Police Child Abuse Investigations And The MSM.

There are two reasons why I want to make a post on this subject. The first is that The Needle team are working on a series of articles looking at child abuse investigations centred around London during the 1980s and that these articles will be heavily reliant on mainstream media (MSM) sources for information.

Like the majority of people in the country, I had always assumed that information published, or broadcast, by the MSM had always been thoroughly investigated and was reliable. Certainly, mistakes happen but these must be rare anomalies to my mind. However, having looked closely at a few live police investigations  over the last year and read virtually every news story connected to them, I’ve had to conclude that there are quite a few misleading inaccuracies which inform the general public’s overview of these current historic child abuse investigations.

I’m just going to highlight two examples.

The first concerns a broadcast by Channel 4 News back on the 6th November last year. As Darren Laverty clearly demonstrates on his blog HERE, and HERE, the alleged witness, whose identity has rightly been protected by Channel 4 News, makes some ‘newsworthy’ allegations but as Darren Laverty goes on to point out, the ‘witness’ has since publicly retracted or contradicted the version of events he gave to Channel 4. We can only hope that the subject of this interview has not been similarly economic with the truth if he has been in contact with the police. As was demonstrated earlier in the year when someone else was arrested for making unsubstantiated allegations against a current member of the government, making false allegations to the police or misleading them in the course of their investigations, if deemed to be malicious, can lead to being arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The Channel 4 News story can be viewed HERE

The second example I want to highlight concerns a story published in The Sunday Mirror on 16th February this year, it can be read HERE. The Needle team have very good reasons to believe, and are satisfied, that the reference to Operation Orchid in this story is incorrect and that it should read ‘Operation Hedgerow’. Therefore, the further reference to a connection to Sidney Cooke, which was almost certainly inferred by The Sunday Mirror due to the incorrect assumption that the police investigation was Operation Orchid, is ‘questionable’.

Furthermore, although it is my belief that Cyril Smith was connected to Operation Hedgerow, and that the unnamed politician may have been connected to that police investigation, I’m extremely skeptical that Jimmy Savile was.

These are just two examples but I could flag up many more from other MSM outlets.

I do not want to suggest that either Channel 4 News or The Sunday Mirror acted in bad faith when they put these stories in the public domain, nor that they are the worst offenders (that prize goes to another newspaper), nor either that these mistakes make up the majority of news stories on this topic,  I just want to highlight that, from my experience, the MSM are not infallible.

Some readers might ask; why if I know that some MSM stories are inaccurate or misleading do I not correct them all instead of picking just two out ? Unfortunately, that is a difficult question to answer. The best answer I can give at this time, and I know this will sound disappointingly vague, is that I do not believe it would be helpful to the police if I were to do so.

I said at the beginning of this article that there were two reasons why I wanted to write about this issue. The first was that The Needle will be publishing some articles which rely on MSM sources, though I’m confident that the material we will use is accurate.

The second is that at some point in the future, the current historic child abuse investigations will conclude and reports will be made and I can anticipate a situation arising whereby members of the public will infer that the police have covered up simply because their reports contradict or do not consider some information contained in MSM stories.

It seems best to me to highlight this issue now rather than when these reports come out as it will give people plenty of time to consider the issue and it will not look like an excuse. If it is possible, I will try and explain other ‘mistakes’ in MSM stories at the appropriate time.

PS, Just so nobody thinks this article is a case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’, I’ve made a few of my own mistakes and so have inadvertently added to the misleading canon of information in the public domain which will have to be corrected.


Filed under Abuse, Fairbank, Fernbridge, News, Politics

23 responses to “Police Child Abuse Investigations And The MSM.

  1. In reply to gojam. I came into this field when a journalist on Social Work Today in the 80s. I was concerned by the flaws in abuse disclosure techniques and uncritical belief. When this escalated to ‘Satanic abuse’ I realised the potential for widespread injustice and resigned from the magazine because it was unwilling to publish the truth about the Nottingham case and was still holding out for SRA. This was in 1991. From there I researched the field and moved towards the law. I have worked as an independent consultant with Chris Saltrese for 8 years, not 18. Individual cases do not inform my comments here on the policy and practice issues. My concern was and has always been truth and justice, not ‘getting child abusers off’.
    Unless there are reliable methods of recognising false positives, genuine abuse will continue to slip through the net.

