A Note on Carl Beech and the Psychotherapists

From Richard Hoskins in the Mail on Sunday:

…for eight years [“VIP sex abuse” accuser Carl Beech] had managed to con two police forces, MPs such as Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and journalists from the BBC and online news service Exaro into believing his tissue of lies.

But there is another group of professionals whose role in this fiasco should be examined, and that is the psychotherapists who gave legitimacy to the whole farrago.

Without them, none of this might have happened. 

Hoskins became involved in the case when Wiltshire Police asked him to assess allegations against Edward Heath as part of their Operation Conifer. In particular, he was asked to give his opinion about claims made by someone he called “Lucy X” and her sisters, but there was also cross-over with Carl Beech and the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland. Hoskins was so alarmed by police credulity that he went public – I wrote about this here and here.

The therapists Hoskins refers to in his article are Vicki Paterson and Elly Hanson. He writes:

Newcastle Crown Court heard last week that between February 2012 and October 2016, Beech saw Ms Paterson for 121 sessions and they had exchanged numerous emails. During these sessions, Beech developed his story – I have seen the psychotherapy notes and drawings – and over those four and a half years, he embellished it.

Hoskins delved into Paterson’s method further by attending her practice as a client himself:

Ms Paterson told me that she employed a method called ‘deep stasis’. Although not actually hypnotism, it is close. Lying on her couch, it would be easy to allow fantastical imaginations to run riot.

Hoskins also notes that this “deep stasis” approach was also advocated by a Canadian therapist who had treated “a ringleader among the sisters” (i.e. “Lucy X”, although he doesn’t use the pseudonym in this article) – I discussed this further here.

In Beech’s case, we now know that he undertook internet research that he presented as memories, and that he concocted fake collaborating witnesses via email. Thus his allegations cannot be explained as”false memories“, unlike the case of Carol Felstead. It may be, though, that Beech’s therapy helped him to convince himself of some of his allegations, and gave him the confidence to go as far as he did. Certainly, the therapeutic encounter provided a sympathetic setting in which he could make his claims to professionals, with the notion of “recovered memory” providing a superficially plausible explanation for late disclosure and gradual embellishments.

As Hoskins writes:

As Ms Paterson tells her clients, she works by listening ‘in a non-directive, non-judgmental way understanding your world from your point of view’. The trouble is that unless the counsellor remains discerning, a cunning and manipulative liar such as Beech can make hay.

Paterson eventually sought advice from Dr Elly Hanson, and from this time the “non-judgmental” approach expanded from being a counselling methodology into forming the basis for public campaigning:

They became friends and set up a charity exhibition called The Wall Of Silence, which displayed child abuse survivors’ pictures, stories, poems and mementoes. It was backed by Tom Watson and Beech shared a platform with Dr Hanson, speaking straight after her.

Hoskins describes Hanson as “a distinguished and influential figure who advises police, the National Crime Agency and the NSPCC”. As such, her public endorsement of Beech would have been one more reason for the police to treat Beech uncritically – indeed, she was helping to make him into something of a figurehead for the cause of “historic abuse”, despite his official anonymity. The Wall of Silence exhibition blurb made special reference to “powerful people” supposedly being involved in child sex abuse, thus promoting the “VIP” conspiracy theory

Hanson was also an adviser on Operation Conifer, as I discussed here. She was paid to assess two accusers, after which she she joined a supposedly independent panel that was looking into the investigation. As Hoskins also notes,

It was Dr Hanson who declared she wouldn’t have ‘let her children near Ted Heath’ – while adding that she wasn’t presuming his guilt.

But how could she not be presuming his guilt when she was giving presentations alongside a man who accusing him?

Footnote on names

Richard Hoskins went public with his concerns during a period during which he had temporarily transitioned to “Rachel Hoskins”.

Carl Beech was formerly referred to in the media under the name “Nick”, although among activists he was “Carl Survivor” or just “Carl”.

Elly Hanson’s early professional work was published under her maiden name of “Elly Farmer”.

“VIP Sex Abuse” Conspiracy Theorists Assimilate Carl Beech Conviction

From the Irish “political and cultural magazine” Village:

Over the last three years Village has been warning that Nick [= Carl Beech] was probably a cog in a devious plot by the remnants of a VIP abuse network to distract the public from their repulsive  crimes by getting puppets like him to make  absurd claims that were so utterly irrational no one would believe them and thereby taint genuine VIP sex abuse survivors with the same brush… Already there is a renewed attempt to salvage the reputation of the former Tory PM, Ted Heath. This despite the careful, considered and credible report by the Wiltshire Police concerning the abuse of boys perpetrated by Heath.

This is one typical example of how the conspiracy milieu is attempting to assimilate the news of Carl Beech’s convictions for perverting the course of justice, fraud, possessing child abuse images and covertly filming a teenage boy urinating. In this version, Beech was either wittingly or unwittingly a “false flag”, although some voices on social media prefer to suggest that he was in fact telling the truth and has now been brought down by sinister forces. The Village contrasts Beech with Richard Kerr, who is supported by the site despite the fact that he was in prison in Northern Ireland at a time when he says he had been trafficked to London (I previously wrote about Kerr and the Village here).

A similar view has been endorsed by Richie Allen, a podcast host associated with David Icke who has a constant stream of conspiracy theorists and accusers on his show; thus on Twitter, Allen has praised and RTed Vicky Haigh’s (previously blogged here) assessment that

I can’t believe intelligent English people can believe this case wasn’t rigged to cover the deep dark paedophile ring that rules GB!!

One of Haigh’s online interlocutors is of the view that an “agent of the political Zionist elites” was involved. Allen also used Twitter to goad Daniel Janner, son of Greville Janner, over Janner’s view that the case was a vindication of his late father (1).

Meanwhile, media trainer Anna Brees says that she has accepted an invitation to talk about the case on (the Kremlin-backed) TV station RT, writing:

I’ll be happy to talk about the Westminster paedophile ring and the way the BBC have reported the #nicktrial #CarlBeech wondering why they haven’t spoken to victims and witnesses of Ted Heath like @MikeTarraga and @reeves3915.

