The 4.45pm Link 10

Iain Dale deserves applause and support for taking on the appalling rich man’s thugs, Schillings, and publishing John Sweeney’s Rooney’s Gold.

You will recall it was Schillings who had this blog – and several others – taken down temporarily (permanently if they had their way) at the behest of convicted gangster and racketeer Alisher Usmanov.

Just as Schillings had Rooney’s Gold cancelled by Random House on behalf of Wayne Rooney, so they had The Catholic Orangemen of Togo cancelled by Mainstream (50% owned by Random House) on behalf of mercenary killer Tim Spicer. Yet not a word of libel appears in either book.

Rooney’s Gold is written by my mate John Sweeney. It should be a good read – the extraordinary things he was telling me about the relationship between football agents and organised crime were a real revelation.

I am going to contact other bloggers to see if we can’t organise a day of campaigning by all major British bloggers against the UK’s notoriously oppressive libel laws, which put nil value on freedom of speech – literally – and are designed for the express purpose of protecting the rich from the revelation of truth.

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10 thoughts on “The 4.45pm Link

  • Paul

    George Monbiot also makes the point that Britain’s libel laws reach much further than our own shores.

    “But perhaps the gravest judgements against the Honourable Mr Justice Eady are those made by legislators in the United States. Such is the reach and severity of his illiberal rulings that four states have so far passed what are, in effect, Eady laws(9), and Congress is currently considering a federal bill whose purpose is to defend US citizens from his judgements, and the English law he interprets. The Eady laws arise from his encouragement of libel tourism: allowing cases with only the most tenuous connection with this country to be heard in London, and using them to stamp on free speech all over the world.”

  • Roderick Russell

    Craig, If you can help to achieve a change in Britain’s totalitarian-style libel laws you will have made a major contribution to democracy. It seems to me that US law strikes a fair balance between libel and free speech.

    Without freedom of speech ?” there cannot be freedom of the press ?” and without freedom of the press ?” there cannot be any real democracy.

  • Dave

    Well, having lived all my life here in the USA, I have to wonder though if we shouldn’t move more toward the English system. It is only the “anything goes” approach we have here that allows lunatics like Rush Limbaugh, Palin, Hannity, etc to say the most egregious lies and distortions, and get away with no chance of damage.

    Today on the radio, I heard Limbaugh say “Obama is lying to you, and he knows he’s lying to you.”

    That’s a direct quote.

    Now to me, that should be a punishable offense. I’d like to see Limbaugh have to prove a statement like that, or face the consequences.

    The “anything goes” approach, at least in the US form, has allowed the right-wing propaganda machine to really blossom here. Because they lie habitually, the removal of all laws that prohibit lying is in their favor.

  • Anonymous

    ‘W H Smith asked for the same and gave them an indemnity too. Unfortunately, their courage deserted them and in the end they caved in and are refusing to stock the book. Shame on them.’

    They are actually called W H Smug because they used to refuse to sell Private Eye and also controlled the wholesale distribution.

    ‘D. Star.

    Rooney, 24, is said to be furious about the publication. And fans say the release could not have been more badly timed.

    Ian Dale

    I doubt whether Rooney even knows about the book.’

    Q. Can Rooney actually read?

  • Matt Keefe

    Craig, perhaps see if the Guardian’s Comment is Free site would like a piece from yourself on use of libel laws against political bloggers? They Guardian were intimately involved in the Simon Singh case and the subject has been of immense interest to their readers from what I’ve seen. Perhaps likewise contact Singh himself.

  • Freeeeeeeedom!!!

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure I heard The Coalition say that they were going to “look” at the libel laws?

    What’s keepin them.

  • ScouseBilly

    Speaking of Monbiot, this from the indefatigable captain sherlock:

    “The LibDems behind the crony carbon offset trade – Family Clegg, Chris Huhne and Vince Cable – are going to have to deal with a new inquiry into the Dr. Kelly suicide by Tory A-G Grieve.

    A propos of your going into the foxhole with Lord Monckton; you will win that battle because he was taught to think hard at Cambridge while Monbiot was taught to steal well at Oxford.”

  • Roderick Russell

    To: Dave at June 7, 2010 7:15 PM ?” In response to your comment comparing UK and USA libel laws.

    Take the case of the British traitor, MI6 agent Kim Philby. MI6’s key US-based liaison with the CIA and FBI, Philby new most of their secrets and passed them on to his KGB masters. Some have even estimated that as many as a 1,000 people in Eastern Europe were killed as a result of Philby’s treachery. After Philby came under suspicion, MI6 tried to cover it up and, since he needed the income, MI6 even helped him find a paid occupation as a correspondent of the Economist and the Observer. So how did Philby and MI6 get away with this cover up when so many people knew about it? The answer is that people were scared of Britain’s draconian libel laws, particularly where MI6 were known to be trying to keep their agent’s treachery quiet !!!

    So what would you rather have? A libel system like the USA’s where you may have to self censor programs you don’t like by switching channels, or a draconian libel system like the UK’s where even traitors like Philby can hide behind it.

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