In the wake of the Ted Heath revelations, Joseph de Búrca looks into a scandal which implicated figures across Britain and Northern Ireland
by Joseph de Búrca, guest writer
In August 2015 the Wiltshire Police launched ‘Operation Conifer’ into allegations that Edward Heath, the former Leader of the Conservative Party and British Prime Minister 1970-74, was a paedophile.
The force has just announced that grounds exist to suspect Heath of child abuse. As a matter of law the force was not entitled to reach any conclusions about the potential guilt of Heath and it did not. The furthest it could go was to state that if Heath were alive, he would have faced further questioning about the accusations levelled against him.
- 1 incident of rape of a male 16;
- 3 incidents of indecent assault on a male under 16;
- 4 indecent assaults on a male under 14;
- 2 indecent assaults on a male over 16.
The investigation spanned the period 1956-92. None of these incidents took place while Heath was PM, 1970-74.
Last May, Village expressed its concern that attempts were being made by individuals to derail inquiries in various paedophile networks that were taking place in the UK. One tactic was to pollute them with false evidence and lying witnesses.
The Wiltshire Police have reached a similar – if not identical – conclusion in respect of their inquiry. It has revealed that two people attempted to ‘intentionally’ mislead them. One was discharged with a formal caution.
A live inquiry is proceeding with respect to the other individual. Village believes they should both be investigated thoroughly to see if they have links to MI5, MI6 or certain senior British civil servants – retired and serving – who have perpetrated a cover-up of child abuse in the UK which has lasted more than half a century.
Village hopes that a dam which has been shored up by these civil servants – ably abetted for decades by a maul of corrupt politicians – may be about to burst and reveal one of the most sordid scandals of post-WW2 British history.
The ramifications for Ireland are immense: the paedophile network which the British Establishment has being protecting for decades is linked to child abuse which took place at Kincora Boys Home and other institutions in Ireland.
As Village reported earlier this year, one victim of this network – an 11 year old boy – was taken to perform oral sex on a man in a cinema Dublin.
Serious questions arise from all of this – who was the man in the cinema? Why was he supplied with a child from NI? Will the Gardai investigate this matter? The victim may very well still be alive. This unfortunate child was later sent to Kincora.
We are not alone in our concern about a decades long cover-up. Andrew Bridgen, the formidable Tory MP for Wiltshire, has called for an inquiry into those he believes have tried to cover up the Heath scandal.
Heath obviously received a lot of help in procuring his victims. One obvious candidate is his friend Jimmy Savile. Savile frequented the horrific Elm Guest House child brothel in London along with other VIP abusers such as Sir Cyril Smith MP.
The links between Elm Guest House and a paedophile network which operated on both sides of the Irish Sea have been placed under the microscope by this magazine during the last year. At least one boy from Kincora – Richard Kerr – was later abused at Elm Guest House.
The paedophile network rippled over England, Scotland and Wales and across the Irish Sea where it spilled over both sides of the Border. The title ‘Anglo-Irish Vice Ring’ or A-IVR would be an appropriate way to describe it.
The A-IVR was an utterly depraved and debauched collection of perverts, sadists and child molesters, some of whom even abused their own children. The ring included powerful Establishment figures from Westminster such as Sir Knox Cunningham MP, Sir Cyril Smith MP; British civil servants; MI5 and MI6 officers; members of the aristocracy among others.
The nightmare for the thousands – if not tens of thousands – of people whose lives were derailed, damaged and destroyed by the A-IVR may be approaching to an end of sorts: they may receive a modicum of justice in the shaming of some of those involved in the A-IVR and those who protected it – including a great number in the British media.
Many of those who suffered child sex abuse at institutions in Ireland ended up as chronic alcoholics, drug addicts, were left homeless and never managed to have their own families. The experience in the UK can only be identical.
Courageous journalists like Don Hale (See Village May 2017) who tried to expose these scandals decades ago are now finally being allowed to tell a wide audience what they know. It is now being reported in the UK media that Heath was responsible for nominating Jimmy Savile for an OBE in 1972.
This was just two years after Harold Wilson had a warned the Queen of England against making such an award; worse still, that Heath attended meeting of the Paedophile Information Network (PIE). Village looked at the activities of one PIE’s members – the diplomat- spy Sir Peter Hayman – last May.
