Operation Yewtree: A Three Million Pound Cover-Up?

Is anyone else concerned by the recent trend in British policing that involves hauling national celebrities into court on charges of sexual misconduct dating back forty or fifty years?

It all began with accusations against the late, admittedly weird and not particularly lamented disc jockey, Jimmy Savile. Savile, it seems, led a life of pedophilia and, if his myriad accusers are to be believed, indulged in prolific debauchery involving young children and the mentally retarded. There have even been suggestions of “satanic ritual abuse”. But, then, there would be, wouldn’t there. It’s another nice, juicy, story to beguile the British public and provide a talking point down the local pub over a pint or two. One leading proponent of this ‘satanic’ nonsense was Britain’s perennial lunatic, David Icke, who once declared himself the ‘Son of God’ after imbibing hallucinatory drugs with the Peruvian Indians.

Anyone who has studied history knows that satanic ritual abuse is pure fiction, but it’s a great phrase for inducing a moral panic among society. There have been a number of ‘moral panics’ throughout history, most of them having a religious origin, but the idea of ‘satanic ritual abuse’ evolved in America as late as the 1980s, eventually spreading around the world before subsiding in the 1990s. It’s been kept barely alive by Icke, and others of his ilk, as providing a bit of ‘spine-tingliness’ to the otherwise, less-than-juicy, newspaper reports from which they concoct their fanciful yarns.

As the Barrister Barbara Hewson remarked, rather controversially, on UKTV’s Channel 4 last year, when asked about accusations of Savile’s satanic ritual abuse:

Satanic ritual abuse doesn’t exist, it’s like alien abduction.”[1]

Moral panics have plagued the human race throughout history. Witch burning in 16th century Europe is a fine example, later came McCarthyism in America.

Today, pedophilia is one of our latest moral panics, egged on by an irresponsible news media and certain politicians.

Of course, unlike satanic ritual abuse, pedophilia does exist, though probably no more so than at any other time in history. Momentarily, it’s being whipped up in Britain to a point where, to many in that country, entertainers are fast becoming the latest minority to be persecuted unjustly.

There is something deeply disturbing about the whole business. Savile was lauded throughout his working life: the queen declared him a Knight of the realm; he received the OBE for his services to charity; he even was made a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KCSG) by Pope John Paul II in 1990.

It wasn’t until after his death in 2011 that allegations of improper behavior began to pour out through the media. Many were probably authentic, although it’s possible that some of his accusers saw a nice little earner developing and jumped on the bandwagon. After all, Savile wasn’t around to confirm or deny, was he?

However, this article is not designed to defend Savile, or condemn him, but to consider why, behind it all, a serious flaw in British justice has been engineered: the apparent denial of any right of an accused to defend himself.

It also begs the question: why wasn’t Savile brought to justice while still alive? Accusations were made prior to his death, some as early as 1964. In his autobiography, Savile himself admits to ‘improper sexual conduct’, yet it appeared to pass unnoticed – certainly by the Metropolitan Police.

In October 2012, almost exactly one year following Savile’s death, the police began an investigation into his pedophile activities. They code-named it ‘Operation Yewtree’, for no other reason than the name was ‘next on the list’. Accusers poured out of the woodwork, but suddenly Savile was far from being the only star in the entertainment world who was in the ‘pervert’ business.

One after another, famous male names from British TV shows found themselves dragged through the court system, while accusatory women pointed fingers and recited tales of improper actions inflicted on their persons forty, or sometimes fifty, years ago.

It’s a point in favor of the British judicial system that the vast majority of the accused were able to walk away, cleared by a jury of twelve good persons and true. But, their lives were in tatters, their reputations in shreds, forever aware that many of their once-adoring fans were shaking heads and muttering, “There’s no smoke without fire, you know.” Meanwhile, their accusers kept their anonymity and walked away without rebuke -or jail for wasting police time.

There can be little doubt the order to investigate these cases came from on high. It’s unlikely so much police time and over three million pounds would be spent lightly, on the whim of some over-zealous chief constable.

