Some Reading for Those
Who Want to Understand.
The end of the year approaches – and because the Jersey oligarchy continues to disgrace itself in absurd and futile efforts to bury the truth – now seems an opportune time to re-familiarise ourselves with some facts.
What follows is a detailed examination of the assertions by the Jersey Evening Post, and those of odd-ball contrarians such as Mick Hume, who recently wrote an article for The Times.
Both these sources of “information” have just lately been parading themselves as purveyors of the “truth” – and depicting those who do not agree with them as fantasists.
I truly wish I could agree with them.
But I can’t.
As I will explain – ‘the jury is out’ – and none of us yet know what the facts are.
Briefly, let us consider some of the chronology and facts – so that my position is clear.
I first became seriously concerned about child protection failures around early February of 2007. At that time I was the Minister for Health & Social Services, therefore a few people began to approach me with concerns about poor – or extremely poor – practices.
Taking these concerns seriously, I investigated still further – and consequently came in contact with yet more whistle-blowers – and, ultimately, victims.
By around the end of May, 2007, I had been forced to conclude that Jersey had harboured – over a period of decades – a near-complete and catastrophic breakdown in its so-called child “protection” apparatus.
In July, 2007, I gave an honest answer to a question I was asked in the island’s parliament; in essence, saying, ‘if I’m being asked do I have any confidence in the child protection apparatus of Jersey, frankly, I have to say no – and I’m going to commission an independent review.’
Those responsible for the failures to prevent the abuses, and who had concealed the abuses – then set about engineering my dismissal in a desperate attempt to maintain the culture of concealment.
I was sacked from my post on the supposed grounds that, by publicly criticising the service, I was “undermining staff moral”.
This episode was a significant local political controversy during 2007.
Of what relevance is that, brief, history of events?
I give that explanation to show that I have no particular political stake in the outcome of that part of the investigations dealing with potential, unexplained child deaths at HDLG.
Such allegations were never raised with me. Very serious cases of abuse? – Yes; possible child deaths? – No.
I wish it wasn’t so – but the political war I have fought throughout 2007 & 2008 to expose systemic child protection failures in Jersey has been necessary because of a sadly well-evidenced catalogue of abuses, malfeasances, perversions of the course of justice and self-interested concealment on the part of the island’s authorities.
So having learned of many horrifying examples of abuse – and the utterly extraordinary concealment of that abuse – when I heard, early this year – of the possibility of child deaths at Haute de la Garenne – I was not in the least surprised.
Sadly – in the absence of any reassuring evidence – I have had to keep an open mind concerning that grim possibility.
The things I uncovered in 2007 leave me in no doubt of what the Jersey oligarchy is capable of.
Which brings us to the Jersey Evening Post – and certain strange bedfellows, such as Mick Hume.
The JEP, commonly known as The Rag, has always used its stentorian and pompous editorial leader comments to con people into believing its partisan assertions are nothing less than statements of plain fact.
Mr. Hume – along with a very small band of like-minded journalists – heaps derision upon child abuse investigations, such as that concerning Haute de la Garenne.
The Jersey Evening Post and people like Mr. Hume have striven to undermine and trash the investigation.
But of course – The Rag – and its new-found, but somewhat unlikely, allies in the defunct rump of the Revolutionary Communist Party – could not have embarked upon their attempts to spin and manipulate without some raw material to work with.
That raw material was delivered by David Warcup & Mick Gradwell – the “new management” of the States of Jersey Police Force – when they issued a five page press release which had been co-authored by Frank Walker’s spin-doctors.
Those interested in a detailed response to the Warcup & Gradwell spin-doctoring exercise should read my blog post of the 13th November, titled ’37 Questions for Offices Warcup & Gradwell’.
It is worth noting that not one of the 37 questions has been answered.
A fact from which we can draw conclusions.
The only response I received was a 6 paragraph letter from David Warcup, dated 25th November, in which he said this:
“Should you have any doubt in relation to the conclusions which have been drawn by Mr. Gradwell and myself, then I would ask you to consider the fact that the very same conclusions have been reached as a result of an independent review by the Metropolitan Police.”
