Security services given new rights to spy on your phones and computers: ‘Dizzying’ range of electronic surveillance equipment set to be made available to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ under new laws
- Proposals give powers to take control of devices through software flaw
- Allows them to us computers and phones to listen in to things around
- Agencies say they need new powers to fight cyber-crime and terrorism
- Civil liberties campaigners are expected to oppose the new bill
Security agencies could be given a ‘dizzying’ range of powers with laws aiming to give them the right to take control of phones and computers for surveillance.
MI5, MI6 and GCHQ would be granted a range of electronic surveillance capabilities under the Government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, allowing them to legally hack phones, tablets and laptops.
Privacy campaigners have warned against increasing surveillance powers, but the Government and senior intelligence services say they are more important than ever because of electronic crime and the threat from Islamist extremists.
MI5, MI6 and GCHQ would be granted a range of electronic surveillance capabilities under the Government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, allowing them to legally hack phones, tablets and laptops
The new laws would give security agencies the power to hack devices, with permission from the Home Secretary, rather than simply intercepting them, which is becoming increasingly difficult.
Online criminals and terrorist can encrypt their communications, which means that when they are intercepted, they may be impossible to interpret.
However, hacking a device allows the hacker to access everything in it, usually via a security flaw in the software.
The difference is that is would allow the hacker to take control of the device, using parts of it such as the speaker or microphone, and accessing data from the source before it is encrypted.
Peter Sommer, a digital evidence expert, told The Times: ‘Increasingly, (intelligence agents) can’t read communications sent over the internet because of encryption, so their ability to get information from interception is diminishing.
Hacking is different from interception because it allows hackers to take control of the device, using it for surveillance and accessing data from the source, rather than simply
‘The best way around this is to get inside someone’s computer.’
It comes after US whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed British spies had the ability to turn people’s mobile phones off and on and switch on the microphone to listen to what is happening around them.
In February, the Government admitted for the first time that it was using the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to hack people’s computers and use them for surveillance
But critics argued the act did not give them the legal right to do access phones and computers, making the intrusion unlawful.
In June, David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, recommended the government introduce a bill that allows them to legally access people’s devices for security.
He said that the technique ‘presents a dizzying array of possibilities’ to security agencies.
The Times reported the hacking powers outlined in the new Bill, which could be presented next month, were not included in the Communications Data Bill, which was dubbed the ‘snoopers’ charter’ and blocked by the Liberal Democrats in coalition.
The bill was heavily opposed by civil liberties campaigners who raised concerns over spies being allowed to take control of electronic devices, but the new legislation seeks to enshrine that ability as a right in law.
The Home Secretary this week confirmed a form of the Wilson Doctrine, which prevents the interception of politicians’ communications except for national security reasons, will also be included in the Bill after a court ruled it had no legal basis.
Any new laws will need to be in place by December 2016 when temporary surveillance powers passed by the coalition government expire, Theresa May told MPs in June.
Arrivals at the new GCHQ established the lodge
His name was also on a list of about 400 Pie members seized by police in 1984, the year the organisation disbanded.
The Sunday Express revealed earlier this month how Harding met MPs Cyril Smith and Leon Brittan in the 1980s when he ran a north London antiques store.
Thirty-five years ago he appeared alongside paedophile television presenter Jimmy Savile in a Christmas special of Jim’ll Fix It.
The lodge boasts of its Government Communications Headquarters heritage on its website.
“Keith felt the Freemasons were somewhere he finally belonged, he called them his “brotherhood”.
“When he died last year, they arranged his funeral and made sure the ceremony started at midday because the time apparently has significance within Masonic ritual.”
Spies displaced from London and Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, where the German wartime Enigma code was cracked, set up the Mercurius Lodge in 1957.
It meets at the Grade IIlisted Cheltenham Masonic Hall, purpose-built in 1823.
Harding ran the Mechanical Music Museum 10 miles away in Northleach after moving from London in 1987.
In 2013, he organised a trip to the museum for Freemasons and their families.
A photograph shows Harding wearing a Masonic apron, collar and medals during a ceremony a couple of years ago.
The Mercurius Lodge last night declined to comment.