Last February and March Village published its criticisms of the Hart Report of January 2017. Hart examined the Kincora Boys Home scandal. Some of these articles can be found on our web site.
It should be noted that we found merit in quite a lot of the work carried out by the Hart Report despite the fact we fundamentally disagree with its core finding: that Kincora was not part of a wider network of child abuse. On the contrary, Kincora was a key component of the egregious A-IVR.
Courage in public office
The Chief Constable of Wiltshire, Michael Veale, and his team, were subjected to pressure to abandon their inquiry. As early as December 2016 he stated:
“I will remain operationally independent and will not be influenced by inappropriate and unacceptable pressure from people who don’t know the detail of this case. I will not be buckling under pressure to not investigate or to conclude the investigation prematurely.”
It is now clear he remained true to his word. But who put him under pressure? And why?
The public has been given access to what the Wiltshire Police are calling a “summary closure report”. A more detailed dossier has been passed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).
Village published a lengthy article on IICSA last June. Let us now hope that IICSA shows the same moral courage, honesty and integrity as the Chief Constable Veale, his Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills and their Operation Conifer team.
Meanwhile the British Establishment’s Dirty Tricks Brigade must be reeling in shock at the fact that Veale, Mills and their team have turned out to be such a determined and incorruptible group of people.
They can now be placed alongside two other towering examples of integrity: the former deputy Chief Constable of Manchester, John Stalker; and Sir John Stevens of the British Metropolitan Police, both of whom acted in a dignified, brave and forthright manner in the teeth of vicious campaigns to destroy them while they probed sensitive controversies involving the intelligence services of the UK.
Others who merit substantial praise at the moment include the incumbent British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd and her advisers. When Operation Confier ran into financial difficulties, Rudd bailed it out instead of exploiting the difficulty to thwart Veale.
Clearly, Rudd stands miles apart from two of her Tory predecessors at the Home Office, Leon Brittan and Willie Whitelaw, both of whom covered up child abuse scandals. Brittan’s concealment was described in Village last May. Whitelaw’s perversion of justice will be examined later in this article.
Village believes it is in a position to map out the wider terrain of the Heath scandal, including details that will definitely not appear in the ‘summary’ of the Heath Report. This is information which the IICSA in London – which is inquiring into the VIP vice ring, especially the branch that was active at Westminster – will hopefully look at.
Heath’s links to the Westminster VIP vice ring almost certainly brought him in contact with participants in the wider A-IVR, especially as three of the latter circle were Unionist MPs at Westminster.
Moreover, one whistleblower – Robin Bryans – has linked Heath directly to one of these MPs from NI.
In addition, as prime minister, Heath was able to influence and control organisations such as MI5 and MI6 which had an interest in protecting and blackmailing all of these networks, especially in NI through the operation that involved Kincora. Heath was also able to direct the corrupt judge Lord Widgery, who covered-up the truth about Bloody Sunday.
Unfortunately, there is very little good that can be said about Sir Edward Heath.
Rotten to the core: Heath the blackmailer
Heath, a life-long bachelor, became Tory Leader in 1965 and served as PM, 1970-74. What type of a man was he? For a start, he was a blackmailer. On his way up the greasy pole he served as Tory chief whip, 1956-59, and engaged in the sexual blackmail of paedophiles.
In light of Veale’s findings, we can now add hypocrite to his rap sheet. Most Tory whips were blackmailers – it was simply part of the job. But Heath brought a professionalism to the task by assembling what became known as the Dirt Book, an encyclopaedia of embarrassing information about his colleagues, designed to stop them stepping out of line. It was exploited during the Suez Crisis.
When the Labour Party took over, Edward Short (later Deputy Leader of the Labour Party) became the new Chief Whip. He was repelled by the ‘dirty book’ and discontinued the practice. When the Tories returned to power, William Whitelaw stepped into the post of Chief Whip.
He unashamedly confessed that he continued the practice to the BBC in 1995: “‘The Dirt Book’ is just a little book where you write down various things you know or hear about people that may or may not be true. I think you could make a very good guess what sorts of things it contains”.
