Help wanted: apply within

September 17th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The Miserable Old Fart is, being an arse. He is asking where the support for Kezia Dugdale is.

Last year there was a blog consensus that the blogosphere would stand up to rich people trying to bully individual bloggers when Asmanov went after Bloggerheads, where is that blog support for Kez?

All of the following blogs were willing to support bloggerheads. Was their support real? Or was it just an opportunistic way of getting a hit on Technorati?

Nice call for help, huh? Try telling people about it before implying hypocrisy, Farty.

Anyway, Kezia Dugdale is Scottish Labour party activist that has had the expensive lawyers of a man with deep pockets silence her.

There is a story that I’m now aware of, regarding Glasgow SNP Councillor Jahangir Hanif.
The abridged version is, at the beginning of August, cllr Hanif took 5 of his 6 children to Pakistan, near the Kashmir border and fired off AK-47s, made his children fire them and to learn how to use them. Including his five year old daughter. There was a big hoo-ha and Hanif got a slap on the wrist from the SNP, but they refused to do any more.
The way that Hanif seemed to get off so lightly prompted Hanifs’ 17 year old daughter to write a letter to Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP & First Minister of Scotland.
This letter wasn’t, how can I put this… Hanifs’ daughter, Noor, wasn’t congratulating Alex on his judgement, or extolling her fathers parenting skills and even temper.

Kezia published this scathing letter (I think there may have been some political motivation there) and was subsequently given 15 minutes by Hanifs’ lawyers to remove it. The letter is still floating around teh internets somewhere *cough*.

Curly has some appropriate words:

Once again we see the power of those with larger pockets being used to stifle and suppress free speech on the issuing of a 15 minute ultimatum from a firm of expensive solicitors. there are those amongst us who can ill afford to even challenge these edicts, unless some kind lawyer decides to ride to our aid on a white charger with an offer of gratis assistance, the law is loaded in favour of those who have the means and money to pull the correct levers, and it is true that I have come close to being in a very similar situation to Kezia. So on this occasion I must lend my support, particularly as yet again we find that

“that there are no actual libel proceedings, and no Court Order for the lawyers to enforce, only the threat of expensive legal action and general hassle, being used to silence.”

For a fuller picture of what’s happened see the links below:
Miserable Old Fart: Where is support for Kez
Bloggerheads: Noo Hanifs’ letter to Alex Salmond
Curlys’ Corner Shop: A call for help
Kezia Dugdale: A brief statement

Trying to tell the truth

September 12th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Craig Murray:

I am trying to write a memoir giving a first hand account of what I did and what I personally witnessed. It has the same honesty and shows my own warts as Murder in Samarkand did. I also give some opinions based on my experience.

That may sound straightforward, but under this country’s crazy libel laws you cannot even retell things you did yourself unless you have other objective evidence that you did it. And you may not express opinions that are not mainstream, or which may upset the government or the rich and powerful.

That is not exaggerated. What follows is yesterday’s correspondence with lawyers on the text of the Catholic Orangemen. This is a lot to plough through, but to give some nuggets:
– I must refer to Sandline as a “Private Military Company” and portray their activities in Africa as supporting legitimate government against rebels
– I must portray Western action in Iraq as “peace-keeping”
– I must say Shell were involved in corruption in Nigeria “inadvertently”

When you read through the following dialogue, it is astonishing to realise that these are the lawyers of my publishers who are supposed to be on my side. Yesterday my publisher told me I should view their censorship as enabling me to get at least some of the truth published. That reminded me so strongly of Uzbekistan, where journalists would tell me they had to shove out state propaganda but could get in little anti-government nuances here and there. When it comes to publishing, we do not really have that much more freedom in the UK.

For example:

[Excerpt] 26: The defence industry is full of newly retired military personnel, and we provide military training to governments all around the world. I should confess that I didn’t yet on 6 January 1998 mentally attach the word ‘mercenary’ to Sandline, and I did not connect Sandline with Executive Outcomes during that initial telephone conversation with Spicer.
[Lawyer 1] Spicer is objecting to the description of himself as a mercenary – but surely this is a matter of fact, so nothing to worry about here?
[lawyer 2] Agree, there has always been talk about Sandline being a company employing mercenaries, although they objected to the term as you suggest which they view as pejorative. Certainly should not use it in its adjective form but here bearing in mind the context is OK. Just also spell out private military company also to appease (see above and later edits).
[Craig Murray] I reject the euphemism Private Military Company, for reasons explained in the book. Again it is not my purpose to project Sandline’s image of itself. Spicer did that in his book – which Mainstream published with apparently none of these concerns about where he was libeling others (including me).


