Ten days ago on the 9th Nov 2012 the online magazine The Firm wrote an article called ‘Schofield, the decoy witchhunt and the black arts of spin’.
In that article The Firm describe how they were sent an email the very same evening that they had written a previous article contrasting the TV and newspapers’ observance of the Waterhouse report’s anonymity order on the names of abusers in North Wales, with the online world’s easy slippage of the legal noose, an email that they regarded as threatening.
The Firm explains:
At 9.51pm on Wednesday, an email popped into my inbox from an individual I had never encountered. No introduction, no pleasantries, no context, and no frame of reference, except the line in the subject box: “Newsnight & the guilty men”. The tone was brusque, abusive and could even be construed as threatening, and it was an attempt to steer me off any further reporting of the online naming of the figure or figures at the heart of the abuse scandal.
And it came from a producer at the BBC.
Why would someone in such a post at the institution which occupies such a central role in the Jimmy Savile story, try to persuade me that abuse survivor Steven Messham’s testimony was “unreliable”, and that he was a “damaged individual”? Newsnight certainly didn’t feel that way, and as we have learned this week, a deluge of formerly concealed corroboration of systematic abuse claims similar to Messham’s has come to light. And last night, a former Clwyd council worker revealed revealed a list of 56 alleged abusers whose identities were protected by the Waterhouse report, 30 of whom were never spoken to by the police. Three, it is claimed, were recognisable names in authority at the time.
The intervention and objective of this figure in the BBC was not isolated. Messham himself, who only took to twitter this week, had complained earlier in the day that a reporter from the Daily Mail had phoned him and was compiling a story that said Messham was telling lies, and that he had not been resident at the infamous North Wales care home at all during the key periods.
A little earlier than that, ex-Newsnight reporter and now Channel 4 correspondent Michael Crick had declared via twitter that he was “more and more sceptical” whether the (then) largely unnamed figure from the Thatcher cabinet was guilty as alleged.
And thirdly, at the same time, the Guardian had run an online news story headlined “Inconsistencies found in child abuse allegations against senior Tory”, which narrated some contradictions in the various accounts of abused children. Two national newspapers have now run stories excluding one senior former Tory from connection to these events, although that intervention doesn’t get anyone any closer to securing justice.
Philip Schofield has now become the subject of much challenge and criticism over his handling of his interview with the Prime Minister, but his sudden vilification carries a ring of familiarity.
People in my trade learned (or ought to have) how what has become known as the “dark arts” are perpetrated, and thanks to The Thick Of It, so have most of the public.
And of course, since then there have been numerous main stream media stories undermining the credibility of Steven Messham, most notably the David Rose hatchet job in the Mail on Sunday.
That master of the dark arts, Alistair Campbell, coined a term for what I experienced yesterday, and narrated it in his memoirs when discussing the “sexing up” of the dodgy dossier which was used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Campbell aggressively attacked the notetaking capabilities of Andrew Gilligan and the editorial judgement of the BBC, and as Nick Davies describes it “used it as a decoy to distract attention from a highly embarrassing story”.
“This move finally established the decoy story as the main media line,” Davies continues.
“The original questions about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were shunted into the sidings. Several political reporters wrote at the time that this looked like a diversionary tactic.”
In his diary for that day, Campbell noted: ‘Flank opened on the BBC.’
The exact repetition of the tactic in this instance, and the apparent outrage expressed by MP Rob Wilson, who has spearheaded the Conservative party’s attack on Schofield, mirrors the flanking operation undertaken by Campbell, and is indeed quite successfully diverting the main media line away from the acts of abuse at Bryn Estyn, and onto the manner in which it is being reported.
Nothing to see here, move along. Diversion, an age old tactic, but the public are not buying it this time as can be seen in the comments sections of those msm outlets that still allow uncensored comments, or in the host of internet forums, alternative news media and websites where this and other abuse stories are being discussed and investigated.
The Firm’s challenge to that email and its conclusions:
I challenged the individual who contacted me, a person who is -as far as I am aware- unconnected with Newsnight, and challenged them on why they would seek to divert me, and evidently others too. The response went on to denigrate Newsnight for their “absence of judgement”, and my second attempt at seeking an answer was met with a withering traducement of Angus Stickler, the investigator who had sourced the Newsnight story in the first place.
The BBC are in a tough spot just now, criticised for dropping their exposure of Jimmy Savile last year, and for enabling his activity over all those years. Newsnight’s subsequent story into North Wales has threads that appear to lead to the heart of the Tory Government of the 70s and 80s, a place, coincidentally occupied by that same Mr Savile, who boasted of spending fireside Christmases on ten successive occasions with Mrs Thatcher at Chequers in each year of her office. I cannot speculate as to why someone in the heart of the BBC would want to steer inquiry away from the North Wales story, but as I assured them, it got my nose twitching.
And I smell a rat.
Those who have followed the Hollie Greig story for the past 12 years know all about that rat, indeed we know it well. They will be fully aware of the same tactics used to undermine victims of abuse, destroy the credibility of those who would dare to report such abuse along with their supporters and attempt to portray the abusers as the victims.
On the Hollie Greig abuse alone there have been millions of pounds of taxpayers money spent on such tactics, hundreds of hours of court and police time and lawyers fees, intervention by police and MoD hackers, lawyers lent on to back away, BBC promises to investigate and air followed by sudden withdrawal and denials, anti Hollie Greig websites and facebook pages and of course a well timed hatchet job in the The Herald, all in an attempt by those in a position of power to silence the accusations of abuse made by Hollie Greig and to undermine the unswerving support of her mother Anne.
That such a monumental effort has been made to make the Hollie Greig story go away only serves to give it legs, and legitimises it beyond reproach.
There is a lot at stake here, both for the HDJ campaign and the exposure of child abuse nationally. The government, the State, the establishment have declared war on their own citizens and are determined to regain total control of the media and to silence anyone who would dare to suggest that some of those in positions of power are depraved and evil.
That there are so many willing and able to cover-up for such evil is a sad indictment on our society as a whole, but when the State and its establishment believes that protecting itself is more important than protecting the most vulnerable, our children, it is an unacceptable evil in its own right.