Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
Posts by Tim Ireland
12th Mar 2010
Though Cowards Flinch – We’ll huff and we’ll puff and we’ll blow their house down: It has come to our attention that the magazine ‘Total Politics’ is planning to publish an interview with Nick Griffin, the racist leader of the British National Party. Before we forget, therefore, we thought we should announce that, in the event of the publication of this interview, TCF will withdraw from the annual voting process to rank the popularity of UK blogs, run by Total Politics magazine, which once we welcomed and which made itself relevant to the internet through the annual UK blogging guide (pictured)
Though Cowards Flinch – Boycott; the saga continues: But what really matters is not whether Griffin flounders on Dale’s questions or not. It’s about the long-run effect of having Griffin feature in a mainstream publication. Long after the specific questions that Dale asks are forgotten, people will remember that Griffin was interviewed by an (allegedly) respectable, mainstream publication. It will help to normalise Griffin and his party. It will encourage him to be seen as a legitimate politician with legitimate views to be considered a reasonable political option by reasonable people.
Iain Dale has a clearly stated (and quite notorious) policy of not linking to blogs/bloggers that are critical of him. He has stated quite clearly in the past that he refuses to do so because he does not wish to legitimise them.
But he will give a platform to Nick Griffin, a known racist and fascist, and now appears to be claiming that this doesn’t legitimise him or his party.
(Nick Griffin may hate people who are coloured/foreign/different, but at least he hasn’t criticised Iain; that would be beyond the pale!)
All we’re left with is the depressing situation of Iain Dale doing this for political reasons, or (far more likely in my honestly-held opinion) to sell more copies of Total Politics, because shoving it down the throats of elected representatives as junk mail and counting this as ‘circulation’ isn’t making enough money or shifting enough units to please advertisers.
UPDATE – I should point out that I already boycott the Total Politics poll of weblogs, because it is flawed from the ground up (the two main points being it is rigged in favour of Iain Dale and his mates to begin with, and the votes are counted by a known cheat).
11th Mar 2010
A number of people spoke on the panel, including Jeremy Hunt.
Jeremy Hunt is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey (which will become my constituency after boundary changes) and, more importantly in light of the subject matter, he is Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. If the Tories scrape through at the next election, he will, in effect, become the Minister for Teh Internets.
Hunt also puts himself about as a bit of a blogger, and a believer in social media.
At last night’s event, Hunt declared that social media has led to MPs being more accountable.
There was a loud cough/splutter from the audience. That was me. Sorry.
In 2006, two Conservative activists closely associated with neighbouring Conservative MP Anne Milton anonymously smeared a political rival as a paedophile. I emailed Hunt about this at the time. The wannabe Minister for Teh Internets decided that this behaviour was not only a seedy and unseemly political tactic, but a wholly unacceptable use of the medium, and a general risk to the online community he wanted to represent.
Just kidding. In fact, Jeremy Hunt decided to say and do precisely nothing about it then, and he avoids any straightforward discussion of his decision to put party ahead of principle to this day.
We did have a discussion (of sorts*) about it on his ‘blog’ once, and I would link to that right now, but I can’t, for the same reason I’ve put the word ‘blog’ in scare-quotes; it’s gone.
Not only is that conversation gone, but the post above it is gone, too. In fact, everything Jeremy Hunt blogged about in 2008 and 2009 (along with every comment entrusted to him) has been disappeared into the ether.
The way Jeremy Hunt puts it; he only maintains a recent/immediate ‘archive’, which appears to amount to the last 30-odd posts. Everything else just… disappears. I’m not sure at this stage if a date-stamp kills them, or if they’re pushed into the void by each new post (like new facts in Homer Simpson’s brain) but either way, sooner or later, down the memory hole it goes. Bye-bye!
Even if you’re aware of the URL of an old entry (or work it out from the naming convention) you won’t be able to access it. Here’s entry 229; it’s the earliest live entry visible (from Jan 2010). Try entry 228 or anything earlier, and you’ll either get an error page or be bounced back to the front page.
Hunt gave me some waffle about “immediacy” to explain it, but this is not in keeping with his approach to his press release archive (which goes all the way back to 2004) and it completely dodges the issue of accountability.
Every other blogger on the scene understands the importance of maintaining an archive (with the possible exception of Iain Dale, who has a bad habit of editing/deleting old entries without notation)… but Jeremy Hunt regards it to be unimportant.
How does Jeremy Hunt’s ‘blog’ make him any more accountable, if he’s not willing to simply stand by his previous utterances?
What does this say about his attitude toward those who take the time to contribute comments and participate in conversations on his site? Do they know their contributions will soon be deleted as an irrelevance?
Also, Jeremy Hunt is an MP, familiar with a little thing called Hansard, and one hopes he’s not blind to the importance of (and the principles behind) that archive. Would he have that only go back 2-3 months as well? How about the LexisNexis and/or the British Newspaper Library? Will Jeremy Hunt be proposing we make those archives more ‘immediate’ if the Tories get in?
Finally, as I mentioned, this is the guy who wants to be Minister for Teh Internets… and he doesn’t appear to have the slightest appreciation of or respect for one of the core principles of online publishing.
(Oh, and – as I mentioned – he’ll also turn a blind eye when local sock-puppeting Conservative activists wish to smear an opponent as a paedophile. Which is nice.)
As he was racing off to something that was – I assume – far more important than my question about archives and accountability, I showed him a copy of a page he had ‘disappeared’ (I have trust issues with some of the local Tories, so I saved a copy of our paedo-smear conversation to my hard drive).
Hunt actually had the audacity to claim that he was accountable for material he had ‘blogged’ in the past, because someone else had bothered to archive a single page of content for their own records.
Unfortunately, this only begins to approach ‘near enough’ (if not ‘good enough’) if all of the past content is archived by a third party, and then published in a navigable/indexable form. So that’s what I’m going to do, starting with whatever I can gather from these scraps in the WayBack Machine. Obviously, I’m going to need to be a top search result for ‘Jeremy Hunt’ for this to be sufficiently visible, but this shouldn’t be a problem; it’s what I do best, and my version of his blog will offer a wealth of relevance (that he clearly regards to be irrelevant).
