They say if you stand still in Piccadilly Circus for long enough, eventually everyone in the world will pass by. Rummaging in the murky depths of ‘Operation Ore’ is beginning to acquire the same quality.
I wrote on Tuesday of the Chief Constable who was preparing to defy the writ of the High Court in the matter of returning the property of one Jim Bates. I note that the BBC have now removed the page that I linked to which I found alarming in its description of Jim Bates as a ‘fake expert’. In the light of the news last night of an accepted 2,000 children being the subject of abuse in Ireland, I have most productively overturned a few more stones in those hills.
The postulate that ‘children must be protected from the dangers of paedophilia’ is a self evident truism that is driving an entire industry, and allowing some remarkable players to apparently ride a moral ‘high horse’ over the rule of law.
I have neither sympathy nor support for child abusers, nor for the industry of paedophiliac pornography. However, I do not believe that the crime of child abuse is more important than the rule of law. That said, let us take a look at some of the facts lurking under these stones.
There is no ‘university of investigation into paedophilia’. No accredited qualifications. The authority of Colin Port, and Jim Gamble of CEOP, moral and legal, lies purely within the rule of law – as Police Officers, although a connection with Ireland would appear to be a useful item on a CV. Curiously, both were Police Officers working in Northern Ireland, indeed Jim Gamble is believed to hail from a village just a dozen miles south of the home town of one Gerry McCann, who is fast becoming another self styled expert in paedophilia. Jim Bates is not a policeman, and his accreditation as an ‘expert’ is dependent on the opinion of the presiding judge in any case – and no-one else  EWHC 942 (Admin).
Jim Gamble spent twenty five years in the police force there, rising to become head of the Northern Ireland anti-terrorist intelligence unit. Colin Port, whilst deputy Chief Constable of Norfolk, was the officer in charge of the investigation into the murder of Rosemary Nelson, who had complained before her death of being threatened by RU officers. Even more curiously, the Chief Constable of Norfolk at the time was Carole Howlett, who was also the spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police on Operation Ore, and later for the private ACPO organisation, a forerunner of CEOP, later to become Jim Gamble’s ‘platform’ in the ‘business’ of child abuse and on-line pornography.
Since Operation Ore was launched on the basis of 7200 names provided to the British Police as subscribers to a US based Pornography ring, Avon and Somerset police alone had over 200 names in their area. UK police have arrested almost 4000 of those named, and searched over 4283 homes, a more diligent response than that of any other world police force. There have been some 1500 person charged. That still leaves a considerable number on a list of ‘suspects’. Philip Lyons, a senior commons Clerk was one of those arrested and charged. There has been repeated and apparently well informed speculation that Senior Ministers, some with close connections to Ireland appeared on the list. A the time of writing, the Sunday Times is believed to have a copy of this list, but to be unwilling to publish it. In the 19th of January edition of The Sunday Herald, Neil Mackay sensationally reported that senior members of Tony Blair’s government were being investigated for paedophilia and the “enjoyment” of child-sex pornography. That edition has now been removed from the archives. Duncan Campbell exposed the unfairness of the investigation – highlighting the fact that many thousands of the names, whilst genuine people, had had their card details obtained by fraud, and they were not the people who had accessed the illegal sites. Some 31 people are believed to have committed suicide as a result of being named – often by very senior Police Officers, in this operation. There has been considerable disquiet by many that Leicestershire Police saw fit to apply to the court in Portugal not to reveal the names of suspected British paedophiles believed to be living or at least visiting Portugal, during the investigation of the McCann case. There has been further disquiet at the involvement of senior politicians, including Gordon Brown, in the case, and in the appointment of a government media spokesman to act as general factotum to the couple, a position he still holds to this day some 2 years later, although it is unclear who pays his salary now.
Jim Bates ‘who is regarded in many ways to be the founding father of computer forensics in this country’  EWHC 942 (Admin) was the defence expert witness who ultimately exposed the shoddy nature of the British end of Operation Ore, by examining the logs of the US based web site, and showing that many thousands of the names on the UK list were there as a result of proven fraud. His computers were seized three days before he was due to appear as a defence witness in the trial of Graeme Harris. Since Graeme Harris was deprived of the use of his ‘expert witness’ by the actions of Avon and Somerset police in illegally searching Bates’ house and removing hard drives – which contained material integral to Graeme Harris’s case, and which, note, were obtained under Police supervision at the headquarters of the Avon and Somerset High Tech Unit, (not from some late night ‘surfing’ expedition!), there would appear to be at least a question mark over the validity of Graeme Harris’s trial. A matter which I am sure his defence team are looking into following the Judicial Review of the Bates case. Following the Judicial Review of Jim Bates’ case, Colin Port declared that he was prepared to defy the High Court and not hand property back to Mr Bates as directed.
The news from Ireland concerning the 2,000 children accepted as being sexually and physically abused is desperately sad; it is an emotive subject and one that many would prefer to avoid – all the more reason for absolute transparency as to the background of those involved in the fight against child abuse, and for a total adherence to the rule of law, to remove any suspicion that anyone is above the law, or indeed, below the radar of the law.
The privatisation of ACPO and indeed of its sub division CEOP has caused additional disquiet, I note also speculation regarding the freedom of information request which disclosed that £90,000 of public money was paid by Chief Constable Colin Port to lawyers Carter Ruck in an attempt to stop Bristol’s TV and Radio stations reporting on the IBM/Southwest One contract in which he and his wife had a direct interest. His wife Sue Barnes has been paid £200,000 in salary and fees alone as part of the deal. This followed BBC Crime Correspondent Steve Brodie’s reporting of allegations of corruption which were made by Ian Liddell-Grainger MP in the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege.
We mustn’t allow the present level of interest in the misdeeds of our rampant executive to blind us to equally serious events in other areas, unreported as they are by a national media which maintained a discreet silence on the level of corruption in our Houses Of Parliament until Damian McBride was removed from a position of power over them – thanks to blogger Guido Fawkes.