Charisma News Promotes Claim that David Rockefeller’s Death Was Predicted in a Bible Code

From Michael Snyder at Charisma News:

Shocking Bible Code Matrix Contains the Exact Day And Year That David Rockefeller Would Die

…Bible code researcher Kara Pickering has found an incredible Bible code matrix that contains the phrase “Rockefeller dies” along with the terms “Chase”, “Manhattan”, “2017” and the specific date on the Hebrew calendar (Adar 22) when he actually died.

Of course, David Rockefeller served as the CEO of Chase Manhattan for over a decade, and he was widely considered to be one of the strongest proponents of a “New World Order.”

…You can view the original Bible code matrix created by Kara Pickering right here. In the chart above, you can see that “hell” shows up five times, but she told us it is actually in there quite a few more times.

“Bible codes” is an idea that simply won’t die, despite having been thoroughly debunked (as discussed in the The Forward in 2012). Pickering’s method is opaque, but it yields bizarre diagrams in which words and numbers are linked via a web of cross-cutting multicoloured lines. Unusually, she uses the entire Hebrew Bible as her corpus, rather than just the Torah.

Snyder, meanwhile, is a former attorney turned “End Times” conspiracy theorist, and he regularly uses the influential evangelical/Pentecostal news service Charisma News to promote fantastical apocalyptic scenarios that are more akin to science-fiction than historic Christianity – in particular, he has warned that CERN may be about to “tear open a portal to another dimension”; that the opening ceremony of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland may have been an “Illuminati Ritual Intended to Honor Satan”; and that the archaeological reconstruction of an arch from Palmyra destroyed by ISIS may facilitate the arrival of the anti-Christ. Ahead of the US election, he also made forays into pro-Trump fake news, at one point warning that Hilary Clinton would probably be dead of natural causes by election day.

Pickering expands on Rockefeller’s “globalism” on her website:

Globalist, David Rockefeller, dies at age 101 on Monday- March 20, 2017.    Rockefeller was a key member of the Bilderberg group, the founder of the Trilateral Commission, the head of Chase Manhattan Corp. and an advocate for Global Government, known to many as the New World Order.

Bible Codes detail the day this evil man went to Hell.

Her other Bible Code divinations include “Get Prepared! ‘American Famine’ REVEALED in Bible Codes!“; “‘OPERATION: DECEPTION,’ BOMBSHELL Bible Code Reveals- Nephilim, CERN, and the Opening of the Abyss; “‘Temple Restored’ Bible Code Matrix: The Soon Coming Third Temple Revealed!“; “The ‘ON GOLGOTHA’ Bible Code Matrix CONFIRMS: Spear of Destiny, Yeshua’s Sacrifice, and the Blood that trickled down the Crevice onto the Mercy Seat“‘ and “‘The Woman in Travail’-Bible Code Links: Nibiru, Virgo and Aliyah?.

References to “Nibiru” and the “Spear of Destiny” indicate involvement in an conspiracy milieu that while here joined to a form of Christian fundamentalism, is actually distinct from it. The influence of this kind of thing on US evangelicalism more generally becomes more apparent when someone like Thomas Horn takes to the sofa of the Jim Bakker Show.

Pickering is a personal friend of Snyder and his wife Merenda (née Devan), and her ideas are also promoted by a certain Jake Ruchotzke, who has a podcast called Seek 4 Truth – she recently appeared on an episode alongside none other than Carl Gallups, the birther (and Sandy Hook truther) pastor who is frequently promoted by WND (Gallups was on to talk about “witches and Freemasons within the church”). Ruchotzke is also part of a project called SkyWatchTV, which also involves Horn and Derek Gilbert, whose wife Sharon wrote a book about the End Times significance of Ebola. I wrote about some of these figures previously here.

Small Rally Shows Pizzagate Conspiracy Theory Lives On

Also: Gateway Pundit scrubs report

From the Washington Post:

Several dozen people assembled outside the White House Saturday to demand an investigation into the unfounded Internet rumor known as “Pizzagate.”

Wearing T-shirts and holding banners defending the conspiracy theory — which falsely linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring operating out of a D.C. pizza parlor — protesters took turns climbing onto an elevated stage in Lafayette Square to demand politicians and mainstream news media take their claims seriously.

The conspiracy theory emerged out of John Podesta’s leaked emails posted online by Wikileaks ahead of the US election. Wikileaks used Twitter to suggest (falsely) that the emails showed that John’s brother Tony Podesta was involved in bizarre rituals in which “blood, sperm and breastmilk” were ingested, and this inspired others to look for paedophilic-related code words in other Podesta emails. Interest in the conspiracy waned after a man showed up at the pizza parlour with a gun, demanding explanations; and just a few days ago, Alex Jones issued a formal statement repudiating Info Wars’ coverage of the story – presumably at the behest of lawyers for the restaurant.

