Who Invigilates VIGIL?

As I blogged last week, BBC’s Newsnight recently broadcast an exposé on the Islamist group Hizb Ut-Tahrir, featuring an anonymous infiltrator (“J”):

We’ve been told that it’s alright to hurt non-believers…The loyalty to the group, I had to show it…they actually asked me to take some money from three guys…By force…I threatened them and the gave me the money because of who I was with…This is Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The infiltrator was vouched for by a man named Dominic Whiteman, of an organisation called VIGIL. Newsnight also featured a second VIGIL member, Glen Jenvey, who monitors Islamist websites. Jenvey, as I noted at the time, is an associate of Jeremy Reynalds, who writes for the neo-Pentecostal news service ASSIST Ministries.

No sensible person would deny that Islamism is bad news and represents a danger. In the past I’ve given credit to Reynalds for his efforts in keeping an eye on Islamist websites, despite his extremely conservative views. However, something about VIGIL was disturbing: this shadowy group had no web presence that I could find, and Jenvey’s personal website linked to some very Wingnutty sites.

Now, however, HuT has come up with a counterblast against VIGIL. One is naturally reluctant to use HuT as a source, but its article contains links to other sites that speak for themselves. Firstly, it appears that VIGIL does have a web home after all:

The VIGIL network is a large non-profit, non-political network of former intelligence officers, anti-terrorist operatives and proven private terror trackers united in one (mostly online) offensive strategy against the Islamic extremists threatening the planet right now. VIGIL was formed consequent to the 7/7 attacks on London.

…Now the VIGIL Group has found its place within the IC-HUMINT network to strenghten and extend both our service!

Dominic Whiteman, Director of VIGIL

IC-HUMINT (“The Intelligence Community Human Intelligence Network”), however, appears to have particular religious perspective, which it expresses in melodramatic language:

Back in 1991, a young-man from a far-off country came to the Western-Sahara desert to meet with a group of people. They formed an alliance to establish a global network to form an army to fight the Evil-World to come and to serve for the glory of Jerusalem, the city of GOD!

(1991 was when UN peacekeepers were deployed in Western Sahara; whether this is what the above is referring to is anyone’s guess)

Recta Sequi … [“follow the right”]

Since then, many people came and went and we have been around in the world. But in 1998 we established ourselves on the internet. Using it as a portal for our global community. This network is what we now call the IC-HUMINT.

Welcome to the Intelligence Community HUMINT network!

So who was this “young-man from a far-off country”? The website is short on names. However, there is one clue:

Established and maintained by members of the British SAS and their respective global counter-parts. The IC-HUMINT stands for The Intelligence Community Human Intelligence. Together we form a global network of ex and current serving members of the various special forces and HUMINT intelligence operatives.

This appears next to the SAS logo. Elsewhere:

For at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people (Dan 12:1). Shalom Jerusalem, holy city of GOD! We are in service of the Mighty one. For there is but one God and only him we shall serve.

Most peculiar. Weirdly, the whole site declares itself to be “Crown Copyright”, a term which if used accurately means that a publication has been produced by the British Government.

Meanwhile, HuT directs us to Jenvey’s past internet activities via Wayback. It appears that Jenvey used to run a fake Islamist website under the name “Pervez Khan”, which he used to gain the trust of Islamists (particularly Abu Hamza). Then, in September 2002, he replaced his faux-Islamist site with a rather different message (links in original):

We’ve changed our mind about this whole terrorism thing.

Jehad is Crap!

…There is just one way to achieve a lasting peace and have an end to terror in the middle east. The entire Muslim Ummah must realize:

There is no such thing as a ‘Palestinian.’ There never was. It is a PR fiction, a Madison Avenue fantasy. There is no ‘intifada,’ El Aksa or otherwise. There is a Philistine Authority Pogrom, both against Jews and Arabs, by Arafat and his thugs. The main victims are the resident Arabs themselves. There is actually one reference in the Qur’an to the Palestinian People – and that is the Philistines,” – Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi

Israel belongs to the Jews – because Allah gave that land to them – why, because the Philistines won’t act like decent human beings – and only decent humans deserve their own country. If the Philistines don’t like it, they should just find somewhere else to live. Except no other country on earth wants to have them because they are not acting like decent human beings.

And Kashmir belongs to the Indians – for the same reasons.

Let’s Roll

Johnathan Galt

We can only guess at Jenvey’s motive for deciding to post such an extremist message, but one fails to see how this does anything to undermine Islamism or promote rational discourse.

IC-HUMINT appears to have some apocalyptic religious agenda (“the Evil-World to come”), and it wants Muslims to believe it represents the intentions of the British government (“Crown Copyright”). Why would VIGIL decide to become part of such a project, when, according to Whiteman, “As an organisation we don’t ‘do’ religion”? I have no sympathy with HuT or any group like it, but Newsnight’s decision to elevate VIGIL to “expert” status while telling us nothing about its background and little about its methods is very questionable.

(Hat tip to a reader)