Operation Conifer was intended only to research claims made against the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 until 1974, Edward Heath, in his home county of Wiltshire, but in this regional investigation over 26 claims of sexual abuse which met a certain threshold of evidence were officially filed against Heath. The most unpalatable involved Heath paying for sex with an 11-year-old boy when he was an MP. This investigation, however, is simply the ‘one which slipped through the net’ at the end of a long string of allegations against Heath which were hushed.
One such case is Operation Whistle, which investigates the crimes of Edward Heath, Jimmy Savile and 13 other ‘people of public or political prominence’ in the Haut de la Garenne children’s home on the Channel Island of Jersey, where Heath spent a lot of his free time. The Operation is still underway but the States of Jersey Police have not issued a public update since 2015, and a Freedom of Information Act request which was made about the investigation was declined on the grounds that it remains an ongoing case. And so those trying to gain insight to the investigation’s progress are stuck in a kind of stalemate.
Local resident Linda Corby alongside Jersey Senator Ralph Vibert both witnessed children from Haut de la Garenne join Heath on his yacht, Morning Cloud, which concerned them as they had been pre-warned about the actions of Heath on the island. They hauntingly described a scene in which ’11 boys entered the yacht, but only 10 left’. She and Mr Vibert went to police but she claims that they were told not to investigate the disappearance by ‘someone above’.
Haut de la Garenne was ordered to be demolished in July as it apparently serves as a reminder of decades of sexual abuse and mistreatment of children in Jersey. It seems odd and deeply counterintuitive, however, to destroy the remnants of the place in which the police admitted that 15 famous British individuals committed serious sexual crimes when not a single one of them has been brought to justice. Ultimately, this just furthers the impression that police were simply trying to make the incident disappear from memory rather than break it open.
Jimmy Savile was formally named as an alleged culprit in the investigation by Jersey police after his immense backlog of sexual crimes were brought to light after his death. He frequented the island of Jersey and on multiple occasions visited Haut de la Garenne under the guise of charitable work, often at the same time Edward Heath moored his yacht on the island. Savile successfully sued The Sun newspaper in 2008 when they accused him of abusing children in Haut de la Garenne, and initially claimed that he never visited the children’s home, before retracting that statement when a photograph surfaced of him there. Savile died in 2011 and never faced justice for the sexual abuse of hundreds of children.
Another ‘person of public or political prominence’ in Operation Whistle is the Irish actor and BBC star Wilfrid Brambell, who starred in the Beatles film ‘A Hard Days Night’. The allegations against him surfaced in 2008, and his case disturbingly echoes that of Savile; two young victims aged 12-13 – one of which was groomed whilst a resident of Haut de la Garenne – were guests of Brambell at the Jersey Opera House where they were abused in his dressing room, they tried to alert authorities but were snubbed – only after Brambell died and the gushing tributes from his former employers the BBC died down did their accusations make it to the mainstream press. Unlike Savile, Brambell’s crimes never really saw the light of day beyond blogs and tiny columns by interns at the Telegraph.
In fact, the only celebrated reporter who has taken a serious interest in abuse at Haut de la Garenne was the American author and journalist Leah McGrath Goodman. Unfortunately, she was quashed pretty quickly as her UK visa was rescinded inexplicably in 2012 in spite of her squeaky clean criminal record. It took over a year of campaigns by fellow journalists and petitions to the UK government before she was allowed back in the UK; by that time countless news cycles had passed and any interest the British general public had in the sickening sexual abuse at the hands of elites had evaporated into an Olympic hysteria.
The predictable but no less damaging message being communicated by UK newspapers who are in bed with Heath’s Conservative party – most notably the Daily Mail – is that Heath is dead and there is no point ‘dragging his name through the mud’. Sadly, the reality is that for figures like Heath who reached the very top of the food chain, the only time their crimes are revealed is when the figures who built a protective wall around them are gone.
Just listen to the Conservative Party Whip Tim Fortescue recall what he had to do for his boss, Edward Heath. Incredibly, he willingly shared this in a talking head segment for the 1995 BBC documentary ‘Westminster’s Secret Service’:
”For 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, or any kind of scandal in which, erm er, a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did.’
Fortescue died in 2008, and it is no coincidence that the bulk of allegations against Heath came about after his end.
So fuck the Daily Mail. We owe nothing to the dead, their vile secrets, nor their reputations, but we owe an awful lot to the victims of child sexual abuse in the here and now. Operation Conifer should be the start of a comprehensive review of Heath’s crimes, not their polite and quiet conclusion. And we should start with Haut de la Garenne.
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