The answer to this question of course is that the Edward Heath allegations have been flogged to death – the “careful, considered and credible report” as praised by the Village was unable to substantiate anything, and the allegations that received most attention have collapsed under scrutiny. The two men Brees cites similarly have given problematic accounts (more on Tarraga here and Reeves here). (2)

Meanwhile, there is also interest in a statement that Mark Watts uploaded at the end of Beech’s trial, which refers to details that he claims the media are “studiously trying to ignore”. He discusses these further on his FOIA Centre website, in particular complaining that the jury was not told about objects discovered during the raid on Proctor’s property. These details were excluded from the trial after the judge ruled that (as quoted on Watts’s website – edits in his version)

The issues in the case are those identified… [by the prosecution] above. The evidence of an interest in consensual sexual activity with young men, including the acting out of a fantasy of schoolboy punishment by a headmaster by beating is an interest and behaviour that is very far removed from the issues in this trial and has no substantial probative value in relation to any of them.

It is distasteful and intrusive to have to refer private items that have been seized by the police but then returned to their owner – and it would be foolish to take Watts’s descriptions at face value, given his remarkable ability to distort and insinuate. I therefore decline to go into much detail. In summary, though, Watts is unhappy that Beech’s trial did not become some sort of proxy trial of Proctor instead. This is grasping at straws – clearly, the police who investigated the matter did not regard these objects as evidence of a crime, or else they would have arrested him, and there is no reason to suppose that they undermine the case against Beech.

Proctor’s trial and conviction in 1987 on indecency charges were heavily publicised at the time, and his distinctive name has meant that those events have remained in the public consciousness as a bit of bawdy trivia ever since. That is sufficient explanation for why Beech chose to accuse him, although his knowledge was so limited that he ludicrously placed Proctor – a Powellite who was part of a radical political fringe – within an “Establishment” that supposedly also included Edward Heath. (3)

Footnotes

(1) There are of course other Janner accusers, which I discussed here (scroll down to footnote).

(2) It should be noted that Brees’s public profile has grown in the recent months: a couple of weeks ago, her view that the BBC faked footage of a chemical attack in Syria featured in the left-wing Canary website, and a “Brees Media” video on sexual harassment was recently RTed by the anti-grooming activist Sammy Woodhouse. Also, on 3 July a Tweet by Brees promoting her Heath conspiracy (to which she added a “QAnon2019” hashtag) prompted UKIP leader Gerard Batten to ask: “This aside, why is it that no journalist or MSM organ has ever (to my knowledge) investigated the source of Heath’s enormous wealth?” Presumably Batten wants to promote the idea that Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community was due to Heath being bribed.

(3) Also among those accused by Beech was Lord Bramall, the retired head of the British army – it seems likely that Beech targeted him as an extension of his grudge against his violent one-time step-father Ray Beech, who was a military man. One of the “VIP abuse” conspiracy mongers close to Watts (a man I previously discussed here) has recently made a great deal of a 2006 quote from Bramall, in which he stated that he was “very old friends” with Greville Janner and that they had “corresponded” since having an argument about Israel’s actions in Lebanon – Bramall had been asked to comment because of claims that he had assaulted Janner as part of their row.

However, Bramall more recently told the media that he only had “dealings” with Janner (I quote from memory), suggesting that they were not close, and it has now been reported that he told police he did not know him (as indirectly summarised by the prosecutor as summarised in turn by Watts). The most economical explanation for this apparent anomaly is that Bramall was acquainted with Janner as a colleague at the House of Lords, and that the “old friends” comment was an attempt to dampen the “assault” story and emphasise that civility between them had been restored.

Carl Beech: Drawing Some Threads Together

This has been a long time coming; from Sky News:

A former NHS manager has been convicted of lying to police and fooling Scotland Yard into launching a £2.5m investigation into a VIP paedophile ring that didn’t exist.

Carl Beech, 51, claimed he and others were tortured, raped and abused by senior politicians, military chiefs and the heads of MI5 and MI6 – and had witnessed the sadistic murder of three young boys.

He has been found guilty of fraud and 12 counts of perverting the course of justice,

There are now dozens of articles profiling Beech and summarising aspects of the trial, parts of which were live-tweeted tirelessly by a young Sky reporter named Jordan Milne, whose threads are available here.

The story of Carl Beech, aka Operation Midland’s “Nick” and “Carl Survivor”, is one that I have been following since 2014, when I first read about his claims in a prescient article (partially cross-posed to Harry’s Place) by the barrister Matthew Scott titled “Exaro News Is Playing A Dangerous Game With Its Paedophile Murder Story”. This was a couple of weeks after “Nick” had been showcased by the Sunday People in an article headlined “MPs and VIPs ‘child abuse ring’ at luxury flats near Parliament investigated by detectives” (still available on the Mirror website, which encompasses the Sunday People‘s web presence), by Keir Mudie, Nick Dorman and Mark Conrad. The article featured a photo of Nick, viewed from behind, sitting on a bench and talking Mark Watts, captioned as “reporter Mark” – it’s not clear if this is a misidentification of Conrad, or if for some reason Watts’ full name was deliberately left off. The story was branded with a Sunday People “investigation” logo and also that of Exaro, where Conrad and Watts were based. Two weeks later, the photo of the back of Beech’s head made its way onto the front page, as part of a splash titled “I saw MP throttle young boy to death”.

Matthew’s post was published in response to the story being picked up by the BBC’s World At One, which had run an interview with “Nick”. Matthew highlighted several reasons for caution which resonated with me: he referred to “rumours, which in truth have been flying around on the internet for years”; to the danger of contamination; to the possibility that the reports will “feed a monstrous hysteria”, with innocent people being unjustly accused; and to parallels with the case of Carol Felstead, who had made lurid false allegations against politicians following therapy. For my part, I was put in mind both of scurrilous stories published in Scallywag magazine in the 1990s and of the 1980s Satanic Ritual Abuse panic.