The true believers who assembled outside the White House yesterday were led by one David Seaman, who was profiled by the Daily Beast ahead of the rally:

Seaman spent much of the last decade as a self-promotion guru, selling secrets on how to “attract buzz” and writing a how-to book on becoming “a publicity whore,” after turbulent stints as an intern at Jezebel and contributor at The Huffington Post were abruptly cut short.

He even staged a “Free Paris Hilton” protest to build his personal brand, and once proclaimed he “would protest gravity if I thought it was going to give me buzz.”

The article notes that the protest received a boost when Michael Flynn’s son Tweeted his support for Seaman on 9 March.

There are various clips from the protest on YouTube and Twitter, including some that give names of speakers. Among others, there was a woman who calls herself “Honeybee: The Truth Fairy”; one Titus Frost (tagline: “Exposing illuminati, #Anonymous, Expect Us…”); a certain “Pizzagate Howie”, who told the story of Becki Percy, a young woman who says she was subjected to organised abuse in the UK before escaping to California; Tony Kightly, of “OfficialDCRallyfest dot com”; and Archer Sierra of “Dark City Media”. Present in the crowd was a rival conspiricist named Nathan Stolpman, who claims to have “exposed” Seaman, and Seaman denounced him from the platform.

Above the stage was a banner that read “Our Children Matter”, and there was a link to a website called allchildrenmatter.net. The staging also announced the “Terms of Surrender” for those accused: “Release all children – Surrender and confess to authorities – Beg for forgiveness”.

Clips of the event and online comments show that attendees placed “Pizzagate” alongside broader conspiracies about MK-Ultra, “banksters”, and such. At least one speaker was crude, shouting about “fucking children”, while others were pious, and Seaman himself knelt in prayer at one point.

A number of interesting comments and images were posted to Twitter by Will Sommer, who reports for The Hill. According to Sommer, the crowd became restless when one speaker turned to the subject of “apocryphal Christian ‘lesser gods’ angels as ‘God’s scientists'”, and there was controversy when another explained that “pedo-sadism” is inherent to Zionism. In due course, speakers drifted into areas such as “father’s rights, family court, pro se litigants, American Bar Association”.

Following the rally, the conservative website Gateway Pundit ran a piece under the headline “#MAGA Vets Rally Alongside #PizzaGate Protesters in Washington, D.C.”, by the site’s accredited White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich. However, although there was indeed a pro-Trump rally nearby, “alongside” falsely implies a joint event when in fact the two rallies were separate (although a Pizzagate attendee was arrested after allegedly attempting to steal a microphone from the Trump rally).

The Gateway Pundit article took an agnostic line on the allegations, only going so far as to say that the pizza parlour is “very creepy and does not seem child-friendly at all.” However, the site has since scrubbed its post, perhaps wary of whatever legal pressure had induced Alex Jones to issue his recent statement.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson has more at LGF.

Westminster Terror Attack: The Troofers Emerge

Yesterday I wrote about Tommy Robinson’s anti-Islam grandstanding next to the scene of Wednesday’s Westminster terrorist attack – today, it’s the other side of the coin:

Another London false flag? (updated)
By Kevin Barrett on March 22, 2017
Gladio B strikes London on Satanic holiday – one year after Brussels

Barrett, for the uninitiated, is an American 9/11 Truther and Holocaust revisionist who achieved some attention last year due to an association with Jill Stein’s running-mate Ajamu Baraka. Barrett is a convert to Islam, and he smugly discerns a “false flag” whenever there’s a terrorist atrocity involving Islamic extremism: his edited volumes include ANOTHER French False Flag?: Bloody Tracks from Paris to San BernardinoWe Are NOT Charlie Hebdo!: Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11; and Orlando False Flag: The Clash of Histories (1).

His response to the Westminster attack, then, probably wrote itself:

Somebody spent a rather small sum of money to arrange a publicity stunt which did not even make a faint blip on the day’s (much less the year’s) accident statistics — but which reaped hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars worth of virtually free publicity for the perpetrators… The “vehicular attack” and “stabbing attack” motifs are Israeli. These are among the types of attacks that have characterized the latest Intifada, or Palestinian war of self-preservation against slow-motion Zionist genocide.

…Another sign of a false flag is the “iconic date,” often featuring the numeral 11 or multiples thereof. Today is 3/22, the first anniversary of the false flag attack in Brussels Airport. (322, a big time satanic number and date, is the identifier of the Skull and Bones secret society.)…

Particularly distastefully, Barrett even goes so far as to suggest that reports about the victims have been fabricated, sneeringly observing: “Yet another ‘victim from Utah’ – just a weird coincidence?”

When there is news of a terrorist attack, reasonable people will be cautious and circumspect in interpreting why and how it has happened. In due course, the facts of the situation will hopefully allow us to draw likely inferences about how involvement with particular networks, media consumption preferences, personal history and mental health may have combined to produce a tragedy.

