We are instructed by our clients to prosecute an action against you for libel. 31


I replied briefly to Quilliam’s lawyer’s letter threatening me with libel action:

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/11/all_blogger_ale.html#comments

Thank you,

I should be most grateful if you could send me a copy of the Quilliam Foundation’s accounts, which you say have in fact been filed.

Craig

That drew this response:

From: Rachael Gregory [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 4:39 PM

To: [email protected]

Subject: The Quilliam Foundation

Dear Mr Murray

Thank you for your response to our letter.

We are instructed by our clients to prosecute an action against you for libel. Full particulars are supplied in the letter that you have acknowledged.

Our client is not obliged to engage in correspondence with you about its accounts beyond the statement (made in our opening letter) that accounts have been prepared and have been filed at Companies House, in accordance with the law..

You may direct your request for a copy of the filed accounts to Companies House but in the meanwhile, our client requires a substantive response to the serious matters that are raised in our letter to you of yesterday’s date.

Yours faithfully

Clarke Willmott LLP

Rachael Gregory

Secretary

______________________________________________

Clarke Willmott LLP

1 Georges Square

Bath Street Bristol BS1 6BA

tel: 0845 209 1394

fax: 0845 209 2519

email: [email protected]

www.clarkewillmott.com

______________________________________________

To which I replied thus:

Clarke,

Thank you. Had you noticed that your clients filed their accounts six days AFTER I had posted my article saying that they had not filed their accounts? Just trying to be helpful. I would also point out that Mr Jagger telephoned me and lied to me about why he was telephoning me ?” see the latest article on my website.

Craig

It appears to me that, even for a libel lawyer, Clarke Willmott was acting with questionable ethics by writing to me saying that accounts had been filed, yet not disclosing that they were filed six days AFTER I published that they had not been filed.

On the substantive question of whether the primary effect of Quilliam is the enrichment of its cosseted directors, that certainly is the general tone of this piece from the Times. The Times says the Directors salaries are 85,000 pounds a year.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5549138.ece

85,000 POUNDS A YEAR SALARY. From the FCO. That’s 20,000 pounds more than my salary from the FCO for the much more onerous, responsible and dangerous job of being British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. Remember Quilliam is funded from our pockets as taxpayers.

The Times says:

The foundation refused to discuss individual earnings.

They are going to find that in court we are going to discuss their salaries, pensions, expenses and emoluments in very great detail indeed.


31 thoughts on “We are instructed by our clients to prosecute an action against you for libel.

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  • Tom Welsh

    “It appears to me that, even for a libel lawyer, Clarke Willmott was acting with questionable ethics by writing to me saying that accounts had been filed, yet not disclosing that they were filed six days AFTER I published that they had not been filed”.

    I quite agree with you. But you must admit that what he said was technically true! Isn’t the law wonderful…

    As Robert Heinlein pointed out half a century ago, the most artistic form of lying is to tell the truth – but not all of it.

  • brian

    Nice one, I’ll be asking Santa for one of your books for Christmas as help towards the case and as a (probably fruitless) attempt to reduce my woeful ignorance about what’s really going on in the world.

    If they do prosecute an action for libel having filed accounts six days after your blog post could you prosecute an action for harrassment?

  • Ed

    Well if it isn’t for the filing of its accounts, then I can only assume the Quilliam Foundation are upset that you called them a “government “War on Terror” neo-con propaganda vehicle”.

    I’d be intrigued to find out what part of this is allegedly libellous, really intrigued, not because there’s a question of veracity attached to this description, but because it’s pretty difficult to establish what part of this should be deemed offensive.

    One other thing, is Quilliam free to devote resources, provided in significant part by the government, to fighting a libel action against a blogger?

  • wendy mann

    “One other thing, is Quilliam free to devote resources, provided in significant part by the government, to fighting a libel action against a blogger?”

    qf a proxy org on behalf of the govt who are meant to deliver what other ‘muslim’ orgs could not and did not because government couldnt face upto the truth of their foreign policy igniting a radicalisation just as the intel agencies had warned in the first place?

  • Abe Rene

    I marvel at your readiness to brave this country’s libel laws. I imagine that other ‘potentates’ have backed off you because they had too much to lose by having their affairs dragged through the public eye. The same could happen here, if the disclosures in court convinced the right people that no more taxpayers’ money should be given to the Q foundation.

  • MS

    I admire your courage,but do you have a right to legal aid or something like that,if this goes to trial?You really don’t want to play the martyr role here,I gather.

  • derek

    Ed Jagger should have bought Craig’s books when he had the chance.

    If he had read them he would know that Craig is not the sort of man who will roll over when threatened.

