Jon Wedger Joins Forces with “Satanic deep state” Conspiracy Theorist

Self-described “police whistleblower” Jon Wedger continues his seemingly never-ending odyssey through the UK conspiracy milieu:

JOIN RETIRED POLICE OFFICER & WHISTLE BLOWER JON WEDGER

on Wed 21st Nov at midday when JON will be giving a letter to every MP regarding the following;

the public want an independent body to investigate child abuse –

protection for whistle blowers reporting abuse-

investigation into media persecution of Police Officers and MPs attempting to expose child abuse

DECENCY calling for IBETICA – Independent Body Established To Investigate Child Abuse

There is of course already a high-profile Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse currently going on (the IICSA), but presumably its failure to confirm the existence of wide-ranging “VIP abuse” and Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracies has resulted in dissatisfaction.

“DECENCY” in the above refers to a “Campaign for Decency”. This is name that one Jeff Godwin (1) gives to his activity as a self-described “film maker researcher and activist” who is investigating “the pedophile Satanic deep state”. Godwin has made several short videos with Wedger since January, often associated with protests in London – in one recent video, the two men said that an unnamed male MP had approached them to offer support at one such event, but that this person had supposedly been smeared in the media shortly thereafter.

Godwin has various videos on his YouTube channel with conspiracy themes, the most alarming of which is perhaps “GRENFELL TOWER – DELIBERATELY CAUSED TO KEEP THEIR SOCK PUPPET IN POWER”. In this one, Godwin, in conversation with a self-described “freelance journalist” in America named Ramola D, asserted his confidence that the Grenfell Tower fire was deliberate arson by the security services, serving both as an occult ritual burning of children in the spirit of The Wicker Man and as a diversion following Theresa May’s poor performance in the 2017 general election.

This may seem marginal, but it should be remembered that Wedger also has mainstream associations, as I’ve noted before: Wedger’s initial claims that he was forced out of the Metropolitan Police for exposing organised child-sex abuse were endorsed by Mike Penning MP and carried by the Sunday Express, and he recently appeared with Maggie Oliver, the police officer at the centre of exposing the Rochdale grooming gang. He also claims to be in contact with Chief Constable Mike Veale, notorious for his handling of allegations against the late Edward Heath, although Veale has not confirmed this, and with Andrew Bridgen MP.

At the same time, though, Wedger has thrown himself into a circuit of fringe conspiracy theorists and activists: he has given speeches to Kevin Annett’s “International Tribunal for Natural Justice” and the fringe Democrats and Veterans Party; been interviewed by Rodney Hearth, an elderly British evangelical QAnon enthusiast who runs his own TV station; and made numerous videos with Bill Maloney, an aggressive figure known for making extravagant allegations. A few months ago, Maloney was shown by Brian Harvey to have manipulated a vulnerable adult into making allegations – Wedger, though, rebuffed an appeal from Harvey about this, denouncing his approach as “harassment”.

Footnote

1. This Jeff Godwin should not be confused with an American fundamentalist preacher of the same name who rails against rock-and-roll music as evidence of Satanism.

A Brief Note on a “Racially Aggravated Public Order Offence”

From The Sunday Times:

Last week, Jane Savidge, 69, went public to say she was the person who’d honked her horn when a driver ‘took ages’ and blocked her car at a petrol station in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in May 2015. 

The driver she tooted at happened to be black, and Thames Valley Police were forced to quiz the pensioner under current current hate crime laws.

…Savidge said she had been troubled by the police’s insistence that the incident be recorded as a “racially aggravated public order offence”, even though the other woman later met the other officers and agreed that a crime “had not occurred”.

…Thames Valley police said: “Following a review of the circumstances, the incident was reclassified as a hate-related incident in line with national guidance.”

The story has gained some wider media interest, as an example of someone being unfairly tainted as a hate-crime suspect following a trivial incident in which the aggrieved party’s allegation of racism was clearly unwarranted. It also draws attention to the problematic nature of how “hate-related incidents” are defined: as an incident that may not even be a criminal offence but which “the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice” – never mind that the complainant might not actually be a “victim”, but someone whose perspective is unreasonable or who may even be complaining vexatiously.