  2. Well done, Gojam, for being humble, and for clarifying past mistakes. It can only increase your credibility. The comments on your blog are some of the best I find on these topics anywhere, which goes to the thoughtfulness of the readership you’ve attracted.

    Stardog23 has left a comment I will want to read again, because it describes better that I ever could, what worries me and disturbs me most as an avid fan of good investigative journalism – one who has felt crushed and betrayed by the Western (mainstream) media as I’ve watched brilliant bloggers continue to evidence its failings. It’s a odd thing to see that much of the best journalism today is offered by those who aren’t paid for that work.

    Many of us are, like the father described by Stardog23, unlikely candidates for the tin-foil-hat society, and yet, and yet.. we are continually exposed to evidence now of mainstream media complicity, police corruption, political interference with all, and insidious disinformation campaigns designed to thwart perception of key events.

    Given what we know about media and police resistance to thorough investigation and reporting on the institutional abuse topic, we can hardly hold Darren Laverty responsible for a delay in reporting what he knew about another man’s false allegations on Ch4. I suspect he could have accomplished nothing without gradually establishing the trail of evidence from the interviewed man’s own mouth, laying it out when other events involving the false victim lined up to support the evidence. I am taking it on faith there is even more evidence to come out which will explain some of the “why” behind the “what.” It’s disturbing enough that a man lied publicly, and convincingly, about abuse, knowing that sets up real abuse victims to be disbelieved, but far more insidious is seeing that duplicity evidenced online but not investigated and publicized in a way that clarifies the full picture for the many left exposed only to the falsehoods.

    We can wait and see if this is properly handled by the media and police. I’m somewhat hopeful because of the citizen pressure online, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

    • Bandini

      Hello, Leigh.

      I was more or less in agreement with your comment until the penultimate paragraph, although using “humble” to describe Gojam is pushing it a bit, in my opinion! (No offence meant, Gojam. Keep reading…)

      The point regarding Darren Laverty was not only his delay in “reporting” his suspicions. The point was that, in his own words, he KNEW that he was dealing with a fantasist/liar/whatever word you want to use. And he knew this from the beginning. But despite knowing this, he decided to string along and was somehow “led” into the “darkness”. I’m sorry, but as I said before this simply does not add up. It doesn’t hold water. It doesn’t have the ring of truth to it. It doesn’t chime with the ‘Darren Laverty’ of his blog/Twitter output.

      You might notice that I have NOT labelled him a liar. I’m going to quote myself here (yes, Gojam, none too humble myself!):

      “…without adequate explanation they call into doubt your whole involvement & testimony.”

      The “without adequate explanation” is important. It gives the person in question an opportunity to explain. (I don’t believe he has done so.) And, let’s be honest, it gives MYSELF a bit of wriggle-room too. We’ve all seen enough insults hurled around. I’m raising suspicions, not making accusations.

      And so I hope that you yourself will be “humble” enough to apologize if it should later be revealed not to have been the case that, for example:
      “It’s disturbing enough that a man lied publicly, and convincingly, about abuse.”

      You left yourself no “wriggle-room” there. It’s a damning accusation. I certainly wouldn’t be prepared to make that statement without having the evidence in my own hands, not merely based on heresay & internet chit-chat from sources who change their colours with alarming ease.

  3. Thank you for clarifying that Orchid was not connected to Hedgerow. This obsession is not new. It dates back to Mike Hames and and the 80s bizarre notion of an network of ‘interconnected rings’ between the lowest and the highest of the land mediated by satanism, masonry etc paedophilia being merely the fodder by which the evil ones would slake their thirst. Hames, Wyre and others were entranced by this obsession, recently revived, and it in turn drives from the idea adopted from feminist theory that men were predisposed to abuse women and children as part of a power ideology in the 70s – eg ‘porn is the theory, rape the practice’ Robin Morgan.
    The Orchid case was always a lowlife low intelligence case. Hedgerow was inflated via the investigation and prior beliefs including the expansionist ‘ring’ notions around in 1987 –

    • Hi Margaret,

      I didn’t say that Orchid was not connected to Hedgerow. I said that that story in The Mirror which concerned a link between an MP and a police investigation has mistakenly said that the police operation was Orchid but it was not, it was Hedgerow.

