Northern Ireland Inquiry Undermines Claims of “Westminster VIP Paedophile Ring” Witness

From The Sunday Times:

Richard Kerr, originally from Belfast, was one of the most high-profile “witnesses” to claim that a Westminster VIP paedophile ring operated in the 1970s and 1980s, but he made claims that could not be true, according to an investigation of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

Kerr’s lurid account of being trafficked from Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast to VIP sex parties at Dolphin Square — a Westminster apartment block popular with MPs — and to a homosexual brothel, the Elm Guest House, was given wide coverage by Channel 4, various newspapers and the defunct Exaro news website…

The article goes on to quote the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland, which recently published its Report (hereafter “the Report”). Chapters 25 to 29 are concerned with Kincora, and Kerr’s claims and history are discussed in paragraphs 151 to 232 in Chapter 26. According to the details there (230),

There is no evidence to support his claim that he was “trafficked to London” aged seventeen. The irrefutable evidence examined by us is that from 4 October 1977 until February 1979, except for the few days between 21 October and 7 November when he was on bail before being remanded back into custody when he stole from [Raymond] Semple, he was in secure custody in Rathgael Training School, and then in Millisle Borstal. He left Northern Ireland in mid-May 1979 when he reached the age of eighteen and was automatically discharged from care. He then made the decision to go and live with his aunt in Preston.

The section of the report concludes (231-232):

Richard Kerr’s recent accounts of his experiences in Williamson House and Kincora are very substantially different from the detailed accounts he gave in the past. When these recent accounts are compared with the accounts he gave in the 1970s and 1980s, and with other documents from that era, a very different picture emerges from that which he now portrays. Having carefully examined all the material available to us we are satisfied that his more recent accounts are not to be relied upon.

We are satisfied that Mr Kerr was sexually exploited and abused as a boy and young man and are in no doubt that this had an adverse impact on his life. However, we cannot set aside or ignore the inconsistencies in his accounts of the abuse he said he suffered.

It seems that Kerr named certain individuals as having abused him only after their names had become public in relation to other cases – such as Dr Morris Fraser of the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and Cyril Smith (who allegedly abused him in Manchester). It should be noted that the Inquiry was concerned with his claims only insofar as they have a Northern Ireland connection: “If his allegations about his experiences in London or other parts of England are to be investigated that will be a matter for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse” (229).

The report was compiled without any active input from Kerr  himself – arrangements had been made for Kerr to give evidence, but at the last moment Kerr declined to participate, on the grounds that relevant documents were not being disclosed to his legal team. The Report disputes this (152):

…His legal representatives had been provided with over 700 pages of documents relating to Mr Kerr. They had accepted to the Inquiry that what the state agencies knew about the abuse perpetrated at Kincora, and the individuals perpetrating that abuse, or when they knew about it, were matters that are not within Mr Kerr’s knowledge. The Inquiry had no reason to believe that Mr Kerr was able to speak of his own knowledge on the issues of state participation, and he and his legal representatives had been provided with all of the documents available to the Inquiry at that time that the Inquiry considered directly bore upon Mr Kerr or on matters that the Inquiry considered that Mr Kerr was in a position to speak about from his own knowledge.

Kerr’s media appearances were in the first half of 2015, at a time when the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland was in full swing: an accuser named Nick had told police that he had been trafficked into a “VIP Westminster” paedophile ring as a child by his stepfather, where he had been subjected to sex abuse and torture, and had even witnessed child murders. In March 2015, the police had raided the homes of Harvey Proctor, Lord Bramall and Leon Brittan to look for evidence – the raid on Proctor’s home was described by John Mann MP as being “the first of many”.

Rumours about a “Westminster paedophile ring” consisting of politicians and other establishment figures have been in the public domain for many years (most famously thanks to Scallywag magazine in the early 1990s), but the recent flurry of media and police interest has for the most part focused on the testimony of several alleged survivors of the ring: “Nick”, “Darren”, Richard Kerr, and Esther Baker.

Nick’s account turned out to be highly fantastical and problematic, and he is now being probed for allegedly attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Darren was highly erratic and inconsistent. Both men have been the subject of critical investigative newspaper articles. Operation Midland was finally wound down last year; the Henriques Report, published in November 2016, was highly critical of how the police handled the whole affair [UPDATE 2019: Nick can now be named as Carl Beech, and his claims have been found to have been fraudulent. More details here].

However, Kerr’s story has not been subjected to any critical scrutiny before now. Abuse at Kincora has been established beyond any doubt, and Kerr was obviously genuinely distressed when discussing his memories of the past in his media appearances. On Channel 4 News, he described having been taken to various locations in the north of England aged 15 before reaching London aged 17. Arriving at King’s Cross (until its recent regeneration, a seedy area of London associated with the rougher end of the sex industry), he was taken to a nearby hotel and made to have sex with several men; he became associated with rent boys in Piccadilly Circus and was taken to Elm Guest House and “by taxi” to Dolphin Square. He says that Elm Guest House he was subjected not just to sex abuse but to sadism.

Around the same time as he spoke to Channel 4, he also contributed to an Australian news documentary segment titled “Spies, Lords and Predators”, which was broadcast on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes. That documentary introduced a distortion to the story: it claimed that Kerr had entered Kincora aged 9 rather than 14, and in a reconstruction of Kerr supposedly being taken by Rolls Royce around London to be abused by VIPs, the boy model used looks about 10 years old. In this version, Kerr stated that Dolphin Square was “the first place” to which he was taken in London, rather than a hotel in King’s Cross.

On television, Kerr did not name any of his alleged abusers, aside from Peter Hayman – Hayman, a diplomat who died in 1992, was known to have been a paedophile and to have worked for MI6, probably as Deputy Director. Hayman’s photo was shown to Kerr by the Channel 9 journalist Ross Coulthart, who introduced it as “another photo” – an indication that Kerr had in fact been shown a series of photos that were not included in the documentary. According to the Needleblog, whose author has spoken to Kerr, Kerr did indeed identify several other individuals, but then asked for this segment not to be used. He said that he had been taken by surprise, and that he was unsure about some of the identifications he had made.

Channel 9 agreed not to show that part of the documentary, but it was seen by Mark Watts at Exaro News, who then ran a piece headlined “Richard Kerr Names Powerful Men who ‘Covered Up’ Kincora”. The Needleblog reproduces an email which shows that Watts went ahead despite having been specifically asked by Kerr not to do so – apparently, the incident led to another Exaro journalist, Fiona O’Cleirigh, leaving the website.