However, less attention has been given to the “public order” element in the story. The expression “racially aggravated public order offence” means that a public order offence is alleged, and that the supposed motive made it worse. Yet we can be very confident that the police would not usually treat someone who tooted their horn once to signify “get a move on” as having committed an offence at all. This means that the “public order offence” was invoked here purely to have something on which to hang “racially aggravated”.

This is not a pedantic point: if it were indeed the case that Thames Valley Police was “forced to quiz the pensioner”, then the officers involved would not have needed to come up with a non-existent “public order offence” as a device to facilitate the investigation.

Some might suspect here overzealousness in pursuing allegations of racism (perhaps due to fear of being accused of not taking complaints seriously enough), although my guess is that what happened more likely reflects TVP’s “believe the victim” mentality that means that trivial and false complainants are uncritically indulged.

Man Who Accused Cliff Richard Was Already Known as a Fantasist Following Leon Brittan Investigation

An article from David Rose and Rosie Waterhouse in today’s Mail on Sunday reveals new information about the disastrous police investigation into Cliff Richard:

This newspaper has established that one of Sir Cliff’s accusers, a man known as ‘David’, had already been exhaustively investigated by [DCI Paul] Settle and his team, and found to be a suggestible, vulnerable fantasist. David, who had learning difficulties and had been in care, told them he was raped as a boy by both Sir Cliff and Elton John at a sex party, at which media baron Rupert Murdoch and former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott were also guests.

‘Needless to say, this didn’t happen,’ Mr Settle said.

Yet the South Yorkshire investigation into Sir Cliff took David seriously. Legal sources have confirmed that although the Met had already decided he was not a reliable witness, South Yorkshire detectives – who took over the Cliff Richard investigation from Yewtree – treated him as a ‘victim’.

Settle was formerly in charge of Operation Fairbank, an “umbrella” investigation set up by the Metropolitan Police the wake of “VIP abuse” allegations raised in Parliament by Tom Watson MP in 2012. In 2016 he addressed the Home Affairs Select Committee on the subject of how the police had handled a rape allegation made against the former Home Secretary Leon Brittan by a woman referred to as “Jane”. Settle told the committee that Brittan had “no case to answer”, and said that a subsequent interview under caution (conducted at Brittan’s home, during his terminal illness) had been unlawful. He also described the investigation as a “baseless witch-hunt”, and shortly afterwards he gave an interview to the Daily Mail in a personal capacity, in which he claimed that he had been “frozen out and isolated by senior officers” after Watson had criticised his decision as regards “Jane”.

“David” had also accused Leon Brittan, which was why Settle had been in contact with him; in 1990, David had been introduced by “former social worker and convicted fraudster called Chris Fay” to

a journalist called Gill Priestly, now deceased. In a series of taped interviews with her, David made astonishing claims: that he had been sexually assaulted by Lord Brittan, and ‘trafficked’ to Amsterdam, where he was forced to watch as children were raped and murdered to make ‘snuff’ porn movies.

The story appeared in the Sunday Times that year, in an article bylined to Maurice Chittenden (although the name “David” was not used). Fay – who is close to the conspiracy promoter Bill Maloney – maintained a relationship with “David” that led to further outlandish claims appearing in the media in 2014. This is not discussed in the article (aside from a reference to Exaro), perhaps to avoid too much digression, but also perhaps due to “David’s” selective recourse to the anonymity to which sex-crime complainants are legally entitled.

So why did Yewtree take “David” seriously after Settle’s investigation?

In October 2013, the police records say, [Mark] Williams-Thomas produced the tapes of Gill Priestly’s interviews with David. He approached Mr Settle’s boss, Detective Superintendent David Gray, and played them to him and a detective constable at the ITV studios. The full contents of the tapes have not been disclosed.

Mr Settle said: ‘We had already finished with David, but here was Williams-Thomas apparently trying to reincarnate him as a witness. It was quite apparent the tapes were the musings of a fantasist.’

According to the report, Priestly had played the tapes to Williams-Thomas while the latter was a police officer with Surrey Police, and then for some reason given them to him for “safe keeping” after he left the force in 2000. In 2013, Williams-Thomas made a media name for himself by presenting the Exposure documentary on Jimmy Savile, and he is now established as an expect commentator on crime matters.