      As I wrote, we will be looking at all this in the near future but I will say that I think that “ring” is a poor metaphor which leads people to think that this abuse was undertaken by inclusive and stable groups while I think these were shifting networks, perhaps with hubs.

      • ‘Hubs’? Well that’s a retrospective import! It’s all a bit i once knew a girl who danced with a man who…etc isn’t it?

      • Margaret, let’s not pretend. You work for a solicitor who specialises in defending alleged abusers and you have done for, what? 18 years now? Your job is to find ways of discrediting victims of child abuse and getting their abusers off.

        That’s what you do.

        Why don’t you sell your disinformation and twisted logic elsewhere because I’m not interested.

  4. nuggy

    your one of the few bloggers that will admit they got something wrong which is what i like about the blog.

    though im sure not everything here is accurate your one of few bloggers on this subject who actually cares about evidence.

  5. I sometimes wonder if there was a watershed moment that allowed that which came after to happen with total impunity and that incident would be the “Lord Boothby Scandal”. A national newspaper ended up in court paying damages to a guy they had the actual photos of doing exactly what they were paying him because he claimed he didn’t. The given reason for this capitulation was “the national interest”. The “National interest being, that, in the wake of “The Profumo Affair” that, to further damage the reputation of the British “executive” would to be overstep the mark and lead to irreparable damage.to public confidence in the “governing system”..

    That the media fell for this line is now sadly, patently obvious and in retrospect, it can now be seen that this had nothing to do with “the national interest” and everything to do with the “old boys network” closing ranks and that. They were quite willing to see. a genuine national asset such as Alan Turing, thrown to the dogs however, they paled when some flabby roue with the right connections, was about to be exposed for who they truly were.

    It is my opinion that, post “The Boothby Affair” this became the standard response and attitude adopted by the legislative towards anything which might affect “one of their own” and that, emboldened by the cur like cowardice exhibited by the media they merely pressed home that perceived advantage. My own father, quit full time journalism in part, because of the “Boothby Scandal” citing that. “It seems utterly pointless to have a so called “free press” when, that self same press, is willing to back down on the truth and not only back down rather, roll over and adopt a wholly supine attitude”.

    I would also point out that, despite this my father steadfastly refused to believe in any sort of “conspiracy” theory till his dying day. That alone might give some clue as to the mindset of many within the media and the legislature that, even shown directly evidence of such a conspiracy occurring they were unwilling to label it as such.

    In the light of that, is it any wonder that there is such a difficulty in anyone trying to establish any sort of coherent evidence to show complicity in these sort of scandals? my father was typical of his generation of jounos, they simply didn’t want to believe that the legislative could be so utterly corrupt and their investigations started from that vantage point and worked backwards towards individual culpability whenever possible and if the security services gave them an “off the record” run down of what actually happened in any given case, then they swallowed it hook line and sinker.

    So, it’s only a tiny minority of people who are party to the “back story” to such people as Fred West. As for Savile, King and Glitter well, despite what some on the blogosphere would have you believe, there isn;t a single person in the music and media biz who had any inkling of what was going on who has said. “I’m surprised”. The only surprise being that, all three “got away with it as long as they did”. on Savile I can take it even further as I have a friend who was a nurse in the late 80s and 90s who told several people, me included.

    “Savile is a disgusting man, the staff at Stoke Mandeville so hate him and his activities that, they, either take annual leave or go “sick” at any opportunity if they are forewarned of one of his visits”…. Their source for that was not some friend of a friend who’d heard something from the postman who delivered to someone who knew someone. No, it was another nurse, then currently working at Stoke Mandeville, who was a close friend from their student days.

    The same as when i see that these “poor old farts” being dragged into the public eye are all “BBC through and through”. Well they aren’t are they? the one thing that does actually link them is that, they almost, to a man, the sort you used to see on the platform at Tory fundraisers under Thatcher. Two of them are about as ITV as you could be, so quite where this “anti BBC” crusade originated from I am not quite sure.

