Is it just me, or is the secret service not what it used to be? While it was always clear that the cunningly modified Aston Martin was rather far fetched, I foolishly believed that our finest under-cover agents took their, well, under-cover roles seriously. Alas, you may harbour romantic visions of cryptic classified ads in the Evening Standard, appealing for recruits to MI6. You may expect to be approached by a friendly chap in the corridors of the School of Oriental and African Studies, offering you riches and a fast car in exchange for your BA Honours in Arabic. You may yearn for the double life: a bored, over-weight NHS administrator to your wife, but dashing, energetic superstar amongst colleagues, dedicating every waking moment to thwarting the latest Russian, I mean Iranian scheme for world domination.
But you’d be mistaken. Take the credible and compelling source of the BBC’s latest cutting edge investigation. Virgil is the pilot of Thunderbird 2, but Vigil is an undercover group that aims to disrupt radical groups, reporting back to police and security services. Except when police and security services ignore them, in which case they report back to journalists instead. There are two things I particularly like about Vigil: (1) their spies tell you they are spies (none of that last century secrecy) and (2) their website makes you think they’re just a bunch of looneys. In fact, add another: (3) the fact they have a website telling you what they do is pretty cool for a spy agency. I know, I know… MI6 have a website, but theirs is dull. It doesn’t even have an MP3 Jukebox featuring LeAnne Rymes singing Amazing Grace.
Please, stop that sniggering. This is a credible and compelling source. As a credible and compelling source, I decided to check out their Global News this evening, looking for the latest on Hizb-ut-Tahir cells operating in South London. So I clicked on the Global News link, selected my country of interest and settled on the title that most roused my curiosity. “England plump for Joyce”. Damn it, that’s just not cricket. Well, actually, it was cricket. It was a story in today’s Guardian: “The uncapped Ed Joyce is the surprise choice to replace Marcus Trescothick in England’s Ashes squad.” But that’s okay. Perhaps the Global News section is just a newsfeed for spies; after all, a truly patriotic spy would be a die-hard cricket fan. Or perhaps there are cryptic messages in the article which provide credible and compelling evidence that Hizb-ut-Tahir are infiltrating ladies hair dressing salons.
No, I can tell you’re not taking this seriously. Stop it. Sit up straight. These guys have credible and compelling evidence. Just because their Global News comes from a newsfeed, it doesn’t mean you have to sit there smirking. And yes, you might think that the skull and crossbones icon is childish, but these guys are an international elite. Remember these guys are reporting back to police and security services. Imagine that. These guys are actually telling MI5 and MI6 where to look. So what’s MI6 waiting for? When are they getting their MP3 Jukebox? Some might say they’re not taking their jobs seriously; how can Britain’s intelligence services hope to operate without Hatikvah and Crown Imperial on their iPod playlist? Indeed, not only is Vigil’s evidence credible and compelling, but they also have the best selection of free downloads. You’ve got banners, desktop wallpaper, the theme song (I bet MI6 doesn’t have a theme song), the King James Bible in MP3 and Berean TV Scripture Class.
Well, frankly, I don’t care if you’re not taking this seriously. Personally I’m convinced by their intelligent use of the English language: “The VIGIL network is a large non-profit, non-political network of former intelligence officers… united in one (mostly online) offensive strategy against the Islamic extremists threatening the planet right now.” [http://www.ic-humint.com/vigil.php] I don’t care if you think “threatening the planet right now” sounds like a line from a comic book; these guys have credible and compelling evidence. “Undisclosed locations throughout the world” might sound ridiculous to you, but I think a little primary school English can go a long way. In fact the more the better. And they don’t disappoint: take their mission statement for example:
“Back in 1991, a young-man from a far-off country came to the Western-Sahara desert to meet with a group of people. They formed an alliance to establish 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!” [http://www.ic-humint.com/main.php]
Wow. A group of people. The Evil-World. Man, MI6 need these guys. They are so credible, so compelling. Whoah!
“Since then, many people came and went and we have been around in the world. But in 1998 we established ourselves on the internet. Using it as a portal for our global community. This network is what we now call the IC-HUMINT.”
