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Stephen Knight The Brotherhood The Secret World Of The Freemasons

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  • #31
    It would seem, therefore, that atheistic or agnostic Candidates canny enough to know the rules in advance and to lie about their beliefs are preferred to those who have genuine doubts and are honest enough to say so. My informant continued:

    'After that, we send one or two of our committee to go into his home, by appointment, to see how he lives, that he is living in a decent way. I mean, I'm not a judge and you're not a judge, but if we go to his house and it looks reasonable, lived in, and it's nicely decorated, we know that we've got a man of standing. And I don't mean in the material sense. I mean that he is living as a human being should. He can be very modest, in two rooms, very modest. But, you see, a man in two rooms won't be a Mason because the fees are a bit costly, and you're expected to give charity. We don't say how much, but you're expected to give. If it's a pound or a thousand pounds, you give charity. Nobody will query.

    'So we go into his home. We speak to his wife, if he's married. And we ask if she approves of her husband coming into the movement.

    'We see if there are children. We ask him, "What about family life?" We're entitled to ask. If you want to come into my club, I'm entitled to ask you certain questions. If you resent it then it's a shame, then you can't come in. Same everywhere. This is how we accept people. If a man is a bankrupt we don't accept him. It sometimes happens that after joining, a man becomes bankrupt. That's too bad. We ask jf the Candidate has any convictions. Someone who has been fined for speeding or not putting two bob in the parking meter is not rejected, they aren't criminal acts. But if a man has had a criminal record, we don't accept him. It's a pity, because a man might perjure himself to get into Masonry and say he does not have convictions. But if he admits he has, we don't accept him because we want men of standing, or standards. Not standing so much as standards. The ones that you and I try to live up to.'

    I asked if a would-be Freemason in England had to be 'whole', or was there a rule here, as there is in America, forbidding the initiation of people with serious illnesses, or those who are chairbound for any reason.

    'We've got men with wooden legs, we've got men who are lame. There is a lame man at one of the Lodges I go to. No, I suppose in parts of the ceremonies which are to do with legs it may be difficult, but we make special allowances, even if they don't do exactly what is laid down in the ritual. The Lodge committee will discuss this kind of difficulty and find ways to cope with it. So, yes, we accept people with a physical disability. If you had a mental disability you wouldn't want to be a Mason, and it would be embarrassing for a mentally handicapped person, and for members of the Lodge.'

    As a Lewis, or son of a Freemason, author and Sunday Times feature writer Philip Knightley was able to join the Brotherhood at eighteen instead of twenty-one. When I contacted him he said that he had been wanting to tell someone about his masonic experience for years. He said, 'My father had been a Mason for years. I don't know how he joined. I think he was invited by friends.

    'In Australia, the Masons have to single you out and invite you to join - it's the opposite to the system in England. If you make the approach first then you're likely to be turned down.

    'After being initiated as an Entered Apprentice in Sydney, I was to do my Second Degree in Fiji, where I'd gone. And so I switched from the jurisdiction of the New South Wales Lodge to the jurisdiction of a British colonial one. When the time approached for my Second Degree I was indirectly informed that they were not prepared to put me through the Second Degree. When I say indirectly, instead of telling me, the Lodge, which I'd visited several times, told the Australian Grand Lodge who told my Lodge who wrote to me via my father. The reason was that I had been associating with what were considered undesirable elements in the island - namely people who weren't white. So for the first time I realized that all the business about the brotherhood of man and brotherly love and all that applied largely to white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And with the help of a Jehovah's Witness on the island who was brilliant in digging up references from the Bible, I composed a bitter letter of complaint about the behaviour of the Lodge, which I sent to the secretary of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales, quoting various references in the Bible about the brotherhood of man which had come up in various sections of the ritual. He didn't answer my letter. He told my father that the best thing to do was to wait until I came back to Australia and they'd continue with the process of making me a Master Mason there. His only excuse for the behaviour of the Fiji Lodge was to say that customs varied from country to country and I shouldn't be too harsh on local customs. I returned to Australia, took the second degree, third degree, became a Master Mason, continued to go to Lodge with my father, more as a social thing than anything else. But I eventually found it more and more boring, particularly because there was so much memorization. I thought that if I really wanted to tax my brain with remembering things, I could remember things of more use to me - like learning another language or something, instead of running through this endless ritual. And apart from the fact that one month it would be first degree, one month second degree, one month third degree, the repetition became boring. The food afterwards was lousy and I began to see little or no use in it intellectually.

    'I continued as a Mason, but very intermittently. I went to live in Britain then in India. I didn't visit Lodges in India. I returned to Australia after about eight weeks as virtually a non-practising Mason, and I fell ill with a tropical fever, and was in hospital. This was in the early days of transistor radios, and the hospital had no radio sets or anything like that. One of our brother Masons owned a radio shop and he had a lot of transistors. My father asked him as a brother Mason, could he lend me a radio for my spell in hospital, and he said no. He said I might break it or something. That was just the final straw. It seems a trivial thing but I thought if he couldn't even lend me a radio, what the hell was the whole Brotherhood of Masonry about? And I just lapsed and let my subscriptions run out, and all that sort of thing. But, because it's once a Mason always a Mason, I could, no doubt, by reinstating my standing with the Lodge in Sydney, visit Lodges here and continue to be a Mason if I wanted to.'

