I promised a number of brief news items the other day after a week or two with a whole bunch of stuff happening. After a bit more time for further thought and updating, some of what follows is not that brief but I do believe it is all worthy of our attention. So, enjoy! – or endure: either way, it’s rather compelling stuff.

ABUSE ENQUIRY: THIRD TIME LUCKY?

The British government’s ill-fated attempt to set up an over-arching enquiry into all sorts of sex abuse going right back (well almost) to the biblical Lot* drunkenly shagging his daughter, saw the appointment of its third chair, the first two having fallen victim to victimisation by historic “victims”.

At least the appointee, New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard cannot reasonably be accused of being too close and cosy with the British legal and political Establishment. Anyone acceptable to the victim lobby must of course be viscerally anti-paedophile, so this quote from her in a Guardian profile comes as no surprise: “There have been very few people throughout my career that I have not been able to relate to in any way. These were the paedophiles and the psychopaths. Usually I could relate in a professional way to anyone, no matter what they’d done.” On the other hand, the Guardian tells us, she kept the name of a convicted paedophile secret in a case where presumably “the victims” (and the media) wanted it otherwise.

Ben Emmerson QC welcomed Goddard’s appointment, saying she is “one of the most respected and experienced judges in the Commonwealth” and much more, in fact pretty much the greatest thing since sliced abusers. Or was he thinking of sliced victims? As legal counsel to the enquiry, Emmerson firmly put Sharon Evans, one of the victims’ lobby representatives on the enquiry panel, in her place, saying she could not tell the difference between truth and error and had “done no service to the survivor community”.

That took balls. Emmerson is clearly a man not afraid to speak his mind. He nearly started World War III the other day, calling Vladimir Putin a “common criminal dressed up as a head of state” who ordered the murder of Alexander Litvinenko to stop him exposing Putin’s corrupt “mafia” regime. Emmerson had been representing the former spy’s family at the enquiry into his death by polonium poisoning. Very soon after this, in an incident some see as linked to Emmerson’s insults, Russian bombers were intercepted by the RAF flying provocatively close to British airspace over the English Channel.

I am digressing a bit here, but it gets even more interesting, I promise, so never mind. In another plot turn, Litvinenko had accused Putin of being a paedophile, after mad, bad Vlad publicly lifted up a five-year-old boy’s tee-shirt and kissed him on the stomach. The Daily Mail carried the story, complete with the boys’ name, Nikita Konkin, back in 2006. There is also a photo of the deed on Google images so we can judge for ourselves. Verdict, anyone?

Anyway, back to Judge Lowell Goddard. I asked my friend in New Zealand who blogs as “peterhoo” if he had any lowdown on her. After a bit of digging he came up with some fascinating information totally at odds with Emmerson’s high opinion. As you will see from links on his interesting latest blog, “Still breaking rules, but that’s okay”, a survey of New Zealand judges has given her the lowest rating of the lot: 63rd out of 63. The comment says:

“Low marks across the board. Much criticism of Goddard J’s obsession with self-image, which this judge understands can only be maintained by kowtowing to powerful special interests. Said to be as committed to law as she is at marriage (several times), Goddard is regarded by some as a human rights hypocrite, her judgement disconnected with her diligent efforts to be portrayed as a human rights advocate. “Puppet” came up more than once to describe this judge who is as white as any Irishman yet routinely describes herself as a disadvantaged Maori.”

Ouch! Not sure about that last jab. Yes, she definitely looks quite pale in her photos. Does this firmly establish that she has very little Maori “blood”? I know skin colour depends on lots of genes so a simple recessive gene explanation is presumably not available, but… But I digress again!

* First off, I mistakenly said Abraham. Sorry about that and thanks to Kit Marlowe for correction. See comments below.

COUNCIL ‘IN DENIAL’ OVER GROOMING

The Daily Telegraph, among other mainstream sources, told us:

“Rotherham Council is an organisation still ‘in denial’ about its total failure to protect 1,400 girls from child sexual exploitation, a devastating government report said. Louise Casey, who was asked to carry out an inspection of the council by the Department for Communities and Local Government, found that staff did not accept the findings of an independent inquiry carried out by Professor Alexis Jay last year.”

Casey’s report may have been right, but what I found most shocking was a report of one of the BBC’s main current affairs programmes, Radio 4’s The World At One. At a time when Rotherham Council was telling the BBC they would need time to digest the report, and that they would issue a statement later, presenter Edward Stourton interviewed Casey. BBC correspondent Michael Buchanan had reported that 70% of council members disputed the findings, especially about the figure of 1,400 victims. “We keep hearing about all these victims, but where are they?” was reportedly a widespread response by council members.

That sounds like a pretty good question to me. Why have very few of these alleged “victims” come forward and said they are victims?

