Daily Archives: May 15, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury allows freemason to become bishop


Rev Jonathan Baker and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is at the centre of a row after it emerged he had appointed a Freemason to be a bishop.

Telegraph | May 14, 2011

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones

Dr Rowan Williams named the Rev Jonathan Baker as the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet despite knowing he was an active and senior mason.

The appointment, announced earlier this month, marked a significant U-turn by Dr Williams who had previously said that Freemasonry was “incompatible” with Christianity and had refused to promote Masons to senior posts.

Last week, as news of Fr Baker’s membership of the Masons began to circulate through the Church, it provoked growing concern and criticism from clergy and members of the General Synod.

When contacted by The Sunday Telegraph on Friday, Fr Baker defended his continued membership of the Masons and insisted it was compatible with his new role as a bishop.

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Yet yesterday he said he had changed his mind was leaving the masons so he could concentrate on being a bishop, adding: “I wish nothing to distract from the inauguration of that ministry.”

Freemasonry, a secretive male-only organisation dating back 300 years, requires its members to declare a belief in a “supreme being” and to undergo elaborate rituals.

Fr Baker joined the Apollo University masonic lodge in Oxford while he was a student, in an initiation ceremony that involves promising to keep the “secrets of Freemasonry”.

This ritual is said to involve members being blindfolded, wearing a hangman’s noose, and being warned that those who break the oaths of allegiance will have their throat slit and their tongue torn out before being buried in the sand.

He remained a member of the lodge for more than 20 years until his resignation yesterday, rising in the organisation to serve a term as an assistant Grand Chaplain.

Fr Baker, who is currently principal at Pusey House in Oxford, said he had told Archbishop Williams he was a mason when they discussed his appointment to be the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet – one of the “flying bishops” who oversee clergy opposed to women priests. The post had fallen vacant when its previous holder quit to join the Roman Catholic Church.

He said on Friday: “For many years I have been an active member and I continue to be a member. This came up in discussion with Rowan, but it has not caused a problem for me at any stage of my ministry and it won’t cause a problem now.”

He argued that it would not interfere with his role of overseeing traditionalist parishes and said he saw no conflict in being a bishop and a Freemason.

“I’ve never found it to be anything other than an organisation that is wholly supportive of the Church.”

However, yesterday he said: “I have concluded that, because of the particular charism of episcopal ministry and the burden that ministry bears, I am resigning my membership of Freemasonry.”

He said that in his conversation with Dr Williams about taking up the Ebbsfleet post, the Archbishop had asked him to reconsider his membership of Freemasonry, but was happy for the appointment to go forward while he was still a Mason.

Yet Dr Williams has previously expressed serious concerns about clergy being involved with the organisation.

In 2002, shortly before he became the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams wrote in a letter to Hugh Sinclair, of the Movement for the Register of Freemasons: “I have real misgivings about the compatibility of Masonry and Christian profession … I have resisted the appointment of known Masons to certain senior posts.”

A year later he repeated this unease when he tried to apologise for upsetting Freemasons with his comments, saying: “Where anxieties exist they are in relation not to Freemasonry but to Christian ministers subscribing to what could be and often is understood [or misunderstood] as a private system of profession and initiation, involving the taking of oaths of loyalty.”

His senior advisers went even further at the time. “He questions whether it’s appropriate for Christian ministers to belong to secret organisations,” said The Rev Gregory Cameron, a close friend and former chaplain to Dr Williams. “He also has some anxiety about the spiritual content of Masonry.”

A spokesman for Dr Williams said at the time that he was “worried about the ritual elements in Freemasonry, which some have seen as possibly Satanically inspired and how that sits uneasily with Christian belief”.

He continued: “The other idea is that because they are a society, there could be a network that involves mutual back-scratching, which is something he would be greatly opposed to.”

Last night, Christina Rees, a member of the Archbishops’ Council, said: “The fact that Jonathan Baker has resigned as a Freemason suggests to me there is a serious incompatibility between the organisation and the Church. If it was only a matter of perception, surely he could have stuck it out.”

Her comments were echoed by Alison Ruoff, a prominent member on the General Synod, who said she had been stunned to learn of Fr Baker’s involvement with the Masons.

“I’m pleased to hear he’s resigned as a Mason because it is clear that the gospel does not go with masonic beliefs,” she said.

“I think Rowan should have said he could not be a bishop if he continued to be a Mason.”

The Rev David Phillips, general secretary of the Church Society, a conservative evangelical group, said: “The Church has said that Freemasonry is not compatible with Christianity so appointing him as a bishop seems to contradict its own stance.”

