An important new blog article was posted by Tom Griffin on Tuesday (Tom Griffin, ‘From Kincora to PIE: Why the abuse inquiry needs access to intelligence documents’, August 5th, 2014), relating to recent reports concerning abuse at the Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast, about which I earlier blogged here. In particular, Griffin’s article noted a mention in Paul Foot’s book Who Framed Colin Wallace? (London: Macmillan, 1989) of an article by Dr Morris Fraser (also known as Roderick Fraser), a child psychologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, who was also connected to the Paedophile Information Exchange and later to the Azimuth Trust, who was convicted of multiple offences against children in several countries (beginning in the early 1970s) and also had connections with the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and various European paedophile groups. He nonetheless often appeared or was cited on the subject of the plight of children during the troubles in Northern Ireland, and was the author of and Children in Conflict (London: Secker & Warburg, 1973) and The Death of Narcissus (London: Secker & Warburg, 1976), the latter a sympathetic Freudian analysis of paedophile desire as represented in literature, which continues to be cited, for example, in the introduction by Anthony Curtis to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers (London: Penguin Books, 1986) (see here for a sample). I will blog in more detail on Fraser at a later date; for now, I would recommend people read the Spotlight links given above, and in particular watch the following film about the Azimuth Trust.
The citation occurs in one of the documents belonging to Colin Wallace included in the appendix to Foot’s book. One should be wary about assuming too much from this, as it is only a citation of an article, but it opens up the possibility, suspected for a while by some, of a link between Fraser (and thus also PIE, NAMBLA, the Azimuth Trust, and various other networks in several countries) and the Kincora abuse scandal. I am reproducing the appendix from Foot’s book here, which was not included in my earlier post, for this reason.
Many voices have been raised in the midst of the plans for an abuse inquiry rightly insisting that the many unanswered questions about the dreadful abuse scandal at the Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast should also be addressed.
At a later date, I will collate in chronological order a wide range of newspaper articles past and present on Kincora; for now, one should look at the extensive collection at the Spotlight blog, and an equally important collection of pieces at the Needle blog, not least in terms of much material relating to former London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s comments on the affair. On recent calls, I would strongly recommend the below articles, not least for the highly principled words on video (in the Belfast Telegraph article from July 15th) of Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt.
Leo McKinstry, ‘Fear of child abuse cover up secret dossier at the heart of establishment’, Daily Express, July 3rd, 2014. (with comments on Anthony Blunt and Kincora)
Kincora should be part of UK inquiry into child abuse says Amnesty, BBC News Northern Ireland, July 8th, 2014.
Chris Kilpatrick, ‘Kincora: MI5 ‘must hand over files on abuse at east Belfast boys’ home’, Belfast Telegraph, July 9th, 2014.
‘Butler-Sloss abuse inquiry ‘would have led to Kincora”, BBC News Northern Ireland, July 14th, 2014.
‘Kincora: Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt joins calls for inquiry into abuse at boys’ home’, Belfast Telegraph, July 15th, 2014.
Chris Page ‘Kincora victim: ‘NI home should be part of UK child abuse inquiry’, BBC News Northern Ireland, July 15th, 2014.
Chris Moore, ‘Why we need a proper investigation into Kincora’, Sunday World, July 16th, 2014. (also mentions Blunt, and claims about the late Mountbatten).
‘Kincora: Keith Vaz calls for east Belfast home to be included in UK child abuse investigation’, BBC News Northern Ireland, July 17th, 2014.
Liam Clarke, ‘Kincora scandal: I will reveal the secrets, says ex-Army officer Colin Wallace’, Belfast Telegraph, July 17th, 2014.
Eamonn McCann, ‘Victims of abuse in North still waiting for justice’, Irish Times, July 17th, 2014.
‘Colin Wallace: Any Kincora inquiry ‘must have full access”, BBC News Northern Ireland, July 20th, 2014.
Ciaran Barnes, ‘Paisley’s dead pastor friend linked to Kincora abuse’, Belfast Telegraph, July 21st, 2014.
Eamonn McCann, ‘MI5’s murky role in Kincora scandal yet to be exposed’, Irish Times, July 24th, 2014.