“David” retracted his claims in a 2015 Panorama documentary (which I discussed here), and it seems that Williams-Thomas offered him some advice about this ahead of broadcast:

David was to be one of [Panorama‘s] star witnesses, admitting he had made false allegations because he was suggestible and felt under pressure.

Williams-Thomas had promised to consider giving Panorama the Priestly tapes, but failed to do so, say BBC sources. Then, after David had been filmed, Williams-Thomas sent him an email, urging him either to insist on concealing his identity or not to appear at all, drafting messages that he suggested David should copy and send to the BBC.

‘DON’T tell the BBC we have spoken,’ he wrote, ‘just say you have spoken to a friend who has given you advice.’

Williams-Thomas appears to have a remarkable private archive: in August, in the wake of the Jonathan King mistrial, it was revealed that he had retained notebooks from his time at Surrey Police.

The Rose and Waterhouse article notes that Williams-Thomas has “has openly boasted that he was the source of up to 20 suspects’ names being submitted to Operation Yewtree”, and Settle is quoted as describing him as “reckless in the extreme” in disclosing information to the media. The article notes his use of Twitter to break news of arrests and developments in the cases of Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson (both eventually shown to be innocent), and his gratuitous use of “#savile” and “#jimmysavile” hashtags in relation to these – as well as his late criticisms of South Yorkshire Police when it was evident that the Cliff Richard investigation had foundered.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and “Ritual Sexual Abuse”

From the transcript of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s National Apology Address, in which “the Australian Government and this Parliament, on behalf of all Australians, unreservedly apologises to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse”:

The crimes of ritual sexual abuse happened in schools, churches, youth groups, scout troops, orphanages, foster homes, sporting clubs, group homes, charities, and in family homes as well.

It happened anywhere a predator thought they could get away with it, and the systems within these organisations allowed it to happen and turned a blind eye.

It happened day after day, week after week, month after month, and decade after decade. Unrelenting torment.

When a child spoke up, they weren’t believed and the crimes continued with impunity.

…Not just as a father but as Prime Minister, I am angry too at the calculating destruction of lives and abuse of trust, including those who have abused the shield of faith and religion to hide their crimes, a shield that is supposed to protect the innocent, not the guilty. And they stand condemned.

From the context, the word “ritual” here appears to mean “systematic” or “methodical”, perhaps referring to the various techniques that abusers use to “groom” a child for repeated abuse and to ensure secrecy.

However, the phrase “ritual sexual abuse” (or “ritual abuse”) obviously more readily evokes the familiar idea of secret Satanic cults committing depravities with impunity, and this is how the apology is being interpreted by some, despite the difficulties it raises. For instance, the journalist Mark Watts, who specialises in promoting sensational “VIP sex abuse” claims, refers to the “fulsome apology to those who suffered child sexual abuse – inc ritual sexual abuse – in Australia by PM Scott Morrison”, when in fact no such category is clearly singled out in the speech.

The obvious question that arises is that if Morrison indeed wanted to flag up “ritual sexual abuse” as the phrase is commonly understood, then why wasn’t he clearer about it? Perhaps the answer is that he was being deliberately ambiguous for some reason. It may be that he wanted to signal his belief in the phenomenon without having to invest political capital in it – after all, he is Australia’s first Neo-Pentecostal Prime Minister, and “Satanic ritual abuse” conspiracy theories have thrived within some evangelical strands. There’s also the fact that Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has given credence to Cathy Kezelman, a GP and activist who has made increasingly lurid allegations against her own family – this may have influenced Morrison, or whoever drafted his speech or advised on it.

Conspiracy theorists, however, have a different explanation, which is that Morrison was dropping a hint about knowing more than is in the public domain, just as “QAnon” believers believe that Trump is sending out subtle indications that he has uncovered a cabal of elite abusers who will shortly be exposed to the world. Thus various people are Tweeting claims such as “The new Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison must be a rider in #TheStorm. Here he is making an unprecedented statement on the cabal-engineered epidemic of child ritual abuse”. It is also being suggested that the Morrison’s phrasing vindicates Fiona Barnett, an Australian woman who has made extravagant “VIP Satanic ritual abuse” claims.