Lambeth Palace declined to comment.

Scotland Yard fights to keep Jack the Ripper files secret


Scotland Yard is battling to keep 123-year-old files on Jack the Ripper secret. Photo: REX FEATURES

Scotland Yard is fighting an extraordinary legal battle to withhold 123-year-old secret files which experts believe could finally provide the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Telegraph | May 15, 2011

By David Barrett

Four thick ledgers compiled by Special Branch officers have been kept under lock and key since the Whitechapel murders in 1888.

Trevor Marriott, a Ripper investigator and former murder squad detective, has spent three years attempting to obtain uncensored versions of the documents.

But he has been repeatedly refused because the ledgers contain the identities of police informants – and the Metropolitan Police insist that revealing the information could compromise their attempts to gather information from “supergrasses” and other modern-day informants.

Last week, Mr Marriott took Scotland Yard to a tribunal in a last-ditch attempt to see the journals – containing 36,000 entries – which he believes contain evidence which could finally unmask the world’s most famous serial killer.

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The legal case has cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds and has even involved a senior Scotland Yard officer giving evidence anonymously from behind a screen.

The ledgers provide details of the police’s dealings with thousands of informants from 1888 to 1912, including some who provided information during the original Ripper investigation.

A sample of about 40 pages from the Scotland Yard ledgers was released to last week’s tribunal, but with the names of informants and other key details blacked out.

According to Mr Marriott, the files contain the names of at least four new suspects, as well as other pieces of evidence.

He said: “I believe this to be the very last chance that we may have to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

“To have any possibility of getting near the truth about those horrific crimes we must see what these ledgers contain.

“It may be that within them we find the final piece of the jigsaw that would unlock this mystery and lead to the identity of the killer, or killers, albeit 123 years too late.”

Jack the Ripper slaughtered at least five women between August and November 1888 in the slums of Whitechapel, east London, but various experts have claimed other murders may have been committed by the killer on earlier and later dates.

The police made several mistakes in the inquiry and detection techniques of the time were basic – with no fingerprinting and science unable even to distinguish between animal and human blood.

As a result, there is no conclusive evidence to point to the true identity of Jack the Ripper and the case remains one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries. Among a long list of possible suspects are Queen Victoria’s grandson the Duke of Clarence, who died in an asylum in 1892, and the painter Walter Sickert.

Mr Marriott, who joined Bedfordshire Police in 1970 and worked as a detective constable until the mid-1980s, began researching the Jack the Ripper case in 2003. He has previously published one book on the subject which put forward the name of Carl Feigenbaum, a German merchant executed for the murder of a woman in New York, as a new suspect.

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On uncovering references to the ledgers in 2008, Mr Marriott applied to see the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The Met refused and he appealed to the Information Commissioner who also decided the books should not be revealed.

Now Mr Marriott has undergone the final appeal stage to the Information Tribunal, in which the case is heard by a panel of three judges.

The three-day hearing involved a detective inspector, identified only as ‘D’, speaking to the court from behind a screen because of his sensitive role running the force’s intelligence-gathering operation from informants.

Detective Inspector ‘D’ told the tribunal that unveiling the files could deter informants from coming forward in future, and could even put off members of the public from phoning Crimestoppers or the antiterrorist hotline.

“The interpretation on the street will be that the police have revealed the identity of informants,” said ‘D’.

“Confidence in the system is maintaining the safety of informants, regardless of age.”

Det Insp ‘D’ said the passage of time did not make publication of informants’ identities less sensitive because their descendants could be targeted by criminals with a grudge.

“Look at one of the world’s best-known informants, Judas Iscariot. If someone could draw a bloodline from Judas Iscariot to a present day person then that person would face a risk, although I know that seems an extreme example,” the officer said.

Another senior officer, Detective Superintendent Julian McKinney, told the tribunal that releasing names would make police officers less capable of preventing terrorist attacks and organised crime, and make informants vulnerable to attack.

Det Supt McKinney said: “Regardless of the time, regardless of whether they are dead, they should never be disclosed.

“They come to us only when they have the confidence in our system that their identity will not be disclosed.”

But Mr Marriott said a number of historical files have previously been released which contained details of informants.

He argued there was no evidence to show descendants of informants who have been named had come to harm.

The tribunal decision is expected later this year.

Killer who beheaded British woman in Tenerife is detained indefinitely in secret hearing


Deyanov is detained after the attack

The killer who beheaded the British woman Jennifer Mills-Westley in a Tenerife supermarket has been detained indefinitely in a secret hearing.