Detectives probing historical sexual abuse allegations revealed on Wednesday they are investigating 1,433 suspects, including 135 from the entertainment industry, 76 politicians, seven sportsmen and 43 from the music industry.
Bro. Cyril Smith of The Mercurius Masonic Lodge, No. 7507(1)
Bro. Cyril Smith After 35 years in which Fleet Street ignored the fact that Sir Cyril Smith MBE was a predatory paedophile, the Daily Mail decided on its front page last Saturday that there had been a “Monstrous Cover-up”.
Private Eye’s first detailed account of Bro. Smith’s Masonic crimes appeared as long ago as May 1979 (issue 454). That more people have not taken the crimes seriously before now is saddest of all for Smith’s youngest victims – pupils at a residential school for boys in Rochdale called Knowl View who were abused by him in the 1980s and 1990s.
After decades of denials Freemason dominated Rochdale council began to reassess Knowl View school in 2012 after Chris Marshall alleged that he was forced to perform a sex act with Smith on school property while another “well-dressed man” looked on.
More than a dozen former pupils are also identified as abuse victims of other men in internal council reports. They too have never received justice.
In January Rochdale council appointed Andrew Warnock QC to appraise its supervising role in the school which was home to dozens of boys aged between eight and 16. Warnock reports next month. A parallel investigation by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has now identified 11 suspects connected with the school.
Victims can be forgiven for not feeling reassured. GMP has now been looking at Knowl View for 20 years and has secured but a single conviction. Meanwhile Warnock’s review is confined to examining Knowl View’s history from “the late 1980s to the mid 1990s” which may mean vital truths about the preceding decades remain buried.
For example, Warnock will consider a series of horrific reports made by Phil Shepherd, a health worker who visited Knowl View in 1991, and a consultant clinical psychologist who investigated the school in 1992. These reveal that “up to a third of the residential pupils have been involved at some stage in serious sexual incidents”. They describe how boys in the senior dorm were sexually attacked over a period of two nights by a paedophile called Rodney Hilton in 1990. And they reveal that pupils in their early teens were working as rent boys.
According to former pupils who have spoken to Private Eye, such problems began years earlier, however. For example, one former pupil alleges that Hilton abused and beat him on school property – specifically in the woods adjoining the grounds – in the early 1980s: a period outside Warnock’s remit.
Another former pupil, Michael Seed (the Franciscan friar who would later persuade Tony Blair into the Catholic faith), describes a “well-organised contingent of rent-boys, selling their bodies to kerb-crawling paedophile homosexuals” in his memoirs. He joined Knowl View in 1970.
While Warnock’s appraisal concerns events beginning in the late 80s, the real question is why problems were not addressed long before. For Knowl View’s earliest history is even darker – and Smith was not the only founder of the school to be suspected of child abuse.
From the earliest stages, Bro. Smith was assisted by a Conservative councillor and Freemason called Bro. Harry Wild. In the late 1960s, Smith and Wild chaired Rochdale’s powerful education and children committees and started Knowl View together, delegating the power to appoint staff to the governing body on which they would later serve.
Police investigations into Bro. Smith, which began in the mid-1960s and were shut down in 1970, identify Wild as his “close associate”. The file police prepared in 1969 states: “Councillor Harry Wild has been viewed with suspicion regarding his association with young men and boys at Rochdale.” In the decades that followed, that suspicion only grew. By the 1990s, after Wild stood down from the council, he was targeted by Operation European, another Greater Manchester Police child abuse investigation.
In 2000, the Manchester Evening News reported the allegations after GMP’s chief constable intervened to prevent Wild’s appointment as high sheriff of Greater Manchester. Wild told the paper that his community work made him vulnerable to “mischievous claims”: “Of course, one has to consider the type of boy at Knowl View – low-grade really.” Just like Bro. Smith, he was never convicted and Bro. Wild died, aged 80, in 2001.
How much of this Warnock is prepared to acknowledge will be known next month; but even if he could examine the full length of the school’s life, some victims can never receive justice. One council report confirmed that, aged 14, Ian Broomhead was raped by Rodney Hilton during the overnight intrusion into the senior dorm. He fought back on the second night and continued to fight after he left Knowl View.