I doubt Jeremy will be happy that my version of his blog will allow additional comments that are beyond his control, but that’s the price you pay for outsourcing simple accountability.
[*Jeremy Hunt also cheats at comment moderation, but I'll leave that for a later post.]
25th Feb 2010
[NOTE - Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. Pyra Labs (Blogger.com) was acquired by Google in 2003, YouTube in 2006.]
Google today vowed to appeal, saying in a statement: “We are deeply troubled by this conviction, it attacks the very principles of freedom on which the internet is built.”
Two executives, David Drummond and Peter Fleischer, and former employee George Reyes were accused of negligence. Prosecutors said the video remained online for two months even though some web users had posted comments asking for it to be taken down.
Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation and acquitted a fourth defendant altogether.
Mr Drummond, who is Google’s chief legal officer, vowed to fight his conviction. He said: “I am outraged by the decision … If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our positions at Google every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability.”
The case stems from an incident in 2006 when four boys in Turin filmed and uploaded a 191-second clip of them bullying a schoolmate with Down’s syndrome. It shows the youths making fun of the boy, before punching and kicking him. One of the attackers then makes a mocking call to Viva Down, an advocacy group for people with Down’s syndrome. The complaint was brought by the charity and the boy’s father. “The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police,” Google said.
And there’s your weak spot, hiding in that sentence right there; it took the involvement of police to get the video removed, after months of people complaining about it. The core deceit here is that Google is talking about the things they are not responsible for under a flag of internets freedom, while neatly brushing over what they are responsible for.
Google failed in their duty to this individual and the public in general because their facilities for reporting abuse of their publishing/communications facilities are inadequate. Further, I am about to show you that they are aware of this but do not care.
Over the past year, I’ve been subjected to a planned campaign of harassment that has involved the repeated publication of my ex-directory home address, directed at people thought to be hostile towards me. The purpose of this is to cause me fear of violence if not actual harm.
The following is a claim from an executive who works for Google about their response time for things like this:
“Regarding the removal of confidential data: once it’s brought to our attention, we make every attempt to respond right away, and in no event longer than 48 hours.”
Now, let’s take a look at their actual response times:
My home address was submitted as a comment under a series of YouTube videos on 27 September, 2009. When these comments were deleted, the address was instead posted on the profile page for the relevant account (which was in turn promoted by the good people at Kooba Radio and Redwire Design). Despite immediate then repeated complaints to YouTube through their ‘support’ systems, then by email and fax, the account stayed live for days that stretched into weeks and then months. It wasn’t until I got in touch at an executive level (and believe me, these contact details are NOT easy to find) that anything was done about it. Even then, Google claimed the account was suspended immediately on January 15, 2009 when it was still live on the morning of January 21, 2010… even the delay after the delay was longer than 48 hours.
In total, I was left waiting 3 months and 26 days… just short of 4 months.
Further, the page ‘removed’ by Blogger.com/Google staff is still visible in Google’s search database today (25 February, 2010), which brings our total response time for Google as a whole to 4 months and 29 days… and counting. More on this point in a moment.
On 30 September, 2009 my home address was published on a Blogger.com-hosted account under the headline “Tim Ireland the internet stalker” with a claim that I had “smeared, picked fights with or stalked” a long list of people including Nadine Dorries, Iain Dale and Paul Staines. Again, immediate then repeated complaints were ignored for days that stretched into weeks and then months. Cleverly, Blogger.com refuse to tell me exactly when this account was suspended, suggesting it’s a matter of privacy (what?!), so I would be unable to give you a complete response time if it weren’t for the fact that this ‘removed’ page also remained live in Google’s search database until sometime after January 17, 2010
Total response time for Google: a minimum of 3 months, 21 days
In both cases, content was removed by one arm of Google while it remained live under the auspices of another. There does not appear to be any kind of synergy or alert system in place that ensures removal of inappropriate content from Google’s search database after it has been removed (by Google staff) from Blogger.com or YouTube; it’s like some bizarre parody of Communist Russia that forces me to join one queue for bread and another for butter. Why is there no standard channel of communication between abuse teams that addresses this issue?
(Incidentally, Blogger.com continue to host ~50 false claims that I’m a convicted paedophile and refuse to remove them, citing freedom of speech. They do not recognise the danger a public accusation of paedophilia represents in this nation of tabloid ‘justice’, and now refuse to discuss the matter.)
On 20 November, 2009 a threat was issued that someone planned to use a Gmail account to pass my personal data onto Nigerian/Russian scammers. The threat alone was a clear violation of their Terms of Service, so this was reported to Gmail immediately . No action was taken, even after December 26, 2009 when multiple emails began from this account clearly impersonating me while forwarding sensitive/confidential data such as my home address.
On January 15, 2010 this matter was raised with Rick Klau, Business Product Manager at Blogger (yes, the same person who refused to tell me when that Blogger account was disabled). Initially, Rick was kind enough to pass my concerns on to YouTube, but the Gmail matter took a little longer. In fact, it wasn’t addressed until February 10, 2010 (almost a month later) when Rick was busy giving me the brush-off. Instead of passing my concerns on to Gmail, he directed me to this generic support portal.
See what I mean about queues for bread and butter? He knew I had to wait months for a response from Blogger and YouTube and Gmail, it was within his power to move/pass things along to Gmail just as he did with YouTube, but instead he directed me to join the queue and start again!
The relevant account was still live on 20 February, 2010 (and is probably still live today).
Total response time for Google: a minimum of 3 months… and counting. I’ve not heard a word back from Gmail about any of it.
(There is also an account that may have been used to impersonate me from 06 October, 2009 onwards. Verifying if this account exists myself involves engaging with the people harassing me, which the police have advised me not to do, so on Jan 15 I asked Rick Klau to ask Gmail about it. So far, I’ve heard nothing back about this, either.)
