All Blogger Alert: Quilliam Foundation Lawyers Threaten Libel Action Against This Blog 30

The Quilliam Foundation, which receives very large amounts of public money, has decided that a good use for some of its funds is to take libel action against me. The lawyer’s letter from Clarke Willmott insists that I pay damages to the directors personally, rather than to the Foundation. Interesting.

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Anyway, the lawyer says that the Quilliam Foundation has indeed filed accounts. I shall reply asking the lawyer for a copy of said accounts. Interestingly the lawyer claims that a Mr Ed Jagger had contacted me to say thiswas untrue. In fact, to my knowledge I have never had any contact with Ed Jagger.

If I (and the Company House website) am wrong in saying that Quilliam had not filed accounts, of course I apologise without any need for a lawyer. However it makes very little difference to my view on Quiliiam. To save Clarke Willmott a search, here is part of an earlier article I wrote about them and their attack on a fellow blogger:

My own view is that those who have adopted religous fanaticism – for whatever religion – display an absence of good judgement.

Ed Husain is by his own account a former religous extremist. He is one of the leaders among those who realised that, having tried to make a mark in the world through religious fanaticism, they can make more money and career progress by turning traitor on their former beliefs and colleagues, and jumping on the anti-Islamist gravy train.

Both the original fanaticism and the high profile and lucrative betrayal are evidence of a sociopathic character.

Husain is now a wealthy man. The government set him up in the Quilliam foundation and has thrown more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money at it. He is in great and lucrative demand on the mainstream media.

The Quilliam Foundation is the branch of New Labour tasked with securing the Muslim vote and reducing British Muslim dissatisfaction with New Labour over the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. If they wanted to do that whith New Labour money, that would be their own business. But I object fundamentally to their doing it with my and your money.

The party political nature of the Quilliam Foundation is shown in their astonishing and completely unbalanced attack on Osama Saeed, a prominent SNP candidate and a friend of mine. They try to portray him as an Islamic extremist.

If Osama is an Islamic extremist, then I am a Blairite


I might add that, for an organisation set up ostensibly to advocate Western values, they have a very shaky grip on free speech. Apparently they have Michael Gove, Douglas Murray and other Tory pro Iraq and Afghanistan war neo-cons onboard as well as New Labour.

My post about the accounts is here.

I will amend it when I get back to London to reflect their claim that they have in fact filed accounts. I can’t do that here as to add to an old entry triggers a site rebuild which is not practical on my very slow African internet connection.

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30 thoughts on “All Blogger Alert: Quilliam Foundation Lawyers Threaten Libel Action Against This Blog

  • dreoilin

    Hope you have your day in court, Craig!

    It’ll be a wonderful place for you to say all those things that you want to say. 🙂

    “The lawyer’s letter from Clarke Willmott insists that I pay damages to the directors personally, rather than to the Foundation”

    Interesting indeed.

  • John

    Are they going to sue the Company House website as well or just you. It may be tempting to give them the traditional Private Eye response refer them to Arkell v Pressdam 1971 case.

  • Craig

    With thanks to Bat, it appears that Quilliam have in fact bust up with Douglas Murray and the Tory neo-cons.

  • dreoilin

    The great litigious society, brought to you by the United States of America.

    “If I (and the Company House website) am wrong in saying that Quilliam had not filed accounts, of course I apologise without any need for a lawyer.”

    And that should be the end of it, surely.

  • Ed

    Was going to say, I thought they had had a bust up with the Tories over the partisan flavour of the organisation.

  • Sue, Grabbit and Run

    Their are a lot of questions about this organisation and its leaders already in the public domain, much of it quite negative.

    Additionally, the fact that this organisation is in receipt of public funds allows for greater scope to question its probity.

    Wouldn’t worry about this attempt to silence criticism.

  • Jon

    Hmm, I second John: the response given in “Arkell v. Pressdram” would be entirely appropriate.

    Bless them. Aren’t they sensitive souls? Meanwhile the rich and powerful tend to reach for the solicitor’s number in the first instance, rather than argue their case in public, and it speaks volumes when they do so.

  • Jives

    Damages paid to the directors and not to the foundation eh?…

    Interesting indeed.

    Still..Gove & Co might get a few nights in a 5 star hotel out of it…trebles all round!

  • Imran

    I think Ed hussain needs to have a debate with Mpac or with you Craig on question time.

    Are they scared about something ?

    Thats why they using lawyers ?

    Spending tax payers money on lawyers … gravy train stop wasting tax payers money ed.

    You can’t secure the muslim Vote because no one classes you as muslim

  • The Worm

    Best thing to do is invoice Clarke Willmott £75.00, for your valuable time spent reading their letter.

    If they don’t pay up within 30 days then sell their debt to Buchanan Clark & Wells for 75p, who’ll then proceed to torture them for eons with letters, phone calls and threats to send large men to visit their premises.

    Do unto them, as….

  • Daniel

    I don’t believe late filing of accounts is illegal, just as it is not illegal to file late tax returns to HMRC. You just get a late filing penalty and then the bodies will take court action to claim the money. Lots of companies file late accounts – and are granted extensions – and I would bet few if any are arrested or get criminal records, unless they refuse to pay the penalties after a court ruling. Moreover, the Quilliam Foundation’s entry on Companies House states:

    Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/03/2009 (FULL)

    Next Accounts Due: 31/12/2010

    Last Return Made Up To: 20/11/2008

    Next Return Due: 18/12/2009

    As such, I think it would be appropriate to withdraw the claim that they are not acting illegally, even though you can if you want argue they are acting improperly – which is not a litigious statement. If that is withdrawn, I think it would be very difficult for the Quilliam Foundation to pursue a libel suit or claim damages. Once a matter has been brought to your attention, if you make appropriate corrections and a retraction – even partial – I don’t think the lawyers would advise continuing action. All the crap about compensation, hit rates, etc, is just intended to frighten you. But a prompt response is essential if you are to mitigate yourself in court. If you can’t do it, then find someone who can edit your entry.