In contrast, a charlatan has a ready explanation that requires just a few scraps from which to build an edifice. Thus for the anti-Islam activists, Wednesday’s event was first the result of immigration (it turns out that the Westminster killer was born in Britain), and then proof that British-born Muslims don’t integrate (we now know that he converted to Islam as an adult). An overarching theory is derived from news reports, and sensational anecdotes are not balanced against the reality of most Muslims going about their daily lives just like most people.

Similarly, the “Truther” conspiracy theorist claims to have a superior ability to interpret what’s “really” going on – despite knowing no more about the specifics of a situation than the rest of us, and despite being dismissive of those doing the reporting, who are thought to be in on a massive conspiracy to deceive. Barrett’s bizarre pseudo-context does not solve any unexplained element to the Westminster attack, which is why he resorts to trying to suggest that “accident statistics” mean that the attack was given an anomalous amount of attention: a non-problem for which he has a non-explanation.

I reluctantly draw attention to Barrett’s ramblings for two reasons.

First, his emphasis on “Satanism”  is part of a wider resurgence in “Satanic panic” conspiricism, as manifested in ideas such as “Pizzagate“, extravagant allegations about ritualistic sex abuse supposedly committed by British and European politicians and VIPs, and the “Hoaxstead” fiasco.

Second, Barrett has just given an interview to the Richie Allen Show, which bills itself as “Europe’s most listened to [Verified] Independent News Radio Show”. (2) The programme is an offshoot of David Icke’s operation, and Allen uses it to platform a whole host of notorious conspiracy mongers. Among other subjects, Barrett and Allen talked about the “House of Rothschild” (another conspiracy theory that is inching towards the mainstream in Britain) and lamented how Alex Jones had “sold out”. The show followed an episode in which Allen chatted with Michael Shrimpton, during which Shrimpton and Allen disagreed amiably over whether ISIS had been created by German Intelligence (Shrimpton’s obsession) or by Mossad.

Footnote

(1) At least one of these books comes with illustrations by David Dees, a former Sesame Street illustrator who now produces cartoons that mix anti-Semitic tropes will depictions of “elite Satanism” and such. David Icke sometimes Tweets Dees’s material.

(2) Allen’s other guests over the years have included the likes of Erich von Däniken, Andrew Wakefield, David Shayler, Christopher Monckton, and Tony Gosling. However, not all of Allen’s guests are on the fringes: other recent guests have included Michael Mansfield QC, and Esther Baker, who is part of an anti-child sex abuse “scene” with several high-profile activists.

A Media Note on Tommy Robinson at Westminster

From the Independent, yesterday:

Tommy Robinson has been widely condemned for launching into a tirade about Islamic extremism at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack in Westminster.

The former English Defence League leader rushed to the Houses of Parliament in London after news of the attacks emerged. Although details about the alleged assailant and their motive remains unclear, Mr Robinson claimed Britain was at “war” with Islamic fundamentalists.

…A video of the far-right leader, who led the EDL from 2009 until October 2013, outside the Houses of Parliament appeared on Rebel Media, a fringe right-wing Canadian media company after he went down to the scene.

The report was filed while details of the attack were still emerging – some hours later, we no longer need to describe the terrorist atrocity as “suspected”, and the photograph of the killer makes it highly unlikely that he was not a Muslim. In situations such as what happened at Westminster yesterday, anti-Islam activists commonly draw conclusions prematurely: if they are eventually proved right, then they have a stick with which to beat a more cautious mainstream media, and if they are proved wrong they can simply discard the line of attack and move on (example here).

Robinson’s appearance at the scene was criticised on Twitter as opportunistic and as making things worse – that’s also my view, but it’s hardly a remarkable observation and looking around social media it would have been just as easy to have assembled a collection of supportive Tweets. Using Twitter as a vox pop isn’t the most rigorous journalistic practice, particularly when the assembled sample is in the service of an editorial line. Further, the Independent‘s examples includes one Scott Nelson – surely it should have been noted that this is a man who was expelled from the Labour Party in December 2015 for “a series of antisemitic Tweets”?

Rebel Media, meanwhile, is a project of Ezra Levant. The site appears to be in a middle of a project involving Robinson – last Saturday, it filmed Robinson attempting to talk to protesters at the Stand Up To Racism rally in London, and gleefully reported on the abusive responses that his presence provoked.

The Rebel Media reporter in both instances was one Caolan Robertson, a young man who also runs his own website, called The New Brit. At Robinson’s Westminster appearance, Robertson actually upstaged his subject at one point with his own expletive-laden attack on other media present, delivered in deliberate and well-spoken tones reminiscent of Milo Yiannopoulos and with hand gestures that recall Donald Trump in full flow.

According to the Rebel Media website, Caolan Robertson “studied film at a prestigious London university”, but became “disenfranchised as a result of the university’s banning him from creating content that critiqued Islam”. For some reason, he has recently deleted a Linkedin page which confirms that this was the University of the Arts London.

One further detail of interest is that Tommy Robinson appeared to have some sort of badge sewn onto the arm of his coat – a white cross in a circle. A simple manufacturer’s logo, or a sign of some new group?