We know exactly what it contained: one of Whitelaw’s successors, Tim Fortescue MP, who occupied the post of whip 1970-73 when Heath was PM, made it abundantly clear on camera to the BBC:
“Anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say, ‘Now I’m in a jam. Can you help?’ It might be debt, it might be [..] a scandal involving small boys [author’s emphasis], or any kind of scandal in which [..] a member seemed likely to be mixed up. They’d come and ask if we could help, and if we could, we did”.
Fortescue’s reference to ‘small boys’ implies that blackmail material was gathered about MPs who were having sex with boys who were probably a lot younger than 21, then the legal age of consent.
He also confessed that “scandalous stories” were of great assistance to whips. “When you are trying to persuade a member to vote the way he didn’t want to vote on a controversial issue – which is part of your job – it is possible to suggest that perhaps it would not be in his interest if people knew something or other – very mildly”.
William Whitelaw became NI Secretary, 1972-1974. Hence by 1972, both the British PM and the NI Secretary were experienced sexual blackmailers, hardly a deterrent to anyone in the intelligence community who wanted to engage in sexual blackmail at places like Kincora.
Judging a king by his courtiers
Heath had a habit of appointing people to high office in NI and elsewhere who were prepared to cover-up child abuse.
Heath appointed William Whitelaw as the first Secretary of State for NI. Whitelaw’s heart was already encased in ice from his stint as a blackmailing chief whip. The Kincora scandal festered under his NI watch. When he served as Home Secretary, 1979-83, he maintained his sleazy habits.
On 6 December 2014, the Mail reported that in 1980 he “allegedly told a senior Metropolitan Police boss to quash a year-long investigation into a gang accused of abusing 40 children, the youngest of whom was six”.
The alleged intervention came in 1980 after a newspaper revealed the country’s chief prosecutor was considering 350 offences against the gang, including allegations it “obtained young boys for politicians, prominent lawyers and film stars.
The report, published on July 7 that year in the Evening News – a daily London newspaper – revealed police had passed evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and that up to 12 men could face trial for procuring boys and sexual assault”.
The journalist who wrote the story was Jeff Edwards. He revealed that just days after it was published he was summoned by police to an interview and threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
According to the Mail, “Edwards also claims his source, a serving police officer, was disciplined and fined six months’ wages for leaking the story”.
Whitelaw’s deputy at the NIO during 1972-74 was the late William van Straubenzee, another lifelong bachelor. He was named in child abuse files unearthed by the Cabinet Office in July of 2015. The detail of the allegations levelled against him are still unclear save that they concerned child abuse.
There were other pernicious appointments: in 1973 Heath placed Sir Maurice Oldfield in charge of MI6, where he served until 1978. Oldfield was a notorious abuser of rent boys.
The Hart Report reveals that records furnished to it by MI6 demonstrated that Oldfield had a ‘relationship’ with the ‘head’ of Kincora. The nature of the relationship was not described but it cannot have been innocent.
On 23 April 1987, Margaret Thatcher dropped a bombshell in the House of Commons when she revealed that after Oldfield’s appointment as Security Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland in October 1979, “reports were received which caused his positive vetting clearance to be reviewed.
In March 1980, in the course of that review, he made an admission that he had from time to time engaged in homosexual activities.
His positive vetting clearance was withdrawn. By this time he was already a sick man; he finally ceased to serve as Security Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland when a successor took over in June 1980; he died in March 1981”.
Heath did not need to infiltrate one of his creatures into the Ministry of Defence because it already had a resident monster, Sir James Dunnett. He ran it between 1969 and 1974. Dunnett infamously paid male prostitutes whom he picked up at Piccadilly Circus – ‘Dilly Boys’ – for sex.
His reputation was shattered by his involvement with Vicky de Lambray, a transvestite male prostitute who stole his cheque book. De Lambray was put on trial in March 1983 instantly igniting a media frenzy during which Dunnett’s name became public knowledge. De Lambray later died in suspicious circumstances.
Protecting the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring
For decades the members of the A-IVR were untouchable. That changed after the eruption of the Troubles, when MI5 swept in and blackmailed and exploited some of them for various nefarious reasons.
One of their victims was Richard Kerr, who was put into care on 16 December, 1966. At the age of 8 he was abused by Eric Witchell, an Anglican lay monk, who was a friend of the man who ran Kincora Boys’ Home, Warden Joe Mains. Witchell was later jailed for abusing other boys at Williamson House, where he had been headmaster.
