During the last 12 months, as we’d had a referendum, a general election, as we’ve seen the rise (and fall) of Jim Murphy and a host of other issues explode up, my mind more and more returns to one subject in particular, but I wish it didn’t.
It is the paedophile scandal which featured, last night, on Australian television.
I’ve been a political activist for years, and I’ve long been researching the Secret State. My interest in that comes from the time when I was still not even a teenager and I got fixated on nuclear weapons and their (at the time probable) use.
That led me to Duncan Campbell’s book “War Plan UK”, which revealed the Whitehall machine in all its ghastly glory.
That hooked me.
A couple of years into my teens I started reading about Ireland and in particular our long, dark history over there.
Peter Taylor’s books and documentaries, Tim Pat Coogin’s book on the IRA and, most pertinent of all, the tremendous body of work by the writer Martin Dillon, were essential to developing an understanding not only of how those dreadful events had come about but as to what the British government’s response to them had been.
Later on, years before I got interested in independence, I read a tremendous book called “Britain’s Secret War: Tartan Terrorism and the Anglo-American State”, by Iain MacLeay and Andrew Murray Scott, which laid bare the operations of our intelligence agencies here in our native land.
I quickly learned about the Red Lists, D-Notices, how Scotland hosts a detachment of US Navy Seals and an Advanced Warfare school, I learned that for years MI5 and Special Branch have been working hand in hand, that there was a time, after the Cold War ended, when Five thought they could muscle their way onto turf the police traditionally viewed as their own, to become Britain’s FBI.
I knew, from the extensive research I had done, that the British state had been bugging the phones of journalists, politicians, trade unionists and “subversives” for years.
I knew they had colluded with Loyalist paramilitaries in the Six Counties.
I knew they had not been idle abroad; M16 was involved in extraordinary rendition, in the illegal detention of terror suspects, in excursions onto foreign soil that might have been labelled acts of war … and on and on and on.
I knew – or I thought I knew – what depths they were capable of plumbing.
I was wrong. I didn’t know anything.
At some stage I stumbled across Kincora and the scandal there, and for a long time heard rumours that threads from that despicable series of abuses connected other dreadful events closer to home, including Dunblane and the South Wales care homes affair.
Those links are laid out in a hundred places, some of them tenuous and others not.
Indeed, there is enough information already in the public domain, confirmed and detailed, regarding complaints about Thomas Hamilton’s conduct going back years before the massacre to make you wonder how this guy ever got his hands on a single gun, let alone four.
This includes a dossier of evidence on him that was never used in the Cullen Inquiry and links between Lord Cullen himself and Hamilton’s high profile friends in high places, including George Robertson, Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Forsyth.
Dunblane is but one facet of this thing, a scandal that sprawls in so many directions you could lose yourself trying to keep it all in your head.
Although the murders committed by Thomas Hamilton fit into just one corner of this, it doesn’t take a lot of examination to find things in that particular case that scare the shit out of you, and make you wish you’d never bothered to start reading about it.
Because Dunblane offers a clear picture of the Secret State in operation.
This is best encapsulated by looking at allegations about events which are supposed to have happened at The Queen Victoria School.
Let me give you some background first.
The Queen Victoria School, better known as QVS, is a boarding school just outside Dunblane itself, and is the only school in the whole country which is managed not by a local authority, a charitable trust, a group of parents or indeed a private enterprise but by the Ministry of Defence.
The school is exclusively for pre-teens.
It was once a boys only school, but that has changed in recent years.
It is ostensibly there for the sons and daughters of servicemen and women, but rumours have long surrounded it.
It’s special status means that almost every aspect of life at the school, as well as information on how it is run, is still covered by the Official Secrets Act, and for years the people running the school took full advantage of that fact.
In 1991 a housemaster at the school, Glenn Harrison, wrote to the parents of its students telling them that their children were at risk.
He detailed stories of bullying, routine beatings and, most crucially, about a group of men he knew only as “the friends of QVS” who would visit the school on a regular basis and take children away with them, returning them later, often in a highly traumatised state.
Harrison was, and is, convinced that they were suffering sexual abuse.
He spoke to many of the boys who were quartered there, in heart-breaking detail, and heard things that made him angry but also very, very scared.
To fully understand how this could happen you need to understand that the exclusive, unique, nature of the place made all this easy to hide.
The staff (apart from many being active masons) were all obliged to sign the Official Secrets Act and the parents of the kids were all involved in the military, with careers, pensions and reputations to look after.
This was an insular wee universe, separate from the rest of the world, surrounded in a culture of secrecy, discipline, following orders … not something easily penetrated.
Harrison was not from a military background, and the more he heard from the boys the more noise he made within the school, trying to raise the bullying issue in a way that would see something done about the whole range of allegations he was hearing.
The army boys who ran the place were not in the least bit happy about that, and he was told, more than once, that as a “civvie” he simply didn’t understand how things worked in that environment.
What made it worse is that Harrison never believed that his complaints were being taken seriously.
He talked, years later, of having to go through official channels that were so conspiratorial and insincere he got the impression most of what he was submitting to them was being glanced at and then filed straight into the bin.
