NCCL and PIE – documentary evidence 1Posted: February 25, 2014
[ADDENDUM: The Mail have located the NCCL ad in question and scanned and reproduced it here. I have reproduced it below. I missed the fact previously that in Understanding Paedophilia, Vol. 1, No. 4 (1977), p. 12, there was an earlier NCCL advert, two years before the one previously noticed. This is now mentioned above (and was already mentioned in my PIE Documentary Evidence 4 blog post)]
Earlier this year, I was able to do some research amongst the documents published by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) as held under restricted access at the British Library. I will publish a blog post later about what they reveal about the PIE itself, but for now, following the media storm which has come about in the wake of the Daily Mail pieces beginning last week, about the connections between Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt during their time at the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) in the 1970s and 1980s, I will print here that documentary evidence I have concerning the nature of the link between the two organisations, without comment.
First, to confirm some dates: according to the site of NCCL (renamed Liberty in 1989), the organisation was founded in 1934. Patricia Hewitt became General Secretary in 1975, serving in this position until 1983, when her position was taken over by Larry Gostin. Harriet Harman was legal officer for the NCCL from 1978 until being elected to Parliament in 1982, whilst her husband Jack Dromey was on the executive committee from 1970 to 1979.
Lucy Robinson’s book Gay Men and the Left in Post-War Britain: How the Personal got Political (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011) contains one of the most extensively researched accounts of PIE and their entryist action in terms of infiltrating civil liberties, leftist and gay organisations. PIE grew out of the earlier organisation Paedophile Action for Liberation (PAL). Robinson traces the following:
The first UK based group was Paedophile Action for Liberation (PAL) some of whom had been involved in the GLF. PAL published the newsletter Palaver. This group were singled out in the Sunday People campaign that labelled them ‘the vilest men in Britain’ on 25 May 1975. PAL were exposed as the enemy within. Although the article contained no allegation of actual sexual assault it made it clear that PAL members represented an evil that every parent must be warned about. The manner in which the article was researched, and the treatment of those it accused was so severe that both the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and Gay News acted as advocates and witnesses for the PAL members. The advocates were threatened themselves. PAL’s closure was inevitable and it eventually ‘tottered to death’ in 1977. (pp. 129-130)
The related organisation PIE was founded out of the Scottish Minorities Group by members Ian Campbell Dunn and Michael Hanson in October 1974, and was at first based in Glasgow (Robinson, Gay Men and the Left, p. 130; Tim Tate, Child Pornography: An Investigation (London: Methuen, 1990), p. 128 confirms the date – see below). Their first chairperson was Keith Hose, who was succeeded in May 1977 by Tom O’Carroll (‘Notes & News’, Magpie, Issue 4 (June 1977), p. 2). I will return to aspects of their history and activities in another blog post. Robinson puts it as follows:
PIE developed its own form of entryism. In order to build alliances with other identity groups, it tried to make connections with various liberal, professional and liberational organisations. PIE contacted amongst others, GaySocs, Gay News, the National Association of Youth Officers, Peace News, groups of trainee social workers, Release, Probation Services, NCLCC, MIND as well as academic departments. The contradictory and arbitrary divisions in British law around age meant that campaigns around paedophilia fed into a variety of issues relating to young men and women. This was particularly fostered in the Gay Youth Movement, with whom PIE made public statements of solidarity. (p. 132)
[Lucy Robinson’s book erroneously gives the date of formation of PIE as October 1975 rather than October 1974, the date given by Tim Tate. This is confirmed by the fact that there were already reports questioning money going from the Albany Trust to PIE in January 1975 (see letter from the Albany Trust to The Times, January 18th, 1975, as reproduced here).]
