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Sex-abuse musical chairs

Chair of UK investigations (IICSA) changes suspiciously often as it investigates role of MI5 and MI6

The London-based Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was established in 2014. It has a mandate to investigate VIP abusers with links to Westminster. Regrettably, it cannot be described as truly independent since it is a creature of the Home Office, the parent department of MI5 which blackmailed, protected and exploited paedophile networks in the UK and Ireland and has dirty tricks embedded in its DNA.

An “independent” Inquiry?

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was established in 2014 by Theresa May in her then capacity as Home Secretary. Her first choice as chair was Lady Ann Elizabeth Oldfield Butler-Sloss, whose appointment was announced on 8 July 2014. A storm of protest swept her off the chair within days because she was the sister of the late Michael Havers. He had served as Margaret Thatcher’s Attorney General in the 1980s. As reported in Village last month, Havers spoke up for the high-ranking British diplomat and MI6 officer, Sir Peter Hayman, after he had been exposed as a paedophile in March 1981 by Geoffrey Dickens MP in the House of Commons. The police had discovered that Hayman had been involved in a paedophile network and was a connoisseur of child pornography. Havers, speaking in his capacity as Attorney General, parried that Hayman’s collection was not extreme and had not warranted prosecution.

Butler-Sloss was born on 10 August 1933. Since the IICSA is likely to last another 12-15 years, she would have been well on the way to her century when it finished. Just what was Theresa May thinking?

May’s second choice as chairman was Dame Catherine Fiona Woolf, DBE, JP, DL, who was appointed in September 2014 and lasted a month. She was a friend and neighbour of Leon Brittan who had served as Home Secretary in the 1980s. In 1984 he was handed the Dickens Dossier which exposed a VIP paedophile network, by Geoffrey Dickens MP. Brittan commanded all the resources of the police and by lifting a telephone could have ensured that immediate action was taken to end the rape and brutalisation of children described in the institutions in the dossier. Instead he did precisely nothing. Why?

In 2014 it emerged that the Dickens Dossier had disappeared. When quizzed about this, Brittan initially claimed he had no memory of ever having received it but later relented and “recalled” he had handed it over to an official in the Home Office.

After media reports that Brittan had been a dinner party guest at Woolf’s house on at least three occasions, she stepped down from the IICSA and was replaced by Judge Lowell Goddard who shouldered the burden until 2016 when it became too much for her. One would almost be forgiven for suspecting that the Inquiry was designed to topple over under its own weight.

A subterranean campaign against the truth

A campaign to suppress the truth about manipulation by MI5 and MI6 of VIP paedophile networks has been afoot for decades and shows no sign of abating. As detailed in recent editions of Village, last year MI5 and MI6 (which is attached to the Foreign Office) lied to the Hart Inquiry about their involvement in the Kincora scandal and received a clean bill of health from it.

Meanwhile pro-establishment figures in the media (at least one of whom has been linked to MI6) have been campaigning to end police investigations into historical child abuse. There is growing support for this initiative among the British public on account of the behaviour of the police who investigated the singer Cliff Richard and others for child abuse when – patently – there was no evidence against them. Their behaviour was so inept one would be forgiven for thinking their intention was to poison the public against historical abuse inquiries.

Some of the vice rings which the IICSA should be investigating overlap with networks in Ireland. The odds are stacked high that the IICSA will be persuaded to ignore them in light of the publication of the Hart Report earlier this year which was meant to have dealt comprehensively with Irish issues but was hoodwinked by the spooks.

General-Election woes

A small number of courageous Westminster parliamentarians have tried to shine a light on these issues during the last few years. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, they have suffered nothing but bad luck and now face a more difficult battle to retain their seats in the British general election.

