I have mentioned before how often in the biographies of the paedophiles’ friends in Wales that a degree in law from Aberystwyth University seems to feature and how many people who are among the friends and relatives of Rhodri Morgan have passed through Swansea University. In terms of the Mr Bigs from further afield than Wales who have assisted paedophiles’ friends another two educational institutions are a running theme – New College, Oxford and Ruskin College, Oxford. As with Aberystwyth University, when I first noticed this I presumed that perhaps it was simply a reflection of the cohorts from which the people I was researching were drawn – many influential people were educated at Oxford and Ruskin College educated scores of people from disadvantaged backgrounds with links to the labour and trade union movements. Then I looked harder and realised that the names of these colleges were cropping up so frequently that the most likely explanation was the operation of networks. Where there is a network there is usually a small number of massively influential people involved in that network.
New College popped up frequently when I was researching for the post of Jean Trumpington – the junior Minister who appointed Jimmy Savile to the position of general manager at Broadmoor Hospital (see post ’95 Glorious Years!’). Trumpington and her pals were usually high Tories and aristocrats to boot, but many CVs of theirs began with ‘Eton, New College Oxford’. New College is one of the wealthiest of the Oxford Colleges and has formal ties with Eton. Then I noticed New College on a few CVs of other politicians as well. However what really prompted me to do a bit more exploring was discovering that after graduating, Peter Mandelson had landed his job as a researcher for the TUC as a result of the recommendation from one Alan Bullock – who was an historian at New College, Oxford. Mandy’s job with the TUC was the beginning of his rapid ascendency to the position of principal influential scheming bastard in the Labour Party. Furthermore Mandy was a very busy scheming bastard long before Blair became leader – Mandy was recruited on Neil Kinnock’s watch as Director of Communications for the Labour Party, after he had worked as a producer at LWT following his stint at the TUC. At one point Mandy shared a flat with Julie Hall, Kinnock’s Press Secretary.
When Mandy was highly recommended to the TUC by Alan Bullock, the General Secretary of the TUC was Len Murray, the man who sold the Grunwick workers down the river, although they really were one group of workers who deserved the full backing of the union movement (see post ‘News From Sicily’). Len Murray had studied at New College himself, in the 1940s. One of his tutors had been Richard Crossman who was the Labour MP for Coventry East, 1945-74. Crossman was a Bevanite who was a member of the Labour Party’s NEC, 1952-67 and Chair of the Labour Party, 1960-61. Crossman became a member of Wilson’s Gov’t – he was Lord President of the Council and Leader of the Commons, 1966-68 and then Secretary of State for Health and Social Security, 1968-70. So Crossman will have known about the abuses at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh at the time – as well as the abuses in other similar institutions – and the abuses of children in care or in facilities for disabled people. Some of those abuses resulted in substantial numbers of people dying – which was then concealed under successive Gov’ts. Crossman was a contributor to the New Statesman for many years and became Editor, 1970-72.
Crossman had close connections to the security services – during World War II he had worked for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), producing anti-Nazi propaganda for broadcast and at one point he was the Assistant Chief of the Psychological Warfare Division.
The man who recommended Mandy to Len Murray, Alan Bullock, was perhaps most famous for his volumes ‘Hitler: A Study In Tyranny’ (1952) and ‘Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives’ (1991). Bullock was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, 1969-73 and Master of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, 1962-81.
Bullock grew up in Lancashire. His father Frank was Minister at a chapel in Bradford and was himself a Liberal who campaigned for Lloyd George. Alan went to Bradford Grammar School and was influenced by Bradford’s well-known Liberalism. Bullock then studied at Wadham College, Oxford and in 1938 became a research assistant to Winston Churchill. During World War II Bullock worked for four years at the BBC’s Overseas Service – which suggests that he also was working for the security services. He then became a Fellow at New College.
Bullock was founding Master of St Catherine’s College. During the 1950s he developed the College from the St Catherine’s Society – which had been established for students who were too poor to join a ‘proper’ university college – into a fully fledged Oxford foundation. Bullock raised an enormous amount of money for the time – £2 million – by persuading companies such as Esso and Lockhead to fund buildings and scholarships. Bullock’s obituaries mention that he ‘trod on toes’ whilst doing this. There are plenty of clues in Bullock’s obituaries that point to him being an intimidating old git – he was known as ‘Bullock by name, bullock by nature’, there are references to his booming voice, to his ‘imposing’ character, to his ability to deal with ‘unruly students’ and that whilst at the BBC he ‘learned and enjoyed the arts of black propaganda’. Photos of him available online bear a weird resemblance to Bruce Forsyth.
