The Friday Night Song
The Friday Night Song
Originally posted on TimTate.co.uk
Before reblogging this new post by Tim Tate, I just wanted to explain that I and the Needleteam can personally vouch that the identification of the U.S General alluded to below is absolutely accurate.
This is the story of two war heroes – highly decorated soldiers both – and of how the Metropolitan Police responded to allegations about them concerning child sexual abuse.
Their contrasting stories should be examined by the Goddard Enquiry. But whether this happens may depend on public pressure for an open and transparent process. There is no doubt that Goddard and her teams of barristers should ask details questions about both men’s cases. Because the way each of these two very senior military leaders was treated encapsulates precisely the problems her investigation into the handling of historic child sexual abuse allegations was established to examine.
We can – because he has named himself (albeit after being outed by others) – identify the first of these war heroes. Field Marshall Edwin, Baron Bramall, Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff (the head of the armed services) until 1985.
The second was until relatively recently one of the United States most senior generals, who lived for a time in Britain. He must – for the time being – remain anonymous. I have his name, his (very senior) rank and his personal details. But for reasons which will become apparent, I am not naming him in this post.
Lord Bramall’s case first. Last week the Metropolitan Police announced that it wasabandoning its 18-month investigation into allegations that Bramall had sexually abused a young boy. During this Bramall, whose extensive record of military service included the D-Day landings, had been interviewed under caution by the Met’s Operation Midland, had watched his house being searched by a large team of officers and seen his reputation dragged through the mud when his name was published by sections of the media.
The alleged crimes for which Bramall was so rigorously investigated stemmed from one (now adult) man. This complainant, known only as “Nick” made statements to the Met and gave interviews to Exaro News, the web-based news organisation which has placed itself at the centre of historic child sexual abuse allegations. In both his police statement and his Exaro interviews “Nick” claimed not just to have been sexually abused and tortured by a variety of VIP paedophiles during the 1970s and 1980s, but to have witnessed the sexually-motivated murder of other children.
There is no corroborative evidence for “Nick’s” allegations. No other witness or complainant has stated that he was present during this crimes; not a single piece of forensic or medical evidence has been found to back up the claims. In fact the only things Nick seemed to have in his favour are a very plausible demeanour – one person who has regularly met Nick says that if he is not telling the truth, he is a “Hollywood standard actor” – and the unwavering support of Exaro News.
Despite this, the Met has spent almost £2 million trying to stand up Nick’s complaints. In the case of Lord Bramall, at least, it has now thrown in the towel and admitted that “the evidence did not support charges being laid”.
The story of the US general is very different. There was what a highly experienced prosecutor described as “an open and shut case” to prosecute him. But the Metropolitan Police does not appear even to have begun an investigation.
The American officer is a decorated Vietnam war veteran who went on to play a major role in the planning and execution of America’s wars in the Gulf. He holds a very senior rank – and, by extension, very high security clearance – in the US Army. In the late 1970s this officer spent some time in Britain. He was seconded to the British Army Staff College at Camberley in Surrey. It appears that he used this address to receive a postal mailing of child pornography from an American supplier.
The reason we know about this is that his name and address appears on a list of British-based customers of US child pornographers. That list was compiled by the US Customs Child Pornography and Protection Division, and handed to me in 1987.
I was then researching a Roger Cook television documentary about child pornography. For more than a year I worked closely with US Customs and its sister unit at the US Postal Service. These two agencies were, at the time, setting the benchmark for investigating and prosecuting those who dealt in child pornography – both inside America and internationally. Each agency was adamant that their evidence was enough for British police to arrest and charge the men on the list. Both agencies had also previously supplied these names to the Home Office, and were surprised that no action had been taken.
I was also then working very closely with the Obscene Publications Branch at New Scotland Yard. That unit – then known as TO13 – was much less effective than its American counterparts, largely due to the refusal of the Met’s senior management to recognise the seriousness of the problem. Of its 11 officers, just two were assigned to investigating child pornography. The senior officer in charge of TO13, Supt. Iain Donaldson was deeply frustrated by the refusal of his superiors to engage with the issue. He had repeatedly lobbied the Met’s management for more officers to tackle child pornography.
By agreement, Roger Cook handed the lists to Donaldson on film. Donaldson believed that if he was made to look a little foolish in a television documentary, his bosses would finally agree to assign additional officers to child pornography investigations. A clip of that encounter can be seen below.