    As I have said to gojam before now, my main interest field is not “child abuse” however, due to personal reasons, I do keep a watching brief over what goes on with it all. However, my experience in my other field means that, I am well aware how just how the misinformation artists work and how one shard of truth is often buried in amongst a pile of bovine waste in order to throw people off the scent. What’s more, in the late 1970s and early 1980s a new tactic was developed which one might term as “Proactive disinformation”. This took the form of the “whistle blower” providing seemingly “explosive new evidence” to back a certain hypothesis where, in reality, whilst the specific details might be wholly false, the core idea has a genuine truth to it. This is a brilliant tactic as it means this. Should one uncover genuine details about the core facts, the the bovine waste was spun around, then it is almost impossible to have them taken seriously as people will spend countless hours arguing that, ,as the original story was a proven fake, therefore anything relating to it must also be, no matter how good the new evidence might be.

    My apologies for the long winded nature of this reply. I wish Gojam Season’s Greetings and can only hope that they find some key to unlock the tangled web that stretches into so many dark corners those in power would not wish a light to be shone upon.

  6. I do not wish to have that person’s name on my blog because he is an attention seeker and that’s what he wants. Also, he has been recently arrested and I do not want anything published here that could prejudice any future trial.

    You write that ” I’m coming around”

    I’ve seen your comment and I fail to see how it and the article are compatible and therefore can’t see how you can stand by both.

    But I’ve known the truth of the matter since March.

    Your memory does not serve you well, I was attacked by the person you speak of and it was unprovoked, The person later wanted me to include uncorroborated witness testimony in the Operation Greenlight database. Given the first example I’ve given in this article, I think I was right not to do so.

    As for Darren Laverty, many people have been misled over the last year by the person you refer to. My question would be; have you?

    • Bandini

      Thanks for including my comment & taking the time to reply.

      I wasn’t expecting you to include the link, as I said.

      Regarding my memory, you may well be correct. I have been a long time reader/observer (Icke/here/elsewhere) and only recently felt I had anything to offer. (You may remember that I called attention here to a statement from Mary Moss that appeared below the YouTube video of the Maloney/Fay interview. My first intervention.)

      I was indeed referring to the setting up of the Operation Greenlight database. I obviously can only speak about what I witnessed personally (or my memory of same, which may not be reliable) and I thought that this disagreement took place before the real nastiness started in earnest.

      I understand – and understood, at the time – why you wanted to focus on solely MSM-sources.

      I also understand why to somebody already aware of the untrustworthiness of the MSM this attitude might appear suspect.

      I thought BOTH of your opinions on this matter could be justified. And I could see no way of reconcilling the differences.

      [Can I just interject here to say something about the nature of commenting on blogs & elsewhere? It is difficult at times to avoid the use of words such as “admit” or phrases such as “coming around”. They can seem accusatory & aggresive at times, but are also legitimate ways of describing a situation. If we were speaking face to face you would see that there was no ill intent in my use of “coming around”. It was merely a way of repeating your “…I’ve had to conclude…” using other words. Nothing more.]

      I’m confused by this statement: “I’ve seen your comment and I fail to see how it and the article are compatible and therefore can’t see how you can stand by both. But I’ve known the truth of the matter since March.” I genuinely don’t understand why you would consider them incompatible, if we are both refering to the same article & comment.

      [Gojam, should you include this comment could you remove this part as I understand that you don’t want to publicize the blog in question, but can’t really question you without referring to it:

      The article: involvement of Clive Godden in two cases (DHG & Elm) two years apart. His involvement in Kasir’s inquest along with Moss/Fay.

      Comment: reliability or otherwise of case against DHG and Godden’s possible involvement in bringing his name into the Elm case (as a disgruntled husband of DHG’s girlfriend).
      So far as I am aware there has never been any evidence presented against DHG apart from some tabloid rumour followed by misreported death.
      The thrust of the article/comment tied in, I thought, with your concern over the Jimmy Savile connection in your piece above, namely: the muddying of the waters, innocently or otherwise, leading to a potpouri of names & allegations leading to absolutely NO convictions/justice.

      I apologize if I didn’t explain that better.]

      The point I raised about Darren Laverty remains. It is a valid question. Why did he not speak up a year earlier?

      Finally, you ask me if I have perhaps been misled. I can only answer “no” as I try to maintain an open mind, am not part of any team & my only interest is the truth, wherever I may find it.

  7. Bandini

    Regarding Darren Laverty & the “alleged witness”:

    Is it unreasonable of me to ask why Darren Laverty took one year to reveal his concerns about X? (Why you don’t want to use his name is beyond me.)