Ted Heath: A Note on Clive Driscoll’s “2001” Accuser and the Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims

From the Guardian, 11 August 2015:

A former senior detective has said police received allegations of child sex abuse made against Sir Edward Heath in 2001 – while the former prime minister was still alive.

…An alleged victim, a woman, was interviewed by Clive Driscoll. He was then a detective inspector [with the Metropolitan Police] and in 2012 secured convictions against Stephen Lawrence’s murderers. He retired last year having reached the rank of detective chief inspector…

Driscoll told the Guardian the woman he interviewed said she had been abused as a child by a group of people, including Heath on multiple occasions: “The person was 100% sure they were talking about Ted Heath. She totally believed what she was saying and that’s where the investigation starts, not where it stops.”

The woman claimed the abuse happened at a time after Heath had served as prime minister. Driscoll said others made similar abuse allegations, but he was not asked to take statements from them.

…Driscoll said he was asked to interview the complainant by a serious sexual offences steering group set up by Scotland Yard to review abuse claims.

He said: “My guess is it was not followed up properly, but I don’t know. The culture at the time would have been not to believe them.”

In November 2016, it was revealed that Wiltshire Police had contacted a researcher to assess an allegation that Heath had been involved in murderous Satanic rituals. That researcher, Rachel Hoskins, went public, concerned that Operation Conifer, Wiltshire Police’s investigation into historical allegations of sex abuse against Heath, was giving credence to fantastical stories based on supposed “memories” recovered during therapy. Hoskins gave an account in the Mail on Sunday, referring to the woman as “Lucy X”:

The stories that Lucy X began ‘remembering’ took her back to her childhood in Britain and in Africa. At first the detail in her diaries is scant. But Lucy’s descriptions grow ever more detailed under hypnosis: satanic ritual abuse in empty houses, in churches and on Salisbury Plain.

Eventually she ‘remembered’ that members of the paedophile ring had gorged themselves on blood and body parts. They maimed and murdered children in orgiastic sacrifices at the stake or on altars.

“Lucy X” reported this to police in 1989, but no investigation followed. Heath came into her story much later:

Lucy soon spoke with three other women she knew well. They met and swapped fantastical tales.

Earlier this year they would ‘remember’ that Heath was a prime mover in a network of sadistic paedophile abusers.

He had apparently taken part in rituals surrounded by candles on the forest floor.

The National Post ran a follow-up piece about “Lucy’s” Canadian therapist, which I discussed here.

At face value, there seem to be two female accusers: one reported Heath in 2001 as having been involved with “a group” committing sex abuse, and another remembered him in early 2016 as having been involved in Satanic Ritual Abuse. However, I’m inclined to the view that Hoskins either made an error or was working from incomplete notes, and that both reports in fact refer to the same woman. In both instances, we have a reference to Heath being involved with a group, and a suggestion of other complainants connected to the main accuser.

I would reconcile the accounts by suggesting that the woman reported being a victim of Satanic Ritual Abuse in 1989, added Heath to her complaint in 2001, and then made contact with police again in 2016, after Wiltshire Police established Operation Conifer.

So why wasn’t Satanism mentioned in the 2015 Guardian article? I asked the article’s author, Vikram Dodd, on Twitter – he replied that the piece was “about one complainant” and that “No mention made of satanic abuse in the account of their complaint given by Mr Driscoll”. So, either there were indeed two separate complainants, or Driscoll held back from giving Dodd a full unexpurgated account for some reason.

There is a further piece of context here: Driscoll is a firm believer in the reality of Satanic Ritual Abuse, and he has a long-standing association with Valerie Sinason, a psychotherapist who claims to have detected signs of Satanic Ritual Abuse in many patients (she insists that her method doesn’t amount to “recovered memory” techniques, although the distinction is opaque). According to Private Eye magazine in 2006 (issue 1116), Driscoll interviewed “76 children and adult victims” identified by Sinason in 2000; although nothing was ever substantiated, the two went on to collaborate, with Sinason interviewing Driscoll for a chapter in the second edition of her edited volume Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder (Routledge, 2011). Driscoll was also involved with the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS).

It seems to me that if there are indeed two complainants here, then there has been a remarkable coincidence: an officer with a particular interest in SRA interviewed a woman who alleged that Heath was part of a child-sex abuse group, and then someone else independently happened to make an explicit SRA allegation against Heath later on. And in both instances, the main female complainant was supported by “others” or “other women”.

Alternatively, however, as soon as Driscoll’s name was raised in relation to allegations against Heath we might have expected an SRA claim to emerge into public view in due course.

Which scenario is more likely?

(Updated)

Charisma News Promotes New “Illuminati” Conspiracy Theorist

From Charisma News:

Former New Age blogger Steven Bancarz says the new world order Daniel predicted is alive—in the occult realm.