Bullock was a Trustee on the Board of the Observer, 1957-69 and then a Director, 1977-81. He was on the Board of the Tate and then Chairman, 1973-80.
Bullock was decorated with the award of Chevalier, the Legion of Honour in 1970 and was awarded a knighthood in 1972. In 1976 he bagged his peerage as a reward for Chairing the Committee of Inquiry On Industrial Democracy. Which was rather odd because when Bullock submitted his Report in 1977 – which recommended workers’ participation in industry with workers sitting on company Boards – Jim Callaghan ignored every recommendation and forgot about it, although Callaghan had commissioned the Inquiry. Indeed at the time that Bullock submitted his Report, Bullock’s mate Len Murray was shafting the Grunwick workers and the Metropolitan Police’s SPG were duffing up their supporters.
Bullock discovered his true home in 1981 when he founded the SDP. Along with the likes of Dr Death and Shirl. The Shirl who’s union APEX had been recommended to the Grunwick workers by the TUC as being an organisation which would defend their interests, but did not. Perhaps a major clue that Bullock was considered a safe pair of hands was that in 1972 Thatcher, in her capacity as Secretary of State for Education in Heath’s Gov’t, commissioned Bullock to Chair an Inquiry into reading standards in schools.
Ah well not to worry, the migrant workers – mostly women – who had been so badly treated by Grunwick were stuffed over and ended up living in’t shoebox in’t middle of road, but at least Bullock, Shirl, Len and Sunny Jim ended up in the Lords. Trebles all around!
Bullock had a partner in crime – his wife Hilda aka ‘Nibby’. Nibby had been a schoolfriend of Bullocks at Bradford Grammar. Nibby was a graduate of St Anne’s College, Oxford. The Bullocks settled permanently in Oxford after the war – Nibby was a key figure in the Oxford Bach choir for over forty years and between 1964-85 sat as a magistrate in Oxford. Nibby’s obituaries observed that she was a ‘staunch supporter of her husband’ in his role as VC and that she challenged students who had the temerity to protest over ‘secret files’. What secret files these are the obituaries do not explain, but it sounds as though Bullock and Nibby had been doing some rather unacceptable things and that those unruly students had found out. No doubt when Bullock had them arrested and charged Nibby was on the bench. Nibby was capable of being quite unruly herself when she wanted – she was a ‘prominent activist’ in the ‘Tin Hat’ campaign which opposed proposals to build a bypass in north Oxford. No doubt the road was going to spoil the view from her house, so Nibby was galvanised into action. For many years Nibby taught at Wychwood School in north Oxford, the school from which Dr Ann Dally – dealer to the Royals – was expelled (see post ‘Little Things Hitting Each Other’).
The impression that one is left with is that one couldn’t so much as fart in Oxford without the say-so of the Bullocks.
I have found a publication from St Catherine’s College which is a round up of College news from 2009. It mentions that Nibby, wife of the founder of St Catherine’s, had passed away. There is also a feature about one of the most exciting events that there had been at St Catherine’s in 2009 – a visit and a lecture from a St Catherine’s old boy, one Lord Peter Mandelson, First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council. That was the year when Gordon appointed Mandy to run the whole planet, which almost certainly contributed to Labour’s defeat at the polls in 2010. Mandy had returned to St Catherine’s to address the Oxford University Labour Club – of which Mandy had been a member when he had been a student at St Catherine’s, 1973-76. The Co-Chair of the OULB, a Ben Lyons, was thrilled at Mandy dropping in, stating that it was ‘really exciting’ and that Mandy enjoyed his ‘celebrity treatment’. I imagine that Mandy insisted upon celebrity treatment. I googled Ben Lyons earlier expecting him to be a Labour MP by now, but no he’s not – probably because he was daft enough to align himself with Mandy. However Ben did write an article for the New Statesman last year in which he provided a free plug for Left Foot Forward, the blog founded by the dreadful Will Straw, Jack’s son, who spends his free time blacking up and dancing with a troupe who go under the name of the The Nutters.