But it didn’t stop Stourton from simply assuming the truth of the Casey report and interpreting the councillors’ response merely as proof of them being “in denial”. Likewise Casey herself, who was given an easy ride by Stourton, said some councillors had “questioned the methodology” of the report, as though that too was proof of their guilt rather than legitimate scepticism.

If even a town’s elected representatives can be gang-raped like this by the national government and the premier national broadcaster, what chance do we have as individual heretics?

COVERING UP THE COVERER UP?

The “very private” funeral of British former home secretary Leon Brittan was reported this week following his death last month. His burial comes amidst persistent rumours that he had done some burying of his own in his time, covering up a dossier of evidence that supposedly incriminated senior politicians in “the sexual abuse of boys in the 1980s”.

I have no idea whether there was any truth in this, but I think we can discount the wildest allegations made against him, the most recent of which have been far more shocking than any cover-up. According to the Daily Mail, Labour MP Tom Watson said Brittan stood accused of “multiple child rape”. The “evidence”, such as it is, comes from an anonymous witness dubbed “Nick”, who claims he was raped “more than a dozen times”. He is quoted as saying Lord Brittan “would treat me like I was not even human”, adding that the peer was “nasty, cruel, sadistic and hateful”.

Other witnesses, who appear to be former rent boys – who would go back time and again to be “raped” by politicians and other VIPs – have even attested to the murder of several boys as part of this scandal, but we are not told about any bodies being found, nor any names of missing persons who might have been the victims.

Another factor that makes me doubt the credibility of these rent-boy witnesses is that one of them, “Darren”, made similarly lurid allegations against my old friends Charles Napier and Peter Righton, accusing them of callous and sadistic abuse. I am absolutely certain these were outright lies.

GARY GLITTER: GUILTY AGAIN

Garry Glitter, 1970s rock star, faces possible life imprisonment after being convicted of “historic” sex offences involving three young girls. His chances of avoiding a long sentence look slim given his earlier convictions for similar offences in Vietnam, and also child porn possession.

In a vintage week for show trials, Glitter was far from alone. Also in the dock was TV weatherman Fred Talbot, facing historic offences involving boys, dating from his earlier career in teaching. This trial almost out-glittered Glitter, as one of the accusers, former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, used to be a star himself. A one-time pupil of Talbot’s at Altrincham grammar school, near Manchester, Brown interestingly let slip that Talbot was different from most of the other teachers because he “wasn’t violent”. Will this help Talbot? Nah! Not being properly hard is a sure sign of a nonce!

Any star case would usually be big, but here’s one that might slip under your radar in such an incredible time for such cases: folk-rock singer/songwriter Roy Harper could face a re-trial on five charges of historical sexual abuse involving young girls after a jury failed to reach verdicts. Harper’s influence has been acknowledged by many musicians including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, who named the song “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” after him.

PROSECUTOR MUTILATES A GOOD CAUSE

Even those of us who feel that male genital mutilation in infancy or childhood is a serious form of abuse would probably agree that female genital mutilation (FGM) is often far worse, especially in its more radical forms. So many of us welcomed the news last year that prosecutions directed against this practice were reportedly in the pipeline in Britain, after decades of official foot-dragging on the issue.

What we did not know is that the first case to reach a conclusion would be an utterly idiotic one to bring, resulting in a rapid and obviously correct jury decision to acquit. There now has to be some suspicion that this crazy case was brought simply in order to undermine public pressure for further prosecutions against FGM, the fear in official circles being that they will serve only to stoke the flames of religious and cultural tension.

The problem is, there is something in it: in France, where there have been many FGM prosecutions, and also attempts to ensure acceptance of French culture by such means as the banning of head-scarves, such tensions are far more strongly pronounced. It is a real dilemma, which Heretic TOC has been meaning for some time to address.

WALTER LEE WILLIAMS

News has reached Heretic TOC of a nightmarish situation in which distinguished anthropologist Walter Lee Williams finds himself in an American prison, having been forced through complicated circumstances to submit to a plea bargain on child sex charges. This is a story I hope to take up in more detail in due course. It is far too complex to be dealt with briefly but readers can catch up with Williams’ extensive work in anthropology and queer activism (“gay rights” doesn’t really hack it) at the links here and here.

“5 WAYS WE MISUNDERSTAND PEDOPHILIA”

A sensational start, with around a million views in the first 24 hours, for a public education article. That ought to be excellent news, but as this is one of those VP efforts, in league with their favoured abuse industry professionals, the word “education” here really needs to come with scare quotes. My view? It’s slick, with eye-catching graphics and user-friendly language. There’s a lot of good information too. In the end it’s just the moralising that sticks in the craw.

BOY KIDNAPPED BY OWN FAMILY

More than any other story I have seen recently, this one captures the craziness of our times. A family staged the kidnapping of their own six-year-old boy, abusing him horribly in the process, to teach him it’s dangerous to be nice to strangers – and thereby neatly demonstrating that paranoid parenting is what should really scare us.