With the assistance of the school’s social worker, Martin Digan, and health worker Phil Shepherd, Broomhead began proceedings against Rochdale council. His case was reported by Louise Jury in the Independent. She obtained Broomhead’s only interview, anonymised on publication, in 1995.
‘Under the bedclothes’
“It was physical force,” he said of Hilton’s attack. “He threw me against the wall, threw me around the room. He threatened to kill me if I told anybody.” Afterwards Broomhead lay in bed terrified, hearing other pupils screaming but no staff were on duty. He raged against Hilton: “If I saw him now I’d kill him”; against the school: “Before I went there I had a life. I don’t have one now”; and against Rochdale council: “I want to go to the Black Box [a nickname for Rochdale’s old municipal offices] and just blow the whole lot of them.”
By coincidence, Broomhead’s solicitors were the Masonic Molesworths Bright Clegg, which advised Bro. Cyril Smith when police originally investigated his abuses in the 1970s. The senior partner at the firm, Bro. John Kay, had also known Smith since birth. Bro. Mark Walker, the junior who was passed Broomhead’s case, was never told by his client that he had also been abused by Bro. Cyril Smith while at Knowl View.
Broomhead did, however, admit it to AIDS worker Phil Shepherd: “Ian told me that he was touched by Cyril Smith,” Shepherd told the Eye. “He would go round putting his hands under the bedclothes when the lads were in bed at night. He was getting access. I said at the time that, if Bro. Cyril Smith was involved, then other councillors would be involved.”
‘Close to suicide’
At that time Rochdale council said the “necessary action” had been taken but the pupils in Broomhead’s era were horribly damaged. Several interviewed for this article receive regular psychological treatment. Many have criminal records.
“I’ve been close to suicide,” Ian Broomhead said in his interview with Louise Jury, “and I’m extremely lucky I haven’t gone to prison.” He died of a drug overdose ten months later. He was 20 years old.
Last week, the current leader of Rochdale council, Bro. Colin Lambert (an employee of Bro. Jim Dobbin MP), pledged that he will “not stop until the truth is out”. The sentiment is fine; but for Ian Broomhead is far too late, and no one in Rochdale believes a word Bro. Lambert says.
(Copied from Private Eye #1364, 18 April – 1 May 2014, page 29)
The former civil servant has told detectives investigating the activities of paedophiles in national politics that the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch was orchestrating the child-sex lobbying group in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The whistleblower, who has spoken exclusively to the Sunday Express, says he was also warned off asking why such a notorious group was being handed government money.
It emerged late last year that PIE was twice gave amounts of £35,000 in Home Office funding between 1977 and 1980, the £70,000 total equivalent to over £400,000 in today’s money.
Those details surfaced only after the whistleblower highlighted his concerns to campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson and his revelations have triggered an ongoing Home Office inquiry into why the cash was given to PIE which was abolished in 1985 after a number of prosecutions.
Until now, speculation about the grant has centred on Clifford Hindley, the late Home Office manager who approved the payments. However, the whistleblower told the Sunday Express he thought higher and more sinister powers were at play.
He has given a formal statement to that effect to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, which is looking into allegations of historic sex abuse at the Elm Guest House in south-west London.
At that time, questioning anything to do with Special Branch, especially within the Home Office, was a ‘no-no’.
PIE, now considered one of the most notorious groups of the era, had gained respectability in political circles. Its members are said to have included establishment figures, and disgraced Liberal MP Cyril Smith was a friend of founder member Peter Righton.
In 1981, Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens used Parliamentary privilege to name Sir Peter Hayman, the deputy director of MI6, as a member of PIE and an active paedophile. In 1983 Mr Dickens gave the Home Office a dossier of what he claimed was evidence of a paedophile network of “big, big names, people in positions of power, influence and responsibility”. The Home Office says the dossier no longer exists.
Whistleblower Mr X, whose identity we have agreed to protect, became a very senior figure in local government before retiring a few years ago. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was a full-time consultant in the Home Office’s Voluntary Services Unit run by Clifford Hindley.
In 1979 Mr X was asked to examine a funding renewal application for PIE, but he became concerned because the organisation’s goal of seeking to abolish the age of consent “conflicted” with the child protection policies of the Department of Health and Social Security and asked for a meeting with Mr Hindley, his immediate boss.