Two More Media Outlets Promote Jon Wedger

From a website called the Consumer Watch Foundation:

A former UK Justice Minister is supporting a retired detective who claims Metropolitan police deliberately ruined his life after he tried to expose horrific cases of child sex abuse.

John Wedger claims he was forced into early retirement after a breakdown while working to expose Britain’s perverts.

…Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning has given his full support to Wedger in a campaign to protect police whistle-blowers.

….Now Wedger has also made claims about the Satanic abuse of children in the upper echelons of British society, claims investigated for many years by consumerwatchfoundation.com editor Leigh G Banks.

CWF has contacted Sir Mike’s offices on five occasions asking for his views on Wedger’s Satanism claims and to confirm he is still supporting him in his battle. We have not received a response.

Penning’s original statement supporting Wedger is still published on his website, although his silence on Wedger’s more recent claims may indicate some doubt or embarrassment.

The article is written by Leigh G. Banks, apparently a former Fleet Street tabloid journalist; Consumer Watch Foundation appears to be an offshoot of Radio Tatras International (RTI), an English-language online radio station based in Slovakia that he helped to set up. Banks claims to have investigated Satanic Ritual Abuse in the 1980s, and for some reason quoting himself in third-person, he adds in his article that:

“…I worked with an organisation called Reachout.

“One of its clients claimed that since childhood she was being used as ‘factory’ to produce babies for sacrifice by a coven in the North-west of England. Members of the organisation claimed to have rescued at least 70 young people from covens.”

The Reachout Trust is an evangelical Christian “counter-cult” organisation that has been much criticised for its sensationalist claims about occult groups, conflated with “Satanism”.

Banks also appears in podcasts with Rodney Hearth, who runs an online television service called A1R.tv International (formerly A1R.tv Family Focus) through his company “Heaven Sent Productions”. A1R.tv describes itself as “Free Family Safe Worldwide Television”, and it carries a number of channels that stream vintage pop music, jazz, and old films, as well as polemics with titles such as “Pat Condell Tell [sic] The Truth About Islam” and “Nigel Farage Smashes The Irish PM“. Content includes re-uploads from elsewhere but also original material in which Hearth – an evangelical in his 70s – interviews various people. Hearth’s most recent interview is with Wedger, perhaps facilitated through Banks.

Some of Hearth’s interviewees are musicians, while others are activists such as Anglican Mainstream’s Rev. Lynda Rose (on “The Way Sex is Being Taught in Schools“), the American anti-gay obsessive Scott Lively (last blogged here), a certain Cyrus Leone, and numerous items with Greg Jackson of CitizenGo, a “global pro-life, pro-family, and pro-freedom grassroots organization” that is part of the Spanish HatzeOirl (previously blogged here) – in one conversation, the two men discuss transgender issues under the title “The Liverpool Penis“. For some reason, a talk by Rev. James Leggett of St. James Church in Ryde on “Straight Talk for Gays” appears to have been removed.

Outright conspiracy material on the site includes uploads from the likes of Liz Crokin (blogged here), but it is on social media that a1r.tv really lets it all hang out, promoting itself via the hashtags #QAnon, #GoodbyeDemocrats, #GreatAwakening, #PresidentTrump and #WWG1WGA.

British interest in the “QAnon” conspiracy theory may seem unexpected, but I recently noticed that it forms part of the worldview of a political group called The Peoples Revolution Party. A1R.tv was recently listed as a supporter of a fringe-right “Brexit Alliance” that TPRP was apparently assembling alongside the Democrats and Veterans Party, as I noted here.

A Note on a 1975 “Grooming” Case from Rotherham

A news clipping, purportedly from the Rotherham Advertiser in 1975:

A 15-years-old girl told police of a house in Rotherham where immigrants too English girls upstairs and where she had been paid to have sexual intercourse with an Arab.

The girl, described [by a pathologist] as “very well used sexually” was put into the care of the local authority at Rotherham Borough Juvenile Court on Wednesday

…A statement which the girl made to the police was read out in court. In it, she said that she first had sexual intercourse at the age of 13 and again a few months later. The boys concerned were dealt with in court, she said.