And quoting the source, Bancarz’s Facebook page:

There are many people who don’t mess with New Age beliefs because they know that it’s the exact same stuff the Illuminati (Illuminated ones) and Masons believe. The New Age is the religion of the New World order, it’s the religion of the Illuminati, the religion of the Masons. It starts with ancient Egypt, then Babylon, then up through the ages with mysticism and theosophy, and it gets mishmashed together and diluted a little bit to give us the religion of the New Age.

And the irony is that as those who began to dabble in the occult are conditioned to view themselves as “awake,” they are actually stepping deeper into the beliefs and values of the very NWO they believe they are opposed to.

In his Facebook post, Bancarz also delves into topics such as “Luciferian elites” and the occult significance of the “eye found on the dollar bill”. Charisma News previously highlighted him last month, in an article on “the Occult Themes Hidden in the Super Bowl”, in which he was quoted as referring to “a class of Satanic/occultic elites” and to “ritual sacrifice”, and in which he addressed himself to “non-Christian truthers and political activists” who he believes may be open to understanding the “spiritual nature of Illuminati rituals”.

Bancarz (who is 23 years old) formerly ran a website called Spirit Science and Metaphysics, where he promoted flim-flam under titles such as “Sea Salt & Baking Soda, Best All Natural Remedy For Curing Radiation Exposure And Cancer” and published click-bait articles such as “5 Mind-Blowing Alternative Theories About the Universe”. It’s not clear how much of the content on the site was original and how much was derivative, but by his own account it brought him “$40,000 per month in ad revenue alone”. However, he rejected it all in 2015, after converting back the religion of his childhood, Christianity.

According to his story in the Christian Post:

In an inspiring video testimony posted on Facebook back in April that has since been viewed over 750,000 times — over 1 million times if you aggregate all of social media — Bancarz shares how Jesus Christ liberated him from the snares of the occult.

…”I can pinpoint it from having started when I was exposed to a program on the History Channel called “Ancient Aliens.”

“It teaches ancient astronaut theory that mythologies and fables from the ancient world are really of ancient man being visited by extraterrestrial beings from outer space who they then describe as being gods.”

…In the 11th grade he began studying and researching the subject obsessively, noting that once one starts exploring aliens you can’t help but get into other New Age topics, like the non-locality of consciousness and other spooky information involving ley lines and ancient wisdom.

However, a personal crisis led him seek deliverance at a Pentecostal church, and he now runs an apologetics website called Reasons for Jesus.

This is not a particularly exceptional or interesting conversion narrative, but Bancarz appears to have caught the attention of Christian media due to the idea that he supposedly has some kind of special insight into the baneful attractions of the New Age. And from there, he is now being promoted as someone who has special knowledge about dark forces operating in the world. We’re invited to see a radical rupture between his past New Ageism and his present Pentecostalism – but all I can make out is a consistent conspiricism. The teenager who had the misfortune to take a TV show called Ancient Aliens too seriously is now a man who obsesses over the Illuminati and the New World Order.

Charisma News is a significant news source for evangelical Christians in the USA, particularly within the Pentecostal tradition. The site promotes many conspiracy theories, often as articulated by the likes of Jim Bakker. It’s a process I’ve referred to as the David Ickeization of Christianity – and despite denouncing the New Age, Bancarz fits the bill perfectly.

Articles Highlight “Satanic Child Sex Orgies” Claim in Relation to Cost of Edward Heath Investigation

From the Sun on Sunday:

A POLICE probe into claims ex-PM Sir Edward Heath took part in satanic child sex orgies has topped £1million.

The massive bill was blasted as obscene, futile and an abuse of taxpayers’ money.

…Unmarried Mr Heath was PM from 1970-74 and died 12 years ago.

Lurid allegations against him include claims he was in a group which stabbed, tortured and maimed 16 children in churches before gorging on their blood.

The expense has been revealed from a Sun on Sunday Freedom of Information request. The Mail on Sunday has followed up in similar vein:

Police have spent more than £1million investigating claims former Prime Minister Ted Heath had been linked to a network of paedophiles who held satanic orgies. 

The controversial inquiry into Heath by Wiltshire Police – Operation Conifer – has now topped £1million, despite growing demands for it to be shut down.

It should be noted that we only have partial details of the investigation into Heath, based for the most part on leaks.

Operation Conifer was launched in the summer of 2015, in the wake of a complaint that Wiltshire Police had derailed the trial of a brothel keeper in the 1990s due to a threat to implicate Heath. In fact, this had not been the case – the trial had actually been discontinued due to the non-attendance of a witness, and the brothel keeper was convicted at a later date without Heath’s name being raised.

Meanwhile, a number of stories were appearing in the media concerning historic “VIP” sex abuse, several of which concerned Heath. A former rent boy claims he had been picked up by Heath in 1961; a woman says she counted a number of boys climbing onto his boat in the early 1970s, but that there was one less on his return; Jimmy Savile’s nephew suddenly thought to remember that a friend had told him long ago that Heath had abused him; and there were also allegations involving Operation Midland’s “Nick”, who told police that Heath had prevented Harvey Proctor from castrating him at a paedophile orgy. I discussed these various claims here. Thus it was that police investigations were opened and consolidated into one operation led by Wiltshire Police, which issued an appeal for information outside Heath’s former home in Salisbury. This was all despite the fact that Heath had died in 2005.