Simon Danczuk MP is one of them. He is a candidate in Rochdale and author of the book which denounced the notorious paedophile Sir Cyril Smith. He revealed in 2014 that a Tory minister attempted to get him to back down as pressure was mounting on Leon Britton over the disappearance of the Dickens Dossier. He explained how: “As I was making my way from the House of Commons on Monday night after a late vote a Tory minister stepped out of the shadows to confront me. I’d never spoken to him before in my life but he blocked my way and ushered me to one side. He warned me to think very carefully about what I was going to say the next day before the Home Affairs Select Committee, where I’d be answering questions about child abuse. ‘I hear you’re about to challenge Lord Brittan about what he knew about child abuse’, he said. ‘It wouldn’t be a wise move’, he advised me. ‘It was all put to bed a long time ago’. He warned me I could even be responsible for his death. We looked at each other in silence for a second. I knew straightaway he wasn’t telling me this out of concern for the man’s welfare”.

Danczuk persisted and became the target of a torrent of salacious reports about his private life in the red tops. Worse still, an accusation was hurled against him that he had raped a man in 2006, an allegation he described as “malicious, untrue and extremely upsetting”. At the outset of the 2017 British general election, the media reported that a woman had claimed Danczuk had raped her at Westminster, something he emphatically denied. Combined, these allegations may cost him his seat in the imminent election.

Keith Vaz MP, the former Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC), is another politician with a commendable record of campaigning against paedophile rings. He is also running in the British general election. When he was Chairman of the HASC it had probed these issues effectively. Last ­­­­­September he was filmed secretly in the company of male prostitutes, all of whom were adults. It was enough to force him to resign as Chairman of the HASC. MI5 must have been delighted. Time will tell whether he retains his Parliamentary seat.

The Tory MP who visited Kincora

Other substantial threats to the Anglo-Irish paedophile network which have emerged in recent years have been swept back under the carpet. In 2015 two RUC officers who had been involved in the inquiries that led to the conviction of the staff at Kincora disclosed the involvement of a Tory MP at the home. On 23 January 2015 the late Liam Clarke reported in the Belfast Telegraph that they had told him that a Tory MP had “visited Kincora during the 1970s”. Both officers, he reported, were “willing to help any inquiry into Kincora either here or in England. They revealed that the MP died before they could arrange to interview him”. One of the officers revealed that the MP had been “coming over to the Northern Ireland Office quite regularly… We were told by criminal records in Scotland Yard London that he had a conviction many years ago for indecent behaviour or something in a gents’ loo against another boy but his death meant we never got a chance to question him”.

Clarke’s report adds credence to what Clint Massey, another Kincora survivor, recalls about his time at the home. “In those days, there were loads of people over from London. I have always assumed they were senior figures from Whitehall. I certainly heard English accents”.

Unfortunately, in 2017 the Hart Inquiry inaccurately concluded that the abuse at Kincora was confined to the staff members who were convicted in 1981 and that a wider sex-abuse ring did not exist.

The establishment’s Achilles heel

On a more positive note, there is a treasure trove of records which could act as a roadmap to pinpoint much of MI5’s complicity in covering up the VIP paedophile networks. They can be found in the archives of the D-Notice Committee. D-Notices are issued to the press to suppress the publication of information on the basis of “national security”. They are signed by judges. Clearly, they are not issued to curtail fiction, and therefore tend to attest to the accuracy of a story.

A D-notice was issued to suppress details about the rape of children at Elm Guest House, the notorious child brothel in London frequented by Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith, Peter Hayman and others. Richard Kerr was one of those abused at it. Hilton Tims, editor of the Surrey Comet, 1980-1988, has revealed that in the 1980s one of his journalists made inquiries about it only to receive a D-Notice which shut his probe down. Who applied for it? What grounds did they offer the judge who issued it? Indeed, who was the judge?

The same questions could be asked about the D-Notice issued to journalist Dan Hale to quash his investigation into a VIP network involving politicians. It had been based on information supplied by Barbara Castle, the former Labour cabinet minister and MEP.

What, other than a blackmail operation, could have amounted to a “national security” interest at Elm Guest House and justified the suppression of Hale’s inquiry?