Henry McDonald, ‘State can’t ignore abuse at Kincora Boys Home under secret watch’, Belfast Telegraph, July 29th, 2014.
Mike Browne, ‘Former MI5 officer says agency buried sexual abuse of boys at Kincora home’, Irish Mirror, July 31st, 2014.
Kincora abuse investigation stopped by MI5 says ex-army officer’, BBC News Northern Ireland, August 1st, 2014.
There are two standard texts on Kincora. One is Chris Moore’s The Kincora Scandal: Political Cover-Up and Intrigue in Northern Ireland, with foreword by Clifford Smyth (Dublin: Marina Books, 1996), which can be accessed by those with Scribd access here. The other is an earlier text, Paul Foot’s Who Framed Colin Wallace? (London: Macmillan, 1989), a section from which I earlier posted here. Here I include all the passages from the book specifically relating to Kincora.
[Since first publishing this article online a number of further MPs have indicated their support for a national inquiry in line with the express wishes of the original seven. For details of this, and how to write to your MP to ask them to support, please see this post]
The pioneering news organisation Exaro have published two important articles today by David Hencke relating to a cross-party group of seven MPs who have written jointly to Home Secretary Theresa May called for a proper inquiry into child abuse, citing the Hillsborough inquiry as a model (see Hencke, ‘Police keep failing ‘to follow evidence’ in abuse cases, say MPs: Call for wide inquiry into ‘schools, churches, children’s homes, politicians and celebrities’, 3/6/14, and ‘MPs call on Theresa May to set inquiry into child sex abuse: Tim Loughton and Zac Goldsmith in cross-party group that highlights failures by police’, 3/6/14; see also Jason Beattie, ‘MPs demand inquiry into historic claims of child sex abuse by Cabinet Ministers’, Daily Mirror, 4/6/14).
The seven MPs in question (who Hencke has elsewhere called the ‘Magnificent Seven’) are:
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, whose constituency contains Elm Guest House, Grafton Close Children’s Home, and Colet Court and St Paul’s Schools (Twitter @ZacGoldsmith ).
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and former Children’s Commissioner, who spoke powerfully in the House of Commons in September 2013 about many ongoing revelations of abuse (Website here; Twitter @timloughton ).
John Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley, who made representations on behalf of financial journalist Leah McGrath Goodman on the grounds of her being banned from the UK following investigation into child abuse at Haut de la Garenne, Jersey, but has also been critical of UK family courts when dealing with allegations of abuse against parents. (Website here; Twitter @johnhemmingmp )
Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, who as a member of the Education Select Committee has taken a special interest in child safeguarding, and whose constituency contains Wells Cathedral School, one of the five specialist music schools, all of which have been connected to abuse (Website here; Twitter @tessamunt )
Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, who has been indefatigable in his commitment to this issue ever since raising in Westminster in October 2012 the issues of a high-level paedophile ring (see Watson’s blog and articles here and many other places online; Twitter @tom_watson ).
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, co-author with Matthew Baker of Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback, 2014), who has written of how Smith was connected to Peter Righton and also a wider paedophile ring including prominent politicians (see this article by Watson in praise of Danczuk) (Website here, Twitter @simondanczuk )
These seven MPs are concerned about how important files, surveillance videos and other material have gone missing, lack of charges brought as a result of Operation Fernbridge, and in general an apparent reluctance on the part of the police and others to pursue cases of serious abuse. Watson has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions naming a former cabinet minister alleged to have raped a woman going by the name of ‘Jane’ (see also the detailed five-part account linked to at the bottom of this article and the video interview with ‘Jane’); this is the same senior cabinet minister who has been linked to the VIP paedophile ring related to Elm Guest House (as confirmed by Mark Watts on Twitter on 18/5/14). The Metropolitan Police have chosen not to pursue Jane’s allegations further, nor even interview the alleged perpetrator, raising serious questions about whether proper procedure has been followed; Exaro have also claimed that there was a shocking concerted police smear campaign aimed at discrediting ‘Jane’. Furthermore, there are serious questions about the whereabouts of a series of documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP (see here, here and here), one of the few MPs who continued to pursue this issue in the 1980s. Loughton has spoken of his alarm at consistent ‘reluctance, or more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies to investigate the allegations seriously, and pursue the perpetrators rigorously’, and how ‘Documents go missing and investigations are curtailed with a chilling frequency, and that now threatens a serious undermining of the public’s confidence in our current child-protection system despite all the progress that has undoubtedly been made in recent years’.
