A new transcription of the audio tape of the interview with the customs officer – and some comments on the recording

[As Jim Kirkcaldy makes clear in his comments below, this transcription does not claim to be definitive, but hopefully represents a palpable step forward in terms of detail. But others with access to the tape may have good arguments for alternative ‘hearings’ of passages – I would invite them to present those in the comments section below]

Since Saturday. July 19th, 2014, there have been a large range of heated exchanges online (though not in the mainstream media), primarily between the Exaro online news agency and the Needle blog, in particular following interventions from the veteran journalist and film-maker Tim Tate, who has made various features relating to the abuse of children over a period of almost three decades. This has also spilled over into social media.

See these links for the recent Exaro article relating to the tape (David Hencke, Mark Conrad and Alex Varley-Winter, ‘Audio file set to blow lid off paedophile scandal at Westminster’, Exaro News, July 19th, 2014 (do note the extensive comments underneath)) and the following for the responses on the Needle blog (including from Tim Tate) and a first transcript of the tape (‘Exaro Audio Tape Story’, July 19th, 2014‘Tim Tate Comments on the Exaro ‘Audio Tape’ Story’, July 20th, 2014; ‘Transcript of Audio Tape’, July 21st, 2014; ‘Beware The Backlash: The Media And The Politics of Paedophilia’, July 21st, 2014; ‘Correction To Audio Tape Transcription’, July 22nd, 2014; ‘For The Record: A Final Word On The Audio Tape Story’, July 24th, 2014; and ‘Exposed! Gojam’s Source For The ‘Vital’ Inside Information From Op Fernbridge’, July 24th, 2014). A further response can be found on ‘Bishop Brightly’s blog (‘What the Ex Customs Officer Said’, July 23rd, 2014).

In this blog, I will give some background, and give a new transcription of the tape in question, painstakingly done by James Alistair Kirkcaldy (jimkirkcaldy@yahoo.co.uk ), whose blog, Life is not an error, you can view here.


In February 2014, an interview was conducted between James Fielding of the Sunday Express, which was the basis for an article published that month, reproduced here (James Fielding, ‘Cabinet minister in seized child porn’, Sunday Express, February 23rd, 2014).

Express 230214 - Cabinet minister in seized child porn

Soon after this article, a copy of a document to do with a 1982 Customs and Excise seizure began to be distributed online; this is printed here.

Customs and Excise Seizure 1982

The individual listed, Russell Tricker, is a former private school teacher convicted of child sex offences in the UK, who used his job as a coach drive to ferry boys from London to the Netherlands (see Nick Davies, ‘When sex abuse can lead to murder’, The Guardian, November 27th, 2000).

In two articles published a little over a month after that in the Sunday Express, Exaro claimed that this was the seizure in question, that Tricker denied knowing what was contained in the material, but that the video was passed to MI5. They also claimed that the customs officer had told friends that the former Conservative cabinet minister was on the video, and wanted to reveal this, but was constrained from so doing because of the Official Secrets Act (Mark Conrad and Mark Watts, ‘Customs seized video of child sex abuse and ex-cabinet minister’, Exaro News, March 29th, 2014, and ‘Man who tried to import video: ‘I did not know what was inside”, Exaro News, March 29th, 2014). Tim Tate asked several questions in the comments section of the first of this two articles, to do with what evidence existed to show (1) that the video referred to depicted child sexual abuse; (2) that the ex-cabinet minister is shown in the video; (3) that the individual referred to by Exaro was a Customs and Excise officer; (4) what work had been done to establish the credibility of the ‘friend’ of the customs officer referred to.

The Exaro story was also published in the Sunday People on the same day (Keir Mudie and Mark Conrad, ‘Ex-Tory minister ‘pictured in child sex abuse video’ confiscated by customs at Dover in 1982′, Sunday People, March 29th, 2014). This story, though widely discussed on social media (alongside others involving the same ex-cabinet minister) was not to my knowledge reported again in the press until a report in the Sunday Telegraph on July 4th gave a quite different version of events, which I reproduce below.

Gordon Rayner, Tim Tate, and Christopher Hope Senior, ‘Tory stopped with child sex videos ‘was reprieved’; More cases of sex abuse are uncovered by Home Office’, Sunday Telegraph, July 4th, 2014

A SENIOR Tory said to be part of a child sex ring was stopped by a customs officer with child pornography videos but got off scot-free, police have been told.

The former MP was driving back to Britain through Dover when a customs officer pulled him over because he was “acting suspiciously”.

The guard, now retired, has told detectives that when he searched the politician’s car he found videotapes of children “clearly under the age of 12” taking part in sex acts.

He passed the material on to his superiors but the MP was never arrested or charged. And, like a dossier of evidence compiled by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP, the tapes and paperwork relating to the seizure have since gone missing.

The latest disclosure will increase accusations of a cover-up, because no action was taken against the MP at the time the videos were seized.

The same MP is understood to have been named in the Dickens dossier, handed to Lord Brittan, who was then home secretary. The dossier has since been lost or destroyed.

The customs officer who stopped the MP in the 1980s has spoken to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, the Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of child abuse by Cyril Smith and others at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south London. The guesthouse has since closed down.

A senior Tory politician has been accused of abusing a young boy at the guesthouse, but police are understood to have insufficient evidence to take action.

A source close to the investigation said the customs officer was originally approached over claims that a known paedophile had been stopped with a videotape showing the MP at a sex party with under-age boys.

The officer said the report was false but told police he had stopped the MP in question and seized child pornography videos from him.

The source said: “He viewed the tapes on a video recorder at the border control, and found them to contain pornography involving both under-age girls and boys together. He said the children were clearly under the age of 12.

“Unfortunately he can’t remember the exact date when it happened, but he had no doubt about the identity of the MP because he checked his passport.

“He said he had passed the details of the seizure up the chain of command and had no knowledge of what happened after that.

“The officers on the case have not been able to find the videotapes or any paperwork to corroborate his account.”

Tom Watson, the Labour MP who has once again posed questions about paedophiles within Westminster, last night called on Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, to examine the evidence relating to the former MP.

He said: “I sincerely hope the DPP has been made aware of these allegations and will be considering it as part of her examination of other allegations.”

Lord Brittan has faced questions over his handling of a bundle of papers handed to him by the late Mr Dickens, which contained allegations against the same MP, and against several other prominent figures.

Some of the men named were part of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which campaigned for the lowering of the age of consent.

The Labour MP Simon Danczuk has suggested that the dossier was “destroyed to protect the people whose names were in it”.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph has learnt that four more cases of historic sex abuse have been referred to the police by Home Office officials in recent months.

An internal review of hundreds of thousands of Home Office files found 13 previously undisclosed “items of alleged child abuse” last year.

The Home Office said nine of the 13 cases had previously been reported to the police – including four that involved the department’s officials.

However, the remaining four were overlooked by civil servants – and have now been reported to the Metropolitan Police.

The cases were unearthed by an internal review ordered in February last year.
Mr Danczuk questioned why the Home Office had not passed on the cases to the police earlier.

He said: “It was never the job of the Home Office to try to determine what constituted potential evidence, that’s the job of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

“The public will think that people in the Home Office were withholding information from the police which could have led to the successful prosecution of child sex abusers.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The review concluded that the Home Office acted appropriately, referring information received during this period to the relevant authorities.”

To date, 120 MPs have supported a campaign for a public inquiry into allegations of child abuse made against politicians.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said yesterday it was time for “the truth” to be told.

He said: “I just want the truth to come out and justice to be done.
“When we’re dealing with allegations of such a serious criminal nature, I don’t think there’s any surrogate, really, for allowing the police to get to the bottom of what happened.”

The Tape

The tape was distributed to a range of people earlier this week, and I received a copy of it. In order to check in case the tape might have been doctored in any way, I sent it to an audio expert (who wishes to remain anonymous) with access to high-level software. The following were his responses to me:


I have had a quick listen, and there don’t seem to be any obvious edit points. The problem is that it is a very poor quality recording full of pops and hiss, so finding any edit ‘ins’ or ‘outs’ would be pretty difficult. Also, digital editing nowadays (as opposed to tape) is pretty much seamless, unless you have a clean, smooth, constantly changing, easily identifiable background ambient.

Conclusion – it could very easily have been doctored by anyone with access to readily available free software, but proving it would be very difficult, even with some of the hi-tech software we have here.

IP: I wasn’t thinking just of editing, also whether other things might have been tweaked or distorted – do the same comments apply for that possibility?

It depends on what you mean by tweaked or distorted. Could you be more specific? You can change pitch for instance, or EQ. Not sure how useful those things would be in making something actually mean something different though.

IP: I was wondering if it was possible to change something to make it sound like something it is not – to make a mumble into a ‘yeah’, or something like that?

Probably not, you have to have the sound there in the first place.

