Thursday, 27 September 2007

That blogs are being taken off illustrates the power they have, and the fact that powerful people are afraid of what they can say. Whatever happened to free speech?

“ARSENAL resist Uzbek suitor’s advances,” says the Guardian’s front page on Alisher Usmanov.“He’s certainly not an open book,” says Peter–Hill Wood, the Arsenal chairman of the Uzbek who owns 21 per cent of the club.“Business is murky in Uzbekistan that in itself is an argument against him being involved in Arsenal. I wouldn’t want him to be owner of the club.”This echoes Hill-Wood’s comment on American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who bought 12.2 per cent of the club, of whom Hill-Wood said “we don’t need his money and we don’t want his sort”.Arsenal is a club more akin to White’s than a Premiership outfit. Hill-Wood’s Arsenal lineage goes back three generations. The Eton, Coldstream Guards, Hambros investment bank graduate is joined around the boardroom table by the Wodehousian Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, wife of Sir Charles Bracewell-Smith, the fourth baronet of Keighley, friend of Sir Chips Keswick, also involved with Arsenal’s upper echelons.So they don’t want Silent Stan and Alsiher The Hun here, thank you, all the same. Release the hounds.And in case they don’t get the message the first time, Hill-Wood’s words are repeated on the cover of the Guardian’s sports section. There readers learn that Usmanov was “convicted of offences reported to include fraud, corruption and theft of state property”. He served six years in prison.As the paper notes, Usmanoz says the charges were politically motivated and the Government has since pardoned him.As we know, this version of events has been challenged by Craig Murray. See his blog. Or not. At least not yet.Schillings, the law firm working on behalf of Usmanov, said Murray’s words were defamatory and ordered his internet hosts Fasthosts to take it down. They complied.Laura Tyler of Schillings makes no mention of this PR disaster – thanks to Schillings’ clever ploy we all know who Usmanov is and what he has and has not done - now says her firm does not intend to sue Murray because “they did not want to give him platform to express his views”.Better to chop his site down and get everyone talking about him on another platform.

didnt go to trial, there is no freedom of speech unless you have your own server