The abuse of Richard Kerr started one night after Witchell visited his bed: “I was on my side, I had a teddy bear. I was biting into that while he had his hand down my backside and fumbled around.” Full rape commenced later.
The RU C spent decades covering up the crimes of the A-IVR. It is not possible to put a figure on how many lives were destroyed. At a minimum, it involved hundreds of boys, and also some girls.
In June of 2016 BBC NI’s Spotlight exposed the aberrant crimes of Dr Moris Fraser, a psychiatrist who specialised in child psychiatry. Fraser is still alive. Richard Kerr was sent to him for a review while he was still a resident at Williamstown House.
Fraser took photographs of his private parts and later visited him at the home. Kerr was only ten. Fraser groped him during these visits. Kerr was later abused while a resident at Kincora and then trafficked to England.
It will be interesting to see if Fraser will be arrested by the PSNI, the successor organisation to the RUC. The darker elements of MI5 will be shocked if this happens because Fraser knows many of the secrets of the A-IVR. Worse still, his prosecution would undermine the finding of the Hart Report that Kincora was an isolated aberration and not part of a wider network.
Sir Anthony Blunt and the Vice Ring
MI5 was able to exploit the A-IVR. The officer who uncovered it was Peter Wright, perhaps the most callous criminal ever to serve in MI5. Wright spent seven years unravelling and mapping it out.
Wright’s path to it began with MI5’s inquiries into the seedy criminal private life of the arch MI5 traitor, Sir Anthony Blunt, Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures. That process began after Blunt confessed to MI5 that he had betrayed it to the KGB.
While many of Blunt’s friends and colleagues knew or suspected he was gay, only a select few knew that deep in the shadowy recesses of his private life he hid a dark and sinister secret.
Blunt enjoyed the ‘rough trade’ – the abuse of impoverished male urchins condemned to eke out a living as male prostitutes in seedy toilets in London. Blunt ‘cottaged’ for them around the lavatories in Hyde Park near to Speakers’ Corner, despite his left-wing pretence to care for the underprivileged.
Blunt acquired his appetite for juveniles from Guy Burgess, another infamous MI5 traitor and hypocrite.
A whistleblower called Bryans
Blunt might have enjoyed his last few years as a respected Knight of the realm, slithering around Buckingham Palace and his favourite toilets in London, but for the intervention of Robin Bryans, a celebrated travel writer from Belfast.
Bryans knew Blunt, Burgess and others in the A-IVR well. Through them he knew many members of MI5 and MI6. Indeed, it was Bryans who exposed Blunt as a KGB agent through the pages of Private Eye magazine in 1979.
Bryans, who died in 2005, amassed a wealth of information about the fabric of the Ulster branch of the A-IVR which he recorded in various books and open letters.
Bryans was born on 24 April 1928, to an East Belfast working-class family. His travel was informed by his taste for adventure.
At one time he worked as a cabin boy on a Belfast Lough dredger; became a teacher in Devon; a shepherd in the Scottish Highlands; a student at Barry Religious College in South Wales; a diamond prospector in Canada and South America; and even hunted and trapped with the Blackfoot and Stony tribes in Canada. Although a Protestant, he was a supporter of civil rights for Catholics.
As he explained in one of his autobiographies, ‘The Protégé’, members of the British aristocracy took him under their wing thereby transforming him into a ‘lifelike toff’. The fact that his cousin, ‘Hellfire’ Jack Bryans became Imperial Grand Master of the Orange Order aided his gentrification and enhanced his status with the Anglo-Irish aristocracy.
Hellfire Jack was one of those that Robin approached in his campaign to halt the abuse at Kincora. Bryans reported William McGrath, the Housefather at Kincora to Hellfire Jack but nothing was done. McGrath was a leading Orangeman. He was so influential he was permitted to establish his own Orange Lodge. He was convicted for his crimes at Kincora in 1981.
‘There were other homes involved’
In February 1990, Bryans told this author that: “The Kincora thing will be covered up. I would love to go on talking if I thought it was going to come out, but it’s not, because I know how the Establishment works.
Be careful of the word Kincora, because you are going to limit it. There were other homes involved. There were three homes. There was one for boys from 12 to 16, and then there was one for younger ones”.
