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.”
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…
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.
 “Jimmy Savile satanic abuse claims as unlikely as ‘alien abduction’, says leading barrister” Daily Telegraph, July 8th 2013
 “Wikipedia, Geoffrey Dickens” [This material is also available from other sources]