- Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has vowed
to carry on making allegations against billionaire Arsenal shareholder
Alisher Usmanov, despite attempts to silence him and his supporters.
- Murray told The Reg: "If the man
believes he was libelled then he should take me to court." Murray's
blog was deleted by its host on Friday after threats fromUsmanov's UK legal
team. It's expected to reappear in the early hours of tomorrow on an overseas
server, and will repeat the charges that drew heavy fire from specialist
libel firm Schillings.
- The ex-diplomat says he has contacted Schillings to ask
for clarification of which specific aspect of his allegations they contest,
but has not received a response. "They say my book [Murder in Samarkand]
is 'grossly libellous and defamatory', yet it has been widely available
for a year and has sold 25,000 copies, without their actually taking any
legal action," he added.
- Murray's criticism of Usmanov stems from his rise in
Uzbekistan following the collapse of communism to become one of Russia's
richest men. He denies the accusations. His profile in the UK has skyrocketed
since he followed Chelsea chairman and fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich
into football investment.
- Murray's blog entry about Usmanov, made September 2,
were picked up by many political and Arsenal websites which later also
received complaints from Schillings. It became the third-highest hit on
Google for the search "usmanov", but was quickly removed from
Murray's site after the first legal letter.
- Tim Ireland, who runs the political site Bloggerheads.com,
which was downed along with Murray's site, has slammed Fasthosts' action,
and denied the claim that they refused to comply with takedown requests
after he repeated Murray's allegations.
- Fasthosts says it acted according to standard industy
practice and has declined to answer Reg questions.
- Ireland said Fasthosts has so far failed to provide copies
of two of the three complaints made by Schillings. "We don't have
any of the correspondence despite multiple requests," he said.
- The third complaint was made weeks after the September
2 post was removed. The takedown meant the Google robot instead indexed
another piece Murray had penned in October 2005 that included the name.
- On contact from Fasthosts, site administrator Clive Summerfield
suspended the site and wrote back to Fasthosts to suggest that it, Schillings,
Ireland and Murrayliase on what was acceptable. Fasthosts responded by
pulling the plug on his two dedicated servers on Friday.
- Bloggerheads and crsigmurray.co.uk were part of a small
stable of sites run by Summerfield. This connection explains the deletion
of Tory mayoral hopeful Boris Johnson's site, despite it having no involvement
in the Usmanov affair. The action also downed the website of the London
Bach Society and an independent record label.
- The new hosting has been arranged separately from the
rest of Summerfield's sites - Murray believes that Usmanov's lawyers are
trying to make him back down by attacking others.
- We asked Murray if he intends to stay on Usmanov's back.
He replied: "There is room on Usmanov's back for an awful lot of people.
You could get even more on his stomach, and possibly lose some under the
overlap of his chins."
- We think that's a "yes". ®
- Craig Murray's last post before his site was pulled -
- September 19, 2007
- Mordechai Vanunu
- As the mad brinkmanship proceeds in the Middle East,
it is worth bearing a few things in mind.
- 1) There is only one country in the Middle East that
has nuclear weapons, and it is a highly aggressive racist state that visits
untold misery on its neighbours and illegally occupies their land. It is
- 2) Making a nuclear weapon takes a lot of time and material.
Both Syria and Iran are many years away, even if they are trying to produce
a nuclear bomb - which they probably are. Given Israel's nuclear bomb,
and given what the US did to Iraq, I can quite understand their desire
to go nuclear for protection. Bombing them just makes this worse.
- 3) A nuclear free Middle East, including Israel, and
a withdrawal of all US military forces from Iraq, is the path to peace
and agreement. Everything else is a build up to a big war - which is what
some people want, of course.
- 4) Bombing someone else's country is plain illegal outside
of formal war. Even then, there are limits on what is legitimate.
- 5) My fellow University Rector, Glasgow's Mordechai Vanunu,
is still effectively imprisoned for telling us about Israel's nuclear weapons
programme. He should be released immediately.
- Posted by craig on
- 12:08 AM 19/09/07 under
- War and Iran?