SpinWatch is modelled on the U.S.-based ‘Campus Watch’ site, or the British National Party’s ‘Red Watch’, which have rightly been condemned by civil liberties campaigners for their witch-hunting.
The page on Miller’s SpinWatch site ‘Written in Flames’ reproduces a pamphlet ‘Naming the members of the British Ruling Class’, it lists ‘the names, jobs and addresses of British Corporate directors’. Noting that the authors were ‘accused by the Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism of encouraging attacks on corporate leaders’, David Miller (who posted the page) goes on to reproduce it in its entirety, adding links to update the information.
Sadly, Miller seems to think that this anarchist revenge fantasy is a good model for his own website. Following the ‘Written in Flames’ model, Miller and his students reproduce scores of names and addresses, not just of business leaders, but also of politicians, writers, academics and anybody else that they disagree with.
These are some of the people whose current home addresses are reproduced in Miller’s SpinWatch site, along will all kinds of snide insinuations of bad behaviour, so as to open them to abuse:
James Nicholson, Ulster Unionist MEP
South Lanarkshire Council press officer Mark Whittet
David Green (renewables lobbyist)
Jeremy Miller, lobbyist
Glasgow businessman Imran Khand. Khand, it should be said, is also being cyber-stalked by the British National Party, who would no doubt be most interested to see his address.
Jane DeVille Almond, nutritionist
In the House of Commons, Minister Angela Eagle talked about the website Redwatch, which ‘carries hundreds of entries on anyone the authors believe should be intimidated or attacked’ adding ‘Indeed, there can be no other reason for providing that information, given the context in which it appears on the site.’ Hansard, 21 Jun 2006 : Column 1437
What, apart from intimidation, is the reason that SpinWatch publishes the names and addresses of those it accuses – wrecklessly and maliciously – of wrong-doing?
As well as publishing home addresses of people that SpinWatch’s writers do not like, they also publish people’s work addresses, and phone numbers, so as to expose them to harassment – and also to create difficulties with their current and future employers.
These are some of those academics whose office and department addresses are reproduced, again in the context of allegations of wrong-doing
Brian Young, of the University of Exeter’s psychology department.
Professor of Political and Social Theory at Monash University David Wright Neville.
Some of those named, indeed, are Miller’s own colleagues at Strathclyde Univrsity, like Emeritus Professor Kees van der Heijden, named as a nuclear industry lobbyist, Psychology professor Kevin Durkin (accused of beign a spokesman for the advertising industry) and Brian Ashcroft, described as a ‘neoliberal evangelist’, with his office email and phone number usefully listed, along with a page about his wife Wendy Alexander with a sneaky insinuation that she is corrupt.
The American Civil Liberties Union objected to the ‘Campus Watch’ site in these terms: “What we’re concerned with is this climate of turning people in. People shouldn’t be keeping lists or monitoring people’s behavior.” Washington Times, Ellen Sororkin October 6, 2002.
But here, SpinWatch is doing the same thing. Making special individual dossiers on academics, with their titles and departmental addresses reproduced along with their alleged misdoings (usually of the order of advising on terrorism, or biotechnology).
Predictably enough, given SpinWatch’s conspiratorial view of the world, there are 199 pages under the category ‘Israel Lobby’, that lists scores of Jewish leaders, like Louise Ellman and Kim Howells, along with examples of their lobbying for Israel.
Many of SpinWatch’s targets are people whose only importance is that they have differing views, often on the left. So Paul Anderson, who was editor of Tribune, and Deputy Editor of the New Statesman is attacked on SpinWatch and another David Miller site, leading Anderson to protest against ‘David Miller’s disgraceful left-McCarthyite website’ and demand ‘stop your blacklisting’. (10 May 2009).
On 9 May, Professor Ed Herman wrote to David Miller resigning from the SpinWatch advisory board, complaining of its ‘hit list’ of political opponents.