Neighbours expressed shock and concern at the way the case of the dangerous assailant had been handled by the Spanish authorities.

Telegraph | May 15, 2011

By Andy Bloxham, Fiona Govan in Los Cristianos, Tenerife and David Barrett

Deyan Valentinov Deyanov, 28, was taken before a legal team on the Spanish island at around 1am on Sunday and taken to a psychiatric unit.

Spanish sources said he was unlikely to face another hearing for at least four years.

British expatriate locals who lived near where the homeless Bulgarian slept rough said he had become increasingly aggressive in recent weeks and had split up with his girlfriend recently.

One man, who gave his name as Mike, said Deyanov had been shouting abuse at passers-by until four in the morning and had even flicked lighted cigarettes at female holidaymakers.

“Everyone had started to avoid him,” he said.

Dancer Sarah Tomlins, 25, an English woman who works in the neighbouring resort Playa de las Americas, said: “This guy was at the Veronicas nightclub strip two days ago at about 2am.

“When I was working there everyone thought he was on drugs because he was behaving really odd.

“My boss told him to go away because he was pestering me and a few of the other girls.

“The police drove past and he started abusing them so they turned their car around and pulled over by Bobby’s Bar.

“The officers got hold of him and roughed him up with their sticks before letting him go.

Mrs Mills-Westley was stabbed up to 14 times before being beheaded in the horrific attack on Friday.

The retired 60-year-old from Norwich had earlier tried to avoid her tormentor by taking refuge in an office doorway.

She alerted a security guard in the social security office that she had been subjected to “threatening behaviour” from an unwashed vagrant.

Deyanov was well known in the popular holiday resort for his unpredictable and sometimes violent behaviour.

Mrs Mills-Westley waited for him to move on, and alerted a security guard in the social security office where she sheltered that she had been subjected to “threatening behaviour”.

It is unclear whether the Briton, a 60-year-old retired road safety officer from Norwich, was aware of the man’s dangerous reputation.

At about 10.15 on Friday morning Mrs Mills-Westley left the office doorway and walked to a Chinese-run discount store next door. Tragically, she there encountered Deyanov again and he attacked her, with grisly consequences.

Mrs Mills-Westley, who divided her time between Tenerife, Norfolk and France, was hacked to death by the Bulgarian, who reportedly claimed to be “a prophet of God” as he carried out the frenzied attack.

Relatives of Mrs Mills-Westley, a grandmother of five, arrived on the island on Saturday as details of the gruesome attack emerged.

Deyanov had left a psychiatric unit where he was reportedly being treated for paranoid schizophrenia in February. He was known among locals for his aggressive begging and outbursts of violence and had been picked up several times by police.

At the Port Royale complex of apartments where Mrs Mills-Westley had been a resident for at least 10 years, neighbours expressed shock and concern at the way the case of the dangerous assailant had been handled by the Spanish authorities.

A long-time friend and neighbour of Mrs Mills-Westley who was too upset to give her name said: “It’s shocking the man that did this had been let out of hospital. It shouldn’t have to be that you wait for something like this to happen before he gets locked away. He was obviously a danger.”

She added: “This is just awful. It’s too upsetting for words. I’ve known Jenny for more than 10 years, since she first moved out here.

“She was a lovely, bubbly person who appeared much younger than she was. She was back and forth to the UK and France to see her children and grandchildren.”

Mrs Mills-Westley owned two adjacent apartments in the development set on a peaceful hillside at the edge of Los Cristianos. She rented out one two-bedroom apartment and lived in the other. Similar properties are on the market for about £240,000.

Phil Gibbs, the owner of Premier management services at the complex, said: “She was a very nice lady. She wasn’t the kind of expat who spent a lot of time in bars. She was quiet and peaceful and always immaculately dressed. We are all horrified to hear what happened to her.”

The victim’s daughter, Sarah Mears, 41, from Newton St Faith, near Norwich, released a statement describing her mother as “generous of heart”.

“Mum was fully enjoying her retirement travelling between Tenerife and France where she spent time visiting her daughter and grandchildren, and her other daughter in Norfolk,” she said.

“She was full of life, generous of heart, would do anything for anyone. We now have to find a way of living without her love and light.”

Before her retirement Mrs Mills-Westley gave cycling safety training to schoolchildren in Norfolk, and also worked on other road safety projects.

In Los Cristianos, at the southern tip of the Canary Islands, eyewitnesses described the scene of the crime as “something out of a horror movie”.