  • LD

    Quilliam’s behaviour has removed any doubt about the claims against them. This isn’t the way an honest organisation, let alone a charity, responds to things.

  • dreoilin

    IMHO, Quilliam are being very stupid.

    If they had any sense, they’d ignore what was written here. There is still an attitude abroad (seen on Sky, in regard to the Damian McBride affair) that blogs are some ‘backroom activity’ undertaken by people who can in no way be compared to “serious journalists” (!). Many people who don’t use the net other than for email, who are not bloggers, and who are unaware of major stories that have been broken by bloggers, can be very dismissive of them. I know many such people of my own generation.

    By drawing attention to what Craig said, and by taking this to court where Craig can have his say again, they are guaranteed to get publicity – which may not be too good for them. They should let sleeping dogs lie (so to speak.) Instead of which they’ve already made the situation worse for themselves, with their stupid phonecall.

    I too was wondering about legal aid.

  • Strategist

    “They are going to find that in court we are going to discuss their salaries, pensions, expenses and emoluments in very great detail indeed.”

    Ha ha ha! These guys are so thick and they are going to get so slaughtered in a cross-examination by Craig, you could almost feel sorry for them. It’s like Norman Wisdom climbing into the ring with Joe Louis or something.

    Without a doubt their paymasters at MI5 will shortly be telling them they can’t go through with this.

    I have

  • Jon

    An excellent opportunity to overturn this rock and see what lies beneath. I too agree that taxpayer’s money should not be used to fund a New Lab/neo-con propaganda vehicle either.

    I’ll boot this one over to Private Eye. It’s likely they’ve seen it, but will make sure. Hopefully the QF will receive telephone calls from Eye diggers asap 😉

  • Jon

    Incidentally – although it’s probably already been thought of – I’d suggest various people (not just Craig) getting in their FoIA requests now regarding the QF, so that the information is ready and published should this come to court.

  • George Dutton

    “It appears to me that, even for a libel lawyer, Clarke Willmott was acting with questionable ethics by writing to me saying that accounts had been filed, yet not disclosing that they were filed six days AFTER I published that they had not been filed.”

    What do you expect from people who make a living out of the misery of unemployment and sickness/bereavement.

    “From our base in Taunton we provide support across the UK with debt collection issues. We can work for a specific region or deal with all your national collection issues.”

    “Debts are collected effectively, but without the aggressive techniques used elsewhere which can damage a client’s reputation.”…

    http://tinyurl.com/ylxcmum

    I wonder if Clarke Willmott have ever employed the services of these low lifes…

    December 21, 2008

    “The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.”

    “Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.”…

    tinyurl.com/7ljtb9

  • derek

    @Stephen

    I see Craig is already referenced on the Wikipedia page on the ‘Streisand effect’. If Quilliam try hard enough they can get him referenced twice.

    Hint to Clarke Willmott : You really should educate your client about the Streisand effect.

  • Reader

    Maybe we could help Craig by all buying a copy of his book online and sending to the lawyer chappy…. as a present 🙂

  • MJ

    “Had you noticed that your clients filed their accounts six days AFTER I had posted my article saying that they had not filed their accounts?”

    His clients probably omitted to tell him that trifling detail.

  • Neil Craig

    The European Declaration of Human Rights sect 10 guarantees “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority”

    As a fakecharity I guess they are a public authority. Since the factual point they are disputing is that have filed accounts but that they hadn’t at the time you said they hadn’t they seem to have no case. That didn’t help over the LM trial (where LM mag had alleged that ITN had faked their “concentration camp” video & the judge said that the fact that they had “doesn’t matter”) but at that time the declaration wasn’t part of UK law.

    It is always disgraceful that people use public money to keep things from the public.

    By comparison note Ed Hussain’s hate filled attack on Melanie Philips calli8ng her “demented” for her pro-Jewish views (& the subsequent even more blatant attacks on her the Guardian hosted online).

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/5492961/ed-husain-and-me.thtml

  • Judge Judy

    Is that Quilliam organisation in any way related to this person who tells lies for spooks?

    Hassan Butt

    “The Muslim activist Faisal Haque has asked why Butt has not been arrested and suggested that Butt “may have been working for the security service”.[14] Butt has denied these charges saying he would inform the police if he would be aware of an impending terror attack, but that he was not an informer.[1]

    In May 2008, Channel 4 News in the UK reported that Greater Manchester Police had released transcripts from their interviews with Hassan Butt. In the extracts he said he had fabricated many of his previous claims, that he had never met Osama bin Laden and that he had stabbed himself in the arm rather than being attacked by extremists as he had previously claimed.[4]”

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=1578617152

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_Butt

  • Rumpole

    Craig

    Clarke Wilmott seem rather dismissive of your questions to them, but at the very least I think you’re entitled to a response from Clarke Willmott as to whether or not they were party to Mr Jagger’s attempt to obtain your bank details by deception.