There was a very clear understanding that New Scotland Yard would make enquiries into each of the names on the US lists. Supt. Donaldson and his officers certainly wanted to do so. Joyce Karlin, a US Federal prosecutor who specialised in child pornography cases, believed that the American evidence should be enough to launch an investigation. Her interview clip is here:
But did those investigations ever take place ? Or were Donaldson’s urgent pleas for a more serious approach to child pornography ignored by the Met’s senior management ? The subsequent stellar career of the American general who had child pornography sent to him at the British Army Staff College would seem to imply that no investigations were ever instituted into his actions , nor that the US Army was ever appraised of what he was alleged to have done whilst in Britain. The General’s military trajectory carried on ever-upwards.
(There is other evidence to suggest that the US lists were simply consigned to a filing cabinet inside New Scotland Yard. One of the other names given by US Customs was Charles Napier, the former treasurer of the Paedophile Information Exchange. Despite the fact that his address was clearly and correctly identified on the US Customs list – the address, therefore, at which he had received child pornography – no police action would be taken against Napier until 1995. During that period he was left free to abuse children. Napier is now serving a lengthy prison sentence for doing just that).
Two generals, then; war heroes both, with two starkly contrasting experiences of the Metropolitan Police’s responses to allegations concerning child sexual abuse. One whose life has been blighted by unsupported accusations from a single, uncorroborated complainant; a second who was never even investigated despite cast-iron evidence that he bought and received child pornography.
It is difficult to escape the inference that in seeking to atone for the historic failures exemplified by the American general’s story, the Metropolitan Police was over-zealous in dealing with Lord Brammall. That is – or should be – one of the strands of the Goddard Enquiry. It certainly has the evidence.
The US Customs and Postals lists are currently locked in a safe at the Goddard Enquiry’s offices. They were handed to the Enquiry’s counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, last year. Goddard must examine how and why the names on those lists were never investigated, nor any prosecutions brought. She must summon those who were responsible for Metropolitan Police policy – its commanders and the Home Office officials to whom they answered – and ask them to explain their refusal to provide Supt. Donaldson with the resources to do his job.
Originally posted on TimTate.co.uk
As the press continue to look into the Operation Midland allegations and the sole witness making them, known as Nick, they are revealing that the allegations hold as much water as a macrame bucket. The allegations against Lord Bramall, Harvey Proctor and others are fantastical and grotesque.
Eventually, the truth will out, it always does, and there is a grave danger that there may be a backlash against genuine victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). It is important to be clear that the vast majority of allegations of CSA are genuine. There are estimates, very difficult to prove, that up to 10% of allegations against Jimmy Savile are false but let’s not lose sight of the fact that even if true in this most high profile and most publicised of cases, 90% of the allegations are absolutely genuine. The less of a profile the alleged offender has the higher the percentage of genuine allegations there are and overall it is estimated that 99% of allegations of rape and child abuse are genuine, even if 99% of cases do not result in charges or convictions.
As one very high profile case dominates the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it is best not to lose sight of the fact that there will be thousands of genuine survivors who will be angry, frustrated, and disconsolate by degrees that their own integrity may be called into question as a result. This would be one of the most deplorable consequences of this unfortunate development. The genuine survivors must never be allowed to feel that it is hopeless to speak out and I will always support them on The Needle when I can.
Many of the news stories in today’s papers refer to a documentary that Nick appeared in which was broadcast back in September 2014 on the Sky Crime and Investigation Channel called Crimes That Shook Britain: Jimmy Savile.
Below is an extract which includes Nick, here referred to as Stephen and below that one of today’s newspaper stories.
The man who accused war hero Lord Bramall of sexually abusing him had originally claimed to be a Jimmy Savile victim while appearing on a TV documentary.
The man known only as ‘Nick’ was interviewed on a show on the Crime and Investigation satellite channel in 2014 where he made no mention of abuse by a political or military figure.
Allegations by Nick sparked the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland investigation, which was set up to tackle an alleged VIP paedophile ring that ran in Westminster and involved high ranking officials.
Nick claimed to be abused by D-Day veteran and former army chief Lord Bramall from 1976-1984, at a military base.
A group of 20 police officers raided the home of Britain’s most decorated soldier, 92, last year but found no evidence.
It was later revealed that the case against him was so weak that a file was not even submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.
As well as Lord Bramall other high profile figures accused of abuse by Nick were Sir Edward Heath, the former prime minister and Lord Brittan, the former home secretary.
On the TV show ‘Nick’ had his identity protected by a silhouette and went by the name of ‘Stephen’.
