• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Anonymous Smear Attack on Tim Ireland’s Children

Tim Ireland has an update on the on-going campaign of semi-anonymous harassment which has been going on for a year or so now:

…Recently, someone involved in this ongoing campaign of harassment began publishing material targeting my wife, my children, and other members of my extended family.

This has included false accusations aimed at my kids, making specific allegations of criminal behaviour that are not only entirely untrue, but extremely damaging (and, it must be said, upsetting).

The accusations were made anonymously on a site which I have seen.

The back-story is somewhat complex, but, as I have blogged previously, the campaign began after Tim exposed the bogus origins of an Islamic terrorist scare story which appeared in the Sun in January last year. The story had been concocted from evidence planted on an Islamic forum by Glen Jenvey, who took revenge for the exposure by making anonymous postings accusing Tim of being a wanted paedophile; whether this was his own idea or was fed to him by someone else remains unclear. Around the same time, sinister “I know where you live” type comments were received from two or more individuals hiding behind fake names but associated with a musician named Charlie Flowers (in particular, Flowers’ associates are a man named Matthew Edwards and an as yet unidentified woman). After a few months, Jenvey – who has mental health problems – apologised and went off-line.

While all this was going on, Tim and I were contacted by Dominic Wightman, who knew both Flowers and Jenvey in association with his now-defunct VIGIL Network. Wightman tried to manipulate us into writing about another man, against whom it transpired Wightman has a grudge, and after Tim and I both wrote about this experience, Tim was then targeted for direct harassment once again. Twitter and other sites were used to publicise his home address, along with threats of violence and the promise that he would be forced to “go back to Australia”. Flowers has claimed that he was involved in this not because of Tim’s writings about Wightman, but because he was offended by Tim’s public controversies with an MP named Nadine Dorries (Wightman also denies any link). A few anonymous attacks were also made in my direction – indeed, just a few days ago I received a comment from someone calling themselves Cam Woodhead, making a crude sexual comment in relation to my posts on the subject.

The focus of Tim’s current post on the subject is the way in which some of his political opponents have helped to foster this situation. Tim presses his point quite aggressively in political debate, and one strategy to deflect his forensic deconstructions is to suggest that attention to detail is evidence of an obsessive nature. Pressing the point further can then be dismissed as “stalking”. It appears that Jenvey self-justified his anonymous attacks with reference to comments about Tim which had appeared on Iain Dale’s political blog; Dale only quietly removed these comments belatedly, and after accusing Tim of threatening him. Also, Tim had hoped to get the support of Patrick Mercer, an MP who had links with Jenvey and Wightman, and he asked Dale to contact Mercer on his behalf:

Iain Dale was at the time in a unique position to get word directly to Patrick Mercer. He agreed to do this, then did the exact opposite of what was requested, then claimed he had called Mercer… Dale has not gone public with any account that seeks to justify his behaviour in this respect; privately, he shares one of three different excuses…

but while Dale refuses to discuss what he said to Mercer when he eventually did contact him, Mercer obviously became hostile from this point on…

Mercer had relied on Jenvey-sourced material for a number of tabloid soundbites, and it suited him to have Tim regarded as a stalker (Mercer recently repeated the strategy in an accusation against his own ex-mistress).

A damaging role has also been played by Nadine Dorries MP, whom Tim has attacked and satirised on numerous occasions. As as I  blogged in May, Dorries retaliated by seeking  to portray a mocking Tweet as some kind of death threat, and when she later closed down her blog she claimed that she had been advised to do so following the stabbing of Stephen Tims MP – the implication being that she was in physical fear of Tim. This was despite the fact that she had closed her blog down a week before Tims had been stabbed.

At one point Dorries hinted that she had received information from some of those who were harassing Tim and had passed it on to the police; however, she later clarified that in fact she had made a police complaint about Tim, not on his behalf. This was mysterious, since, as Tim writes:

…police procedure is to interview the accused party/parties before proceeding with the expense of a full-blown investigation. I know this having been a target of harassment myself; I have never been convicted, investigated, cautioned, or even informally chatted to by police about any criminal behaviour…

In other words, it is convenient to make the cry of “stalker”, but none of those who do so are willing to test their allegations by involving either the courts or the police. And meanwhile, it’s open season on Tim – and now on his family.