After expressing some cautious scepticism, in due course it was brought to my attention that “Nick” was actually a man named Carl Beech, who worked for the Care Quality Commission. Various NHS-related documents showed a portly but apparently cheerful figure, although there was also a critical website by some kind of alternative healer calling herself “Dr Cathar”, who had a grudge against him after he had apparently dispensed with her services as a hospital interpreter.

It also transpired that Beech had contributed a poem (a wretched piece, essentially a misery memoir blurb channelled through William McGonagall) to the October 2012 issue of the NAPAC Newsletter (NAPAC = the National Association for People Abused in Childhood), which had been published under his full name. The poem suggested a child-abuse ring (“They came in the night and they came in the day / Myself and my friend were always their prey”), but for some reason now that he was accusing public figures he was suddenly very keen to assert his legal right to anonymity.

This made it very difficult to piece the story together publicly. In particular, while Exaro were publishing about “Nick”, Beech was active on Twitter as Carl Survivor (@carl_survivor) and as Carl Chassereau (@carl_cassereau), producing lurid accounts of abuse on a related blog and on a website called This Tangled Web (to add to the confusion, his posts to this site were uploaded by a third party, and so were tagged “By Kate Swift”). Could these legally be cross-referenced, given that Carl was his real name? I did so in one post, but later out of an abundance of caution edited the connection out. However, some of the Tangled Web material made it into the media – in particular his story about being tortured with Remembrance Day poppies, which I discussed here. As “Carl Survivor”, Beech became the poster-boy for a “Wall of Silence” anti-abuse exhibition that was displayed in Bristol, at the National Assembly of Wales, and at City Hall in London – indeed, it was very nearly displayed in Parliament.

Beech had also previously used his middle name Stephen to appear in a documentary (with his face obscured) in which he claimed to have encountered Jimmy Savile at a child-abuse party. Why was this not mentioned in Exaro’s reporting? The fact that Beech was able to claim compensation for his supposed abuse by Savile with just a vague account raises questions about how many other people may have got away with fraudulent claims.

The wheels started to fall off in the summer of 2015, when Harvey Proctor gave a public statement about Beech’s allegations against him. He referred to several names that had been put to him, and one of these was Raymond Beech, who had been Beech’s step-father for a time (Carl’s birth name was Carl Gass). Proctor also revealed lurid details that Exaro had suppressed – I suspect because they were too incredible – such as that he had supposedly attempted to castrate Carl but had been prevented by fellow orgiast Edward Heath. A few months later, BBC Panorama ran an episode which raised doubts about Beech’s story and those of some other “VIP accusers”. The programme-makers were vilified for this, but vindication followed. The police “Operation Midland” closed down in ignominy; the Henriques Report made serious criticisms of how Scotland Yard had handled the matter; and then Beech himself came under investigation by Northumbria Police, brought in as an outside force.

We now know from the trial that there is overwhelming evidence that Beech fabricated his accounts of “VIP abuse” – he researched locations and details which he then presented to the police as memories, in one case describing the swimming pool at Dolphin Square based on a pop video which supposedly showed the location but which in fact had been filmed elsewhere. He created false collaborating witnesses via email. School friends and records disputed his accounts. Photos of him swimming and a selfie in his underwear fatally undermined his allegations of a phobia about being underwater or of looking at himself. Bodily injuries were not present. His computer yielded other versions of his story, and also reliance on books by an American named Timmy Fielding. The CPS has a round-up of the evidence here.

Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that Beech himself has been involved in crimes of a paedophilic nature – he downloaded images of child abuse, which he kept hidden on his computer, and he secretly filmed a teenage boy urinating. These are crimes he has admitted, and the secret filming in particular means we can discount any kind of “Chris Langham” defence that he accessed such images for some reason other than sexual gratification. Again, the law made it difficult to put the full story together – his arrest in Sweden after fleeing the UK last year was reported in Swedish media, but could not at first be referred to in the UK, and initial reports of his subsequent conviction for these offences could not be linked with his activities as “Nick” and “Carl Survivor”.

It used to be the case that previous convictions could not be mentioned during trials, but this is no longer always the case and following legal argument it was agreed that Beech’s sex offences could be disclosed as part of the fraud and perversion of justice case. This decision, although open to criticism, was reasonable in that the offences shed light on Beech’s motivations and obsessions when he made his false allegations. However, Mark Watts, who attended Beech’s trial every day (funded by whom?), now claims that the ruling “made it impossible for Carl Beech to have a fair trial” and that the convictions are “wholly unsafe”. Watts also suggests that the trial had “no insight into the possible effects of childhood trauma”. It’s not clear what is meant by this last point, but there are no grounds to doubt that Beech has mental capacity. Alternatively, perhaps he is arguing that true abuse may lead to false allegations, or even that false allegations are evidence of true abuse.

This is weak stuff. Clearly, Beech’s behaviour – his lies and manipulation, and also grandiose spending that resulted in large debts – was pathological, and perhaps can be explained by his experience of a violent step-father. We can’t disprove the possibility of sexual abuse as well, but that’s simply a truism and there is no good reason to depart from the principle of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. The jury’s verdict is supported by overwhelming evidence that anyone can assess for themselves. The nearest Watts comes to admitting this is when he concedes that “forensic examination of Carl Beech’s computers shows that police would have had no basis for referring to the Crown Prosecution Service his statements against anyone of child sexual abuse or homicide” – a rather opaque formulation that implies that some technical matter has created a bit of doubt, rather than that Beech’s whole story has been exposed as lies.

Despite everything, the conspiracy milieu – which is Watts’s primary readership – is unlikely to admit to a bad investment any time soon. Given the near omnipotence ascribed to dark forces (who for some reason were unable to suppress the story completely), Beech’s ruin and imprisonment can easily be assimilated into their narratives.