Whoah, whoah, whoah: “many people came and went and we have been around in the world.” That’s deep, man. Poetry in motion.
But let’s not get side-tracked. We’re living in the 21st Century and spy agencies have just got to realise that openess is the way forward. You can’t be going around pretending that you’re a Russian academic at Moscow University when you’re really an English toff. It won’t do. MI5, MI6 take note: Vigil is leading the way. We need more spies like Whiteman and Jenvey who are open and honest about what they do. When was the last time MI6 published photos of their spies online? Do you see Jenvey worrying about his cover being blown? Not only is his photograph published on the website, he also appeared on last night’s Newsnight. Vigil doesn’t need FOI exceptions; they’re the elite. It’s good to know who these under-cover guys are. I know I will sleep easy tonight.
“Glen Jenvey began studying radical Islamic groups when he was in college. His first job as a so called secret agent, was for the London authorities, who back then had hired him to record a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy. He has filmed many similar demonstrations before he was eventually asked by the U.S. embassy to travel down to Iran to gather information on military facilities there.
“Over the past years, Glen has worked for the intelligence services and agencies of several other countries, including Sri Lanka, for whom he infiltrated the Tamil Tigers, a group credited with the first suicide bombings. Glen eventually began using the internet to infiltrate terrorist organizations. It was mainly through his online work that Glen developed a relationship, and subsequently helped bring down, Abu Hamza al-Masri, a leading cleric at Finsbury park mosque in London. Both Richard Reid (the shoe bomber), and many of the September 11 bombers, had ties to Finsbury Park.” [http://www.ic-humint.com/glen.php]
According to Jenvey’s website, http://www.abuhamza.org.uk:
“Glen Jenvey is the real-life hero who nailed terror chief Abu Hamza. The would-be James Bond tricked the hook-handed hate cleric into handing over the video tapes which brought about his downfall. Gravel-voiced Jenvey posed as a fellow terrorist supporter who wanted to bring death and destruction to Britain. Jenvey even set up a website praising Al Qaeda to lure the Finsbury Park hate preacher into his trap. The sophisticated sting led to jail for Britains public enemy number 1 after his crucial evidence set off a chain reaction of events around the world.”
Even if you weren’t convinced when I started this eulogy, I’m sure you will now agree with me that our intelligence services would be sunk without the Vigil group. Hurray to convincing and compelling evidence. Lest you still be in any doubt, this friendly secret service provides a handy list of official members under the discrete banner, “For at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people (Dan 12:1). Shalom Jerusalem, holy city of GOD! We are in service of the Mighty one. For there is but one God and only him we shall serve…”
Thank goodness BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 and BBC2’s Newsnight had access to these guys. Where on earth would we be without them? What I just find outrageous is the fact that a member of Vigil who contacted the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terrorist hotline saying he had more than 100 hours of material from the chatroom was told to contact his local police station. “The anti-terrorist office showed no sense of urgency to get this information,” he said. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6143632.stm] That is unbelievable. It’s not as if Vigil is a group of right-wing nutters, with links to the Conservative Christian Right. If the BBC can accept them as a convincing and credible source, why can’t anti-terrorist branch? After all, Jenvey was the man who set up a website praising Al Qaeda and pretended to be a Muslim. The sure sign of a reliable witness. A would-be James Bond after all.
So the secret service isn’t what it used to be. Who cares? Vigil’s keeping vigil.
Glen Jenvey is a man who once set up a website called “Islamic News” which praised al-Qaeda. Although in other accounts he describes himself as a spy, he gave up his job as a van driver in order to pose as “a fanatical Muslim” for several months in order to entrap Abu Hamza. Although he did not work for any secret service and got involved on his own because he fancied himself “as a bit of a spy” (“I’d spied on people before – bizarre as it sounds – as a bit of a hobby, because I was interested in it.”), he built up a relationship with Abu Hamza. Read him in his own words: http://globalpolitician.com/articledes.asp?ID=1604&cid=11&sid=63