The BBC (Savile co-hosted their flagship chart music program, “Top of the Pops,” for over forty years) has pledged to pay 33,000 British pounds to every ‘victim’ of sexual molestation who can provide some ‘evidence’ they were molested on BBC property. One can imagine a queue of elderly women brandishing dog-eared, signed photographs of Savile, or old entrance tickets to “Top Of The Pops” kept as mementos, all with lurid, heavily-embroidered, tales of stolen innocence while demanding their 33,000 pounds. A nice little nest egg for someone who would, today, be approaching retirement age.

This is not to suggest for a moment we should be lenient with child molesters, or those who indulge in criminal pedophilia, but when the accused persons are celebrities in the forefront of public gaze, and the accuser is demanding justice on a matter they’ve remained silent about for fifty years, it’s almost impossible to find any case proven, given that these type of offenses – if they occurred – are not usually committed in front of witnesses.

While the issue is emotive, English law has never accepted hearsay as admissible, and was always skeptical of circumstantial evidence alone. Any attempt to convict an individual on a “She said – he said” basis is open to enormous jury bias.

Operation Yewtree was set up to investigate the criminal activities of one James Wilson Vincent Savile, (deceased). Without a judicial hearing, the dead man has been tried and convicted by the police, in conjunction with the mass media.

The question remains as to why millions of pounds and thousands of hours of police time have been spent investigating a corpse that can never face prosecution.

The answer may never be known, but here is one possible explanation:

Between 1981 and 1985, [the MP Geoffrey] Dickens campaigned against a suspected paedophile ring he claimed to have uncovered that was connected to trading child pornography. In 1981, Dickens named the former British High Commissioner to Canada, Sir Peter Hayman, as a paedophile in the House of Commons, using parliamentary privilege so he could not get sued for slander. Dickens asked why he had not been jailed after the discovery on a bus of violent pornography.

In 1983, Dickens claimed there was a paedophile network involving “big, big names – people in positions of power, influence and responsibility” and threatened to name them in the Commons. The next year, he campaigned for the banning of Hayman’s Paedophile Information Exchange organisation. Dickens had a thirty-minute meeting with the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, after giving him a dossier containing the child abuse allegations. Although Dickens said he was “encouraged” by the meeting, he later expressed concern that the PIE had not been banned.

On 29 November 1985, Dickens said in a speech to the Commons that paedophiles were “evil and dangerous” and that child pornography generated “vast sums”. He further claimed that: “The noose around my neck grew tighter after I named a former high-flying British diplomat on the Floor of the House. Honourable Members will understand that where big money is involved and as important names came into my possession so the threats began. First, I received threatening telephone calls followed by two burglaries at my London home. Then, more seriously, my name appeared on a multi-killer’s hit list”. Dickens’ son later said that about the time when the dossier was given to the Home Secretary, the MP’s London flat and constituency home were both broken into but nothing was taken, presumably in a search for documents…[2]

In October 2012, around the time police began Operation Yewtree, another investigation was opened under the codename Operation Fairbank (later Operation Fernbridge). It concerned pedophile ‘parties’ at the Elms Guest House in London in the 1970s and 80s. It’s alleged that guests at these parties included prominent members of the British Establishment, politicians, government members, and diplomats. Young boys were bused in from a local care home, plied with alcohol, and sexually abused.

Is it possible that the command from on high (the British Home Office?) to investigate the Savile perversions was a deliberate attempt to divert public attention away from Operation Fernbridge?

The dossier mentioned in the quote above, that Geoffrey Dickens gave to the then Home Secretary Leon Britten, is alleged to contain the names of those individuals involved in the pedophile ring responsible for arranging the ‘parties’ at the Elms Guest House. Leon Britten insists he passed the dossier on to the police, but it has since, conveniently, gone missing.

There will likely be many among the British Establishment who fervently hope it remains so.

[1] “Jimmy Savile satanic abuse claims as unlikely as ‘alien abduction’, says leading barrister” Daily Telegraph, July 8th 2013

[2] “Wikipedia, Geoffrey Dickens” [This material is also available from other sources]

11 Replies to “Operation Yewtree: A Three Million Pound Cover-Up?”

  1. The whole thing is simply sick-making though isn’t it! I have wondered why Savile was never charged while he was alive – there were stories about him circulating locally for many years. He lived in Leeds with his mother, when not working in London; I lived and worked in Leeds for almost 30 years. People hesitated to be too critical because he did an awful lot of good at the hospital there – gave of his time, (and money). Perhaps that was a kind of distracting ploy or penance, to his mind.

