Some interesting developments have happened overnight. Nadine Dorries has seen the blog part of her website instantly taken down after she made allegations against the owners of the Telegraph Group, Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay.
Lawyers acting for the Barclay brothers, Withers, instructed the takedown carried out by Acidity via mail to Coreix last night, citing the Acceptable User Policy. The takedown will be bolstered by the Godfrey vs Demon precendent, where an order can be made and it will be done instantly.
Of course, if the website was being hosted in the USA it would be much harder to order the instant takedown. You'd think though, that if the allegations were moonbat untrue there would just be a "point, laugh and call them ridiculous" strategy rather than ordering a takedown to gag Nadine from saying it.
This is especially the case I would've thought because once Recess is over, Nadine would be free to say such things in the House and be protected by Parliamentary Privilege. By taken her down like this the Telegraph will have fed the very idea of some sort of hidden agenda. Suppression, whether it is of speech that is right or wrong, is usually counterproductive.
The Independent's leading article has come out in support of Nadine's position on the "witch hunt" : The pursuit of MPs is becoming a witch-hunt. Thet also carry an article by Nadine titled This is a witch hunt – the torture must end.
The Times has an exclusive where the Archbishop of Canterbury echoes Nadine's comments: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams: humiliation of MPs must stop.
I can't say that I disagree with their sentiment to be honest and, without using the term "witch hunt" this week, I have alluded to the sense of proportion that is being lost over this.
Update II: Interesting to note that the day after Nadine makes allegations that the Telegraph has a hidden proprietor driven agenda to drive votes to UKIP (I repeat this is an allegation not a proven truth), her blog gets taken down by lawyers and then this morning's Telegraph carries not only more expenses scandals but a gushing piece about UKIP.
As I said above, suppression of a theory, however right, wrong, moobat it might be, can and usually is counterproductive. If the target of said theory then appears to act in a way that endorses the theory it ain't going help such theories go away whatever the status of their veracity might be. Conspiracy theories breed conspiracy theories, its how they work sadly.
Update III: There have been some claims made elsewhere that as this is a "single source", the circumstances of this take down are questionable because they are not really known. The circumstances of the take down however were very clear.
Yesterday, after a number of media spots by Nadine, lawyers acting for the Telegraph wrote to Nadine and CC'd the hosting provider stating that the allegation against the motives of the Telegraph were not as alleged. The lawyers argued that the Telegraph had only ever acted in the public interest on the expenses matter. They also stated that the allegation against the Barclay brothers were nonsense but no less defamatory.
From a purely technical point of view, the blog was taken down by someone working at Acidity on the following basis,
due to the nature of this issue and the potential liability that ourselves and our upstream providers face, having been made aware of this complaint, I have taken the decision to stop the blog.dorries.org website in IIS on TWW55.The implication appears to be that if the allegations are removed from the content management system, then the blog will be able to go back online with the same provider. By all accounts this is, as is always the case with ISPs, that they're considered the publishers rather than the carriers of actionable content - just as Clive pointed out in the comments below.
Please ensure that the blog.dorries.org website is not reinstated on any server/service provided by TDMWeb until the offending material has been removed
It is a situation that sucks, obviously, but unless something is done about it, then if you say something about someone who has the resources to instruct global lawyers against you, then you can be taken down very quickly. As I said though, in this case I think they just help feed the theory they are trying to suppress for those that choose to believe it.
Update IV : Added clarity to initial post noting Acidity did the takedown after legal mails sent to Nadine and upstream provider Coreix.