The Lord Greville Janner affair shows no signs of winding down despite the best efforts by the authorities to kick it into the long grass. Each week brings new revelations about the former President of the British Board of Jewish Deputies, who is suspected of at least 22 cases of child sexual abuse.
Up until now the scrutiny has mainly focused on how, although said to be too ill with dementia to be tried, the 86-year-old founder of the Holocaust Education Trust was able to take part in parliamentary debates, collect a hundred thousand pounds in expenses, and was compos mentis enough to sign over his property deeds to his children thereby putting them out of range of any damages litigation.
The Director of Public Prosecutions decision not to prosecute was equally baffling given that there are well-established and regularly used court procedures for dealing with suspects who have lost their faculties. The DPP’s decision is now to be reviewed.
But even now, after all this has been raked over, there are still some curious omissions in the coverage, and perhaps one involves Lord Janner’s propensity to groom senior police officers on behalf of various Jewish organisations. This is best illustrated by an evening at Covent Garden Opera House some years back when three black-tied men strode onto the empty stage after the main performance and launched into a spirited rendering of “A policeman’s lot is not a happy one” to the uproarious laughter of their guests.
The three included the then-serving Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police John Stevens, the former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and suspected child rapist Lord Janner QC himself, and Gerald Ronson, a billionaire property dealer who was imprisoned for his part in the huge “Guinness” financial fraud in 1991.
What the three men had in common, apart from a love of opera, was they all sat on the advisory committee of a charity called the Community Security Trust, a private investigation agency run out of the British Board of Jewish Deputies and which has been chaired by Gerald Ronson since he left prison.
This lavishly funded organisation claims to fight anti-Semitism with a physical street presence and undercover and infiltration work. It is known to have close working relations with Scotland Yard and the Home Office. It is said, in 2009, to have pulled in £5 million in donations, and has 64 employees including some of the highest paid executives in the charity sector. But it has attracted a lot of criticism from within its own community for its method of drumming up business: ramping up ‘anti-semitism’ scares.
One left-wing Jewish blogger described it as “pretty secretive and sinister organisation. It goes to great lengths to hide the names of those in charge of it, having managed to persuade the Charity Commission that uniquely its trustees should not be named on the CC website.”
Despite its controversial nature, the CST has managed to enjoy senior police officer approval. Another former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Paul Condon said: “There is no other country of which I am aware that has such a sophisticated developed and disciplined community-based security organisation. Be proud of it and nurture it.”
According to Janner’s own memoir, the ad-hoc Gilbert and Sullivan performance must have taken place after the first police investigation was derailed. There is no suggestion that John Stevens — who has since been ennobled — did anything improper, but it is still strange that the media has not found anything interesting in the head of Scotland Yard’s night at the opera with the suspected child rapist and jailbird billionaire.
Indeed ‘A policeman’s lot is not a happy one’ could hardly be said to apply to Lord Stevens whose career has blossomed since he took a close interest in the welfare of the Jewish community. After leaving the role of Commissioner in 2005, he became chairman of a ‘corporate intelligence, investigations and risk mitigation’ outfit called Quest alongside some of the most prominent Jewish figures from the City of London as well as a former Director of Mossad and a former deputy director of the CIA.
But it will add to the suspicion that it was Greville Janner’s prominence as the public face of the Jewish community and his leadership in so many sensitive national organisations, that rendered him immune from prosecution.
While the judiciary squirm in embarrassment, Janner has even been abandoned by his own former House of Commons colleagues, 78 of whom have called for his case to go to court.
Neither the members in the House of Commons nor the British media have any reason to feel proud of their role in the Greville Janner affair, for as we shall see they were all fully made aware of all of the crucial details 20 years ago — and chose to do nothing.
In 1995, a twenty-three page booklet revealing the full inside story on the Greville Janner case began arriving in the mail at newspapers and television company offices across Britain.
Professionally written and laid out, the booklet, entitled “Is Greville Janner QC above the law?,” gave a full and accurate account of the Frank Beck paedophilia case to which Janner’s name had become inextricably linked. Apart from fulsome notes, the booklet contained as an appendix, a four-page pamphlet which had been published in 1992 headed “Janner FAILS to answer ‘sex with boy’ evidence.”
The booklet stuck rigidly to what had been said in court. It showed how at the beginning of Beck’s trial at Leicester Crown Court, the Judge made an unprecedented ruling that the names of prominent people mentioned in evidence given by witnesses could not be reported by the media. The judge even interrupted one witness to prevent mention of Janner’s name. Even as Beck’s trial proceeded, the judge’s “gagging order” against the media was overturned by the High Court in London. Such a sequence of unusual legal proceedings should have alerted the media to the fact that something sinister was being perpetrated, but these matters went largely unreported.