A much easier approach would be to use vowel/consonant sounds from somewhere else in the recording. In other words parts of a word could be put together or used on their own to make a new word. On this note, if you could find where a suspect word came from in the recording, you could possibly visually overlay the sound waves on top of each other and prove they were identical. Doing this would be like looking for the proverbial needle on the haystack though!

IP: One last question, coming from the person who is doing the transcript [Kirkcaldy]. He told me the following:

‘I forgot to mention this bit. I find the bit at 10:10 suspicious. I detect a change in the accent on the word mem-ber [drawn out] occurring during the crash or bang. Also the bit at 10:19 is, in my provisional opinion, not a naming of the MP and the syllables used are no where in the ball park of [redacted name]. Also, CO: 10:19 may’o’Cab’net, yeh [short, running together] fits more logically given the reporters staccato utterance Reporter: 10:1(6)7 [staccato] Cab’net!? just prior. I would also add that another voice, which is further away from the mic but could be the same reporter, can be picked up and can be heard as ‘there’u’are [10:16] . Again the switch in volumes is suspicious when considered with what I said about a slight change in accent and the fact that it is these hard to hear bits, that exaro and others are focusing on. I’ll know more on Sunday’

Would you be able to just have a check of the passage from 10’10 to around 10’19 and say if you think anything seems suspicious to you there?

The bang could be a bit suspicious in itself. Why did something like that have to happen exactly there, right at a crucial point, and nowhere else in the recording? Also, the ‘there’u’are’ bit leads straight off the bang, so it (the bang) could possibly have been used to cover up a rather clumsy edit. On second listen as well, something I can’t quite put my finger on, but the bang does sound tonally slightly out of kilter with the rest of the recording (too many lower range frequencies – rest of recording is very toppy). I can’t be 100% about this though.

Also, on a much closer listen, there is a very short section where the report says ‘so it was’ then the reply sounds like ‘henry bidemac yeh’. Immediately after this, there is a distorted peak leading into something which sounds like ‘I was part of the EC at the time’. To me, this possibly sounds like an edit, as there is a bit of customs guy’s voice, running straight into reporter’s voice.

I sent it to several other audio experts, studio composers and others, two of whom have responded. First, from Lester Barnes:

The one big thing that stuck out to me on this recording was the short section from 4:32 to 4:35 – the insertion of “[redacted name]” is very out of place both in timbre, volume and flow. The section after the name stumbles and doesn’t really connect – sounds more like the voice of the reporter. If you listen to how the Indian guy speaks throughout the interview, he is very guarded and reserved about revealing or confirming anything. It doesn’t add up to me, that he would suddenly shout ‘[redacted name]’ in the middle of an otherwise guarded dialogue. (unless, it was meant to be the reporter interjecting ?)
(Do note the comments at this point in the transcript itself as well, which echo these sentiments)

Also, from Richard Thomas:

I’ve had a listen through it and the quality of the recording makes it difficult to make any definite judgements (it’s almost definitely a recorder in the reporter’s pocket). Also I think the dictation machine’s on auto gain, which would explain changes to levels, especially background. Something I did check throughout the 10:15-10:30 section was whether the clock in the background was regular, although the crashing completely masks it, it seems to come back into place at the right time. The crashing does seem to contain low frequencies which aren’t present in the rest of the recording- I’d expect a voice recorder type thing to have filters to reduce low frequency noise from handling etc. An explanation could be that it’s something being put down on a table the recorder’s on and the sound’s transmitted through the table, a reason why it’s not muffled

Something I think is an edit, however is the addition of “Henry/Henrik Bissner”? at 10:21. It sounds like someone else’s voice and the “s” on the end sounds like it’s been faded down. The way the noise floor is faded in too, doesn’t sound like it should. In order to actually prove it’s someone else’s voice you’d probably need access to someone who works in audio forensics . In addition there’s no clock tick here and I’d expect to be able to hear one there

It’s really hard to demonstrate anything visually using the waveform, as it’s so noisy I’m afraid.


Preface by Jim Kirkcaldy:

The following transcript is a working document and like all things of this type it is open to correction and reinterpretation, as and when cleaner copies of the recording emerge and current copies investigated further using specialist software. There are bound to be mistakes in this transcript and I will endeavor to pick up on them as I produce a more thorough and in-depth piece. Your help is welcomed.

It is important to note that the spoken word, our utterances in conversation, are very rarely grammatically correct. It can sometimes be a mistake to listen to a recording and to try to put it directly into a grammatically correct and readable piece, straight away; where sounds of syllables, consonants and vowels, the phonetics, are forced into a word that seems most appropriate to them. I have opted to retain some of these phonetic qualities for now.

The transcript I have put together contains notes and coding for my own reference, with a view to using a more standard coding scheme on the most important bits of the recording. Other aspects, such as the pattern of breath of each speaker, the tonal qualities and intonations, the micro pauses and longer pauses, all reveal and indicate meaning. As you can see, some of my notes here are embedded in the transcript and the actual utterances and sounds made by participants, are marked in bold.

I have also come across what seems to me discontinuities in the recording that may indicate edits and the copying of bits from one part of the recording, to elsewhere in it. If I am right these could be attempts to conceal and mislead us and to promote certain interpretations over others. I stress that at this stage such a claim is nothing more than my suspicions and initial thoughts, prompted by my listening very carefully to the recording and those specific parts many, many times. More work needs to be done to get a definitive answer. I hope that my notes and my indicating these discrepancies will allow others, myself included, to investigate them more fully. It will come as little surprise that some of these suspected edits occur over parts that have been considered inaudible elsewhere.

On a final note I would add that I find the most revealing bits of this recording elsewhere than those bits already indicated by others. For example, such as the allusions to the nonverbal elements of this exchange and affirmations through body language use etc. Often a ‘mm-hm’ an ‘uh-huh’ or even a ‘yeah’, is accompanied by a nod of the head and this can sometimes be an unconscious act and considered ‘indexical leakage’.

There are other ways information and affirmation is given through the more verbal gestures and utterances, that point to some state of affairs. Whilst I think the authenticity of this recording needs to be questioned, there are genuinely other stories and narratives beyond the two presented to us in the Telegraph and Exaro pieces, to be further investigated. There is enough in these recordings to justify calling people to give evidence at a Parliamentary committee meeting. This would include the journalists making such recordings in the first place, as-well-as other Customs Officers and officials that would have been involved.

Reporter: 00:0(3)4 Ermm [pause 00:05] its to do with children, from Amsterdam [00:08]. Do you recall? 00:10

CO: 00:10(1) Err [micro-pause] maybe I might [00:12] you see, put some, er’ [00:13] just something I can’t really [00:15(6) interrupted by female voice] ,
Reporter: 00:12 [speaking over ‘might you see’]..what was contained on those videos [00:12(3)]

Female voice: 00:15 [interrupt and over ‘I can’t’, addressed to reporter] would you like a cup of coffee, tea, anything? [00:17]

Reporter: 00:17 er, I’m alright thank you, thank you though [00:18(9)]

CO: 00:19 Because this is an official-er [00:21 micro-pause 00:22] experience [00:23]

Reporter: 00:23 Yeah

CO: 00:23(4) I am bound by, er-secrets act [00:25(6) wavering on ‘er’ run into secrets]

Reporter: 00:2(6)7 OK

CO: 00:27 I am not supposed to-oo [00:28 dragged mico-pause] detail [00:29 emphasised DE][00:30] or spell out anything [00:31]

Reporter: [00:28] [interrupt over end of -oo, hushed near silent] talk to- [then interrupted by CO on emphasised DE]

Reporter 00:3(1)2 OK

CO: 00:3(2)3 Err, I think if you would like to know more about this [00:36 dropping tone on this] you’ll have to go to the right channel [00:37]

Reporter: 00:38 sure, but what I can do [00:39]

CO: 00:39 [interrupt on ‘can d-”] I’m retired now [00:40] and I can’t really [00:41(2) dragged]
Reporter 00:42 No, of course, and what I would do is-I wouldn’t name you [00:44], I wouldn’t put anything [00:45] to do with your identity bu-[00:4(5)6]

CO: 00:46 [interrupt and over bu-] {even that}, even that, I mean [00:4(7)8)]
Reporter: 00:48 [interrupt on ‘mean’] it’s just background information {as}{as}as t’ [00:49(50)] what-it- erm- [00:50]

CO: 00:50 [interrupt and over on ‘what-it-erm’] what sort of information [00:51(2)]

Reporter 00:51(2) [breath in] well what was contained [00:52(3)] on it [00:53] ’cause we think that there might of been [00:54], erm, [00:55 micro-pause 00:55(6)] pornography involving children [00:57(8) emphasised] that was involving also, er [00:59 micro-pause], maybe prominent people [01:00(1)] erm [01:02 micro-pause] at the time in terms of like MPes [01:04 dragged emphasised], if er that kind of thing [01:06]

CO: 010(6)7 Why don’t you approach the {d}department? [01:08]

Reporter: [01:0(8)9] We have, but it’s not th- {w}{w}which[01:11] department the- [01:12(3)]

CO: 01:13 [slight interrupt on ‘the-‘] Customs

Reporter: 01:13(4) [coupling with ‘customs’] Exercise. Well they-said-that-they, {tha}that they hadn’t got [01:15(6)0]

CO: 00:1(5)6 [interrupt on ‘got’] Did you go to, go to right channel like erm [01:18] er, the department er-in Dover? [01:22]

Reporter [01:22(3)] mm-hmm [acknowledgement]

CO: 01:23 errr, their the people [01:24] who have all the records [dragged 01:25(6)]

Repoter: 01:26 mm-hmm [acknowledgement]

CO: 01:2(6)7 erm, I’m bound [emphasised 01:27(8)] by the secrests act [01:29] not to [01:30(01) pause 01:30] not to-oo [dragged 01:32] disclose ..