    Until their rather public falling out he seemed happy enough to suggest that X’s version of events was trustworthy. He did NOT say the same about the owner of this blog or about many of the people of seriously dubious character with whom he is now apparently best cyber-friends. You may consider me a troublemaker by raising this point, but I can only state that any sane person looking in from the outside would surely see this as incongruous behaviour in the extreme.

    Gojam, as you are now coming around to the idea that you were mistaken to assume “…that information published, or broadcast, by the MSM had always been thoroughly investigated and was reliable,” could I remind you that, as memory serves, yourself & X first started to come to blows over this very issue?

    I doubt very much that you will want to include the following link as it leads to the blog of X. However, it touches on the reliability or otherwise of the MSM, and serves, I think, to show how easily a lie (or “honest mistake” if you prefer) can quickly become an “accepted fact.” I raised my concerns via email with the blog owner, and I would stand by his article/my comments. I admit to being a little disappointed by the lack of response, particularly as we now see – as you point out – names being dragged into the mix that will likely do nothing but distort & complicate any investigation (Sidney Cooke + Cyril Smith + Jimmy Savile + Cabinet minister + etc…). The infamous quote of Alistair McAlpine should be ringing in all our ears:

    “Spread false defeat to gain public sympathy; or false accusation and then arrange for it to be exposed as such – so the accuser will forever be treated with suspicion.”

    Edit: At the risk of being accused of changing this post in any substantive manner, I’ve removed the link to a blog.

    • Whether I’m believed or not is irrelevant to the truth that I have published. I’ve used X’s own words to evidence the lengths and depth of his fabrications. I admit to acting like a troll with a disgusting mouth who attacked many tweeters, Go Jam included. But again, whether or not I’m believed, I was foolish to allow myself to be led into thinking that everyone barring “the team” was a non-entity, a infiltrator, a troll and possible child abuser. I tweeted on that premise. I’m trying to make up for my misconceptions and consider that by evidencing the darkness from which I escaped, I’m shining a torch for others. I’m an intelligent man, father, graduate, ex-resident who is obviously in need of further enlightenment regards the internet. I’ve only ever played with it and never, until recent times, realised the lengths it can be used to cause serious ongoing damage to certain vulnerable individuals. I am learning and you’re seeing the results of my Internet education in real time. If there were no victim jockeys riding n the backs of ex Bryn Estyn boys I wouldn’t be here.

      • Bandini

        Thanks for replying…

        … but I’m using YOUR own words. You now say that you knew from your first (and only?) meeting that the story of Peter Morrison, etc., was nonsense. You discussed it with your family. There was no doubt in your mind. And yet you waited a year to point this out?

        You managed to escape from the darkness? Again, in your own words, you knew from your first meeting. So why on earth did you “enter” into the darkness in the first place? Are we really to believe that you could be so easily led and manipulated?

        These are illogical statements. They don’t make sense. I don’t need to be a criminologist to spot this: they are glaring inconsistences and without adequate explanation they call into doubt your whole involvement & testimony.

      • I needed to be able to prove what I thought. What would be the point of saying what I knew without evidence? Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ll know from my comments on the curse of bryn estyn blog that I began to evidence his behaviour. He deleted them but I’ve kept them. They evidence a clear and concise challenge to his pathetic assumptions. That was June..ish and again a few weeks later. I took the entry to bits. Since then I’ve PROVED time and time again that X is a disturbed individual “These are illogical statements. They don’t make sense..” your problem not mine.

  8. Interesting in what you say about the mirror piece, as that is obviously a cornerstone piece on making those connections.

  9. The first example you cite …what possesses someone to decide to tell outright lies to an investigative tv production team?
    Why would someone do that; especially with such a lack of fear of being uncovered as a complete charlatan at some point in the future?
    This character has been in the papers, on the tv…he has even got a blog and various social media accounts – this evidence brought to the fore by DL is indisputable; as such, it throws EVERY SINGLE UTTERANCE of the said character into disrepute…not to mention the inevitable tarnish on the characters of his close associates.

  10. Pingback: Police Child Abuse Investigations And The MSM. | adeybob's Blog

  11. nuggy

    the msm cant right a story about child abuse now without trying to put jimmy savile in it.

    and its backfiring a bit a lot of people are questioning weather any of there savile story’s are true.

  12. Nice piece. Here’s another example of the MSM scraping the barrel. I’ll keep your readers informed aboout the Channel 4 issue.