Later, a Pakistani took her to a certain house in Rotherham where he asked her to go upstairs with him. She refused and left the house, but went back several times.

…On another occasion an Arab had intercourse with her in the house. He paid her £2 and gave 50p to the Pakistani who occupied the house…

….She had seen seen other English girls being taken upstairs by Pakistanis, who picked them up in a certain Rotherham cafe, said the statement.

She would listen to them running about and giggling upstairs and then hear the bed moving.

One English girl came downstairs and said: “he has only given me four shillings.”

…In court, the girl asked for a chance to prove herself… She knew she had done wrong and was very sorry.

A photograph of the article, apparently taken from an archived copy of the newspaper, appeared on social media a week or so ago, and has been passed around as supposed proof of the long-term existence of what are now popularly referred to as either “Asian grooming gangs” or, more crudely and with the purpose of inflaming, as “Muslim rape gangs”. The newspaper title and date are not included in the photo, but there is no reason to suppose that these details are incorrect. (1)

The attitude of the authorities towards the girl in the article is obviously shocking from today’s perspective: clearly, this was a case of child exploitation, yet the girl is simply regarded as a delinquent who needs to be “managed” by the care system, rather than than as the victim of a crime. There doesn’t seem to be any interest in who the predators may be or in curbing their activities.

Those currently promoting this old article do so to suggest that it indicates a long-term cover-up, even though its very existence would seem to indicate the opposite. What it does reveal, though, is that lack of action against this kind of exploitation need not be attributed to “political correctness” or “fear of being accused of racism” – factors that are now regarded as the self-evident causes of failings in more recent cases. Even had the police been minded and able to build a case against the men in 1975, the way that the girl is presented in the article as someone who had “done wrong” reflects social attitudes that would have also influenced jurors and judges.

Of course, one must be wary about extrapolating from 1975 to the 1990s or the 2000s, and one brief and vague newspaper report (plucked out of obscurity by someone to prove a pre-conceived point) is hardly a sufficient basis for building a sociological/criminological theory about the factors that lead to “grooming gangs” and why the phenomenon apparently went largely unchecked despite legislation. That task is probably better left to someone who has made a study of the subject, such as for instance UCL’s Ella Cockbain.

Footnote

1. “Four shillings” in the article refers to pre-decimal currency, but one-shilling and two-shilling coins remained in circulation for many years after decimalisation in 1971, used alongside the the new 5p and 10p coins. The habit of referring to “shillings” thus persisted through the 1970s and beyond, to the confusion of those too young to remember the earlier currency.

A Note on Police “Whistleblowers” and the IICSA

A recent Notice of Determination on the website of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA):

An application was made on behalf of retired Detective Constable Margaret Oliver, retired Detective Constable John Wedger and retired Detective Superintendent Peter Jackson for core participant status in the Accountability and Reparations investigation on 14 May 2018.

In their application for core participant status it is stated that Ms Oliver, Mr Wedger and Mr Jackson together have decades of experience as police officers specialising in the detection and investigation of child sexual abuse and are able to give direct and highly relevant evidence regarding the culture, practice and policy of policing across England and Wales in relation to child sexual abuse. It is further submitted that Ms Oliver, Mr Wedger and Mr Jackson are able to give such evidence with an independence that a serving officer could not.

…The general issues that will form the primary focus of the case studies are referred to in the Final Notice of Determination dated 8 June 2018. While this list of issues is not exclusive and some flexibility is required, the Inquiry will not examine the operation of the criminal justice system, including the disputed actions or omissions of the police.

Oliver played a significant role in bringing the Rochdale “grooming gang” to justice, since when she has become a celebrity: she was portrayed by Lesley Sharp in last year’s Three Girls BBC dramatisation, and earlier this year she was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. She resigned from the force in 2012, and last year she told the Daily Express that this had been because of bullying by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Jackson is also a former GMP officer; indeed, he was the head of the force’s Major Incident Team. He retired in February 2017 “in disgust”, according to the Daily Mail, which described how he had been investigated for “inappropriate involvement” in an inquiry into a serious street assault against his own son that happened in 2014. Jackson was allegedly told by the investigating officers that “there was no cctv and no lines of inquiry outstanding”, which turned out to be completely untrue. A local business had a camera that was clearly visible at the location of the assault, and Jackson was able to recover footage that led to a conviction.