Reporter: 01:33 mm-hmm [acknowledgment, go on]

CO: 01:34 ..any sort of information [dropping 01:35] in m-y [01:35(6) held] career [01:36]
Reporter: 01:37 mm-hmm

CO: 013(7)8 So I hope you understand what I’m trying [01:39(40] to tell you.

Reporter:01:40 [interrupt and over ‘you’] Of course, of course but I mean would you be able to just [01:42] sort of let me know {off}off [01:44] completely off the record record [01:45 pause 01:46] the material that was found on that coach [dropping 01:48 micro pause], involved videos of children and [01:50] it also involved children [breath taken in 01:52 micro-pause] with, er, a prominent MP [01:54]

[pause 01:54]

CO: 01:5(6)7 mm-huh [very hushed, closed mouth, nasal, low tone on mm low tone on huh but high than mm *consider likely non-verbal accompaniment(?)*]

Reporter: 01:57 you sure? er, that MP [01:58] was name-his name was [name redacted] [02:00 ]

CO: 02:01 yeah [higher on ah, guttural, possible question intonation]

Reporter: 02:0(1)2 Is that correct?


CO: 02:04(5) mm-huh [closed mouth, low tone on mm higher tone on huh, clearer tone distinction than 01:5(6)7, *consider likely non-verbal accompaniment–likely affirmation of reporters question(?)*]

Reporter: 02:05 Ermm [micro-pause 02:06] {did you}{ha}have you spoken to the police? [02:08]


CO: 02:09(10) Not recent

Reporter: 02:11 Did you speak to them at the time? [02:12]

CO: 02:13(14) Err, hah [02:15 nervous laughed ‘hah’], its a long time ago [02:16]

Reporter: 02:16 [over ago] mm-huh

CO: 02:17 and {er}I have, as you probably-know [slurred and lisping 02:19] we get lots of these things [02:20(1)]

Reporter: 02:01(2) mm-huh

CO: 02:(1)2 and I have been involved in quite a few [02:23 slurred and lisping] [0:23(4)]

Reporter: 02:24 mm-huh

CO: 02:2(4)5 Now I can’t pin point one [02:27] one par-tic-ular [02:27 dragged micro-pause 02:2(7)8] er [micro pause 02:28(9)] case.. [02:29] [pause]

Reporter 02:2(7)8 [during micro-pause 02:2(7)8 before ‘er’] mm-hm

CO: 02:31 ..All{all] [dragged {all} 02:32] records are kept at Dover [02:34]

Reporter 02:35 mm-huh

CO: 02:36 I think you got’a-go there [02:38]

Reporter: 02:38(9)OK, do you know where abouts in Dover? [02:40]

CO: 02:40(1) yeah [dropping] it’s er [02:41][micro-pause 02:42(3)] I’ll give you the address, one second [dropping to hush 02:43(4)]

Reporter 02:44 Yeah?

CO: 02:45 it’s er [hushed, low tone]

[pause of utterances, sound of activity, mic disturbed]

Reporter: 03:01 Did you yourself view the er [03:02(3)], any of the footage? [03:03(4)]

CO: 03:03(4) cO’duh’n’nuh [drop in volume, change in direction of address, not English (?) address to someone else (?) assess given reporter restates the question]

Reporter: 03:05 Did you have sit there and watch what was on the er [03:07(8) micro-pause] videos [dropping on -oes 03:08]

CO: 03:08 Oh yeah, I can’t just seize it [03:10] just like that [03:11]

Reporter: 03:10 [[over ‘just that’] Yeah

CO: 03:11(2) Er, you want to have the-address? [rising question intonation 03:13]

Reporter: 03:1(3)4 Yeah

CO: 03:14(5) er it’s er [03:15] H M Customs and Excise [rising intonation 03:16]

Reporter: 03:17 Yeah

CO: 03:19(20) Priory – Court [loud enunciated] P R I–O R Y [03:23]

Reporter: 03:23(4) Yeah

CO: 03:24 Court, [03:24(5)]

Reporter 03:2(4)5 Yeah

CO: 03:25 C O U R T [running together 03:26]

Reporter: 03:27 Yeah

CO: 03:2(7)8 Saint Johns Road [03:29] Saint [03:(29)30]

Reporter: 03:30 Yeah

CO: 03:30(1) Johns Road

Reporter: 03:31(2) yeah
CO: 03:32 Cer-[03:33] abrupt stop, self regulation] Dover [03:34]

Reporter: 03:35 mm-huh

CO: 03:36 CT 17 [03:37]

Reporter: 03:38 What was it, sorry?

CO: 03:39(40) {C!}C! T! [03:41]

Reporter: 03:4(1)2 one-seven [running]

CO: 03:42(3) one-seven, nine [03:43]

Reporter: 03:43 [over nine] yeah

CO: 03:44 S for sugar, H [03:46]

Reporter: 03:46(7) H, OK

CO: 03:47 yeah [dropping]

Reporter:03:4(8)9 Right [micro- pause] erm [03:50(1)] from what you remembered-though-of-it [03:52 running] was there actually abuse taking place [rising question intonation 03:54] by this MP ? [dropping 03:54(5)]?

CO: 03:5(5)6 Sorry?

Reporter 03:56 Was the MP [name redacted] actually [03:58 dragged micro-pause 03:59(04:00)] err [raised] abusing children on the video? [dropping 04:01]


CO: 04:03 Well I cant disclose anything [04:04(5)] sorry [04:05]

Reporter: 04:05 No but, I mean a- [04:05(6)]

CO: 04:06 [interrupt on a-] I can’t disclose any more [04:07]

Reporter: 04:07 [interrupt on -ore] Off the record you-mean-you’ve-said [04:08(9) running] you told me [04:09] that it was{hi-}[name redacted] [04:11] was..

CO: 04:11 [interrupt on ‘was’] {wha}What I can suggest is-erm..[04:13] dropping]

Reporter: 04:13 [over -erm] mm-huh

CO: 04:1(4)5) You can approach my department there.. [04:16(7)]

Reporter: 04:17 yeah

CO: 04:1(7)8 and ask for the details [04:19]

Reporter: 04:19(20) Yeah

CO: 04:20 Whatever the detail you want [04:21] they’re supposed to tell you [04:22(3)]

Reporter: 04:23 hm-huh

CO: 04:24 {but}{bu}but I’m not supposed to tell you anything [04:26]

Reporter: 04:26 No, but this-is-just-off-the-record [04:28 running], it’s for research really [04:29]

CO: 04:30 Well I can only//can’t say it [04:32 ‘can’t say it’ staccato out of place, tonal difference, suspicious possible beginning of edit or doctoring //= cut]

Reporter: 04:33 But [name redacted]// .[// indicates edit and last syllable of name runs straight in to CO’s accent on ‘is’. ‘But’ and ‘[name redacted]’ is near identical, in my opinion, to the latter citation of his name at 04:36 by the reporter. The drag on the last syllable is very telling at 04:36 when contrasted with 04:33]

CO: 04:34 //is a par-tic-ular//Logged of everything [//=cut, ‘Logged’ jumps in before -ar in ‘particular’ is complete and is at a higher volume; -ular the breath is ending then with the breath on ‘logged’ suddenly returning and allowing a greater voicing. There should be, bio-mechanically speaking, evidence of a breath being taken first before ‘log’ (?). Check verbalisation elsewhere in recording to identify where they could have been copied from] [inaudible]

Reporter: 04:36(7) But [name redacted] [dragging on last syllable] {was involved} [04:37] was in [pause 04:3(8)9] on [04:39] one of the videos [dropping, 04:40].

[Lester Barnes: The one big thing that stuck out to me on this recording was the short section from 4:32 to 4:35 – the insertion of “[redacted name]” is very out of place both in timbre, volume and flow. The section after the name stumbles and doesn’t really connect – sounds more like the voice of the reporter. If you listen to how the Indian guy speaks throughout the interview, he is very guarded and reserved about revealing or confirming anything. It doesn’t add up to me, that he would suddenly shout ‘[redacted name]’ in the middle of an otherwise guarded dialogue. (unless, it was meant to be the reporter interjecting ?)]