Mr X recalled: “I raised my concerns, but he told me that I was to drop them. Hindley gave three reasons for this. He said PIE was an organisation with cachet and that its work in this field was respected.
“He said this was a renewal of an existing grant and that under normal Home Office practice a consultant such as myself would not be involved in the decision-making process.
“And he said PIE was being funded at the request of Special Branch which found it politically useful to identify people who were paedophiles. This led me not to pursue my objections. At that time, questioning anything to do with Special Branch, especially within the Home Office, was a ‘no-no’.
“I was under the clear belief that I was being instructed to back off and that his reference to Special Branch was expected to make me to do so.
“Hindley didn’t give me an explicit explanation of what Special Branch would do with information it gleaned from funding PIE, but I formed the belief that it was part of an undercover operation or activity. I was aware a lot of people in the civil service or political arena had an interest in obtaining information like that which could be used as a sort of blackmail.”
He said he asked for a file the Home Office kept on PIE, but his request was refused. However, he was certain then Tory Home Office Minister Tim Raison, who died in 2011, must have signed the 1980 funding application.
Mr X has given a formal written statement to the inquiry set up last year into former Home Office links with PIE but has refused to meet the inquiry in person because he fears “repercussions” under the Official Secrets Act.
Yesterday Tom Watson said: “The whole sorry business makes it absolutely imperative the Home Secretary bows to the will of the 114 MPs demanding a full, fearless public investigation into child sexual abuse.”
Special Branch was an integral part of the intelligence service gathering intelligence on spies and political threats to the state. In 2005 it merged with the anti-terrorism branch to form a Counter Terrorism Command.
MI5 and Special Branch ‘covered up Cyril Smith’s abuse of boys’: Police dossier handed to prosecutors in 1970 ‘went missing for four decades’
- Lib Dem MP for Rochdale was accused of eight counts of sex abuse
- But now police have come forward to tell how their probe was thwarted
- They claim Special Branch and MI5 intervened on Smith’s behalf
Fresh evidence that MI5 and Special Branch covered up Sir Cyril Smith’s abuse of children has been found in a police dossier. The file, which accuses the Liberal Democrat MP of ‘a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys’, was handed to prosecutors in 1970 but then went missing for more than four decades. It was discovered by a team of investigators from Channel 4’s Dispatches.
A police file which accuses late Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith of ‘a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys’ which went missing four decades ago has been unearthed by reporters from Channel 4’s Dispatches
The file reveals that the 29-stone politician was accused of eight counts of sex abuse, including six offences at a care home he set up in his Rochdale constituency. The case has strong parallels with that of former BBC DJ and abuser Jimmy Savile, who was allowed access to patients at Broadmoor, Stoke Mandeville and Leeds General Infirmary. The Dispatches reporter, Liz MacKean, worked on the BBC Newsnight investigation into Savile in 2011. That programme was shelved later that year – sparking a crisis at the corporation and her acrimonious departure. Smith, who died three years ago aged 82, was a guest on an edition of Savile’s show Clunk Click that was broadcast in 1973.
Parallels to the Savile case: The 29-stone politician was accused of eight counts of sex abuse, including six offences at a care home he set up in Rochdale
Miss MacKean has unearthed evidence that the file containing claims against the MP was suppressed at the highest levels of the Establishment. The allegations first surfaced last year when Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, called on Home Secretary Theresa May to investigate whether MI5 were involved in a cover-up. Dispatches spoke to a former Special Branch detective, Tony Robinson, who said he found the file in a safe at police headquarters in Lancashire. He claimed he took a call in 1977 from ‘Box 500’, the police codeword for MI5, requesting the file be sent to London by special courier. At the time, Smith was heavily involved in negotiations to keep James Callaghan’s government in office through a pact between Labour and the Liberals. Another officer, Paul Foulston, told Dispatches he was ordered by Special Branch in London not to interview a witness in a murder inquiry. He claimed they then discovered the 18-year-old, who was soon ruled out of the investigation, had been involved in a sexual relationship with Smith. Mr Foulston said: ‘It was quite apparent to us that they were in effect protecting Cyril Smith and not investigating him.’ The police file names eight victims who describe being stripped, massaged, beaten and subjected to bizarre ‘hygiene examinations’ or ‘chastisements’ by Smith. One victim told Dispatches he was so upset he ran away from Cambridge House care home and was forced to live rough for several months. Another, Chris Marshall, said he was taken from his dormitory and abused by Smith in a bedroom in Knowle View school – another Rochdale institution set up by the politician. He told the programme: ‘They had the evidence to stop him, didn’t they? They knew what he was up to.’