The Friday Night Song
C4 News reporting on the disturbing case of Poppi, whose life was tragically cut short at only 13 months, and the crass incompetence and cover-up that followed. An appalling comment on our society, Cumbria police, and Cumbria council.
(I can’t explain the reason for the two interruptions during Tim Loughton’s interview. Maybe it was a technical problem, or maybe the C4 legal team took issue with something that Tim Loughton said in the live broadcast).
Poppi collapsed with serious injuries at her home in Barrow, Cumbria, in December 2012 and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Cumbria Police conducted no “real” investigation for nine months, Mr Justice Jackson found, as senior detectives thought a pathologist “may have jumped to conclusions” in her belief the child had been a victim of abuse.
The toddler was buried in February 2013, precluding a further post-mortem examination, after her body was released by the local coroner.
There is now said to be an “absence of evidence” to find out how Poppi died, or definitively prove if or how she was injured.
There are some important legal distinctions involved in this tragic case.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson made his finding that Paul Worthington assaulted his daughter on the civil standard of proof. That standard is “the balance of probabilities”, in other words that it is more likely than not Paul Worthington carried out the assault. A finding in a civil court to this standard falls far short of a finding of guilt in a criminal case and should never be confused with it.
The Crown Prosecution will charge a suspect with a crime and bring a case to court if there is a “realistic prospect” of a criminal conviction. That is similar to a “balance of probabilities” test in that it also means the CPS regard the evidence as making it “more likely than not” there will be a conviction.
So, based on Mr Justice Jackson’s finding, why should a criminal case not be brought? There is further important and subtle distinction. The CPS must consider whether there is a realistic prospect of a jury convicting on the higher criminal standard of proof, i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt or satisfied so that they are sure.
Applying that test to the evidence, the CPS decided there was not a realistic prospect of a conviction. Following the Family Court proceedings there will be a second inquest into Poppi’s death. If new evidence comes to light, the CPS will reconsider its decision.
Reports on the leaked Smith Report can be found on Exaro News HERE
The ‘scoop’ relates to an early draft of Dame Janet Smith’s review on Jimmy Savile.
Without doubt this ‘scoop’ is a feather in the cap for David Hencke and Exaro News. However, the draft is over a year old and judging by the desperate references to it in the days preceding the BBC Panorama on Elm Guest House back in October last years by Exaro, it seems likely that they have had this leaked report in their possession for some time and I think,therefore it is fair to say that the exposure of its contents now is part of a well orchestrated piece of news management, an attempt at moving the news agenda away from scrutiny of their source ‘Nick’, Operation Midland, and the public outrage over the treatment of Lord Bramall.
Nevertheless, regardless of how cynical the timing is, it shouldn’t detract from the newsworthiness of this leaked report, it’s just something that needs to be borne in mind.
[Edit: In fairness to Exaro and David Hencke, I’m adding this comment left by David to the main text here. I may have been a little too cynical in my appraisal above.The last two years have left me cynical but not, I hope, close-minded:
Thanks for the mention. This has nothing to do with news management on the Midland story. It is a separate investigation that I have been doing quietly for months ( which is why I haven’t written on Midland recently) and has taken a lot of time and effort. The trigger that led to us publishing it last night was the long,long awaited decision to publish the final report in six weeks time announced by Dame Janet Smith and also that it would no longer prejudice police investigations. I had enormous difficulty working out from the report what police investigation would be prejudiced as Dame Janet had an agreement with the Met NOT to interview anyone who could be part of a future police investigation.Very odd.”]
Dame Janet Smith’s review into the BBC’s practices at the time of the Jimmy Savile scandal has reportedly been leaked by investigative Exaro, including “devastating detail” on the broadcaster’s “sheer scale of awareness” during Savile’s activities.
The retired judge condemns BBC culture over Savile’s crimes at the corporation in her inquiry report and includes statements from witnesses who claim the TV personality assaulted children “in plain sight”, draft excerpts published by the investigative news website have revealed.
Smith criticises the corporation for a “very deferential culture”, its “untouchable” stars and “above the law” managers.
Her report outlines multiple rapes and indecent assaults on children which she claims were all “in some way associated with the BBC”.
And in the afterword of the lengthy leaked report, the retired judge states: “Finally, I wish to consider whether it is possible that a predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today.
“The answer is that I think it is possible.”