High-Profile CSE Charity Criticised by Rotherham Council Following Investigation

Sammy Woodhouse alleges she was “gagged” from speaking out, criticises Sarah Champion MP

From the Yorkshire Post:

Rotherham grooming scandal whistleblower Jayne Senior “let down” now-adult survivors of child sexual exploitation (CSE) who sought her help through a publicly-funded charity she runs, a three-year £60,000 independent investigation has concluded.

Mrs Senior, a former youth worker who was awarded an MBE in June 2016 for her work in exposing the nature and extent of CSE in the South Yorkshire town and was elected as a Labour councillor earlier that year, has been strongly criticised in a 124-page report investigating allegations against her by 12 complainants.

A second article in the paper specifies that six of the complainants had been service users, and that out of the total number of 12, three complaints had been upheld, four had been partially upheld, and two had not been upheld – oddly, this leaves a further three complaints unaccounted for.

The upheld allegations are that Senior had acted “beyond the professional boundaries of her official capacity” in directing individuals to her service and to a particular legal firm (Switalskis Solicitors), and that complainants’ stories had been “inappropriately shared” and “misrepresented”, including in Senior’s 2016 memoir Broken and Betrayed. Apparently, Senior has admitted that she “amalgamated” accounts, explaining that she did so to protect anonymity, but this was seen as “distorted representations of their abuse” by some of those involved. There is no suggestion that she gained financially from her actions.

Given Senior’s role in exposing the Rotherham scandal, this was a story of some delicacy, although it has been in the works for some time – the journalist concerned, Chris Burn, has described it on Twitter as “probably the hardest, most complicated and in many ways the saddest story I’ve ever covered”. In response to suggestions that this was Rotherham Council maliciously going after a whistleblower who had exposed the council’s failings, Burn replied that “Rotherham Council failed to listen to victims in the past – in this case they took concerns raised with them very seriously and ordered an investigation.”

Inevitably, some of the criticism has tipped over into wider allegations of wrongdoing, and the investigation has certainly been controversial – the Post notes that “in April 2018, Rotherham Council apologised to Mrs Senior for delays in informing her and the charity about the allegations made”, and this was reported at the time in the Guardian. The nature of these “delays” is concerning; as the Guardian reported:

During the visit the officials refused to tell either Senior or the charity’s trustees why they were being investigated, saying they had not finished interviewing the complainants.

But the ombudsman found that they had in fact completed the complainants’ interviews four days before the raid, and yet waited another eight months, until 16 August 2017, to tell Senior what claims had been made against her.

The same article also contained strong criticism of the investigation by Sarah Champion MP (previously blogged here) – Champion’s support is unsurprising, given that in 2014 she secured funding to “appoint” Senior as “a specialist in child sexual exploitation, specifically to support the 1400 victims from Rotherham and ensure they get the justice they deserve”.

One high-profile figure who supports the investigation and its outcome is the Rotherham anti-CSE activist Sammy Woodhouse. Woodhouse says that she has been “gagged” from talking about the subject for three years, and she alleges that harassment has occurred. She also argues that the Labour Party ought to take action against Senior, complaining that “Yet again Labour are exploiting people in Rotherham”, and she is particularly critical of Sarah Champion: “Myself and others have been disappointed with her from the moment we told her. She wasn’t interested. This is the reason I no longer support her.” [UPDATE: Woodhouse has since confirmed that she was the Yorkshire Post’s source for getting the report]

Among those supporting Senior is Esther Baker, who at one time lived locally. A few days before the Yorkshire Post article was published Senior announced on Twitter that she was “Just having coffee with @Esther9982 , reviewing information , throwing a few ideas around”; and after the report was published, Baker announced that “The person who made these complaints is a person who I saw kick the daylights out of a young girl in Rotherham bus station. The same person sent confidential info of mine to an abusive person putting me in danger.”

Baker made headlines a few years ago with allegations that she had been subjected to repeated ritualised abuse in woodland while growing up – she claims that police officers stood guard while the abuse took place, and that one perpetrator was addressed as “Lord”, indicating that he was a judge. Her claims have never been substantiated despite extensive police investigations, and she is now embroiled in civil legal action brought against her by the former MP John Hemming. Baker has frequently referred to VIP abuse conspiracies (in particular in support of claims made by Carl Beech), and like Senior she also enjoys the confidence of Sarah Champion.

ln 2018, Senior posed with Jon Wedger alongside a giant presentation cheque made out for £2000, which Wedger had raised through sponsored activities. Wedger is a high-profile promoter of “VIP abuse” conspiracy allegations, including claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse. More recently, he has branched out into anti-BBC activism, focusing on news coverage of Syria and Tommy Robinson.

UPDATE (August 2019): Apparently related to the above, Baker has now attacked Sammy Woodhouse on Twitter over a report in the Sunday Mirror that Woodhouse and her sister have opened café, described as “offering youngsters somewhere to go instead of hanging around on street corners” and as “a place which some families of sexual abuse victims have visited”. Baker’s interpretation of this was that the café was in fact “advertising that vulnerable teens are available on tap in a cafe”, and that Woodhouse was “using abuse & those who may be vulnerable” to promote a business.

Baker received some criticism for this, including from an account apparently run by Woodhouse’s sister, who replied with “Esther you don’t know us you are going on what Jayne Senior has told you which once again she shouldn’t be discussing.” Baker’s response, as with her abuse allegations, was to suggest that there is further context which she could provide but for some reason is choosing not to: “Well you should have seen the last 4 years of it that I’ve put up with from that bloody lot then” (here); “If people want me to get personal and drag up memories of what happened in those days then if this shite continues I’ll do just that” (here); and, via a meme image: “Very few know the story behind the story, so if you’re not one of them be quiet”.

The Sun Turns on Self-Described “Leading Criminal Profiler” Over False Claims

The Sun, December 2018:

WEIRDOS are pretending to be some of Britain’s most hated and vilified villains on Facebook including serial killers and paedophiles.