So the predecessors and architects of New Labour sprang from the loins of New College, Oxford…
In the way that the TUC and some people masquerading as workers’ friends allowed themselves to be hijacked and utilised by people who were anything but friends of those having a hard time, sadly it seems that there were a few vipers in the nest at Ruskin College.
Ruskin College has historical connections with the labour and union movement, it has for decades been a symbol of workers’ education and prided itself on giving educational opportunities to people who were disadvantaged or who did not have the qualifications necessary to gain entry to other universities. Unions have sponsored numerous people to study at Ruskin and a healthy number of Labour MPs gained qualifications from Ruskin.
Sadly however, like other institutions which were established to help less privileged people, something went wrong at Ruskin and it left a terrible legacy. I do not know for how long there was a problem at Ruskin, but the scale of the problem will be obvious if I tell readers that in 1965 Peter Howarth – one of the senior members of staff at Bryn Estyn who eventually went to prison for sexually abusing boys in his care – met Granville (known as Matt) Arnold, the Head of Bryn Estyn, at Ruskin College. Matt Arnold was employed as a part-time tutor at Ruskin and Howarth was a student. Arnold and Howarth were not working at Bryn Estyn at the time, although by 1966 Peter Howarth was teaching at Axwell School in Gateshead under Matt Arnold who was the Head. After Howarth went to prison it was revealed that there had been complaints of brutality and sexual abuse on the part of Howarth when he had been working in Gateshead.
Matt Arnold wasn’t appointed Head of Bryn Estyn until May 1973. It was at that time still an approved school run directly by the Home Office. John Allen had by then established the Bryn Alyn Community at a location nearby, where children were also abused on a massive scale. Children and staff moved between Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn, the institutions were part of the same paedophile network. In Oct 1973 Bryn Estyn was redesignated as a local authority children’s home and in Nov 1973 Arnold gave his former colleague Peter Howarth a job as ‘third in charge’ there. In 1974 Sir Peter Morrison was elected as Tory MP for Chester – Morrison was one of the people who was known to be abusing children in care in north Wales. Morrison’s family came from Wiltshire. His father was John, 1st Baron Margadale, Tory MP for Salisbury, 1945-65. John Morrison was Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, 1969-81 and Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire, 1983.
In 1976 Gordon Anglesea became an Inspector based in Wrexham (the town just a few miles away from Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn) and in 1978 Anglesea was given responsibility for the area in which Bryn Estyn was located. Gordon Anglesea eventually went to prison for abusing children in care, including boys from Bryn Estyn.
So if one thinks in terms of organised child abuse, it was all in place in north east Wales from the appointment of Matt Arnold onwards. There was abuse at Bryn Estyn before Matt Arnold of course – he only arrived there after there had been complaints about his predecessors and they had been removed. But a look at the histories of Matt Arnold, Peter Howarth and others whom Arnold saw fit to employ before they got near Bryn Estyn simply emphasises what very rash, indeed inexplicable, appointments these were.
A number of those who were at Ruskin as either staff or students whilst Arnold and Howarth were there became very well known. A John Prescott received his diploma from Ruskin in 1965 and in 1967 one Dennis Skinner attended Ruskin after completing a course at Sheffield University. In 1969 Skinner joined Derbyshire County Council and in 1970 Skinner was elected MP for Bolsover in Derbyshire. Some of the staff of the north Wales children’s homes who had abused children had previously worked for Derbyshire County Council. Skinner was a member of the Labour Party’s NEC for 30 years and was Chair of the Labour Party, 1988-89. Unusually for someone on the left of the party, Skinner had a good relationship with Blair. The Blair who promoted so many people who had concealed child abuse, whose wife’s lawyer colleagues had ignored and concealed child abuse and who appointed Prescott as Deputy PM. Prescott of course was MP for Hull – where there was a problem with organised child abuse. Mandelson – after a stint as a Lambeth Councillor whilst kids in the care of Lambeth were being abused both in Lambeth homes and in north Wales where they were sent on placement – eventually became the MP for Hartlepool. Near Gateshead. Some of those who concealed the abuse of children in north Wales had previously worked in the north east of England (see post ‘The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Connection’).