    The Rolf Harris thing is worrying also, but he at least has faced charges while still on planet Earth, and will now quite probably die in prison.

    Maybe you’re correct about the distraction thing – The Powers That Be are past masters at that game.

    I dunno about the satanic rites stuff – whatever it is they get up to, it’s pretty darn creepy, but as long as no living thing is harmed in any way …. whatever floats their boats!

    Some of the things those who are most supposed to be devout get up to, in the RC church for instance, are well down on the road to the worst kinds of depravity. That has come to light at long last too.

  2. Twilight – just to clarify one point: while I’m sure there are a number of would-be ‘devil-worshipers’ around (try any student hall of residence after midnight and you’ll probably find at least a couple!) I was referring specifically to ‘satanic ritual abuse’ of children. There’s no firm evidence it goes on, or has ever, except in the imaginations of fiction writers, or occasionally, doctors and social workers. In Britain a number of cases have hit the headlines. You may remember the Rochdale case in 1990, when about twenty kids were forced into care by social services after SRA was suspected. According to the SS, there were ‘satanic indicators’. All charges were dismissed by the court and the kids returned to their parents. Eighteen years later they sued the city council for compensation.

    There have been a number of other cases where SRA was falsely alleged: Orkney – 1990; Broxtowe, Notts – 1987; Lewis – 2003; the Welsh town of Kidwelly – 2011. The latter involved a group who did abuse under-age children and were eventually convicted and jailed. They had pretended to found a cult based on the late Aleister Crowley’s teachings, and the local paper was quick to refer to Crowley as the ‘arch-Satanist’. Anyone familiar with Crowley’s work knows he was no satanist. He didn’t even believe in a devil and saw the idea as a fomentation of Christianity. The ‘Kidwelly cult’ was no more than a bit of added spice to their criminally immoral behavior.
    Other cases abound throughout the world, but while many accusations have been made, none to my knowledge have been proved to include genuine ‘satanic ritual abuse’ of children.

    As you rightly point out, some of the worst child abuse has come out of the Catholic Church, so perhaps society should be more concerned with ‘religious ritual abuse’, and leave the devil to his own devices.

  3. Thanks for the extra observations RJ – and I’ve just read a blog post on a related issue at
    Cannonfire – “High-level UK pedophiles”.


    Strange and discomforting times eh?

    Agreed – Crowley wasn’t a satanist, but by all accounts he did get up to some rather weird and nasty stuff (ceremonial magic etc ) though not specifically involving children – as far as I’ve understood, anyway.

  4. RJA:

    As a victim of child abuse myself I find your detachment from this real and present danger extraordinary.

    I never went forward after going to a trusted relative and been mocked and derided. Most victims are like me. We are afraid to go forward.

    I’ve often maintained, along with far too many of my female friends, that no little girl is safe in this world. I don’t know about little boys. I only speak from my own experience.

    I applaud these victims that have come forward. Finally.

    It takes enormous courage to lay it all open for mockery and derision.


  5. It started with daycare facilities practicing sexual satanic rituals on children in the 1970s here in the USA, but that hysteria was essentially deemed false after many lives were ruined. Allegations against Michael Jackson and the priests were popularized at about the same time, which opened the floodgates to pedophilia accusations and awareness. Now, the media is replete with sex trafficking of kidnapped or sold children.

    I believe that a high percentage of children, boy and girls, have been exploited throughout history. It seems to be a rite of passage. I was very surprised to see PBS’ “Dancing Boys of Afghanistan” [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/dancingboys/], which leads me to believe the practice crosses all cultures and religions. I’m very pleased that the awareness of this subject has increased dramatically, as it was an unmentionable when I was a child.

  6. WWW – I am most certainly NOT detached from the dangers a small fraction of society can impose on young children. I believe one must view the subject from an unbiased position in order to bring it into context. The sheer numbers of women who’ve come forward to accuse Savile would have meant he was some sort of Superman, rather than a sad and mediocre disc jockey. Surely, many of them were quite genuine, of that I have no doubt. But, it’s also a fact that publicity of this type brings the less sincere out of the closet: the scheming, the deluded, the fantasizing. The main thrust of my article was that this man, however repugnant, was not able to stand trial. As such, his guilt was ascertained partly by the police who have no jurisdiction to be judge, jury, or executioner, and mainly by a media desperate for juicy stories to titillate their audiences. This is not British justice. Personally, I despised the guy and can well believe him capable of many of the disgusting antics he’s been accused of. But, he’s dead, and in my experience of British law, death ends the judicial process.