Jackson has also made other allegations against the GMP, which were reported by the Manchester Evening News in June 2017 after the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled that they did not amount to misconduct. One allegation related to a decision to dispose of body parts GMP “had retained of killer GP Harold Shipman’s victims without telling their families”, while others related to two covert operations, “one of which involved officers watching as a suspected paedophile walked into a property with two youngsters”. According to the MEN, the IPCC

concluded the decision not to intervene was ‘in line with investigative strategy’, although the planning and implementation of the operation could amount to misconduct.

GMP subsequently held misconduct meetings for two detectives, but they were cleared of wrong-doing.

In the third strand of its probe, the IPCC found a DCI had ‘demonstrated naivety’ in mounting a covert operation on a gang of robbers who were seen going into a Stockport pub.

Jackson afterwards wrote up his complaint in an unpublished report called “Rotten to the Core”, which he sent to Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester. This then formed the basis for an article that appeared in The Times this summer, which included the detail that

In an embarrassing blunder… staff at the Greater Manchester combined authority who received the dossier forwarded it to the GMP without Jackson’s permission.

Last week, a follow-up in the The Times reported that GMB Chief Constable Ian Hopkins had been accused by Jackson of “misleading the public” over the “suspected paedophile” investigation.

Wedger, in contrast to Oliver and Jackson, was (or perhaps nominally still is) with the Metropolitan Police. He claims to have been victimised for uncovering paedophile rings, although details remain vague. He is also part of the “alternative media” conspiracy milieu, and he currently spends his time making videos that promote claims about “VIP sex abuse cover-ups” and even Satanic Ritual Abuse. In July, Oliver and Wedger appeared together at a “police whistleblowers’ meeting in Manchester, and Oliver expressed her warm regards for Wedger in a brief video made by a conspiracy theorist named Anna Brees.

Jackson’s Twitter feed suggests that he also supports Wedger, but this implies some tensions. For example, one Tweet RTed by Jackson, by Neil Wilby, asks “How can chief constables who tell lies, such as Ian Hopkins and Mike Veale (to name just two), even remain in police service. Let alone high office?” Wedger, in contrast, believes that Veale was targeted over his mobile phone story for having exposed Edward Heath’s involvement in Satanic Ritual Abuse.

One wonders where these police whistleblowers stand on the police fiasco of Operation Midland, and the effect it had on DCI Paul Settle – one persecuted whistleblower who seems to have disappeared from view.

Jon Wedger and Satanic Ritual Abuse

In recent months I have blogged several times about Jon Wedger, a self-described “police whistleblower” who says that he was bullied out of his job with the Metropolitan Police over his investigations into organised child abuse. Wedger’s initial claims were endorsed by Mike Penning MP and carried by the Sunday Express, and he recently appeared with Maggie Oliver, the police officer at the centre of exposing the Rochdale grooming gang.

Wedger has also made a number of videos with Bill Maloney, an “alternative media” activist who makes extravagant claims about organised “VIP child sex abuse”, and when Maloney’s questionable practices were brought to Wedger’s attention by the former pop-singer Brian Harvey Wedger’s response was to accuse Harvey of harassing him. Last month, he spoke at the Democrats and Veterans Party conference.

Perhaps inevitably, Wedger’s activism has gradually led him into the most sensational subject of Satanic Ritual Abuse; thus he recently made a video interview with Vicky Ash, a “Satanic Ritual Abuse survivor” associated with Wilfred Wong. Ash, who is in her fifties, claims that she was raised within a Satanic coven and subjected to ritual abuse from an early age, but that although police showed an initial interest in her allegations, officers then mysteriously became “poorly” or were taken off the case. Her case was also apparently taken up by Geoffrey Dickens; she says that they were interviewed for the BBC’s Panorama in the early 1990s, but that the tapes are now “lost”. She also refers to Dickens’s supposed “lost dossier”, which I discussed here.