CO: 04:40 Ieeah’ I don’t understand er [04:42 pause] err [04:43(4)][long pause 04:46(7)] I’-honest-don’t, -it-was-a long time ago [running, lisping, dropping hushed 04:48 micro-pause [04:49(50)] it was-er [micro-pause [04:50(51)] some{b}-{jee}tail, or whatever-I-don’t-know [04:53 cognitive stress broken language function, running end to utterance]

Reporter: 04:53 uh-ha

CO: 04:53(54) But I think [emphasised ‘THInk’] your right approa’ is to-go-to Dover [dragged, emphasised Do{e}-{Va} 04:57]

Reporter: 04:57(58) uh-ha

CO: 04:58 and go to this place [04:59]

Reporter 04:59(05:00) yeah

CO: 05:00 They should have all my records [05:02] all the records of the event [05:03(04)]

Reporter: 05:04(05) hu-hm [micro-pause 05:05] OK

CO: 05:05(06) [interrupt of ‘so’] yu’know. So other than ask me whichever I might be [micro pause 05:09] tell you something or whichever [05:10(11) emphasis on ‘TEll’]

Reporter 05:11 [interrupt on ‘whichever’] Nono-{uh}-what-I’ll do is [05:12] I’ll go and check these dee- whatever you tell me now [05:13] I’ll go and check the details [05:15 dropping, micro-pause 05:16] er{this}this point, St John’s road, [05:17] HM Customs & Excise, Priory Court [05:19 breath in]. {wha}is that an archive system?

CO: 05:13 [interrupt on and over ‘now’] yeah [05:13]

CO: 05:21 Pardon?

Reporter: 05:21 Is that the archive? [05:22 pause 05:23(24)] THE archive [emphasised THE 05:24] er the Customs & exercise, this particular address here, is that [micro pause] THE archive where they have all the information wi.. [05:29]
CO: 05:29(30) [interrupt and over ‘wi..’] Yeah that’s {the-ee}our{a}, {uh}our{er} [05:32] {eh}{eh}HQ in Dover [05:34 cognitive distress on understanding the word ‘archive’, disrupted language function]

Reporter: 05:35 OK [05:36 pause 05:37] And just whe.. [05:38]

CO: 05:38 [interrupt on ‘just whe..’] {I}{I}as I said this was long time ago [05:40]

Reporter 05:40 mmm

CO: 05:40 (41) They might not ha-ve [dragged 05:42] all the{er} records {a}at there.. [emphasised ‘THere’ 05:44]

Reporter: 05:44(45) mm-hm

CO: 05:45 ..they might of [ 05:46 micro-pause ] forwarded it to London [05:47] office yu’know [05:48 tailing, dropping]

Reporter: 05:49 Sure

CO: 05:49 But{er} your best bet [05:50 emphasised ‘BEst-BEt’] is Dover [05:50(51)]

Reporter: 05:51 But you remember watching them [05:52 micro-pause] the videos, you-had-to (?) [dropping intonation 05:53, ‘you-had-to’ running]


CO: 05:55 Well as I said [05:56] you can’t just seize them without re{e}v’ing- them [05:58]

Reporter 05:56 [interrupt on and over and repeating CO ‘you can’t just..] yeah, you can’t jus’ seize them without ree.. [05:58 there is a change in volume levels for both the reporter’s and CO’s utterances and the background noise, review and check for edits here] and {was there}{wa}was this an attempt, this- was-an{er} [06:00 micro pause] tipped off from the{er} [06:01] Dutch intelligence [micro-pause 06:02] ermm [06:03 micro pause 06:04(05)] {thert}tipped off the{er} British police and the British Customs & Exercise that this coach [06:08 micro-pause 06:09(10)] had {conce}[micro-pause] did contain erm [06:11 micro-pause 06:12(13)] material involving children (?) [06:14]


CO: 06:16(17) [breath in] Sorry I can’t tell you anything [06:18]

Reporter: 06:18 {ar}alright, OK

CO: 06:19(20) I’m bound by the r{eh}ffcia{ence}..[06:21]

Reporter: 06:21 [interrupt over and at same time ‘the r{eh}’] No, of course {bu}{i}{its}its, it won’t come…[06:23]

CO: 06:22(23) [continued from 06:19(20) over and at same time as ‘it won’t’] and I think.. [hushed] ALL your details [[06:24] emphasised interrupting ‘ALL’] {a}All the details.. [06:25]

Reporter: 062:5(26) hmm

CO: 06:26 [breath in before ‘will’ at 06:26]..Will be kept[ micro-pause, saliva swallow, micro breath in 06:28] back at-{whe}//there//up there [06:30] [06:29 // indicates possible edit point. Breath in for greater voicing and emphasis on ‘WILL be kept’ ,then movement of lips, tongue and saliva inside mouth and on lips, followed by a short breath through nose to allow a greater voicing and emphasis on ‘BAck’. The fullness of the breath and voicing over ‘at-{where}//there// up there’ drops unnaturally at the // point and becomes fuller again on ‘up there’ at the second // point with no additional breath taken . *Take a closer graphical look to check*]

Reporter: 06:30 uh-hm

CO: 06:30(31) They should have all the information [06:32]

Reporter: 06:32(33) This, [dragged ‘is’ micro-pause] this, ’cause the only reason I asked about [name redacted] [06:35(36) dropping on surname, micro-pause 06:36], is’because [pause 06:37, movement of mic and reporter moving] it says under his name here, it says [initials redacted] [06:39(40)]. {a’vidi}one videocassette entitled [initials redacted] [06:43]

[long pause, sound of something being past and rustled, perhaps paper and what is referred to by ‘this’ and ‘here’. The reporter’s movements above and disturbing of the mic would also indicate something is passed to the CO to read. Longer pause as document is read (?)]

Reporter: 06:49(50) {an’i}{an}it’s, come to my attention that it might [06:52], {i}{i}it involves [06:53], so-I’ve-been-told, [06:54] it involves the MP [name redacted] [06:55 dropping on surname].

CO: 06:57(8) [slight cough and throat clear] {ah}[throat clear]{it’ch’a} could be [06:59] [the pattern of throat clears with broken syllables of speech is suspicious and needs to be looked at more closely] [pause 07:00(01)] as I say [gravelly voice] I mean {I}I can’t recollect-a-complete [07:04 stumbling syllables], complete err [07:05 micro-pause] case [emphasised ‘CAse’ 07:05(06)]

Reporter: 07:06(07) yeah

CO: 07:07 errr [07:08] it happened long time ago [07:10]

Reporter: 07:10(11) mm-hmm

CO: 07:11 and err [07:11(12) pause sound of clicking 07:15] {see}what happens every {wha}when [07:17] ever a case comes along.. [07:18(19)]

Reporter: 07:19 mm-hm

CO: 07:20 ..is then passed on to the [07:21(22) pause 07:22(23)] head of headquarters [dropping [07:24(25)

Reporter: 07:25 mm-hm

CO: 07:25 and they’re the people who will [micro-pause [07:27] check {lench’ext door}//{all}all [07:28(29)] of the information [07:29(30) // possible edit where ‘-or’ bit in sound {lench’ext door}, ends abruptly and runs into the stammered ‘{all}all’. Give it a closer look ]

Reporter 07:30 mm-hmm
CO: 07:31 Because this something er [07:32] I don’t want to be involved [07:33 dropping]


Reporter: 07:34(35) [double click before ‘no’] No! Of course. Which is why you passed it on to me//which [07:37] is why you passed it on to//the police at the time in 1982 [07:40 The possible edit // on ‘me’ has the ‘ee’ sound uncompleted and abruptly ended. It is nowhere close to -ome as in ‘some’ as found in Tim Tate’s transcript, the sound is very much different. Further, at the start of the first run of ‘Which is why..’, the sound of a vehicle accelerating and /or the Doppler effect of its sound starts with a low tone and rises. This unnaturally cuts back to the low tone for the vehicle on the second run of ‘Which is why..’ . Second // indicates a possible second edit and a change in the background noise, where the tone of the vehicle does not reach its previous tonal high. Take a closer look to confirm with software] erm [07:42 pause 07:43] But they hadn’t spoken to you recently? [07:44]
CO: 07:45 Who?

Reporter: 07:45(46) The Police

CO: 07:47 What For?

Reporter: 07:47(48) Well [micro-pause], because they{wer}because of [07:50 micro-pause] who it might contain on the actual videos [07:53]


CO: 07:54(55) yeah [hushed grunt 07:55] A gentleman came yesterday..

Reporter: 07:57 uh-huh

CO: 07:57 …and you are the next one[07:59]

Reporter: 07:59 uh-huh

CO: 07:59 (08:00) Prior to this [micro-pause] {oer}I had no person [08:03] or {eh}{which}anybody [08:03(04) check for edits more closely]

Reporter: 08:04 was the {je}, {w}was the gentleman who came yesterday police [micro-pause] or a journalist ?

