I’m a bit late with this one, but I feel as though I should mention it.
Bloggerheads has been taken down by a bullying Uzbek billionaire and his bullying lawyers. Craig Murray’s website was apparently the one that upset Alisher Usmanov so much. But Tim Ireland’s ISP decided to take down a whole cluster of websites that he is associated with (but which didn’t contain the allegations) — including The UK Today, Bob Piper and some bloke called Boris Johnson (never heard of him).
Alisher Usmanov is the latest dodgy foreign oligarch with a murky past to express an interest in buying a football club. Usmanov is currently lining himself up to take over Arsenal. A few weeks ago he had already begun threatening Arsenal bloggers.
Now he is throwing his weight around at other bloggers who are shining a spotlight on his past. It is disappointing that Tim Ireland’s web host would react in this way to cowardly bully-boy tactics like this.
I should point out that Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads was one of the blogs that originally got me interested in blogging. I think he is one of the most important bloggers in the country, and it is quite awful to think that these blogs can just be taken down at the say-so of a bullying arsehole with a few billion to spare. It’s a sobering thought. The threat to free speech does not just come from the government.
It’s quite funny because, of course, Usmanov and his law firm Schillings’s actions have only made people more interested in the issue. It’s publicised the allegations far more than even Craig Murray could have done alone. *sarcastic applause*
The best place to get more information will be Chicken Yoghurt, where there is also a list of the bloggers who have now written about this.
Matt Wardman also has a good overview and also wonders about the implications of censoring Boris Johnson, who is currently campaigning to become Mayor of London. Obsolete is the place to go for information on Alisher Usmanov in general. More also from Mr Eugenides.
Tim Ireland has an unlikely ally in Iain Dale. Tom Watson has asked questions about it in Parliament. Nosemonkey looks at the libel laws surrounding this. Blood & Treasure provides clues as to where you can find more information.
Update: The blogosphere’s reaction has been strong. A couple of other things to point out.
Mike Power is quite good on this. As is Tim Worstall. But best of all, the original posts that caused Usmanov to throw a hissy-fit are now all over the internet. Check out, for instance, Lard Arsed (an apt title, don’t you think?).
Meanwhile, The Nether World points out:
The list of bloggers expressing their disgust at the antics of Alisher Usmanov and his pack of Rotweillers is growing at a fantastic rate with many of the posts including Craig Murray’s original comments about this (alleged) Uzbek gangster. Now, bearing this in mind, how successful does this intimidation campaign against bloggers look? Has it protected the reputation of Alisher Usmanov or confirmed it? Here’s another question: Do Schillings look like the “Leading Law Firm” they say they are, or do they more closely resemble a bunch of second rate ambulance chasers? If I was Alisher Usmanov I’d sack them.
Also join the Facebook group, Craig Murray’s blog should return.
And since this seems to be the thing that bloggers are doing (and why not?), here is the full list of bloggers that have expressed their disgust at the situation.
Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street (121).