Fact: – on the date that letter was authored by Mr. Warcup – and so far as I know, to date – no such report by the Metropolitan Police existed, or yet exists.
For such a review of the investigation to be credibly undertaken, the evidence would need to be meticulously re-examined, the methodology reviewed, and an understanding of the modus operandi of the key investigators and other witnesses gained.
Fact: – yet at the time of the infamous press-conference, Mr. Warcup, Mr. Gradwell nor Mr. Brian Sweeting of the Met had, between them, interviewed Lenny Harper – not even once.
Mr. Sweeting of the Met did – eventually – interview Mr. Harper.
Fact: – the first and only interview with Mr. Harper was undertaken as a panicked afterthought; and even then Mr. Sweeting’s questioning exhibited a startling ignorance of child protection issues.
Before we get into examining the leader comment of The Rag – let us remember a few salient points concerning this journal.
For 118 years it has been the implacable mouth-piece of the island’s oligarchy.
At absolutely any and every moment of crises for the Jersey establishment – the JEP distorts, manipulates, lies and conceals.
For example – substantial amounts of important evidence of child abuses and child protection failures has been given to The Rag by me.
Every single piece of it has been buried and suppressed.
Given the overt propaganda function of The Rag, we shouldn’t be surprised at its rabid determination to defend the status quo.
And even less surprised – given that in recent times I have discovered a dark and festering canker in the heart of the JEP leadership – and I’m not talking about Frank Walker.
Let us make no mistake; as even the most cursory examination of its history and conduct shows – the Jersey Evening Post is simply an enemy of this community.
With that thought in mind, let us consider the leader comment The Rag published on Friday 19th December.
It states of Mr. Harper’s opinion that he is being smeared in an attempt to justify the unfolding cover-up:
“As anyone with respect for the facts as they have plainly been revealed will appreciate, this is a distorted view of the present situation and the events leading to it.”
Let us consider a few of the “facts”.
Fact: – officers Warcup & Gradwell have not revealed the ‘facts’; on the contrary – they have refused repeated request to do just that.
Fact: – all that Warcup & Gradwell have “released” is a 5 page press-release – co-written with Frank Walker’s spin-doctors.
Fact: – the aforesaid press-release is riddled with distortions, half-truths, omissions – and outright falsehoods.
Fact: the press-release and associated comments by Warcup & Gradwell sought to convey the impression that a detailed, scientific peer-review had been completed by the Metropolitan Police. It had not. And so far as I’m aware, no such report is yet completed.
By way of example of the falsehoods in the press-release, it is stated of certain of the finds in the voids that, “There is no witness evidence or intelligence which indicates that these should be described as shackles or that shackles resembling this description have been used during the commission of any offences.”
Fact: that assertion is simply a lie.
I know for a stone fact that witness statements and intelligence did indicate that these items may be improvised shackles.
Indeed – that description was not one invented by the police – it was given to them by witnesses.
The Rag continues in that vein:
“We now know that scientific opinion that would have given the lie to the most lurid accounts of what was supposed to have happened at Haut de la Garenne was withheld in favour of allowing continuing exaggeration.”
Fact: we do not know what the scientific opinion is – nor will we ever – until and unless all forensic evidence, especially the scientific analysis – was published and available for professional peer-review.
Fact: the scientific method depends utterly upon transparency – and the production of testable, demonstrable, repeatable results. Assertions such as the “just trust us” type we see in this episode simply do not constitute science.
And there can be no credible excuse for not publishing the scientific reports – and answering the 37 questions I put to Mr. Warcup & Mr. Gradwell. For if such reports do – as is claimed – scientifically show there to have been no unexplained child deaths at HDLG, there is then no longer any evidential purpose or function to be served by the reports; publication would not affect any prosecution – therefore they can be published.
Indeed, if – as is claimed – the idea of possible child deaths at HDLG has been simply a distraction to the abuse enquiry – then the work of the police, and the cause of justice for the victims, would be greatly helped by the definitive publication of any evidence which closed the book on the possibility of deaths.