Rick Klau is not the only person at Google who is aware of this. The wider matter (including many specifics) has also been brought to the attention of Oliver Rickman, Manager of Google UK Communications and Public Affairs, and Rachel Whetstone, Vice President of Communications for Google (Europe).
I have tried to alert Google to an entirely insufficient approach to abuse of their facilities and have been given the brush-off at an executive level.
In other words, Google know that their response time for abuse is far from adequate, they have repeatedly turned a blind eye to this problem, and I can prove it.
To close, here is the last letter I sent to Rick Klau:
from Tim Ireland
to Rick Klau
date Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 4:28 PM
subject Re: Blogger and comments mentioning you
Rick, let me explain where your perspective may be letting you down:
You don’t think any people/police have had issues reaching you because 100% of the people who’ve made contact with you managed to … make contact with you. Do I actually have to point out that this isn’t an entirely representative sample? You appear to be turning a blind eye to the possibility that there are people who have failed to make contact with your department and you may not know about this because…. they haven’t made contact with your department.
I can tell you now for a fact that anyone submitting a police complaint involving anonymous online harassment has to do a lot of legwork themselves or risk letting their tormentor(s) off the hook. It was certainly the case in the investigation relevant to the attacks on me (many of which you inexplicably continue to host).
In fact, police would have been unaware of the role played by another man if I’d not pursued a number of providers personally. I found it was up to the victim to gather most of the evidence; mainly what the police brought to the table was the authority to reveal names behind IP/email addresses. I stand by my criticism of Google and their failure/refusal to cooperate with my efforts to halt this harassment and I reject your attempt to suggest that it all would’ve gone much smoother had the police simply contacted you through the usual channels, thought it important, etc. In fact, I take offence at this or any other attempt to belittle me or downplay what I have been through.
You assure me that Google’s response time for ‘sensitive data’ matters is measured in hours, when I have shown you that it has been – across the board, in my experience – more a matter of weeks and months. Well over 3 months in one example you are aware of.
(On this note, I’m disappointed you would assure me of the adequacy of your response time on Blogger.com but refuse to go on the record about the specific date you actually managed to get around to deleting the blog in question.)
Then, rather than take my concerns seriously, you seek to give me the brush off, pretend that it’s none of your concern, and direct me back to the automated channels that let me down so badly in the first place.
I am trying to tell you that that Google is failing to protect vulnerable people. I am trying to alert you to a widespread failure of your system to address harassment in a timely manner.
Are you seriously going to ignore those warnings and file it under ‘not my problem’?
If you genuinely don’t feel you are qualified/authorised to speak on the wider matter of Google failing victims of harassment, then please pass me on to someone who is.
Immediately, please. Google has kept me waiting long enough.
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that a week has passed since I sent this, and there’s been no response from anyone at Google.
24th Feb 2010
During the filming of Tower Block of Commons (in December last year), one of two sisters Nadine Dorries was staying with was so incensed by the MP’s conduct that she began broadcasting on Twitter. The two tweets from that account that are most relevant to this post are highlighted below:
After the first episodes were broadcast (in February of this year) those same sisters went on to accuse Nadine Dorries of not only offering to share the extra £50 she had stashed in her bra, but also a share of a secret stash of temazepam, an addictive sleeping pill with a reputation for recreational use:
A pair of single mums have told how Tory MP Nadine Dorries offered them the prescription drug temazepam when she lived with them for a reality TV show.
Sisters Rena Spain and Nisha Young… (say) she waited until the cameras were off, and then offered the tranquillisers around. Mum-of-five Rena, 40, said: “She went into her suitcase and pulled out this big plastic bag with all different types of pills in it. She asked, ‘Does anyone want one of these?’ She said they were temazepam and were really good to help you sleep. I said, ‘You can’t just hand them out like Smarties’.”
The sisters say mum-of-three Dorries, 52, offered them the pills on the first night of her stay on the South Acton estate in West London. The controversial Mid-Beds MP was there as part of the C4 show Tower Block of Commons, and last week we revealed how she stuffed £50 into her bra when she was supposed to be living on benefits. Yesterday the MP denied the allegations. (source)
Yes, Nadine Dorries denied the allegations. But not the possession. Dorries even went on to reinforce the matter of possession by making this vague accusation against her accusers on her Twitter account:
The tweets by ‘ihatemp’ (above) are the only visible record in the public domain that match this description. What this leaves us with is Nadine Dorries going into a council estate to face the ‘reality’ of poverty with £50 stashed in her bra, her tummy tucked into £120 worth of denim, and an unknown quantity of prescription-only medication hidden in her washbag.
(Nadine spoke of a thorough search of participants before going in, so it is unlikely that the drugs were initially hidden in her washbag. It is more likely they were hidden somewhere on her person and/or in her intimates… like the £50 was.)
It is at this point that today’s thought experiment begins.
Imagine for a moment that I have a single unnamed source claiming that Nadine was also carrying illegal drugs at the time. This hypothetical source didn’t get close to Dorries at the time, and doesn’t even live on the estate, but they have an accusation that suits my agenda so I rush forward with it anyway.
Imagine also that I am not a campaigner against tabloid scum, but that I am tabloid scum, and, at this stage, so far up the arse of certain right wing newspapers that I can see through their blowhole. This being the case, I have no trouble getting my claim into print, and it’s a whopper; a killer ‘fact’ with added stickiness. For the purposes of effective illustration, I have chosen possession of crack cocaine; it is a ‘dirty’ drug with mostly negative associations, it is the more plausible choice in Dorries’ case (because a lot of the time she carries on as if she’s off her head on the stuff), and it permits the tabloid-friendly jest that Nadine Dorries hid fifty pounds of cash in her bra and eighty pounds of crack in her knickers.
(See what I mean? Sticky!)
Finally, instead of running my blog responsibly (with comment registration and pre-vetting for new users) let’s assume that I host my main site on Blogger.com, and run comments like an open sewer when it suits me. Most days the moderation wall is up, but today I have chosen to leave comments wide open for some reason; anyone can come in and submit anything they please, and I have no method/will for tracking the author(s). Further, even if I delete ‘offending’ comments immediately, what has been submitted will still be visible to an unknown number of subscribers.