The range of areas of public life in which there have been major allegations of abuse is frighteningly large: these include children’s homes in Islington (see also here and this article by whistleblower Liz Davies), Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Haute de la Garenne in Jersey, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Staffordshire (the ‘Pindown’ scandal) Birmingham, Leicestershire, North Wales, South Wales, Cheshire, Leeds, Sunderland, Northumberland, Lothian, Renfrewshire, Isle of Lewis, the Kincora Boy’s Home in Belfast, Stockgrove Park School, Buckinghamshire, Stanbridge Earls School near Romsey, Hampshire, New Barns School, Gloucestershire, Castle Hill School, Shropshire, St George’s School, Suffolk, Knowl View School in Rochdale, in Cleveland, many of the leading public schools (see also the range of articles here), the Catholic Church, not least in Scottish abbeys, the Church of England, the entertainment industry (not least involving Jimmy Savile), grooming gangs in the North West and Oxford, music education, a ring around Piccadilly Circus, major networks trading images of child abuse, and more. Some of these cases have been investigated, with some prosecutions, but there is good reason to believe some of these investigations have been half-hearted, whilst other cases have simply been ignored. There are many individuals linked to multiple networks (not least the sinister figure of Peter Righton), continuing talk of the VIP paedophile ring connected to Elm Guest House and elsewhere, major information concerning late MPs Cyril Smith and Peter Morrison and serious allegations about others who are living (not least the severe claim that a Blair era cabinet minister was being investigated for abusing children in a home in Lambeth, leading to a detective being taken off the case, and even that a council official looking to expose a ring involving the minister was murdered). The activities of members of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), about whom I have blogged in detail, remain shady, and there are many suggestions that this organisation might be linked to a great number of cases of abuse. Furthermore, it is now clear that PIE had deep links to the Home Office, receiving large amounts of money from the organisation, with at least three members working on its premises (with a phone line there), its magazine printed there, and some civil servants receiving images of child abuse delivered to the building!
It is heartening to see such a diverse cross-party group of MPs coming together on this issue. Yet it is more than a little disappointing that there are not more, and that the most senior politicians in all the major parties do not appear to be taking seriously what can only be called an epidemic (if even less than half of the allegations were true). I would urge everyone reading this to write to their own MP and implore them to support the seven courageous figures above (any of whom I would gladly vote for). I have earlier blogged on the need for Ed Miliband, the leader of the party to which I belong (Labour), to put all of his weight behind calls for a proper inquiry, but also how there is near-silence from the upper echelons of Labour, perhaps related to the fact that senior Labour politicians are under investigation and also that the current Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, has been linked to PIE during her time as Legal Officer at the NCCL, during which period NCCL took out an advert in PIE’s journal Magpie and also their policy on images of children reflects aspects of PIE thinking. But this should not be stopping Miliband, nor should worries about the former Thatcher era cabinet minister, and Peter Morrison and others, be stopping David Cameron (and in light of revelations about Cyril Smith, Nick Clegg should be firmly behind this).
Leading experts, researchers and campaigners on child abuse Peter McKelvie and Liz Davies met recently with Home Office minister Norman Baker. They were granted a mere ten minutes of time, despite having built up huge bodies of evidence about child abuse, but it was made clear that there was no intention to undertake either a national police investigation (absolutely necessary because so many complex cases are interlinked) nor a public inquiry. I would urge people to read the account above. Nonetheless, I have been informed that both individuals spoke very highly of Zac Goldsmith’s commitment to the issues in particular.
The media have reported much about the relatively small number of cases coming to court as a result of Operation Yewtree. But these are just a tiny fraction of the wider allegations of serious and sustained abuse (and non-sexual abuse should not be treated any less seriously). All credit to these seven MPs, but as for the others – if our MPs do not care about protecting children in the most vulnerable situations, what do they care about?