Responding to the report by NSPCC director, Peter Wanless (known as the Wanless Report), David Cameron said “It is important that it [the report] says that there wasn’t a cover-up. Some of the people who’ve been looking for conspiracy theories will have to look elsewhere”.
A couple of important points.
One is that the Wanless report did not say there was or was not a cover-up. It stated that investigations found no evidence of a cover up, and that a cover-up was unlikely based on the information Wanless was able to access.
Secondly, claims of abuse within the corridors of power have never been a ‘theory’. There has been clear evidence time and again that some kind of abuse of children was highly likely to be taking place by high profile abusers. The problem has been taking investigations forward when there is institutional protection which makes accessing information or investigating high profile suspects extremely difficult. Political influence has played a key role in inhibiting past investigations.
Perhaps Cameron is very keen to sweep this matter under the carpet as soon as possible, perhaps to prevent more damage to the Conservatives before the general election. He certainly seems to have changed his mind since October 2012 when he stated that the concerns of Labour MP Tom Watson, who raised the matter of a high-level paedophile network operating within Parliament, should be fully investigated. Another U-turn for Cameron when it suits his agenda.
What we do know is that Cameron is well aware of some of those implicated in the allegations. After all, he was presented with one list on daytime national television by Philip Schofield, and it is probable that he is also aware of other accusations – especially concerning the Welsh care home abuse cases and Elm guest house.
It seems Cameron is only interested in the matter of extremely nasty child abuse by high-profile figures when it suits his agenda – can win him votes or some credibility.
If the alleged perpetrators are Conservatives – especially those who have held government positions – it would be reasonable to consider that they may still be alive, and will still retain their ‘old boys’ contact network, which could possibly lead to Conservative figures in the current government.
For example, in 1996 William Hague was Welsh Secretary when Welsh Conservative MP Rod Richards said he had seen evidence in ‘official documents’ that Thatcher’s close aide, Sir Peter Morrison, and another high ranking Conservative were involved in child abuse at Welsh care homes in which up to 650 children in 40 homes were sexually, physically and emotionally abused over 20 years.
The Waterhouse Inquiry began in 1997 and heard evidence from 250 witnesses with a further 200 personal statements. In all, the inquiry heard 650 people.
According to some of the witnesses they were ‘encouraged’ to change statements and the names of high-profile figures alleged to have taken part in the abuse.
The report was published in February 2000 and found no evidence “to establish that there was a wide-ranging conspiracy involving prominent persons and others with the objective of sexual activity with children in care”. Of course, today we know differently since several high-profile (yet conveniently deceased) figures have been named in child abuse cases.
One of the major criticisms and accusations levelled against William Hague is that restrictions placed on the inquiry by him prevented it from examining claims beyond the care system in North Wales.
We have since learned that many children from care homes were transported to London (including Elm Guest House) for weekend ‘parties’ with high-profile figures where they were allegedly abused.
More recently, strong evidence has emerged of alleged child abuse at Dolphin Square in London, where several high-profile and powerful figures within government are alleged to have abused boys.
The allegations are strong enough for the police to launch an investigation which includes three murders of boys.
Very clear evidence that this is not the ‘conspiracy theory’ Cameron was so quick to infer.
The accusations are not only coming from people who claim to have been abused, they are coming from professional people who have encountered behaviour which has raised their suspicions through their peripheral association with those allegedly involved – including police officers – so any notion by Cameron that this is some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ is ridiculous.
There are many unrelated people who have discovered pieces of information which go together to give a good overview of the puzzle. However, the problem is obtaining the details so those responsible are made to answer for their vile actions.
Today, there is more very strong evidence of an institutional cover-up – this time involving the security services.
From The Guardian:
The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed.
Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle.
The other said that his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about a police investigation into Elm Guest House, in southwest London, where a group of high-profile paedophiles was said to have operated and may have killed a child. Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not complete”.
Officials running the D-notice system, which works closely with MI5 and MI6 and the Ministry of Defence, said that files “going back beyond 20 years are not complete because files are reviewed and correspondence of a routine nature with no historical significance destroyed”.
