Media Enquires: Bpittard (at) westnet.com.au
Under an extention of Operation Yewtree, UK police have again arrested Rolf Harris, the much-awarded Australian entertainer. Bailed until next month, he is on suspicion, after some six months of Yewtree investigations, of sexual offences.
Sathya Sai devotees have long identified Harris as a Sai Baba devotee. The entertainer and painter, has been a welcome visitor to Buckingham Palace, and, like Sarah, Duchess of Duchess of York (‘Fergie’) and Prince Charles, has long been spoken of as a Sathya Sai Baba follower.
‘Operation Yewtree‘ is the huge, ongoing, watershed British police operation to net many pedophiles, including those whose crimes reach back decades ago.
Like the Australian Royal Commission to investigate Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, its work is getting well into swing. Both may well prove epoch-changing.
For the Royal Commission, see my article: Making the Sathya Sai Cult Accountable: Australian Victims Can Submit to Trailblazing Child Abuse Royal Commission. Posted by Barry Pittard on March 6, 2013. And: Australia Leads With Long-term Tough Royal Commission On Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. Posted by Barry Pittard on March 4, 2013.
In Australia and the UK, the multi-talented Rolf Harris is a household name, and has been for decades. Terms like ‘icon’, ‘legendary’, and ‘household name’ are often overdone, but, as was the case with Sir Jimmy Savile, they certainly fit Harris, famed for his hit songs (like Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, Jake the Peg and Two Little Boys), his art (including his controversial 2005 painting of the Queen, which raised world interest), his didgeridoo and wobble board playing, and his appearance, over decades, in highly rated television and stage shows.
Rolf Harris is heavily awarded – like the late disgraced British public idol Sir Jimmy Savile, against whom police investigations have uncovered over 400 cases (actionable if he had not died) of sexual abuse of minors. Harris has received: Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1968; Officer (OBE) in 1977, Commander (CBE) in 2006, Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 1989, and Officer (AO) in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours. In 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal “for service to entertainment, charity and the community”. Also, Honorary Doctorates from the University of East London 2007, and from Liverpool Hope University in 2010. The entertainment industry, too, has highly awarded him.
In passing, I note that some news feeds on the Rolf Harris story are getting into major US newspapers – e.g., New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post …. A good thing, too, because that utterly celebrity obsessed country sorely needs to get busy in exposing its celebrity child and other abusers.
Rolf Harris, Various Royals and Sathya Sai Baba
See: MI6 Warned Prince Charles Off Sathya Sai Baba, ‘Sunday People’(UK) Says. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 4, 2010. See also: Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Sathya Sai Baba.
Operation Yewtree originated in the UK pedophile scandal which exposed the British entertainer and disgraced national treasure, Sir Jimmy Savile, who, like Sathya Sai Baba, was a pedophile on a vast scale – one never met in British police force history. He had extraordinary access to members of the Royal Family and to Buckingham Palace itself. The Yewtree remit is to investigate:
– claims against Savile
– claims against Savile and others
– claims against others
See: Pedophilia: Why Do Most Of Us Protect the Jimmy Saviles Everywhere? Posted by Barry Pittard on November 1, 2012. And: Serial Pedophile Issues and Comparisons: Sir Jimmy Savile and Sathya Sai Baba. Posted by Barry Pittard on October 30, 2012.
TV personality and musician Rolf Harris was reportedly arrested and questioned over historic sexual abuse allegations.For nearly six months, the identity of Australian entertainer Rolf Harris as a major target for British police investigating sex abuse allegations has been a poorly guarded secret.
His home in Berkshire, west of London, was raided by Scotland Yard detectives last November. Five days later he was interviewed by appointment, but under caution, at a south London police station.
In the absence of any formal allegations or charges, major news outlets reported the explosive developments without his name, referring only to ”an 83-year-old Australia entertainer”.
Under a red banner that screamed ”World Exclusive”, British tabloid The Sun named Harris as having been arrested over sex abuse allegations on March 28, two days before his 83rd birthday. Harris has not been charged, and is understood to vehemently deny any wrongdoing.
The Sun, the sister paper to the now defunct and discredited News of the World, reported that Scotland Yard said the man from Berkshire was one of 11 people arrested so far under Operation Yewtree, which is investigating people linked to Savile.
The spokesman told the paper there were three categories of people subject to the investigation: Savile, people close to the presenter and ”others”. The then 82-year-old was in the last category, which ”is generally people who were in the public spotlight at around that time”, the spokesman said.
When the front gate intercom was rung at the entertainer’s house, a sleepy-voiced Harris answered.
Asked if he had any comment on The Sun‘s story, he replied ”no comment” and rung off.
The only sign of activity at the house was Harris’ dog, which came to the gate to watch the gathering media.
Scotland Yard has not publicly named the Australian entertainer. Fairfax Media understands that most of the London media were waiting on each other to name Harris, because of heightened legal fears after the phone hacking scandal, which also looked at informal communications between police and newspapers.
A well-connected media blogger, ”Guido Fawkes”, said several newsrooms had confirmed the name after the first arrest last year.
However, they were concerned that publishing the name could trigger a raid by police trying to identify ”leaks” within the Metropolitan Police.
Harris, a veteran artist, musician and entertainer, has been a regular fixture on television screens since he signed with the BBC in 1953. His musical hits include Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, in which he played a wobble board instrument, Jake the Peg and Two Little Boys.
Generations of Britons grew up watching Harris’ work, which includes Rolf’s Cartoon Club, Rolf on Art, and Animal Hospital. In 2005, he was commissioned by the BBC to paint a portrait of the Queen.
With LISA DAVIES
Dave Thompson, Pool/Associated Press – FILE – Queen Elizabeth II meets Rolf Harris and Kylie Minogue backstage at The Diamond Jubilee Concert in London in this Monday June 4, 2012 file photo . Harris, a veteran entertainer who has released hit singles and painted Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait, has been arrested as part of a police investigation into sexual abuse allegations stemming from the Jimmy Savile scandal, British media