The recent post about Sir Edward Heath and SRA allegations has been read several thousand times by now. This blog’s readers are generally British but according to the stats, the Heath/SRA post has gone global, with readers from many different countries around the world. I say this not to boast but because it indicates that there is some significant interest in this subject of Ted Heath and SRA.
The UK’s national newspapers have been busy in attacking Operation Conifer over many months. I’d say the Telegraph in particular has excelled in polemical articles targeting the Wiltshire Police investigation of Sir Edward Heath.
This expert is Dr ‘Rachel’ Hoskins, described in the Telegraph article as a “leading criminologist” and “an expert in ritualistic crimes”.
(I say ‘Rachel’ Hoskins for the first and last time in the sentence above, so as not to confuse you, to be consistent with the name given for this person in the Telegraph article. But note that this ‘Rachel’ Hoskins is actually Dr Richard Hoskins – i.e. born male. This ‘Rachel’ is actually a Richard in a dress. The Telegraph may wish to present Richard as Rachel whilst leaving its readers ignorant of this fact, but I do not.)
Clearly, Dr Hoskins could not be more highly esteemed by the Telegraph.
Even clearer is Dr Hoskins’ agenda: it is plain from the Telegraph article that Dr Hoskins’ purpose is to shut down and discredit Operation Conifer – and especially to discredit any allegations of Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) against Sir Edward Heath.
The smoking gun in the Telegraph article is the reference to Michelle Remembers.
In the article, the Telegraph reports Dr Hoskins referring to “…a period in the late 1980s when fears of widespread satanic ritual abuse were triggered by a book. Michelle Remembers, by Canadian psychotherapist Lawrence Pazder, recounted his discussions with a hypnotised client who claimed there was an underground network of sadistic killers operating in North America. It was later widely discredited.”
Note the assertion of fact there. Dr Hoskins claims that the “widely discredited” book Michelle Remembers (1980) was the original and sole cause of a ‘satanic panic’ in the late 1980s.
This is what I might call the Michelle Remembers Fallacy, and it is a thirty-year-old staple of the British SRA denial lobby.
In 1990, the Mail on Sunday newspaper ran an article headlined “The Debunking of a Myth” (30/09/90) in which it was asserted that: “Before Michelle Remembers there were no Satanic prosecutions involving children. Now the myth [of SRA] is everywhere. The book was pounced upon by fundamentalist Christian groups, interest spread like wildfire across the States and the crusade spread to England.”
The Mail on Sunday article described Michelle Remembers as the “best seller that sparked a crusade”, and as “the seed work which began the current wave of hysteria”.
According to the mainstream press of 1990, concern about SRA was hysteria and SRA itself was a myth. For example, in an Independent on Sunday article headlined “Satanic Cults: How the Hysteria swept Britain” (16/09/90), long-time SRA denier Rosie Waterhouse wrote: “The Satanic [SRA] child-myth has taken on a life of its own and is out of control.” (As an aside, ten years later the Independent reported this.)
According to the British SRA denial lobby’s Michelle Remembers Fallacy, nobody had ever heard of Satanists ritually abusing children before Michelle Remembers was published in 1980, because of course it doesn’t happen, but, as soon as it was published, Dr Pazder’s book quickly inspired countless other therapists and their patients to ‘remember’ SRA child abuse which never happened – because SRA does not exist – at the same time as Satan-hunting Christian fundamentalists – first North American fundies, then copied by British fundies – started to stir up a ridiculous ‘witch hunt’ which grew to become a ‘satanic panic’ of mass hysteria about SRA in Britain by the late 1980s.
That is the long-established story of the SRA denial lobby in Britain – and it simply isn’t true. It doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny: it is both factually incorrect and logically unsound. It is a fabrication for the overall purpose of denying the existence of SRA (but it has become well-established as the standard SRA debunking orthodoxy; with, for example, this ‘It-was-Pazder-Started-the-Panic-about-a-Myth’ line undergirding the Wikipedia entries for both Dr Pazder and his notorious book).
Consider that in his book Blasphemous Rumours: Is Satanic Ritual Abuse Fact or Fantasy? An Investigation (1991), journalist Andrew Boyd asked the question: “…why were there no [publicly reported] disclosures [of SRA] before the publication of Michelle Remembers in 1980?” (Chapter 14, The Climate of Denial; page 272.)
Boyd proceeded to unfold several reasons in answer to this question, and commenced by stating: “There were [disclosures], but they were not made public. [For example] Gordon Wright from Plymouth says he has been counselling clients who have been ritually abused since the 1950s. Hampshire Psychiatrist Dr Kenneth McAll says one client who was abused within a generational Satanic cult from childhood is now a woman in her eighties. Before the books, before the videos, before the present clamour. …”
Just because the Press did not report on SRA before 1980, or just because people did not speak to journalists about SRA before 1980, it does not follow that therefore SRA must be a myth invented and popularised by a single book in 1980. (And as a general point, I might add that there have always been subjects and stories the mainstream press quite simply will not report on, or cannot report for legal reasons: and it is this news which you never hear about, the news that is suppressed which is one of the most potent propaganda tools for controlling a population.)
It is not true that SRA did not exist before Michelle Remembers invented it in 1980. It is not true that the publication of one American book Michelle Remembers led within a few years to the rise of panic and hysteria about a non-existent problem in Britain.
