17 January 2006

Spicer firm is accused of Iraq attacks: VIDEO UPDATE

Daily Ireland

by Tom Griffin
17/01/2006

>>View Video

A former British army officer is facing new allegations that men under his leadership have been involved in attacks on civilians

Tim Spicer, who commanded the Scots Guards in Belfast when Mark Wright and James Fisher shot dead 18-year-old Peter McBride in 1992, is now facing claims that mercenaries working for his firm Aegis Defence Services are behind attacks on Iraqi civilians revealed in footage posted on the internet.
The video, which emerged on an unofficial website maintained by a former Aegis employee, shows a series of clips of private contractors shooting at Iraqi cars from the back of a utility vehicle, set to a soundtrack of the Elvis Presley song Mystery Train. In one clip, Iraqi civilians are seen fleeing after a targeted car swerves and crashes into another vehicle.
The footage has since been taken down from the site, found at www.aegisiraq.co.uk, but has re-emerged elsewhere after its existence was highlighted by the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend.
The unofficial site was apparently known initially only to employees of Aegis and other private security contractors in Iraq.
In one post on the site’s forum, the administrator states: “This site has not been submitted to any search engines and so is not accessible willy-nilly on the Internet, you need to know the URL and at present that is only known by Aegis staff.”
Other posts record concern about the contents of the video. One states: “Respectively that footage is the most damning footage of trigger happy body count hunters that I have witnessed, it has done nothing but show the company and the lads it employs in a bad light, and if I was looking to employ a company that would certainly ensure that Aegis didn’t get the contract.”
The British Foreign Office said yesterday that it had looked into the origins of the footage.
“We’ve seen the clips on this video and it seems to be pieced together from a variety of different clips that have been cut together,” a spokesman said.
“There’s no indication of exactly where it’s come from and there’s certainly nothing to suggest that the vehicle or staff involved are Aegis contractors.”
“Aegis have a contact with the American Defence Department in Iraq, and anything further to do with their contract would be a matter for them.”
The footage has come to light only days after the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry lobbied the US Congress to cancel the Aegis contract, because of Spicer’s role in the McBride case.
“A number of members of Congress expressed concern and indeed shock at the circumstances surrounding the contract,” PFC spokeman Paul O’ Connor said.
“The latest allegations will certainly increase the fears that this contract has been awarded to the wrong person and the wrong firm.”
“Though it is important to discover whether Aegis employees were directly involved in these incidents, we should also remember that Aegis is responsible for directing all private security movements in Iraq.
“Were these incidents reported to Aegis? If not, then they are unaware of massive human rights violations occurring on the ground. If they were reported on the other hand, why was nothing done about it?”
A spokeswoman for the public relations company which represents Aegis said the company had no comment.

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