CO: 08:09 Journalist

Reporter: Do’ you know {when}[micro pause] was he from the Independent [08:12]

CO: 08:13 yeah [hushed whispered]

Reporter: 08:13 Paul

CO: 08:14 [interrupt on Paul] {Independ}Independent{er} newspaper [08:15(16)]

Reporter, 08:16 Paul, Paul his name was wasn’t it [08:17]

CO: 08:18 yeah

Reporter: 08:18(19) Paul Peachy, OK, erm [micro pause 08:21] and what did you say to Paul, did you tell him [08:23 mciro-pause] anything else about what happened [08:25]

CO: 08:25 [interrupt on ‘happened’] Exactly same thing [08:26]

Reporter: 08:26 uh-hm


CO: 08: 27(28) As I say I am bound by [micro-pause] O..[08:29]

Reporter 08:29(30 [interrupt on ‘o..’] Oh! Nono, {I}I completely understand [08:30(31)]

CO: 08:30(31) [interrupt and over ‘completely understand’] {I}{I}I can’t [08:31(32)] really, errr [08:33 micro-pause 08:34] I can’t point detail out [08:35 check use of ‘can’t’ here in possible copy back and edit at 04:30] for this par-tic-ular case [08:37 check use of ‘particular’ here in possible copy back and edit at 04:34]

Reporter: 08:38 uh-hm [micro-pause 08:39] nah, OK I understand that [08:40] but-I-mean-is-there- any [running then micro pause] {er}having come from London [08:41] I-{wanna}-really-want-to-sort of-get-a-few.. [08:43]

CO: 08:(43)44 No, I understand but I {err} [08:45 tailing on err into a chuckle /laugh]

Reporter: 08:45 But can you remem-, can you erm [micro-pause 08:47] remember {wha}{ca}can you tell me what you can remember about it that you can [emphasized Can 08:50] tell [micro pause] and which {I }{can} I can get [micro pause] checked [08:52] within this place in Dover? [08:54 mic disturbed on ‘within’]

CO 08:56 [disturbed mic, muffled speech, ‘move on’ clear] Move on, same as before [08:57 check ‘same as before’]

Reporter: 08:57 Well just{I}, I was wondering [08:58] whether I could just make a note of what you remember about this particular case [09:01], so I can get it checked with the Customs & Excise at St John’s Road in Dover ? [09:05 rising intonation on ‘-over’]

CO: 09:(06)07 You’ve got enough details there [dropping 09:07(08]

Reporter: 09:08 yeah

CO: 09:09 ..and if you contact-errr [09:10(11)] the Dover office..[09:12(13]

Reporter: 09:13 mm-hm

CO: 09:13(14) ..where the records are kept [09:14]

Reporter 09:14 mm-hm

CO: 09:15 They will [micro-pause] know err, to what to tell you [09:19]

Reporter: 09:19(20) uh-hm

CO: 09:20 And{er} yu’know{er}, you will get an idea what’you’re after [09:23(24) running ‘what’you’re’ check not they’re. ‘what’you’re’ sounds corrects and fits logically. Dropping tone on after]

Reporter: 09:24 OK [pause 09:25(26)] is it public record though, will they have to [09:27(28) some knock or bang similar to 10:10, cup on table? Micro-pause09:28(29)] err provide me’cause what I wanted to know [09:30] {n}which they might not tell me, which I was hoping that I might be able to get a [micro pause] just a, literally, {n}just a.. [09:34(35)]

CO: 09:(34)35 [interrupt on ‘just a..’ ] No{ah} you’ve got enough{a}-enough thing there, [09:36 dropping]
Reporter [09:36(37) hmm

CO: 09:37 Once you mention my name and the date and the case yu’know, [09:40 breath ending]

Reporter: 09:40 mm-hm

CO: 09:41 err, they’ll be able to tell you what happened [09:43]
Reporter: 09:43(44) OK

CO: 09:44 [mid breath out] and I’m er therefore you see where to go basically [09:47 dropping, breath ending, ‘basically’ barely completed. Recheck this line more closely ]

Reporter: 09.48 alright’ well what they might not be able to tell me is who was, er, on the video [09:51pause] are you able to er just sort of let me know [09:55] if I’m I {b}{b}barking up the wrong tree {b}by

CO: 09:5(7)8: [interrupt on {b}by]{s}sorry {d}{d}don’t don’t try to force me ’cause I can’t [10:00]

Reporter: 10:(0)01 [interrupt on can’t] {n}{na}{na}no [10:02] {is}{is}if you can’t tell me [10:05]

CO: 10:03 [interrupt slight on ‘me’] No(-ah)

Reporter: 10:04 {but}but {I’m}I’m not far wrong when I say certain members, certain MP[e]s at the time, were included in those videos [10:10]

CO: 10:10 [interrupt on os] Well`it`was, er, because, er, [sound of crash over and between*.* muffeled] *[10:14end] me-mber [drawn out] of ca[bnet][10:15]*

(other voice possibly same journalist but there is a distance to it; ‘there’u’are [10:16])

Reporter: 10:1(6)7 [staccato] Cab’net!?

CO: 10:19 may’o’Cab’net, yeh [short, running together]

10:20 so it was [name redacted] wasn’t it?

CO: 10:2(0)1 [interrupt first name of MP, cross talk over muffled, isolate later, possible name recite ‘Henry’] yeh [10:21 on exhale, tailing][moves to say something else interrupted 10:2(2)3]

Reporter: 10:2(2)3: [interrupt] ’cause he’s part of the EC at the time [10:24]

CO: 10:2(4)5: but as I say, I mean I can’t, {I}I can’t pin point everything

Reporter: 10:2(8)9: No but it was..

CO: 10:29: [interrupt on it was] {eh}{eh}in reality [10:31] my memory’s failing me as well [10:33]

[Richard Thomas: Something I did check throughout the 10:15-10:30 section was whether the clock in the background was regular, although the crashing completely masks it, it seems to come back into place at the right time. The crashing does seem to contain low frequencies which aren’t present in the rest of the recording- I’d expect a voice recorder type thing to have filters to reduce low frequency noise from handling etc. An explanation could be that it’s something being put down on a table the recorder’s on and the sound’s transmitted through the table, a reason why it’s not muffled.

Something I think is an edit, however is the addition of “Henry/Henrik Bissner”? at 10:21. It sounds like someone else’s voice and the “s” on the end sounds like it’s been faded down. The way the noise floor is faded in too, doesn’t sound like it should. In order to actually prove it’s someone else’s voice you’d probably need access to someone who works in audio forensics . In addition there’s no clock tick here and I’d expect to be able to hear one there.]

[Other anonymous audio expert: The bang could be a bit suspicious in itself. Why did something like that have to happen exactly there, right at a crucial point, and nowhere else in the recording? Also, the ‘there’u’are’ bit leads straight off the bang, so it (the bang) could possibly have been used to cover up a rather clumsy edit. On second listen as well, something I can’t quite put my finger on, but the bang does sound tonally slightly out of kilter with the rest of the recording (too many lower range frequencies – rest of recording is very toppy). I can’t be 100% about this though.

Also, on a much closer listen, there is a very short section where the report says ‘so it was’ then the reply sounds like ‘henry bidemac yeh’. Immediately after this, there is a distorted peak leading into something which sounds like ‘I was part of the EC at the time’. To me, this possibly sounds like an edit, as there is a bit of customs guy’s voice, running straight into reporter’s voice. ]

Reporter: 10:3(3)4: [interrupt cross talk] no, of course

CO: 10:34 [interrupt on rse] yu’know,

Reporter: 10:3(4)5: [same time] erm

CO: 10:35: [same time] but er [1036]

Reporter: 10:3(6)7: [fast, running, excitement] Do you-know-if{heah-er-was}-he-was-never, I don’t think [name redacted] was ever charged [pause] with anything? [10:41]

CO: 10:(2)43: [animal sound or squeak 10:42] roll-a (not English)

Reporter: 10:4(5) Erm

CO: 10:45 because if the case was passed onto, er-our headquarters and then what ever I don’t know [end of breath tailing].

Reporter: 10 :40/50 OK 10:51 erm, [pause till 10:5(4)5] and-do’you know, {wi}{with}{the}, when you say Europe, he was {in-th}the European Commissioner, the EC [10:59] [pause] 11:01 erm, do you know what ha-, what was happening on there, was it [11:04 short pause] abundantly clear that this member of the, er, cab’net [11:08] was abusing children or was just on a video [11:10]?

[silence long]
CO: 11:1(3)4 oh, I can’t [hushed] remember that

Reporter: 11:1(4)5 [interrupt] but just that you might of – he was on the video


CO: 11:18 Well [pronounced] that person was involved and er [11:20], that’s why we had to seal the video [11:2(2)3]

Reporter 11:23 OK

CO: 11:2(4)5 and then er the department they [micro pause] superiors took over and that’s the end of my *years [*talked over on last word, isolate later to confirm] [11:31]

Reporter 11:31 [interrupting] yeah [micro pause] OK 11:3(2)3 but you saw him on the video?

