Murray To Quilliam: Put Up Or Shut Up 40

Another libel lawyer’s letter arrived late this afternoon from Clarke Willmott for the Quilliam Foundation, funded by your taxes (if you are a UK taxpayer). As with their first one and their email, I give it in full so you can see their side of the story:

Download file

They now acknowledge that they only filed their accounts six days after I blogged that they had not filed them – a fact they left out of their first letter. They do say that they had an extension to file late from Companies House. That seems their one good point. The rest is easily refuted. I have replied thus:

Dear Michael Clarke,

I refute your points entirely. My blog posts are part of a wider political debate surrounding the Quilliam Foundation Ltd. The view that Mr Husain has swung from one extremist view to the opposite has been very widely reported and deplored in blogs and on newspapers. Anyone who one year supports Islamic terrorism, and the next year supports the invasion of Iraq and the occupation of Afghanistan, cannot be fairly described as stable. Indeed the one thing both viewpoints have in common is a support for killing people for political ends.

The view that the Quilliam Foundation is counterproductive in achieving its aims and thus a waste of taxpayers’ money, and that its Directors are over-remunerated, is also so widely expressed as to be the received wisdom about the organization. Indeed in paying a social parasite like a libel lawyer, it seems only to confirm that Quilliam has more taxpayers’ money than sense.

I am very sorry that you wish to waste more taxpayers’ money in trying to defend Quilliam’s non-existent good name. Of course you will profit personally: why should you not get on the taxpayer funded gravy train too? If you wish to claim this particular action is financed by other donations, I refer you to the concept of fungibility.

I view your proposed action as an appallingly illiberal attempt by a government funded organization to silence an outlet for political dissent in the UK.

I also insist that you tell me whether you had advance knowledge of the plan for Mr Ed Jagger to telephone me falsely pretending to wish to be able to make a donation, apparently in order to attempt to elicit financial information. If you do not refute in simple terms any involvement, I shall report you to your professional body. Please tell me if that is the Law Society or the Bar Council. I expect you have an obligation when asked to give information on where to direct a professional complaint.

If you wish to serve papers on me, you will find me for the next three weeks at C878/3, North Ridge, Accra. After that I shall be at home at 30 Whitehall Gardens, Acton, London, W3 9RD. My wife is now there alone with our young baby, and any action by you or your clients which upsets or harasses her before my return is something which I will take very, very seriously indeed and I would take every possible and imaginative action within the law to ensure that you would greatly regret.

Thank you for recommending me to get a solicitor. Sadly unlike your clients I am not rolling in taxpayers’ cash and I have no money for a solicitor. As Mr Jagger telephoned me to offer a donation, perhaps you might ask him if he could fund a solicitor for me? That would be kind.

I have nothing more to say to you and will enter no further correspondence with you, nor read any further correspondence by you. Please stop this pathetic and futile attempt at bullying and go to court. I have no doubt that Jack Straw (who you will be aware sacked me as British Ambassador precisely for not holding the views your clients are so well paid to propagandise) will make sure you get allocated a judge entirely on your side.


The only sad thing about this episode for me (other than the waste of time and energy and a certain distress to my family) is that the general opinion of Quilliam is so low, this appalling behaviour can’t make them much worse thought of.

40 thoughts on “Murray To Quilliam: Put Up Or Shut Up

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  • Abe Rene

    Good luck. With any luck Quilliam will be so put off at the thought of all their use of taxpayers’ money being thoroughly scrutinised in court, and reported in the media about as favourably as the expenses of MPs in general, that they will consider taking on Craig Murray to be not worth the candle.

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    Well said, Craig. It’s disgusting that they are now planning to waste a huge amount of tax payers’ money victimising you over this – an act which in itself only serves to support your argument about Quillam’s lack of moral judgement. Only at times like this do I wish I were a lawyer, because I would take up your case, pro bono.

  • Andrew

    Well put Craig. Their letter does sound a if they are simply bluffing to try and get a result without going to court.

    Their move..

  • tony_opmoc


    My Girlfriend Said To Me

    Go and Fuck Them

    I Wrote This On Alternet ( A US Website ) This Morning Before I Took My Wife To Yoga – But After We Had Sex…

    “The Army is basically paying the Taliban not to shoot at them. It is Department of Defense money.”

    [Report this comment]

    Posted by: tony_opmoc on Nov 13, 2009 3:31 AM

    Current rating: 4 [1 = poor; 5 = excellent]

    Except of course for the real implications, this article is one of the funniest things I have read on Alternet.