But instead – mystifyingly – we encounter a profound reluctance actually publish any such scientific documents – and a complete refusal to answer reasonable questions asked on behalf of many of the survivors.
The JEP leader comment goes on to make this assertion:
“We also know, through the evidence of our own eyes, that objects that Mr Harper was happy to see referred to as ‘restraints’ and ’shackles’ were no more than an uncoiled upholstery spring and the sort of ironmongery that many Jersey people would immediately recognise as old wall fittings for holding pipes and cables.”
I fully understand what old-fashioned guttering down-pipe fixings look like; I’ve even fitted a few when I worked as a carpenter.
Fact: but never – ever – have I seen two such items – joined together with a short length of chain.
Nor could any thinking person be remotely surprised that – after 30 years of laying on the earth in a damp floor-void – the items have become “rusty lumps of metal”.
As I said in an earlier comment, the Jersey Evening Post has taken a profound risk. Having staked so much upon maintaining what may yet prove to be an insupportable fiction – the collateral damage to its credibility could be substantial.
The comment of last Friday actually serves as evidence for the validity of Mr. Harper’s concern – namely that justice won’t be done – and as an excuse, the Jersey oligarchy are trying to frame him.
The Rag says:
“But there is deep tragedy in all this. As a result of the muddying of the waters at Haut de la Garenne, the true extent of the crimes that were without doubt committed there may never emerge.
Far from encouraging more useful witnesses to come forward and building up a web of corroborative evidence, Lenny Harper’s high-profile strategy has produced an investigative mess in which fact and fantasy have melded into each other and which might have severely prejudiced the course of justice as well as dragging Jersey’s good name through the mud.”
The truth is that if any actions have “muddied the waters” – those actions have been undertaken by the Jersey oligarchy, officers Warcup & Gradwell – and the Jersey Evening Post.
For if the aforesaid agents were genuinely interested in clarity – evidence – facts – they would be doing all to ensure that the scientific evidence was published – and that all other questions, such as those I’ve asked on behalf of my constituents, were answered.
Instead we witness spin-doctored press-releases masquerading as “scientific reports”; complete falsehoods peddled as though they were statements of fact – and quite extraordinary banana republic style – unlawful – actions to depose the Chief Constable of Jersey’s police force.
But, should that not be sufficient grounds for according The Rag its just degree of contempt – consider this.
In its comment, the JEP seeks to portray itself as being fully supportive of the investigation and exposing of child abuses which “without doubt” were committed – and how saddened it is that this very important objective may have received less priority because of concerns over child deaths.
How seriously do we take the claims of the Jersey Evening Post to be fully committed to the exposing and punishing of those who have abused children and concealed such abuse?
We cannot take such claims seriously – not for one instant.
Because The Rag has repeatedly been furnished with important, robust and key evidence of child abuses – and the concealing of such abuses – yet it has flatly refused to use that evidence.
On the contrary – we need only look at the conduct of The Rag during 2007 – when, as far as we knew, we were dealing with abuses – not the possibility of child deaths.
During that period, the JEP engaged in its customarily brazen bias, it refused to print evidence – instead preferring to print the unchallenged vacuous assertions of establishment politicians, it refused to publish substantial numbers of letters in support of those of us who were trying to expose the abuse scandal – and it printed several, frankly deranged, editorial comments which heaped lies and contempt upon people like me.
Fortunately, in this age of citizen media, the power of The Rag is rapidly diminishing.
Such displays of brazen hypocrisy and dishonesty can only accelerate its demise.
The Jersey Evening Post – enemy of this community.
One could not come to such a conclusion in respect of The Times – which recently published Mr. Hume’s article. The Times is a reasonably robust and broad journal – indeed, it has, this year and last, carried a number of important articles concerning institutional child abuses committed by the Jersey authorities.
So, unlike the Jersey Evening Post, we can say of The Times that it carries a broad range of views.
Unfortunately, in the case of Mr. Hume, those views happen to be anti-intellectual, unevidenced – and disturbingly biased.
Why should this be?
I will explain some of the political history of Mr. Hume later, but let us now take a brief look at certain of the assertions he makes.