Obviously I have no idea whether Prezza and Skinner knew Matt Arnold and Peter Howarth from their time at Ruskin, but Ruskin is famous for its alumni association for both students and staff. People who have studied at Ruskin talk about that being the way in which they got to know so many Labour MPs. Prezza himself was obviously up for socialising and networking with other students because he is a former member of the Ruskin Students’ Union, as was Jack Ashley when he was at Ruskin in the late 1940s.
Jack Ashley was Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, 1966-92 and then sat in the Lords. His daughter Jackie Ashley was a student at St Anne’s College, Oxford – who knows, she might have sung along in the Oxford Bach choir with Nibby – and became a political journalist. After graduating Jackie was a trainee journo with the BBC. She went on to work for the BBC – including on Newsnight – TV-am, Channel 4, ITN and has written for the Guardian and the New Statesman. Jackie is now President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Jackie is married to BBC political journo Andrew Marr. Andrew Marr is a graduate of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Other Trinity Hall alumni include Labour MP and then peer Greville Janner, who molested children in care from Leicester and Geoffrey Howe, who was Solicitor General under Ted Heath and a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t whilst they all concealed the fact that their colleague Peter Morrison was molesting children in north Wales and Cheshire. In 2011 Andrew Marr obtained a High Court super-injunction to prevent anyone publishing the name of the female journo whom he was having an extra-marital affair with. Just imagine what lengths he’d go to in order to prevent anyone finding out that he, his wife, or his wife’s dad might have moved in the same circles as a few paedophiles.
George Woodcock, General Secretary of the TUC, 1960-69 was a Ruskin alumnus, as was Judy Fryd, who founded MENCAP. Fryd observed that she ‘befriended many future Labour politicians’ through Ruskin. Like a number of other people who have gone in for charity work in a big way, although Fryd undoubtedly identified much that was very wrong with society’s attitude towards and care of people with learning disabilities, there are many worrying aspects to her campaigning. She gave birth to a learning disabled daughter at a time when if that happened parents were told to institutionalise their child, forget about it and have another baby. Fryd ignored such advice although her daughter did end up institutionalised before she was a teenager. Fryd realised that the institution was the wrong place for her daughter – she was placed in a mental hospital and Fryd was ‘amused’ to see her daughter assaulting other patients when they greeted her and knocking the elderly mentally ill over. So it was obviously a laugh a minute for the other patients. It transpires that Fryd’s daughter had what is now categorised as autism. Fryd was appointed to a commission on mental illness. An area in which Fryd had no knowledge or experience except for the time when she had a good laugh whilst institutionalised mentally ill people were assaulted by her daughter. In 1991 Fryd was honoured at the 1991 Labour Party conference for her voluntary work. MENCAP was by then a huge organisation, with a turnover of millions and thousands of employees. What no-one – including Fryd – admitted was that learning disabled people were still regularly physically and sexually assaulted in long stay institutions where thousands of them lived and efforts at community care usually resulted in chaos and yes, abuse. It has now been revealed that abuse of residents occurred in homes run by MENCAP but it was concealed.
The sociologist Peter Wilmott was a Ruskin graduate. Wilmott was Chair of Sociology at the University of East London and carried out some very famous community studies in East London. He founded the Institute for Community Studies with Michael Young. Wilmott’s wife Phyllis was an almoner, which was what is now called a social worker. Wilmott actually had a number of connections to organisations run by the paedophiles’ friends – all references to this have disappeared from the internet in the last few weeks. Peter Wilmott died in 2000 so I wonder who is preserving his reputation.
Other Ruskin alumni include Owen Jones the Guardian columnist who cares deeply about everybody but never mentions a word about the abuse and neglect of mental health patients by the NHS; Judith Cummins the Labour MP for Bradford South and Peter Sawford the former Labour MP for Kettering, 1997-05, who was a student at the University of Leicester in the early 1980s when Greville Janner and Frank Beck were abusing the local kids in care. Phil’s son Andy Sawford is now the Labour MP for Corby.