    It’s nearly as good as Monty Python.

    The US Army should go the Roman route, and start off Real Gladitorial Productions in the largest arenas across the Planet with 100,000 live audiences attending the events and 2 Billion across the World watching on High Definition TV…

    Just get all the politicians and bankers – playing against each other with a selection of weapons. Shooting the audience is of course against the rules – but an odd RPG might go astray – but that minor risk just adds to the fun and excitement. What’s a bit of collateral damage to worry about with all the blood and guts of politicians and bankers flying everywhere?

    It would solve a lot of problems and provide high quality entertainment.


  • Aitken, Archer et al.

    Previously Clarke Willmott claimed that Mr Jagger contacted you with information regarding the status of their accounts, as regards a filing with Companies House. This by way of a corrective on Quilliam’s part, and aggravation on your part if ignored.

    Are Clarke Willmott holding to this claim, and if not why not?

    Your account of the conversation with Mr Jagger was one in which you claim he sought to deceive you as to his person and purpose and with a view to obtaining private financial information from you.

    You are entitled to know what Clarke Wilmott’s current position on this discrepency is, and indeed that of their client. It’s quite important.

    It’s possible that Mr Jagger’s contact with you was ill-advised, but the subsequent explanation by Clarke Willmott will in law aggravate the libel they’re claiming against you. Obviously there will be a record of Mr Jagger’s call, so a need to explain any ill-advised call.

    Alternatively you’re not telling the truth about the nature of Mr Jagger’s phone call, but then why did you phone him back.

    You’ll have recorded one or other of these conversations I assume.

  • Uriah Heep

    That Guardian article on the industry that is current UK libel law is quite good.

    It’s become a money making and/or bullying of fair comment enterprise.

    As you know there’s quite a lot of concern about it at the moment, in Parliament.

    It’s interesting that lawyers are now seeking secretive injunctions rather than corrections. They’re doing this because they can’t bully the blogosphere as easily as they’ve managed with the dead wood press.

    All it ever should have been about is the correction of errors of fact, and if they’re not corrected then you have recourse to satisfaction at law.

    How did it ever become the bullying and money making exercise it is today?

    It’s about time a few of these vexatious solicitors found themselves facing financial and indeed custodial penalty for their excesses.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Excellent response Craig – very eloquent. I wouldn’t trust the judgement of anyone who went from supporting Islamic extremists to supporting the “war on terror” either – very like John Reid and Jack Straw going from Stalinism to New Labour – or Bolton as other posters mentioned already.

    I don’t know much about libel laws, except that the UK’s are much too generous to anyone claiming libel.

  • George Dutton

    “You’ll have recorded one or other of these conversations I assume.”

    On the off chance that Craig Murray’s phone conversations may be recorded by some government organisation?. Would the court be able to order the recordings be known to them?. This can now I believe be done in secret session?.

  • Strategist

    This is getting very funny. There’s no way MI5 are going to let their own guy Jagger get hauled through the courts after his embarrassing rumbled ruse.

    What’s the betting nothing is heard from Clarke Wotsits for quite some time?

    Meanwhile, please can someone tell me – are libel cases still held in front of a jury of 12 good folk and true? And do they get to set the damages as well, or is that the judge’s job?

  • Pro Bono

    Whoever composed this latest effort must be on work experience.

    “the clear and express meaning of these words …(your words, Craig…)to the ordinary reader of them is that Mr Husain is a man without principle, whereas the contrary is the truth”

    Precisely what principle is it that Mr Husain can be said to sustain in his transition from Islamist extremism to pecuniary advantage in British government funding?

    You ought to be demanding an apology from these people and a suitable sum for the distress they’ve caused.

    In this case the lawyers too are liable. They’re a party to, rather than merely the intermediary that many people might think.

  • Ruth

    I suspect the whole thing is to shut Craig up. His blog must be a real concern to MI5 and MI6 as many sensitive matters are posted in his articles and raised in comments.

    Craig’s blog has many, many readers probably all over the world and Craig is very well respected. A real threat to the government.

    If the Quilliam Foundation is a cover for the intelligence services, then the judge will most surely be instructed to make a decision against Craig.

    If that happens I suggest we start raising money not just to help Craig but to support our right to discuss matters relating to the way we’re governed.

    I also suggest we ask the Muslim community for help too.

