Operation Ore, the UK’s biggest investigation into alleged child pornography, resulted in numerous innocent people being jailed or cautioned, led the politicians to invoke draconian legislation, caused the erosion of civil liberties in the name of ‘child protection’ and also caused the death of 39 people.
The man who was at the centre of its momentum was Jim Gamble, a senior police officer with a somewhat dubious history. He has done well and made a load of money from his endeavour, by most people’s standards anyway. He has resigned after suggesting that the amalgamation of CEOP into the proposed National Crime Agency is not in the best interests of children. We suspect that he has simply thrown his toys out of his pram as he will no longer be granted unfettered power and money by the new government. He is going now before he is sacked, in our opinion at least.
So much for so little…just click on the image above
Tony Blair slapped a D-Notice on Operation Ore just before going to war with Iraq because senior cabinet members were alleged to have been under investigation. This has prevented any enquiry into the matter by the police.
Appeals against Gamble’s crusade are due to be heard in the High Court in November.
Although it is not our usual practice, TheOpinionSite therefore publishes this article by a third party, the article being highly relevant to the unmasking of alleged corruption by the Blair government, successive Home Secretaries and, of course, Jim Gamble himself.
We congratulate the author and thank him for putting his article into the public domain:
By Matt Wardman • May 27, 2010
I’ve written about Operation Ore several times over the last couple of years, as have a number of other bloggers from left and right (Yorkshire Ranter, Tim Worstall, Anna Raccoon), and sites such as The Register.
Operation Ore was a major police operation in Britain which became known to the public in 2002 targetting thousands of alleged users of child pornography websites. In the words of Wikipedia, the statistics were:
7,250 suspects identified, 4,283 homes searched, 3,744 arrests, 1,848 charged, 1,451 convictions, 493 cautioned, 879 investigations underway, 140 children removed from suspected dangerous situations (although the definition of what constitutes such, has varied and remains vague) and an estimated 39 suicides.
The work of journalist Duncan Campbell amongst others has already cast serious doubt over the integrity of the police investigation in Operation Ore.
As I write, Liverpool solicitor Chris Saltrese is taking a test case to the Appeal Court for wrongful conviction:
In the UK, thousands of people were implicated and convicted or cautioned even though they protested no knowledge of having visited the site or any interest or intention to access child pornography.
It has since emerged that the blueprint employed to incriminate suspects was fundamentally flawed, so that many people may have been implicated in a crime they did not commit.
With the help of experts, Chris Saltrese Solicitors has carried out groundbreaking evidential and legal research into Operation Ore.
Leave for appeal has now been granted for a test case to be heard before the full court in Spring 2010.
If this appeal is successful, the ultimate consequences will be profound, because Operation Ore was the first large-scale British “paedo” case. The alleged success of Operation Ore, and the public fear of paedophiles created and fed in its wake, is the foundation upon which law enforcement around paedophile offences and a related public culture dominated by fear of child abuse has been built.
If Operation Ore does turn out to be ill-founded, there is a long list of institutions and practices which will need to be re-examined from the ground-up, and individuals whose positions may become untenable.
Here are a few of these:
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) has been at the heart of all of it.
The Internet Watch Foundation is the Charity Limited by Guarantee which recently managed to block a page from Wikipedia for allegedly including a child abuse image in the form of a record sleeve from more than two decades ago which was available on the Amazon website. IWF maintains a secret list of auto-blocked websites.
Some apologists have used Operation Ore to campaign for our current set of laws around child abuse. For example Margaret Moran MP who quoted incorrect and misleading statistics as fact in a debate in the House of Commons in 2005.
Characters such as controversial Senior Police Officer Jim Gamble, who presided over Operation Ore and has refused seriously to consider the possibility that significant mistakes were made, and perhaps some figures originally from the world of Child Protection Charities, will be in a very difficult position.
Either way, the next months will be important and interesting legally, and we may end up in “Royal Commission on Child Protection Law” territory.
Finally, this week we have seen an outspoken reaction to the LibDem-Tory coalition proposal to grant anonymity to people accused of rape.
If it turns out that Operation Ore has been flawed, when websites have been set up to specifically provide lists of those convicted or cautioned – such as Noncewatch (nofollowed) run by “ArianUnity” – then there will be fundamental changes to the UK legal culture in the area of alleged sex crimes, one hell of a compensation bill and thousands of people who will have their reputations restored. And 39 who may have to receive posthumous apologies.