CO: 11:35 I [emphasised, dragging] can’t tell you that [tailing hushed] [11:36]

Reporter: 11:3(6)7 No, erm but [11:38 pause] OK, well-its [ first name redacted] here [11:41], {we}we -er, we haven’t gone [emphasised g] to [name redacted] [11:44] yet, {we}we’re tryin’ to-sort-of-er, he might be the next port of call, to-sort-of, he is up in [location redacted] now, to speak to him [11:51] erm, but {yu}you’ve certainly had no calls from the police [11:54] from Yewtree, you know the Yewtree that was set up after, {t}the Jimmy Savile sandal?

Co: (11:59)12:00 Yeah-I-know-them [fast running together]

Reporter: 12:00 They haven’t contacted you {a}at all about erm

CO 12:02 [interrupt on erm] Nonono, nothing actually [12:04] The last [emphasised] thing was the gentleman came yesterday and *you are the next one*[12:07-11:10 *isolate and check*] and that’s it.

Reporter 12:(09)10 Before that it was probably what, 80s? 1982 when you last spoke to the police ?

CO: 12:14 Er-I haven’t spoken since, to anybody

Reporter 12:18 OK [micro pause] erm,

CO: 12:19[interrupt on erm] As I say, I mean this is, er, this was m-y job and er [12:24] it happened and everything was then, er [12:28] sorted out then and-er [rising tone] the matter was [micro pause] closed [emphasis], as far as I’m [emphasised, aggressive] concerned [12:33]

Reporter 12:33 Are you surprised though that [name redacted 12:35] never

CO: 12:3(5)6 Pardon?

Reporter: 12:36 Are you surprised that [name redacted] never, erm, [micro pause] was facing any police investigation? [12:42]

CO: 12:43 Nah [low breath]

Reporter: 12:4(4)5 You weren’t surprised. Is that because {it} it was [micro pause] perhaps a cover-up? [12:48]

CO: 12:51 [breath drawn] It’s difficult to say really [ rising speech 12:53]

Reporter: 12:5(3)4 You can’t say ’cause of, er, [micro pause 1.5 secs], OK [micro pause 1.5 secs] erm, [pause], is there-er-is there any contact number I can get, your phone number? [13:02]

CO: 13:02 My phone number? [rising, surprise]

Reporter: 13:03 Yeah, it’s-just-a-it-was-er, [running 13:04(5)] it will only be to check things with you [13:06] {n}{n}nothing more

CO: 13:07(8) [interrupt on ore] OK [emphasised, extended]

Reporter 13:0(7)8 Yeah

[long pause]

CO: 13:10 Its, er, [dialing code location]

Reporter 13:11 and that’s (local dialing code), is that right? [13:13]

CO: 13:13(4) [dialing code]

Reporter: 13:14 Yeeahh [dragged]

CO: 131(4)5 [number] [pause 13:16] [number] [13:18]

Reporter 13:1(8)9 [number repeat]? [pause 13:20] OoK [13:21] [pause] Ermm [13:25] [pause]

CO: 13:29 Have you got yourr [dragged, rising, question intonation] card or some-thing? [13:31]

Reporter: 13:31 I can-I’ll check [emphasised ch-eck13:32 mic volume change] if I haven’t I’ll leave you with all my contact details [13:3(4)5] mic volume change] [micro pause] [13:36] I usually do [pause] [13:39] OK, s’none around with me but I’ve been [13:41 micro pause] I’ve-sort-of-had [running] a bit of a clean out in the wallet [13:43] errrrr [long dragged 13:45] not my own but-I-got-other [running] people’s [micro pause] business cards [13:47] but-what-I’ll-do-is [running] I’ll preven.. [self regulation word stop 13:49] I’ll write down all the, er, [micro pause 13:51] my contact de-tai–ls [tone dropping, dragged, begrudged 13:52]

[pause, rustling and microphone movement]

Reporter: 14:0(2)3 ermm [micro pause] do-it-on-this{s} [14:03 running, dropping, tailing]

[long pause, writing heard]

14:44 grunt or cough

[long pause, sound of clicking]

Reporter 15:0(4)5 erm, as I said [15:06] everything you’ve [pause 15:09] you’ve told me, {is}is off the re-cord [dragged, dropping, tailing 15:11] the fact that nad- [self break 12:12(3] {th}the nod towards [name redacted] [15:14] that’s off the record as well [15:15].

CO: 15:15(6) lovely [micro pause] thank you [slight drag, high(thank) to low(you), gratitude, relief 15:17] [pause] just in case, you know? [15:(19)20]

Reporter: 15:20 [slight interrupt on ow] nono I understand completely [15:2(1)2], er

CO : 15:22 [at same time -letley] ye-ah [dragged]

Reporter: 15:22 [same time and over ye-ah] I mean his name has come up [micro pause 15:2(2)3] a number of times, and, [15:24] we were told that {hi}his initials, [redacted][15:26] stood for [name redacted] [15:27(8)]

[female cough 15:27 at same time as end of cited surname, continues till 15:32, in another room]

Reporter 15:(29)30 ermm [pause 15:31] what we didn’t know what was on the videos [15:33] we’ther or not they contained any MPs [15:34 micro pause] or whether or not it was simply him [15:37 micro pause] and someone in Amsterdam [15:38] [pause 15:4(0)1] {wa-was it} was it footage [rising, excited] taken in Amsterdam [15:42 dropping] or was it [15:43 dropping] footage taken from-[1544]

[15:37 sneeze, female on ‘or’]

CO: 15:44 [interrupt on ‘taken from’, speaking over] I can’t remember that now

Reporter 15:45 No

CO: 15:4(5)6 nah [micro pause] I,-ee-ar you know [15:47] {I}{ I}{as’a}, as I say-ay [dragging extended, tired 15:49] thirty time-, long time ago [15:51 cognitive language error ‘time’ used for ‘years’ by CO]

Reporter: 15:51(2) mm-hm [acknowledgment]

CO: 15:53 and er, we-sh [dragged slurred lisping] could get all this for obsvlee, all the time [15:56 slurring and lisping on words, cognitive damage on language use]

Reporter:15:57 mm-hm [acknowledgment]

CO: 15:5(7)8 yu’know [micro-pause 15:59] er [mico-pause] Mr [surname redacted] [dragging on last syllable16:00] or what ever [micro pause 16:01] the name was [16:02 rising on ‘was’]..

Reporter 16:02(3) [on -as’ at same time] mm

CO: 16:03 ..err [dragging] this err [dragged ‘this’ 16:05] doesn’t ring me {any}any bells [16:08]..

Reporter: 16:09 mm-hmm

CO: 16:09 at the time

Reporter: 16:09(10) [on ‘time’] mm-hmm

CO: 16:10 yu’know [16:11] he was, so [micro pause] I will [micro pause] could be anybody [rising 16:15] yu’know [trialing breathless dropping 16:16]

Reporter: 16:1(6)7 mm-hm

CO: 16:17 but this is [micro-pause] normal thing, everything it keeps on coming by, yu’know [16:2(1)2 trailing breathless tone dropping] [pause 16:23] it was a job, an’my-job [16:24]

Reporter: 16:24(5) mm-hm [short dropping]

CO: 16:25 errm [1626] I never thought that this will have [micro pause] yu’know [16:29 pause 16:30] compromise this way [16:31 check ‘compromise’ accuracy]

Reporter 16:31(2) No, but{did you}did you, when you watched the video of him [breath taken, micro -pause 16:33] did you instantly recognise him as [16:35 pause 16:36(7)] the MP? [pause]

CO: 16:38[9] {I can’t}I can’t tell you that, I don’t know I can’t remember [16:42] off hand now [16:43 running slightly]

Reporter: 16:(3)44 When did you find out that it was [micro-pause][name redacted][dropping16:45]

CO: 16:47 Your best [emphasised] bet is er, to

Reporter 16:48 [interrupt on to] yeah

CO: 16:49 yu’know [dropping breathless, knowingly]

Reporter: 16:5(49)0 yeah, I-{kno}know {I}I’ll [rising 16:50(1)]

CO: 16:50(1) [interrupt on I’ll] {I}I [emphasised loudly] don’t think {I-will}I can go too much into that [16:53]

Reporter: 16:53(4) No, of course

CO: 16:55 [interrupt on rse] Its not fair really [dropping]

Reporter 16:56 [staccato] Nonono, er sorry-[hushed]-what-ever you-tell-me [running from sorry], its completely off the record [16:58] I’m not gunna [16:59], erm, [micro-pause 17:00] mention your name or anything at all [17:02] its all off record but-as-I-said [17:04] I{did}it was told to me [micro-pause] that it was [name redacted] and you’ve seen [micro-pause 17:06] the video of [name redacted] [17:07][pause 17:08(9)] {on that}, on the video {contained in}contained on that, erm [17:12] coach, erm [17:13(4) micro pause 17:14(5)] but, what we’ll do I’ll check that with [micro pause], to see if [micro pause] erm [micro pause 17:19] if there is any more details at the [micro pause] address that you gave me in Dover [17:22 pause 17:23] is that all the information, that you can’t give any more information? [17:25]

{CO: 16:59 [over reporter speech] yeah [dragged disbelief] 17:02 yeah [over reporter ‘all’ dragged disbelief]}

CO: 17:25 [interrupt on infor- spoken over reporter on -ation) no-{ah} [dragged, low breath], I can’t, honestly, I’m not supposed to give any.

