VIP paedophile ring investigation: Operation Fernbridge in detail

For the past two years police have been investigating allegations that a network of paedophiles, including MPs and other prominent figures, sexually abused boys from council care homes at a guest house in Barnes, south-west London in the 1980s.

In December 2013 police uncovered a video placing an ex-Tory minister at one of the “parties” held at Elm Guest House, where boys were photographed and sexually abused

Documents uncovered, and later seized by police, including receipts, bank slips and other notes, name prominent political figures among the visitors to Elm Guest House.

Two Tory ex-cabinet members, four other Tories, two Labour MPs, one of whom has since died, and deceased Liberal MP and paedophile Cyril Smith, were named in the documents, along with others linked to the conservative Monday Club, a dead leading figure of the British fascist movement, a Sinn Fein member, two Buckingham Palace officials and two pop stars.

The documents also showed 16 boys “recruited” for Elm Guest House from council-run children’s homes in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, including nearby Grafton Close, Rodney Road and Teddington Close.

Scotland Yard has confirmed it knows of at least four boys who were abused at the guest house, which was recommended in a Conservative newsletter and advertised in a magazine with a coded reference to the underground paedophile network “Spartacus”.

Discounts for "Spartacus Club Members"

Discounts for “Spartacus Club Members”

Police said they have “talked to” the so-far unnamed ex-Conservative cabinet minister about his attendance at a “party”.

A key witness also claims notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile attended some of the “parties”.

Friends of Haroon Kasir, an ex-manager of Elm Guest House, claimed Kasir described himself and Savile as “best friends” at one time, and that Kasir “started to behave strangely after Jimmy Savile died.”

In January 2014 Operation Fernbridge became a murder investigation with police investigating possible links to the child killer Sidney Cooke. They believe Cooke organised some of the “parties” and could have been involved in the murder of a pre-teen boy in a basement flat in London in the early 80s.

Operation Fernbridge has developed from enquiries made under Operation Fairbank, prompted by questions raised by gutsy lone voice in parliament, Tom Watson MP, pursued with determination by investigative news agency Exaro, and ultimately sourced from the brave testimonies of victims and witnesses who have come forward to expose the unspeakable.

But this is not the first time the police and Richmond council have heard such allegations.

Richmond Council

The London borough of Richmond council’s former head of children’s services Terry Earland revealed last year that he referred complaints of child abuse to senior figures at the council and the police on two occasions, three decades ago.

Earland told Exaro “There was never any doubt in my mind that children were being used at Elm Guest House.”

He said the allegations were discussed within the council, but the complaints were not properly investigated.

“We talked about people in high profile places being involved in this. It was senior politicians and judges.”

Earland also told of a call he received from police, alerting the council to a planned raid of a party of up to 30 men in 1982. Police requested a social worker be present.

However the raid went awry when an undercover police officer accidentally triggered the transmitter hidden in his fake arm plaster cast, calling the raid in prematurely.

Police did not find any boys at the guest house who were in council care.

The then-director of social services at Richmond council, Louis Minster, recently denied having ever heard of any sexual abuse allegations at Elm Guest House, despite his senior position at the time of the widely-reported police raid. Police are now investigating his sacking in 1984.

Police are in possession of council documents detailing a historical statement, backed by “gruesome medical evidence”, alleging sexual abuse at Elm Guest House.

Documents also show Richmond Council secretly paid compensation to at least one person who was sexually abused as a boy while in the care of the council.

Civil proceedings were made against the council and one of its employees. It is not clear if the council admitted liability in the case, and it has since refused to comment on the payment made.

The police

Part of the current Met investigation asks why police apparently failed twice to investigate claims that former senior Tories and other VIPs visited Elm Guest House to sexually abuse boys.

Back in 1982 neighbours complained of very young people and expensive cars turning up at the property.

Police placed the guest house under surveillance, botched the aforementioned raid, and established its use as “disorderly house” – a brothel.

The case was closed and no investigation into the visits by establishment figures was pursued.

In 1990 co-manager of Elm Guest House, Carol Kasir, a diabetic for years, died an from insulin overdose aged 47. Two representatives of the now-closed, government-funded National Association for Young People in Care (NAYPIC) told the coroner’s court that a Richmond council-run children’s home, Grafton Close, supplied boys under the age of 14 to the guest house for pornographic and sexual purposes.

One witness said he had seen pictures of an ex-Tory minister in a sauna with naked boys, as well as pictures of a former top policeman and deceased Russian spy Anthony Blunt. The other witness said the guest house was frequented by top police and judges.

Results so far

Since the initial investigation began (under the name Operation Fairbank) in 2012, three people have been arrested – an ex- co-manager of Elm Guest House, John Stingemore, a priest, Tony McSweeney, who are both due to stand trial on May 6, and the half-brother of a Tory MP. However the police have already dropped some of the charges against them

Keep an eye on Exaro’s story thread for more updates.

