Will the Savile scandal be the last top establishment cover-up to see the light of day?
We heard this week yet more horrors about the BBC presenter, 'volunteer hospital porter' and prolific child abuser Jimmy Savile having molested living patients at 28 separate hospitals, as well as testimony that he gained access to at least one mortuary to sexually abuse corpses. But despite Savile having up to a thousand victims, it was only due to the immense courage and persistence of a handful of selfless journalists that the devastating story of Britain’s most prolific ever pedophile and child abuser saw the light of day.
Since the scandal broke in October 2012, the London media have criticized police, royalty, government officials, health service managers and BBC staff for covering up Savile’s crimes, but few if any of these media commentators has admitted to their own vital role in hushing up Britain's 'worst kept secret' for decades. After the shameful sacking last month of Richard Ingrams, who broke the Savile story in his magazine 'The Oldie', is there anyone left to break such a scandal again?
Many have been shocked at Savile’s ability to keep his child sexual abuse secret for nearly fifty years, while mingling with royalty and others at the top of British society. Those he abused were told they better never breathe a word about it because he had ‘friends in high places,’ which he did.
Those who endorsed Britain’s most prolific ever child sex abuser were not just the obvious and unpunished BBC bosses, but included Prince Charles and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In his regular contact with these figures, Savile must have been vetted by Britain's counter-intelligence service, MI5. Why the Security Service also endorsed a serial child abuser, giving him the highest security clearance in the land, has never been adequately explained.
One of the Savile victims' lawyers, Liz Dux, in response to today's appalling hospital reports put it like this: "Saying that this [sexual abuse] was something that happened in the 1960s and couldn't happen today is simply not good enough.... Nobody is being held to account." Since nobody has been punished why shouldn't it happen again? Why shouldn't it be happening now, still?
It may comfort us to hear “it couldn't happen today”, but where is the evidence for that? Are Britain's press and parliament freer than they were thirty years ago? No, the circumstances surrounding the emergence of the Savile story suggest that such a scandal may never be exposed again because immense establishment pressure can be leveraged to keep a lid on a story, and indeed many of those who eventually told us about the Savile scandal have now lost their jobs.
Social Affairs Correspondent Liz Mackean, from the BBC’s nightly flagship Newsnight, was the only senior journalist in the country with the courage to bite the bullet on the ‘worst kept secret in journalism.’ She put her career on the line and pushed her editor to broadcast the Savile accusations. Despite Liz, a former BBC Radio colleague of mine, having obtained heart-wrenching interviews with Savile’s victims in December 2011, Newsnight editor Peter Rippon refused to even watch, let alone transmit them. He waved a fraudulent Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) report around, which exonerated Savile and told Liz to forget about it.
This was not just bad professional judgment but made Rippon complicit in Jimmy Savile’s pedophilia in an even more serious way than individual health service staff and managers who shredded complaints about Savile when he was alive. These victims had risked a great deal to go on camera and on the record, but BBC top brass decided to compound Savile's abuse by pulling the rug out from under them. Despite being moved sideways by the corporation after the scandal broke, Rippon was actually endorsed by the corporation and given another senior BBC editorial job.
Not prepared to roll over and have the story of the decade spiked by an editor who had become another one of Savile's 'friends in high places,' Liz spoke to freelance journalist Miles Goslett who wrote up her Newsnight horror story and offered it, one by one, to all Britain’s national newspapers. Goslett dutifully spoke to editor after editor, but not a single one would publish it. So he turned to the alternative press and although Private Eye didn't print the story, eventually, in March 2012 Miles got to tell his tale in former Private Eye founder Richard Ingrams' magazine 'The Oldie'.
Despite eventually being so spectacularly exonerated, Liz Mackean could not carry on at Newsnight, and, since her Savile tribulations of December 2011, all the show's top staff, one by one, have abandoned ship. First, when technicians refused to stop deleting his interviews, political correspondent Michael Crick, then economics editor Paul Mason, and most recently, last week, the show’s anchorman for the last 25 years, Jeremy Paxman, presented his final show.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) report bullying is rife in the BBC and senior management simply do not have the will to check it. Jeremy Paxman's parting riposte this week was that the dumbed-down current affairs show is 'made by thirteen year-olds.'
Though many were surprised the Savile story appeared in The Oldie and not the much higher circulation Private Eye, I was not. After having reported on IRA terrorism in the early 1990s for the BBC, in March 2007 I found myself investigating the London bombings. When I came up with evidence that a privatized security contract on the London Underground may have been linked to the 7/7 attacks, which killed 52 people, it was to Private Eye that I turned.
Israeli company Verint Systems had won the CCTV surveillance contract five months before the bombings. Verint, formerly known as Comverse Infosys, had recently changed their name because their parent company, Comverse, was embroiled in a fraud scandal in the United States. Chief executive of Comverse, Kobi Alexander, ended up being chased half way across the world to a hideout in Namibia before he finally paid off the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fines to the tune of a cool 54 million dollars. What, I asked, was such a foreign firm with a former explosives expert in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), Daniel Bodner as CEO, doing in charge of any part of London Underground security?