Later, I’ll broadcast contradictory accounts about why I withdrew the claim and when, but for now what matters is that I have informed the newspaper of my 180-degree turn too late to avoid my claim going to print, and by the next day it’s in front of over 2 million people.
Thousands of those people descend on my website, doubling my audience overnight. I have since withdrawn the main part of the claim from my website, but I leave in place a sentence that gives the impression that my claim stands. There is certainly no hint that the claim of illegal drugs made in the newspaper has since been withdrawn. In fact, it is in this climate, among these thousands of people, that I speak of Nadine definitely being in possession of ‘the drugs’ or ‘those drugs’. Of course, I’m referring to the prescription drugs when I say this, but what everyone hears is “crack cocaine”
I’m not stupid enough to allow any comment repeating the specific claim I have withdrawn, but instead of correcting anyone who repeats it publicly, I have the claim withdrawn quietly. Privately.
Similarly, comments declaring the crack cocaine claims to be false are swiftly deleted. (Comments accusing that author of being a mental-case on par with and/or in league with Dorries, and possibly a drug addict themselves, I will allow.)
Eventually I huffily issue a correction within my post, but in the days that pass before that happens I will have repeatedly used the means at my disposal to maintain the illusion that Nadine Dorries went into the council estate carrying crack cocaine.
What I am describing here, ladies and gentlemen, is the exact same method that Iain Dale used to libel Tom Watson, and he can’t deny it, because I have dated copies of the relevant thread as it unfolded, and there are still remnants of his libel live in that thread.
Nadine Dorries isn’t* on crack cocaine. End of thought experiment.
Iain Dale is a lying bastard. End of story.
(*For the record, the only evidence of Nadine Dorries taking crack cocaine is the counter-clockwise rotation of her eyeballs, but she has yet to issue any denial about her alleged possession of slimming/’amphetamine’ pills and temazepam and has instead moaned about people going through her stuff.)
17th Feb 2010
Finally, it’s out in the open and established beyond any doubt:
Charlie Flowers, when confronted in public about the online attacks on me…
More comments have been received regarding my posts on Charlie Flowers and the “Cheerleaders”. As any regular readers will know, this is the gang of semi-anonymous cyber-vigilantes who last year decided to post Tim Ireland’s home address all over the internet, without regard for his family’s safety, in the stated hope that he would be forced to flee the country. Threats of violence were also received, including “machete to your throat”.
… claims that he is knowingly acting outside of the law not on behalf of Dominic Wightman, but instead on behalf of Iain Dale, Nadine Dorries and Paul Staines:
So I ran into “Charlie Flowers” today and asked him why he was stalking Tim Ireland.
Here is some hilarious stuff that came out.
CF claims Tim Ireland was harassing me at one point! When I pointed out this wasn’t the case at all, he just flustered and tried to pretend he had a story straight on the issue
He also claims he’s not a “vigilante” because “they uphold the law”. In other words he fully admits he’s not doing it lawfully.
Thirdly, he claimed he was doing it on behalf on Nadine Dorries and had informed her and Paul Staines and Iain Dale about it.
Iain Dale, Nadine Dorries and Paul Staines; all three of these people have repeatedly (and I would contend dishonestly) characterised my criticism of them as ‘stalking’ (both directly and by proxy, the latter most often with the assistance of Phil Hendren*), but only Iain Dale was foolish enough to go any further than a series of vague insinuations, most recently in a post that he has since deleted.
(Not withdrawn or retracted or apologised for… just deleted. As if the false accusation never happened and it’s not being used against me to this day. Right now Iain Dale is taking David Wright MP to task for deleting comments he published and pretending that they never happened, but I am assured that this is not hypocrisy because Iain Dale is not yet an MP.)
Their defence for doing this is that they are expressing an honestly-held opinion. This is very easy trick with claims of harassment against yourself (if you say you feel harassed, who’s to tell you any different?) but Iain Dale, for example, has also made quite specific accusations about my treatment of Conservative MP Anne Milton (even though he certainly didn’t get this from Milton herself and he admits that he has not read any of the detail of the weblog he presents as his ‘evidence’)
Tellingly, these three refuse to back this ‘honestly-held opinion’ with any evidence and refuse to acknowledge how easily their ‘honestly-held opinions’ might be interpreted (and are at present being used/abused) as statements of fact.
Sometimes, they even go so far as to characterise any objection I may have to their accusations/’opinions’ as sufficient evidence in itself; they accuse me of stalking, I confront them about the accusation, they yell ‘stalker’. This is the same game the Cheerleaders have been playing, as it happens.
More recently, any complaint to these people by me that Dominic Wightman, Charlie Flowers et al have been using these ‘honestly-held opinions’ as statements of fact has been dismissed as evidence of paranoia that they claim supports their case and justifies their published opinion(s).
Now, unprompted by me in any way, Sunny Hundal confronts one of the ringleaders when he happens across him at a public event and – surprise, surprise – that person turns out to be behaving exactly as described, and puts his case forward as if he is attacking me on behalf of a series of ‘top bloggers’, hilariously including Sunny in his list of targets.
Once again, Iain Dale, Nadine Dorries and Paul Staines are in a position to either cripple these attacks against me, or allow them to go on without impediment:
- Would any or all of these people care to comment on any communication they may have had with Charlie Flowers (or any other person claiming to be attacking me on their behalf, including Dominic Wightman/Whiteman, aka Richard Walker)?
- Knowing how certain uncertainties are being exploited, would any or all of these people care to clarify their position on any past ‘honestly-held opinions’ about stalking (including those that have since been deleted, but not retracted)?
(When doing the latter, Iain Dale will also need to provide supporting evidence for his quite specific claims that I have stalked both Nadine Dorries and Anne Milton, or withdraw the claims as publicly as he made them.)
If Iain Dale, Nadine Dorries and/or Paul Staines continue to remain silent instead of disowning and discrediting Charlie Flowers today, well, we’ll know what they’re all about, won’t we?