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EDL risk their necks and attempt to march in the East End

Racist lager louts from the English Defence League (EDL) plan to march in the London borough of Tower Hamlets on Saturday 7 September.

Manning the barricades in Cable Street - they shall not pass!

Manning the barricades in Cable Street, 1936. Not then not now, not ever – no pasaran!

Chomping at the bit at the thought of ‘liberating’ the white residents of Whitechapel from their muslim neighbours through a heady combination of beer swilling and racist chanting, the deluded EDL say they want to march through the area to show someone, somewhere, something, about something, though they’re never exactly clear on what.

Obviously the local population will not take this lying down, we never have. There are several groups mobilising to oppose the EDL on the day, but regardless, hundreds of local Eastenders, who’ve seen all this before, will be out on the streets to oppose the racists once again. Whether it was parents and grandparents confronting the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, to current residents kicking out the National Front in the 70s, to destroying the BNP and Blood and Honour in the 1980s and 1990s, fascists are not welcome in East London. The EDL, who look soft in comparison to the historical boneheads already dealt with, are no exception.

EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) has interestingly been banned from demonstration between now and 11 September due to bail conditions, but has been given a day off to march on 7 September. The met police are positively encouraging the guy! So much for ‘community cohesion’. As in 1936, the met police are determined to help the racists march in our area.  And we all know what happened then.

While no one ever called Tommy the brightest crayon in the box, he surpassed himself  yesterday when he posted a pic of his bail form, including his address in Luton. A man that adept at making enemies, you’d have thought he’d have learned something by now…

If you can get to Tower Hamlets on 7 September, you should. Take your chance to join in the great East End tradition of kicking out the racists attempting to divide us.

In the meantime if you wanna learn more about antifascism in the East End, come to the London Antifascists’ shindig on Saturday 31 August, where there’ll be food, speakers (including a veteran of the Battle of Cable Street on the bill!), organising and a chance to socialise with likeminded people before we meet on the streets on 7 September. More info on the facebook page.

Visit londonantifascists.wordpress.com for updates leading up to 7 September, and follow @THStopEDL on twitter for info on the day.

Holocaust denier Irving touring Britain this August

Notorious Holocaust-denier and disgraced ‘historian’ David Irving is to tour the UK this August, giving talks on one of his heroes, the SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Irving will be in Southampton (18 Aug), Exeter (20 Aug), Bristol (21 Aug), Coventry (22 Aug), Manchester (24 August), North Yorkshire, (25 Aug) Newcastle (27 Aug), Edinburgh (28 Aug), Peterborough (29 Aug), Oxford (30 Aug) and London (31 Aug).

In common with many far-right and neo-nazi gatherings, the exact location of the events have so far been kept a secret to prevent protests. The North East Anti-Fascists have released a leaflet demanding to know exactly where Irving will be speaking, citing the safety concerns of local people who will unknowingly be hosting the pro-Nazi speaker and his followers in their communities. A video urging people to oppose Irving has also been released.

Irving, who has served a jail sentence for Holocaust denial in Austria, and once claimed Hitler chose him personally to be his historian, said in 2010 that Polish people ‘should be grateful’ for his annual package tours of Holocaust sites. Around 3 million Polish Jews perished due to Hitler’s acts of genocide.

Good people of the world: Show solidarity against UKBA’s stop and checks

Solidarity-card-UKBA

Click to enlarge, then print and carry with you

The UK Border Agency has admitted it is carrying out stop and checks at train stations on people they think might be in the UK without a visa. They claim it’s not racist; one witness to it described it as akin to “Nazi Germany”.

This threatening behaviour from UKBA follows the ‘racist van‘ which last week circulated parts of London last week telling immigrants to ‘GO HOME’, echoing the National Front slogans of the past.

So, this ‘solidarity card’ from the Anti-Raids Network is useful information for anyone with a heart: it gives clear info on what UK border agency staff (they are NOT police, and have much less power) are allowed to do when hunting down people anywhere away from the border.

They can basically do nothing, unless the person being questioned cooperates – people are under NO OBLIGATION to talk to these uniforms. They are relying on people’s ignorance of their rights, not realising that they can walk away at any time.

Check out the excellent blog post https://network23.org/antiraids/for-supporters/ for more information. They also have great Know Your Rights info in many different languages. We need to get this information out as far and wide as possible. If you see someone being stopped by UKBA and you have no visa worries of your own, please show some human kindness and inform the person being questioned of their rights. Stay calm and tell the UKBA you know the law, as do they.

If necessary you can refer to the UKBA’s own guidance [PDF] – specifically Chapter 31, part 19.5, which states:

31.19.5 Before seeking to question any person about their identity and leave status, the IO [immigration officer] must:

  • identify themselves both verbally and by producing their warrant card
  • explain the reason for questioning the individual
  • advise the person they are seeking to question that they are not obliged to answer any questions
  • advise the person that they are not under arrest and are free to leave at any time.

Spread the word!