Following the Henriques Review into how the Metropolitan Police had mishandled Operation Midland, Wiltshire Police attempted to quell disquiet – and incredulity – with a statement in which it announced that Operation Conifer currently two people were currently on bail. We don’t know who these people are, but “police sources” confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that the arrests “related to child protection and not perverting the course of justice”. In other words, they do not refer to allegations that police had “covered up” Heath’s supposed crimes, but rather infer that Heath is accused of being linked to other abusers and was perhaps part of a “ring”.

Two weeks after this statement, the Mail on Sunday ran with a front-page splash revealing that the police had been contacted by a group of women who had previously made an allegation in 1989 of having witnessed murderous Satanic rituals in Wiltshire. One of these women had apparently “recovered” her memories during therapy in Canada. The women had not previously implicated Ted Heath, but now said that they remembered him as “Ed”. The story came to light because Wiltshire Police had asked for expert advice from Rachel Hoskins, who promptly went public with concerns that the police were going off track. It seems a fair bet that the two arrests relate to other individuals named by this group of women (elderly relatives, most probably – the Mail on Sunday article refers to the group as a “family” who “claim the MP was part of a satanic sex cult run by their parents”).

More recently, the Mail on Sunday ran another front-page story on the subject, claiming that, according to an unnamed source, 30 individuals have come forward, and that the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Mike Veale, believes them “120%”. The article did not go into specifics about the allegations, but the Daily Mail followed up the next day with an article that once again highlighted the “Satanism” claims. This in turn got picked up by the Sun. Veale has not confirmed or denied the claim about what he supposedly believes.

The media tone is sceptical, but the upshot is that the investigation into Heath has led to renewed headlines about murderous Satanic cults – a trend that most of us thought had gone for good after the fiascoes of the 1980s and early 1990s.

IPCC Clears Officers Over Handling of Operation Midland Despite Inquiry Finding “Significant Failings”

Yet another epilogue to the Operation Midland fiascoa statement from the Independent Police Complaints Commission:

…The IPCC has… discontinued its investigation into allegations [officers] failed to properly investigate allegations made by a complainant ‘Nick’ which lead [sic] to an extended investigation causing prolonged and undue stress to those under suspicion. There is no evidence to indicate bad faith, malice or dishonesty and no indication any of the officers may have behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings. The information available indicates the investigation was extensive and carried out diligently with the majority of the decisions made appropriately recorded.

…The IPCC has also discontinued investigating allegations that there were irregularities in the seizure of exhibits during the subsequent searches. There is no evidence to indicate that any of the officers involved may have breached professional standards.

This is par for the course with complaints about police misconduct or incompetence: we are told the outcome, but virtually nothing about the reasoning behind it. In November, an independent enquiry identified a litany of “significant failings” in how the police had handled Operation Midland – but it is not the job of the IPCC to explain to us exactly why these shortcomings, laid out in some detail in the Henriques Report, do not amount to cause for formal censure.

Within the narrow disciplinary remit of “professional standards”, officers are not accountable for decisions that were obviously flawed, or even incoherent, so long as they did not breach a specific regulation. Thus we are assured that there were no “irregularities in the seizure of exhibits”, but the police don’t need to justify why exactly they needed to impound so much of Harvey Proctor’s property, such as his shoe-horns.

Further:

…IPCC Commissioner Carl Gumsley said:… “It is… important to acknowledge the climate in which Operation Midland and the investigation into Lord Brittan were being undertaken. At this time there was much concern that cover-ups by the ‘establishment’ had taken place and there was widespread intense scrutiny on both investigations. The way both investigations were conducted should be considered in that context and in line with policies which existed at that time.”

Certainly, the police were in thrall to the climate – which was why Det Supt Kenny McDonald declared Nick’s claims to be “credible and true” before the investigation had even got underway – but this is hardly to their credit. We expect the police to enforce the law impartially, and not be at the whim of “climates”. And in any case, why does Gumsley feel the need to offer such a mitigation if he is confident that the investigation was handled properly?

The police have also contributed to the climate. Many people take the view that there is “no smoke without fire”, and in the context of conspiracy theories about “cover ups”, any determination that there was no cover up is simply further evidence of the cover up’s extent. Thus “Nick” still has his believers, who refuse to accept that his stories are untrue despite positive evidence that he misled the police and despite serious difficulties and implausibilities in his testimony.  Some of these enthusiasts are little more than social media trolls and fanatics, but several have public profiles in advocacy against child sexual abuse.

However, the IPCC hasn’t quite closed the book on Operation Midland: they are still investigating whether officers “failed to accurately present all relevant information to a district judge when applying for search warrants for three properties.”

UPDATES – 9 March

Police “not interviewed”

From the BBC News:

…The watchdog told the BBC that none of the exonerated officers were interviewed by IPCC investigators.