  • A boy called Sue

    Husain has not so far sued Douglas Murray. Nor has he sued Melanie Phillips, who has drawn repeated attention to his evasions and increasingly erratic pronouncements on the Israel-Palestine question. Husain is, however, notoriously thin-skinned, some would say highly-strung. Phillips’ comments led him to write that her “zealotry and ignorance frighten me. How did we produce a public commentator filled with such anger, venom and hatred?” He also described her as a conspiracy theorist and a ranter. The article produced a thread of (even by CiF standards) remarkable venom, during which a moderator – now revealed to be Alan Rusbridger’s daughter – likened the Spectator columnist to “that character in Little Britain who is violently sick every time she hears the words ‘black or gay.’ Except for Melanie, the word would be ‘Muslim.'” Phillips might have sued Husain herself, I suppose – instead she did the journalistically proper thing and fired back a blistering response.

  • Unfree State

    “This isn’t new, though it is set out with great clarity. Nor will anyone who has followed, for example, the progress of Simon Singh’s battle with the British Chiropractic Association or the Trafigura case be surprised to learn that claimants (who may not need the money) see libel suits as a method for intimidating and silencing critics. Egged on by lawyers, such claimants (am I alone, btw, in still mourning the inexplicable removal of that fine old word “plaintiff” from English legal procedure?) “use libel actions… not to vindicate their reputation but to harass, embarrass and chill their critics and to develop for themselves a reputation for taking libel action whenever criticised – a reputation that will deter would-be critics, whose newspapers and NGO’s do not have the money to fund expensive libel defences.” As Simon Singh has rightly said (and he should know), the law is such that the only sensible thing to do when faced with a libel writ is to back down and apologise”.

    “…the really fascinating part of the document comes in its dissection of the small, indeed incestuous, world of English libel practice. The dominant position occupied by the solicitors’ firm Carter-Ruck is notorious. Less well known is the fact that two sets of barristers’ chambers – 5 Raymond Buildings and 1 Brick Court – between them account for the vast majority of libel work. And they also supply the judges. Rather as old footballers become coaches, successful libel lawyers find themselves elevated to the bench, where they have free rein to maintain and enforce the very laws that made them rich, and which are still enriching their old friends and colleagues who stand before them. There are four of them at present, two from each set. It’s all very cosy. The other week in The Times Janice Turner made an interesting comparison between Somali pirates and City bankers. Perhaps libel lawyers and judges might be compared to Afghan warlords or Mafiosi”.

    One case where an appeal did succeed, Jameel v Dow Jones, “exposed how libel judges from libel chambers had been sabotaging the Reynolds public interest defence since 1998”.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    I don’t envy you Craig being sued by those deemed to be of good character because they have cash. However Quilliam Foundation runs the risk of doing the same damage to itself that the McDonalds achieved by winning the McLibel trial.

    I regret that I don’t like eating McCholestoral food so I cannot boycott McDonalds as I would like to do in retaliation for McLibel..

    In this case Quilliam is using the libel laws exactly as the laws were designed to be used, to prevent criticism of the gentry, who were deemed to be of impeccable character regardless of their actions.

    Shakespeare should not have written “Let’s kill all the lawyers” instead it should have been “Let’s kill all the libel lawyers”.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    It is my opinion that the hurtfullness of criticism increases with the truth of that criticism. The libel laws exist to prevent people from saying that rich crooks are in fact crooked.

  • Paul Russell

    Craig, this is slightly off-topic, but I think you were very unwise to state that your wife and young child will be home alone, indicating approximate dates, and including your home address.


  • dreoilin

    Not so much stating it to Michael Clarke perhaps but putting it on the internet. I would “redact” those words above, if I were in your shoes, Craig. (Better safe than sorry?)

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Craig, I salute your courage! However, I agree with Paul Russell, you have to be very careful about giving out your home address and details of when your family will be alone on a public website. That really worried me. You ought perhaps to have redacted that bit of the letter from the post, as there are a lot of lone nutters and evil people around, and not just UK and Uzbek government goons who would already know all that information, on the web. I’m sure all will be well, but I’d maybe strongly suggest that you consider removing your UK address and the reference to them being alone over certain dates from the posting, if you can. Just a suggestion, as always made in good faith.

    Ruth, the QF is revealed by its own actions. They don’t seem very professional as liars, do they? I mean, the average actor could’ve done a far better job than the individual who allegedly telephoned Craig Murray! And using your own mobile to make a ‘phone call like that? Any idiot would’ve known to have used a ‘disposable’ one, or a public ‘phone-box.