Time will tell if the IICSA allows Kerr to testify about Elm Guest House and bothers to examine the D-Notice archive.

An inconvenient witness

One survivor who will not be welcomed by the darker elements of the Home Office should he turn up to testify at the IICSA is Richard Kerr. He was raped as a young child in Belfast and as a teenager at Kincora before he was trafficked to England where he was exploited by a string of VIP abusers at locations such as Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square. At least two of his friends and fellow victims died many years ago. One of them, Stephen Warren, couldn’t take any more and committed suicide by jumping into the sea from the Liverpool-Belfast Monarch Ferry.

One of Kerr’s abusers was a senior politician whom he has yet to name in public. The abuse took place in London so the IICSA should investigate it. Kerr has hinted at who the culprit was on Channel 4 News in 2016. Village believes that he was a high-profile Tory cabinet minister who died not long before the Channel 4 interview. Unfortunately, the culprit is also one of those named by a preposterous and wholly discredited source who claimed he had been a victim of child abuse. (See Village April 2017.) Hence, if Kerr names him at the IICSA, he will probably be labelled a fantasist. A cynic would be forgiven for suspecting a conspiracy is afoot to divert the wind from Kerr’s sails before capsizing him.

Sir Anthony Blunt

Kerr is holding yet another ticking time-bomb: the story of how he was abused by a man he believes was Sir Anthony Blunt, formerly of MI5, while he was in Williamson House. Blunt was a member of the Cambridge Spy Ring which betrayed Britain’s secrets to the Soviet Union.

Blunt was the third and youngest son of the Reverend Stanley Vaughan Blunt (1870–1929) and his wife, Hilda Master (1880–1969). He was also a distant relative of the Queen Mother. He was born at Holy Trinity vicarage, Bournemouth, Hampshire, on 26 September 1907. As a child he lived for a while in Paris, where his father was the British embassy chaplain. He was later educated at Marlborough School where he developed a strong interest in art. According to one of his biographers, Michael Kitson: “Blunt was part of a group of rebellious young aesthetes”, he was producing precociously fluent defences of modern art, much to the infuriation of the deeply conservative art teacher – an early indication of his academic talent and his instinctive contrariness”.

Blunt worked for MI5 during WWII and then pursued a career as an art historian. He was to become a Knight of the Realm and Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures. His world was turned upside down in November 1979 after he was exposed as a Soviet mole. Photographs of him were plastered over newspapers in the UK for months on end to remind Kerr of exactly who he was.

‘Small boys are cheap today, cheaper than yesterday’

Blunt developed an appetite for so-called ‘rent boys’: impoverished male youths condemned to eke out a living as male prostitutes in seedy toilets in London: hardly a lifestyle any of them embraced voluntarily. Blunt ‘cottaged’ for them around the lavatories in Hyde Park, near to Speakers Corner. Details of Blunt’s private life and his fondness for visiting Northern Ireland have been described in many of the biographies written about him. If Kerr had not stepped forward, there would still have been ample grounds for the IICSA to enquire into his background. Kerr is significant nonetheless because he places Blunt at Kincora with two other men. This fact makes it imperative that the IICSA should roll up its sleeves and take a long hard look at Blunt. Although Blunt did not abuse Kerr himself, his two companions did.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Blunt was a visitor to Elm Guest House.

Blunt acquired his taste for ‘rent boys’ from his fellow MI5 traitor Guy Burgess, with whom he once lived. Burgess was addicted to them. While Burgess purported to be concerned for the downtrodden, he made jokes about the children he exploited from their ranks. On one occasion he wrote a nauseating adaptation of La donna e mobile which he thought was hilarious: “Small boys are cheap today, cheaper than yesterday”.