In a Chairperson’s report for 1975-76, Hose reported that the passing of a motion at the Campaign for Homosexual Equality’s conference in Sheffield, August 1975:
..in which the delegates held that paedophilia was an important subject. The result of which was the first positive publicity ever achieved on the paedophile issue in a British national daily newspaper in which the guilt free paedophiles viewpoint was expressed. Positive articles appeared in the Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement, Time Out and Gay News. This achievement, although slightly marred by an attack by John Torode a few days later, was magnified by the resulting discussion of the issues in both CHE and which appeared in the national press as a consequence of the motion. (PIE Chairperson’s Report 1975/76 (copy held in British Library), p. 1)
There followed these sections relating to NCCL:
At a meeting of the Gay Rights sub-committee of the NCCL that I attended, changes were proposed to the draft NCCL evidence, including an incorporation of a few of the ideas and a couple of research quotes from our evidence. Copies of our evidence were sent to the executive of NCCL before their decision on their policy in this area was reached, and some of the proposals of the gay rights sub-committee were adopted. The section on paedophilia in the report would undoubtedly not have been as positive had it not been for our lobbying. Our report therefore had some effect on the NCCL evidence, which because of the sensational press coverage, has done more to raise the issue of the ‘age of consent’ than any other document. As a source of positive ideas and arguments towards paedophilia our report will continue to influence researchers, pressure groups and paedophiles who read it for a long time.
Presently we are near to the completion of the first stage in two other areas of work. We are compiling evidence on the ‘treatment’ of paedophiles with anti-libidinal drugs, that is chemical castration. We are particularly interested in those who are or were sex-offenders and who were treated with drugs such as Androcur, Benperidol, Oestrogen, etc. However, any information on this particular ‘treatment’ or any other maltreatment (including aversion therapy, physical violence etc) of paedophiles in or out of prison, is useful. We have started a campaign against this chemical castration, and we attempted to pass a motion calling on the NCCL AGM to condemn the practise [sic] on sex-offenders, but a move to refer the motion to the Executive Committee of NCCL was passed marginally. It is important therefore that we collect enough evidence to force this committee to use their organisation to campaign against chemical castration in the coming year. I spoke for the motion openly as a paedophile and this and another paedophile proposal certainly went a long way to educating NCCL members attending the meeting about paedophilia. (ibid. pp. 2-3)
A PIE journal began to be published entitled Understanding Paedophilia in 1976 (the British Library have an incomplete collection of issues of this journal, so the information I present here may not be complete). A June/July 1976 issue confirmed PIE’s Executive Committee as Keith Hose, Warren Middleton, Tom O’Carroll, David C. Grove, Charles Napier, and Peter Righton (‘It’s the Magnificent Six’, in Understanding Paedophilia, Vol. 1, No. 2 (June/July 1976), p. 7). The same article included the following:
PIE has asked U.P. to convey their thanks to all who attended the AGM, especially Miss Nettie Pollard of the NCCL, and PIE member No. 149 who came direct from France for the event. (ibid)
Another article in this issue wrote of how NCCL were concerned about the disappearance of an envelope which had gone missing, containing a list of 1000 names which constituted a Department of Education blacklist of those deemed to be unfit for the teaching profession. Nettie Pollard from NCCL appealed to anyone who thought they might be on the list to come forward. (‘Concern over List 99’, ibid. p. 7).
A 1977 edition of UP (which included an article by on individual graphically detailing his relationship with an 11-12 year old musical boy, and how they enjoyed orgasms together – Charles Gerriovenski, ‘A Paederastic Experience’, UP, Vol. 1, No. 4 (1977), pp. 5-6) contained some information important in the context of NCCL, specifically the following:
Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) is an organisation which is campaigning for law reform, and which offers counselling to paedophile people. It is an organisation which conducts its business in a lawful way and we have no evidence of its being at all involved in criminal activities. It is certainly not involved in blackmail.
As a result of the theft of some of PIE’s documents, a blackmail case arose. In the case, Regina V Thorne (3rd of the 2nd ’77), Thorne was charged with blackmail involving the use of the documents. Thorne was not a member of PIE, and he was in no way involved with the organisation and running of the group.
[Thorne was charged in 1998 with sexual offences against 8-year old boys in Thailand. A webpage here suggests he may have gone on the run prior to trial.]
Mr Justice King-Hamilton, at the time of sentencing the case, remarked: “I wonder if membership forms are collected form members of the public for the purposes of blackmail?”
We feel the judge’s comments were extremely unfortunate and that they may have done serious damage to PIE’s reputation. We feel, moreover, that the judge was misusing his position to make comments which were unwarranted and without any apparent foundation.
We should be grateful for your comments on this.
Gay Rights Chairperson For The NCCL
I am desired by the Lord Chancellor to acknowledge your letter of the 29th March about Judge King-Hamilton.