There was good reason for that suspicion.
Things came to a head when Prince Andrew, one of the patrons of the school, came to an official event at which Harrison and his wife refused to sit at his table, in protest at what the housemaster labelled the “unheard voices and suffering.”
Other staff rounded on him for that act, some calling his loyalty into doubt, others actually questioning his sanity for “ruining a good career and pension” as if they were the only considerations that mattered a damn.
Harrison was scared for the children, for himself and even the public at large.
He predicted, with great confidence, that so much trauma was being inflicted in that place that a time would come when one of the children, grown to adulthood, would “pick up a machine gun” and commit a massacre because of it.
So Harrison began writing to people, detailing what he had seen and heard, telling tales so harrowing I am surprised he can sleep at night (and maybe he doesn’t).
He talked of boys being taken on weekend trips by men who insisted that they wore “clean underwear” and took their ceremonial kilts.
He talked about bizarre rituals going on in parts of the school, of finding used condoms in places, of children screaming in their beds at night.
His letters went out to the police, to the social services, to Childline, to the NSPCC, he wrote to Esther Rantzen and a dozen other agencies.
No-one ever answered his letters far less investigated the claims.
Staff, both military and civilian, turned against him.
Out of desperation, he finally wrote his letters to the parents, in an attempt to take the matter outside the school and to appeal to those whose children were on the end of the appalling treatment.
What was the result?
Incredibly, it was Glenn Harrison who was arrested when police kicked in his door and took him to Edinburgh, where they grilled him, without charge and without official explanation, for hours.
His files, which detailed all he had heard and seen, were confiscated.
He was not deterred, and in 1992 he found a willing official who was “appalled” by his claims and seemed ready to listen and act.
Then that official was promoted, and no more was heard from him.
In 1993, a local primary teacher, Ben Phillip, died in a “freak accident” at the school, which Harrison believes is suspicious.
Phillip was a known mason and associated with many of those Harrison later identified as being with the “friends of QVS”, including one man in particular.
Finally, Harrison left the school and moved to Shetland, where he finally found someone willing to listen; Jim Wallace, his local MP, who started to dig into the claims.
Because of this, QVS instigated certain “reforms” but no official investigations were conducted into the claims Harrison had made.
Three years later, in 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane Primary School armed with four pistols.
There, he shot over 30 people, most of them children, of whom 17 died, including 16 little ones.
He then took his own life, with a single gunshot.
Complaints about Thomas Hamilton and his predilections date back to the 1970’s.
His paedophile tendencies were not a secret.
In spite of this, he had many friends in the police force and was able to legally acquire licenses for all four of his weapons.
Glenn Harrison was watching the news on the morning of the massacre and when the first photos of Thomas Hamilton were put on the screen he recognised him immediately as one of the “friends of QVS”, identifying him as a frequent visitor to the school.
None of this is conjecture.
All of it has been extensively documented.
In 2003, a retired Law Lord, and self-confessed freemason Lord Burton spoke to The News of the World where he revealed that Hamilton had connections with a “senior police officer” and ties to members of the super-lodge The Speculative Society, whose members include Lord Cullen, the man who had been chosen to head up the inquiry into the Dunblane massacre.
Burton said that the inquiry itself had been a “masonic cover up” to protect people in high places.
Lord Burton had tried to raise these concerns in the House of Lords on a number of occasions and said he had been threatened to desist from his inquiries by senior Tory peers, loyal to the government of the day.
It has long been speculated that Hamilton was a member of a paedophile network that included a number of extremely powerful men, from the judiciary, politics, business and the military itself.
People close to the case claim that he supplied pornographic material to these men, and helped them procure young boys.
It is an accepted fact that he visited QVS, and participated in the acts Harrison saw there, along with some very powerful individuals, who Harrison says represent a “Who’s Who of the STV news.”
Hamilton’s close friend was Ben Phillip, the man who died in the “accident” at QVS in 1993.
Harrison is convinced that Phillip found out more than he wanted to know about what Hamilton’s visits to the school (and those of others) entailed, and that he was silenced before he could talk.
The Queen Victoria School is run by a board of governors, like any school in the country, but with one crucial difference; some of its members are not elected but are appointed by decree when they attain certain positions in society.
One of these positions is that of Secretary of State for Defence.
Another is that of Secretary of State for Scotland.
A third is given to the country’s senior legal official.
From 1991 (when Thomas Hamilton’s name was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal’s office in connection with a series of offences against boys on a camping trip to Loch Lomond) until 1997, the position of Secretary of State for Defence was held by three different men; Malcolm Riffkind, Michael Portillo and finally George Robertson.
Malcolm Rifkind’s constituency was Edinburgh Pentlands.
His election agent, and close friend, was a guy called Robert Bell.
In 1996, the Edinburgh Evening News reported that Bell, who ran a gun shop in Stirling, was the one who had sold Thomas Hamilton guns and ammunition shortly before the massacre.
Michael Portillo was a Tory grandee, fanatically loyal to Margaret Thatcher, who this website has already established was The Paedophiles Friend.
George Robertson lived in Dunblane and knew Hamilton personally, although they are not said to have been in good terms.
