Free Speech Should Not Be Allowed to Die, Neither by Murder nor by Lawsuit, A Segue into the Death of Seven Journalists
A funny thing happened in August. After months of not blogging, we got back in the saddle and started posting articles again. Why? Because journalistic integrity came into question. We were threatened and that has to mean something.
Despite being asked to remove an article and doing so, one of two that had been published in 2016, LostMessiah’s name, along with that of an online blogger, was unceremoniously dragged into a lawsuit. The subject of the lawsuit? Hard to tell. It appears to be the remaining article.
The blogger had facilitated the takedown in good faith at the request of the attorneys representing the subjects of that blog. Why? Because, well… there seemed to be more important fish to fry and a single article’s removal at the behest of an allegedly prominent family did not seem like it was worth a fight. If we took it down, however disheartening that would be, the situation would be resolved. Who really has the time? Or the money?
It didn’t go away. It might have been worth the fight on that day in August.
To resurrect what would otherwise be a problem with the Statute of Limitations, (one year from date of publication in New York) the Complaint in the lawsuit appears to allege that the subject article was taken down by WordPress and that the alleged blogger republished. It was neither taken down by WordPress, nor was it then republished by LostMessiah. The complaint also alleges, both unequivocally and incorrectly we must add, that the blogger is LostMessiah AND another website, WebActivism.
Anonymity in this space, blogging about oligarchs and diamond dealers, Congo miners and allegedly corrupt police officers can be a dangerous thing. We valued and continue to value our anonymity for that reason. Our absence worried our readers. To our readers, it was borne of time constraints not of safety, fear or reprisals nor payment. We will be asking for financial assistance from our readers. For that we apologize in advance.
FailedMessiah may have been bought out. We do not know, nor will we ever likely be certain. Most assuredly its author took on tremendous personal scrutiny over his 10-year tenure as a blogger. We felt then and continue to feel now that our anonymity keeps us safe, keeps us honest and it allows you, our audience, to know that we are not beholden, neither to money nor to political or religious views. Our news is not “fake news.”
Please rest assured that we are not swayed by fear of reprisals or fear for our safety and you, our audience and contributors, can take comfort knowing that what you send to us, everything bar none, is protected. We cannot vouchsafe your comments. We ask you to make them via a VPN. But please do provide your comments. They are our manna in the desert.
We had always thought that if there was to be a danger to the blog it would be to our personal and physical safety. Speculation about the identity of our bloggers led to threats. We were fairly certain that danger to free speech would come from some hacker who was paid big money to find an identity; and to permanently erase the source. We did not think it would come from a law firm intent upon burying someone in litigation through associations that may or may not exist, a reprehensible bullying tactic.
To the Plaintiff family, your corresponding property entity and your attorneys, if something happens to the blogger allegedly connected to this site, as a result of your decision to file suit (notably for the purposes of chilling free speech), we hope yours is the first set of doors on which law enforcement knocks. You have a blogger’s address and have made it public. Now it really should be in your hands to protect the blogger whom you have alleged is associated with this site.
Seven journalists killed in Europe since the start of 2017
Seven journalists — many of them investigating corruption — have now been killed in Europe over the last two years.
Bulgarian reporter Viktoria Marinova became the latest to be murdered in October 2018, a year on from the most high-profile killings.
The brutal “Mafia-style” murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia shocked the continent.
She had been probing numerous cases of corruption on the Mediterranean island before a powerful bomb blew her car up near her home.
Slovakia-based investigative journalist Ján Kuciak was murdered in February 2018 and the subsequent national outcry helped topple the government.
Here are the seven journalists killed since the beginning of 2017.
Ján Kuciak was 27 years old and reported on corruption and tax evasion. He and his girlfriend were shot dead at his home in Velka Maca, near Bratislava, on February 25, 2018.
Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia was 53 years old when she died. She reported on corruption and money laundering in Malta and published numerous articles based on the Panama Papers.
She was killed using a remote-controlled car bomb outside her home in Bidnija, Malta, on October 16, 2017. Maltese police arrested about 10 people in connection with the case.
Three suspects, Vince Muscat along with brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, were charged with the journalist’s murder last December in a complicated trial which saw two judges withdraw from the case. All three pleaded not guilty.
The murder of Kim Wall, 30 years old, was far from a Mafia-related case—the Swedish journalist died while working but not for political reasons.
She disappeared on August 10, 2017, while making a report on a prototype civil submarine created by the Danish native Peter Madsen.
Her body was found in the sea, mutilated, almost 12 days later. Madsen has been formally charged with Wall’s murder and expected to be sentenced in April.
Dmitri Popkov was 42 years old when he was killed. He published articles about corruption and abuse of power in Russia in his newspaper Ton-M. He also criticised officials in the ruling United Russia party.
On May 24, 2017, he was shot five times and his body was found in his garden in Minusinsk, Siberia. Authorities have opened an investigation into his death that has, as yet, proved fruitless.
Saeed Karimian, a 45-year-old Iranian television executive, was killed on April 19, 2017, in Istanbul by several hooded men who shot him with his partner, a native of Kuwait.
His GEM TV network was dedicated to translating Western television programmes into Farsi.
Karimian was condemned in absentia in Tehran for “spreading propaganda against Iran”. The Turkish police are conducting an ongoing investigation into the pair’s death.
Nicolai Andrushchenko died on April 19, 2017 in Russia, at the age of 73, six weeks after he was brutally beaten unconscious by a group of strangers.
St Petersburg police investigated his death but his attackers were never identified.
Andrushchenko was one of the founders of the newspaper Novy Petersburg and specialised in local news, crime and human rights.
Prosecutors said 30-year-old journalist Viktoria Marinova had been raped, beaten and then suffocated before being found in Bulgaria.
Authorities said there was no evidence linking the murder to her work. But, on her last aired TV show as an anchor, on September 30, Marinova introduced two journalists who were investigating alleged corruption involving EU funds.