Our internet rebellion makes the news

Well done everyone, we didn’t let a rich bastard shut us up, and it made the news:

Blogosphere mugging for Usmanov

Watch the report

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2007
By: Carl Dinnen

As Roman Abramovich gets his man at Chelsea, another Russian oligarch is making waves at Arsenal.

Alisher Usmanov, who this week increased his stake in Arsenal to 21 per cent, has taken exception to some of the fans’ websites repeating allegations first aired by the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. Now his legal moves have sparked a revolt in the blogosphere.

Alisher Usmanov was jailed under the old Soviet regime for corruption. He says this was politically motivated – and that he was a political prisoner who was then freed and granted a full pardon once Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as president.

The lawyers’ letters began flying a couple of weeks ago. What started it was, according to his lawyers, “false, indefensible and grossly defamatory” allegations against Mr Usmanov on the website of outspoken former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray.

Mr Usmanov’s lawyers wrote to Murray and to his internet service provider asking them to remove the allegations.

Former Uzbekistan ambassador Craig Murray has found some unlikely allies from across the political spectrum.

Murray refused and, facing the threat of a libel suit, his internet service provider took down his website.

Lawyers’ letters also started landing in the inboxes of people who had linked to Murray’s site – in particular, Arsenal fan websites.

Facing the threat of being shut down, they removed the links.

If Usmanov thought that was the end of it, it wasn’t.

Over the last 24 hours it’s become an internet cause celebre. Craig Murray has found some highly unlikely allies from across the political spectrum.

Over 100 high-profile bloggers have now posted on it and, as we found, some are brazenly posting the original Craig Murray article that started this all off.

Right, now I’m off to find a safe place to bed down for a few months…

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