    Was he acting upon their advice or was he acting on his own initiative?

    Toodlepip…

  • writerman

    Christ! This whole thing is sordidly pathetic. This isn’t the way a healthy civilization expends its time and energy – surely?

    Much of this is a form of intimidation, which should never be allowed to come to court, but then so much depends on the judge envolved, as it always does, no? One thing is the ‘law’ another is ‘justice’ and how it’s pushed and shoved in the legal system.

    Putting, effectively, this bogus foundation on trial itself, may be more difficult than it seems, once again it’s up to the judge.

  • spookiewookie

    writerman

    “Christ! This whole thing is sordidly pathetic. This isn’t the way a healthy civilization expends its time and energy – surely?”

    You can blame Peter Carter Ruck for that

    “The Carter-Ruck chill

    by David Hooper

    The man who created the modern libel industry was a dedicated liar and a reactionary with a lust for cash”

    David Hooper is a media lawyer and was a partner of Peter Carter-Ruck

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/dec/23/pressandpublishing.comment

    Given the sinister uses to which this body of law has been put, you’d have to question why no government has ever addressed the issue.

  • MJ

    11/11/09

    Dear Mr Murray

    Thank you very much indeed for pointing out on your blog (05/11/09) that we had omitted to file accounts with Companies House.

    Your remarks served as a timely reminder of our oversight and you will I’m sure be pleased to learn that we have today rectified the matter.

    If you could perhaps spare a moment to amend the content of your article accordingly we would be most grateful.

    With thanks and best wishes

    The Quilliam Foundation

    (Has this e-mail not arrived yet? Perhaps it’s caught in cyberspace and will show up soon).

  • Charles Crawford

    Craig,

    Good luck in your latest battle.

    I nonetheless wonder whether there is not a space in the middle somewhere between ‘preparing and filing accounts in accordance with the law’ (their point) and the details appearing on the Companies House website for our edification (yours)?

    Thus if the Foundation had some issue which meant that it negotiated with Companies House in an amicable spirit over some technicalities, the papers would have been filed ‘according to law’ but not yet visible online?

    The reply from their lawyer is carefully worded in that general direction. Could this factual point or something like it be a big loser for you?

    The salaries of the Foundation are trivial compared to all sorts of other luxuriant public sector deals – check out the Guardian Jobs pages.

    Charles

  • George Dutton

    “The salaries of the Foundation are trivial compared to all sorts of other luxuriant public sector deals – check out the Guardian Jobs pages.”

    Charles

    The salaries of the public sector deals are trivial compared to all sorts of other luxuriant deals in the private sector. As we have found out after the tories privtised utilities etc. All to our cost as we now know.

  • mary

    From the Morning Star re another libel litigant manque , Tim Spicer and Boateng, who secured himself the sinecure of High Commissioner to South Africa.

    ‘One more post-Blair career needs mentioning. Paul Boateng became an MP thanks to the left and, while he has consistently shuffled to the right since his election in 1987, he has now taken a giant leap.

    The former Cabinet minister is now a director of private military firm Aegis. This company, which sends armed guards to Iraq and Afghanistan – for a price – is run by Tim Spicer, whose gun-for-hire behaviour caused a near-coup in Papua New Guinea and severe embarrassment to the Labour Party in the arms-to-Africa affair.

    Boateng sits on the Aegis board alongside right-wing Tory Nicholas Soames. Aegis made much of Boateng’s African experience – he did a stint as the British high commissioner in South Africa.

    Aegis has trouble winning contracts in Africa because of a general suspicion of soldiers for hire on the continent. Coincidentally, commissioner Boateng lobbied the South African government to water down its strict anti-mercenary laws.

    So it looks like Aegis is paying Boateng to make private military work respectable in Africa.’

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/83154

  • resistor

    Another Quilliam staffer -like Ed Jagger with an ‘interesting’ background – is James Brandon.

    Brandon managed to get himself kidnapped in Iraq where he was working as a ‘journalist’.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3562034.stm

    ‘Little is known of his career before he went to the Middle East but Mr Brandon, 23, is believed to have started out in journalism in Yemen, shortly after leaving university.’

    As you do…

    Brandon was in the CSC with Douglas Murray before joining Quilliam.

  • tobias

    “The salaries of the Foundation are trivial compared to all sorts of other luxuriant public sector deals – check out the Guardian Jobs pages.”

    But the Quilliam Foundation are not public sector, so your comparison does not stand.

    They are a private company consuming vast amounts of public money, so their salaries are not trivial.

    It’s well within the public interest to see where taxpayer money is being spent.

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