At some point, Ash converted to Christianity, coming into contact with Dennis Wrigley and the Maranatha Community (previously blogged here). Her rhetoric is suffused with familiar evangelical tropes about the supposed influence of Satanism and malign occult influences: she warns against Halloween, suggests that Hollywood films such as Eyes Wide Shut are based on the reality of Satanism, and alludes to Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan as further evidence. (1) In her view, claims about Satanic Ritual Abuse are dismissed due to “fear”; nowhere is there an acknowledgement of false allegations during the 1980s and early 1990s.

In the same video, Wedger refers to Joan Coleman’s list of supposed VIP abusers (better known as the “RAINS list“), and to claims that former Prime Minister Edward Heath was involved in Satanic Ritual Abuse (2) – Wedger believes that this last point was proven by Wiltshire Police’s posthumous investigation into Heath, and that criticisms of Wiltshire’s Chief Constable Mike Veale are unwarranted “attacks”. (3) He also says that SRA is included in police training materials, the Orkney allegations in particular.

Wedger also commends Audrey Harper’s book Dance with the Devil, and tells Ash that he has spent time with a South African Catholic priest who lamented to him that unlike in Africa people in Britain do not understand the existence of “the darkness”.

Hoaxstead has more on Ash here. She has not disclosed the names of her parents or other family members, and “Ash” appears to be her married surname. As such, it is impossible to subject her claims to scrutiny.

Footnotes

1. Specifically, Ash refers to a Satanist in the Royal Marines – this would be Chris Cranmer, a member of the Church of Satan who was reported in the media in 2004.

2. According to the conspiracy theorist Robert Green, Heath was on the RAINS list because “five witnesses, all totally independent of each other, had provided, years ago, evidence of being sexually assaulted by Heath”. Wedger inflates this into the claim that each name on the list was only included because five people had named the person concerned.

3. Wedger claims to be in private contact with Veale.

Sarah Champion Links Lost BBC Phone Connection to “Trying to Speak Out against Grooming Gangs”

An alarming suggestion from Sarah Champion MP:

Grrrrr! I can’t tell you how annoyed I am that @BBCr4today messed up the line so I couldn’t be heard. Symptomatic if anyone trying to speak out against grooming gangs!

The implication here is that the BBC deliberately sabotaged its own radio interview with her in order to suppress discussion of grooming gangs – an extraordinary and inflammatory allegation.

Champion had been asked to contribute to a segment of the Today programme on the subject of the Huddersfield grooming gang convictions that were announced yesterday: the phone connection was dodgy from the start, but the interviewer, Mishal Husain, did everything possible to facilitate communication by asking Champion to repeat herself whenever the call cut out. Once it was clear that the connection had failed completely, though, the programme moved on to another subject, as is standard broadcasting practice.

After her Tweet blaming the BBC for the lost connection, Champion responded to a query as to whether her mobile phone might have been at fault by saying that “Engineer said it was fine”. It’s a bit unusual to call an engineer after just one failed call, and all this tells us is that the glitch had been brief and temporary (this was less than a hour after the radio interview). Further, it seems that she was using an internet phone service – Husain responded by Tweeting that “We were equally frustrated at the instability of the connection via the internet”. The fault mostly likely lies with the service that was used.

Champion was on the programme as a member of Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, and she is prominent campaigner on the subject of abuse against women and girls. Last year, she wrote an op-ed for the Sun in which she highlighted “a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”. She later complained that the article had been “stripped of nuance” by editors, but in the ensuing controversy over the way her article was framed she was forced to resign her shadow ministerial position.

As such, in the popular imagination Champion is someone who has suffered for “speaking out” on a matter of public interest. This impression was further ingrained when a charity criticised her article and suggested that innocent Asian men had been subjected to racial abuse in its aftermath; Champion, working with the Times’s dubious Andrew Norfolk, turned this around by claiming that this criticism had led to her receiving death threats.

It may seem that I am making too much of a single Tweet posted off-the-cuff, particularly as Champion has not developed her claim into a coherent and explicit accusation. However, it seems to me pernicious and unwarranted to claim that “anyone trying to speak out against grooming gangs” is being thwarted by underhand means, when the subject is actually being widely reported, and when fringe-right elements explain Tommy Robinson’s recent legal difficulties in exactly the same conspiratorial terms.

