Freedom of speech is touted a lot on social media, usually in regard to disputes over personal identity and who gets to use the bathroom. But if these keyboard tribunes are serious, why do they never mention SLAPPS and their use by the agents of foreign powers to silence the efforts of journalists and other investigators?
A little background. A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is a device used by very rich men who can afford very expensive lawyers against rather poor journalists who can’t afford anything much at all. We’ve got an article from the Guardian as your first link. It’ slightly old because it mentions someone called Liz Truss (who she?-ed),but it gives a nice grounding  But we want to zoom in on a particular case today. It involves a man called Yevganny Prigozhin and his attempts to silence Bellingcat and its journalists. In view of Prigozhin’s current activities in Ukraine, we think the matter is especially relevant. 
And at the risk of being Anglocentric, why London? Well, since about 2010 that city has developed an elaborate ecosystem of lawyers, fund managers, estate agents, car dealers, escort agencies and many other service industries all designed to serve the whims and needs of iterant oligarchs and their entourages. The upper layers of London society are a network of relationships, linked by common attendance at certain schools and universities, with tentacles reaching deep into government, legal system and the think tanks and media outlets that provide cover for the whole system. All that Putin and his cronies did was to seize this opportunity to make war on the west long before 2014.
So let the bores on both sides of the identity debate sound off, and shout, and decry and posture, and all the other things people do in schools and universities. And long may they continue. While their freedom lasts, that is.
#putin #prigozhin #SLAPP #freedom of speech #bellingcat #opendemocracy
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