    In the case of those other celebrities tried and found not guilty, either the law works or it doesn’t. There are two sides to this sad problem: the person supposedly abused (often, but not always, a woman), and the person (almost always a man) accused of that offense.

    The accusation of pedophilia is worse than the accusation of murder in the eyes of the general public. For an innocent man to be accused of such an offense is too awful to contemplate. Suicide is not unknown when men are wrongly accused in this way. The stigma never goes away, despite judicial acquittal.

    As to the innocence of young girls around puberty, there are surely many who remain so well into their teenage years. There are also a great many around the age of twelve or thirteen more than happy to give themselves in exchange for a good time. In my early twenties I worked as a bus driver. I was happily married, but continually amazed by the girls around that age who hung about at the gates of the bus depot waiting to be ‘picked up’ by a driver or conductor prepared to give them a good time in exchange for their favors. Yes, they were plastered in make-up, wore tight skirts, and could pass for sixteen or older, but they were well below consent age, as some bus staff found out to their cost.

    If young girls can do this with lowly bus drivers, how much more would they be willing to do it with famous celebrities like Savile? And remember, he and others accused of these ‘historic’ crimes were only in their twenties or thirties at the time; at the height of their sexual desires.

    There are two sides, and men and women can both end up suffering for the rest of their lives from what, at the time, may be construed as just a ‘bit of a fling’.

    Of course, none of this in any way detracts from the disgust I feel for the true, predatory, pedophile, or the father who sexually abuses his son or daughter, or anyone who forces a child – or, for that matter an adult – into a violent rape or sexual assault. I’m no supporter of the death penalty, but if I had to choose one crime that carried the penalty it would be that one, rather than murder.

  7. Mike“It started with daycare facilities practicing sexual satanic rituals on children in the 1970s here in the USA, but that hysteria was essentially deemed false after many lives were ruined…”

    You made a statement of fact. I’m sorry, it isn’t true. The hysteria you speak of was real enough, as were the UK cases I outlined in my response to ‘Twilight’ above. No case in the USA or Britain ever involved ‘satanic ritual abuse’. That is an indisputable fact. The term was coined by a few social workers, picked up by the gutter media, and resulted in an effect known as ‘moral panic’.

    Don’t believe everything you see on TV or read in the newspapers or on the internet.

    Politicians do it all the time: make a ridiculously false accusation knowing that some people will always believe it (usually because they want to), however outrageous it may be.

  8. Uh, please re-read my statement…”but that hysteria was essentially deemed false after many lives were ruined…”. I believe we are both in agreement. I probably should have written, “It started with daycare facilities practicing ALLEGED sexual satanic rituals on children…”.

  9. Mike – I apologize profusely. I did misconstrue the first sentence of your comment.

    The “Dancing Boys of Afghanistan” is yet another of many examples of sexual exploitation down the centuries – and throughout the world. It was once, of course, considered quite acceptable for well-to-do Greek males to take a young boy for companionship and sexual favors. Often these youngsters were educated, and later found positions of some standing in the community, by their ‘mentors’.

    Different cultures and different times have held differing attitudes to the subject. In the West, today, society finds such ideas abhorrent. It hasn’t always been so.

  10. am I the only one that thinks that i could deal with mild sexual abuse as a child it seems that it only becomes disturbing for the victim after their told that what happened is wrong?

  11. mw – I believe it all depends on the person victimized, and of course the extent of the abuse, the relationship of the abuser to the victim, etc..

    I think you have a point that western societies are quick to both accuse and judge. There have been societies where behaviors we now find unacceptable were considered perfectly acceptable. In some countries such is still the case.

    For many, though, there can be little doubt prolonged and often violent sexual abuse leaves lasting mental scars. I note you use the term ‘mild sexual abuse’, and from that I deduce it was possible for you to find the strength to overcome any issues and get on with your life. For that I’m very glad.

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