In the article, Kerr is said to have named Lord Mountbatten, Sir Maurice Oldfield (former head of MI6), Anthony Blunt and Sir Knox Cunningham (Unionist/Ulster Unionist MP). Exaro added (as quoted by the Report, 159):

Kerr tells 60-minutes that he walked in on a meeting at Kincora between Oldfield and Joseph Mains, the warden of the children’s home. He says that Mains immediately and forcefully ordered him out of the room. Mains was subsequently, in 1981, jailed for six years for sexual offences against boys. Kerr did not know at the time who Oldfield was, he says, and does not suggest that he abused Kincora boys. Kerr says that he recognised Blunt from his time at Kincora as one of a group of three men, the other two men sexually abused him as a boy, he says, although Blunt did not.

It does seem implausible that anyone could recognise a face decades later belonging to someone they had had happened to “walk in” on. According to the Report (230):

[Kerr says that as] a school boy he returned early to Kincora one day, walked into [Joe] Mains’s office and found Mains and Semple with “three men in suits”. He said he got the strong feeling he “had interrupted something secret and important, I would describe them as being shocked to see me”. He does not say that any of the three men spoke. As we shall see in the next chapter and as has already been confirmed by many of the other residents, officials from social services regularly visited Kincora during his time there. No doubt others did so in plain clothes, such as DC Scully. Any reputable visitor would have been surprised at a school boy entering the office and interrupting their business in that fashion. To infer from his description that he interrupted something improper is to place a sinister construction on the occasion without a shred of evidence to justify it.

Chapter 28 of the Report discusses Oldfield in more detail; it says that a 2001 note from someone in the Special Intelligence Services places Oldfield in Northern Ireland in the 1970s (paragraph 616), but its accuracy has not been established. Further (618):

Whilst on balance the absence of any reference in the SIS records to Sir Maurice Oldfield being in Northern Ireland before he became Security Coordinator in 1979 is indicative that he was not, however, the absence of an explanation for the note to which we have referred means that we cannot put the matter any higher than that.

In contrast to the sensational articles that appeared in 2015, the Sunday Times article and a follow up the next day in The Times seem to be the only articles now raising the problems around Kerr’s testimony in the wake of the Report. However, other articles have noted that the Report rejects claims that Kincora was used by the security service to blackmail British politicians – a long-standing allegation.

One final note: given Kerr’s unhappy past and his obvious present distress and vulnerability, it is natural not to want to take a critical approach to his claims. Some would say that we must simply “believe the victim” – and Kerr undoubtedly is a victim of sexual abuse and exploitation. However, such an approach does not make the difficulties with Kerr’s testimony disappear. These are matters that must be addressed by anyone who wants to continue to take his claims at face value – both for the sake of truth, and because false and mistaken allegations destroy innocent lives.

Evangelical Leaders Promote Claim Rain was a “Prophetic Sign” at Trump Inauguration

Here’s one I missed from a few days ago: from Charisma News:

A Major Prophetic Sign Appeared the Moment Donald Trump Stepped to the Inauguration Platform

The inauguration of Donald Trump was being watched live by tens of millions of people all over the world, and it was at that precise moment that God gave all of us another little reminder that He is in control. It had not been raining prior to the time Trump stepped up to the inauguration platform, but when he did, the rain began to fall…

The author is one Michael Snyder, who is an increasingly significant figure in the process of mainstreaming David Icke-style conspiracy theories in American evangelicalism (e.g. here and here). The neo-Pentecostal evangelical leader Rick Joyner concurs, as noted by Right Wing Watch:

After declaring that Trump’s election was “a miracle,” Joyner explained that, with the exception of Noah’s flood, “everywhere in scripture that rain is mentioned, it is a blessing,” meaning that the presence of rain during Trump’s inauguration was a heavenly sign.

“Anywhere that rain is mentioned in scripture, it is referenced as a blessing to bring fruitfulness to the earth,” Joyner said. “And it was so extraordinary that it was like the rain held off until he stepped up to the podium and then there was just enough for people to know it was raining, and then it seemed to quit again right away. But there was just a touch and I think that was a blessing from God.”

Of course, Franklin Graham himself had said something similar at Trump’s inauguration, although he held back from an explicit claim of supernatural causation, and I took it as a light-hearted quip rather than a serious proposition:

“Mr. President, in the Bible, rain is a sign of God’s blessing. And it started to rain, Mr. President, when you came to the platform. It’s my prayer that God will bless you, your family, your administration, and may He bless America.”

There are several texts in the Hebrew Bible in which God promises to either provide or withhold rainfall depending on how the Israelites behaved; one of religion’s primal functions is to explain why seemingly random disasters such as drought and famine occur, and to offer guidance about how heavenly powers might be appeased so that future calamities are avoided. However, these passages obviously refer to rainfall as a general condition required to sustain life in the Levant. To my recollection, there is no instance in the Bible where God uses rainfall as a sign to bless a particular individual or action at a particular moment.

Further, these evangelical leaders have conveniently forgotten a passage in the New Testament – the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:45:

[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

In other words, everyone gets rained on – it is not a sign of a special blessing or a curse, although we all know from personal experience that it is usually annoying and slightly unpleasant, and that it may be hazardous to health. I do not believe for a moment that these “prophets” and “Bible teachers” would have interpreted rain at a Democratic candidate’s inauguration as any kind of “blessing” – indeed, they probably would have said that such “bad weather” indicates divine disapproval. The idea that the rain was a “prophetic sign” at Trump’s inauguration merely highlights the shameless opportunism of the USA’s evangelical leadership.

Meanwhile, Trump’s own version of what happened with the rain is slightly different, as related by a critical article in the Daily Beast about Trump’s constant lying:

It stopped raining immediately when I started speaking, he said. No—it started raining when he started speaking; it was visible to any viewer that some on the podium started donning ponchos (it was a light rain that didn’t last long, but it was still rain). There was a huge rainstorm after, he said. No, there wasn’t. Again, the whole world could see this.

Some Notes on Piers Morgan’s “Pedophile-Loving” Attack on Ewan McGregor

A headline from yesterday’s Daily Mail:

Memo to anyone who voted for Trump or Brexit – pedophile-loving hypocrite Ewan McGregor holds you in utter contempt. So why on earth would you want to see any of his movies ever again?

The plain reading of the above is that McGregor is attracted to paedophiles. Only some way into the article is it made clear that the inflammatory headline in fact purports to encapsulate Piers Morgan’s opinion that McGregor was morally wrong to have made a film with director Roman Polanski in 2009, and to have expressed sympathy when Polanski was arrested in Switzerland in the same year. Morgan may not have written the headline, but he has embraced it as accurate. He has also publicised the article as “Women’s rights hero Ewan McGregor is a child rapist loving hypocrite who hates free speech”; perhaps the Mail‘s legal team worried about the lack of hyphenation in such a title.