[*Phil Hendren ('Dizzy Thinks') is the only person outside of this gang of 'Cheerleaders' who has published my private data online in an effort to intimidate me into silence. His close chum Iain Dale didn't act or speak out against this at the time, either, though he did take the time to deny being the source of the data. Hendren now claims that he never published my unlisted home phone number because publishing it in two parts - or in 'code', or with one number missing from the end - doesn't count. Phil Hendren also continues to host specific claims about me that he knows not to be true, even though he knows they are being repeated by the likes of Dominic Wightman to justify their attacks. His stated justification for allowing this to go on amounts to this and this alone; he doesn't like me. Harry Cole ('Tory Bear') has been equally helpful in kicking the 'stalker' claims along, and has a similarly undeniable alliance with Paul Staines. The pattern is very similar; both Hendren and Cole attack targets on behalf of the 'bigger'/Daddy blogger, and are rewarded with ongoing linky-love and other forms of patronage. What Charlie Flowers and the 'Cheerleaders' get out of a very similar relationship with Dominic Wightman - who also claims to have been 'stalked' by me while attacking me directly and by proxy - is not yet clear.]
UPDATE (18 Feb) – Iain Dale and Paul Staines have both been contacted directly, and both have made it crystal clear that they do not wish to intervene or even comment in any way. If Charlie Flowers is lying, they could expose him in seconds with minimal effort, but they choose to remain silent. Nadine Dorries (who is an MP and therefore maginally more accountable) has made a vague claim about having forwarded some emails to police, but 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). Her claim means nothing until she provides some specifics that allow for confirmation.
UPDATE (18 Feb) – Nadine Dorries has decided against clarifying her vague statement about a police report and has instead jetted off on a 4-day holiday. Isn’t that nice?
8th Feb 2010
Unlike some of Nadine Dorries’ nearest and dearest blog-chums, I don’t go around attacking people from behind a shield of anonymity or a range of sock-puppets. In fact, I’ll usually seek to intervene if I see someone engaging in unfair/anonymous political gameplay, so as amused as I was by Nadine’s recent Twitter witlessness…
… I still took the time to politely ask the person who grabbed her old username to play the game fairly and squarely:
By morning, Nadine Dorries had published a false claim that I was behind the hijacking (details), claiming that I was anonymously taking control of this username and other variations of her name. She was also carrying on with some needless hysterics about my being some sort of “sick” cyber-transvestite. While I don’t expect Nadine Dorries to be entirely happy about what I have done quite openly with this single account, her claim that I have repeatedly (and secretly) hijacked her name in an effort to somehow restrict her access to Twitter is a damaging (and, I suspect, malicious) falsehood that I reject entirely.
So I was none-to-impressed when the person who had grabbed Nadine Dorries’ old username retweeted Nadine’s false claim without counter or comment, and I asked them to address the matter:
Sadly, it soon became clear that the anonymous web user was determined to remain anonymous in order to protect their reputation while not giving a damn about mine.
I took a more active interest and quickly established the IP address of the web user who had taken control of the username ‘nadinedorriesmp’ (126.96.36.199). I also discovered that, days earlier, the same IP address had been used to make this edit to the Wikipedia page for the Tory Reform Group:
What you’re looking at there is a classic no-no in Wikipedia; when someone asks for a citation to support any given claim about an organisation, a link to a repeat of the claim on the organisation’s website (in this case, word-for-word) doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Typically, this kind of muppetry involves someone who is at the very least closely associated to that organisation (by profession or friendship); it is not what one would expect from a passing stranger who has yet to develop a taste for the Kool-Aid.
Life is full of infinite uncertainties, but I thought it warranted a polite question. I asked Nadine’s anonymous tormentor what their connection was to the Tory Reform Group:
I didn’t get an answer. In fact, shortly after this question was sent, the nadinedorriesmp username was abandoned.
Meanwhile, Nadine Dorries continues to maintain a claim she cannot possibly prove, despite my emphatic denials, and has even ignored all offers to help her identify the real culprit.
5th Feb 2010
The good people at the Telegraph have just reported the following:
Telegraph – MPs’ expenses: Nadine Dorries paid £35,000 to close friend in PR: Between September 2008 and June 2009, Mrs Dorries claimed £34,059.75 for the services of the company Marketing Management (Midlands) Ltd. Miss Dorries claimed under her office allowance, her staffing expenditure and her communications allowance to pay the public relations company. The first fund is used by MPs to pay for the running costs of their constituency and Commons bases; the second to pay the wages of permanent and temporary workers; and the third to run websites or produce adverts and leaflets. The invoices show it was paid for “PR, research and media services”. Companies House documents disclose that one of the two directors of Marketing Management is Lynn Elson, who lives near the Cotswolds town of Moreton-in-Marsh. In the past year, Mrs Dorries has written on her personal blog and her Twitter page about visiting the town and a nearby country pub. Her website is illustrated with a selection of six photographs, some showing her as a young girl and as an MP speaking in the House of Commons. Two of the pictures show the Tory MP with Mrs Elson: one in a group shot with two other women holding glasses of wine, and one with Mrs Dorries and her daughters dressed in evening wear.
Just to reinforce that last point, here is a specific entry on Nadine’s ‘blog’ that includes a mention and photo of Lynn.
Now, don’t be thrown off by the fact that this next item is also on the Telegraph site; that in itself is of no significance and this whole post should probably be filed under ‘added colour’ anyway… I just wanted to show you this response from Lynn Elson to a review of the restaurant in the ‘Horse & Groom’. This pub is referenced on Dorries’ blog as her ‘local’, and the two friends obviously enjoy the odd party/drink together, so I want to make it clear that I’m not implying that this is what Lynn classifies as ‘PR*’, rather I merely wish to invite those who have experienced or witnessed a Dorries ‘rebuttal’ to gaze in wonder at this intervention by her friend Elson and count the many boxes it ticks.
(NOTE – You may spot a subtle indication of her own personal politics as you evaluate Elson’s style of engagement.)