Probably the only useful observation he reports in the entire article is this:
“Throwing a miniature rugby ball around his cramped office in Broadcasting House, the run-down former BBC centre that now serves as a police HQ in Jersey’s capital, St Helier, Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell is one policeman whose lot is not a happy one.”
For in this reportage, we gain an all too realistic view of Mr. Gradwell – slouched in his office – throwing a miniature rugby ball around – as though he were fantasising about being some hard-bitten cop in an American crime drama – toying with a baseball whilst he ponders the devilishly clever schemes of the gangster boss.
And it is not an inaccurate picture.
For when we closely analyse the spin-doctored press-release issued by Mr Gradwell & his boss, Mr. Warcup, on the 12th November – we cannot come to any conclusion other than he simply had not read the evidence available to him.
Why else would he issue a press-release – which contained professionally destructive falsehoods?
Mick Hume in his article says:
“When he and the new deputy police chief, David Warcup, reviewed the case of suspected child murder in the former home, they were shocked – not so much by the evidence as by its absence.”
Well – when Mr. Gradwell asserts that ‘there is no intelligence to suggest that the recovered items may have been improvised shackles’ – and he asserts that acts of abuse could not – for a fact – have been committed in the voids – because they’re only around five feet high – we cannot come to any conclusion other than that he simply has not examined the evidence.
Mr. Hume goes on to say this:
“They announced that, contrary to many reports, no children were murdered and no bodies hidden or burnt there. Further, microscopic examination had found no blood in samples detected by sniffer dogs in an old concrete bath, as initially expected; and of the three very small bone fragments found that were possibly – but not definitely – human, two had been dated to between 1470 and 1670, and the third dated from sometime between 1660 and 1950.”
It is in assertions of this nature that we can see that whatever Mr. Hume’s grounds for writing what he does – an analysis of the science is not amongst them.
Mr. Warcup & Mr. Gradwell state – as though it were proven fact – that there were no unexplained child deaths.
At the time of their infamous press-conference – no robust, scientific peer-review of the evidence existed.
On the contrary – we know that even the so-called review by the Metropolitan police was not completed.
Yet Mr, Hume ends his article by saying:
““We now know that there is no evidence of suspicious deaths at Haut de la Garenne”.
No. On the evidence – we know nothing of the kind.
On the contrary, we have a significant amount of evidence of human origin – fragments of bone – and many children’s teeth – which simply remain wholly unexplained.
Would that we did have evidence that no suspicious deaths occurred at HDLG.
Instead, let us remember – all that Mr. Hume is speaking of amounts to a 5 page press-release – co-written with Frank Walker’s spin-doctors – and which contains many startling omissions – and certain outright falsehoods.
And if Mr. Hume were serious in his claims to be only interested in a sober reflection upon the facts – surely he would have asked what happened to all the other bone fragments? Where is the scientific analysis of them?
Why focus only on the three fragments – and not the substantial remaining number of fragments?
Where does Mr. Hume demand of Warcup & Gradwell answers to the question ‘have they undertaken full radionuclide testing on all of the bone fragments to determine whether they originate after the nuclear weapons era?
Why do we not see Mr. Hume pressing for the radionuclide testing of the substantial – and quite bizarre – quantity of human teeth found in the voids?
Such testing would show us definitively whether the teeth originated from people who were living in the post-war nuclear weapons era.
Mr. Hume goes on:
““Police officers became concerned at the number of people in positions of authority who were being connected with paedophile crimes,” Lenny Harper told The Times. “We don’t yet know how the child came to meet his or her death. We can’t say that it was homicide but have to treat it this way.”
“Walker, who has since retired from office, counter-accuses the former deputy police chief of misleading the administration; in May, Harper sent him a “secret” e-mail revealing that more remains had been found, of recent origin, and that a homicide investigation would probably be necessary. “That e-mail was never retracted.””
Were Mr. Hume remotely interested in the facts, he would know that the e-mail in question has been completely misrepresented by Frank Walker and David Rose, another contrarian journalist who specialises in trawling the country for opportunities to rubbish child abuse investigations.