Even the part of the SRA denial lobby’s Michelle Remembers Fallacy about Christian fundamentalists stirring up the public to panic about a mythical problem is readily refutable nonsense.
Dr Pazder and his patient Michelle were Catholics and their book includes the claim that Michelle had visions of Mary. Christian fundamentalists, whether in America’s ‘Bible Belt’ or elsewhere, are avowedly protestant and would find the Pazders’ Catholicism a major turn-off. The Pazders were culturally anathema to Bible-believing, ‘born again’ Christians, whether American or British. Christian fundamentalists do not do Catholicism and they do not do Catholic visions of Mary. Dr Pazder was not a Christian fundamentalist and Michelle Remembers is not a book to please Christian fundamentalists. Furthermore, the 1980s is not noted as a period in which evangelical Christians exerted a strong influence over the British press or British public life. And if we take the Church of England as a barometer, by the late 1980s Bible-believing evangelicals had long since ceased to dictate the agenda. There wasn’t any notable public campaign on SRA by British evangelicals in the 1980s, either in society generally or confined within Christian circles. Moreover, even amongst British evangelicals today – in the wake of Jimmy Savile – it remains the case that SRA is not a popular concern; I’m not aware of even one person in Britain with a funded Christian ministry to tackle SRA, as paid for by the charitable giving of other Christians. Any person looking to campaign on SRA will not be received with open arms or benefit from open wallets in British evangelical churches today. SRA is not a subject on the lips of most British Christians; very few Christians in Britain are talking about SRA currently, and even fewer are active in doing anything about it.
SRA was a problem known about in Britain – amongst SRA victims and those they turned to for help – prior to the publication of Michelle Remembers. Christians have long been drawn to the medical profession and to caring for and counselling those in need of healing and seeking peace. Inevitably, in the 1980s (and before and after), the world of doctors, therapists and carers – people who were familiar with trying to help those SRA victims who came to them – included many who were Christians. In that respect, it can be said, quite correctly, that some Christians were at the forefront of trying to care for the growing number of SRA victims who sought help in the 1980s, but this signifies only that Christians (and others) were responding to a growth of SRA cases presenting to them at the time – it does not mean that, in 1980, British Christian doctors and therapists suddenly seized upon Michelle Remembers for inspiration to manipulate patients into divulging false memories of SRA.
Now, in identifying this smoking gun, as fired at us by Dr Hoskins, I am not ‘straining out a gnat’ or ‘majoring on a minor’. This smoking gun is neither trivial nor peripheral to the issue of SRA.
The ‘Blame-Michelle–Remembers-for-Starting-the-SRA-Myth’ line has always been a fundamental creed for SRA deniers in Britain.
Ask yourself why one who is billed as “an expert in ritualistic crimes” would deploy the SRA denial lobby’s original narrative to dismiss SRA as a myth.
How come “an expert in ritualistic crimes” uses the standard debunking argument, dating to the late 1980s, of those who say there’s no such thing as ritualistic crime, of those who say SRA is a myth, of those who are readily identified by their references to ‘mass hysteria’ and ‘satanic panic’?
Why would “an expert in ritualistic crimes” adopt and advance an argument the primary purpose of which has always been to deny the existence of ritual abuse?
Somebody may accuse me of being a little misleading here, and may point out that Dr Hoskins is held to be an expert on African religions and specifically African ritual crime, and so it’s a little unfair of me to imply the peculiarity of an expert on SRA denying the existence of SRA. And I concede that it would be a little sneaky of me to imply that; so, let’s be totally honest about the fact that Dr Hoskins is not an expert on Satanist Ritual Abuse at all – even though, given the context of its article (i.e. SRA allegations) the Telegraph, in describing Dr Hoskins as “an expert in ritualistic crimes”, is guilty of misleading the public that Dr Hoskins is an SRA expert. What we have then is the Telegraph misrepresenting an expert on African religions as an SRA expert (not to mention the Telegraph failing to mention the fact that Rachel-is-really-Richard) – at the same time as we have this ‘expert’ on SRA – as we’d reasonably infer (just from reading the Telegraph) – trotting out the SRA denial lobby’s favourite fallacy.
Does it follow that an expert on the rituals of primitive African religions is also an expert on post-war British SRA? Are we talking about the same subject here? I know a few people who are genuinely worthy of description as SRA experts, and I cannot count Dr Hoskins amongst them.
In conclusion then, the Telegraph – which is clearly keen to see Sir Edward Heath exonerated – has, in the article we’ve looked at, offered us an ‘expert’ whose credentials as an expert on post-war British SRA are extremely dubious, and moreover, whose core ideology on SRA in Britain is manifestly rooted in the British SRA denial lobby’s long-standing policy of ‘Blame-Michelle–Remembers-for-Starting-the-SRA-Myth’.
Operation Conifer ought to be allowed to run its course. Dr Hoskins’ ‘whistleblowing’ in the press was prejudicial to what is an ongoing investigation, and was surely intended to sabotage it. Why?
Has somebody got something to hide about Sir Edward Heath?
Why must SRA – which undoubtedly does happen – be debunked at all costs?
Who stands to benefit from deceiving the British public into thinking that SRA is a myth, invented by fantasists in the first instance, and subsequently disseminated and sustained by crazy religious fanatics?
I can see no harm in allowing Wiltshire Police to finish doing their job, to the best of their ability.