Iraq contract under fire

Posted By: March 29, 2013

By Tom Griffin.
The Irish World. 30 July 2004

Irish-Americans last week lobbied US President George Bush to cancel
a £158 million Iraq security contract awarded to Aegis Defense
Services, the company run by controversial former British Army
officer Tim Spicer.

Spicer was the commanding officer of Scots Guards Mark Wright and
James Fisher, who shot dead 18-year-old Peter McBride in the New
Lodge area of Belfast on 4 September 1992. Spicer defended the
actions of the soldiers and campaigned for their release after they
were subsequently convicted of murder.

Father Sean Mc Manus, President of the Washington-based Irish
National Caucus, has written to President Bush, asking him “in the
name of decency to cancel the Spicer contract as it has Peter
McBride’s blood on it”.

He goes no to tell Mr. Bush, ” This could undo any credit you gained
from Irish-Americans for you support of the Irish peace-process. US
dollars should not subsidize such a person as Lt Col Spicer. And
long-suffering Iraq needs him no more than Northern
Ireland needed him”.

” We are determined not to accept this terrible insult to the
McBride family and to Irish-Americans. I cannot believe that
President Bush would have approved such an outrageous contract. He
has got to undo this great wrong. Iraq does not need the likes of
Spicer , and U.S. dollars should not be funding him – and, in
effect, endorsing the murder of Peter McBride”, he concluded.
Fr. McManus also raised the issue during a briefing at the State
Department last week by Dr. Mitchell Reiss, Special Envoy for
Northern Ireland.

“Dr. Reiss acknowledged he had concerns about the contract,” Fr.
McManus said.

The Irish National Caucus has also written to Democratic
presidential candidate Senator John Kerry and other members of

“We are calling on them to denounce the awarding of the contract to
Spicer and demanding that it be cancelled. We are determined to make
this an election issue,” Fr McManus said.