The spokesman added: “I cannot believe that past D-notice secretaries would have countenanced the destruction of any key documents. I can only repeat that while any attempted cover-up of this incident might have been attributed to a D-notice the truth would be that it was not.”
Earlier this month, home secretary Theresa May told the Commons that an official review into whether there had been a cover-up of the Home Office’s handling of child-abuse allegations in the 1980s had returned a verdict of “not proven”. The review, by Peter Wanless, the chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, was prompted by the discovery that 114 Home Office files related to child abuse in the 1980s had gone missing.
On Saturday the Labour MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, whose book Smile for the Camera exposed the child sex abuse of the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, said it was a matter of deep concern that D-notice correspondence had also disappeared, presumed destroyed. D-notices to media outlets are rare, with just five sent in 2009 and 10 in 2010, according to a freedom of information response from Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance, secretary of the defence, press and broadcasting advisory committee, which oversees the system.
Danczuk said: “There are clearly questions to be answered as to why these documents were destroyed. They issue very few of them – where was the need to destroy correspondence?
“It feels like just another example of key documents from that period going missing. We need to know more about what has happened. The journalists who have said that D-notices were issued are respected people with no reason to lie.”
The two journalists, Don Hale, the former editor of the Bury Messenger, and Hilton Tims, news editor of the Surrey Comet between 1980 and 1988, both recall their publications being issued with D-notices around 1984. Tims, a veteran of the Daily Mail and BBC, where he was head of publicity for the launch of colour TV, said that his chief reporter had informed him that a D-notice had been issued to him after he tried to report on a police investigation into events at Elm Guest House, where Smith is said to have been a regular visitor.
Tims, 82, said: “One of the reporters on routine calls to the police learned that there was something going down at the guest house in Barnes. It was paedophilia, although that wasn’t the fashionable phrase at the time, it was ‘knocking up young boys’, or something like that.
“The reporter was told that there were a number of high-profile people involved and they were getting boys from a care home in the Richmond area. So I put someone on to it, the chief reporter I think, to make enquiries. It was the following day that we had a D-notice slapped on us; the reporter came over and told me. It was the only time in my career.”
Hale, who was awarded an OBE for his successful campaign to overturn the murder conviction of Stephen Downing, a victim of one of the longest known miscarriages of justice, said he was issued with a D-notice when editor of the Bury Messenger. He had been given a file by Castle, by then an MEP, which had details of a Home Office investigation into allegations made by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens of the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring. The files contained the name of 16 MPs said to be involved and another 40 who were supportive of the goals of the Paedophile Information Exchange, which sought to reduce the age of consent.
Hale said he asked the Home Office for guidance on the dossier and the progress of the investigation but was stonewalled.
Hale said: “Then shortly after Cyril Smith bullied his way into my office. I thought he was going to punch me. He was sweating and aggressive and wanted to take the files away saying it was a load of nonsense and that Barbara Castle just had a bee in her bonnet about homosexuals. I refused to give him the files.
“The very next day two non-uniformed officers, about 15 uniformed officers and another non-uniformed person who didn’t introduce himself, came to the office waving a D-notice and said that I would be damaging national security if I reported on the file.”
A spokesman for the D-notice system said: “If Don Hale was ‘served’ with anything purporting to be a ‘D Notice’, it was quite obviously a fabrication.”
Taking information from various independent sources would indicate (at the very least) that something untoward is (or has been) going on relating to child abuse and some powerful figures in or associated with the political system.
A criminal investigation (Operation Fernbridge) was established to investigate allegations of historical abuse at Elm Guest House. As yet, the investigation has not resulted in any living high-profile figure being brought to justice despite initial strong evidence. It has resulted in a spin-off investigation (Operation Cayacos) which is looking into allegations of abuse links to politicians.
