From British daily The Morning Star:
McBride mother vows to take on mercenary firm
Monday 11 May 2009
by Paddy McGuffin
JUSTICE DENIED: Peter McBride was shot dead by members of the Scots Guards who were convicted of murder but later released.
The mother of a Belfast teenager shot and killed by British soldiers in 1992 has pledged to take legal action if a firm of mercenaries connected to her son’s death is awarded any form of government contract.
Her comments came as it emerged that the government was proposing to allow private military security contractors – including one that is run by the commanding officer of the soldiers who killed her son – to police themselves.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched a public consultation on the issue earlier this month.
Peter McBride was just 18 when he was shot and killed by members of the Scots Guards in the New Lodge area of Belfast. He was unarmed and running away from soldiers when he was shot in the back.
Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher were convicted of Mr McBride’s murder but, to the dismay of the victim’s family, were released from prison in 1998 following a public campaign.
The two convicted killers were reinstated into the army with no loss of rank or privilege.
At the time of Mr McBride’s murder, the commanding officer of the Scots Guards was Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer. Lt Col Spicer stated at the time and afterwards that his men had done nothing wrong and should never have faced trial.
Although Aegis does not appear to have been granted a British government security contract to date, it is regularly invited, along with other mercenaries, to submit tenders by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Mr McBride’s mother Jean McBride told the Morning Star on Monday that she would fight to ensure that Aegis was never awarded a British government contract.
She said: “I will do my damnedest to ensure that Aegis Defence Systems does not get a penny of British government contract money.
“The CEO of Aegis Tim Spicer is on public record as saying that the soldiers who were convicted in a court of law of shooting my son should not even have been charged. I have said repeatedly that Tim Spicer is not fit to be in charge of armed men in a conflict situation.”
Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Mark Durkan MP, who has backed the McBride family’s campaign, has tabled an early day motion calling on the Defence Secretary to review the suitability of Aegis for public contracts “in view of its demonstrable disregard for the rule of law.”
Police were questioning nine men on Tuesday after a community youth worker was beaten to death by a sectarian mob in Northern Ireland: here.
Iraq: Five US men arrested in connection with murder of contractor: here.