Charlie Brooker on Anjem Choudary in the Media

This just about says it all. And watch the whole programme here.

Charlie Flowers Threatens Tim Ireland’s Family with “Gypsy Curse”

Cyber-bully Charlie Flowers of the band The Fighting Cocks has stooped to a new low:

from Princess Calamity []
to Tim Ireland
date Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:02 AM
subject Re: Publication of your email address

Matyi is about to put a Gypsy curse on you and your entire family, at dawn tomorrow- and it’ll be a bad one :(
… you can avoid this curse, by never contacting or writing about us or anyone to do with us again. I’m sure your wife wouldn’t be too happy about your obsessions leading to her and you and yours getting lumbered with something that will follow your bloodline down the generations, now would it?
So.. your choice Mr Stalker.

As is frequently the case, Flowers is cowering behind pseudonyms while playing the hard man, but it’s him: “Matyi” is a stage name he uses, and “Princess Calamity” and “Priya” are both names used by his close associates in a group that calls itself “the Cheerleaders”, which overlaps with his band; as I have blogged on a number of occasions, they have been harassing and threatening Tim for some months.

Back in the summer, Tim emailed Dan Wilde, another member of the Fighting Cocks – Wilde uses the stage name “DJ Assassin”, and, unlike the rest of the band, he is based in Cornwall. Tim asked Wilde if he was involved in the campaign against him; Wilde did not respond (aside from upping his Facebook privacy settings), but instead passed the email on to Flowers. Flowers then challenged Tim to a fight, and followed this up with a threat to come to his house. However, the bully is also a show-off, and he couldn’t resist cc-ing a few of his friends into his challenge. Perhaps he meant to “bcc” them but made a mistake; either way, it backfired as Tim posted the response on his blog, including the email addresses from the cc list. Tim also wrote to these addresses explaining that he would remove them if their owners would disassociate themselves from the “Cheerleaders'” behaviour. Tim has so far received only one response, from a certain “Jonny Yeah”; however, this person chose to prevaricate about how well he knows Flowers rather than give any opinion about his actions. “Jonny Yeah” then got an associate, who runs his website through a software company, to spamblock Tim; when Tim asked “Jonny Yeah”‘s associate about this, he was reportedly told to “fuck off”. So, Tim has written about all these peregrinations, too (I blogged this yesterday). The accusation that Tim is “Mr Stalker” comes from the fact that he has a reasonable question to ask of people who should be able to give a simple response, and he has pushed his point firmly.

All this has sent Flowers and the “Cheerleaders” up the wall; perhaps, behind the scenes, his friends are annoyed at the trouble he has caused them. Slowly, the “Cheerleaders” have realised that sending threats of violence isn’t working; yesterday, Flowers instead threatened to complain to Tim’s webhost – a pathetic display of hypocrisy from a man who has presided over a campaign with the stated intention that Tim should be put “back in his box” and forced to leave the country (these promises were outlined on a now-deleted Twitter feed).

So what about the “Gypsy curse”? Tim is not a superstitious man, but obviously the threat was sent with the intention to intimidate or cause distress. That’s malicious communication in UK law:

 Any person who sends to another person.. a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys… a threat… is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should… cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.

…A person is not guilty of an offence…  if he shows… that the threat was used to reinforce a demand made by him on reasonable grounds and… that he believed, and had reasonable grounds for believing, that the use of the threat was a proper means of reinforcing the demand.

Two problems for Flowers: (a) he has no “reasonable grounds” for his demand, since he gave Tim the email addresses in the first place and Tim has offered to remove them if their owners contact him. Also, a few weeks ago I conveyed a message on Tim’s behalf in which he offered to remove the addresses in return for a full account of “Cheerleader” dealings with Dominic Wightman (1). And (b) a threat to curse someone’s family is hardly a “proper way of reinforcing” any demand. There’s no reason to mention Tim’s family at all, besides intimidation, and no-one with any decency would have stooped to such a disgusting tactic. And in the context of Flowers having publicised Tim’s home address in the past and of having made physical threats, there is reason to be concerned for natural, rather than just supernatural, reasons.

There has been at least one court case in which someone was convicted of malicious communication in circumstances that involved a supernatural threat. In October 2005  a man was convicted in part for sending a letter which included the words: “Amidst all the other mishaps that shall now befall you, I am now releasing those demons that cause you to persecute me back into your soul”.


(1) Wightman denies any link to the “Cheerleaders”, although their attacks on Tim began just when Tim publicised that Wightman, with whom we had been corresponding about Glen Jenvey, had lied to us. The “Cheerleaders” have also claimed to have done things on his behalf, both in emails sent to me and in a now-deleted posting to their Facebook site (“Princess Calamity” recently wrote that “He got really scared when he realised we’d actually do stuff to people.”). Flowers also claims to have worked with Wightman at the “VIGIL Network“, and a year ago Wightman passed to Tim and me an audio interview between Jenvey and a man he thought was a journalist; Wightman told us that the man was in fact Flowers, and it seems that the audio was created as part of  feud between Wightman and Jenvey.