Morgan of course is here borrowing the rhetorical line that was recently deployed against Meryl Streep after she attacked Morgan’s friend Donald Trump during her Golden Globes speech – it was quickly pointed out by Trump’s supporters that Streep had applauded Polanski during the Academy Awards in 2003. More broadly, it has been suggested that “Hollywood” has no business decrying Trump’s ethics while industry figures remain willing to work with Polanski, a fugitive from justice in relation to the rape of a 13-year-old girl in the USA in 1977 (a rape that was both statutory and coercive).

It does not take much effort to see the bad faith and excess in Morgan’s pseudo-moralising pose, which he has conveniently adopted after McGregor snubbed him by cancelling a TV interview. According to Morgan:

Had we done the interview, I might have asked him how his heroic support for women justified him working for director Roman Polanski, a self-confessed and convicted child abuser, on the film, The Ghostwriter.

Polanksi pleaded guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, then fled America to escape a lengthy prison sentence.

…A new warrant was issued for Polanski’s arrest during the movie’s post-production stage. 

McGregor, who has four young daughters, was asked about it and said: ‘I felt sad for Roman because he’s an old man who I’m incredibly fond of. I like him as a man.’

On Twitter, Morgan has further suggested that his disgust with McGregor is “why I’ve never watched a single Star Wars movie” – a prescient decision given that the first Star Wars film came out more than 20 years before McGregor became associated with the franchise, and more than 30 years before McGregor worked with Polanski. I don’t believe that there was ever any likelihood of Morgan challenging McGregor on Polanski during their interview, or that it’s a subject of particular interest to Morgan.

McGregor’s comments about Polanski’s arrest appeared in a 2009 Mail on Sunday interview:

‘At first I thought it was a joke,’ he says. ‘Roman was in a studio in Paris and we were talking to each other and he was on good form. The next day I got a text from the producer saying he’d been arrested. I really did think he was kidding. I felt sad for Roman, because he’s an old man who I’m incredibly fond of. I also felt bad for his kids that their dad had been locked up for 23 hours a day. It’s an awful trauma for them.’

‘In terms of the actual case,’ McGregor says, ‘it doesn’t matter what I think, and I don’t believe I’m accountable for it. I don’t think that by working with him as a director I’m condoning what happened 30 years ago.’

The way that Morgan weaponizes the above to imply that McGregor is associated with paedophilia is not just another “showbiz spat” – it is a particularly distasteful tabloid monstering that, like all such attacks, hijacks the moral high-ground to whip up the worst instincts. Morgan’s general unpopularity and his obvious opportunism mean that this particular attempt at personal destruction is unlikely to be effective, but it is worth noting as a particularly naked and vicious example of the genre – and of the increasingly casual deployment of “paedophile”-related accusations in acrimonious exchanges.

More on Ted Heath Sex Accuser’s Former Therapist and “Recovered Memories” of Satanic Ritual Abuse

From the Toronto National Post, last week:

A controversial police investigation into suspected sex abuse of children by the late British prime minister Edward Heath, with related claims of Satanic rituals and murders, originated in Edmonton in 1989, when a Canadian psychologist hypnotized a woman and helped her “recover” suppressed memories, according to a confidential police consultant report obtained by the National Post.

Cheryl Malmo, an Edmonton psychologist who retired in 2016, hypnotized a woman to treat her for depression, which she suspected was related to abuse from her childhood in Wiltshire, England, according to the report. What followed was a litany of horrific tales, seeping slowly from the woman’s memory, growing in lurid detail over time, “guided and influenced” by Malmo’s hypnotherapy, according to the consultant criminologist.

…They include stories of helping her mother kidnap a boy, who was raped by her father on a church altar, then suspended from a rope, as the woman’s mother cut his penis with a knife and drained his blood into a gleaming metal bucket. After apparently suppressing these memories all her adult life, the woman, then in her late 40s, told stories of rape, candlelit black magic rituals, cannibalism, child murder and bestiality — stories that were initially about her parents, but in time grew to include one of the most powerful men in the world.

The “confidential police consultant report” was by Dr Rachel Hoskins, and the fact that the National Post has a copy is less of a sensation when it is noted that the same report formed the basis for a front-page splash that appeared in the Mail on Sunday in November, under the headline “Heath Accuser ‘Is a Satanic Sex Fantasist'”. Hoskins went public due to concerns about the direction of the police investigation. I discussed the background here.

The late Ted Heath was only added to the abuse story years after the accuser’s association with Malmo:

The case was resurrected only in the last year or so, with the added detail of Heath’s alleged participation in some of the abuse, but not the Satanic rituals. One sister told police she had seen his face on the news and “trusted my gut.”

Heath was on the news at that time because other individuals had accused him of child sex abuse (discussed by me here), and the police had decided to launch an investigation with a dramatic announcement outside Heath’s former home in Salisbury in August 2015.

Hoskins referred to the therapist as “Fiona”, and claimed that she had been mentored by none other than Lawrence Pazder, author of the infamous hoax  Michelle Remembers. However, it’s not clear where Hoskins got this detail from, and there is no link between Malmo and Pazder that I can see. Malmo maintains in the National Post that “solid research and sound critique by many experts” has “disposed” of the idea of false memories.

Malmo and “Valerie”

After the National Post article was published, I sent off for a copy of Malmo’s 1990 book Healing Voices: Feminist Approaches to Therapy with Women, which she co-wrote with Toni Ann Laidlaw and other associates (published by Jossey-Bass of San Francisco; the authors each wrote their own chapters). The book includes Malmo’s account of working with a patient called “Valerie” (pages 308-311), which Malmo wrote up as a case of “dissociation for survival”.

Valerie was middle-aged and suffering from marital problems, and she “wondered whether her having been sexually abused by her father, about which she had no feelings, could be a factor in her difficulties.” Malmo told her that this “undoubtedly” was a factor, and the subsequent therapy included hypnosis:

Over a period of eighteen months, [Valerie] uncovered numerous memories of having been sexually, physically, and psychologically abused by her father and physically and psychologically abused by her mother as well.

…One day Valerie brought into her therapy session some postcards, a Bible, and a prayer book on which were inscribed messages to her from her father. Valerie and I both perceived that in all of the messages there was the facade of a loving relationship making an undercurrent of threats, seduction, anger, guilt, and hypocrisy…

In a later session, Valerie had an image in her mind of her father making someone called “Karen” pose for pornographic photographs. She eventually realised that this “Karen” was the part of herself who had been sexually abused but ignored.