    Melanie Phillips is an propaganda extremist and regarding the Levant, Colonial Fundamentalist of whom Joseph Goebbels would’ve been proud. She, too switched from Extreme Left to Extreme Right in the blink of an eyelid. She was as totalitarian in her outlook when she worked for The Guardian as she is now. She and the Jihadi Recants deserve one another! Douglas Murray is a vitriolic neocon theorist. A very dangerous individual. Both of these are aligned, it seems to me, with the US military machine and the overarching imperial strategy instrumentalising that machine for resource and geographical control vis a vis China and Russia. I’m not sure why they’ve come into conflict with the QF, when they all seem to work for the hard state. However, it’s important to understand that there are differences within the ruling cadres of the empire and that a good publis spat is no bad thing as it creates the illusion that the QF is a genuinely independent body. Furthermore, these two individuals really are very fractious and extreme in their views and are unlikely to agree with anyone unless they’re in favour of lobbing missiles at all perceived opponents (and especially Muslims) at the drop of a hat. They’re like the woman I met once on a train who, when asked whether she thought the elction of Ricahrd Nixon (this was early 1969) was a good thing, replied, “I don’t think he’s hard enough”. Well, how many millions of Cambodians, Vietnamese and Chilenas would disagree?

  • Craig

    Paul –

    Thanks – don’t worry they are being looked after. I always give my address freely and in public, as a matter of principle.

  • jngo

    I too wasworried about your revealing openess. I think the best we can all do now is to dig and publicise what the QF is really about.

    Publicising their work and what they do in secret, imho, is the best way of diverting this action, should it proceed.

    It might have been a shot across the bow so to speak, an indication that you have hit the right note somewhere.

    I am offering my services as personal protection, should you need it. No doubt you know better younger and fitter aspirants, but I can cook Plov now…..

    heads up, if the QF is not bluffing, like others said before, there are hundreds of us who can inform thousands in a matter of minutes about their tax dependencies and utterly secret undertakings.

    If the QF is a cover for one of the MI’s it will become public knowledge, who knows what the allies will make of some of the double dealings that seem to be going on, but they will also find out.

    Sadly, the harrassment and distructive nature of this action would keep you from vital business in hand, making it necessarry to recoup your losses, a fact these tax taking lounge lizards better take into consideration.

    my best to you all, good luck and keep us all informed.

    WQe will inform the rest of the world.

    As for any possible trial, insist on total openess, after all the QF’s mutuality and aims say that they have nothing to hide, everything’s legit, so there is nothing to keep secret really.

    My bet is they will try their utmost to keep any trial out of the limelight, because they are intrionsically dodgy.

  • mike cobley

    One would think that at some point a sense of self-preservation would kick in and they’d realise that it aint worth the candle. Pushing ahead with legal action would almost certainly result in QF being publically roasted alive. Mmmm, toasty!

  • jamesk

    What a bunch of lowlifes using tax payers money to silence opposing views.

    Good on you Mr murray you are in the right and hopefully this situation will expose these appalling leeches even more for what they are money grabbing opportunists!

  • Vamonos Bandidos

    For every neo liberal/conservative tosspot pontifications of ;”extremism” , “Islam-ism”, “Mid-east”, and finally anti of all those as a worth while preoccupation, ought to be enough grounds for ringing alarm bells.

    For, these cretins devoid of any logic truly remain reliant on sophistry, sound bites, and nonsensical chants, and gosh darn isn’t the western model so perfect? Fact that these cretins and their predecessors have been singing from the same hymn sheet ever since 1946 , and given their crowning achievement of “creative Destruction” in 2009 ought to be giving rise to a paradigm shift; show me the proof wankers!

    Therefore these sharp operatives swinging the lead and finding all manner of pecuniary sponsorships from the current bunch of expense scrounging malingers in governance, in an attempt to fool the people with the notions of corrective measures are being put in place. Hence to find QF yet another neo liberal/conservative construct in the way of “we feel your pain” shit, as well as keeping some turncoat bastards who were up until yesterday in the ranks of the “dissidents” today turned gatekeepers and beefeaters!

    Then to find a blog somehow has been making liable against these free-loading self-appointed “experts” on Islam and Islamism wreaks of an attempt to coerce to silence all the politicly concerned citizenry of this country.

    Therefore the following;

    Dear acting solicitors;

    Mr. Hussain the self elected representative of the UK Muslims, whose singular expertise are derived from his membership in Hizb ut tahrier an entity from without UK, which apparently has had a branch in UK so we are told. Along with his circumcision denoting his affiliation with Islam of some sorts, is an absolute rat’s knacker (an unholy alliance of a Gobshite, a Turncoat, and Whore’s Moat) and a wanker of gross magnitude. These later conclusions have been arrived at at least by three million Muslims, and many millions of none Muslims resident in UK, yours truly included among these before we ever stumbled upon Mr. Murry’s blog.