He revealed that boys from Portora Royal, NI’s most prestigious public school in Enniskillen were abused. They were in demand by members of the A-IVR who preferred boys who were younger and of a higher social class than the teenage boys at Kincora.
One of Richard Kerr’s abusers, Eric Witchell abused boys at Williamson House. It may have been the home for perverts which Bryans revealed catered for those with a taste “for younger ones”.
A children’s home in Portadown was also involved. While many of those involved may well have preferred older teenagers – even some who appeared willing to entertain them in return for alcohol or money – this matters little because many of these slightly older victims had been groomed, abused, brutalised and desensitised since early childhood.
Propositioned at the age of 14
Bryans wrote what might be termed ‘run of the mill’ travel books but also no-holds-barred tomes about the scandalous affairs of the Establishment. The indiscreet tomes were always extremely difficult to acquire; never more so than now. He sometimes wrote under the name Robin Harbinson. We will refer to him throughout this article as Bryans.
Bryans had an encounter with a member of the A-IVR as a teenager – Henry Lynch-Robinson, the son of the powerful Permanent Secretary to the Stormont Ministry of Home Affairs.
Bryans wrote: “I was 14 when I rose up in rebellion at the proud Henry Lynch-Robinson who tried to get me on my knees to perform an act of fellatio.”
Since Bryans was born in April of 1928, he reached 14 in April of 1942. Lynch-Robinson was born in 1920 so would have been approximately 22 at the time of this incident. Lynch-Robinson became a celebrated architect, and died in 1984.
Five reasons to believe what Bryans had to say
Robin Bryans used to refer to Edward Heath as the ‘despised Edwina’ and linked him to a the Unionist MP who was involved in the A-IVR. This particular MP – who is long dead – abused children in NI and in Scotland.
Was Robin Bryan’s a reliable witness?
There are many reasons to suggest he was. For a start, he was right about Anthony Blunt being a traitor who worked for the KGB while he was in MI5 and exposed him to the world.
Second, he was correct in his assertion that there were homes other than Kincora where boys were abused as is evident from Richard Kerr’s horrific experience at Williamstown House. Kerr did not speak out in public until a few years ago, long after Bryans’ death.
Third, he was right about the scale of the Vice Ring and its connections to England, Scotland and Wales.
Fourth, declassified British Government documents concerning Lord Shackleton, the Labour Leader in the House of Lords and son of the famous Antarctic explorer, have copper fastened Bryans’ credibility. As Bryans revealed in his book, ‘Blackmail & Whitewash’, he tried to get Shackleton to intervene to put a halt to the Kincora scandal but Shackelton did nothing.
Bryans wrote: “I knew too much and too much would come out because in 1973 I had told Lord Shackleton about the Kincora abuses and the terror of its young inmates. [..] Shackleton chose to do nothing about the Kincora scandal because he had no wish to upset his fellow Establishment figures who were also Knights of the Garter such as Lord Mountbatten who had known Belfast for an even longer period than Shackleton had”.
Significantly ‘Blackmail & Whitewash’ was published in 1996 long before declassified British Government files confirmed Shackleton’s willingness to protect child abusers. In May 2015 official papers revealed that in 1988 Margaret Thatcher had been furnished with a 19 page dossier which contained details about Sir Cyril Smith’s abuse of children, including an undated letter from Shackleton, then a member of the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee.
In it Shackleton disclosed that the police had investigated Smith in the early and mid-1960s. During 1970 they had carried out inquiries about his “indecent assault against teenage boys”.
Shackleton told Thatcher that the DPP had not prosecuted Smith because “there was no reasonable prospect of conviction”. This is not surprising since MI5 had confiscated police files and disrupted evidence gathering.
The purpose of Shackleton’s letter was to recommend Smith for a knighthood. Shackleton told Thatcher that he felt it would be “slightly unfortunate” if this “episode” impeded Smith from obtaining a gong. Thatcher agreed and one of the most brutal paedophiles of his era became a Knight of the Realm.
There is a fifth indication of Bryans’ reliability: in 2015 an anonymous MI6 agent confirmed to the Daily Express that Bryans had indeed tried to save the victims at Kincora before it was exposed by the Irish Independent in 1980.
