The Guardian Censors You Even If You Don’t Overtly Disagree With Them

Here is the article, by Nick Cohen. And below are the two comments (one by myself) that were censored. I have corrected a few grammatical points in this post.

They were eventually restored, wonder of wonders, but only after two days – and therefore all interest – had passed, and after I had sent an email of complaint to the Guardian CiF moderation team.

As already noted, on the Guardian, while comment is free, some comments are freer than others.


Let us look at this rationally and by the numbers.

(1) How can Karpov afford this? This is doubtless a question that will be examined in great deal in the actual trial. It is not necessarily, of course, his own money. One explanation is that the Russian government is funding it if it thinks there is a high chance that a British court would find Browder’s claims to be libel. After all, it is its reputation that has been hardest than anyone else’s in this entire sordid affair. Another alternative is that the lawyers that Mr. Cohen castigates think the defendant has a good case and are prepared to work on a no win – no claim basis. Both alternatives were suggested by a British lawyer friend of mine with experience in libel cases (no not the ones in the article).

(2) Likewise the question of how Karpov could afford a one million dollar flat will also be examined in detail given the heart of Browder’s allegations is that Karpov and his buddies murdered Magnitsky to prevent him from reporting on Karpov’s own corruption. Needless to say that this is a question of vital interest that is well worth spending public taxpayer money on because in addition to its legal aspects it has also had wide-ranging political and diplomatic ramifications (although, this being a libel case, that would not be the case anyway, as it will be the losing party that will also have to pay any court costs).

(3) Some people are complaining that it is political and it is wrong to let foreign let alone Russian criminals “abuse” the British legal system to suppress Browder’s right free speech. The reality however is that it was always going to be political because of the political nature of Browder’s activities, which were to lobby for the Magnitsky Act and similar legislation in other parliaments. If however one of the key alleged figurants turns out to be demonstrably innocent, that in turn will put major question marks over the rest of Browder’s narrative. To the contrary, if the court finds that the libel claim is baseless, then that will provide some degree of legitimacy to the Magnitsky Act, something which it desperately needs (because the persons it sanctions have not turned up there by way of a legal process, but on the say-so of Browder – who, needless to say, has his own private motives for doing so).

As such, the only people who should logically oppose this case are those who are not interested in helping establish the truth, but either want to fight a new cold war (on which Mr. Cohen qualifies, I imagine) or protect characters like Karpov, whose activities have been undeniably shady, from scrutiny.


Good summary, but I don’t have the same faith in UK courts as many here. Courts are reluctant to go against policy of their country. If no evidence is shown against Karpov, they might avoid embarrassing UK/US Congress, by dismissing it on some technicality or muddling the verdict. That’s the way it usually happens, but it is worth the entertainment.

Regarding Karpov’s money – there are plenty of people in E.Europe who own expensive real estate, but are cash-poor. After 1990, flats/houses were given to may who lived in them and as real estate sky-rocketed, they became wealthy overnight. Could be that Karpov’s mom is one of them. It also matters very little if Karpov is rich or not, it proves nothing. As it would prove nothing in the West.

And finally, as a matter of possible curiosity, the email I sent:

Dear CiF Moderators,

I am the user “SublimeOblivion”. As I have been forwarded to this email by Matt Seaton, could you please explain why my comment at 06 January 2013 10:54 PM to this article by Nick Cohen was deleted?

It did not break any of the Guardian’s “community guidelines” that I could possible see. I did not insult anyone, and my reply was a great deal more restrained than any number of others I can point out there. I did not even disagree with one of Cohen’s main points which was that Karpov’s ability to afford expensive lawyers was suspicious (although of course as I understand, in theory CiF does not censor comments for mere disagreement anyway).

As Rozina said in the last comment to that article as of right now (which I hope you will not likewise delete):

Also I wonder why previous comments by Sublime Oblivion, Beckow, myself and others were moderated. SO’s comment looked reasonable and he questioned Karpov’s ability to pay his legal costs. If there are certain things posters are not allowed to mention because they concern details of the court case, then either the original article should have included a warning that any comments referring to facts about Karpov and Browdler which will be part of the trial’s scope may be subject to moderation, or the article should not have invited comments at all.

I would appreciate it if you could send a copy of my comment with the part that was objectionable in particular marked out so that I can avoid repeating any such mistake in the future.

Finally, I would also like to note the deep irony of a comment being deleted to an article that complains of libel lawyers and Russian litigants purportedly infringing on the right to free speech of British citizens. It would be interesting and deeply appreciated to hear a comment on this too.

Thanks and Best,

The reply:


Thanks for getting in touch.