At length, she also came to “remember” Satanism:

Early in therapy, I taught Valerie to image [sic] a safe place… and a spirit guide to assist her to feel safe. Valerie found a sense of peace and calm when she sat by (or imagined sitting by) a window where the light or sun was streaming in. In the beginning. we did not know the significance of this safe place. The full meaning emerged months later, when Valerie began uncovering extreme abuse in a satanic cult in which her father and mother were high priest and priestess. Valerie was compelled to partake in sexual activities and in animal and human mutilations and sacrifices. She realized that the sunlight felt calming to her because the morning marked the end of the ritual abuse, which took place at night.

Eventually, Malmo used hypnotism to lead Valerie into an imaginative exercise in which her father presented himself as “a man in a yellowish-brown monster suit with a mask and tail, a lionlike devil performing in some sort of ritual.” In the exercise, Valerie stood up to the monster, cut off its tail, hit her mother with it, and told the other participants to “Go home”.

This is exactly the same progress as described in the National Post report: “a litany of horrific tales, seeping slowly from the woman’s memory, growing in lurid detail over time, ‘guided and influenced’ by Malmo’s hypnotherapy.”

Taking Malmo’s account of Valerie at face value, we see a progression from the plausible (abuse by the father – building on a memory that the patient had before starting therapy) to the implausible (a murderous satanic cult) to the explicitly fantastical (the father as a literal monster). Where exactly along this scale did imagination displace memory? It seems to me that Valerie’s disgust at her father’s alleged hypocrisy over the Bible and Prayer Book might well have made her – and/or Malmo – susceptible to imagining the father in a role where he would be exposed as embodying a thoroughgoing inversion of Christianity: as the high priest (and not just a member!) of a satanic cult.

Valerie appears to be distinct from the Heath accuser (given the name “Lucy” in the Mail on Sunday) . Thus Malmo on at least two occasions found herself dealing with a patient who ended up “remembering” Satanic murders. One wonders how many others there were, and whether she ever started to wonder about the likelihood of coming across multiple instances of such bizarre and extreme crimes.

Media Promotes New “Belgian Aristocratic Paedophile Ring” Claim

From the Daily Mail:

A former child sex slave sold into a Belgian aristocratic paedophile ring where boys and girls were raped, tortured and murdered has revealed the horrors of her five years of abuse.

Anneke Lucas, 53, was sold into the murderous paedophile network in Belgium when she was just six years old in 1969.

Speaking to MailOnline, she said: ‘I was first taken to the paedophile ring when I was six by a woman who worked as a cleaning lady for my mother. She and her husband took me away for a weekend to babysit me and it was her husband who took me to the paedophile ring.

‘Later on, my mother got involved and then she started to take me herself. My mother was never really a mother. She was a very sick woman and a psychopath.’

Lucas’s sensational story has been in the public domain since 2013, but it has now come to wider attention following video testimony she gave last month for a website called Global Citizen (“a social action platform for a global generation that wants to solve the world’s biggest challenges”). That item was headlined “I Was a Sex Slave to Europe’s Elite at Age 6”, and the video also appears with that title on the Mail website. The Mail‘s own headline refers to a “Belgian aristocratic paedophile ring”, but one has to wonder if the Brexit-supporting paper was particularly attracted by a tale of Euro-depravity.

According to the Global Citizen version:

Around my sixth birthday, in 1969, I was taken to an orgy for the first time, in a castle. I was used for an S&M show, on a low stage, chained up with an iron dog collar, and made to eat human feces.

…One man, wearing a business suit, caught my eye. He looked scared, but he held my gaze for a brief moment, and seemed to feel for me. Then he was gone. I never saw him again in the network, but years later I did spot him on TV. He became a prominent Belgian politician.

Eventually, the ring decided that she too should be killed – she was tied to a butcher’s block and tortured by “one of the defendants in the notorious [Marc] Dutroux case”, but her life was saved at the last moment by a young orgiast who made a deal with a politician in charge of the ring:

he would work for the politician, extend his shady services in exchange for my life. This one good deed eventually cost him his own life. In this milieu, any shred of humanity is a deadly weakness.

Once again we find ourselves in the awkward position of having to consider whether a deeply upsetting story is actually true. Dismissing such testimony out of hand risks adding to someone’s trauma, and it may inhibit other victims from coming forward. Yet such a mix of sensationalism and vagueness cannot simply just be taken at face value. If I had such a story about myself I wouldn’t expect anyone to believe me without asking me some pertinent questions – particularly given the various pseudo-victims who have manipulated police and media over the years (one of whom, ironically, was recently exposed by the Daily Mail).

Who was Lucas’s mother? Who was the cleaning lady? Are there any other relatives who can confirm her story? Who was the politician she saw at age six? If such details have to be withheld for legal reasons, that should be indicated in the story – and we should at least have an assurance that the journalist has looked into these matters.

And what are the police doing about it? According to the the Mail article, “a spokesman for the Federal Police in Belgium said they were unable to comment on Miss Lucas’ claims”; but if Lucas has had dealings with the police there’s nothing to stop her telling the journalist about it. Further, why did Lucas maintain silence during the period between the arrest and conviction of Marc Dutroux, even though another woman (Regina Louf) had gone public with claims linking the case with an alleged ring of “elite” paedophiles?

There is also an odd inconsistency about how she came to relocate to New York. In March 2013 she told DNAinfo New York that

“My mother would lend me out for money… In this particular network children were killed,” said Lucas of her experiences in the ’70s. “I was rescued when I was 11, and part of the specific instructions for my safety were to move to New York.”

That’s all a bit mysterious in itself, yet in the Daily Mail account she lived with her mother until she was 16, and remained in Belgium until the 1980s, when she moved “to London, Paris and LA and ended up settling in New York”.

She also states that her body “is full of scars”, referring specifically to having been tortured with a cigarette butt on the forearm – yet scars are not apparent in photos she has put into the public domain, some of which show bare arms and legs (there’s even a video of her in a bikini).

Of course, some will say that we must “believe the victim” as a moral imperative – or, if we can’t do that in all honesty, that we should keep our doubts to ourselves and attempt to suppress them in our minds. But this is an oddly inward way of thinking about whether something we haven’t seen actually happened or not.

Usually, when we are trying to decide whether something we’ve been told is true, uncertain (ranging from probable to highly implausible), or false, we take three things into consideration: (a) the character of the claims-maker; (b) whether the claim can be substantiated/corroborated; and (c) whether the claim has any difficulties.

In this instance, outsiders know little of Lucas’s character; we have seen no corroborating evidence; there are unresolved inconsistencies; and there are a whole host of more general questions about the scenario she describes. That does not mean her account is therefore untrue, but these factors ought to be borne in mind by journalists when deciding whether to promote such claims.

