Yesterday evening the BBC showed an edition of the Panorama programme entitled ‘The VIP Paedophile Ring: What’s the Truth?’. (iPlayer link)
The programme is described by the BBC thus:
“Panorama investigates sensational allegations of historical child abuse and murder by some of the most prominent people in Britain: a paedophile ring at the heart of the Establishment. Why were the allegations described by police as “credible and true” with no hard evidence or corroboration? What role have senior politicians and the media played in promoting this story around the world? And what price will genuine victims of child abuse pay if it turns out not to be true?”
Having followed allegations of a VIP paedophile network involving politicians and senior civil servants for some years (even before the current allegations came to light), we were interested to see what the Panorama team would produce.
The background to the screening of the programme is interesting.
From the outset, the programme producers were accused of having the intention of rubbishing the claims of alleged victims of the abuse, causing conflict within the BBC, particularly BBC News, with BBC sources stating that the Panorama programme seemed to be taking a ‘very odd angle’.
BBC management were nervous about the programme going ahead as scheduled because of negotiations taking place around the corporation’s charter and the upcoming general election. In March 2015 it was unclear if the programme would be screened at all.
It seems the agenda of the programme was also in conflict with investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into abuse cover-ups involving MPs by Scotland Yard.
Management at the BBC were also concerned that allegations of letting down abuse survivors could be levelled at them again, with the corporation already coming under fire for the Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall cases.
It was decided that the programme would be aired because of the enormous costs involved in making it – primarily because of the amount of legal advice – and the time spent on the production (a typical Panorama episode takes two to three months to produce).
And so, last night we were treated to the fruits of all that work and high cost.
Overall the programme was a waste of time and licence payer’s cash. It was inaccurate, clearly biased, and failed to cover important evidence in the investigations.
The focus of the programme seemed to be (as previously stated by BBC sources) rubbishing alleged victim’s claims, and attacking the reporters (Exaro) who significantly contributed to the current Operation Midland investigation.
The impression the Panorama programme gave was that Exaro had pushed alleged victims to make statements and that the police had wholly believed those statements and started an investigation solely from them. It also sought to attack Chris Fay, a person who has significantly contributed to the investigation of activities at Elm Guest House.
This is totally untrue.
Those who have been following developments leading up to Operation Midland being established know that the police did a lot work prior to embarking on a full investigation. They did not take the statements of alleged victims at their face value, and sought corroborating evidence – as any police investigation would. It was only then that a full investigation under Operation Midland took place.
The police have not only received evidence and information from alleged victims as the programme tried to portray.
For instance, other evidence has come from former police officers (including former Special Branch officers) who witnessed activities during the years the abuse is alleged to have taken place. This is one of many other sources that have led police to continue investigating these allegations.
The Panorama programme tried present Harvey Proctor as a ‘victim’ of a witch-hunt, without going into the details of how Proctor came to be investigated in the first place. The officers of Operation Midland did not suddenly become storm-troopers stamping over anyone someone may have named or accused. The decision to investigate Proctor (and search his property) was taken because of a culmination of evidence which gave the police reasonable suspicion.
Proctor has been very public and vocal about the investigation by Operation Midland. Just because he is shouting from the rooftops does not mean he is innocent. Of course, the fact that officers from Operation Midland are continuing to investigate him does not mean he is guilty either.
Conveniently, Proctor seems not to have been vocal at all about his ex-lover voluntarily coming forward after an appeal was made by Operation Midland for witnesses.
Another prime subject of the Panorama programme was Leon Brittan.
If the producers of Panorama were to be believed the only evidence against Brittan was information obtained from alleged victims.
This is inaccurate and misleading.
As far back as 1982 Brittan was featured in a child sex video seized by Customs and Excise from businessman Russel Tucker, along with other child pornography. Brittan was also featured in other unrelated videos seized by investigators, where Brittan was taking full part in parties where men abused boys.
The fact is that those being investigated by Operation Midland are being so because of more than one person’s statement. There is also other evidence which warrants further investigation of the individual. There is no ‘witch-hunt’ taking place.
Panorama – which considers itself to be involved in serious investigative journalism – has failed to present an accurate representation of the investigation into VIP paedophile activities by Operation Midland, instead focusing on a few aspects which do not reveal the depth and extent of evidence.
The programme also fails to address the investigations currently taking place into police corruption and cover-ups relating to the activities of senior political figures and child abuse.
One of the investigations concerns a senior police officer who accessed information concerning Operation Midland (even though they were not involved in the operation) and leaked the secret identities of complainants to the Panorama programme.
Considering that it is claimed that the programme took an unusually long time to produce and cost significantly more than a ‘normal’ Panorama programme we fail to see where that time or money has been used.
The information presented in the programme (the parts which are based in fact) could be obtained from public domain sources within a few hours. The rest of the programme is made up of statements by random people – many of whom have had no direct experience of the Operation Midland investigation – and theory and supposition – much of which is in direct opposition to evidence.
Our overall impression of the programme is that it nothing more than amateurish propaganda aimed at appeasing the BBC’s lords and masters – the government – who have been desperate to try and divert public attention from the abuses allegedly carried out by members of their ‘power circles’ since they first surfaced in their recent incarnation.
Claims of deviant sexual abuses by those in power are nothing new. There have been many accusations made in the past which have been covered-up (hence the current investigations by the IPCC).
The BBC is nothing more than the government’s mouth piece, which has become more prevalent over the past few years as the BBC is exposed time and again as failing to address important issues or, at the very least, accused of very sloppy, shoddy, and biased reporting.
If you have any information which could be of help to the investigation by Operation Midland please contact the team though Exaro or Scotland Yard.
“Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”– George Bernard Shaw
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