  • Craig


    I have amended to say they are now in compliance. But worth noting that they submitted their accounts AFTER I wrote the article saying that they had not.

  • Daniel

    Craig: Still, I don’t think you were on safe grounds. There are rules and there is the law. A company may break the rules and face a financial penalty for late accounts, but I do not think it technically means the firm is illegal. Best not to qualify your retraction by suggesting that your blog prompted them to submit their accounts.

    I have a problem with the fact that QF went to the lawyers and running up a legal bill instead of approaching you and then demanding compensation. This could backfire on them if they pursue costs this after you have retracted the key part of their complaint. I don’t think a judge would look favourably on that. It is also unclear who the plaintiff is. The judge is acting on behalf of QF, so is it not the case that any compensation should be paid to QF rather than the directors individually? I’m not au fait with it, but it’s worthwhile getting legal advice (even informal) to find out whether QF is following normal procedure.

    No doubt the lawyers and their clients are reading this. I would suggest to them that this is a fight that is really not worth pursuing since such action nearly always places the motives of the complainant under public scrutiny and gives publicity to the original remarks. If you stand up for your beliefs, be prepared for some hard knocks. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  • Daniel

    Just a point of clarification where I stand. As someone who has been involved for some years in human rights in the Middle East, I admire much of QF’s work on combating extremism and advancing a counter-argument to Islamism. I also laud its recent efforts in opposing the BNP’s hate propaganda against the British Muslim community. But I am disappointed that QF has decided to jump so quickly into taking libel action and a resolution without lawyers would ensure that I and many other supporters of QF’s objectives will continue to praise its work. However, seeking to suppress criticism using the legal sledgehammer of Britain’s libel laws is something that leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth, regardless of the strength of your argument.

    As for Craig Murray, his insight into the nastiness of Uzbekistan’s fascist regime and Western de facto collusion in torture for the sake of the war on terror should remind everyone, including those in QF, that our enemy’s enemy is not our friend when they ritually contravene human rights law and the liberal and democratic ideals we are supposed to be upholding.

    There are obvious points of contention, but both Craig Murray and the Quilliam Foundation base their arguments on values of liberal society. Why not seek common ground? Do both sides really see each other as the most odious examples of what they despise? I don’t think so. Craig Murray is not an Al-Qaeda supporter and the Quilliam Foundation are not right-wing reactionaries. Let’s get a grip here.

  • Strategist

    Daniel: “Best not to qualify your retraction by suggesting that your blog prompted them to submit their accounts”

    What a fucking ridiculous suggestion.

  • Daniel

    “What a fucking ridiculous suggestion.”

    Is it? Sure, you don’t have the stress and financial cost of going through court. But, for Craig’s sake, it is better to make a strategic retreat so that any subsequent legal action is rejected outright and he and his family do not suffer the consequences. A sign of maturity is to know where to strike a compromise without losing face. Craig simply stating that QF are not behaving illegally with regards to their accounts submission and QF leaving it at that is the best way forward for both sides. It’s not a fight worth fighting for either side. It’s simply not that important to gamble money on.

  • rwendland

    I suspect it is in the names of the directors personally, rather than the Foundation, because libel only applies to people not corporate bodies.

  • technicolour

    from websitelaw:

    It is sometimes thought that you cannot libel a corporation. That is incorrect. A corporation has a reputation just like a natural person, and that reputation may be injured by a defamatory statement.

  • wendymann

    the hard core neo conservative ideologues are unhappy with qf for not delivering what they had hoped.

    thats why douglas murray et al are now setting themselves against qf.

  • wendy mann

    “I admire much of QF’s work on combating extremism and advancing a counter-argument to Islamism.”

    they do no such thing they promote neo conservatism as an anti dote to islam.

    i have no idea what islamism is just that it is generally a term used by neo conservative ideologues .

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I agree completely with your comments on a number of prominent former Jihadis. They are, and have always been, opportunists. They may benefit from that particular kind of therapy known at ‘GKT’. Far superior to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), it is evidence-based and has been subjected to randomised, controlled, triple-blinded trials internationally. GKT. Glasgow Kiss Therapy. Sock it to ’em! In court.

  • Carlyle Moulton


    Just a thought. I do not know how your blogging system handles date stamping. Does it date stamp an addition to a post by you at the time of the addition as it does for those of your readers or does it update the date stamp of the entire post. Libel lawyers are unscrupulous and dishonest and I would not trust one of them not to use any confusion that arose to bolster their argument that you you accused Quilliam of not submitting their return after they had in fact done so.

    Do a test first by updating an unrelated post.

    If the date stamps of original and addition are not different then make sure you have some hard copies of the original before you update it. Also explicitly include in your text the date of the original post and the date of the update.

    I suggest you follow Glen Greenwald’s techniqe of giving each update a header “Update I”, “Update II” and so on and adding at the top of the original post a heading “Updates I & II below” as in this example .

  • Yvonne Ridley


    They’re as mad as a bunch of wet hens and I simply cannot understand why. If you check out other websites the QF and that daft lad Ed have been accused of all sorts over the years … so ’tis mighty strange they’ve got their dander up over this.

    What it does ensure now, of course, is that every investigative journalist worth his and her salt will be pouring over their accounts with the finest of fine tooth combs … not that I’m suggesting anything untoward, of course.

    But the QF’s reaction to your blog is mighty strange.

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