Irish Republican News · August 11, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McBride family in US talks

Campaigners for justice in the case of murdered Belfast teenager Peter McBride have met US consul-general Howard Dean Pittman to discuss a U.S. link to the killing

Mr McBride’s mother Jean and his sister Kelly were accompanied by representatives of the Pat Finucane Centre when they questioned the role of the United States government in relation to the case.

The Pentagon has been strongly criticised after a huge security contract in Iraq was awarded to Aegis Defence Services.

The Aegis chief executive is the former senior British Army officer Tim Spicer.

He was the commander of the Scots Guards regiment in 1992 when two soldiers, James Fisher and Mark Wright, killed Mr McBride by shooting him in the back.

Despite being found guilty of murder, both Mr Wright and Mr Fisher have been allowed to stay in the British army.

Campaigners for Mr McBride have demanded that both men be dismissed.

Jean McBride described the meeting with Mr Pittman as “useful”.

“The consul has promised to get back to us after consulting with the State Department and US Department of Defence. He also talked to Mitchell Reiss and the State Department about the Aegis contract last night,” she said.

Dr Reiss is President George W Bush’s special envoy for the North of Ireland.

Mrs McBride said members of her family had been in direct contact with legislators in the US Congress and Senate about the case.

She pressed Mr Pittman to ensure that a complete review of the Pentagon’s dealings with Aegis takes place.

Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry said that the US administration “cannot simply ignore this case because there are fairly serious legal issues at stake”.

“Just last week, Senator Pat Leahy asked, if a private contractor is responsible for a death in Iraq, what is the legal responsibility of the US government?

“In the case of Aegis, we have advised the US government of our strong concerns about a company and person to whom they have given their contract.

“The question we are asking is: Where do those documented and long-standing concerns leave the US government in the event of legal proceedings with respect to civilian contractors in Iraq?

“In our view, it puts them in a very tenuous legal predicament,” Mr O’Connor said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News