…Leading criminal profiler and former detective [Paul] Harrison said news that people are pretending to be the monsters was “disturbing” and “sinister” and he said there was a danger they could think they are that individual.

The Sun, May 2019:

THE Jeremy Kyle Show has been slammed for turning killer dad Mick Philpott into a ‘celebrity’ before he started a deadly blaze which took the lives of six of his kids.

…Leading criminologist and criminal profiler Paul Harrison said ITV had ’empowered’ the violent criminal and inflated his ego in a way which could have led to him committing more offences.

The Sun, July 2019 – erm…

A PHONEY serial killer expert exposed by The Sun yesterday apologised for deceiving his fans.

Paul Harrison, who has earned thousands from books and sell-out talks claiming to be an FBI profiler, said he was “weak and vulnerable”.

…a string of former FBI agents — and even the Yorkshire Ripper — branded him a liar and said he had made it all up.

It has also emerged he faked his own death to get out of a copyright court case which would have left him a huge legal bill if he had lost.

Harrison is the author of a number of true crime works. His most recent opus, Mind Games: Inside the Serial Killer Phenomenon, has now been withdrawn from sale by his publisher, Urbane Publications, just a few months after a book launch at the Soho Collective that featured an actor performing as Hercule Poirot and the floor decorated with a police-style “dead body” outline. As reports note, the book came with a blurb by Martina Cole.

Harrison was the subject of a gushing profile in the Mirror in 2018, which included grandiose claims about having been introduced to American serial killers:

Sutcliffe was one of ­nearly 80 of the world’s worst killers to face a grilling from Paul, who earned his Mindhunter tag for ­being one of the first British police officers to work at the FBI unit immortalised in the hit US telly drama.

His “client list” reads like a Who’s Who of history’s biggest monsters including Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, Donald “Black Panther” Neilson, Aileen Wuornos and real-life Hannibal Lecter Robert Maudsley.

According to that article,

Now considered one of Britain’s leading experts on serial killers and their psyche, he often acts as an adviser to other professionals as well as TV and film producers and directors.

I’ve previously expressed scepticism about the supposed expertise and claims of profilers here and here.

Alongside his crime output, Harrison has written books about footballers, and, more exotically, his oeuvre includes The Encyclopaedia of the Loch Ness Monster, which “includes everything you will ever want to know about the loch and its mysterious inhabitant.”

UPDATE: There is also a journalist named Paul Harrison, who has written a couple of true-crime books in collaboration with Professor David Wilson, a noted criminologist. This is a different person from the Paul Harrison discussed above.

Newspapers Amend Careless Phrases in “Rothschild” Reporting

Metro reports on the tragic accidental death of Iris Goldsmith:

Iris Annabel was an heir to both the Goldsmith and Rothschild dynasties.

They are two of the most powerful families in the world who have had great sway over the UK’s political and financial worlds.

The wording here comes across as a bit off. “Two of the most powerful families in the world” is a crude formulation, the meaning of which is vague. How does one measure such power, either against other dynasties or compared to other examples and kinds of “power” in the world? The expression “great sway” gives an impression of informal and behind-the-scenes influence, and one is alas immediately put in mind of “Rothschild” and more general “Jewish banker” conspiracy mongering.

The paper’s editors appear to have realised this, and the passage has now been amended:

Iris Annabel was an heir to both the Goldsmith and Rothschild dynasties – two powerful families who have had great influence in the world of politics and finance.

Similarly, the Sun thought better of the following:

The two families are worth billions of pounds and they have maintained a powerful influence over Britain’s financial and political systems for decades.

The text after “pounds” has now been deleted.

The original versions both appear to derive from a phrase that appears in several Daily Mail / Mail Online articles, which remain unamended. According to the reports there:

Iris was heir to two of Britain’s, and the world’s, most powerful dynasties, the Goldsmith and Rothschild families. Together the two society bloodlines are worth billions of pounds and have had a powerful influence over the UK’s financial and political systems for decades.

This appeared first in an item by “Daily Mail Reporter”, and was then re-used in follow-ups by James Fielding (previously blogged here) for Mail Online and then in a co-authored piece by Richard Eden and James Wood for both brands. Like “sway over”, the expression “influence over” (rather than “influence in”) evokes some sort of executive control that goes beyond any sensible historical or political-science interpretation.

Of course it’s true that the two families are indeed incredibly wealthy, and that members of both dynasties have been influential in British public life, both in politics and the financial sector. Obviously, this is part of the story here, but as with other kinds of reporting the history of prejudice means that journalists ought to be mindful of how their words could be used to the advantage of bad actors. Most people have a very limited understanding of the financial sector and the position of the Rothschild Group within it, nor do they know anything much about individual members of such dynasties and their motivations. Someone curious to know what is meant by “two of the most powerful families in the world” is much more likely to find anti-Semitic “Rothschild” conspiracy ideas than serious and measured sources.

H/T: The original extracts were screen-captured by the Jewish Chronicle‘s Daniel Sugarman – here, here and here.

Charisma Still Flogging “Trump Prophecies”

From Stephen Strang at Charisma News:

If you keep up with current events at all, you know the left loves to hate President Donald Trump. But no matter how much Democrats rage against him, it doesn’t change the fact that several prominent prophets—including Kim Clement and Chuck Pierce—predicted his presidency years before the 2016 election.

Strang has written two books explaining how Trump is the manifestation of God’s purposes, and, by extension, how leading figures in the neo-Pentecostal Christian Right receive special messages from God about current affairs and the near future. This may seem somewhat marginal, but in 2005 Time magazine identified Strang as one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America”, and Trump has been photographed waving around a copy of his book God and Donald Trump. Strang is primarily a publisher, although he also appears on various talk shows.

The specific claims in Strang’s new article are nothing new. I looked at the example from Kim Clement here – Clement’s supposed “prophecy” was obscurantist, but insofar as any sense can be made of it he seems to have predicted that Rudy Giuliani would become president and that Trump and Bill Gates would become evangelists: “Trump shall become a trumpet” while Gates will “open up the gate of a financial realm for the church”. The main point was that powerful businessmen will join the neo-Pentecostal movement, with God revealing who precisely via puns on names.