Reporter: 17:29 No [mic knocked]

CO: 17:30 but er, you can understand my position

Reporter: 17:32 yeah, of course, of course, {did}did, erm, [17:34] Paul, who spoke to you yesterday, did he mention [micro pause] [redacted name] name? [17:39]


CO: 17:41 nee-chee-la-chee (not English addressed to someone else?)

Reporter: 17:4(2)3 Did you tell him as well that it was, him, did you mention to him… [17:45]

CO: 17:45 [interrupt on ‘him’] No {I}I told him exactly what I’m telling you [dropping, slight anger] [17:47]

Reporter: 17:47 aha

CO: 17:48 That I can’t [micro pause] say more than what I say already [17:50]

Reporter: 17:51 yeah

CO: 17:52 If he need more information, that’s the place in Dover, yu’know [ 17:56 pause 17:57]{they}they should have all the information down there [18:00] I’m sure they will be able to [micro-pause] tell you, {wha}whatever [18:04].

Reporter: 18:04 yeah, OK

On the Eve of Possible Major Revelations – and a Reply to Eric Joyce

At the time of writing this (evening on Monday June 30th, 2014), it is the day before an important event in the House of Commons. Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, co-author (with Matt Baker) of Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback, 2014), is due (at 4:15 pm on Tuesday July 1st) to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Whilst the ostensible subject of this meeting is to do specifically with historical child abuse in Rochdale (Cyril Smith’s old constituency, now Danczuk’s), Danczuk has also written of how Smith was connected to the sinister figure of Peter Righton and a wider paedophile ring including prominent politicians (see this article by Watson in praise of Danczuk). In particular, this ring is thought to have frequented the notorious Elm Guest House in Barnes, South-West London, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and one name in particular of a very senior former cabinet minister from the Thatcher era (a name which I do not intend to share here) has been widely circulated around social media and the internet. This ex-minister has also been linked to a separate story concerning the rape of a woman known just as ‘Jane’ in 1967, but the police apparently have dropped any plans to prosecute (or even arrest or interview) the minister.

Back in April, Danczuk indicated to the Daily Mail that he might use Parliamentary Privilege to name the MP in question; in an interview given to The Independent a little over a week ago, he affirmed his intention to do so if asked, and may also name a further Labour politician involved in a separate abuse scandal (this is likely to be the former Blair-era cabinet minister alleged to have abused boys in a children’s home in Lambeth, run by paedophile Michael John Carroll, in which case experienced detective Clive Driscoll was taken off the case as he allegedly came to investigate the minister.

The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) has eleven members; five Conservatives (Nicola Blackwood, James Clappison, Michael Ellis, Lorraine Fullbrook and Mark Reckless), one Liberal Democrat (Julian Huppert) and five Labour (Chair Keith Vaz, Ian Austin, Paul Flynn, Yasmin Qureshi and David Winnick). Vaz has a particular connection as he was Solicitor for Richmond Council, and a parliamentary candidate for Richmond & Barnes around the time when the alleged events at Elm Guest House occurred (see the account of his career with primary sources, ‘Keith Vaz and the Mystery of Barnes Common’ at Spotlight). Three members of the HASC – Huppert, Flynn and Qureshi – have declared their support for a national inquiry into organised abuse; one member of the HASC has confirmed that Danczuk will be asked about visitors to Elm Guest House (Leftly, ‘MP will name politician ‘involved in child abuse”). This will be an important occasion at the HASC which may change the whole climate of opinion concerning abuse and the urgent need for an inquiry.

Yet at the eleventh hour, the Exaro news website, who have attempted to claim control and credit for all matters relating to the call for an inquiry (with the help of a few people never described more specifically than ‘Exaro’s twitter followers’), are calling upon Danczuk not to name the minister(s) in question, as well as claiming on Twitter that they have now got some special information which changes things (which of course they are not prepared to share). I will return to this in a moment.

First I want to respond to a blog post by Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk . In response to a lobbying campaign of MPs to support a national inquiry into organised abuse, started by seven MPs (Conservative Zac Goldsmith and Tim Loughton, Liberal Democrat John Hemming and Tessa Munt, Labour Tom Watson and Danczuk, and Green Caroline Lucas), which was indeed reported by David Hencke for Exaro (David Hencke, MPs call on Teresa May to set up inquiry into child sex abuse’), a relatively organic campaign was started around the same time (beginning with a draft letter from earlier by another campaigner on another forum) which came to be initially about encouraging all those who agree to write to their own MPs and ask them to join the original seven. Some took the decision instead to send Tweets to all MPs on Twitter, which has certainly led to positive responses from some. In most cases, it is likely that a combination of the reminders on Twitter, together with letters sent to all MPs from Tim Loughton, information about the campaign e-mailed by various of us to MPs requesting it, and private discussions between MPs (not least between Tory MPs and Loughton, and Labour MPs and Watson) has led many to support the campaign, which some have announced on Twitter; at the time of writing the number stands at 123, though there has been only minimal coverage in the mainstream media, even in the wake of the latest Savile reports (such as this article by Robert Mendick and Eileen Fairweather in the Telegraph). Mark Watts, Editor-in-Chief at Exaro, who tweets as @exaronews as well as under his personal handle, has certainly been urging people to simply keep asking MPs Yes or No. Sometimes the Twitter campaign has got rather hysterical, with tweets which appear to scream at both politicians and journalists, sometimes accusing them of being supporters of child rape if they don’t reply, or don’t support this precise campaign. This mode of argument allows for no discussion, no reasonable and intelligent debate about the exact nature, remit and purpose of an inquiry, nothing more than screaming emotional blackmail, and serves no good purpose other than to try and bully politicians into agreeing. It is certainly not something with which I want to be associated, and shows Twitter at its worst. But this is what appears to have provoked Eric Joyce’s blog post.

Joyce’s primary objections to the demands of the original seven campaigners can be summarised as follows:

(a) they would undermine the Crown Prosecution Service’s consideration of an important police report presently before it (he does not make clear exactly which report this refers to).
(b) the campaign does not mention Savile of the issues implied by this case, and would thus miss these.
(c) it is focused entirely on historical rumours about ‘senior politicians’.
(d) it would exclude adult victims of Savile.

Then he also lays out wider objections to the actions of other campaigners (i.e. beyond the original seven MPs):

(i) they routinely use abusive bullying tactics, which are hardly persuasive.
(ii) it all has a ‘really sickening “get the pedos/cops/politicians” feel about it’ and ‘looks like a campaign designed to catch public attention for its own sake rather than a genuine effort to get at important truths’.
(iii) names of politicians have routinely been published online, which could wreck the lives of innocent people and destroy the case put by the police to the CPS.
(iv) the whole campaign is really a self-aggrandising exercise by Exaro, who have recently found that they cannot pay their one way, and have become a ‘schlock merchant’ who only really have one story, cynically waiting until the names of alleged ‘politician paedophiles’ were all over the internet before asking campaigners not to post or tweet them.
(v) there is some confusion between calls for other types of wide inquiry and this specific one, differences between which are papered over by Exaro.

I cannot deny that (i) is true of some campaigners, though this is definitely not a style I want anything to do with – nor with campaigners associated with the BNP, those who are homophobes, man-haters, paranoid conspiracy theorists, unconcerned about the difference between truth and fiction, and so on. One reason for becoming involved in abuse campaigning (over and above knowing a good deal of survivors sometimes very close to me, and becoming convinced that this was an issue bigger than simply individual perpetrators, in classical music and elsewhere), was the hope that it might be possible to avoid and go beyond tabloid-style hysteria over this inevitably highly emotive subject. As far as I am concerned, though, those who support vigilante action, capital punishment or other forms of cruel and unusual punishment, are no better than abusers themselves. However, the medium of Twitter, allowing only for 140 characters per tweet, can hardly do justice to this nuanced and complex subject, nor do I imagine (whatever some might think) that many MPs’ minds were changed purely by receiving a tweet from someone using a pseudonym; rather used this prompt to announce something they had already decided. I disdain (ii) for the same reasons, but realise that only by identifying prominent names is it likely that the whole campaign will gain wider attention with a public otherwise seeing celebrity names such as Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford and others. As things stand the campaign can resemble a cult, with various people frequenting small sub-sections of social media and Exaro, but unfortunately sometimes not realising how invisible this is to much of the wider public. Social media are certainly not the place to name names (coming to (iii)), but in light of the fact of many claims of failure of police to interview prominent figures, intelligence services sitting in on interviews, witnesses being threatened, important evidence going missing (including dossiers going to the Home Office), I do believe some more decisive action is needed now (more to follow on this in a moment).