Blunt’s treachery was uncovered by MI5 in 1963. The following year he agreed to make a confession in return for immunity and the wholescale betrayal of the secrets of everyone he knew. Peter Wright of MI5 was assigned to interrogate him. In return for his co-operation, Blunt was given a pardon and his treachery was concealed from the public. The pardon was not limited to his treachery; in addition it afforded him blanket immunity for any crime he had ever committed, something undoubtedly designed to cover his sexual transgressions.

A marathon seven-year interrogation

When Peter Wright sat down with Blunt in 1964 he was determined to smoke out any member of the intelligence community, military, civil service or Parliament who – like Blunt – was homosexual: in short anyone of importance who might have been susceptible to blackmail by the Soviets. Homosexuality remained a crime in England and Wales until 1967.

Blunt must’ve felt he had smashed a mirror for bad luck. His face-to-face encounters with Wright would drag on for seven years. They were still proceeding apace during the early years of the Troubles by which time MI5 was keen to find any mechanism to gain control and influence over Loyalist politicians and paramilitaries. Blunt was in a pole position to assist them with his knowledge of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring of which he was a leading light. The opportunities for sexual blackmail were immense.
For seven years Wright and MI5 pored over the careers of the Oxbridge graduates of the 1930s and anyone else of possible interest known to Blunt. Ostensibly, the pair became so friendly they exchanged Christmas cards. In reality they did not trust each other. Wright wrote later: “We had to adopt a subtle approach, in an attempt to play on [Blunt’s] character. I could tell that Blunt wanted to be thought helpful, even where it was clear that he was not. Moreover, he disliked intensely being caught in a lie. We had to extract intelligence from him by a slow process of cumulative pressure […] Often we drank, he gin and I Scotch; always we talked, about the 1930s, about the KGB, about espionage and friendship, love and betrayal. They remain from me among the most vivid encounters of my life”.

Blunt’s circle of friends in Ireland

Wright’s odyssey into the hidden recesses of Blunt’s life unravelled an array of friends and associates in Ireland, connections which reached back to his childhood. Blunt had attended Marlborough School where he had befriended the celebrated Belfast poet Louis MacNeice, who was born in the same month as him. For a long time the pair remained the best of friends. MacNiece recalled in his (unpublished) memoirs that Blunt was bullied because he was an individualist and non-conformer: “Boys of that age are especially sadistic…They would seize him, tear off most of his clothes and cover him with house paint, then put him in the basket and push him round and round the hall. [..] Government of the mob, by the mob, and for the mob [..] a perfect exhibition of mass sadism”.

Sir Samuel Knox Cunningham, MP, KC

Blunt earned a scholarship to Cambridge in 1926 where he made more Irish friends. One of then was Sir Samuel Knox Cunningham who was slightly younger than him. Cunningham became known as the ‘Boxing Queen’ because of his homosexuality and prowess as a pugilist. He was a heavyweight boxing champion at Cambridge. In later life he was elected as a Unionist MP. In the 1960s he represented South Antrim. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, 1959-1963, and as such routinely attended Cabinet meetings at 10 Downing Street. Knox Cunningham often stayed with Blunt while in London and also knew Guy Burgess from their days at Cambridge. He was a rich man and lived on a 70-acre estate at Glencairn Park, and once came within an inch of becoming Grandmaster of the Orange Order. He chose not to stand in the 1970 general election and was succeeded by his fellow Orangemen and election agent, James Molyneaux who later led the Unionist Party. Molyneaux was a friend of another high-ranking Orangeman, William McGrath, one of the staff at Kincora who was convicted for child abuse in 1981.

Cunningham was also a key figure in the odious Anglo-Irish Vice Ring. At the start of Blunt’s debriefing, Peter Wright’s interest in Cunningham would have centred on the fact he had sat around the Cabinet table, was gay and the friend of a self-confessed KGB mole (Blunt) and another traitor who had defected to Moscow (Burgess). By the end of the debriefing in the early 1970s, Cunningham’s lofty position within the Orange Order and central role in Unionist politics would have been of equal interest to MI5. Cunningham was one of many homosexuals active inside the Orange Order who were susceptible to blackmail, especially as homosexuality was still a crime in Northern Ireland, and he undoubtedly knew many of them, including a leading light in the Orange Order, William McGrath, the housefather at Kincora.