Colin Kirby, a British expatriate working at the Tenerife Magazine said: “I thought someone had fainted and walked on, then I heard screaming and looked behind and saw a scruffy, unkempt man in his mid 20s holding a head by the hair.

“It had blood on it and I thought at first it was a sick joke stunt. The man was muttering and shouting and more people started screaming as I quickened my pace.”

Another witness told how he saw the man drop a bloodstained woman’s head on the pavement after coming out of the shop.

“I saw this man running out with something bloody in his hands,” the witness said. “It was a head. He had it in his hands. It was like a horror movie. The security guards chased him and overpowered him.”

Authorities said they were not aware of any reason why Mrs Mills-Westley had apparently been targeted. Manuel Reveron, a local councillor, said: “Apparently this gentleman without any motive or any reason, although for this there is no reasoning, entered the shop and then cut this woman’s neck and took the head in his hand outside up to the sidewalk.”

German grandchildren of Nazis delve into past

Associated Press | May 14, 2011

By Kirsten Grieshaber

BERLIN – Rainer Hoess was 12 years old when he found out his grandfather was one of the worst mass murderers in history.

This 1936 photo made by Gottfried Gilbert and provided by Alexandra Senfft shows her grandfather Hanns Elard Luding, left, and Hermann Goering, right, standing in front of Adolf Hitler as during a Nazi party convention in Nuremberg, Germany. Ludin, was Hitler's Slovakia envoy who was involved in the deportation of almost 70,000 Jews. After Ludin was hanged in 1947, his widow raised the children in the belief their father was 'a good Nazi.' In her book, 'The Pain of Silence,' she describes how a web of lies burdened her family over decades, especially her mother, who was 14 years old when her beloved father was hanged. (AP Photo/Gottfried Gilbert courtesy of

The gardener at his boarding school, an Auschwitz survivor, beat him black and blue after hearing he was the grandson of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of the death camp synonymous with the Holocaust.

“He beat me, because he projected on me all the horror he went through,” Rainer Hoess said, with a shrug and a helpless smile. “Once a Hoess, always a Hoess. Whether you’re the grandfather or the grandson — guilty is guilty.”

Germans have for decades confronted the Nazi era head-on, paying billions in compensation, meticulously teaching Third Reich history in school, and building memorials to victims. The conviction Thursday in Munich of retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk on charges he was a guard at the Sobibor Nazi death camp drives home how the Holocaust is still very much at the forefront of the German psyche.

But most Germans have skirted their own possible family involvement in Nazi atrocities. Now, more than 65 years after the end of Hitler’s regime, an increasing number of Germans are trying to pierce the family secrets.

Some, like Hoess, have launched an obsessive solitary search. Others seek help from seminars and workshops that have sprung up across Germany to provide research guidance and psychological support.

“From the outside, the third generation has had it all — prosperity, access to education, peace and stability,” said Sabine Bode, who has written books on how the Holocaust weighs on German families today. “Yet they grew up with a lot of unspoken secrets, felt the silent burdens in their families that were often paired with a lack of emotional warmth and vague anxieties.”

Like others, Hoess had to overcome fierce resistance within his own family, who preferred that he “not poke around in the past.” Undeterred, he spent lonely hours at archives and on the Internet researching his grandfather.

Rudolf Hoess was in charge of Auschwitz from May 1940 to November 1943. He came back to Auschwitz for a short stint in 1944, to oversee the murder of some 400,000 Hungarian Jews in the camp’s gas chambers within less than two months.

The commandant lived in a luxurious mansion at Auschwitz with his wife and five children — among them Hans-Rudolf, the father of Rainer. Only 150 meters (yards) away the crematories’ chimneys were blowing out the ashes of the dead day and night.

After the war, Hoess went into hiding on a farm in northern Germany; he was eventually captured and hanged in 1947, in front of his former home on the grounds of Auschwitz.

“When I investigate and read about my grandfather’s crimes, it tears me apart every single time,” Hoess said during a recent interview at his home in a little Black Forest village.

As a young man, he said, he tried twice to kill himself. He has suffered three heart attacks in recent years as well as asthma, which he says gets worse when he digs into his family’s Nazi past.

Today, Hoess says, he no longer feels guilty, but the burden of the past weighs on him at all times.

“My grandfather was a mass murderer — something that I can only be ashamed and sad about,” said the 45-year-old chef and father of two boys and two girls. “However, I do not want to close my eyes and pretend nothing ever happened, like the rest of my family still does … I want to stop the curse that’s been haunting my family ever since, for the sake of myself and that of my own children.”