Smith strains the benches of the House of Commons: Dispatches reporter Liz MacKean has found evidence that the file containing claims against the MP was suppressed at the highest levels of the Establishment
A police chief said yesterday that a lack of leadership from responsible authorities led to abusers Savile, Smith and Stuart Hall getting away with their crimes for so long. Andy Rhodes, assistant chief constable of Lancashire Constabulary, told delegates at a child sexual exploitation conference near Blackburn that gaining knowledge of the subject and acting upon it was the key to tackling the problem. Mr Rhodes told the meeting: ‘The reason Cyril Smith, Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall got away with what they got away with, which was serious, serious prolonged sexual exploitation of young people, was because leaders who had responsibility to do something, did not do it. ‘They turned a blind eye. Buried their heads in the sand. ‘There are a lot of leaders around the country (now) becoming aware and increasing their knowledge about what sexual exploitation is all about in their areas.’ The Paedophile MP – How Cyril Smith Got Away With It is on Channel 4 tonight at 11pm.
Why I fear this monstrous sex abuse cover-up is FAR worse than we know… by SIMON DANCZUK, the MP who first exposed the Cyril Smith scandal
Simon Danczuk (pictured) says everyone but the public seemed to know about Cyril Smith’s crimes – but no one was able to do anything to stop him
Countless times I’ve heard the sentence now, and it’s usually followed by an exasperated sigh. ‘Yes, we knew all about Cyril.’
Former Lancashire police officers, Greater Manchester police officers and Metropolitan police officers all knew.
Thames Valley detectives knew. Special Branch knew. Even former prime minister Margaret Thatcher had been warned.
Everyone except the public seemed to be aware that the former Liberal MP for Rochdale and ‘national treasure’ Cyril Smith was a child abuser. But no one, apparently, was able to do anything to stop him.
When, in April last year, I first started to speak about the police’s certain knowledge of Smith’s serial offending after publishing my book on his double life as a child abuser, I was dismissed as a conspiracy theorist.
I had researched Smith and his revolting proclivities for more than two years, so I knew what I was talking about. Yet when I mentioned the word ‘cover-up’ it provoked cynical laughter among some of the old guard in Parliament.
Slowly but surely, though, a sober realisation has dawned upon the political classes that we’re looking at a truly monumental cover up.
The revelations aired on Newsnight this week that in 1981 Cyril Smith was released from a police station hours after he had been arrested at a sex party with teenage boys is simply another chapter in this horrifying story.
We now know that Smith walked free from police stations all over the country after orders were made from on high to release him. He was first investigated by police in the Fifties, and was still being investigated by police as late as 1999.
The same pattern of events unfolds in almost every operation. Police are told to hand over all evidence, files are destroyed and officers are warned never to speak about Smith again, with the added threat of being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act.
In this way — as I revealed in my book, serialised in the Mail, which brought this gruesome scandal to public attention — Cyril Smith was allowed to carry on abusing with impunity while his public image as some sort of jovial national uncle remained intact.
If there’s a clearer example of a cover-up than the story of Smith then I’ve yet to see it. But he was not the only rotten apple in the Parliamentary barrel.
There have been any number of allegations of appalling abuse by prominent members of the Establishment made by child victims, as well as complaints that they were ignored by the police or hushed up.
It is claimed, for example, that the police deliberately sat on inquiries into Elm Guest House in Barnes, South-West London — an establishment widely described as a gay brothel — allowing dozens of boys to continue to be abused by a VIP paedophile ring.