That Kim Clement “Trump Prophecy”

From WND:

Kim Clement was known as the “singing prophet” before he died Nov. 23, just 15 days after Donald Trump shocked many by winning the presidency.

But if recordings of Clement’s predictions are accurate accounts of what he reportedly said in appearances in 2007, he wouldn’t have been surprised.

Audio recordings of “prophecies” reportedly delivered by Clement nine years ago, long before anyone was taking Trump seriously as a presidential candidate, not only predict his successful bid for the White House, they also say he is God’s choice – and will become known as a “prayerful president.”

Unusually, the item is unbylined (although there’s an advert for “Joel Richardson’s compelling books and videos on Bible prophecy, the Antichrist and end times”), and the writer’s approach is cautious:

Are the recordings real? Clearly they have been edited.

Indeed. It should be noted that Clement does not say anything so direct as “Donald Trump will be president”. Here are the extracts, from 4 April 2007:

This that shall take place shall be the most unusual thing, a transfiguration, a going into the marketplace, if you wish, into the news media, where Time magazine will have no choice but to say what I want them to say. Newsweek, what I want them to say. The View, what I want them to say. Trump shall become a trumpet, says the Lord. Trump shall become a trumpet. I will raise up the Trump to become a trumpet, and Bill Gates to open up the gate of a financial realm for the church, says the Lord…

For God said, “I will not forget 9/11. I will not forget what took place that day, and I will not forget the gatekeeper that watched over New York, who will once again stand and watch over this nation,” says the Spirit of God. “It shall come to pass that the man that I shall place in the highest office shall go in whispering My name. But God said, when he enters into the office, he will be shouting out by the power of the Spirit. For I shall fill Him with My Spirit when he goes into office, and there will be a praying man in the highest seat in your land.

The most obvious interpretation of the above is that Rudy Giuliani – “the gatekeeper that watched over New York” on 9/11 – will become president (presumably in 2008), while Trump and Gates will become evangelists. I  suspect Trump and Gates were named because Clement was fascinated by powerful businessmen, and Trump and Gates are perhaps the most famous examples in the USA. Further, he appears to have believed that their very names are puns that reveal God’s purposes. Clement went on to make many predictions about the future in the years that followed (often expressed in a vague and obscuranist way), but Trump does not appear to have been a figure of particular interest.

The edited video of this prophecy then follows with an earlier prediction, from February 2007:

There will be a praying president, not a religious one. For I will fool the people, says the Lord. I will fool the people, yes I will. God says, the one that is chosen shall go in, and they shall say, “he has hot blood”. For the Spirit of God says, yes, he may have hot blood, but he will bring the walls of protection on this country in a greater way, and the economy of this country shall change rapidly, says the Lord of hosts. Listen to the word of the Lord. God says, “I will put at your helm for two terms a president that will pray, but he will not be a praying president when he starts. I will put him in office, and then I will baptize him with the Holy Spirit and My power, says the Lord of hosts.

Of course, “hot blood” could be seen as a reference to Trump’s impulsive lashing out, but again it’s a very vague shot in the dark and the detail has been chosen retrospectively out of a mass of claims about future presidents. For instance, here’s Clement in 2010 predicting a future president from Texas, and in 2014 stating that the next president will be “a man of prayer, a man of choice words, not a man who is verbose, who has verbosity, who speaks too much” – hardly applicable to Trump.

Clement has been in the news for this kind of thing before. In 1996 he stated that America “will go to the place of the east and we will go and we will bring them down for what they did to our people as they flew in the air over Long Island”. This was later taken to be a prophecy of 9/11, although he actually made the statement a week after after TWA flight 800 exploded in the air above Long Island – and before it had been determined that the incident had been an accident rather than a terrorist attack. He also claimed to have predicted the effects of Katrina on New Orleans, as I discussed here.

UPDATE (February 2019): The phrase “he will bring the walls of protection on this country” is now being interpreted as a reference to Trump’s intention to build a wall along the Mexico border. Thus Charisma has a new headline stating that “2007 Kim Clement Prophecy Says President Will Be Baptized in Holy Spirit, Build the Wall, Win Second Term“.

Michael Mansfield QC Gives Interview to Conspiracy Radio Show Linked to David Icke

In October, a conspiracy podcast called The Richie Allen Show (“in association with” and apparently “Europe’s most listened to [Verified] Independent News Radio Show”) announced its latest guest:

Michael Mansfield On The “Dark Forces” Derailing The Child Abuse Inquiry & More! [YouTube]… Michael Mansfield on the real reasons the child abuse inquiry is being “run into the ground.” [Twitter]

The show’s podcasts are uploaded to YouTube, with distinctive thumbnails that announce the guest and carry his or her image. The above collage shows a sample of Allen’s other guests: there’s Erich von Däniken, who argues that the cultural productions of ancient civilizations were in fact created by aliens; the anti-vaccine activist (and scientific fraud) Andrew Wakefield; Sabine McNeill, who promoted the the “Hoaxted” panic about a supposed baby-eating paedophile cult operating out of a church and school in Hampstead (a hoax that included exploiting two actual children into repeating outlandish and sexually explicit allegations); the self-proclaimed reincarnation of Jesus David Shayler; and the general purpose conspiracy theorists Michael Shrimpton, Christopher Monckton, and Tony Gosling – plus of course David Icke himself. Thus Mansfield – perhaps the UK’s most prominent campaigning barrister – finds himself listed among notorious conspiracy theorists ranging from the risible to the sinister.

Mansfield (and, oddly, his romantic partner Yvette Greenway) were invited onto the show to discuss the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which has lurched from crisis to crisis due to its excessively broad brief and other practical problems. Mansfield argued that the inquiry has been mismanaged due to the way “the Establishment” goes about things (a “conditioned response”), but in response to Allen raising the spectre of “a deep state cover-up” he also concurred that that there are “forces” who “want to kick it into the long grass”.

This allowed Allen to introduce the “dark forces” formulation:

You talked about “darker forces”, though maybe you didn’t use the word, I’m not going to misquote you at all…

Allen then went on cite David Icke’s view that these forces are more powerful than Theresa May, although he also stressed that his show is editorially independent from Icke and that he didn’t want to get into the subject of Icke’s various views (he didn’t go into details, but this would include the claim that the world has been controlled for centuries by a bloodline of intergalactic shape-shifting lizards, who operate through certain families such as the “Rothschild Zionists”).

Mansfield agreed with the general point about powerful forces, referring to the scandal of police infiltration into activist groups through the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the resulting Pitchford Inquiry. He also referred to his role as Mohamed Al Fayed’s representative at the Princess Diana inquest in 2007-2008, noting the claim by Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, that the Queen had warned him about “dark forces” at work. Although he didn’t mention it on the show, Mansfield believes that there was a plot to “scare” Diana that went wrong, resulting in her accidental death.

