Dominic Wightman Lashes Out Again

Once more, I find myself obliged to write something on the unhappy subject of Dominic Wightman, the former self-proclaimed “terror-tracker” who appeared on Newsnight in 2006 and who has enjoyed friendly links with Patrick Mercer MP. To recap in brief: in 2009 Wightman attempted to manipulate myself and the blogger Tim Ireland into “exposing” a former associate of his as the creator of fake evidence about extremist plots. In the course of events, we discovered that this associate was in fact innocent, and that Wightman was a serial liar who had himself concocted evidence.

Wightman’s response to being found out was to engage in a campaign of on-line harassment, aimed for the most part at Tim and using multiple sockpuppet identities through which he made false accusations and posted taunting and abusive messages. While the details are perhaps not of wider interest, the fact that someone who at one time enjoyed media and political endorsements as an expert on Islamic terrorism would conduct himself in such a self-debasing, immature, and disreputable fashion is a cause for serious concern.

Wightman has also manipulated other people into joining in with his attacks: in September 2009, a collaborator helped Wightman to create a particularly juvenile and abusive audio message which appeared anonymously on YouTube. With a bit of Googling, I was recently able to work out the likely identity of this collaborator, and I sought to make email contact with a polite query. I trod carefully – knowing how Wightman operates, I was well aware that this person was probably non-malign and might be amenable once he had been made aware of the true facts.

Also recently, several anonymous one-post blogs attacking me were submitted to a number of SEO optimization engines – and it just so happens that Wightman has recently become involved with an SEO business (1). The websites associated with this new business all bore Wightman’s trademark of absurdly grandiose rhetoric which went beyond honest advertising; I emailed the business’s director – not Wightman  – to ask for an assurance that the attempt to optimise attacks on me had nothing to do with his company, and pointing out the problems with how the company was presenting itself.

Naturally, Wightman’s response to all this has been extremely aggressive and abusive, and has come in the predictable form of lengthy diatribes published on his website. His writings and accusations are so luridly excessive that there is little need to respond in any detail, but for the record, the following should be clarified: contrary to what Wightman is asserting, I have never hacked his emails. I have never published anything about him under a pseudonym, or ever impersonated him. I have never had any contact with his wife, let alone sent her “poison pen letters”. Wightman, by contrast, has a long track record of hiding behind fake identities to inflate his ego or to abuse others (when not attacking Tim or me, his favourite target is a former employee who won an industrial tribunal against him – Wightman has expressed open contempt for the tribunal process and for his creditor, whom he avoided paying by declaring bankruptcy in 2009). Further,  I have never done anything to artificially inflate my blog’s presence (or that of my Twitter feed), and this blog is not paid for by Islamic extremists (or anyone else).

More seriously, however, Wightman is still playing the manipulation game, although this time with particular callousness. Wightman’s probable YouTube collaborator reportedly has a disability, and so Wightman now accuses me of “harassing a vulnerable adult” by daring to enquire into the creation of the abusive audio. Further, Wightman claims that my enquiry has terrified this man’s mother, who is herself dealing with a serious illness. It seems likely that Wightman has indeed attempted to make her fearful, for his own selfish purposes, although the fact that the YouTube audio and related channel were taken down just yesterday is a good indication of where the truth lies here.

Distastefully, Wightman is also now claiming “vulnerable adult” status for himself, purporting to be suffering from an illness which means that any undue stress – such as pointing out his dishonesty – will be a police matter.

Wightman’s new attacks also contain sinister elements: he claims to know people who could “behead” Tim and me, and he expresses a wish to run us down with his car. He also writes of a disturbing fantasy in which Tim and I come to his house to threaten his family, so that he could “fight” us. Given his habit of projecting his own obvious dysfunctions onto others, this is particularly alarming.

Note (26 June)

(1) The blogs were created by Charlie Flowers, who regards himself as some sort of vigilante against Islamic extremists. Flowers hates Tim and me, and, like Wightman, he sees the internet as being a place to act out a fantasy of self-empowerment by seeking to harm or distress others. He runs a Twitter feed called “blackeyedgirls”, and he advertised the blogs there today.