The pamphlet described how a former child resident of a care home, Paul Winston, had boasted of being a “rent boy with friends in high places.” The 13 year-old first met Janner when on a school outing to the House of Commons. Janner singled him out and invited him to visit the Commons again on his own, sending him the train ticket. Winston stated that he was taken to bed by Janner where they “cuddled and fondled each other.”
Despite the gravity of the central allegation, the pamphlet was measured and restrained:
“It is important to remember that the person on trial at Leicester was Frank Beck, not Greville Janner. None of the above constitutes proof that Janner committee grave sex crimes against a child nor it is our intention to assert that he is guilty of such offences.
“….It is however, our purpose to demonstrate that Greville Janner’s statement on these matters in the privileged environs of the Commons did not constitute a full answer to the charges against him; they were merely a cunningly scripted general denial.”
The pamphlet had been produced at considerable expense and many hundreds were sent out. It contained all the salient facts of the case laid out in a professional, digestible and easily checkable format. Thus the full details of the case could not have come more easily than if they had been delivered in a pink box tied up in ribbons.
It was sent to all 650 members of the House of Commons. It was also sent to such media luminaries such as David Frost, Jonathan Dimbleby and the veteran TV children’s rights campaigner Esther Rantzen who received two copies.
Copies were also sent to the hard core investigative units such as the Sunday Times Insight team and the specialist television programs such as ITV’s World in Action, BBC’s Panorama and Channel4’s Dispatches.
And which of these brave media outlets or prominent journalists picked up the story — apart from a few paragraphs in Private Eye magazine. Not one. Only one copy that was sent to MPs has since turned up.
As with the children involved in the Rotherham rape epidemic, the Janner accusations involved children from local authority care homes. As with Rotherham, Britain’s media seem to have taken a collective decision that the well-being of such children was of no account compared to the risk to the reputation of such an eminent member of the Jewish left-wing establishment.
For all its self-image as fearless seekers after truth, Fleet Street is totally conformist, and in the mid-nineties the thought of pursuing the former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews was more than they were willing to take on, no matter how strong the evidence.
So who did produce this devastating pamphlet? Now the identities can be revealed. It was a duo of British nationalists who had followed the case closely and were outraged at how Britain’s media was giving its most prominent Jewish politician a pass.
They were Martin Webster, National Organiser of the National Front, and a retired entomologist turned successful Chelsea art dealer, Ken Guichard. As organiser of the National Front, Martin Webster had become a household name and had led nationalist opposition to mass immigration in the late seventies and eighties. He could be usually seen at the front of mass demonstrations where the National Front marchers were attacked by the left.
Ken Guichard had, in his professional life, been an entomologist specialising in locust control whose efforts had saved countless lives and whose services had been secured by numerous Middle East governments. His exhibits of various species of Lepidoptera (butterflies) could be found in museums and universities across the world. It was his frequent visits to the Arab lands and the affection he developed for ordinary rural Arabs, especially the Bedouin nomads, which prompted his sympathy for the Arab/Palestinian cause and his anger at what was being done in Palestine.
Upon retirement he became an art dealer of some renown and had discovered an unknown painting by the 18th-century artist George Stubbs which had sold in the 1970s for £300,000.
What brought this pair together was an enthusiasm for nationalist politics and a sense of outrage that justice had not been done. Martin Webster:
I felt that Greville Janner’s prominence not only as a peer and QC but as former President of the Board of Jewish Deputies had protected him. While Frank Beck was sent to prison for 30 years, Janner had been protected by his status within the Jewish community while he had — allegedly — done the same thing.”
We were careful not claim that he was guilty of anything. We merely showed that there was a lot of evidence and that he had a strong case to answer.
He had to be exposed. Here was a man who was essentially an alien in our land, who had rode roughshod over our laws, who was at the centre of a huge establishment cover-up. And it was personal too. Janner was a leader of a community who through his organisations had done much to illegally sabotage our efforts. Through the Labour Friends of Israel, he had helped form an alliance with another Jewish-run organisation known as the Socialist Workers Party to set up a third front organisation — the Anti Nazi League which inflicted great violence on our members during marches and elsewhere.
For Martin Webster the silence of the media merely confirmed long-standing suspicions. “With our booklet, they now had all the information. They could have made the programmes, asked the questions, confronted Janner and so on. Why didn’t they do it? The implications are almost as shocking as what Janner is alleged to have done. It was a demonstration that any criticism of Jewish power cannot be countenanced. It really is as simple as that.”
Six years after the Beck court case in which Greville Janner’s name was first mentioned in connection with child abuse, he was ennobled, and Janner entered the House of Lords as Lord Janner of Braunstone.