It would be constitutionally quite improper for the Lord Chancellor to comment on remarks said to have been made by a judge in the course of a trial and prompted, doubtless, by the evidence given at that trial, and inferences drawn therefrom.
For HM’s Lord Chancellor
Thank you for your letter of the 13th April.
After consideration of the letter, we feel it apposite to ask if the Lord Chancellor feels it part of a judge’s proper function to allege that people who were not defendants at the trial have committed serious criminal offences without giving them an opportunity to answer these allegations, and without arranging for any investigation.
We refer to our previous comment that no evidence has been produced to suggest that the Paedophile Information Exchange, the organisation that was the subject of Justice King-Hamilton’s comments, is involved in any criminal activity.
We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.
(‘Protest and Reply’, ibid. p. 7)
Also the following:
Jo Richardson MP, the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights are among the several individuals and organisations that have protested to the Lord Chancellor, on PIE’s behalf, over a judge’s comments at a recent Old Bailey trial.
They are demanding that the judge be disciplined, and are supporting the Exchange in its claim that the remarks may well have been a “serious breach of legal ethics.”
When sentencing Andre Stephen Thorne (21) to 3 years for theft and the attempted blackmail of a PIE applicant, the judge, Mr Justice King-Hamilton, said that PIE had “access to potential dynamite,” and added: “On the face of it, some sort of an offence is being committed by the person or persons running this organisation (THE SUN, Feb. 4th).. I wonder if the membership forms are collected from members of the public for the purposes of blackmail (SOUTH LONDON PRESS)?
PIE’s reaction was fast and furious. Secretary, Tom O’Carroll drafted an immediate letter to THE GUARDIAN; and on March the 17th, Deputy Leader, Warren Middleton despatched a press release announcing that the group would lodge the “strongest possible protest” with the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary.
Soon after, PIE’s Chairperson, Keith Hose, contacted the NCCL, finally requesting Jo Richardson (Labour, Barking) to table a question in the Commons. She declined, but has since filed an official complaint with Elwyn Jones.
The first of the protests, from the NCCL (29/3/’77), described the comments as “extremely unfortunate” and accused the judge of “misusing his position to make comments which were unwarranted and without any apparent foundation.”
Prompted by the reply which, said a Council official, was “totally unsatisfactory,” the NCCL then approached Lord Beaumont of Whitley asking him to raise the matter in the Lords. But he, too, declined.
Now, the Council is seeking the advice of Lord Hailsham, himself a former Lord Chancellor, and will act in accordance with his reply.
Meantime, PIE’s own protest will be lodged in July at an, as yet, unspecified date.
(‘Fight for Justice’, ibid. p. 10)
There was also a report from the NCCL conference:
Drug experiments on paedophiles and attitudes towards the ‘age of consent’ were two of the central issues discussed at the NCCL’s first gay rights conference on May the 14th at the National Institute for Social Work, London.
Over 200 delegates from various professions, counselling organisations and gay groups attended, and among the official speakers were representatives from PIE.
In a motion deploring the use of chemical castration on non-violent offenders, PIE’s national Secretary, Mr Tom O’Carroll, attacked what he called the “dubious ethics” employed in getting paedophiles to accept ‘treatment’ which could effectively “mutilate their bodies and personalities.”
He went on to criticise the hormone implant treatment being carried out by Dr. Henry Field and associates at Wormwood Scrubs where inmates were ‘persuaded’ to “barter their ‘balls’ for freedom.” “Under such duress, true ‘consent’ is meaningless,” he said.
But his chief concern was for the future: “What worries me is how Dr. Field and his ilk will be free to carry out experiments which go much further, possibly in the direction of psychosurgery – burning out part of the offender’s brain to mentally castrate him.
“We must force the Home Office into answering question after question about what they are up to. Whether they are trying new techniques; if so, which ones, and to what extent.”
PIE’s motion, which was successfully carried, puts added pressure on the NCCL to collaborate with the Exchange in calling for a national inquiry into the issue.
On the age of consent, civil servant, Mr Michael Burbidge told conference delegates that he disagreed with those who believed that such a concept was “necessary to mark off to young people, or their older partners, the limits of parental and societal tolerance.
