Nadine Dorries’ “Stalker” Smear used by Cyberbully as Justification for Harassment of Tim Ireland

Back in February, I sent an email to Nadine Dorries MP. Here’s the content:

Dear Ms Dorries

I see from a post that you made today on Twitter that you have forwarded certain emails etc. to the Metropolitan Police concerning Tim Ireland and a man named Charlie Flowers. As you may or may not know, Mr Flowers has made threats of violence against Mr Ireland, and when asked why he has claimed that he was acting on your behalf because Mr Ireland supposedly sent you a death threat. By this, Mr Flowers is refering to the incident in which you posted a Tweet about sitting in a churchyard, and Mr Ireland responded with a Tweet to you linking to a YouTube video clip taken from the film “The Omen”, in which a priest is killed in a churchyard by a supernatural entity.

I understand that you considered this joke by Mr Ireland to be offensive, and that you have had on-going disputes with him that have spilled over into personal animosity. However, I am sure that you cannot agree that his Tweet amounted to anything close to a threat of any kind, or that a self-styled vigilante should be harassing him as a consequence.

I have had dealings of my own with Mr Flowers and his associates (a gang calling itself “The Cheerleaders”), and I have seen first-hand how they have harassed Mr Ireland and other people. They have a dispute with Mr Ireland on a different matter, but they are using his disputes with political figures such as yourself and Iain Dale as opportunistic cover for their harassment. Regrettably, Mr Ireland’s complaints about this are now being mischaracterised as some sort of “conspiracy theory” on his part, although he has never claimed that you or his other political opponents are connected with Mr Flowers.

I have extra information about this matter, and I would like to add a statement of my own to the police investigation. I would therefore be grateful if you could give me contact details for whomever you have passed your materials on to.

Yours sincerely
Richard Bartholomew

The background to this letter was that Tim had been suffering a sustained campaign of harassment from Flowers and certain other individuals hiding behind fake IDs – his home address had been published on-line in attempt to force him “to go back to Australia”, and there were direct threats of violence. In February, Sunny Hundal chanced upon Flowers at a public event and challenged him; Flowers reportedly “claimed he was doing it on behalf on Nadine Dorries and had informed her and Paul Staines and Iain Dale about it”. Tim asked Dorries about this, and she posted a Tweet:

I have fwd all emails etc to the Met Police who are reviewing with the harassment unit

This seemed encouraging – she seemed to be confirming that she had received a message from Flowers and had realised it was appropriate to pass it on. But why was she being so vague about it? As Tim observed, with some frustration:

 …she does not specify who those emails were from, who she reported them to, or when she reported them (my money’s on yesterday, if at all).

I think my letter conveyed the importance of the situation succintly enough, and there was no reason why my name should have put her off. However, my email was not acknowledged, and it now appears that Dorries in fact used the incident for her own purposes – not to help Tim shake off a bully, but to have Tim himself investigated by the police for supposedly stalking her. This was revealed last night, when Dorries made a remarkable scene in public at hustings in the village of Flitwick when she discovered that Tim was filming the event (Flitwick is pronounced “flittick”, as someone else helpfully points out in this video):

And sure enough, Flowers is using the incident as a justification for acts that a man of any decency would find shameful:

Tim has a post on the Flitwick debacle here. It’s of particular interest that Dorries mentions Patrick Mercer MP at the end of her harangue – it shows that she has been paying close attention to Tim’s situation, so she can’t simply claim that his dispute with Flowers was a detail beneath her concern. Mercer, it may be recalled, is the MP who for a long time endorsed Glen Jenvey, an “anti-terror expert” who generated a front-page splash for the Sun by posting a fake message to a Muslim website in order to concoct a terrorism scare. Tim discovered the deception, and Mercer disassociated himself from Jenvey once the evidence of manipulation was indisputable – but he wasn’t too keen to make much of a public thing of it.

Flowers and his friends turned against Tim last autumn; the attacks began after Tim discovered that an associate of Flowers named Dominic Wightman – another self-styled “anti-terror expert” with past links to Jenvey – had been feeding Tim and me false information in the hope that we would write blog entries attacking another man, against whom Wightman has a grudge. However, Wightman and the “Cheerleaders” deny any link to each other. Flowers regards himself as some sort of “anti-jihadi” activist, and he has made links with both British Muslims for Secular Democracy and the English Defence League (at the Westminster demo he held a loudspeaker for the Sikh EDL leader Amit Singh, whom I blogged here). One of his “Cheerleader” friends is not above dipping into Redwatch to fish out personal details about someone else whose private life they want to disrupt.

It seems that Tim’s problem is that certain of his political opponents don’t like his persistence in debate and his willingness to dig deeply to get information. Their answer is simply to suggest that pressing a point which they would prefer to shrug off is evidence of mental instability, and to complain of “stalking”. Any appeal for them to show a bit of decency when things get out of hand is simply used as further evidence of mental instability, and perhaps serves as source of amusement. One might expect this from bloggers – but from an MP?

Ugandan Minister Asks United Religions Initiative to Help Him “Wipe Out Witchcraft and Homosexuality”

It’s been a busy few days for Uganda’s “Minister for Ethics and Integrity” James Buturo, as he promotes the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. A couple of days ago he was at TheCall Uganda (background here); he spoke following an address by Lou Engle – although Michael Wilkerson at Religion Dispatches reports that Engle had conveniently left by car at this point, thus dodging a controversial association. Warren Throckmorton has the audio and a transcript here.

And last week he was treating the Great Lakes United Religions Initiative to his monomania; the Daily Monitor reports:

He appealed to religious leaders regardless of the difference in faith to spearhead the campaigns to wipeout witchcraft and homosexuality in the country.

The Board Chairman of the United Religions Initiative, Bishop Baker Ocholla [sic- should be “Bishop Baker Ochola”] attributed the vices to religious divisions.

This is somewhat incongruous. The United Religions Initiative is an international interfaith organisation, founded in 2000 by William Swing, at that time Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California; its perspective is mainline, and Swing is known for taking a liberal line on homosexuality; this 2005 report quotes another cleric as saying thay “he has ordained more gay and lesbian clergy during his 27 years of episcopacy than probably any other bishop in history”. Christian fundamentalists are particularly hostile to the URI, warning of “New Age globalists” and such.

I’ve blogged on Buturo previously. His other ministerial efforts include banning The Vagina Monologues (“the idea was to promote lesbianism and glorify the vagina – even elevating it to god-like status”), calling for mini-skirts to be banned on the grounds of “road safety”, a drive against the sex industry based on “shaming” prostitutes.

(Hat tip: Bulldada Newsblog)