A number of high profile people taught at Ruskin. Peter Donaldson, an economist and broadcaster who lectured at Leeds University from 1957 and then Leicester University, 1960-64, spent six months teaching at Ruskin in 1965. He then taught at Osmania University in Hyderabad until 1967, then returning to teach at Ruskin until the early 1990s. In the early 1980s Donaldson worked for Yorkshire TV and the newly created Channel 4. Like Ted Heath, Donaldson was a graduate of Balliol, Oxford, although Heath was some 18 years older than Donaldson.
Lord Bill McCarthy was another well-known person who taught at Ruskin. McCarthy was a specialist in industrial relations. The shop workers union USDAW – who sponsored the MP Sir Ray Powell who undoubtedly knew what the paedophiles of north Wales were up to but never uttered a word about them (see post ‘News From Sicily’) – sponsored McCarthy when he studied at Ruskin. In 1965 McCarthy was Research Director of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers Associations, which was set up by Wilson’s Gov’t.
Raphael Samuel also taught at Ruskin from 1962 until his death in 1996. Samuel pioneered a form of Marxist ‘history from below’ which I have an interest in and a lot of time for. Samuel was also a Professor at the University of East London and was a member of the Communist Party Historians Group, along with E.P.Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm et al. Samuel founded the Partisan Coffee House in Soho in 1956 which was the meeting place of the New Left. Raphael Samuel founded the History Workshop movement at Ruskin, which attracted many high calibre lecturers and influenced scores of students.
Donald Selbourne the political theorist who also wrote works for the theatre taught at Ruskin, 1966-86. Whilst at Ruskin Selbourne wrote for New Society, New Statesman, the Indie and the Guardian – post-Ruskin he wrote for the Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. David Selbourne encountered the sort of blind spot among his Ruskin colleagues that I constantly encounter when I tell people what the mental health services actually do to their patients. In 1986 Selbourne published an article in the Times concerning the corruption of Labour politics in Liverpool. The article was published during the Wapping dispute when the print workers were fighting Murdoch. The Ruskin students and staff accused Selbourne of betrayal and his lectures were picketed by members of the print unions and students, which prevented him teaching. He later won a High Court action against Ruskin for constructive dismissal. My post ‘News From Sicily’ details how Michael Carr, the MP for Bootle who fought Militant, didn’t survive a visit to Walton Hospital in 1990. Walton was a region of Liverpool dominated by Militant. Carr had been the Bootle MP for 57 days before he was polished off by the dear old NHS. My post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’ describes the political row that surrounded the Walton Centre (the neurological unit which grew out of Walton Hospital), details the paedophiles’ friends who ‘supported the Centre’ and mentions the case of the spouse of someone who had fought the paedophiles’ friends – along with a friend – who did not survive ‘the treatment’ at the Walton Centre. It is not only Labour politics which have been corrupted in Liverpool – Lord Chris Rennard of the Lib Dems was also a product of Liverpool politics (see post ‘He Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried’). I was always intrigued by the left’s support for the print unions at Wapping anyway – these were the unions whose members actively discriminated against women and ethnic minorities and who were happy to print the Sun which vigorously supported Thatcher, even when the Sun was publishing fabricated interviews with women who had allegedly been widowed in the Falklands conflict, as well as photos of injured Argies. Exactly who’s side were the sodding print unions on??
So who was the Principal of Ruskin who had employed Matt Arnold as a teacher? It was Herbert Hughes aka Billy Hughes who was Principal between 1950-79. Billy Hughes was Labour MP for Wolverhampton West, 1945-50 and graduated from Balliol in 1935 the year that Ted Heath arrived at Balliol.
Heath’s near contemporaries at Balliol, Denis Healy and Roy Jenkins, were, like Heath, all President of the Balliol Junior Common Room. The Master of Balliol 1924-49 was Alexander ‘Sandie’ Lindsay. Lindsay was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, 1935-38. Whilst he was at Oxford, Lindsay was a leading figure in adult education. In 1949 he retired from Balliol and became the first Principal of the University College of North Staffordshire, which in 1962 became Keele University.
Whilst at Oxford, Billy Hughes was Chair of the Oxford Union Labour Club. The official history of the OULB maintains that there was a lack of ‘strong figures’ in the OULB at the time and that this resulted in the merging of the OULC with the Communists at Oxford after 1935. Billy Hughes was a Councillor in Lambeth in the late 1930s. This was many years before the big child sexual abuse scandals in Lambeth, but abuse scandals of that dimension usually have their roots in abuse which occurred decades previously, as in north Wales. Members of the Shirley Oaks Survivors have traced the organised abuse of children in care in Lambeth as back as far as the 1940s.