There are many media accounts of what Mr. Harper actually said – for example, the BBC News website of 31st July under the heading “Jersey murder enquiry unlikely.” In that article Mr. Harper is clearly quoted as saying that in the light of the carbon dating then “should the evidence stay as it is, it is obvious there will be no murder enquiry.”
Why have Gradwell, Warcup, and Hume, like David Rose before them, ignored this?
Elsewhere in his article, Mr. Hume states:
““Police officers became concerned at the number of people in positions of authority who were being connected with paedophile crimes,” Lenny Harper told The Times. “We don’t yet know how the child came to meet his or her death. We can’t say that it was homicide but have to treat it this way.”
Here – taken from an article in The Times itself – we see a plain and unambiguous example of what Mr. Harper was actually saying.
Fact: the remains of a child or children – in the form of many teeth and bone fragments – were recovered from the building.
We do not yet know the age or origin of those remains – nor will we until ALL of the scientific evidence is published. And what Mr. Harper says is entirely, 100%, consistent with those facts.
He said, “we do not know how the child died” – and he went on to say – “we can’t say that it was homicide but have to treat it that way”.
Contrary to the spin and lies of the Jersey oligarchy – Mr. Harper’s words are entirely factual.
Indeed – imagine what people would think if the police had uncovered these artefacts originating from children – and had not conducted the investigation as though the possibility of homicide existed?
The actually quite astonishing failure of Mr. Hume to grasp the difference between science – and politically motivated spin – is revealed in these words of his, when speaking of the media presentation given by Warcup & Gradwell:
“And the critical analysis that it presented of the forensic evidence gathered at Haut de la Garenne looks irrefutable. That analysis, after all, was based largely on the first full public presentation of detailed scientific tests carried out by the very experts that Harper had consulted.”
Once again – there is no scientific, detailed, critical analysis of all the forensic evidence.
It simply does not yet exist.
All that Warcup & Gradwell furnished the media with was a five page political press release – co-authored with Frank Walker’s spin doctors.
A document which, moreover, contained obvious errors of fact, omissions – and outright falsehoods.
Yet Mr. Hume – and those who share his agenda – seek to portray themselves as sticklers for “evidence” – hard facts – over and above sensation.
Such posturing is wholly incompatible with the indecent eagerness displayed to seize upon any old garbage – screeds of vacuous and intellectually feeble spin – rather than engage in a forthright and sober examination of the actual evidence.
Mr. Harper has said recently that he is of the opinion that he and Graham Power, the Chief Constable of the States of Jersey Police, are being set-up as fall-guys for the inevitable “failure” of what passes for judicial process in Jersey to hold the guilty to account.
And we can see the absolute correctness of Mr. Harper’s concerns when reading this from Mr. Hume’s article:
“As one source puts it: “If you’re a defence lawyer with evidence that a senior investigating officer has been misrepresenting the facts, it will be open season, won’t it?” Walker goes so far as to say that, if guilty people now walk free, Harper will have “a hell of a lot to answer for””.
For here we see displayed – quite plainly – the efforts of Frank Walker & Mr. Hume to set the scene for just such an outcome. “If the guilty walk free, Harper will have a hell of a lot to answer for”.
Let there be no mistake.
If any of the guilty walk free – the blame for that fact will lay with people such as Jersey’s Attorney General, William Bailhache – who has rabidly obstructed the charging of the accused people from the very outset of this episode.
And – in particular – it will lay with David Warcup & Mick Gradwell.
Should they be too thick to grasp that fact, let me explain.
If anything is going to provide “open season” for defence lawyers – it is the words and actions of Warcup & Gradwell.
What more could a defence lawyer require – than being able to stand up in court and assert that the prosecution case is garbage – because the police work which underpins it was carried out in an incompetent manner – and “Look! That isn’t just defence opinion – no less figures than Officers Warcup & Gradwell have publicly said the standards and general competency of the police work was rubbish!”
Accused? Home & dry. Case dismissed.
Let me be charitable – and assume that both police officers are simply extremely stupid and ignorant.
Even assuming that to be the case – they will still be largely to blame for the abusers – and those who concealed abuse – getting away with it.