    Therefore your assertion of the good name of the directors smacks of lawyering about with a view to funnel the much needed tax funds at the disposal of QF to your own pockets. Therefore if you wish you may call me to the court too, because I have a few questions to ask Mr. Hussain et al which are considered really libellous outside any courts.

  • Jaded.

    Don’t let them get to you mentally. That’s massive. Considering what you went through with the ‘Incredibly Brave Spook Twat Squad’ (swoon :-0) i’m sure a few letters from the likes of Quilliam et al won’t worry you too much, especially if they don’t have much merit. I haven’t researched all this a great deal, but this bunch may well be Common Purpose. Overpaid; taxpayer funded; online bullies; serving no meaningful function; little intelligence etc.. It all certainly fits the bill. Meet them in the street and shout ‘Boo’ and they would undoubtedly scurry off like scared stoats. And as for ringing you under the guise of donations, well, money is all they understand of course! Enough said…

  • CLS

    Looks as though Clarke Willmott are quite proud of how they develop the “assets” of their clients, and indeed themselves.

    “…the genuine difference we make is in the way that we use our contacts and connections to look for opportunities for our clients to develop their business or their assets. As a result, we’ve more than doubled in size and turnover in the past four years.”

  • MJ

    Craig, there is an inconsistency in your letter to Clarke. In para 5 you say “I also insist that you tell me whether you had advance knowledge of the plan for Mr Ed Jagger to telephone

    me falsely pretending to wish to be able to make a donation”, yet in your final para you say “I have nothing more to say to you and will enter no further correspondence with you, nor read any further correspondence by you”.

    This doesn’t particularly damage your case, except that it gives Clarke good reason not to answer your rather important demand. The broader point however is that it suggests you dashed

    off your letter in some haste and without reflection, which is inadvisable when dealing with

    legal scumbags like this. I strongly recommend that from now on you sleep on, then review in the cold light of day, any further correspondence with these characters.

    Your three-week sojourn in Ghana may be rather timely for all parties. In particular it will give the obviously panicked QF breathing space to reflect on the wisdom of their actions. The

    business regarding their accounts is effectively sorted. Your original comments were fair and reasonable given the information available in the public domain at the time. You could not

    reasonably be expected to be privy to confidential arrangements agreed between QF and CH.

    Clarke’s suggestion that “the points in issue are not whether the accounts were lodged before or after your libellous publication” is obviously nonsense because as soon as the accounts were filed you acted in good faith and amended your remarks just as they had requested.

    The remaining issue therefore is the other stuff: your comments about Husain’s remarkable and “socio-pathic” vaulting between extremes and the associated careerist money-grubbing. As you point out these charges have been made elsewhere and seem fair comment on the basis of the historical facts. The QF, dependent as it is on Labout patronage, may, in its own financial

    interest if nothing else, have second thoughts about the wisdom of embarking on a public libel action of this nature at around the time that Labour is most likely going to be voted out of office. The Tories may take a dimmer view of this grubby little organisation when it comes to renewing contracts. Then what would the QF do?

  • Umar Abdullah

    Hi All,

    Just downloaded their accounts from companies house, very intriguing reading. Particular highlights :-

    a. They have 8 Staff, paid a total of £422,500. I wonder what they actually do for that money, and what value the taxpayer gets for that money.

    b. They received Grants and Donations of £879,245.

    c. The two directors (Ed and Majid ) received salary / wages / other emoluments of £132,528. Not bad for a start up organisation!!

    d. They somehow managed to spend nearly a million pounds, an incredible feat considering all they have done is write some reports and articles.

    e. To find all the above out, they had to pay an auditor £8,000. Lucky people, you get all this information for free!!

    WS and take care


  • George Laird

    Dear Craig

    I am publishing your letter on my blog.

    Well said on put up or shut up.

    Exactly what I told the University of Glasgow lawyers when they threatened me as having libelled a liar, bully and thief in the University employment.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird

    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  • paulcole

    Craig if this goes to court you will expose this useless organization for what it is.

    This organization plays no productive use other than waste public money on sending out emails containing rehashed soundbites for a cost of £1 million. I am sure anyone can conclude this is poor value for money in anybodies book!

    Taking you to court with our public money is nothing short of taking the piss!

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