Slowly but surely a ‘sober realisation’ has dawned upon the political classes that we’re looking at a truly monumental cover up over Cyril Smith (pictured)
Police are accused, too, of failing to act on sex parties at the now notorious Dolphin Square complex of flats — home to large numbers of VIPs and MPs — following the intervention of ‘prominent people’.
Scotland Yard stands accused of orchestrating no fewer than 14 paedophilia cover-ups, and these cases have now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The IPCC’s announcement this week of its involvement is the strongest indication yet of the extent of the abuse and subsequent cover-ups. And yet I fear these cases may just be the tip of the iceberg.
To understand why, we have to go back to Cyril Smith and ask the question: why was he allowed to get away with it for so long? Why would a Liberal MP with no prospect of ever holding high office be given so much protection? Why was he given a pass to do as he pleased and prey on innocent boys all over the country?
It’s not as if MPs could not be prosecuted for this type of offence. In 1962, for example, Sir Ian Horobin, Tory MP for Oldham, the neighbouring seat to Smith’s Rochdale constituency, was jailed for four years after being found guilty of indecent assaults on boys.
But by the time police moved to secure a prosecution against Smith later that same decade, something had changed. The Director of Public Prosecutions was prepared to listen to representations from politicians, and stamped ‘Not in the public interest’ on Smith’s case files.
I now believe that this is because a paedophile network – perhaps involving prominent politicians and policemen – had been established, and, if charged, Cyril could have blown it wide open.
The gravity of the allegations, and the cover-up charges against Scotland Yard (pictured), ‘cannot be overestimated’
His protection from prosecution continued into the 1970s as paedophiles in Parliament became organised and pressure was put on police to discontinue investigations into child abuse where MPs and VIPs were involved.
You might, like those MPs who thought of me as a conspiracy theorist, dismiss all this as simply unbelievable. But once you’ve felt, as I have, the sense of anger of police officers who were investigating these types of offences at the time, it doesn’t seem fantastical at all.
Time after time, I’ve witnessed cold, sustained fury from police officers explaining how investigations into serious criminal behaviour ground to a halt once they found out MPs were involved. ‘It was disgusting,’ one told me. ‘We had huge rows about it. Officers were not happy.’
I have also spoken to victims who allege MPs abused them at a young age. And we’re not talking sexual peccadilloes here: we’re talking violent, sadistic rape. One man told me how his legs had been broken as a young boy. ‘They took great pleasure in causing us to scream in pain,’ he said. It was sickening stuff.
The gravity of the allegations, and the cover-up charges against Scotland Yard, cannot be overestimated. This is why it’s so important that the IPCC investigation — as well as the statutory inquiry set up by Theresa May into historic child abuse — is allowed to get to the truth of what happened during the 1970s and 1980s when abuse in and around Westminster was rife.
I know some MPs are worried about how this could damage previously unblemished political reputations.
But such concerns cannot be allowed to override the vital priority of delivering justice to countless boys who were treated as playthings by a vicious, unaccountable elite.
Parliament now has to focus on making sure Britain is able to protect children from abusers much more effectively. For, as long as Westminster provides a safe harbour for paedophiles, then we’ll continue to let the most vulnerable people down.
Uncovering what could well be one of the great scandals of our age is not going to be easy, as there are plenty of people determined to keep the lid on this dreadful stink.
Police officers — such as the ones I have interviewed — are the key, and that’s why the Prime Minister needs to provide them with an unambiguous, cast-iron guarantee that they can speak out on what they know about child abuse investigations featuring VIPs.
The Official Secrets Act, so often used to block evidence concerning Cyril Smith, should be no bar to the truth being told.
Nor should we be under any illusion that these terrible crimes belong to a bygone age. They’re still with us today. I know only too well from the scandal in my own constituency of Rochdale, with its Asian grooming gangs, that police are still struggling to deal with sex abuse wherever it crops up.
But it’s not just places like Rochdale and Rotherham. It’s time to shine a spotlight on the capital, where I’m convinced even greater failures have occurred.
‘It suits us fine that the focus is on provincial places like Rochdale and Rotherham,’ a serving Met police officer told me last week. ‘What’s going on there doesn’t even begin to tell the story in London. It’s a lot worse here because there’s big money involved. The Met has ignored organised child abuse for years.’