This is in stark contrast to the ‘success’ Operation Yewtree which was tasked with investigating historical abuse at the BBC after the Saville scandal broke. So far we have seen various current and former celebrities being accused of everything from placing a hand on someone’s bottom to rape.
The high press profile of Operation Yewtree kept accusations of abuse in the forefront of the news for a while, around the same time as allegations of the high-profile abuse ring operating within politics. Perhaps it was an attempt to distract or confuse the public so it gave the impression that the government were taking action over abuse claims. Perhaps it was an attempt at smoke and mirrors.
However, allegations of a ring of abusers within politics and the civil service continue to surface.
In July of this year, Peter McKelvie, a retired child protection team manager who has spent more than 20 years compiling evidence of alleged abuse by authority figures, stated that there are more than 10 current and former politicians on a list of abusers given to the police.
Mr McKelvie said that he believed there is more than enough evidence to arrest at least one senior politician.
Mr McKelvie, who helped bring the notorious paedophile Peter Righton to justice in 1992 when he worked in Hereford and Worcester child protection team, told The Telegraph “I believe there are sufficient grounds to carry out a formal investigation into allegations of up to 20 MPs and Lords over the last three to four decades, some still alive and some dead. The list is there.”
It was as a result of information provided by Mr McKelvie that the Labour MP Tom Watson raised the issue of child abuse at Prime Minister’s Questions in October 2012. He spoke of “clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10.
In another incident in the 1980s, police have been told that a senior former Tory MP was allegedly stopped at customs in Dover because he ‘appeared to be acting suspiciously’. When the customs officer performed a search, the MP was in possession of illegal video tapes containing child pornography.
The officer passed the material to his supervisors but the MP was never arrested or charged.
Many of the alleged victims of abuse by high-profile figures in the world of politics and the civil service have reported incidents to the police before, but have been ignored or the matter ‘buried’.
In the past, it was difficult for the alleged victim to be heard, and as we have seen, any reporter getting too close to the truth would be warned off further investigation or publishing their findings by government controlled officials.
Today, it is much more difficult for those in power to bury information. An accusation (and they remain accusations until investigated through proper legal process) can spread in minutes through networks of computers all over the world. Perhaps this is the reason the Conservatives have been so keen on trying to control the internet.
We must remember that although information can be spread quickly, it does not mean that it is either truthful or accurate. Those with malicious intent can accuse anyone of anything and the ‘story’ can take on a life of its own as it goes through layers of interpretation and misinterpretation in the modern digital world.
There have been cases where accusations have been made and further genuine investigations have proven beyond all doubt that they were untrue and the result of a malicious seed.
However, in the case of the allegations covered in this article, all of the information has been provided by quite reliable sources, and much of it has been verified by authorities.
So is (or was) there a cover-up of high-profile figures committing the most disgusting acts of violence and sexual abuse of children? Yes – at least to some extent.
It has already been proven that deceased politicians were involved in the abuse of children, and that those politicians and senior civil servants received some level of protection from the establishment.
Until a full and open investigation becomes possible, it will be impossible to know the full extent of these disgusting acts, or who was involved.
The barriers are immense. Those in positions of control have layers and layers of protection through their contact networks who are more than capable of making sure important information is destroyed or buried. They are also capable of making sure anyone getting close to the truth is prevented from doing so.
As for Cameron. He knows very well how the system works – he has been part of it for most of his life and has no doubt used it on occasions – an example being when government ‘officials’ were send to the offices of The Guardian newspaper and demanded the destruction of computers allegedly relating to the revelations of Edward Snowden. They knew very well that the physical act of destroying a couple of computers would be of no effect at all. It was meant as a warning.
It will be interesting to see if any of the people alleged to have been involved in the abuse of these children are brought to justice, or if there will be token sacrifices in an attempt to save the rest of the perverse network – we shall see.
For the sake of the victims, we hope that there is some major progress which will bring down those placing themselves above the law – including those complicit in covering up these crimes.
It is time that the manipulation, lying, wriggling out of trouble, and general corruption and deceit of those in privileged positions came to an end.
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