The Catholic Orangemen of Togo.
Lawyers Schillings, acting on behalf of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, persuaded my publisher to pull out of publishing my new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known. Tim Spicer has made millions from the war in Iraq, and the UK has become notorious for the ability of the rich to close down criticism because of the massive costs - often hundreds of thousands of pounds - of defending a legal action.
There is access to the courts in big libel cases only for the ultra-rich. So much so that just a simple letter like this
can kill a book. This process is known in the trade as "Chilling". Schillings are the acknowledged leaders in chilling.
But the law was formulated in an age when a limited number of printing presses were the only means of mass communication. Not only does this not apply in the digital age, but by using the "Streisland effect" we can make sure that any attempt at "Chilling" results in ten times more people actually reading the book. Eventually this will discourage clients from using firms like Schillings, and hopefully put the leeches of repression out of business.So as a lesson to Schillings and their potential clients, here is The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known. I am making it available across the internet, absolutely free to read. You can find it here:
http://www.septicisle.info/murraytogo.zip (PDF files)
Let me be clear: there is no libel in this book - it is all true and based on my own eye-witness account. It contains not libel, but rather truth some people wish to hide.
It is going online in the next 24 hours in over thirty jurisdictions - Schillings will have their work cut out trying to get all those taken down, and it would make a dent even in Spicer's bank balance to try.
So please read it, pass it around, copy it and post it to your site. You will be striking a blow for freedom, and you will ultimately contribute to making libel lawyers poorer.
If you want a hard copy, I have self-published and had some privately printed. You can buy it here.I should be most happy if people wished to buy the book - you can widen the effect by giving it as a present! My last book, Murder in Samarkand was a non-fiction bestseller, so Schillings have cost me a lot of money. It will be more than worth it if we can get the truth out more widely, and strike a blow against the libel laws.
The blurb reads:
Craig Murray's adventures in Africa from 1997 to 2001 are a rolliciking good read. He exposes for the first time the full truth about the "Arms to Africa" affair which was the first major scandal of the Blair Years. He lays bare the sordid facts about British mercenary involvement in Africa and its motives. This is at heart an extraordinary account of Craig Murray's work in negotiating peace with the murderous rebels of Sierra Leone, and in acting as the midwife of Ghanaian democracy. Clearly his efforts were not only difficult but at times very dangerous indeed. Yet the story is told with great humour. Not only do we meet Charles Taylor, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jerry Rawlings and Foday Sankoh, but there are unexpected encounters with others including Roger Moore, Jamie Theakston and Bobby Charlton! Above all this book is about Africa. Craig Murray eschews the banal remedies of the left and right to share with us the deep knowledge and understanding that comes over 30 years working in or with Africa. Gems of wisdom and observation scatter the book, as does a deep sense of moral outrage at the consequences of centuries of European involvement: even though he explains that much of it was well-intentioned but disastrous.
And already Murray's book is making waves due its stinging criticism of the transformation of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, which has also been the focus of much attention in Private Eye of late:
Lady Amos, who was international development secretary and leader of the Lords in Tony Blair's government, has taken up a directorship with an African private equity firm, three months after it received over £15m from a Whitehall agency wholly owned by her former department.
The timing of Amos's appointment was described as "a coincidence" by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), which approved the cash – amounting to nearly 30% of the funds raised by Travant Capital Partners, based in Nigeria.
Craig Murray, the UK's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, attacks the appointment in a new book published this week. He says: "It says everything about New Labour that CDC, which ... used to run agricultural projects to benefit the rural poor, was rebranded ... with a new remit to provide most of its funds to the financial services industry. It says even more about New Labour's lack of the understanding of fundamental personal ethics, of their embrace of greed, that they see no reason why one of their former senior ministers should not move to benefit personally from the DFID [Department for International Development] money – even if through a 100% owned satellite – thus invested."
Having not had much time to look at it until now despite Craig e-mailing it me around a month ago, just reading the first couple of pages immediately hooks you in, Murray's engaging prose and casual but endearing style an absolute treat that's well worth indulging. Sticking one up Schillings and help with the distribution, however slight, is the very least I could do.