difficulty, in some cases, grasping certain pressing issues from elsewhere.   

This is still the case even now that the Referendum is over — for your interest, the result of the question SHOULD SCOTLAND BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY? was NO — but it wasn’t a victory for Unionism or anything else.  It was a victory for Capitalism — a victory for money — and that is a hard lesson, because the YES campaigners achieved great things, and gave so much, only to learn just how difficult it is to challenge capitalist structures.  These institutions do not tolerate such affronts as our quest for independence represented.  So just as money will be the victor in our newest war in Iraq — it was the winner in the Scottish independence referendum.

Back to Twitter though, and as I was delving among your old tweets, I found that Jake Davis phone call again — it’s pretty interesting, even if you can barely hear Jake and you keep interrupting with your banter about UK 20 pence pieces which you found so funny.  I wonder if you ever got the 20 pence piece I sent to you in Mansfield?  I doubt it — contraband you know.   But I did send you one about two years ago. 

As I told you last time, there’s a play featuring the stories of Topiary and T-Flow on in London just now.  I haven’t seen the play yet, but I hope to see it in the next fortnight.  Despite Jake Davis and Mustafa Al-Bassam being photographed with the actors ‘playing them’, the blurb from the theatre states this:

This play is a fictional account which has been inspired by a true story. Some of the incidents, characters and time lines have been changed for dramatic purposes. In some cases fictitious characters and incidents have been added to the plot, and the words are those imagined by the author. The play should not be understood as a biography or factual account.

It is a strange license that has us dramatists, poetasters and fictionalists simply changing history to suit the demands of drama.  If your story is not interesting enough, we will simply make up some more lurid aspects.  Hollywood does it, the theatre does it, and cartoonists and novelists do it too.  When I come to write the film script for LOL—THE STORY OF BARRETT BROWN I will be sure to have you chibbing a few guards, engineering a Shawshank style escape behind a THE CURE poster, and making an impassioned Steve Biko style speech in court before jumping into a hang-glider and floating to the Socialist Paradise of Scotland.

I have sent you some enclosures today.  The first is the article by Alex Cox.  Back in June I told you I’d seen the film REPO MAN, and I had been wanting to write about that, because although I didn’t enjoy the movie that much, it did point me to Alex Cox’s blog, where I found a  very interesting  article about Tony Scott’s suicide note.   That article is printed and enclosed.

While speculating on Scott’s death, Alex Cox points to some informative reading about the CIA in Hollywood, something everybody should know about, especially with IRON MAN III looming large on our collective goggles.  I particularly like:

“For your edification, here follow the actors, directors, writers, producers and studio execs who the author links to the CIA, usually found 1) visiting CIA headquarters to party with the spooks, 2) taking instructions from CIA, or 3) actively helping to encourage CIA recruitment. Tony Scott heads the list: Jenkins reports that CIA was particularly fond of his masterpiece TOP GUN, "the single best recruiting tool the navy - and specifically naval aviation - ever had" and "was looking for a project that could help them do something similar."

“Tony Scott, RIP; John Ford; John Wayne; Cecil B. DeMille; Darryl Zanuck; Luigi Luraschi (head of domestic and foreign censorship at Paramount in the 1950s); Joseph Mankiewicz; John Chambers and Bob Sidell (studio makeup men); Jack Myers; David Houle; Scott Valentine (VP of Sony Pictures); Jack Gilardi (ICM agency); Rick Nicita (CAA agency); Ron Meyer (COO of Universal); Matt Corman; Chris Ord; Kristy Swanson; Tim Matheson; Roger and Robert Towne; Tom Berenger; Ron Silver; Michael Frost Beckner; Jennifer Garner; Jeff Apple; Roger Birnbaum; Colin Farrell; Ben Affleck; Phil Alden Robinson; Lawrence Lasker; Mark Bowden; Mike Myers; Kevin and Michael Bacon; Mace Neufeld; J.J. Abrams; Paul Attanasio; Doug Liman; David Arata; Kiefer Sutherland; Tom Cruise.

No surprise to see JJ Abrams on there!  

I also enclose the Guardian puff piece for the trullzsec play TEH INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESS from Charles Arthur, wittily titled ‘Trolling in the Aisles’  (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha) — and the same paper’s review of the same theatrical show.    

As you’ll see when you read it, The Guardian feels the need to point out that the misspelling in the title of the show is DELIBERATE.  If you knew anything about British journalism you’d see how funny that is, coming from The Guardian as it does.

I know what you are thinking.  As you lie there in your damp camp, desperately trying to rehabilitate yourself, why would you want to see The Guardian, which was last seen refusing to return your calls — at least according to your timeline in 2012 — and worse — lulzsec — which is news that is older than old, and extremely old at that? 

Well perhaps it will indicate to you that while you have been away, we haven’t moved on, and are still peddling the same stuff, and it should remind you that of course — in classic Robin Hood fashion — the criminals of yesterday become the heroes of today.  Bad news for you, maybe, because you were in my mind, never a criminal.  <<INSERT SMILEY HERE, I GUESS >>

One last thing I have enclosed is an article titled THE SERACH FOR THE MIND OF GOD, a trifling item of philosophy, which will only strengthen your belief that the motives of the greatest part of mankind, which flow from the heated imaginations of those who use the powers of religion to incite actions, can easily be countered with recourse to science in this instance in combination with the most ancient thought systems we know of.  Indeed!

Stay strong, and remember that we are thinking of you, and hoping for a good result in November.  I already told you about the relationship between the blood sugar levels of a judge and their attitude to sentencing — but you have more than served your time Barrett and I trust that soon, you will be ready to get on with your work again — work which has always been in the public interest.

Aside from people’s constant confusion between Kevin Gallagher and Ryan Gallagher, there is nothing else to report.

My best wishes,

Peter Burnett


This next part is not strictly necessary but I attached it for good measure.


Federal Correctional Institution Seagoville
P.O. Box 9000
Seagoville, TX 75159-9000



I am enclosing a 5 page letter for inmate Barrett Brown, #45047-177, with the following enclosures, which are included in good faith and contain no controversial or questionable content.

The four articles enclosed are printed from the following public file locations:


With this are three images cut from the book: Arts Fantastique, by Ragnar von Holten, 1960

My thanks for your attention, and I hope this material may all be passed to the inmate in question.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Burnett

1 comment:

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