Alisher Usmanov, as pretty much everyone who reads UK blogs is aware by now, is a bullying Uzbek billionaire who got his lawyers to shut down Craig Murray’s website. He did this, presumably, to preserve his reputation. However, he has failed; before this affair started, I hadn’t heard of him and not had many other people. Now lots of people have heard of him, and take an extremely dim view of his activities.
As Obsolete puts it:
Despite comprehensively failing to remove Craig Murray’s original blog post about Usmanov, which is still around if you know where to look, they’ve managed to spook Tim Ireland’s webhost so much that they’ve pulled the plug on Tim and Clive’s cluster of sites, also including Bob Piper, Boris Johnson and Craig Murray’s blogs.
(BTW, if you don’t already know where to look for it, Craig Murray’s original post is here. And probably in loads of other places as well, by now.)
It’s good that Ushmanov’s reputation has been blackened by this affair, as it will make others think twice before they try to censor the Internet. What else can be done to lessen the harm that can be done by billionaires wielding libel lawyers? Sunny Hundal suggests locating one’s website in the USA, where libel laws are more sensible:
British libel laws always make it more difficult on the party with less money. So hosting companies don’t want to take a chance and, at the first threat of legal proceedings, will capitulate. Tim and Craig’s example is worrying because it may have repercussions for British blogging in general. So do blog about this and spread the word! This will hopefully make others re-think before issuing legal threats to bloggers. Oh by the way, we’re hosted in the United States, which have different libel laws.
Personally I think that Usmanov should be banned from visiting the UK ever again, and all his assets here forfeited. And his scumbag lawyers, Schillings, since they don’t believe in free speech, should to told to leave the country within 48 hours or they’ll have their tongues ripped out. (I’m told that Usmanov is likely to become the next leader of Uzbekistan; and I imagine that dissent there is treated rather harshly. By taking Usmanov’s shilling, Schillings have aligned themselves with him, and thus deserve to be treated similarly harshly.)