Melanie Shaw: Jury Finds that Woman Backed by Tommy Robinson and Gerard Batten Committed Arson in Prison

From news site ExaminerLive:

A jury has concluded that a prisoner repeatedly started fires in her cells in what she claimed was a protest at ‘abuse of her human rights’.

A two-day trial at Leeds Crown Court heard how Melanie Shaw, who was unfit to stand trial, started three fires in her cells at HMP Foston Hall in Derbyshire and HMP New Hall in Flockton, near Wakefield.

At the conclusion of what is called a finding of fact trial [1] at Leeds Crown Court , a jury of seven women and five men spent less than an hour reaching the verdict that she committed three counts of arson being reckless as to whether property was damaged or destroyed.

Shaw had served just one month of a prison sentence at HMP Foston Hall for harassment and breach of a restraining order when she started the first fire.

The mother of one person harassed by Shaw gave her account in a 2016 video interview which can be seen here.

As I blogged just recently, Shaw is a cause célèbre among conspiracy theorists, and also now within the fringe-right: last month, Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll were seen waving “Free Melanie Shaw” placards outside the Old Bailey, while UKIP leader Gerard Batten used Twitter to promote a an article about her published by the website Politicalite, a self-described “independent populist news outlet read by thousands of readers per month” controlled by a man named Jordan James.

The Politicalite article announced a “World Exclusive”, in which it was suggested that Shaw is being held in prison as part of a cover up of VIP child sex abuse:

A VULNERABLE whistleblower of the horrific abuse of children which occurred at a county council-run home in Nottinghamshire in the late 1980s has been locked up, without a fair trial and has today been declared ‘Unwell’ to appear in court, Politicalite can reveal.

Melanie Shaw, who is a survivor of abuse at a children’s home in Nottingham remains in a high-security prison with no substantive evidence against her in a suspected “Cover-Up” by the Establishment.

…She says she is not being given her Valium. If so, this is of grave concern, as it will at best cause discomfort, and at worst cause seizures which could be fatal.

In fact, however, and as I noted previously, allegations relating to Beechwood Community House in Nottingham were first investigated by police as Operation Daybreak in 2010, which was followed by a wider investigation in 2015 called Operation Xeres and then Operation Equinox. Local media report that hundreds of statements have been taken (including one from the actress Samantha Morton), and the subject is currently being considered by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (despite Batten’s false claim in his Tweet that the inquiry “Seems to have gone quiet”). Further, Shaw is apparently still able to communicate with the outside world via her supporters. None of this would be the case if there were a “cover-up” going on.

As expected, the Examiner Live article – which also refers to support Shaw received from Robinson – has not been universally appreciated. Its author, court reporter Stephanie Finnegin (2), is currently being accused on Twitter of producing “fake news”, and she has fielded aggressive questioning from an account called @cupcake25831762 – Hoaxstead has screenshots. The account was created last month and has Tweeted just 61 times: it is obviously the creation of a troll farm (the same avatar appears on at least one other troll account), demonstrating that someone is deliberately trying to stir things up.

Footnote

1. A “trial of the facts” is a mechanism used in limited circumstances. As Matthew Scott explained in 2015:

There are, of course, circumstances in which the justice system has to wrestle with defendants who are too ill to participate in a normal trial, but too dangerous to be ignored. When that is necessary the law has no choice but to adopt an uneasy compromise between the defendant’s rights and the public need for protection.

There is no reasonable doubt that Shaw is mentally ill, and a risk to public safety.

2. UPDATE: Hoaxstead reminds us that Finnegan was the journalist who challenged reporting restrictions about Robinson’s imprisonment for contempt of court at Leeds Crown Court in May. Her reporting on the subject angered Robinson’s supporters, who in particular complained that she had referred to the street in which Robinson lives – a detail that LeedsLive has explained is included as standard practice in court reporting (“This information is given in open court for the media to publish, and is designed to ensure identification of the correct defendant in a case”). In an odd twist, however, it was afterwards discovered that Robinson had given the court an old address rather than his present home anyway. Some of Robinson’s supporters reportedly resorted to making threats against Finnegan, some of a sexual nature.