Billy Hughes was President of the WEA – Alan Bullock also lectured for the WEA. I know paedophiles’ friends in north Wales who have connections to the WEA. In 2001 Coleg Harlech merged with the WEA – my post ‘A Bit More Paleontology’ details the numerous links between Coleg Harlech and the paedophiles’ friends.
I am not suggesting that Ruskin College was a hotbed of paedophilia. However, a key member of an organised UK-wide paedophile ring who killed some of their victims after they went to the police or gave evidence in Court taught there and he was using his position to network with other paedophiles. That paedophile ring had members who worked in Westminster who enjoyed complete protection. Someone at Ruskin College will have known something about it. People who are involved in community studies as sociologists or historians get to hear at first hand what is happening to disadvantaged people and who is doing what to them. Like GPs and MPs, if they are even half competent they will know if they are working with a community which has a paedophile ring operating within it. One does not of course routinely shop people who have taken part in one’s community study, but if one realises that children are being raped and are then found dead if they’ve told anyone what has happened to them or are routinely illegally banged up in mental hospitals and that adults who have blown the whistle are sacked and framed for serious crimes, it is time to stop worrying about one’s historical loyalty to the labour movement.
The Gov’ts of Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May have all concealed the extent of the North Wales Paedophile Ring, which supplied children to the Westminster Paedophile Ring. Tory MPs aren’t going to have studied at Ruskin, but a lot of Labour politicians did. In 2012, after a £17 million redevelopment programme, Ruskin opened a new building. The library was named the Callaghan library in honour of Jin Callaghan, who delivered a major education speech at Ruskin in 1976. Whilst Sunny Jim was making that speech, the boys in Bryn Estyn were being battered and molested by the former Ruskin student Peter Howarth and his colleagues as well as a variety of other people, including a Conservative MP and a police inspector. Matt Arnold, the former Ruskin teacher, was running Bryn Estyn at the time.
This blog has mentioned a few people who confronted the paedophiles’ friends who met untimely deaths in questionable circumstances, including at the hands of NHS facilities employing paedophiles’ friends. When I was still working at Bangor University – before I left north Wales after the relentless threats and harassment from the paedophiles’ friends employed by the local NHS and social services – I had begun working very closely with Professor Duncan Tanner, an historian at Bangor. Duncan was Director of Research at the time and was incredibly supportive of my work, reviewing my bids and suggesting reading which might be helpful. Duncan died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 51. He had developed a heart problem which had been successfully treated at a hospital in Manchester. Some weeks later, he had to go into Ysbyty Gwynedd for an entirely routine procedure that was not considered at all risky. He died. Very soon after Duncan’s funeral a huge article appeared in the local paper about the heroic efforts of the cardiology team at Ysbyty Gwynedd and how they’d saved the life of a local woman against all odds. These stories tended to appear after Ysbyty Gwynedd had killed someone. The patient interviewed was a woman known to me. She used to ‘do the shopping’ for local pensioners but she had a habit of not giving the pensioners the change from their pensions and her husband had offered to give ‘sex education lessons’ to one of my former neighbours, a young woman with learning disabilities. Duncan died shortly after the spouse of someone else whom the paedophiles’ friends had a downer on died after treatment from Walton was unsuccessful. Before Duncan died he was working on the diaries of Richard Crossman and Tony Crosland. The Richard Crossman who worked at New College and the Tony Crosland who was friends with Ernest Armstrong, the father of Blair’s mate Hilary Armstrong – the Ernest Armstrong who almost certainly concealed the activities of Matt Arnold and Peter Howarth when they worked in Gateshead (see post ‘News From Sicily’). Duncan was probably the UK’s leading Labour historian. He also knew a great deal about the history of the Labour Party in Wales. I was deeply sorry that I didn’t work with Duncan for longer. I am not the historian that Duncan was but I did learn a great deal from him. Think about it paedophiles’ friends.
