Corn Balls

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov isn’t the only person to have managed temporarily to shut down websites in the UK by issuing a libels threat against an internet service provider; in 2006 a campaign group named GM Watch lost its service for a week after challenging the methodology of a study which purported to show that more people preferred genetically modified corn over the ordinary variety. The libel threat, and moves against other sites, came from one of the researchers, Shane Morris, whose actions led to condemnations by British and Irish politicians. Private Eye magazine now has an update (helpfully – and gleefully – reposted by GM Watch), which includes a hilarious quote from Morris:

no website was attempted to be shut down, as any changes made to anti-GM websites were their decision based on complaints regarding specific wording claims that were requested to be changed.”

So there. Morris only “requested” to have critical material removed, on pain of a libel action, and any compliance was the merely “decision” of websites or service providers that wanted to avoid be bankrupted under the UK’s notoriously skewed and oppressive libel laws. No threat to free speech there, then.

But what does this have to do with religion? Not a lot, so here’s a picture of the Aztec corn god Centeotl to make up for it: 

Whether he would approve tinkering with the DNA of corn is not known.

Incidentally, nothing so far seems to have happened following the Policy Exchange’s promise last month to pursue a libel action against the BBC “relentlessly, to trial or capitulation” for daring to broadcast evidence that undermined the credibility of a PE report on Islamic extremism in the UK