We do wonder how the London firm of libel lawyers, Schillings , used by minor media celebrities, have managed to convince another rich client, to pay their fees, in order to try to censor former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, when their previous attempts to do so, via, legal threats, backfired so spectacularly in the Alisher Usmanov scandal.
Their bungling lead to "collateral damage", involving various political web blogs, including that of Boris Johnson, who is now Mayor of London, and lead to many people in the UK political blogosphere, from all parts of the political spectrum, condemning Schillings and their client Usmanov as shysters, and lead to their client resorting to flying sports journalists to Moscow to explain about his murky past, and why this should not disqualify him as "a fit and proper person" to take over the ownership of Arsenal football club in London.
Schillings may be experienced libel lawyers, used to dealing with tabloid newspapers, but they should not be advertising themselves as "internet reputation experts" - they are clearly out of their depth.
It is extraordinary that they are now trying to censor Craig Murray's new book, even before it is written !
Apparently, it may mention details of the career of Tim Spicer, a former British Army officer who now runs a successful firm of mercenaries working in Iraq, and allied private security and risk management consultants called Aegis Defence Services.
Aegis Defence Services seem to have several retired British Army Generals on their board, and it cannot simply be a coincidence that their offices are in the same building as that of the Labour Party, at 39 Victoria Street, just across the road from the Metropolitan Police HQ at New Scotland Yard.
They also seem to have inherited some of the utter ineptitude displayed by the British Military when it comes to computers and military recruitment. - see the stolen laptop MoD recruitment database scandal
What sort of people would fill in their personal details , and upload a CV, through this unencrypted online web recruitment form, which has drop down boxes for security clearance, special forces units, close protection courses etc. as well as the usual name. address and other personal details ? Either it is an initiative test, and anyone who fills in the form is automatically rejected, or they simply have no clue about the risks they are subjecting their applicants and staff to.
This is another example of something which would fall foul of the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 clause 83 modification of the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58 Collection of information which specifically criminalise (with a penalty up to 10 years in prison) the collection of information about former "members of Her Majesty's Forces".
See Craig Murray's blog posts:
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.
The .pdf copy of Schillings' threatening letter to his publishers Random House.
Random House publisher's synopsis of the new book The Road to Samarkand: Intrigue, Corruption and Dirty Diplomacy by Craig Murray
Has this whole affair been sparked off by this one line in the synopsis ?
In 1998, Murray became Deputy Head of the Africa Department but, after a brush with mercenary commander Colonel Tim Spicer, he unwittingly created the Arms to Africa investigation.
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' murder 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.
How will Schillings threats do anything except increase publicity about, and sales of, Craig Murray's new book ?
It may well be worthwhile for any bloggers intending to follow this story as it unfolds, to keep local copies of these web pages mentioned above, as they might suddenly disappear offline at any moment.
Even though Tim Spicer and his colleagues at Aegis Defence Systems are not "SAS fantasists", they are still "former members of Her Majesty's Forces".
Therefore the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008, could, and given lawyers like Schillings, almost certainly would, be used to try to stop any investigative journalism, political blogging or whistleblowing about Mercenary / Private Military Contractor / Security companies - see the previous Spy Blog article - Counter-Terrorism Bill Clause 83 - chilling effect on reporting or speculation about military or intelligence service or police personnel ?