As for Chuck Pierce, he

…prophesied a similar word in 2008. He said God would play a “trump card,” and it was only later on that he realized the word was in reference to Donald Trump. 

In Strang’s book, he quotes this as “America must learn to play the Trump card”, pointedly capitalising the “T”. It should be noted that this was something God supposedly said to Pierce, but not something Pierce is on record as having said at the time. There’s also a variation of the story, promoted by the neo-Pentecostal evangelist Dutch Sheets, in which Pierce received the message in 2007 and was specifically told that it pertained to 2016, the year of Trump’s election:

In 2007, Chuck Pierce was caught up to heaven and saw a vision of all 50 states and their condition before the Lord. The last thing God said to him in this vision was, “In 2016, I will play my trump card.” 

The claim is curiously similar to an account by Cindy Jacobs, which she also shared with Strang:

“Someone reminded me that at the New Year’s celebration that Chuck Pierce did the year before the election, I had prophesied, ‘And the Lord says I have a trump card in my hand and I’m going to play it and I’m going to trump the system.’ I didn’t even recall it, sad to say. But in retrospect—sometimes it’s like that with the prophetic—in retrospect you see what God was trying to say.”

Strang’s article continues with a reference to Mark Taylor, the supposed “firefighter prophet” who says that he received a direct message from God that Trump would be the next president. Taylor was promoted by Strang and also appeared on The Jim Bakker Show, and his claims were made first into a book, The Trump Prophecies, and then a film, The Trump Prophecy. The book was published by Defender Publishing, owned by an evangelical conspiracy theorist named Tom Horn, and the film was made with the assistance of faculty and students at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Alas, however, it has since become obvious that Taylor is unhinged, and he has made numerous bizarre statements promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory and revelling in sanguinary visions of Trump unleashing imprisonment and executions against enemies.

Penguin Defends Publishing Spanish “Rothschild” Conspiracy Monger

(various links in this post via Jeremy Duns on Twitter)

From the Guardian:

Penguin has undertaken a “thorough” review of one of its books, Spanish colonel Pedro Baños’s How They Rule the World, after allegations of antisemitism were made against its author. The publisher concluded that while Baños’s views are “robust”, they are not antisemitic.

How They Rule the World, which promises to reveal “the 22 secret strategies of global power”, was published by Penguin Random House imprint Ebury Press in April.

…Comparing the Spanish language edition of How They Rule the World with the English text, [Jeremy] Duns found a section about the Rothschild family, a banking dynasty subject to many antisemitic conspiracy theories, which does not appear in the English translation. The Spanish edition contains three references to the Rothschilds, none of which appear in the English, including a section that compares their wealth with other rich families, and concludes: “It is clear that [the Rothschilds’] economic power is gigantic. As is their ability to influence in all senses, an aspect that, when considering their traditional distance from the media spotlight, has led to multiple speculations about their capacity to intervene in key global decisions.”

Penguin’s position thus appears to be that it has reviewed the book from which the antisemitism has been excised and found that the antisemitism is not present. Readers are thus deceived about the nature of Baños’s work and thinking, and more likely to be drawn into his populist conspiracy milieu. Of course, some argue that “Rothschild” conspiracy mongering is not anti-Jewish per se, but this is incorrect: as I’ve argued before, such beliefs emerged out of an explicitly anti-Semitic context (as discussed by Brian Cathcart here), and as a paranoid pseudo-explanation for human affairs they lead back into it.

It is telling that the publisher does not give any indication that it was unaware of the Rothschild content in the original Spanish version, and as such we should probably assume that Penguin made the cuts, rather than someone at the Spanish end or the book’s translator into English, Jethro Soutar. Amazon and Google Books indicate that one reference to the Rothschild family is present in the German edition, So beherrscht man die Welt: Die geheimen Geostrategien der Weltpolitik, translated by Luis Ruby and published by Heyne Verlag (another imprint of Penguin Random House).

Dun’s criticism has also been picked up in Spanish media, with a magazine supplement to El Mundo called Papel uncritically reporting a brief against him ascribed to “sources in Spanish military intelligence” close to Baños:

Mientras, fuentes de la inteligencia militar española cercanas al coronel apuntan a Papeque Duns es un “autor fracasado” de novelas de espías que lo único que busca con sus acusaciones es “publicidad a costa de la reputación del español.”

De hecho, ven una relación con la campaña de desprestigio que ya sufrió Baños cuando Pedro Sánchez estuvo a punto de nombrarle jefe de Seguridad Nacional. Entonces algunos medios acusaron al leonés de ser un militar “prorruso”. Finalmente, tras la polémica, su nominación para el cargo fue desestimada.

The article also tells us that

Según el inglés, en la edición original en castellano del libro hay tres citas sobre la influencia y el poder de los Rothschild, dinastía bancaria judía asociada a muchas teorías conspirativas, que han desaparecido de la versión inglesa.

In other words, the presence of the Rothschild material in a published bestseller is “according to the Englishman”, as if that wasn’t something that the journalists at Papel could check for themselves.

Criticism has also been made of the cover, which symbolises the book’s thesis through an illustration of an octopus’s probing tentacles. The German edition has since changed the cover image to a globe of the world (perhaps due to criticism from the Jüdisches Forum), whereas the English edition originally planned to depict an octopus sitting astride a globe – an image strikingly similar to Nazi propaganda. Clearly, then, Ebury Press was aware of the problem, so why not just avoid tentacles altogether? Instead, they argue that tentacles have been “a symbol of domination by an imperialist power” since the nineteenth century, which, while correct, is obtuse.