Thus Mansfield’s concrete claims about “forces” at work in fact referred to other matters altogether, and he did not introduce any information that is not already in the public domain. His account of how these “forces” supposedly regard the IICSA is purely speculative, and in the interview he did not identify any specific development in the IICSA’s history where we need to invoke “forces” as an explanation.

The interview was also an opportunity for Mansfield and his partner to raise awareness of the issue of suicide – in 2015 Mansfield suffered a bereavement due to suicide, and later in the interview he spoke movingly on the subject and about a charity he has set up.

Perhaps Mansfield makes himself available for interviews as a matter of principle; however, it seems to me that this particular media appearance was ill-advised. It puts him among some very rum company, and the way that his appearance is advertised (“Michael Mansfield on the real reasons the child abuse inquiry is being ‘run into the ground'”) is sensationalising and conspiracy-mongering. Mansfield’s involvement helps to mainstream Icke and his poison, even at one degree of separation, while it diminishes a reputation Mansfield has built up over decades for challenging police maleficence.

Donald Trump’s “God Whisperer” Paula White Defends Herself From “Heresy” Allegations

From CBN:

President-elect Donald Trump’s longtime religious adviser, Paula White, is firing back at critics who have called her a heretic and questioned her personal finances and romantic history.

…Her critics include conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who this week published a video of White in which she denies that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, calling Him instead the firstborn of creation.

…Also this week, Westminster Seminary California theologian Michael Horton published an op-ed in The Washington Post, calling out White for promoting the “prosperity gospel” and saying that she believes that “Jesus went to the cross not to bring forgiveness of our sins but to get us out of financial debt.”

…In her statement White denies the accusations, saying she believes in the Trinity and “in the exclusivity and divinity of Jesus Christ, His saving grace and substitutionary atonement made available to all by His death on the cross.”  She disputes the “prosperity gospel” claim noting, “I also reject any theology that doesn’t affirm or acknowledge the entirety of scriptural teaching about God’s presence and blessing in suffering as much as in times of prosperity.”

White also gave an interview on CNN, prompting a rare reference on CNN’s website to the Nicene Creed.

It should be noted that White has had little formal theological education – instead, she learnt her craft on the job as the young wife of a pastor who was himself a pastor’s son, and the motivational emphasis in her teaching reflects her early experiences of dealing with family dysfunction and sexual abuse. She describes herself as a “Messed-up Mississippi Girl”, and I doubt that any heterodox statement from her reflects a deeply considered position on Christology. White has backtracked on unorthodox religious ideas in the past: in 2012 she disavowed “Rabbi” Ralph Messer, after allowing Messer to wrap her in a Torah scroll in a bizarre on-stage ritual.

The Prosperity Gospel appears predatory and is easy to mock (case in point: “Televangelist Paula White Hawks ‘Resurrection Life’ for $1,144 ‘Seed'”), but there are also practical and genuinely pastoral aspects to motivational Christian preaching that cannot be reduced to its worst elements. An abstract for a chapter on White by Shayne Lee and Phillip Luke Sinitiere in their 2009 book Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace gives a fair assessment:

…Paula White strategically integrates her message and ministry into mainstream American religious culture and crafts a model of the emotionally healthy Christian who is honest about her shortcomings… Her message infuses an emphasis on God’s transforming power with the raw and honest faith of postmodern confessional culture. As the “Oprah Winfrey” of the evangelical world, White finesses dialogues with celebrity experts about self-actualization and the nitty-gritty, day-to-day realities of life. By integrating religion with American longings for youth, beauty, health, and sexual fulfillment, she offers an empowering and self-therapeutic brand of Christianity that teaches people how to become physically fit, mentally tough, and biblically literate, while trusting in the promises of God for dramatic change in life

White converted to Christianity in 1984, aged 18 and living in Baltimore. A 2005 profile in Charisma has some details, explaining that she converted “while living with a boyfriend”:

White eventually found a church home in the city, and when the janitor at her church quit, her pastor–T.L. Lowery, of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)–asked White to clean the church nursery. Lowery noticed her commitment to that job and asked her to teach the 2- and 3-year-olds, and later the 4- and 5-year-olds.

White says she must have studied 80 hours a week just to make sure her lesson plans were doctrinally correct and on a level the children could understand.

She was working at the Church of God headquarters in Baltimore when she met Randy, a divorcé, who was an associate pastor at a small church in the area. The two were married two years later against the advice of a few church members who said Paula wasn’t “ministry material.”

Lowery was a celebrated Pentescostal pastor who died a year ago, after 71 years in ministry; in 2015 his 70th anniversary was noted by the likes of T.D. Jakes and John Hagee. Randy, meanwhile, was the son of Franklin White, who pastored the Damascus Church of God (Damascus being the name of a town in Maryland).

However, a 2012 magazine profile in Orlando by Mark Pinsky (former religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times) has a slightly different version of the origin story, in which it is suggested that Randy White was not in fact divorced when he met Paula – who was herself married, too:

Another transfer [in her step-father’s work], this one to the National Naval Medical Center in Washington, D.C., brought the family to suburban Maryland, where Paula, at 18, had a child out of wedlock and married the father, a young musician. She joined the Damascus Church of God and got saved. The experience had an odd effect. She soon left her first husband and took off for Tampa with the congregation’s associate pastor, Randy White, who left his wife and three young children. The couple married and eventually bought a vacant warehouse and set it up as a church. Its predominantly African-American congregation grew at a phenomenal rate through the late 1990s and early 2000s, at one point claiming 23,000 members.

White’s first husband, glossed over by Charisma in 2005, was named Dean Knight.

Pinsky goes on to chronicle how the Whites’ church brought them great personal wealth – and controversy:

While Randy led the growth of the Tampa congregation, his wife concentrated on building a nationally recognized, television-based brand known simply as Paula.

…Before the couple amicably divorced in 2007, their extravagances included private jets, luxury vehicles, a condo in Trump Park Avenue and another costing $3.5 million in Trump Tower on New York’s 5th Avenue, and a $2 million family home fronting Tampa Bay.

…Paula, in 2007, gave Bishop T.D. Jakes of Dallas a black Bentley convertible for his 50th birthday. Paula credits Jakes, pastor of the black megachurch The Potter’s House, with catapulting her career to stardom when he invited her to speak at an African-American women’s conference in 2000.

…The Whites’ lavish spending caught the attention of the IRS in 2004, and later a U.S. senator, who, in 2007, launched a congressional investigation into the financial dealings of six churches led by televangelists, including [the Whites’] Without Walls.

