Craig Murray legally threatened by Quilliam Foundation.
Mel at least didn't set m'learned friends after Husain for his piece. That is however exactly what the Quilliam Foundation has done to Craig Murray after he reported, with good faith, that the Foundation, a charity which relies on the government for funding, had not published any accounts as of yet, in this post.
It does though seem that some of those in Quilliam who have past experience with subterfuge have put it to good use. Yesterday Craig received a phone call:
A man telephoned me and said that he had been following my blog for some time and was most impressed by it, and would like to know how to make a donation. I replied truly that I was extremely grateful, but the website really was just me, and therefore I did not request donations, unless for some specific expense like an election campaign.
You may be surprised to hear that people do not generally phone me up out of the blue and offer cash, so I was a bit suspicious. I did go on and suggest that if he wanted to be helpful he could buy my books, but he lost interest in the conversation very quickly in a manner that just seemed wrong compared to his initial eagerness.
So when I got a letter today from lawyers threatening libel action, I wondered if this was an attempt to get financial information on what funds they might target. So today I phoned him back. He gave his name as Ed, so I asked directly if he was Ed Husain or Ed Jagger of the Quilliam Foundation. At first he replied "I am not Ed Husain". I had to ask again before he admitted he was indeed Ed Jagger of the Quilliam Foundation.
I put it to him that he had lied when he phoned and said he wanted to make a donation. He said that he just wanted to establish my contact details for the lawyer. I said that if he had asked me openly and honestly, I would have told him. He concluded by saying that any further communication should be through our lawyers (which will be tricky as I can't afford one: Unlike Jagger I am not funded by taxpayers' money.)
I don't suppose there is any law against Mr Jagger telephoning and lying to me about wishing to make a donation. Indeed I would write it off as a harmless ruse, and amusing he had been caught. But for an organisation funded by the taxpayer to telephone someone and lie to them is quite a different thing.
Should anyone wish to make that point to Mr Jagger, the number from which he telephoned me was 07780 685592.
Quite charming behaviour, I would say. Also charming is the lawyer's letter, from Clarke Wilmott LLP, which takes Craig's initial post and reads it in the most hyperbolic fashion imaginable. Apparently, it "constitute[s] express, clear and obvious statements to the effect that The Quilliam Foundation has acted illegally, that it is engaged in financial and accounting impropriety and that ... this impropriety is directed particularly to reward the directors of The Quilliam Foundation favourably and disproportionately". A level of disproportionality equivalent to Israel's attack on Gaza, perhaps?
Not that Clarke Wilmott has actually provided any evidence whatsoever that Quilliam has filed its accounts, despite the threatening letter, although as Unity points out in the comments, according to the Companies House website they filed them on the 10th of this month, 6 days after Craig's post. Craig's post was then at the time correct; only now that it is not have they complained about it, and rather than asking for it be clarified, they've sent the lawyers in with ominous demands for recompense.
As Craig suggests, for an organisation ostensibly set-up to defend Western values, the attempt to stifle criticism only after the foundation has actually responded to that criticism is rather at odds with their commitment to free speech. Still, the uses of public money, eh?