Dominic Whiteman Speaks Out on Glen Jenvey Links

At the Westminster Journal, Dominic Whiteman clarifies his connections to Glen Jenvey:

I met Glen Jenvey  summer of 2006. I have met him in person on five occasions in my life. We worked part-time together (mostly using telecommunication) only on the recording of Omar Bakri Mohammed’s Paltalk lectures – giving the recordings to Scotland Yard in November 2006 and passing some recordings to the media -between the summer of 2006 and March 2007 (notably contributing together to the BBC Newsnight programme of November 14th, 2006). We’ve not collaborated on any projects together since – Glen is more into internet and video research while my team and I tend to use physical sources to collect pointers. Glen works mostly for himself – I work as part of an investigative team… Amongst the cyber mosque lecturers were the (now both jailed) Abu Izzadeen (Trevor Brooks) and Mizanur Rahman. The project was a spoke…of a hub collectively known by the name VIGIL. Glen initiated the Paltalk project and saw it through to its end. Glen and the nameless others comprised this particular spoke but were never part of the VIGIL  hub. VIGIL’s other spokes were comprised of a variety of individuals – ranging from retired military and intelligence personnel through to linguistics and legal experts.

This “VIGIL” organisation came to public attention late in 2006, when it was featured as the main source for a Newsnight investigation into Islamic extremism, particularly Hizb ut-Tahrir.

I’ve always tried to be fair-minded about this kind of investigative work – obviously there are Islamic extremists out there, and if someone wants to poke around in their business looking to expose what they’re up to, good luck to them. Indeed, I wrote a positive blog post about Jeremy Reynalds’ efforts in this regard back in 2005, and when in 2007 I wrote critically about Denis MacEoin’s report for Policy Exchange on extremist materials for sale at British mosques I was careful to add that I considered the report to be “temperate in tone” and of some real use  (unfortunately when a specific problem was highlighted by another Newsnight report, MacEoin was very poorly served by PE’s Dean Godson, who gave a repellent and blustering performance on the show).

However, it’s also obvious that the field is going attract a fair number of cranks, self-aggrandizers, fantasists, and those more interesting in stirring up anti-Muslim feeling than contributing sensibly to a subject of urgent public concern. I’ve written about some of these characters on this blog over the years, and that’s also why I cast a sceptical eye over VIGIL  following the 2006 Newsnight piece; I found the website graphics to be overdone, some of the rhetoric to be rather weird, and some of the links disturbing. I asked the question “who invigilates VIGIL?“; Whiteman appears to answer directly:

VIGIL projects were always made clear to the respective authorities, who we were set up to aid – so, yes, we were invigilated, whether by the police, OFCOM orothers…

He adds that VIGIL has no “Zionist” agenda; Jenvey’s support for Israel (“If the Philistines don’t like it, they should just find somewhere else to live”) was highlighted by Hizb ut-Tahrir. Whiteman also explains that he is no longer a “hub director” of VIGIL, and that he has had only occasional contact with Jenvey since then, via email. He also tells us that he is not “Richard Tims”, that a Wikipedia account using his name has nothing to do with him, and that a story claiming he and Jenvey are lovers is a concoction (Whiteman in fact is married). And as for the “abuislam” story:

On collecting hidden videos off jihadi websites Glen’s skills were second to none. I have no idea with whom he is in contact nowadays. Whatever the result of the PCC investigation I look back on the excellent work we did those years ago together with considerable pride and satisfaction, knowing it was solid and waterproof – that it caused Bakri and his ragtag benefits claimants some considerable (and merited) strife.

This is rather less than a statement of confidence in Jenvey; indeed, Whiteman appears to be distancing himself from him, while being careful to assert that their past involvement does not discredit the work they did together. And of course, a jihadi video remains a jihadi video, even though the person who finds it might be questionable.

It’s nice finally to see some openness – cryptic websites, it seems to me, look rather silly and simply raise questions about credibility.

Whiteman also tells us what he’s up to nowadays:

My role is to organise fieldwork – on a private contractual basis – for investigations into particular subjects. Some of these subjects happen to involve extreme Islamism; some do not. In the last two years these subjects have included investigations as diverse as exposing terror fundraising networks in London and Islamist hate literature stocked in Britain’s libraries. Most of the UK team I work with are Muslim.

(The Westminster Journal article has some minor formatting problems with word spacing, which I’ve fixed in the quotes above)

Glen Jenvey Tries to Have Tim Ireland Arrested for “Hate Comments”

Audio evidence concerning “Richard Tims” revealed

Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads has received a strange email from Jeremy Reynalds, associate of Glen Jenvey:

Hello Tim,

I have been in contact with Mr. Jenvey. He says that he is not Richard Tims, that law enforcement officers are looking into your site’s “hate comments” about him, and that he will be in touch with you soon.

Best regards,

Jeremy Reynalds

This is all quite a saga, as I have blogged a number of times recently: Jenvey – a self-styled “anti-terror” expert and pundit in the controversial Obsession DVD – claims to have found evidence on a Muslim website of a plot to target British Jews, and this formed the basis for a Sun frontpage in January. The owners of the Muslim website, however, claimed that the author of the militant postings – a certain “Abuislam”-  had posted previously as “Richard Tims”. “Richard Tims” had spammed the site some months before to promote a website which Tim Ireland discovered turns out to have been owned by Jenvey. The Sun has removed the story from its website, the Press Complaints Commission is investigating, and Sir Alan Sugar – subject of the Sun headline “Terror Target Sugar” – is planning to sue the paper.

Jenvey’s response to all this has been quite extraordinary. He appears to believe that the Muslim forum is a front for al-Qaeda, and therefore that anyone who questions his “discovery” must therefore support terrorism. In particular has claimed that the PCC is guilty of “hate crime” because it is investigating the complaint, and he has alleged that the Guardian ran a short report on the investigation in its media section because the paper’s editor secretly knows that “Abuislam” is a former Guardian columnist. Tim tells us that Jenvey has indeed lodged a complaint with the police. But despite weaving these bizarre conspiracy theories, Jenvey has been silent about who Richard Tims actually  is – until now.

However, the plot thickens, and Tim has also exclusively revealed an audio recording which purports to be an interview between Jenvey and an unknown journalist. In the recording, a voice which purports to be that of Jenvey explicitly admits to using “Richard Tims” as a “false name”. The voice also boasts of links with “a university professor whose cousin, Sherard, is the British Ambassador to Afghanistan” (that would be, as Tim notes, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles), whom he claims to take evidence to when “I  don’t think the cops are taking me seriously”. He also tells the interviewer that he had arranged for someone called “Mike” to “go and visit MI5 and hand over tapes”. One can’t help thinking that this unwelcome scrutiny is going to end up embarrassing a lot of people…