The senator was Charles Grassley, and I discussed his investigation at the time. The Whites’ church eventually fell into bankruptcy; there was also a scandal in 2010 involving Benny Hinn,

when the National Enquirer reported that they had a three-day “sexy Rome tryst” in a five-star hotel. The story ran with two photos showing Hinn and White leaving a hotel and strolling in Rome, holding hands. Both White, who was divorced, and Hinn, who had recently separated from his wife, denied they were romantically involved.

Hinn later confessed that the relationship had been “inappropriate”. This prompted the Christian media mogul Stephen Strang to sue Hinn, on the grounds that Hinn had “violated a morality clause” in a book contract.

More recently, White has become known as “Donald Trump’s God whisperer”; the two have been in contact for years, since Trump saw her on Christian television, and along with Kenneth Copeland she was among the televangelists and pastors who laid hands on Trump at a religious anointing ceremony in September 2015 (indeed, she was closest to him, literally at his right hand). White’s claim that Trump had recently become a Christian was cited by the evangelical Christian Right activist James Dobson, who came up with the formulation “baby Christian” as a rationalision for why Christians should support Trump without expecting much evidence of a new-found godliness (Dobson even went to so far as to invoke the principle of forgiveness to shrug off claims that Trump had committed sexual assaults).

One of White’s sternest conservative evangelical critics is Russell Moore, who claimed in June that “Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.” That’s a point of view, but it gives the false impression that White is some sort of obscure para-Christian outlier. Instead, she is deeply embedded in broader evangelical networks.

In a more recent profile, Pinsky notes that

Although Politico magazine described her as Trump’s “God whisperer,” White has thus far shown no interest in power or political influence, no desire to set social policy or pick future Supreme Court justices.

What she does care about is flash, and her long-standing personal connection to the president-elect.

When it comes to Trump’s inauguration I would personally be more worried about another pastor who has been invited to offer up prayers: a bitter Christian Right ideologue who expects to enjoy worldly influence under a man he helped to elect while not taking full ownership of his position with an explicit endorsement. I refer, of course, to a clashing cymbal by the name of Franklin Graham.

UPDATE: One detail I didn’t know was that White appeared on publicity material for Why We Want You to be Rich, a 2006 book co-authored by Trump and Robert Kiyosaki. She also helped to promote the book, reportedly offering copies on her TV programme for “a ministry contribution of $25”.

April 2016: The Big Issue Runs Fanboy Interview with David Icke

Despite hand-wringing over the normalisation of the “Alt-Right” and the influence of its disinformation (“fake news”) on public discourse, there seems to be less concern over the way that the ludicrous figure of David Icke has increasingly been positioned as some kind of reasonable commentator, or even as a prescient figure.

One piece of evidence for this that has recently come to my attention is a fanboy interview with Icke in The Big Issue by the comic-book author Mark Millar, which appeared back in April. Here’s an extract from the interviewer’s introduction and commentary:

What if everything you know is a lie? Suppose 13 families control the planet and our Presidents and Prime Ministers serve them instead of us? What if the BBC is an Orwellian Ministry of Information and filters news on behalf of the Establishment that appoints them? Could national treasure Jimmy Savile really be a monster involved in child-trafficking and Satanic ritual abuse with some of the most famous faces in Britain, including the ex-Prime Minister who signed us into the European Union?

…. Savile is probably the most reviled figure in the corporation’s shaky history. The police are investigating hundreds of leads against some of the most famous politicians of the last generation. Former PM Sir Edward Heath has been investigated by eight different police forces for crimes against children.

…His ideas are a lot for people to process but when you look at the papers over the past couple of years it’s striking how much of what he was mocked for is suddenly front-page news.

At first glance the interview could be dismissed as light-hearted fare – Icke’s claims get reported because the man has entertainment value, and people can make up their own minds without needing to be spoon-fed what to think. Like the astrology column, this is simply an item of “weird news” that no-one is expected to take seriously.

However, Millar is in earnest: his Twitter feed shows a long-standing enthusiasm for Icke (e.g. “LOVE David. Been reading the books since 97.”) and he confirmed in an exchange with Christopher Hallquist in January 2015 that he is not being ironic about it. According to Hallquist, Millar’s work includes plot elements that relate to Icke’s ideas; on the science fiction element of Icke’s beliefs, Millar’s (ambiguous) view is that Icke’s “alien theories no more weird to me than anything else that happens in the food chain”. The Big Issue was either unaware of this background or did not consider it relevant when it chose to publish his interview with Icke. (1)

Of course, Millar is correct that “much of what [Icke] was mocked for is suddenly front-page news”, but much of the material is simply a testament to degenerating media standards rather than a vindication of Icke – and let alone a corroboration of his claims. On Heath, sensational allegations that were reported in 2015 simply do not hold up to scrutiny (as I discussed here), and what we know of the ongoing police investigation seems to be highly problematic (see here and here). The  way that some people who claim to be exposing the truth about a wicked establishment so readily resort to citing the interest of “police forces” as evidence of guilt is quite remarkable.

On Savile, most of the posthumous allegations against him relate to opportunistic attacks: the source for the claim that he was involved in “Satanic ritual abuse” derives from Valerie Sinason, a therapist who is a believer in Satanic conspiracies, and who says she was told of Savile’s involvement some years ago by a patient. It is unfortunate that Sinason did not go public with this information immediately after Savile’s death, rather than waiting until other allegations were first broadcast a year later. And in any case, claims that Icke “exposed” Savile have been exaggerated, as I discussed here.

Millar’s interview also touches on the more fantastical elements of Icke’s claims:

His basic thesis is that just as demodex folliculorum are a parasite on human skin invisible to the naked eye, an unseen consciousness feeds on human emotion outside our spectrum of light. The Christians called them demons, the Arabs called them Djinn and the ancient Aztecs sacrificed human beings to them in industrial numbers in return for power.

This, Icke tells me, is still going on both in our country and every capital city in the world. “The Presidents and Prime Ministers and all the world’s Royals are interbred,” he explains. “You can trace their bloodlines all the way back into the ancient world. It’s the same families doing exactly the same things, worshipping these same entities to maintain power. YOU might not believe what they believe in but by God THEY certainly do.”

This suggests a spiritual belief rather than a science-fiction fantasy. Why is Millar coy about referring directly to “shape-shifting reptiles”, which is how Icke refers to the physical form of these “demons”?

And why was Icke not challenged directly on what he means by “bloodlines”? In 2015, Icke posted to Twitter an image that shows the Queen and Lord Rothschild with large Stars of David stamped on their foreheads, flanking the Prime Minister of Israel, who is depicted as a puppeteer controlling ISIS, the Syrian conflict, and the 2013 Paris attackers. Icke has occasionally lamented that he has been falsely accused of being anti-Semitic, but it is a dereliction of journalistic duty to publish Icke’s statements without challenging him on this kind of material.