There is a possible sixth reason to believe Bryans: he knew something about ‘the despised Edwina’ Heath. Bryans was once interviewed by another Kincora whistleblower, Captain Colin Wallace (who worked with MI5, MI6 and military intelligence in NI in the 1970s).
Bryans drew a link between Heath and a former Unionist MP who had been involved in the A-IVR, but no more. Bryans was usually fearless, but he refused to elaborate any further on the nature of the link. Perhaps the implications of exposing a former Prime Minister was just too much for him.
When Colin Wallace interviewed Bryans, he stated that he had also tried to get Lord John Donaldson who served at the NIO, 1974-76, and Lady Avon, the wife of Anthony Eden, British PM 1955-57 to intervene to halt the abuse in NI but without success.
Bryans and Blunt, the friends who fell out
Bryans got to know Anthony Blunt because of the spy’s frequent visits to Ireland. “The gay scene was one of the reasons why Blunt loved Ireland”, Bryans stated in 1990.
Bryans came to learn a lot about Blunt’s secrets. It was he – Bryans – who exposed Blunt as the Fourth Man in the Cambridge KGB Spy Ring through Private Eye magazine.
However, before they fell out, Bryans and Blunt had been quite friendly. In 1964 Bryans published a book entitled ‘Ulster’ with the help of the NI Tourist Board. Blunt assisted Bryans in the preparation of the passage about Louis MacNiece, the celebrated Belfast poet who had died in September 1963.
MacNeice and Blunt had been friends since childhood having met at Marlborough School. Bryans’s book praised the courage of MacNeice’s father who had opposed bigotry and violence in Belfast.
In another of his books, ‘The Dust Has Yet To Settle’, Bryans wrote that Blunt had been “delighted to read in ‘Ulster’ what I had written with his help about his closest school friend, Louis MacNeice, and the poet’s bishop father and Alan Buchanan the curate Blunt knew best as the Archbishop of Dublin much seen in royal circles”.
Blunt helped Bryans prepare a guest list for one of the events associated with the launch of the book, a photographic exhibition of locations featured in it. The event took place at the Royal Institute of British Architects in Portland Place. NI’s then PM, Terence O’Neill, agreed to open the event but was called away at the last moment.
In another of his books, ‘Let The Petals Fall’, Bryans described how instead O’Neill’s wife read “out his notes which chose a photograph of a well-known cast-iron gent’s lavatory as his favourite building in Belfast. I had been asked to prepare a guest list which I did in conjunction with Anthony Blunt of whose guests knew the lavatory as a popular picking-up place.
But as the British House of Commons was in the throes of passing the [Leo] Abse Bill legalising homosexuality between consenting males, we thought that by choosing the cast-iron lavatory O’Neill had either been hinting that the law should also be repealed in Ulster or that he lived in blissful ignorance of the lavatory’s place in Belfast’s gay life”.
Blunt also tried to inveigle Bryans into spreading smears about Ian Paisley “with a view to blackening the Wilson Government’s record in Northern Ireland”. Bryans believed Blunt did this at the behest of MI5. If true, it is a further indicator that the arch-traitor Blunt was allowed back into the MI5 fold.
Sir Knox Cunningham QC, MP, the British Prime Minister’s Private Secretary
Bryans also knew Sir Knox Cunningham QC, MP, well. Cunningham was not merely a Unionist MP at Westminster, but someone who rose to become PM Harold MacMillan’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, 1959-63.
Cunningham was a key participant in the A-IVR. Bryans recalled that Cunningham “always liked to appear as the great Queen’s Counsel who knew more than anybody about everybody, especially those in my books and bed”.
Knox Cunningham knew Bryans so well he was able to influence him to alter the content of ‘Ulster’.
When Cunningham discovered that it was due to contain a passage about internment during the IRA’s Border Campaign of the 1950s, he feared it would create a bad impression abroad and intervened: “Sir Knox Cunningham asked me to delete my reference to internment without trials and I agreed believing him to share in 1963’s atmosphere of reconciliation over sectarian hatred”.
Richard Kerr has revealed that Knox Cunningham was an abuser at Kincora.
A memorandum Colin Wallace prepared while working in NI stated that Cunningham was “closely associated” with William McGrath, the Housefather at Kincora and was “aware of his activities”. McGrath pleaded guilty to charges of buggery perpetrated at Kincora in 1981.
