Glen Jenvey and his Friends

It’s been nearly a week now since Tim Ireland published extracts from an alleged audio interview with Glen Jenvey, who stands accused of posting to a Muslim website forum as “Abuislam” in order to create evidence for a front-page Sun story about Muslim extremism. “Abuislam” had been linked to another poster at the same forum, “Richard Tims”, who had been promoting a website owned by Jenvey some months before, but in recent a message sent to Tim Ireland via Jeremy Reynalds (of the neo-Pentecostal ASSIST News Service) Jenvey denied being Tims. The audio flat-out contradicts this; the apparent voice of Jenvey clearly states that “Richard Tims” is a false name that he uses.

Since the publication of the audio, Jenvey has again been in contact with Tim – he doesn’t deny the authenticity of the recording, but there is no confirmation or explanation of any sort. Jenvey’s former and current associates aren’t saying much, either: Dominic Whiteman has been careful to stress that their association ended a while back, and that their work together remains valid “Whatever the result of the [Press Complaints Commission] investigation [into the Sun story]” – hardly a ringing endorsement. Jeremy Reynalds, who backed Jenvey with an absurd article claiming that Jenvey was the victim of a conspiracy concocted at the Guardian newspaper, has not yet felt the need to inform his readers about the latest developments; there’s also nothing from Jenvey’s associate “Lionheart”.

The Jenvey audio also raises some other interesting connections, as he explains his role in uncovering evidence of Jihadi activity:

I was… I basically… I basically uncovered all the films. With…. a university professor whose cousin, Sherard, is the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, but at that stage was the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. If I don’t think the cops are taking me seriously… or not acting on information given over to them or MI5… we bypass them and I will use one of my number of diplomatic contacts… or it will go to Sherard. And if that fails, I then go to the press.

And later:

…Mike went to the MI5 in two thousand and… I think he went in 2006… [snip] ‘cos I arranged a meeting…for Mike to go and visit MI5 and hand over tapes.

Tim sums up nicely what this means:

The process described here deserves summary; when the police do not regard certain evidence to be useful/usable for some reason, they will be bypassed and high-placed contacts within our diplomatic corps will be put to work to see if justice can’t be meted out by some other means. If those avenues fail, it will be time for trial by media.

Given the big cloud now hanging over Jenvey’s credibility – made darker and heavier by his bizarre lashings-out since – this is rather serious; and as I noted recently, the Sun is currently being sued over the website forum story. Tim has emailed the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, for an explanation. He has also emailed Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP who has links with Jenvey and a particular interest in matters of terrorism and intelligence. Tim says that “Patrick Mercer’s people are kindly looking into the matter, but not a word has reached me from Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles or his staff.”

Instead, Tim is now looking into chasing “the alleged cousin/’Mike’ for comment”. But who could the cousin be? Details are scarce, although Sir Sherard’s family background is provided on this genealogical website. It’s somewhat incomplete; the maternal relatives are missing, and none of the listings for paternal first or second cousins fit the bill. It’s interesting to see, though, that Sir Sherard is descended from a certain Captain Cowper Phipps Coles, who died in 1870. Captain Coles has achieved posthumous fame on an internet list of “10 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions“:

Cowper Phipps Coles was a distinguished Royal Navy Captain who invented a rotating turret for ships during the Crimean War. After the war, Coles patented his invention and set about building his own ship using this revolutionary design, having seen it adapted for other Royal Navy ships. His ship, the HMS Captain, required several unusual and dangerous modifications however, including a so called “hurricane deck” which raised the ship’s centre of gravity. On the 6th September 1870, the HMS Captain capsized, killing Coles and most of its 500 person crew.

Captain Coles has many descendants, as listed here.

Probin’ Pronin

Moscow’s police chief Vladimir Pronin makes a public statement somewhat beyond the usual brief of police officiers:

It’s unacceptable, gay pride parades shouldn’t be allowed. No one will dare to do it, such “brave-heart” will be torn to shreds…Our country is patriarchal, that’s sums it up…I positively agree with the Church, with the Patriarch, politicians, especially with [Mayor] Luzhkov, who are convinced that man and woman should love each other. It is established by God and nature.