I would like to respond to Mark Palmer’s review of the Horse and Groom, Bourton on the Hill, Gloucestershire, which happens to be my ‘local’. Firstly, they do not wrap the cutlery in napkins, but lay knives and forks on top of the napkin at the table – this is a pub not a restaurant. I reply to Palmer’s comments about the Horse and Groom straining to be ‘a little bit of everything but not quite managing to be anything in particular’; in actuality it manages to be a very good ‘local’ pub which serves excellent food, wine and beer and is very popular amongst discerning diners who live locally. Mark Palmer’s haughty tone showed him to be a pompous, pretentious Londoner, and frankly we don’t want his type spoiling the agreeable ambience of our lovely Cotswold pubs. The staff is always welcoming and friendly; no they didn’t all train at Butler School, but they are charming and chatty which is perfect for a relaxed lunch or informal dinner. Perhaps Mark Palmer should stick to eating in fancy London restaurants if it’s silver service and forelock tugging he’s after. In eco-friendly times, what’s wrong with having the menu on the blackboard therefore saving a few trees? – It’s a common practice throughout a lot of Cotswolds pubs. What did he expect – a gold leaf menu? I say again – this is a pub! His mocking comments on ‘the wall poem about village life by John Betjeman, a print of a gentleman cricketer and notices on the back of the door that you might find inside the porch of a lively parish church that runs Alpha courses on Monday nights’ is because the pub is at the heart of village life and not a theme park for self-important Londoners. As for his condescending comments about ‘a group of thirtysomethings having a black-tie celebration’ which he felt inappropriate just shows how anal he really is. How dare he sit and judge a group of people who for their own personal reasons have chosen to add a bit of fun to an outing – we are easy going enough in the countryside to break the rules of the conceited liberal elite who dictate to the affected likes of Mark Palmer what he should wear and when. He has obviously reviewed McDonald’s at some point as he made a comparison to their chips – who would have thought he’d lower himself to enter such an establishment? He was clearly dining in matching caustic company, as his companion Joanna added her own sneering comment about the red cabbage – what is she a red cabbage connoisseur? It’s a shame her life is not more interesting. Mark Palmer would do better sticking to ostentatious London restaurants, filling his face with showy food and deferential silvers service waiters at his beck and call. That way, he will satisfy his appetite for his high opinion of himself as a food aficionado and keep our lovely local Cotswold pub free of anal Londoners.
Bloody glorious, isn’t it? I challenge anyone to spot the difference between this and your typical full-frontal outburst from Dorries. It even manages to blame Teh Left in correspondence about a restaurant review.
[*If I were to speculate on the possibility that this was part of a formal PR exercise, I would further speculate that the party of black tie diners may have been part of a pathetic attempt to fill/class the joint up a bit for the expected visit from the restaurant reviewer... and that Lynn may have had good cause to take the reviewer's comment about this group personally after going to all that effort to show off for the townies.]
UPDATE for readers in 2011 and beyond; some related links about all the lovely money Nadine has paid to her friend Lynn…
4th Feb 2010
Gina Khan is a 40-something woman who speaks out against radical Muslims, with a focus on the rights of women born into Muslim society. As the Times reports, the price she has paid for this is intimidation at the hands of cowards:
Already Khan has had bricks through her car window for speaking out locally about domestic violence and sexual abuse, issues that are taboo in the Muslim community. (source)
I find it odd, then, that Gina Khan is also a listed ‘officer’ of the Facebook group, ‘Cheerleadered!’; i.e. the group of people who have been repeatedly publishing my ex-directory home address online citing reasons that vary from baseless claims of alliances with extremists to false accusations of my stalking women. In a recent post I mentioned how they were recruiting people to do their dirty work for them with such false – and dangerous – accusations (more):
There are some people who may be able to claim distance from these attacks with some credibility, but Gina is not one of them;
1. She is no mere Facebook ‘friend’ or ‘member’, but a listed ‘officer’ at the main site for this gang of mostly-anonymous thugs. Her name appears in a very short list alongside that of the new recruit mentioned above, plus Farah Damji, who was recently sentenced to 15 months for fraud and forgery in “a scheme dripping with dishonesty at every conceivable corner” (and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that the Cheerleaders have been using all-too-familiar bullying tactics in her defence).
2. Gina Khan was CCed on an email threatening me with violence for daring to ask her (and others) about their relationship with the Cheerleaders.
3. At the time, we were assured by one of the ringleaders that Gina herself would ‘tear me a new one’ for daring to attempt contact. No such orifice-creating intervention took place, but Gina Khan did nothing to distance herself from the group, the original threats and attacks, or the further* threats and attacks made on her behalf.
4. Gina Khan is not only connected to the ‘Cheerleaders’, she is connected to conman Dominic Wightman, and appears to have introduced one to the other. Before he was outed as a conman and exploding with proxy hostility, Dominic Wightman had this to say about Gina Khan and head Cheerleader Charlie Flowers (the man who challenged me to a fist fight in Gina’s name and went on to issue further* threats of data misuse on her behalf):
“I met [Charlie Flowers] the month before [Feb 2008] after I had been put in touch by him online with Gina Khan” – Dominic Wightman (more)
There are further connections, such as Gina Khan taking part in two-part interview on Wightman’s Westminster Journal site, but this one clearly associates her with both Wightman and Flowers; she brought them together!
There can be little question about her awareness of what the ‘Cheerleaders’ are up to; at the very least she seems quite unconcerned about anonymous threats/attacks made on her behalf and how that might impact on her credibility as a moderate human rights and social cohesion campaigner.
Perhaps she’d care to break cover just long enough to deny involvement… or justify her actions to date.
If this post remains live, without relevant update or correction, then Gina Khan is still refusing to comment on the issue and is instead quietly siding with Dominic Wightman, Charlie Flowers, and the Cheerleaders. Any private denial is likely to based on a lie that cannot bear scrutiny, and does nothing to discourage the very acts Gina Khan claims to take a stand against.
(Over to Gina for what is expected to be an extended silence interrupted only by further threats from her thug mates.)