“The Committee is concerned…”

August 12th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The UK has been criticised by the UN Human Rights Commitee for it’s libel law.
It gets the finger wagging for libel practice, amongst a fair bit of other stuff (I’m at work now so I’ll read it properly later), in the report in to the implementation of the International Covenent on Civil and Political Rights.
The report is here (and also [[]]):

25. The Committee is concerned that the State party’s practical application of the law of libel has served to discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as “libel tourism.” The advent of the internet and the international distribution of foreign media also creates the danger that a State party’s unduly restrictive libel law will affect freedom of expression world-wide on matters of valid public interest. (art.19)

The State party should re-examine its technical doctrines of libel law, and consider the utility of a so-called “public figure” exception, requiring proof by the plaintiff of actual malice in order to go forward on actions concerning reporting on public officials and prominent public figures, as well as limiting the requirement that defendants reimburse a plaintiff’s lawyers fees and costs regardless of scale, including Conditional Fee Agreements and so-called “Success Fees”, especially insofar as these may have forced defendant publications to settle without airing valid defences. The ability to resolve cases through enhanced pleading requirements (e.g., requiring a plaintiff to make some preliminary showing of falsity and absence of ordinary journalistic standards) might also be considered.


“…more akin to slanders…”

August 12th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s that man again, Mr Justice Eady.


Defamation on internet bulletin boards is more like slander than libel, a High Court judge has ruled. Mr Justice Eady said that bulletin board discussions are characterised by “give and take” and should be considered in that context.

In a multi-defendant lawsuit concerning posts on an investors’ bulletin board, Mr Justice Eady said that comments on a board are not to be taken in the same context as those in, for example, a newspaper article.

He said that the casual, conversational nature of bulletin boards meant that defamatory comments were more like slander than libel. Slander relates generally to spoken comments and libel generally to written and published ones. In English law it is harder to win damages for slander than libel.

“[Bulletin board posts] are rather like contributions to a casual conversation (the analogy sometimes being drawn with people chatting in a bar) which people simply note before moving on; they are often uninhibited, casual and ill thought out,” he said in his ruling. “Those who participate know this and expect a certain amount of repartee or ‘give and take’.”

“When considered in the context of defamation law, therefore, communications of this kind are much more akin to slanders (this cause of action being nowadays relatively rare) than to the usual, more permanent kind of communications found in libel actions,” said the ruling. “People do not often take a ‘thread’ and go through it as a whole like a newspaper article. They tend to read the remarks, make their own contributions if they feel inclined, and think no more about it.”


UK lawyers threaten US blogger…

August 6th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Bartholemews’ Notes on Religion:

American Buddhist blogger Precious Metal has received an unwelcome missive by email from UK libel specialist law-firm Carter-Ruck:

“We act for the Buddhist monks William Van Gordon and Edo Shonin and write in connection with an article entitled “A Mother’s grief: ‘The cult guru who turned my son into a zombie’” that was published by the Daily Mail on 25 May 2007 and which is also published by you…

The article contains a number of false and highly defamatory allegations of both our clients and has caused considerable damage to their reputation. We write to give you formal notice that we have issued High Court proceedings for defamation on behalf of our clients against the publishers of the Daily Mail and ask you to remove the article from your website as a matter of real urgency. The article has been removed from the Daily Mail’s own website.”

And the response?

Unless I receive a letter directly from a court/judge telling me to take the article down then it will remain online here. Under US law, as long as sources are named and I don’t edit the original article, I am protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. So the original article, which was published on May 25 , 2007 by the Daily Mail (auther Jenny Johnston) is below…

It’d be nice if we had a libel law something like that, wouldn’t it? *sighs dreamily*

Dave Walker: The short version

July 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Matt Ward:

In a nutshell, a long running mismanagement and industrial relations saga involving legal shenanigans, enforced contract changes, now up to 30 Industrial Tribunals and the loss over 2 years of a 200 year old chain of bookshops after a takeover that should have rejuvenated it.

Dave had reported the story in 75 posts, and has been Cease and Desisted – in the middle of the Lambeth Conference where he is very busy as Artist in Residence, just as the bookshop chain is being placed in bankruptcy in USA; it is a UK company.

Abstruse management saga becomes freedom of speech issue in middle of 3 weeks when press attention is focused on Lambeth Conference.

Cue shitstorm. Hopefully

The long version.

Hat tip for the short version to Manic

I’m Dave Walker and so’s my wife

July 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Dave Walker of The Cartoon Blog has been order to cease and desist letter by a Texas owned bookshop owner resulting Dave having to remove 75 post that have been about the situation closing down discussion.
I’ve read some stuff, and it’s quite complicated (to me anyway), but Matt Ward seems to be the chap overseeing it, with lots of links and stuff here, and Unity doing his usual of making things a bit clearer. Or not.

It’s a bit complicated so read Matt and Unities posts, because it’s pointless me repeating it here and making a mess of it.


Wanting to be helpful, rather than just speak up, I have saved the first 9 pages of the google results until google said the rest were omitted because of similarities.

I don’t know if I’ve wasted my time or not but if someone wants it, email me and I’ll send the link.