On review I have decided to reinstate your comment (please see:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Kind regards

CIF Moderation Team


  1. Dear Anatoly,

    Firstly, congratulations are in order at getting the Guardian to reinstate your comment. I have already told told you that I could find absolutely no justification for the deletion of your excellent and entirely reasonable comment. Indeed I was completely shocked when I did find out about it.

    Secondly, I notice that when it reinstated your comment the Guardian did so without explaining why the comment was deleted in the first place. Nor did the Guardian identify the particular part of your comment to which objection was taken even though that is what you specifically asked them. I presume no such explanation or information was given because there was no satisfactory explanation or information available.

    Lastly I would say that I have never before seen a deleted comment restored on Comment is Free.

  2. What really takes this to Monty Python levels of hilarity, is their message board is actually entitled “Comment is Free” – with the following caveat: as long as you don’t disagree with the author of the article!?

  3. AK: Congratulations on getting the comment reinstated and thanks very much also for taking the time to add this post to Da Russophile. Those of us reading this and who comment on The Guardian’s CiF forums might now feel emboldened to challenge the mods if future comments of ours are deleted, knowing that it is now possible to get deleted comments restored.

    One wonders why The Guardian even printed such an article by Cohen unless it was deliberately to invite the kind of snide comments, of which there were plenty, that bypassed the moderators. This says something about The Guardian’s slide into sensational and biased reporting.

  4. catherine yoder says:

    The Guardian has also censored/removed my posts regarding Monsanto lawsuit and possible missile related to West Texas fertilizer plant. And now I’m unable to post at all.
    20 April 2013 2:38 am
    “Before the Blast, West Fertilizer’s Monsanto Lawsuit”

    20 April 2013 2:31 am
    “… Missile Used in Texas??? Closer Look @Video”

    Zhubajie –
    20 April 2013 1:04 pm
    Alex Jones has probably labeled this as a false flag terrorism incident!
    20 April 2013 2:39 pm
    @Zhubajie –
    Monsanto lawsuit, same day drill, missile? (see the youtube clip, think independently, connect the dots.)

    “Before the Blast, West Fertilizer’s Monsanto Lawsuit”

    “… Missile Used in Texas??? Closer Look @Video”

    “Another Official Drill Goes Live After Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion”

  5. The above massively misleads you about the extent of censorship by the “guardian”. The “~moderators~” routinely remove anything that informatively exposes real scandals. Anything and everything that informs readers about the ongoing brutality of the “religion of peace” all the way back to when it was founded by the most revolting thug in history. And everything about the millions of lives continuing to be devastated by the “harmless” dental amalgam.. They are happy to publish the nasty lies about these subjects, but anyone who posts links to the truth gets very efficiently and promptly “~moderated~” and their accounts blocked. And they certainly wouldn’t be reinstated.

    I have recorded screengrab proof of numerous instances. Here’s just one which I’ll paste below here, note the link goes to some fairly unpleasant stuff (though very mild by “religion of peace” standards).
    bigredeye 18 August 2013 6:46pm

    God bless her.

    Do you think it is possible that the Guardian might do more articles on the treatment of nuns/Christians in the Middle-East/Muslim-majority countries? e.g.:

    CAIRO (AP) — After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war” before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

    Or do we have to wait until Stephen Fry becomes a nun?

    (I am going to be ‘moderated’ again aren’t I?)

  6. The Guardians censorship policy is quite extreme and is definitely political in nature. By political I mean they don’t just censor crank comments, they also censor views that contradict the columnist.
    I consider myself a reasonable person, well read, interested in many things. I love reading intelligent well made comments and endeavor to do the same myself. My comments are often well received which is very encouraging. So I’m not a troll or a bitter person with a gripe, I’m not a contrarian and nor do I hold extreme views. I thought the comment section of the Guardian was a great idea, free speech for the everyone, then I realized their idea of free speech is a trendy luxury for their columnists and apologists only, they don’t really believe my right to free speech(and everyone elses) is as important. They behave like fascists, in my opinion, which I think is quite ironic. I have had many respectful comments which I believe were well articulated and non personal moderated. I find this very extreme and hurtful. I created a new account but within a day was banned from commenting on any section. I realize now they actually track the IP address.

  7. hedgehog says:

    I was banned by the guardian. Mainly for comments made about Islam – presumably deemed to be ‘Islamophopic’?
    (whatever that means)

    There is no way people can have a free debate on that website which is a shame. Now I need to comment via vpn or by spoofing ip address etc which is ridiculous considering they couch themselves as a liberal paper and espouse free speech and transparency yet hide behind Orwellian policies of conduct etc…

    ANyway prob a good thing means I can piss away my time on pointless intent discussions now LOL