[*According to their more recent threats, my publication of their email addresses has led to these people being unduly/unjustly spammed, so they are going to pretend to be me (!) and share my home address (!) with Nigerian 419 scammers and the like until/unless I remove the following list of people/addresses CCed on these threats of violence; The Fighting Cocks UK (firstname.lastname@example.org), email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Jonny Yeah (firstname.lastname@example.org), email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Plan B Booking (email@example.com), Matthew Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org). Most of these addresses were visible to search engines - and therefore to spambots - long before I published them. Me, I suspect these threats have more to do with someone in this list regretting their involvement... at least to the extent of not wanting other people to know about it. So far, no-one on the list has been willing or able to publicly distance themselves from the dangerous, childish and malicious antics of the 'Cheerleaders'.]
[** 23 Feb 2010 - Workable email address removed following a request to my provider made on behalf of Matthew Edwards.]
[*** 16 Mar 2010 - Followed by a copycat complaint on behalf of everybody else.]
[**** 04 May 2010 - Then I decided to move to a provider that couldn't be bullied quite as easily and later reinstated the data when they turned up mouthing off again. They're going to publish my home address then moan about publication of email addresses (associated with a threat of violence, no less)? Fuck 'em.]
1st Feb 2010
This exchange is typical of Iain Dale; he sees the word ‘fake’ and/or ‘opportunist’, and screams ‘insult’, but he’ll throw the most awful accusations about himself and later defend it as ‘banter’ or ‘opinion’. One of his favourites is an accusation of ‘obsession’ or ‘stalking’ that he throws about like candy:
[BTW, recently Iain Dale attended a public event posing as an expert. As the Twitter feed behind him displayed messages pointing out that the man speaking as an expert wasn't actually an expert, he relied on the accusation of stalking (again) to explain it away.]
Iain Dale also likes to make quite specific accusations based on some pretty one-sided accounts:
[Iain recently claimed that he had deleted all content like this from his website in an effort to be 'left alone'. He was lying, of course, and I'm going to keep pressing him on those and other lies for as long as he continues to broadcast them. That's what Iain Dale calls a 'threat' by the way.]
Now, Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries are very close friends, they both love to throw the word ‘stalker’ around, and it should be pretty clear by now to all but the most doe-eyed chump that Iain will side with Nadine over pretty much anything (even if that support is limited to a refusal to discuss it or allow any mention of it on his site). Iain Dale has even accused me of being critical of Nadine Dorries just to get at him (as if anyone needs an excuse to be critical of Nadine Dorries).
In Anne Milton’s case, Iain’s position is slightly different, but even less credible; Iain Dale has mostly (if not entirely) relied on the input of some anonymous comment contributors on his site who have been repeating allegations originally made by two activists working under Anne Milton (Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul), both of whom were caught (by me) smearing other people anonymously (once by claiming that their target was a paedophile). Iain Dale was perfectly happy to see that matter brushed under the carpet then, and uses an accusation of stalking to explain his inaction at the time now (he repeatedly implies I imagined the event, or made it up). Even if (BIG if) these anonymous comments on Iain’s site aren’t made by the same people, he is willingly relying on the same accusations made by these people to avoid the same bloody issue.
Meanwhile, as he continues to insist that making a website about Anne Milton and/or his friend Nadine Dorries amounts to ‘stalking’, Iain Dale heartily backs the efforts of Tory Bear (aka Harry Cole) when he creates a site targeting Kerry McCarthy, based on little more than some generic anti-Labour/expenses bitching and an objection to being blocked on Twitter.
Does Iain Dale honestly wish to contend that I campaigned against Nadine Dorries or Anne Milton based on less?
There is some inconsistency here that undermines this man’s opinion of what does and does not qualify as stalking; the line appears to be especially elastic when personal politics are involved.
But Iain Dale is also a talking head on television, and while he may not be appearing in the Daily Mail again in a hurry, he also appears in print and controls his own little magazine that is junk-mailed to thousands of MPs, councillors, etc. every month… so he needs to be a little bit more careful about the words he chucks around, especially when they end up getting used like this:
To make it perfectly clear what you are looking at, this is one of the ringleaders in a gang of anonymous sock-puppeting thugs (they call themselves the ‘Cheerleaders’), recruiting/indoctrinating a newcomer with an outright lie and in doing so encouraging them to engage in some form of online attack against their target.
Mostly, these online attacks involve the repeated broadcast of any sensitive data they can get their hands on, and what these people are primarily armed with is my ex-directory home address (provided, it would appear, by Dominic Wightman).
Previously, the worst attack of this kind on me was the publication of my unlisted phone number by the blogger Phil Hendren. It doesn’t happen often, because most bloggers frown on this kind of bullying… but time and again, Iain Dale and his Tory mates have shown that they will tolerate the hell out of it when it suits them, and forbid any discussion of the matter from their websites while allowing their previous
opinions accusations to stand.
The Cheerleaders (latest/background) normally target people they regard to be extremists, so I don’t think I ‘m wrong to suspect that this comment refers to me, given that it repeats the (current) core accusation they use to justify threats of violence that followed their repeated misuse of my personal data.
Their accusations that I am a ‘stalker of women’ came (I suspect) privately and (I can prove) publicly from claims made by conman Dominic Wightman (aka Dominic Whiteman, aka Richard Walker) who was also caught (by me) smearing other people anonymously.
The claims made by Dominic Wightman and these ‘Cheerleaders’ are outright lies formed in part from repurposed material from the websites of Iain Dale and his fellow Tory blogger and close friend Phil Hendren (of ‘Dizzy Thinks’). Both of these gentlemen refuse to remove or even discuss material that they host on their respective websites that (a) involve quite specific and false claims about me that (b) they know not to be true.
They refuse to discuss any of this (citing specific accusations of ‘stalking’, no less) beyond defending their published accusations as mere opinion, knowing it is being repeated elsewhere, unchallenged, as fact.
Take a look at this again:
This person being recruited by ‘Shooter’ clearly thinks that they’re working on the side of angels. They’re liable to get up to pretty much anything if ‘Shooter’ manages to convince them that innocent women’s lives are at stake.