You cannot be a senior police officer – and publicly set about the task of rubbishing your predecessors – and still then expect the cases they were working on to remain credible.
Frankly – if I were in the shoes of Mr. Warcup or Mr. Gradwell – I would already be seeking to salvage my reputation from the utter folly I’d committed – by resigning forthwith, returning to the UK – and explaining how I’d been conned into acting in an utterly insupportable, politically motivated manner.
I said in my previous posting that I would explain the political sub-text of where Mr. Hume is coming from; why he should be ideologically driven to pursue the agenda he does.
Before I do so, let me refer you to these words taken from his article:
“But more importantly, it fed off a national obsession with child abuse.
Fear of the predatory paedophile has become a morbid symptom of a society where we do not trust one another. As we lose faith in our humanity, the dark side of the human condition comes to the fore in the public imagination – and there is nothing darker than child murder. Haut de la Garenne is perhaps the flipside of the Baby P story: we might seem unable to see brutal abuse before our eyes, yet we seem ready to believe tales of mass murder in a island children’s home.”
“There is a sordid record of abuse in children’s homes. There is also a record of moral panics and false allegations, especially when the police begin trawling for victims.”
Child abuse – a “national obsession” – “a morbid symptom” – dark “imagination” – a record of “moral panics”.
Such phrases give a good indication of Mr. Hume’s thinking.
To understand the strange political views which drive Mr. Hume, what follows is extracted from an e-mail I wrote on the 21st November, concerning a fellow-traveller of Mr. Hume’s – one Richard Webster – and the web site, “Spiked” – of which Mr. Hume is the “Editor-at-Large”.
Spiked is the internet-era reincarnation of a magazine called Living Marxism, or LM, as it later became known. The now defucnt LM was the house-journal of a bizzare political sect called the Revolutionary Communist Party.
LM magazine was bankcrupted when it was sued for defamtion by ITN – who it had accused of fabricating its story and footage of the Serbian massacres of the Boznians during the Balkans war.
The political thinking behind LM and the RCP is well-ilustrated by that crazed attempt to act as applogists for the old commie regime of Serbia.
Mr. Webster and his fellow-travellers and contributors to Spiked would have the world regard them as The One True Voice of factual, honest and straight reporting – and that the mainstream media – and all who may agree with them – are a load of superficial clowns.
I could, actually, find a great deal of sympathy with that view of mainstream media – were there any great countervailing display of intellectual robustness, detailed research, rational argument or responsible ethics in the output of Spiked.
Unfortunately – there isn’t – and I will later give some examples.
But before I do so, I offer Mr. Webster and his fellow Spiked writers a challenge.
Mr. Webster would have the world believe that the HDLG investigation has been a “sorry saga”. He has determinedly sought to damn the credibility of the investigation, its competence, indeed, its very basis.
But when doing so, he, and other contributors to Spiked, are always very careful to assert that they oppose child abuse as much as anyone – that they want “real” abusers brought to justice – and write to the effect that ‘if only a calm, rational, evidence-based approach were brought to bear’ – of the kind they profess to deliver – ‘we would more rapidly and accurately get to the truth’.
So let us take Mr. Webster, and people like Mr. Hume, at their word.
They – purportedly – want the unvarnished facts to emerge; the hard evidence. Very well. Here is the link to my recent blog entry – “37 Questions for Officers Warcup & Gradwell”.
If Mr. Webster, Mr. Hume and Spiked wish to see the facts exposed – I challenge them to obtain full, verifiable, answers to these 37 questions from the States of Jersey Police Force.
Were all of these questions to be answered, fully and frankly, I for one would be a good deal more assured, in many respects. When I first discovered, in early 2007, the true breakdown in child protection in Jersey, I had no idea that there may have been a possibility of unexplained child deaths at HDLG. That suggestion only emerged early this year – and my feelings remain today as they were then – I very much hope for actual evidence and robust analysis which shows the concern to have been unfounded.
But sadly – we have no such evidential finding. Instead – all we have been supplied with is a vacuous five-page press-release – written by a spin-doctor in co-operation with the police. Moreover – a press-release which contains some startlingly obvious and deliberate falsehoods.
