More Smears, Threats, and Abuse

A couple of weeks ago, several hit-and-run one-post smear blogs were created to – once again – spread the idea that I’m a far-leftist who collaborates with Islamic extremists while hating religion.

The author of these blogs wants to give the impression that he is associated with a neo-Pentecostal church in Nigeria; I have criticised this church for spreading the idea that children can be witches, and as a result the church has created a website attacking me (along with some other people) in crude and abusive terms – this includes the claim that I am a rapist . The new author has also created a Twitter feed linking both to the church’s website and to the new attack blogs, and he has generated a fake Facebook profile with a Nigerian name, which he has used to advertise the Twitter feed on the church’s Facebook page.

However, it is no great surprise that the new blogs in fact consist exclusively of accusations which have been made by the cyber-bully Charlie Flowers on his “NiceOnesUK” Facebook group (see here), including the bizarre claim (which Flowers made back in February) that I am in correspondence with Dominic Wightman. There are also side-swipes at some of Flowers’ other pet hates: these are a Facebook page called “Exposing Racism” (where I occasionally leave comments) and the blogger Tim Ireland. It is highly unlikely that someone associated with the Nigerian church would have seen the NiceOnesUK Facebook page, or that had they done so they would have picked out the points raised on the new attack sites.

On the other hand, Flowers has in the past set up anonymous blogs attacking me, including one which pasted material from the Nigerian church’s website. One of his cronies (someone else hiding behind a fake name) has also linked to the church’s website on the NOUK page, adding a “LOL” by way of commentary.

I raised the issue on the Exposing Racism page on Saturday, which I know Flowers monitors – sure enough, goading references were made to my post the next day on the new Twitter feed, and one of Flowers’ thuggish associates followed up with a typically abusive threat:

Without labouring the issue, this is of course further evidence that Flowers’ supposed anti-extremist activism is a sham: he and his NOUK cronies promote and hide behind the most distasteful smears spread by religious extremists, and this is all because I dared to stand up and be counted when he was harassing Tim Ireland with threats of violence and the release of his home address to hostile parties.

NOTE: Incidentally, if anyone is troubled by the accusations, I dealt with my supposed support of Islamic extremism on behalf of the far-left here back in November. As for my association with Tim Ireland, I’ve written numerous blog posts on the subject, so there’s nothing to explain.

It’s also certainly the case that I’ve written to people associated with Flowers’ “Cheerleaders” and NOUK vigilantes – when Flowers was harassing Tim Ireland, he implicated various associates by using their names or pictures. I wrote to some of these people for clarification, and in some cases I received replies telling me that they didn’t know anything about it. I know that at least one person severed their connection with Flowers as a result, and it may have played a role in members leaving his “Fighting Cocks” music band. Obviously he’s sore about that, and it has to be someone else’s fault.

UPDATE: Flowers has responded to the above by using the Twitter feed he’s hiding behind to spam various people who read my Twitter page. He’s also included an abusive attack on Sunny Hundal, a journalist who humiliated him a few months ago by asking him some difficult questions at a public event (Flowers made his excuses, and then characteristically followed up with a threatening email). Apparently he’s under the impression that his actions will “expose” me in some way, and that this self-debasing way of conducting himself is some sort of political activism.

UPDATE 2 (27 March): Late last night saw several new posts on the Twitter feed; Flowers gives the impression of being the worse for wear from alcohol while typing, and this is a past Saturday-night pattern with him on the NOUK Facebook page.

The new posts include further crudely abusive comments about Tim Ireland and Sunny Hundal, and he’s spammed some more people, including @guidofawkes (Paul Staines) – this is someone I’d don’t follow on Twitter, although Tim and I have both written critically about him. A while ago, Flowers also spammed the Twitter feed of Bedfordshire on Sunday, a newspaper which Tim and I have criticised for its softball coverage of Nadine Dorries MP.

Again, it makes no sense that any of this would be connected to a Nigerian Pentecostal. However, as I’ve blogged previously, Flowers has retrospectively justified his online harassment of Tim Ireland by claiming that Tim deserved it because of his disputes with Staines and Dorries (in fact, Flowers was manipulated into doing it by someone else, but won’t admit it – this is perhaps because he persuaded some of his friends to join in).

UPDATE 3 (30 March): More of the same with yet another attack blog. This time, though, he’s deleted references to Wightman, Expose, and to my supposed “attitude” to religion – all signatures that point to Flowers. Cunning.

UPDATE 4 (5 April): Flowers is still at it – he’s now up to eight blogs, all containing the same abusive material, but with minor variations. He now also claims that I’ve been “reported to the Metropolitan Police”, which fits a pattern of projection – Flowers was himself arrested, for reasons that remain unknown, in December (in the same way, Flowers accuses me of being a “bully” and a “stalker”).

UPDATE 5 (8 April): Flowers now making direct threats of violence

“ob” refers to “Old Bill”; Flowers is currently boasting that he is helping the police with identifying the Islamist extremists behind the anti-gay stickers in East London, and that various persons who suspected an EDL “false flag” operation have been exposed as dishonest; he includes me in that category, despite the fact I treated sceptically the suggestion of EDL involvement.

