Censorship and Freedom of Speech

The following is a mirror of an original post from Craig Murray:

This is the key section from my new book which the publisher is
unwilling to publish due to legal threats from Schillings libel
lawyers, acting on behalf of the mercenary commander Tim Spicer:

" Peter Penfold was back in the UK. He was interviewed separately.
Both Penfold and Spicer were interviewed under caution, as suspects for
having broken the arms embargo.

Then, suddenly, Tony Blair intervened. On 11 May 1998, without
consulting the FCO, he gave a statement to journalists. Penfold, Blair
declared, was “a hero”. A dictatorship had been successfully overthrown
and democracy restored. Penfold had “Done a superb job in trying to
deal with the consequences of the military coup.” All this stuff about
Security Council Resolutions and sanctions was “an overblown hoo-ha”.

I believe this episode is extremely important. In 1998 the country
was still starry-eyed about Blair, but with the benefit of hindsight,
this intervention points the way towards the disasters of his later
years in office. It is extraordinarily wrong for a Prime Minister to
declare that a man is a hero, when Customs had questioned him two days
earlier under caution over the very matter the Prime Minister is
praising. It shows Blair’s belief that his judgement stood above the
law of the land, something that was to occur again on a much bigger
scale when he halted the Serious Fraud Office investigation into
British Aerospace’s foreign bribes. But of course Blair's contempt for
UN security council resolutions on the arms embargo, and the belief
that installing democracy by invasion could trump the trivia of
international law, prefigures precisely the disaster of Iraq. As with
Iraq, Blair was also conveniently ignoring the fact that Sierra Leone
was left a mess, with Kabbah in charge of little more than Freetown.

In the FCO we were astonished by Blair’s intervention, and deeply
puzzled. Where had it come from? It differed completely from Robin
Cook’s views. Who was drafting this stuff for Blair to the effect that
the UN and the law were unimportant? For most of us, this was the very
first indication we had of how deep a hold neo-con thinking and
military interests had on the Blair circle. It was also my first
encounter with the phenomenon of foreign policy being dictated by
Alistair Campbell, the Prime Inister’s Press Secretary, The military
lobby, of course, was working hard to defend Spicer, one of their own.

A few days later Customs and Excise concluded their investigations.
A thick dossier, including documentation from the FCO, from the raid on
Sandline’s offices, and from elsewhere, was sent to the Crown
Prosecution Service. The Customs and Excise team who had interviewed us
told me that the recommendation was that both Spicer and Penfold be
prosecuted for breach of the embargo. The dossier was returned to
Customs and Excise from the Crown Prosecution Service the very same day
it was sent. It was marked, in effect, for no further action. There
would be no prosecution. A customs officer told me bitterly that, given
the time between the dossier leaving their offices and the time it was
returned, allowing time for both deliveries, it could not have been in
the CPS more than half an hour. It was a thick dossier. They could not
even have read it before turning it down.

I felt sick to my stomach at the decision not to prosecute Spicer
and Penfold. So were the customs officers investigating the case; at
least two of them called me to commiserate. They had believed they had
put together an extremely strong case, and they told me that their
submission to the Crown Prosecution Service said so.

The decision not to prosecute in the Sandline case was the first
major instance of the corruption of the legal process that was to be a
hallmark of the Blair years. Customs and Excise were stunned by it.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Spicer and Penfold had worked
together to ship weapons to Sierra Leone in breach of UK law. Security
Council 1132 had been given effect in British law by an Order in
Council. I had never found in the least credible their assertions that
they did not know about it. I had personally told Spicer that it would
be illegal to ship arms to Sierra Leone, to any side in the conflict.
Penfold’s claim never to have seen an absolutely key Security Council
Resolution about a country to which he was High Commissioner is truly

But even if they did not know, ignorance of the law is famously no
defence in England. Who knows what a jury would have made of this sorry
tale of greed, hired killers and blood diamonds. But I have no doubt at
all – and more importantly nor did the customs officers investigating
the case – that there was enough there for a viable prosecution.

The head of the Crown Prosecution Service when it decided not to
prosecute was Barbara Mills. Barbara Mills is a very well-connected
woman in New Labour circles. She is married to John Mills, a former
Labour councillor in Camden. That makes her sister-in-law to Tessa
Jowell, the New Labour cabinet minister with a penchant for taking out
repeated mortgages on her home, and then paying them off with cash
widely alleged to have come from Silvio Berlusconi, the friend and
business colleague of her husband David Mills, who according to a BBC
documentary by the estimable John Sweeney has created offshore
companies for known Camorra and Mafia interests. Tessa Jowell and David
Mills were also both Camden Labour Councillors, and are close to Tony
Blair. Blair is also a great friend of Berlusconi, despite the numerous
criminal allegations against Berlusconi and his long history of
political alliances with open fascists. Just to complete the cosy New
Labour picture, another brother-in-law of Barbara Mills and Tessa
Jowell is Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian.

Did any of those relationships of Barbara Mills, the Director of
Public Prosecutions, affect the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision
not to proceed with the case, and to take that decision in less time
than it would have taken them to read the dossier Customs and Excise
sent them?

Barbara Mills was to resign as Director of Public Prosecutions later
that year after being personally criticised in his judgement by a High
Court judge who ruled against the Crown Prosecution Service for
continually failing to prosecute over deaths in police custody. That
has not stopped the extremely well connected Dame Barbara from being
appointed to a string of highly paid public positions since then. "

It is infuriating that, Maxwell style, Spicer (who has made millions
form the war in Iraq) is using the prohibitive costs of defending a
libel case to intimidate my publisher. The result is that important
information I received at first hand, and an account of events to which
I am eye-witness, is being repressed, as is an important independent
critique of early Blair foreign policy.

I am not currently confident the book will get published at all – I
am not prepared to put out anodyne pap, which hides the truth, under my






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