Many questions remain.
Consider the mysterious 65 teeth. For example, if all of the radionuclide tests I describe are undertaken by accredited, independent laboratories – and the peer-reviewable results published – and a pre-WW II origin for the remains were to be robustly and scientifically established – then we could gain some form of “closure” – so far as possible post-war unexplained child deaths are concerned.
But in the absence of such tests – the issue remains obscure, uncertain and suspicious.
Turning to the Revolutionary Communist Party, its house-journal, the now defunct Living Marxism – and its off-spring, Spiked. Readers can research for themselves the Leninist, Trotskyite history and tactics of this collective – the well-documented belief in sowing the seeds of confusion and contradiction – and in Leninist fashion, adopting policies which hasten the collapse of established societal order – the quicker to established some mass, libertarian utopia in its place.
Given the strangeness and wilful obscurity of their beliefs – this ‘movement’ can only be assessed by considering the sub-text to what they say; reading between the lines, as well as the mere printed words.
We can go to the web site of Spiked – right now – and find it dominated by a set of views and opinions which I advise people to familiarise themselves with – before deciding, metaphorically, to elope with Spiked and it’s miniature band of contrarians.
To give you a flavour of Spiked thinking, you will find the site laden with lame excuses for polemics – which, in fact, are little more than:
Apologist articles for Russia and its renewed militarism.
Apologist articles for Serbian war-crimes.
Significant outpourings of support for the Communist regime of China.
Contemptuous dismissal of the cause of the Tibetan people and endorsement of the Chinese occupation.
A range of articles pouring scorn and contempt upon President-Elect Barak Obama.
And – most disturbingly – a significant number of ultra-libertarian, very thinly disguised defences of child abuse.
Given that Mr. Webster makes such strenuous efforts to distance himself from such views – I’ll quote some of them.
In an article titled – “Time to Tear-Up the Sex-Offenders’ Register” – one Rob Lyons writes a piece in which he makes excuses for teachers and such like – who form abusive relationships with teenagers. I quote:
“In most of these cases, the parties involved regarded themselves as being in a relationship. There is no suggestion of forced sex. While it is quite clear that these people have failed in their responsibilities and probably should not be allowed to teach again, it is far from clear why they should have to be monitored by the police for years to come.”
Ask yourself a question – would you want your 14 or 15 year-old to be the lawful sexual target of 30 year-old teachers? Would you want a 35 year-old teacher who had in the past formed abusive “relationships” with 14 or 15 year-old children to be able to ply their profession – as they could do, in the absence of monitoring?
I didn’t think so, somehow.
That is why those who have displayed such irresponsibility need to be monitored to ensure that every effort is taken to prevent them exploiting children in such ways.
In an article which is a quite startling apologist rant in thinly disguised support of child porn, one ‘Barbara Hewson’ quotes what she describes as a “carefully balanced observation”, this being the comments of a very minority academic, Max Taylor who said this at a conference:
“‘The relationship between adult sexual interest in children and child pornography is complex and poorly understood. Not all convicted child-sex offenders express an interest in child pornography. On the other hand, very many people who have no criminal record, and who seemingly have no known sexual interest in children, demonstrate an interest in child pornography by accessing and downloading images.’
‘The relationship between collecting child pornography and sexual assaults on children is also not clear.’ (4).”
The remarkable sophistry and dangerous – perhaps wilful – ‘naivety’ of that statement can be no better illustrated than by considering a quote of Hewson’s own, taken from the same Spiked article:
“No law-abiding person condones children being raped or abused, on camera or off it. Clearly, in situations where children are sexually assaulted and the assaults are recorded, the photo or film is a record of criminal acts.
But it is misconceived to argue that the record ‘is’ the abuse. It is neutral.
It is bizarre to argue that someone who downloads and views a picture of an assault later on – perhaps 40 years later – is somehow complicit in the original assault. This makes no sense. We do not say that someone watching the destruction of the World Trade Centre on TV is complicit in the hijackers’ acts. Even if that person believed that the Americans got what they deserved and cheered, he could not incur criminal liability for the crimes perpetrated on 9/11.”