It said that, on the available evidence, there was no indication the officers had breached professional standards.

The watchdog also said the public statement by one of the officers – Detective Superintendant Kenny McDonald – that the allegations at the heart of the case were “credible and true” was not investigated at all because the Met had “not referred” the statement to them for investigation.

Again, I return to the subject of Harvey Proctor’s shoehorns. Much of Proctor’s property was impounded for no explicable reason, and we are therefore entitled to suspect that it was done out of spite or in order to intimidate – what in police terms is called “oppressive conduct”. Perhaps it would be impossible to uncover such a motive – but the IPCC hasn’t even made the attempt, by the looks of things.

A BBC clarification

The BBC’s Tom Symonds had a bit of fun on Twitter by suggesting that the IPCC had found Kenny McDonald to be “credible and true”.  However, the Tweet was (wilfully?) misinterpreted to mean that the IPCC had actually used this phrase, as a dig at Harvey Proctor and perhaps other critics. Symonds deleted the Tweet and issued a clarification.

Spinning the outcome

Meanwhile, Mark Watts, the former Exaro journalist who championed Nick’s allegations (while obscuring the most fantastical elements) announced the IPCC statement with a Tweet declaring “IPCC dismisses most complaints agnst officers on Operation Midland in face of Henriques review”. Here Watts, who styles himself as some sort of exposer of the establishment, actually goes further than the Metropolitan Police in his complacent interpretation of the the statement.

In fact, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor has conceded that “we did not get everything right” and confirmed in relation to the Henriques Report that “our work to carry forward Sir Richard’s recommendations is ongoing.”

Timing

There has also been some comment about the fact that the IPCC statement just happened to have been published on same day as the Spring Budget 2017, meaning that it is likely to receive less attention. According to the Telegraph:

Mr Proctor said he did not believe the IPCC’s assurance that the timing of the statement was ‘coincidental’, adding: “The IPCC  follows the well trodden path of the [Metropolitan Police Service] in managing news.”

Responses

According to the same Telgraph report, Proctor has described the IPCC statement as a “whitewash”, while Lord Bramall has called it “ridiculous” and “absolutely absurd”, noting that “the police themselves admitted they had got it so wrong.”

Media Reports Highlight “the Christian Nationalist Alliance”

From Newsbusters, and syndicated to Charisma News:

Last weekend, a group of witches assembled their tarot cards, Trump photos and orange candle stubs and cast a “binding spell” over the president. After a long incantation, many concluded with “so mote it be,” while others simply said “you’re fired!”

…On February 24, the Christian Nationalist Alliance organized a Day of Prayer in response to the mass ritual. “We beseech all Christian soldiers,” wrote CNA’s April Lavalle, “to join us in praying for the strength of our nation, our elected representatives and for the souls of the lost who would take up Satanic arms against us.”

Newsbusters headed the article “Witches Brew #MagicResistance: Cast Spells Against Trump”, which Charisma News has changed to “Don’t Stop Praying: Witches’ #MagicResistance Against Trump Is Growing”.

Journalistic interest in story achieved a great deal free publicity for both the witches and their Christian opponents last week, with Rolling Stone referring to the Christian Nationalist Alliance as a “right-wing group”. However, details of this supposed group are scarce, and contrary to the above April Lavalle is not in fact associated with it: Lavelle is a journalist, and it seems that confusion has slipped in because she wrote an article on the subject for Some which was then screencaptured by a website associated with the Christian Nationalist Alliance. Lavelle actually enthused over the witches’ plan, offering a guide on “how to cast a spell on Donald Trump”.

The public face of the CNA is a certain Kevin Ambrose, who set up his Twitter account in February; there is also a Twitter account in the name of the CNA, and websites called Christian Nationalism and the Christian Nationalist Alliance were registered via a privacy service in January. The former site carries articles by Ambrose, while the latter consists of the CNA logo and a promise of content “coming soon”.

Julia Reinstein of Buzzfeed reached out to Ambrose on Twitter ahead of her own article about the witches’ Trump protest, but was rebuffed because the CNA “has no time for #fakenews”; however, Ambrose did provide one quote for the media, explaining that

“This instance stands out to me because they are attempting to enlist the aid of non-religious liberals. 

“These people, mostly young, who may be riled up by the non-stop media attacks on President Trump are a fertile recruiting ground for Satanic groups.”

According to the Christian Nationalism website, the CNA is “a for-profit entity that is the definitive voice on Christian Nationalism in the United States”. Those who sign up will receive a journal, an email address, preferred caller access to a podcast, and “premium access to the American Prayer Network project”. It describes itself as “anti-Islam” and “anti-communist”, and its positions emphasize capitalism, the right to bear arms, and the importance of Christianity in public life. On Twitter, Ambrose has referred to dominion theology, citing the Christian Reconstructionist George Grant. Ambrose also says that the CNA “stands with” the Front National, and he enthuses over Marion Le Pen in particular as “a modern day Joan of Arc”.