London Underground’s CCTV is of particular interest because not a single image has ever been produced of the three alleged 7/7 bombers on, or getting onto, any of the bombed tube trains that day. I also pointed out to Private Eye that then Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who happened to be in London on the day of the bombings, was reported by the Associated Press (AP) in Jerusalem as not leaving his hotel that morning to go to his scheduled Israel investment conference because he had received a warning. There was only one problem with this - the bombings were supposed to be a surprise attack.
Attacks on public transport are the hallmark of what is known in far-right circles as a ‘Strategy of Tension’. Their purpose, as in Italy's 1980 Bologna Railway station bomb, planted by the state as part of NATO's Operation Gladio, is to convince press, public and politicians alike of a need for increased government ‘security measures’ in an apparently senseless, random attack on public services.
Instead of printing my report about the London Underground security firm Comverse’s crimes, or legitimate worries about foreign private security firms being a potential vector for terrorism, Private Eye instead held fire for a year, until November 2008, and then printed a smear against me in their anonymous ‘Ratbiter’ column. It had been cut and pasted from Harry’s Place, the anonymous website of Zionist lawyer David Toube, and accused me of being a homophobic, anti-Semitic bigot. Nice!
On the really big international scandals, Private Eye cover up for the establishment. After the death of Princess Diana in Paris, Private Eye cruelly dubbed bereaved father of Diana's soon to be fiancé, Mohammed Al Fayed, 'The Phoney Pharaoh'. In the Jimmy Savile story, despite testimony of ritual abuse 'The Eye' mocked psychotherapist Valerie Sinason and other professionals who supported the victims. Britain's scandal sheet has become a ‘limited hangout,’ an establishment tool for controlled dissent.
As his prize for leaving the establishment's biggest scandals alone and playing along with the pantomime of British democracy, Private Eye's editor, Ian Hislop, is now a regular panel show guest on network TV and radio, and his views on this, that and everything else are 'immortalized' in mainstream TV documentaries.
Psychotherapist Valerie Sinason had been talking for years, to anyone who would listen, about Savile. She personally interviewed two of his victims in her London based 'Clinic for Dissociative Studies' who told her at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire that they had been repeatedly sexually abused in horrific rituals they described as 'satanic.'
Wearing robes and masks in the hospital basement and to Latin chants of ‘Hail Satanus’, the idea, it seems, was two-fold: for Savile to ‘share’ his victims with other abusers and also to so deeply traumatize the children with supernatural threats of demons and devil masks that, through fear, they would never dare breathe a word to anyone. They were being groomed, as so many children are in government ‘care homes’ for serial abusers, and for pimps, heading down the lonely road to a life of abuse or prostitution.
Sinason has not been the only one to talk of satanic ritual abuse in connection with Savile. Britain’s most popular TV journalist ever, Roger Cook, also exposed what he believed was a satanic ritual abuse ring in Savile's home town of Leeds, Yorkshire. During the airing of an edition called the 'The Devil's Work' on 17 July, 1989 (under the umbrella of the ten-million-viewers-a-night 'Cook Report' series), witnesses told Cook that a certain ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice shop’, run by one Chris Bray, was connected to a ritual abuse ring in the city. Post-transmission threats by Bray to prosecute Central TV proved empty.
Ironically, in 2000, it was Rupert Murdoch’s now infamous News of the World that destroyed The Cook Report by printing three weeks of double page spreads strewn with lies about Cook ‘making up stories.’ By the time Roger Cook had beaten Murdoch back in the courts, a new boss had arrived at ITV and Britain's most successful and popular ever current affairs series was dead.
Unfortunately, the program, made with the help of courageous ritual abuse victims, literally went up in smoke when it was destroyed in a fire at a warehouse run by ‘secure storage’ firm Iron Mountain, along with the entire archive of Central TV's Cook Report.
The explanation as to why Savile was never prosecuted in his home town of Leeds is now clear, although it is still denied to this day by West Yorkshire police. Every Friday morning Savile held what he called his ‘breakfast club’ with the 'great and good' of the city - social gatherings that included senior police officers. This cozy relationship is why the pleas of Savile’s victims to health officials and police went nowhere for decades. Savile’s friends in West Yorkshire’s ‘high places’ would doubtless prove doubly useful by deflecting unwelcome questions to police from reporters.
With the dismissal of The Oldie editor Richard Ingrams on May 30, 2014, followed by all the magazine’s top staff over the last few weeks, one of the last British news outlets with the will to expose evil deeds in high places also looks to have been killed off.
All we are left with now in Britain is what Indian writer Ravi Zacharias calls ‘postmodern’ news. Outlets that remain are more loyal to the power elite than they are to the public, so while they will merrily print all sorts of minor corruption scandals, the ones that extend to the very top of British society, to evil deeds in royalty, the army council or City of London blue bloods, may never see the light of day again.
This largely Tory elite have a simple, unsportsmanlike principle: if any organization irks you, political or media, simply bankrupt it through the courts, or buy it up and put your cronies in charge, preferably both.
Not asking the difficult questions and not investigating the powerful is by far the easier option, but is it journalism? The fact is, many opinion formers in Britain would rather not know about depravity among those who hold our fate in their hands.
But without publishers and broadcasters with the sort of courage Liz Mackean, Miles Goslett and Richard Ingrams demonstrated in breaking through the Savile cover-up, it is only a matter of time until the soul is ripped out of our society, and we become a nation led by the nose to a tune played by thirteen year olds.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.