Cunningham became involved in the World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1947 and became Chairman of its National Council two years later, something which put him in charge of the YMCA in Ireland, Wales and England.
His Wikipedia entry suggests that he became involved with the YMCA because of his “religious faith” but it is more likely he wanted to gain access to young men. Much of his interaction with the YMCA boys involved the sport of boxing. According to Bryans, he took Kincora boys to the YMCA in England.
Macmillan recalled Knox Cunningham fondly in his memoirs and awarded him a baronetcy in his resignation honours.
Kerr has also revealed that Blunt made visits to Kincora. He saw Blunt on the premises in the company of two other men. While Blunt did not abuse Kerr, the other two men did.
As this was during the period 1975-77, at least two possibilities arise: (i) Blunt was simply taking some of his friends there to abuse the unfortunate and terrified residents, or (ii) he had lured some important figures to it at the behest of MI5 so blackmail material could be gathered on them.
Blunt’s nemesis Peter Wright was also MI5’s surveillance supremo and is the most likely person in MI5 to have overseen the recording of the rapists at Kincora and elsewhere.
The ringmaster, Alfred Arnold, Private Secretary to the PM of Northern Ireland
‘Ulster’ was one of Bryans’ ‘run of the mill’ books. In it he described Alfred Arnold as “the English civil servant [who] fell in love with Ulster” and who was always “looking among theatrical people for likely talent for his new musical plays”.
In his ‘indiscreet’ books, interviews and letters, Bryans described how Arnold was the driving force behind the A-IVR and exploited the plays to seduce young male actors. Arnold was also a friend of Blunt’s.
Arnold managed to get away with his heinous crimes because he occupied a lofty perch in the NI Establishment: he served as Private Secretary to notorious anti-Catholic bigot Sir Basil Brooke PM of NI 1943-63.
While child abuse among the aristocracy has been going on for centuries, it was Arnold who turned the abuse into a system which turned care homes run by the Stormont Government into child brothels. Paedophiles (adults who sexually abuse children) and pederasts (adult males who sexually abuse adolescents) were assigned to run them and supply children to the A-IVR.
To the public Arnold was a respected member of the arts community. As Bryans wrote: “For many years the BB C programme The Arts in Ulster had the Englishman Alfred Arnold as its chairman, a brilliant student from Cambridge Basil Brooke imported as his private secretary in the 1930s”.
Arnold retired early from the civil service hoping to become Director of the Arts Council in Belfast but he did not find favour with Brooke’s successor as Stormont PM, Terence O’Neill, who thwarted his appointment.
According to Bryans: “Alfred also wrote musical plays and involved himself generally in the artistic life of the province. He retired early from the Civil Service as he and many others thought he would make an ideal Director of the Arts Council in Belfast.
“Alfred did not conceal his devotion to young actors such as Laurence Beattie and he did not become Arts Council director and consequently left Belfast to live in the Maltese island of Gozo, while Lawrence went to Canada”.
Bryans has also described how Sir Basil Brooke was outraged by PM Terence O’Neill’s intervention to deprive Arnold of the Arts Council Directorship. The affair would even form part of the campaign to unseat O’Neill as PM.
According to Bryans: “Basil Brooke and his son John were looking for everything possible in their campaign to topple the reformist O’Neill and they looked to their Orange brethren for support. The Alfred Arnold battle gave them good ammunition against O’Neill”.
Bryans hints strongly that Arnold may have seduced Sir Basil Brooke’s son John, who later became a Unionist MP at Stormont. The young man “had been much influenced by Alfred Arnold. When John went off as ADC to Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, nobody expressed surprise when the former Vicereine, Lady Linlithgow, called the ADCs’ room ‘The Pansies’ Parlour’.
Certainly the last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, dined out on the story when he spent his summer holidays the west of Ireland and brought the latest news to Eli Lodge”.
Arnold also intervened to help members of the A-IVR when they got into trouble. He and Knox Cunningham QC were able to assist the notorious John McKeague escape from a charge of molesting two YMCA boys in 1966.
McKeague was a leading member of the UVF and involved in a bombing campaign to unseat Terence O’Neill. He later went on to become a leading Red Hand Commando/UVF terrorist and was responsible for a series of brutal and sadistic murders.