In this statement Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan explains why the Met will not apologise to Lord Bramall for the public way that he has been associated with false allegations of child sexual abuse. However, when a fuller understanding of the broader allegations are understood and the absurd nature of them are revealed at a later date, it is likely that calls for an apology will be renewed. In that context the public will find it extremely difficult to understand how Operation Midland made it past the initial investigative stages and evolved into the 18 month, multi million pound investigation employing scores of murder detectives which has resulted in the reputation of a respected public servant like Lord Bramall being tarnished with allegations of sadistic child sexual abuse. In that context, pressure will once again mount on the MPS to apologise for what is an obvious and avoidable failure rather than a normal investigation that has not led to charge.
This statement is however clearer on Lord Bramall’s innocence than the one sneaked out late last Friday evening. For the time being, and until further details can be made public, it is likely to be as much as can be expected.
The following statement has been issued following the conclusion of the police investigation re: Lord Bramall.
Assistant Commissioner Specialist Crime and Operations Patricia Gallan said:
“I fully recognise how unpleasant it may be to be investigated by the police over allegations of historic abuse. For a person to have their innocence publicly called into question must be appalling, and so I have every sympathy with Lord Bramall and his late wife and regret the distress they endured during this investigation.
“The Metropolitan Police are clear that citizens are innocent until proven guilty, and our letter to Lord Bramall’s lawyers now closes this investigation into the allegations against him.
“The possibility of an apology has been raised, and I thought it was important for the Metropolitan Police to respond publicly. This is an unusual step for us to take, but I think it is in the public interest for me to explain the dilemmas faced by policing in this regard.
“We have many serious allegations referred to us every year that we have a duty to investigate. It is, of course, a principle of British justice that everyone is equal before the law so that duty must apply equally to all, irrespective of their status or social standing.
“We always endeavour to investigate impartially and to follow the evidence without fear or favour. Where the evidence supports it, charges will be laid, and a jury will decide, not the police, and our language should always reflect this. The fact that after a full and impartial investigation the evidence did not support charges being laid, does not suggest that an allegation should not have been investigated.
“We have continued the investigation into the allegations against Lord Bramall until all relevant lines of enquiry have been examined, and recognising that they are one part of a detailed set of allegations. This has meant it has not been possible to complete the process as quickly as we would have liked, but that is an unfortunate consequence of the historic and complex nature of the allegations. An incomplete investigation would have served no one’s interest.
“We have endeavoured to act with courtesy and professionalism at all times, recognising the impact on the person is acute, especially when their identity enters the public domain. That is why we continue to hold the view that the identity of an individual facing allegations of this kind should not be made public until and unless they are charged, save there is an exceptional policing purpose. We have never named Lord Bramall and only do so now because he has spoken publicly and disclosed that he was the subject of this investigation, and we have contacted his legal representative and shared this statement before making it public.
“The Metropolitan Police accepts absolutely that we should apologise when we get things wrong, and we have not shrunk from doing so. However, if we were to apologise whenever we investigated allegations that did not lead to a charge, we believe this would have a harmful impact on the judgments made by officers and on the confidence of the public. Investigators may be less likely to pursue allegations they knew would be hard to prove, whereas they should be focused on establishing the existence, or otherwise, of relevant evidence.
“Naturally, there will be occasions on which this does not lead to a charge, but the investigator’s primary duty must always be to establish the evidence. It stands to reason that we cannot only investigate the guilty and that we are not making a mistake when we investigate allegations where we subsequently find there is no case to answer.
“I accept that we can always learn and improve. I accept too that the impersonal language we need to use in legal letters to a person’s lawyer may suggest that we have no sympathy for those who remain innocent at the end of an investigation. That is absolutely not the case, but we must continue to remain dispassionate and not introduce any personal sentiment or comment on the quality or otherwise of the evidence.
“I also accept as Lord Denning said in a famous judgment that police officers are answerable to the law and to the law alone. The government has decided to set up a statutory public inquiry under the Hon Lowell Goddard precisely because of contemporary concerns about historic investigations. It is a powerful recognition of public disquiet about the thoroughness of attempts by the police and other agencies to investigate allegations of abuse. The Inquiry has already made clear that it will be investigating cases where there are allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation involving people of public prominence associated with Westminster. This may include Operation Midland. The MPS will, of course, fully co-operate with the Inquiry and account for its actions wherever that is requested.
“In conclusion, I have offered to meet Lord Bramall at the conclusion of Operation Midland to explain the nature of our investigation and why we have acted in the way we have. I do want to hear his views and understand whether we might have conducted ourselves differently in any of our engagements with him and his legal representatives. But I cannot do that before the criminal investigation is complete.”