Yesterday’s copy of the Times published an article by Philip Collins in the wake of Ratko Mladic’s conviction at The Hague for genocide. Collins’s article mentioned someone who featured in my post ‘News From Sicily’ – Llew Smith, the former Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent. Collins was very angry with Llew because he had discovered that thirteen years ago, Smith had tabled an Early Day Motion -which was signed by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and others – in support of John Pilger, the journalist who had recently published an article regarding the ‘devastating human cost’ of the invasion of Kosovo led by NATO and the US. I noticed that Llew Smith actually stood down from the Commons shortly after signing that EDM and I wondered if he had been forced out by Blair and the gang for his sins. Llew Smith had also been the MEP for South Wales East and as I explained in my post ‘News From Sicily’, in 1994 he was somehow persuaded to stand down, only to be replaced by Glenys Kinnock. I’m wondering if perhaps Philip Collins might have forgotten some of what happened at Srebrenica. Things might not have been quite as Pilger suggested, but the rest of Europe – or indeed the world – did not cover itself in glory.
The Srebrenica Massacre occurred in July 1995 – more than 8000 Muslim Bosniak men were killed as a result of ethnic cleansing. The mass murder of the Muslim men was accompanied by the forced transfer and abuse of between 25,000 and 30,000 Bosniak women, children and the elderly. The Bosnian Army carried out the killings and transportation, assisted by a paramilitary unit from Serbia. The area in which all this occurred that been designated as an UN ‘safe area’ since 1993, which was why the refugees had fled there.
The refugees were located at Potocari and were supposedly under the protection of the UN. They were left with little food or water despite the sweltering heat. As they were in the compound they watched Serb soldiers setting houses and haystacks on fire. Serb soldiers then mingled with the refugees and began the summary executions of the men. Children were also killed and women were gang raped. All this was witnessed by the UN soldiers who did not intervene. Some of the refugees, watching what was happening to others, killed themselves by hanging. Photographers photographed women hanging dead from trees in the area who preferred to die rather than fall into the hands of the Serbian soldiers – those photos later appeared in the UK press. The refugees weren’t killed painlessly. Some had their noses, lips and ears chopped off. There was a case of a heavily pregnant woman who’s abdomen was cut open, after which the foetus was removed and cut in half. Girls as young as nine were raped by Serbian soldiers. Teenaged boys were ordered to rape girls younger than them, sometimes their own sisters. The UN soldiers – many of whom were members of the Dutch Army – watched it all and did nothing.
The people who had ordered the killings were Ratko Mladic, Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, President of Republika Srpska. After being indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Radovan famously went on the run – for thirteen years. Radovan was a psychiatrist. He trained in psychiatry at the Sarajevo University School of Medicine, then at Naestved Hospital Denmark in 1970 and between 1974-75 Radovan worked at Columbia University, New York. Radovan was a real Top Doctor. He was also a poet and an ecologist with an interest in alternative medicine. Radovan had a touch of the Dr Dafydd Alun Jones about him – after he graduated he worked in the psychiatric clinic in the main hospital in Sarajevo and boosted his income by providing fake medical reports and psychiatric evaluations for health care workers who wanted early retirement or to avoid punishment by claiming insanity after having been convicted of crimes. In 1984 after Radovan had worked as a therapist in a hospital in Belgrade, he was arrested for fraud and spent eleven months in detention before he was bailed out by a friend and released. His trial was subsequently halted on the grounds of lack of evidence, but later revived. In Sept 1985 Radovan was sentenced to three years in jail for embezzlement and fraud. He was released immediately on the grounds that he had already spent time in prison.