It’s at this point I wish to remind you that Glen Jenvey believed that I was a convicted paedophile when he repeatedly published the accusations that Google still refuse to remove. His claim that Dominic Wightman fed him this lie (along with my home address) grows in resonance by the day, and I’m concerned about what might happen when people are recruited like this by the ‘Cheerleaders’ (for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain).
I don’t think Iain Dale or Phil Hendren can justify what ‘Shooter’ is passing around, but I can prove that the ‘Cheerleaders’ and/through Dominic Wightman rest their stalker accusations on false/unsupported claims published by these two ‘leading’ bloggers.
Why they persist in broadcasting these claims I’ll leave up to you.
(Be warned that if you attempt any public discussion of this yourself, you risk attack by Iain Dale and his little gang of thugs and hangers on, or Dominic Wightman and his little gang of thugs and hangers on.)
29th Jan 2010
[NOTE - UK-based web hosts are particularly easy to bully thanks to certain peculiarities in local libel laws, and people acting for (or on behalf of) Redwire Design have been taking advantage of that, by bullying my priovider rather than admitting their role in... well, more bullying. If Nick Catt or Alex Malloy or anyone else at Redwire Design want to deny the involvement of their staff/facilities in online harassment (including publication/promotion of my home address), then they can initiate actual civil proceedings or shut up. My account is honest and truthful, backed by evidence none of them dare challenge, and it stands. Relocated article reinstated 4 May 2010.]
Well, the unpleasantness continues, and Alex Malloy is hiding behind his company firewall. If you could take a moment to read the detail and send a quick email to Nick Catt (if you see fit), then I’d greatly appreciate the time and effort. Cheers.
Managing Director, Redwire Design
Apologies for the open letter, but an all-too-familiar game is unfolding and your company Director Alex Malloy appears to have blacklisted my email address(es) in response to my query about the apparent (but still-unconfirmed) spam-blocking of these same addresses by one of your clients.
I use the word ‘client’ loosely given that the relevant account involves Jon Chappell, Alex Malloy’s mate and partner in Kooba Radio. I’m guessing the whole arrangement involving your hosting of their website, email and what have you is more congenial than it is formal, but there is no question of you hosting it and being ultimately responsible for how your servers are used and for the conduct of your Director in their management and for any relevant communication from your staff about that.
Moving in the local band/club circles as you do, you must be aware of a band by the name of The Fighting Cocks. If you don’t know who these people are, your Director Alex Malloy certainly does; he’s played host to them on his Kooba Radio ‘station’ many times, and they appear repeatedly on his website (that you host). Core members of The Fighting Cocks (alongside hangers-on like Jon Chappell) also go by the name of the ‘Cheerleaders’, and in a lonnng campaign of harassment from behind these names and a series of sock-puppets and pseudonyms they have repeatedly published my ex-directory home address in an effort to intimidate me into silence. This all has to do with a conman of their acquaintance by the name of Dominic Wightman (NOT a name I expect you to know; this is just for background).
I can show you evidence of the involvement of the relevant Kooba Radio YouTube account in the active promotion of an account used (only) to broadcast my home address if you have any doubts about this, or if Malloy is denying any of it in your communication(s) with him. When we last communicated, he denied knowing about any of it, but the evidence suggests otherwise (personally, I suspect he’s lying and obfuscating to protect himself and his mates, if you’ll allow me to be frank with you) and it’s still no excuse for his conduct in response to fair and pertinent questions.
Malloy knows who the main account holder for ‘KoobaTV’ is, but refuses to discuss the matter in any way. You may choose to back away into a legally-secure (if morally dubious) position that this aspect of our (ahem) disagreement is none of your business, but he is also refusing to be clear about the nature of an apparent spam-block on an email account that you host, and the stench of bad faith is coming from Redwire’s corner as a result.
Oh, and now I’m receiving further threats made on behalf of these friends of the Cheerleaders who claim not to know anything about those same Cheerleaders. Here’s the latest, received just this morning:
from Princess Calamity [email@example.com]
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.
[FYI:' Matyi' = 'Charlie Flowers']
Now, if it were taken in isolation some people might expect all those concerned to laugh this one off, but I’m detecting an implied threat against my family there, and I’d be interested to know what you think, especially as these and other threats are now being made on behalf of one of your ‘clients’, a Director of your company and now, apparently, the company itself:
from The Fighting Cocks UK [firstname.lastname@example.org]
to Tim Ireland
date Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 12:45 AM
subject and you are now, officially, in the shit.
I TOLD you not to contact these people. But your mental condition meant you had to, didn’t it? OK you are now officially in the crap, P-Group has found your web host, and they have been notified.
You have a choice:
1. Walk away and look away, and NEVER contact anyone involved with us again.
2. Keep it up, and reap the whirlwind.
3. This means and includes: anyone at Kooba or Redwire.
[I fail to see what possible case these people can hope to present to my web host, unless they're following up on Malloy's claims of 'threats and defamation' that he is curiously unable to identify when challenged.]
As you can see, by attempting to contact you I risk ‘reaping the whirlwind’, and I apologise in advance for my next act, which is designed to ensure that this attempt will not have been in vain:
Hi folks. Without being rude about it, please forward a copy of this message (and/or a link to this post) to Nick Catt at email@example.com
If you think I’m being too long-winded (as usual), then do feel free to aid comprehension with your own summary, but please try to remain professional about it, as Nick Catt is a Managing Director and therefore likely to be a Serious Person, unwilling to stand for any swears or abuse.
(I’ll scrub this message when he responds. For as long as it remains live, the request stands. Cheers all.)
These people can only continue to attack me for as long as they remain anonymous, and these people will continue to attack me for as long as the man who is directing the attacks enjoys plausible deniability.
Your man Malloy appears determined to be a strong link in a long chain of ratbags. I’m hoping that you will recognise the value of being at least a little bit more professional about it, even if you’re going to deny all knowledge yourself and pretend that you’ve merely been away from your desk for a 67-hour moment.
OK, so now we see what kind of person Nick Catt is, I guess.