Who’s Posted about Mark Brewer’s Cease and Desist Notice to Dave Walker

  1. St Aidan to Abbey Manor – David Keen – Vicar (Yeovil)
  2. The Wardman Wire – Matt Wardman (audio of BBC interview from 12/2007)
  3. Gentle Wisdom – Peter Kirk
  4. Bishop Alan’s Blog – Alan Wilson, Area Bishop of Buckingham
  5. Blogula-Rasa – Ginny (detailed – worth a read)
  6. Metacatholic – Doug Chaplin – Vicar (West Midlands)
  7. Of course, I could be wrong – Madpriest – Priest (somewhere in England)
  8. Seven whole days – Scott Gunn – Parish Priest (Rhode Island) and Lambeth Conference.
  9. Thinking Anglicans – Simon Kershaw – Cambridge, England (likely to follow further press coverage)
  10. The Jewish Blog Network – How to recover deleted pages. Firefox Resurrect Pages add-on.
  11. Lingamish – Blogger Bludgeoned by Bozos – David Ker – Mozambique. Kudos for the cartoon above.
  12. [Update: 23/07/2008] SPCK Watch – Gagging attempts by Mark Brewer – SPCK Watch. (Somewhere in Europe). Whole blog devoted to SPCK saga.
  13. [Update: 23/07/2008] Elizaphanian – We are all Dave Walkers now – Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea, Essex. Suggests that we reposts Dave’s ex-posts from Google Cache
  14. [Update: 23/07/2008]Mad Hare – Solidarity post – SPCK/SSG and Dave Walker (New Mexico : United States).
  15. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]The Cartoon Blog – Cease and Desist Demand from Mark Brewer Dave’s original post – now gone
  16. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH – More and More on the Exploding SPCK Story & Dave Walker’s Cartoon Church Blog Check out the illustration from the 1950s
  17. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Saintly Ramblings – Dave Walker Solidarity Post
  18. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info – Comments on Moderation Expect comment when owner returns from holiday
  19. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]PamBG’s Blog – Those Christian Bookshops
  20. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Scatter Cushions – Nothing like like having an informed debate
  21. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]connexions – Cartoon blogger silenced
  22. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Turbulent Cleric – Libel law used as censorship Reflections on the Craig Murray case
  23. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Exigency In Specie – Bullying the Bloggers Southern England
  24. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Asingleblog – Brewers are challenged in court More detail on the attempt to put SPCK UK into Chapter 11 in the USA
  25. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Philip’s Tree House – I’m also Dave Walker
  26. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]John Inbetween – Yet another Dave Walker
  27. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Wormwood’s Doxy – Because there’s nothing I hate more than a bully….Standing up for Dave Walker & SPCK
  28. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Dave Cole – I’m Dave Walker
  29. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Ministry of Truth – SPCK owner seeks US bankruptcy protection for UK charity KEY POST – Digging into the Brewer “Legal Manoeuvres in the Dark”
  30. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Blogpower – Defending the Blog – Blogpower Roundup – The Civil Liberties Edition Civil Liberties Roundup – Understand the Wider Issues
  31. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Brainducks Weblog – Cartoon Church blog target of legal bullying
  32. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]D-Notice – D-Notice: Religious Nuts
  33. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Back Towards The Locus – “Come Together, Raaaayt Nahahow, Over A Bullying Bookshop Chain”
  34. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Sim-O Random Thoughts – I’m Dave Walker and so’s my wife
  35. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Safety Photo – Dave Walker Cease and Desist Notice
  36. The original copy of this list is on the Wardman Wire here.


Craig Murray and the slow learners

July 14th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Schillings are back!
This time on behalf Iraq mercenary Tim Spicer. They have reason to believe that that horrible man Craig Murray is saying naughty things about their lovely client, who is such a sensitive soul and needs to be protected.

Schillings want to protect little Timmy so much that they are they are getting in early before they even know for sure if Timmy is featured in the book. Craig is also speaking at an event, which they also warn about mentioning anything horrible about the delicate flower that is ex-army officer Spicer.

The letter that Schillings sent to Craig is also copyrighted. Presumably to try and stop what has started to happen – the widespread publication of this little fishing expedition.

To me, what schillings has done is take craig round the back of the bike sheds, grabbed him by the collars and pinned him against the wall whilst menacingly promising to beat the crap out of craig if he tells teacher about Tims’ naughtiness.

For the same reason as Tim, I have reproduced the letter in full on my old blog which is hosted outside the UK (link) or you can download the .pdf document from craigs site (link).

Craig MurrayIraq Mercenary Boss Hires Schillings To Block My New Book | More about Spicer
Bloggerheads – Schillings and Spicer could be a lot nicer
Ministry of Truth – Murray faces more legal bullying

Harry vs Hamas

July 10th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Right. Never mind all the bollox about whether Harrys’ Place is a Zionist mouthpiece or a bastion against anti-semitism, whether you agree with their views or you don’t.
Harrys’ Place has received a solicitors letter about one of his posts that would seem to be trying to use the UKs’ unfair libel laws, when David T has done everything right with regards to corrections.

Support is required, it could be you next, mister blogger.

As usual Unity has dug a little deeper.

Passing the buck

July 6th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Al Jazeera letting Harry cop a load of shit.

We are all ‘Harry’ now…? *shudder*

See MoT

Via Tim

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