Richard Kerr has revealed that Knox Cunningham was a visitor to Kincora. Since the IICSA is charged with investigating VIP child abuse, especially abusers who were Westminster MPs, the Inquiry will, it is to be hoped, listen to what Kerr has to say about Cunningham.

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone

Another of Blunt’s Irish friends was Captain Peter Montgomery, a cousin of ‘Monty’, the famous WWII field marshal. The Captain lived at a magnificent estate in Blessingborne, County Tyrone. The pair first met at Cambridge. Montgomery became one of Blunt’s earliest lovers, possibly even his first. Montgomery later became Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, which meant he was one of a string of personal representative of the Queen in Ulster. He also became President of the Northern Ireland Arts Council. Montgomery always kept a room for Blunt at Blessingborne, and Montgomery often stayed with Blunt when he visited London. When Blunt suffered nervous exhaustion in 1943, it was to Ulster and the embrace of Montgomery he repaired for recuperation. After Blunt was exposed as an MI5 traitor, Blunt’s signature was found by Sunday Times reporters in the guestbook at Blessingborne. Captain Montgomery was also a key figure in the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring. According to the whistleblower Robin Harbinson, who knew him well, he procured boys from Portora Royal College, Enniskillen, for those in the vice ring with a penchant for well-bred children.

One of Blunt’s biographers, Miranda Carter, has provided a glimpse at the lifestyle Blunt and Montgomery enjoyed: “The writer Hugh Massingberd, Peter Montgomery’s great-nephew, remembered meeting Blunt, very much ‘off duty’, with his uncle in 1965. ‘It was a very hot day, and Blunt came in wearing virtually a G-string and a light sleeveless T-shirt, and said, “Peter’s overdressed and I’m underdressed. How do you do?”. It was a bit stagey. His [great] uncle also once took him to a party at Blunt’s old stomping ground, Palace Court. ‘There seemed to be a lot of oriental youths around, and Blunt and my uncle, one felt, had dropped their guards. It was full of opera queens and an odd mixture of seedy old faggots and oriental boys. It was very much a gay party’”.

Britain’s insatiable appetite for revelations about the Cambridge Spy Ring

As the bloodhounds in the UK press picked up the scent of Blunt’s MI5 treachery in 1979, he became preoccupied at the prospect of the seamy side of his private life being exposed. At the same time, senior members of the British Establishment were trying to talk Margaret Thatcher out of confirming that Blunt had been a KGB mole. They must also have been concerned that a root and branch investigation of Blunt’s sordid life by the media would expose the Anglo-Irish abuse network.

Now, if Richard Kerr manages to get to testify before the IICSA, he might yet manage to prise open this long-sealed can of Anglo-Irish worms. In the first instance, he will focus attention on Blunt and the Anglo-Irish network. While the British media has little interest in Kincora, it has an insatiable appetite for stories about the Cambridge Spy Ring. New books are published every year and receive a wider readership, and this has been the case for decades. If Blunt were linked to the vice ring that swirled around Kincora, some sections of the British media might become difficult to muzzle. If it became apparent that MI5 learnt about the inner workings of the Anglo-Irish vice ring through Blunt, and that this was what led them to Kincora, MI5 might yet face a torrid time in the British press, whatever about at the IICSA.

There is also a Byzantine and ironic possibility that Blunt – the arch traitor – returned to the MI5 fold in the 1970s, albeit with his tail between his legs. Those in MI5 who controlled him might have assigned him to work as an agent provocateur. And his mission? To lure influential pederasts and paedophiles to places like Kincora and Elm Guest House where MI5 surveillance teams were waiting to film them for blackmail purposes.