I know that Tim can be controversial – but he advances his cause through words and deeds that he is willing to put his name to. He d0esn’t hide behind fake names and IDs, and he is responsible and careful with private data. He doesn’t threaten people with violence, and he’s not a party hack. In short, he doesn’t hit below the belt.

I would hope that Dale and Dorries don’t go so far as actually to take pleasure from the difficulties that Tim is facing, although clearly it’s useful for them: it distracts him from other projects, and the complex backstory to the saga means that it can be difficult to grasp an overview of the situation. The more that Tim is forced to explain and complain, the more they point and mock him as an obsessive. Either way, though, they are in a position to be of help, but instead have chosen to twist the knife in. How exactly do they sleep at night?

Meet a Veteran Defender

Staying with Loonwatch, a new article at the site notes the existence of Veteran Defenders of America, an newish outgrowth of ACT! For America (it was announced in May, although its website carries a 2008 dateline). There’s a quote from “Richard Van Waes, founder and operating chair person”, who explains that:

Quite simply, unlike any period in our long history, our freedoms are in jeopardy. Our domestic borders have been silently invaded with people who intend to harm us. There are thousands of terrorists and terror cells within the United States borders who have one goal as their agenda – the destruction of America as we know it. This simply cannot take place.

…You, as a veteran, have training, skills and experience that uniquely enable you to respond to our government’s message that encourages family and community preparedness, citizen awareness and service to our families and our communities.

The “honorary chairman” of the advisory council is retired Maj. General Paul E. Vallely. However, aside from him, Van Waes, and of course ACT!’s Brigitte Gabriel, details of who else may be involved are scarce.

From googling around, though, one other name has come up: a certain ex-Navy man named Gerard Keenan. According to his Facebook profile:

Mr. Keenan is a founding member and press officer of the non-profit IC-HUMINT (Intelligence Community-Human Intelligence) organization based in Scotland & Netherlands (being relocated to Israel) (www.ic-humint.net)… and is a member of ACT America, Long Island Chapter (American Congress for Truth), NY State Sheriff’s Association Institute, US Navy Fleet Reserve Association, the Liberty Counsel, and Veteran Defenders of America.

It seems more likely that Keenan is a paying member of VDA rather than involved at an operational level, but the association is worth noting as I’ve come across “IC-HUMINT” previously: this was in 2006, when it announced a brief association with Dominic Wightman‘s “VIGIL Network”. At that time, IC-HUMINT carried a very weird notice about “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!” In 2007, this was replaced with a profile of Keenan (also known as Jerry Keenan) and a list of associate members, although “only those that have requested to be included” were provided. The list included the SAS, the Israeli Defence Forces, and British Intelligence. The reference to VIGIL disappeared, and at the VIGIL website any association with IC-HUMINT was denied.

Earlier versions of the now-removed IC-HUMINT website (see on Wayback here and here) give Keenan as the “Press Officer” and a certain Sean Elias as in charge of “Oversight”;  a UK mobile phone number was given as contact for Elias. According to a potted history from a 2004 version of the site,

During the many years of real time experiences we have built a large contact group with official gov/mil members, contracts and various associates from all over the world. To be able to better serve and maintain this exclusive group, several members of the ‘British American Friends’ have centralized this group online and called it the IC-HUMINT Group.

A later version has the tagline “Monitored by the British American Friends © 2005”. The history goes on to explain that the group was founded in 1991 in North Africa, and that group members were then sent “to former Yugoslavia, Kosovo and Belgrado” as well as to “the Baltics States, Romania and Russia” . From 1997 a secured online presence was established, called the World Security Net, but following “several mass attacks” on the network it was decided to “disclose the entire section” and to change the name to IC-HUMINT. A look through various old forums brings up a certain “Steve” as the liason officer, and Elias described himself as “Head of Operations” at World Security Net (very little on Wayback). Keenan also runs “GPKeenan Co. Int’l Security Services” as a subsidiary of an outfit called Executive Assets (old Geocities website on Wayback here).

Although the IC-HUMINT dotnet website appears to be defunct, visiting a dotcom version of site brings up an empty page titled “Camp Joshua 2010” for a moment before the broken link page again appears. A few automatic sites have captured the phrase “CAMP JOSHUA 2010. Service Verification Jerusalem 2010”, whatever that might mean.

Of course, there is no indication that the VDA has any interest in any of this. However, the VDA website does carry an advert for a 2010 “Spy Cruise” organised by Vallely’s own Stand up America organisation, at which former CIA operatives and directors are billed as speakers.