(1) As part of his defence of Icke, Millar also cited allegations of child sex-abuse and murder against politicians which at the time were being promoted by the website Exaro News, with some assistance from the Sunday People newspaper. According to Millar, the story was being suppressed by the BBC and other outlets, out of collusion with the powerful. The main allegations here eventually unfolded as the Operation Midland fiasco.

WND Column Falsely Claims “Elite” Child Sex Abuse Allegations are Being Suppressed

One of the more unpleasant columnists at WND – the conservative website that was Donald Trump’s go-to information source during his birther period – is Bradlee Dean, a “sovereign citizen” known primarily for his doomed attempt to sue Rachel Maddow for $50 million and his Sandy Hook trutherism. Dean is also a “heavy metal preacher” (endorsed by Michele Bachmann), and he has a visceral disgust for homosexuality, described as “sodomy”.

In his latest column for the website, Dean presents the recent National Geographic cover story about a transgender child as evidence of a media conspiracy to promote paeodophilia. In support of this thesis (although I struggle to see the connection), Dean alleges that media documentaries that purport to expose “elite” paedophile rings are being suppressed:

America, they are simply trying to normalize the crimes through desensitization.

“60 Minutes” in Australia did an expose of a “Worldwide Pedophile Network,” where the politicians were being exposed for their crimes against children (Romans 1:24). Reporters also interviewed an individual who was advocating the normalization of sexual consent of adults with children. The report on YouTube has been conveniently scrubbed.

In America, this has been exposed over and over again only to be blacked out by a media that are bought and paid for. This is to the demise of America as we know it.

…”Conspiracy of Silence” is a documentary that exposed a network of religious leaders and Washington politicians who flew children to Washington, D.C., for orgies. Many children suffered the indignity of wearing nothing but their underwear and a number displayed on a piece of cardboard hanging from their necks when being auctioned off to foreigners in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Toronto, Canada.

At the last minute, before airing, unknown congressmen threatened the TV Cable industry with restrictive legislation if this documentary was aired.

Almost immediately, unknown persons, who ordered all copies destroyed, purchased the rights to the documentary. A copy of this videotape was furnished anonymously to former Nebraska state senator and attorney John De Camp [sic – should be John DeCamp], who made it available to retired FBI Agent Ted L. Gunderson.

One wonders why the media is not simply paid not make such programmes in the first place, rather than paid to suppress them after they are made – especially given the conspirators’ inability to keep them off YouTube.

The 60 Minutes documentary was titled “Spies, Lords and Predators”; despite Dean’s claim, it can be easily found on YouTube, and viewers in Australia can access the it via Channel 9’s on demand service. The documentary was broadcast in 2015, and was concerned with British allegations of a VIP paedophile ring involving Westminster politicians. The then Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith assured viewers that “there is very compelling evidence that very senior people engaged in terrible acts and were then protected by the establishment”, but much of the material has dated badly with the collapse of Operation Midland and revelations about “Darren”, an alleged survivor who features heavily in the documentary.

The “individual who was advocating the normalization of sexual consent of adults with children” was Tom O’Carroll, the former chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange and a convicted sex offender – he attempted to justify the idea that children as young as ten can give consent, but he did not have anything to say about the allegations being discussed in the programme and his “boy love” notions, while rightly received with scepticism and disgust, did not connect coherently with the sadism, torture and child murder that are central to the sensationalism of the “Westminster” claims.

“Conspiracy of Silence”, meanwhile, was a British documentary produced by Tim Tate for ITV’s First Tuesday strand through a deal with the Discovery Channel more than twenty years ago. Tate is the author of true crime books; some of his work is valuable (I was impressed when I saw him speak in 2015 on the subject of the Yorkshire Ripper), but he also promotes stories of Satanic Ritual Abuse. His 1991 book Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime was pulped following a libel action, although it recently resurfaced in relation due to material relating to allegations of Satanism against politicians (discussed here).

There is an account by Tate on how he came to make the documentary on a website called Spotlight on Abuse:

…I was in the edit suite when the director, Nick Gray (an award-winning film-maker) walked in and told me Discovery was pulling the programme. He was furious.

The only explanation we ever got from Discovery was that – and I quote – “we seem to have gotten into an investigative area inconsistent with the Discovery mission statement”. No mention of the initial enthusiasm for the film (It’s got politics, it’s got pedophilia).

A deal was cut with Yorkshire Television by which Discovery picked up the tab for the film – approximately $250,000 – and handed the rights to it back to Yorkshire on the strict proviso that no mention was ever to be made of Discovery’s previous involvement. Since the film had been in Discovery’s published schedule, this seemed absurd…

Yorkshire Television never sold the rights to the film to any other broadcaster -hardly surprising given its entirely US-centric content.

No mention here of “unknown persons” buying the documentary in order to destroy it, as alleged by Dean – and once again, it can be found easily on YouTube.

The background here is what has come to be known as “the Franklin allegations”. The New York Times reported in 1990:

The rumors about child sex abuse, drug trafficking and other offenses began to circulate in late 1988 shortly after the failure of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, which was headed by Lawrence E. King Jr., a former vice chairman of the National Black Republican Council, an affiliate of the Republican Party, who has entertained generously at Republican national conventions. He has been indicted on charges of embezzling money from the credit union, which closed in November 1988, but a Federal magistrate has ruled that he is not mentally competent to stand trial at this time.

The rumors gained further attention last year after a former State Senator, John De Camp, wrote a memorandum naming five prominent individuals as ”central figures” in the state’s investigation.

The grand jury exonerated the five, saying, ”We found no credible evidence of child sexual abuse, interstate transportaion of minors, drug trafficking or participation in a pornography ring.”

…[T]wo witnesses who were charged with perjury were a young man and a young woman who had said they were victims of abuse when they were teen-agers. They were indicted after two other witnesses, who had supported their accounts, recanted. The two who were indicted are now serving jail terms for unrelated offenses. They were identified as Alisha Owen [sic – should be Alisha Owens], 21 years old, and Paul A. Bonacci, 22.

In Tate’s interpretation, Owens was sent to prison “for naming her alleged abuser in court”. The story continued to develop, incorporating the disappearance of a newspaper delivery boy named Johnny Gosch in 1982 and claims of ritualized sex abuse and murder at the Bohemian Grove (as discussed by DeCamp in conversation with Alex Jones in 2004 here), as well as CIA arms deals. An article by Blake Hunt for Medium published in June has some useful context and background.

(H/T ConWebWatch)