Octopus tentacles also appear on the cover of the Spanish edition of the text, Así se domina el mundo: Desvelando las claves del poder mundial, which was published by Ariel in 2017. (1) This is then developed into octopus tentacles enveloping the world in an apparent sequel published in 2018, titled El dominio mundial: Elementos del poder y claves geopolíticas. The various covers of How They Rule the World are shown below. It’s not clear why the English subtitle, which refers to “secret strategies of global power”, varies between there being 22 and 27 such strategies. I’ve noted more about the Spanish edition in the footnote under the image.

The Guardian also notes Baños’s broader conspiracy mongering:

A colonel in the Spanish army, he was previously the chief of counter-intelligence and security for the European Army Corps. In interviews with Spanish media, Baños has called the Rothschilds dominant and likened them to the Illuminati. On Spanish TV, he also once accused Israel of being behind the assassination of John F Kennedy.

UPDATE: A further detail is noted in a write-up published in The Bookseller:

Duns told The Bookseller: “Ebury have also added a passage about Cambridge Analytica and Robert Mercer to make Banos’ nutty views seem more balanced, and cut references to Orban and several other references to Soros, that paint him in a bad light….”

UPDATE 2: Ebury’s decision to double-down on its support for Baños is in contrast to a recent decision the same imprint made to drop a fiction author over two 2017 Tweets that contained mocking references to “trannies” and “gayboys”. Ebury said that these statements “conflict with our values as a publisher” and that as such the author, one Gareth Roberts, would be dropped from a volume of Doctor Who tie-in stories.

Footnote

(1) It is difficult to access an official upload of the Spanish edition – Amazon makes only the first few pages of the electronic edition available (meaning there is no search function), while Google Books appears to have only a partial upload of the same version. However, a self-described educational website based in Spain has put online what appears to be a pdf upload of the entire electronic edition; it’s difficult to tell if it was done with the agreement of the publisher (hence no link), but it looks legitimate and it seems unlikely that the text has been tampered with.

The pdf has a subsection headed “LOS JUDÍOS EN LA PRIMERA GUERRA MUNDIAL”:

El 2 de noviembre de 1917, el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores británico, Arthur James Balfour, firmó una carta dirigida al barón Lionel Walter Rothschild, en representación de la comunidad judía asentada en Gran Bretaña, con la finalidad de que se la transmitiera a la Federación Sionista de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda. Por medio de este documento, conocido como la Declaración Balfour, el gobierno británico se comprometía —en plena Primera Guerra Mundial— con el movimiento sionista a fomentar la creación de un «hogar nacional» para el pueblo judío en Palestina.

Pero esta aparente muestra de generosidad británica hacia el sionismo tenía también un propósito oculto, pues los ingleses confiaban en que, gracias a ese documento, los numerosos judíos residentes en Estados Unidos y Rusia presionarían a sus respectivos gobiernos para que potenciaran su implicación en una Europa sumida en la guerra.

The implication here is that Arthur Balfour believed that Jews in the USA and Russia were in a position to pressure their governments into greater involvement in the First World War, and that this was a hidden (“oculto”) reason for Balfour’s public show of support for Zionism. The proposition makes little sense, and of course no source is provided. It seems not to be in either the English or German editions.

A Note on the Hobson-Corbyn Imperialism Controversy

This one was the subject of wide discussion yesterday – from The Times:

Jeremy Corbyn endorsed book about Jews controlling banks and the press

Jeremy Corbyn wrote the foreword to a book which argued that banks and the press were controlled by Jews.

In 2011 he agreed to endorse a new edition of JA Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study, four years before he was catapulted from backbench obscurity to the Labour leadership.

In his foreword Mr Corbyn said the work was a “great tome”, praising Hobson’s “brilliant, and very controversial at the time” analysis of the “pressures” behind western, and in particular British, imperialism at the turn of the 20th century.

The headline reduces the book in a way that is misleading: anyone unfamiliar with the work might assume that this was some anti-Semitic tract akin to Henry Ford’s The International Jew rather than a wide-ranging critique of imperialism that has been of interest and value to wide readerships for decades, despite the flaw in which the author conflated criticisms of capitalist financing with references to Jews.

The Times headline refers specifically to a thesis outlined on pages 65-67 of the first edition, in which Hobson suggests that capitalism is controlled, “so far as Europe is concerned, chiefly by men of a single and peculiar race,” who “are in a unique position to manipulate the policy of nations”. He then asks:

“Does any one seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by and European State, or a great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connexions set their face against it?”

This is not a pervasive theme of the book, and had these pages not been included the work would still stand as a coherent argument. However, the existence of this passage – and of anti-Semitic comments made by Hobson elsewhere – must reflect negatively on how we are to understand the author’s worldview as explicated in the rest of his work.

An article by Miles Taylor (Professor of Modern History at York University) in yesterday’s Guardian fully acknowledges Hobson’s anti-Semitism, but in relation to the Rothschild reference he writes:

Without naming him, Hobson’s actual target was Nathan Rothschild, head of the banking family and a prominent public figure in Edwardian Britain. A former MP, ally of Benjamin Disraeli, and the first practising Jew to join the House of Lords, Hobson’s readers would have known immediately at whom Hobson’s invective was directed. Undoubtedly, Lord Rothschild was up to his ears in British imperialism; one of his best friends was Cecil Rhodes, and he helped bankroll the British South Africa Company, which smashed and grabbed its way across the continent in the 1890s.

This contextualisation is important, but one wonders how many of Hobson’s readers would also have thought of the long-standing conspiracy theory, first formulated in the 1840s, that Rothchild’s grandfather, also named Nathan, had profited from the Battle of Waterloo; Hobson’s allusion to the “house of Rothschild” must feed into the more generalised anti-Rothschild rhetoric that is today a staple of conspiracy thinking on both left and right. And is there any reason to give Hobson the benefit of the doubt that this wasn’t the point all along?