He successfully sued a national newspaper after comments appeared on its internet forum saying he had signed a gun license recommendation for Hamilton, a claim that is without foundation.
From 1986 until 1990, Malcolm Rifkind was Secretary of State for Scotland.
He was succeeded by Ian Lang, and he was succeeded by Michael Forsyth, whose constituency was Stirling, neighbouring Dunblane.
He was Hamilton’s local MP and frequently corresponded with him.
Prince Andrew, who Glenn Harrison had refused to sit beside when he came to QVS in his capacity as one of its trustees, was recently named in the ongoing criminal case against the American paedophile financier Jeffery Epstein.
I explored certain aspects of the Epstein case in a previous blog for this site.
In addition, Prince Philip sits on the board of QVS at present, and is an honorary member of the Speculative Society to boot.
Hamilton’s connections with QVS are not in the remotest doubt.
That Harrison wrote to all of these men in connection with the scandals and abuses he said were going on at the school is a documented, unequivocal fact.
Indeed, I have read voluminous correspondence from Harrison and others – people like the campaigner William Burns and local paramedic and long-time campaigner on the subject Sandra Uttley, who’s book on the matter, “Dunblane Unburied” charts the links between Hamilton and the Central Scotland Police, who she says were so implicated in the events they should never have been near the official investigation far less leading it – which reveals, in ghastly detail, the full implications of this scandal and the silence that continues to surround it.
Because Dunblane and the events at the Queen Victoria School are but a fragment of the bigger picture, and the activities of the Secret State.
They reveal, clearly, how powerful men have been keeping these matters quiet for years, if they were, themselves, not active participants in them.
Very little of this information was considered by the Cullen Inquiry, and that too is instructive.
Harrison wanted to be called before it, but was never allowed to be interviewed.
His extensive list of complaints, and the incidents which he had documented throughout his time at QVS, were taken by the police raid on his home in 1992 and he never saw them again.
Throughout my research into this matter I’ve tried to keep away from some of the more hysterical claims and conjectures.
Nearly every single high-profile individual that I’ve named above has, in some way or another, been named and implicated in specific allegations in relation to crimes peripheral to Dunblane, but many of these are speculative at best and at worst wholly ridiculous.
About other claims I am less confident in my dismissal.
The links go in many directions and some of the folk who have written these stories have been commenting on these matters for almost as long as I’ve been alive, and many of the people they named over and over and over again, Jimmy Saville, Peter Robinson, Cyril Smith, Leon Brittain, Lord Janner and others are now known to have committed numerous offences against children and minors.
We know that senior politicians, law lords, individuals at care organisations and even senior police officers who wanted to investigate these matters and have it all out there were prevented from doing so and even threatened not to proceed.
Theresa May, who said that peadophilia is “woven into the fabric of our society” has already been forced to replace two judges brought in to investigate historic abuse cases because they had conflicts of interest and involvement with individuals who were to be under scrutiny.
This almost defies belief but is a fact nonetheless.
Last night, I watched, in horror, as a notorious convicted paedophile named Tom O’Carroll defended his predilections to Australia’s 60 Minutes.
He was speaking as a senior member of an organisation once known as the Paedophile Information Exchange, which was very high profile during the 60’s and the 70’s when it was an official affiliate organisation to the National Council for Civil Liberties.
One individual connected to PIE was Sir Peter Hayman, who was so careless with his child pornography that he left a load of it on a London bus.
Sir Peter Hayman was a senior Foreign Office diplomat and member of MI6.
Implicated in the PIE scandal, as senior members of the Council for Civil Liberties, at a time when PIE was lobbying to have the age of consent lowered, were Harriet Harman, currently Labour’s interim leader, her husband Jack Dromley, now a Labour MP, and Patricia Hewitt, the former Member of Parliament for Leicester West, the seat now held by Liz Kendell.
And who was Hewitt’s mentor, and predecessor in the seat?
None other than Greville (now Lord) Janner, soon to go on trial for his deviant, criminal behaviour, who was first accused of paedophilia in 1991 and received cross-party support in spite of the horrendous allegations and entered the House of Commons after being released by police to a standing ovation from his fellow MP’s.
Earlier this year, the CPS said he should have been charged with those offences.
The son of his then lawyer, George Carman QC, has since said the weight of evidence against him was “so overwhelming” that he had fully expected to be.
I could have written about much more, because there is a lot of this information out there, going into a hundred cases in many different locations, in every part of these islands, but Dunblane has been on my mind for years and because it’s a Scottish case, in a place I know well from my days at Stirling University, when I worked in the town part time, it has haunted me for a long, long while.
The Queen Victoria School is the place where all the lines meet, where the massacre at Dunblane links up with the bigger picture, and that bigger picture becomes a little clearer.
Lord Cullen’s inquiry into the massacre is viewed by many as a whitewash.
Nothing hints at that more than what happened just a few months after it was completed.
On 15 January 1997, following the retirement of Lord Justice Clerk Ross, his boss, Lord Cullen himself was sworn in as the latest member of the Board of Governors at the Queen Victoria School, Dunblane.
And on and on it goes.
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