Arnold could be quite indiscreet: it was he who told Bryans that boys from a home at Portadown were being abused.
Arnold was also a friend of Lord Shackelton which provides yet another explanation for Shackleton’s willingness to protect child molesters.
Blunt leads MI5 to the Vice Ring
MI5’s odyssey into the recesses of Blunt’s life led to an array of his friends and associates in Ulster. In June, Village described Blunt’s Irish network of friends. To recap briefly: at Cambridge Blunt befriended Knox Cunningham. Cunningham often stayed with Blunt while in London.
Cunningham knew everyone there was to know in Unionist politics, and once nearly became Grand Master of the Orange Order.
Another of Blunt’s Irish friends was Capt. Peter Montgomery, a cousin of the famous WW2 field marshal who lived at Blessingborne, County Tyrone. The pair first met at Cambridge. Montgomery became one of Blunt’s earliest lovers, possibly his first.
Capt. Montgomery later became Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, which meant he was one of a string of personal representative of the Queen in Ulster. Montgomery always kept a room for Blunt at Blessingborne, and Montgomery often stayed with Blunt when he visited London.
It was correspondence Bryans exchanged with Montgomery about Blunt, which Bryans gave to Private Eye, that exposed Blunt as an MI5 traitor.
A callous intelligence operation with many moving parts
The A-IVR was a mechanism with many moving parts. All told, MI5/6 found at least seven means of exploiting it:
- MI5/6 MI6 targets were lured to Kincora and other honey traps where they could be recorded and brought under MI5/6 control. One abortive attempt involving Richard Kerr as the bait was described in Village last March.
Overall, the MI5/6 targets included Loyalist politicians and paramilitaries. The Hart Report discloses that MI5 actually admitted that it took photographs of John McKeague of the UVF/Red Hand Commandoes in London in the 1970s while he was arranging sexual assignations with young males.
- Plans were made for the selective disclosure of the sexual crimes of some of the A-IVR’s members as part of Operation Clockwork Orange. The targets were Loyalist politicians and paramilitaries opposed to the Sunningdale Agreement.
However, this part of Clockwork Orange was cancelled after Harold Wilson became PM and MI5 decided to let Sunningdale fall and thereby embarrass Wilson and his Labour Government;
- In 1985 the Westminster press lobby was told during a hush-hush briefing that the Thatcher Government was going to order another investigation into Kincora. This happened just days before the signing of the Hillsborough Agreement.
This was undoubtedly a signal to dampen the opposition of certain Loyalist leaders including (a) a senior Westminster MP in the Unionist Party who knew William McGrath the Housefather at Kincora (and is someone Bryans implicates directly in the abuse of boys in NI); (b) Ian Paisley who – although not a child abuser – knew all about McGrath yet had done nothing to stop him raping children (Village April 2017);
- Senior MOD and NIO officials such as Peter England were able to exploit the children and teenagers ensnared in the network for their own twisted pleasure;
- Children like Richard Kerr were put on a conveyer belt which took them from homes for young children to Kincora and later to London, Manchester and elsewhere where they were made available to VIP abusers thereby perpetuating the same depressing cycle of exploitation, control and blackmail in Westminster and elsewhere (Village April 2017).
- The politicians involved in the various overlapping vice rings were not in a position to step in – if they were ever minded – to curb murderous MI5/6 operations. On the contrary, they had to cover them up.
This may explain why William van Straubenzee visited Albert ‘Ginger’ Baker, the notorious MRF-MI5 agent in prison after he confessed to a series of murders in 1973. The control of politicians would also explain why MI5 permitted Sir Peter Morrison MP to become Thatcher’s private secretary despite its knowledge that he was a child molester (Village May 2017);
- It appears that at least one member of the A-IVR was coerced into participating in a highly dangerous anti-Provisional IRA operation by MI5. It played out in Dublin in 1981
In addition to all this, it is clear that Peter Wright knew quite a lot about Heath’s aberrant taste for boys because he – Wright – was responsible for spreading stories about Heath’s attraction to young men while MI5 was plotting to topple Heath as Tory Leader and replace him with a more resolute right-wing figure. This is another story, which Village will return to in the near future.