Hoess is no longer in contact with his father, brother, aunts and cousins, who all call him a traitor. Strangers often look at him with distrust when he tells them about his grandfather — “as if I could have inherited his evil.”

Despite such reactions, descendants of Nazis — from high-ranking officials to lowly foot soldiers — are increasingly trying to find out what their families did between 1933 to 1945.

“The Nazis — the first generation — were too ashamed to talk about the crimes they committed and covered everything up. The second generation often had trouble personally confronting their Nazi parents. So now it is up to the grandchildren to lift the curses off their families,” said Bode.

It was only during her university years — reading books about the Holocaust — that Ursula Boger found out her grandfather was the most dreaded torturer at Auschwitz.

“I felt numb for days after I read about what he did,” recalled Boger, a shy, soft-spoken woman who lives near Freiburg in southwestern Germany. “For many years I was ashamed to tell anybody about him, but then I realized that my own silence was eating me up from inside.”

Her grandfather, Wilhelm Boger, invented the so-called Boger swing at Auschwitz — an iron bar that hung on chains from the ceiling. Boger would force naked inmates to bend over the bar and beat their genitals until they fainted or died.

Boger, 41, said it took her several years of therapy and group seminars to begin to come to terms with the fact her grandfather was a monster.

“I felt guilty, even though I hadn’t committed a crime myself, felt like I had to do only good things at all times to make up for his evil,” she said.

Like Hoess, Boger never personally met her grandfather, who died in prison in 1977. After her father died five years ago, she found old letters from her grandfather begging to see his grandchildren in prison — something that never happened.

“It all just doesn’t go together,” Boger said. “He is the man who killed a little boy with an apple who came in on a transport to Auschwitz, by smashing his head against a wall until he was dead, and then picked up and ate that apple.

“At the same time, he put a picture of myself as a little girl over his bed in prison. How am I supposed to come to terms with this?”

Tanja Hetzer, a therapist in Berlin, helps clients dealing with issues related to their family’s Nazi past. While there are no studies or statistics, she said, many cases indicate that descendants of families who have never dealt with their Nazi family history suffer more from depression, burnout and addiction, in particular alcoholism.

In one prominent case, Bettina Goering, the grandniece of Hermann Goering, one of the country’s leading Nazis and the head of the Luftwaffe air force, said in an Israeli TV documentary that she decided to be sterilized at age 30 “because I was afraid to bear another such monster.”

Some grandchildren of Nazis find a measure of catharsis in confronting the past.

Alexandra Senfft is the granddaughter of Hanns Elard Ludin, Hitler’s Slovakia envoy who was involved in the deportation of almost 70,000 Jews. After Ludin was hanged in 1947, his widow raised the children in the belief their father was “a good Nazi.”

In her book, “The Pain of Silence,” Senfft describes how a web of lies burdened her family over decades, especially her mother, who was 14 years old when her beloved father was hanged.

“It was unbearable at times to work on this book, it brought up fears and pain, but at the same time I got a lot out of writing it all down,” Senfft, a lively 49-year-old, explained during an interview at a Berlin coffee shop.

“If I had continued to remain oblivious and silent about my grandfather’s crimes, I would have become complicit myself, perhaps without even being aware of it.”

Senfft said she also wrote the book so her children could be free of guilt and shame, and that confronting family pasts is essential for the health of German society as a whole so that history does not repeat itself.

These days Rainer Hoess lectures schoolchildren about the Nazi era and anti-Semitism. A few months ago, he visited Auschwitz for the first time and met a group of Israeli students.

That day was “probably the most difficult and intense day in my life,” Hoess said, but it was also liberating because he realized that the third generation of Jews after the Holocaust did not hold him responsible. One Israeli girl even gave him a little shell with a blue Star of David painted on it, which he now wears around his neck on a black leather necklace at all times.

Hoess was embroiled in controversy in 2009 when Israeli media reported he tried to sell some of his grandfather’s possessions to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial. But email correspondence seen by the AP backs up Hoess’ assertion that he would have been just as willing to donate the items. Hoess eventually donated everything he owned from his grandfather — including a trunk, letters and a cigar cutter — to the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich.

Hoess acknowledges that his grandfather will probably never stop haunting him. After his visit to Auschwitz, he met Jozef Paczynski, a Polish camp survivor and the former barber of Commandant Hoess.

“Somehow, subconsciously, I was hoping that maybe he would tell me one positive story about my grandfather, something that shows that he wasn’t all evil after all, that there was some goodness in him,” Hoess confided.

Paczynski asked Hoess to get up and walk across the room — then told him: “You look exactly like your grandfather.”