I will come back to (iv) but will address (a)-(d) first. Objection (a) is unclearly specified and so cannot be responded to properly. There is no reason why the inquiry could not also look at Savile, certainly (there is plenty of reason to think there may be connections between his activities and those in other abuse scandals, not least his connections to senior politicians). And just because of the areas specified as requested to be included in the original letter from the seven MPs to Teresa May (which I have also posted below Joyce’s blog), such an inquiry could certainly be extended further. Re (c), The demands go well beyond historical cases involving politicians, dealing with a range of children’s homes, businessmen trafficking between countries, churches, public schools, and much more, so this criticism is wholly unfounded. The issue of adult victims is a serious one (also a big issue in the classical music world, abuse of all types in which is a particular area on which I have campaigned extensively), but I cannot believe an inquiry could not be adapted around this as well. I doubt many supporters have an absolutely clear idea of exactly the form the inquiry would take; rather it is the principle that this type of inquiry should happen which is being supported.

Returning to (iv); I do not really want to write too much about Exaro, as I certainly think some of their journalists – most notably David Hencke – do excellent work (see also Hencke’s blog), and do not share anything like as negative a view as does Joyce. I do have problems with the way in which Mark Watts, however, has attempted in a territorial fashion to claim complete control of the campaign as purely an Exaro initiative sustained through ‘Exaro’s twitter followers’, showing zero interest in a wider campaign involving e-mailing and constituents contacting their MPs (less ‘rapid-fire’ than anonymous tweets), whilst jealously guarding information for himself and trying to shore up a fledgling organisation, and tweeting with a rather boorish swagger which has unfortunate associations. Most posts or tweets by Watts try to steer the serious issues of organised abuse and urgent need for investigation into being self-promotion for Exaro, in a territorial manner which has perhaps dissuaded other media from taking an interest (most other journalists and broadcasters I have contacted have felt the story is not yet big enough to cover). When I first started being involved in abuse campaigning last year I was warned (not least by some senior journalists who I consulted) about two things in particular: (a) how some journalists will try and get you to do their work for them for free; and (b) how many people greatly exaggerate the importance of social media. Of both of these I am definitely convinced, but have known excellent journalists (including Hencke) with whom to work on stories and share information under fair conditions of confidence.

Sadly, with these lessons in mind, I do have reason for scepticism about Exaro on several fronts, which I would not bring up were it not for their eleventh-hour intervention. The Twitter campaign seems a typical example of their getting others to do their work for them (posing as campaigners rather than journalists) for free. Through the course of the last 18 months Exaro have promised major new developments, arrests, and built up to each new report in an extremely dramatic way. There have certainly been some important reports, for sure, not least those on ‘Jane’ (though this story does have its doubters) and also Mark Conrad’s earlier reports on links between Operations Fairbank and Fernbridge and the killings of Sydney Cooke, though much less coverage (or links to coverage by others) of issues involving Peter Righton and numerous networks involved in children’s homes, not to mention churches, schools and elsewhere, stories which are generally less spectacular. The sort of investigative journalism which grapples with the complexities of these other fields is done more successfully by a variety of other journalists at The Times (Andrew Norfolk’s work on Caldicott, Colet Court, St Paul’s and many other public schools, and Sean O’Neill on Robert Waddington and Manchester Cathedral), The Independent (Paul Gallagher on abuse in music schools and colleges), The Guardian (Helen Pidd’s important set of articles on Chetham’s and the RNCM), and sometimes at the Mail (Martin Beckford on PIE and their Labour links, and many earlier articles published here and in the Standard and Telegraph by Eileen Fairweather), Express (the latest work by Tim Tate and Ted Jeory on PIE and the Home Office), Mirror (Tom Pettifor on abuse in Lambeth and the Labour connection) and People (Keir Mudie and Nick Dorman on Operation Fernbridge and associated investigations, sometimes working together with Exaro). Exaro have certainly provided an important service, as one of various news organisations.

But now I fear that territorial attitudes could play a part in sabotaging an important opportunity. Watts has published a piece today aimed at dissuading Danczuk from naming, in which in a rather grandiose fashion he reports how ‘We have strongly advised him against naming the ex-minister tomorrow, and we are grateful that he has listened to us closely and is considering our points carefully’ and the same time as (almost comically) disparaging ‘Journalists on national newspapers, desperate for a splash story’, who allegedly have been arguing otherwise. Watts argues that ‘David Cameron is under intense pressure to agree to an overarching inquiry into child sex abuse in the UK’ which he doesn’t want. How big this pressure is is debatable; Cameron could brush off a question from Duncan Hames at Prime Minister’s Questions quite easily (see the bottom of here for the exchange), and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not seem particularly flustered at the debate in the Commons last week. The majority of MPs supporting an inquiry have been Labour – 73 at the current count, compared to 23 Conservatives. Many Conservatives have been copying and pasting stock replies which say nothing. Furthermore, most of the Labour MPs have been backbenchers without so many high profile figures; despite the support of Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham (who did not necessarily commit his party to support in the Commons, though, as I argued last week – this is a response to point (v) which I identify in Joyce’s blog), there has been only occasional support from other front bench figures. A proper inquiry would need to look at such matters as abuse which went on at children’s homes controlled by Islington Council when senior Labour figure Margaret Hodge was leader, of the role of the Paedophile Information Exchange, about whom I have written amply elsewhere, which embroils current Deputy Leader Harriet Harman and frontbench spokesman Jack Dromey; as argued earlier, Ed Miliband needs to take a lead on this, but it should not be so surprising that he has not yet done so. There are rumblings about Labour figures also visiting Elm Guest House, and of course the deeply serious issue of a senior Labour figure as a suspect for abuse in Lambeth, not to mention continuing investigations into Lord Janner, whose office at the House of Lords was raided earlier this year. Certainly any such inquiry would not be likely to be easy for Labour, nor for the Liberal Democrats, with the debacle of Cyril Smith still haunting them, and further rumbling about some other senior figures.

But at present mainstream media attention is very sporadic, and certainly in my experience (amongst generally educated people well-informed on news) very little of this has yet registered with a wider public. Cameron has in the last week had to deal with the conviction (and possible further retrial) of his former press secretary Andy Coulson, the charging of his former advisor on online pornography Patrick Rock for manufacturing images of child abuse, and now his failure to avoid Jean-Claude Juncker from being voted to be the next EU Commissioner. It is hard to see how a demand primarily from a group of Labour backbenchers would be obsessing him at such a time (though the campaign should definitely continue and hopefully grow). Watts claims that Danczuk’s naming of the ex-minister (he doesn’t mention the Labour minister) would serve as a ‘diversion from the inquiry call’, as front pages would be dominated by the ex-minister’s name. I think this is nonsense; such dissemination of the allegation that an extremely senior minister could themselves have been part of a ring-fenced VIP ring would cause outrage and anger, and the pressure for a proper inquiry would be irresistible. This very evening, Watts has also been tweeting that some new information has come to light which changes everything, but characteristically they will not even hint at what this is. Major developments have been promised before by the organisation, but these have rarely materialised. It is now looking more like a petty playground fight over who has the biggest amount of secret information.

Ultimately, as mentioned before, simple lists of MPs’ names are not that newsworthy, as various major journalists have had to point out to me. Only a major catalyst such as the revelation of a major name would be likely to get more attention. What this would also change is that the story would be taken up by all the major media, to such an extent that Exaro’s contributions would cease to be so central; I do wonder if this is what Watts is trying so hard to avoid. In the end, though, wider exposure for the many stories of abuse (which would follow upon the outrage caused by revelations that this extends to the very highest levels, and other figures were protected for this reason) is more important than the prestige of one website.

If Danczuk is certain that the ex-minister (and the ex Labour minister) are guilty, and the only reasons why they have not been brought to justice is through cover-ups, destruction of evidence, intimidation of witnesses, or simply stalling for convenience’s sake, then I hope very much he will name names tomorrow. If there is doubt about this, then it would only be wise not to do so – using Parliamentary Privilege in a way which would smear an innocent person would be reprehensible. I have faith in Danczuk to do the right thing, and hope the momentum which has been achieved will not be sacrificed for the short-term interests of any media organisation. If all of this is being covered in details in newspapers and on broadcast news programmes being read/watched by many of the country’s population (in some cases with stories written for these papers by Hencke, Conrad and others), it would be all for the better, even if many of the earlier campaigners (including myself) are quickly forgotten.