As ever, his allegations are lies, either the fruit of self-delusion or a blustering strategy to justify his way of carrying on to his giggling cronies: I haven’t harassed anyone (and neither has Tim), although I have asked various associates of Flowers implicated in his activities to explain themselves. In more than one case, it transpired that Flowers had used an associate’s name or picture without their permission.

UPDATE 6 (9 April): Tinfoil hat time:

Here we see the bad faith self-righteousness of the vigilante. Flowers is on a crusade against Islamic extremists, so by definition anyone who criticises him when he messes up by going after the wrong target (as he did with Tim Ireland) or acts irresponsibly (publicising where people live to intimidate) must be part of a political conspiracy against him. Such fantasies doubtless make up for some personal inadequacies; while Flowers wants this to be about politics, it’s actually a sorry tale of psychological dysfunction.

UPDATE 7 (26 June) : Flowers has advertised the attack blogs through his “Blackeyedgirls” Twitter feed, in the same manner as the fake Nigerian Pentecostal. That removes any lingering doubts as to his authorship. He removed them a few hours later, which suggests to me that he had mixed up his various accounts and decided to delete evidence of his mistake the morning after.

Washington Monthly Authors Respond to Attack

As I blogged a few days ago, the Washington Monthly recently published a long article highlighting alleged problems with the quality of anti-terror training being given to American law-enforcement agencies. The article’s authors, Meg Stalcup and Joshua Craze, noted that there are question-marks over the qualifications of some of the private individuals and organisations who are paid to provide training, and that in some cases the training is inappropriately ideological and simply anti-Muslim. I also noted that the report had drawn hostile fire from a certain Joseph Bail; he is a recently-retired police officer from Chester (PA) and an associate of John Giduck, who is one of the trainers discussed by Stalcup and Craze. Bail’s attack was also promoted by Brad Thor at Big Government.

Bail got off to a bad start, denouncing the journalists as “Islam-loving, terrorist-apologizing” – such absurd rhetoric tends to confirm the point that anti-terror training appears to be in the hands of blustering ideologues rather than serious professionals. However, Bail went on to describe Giduck’s background and to claim that the journalists had been dishonest: they had supposedly concealed their purpose, and they had failed to research their subjects properly.

Stalpcup and Craze have now responded to Bail:

…Bail doubles over himself to illustrate John Giduck’s close personal friendship with a former head of the St. Petersburg KGB, a claim of Giduck’s that our story conveys without comment as it has no bearing on his qualifications as a trainer. We did however take considerable efforts to verify Giduck’s training with multiple Russian special forces units. We had a Russian speaker contact the Russian Interior Ministry (MVD), which investigated John Giduck’s ties to its units with which he claimed to have trained. The MVD responded with the information we relayed in the article. The only evidence of training it was able to find was a commercial course that he attended; no one at Vityaz and Rus had heard of him. We did not claim definitively that Giduck had never trained with these units, rather, we claimed that no one there knew anything about him.

We did denounce Giduck’s unsubstantiated claim that women were raped during the Beslan siege… The sole substantiation of rapes at Beslan given by Giduck, as reproduced by Bail, is “that was what everyone was saying”. No witness statements or institutional corroboration are offered, just rumours and vague allusions to a conspiracy of silence shared by the media, the Russian government, and the terrorists… The person Giduck suggested we contact when we asked about his Beslan sources was his commercial associate Yuri Ferdigalov; almost all of the people mentioned in Bail’s letter also have a financial interest in Giduck’s continuing success.

…Contrary to what the trainers claimed to Bail, we were clear that despite our academic backgrounds we were researching an article for publication in the popular press. On November 14, 2010 Craze wrote an email to Hughbank “We are finally finishing up the piece… My editors want a professional opinion on one of the trainers I interviewed.”… In his response, however, Hughbank is unperturbed that Craze is writing a piece for publication…. The other quotes that Hughbank claims he never said are all contained in the transcript of his interview with Craze.

….In the longer letter posted on the Archangel website, Bail concludes by asking whether “articles of this nature are attempting to point out the shortcomings of current terrorism training or is it the practice of taqiyya (Islamic Principle of Lying for the Sake of Allah).” We could attempt to assure Bail that we are not covert Muslims attempting to wage a war on America, but for Bail, it seems, the absence of evidence is grounds for certainty. Let it suffice to say that we were not lying, period, and that all of our reporting was carefully fact checked…

…The idea that because Giduck is a terrorism expert who wrote a doctoral dissertation on hostage siege tactics, he is somehow qualified to speak about Islam assumes an automatic connection between Islam and terrorism that is erroneous and misleading. We do not attack the trainers for not being police officers. Counterterrorism training is quite obviously an opportunity to bring outside expertise to departments. Expertise, however, needs to be both real and relevant to the police mandate. It should also be subject to a real system of evaluation, accreditation and auditing. This is what is sorely lacking, and what we sought to bring to public attention.