The is not the first time that Pronin has made a priority of speaking out on the subject; in 2007 he wrote to Luzhkov that

“Representatives of public, Russian Orthodox Church and other religious beliefs are against the conduct of the gay parade which is propagating relations contradictory to the norms of morality and unacceptable for the society,” he says in his letter to the mayor.

He then goes on to say: “Units of GUVD in Moscow are constantly controlling mass public actions in the city, monitoring media and Internet with the aim to take measures of preventive character and non-admission of illegal actions on the part of representatives of sexual minorities.”

Mr. Pronin then says that he estimates that 120 extra personnel from militia regiments and the OMON will be needed each day to prevent any illegal demonstrations during the Gay Pride.

Moscow was lucky that Pronin had the resources for such vigilance – in 2003, he had explained that crime was increasing due to a shortage of police officiers.

On the other hand, there’s no problem with the far right holding a rally in the city; as was reported last year:

At a rally of about 400 far-right nationalists in Moscow’s Triumph Square on April 19, speakers called for the murder of various government officials, praised terrorist methods, and demonized Jews, according to the national daily “Kommersant” dated April 21…Rally participants included members of the National Great Power Party of Russia, the Union of Orthodox Standard Bearers, and the neo-Nazi Slavic Union (“SS” in its Russian abbreviation). They held signs condemning “Jewish fascism” and the “Jewish mafia” and calling on Slavic women to “guard the purity of your race.” Speakers called for the release of Vladimir Kvachkov who was sentenced to prison for his role in an assassination plot against a government official, an ethnic Jew.

Olga Kasyanenko of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration called on Russians to “Arm yourself! Defend your families!” and concluded with the ultranationalist slogan “Russia for the Russians!” Another speaker called for nationalists to prepare for war. Leonid Simonovich, head of the Union of Orthodox Standard Bearers, read a poem envisioning the murder of several government officials through a terrorist bombing campaign. Nikolai Kuryanovich, a former State Duma deputy, also addressed the rally that blatantly violated Russia’s laws against extremist activity by calling for the overthrow the constitutional structure of the state, and inciting ethnic hatred. Nevertheless, police reportedly did nothing in response.

(I blogged the Union of Orthodox Standard Bearers – and Simonovich’s toy-monkey impaling antics – here)

Pronin’s response? Here:

…chief of police Vladimir Pronin denied that there is an organized neo-Nazi movement in Moscow, according to an April 10, 2008 report by the Russian Jewish web site Speaking on TVTs television on Tuesday, Mr. Pronin said that, “There is no organized skinhead movement in Moscow, there are just individual excesses.” He added that in the first two months of the year, Moscow police registered around 60 crimes motivated by extremism, and that prosecutors opened three hate crimes investigations. As usual, he tempered these numbers by emphasizing that foreign citizens are more likely to commit crimes than Russian citizens, according to police statistics.

And while Pronin has time to issue statements warning about teh gay, we see rather less vigour in tracking down those responsible for killing journalists and lawyers; as was reported in January:

Rights activists have compared Monday’s murder of Stanislav Markelov to the 2006 slaying of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. They fear the investigation into his killing, like many others involving victims who have pressed to hold authorities accountable for their actions, will hit a dead end.

…Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin told a news conference on Wednesday that authorities had little evidence. “All the investigation has to go on is the data from video cameras,” Pronin said, Interfax reported

After the 2004 shooting of American journalist and Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov, Pronin was alleged to have made comments (later denied) following the arrest of a couple of Chechens, leading to a rebuke from the chief prosecutor. Pronin has also spoken against a recent call for journalists to be given guns to protect themselves:

“I don’t think we need to give journalists weapons. Law enforcement agencies must ensure their safety,” Vladimir Pronin told RIA Novosti.