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Fri

11

Jul

2008

Iraq Mercenary Boss Hires Schillings To Block New Craig Murray Book
Friday, 11 July 2008 17:58
by Craig Murray

Schillings are a firm of libel lawyers dedicated to prevent the truth from being known about some deeply unlovely people. They managed temporarily to close down this blog (and several others) to keep information quiet about the criminal record of Alisher Usmanov. Now they are attempting to block the publication of my new book in the interests of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, one of those who has made a fortune from the Iraq War. It is sad but perhaps predictable that private profits from the illegal Iraq war, in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died, are providing the funding to try to silence my book.spicer_gun_1.jpg

Here is a picture of Tim Spicer.

Libel law in the UK is a remarkable thing - Schillings can go for an injunction when I haven't published anything about Spicer yet and they haven't seen what I intend to publish. People might conclude that Spicer has something to hide. You will see that they also are attempting to censor not only the book, but what I say at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 12 August. I can assure you that they will find it impossible to affect what I say about Spicer at that event.

Nor will they prevent me from publishing the truth about Spicer, one way or another.

Tim Spicer is no stranger to the use of lawyers to try to silence criticism of him. The following is an extract from the Irish Echo:

Spicer threatens to sue Echo, MP

by Ray O'Hanlon, Irish Echo, May 25-31, 2005

Controversial former British army officer, Tim Spicer, is this week threatening to sue the Irish Echo and a member of the British parliament in the London High Court. The threat of libel action is contained in solicitors' letters sent to the Echo and to MP Sarah Teather.

The legal letters follow in the wake of a recent report in the Echo that pointed to U.S. criticism of the manner in which a Spicer-owned private security company has been operating in Iraq. Spicer's company, Aegis Defense Services, was last year granted a $293 million contract by the Pentagon for security and reconstruction work in Iraq.

However, a strongly critical report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction recently cited Aegis for not complying with a number of requirements contained in the contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. The contract has sparked controversy in Ireland, Britain and the U.S. because of Spicer's past record in Northern Ireland where he commanded the Scots Guards regiment during a tour of duty in the early 1990s.

Soldiers in that regiment shot and killed Belfast teenager Peter McBride in September of 1992. Spicer subsequently defended the actions of his men. Two members of the regiment were tried for murder, convicted and sentenced to life. However, they were released after six years and reinstated in the unit. In a letter to the Pentagon several months ago, the Derry-based Pat Finucane Center pressed the U.S. army to justify its decision to award the Iraq contract to Aegis Defense Services, of which Spicer is CEO.
The Pentagon has also been pressed on the issue by a group of U.S. senators, Fr. Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus, and Teather, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Commons. It was a line in a recent Echo report that prompted legal letters sent to both Teather, the member of Parliament for the Brent East constituency in London, and this newspaper.In its May 4-10 issue, the Echo, in a story headlined "Spicer speared in scathing U.S. report," reported Teather's view that "serious questions" still required answering in the McBride case.

However, it was the Echo's precise wording of this aspect of the Spicer/Aegis story that prompted the legal letters to the Echo and Teather.

The report stated: "Teather recently told the Echo that 'serious questions' were still in need of answers with regard to Spicer and his role in the death of Peter McBride."

The letter sent to the Echo alleged that this statement, made with regard to "Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer OBE," was "seriously defamatory of him."


The best collected source of information about Spicer is the Pat Finucane Centre. There is a very good resource here.

Among the incidents I cover in my new book are the murder of Peter McBride, the Aegis Trophy Video, the Papua New Guinea coup, the Equatorial Guinea plot, Executive Outcomes' muder of civilians in Angola and the Arms to Africa affair. I do hope that other bloggers will generate another Streisand effect through blogging on these subjects.
Download spicer legal file

And here is some of the work of his company




The scariest thing about this is that an official US government investigation into this video by an Aegis employee found that these shootings by Aegis followed correct operating procedure.

Editor - Craig Murray (born October, 1958) is a British political activist, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and current Rector of the University of Dundee. While at the embassy in Tashkent, he accused the Karimov administration of human rights abuses, a step which, he argued, was against the wishes of the British government and the reason for his removal. Murray complained to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 2002, January or early February 2003, and in June 2004 that intelligence linking the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to al-Qaeda, suspected of being gained through torture, was unreliable, immoral, and illegal. He described this as "selling our souls for dross". Murray was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial post on October 14, 2004.

In September 2007, Murray expressed views on the character of Alisher Usmanov, Russia's 18th richest man, following Usmanov's investment in Arsenal Football Club but the post had to be removed from his web site following an intervention from Usmanov's lawyers, Schillings, who threatened his webhost. Despite Murray's repeated assertions that he was happy to defend his statements in court, Schillings declined to sue Murray but concentrated on stamping out the story by threatening hosting companies who had no interest in defending the case. Under further pressure from Usmanov's lawyers, the hosting company, Fasthosts, decided to permanently close the server for the web site on 20 September 2007, an action that also had the effect of deleting several other related and non-related political blogs. A campaign by bloggers against Usmanov's legal pressure ensued. Murray's website has since returned and is hosted by Safehost Netherlands, run by Expathos, which also runs this publication, Atlantic Free Press.
 
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