Taylor also writes that “nowhere in the book did Hobson refer specifically to Jews”, which seems a bit pedantic given the reference to “men of a single and peculiar race”. Also, a reference to “Hebrew mining speculators” was added in the second edition of the book in 1905 (page 177); this was retained in the third edition of 1938 (page 277), along with the Rothschild reference (page 57). This third edition describes itself as “entirely revised and reset”, yet these passages were retained despite the rise of Nazism. (1)

Corbyn’s foreword for a 2011 reprint from Spokesman Books can be seen here – he appears to have read the text closely, albeit uncritically. It’s possible that he did not engage with the “Rothschild” and “peculiar race” comments because he considered that readers would regard these as obvious archaisms to be disregarded, like Hobson’s references to “lower races” (although in the latter case Hobson was attempting to write sympathetically about the exploitation of tribal peoples, despite the racist language).

However, Hobson’s anti-Semitism has long been identified as a problem to be acknowledged, (2) and its continuing capacity to cause harm ought to have been recognised by anyone promoting the text in 2011 – especially a politician with influence within a particular activist milieu.

This is not the first time that Corbyn as come under criticism for apparently failing to recognise anti-Semitic conspiracy rhetoric relating to banking – I discussed a previous instance here.

Notes

1. I was alerted to the different editions by reading a 1985 review in n Victorian Studies by J.L. Herkless of J.A. Allett’s biography of Hobson. Herkless writes that “Allett quotes a passage from Hobson’s Imperialism (1902) in which there is a slighting reference to the ‘Hebrews'”. I looked for this in the source and couldn’t find it in the 1902 edition, and so I consulted Allett’s book and saw that he was actually quoting the third edition on this point. The website Archive.org now makes it an easy matter to consult, search and compare all three editions: for the first edition, see here; for the second edition, see here; and for the third edition, see here. I don’t know which edition forms the basis for the Spokesman Books reprint.

2. There are two sources in particular: Colin Holmes (1978), “J. A. Hobson and the Jews”, in his edited volume Immigrants and Minorities in British Society; and J.A. Allett (1987), “New liberalism, old prejudices: J. A. Hobson and the ‘Jewish question’“, in Jewish Social Studies 49: 2. As noted in the above note, Allett also wrote a biography of Hobson: New Liberalism: The Political Economy of J.A. Hobson (1981).

Hungarian Pentecostal Church Credited with “Kicking George Soros Out of Hungary”

From Charisma News:

Some say Europe is post-Christian. But although there’s a great deal of spiritual darkness in that continent, pockets of revival are also springing up. In a recent interview with evangelist and pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, he told me how God is moving across many European nations through his revival tour, Europe Ablaze….

One area where the Spirit of God is stirring up revival is Budapest, Hungary. Faith Church in Budapest, where Howard-Browne recently ministered, has experienced revival nonstop for 20 years. This Pentecostal church single-handedly kicked George Soros out of Hungary, Howard-Browne says.

Howard-Browne is a long-serving neo-Pentecostal evangelist, best-known for his involvement in the 1990s “Toronto Blessing”. These days, he also revels in the validation he has received from physical proximity to Donald Trump – he was among evangelical figures who laid hands on Trump in the Oval Office last year, and prior to Trump’s election Howard-Browne declared him to be “the New World Order’s Worst Nightmare”, who would frustrate Satan’s plan to bring about an End-Times one-world religion.

The above article is based on an interview between Howard-Browne and Charisma’s owner, Stephen Strang. For his part, Strang has written two books elucidating the supernatural significance of Trump’s presidency, one of which – God and Donald Trump -Trump obligingly waved around at journalists.

The Faith Church in Budapest is headed by Sándor Németh (or Németh Sándor, according to the Hungarian practice of placing the family name first), and according to Howard-Browne their meeting was a last-minute affair arranged at the prompting of God – indeed, an actual angel appeared to Németh with the instruction to invite Howard-Browne to the church.

According to his official biopage, Németh is a former seminarian who left Catholicism and affiliated with the Charismatic movement in the 1970s – he and his wife were ordained by the Good News Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1980, and Németh was particularly influenced by the British Pentecostal revivalist Derek Prince, whose ministry placed a particular emphasis on spiritual warfare against demons. Starting out as an illegal underground church, Németh says he now has 70,000 members nationwide plus “a support base of several hundred thousand”, and that his international ministry reaches “the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Romania, the Ukraine, Kirgizstan and Cambodia”.

Németh’s church also owns ATV, which is Hungary’s third-largest 24-news station, and his Patmos Records publishing house produces Hungarian translations of American evangelists ranging from Jonathan Cahn (blogged here) to Joel Osteen and the late Kenneth Hagin, as well as secular works by the likes of Geert Wilders (as reported here) and Sebastian Gorka (1). Information in English is scare, although Németh’s influence in the country – and support for Viktor Orbán – was critically chronicled by the US-based Budapest Beacon, which drew on various media sources in Hungary before the decline of the country’s media plurality.

It is not clear how exactly Németh’s church supposedly “kicked George Soros out of Hungary”, but I think the idea is that the popularity of Németh’s church squeezed Soros out of the marketplace of ideas, rather than that Németh is responsible for laws in Hungary that suppress Soros’s civil society activities. Howard-Browne also reports Németh as saying that

So [Faith Church Pastor Nemeth Sandor] said to me, ‘Look, I need your help, because Soros is trying to work to shut my money down and is attacking tithing and everything.'”

I take this to mean that the church has come under some critical scrutiny as regards donations and financing, and that “Soros” here is a bogeyman thought to be behind negative coverage. Németh has previously identified Soros (Soros György) as an opponent of ” the anti-global, anti-immigration, national and Christian political forces in Europe”, and as responsible for the EU’s Sargentini Report, which criticised increasing authoritarianism in Hungary.

Charisma News has a history of running anti-Soros stories – I previously discussed one effort here.

Footnote

1. The Gorka book is A Dzsihád legyőzése, a Hungarian translation of his Defeating Jihad. Although Gorka is himself of Hungarian heritage, the book was translated by Péter Morvay (Morvay Petér), a producer at ATV and editor of Faith Church’s Hetek magazine. This site shows that it formed the basis for a formal presentation with military and defence officials at Hungary’s army headquarters.