“This position fails to see the law as more than a piece of paper. They don’t grasp that for a tiny minority of people, the law is suddenly transformed, devastatingly, into police and social worker interrogation, and into the humiliation of private acts being publicly paraded in the courts and press.”
(‘NCCL Conference’, ibid. p. 11).
Then, on the last page (p. 12), there was an ad for NCCL (186 Kings Cross road, London WC1X 9DE), alongside ads for The Leveller, Peace News, Libertine magazine (editors Colin Johnson, Dr. Arabella Melville), Forum, ‘it’, and ‘Boy’ magazine (published COQ International A/S, Norre Farimagsgade 65-67, DK-1007 Copenhagen K).
In March 1977, PIE launched a new publication, Magpie, a type of paedophile’s magazine with news, features, film and book reviews (plundering such things for any possible paedophile elements), guides to sex tourism in other countries, contact details of sister organisations in these countries, advice on what to do if facing arrest or loss of job, and so on. In the third issue, there was a feature about NCCL taking up the case of PIE, quoting the former organisation as saying:
PIE is an organisation that is campaigning for law reform, and which offers counselling to paedophiles. It is an organisation that conducts its business in a lawful way and we have no evidence of its being at all involved in criminal activity. It is certainly not involved in blackmail. (‘Notes and News’, Magpie, Issue 3 (May 1977), p. 2).
The June issue of Magpie reported a speech given to PIE’s Executive Committee by Nettie Pollard, Gay Rights Organiser of NCCL (mentioned above), and also how NCCL kept lists of suitable lawyers (‘Notes & News’, Magpie, Issue 4 (June 1977), p. 2), whilst O’Carroll detailed his submission to the NCCL conference in the issue of chemical castration being carried on in prisons (Tom O’Carroll, ‘NCCL Gay Rights Conference. Chemical Castration’, ibid. pp. 5, 7)
The 11th issue of Magpie contained the following piece on NCCL and PIE:
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Civil Liberties a motion was passed which is of particular importance to PIE, bearing in mind the events of last August and September. Accordingly we reprint this motion. No. 39. in full.
“This AGM reaffirms the right of free dis- cussion and freedom to hold meetings for all organisations and individuals doing so within the law. Accordingly, whilst reaffirming the NCCL policy on the age of consent and the rights of children; particularly the need to protect those of prepubertal age, thus AGM condemns the physical and other attacks on those who have discussed or attempted to discuss paedophilia, and reaffirms the NCCL’s condemnation of harassment and unlawful attacks on such persons”.
PIE is affiliated to the NCCL and we have long advocated that our members should join as individuals so they may participate in and benefit from the activities of this large and long established organisation. The address of NCCL is 186 Kings Cross Road. London. WC1. (‘NCCL Supports PIE’s Rights’, Magpie, Issue 11 (May 1978), p. 2).
Then in Issue 13 of Magpie, April 1979, NCCL actually took out an ad (on p. 14).
This was an issue which also contained such text as the following:
To be honest, I only buy Brownie annuals for the colour photographs of little girls with flat chests. And the 1979 Annual has rather a lot of these. But for the lover of girl-children with a tiny bubble of hot mischief in his loins there is a sort of hopeless beauty about nearly everything either inside or on the front cover of a brownie Annual. (‘The Brownie Annual ‘79’, reviewed by Edward Dipfinger (Dip. Ed), Magpie, Issue 13 (April 1979), p. 6)
It also contained lots of material purporting to represent the Year of the Child, and suggestions for how paedophiles might organise related events.
In September 1983, NCCL Legal Secretary Marie Staunton issued a statement in defence of the organisation’s links with PIE, saying the following:
Unless something is unlawful, people should not be prosecuted for the opinions they held.
The NCCL is campaigning to change the law to lower the age of consent to 14. An affiliate group like the Paedophile Information Exchange would agree with our policy. That does not mean it’s a mutual thing and we have to agree with theirs.
The question is not whether this group seeks respectability. Their opinions are their own. (Gordon Grieg, ‘Child abuse: Brittan orders police review’, Daily Mail, September 2nd, 1983 – viewable in full here).
I will not offer further comment here, but will detail more about PIE and their own timeline in my next blog post.