The above quote is extremely illustrative of the type intellectually feeble and self-indulgently contrarian garbage which characterises Spiked.
Have you seen footage of the 9/11 atrocity?
By Hewson’s “logic” – you’re complicit with, and allied to, Bin Laden.
Such a conclusion is, of course, garbage. And Hewson knows it – hence her attempt to make the downloading and viewing of child porn analogous to witnessing a terrorist attack.
Perverts down-loading child porn? In Hewson’s world they’re no more harmful or guilty than you are – when you sit down and watch the evening TV news.
The falsity of her argument and that of Max Taylor, who she so favourably quotes, is clear. Children are vulnerable, naive, and unable to protect themselves from adults who have power over them. Therefore any credible and realistic risk to children should be resisted by any civilised society. Even were it true – as Taylor attempts to imply – that most child porn voyeurs do not themselves go onto attack children – they most definitely are complicit in the abuse of children – because their ‘demand’ creates a market for pictures of children being abused – often in the most horrific of ways. It is true that, these days, some child porn images are manufactured using computer technology – but many aren’t – and instead involve the actual abuse of real children – often to death. Whether the images are faked or real – the ‘market’ demand will drive real atrocities.
Do you agree with Hewson that being a punter for such horrific material is harmless – and in no way complicit in the suffering of children?
Then you’ll feel right at home with the festering remnants of the Revolutionary Communist Party – Living Marxism (or simply LM, as it came to be known) – and Spiked.
Should my opinion of this bizarre cult not be sufficient, the respected author and science and environmental journalist, George Monbiot wrote this:
“On one issue after another, there’s a staggering congruence between LM’s agenda and that of the far-right Libertarian Alliance. The two organisations take identical positions, for example, on gun control (it is a misconceived attack on human liberty), child pornography (legal restraint is simply a Trojan horse for the wider censorship of the Internet), alcohol (its dangers have been exaggerated by a new breed of “puritan”), the British National Party (it’s unfair to associate it with the murder of Stephen Lawrence; its activities and publications should not be restricted), the Anti-Nazi League (it is undemocratic and irrelevant)
The two organizations share a strangely one-sided conception of freedom, celebrating and defending the “freedom to” of those with the power to act, while dismissing threats to the “freedom from” of those who might be affected. So, limiting the scope of racist publications insults our humanity, even though they might incite racists to beat up black people, while restricting car use is a fundamental assault on liberty, even though being hit by cars is now the commonest cause of death for children between the ages of one and fourteen. “It is those who have suffered the most,” LM tells us, “who should be listened to the least.”
Both organizations also appear to believe that the weak and vulnerable are best served by being allowed to fend for themselves, without interference from “do-gooders” and “puritans”. Left to their own devices, both adults and children are capable of resisting tobacco advertising, alcopops, paedophiles and pornographers, whatever the imbalance of power between perpetrator and victim may be. Indeed corporations, LM appears to suggest, should be free to do whatever they want, except sueing LM for libel.”
As I said – these are strange days – in which The Rag finds itself allied to a bizarre political sect – a strange and immature libertarian cult – of the kind which produces Spiked – of which Mike Hume is the Editor-at-Large.
None of us involved in this debate yet know what the facts are – we’re simply in no position to have a thorough understanding of the evidence, and what conclusions could be drawn from it.
The only possible way in which the issues, questions and doubts can be resolved is through the transparent and factual analysis of the evidence.
To those who genuinely want to walk that path to a rational understanding of events – let me invite you to write to officers Warcup & Gradwell – and ask them to answer the 37 questions I posed. Whilst by no means definitive – an immense amount of confusion and ambiguity could be readily resolved through such transparency.
Let me leave you with this thought.
We have seen attempt after attempt to rubbish the work of Lenny Harper – and to pour hatred and contempt upon me.
Let it be noted – that both Mr Harper and I am ready and willing to state our case – and be cross-examined on it – under oath in court.
Perjury is a very serious offence – as Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitkin could attest.
Those of us who are on the side of the truth are ready to state our case without fear.
How many people in the Jersey oligarchy do you think could say the same?