“Cosmetic Clitoridectomy” Case Prompts Three-Year Criminal Investigation

From the Evening Standard, a couple of days ago:

A leading London doctor who says that women should be free to choose what to do with their bodies has been spared prosecution over allegations that he authorised unlawful genital surgery on a mother of two.

Professor David Veale was placed under a three-year Met investigation after another senior doctor complained to police that his involvement in a clitoris removal operation on the 33-year-old woman appeared to breach the law on female genital mutilation.

A file on the case was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service….

…Mr Veale told the Evening Standard that he had been caught up in a “highly political” campaign to secure a first conviction for female genital mutilation and that there was a “completely clear” difference between FGM and cosmetic surgery… On the criminal investigation against him, he said it had “dragged on” despite having no chance of success.

Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the UK since 1985. It is also illegal to take a child out of the country for the purpose of FGM or to assist with the procedure on a British national outside the UK. However, as noted by the Guardian in 2014, girls continue to be sent abroad, and families pool resources to bring “cutters” into Britain. Yet so far, there has not been a single successful prosecution – and there was consternation a few days ago when the official social media account of West Midlands Police indicated that pursuing prosecutions of parents was “unlikely to benefit child”.

Veale is the co-author of “Cosmetic Clitoridectomy in a 33-Year-Old Woman“, a short case history that was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2011. The authors showed that they were well aware of the law regarding FGM, but they argued that this particular case came under “mental health exceptions for cosmetic surgery resulting from perceived abnormality”:

She had a longstanding aversion to her genitalia associated with an extreme desire for a cosmetic procedure. Such a request, in the absence of any cultural beliefs, would suggest to most clinicians that a patient was very disturbed. However, on a structured diagnostic interview for DSM-IV, she had no evidence of any psychiatric disorder or personality disorder and I could not elicit any further information that might make a cosmetic procedure unwise or require further investigation.

Veale had to “distance himself from his astonishment at, and aversion to, the request”, and he “gave an opinion on the basis of his mental assessment and clinical experience in body image disorders and cosmetic procedures.”

The paper provoked critical responses in the same journal, to which Veale responded in subsequent follow-up pieces (here and here). One of those critics, Susan Bewley, raised the possibility that an unlawful procedure had been undertaken, and referred the matter to police.

It seems very odd that this should have taken three years to resolve. Police perhaps needed to check that the published details were a true reflection of the facts of the case, and then to ask for a legal opinion – but it is difficult to see why that should have taken so long. Was the delay down to the police, or the CPS?

This tardiness is worth noting as a general observation: it is often assumed that a lengthy police investigation must mean that the police are uncovering lots of evidence; that a referral to the CPS must mean that this evidence is strong; and that the longer it takes the CPS to come to final decision the more reason we have to doubt the suspect’s innocence. In 2016 I noted the case of a high-profile harassment allegation, in which the complainant specifically referred to the amount of time taken by the CPS to drop the matter as a vindication of her failed complaint; and in the case of Veale, Bewley has referred to the length of time taken as a reason why the CPS ought to have proceeded to prosecution.

Of course, this is wrong-headed. There may be delays in gathering evidence for reasons outside the police’s control (e.g. temporary unavailability of a witness); there may indeed be a large quantity of evidence to go through, but that turns out to be weak or invalid (for example, the extensive false testimony of “Nick”, the Operation Midland complainant); and some investigations and deliberations may be queued behind other, more urgent matters. However, we should not discount the possibility that the police and/or CPS may sometimes allow things to drag out unnecessarily due to incompetence (or even malice), or because of a wish to postpone or avoid criticism (the latter may include the police referring a matter to the CPS even though an allegation has no merit).

In this instance, it seems that the authorities wanted to be seen to be doing something about FGM, but their efforts were misdirected – and not for the first time. In 2015, Dhanuson Dharmasena was prosecuted for having cut and re-stitched scar tissue on a incised woman who was giving birth. Medically informed commentary ahead of the trial made it clear beyond any reasonable doubt that the doctor had acted for medical reasons, yet the case went to trial anyway – and he was duly cleared after 30 minutes of jury deliberation. David Richmond, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacagologists, wrote after the case that

Every single professional I have encountered in the last 12 months was astonished at the prosecution of this young doctor but assumed, wrongly it transpires, that the CPS must have strong evidence. Dr Dharmasena was a junior doctor providing emergency obstetric care to save the baby of a young mother in labour who had suffered FGM as a young girl. He was doing, to the best of his ability, what obstetricians do every hour of every day.

This demonstrates how assumptions about the CPS can lead to wider reputational damage.

Meanwhile, genuine cases have gone unpunished by the law: in 2012, a doctor named Ali Mao-Aweys advised a Sunday Times reporter posing as an aunt wanting her nieces to be “circumcised” to contact a dentist in Birmingham named Omar Addow; both men were arrested, but later released without charge and although they were both struck off by their respective regulatory bodies no wider investigation into their activities seems to have followed.