Censorship is wrong
I usual try to be postive on this blog. I have a political blog, but this one has more hits so on this occasion I am going to use it to pass on some information. Free speech in Britain is very important, largely people are free to say what they want as long as they aren't racial abusive (our libel laws however do need some reform).
Many places elsewhere in the world don't really get this idea (free speech) particularly the wealthy, they fail to see that the same press etc crtitising them when they are in power will also have a go at their rivals when it's their turn. Rich men don't like hearing no and so use their money and power to quell disscent.
It has happened again th Russian Billionaire Alisher Usmanov who wishes to buy out Arsenal is using UK lawyers to close down blogs and websites which discuss his less them honest business dealings.
Let's be honest the many Russian billionaires who have sprung up in the last few years have largely gained their wealth by stealing it from the Russian people. They are not like Bill Gates or Richard Branson who sold things to people, these men used underhand tactics, bribery, theft, voting rigging , violence , suppression of the press to gain power and influence and then to gain control of natural assets etc which they then use to gain further power and influence. They are now using their money to buy prestige outside Russian so as to improve their standing and protect themselves from prosecution.
We shouldn't allow censorship of material of this nature. We should be free to challenge and question those in power, and to have the facts judged in court not suppressed by legal writ. Foreign nationals shouldn't be able to stop free speech in Britain and in my view shouldn't be able to buy our football teams! The people of Russian have suffered too long from poor government they should have the money stolen from them returned and used to pay for better healthcare , education etc. Western governments should be campaigning for this rather than being chummy with the peoples oppresssors.
what follows is from craig murray website which has been shut down.
Murray's web site host has pulled an article on Alisher Usmanov with this reason: September 6, 2007 Usmanov Redux You may have noticed that the post regarding the less-than-salubrious nature of Alisher Usmanov has disappeared. This is at the instigation of Schillings, lawyers retained by Usmanov to brow-beat anyone who dares to show Alisher's true colours. Pending legal advice which - as web host - I am unable to obtain prior to tomorrow, given Schilling's deadline and in light of Godfrey v Demon Internet, the post may or may not reappear. In the meantime, it is always now somewhere on the web. If you know where to look, you'll probably find it. Cheers Clive - webhost
The article is still available in the Google cache: http://google.com/search?q=cache:www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2007/09/alisher_usmanov.html The text follows: September 2, 2007 Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist I thought I should make my views on Alisher Usmanov quite plain to you. You are unlikely to see much plain talking on Usmanov elsewhere in the media becuase he has already used his billions and his lawyers in a pre-emptive strike. They have written to all major UK newspapers, including the latter: “Mr Usmanov was imprisoned for various offences under the old Soviet regime. We wish to make it clear our client did not commit any of the offences with which he was charged. He was fully pardoned after President Mikhail Gorbachev took office. All references to these matters have now been expunged from police records . . . Mr Usmanov does not have any criminal record.” Let me make it quite clear that Alisher Usmanov is a criminal. He was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail. The lawyers cunningly evoke "Gorbachev", a name respected in the West, to make us think that justice prevailed. That is completely untrue. Usmanov's pardon was nothing to do with Gorbachev. It was achieved through the growing autonomy of another thug, President Karimov, at first President of the Uzbek Soviet Socilist Republic and from 1991 President of Uzbekistan. Karimov ordered the "Pardon" because of his alliance with Usmanov's mentor, Uzbek mafia boss and major international heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov. Far from being on Gorbachev's side, Karimov was one of the Politburo hardliners who had Gorbachev arrested in the attempted coup that was thwarted by Yeltsin standing on the tanks outside the White House. Usmanov is just a criminal whose gangster connections with one of the World's most corrupt regimes got him out of jail. He then plunged into the "privatisation" process at a time when gangster muscle was used to secure physical control of assets, and the alliance between the Russian Mafia and Russian security services was being formed. Usmanov has two key alliances. he is very close indeed to President Karimov, and especially to his daughter Gulnara. It was Usmanov who engineered the 2005 diplomatic reversal in which the United States was kicked out of its airbase in Uzbekistan and Gazprom took over the country's natural gas assets. Usmanov, as chairman of Gazprom Investholdings paid a bribe of $88 million to Gulnara Karimova to secure this. This is set out on page 366 of Murder in Samarkand. Alisher Usmanov had risen to chair of Gazprom Investholdings because of his close personal friendship with Putin, He had accessed Putin through Putin's long time secretary and now chef de cabinet, Piotr Jastrzebski. Usmanov and Jastrzebski were roommates at college. Gazprominvestholdings is the group that handles Gazproms interests outside Russia, Usmanov's role is, in effect, to handle Gazprom's bribery and sleaze on the international arena, and the use of gas supply cuts as a threat to uncooperative satellite states. Gazprom has also been the tool which Putin has used to attack internal democracy and close down the independent media in Russia. Gazprom has bought out - with the owners having no choice - the only independent national TV station and numerous rgional TV stations, several radio stations and two formerly independent national newspapers. These have been changed into slavish adulation of Putin. Usmanov helped accomplish this through Gazprom. The major financial newspaper, Kommersant, he bought personally. He immediately replaced the editor-in-chief with a pro-Putin hack, and three months later the long-serving campaigning defence correspondent, Ivan Safronov, mysteriously fell to his death from a window. All this, both on Gazprom and the journalist's death, is set out in great detail here: http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2007/06/russian_journal.html Usmanov is also dogged by the widespread belief in Uzbekistan that he was guilty of a particularly atrocious rape, which was covered up and the victim and others in the know disappeared. The sad thing is that this is not particularly remarkable. Rape by the powerful is an everyday hazard in Uzbekistan, again as outlined in Murder in Samarkand page 120. If anyone has more detail on the specific case involving Usmanov please add a comment. I reported back in 2002 or 2003 in an Ambassadorial top secret telegram to the Foreign Office that Usmanov was the most likely favoured successor of President Karimov as totalitarian leader of Uzbekistan. I also outlined the Gazprom deal (before it happened) and the present by Usmanov to Putin (though in Jastrzebski's name) of half of Mapobank, a Russian commercial bank owned by Usmanov. I will never forget the priceless reply from our Embassy in Moscow. They said that they had never even heard of Alisher Usmanov, and that Jastrzebski was a jolly nice friend of the Ambassador who would never do anything crooked. Sadly, I expect the football authorities will be as purblind. Football now is about nothing but money, and even Arsenal supporters - as tight-knit and homespun a football community as any - can be heard saying they don't care where the money comes from as long as they can compete with Chelsea. I fear that is very wrong. Letting as diseased a figure as Alisher Usmanov into your club can only do harm in the long term.
Censored Homepage: http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/