From Islington to Lambeth to Westminster, we’ve seen successive child abuse scandals that have often generated more questions than answers in terms of where culpability lies.
These scandals are unlikely to go away until politicians reform our battered child protection services and help oversee a different approach to the crime from police and other protection agencies.
But we won’t be able to face up to this giant task until we get our own house in order. And that means facing up to Parliament’s shameful secrets first.
Richard Kerr names powerful men who ‘covered up’ Kincora
Shadowy figures linked to intelligence, politics and royalty identified in intense interview
By Mark Watts | 18 July 2015
Former Kincora boy Richard Kerr has finally identified several establishment figures as people who helped to cover up a paedophile network of VIPs.
He picked out from photographs a series of men connected with intelligence, military, and politics – and even the royal family. Some he identified as paedophiles themselves.
Exaro has been able to test the plausibility of Kerr’s explosive claims with a credible former intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and other sources.
Among those who were part of the cover-up of a paedophile network linked to Kincora boys’ home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, according to Kerr, were:
- Lord Mountbatten, a cousin of the Queen, great-uncle to Prince Charles, chief of the defence staff from 1959 to 1965, murdered by the IRA in 1979;
- Sir Maurice Oldfield, director of the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6;
- Sir Anthony Blunt, master of the Queen’s pictures, former officer in the Security Service, or MI5, who became a Russian spy;
- Sir Knox Cunningham, Unionist/Ulster Unionist MP, parliamentary private secretary to Harold Macmillan as prime minister, and member of the Conservative party’s national executive committee 1959-66.
Kerr, who has been speaking to Exaro since August 2013, said previously that he was too scared to name names. Asked for his reaction to people who disbelieve his claims, Kerr said: “I am not here to try to prove it to them. I am here to tell what happened to me, and I know what happened to me, and I know what happened to those other boys.”
Kerr has given a revealing interview to a current-affairs programme in Australia, 60 Minutes. Exaro helped 60 Minutes to make the half-hour film on the ‘Westminster paedophile network’.
The programme is expected to show on Sunday night (local time) some of the dramatic sequences where Kerr identifies powerful men as part of the Kincora cover-up.
During the interview with the programme’s Ross Coulthart, Kerr also picks out other powerful people as members of the paedophile network who sexually abused him while he was a Kincora boy:
- Sir Peter Hayman, deputy director of MI6, previously the UK’s high commissioner to Canada;
- Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, Conservative MP, solicitor general in Scotland;
- Sir Cyril Smith, Liberal MP, who, says Kerr, assaulted him in Manchester.
All the men named are dead, but Kerr remained fearful about identifying them. Kerr agreed to identify the men on camera, but was unwilling to say any more about some of them.
An intelligence source told Exaro that Mountbatten mixed with paedophiles who went to parties in the Republic of Ireland.
Mountbatten is also understood to have visited Kincora, although why remains unclear.
Kerr tells 60 Minutes that he walked in on a meeting at Kincora between Oldfield and Joseph Mains, the warden at the children’s home. He says that Mains immediately and forcefully ordered him out of the room.
Mains was subsequently, in 1981, jailed for six years for sexual offences against boys.
Kerr did not know at the time who Oldfield was, he says, and does not suggest that he abused Kincora boys.
Kerr says that he recognised Blunt from his time at Kincora as one of a group of three men. The other two men sexually abused him as a boy, he says, although Blunt did not.
The intelligence source told Exaro that Blunt frequented Northern Ireland’s gay scene, while enjoying immunity from prosecution for spying for Russia.
In 2012, Exaro named Blunt as having gone to Elm Guest House, the notorious paedophile brothel in south-west London.
Kerr identified Cunningham from the pictures, but says that his lawyer had advised him not to speak about certain people.
According to the intelligence source, Cunningham helped to fund Tara, a paramilitary-style group of Protestants.
Its leader, William McGrath, a house master at Kincora and allegedly an MI5 agent, was jailed for four years for sexually assaulting boys at the children’s home.
Meanwhile, next week sees the start of a trial at the Old Bailey of an actor, Ben Fellows, who is accused of falsely alleging sexual assault by Kenneth Clarke, Conservative MP and former cabinet minister.
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