What did Radovan do when he went on the run? Was he holed up in a cellar somewhere or hiding in hedgerows, only going out under cover of darkness? No. Radovan worked as therapist in Belgrade, specialising in New Age medicine and sex therapy. He did have the good sense not to call himself Dr Radovan Karadzic, he actually went under the names of Dr Dragan David Dabic and D.D. David. Did he have cosmetic surgery to change his appearance and fingerprints a la the Mafia bosses who go on the run? No. He grew his hair, tied it into a ponytail and grew a beard. He had to make a bit of an effort because in Jan 2008 Radovan appeared at a medical conference in Belgrade where he delivered lectures to hundreds of people. Whilst he was ‘in hiding’ Radovan visited Vienna using the name Peter Glumac, claiming to be a purveyor of herbal potions and ointments. The Austrian police interviewed him about a homicide case – involving someone whom had not been one of the thousands of people killed by Radovan and his mates – but didn’t realise who he was. One would have thought that perhaps someone somewhere might just have spotted Radovan during those thirteen years when he pretended to be a therapist-hippy. They did. In 2005 someone from the BBC saw him getting out of a red Mercedes and identified him. It was admitted that western intelligence agencies knew where Radovan was but that there was no political will in London or Washington to seize him. At the time of the Srebrenica Massacre and the aftermath when Radovan worked as an Alternative Top Doctor quite openly in Europe, Blair and then Gordon Brown were in office in London and Bill ‘I did not have sex with that woman’ Clinton and then George Dubya Bush were in office in Washington. Well who else would have ever presided over that mess??
In July 2008 Radovan was finally arrested in Belgrade and detained in custody at The Hague. Radovan was found guilty of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and sentenced to 40 years. In July 2016 he launched an appeal against his conviction. I have not heard whether Cherie Booth is acting for him.
Throughout the massacre and for the years that Radovan was on the run, Glenys Kinnock was the Member of the European Parliament for South Wales East and then the Member of the European Parliament for Wales (a newly established post, Glenys was the first incumbent). After Radovan had finally been arrested, Gordon was so impressed by Glenys that he appointed her Minister of State for Europe and then Minister of State for Africa and the UN. Neil and Glenys received a personal invite from Joe Biden to Barak Obama’s Presidential inauguration in Washington DC in 2009.
The horrors in the former Yugoslavia had a terrible effect on other people whose plight has never got a mention. Some eight years ago I was talking to a young Albanian woman who as a teenager had lived on the family farm. She told me that one day they heard screaming so they looked out of the window and saw people killing each other. Then soldiers came into her house and did terrible things. (I took that to mean that she had been raped – the woman who were raped in the former Yugoslavia would never use the phrase rape, they talked about soldiers doing bad or terrible things.) The family lost possession of their farm – it was explained to me that other people had taken over the farm because soldiers elsewhere had thrown them out of their own house. The young woman to whom I was chatting fled to Tirana and trained as a cardiology nurse. How did I meet this young woman? A friend asked me to go and visit her because they knew that I was working on a European sociology project and they thought that I might be interested in meeting her. Not only did I find out that the young Albanian woman had suffered in the shenanigans that European politicians are now claiming to have dealt with so nobly, but she and her friend were being kept in modern slavery. They were working as care assistants in a home near Caernarfon, having been sent to the job by an employment agency in Albania who had told them that they were going to be working in Devon as cardiology nurses. They could not escape from their employer because he had taken their passports and if they left his employment they would have been deported. The care home in question also employed a woman as the manager who was working as a prostitute in Liverpool and an addict whose partner was a big time drug dealer from Liverpool as a care assistant. I can tell the story now because the Albanians managed to escape after they were helped by a specialist lawyer. Whilst all this was going on, the young lady whom I met became pregnant and gave birth at Ysbyty Gwynedd.
So how was it that I was able to find out about the cess pit that this young woman was living in when no-one else -not even the Angels and Top Doctors who looked after her whilst she was pregnant, during the birth and then afterwards – noticed that they were dealing with a rape victim who was being kept in slavery?
Now that Radovan, Ratko and Slobodan have been convicted, Europe and the UN have taken a leaf out of the book of the UK social services after the many murders of children in their care and have stated that the people who were responsible for the Srebrenica Massacre have faced justice. The Netherlands did fess up that perhaps the Dutch soldiers who stood by and watched whilst the people whom they were ‘protecting’ were slaughtered might have borne responsibility for three of the deaths.
At present, some African nations and Russia are stating that the International Criminal Court at The Hague is a total joke and that they are going to withdraw from it. Putin must be pissing himself laughing as he gallops topless across the Steppes in sub-zero temperatures at the very thought of a school teacher from Holyhead who sat on the Board of a children’s charity – SNAP Cymru – alongside someone who was named in the biggest scandal involving the sexual abuse of children in care in the UK sitting in the European Parliament telling us how to deal with mass murderers. But at least Glenys enjoys trips to Brussels and Strasbourg and got to rub noses with Obama.