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    • #32
      CHAPTER FIFTEEN Jobs For the Brethren?
      The traditional outsider's view of Freemasonry as a self-help organization is certainly an important facet of the Brotherhood in real life not, as many masonic apologists maintain, only in the imaginations of the'profane'. Although a new initiate to Freemasonry declares on his honour that he offers himself as a candidate 'uninfluenced by mercenary or other unworthy motives', there can be no doubt that the majority of businessmen who become Masons do so because they believe it will assist them in business - as indeed it frequently does. Those who suggest that no selfish motive is ever present in the mind of the prospective Mason speak conscious humbug. One only has to speak to a handful of Freemasons and ex-Masons to realize how widespread the desire to 'get on' is in those who turn to the Brotherhood. This is not to denigrate the often very real desire for the legitimate privileges of Masonry - brotherhood, morality and charity - of many members. Many Freemasons, in addition to admitting that they joined primarily in the hope of having the edge in business and at job interviews, have told me they also think of Masonry as an insurance policy. If they become ill, they have the Royal Masonic Hospital. If they die, they feel confident that their wives and children will be taken care of financially. One man, the proprietor of a butcher's shop, a bakery and a launderette in a humble part of Cambridge, told me that he looked upon Masonic dues in precisely the same way as he did his National Insurance contributions, and as the union fees he had paid before becoming self-employed.

      The exploitation of masonic membership, which, it must be said, most outsiders who are not directly affected by it accept as a part of the British way of life, comes into its own in the business world. Whether on the level of local trade or national commerce and industry, the Brotherhood plays a varying, often considerable, part in the awarding of contracts and in promotion.

      On the local level, there is much cross-fertilization between Masonry and other groups of business people such as Round Table, Lions Clubs, and Rotary Clubs as well as Chambers of Commerce. Most of the male members of these organizations - and Chambers of Commerce at least contain an increasing number of women - are Freemasons as well. Men in business on their own account - for example, accountants, architects, builders, estate agents, restaurateurs, taxi firm proprietors, travel agents and shop keepers of all kinds - are strongly represented in Lodges up and down the country.

      Commercial travellers frequently become Freemasons in order to be able to visit Lodges all over the country and to cultivate potential clients within the unique secret atmosphere of the Temple or the post-ritual dinner. There are no fewer than five Lodges named Commercial Travellers Lodge: in Darlington, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, and Preston.*

      Ron Price, an insurance agent and a former Master Mason and Junior Deacon of a Lodge in Worcestershire, told me, 'Membership of Freemasonry is used considerably in the field of industry and commerce - because of the sign one can give which is unnoticeable by anyone else. *Nos 5089, 2631, 2795, 3700 and 3493 respectively. You can make it known to the other person that you are what they call on the square, and if the other person is on the square he will recognize the sign, and that can influence either your being able to make a sale or, if you are applying for a job, it can make the difference between whether you get the job or not.'

      The sign by which a Mason may secretly make himself known to others in the room involves a particular arrangement of the feet. This arrangement is outlined in the ceremony of initiation to the First Degree. The Worshipful Master tells the Candidate, 'I shall, therefore, proceed to entrust you with the secrets of this degree, or those marks by which we are known to each other, and distinguished from the rest of the world . .. You are therefore expected to stand perfectly erect, your feet formed in a square, your body being thus considered an emblem of your mind, and your feet of the rectitude of your actions.' This is one of several bodily arrangements by which a Brother proclaims his affiliation to unknown brethren. If he is in a position to shake hands with the person to whom he wishes to identify himself, recognition becomes much easier. There are three basic handshakes in daily use, one for each of the first three degrees. The Entered Apprentice applies distinct pressure with his right thumb on the knuckle of the other man's forefinger. The Fellow Craft does the same thing with the second knuckle. The Master Mason applies distinct pressure with his right thumb between the knuckles of the other's middle and third finger.

      Price went on, 'I have got business from two people as a result of being a Mason - not because I asked or made myself known particularly. Once it was actually in Lodge after dinner. I was sitting next to a man and he said, "Well, what is your business?" and I told him and he said, "Well, you can come along and have a chat with me," and I went along and had a chat and did some business. But after I came out of Freemasonry he didn't want to know. I had another case where I didn't really intend to convey that I was a Mason in any way but I obviously did so quite inadvertently because it was the natural way for me to shake hands. And as a result of that I got that particular client, but it faded when I resigned.'

      A Grimsby restaurant owner told me that his one motive in joining Freemasonry was to 'ease the passage' of licence renewals. He said that before he became a Mason he had to contend with objections from the police and others, mainly individuals acting on behalf of his rivals. After becoming a Brother there were no further police objections because the majority of senior officers belonged to his Lodge, and such objections as were raised by others were from then on ignored by the local justices - because they, too, were members of the Lodge. He said, 'We help each other. Why not? It's what it's all about innit? I mean, you come to me, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. I'd be a bloody masochist if I didn't take advantage like everyone else, wouldn't I? We're all human.'

      A Past Master of Eden Park Lodge No 5379 in Croydon told me he had worked for many years as a consultant for Taylor Woodrow, the construction, home building and property development group of companies. He said, 'Looking back, although I didn't think anything about it at the time, I suppose it was wrong. But quite a few times I know I got contracts because I gave a masonic grip. The whole board of directors of Taylor Woodrow were Freemasons then. I don't know about now.

      'You'll find that nine out of ten architects are Masons -and there is no getting away from it, I would put in a tender and when I did so, I'd shake the architect by the hand. "Oh," he'd say, "you're a Mason. The contract is yours."

      'Looking back on it now I can see that it was a bit too "wheels within wheels" to be right. I probably shouldn't have done it, but that's the way Masonry works. If there's a contract going from an architect, the chances are he's a Mason, so the chances are a Mason will get it.'

      John Poulson, the notoriously corrupt architect whose activities in bribing local government officers, councillors, Civil Servants, officials of nationalized industries and others created a scandal which has been described by more than one commentator as the British Watergate, was an avid Freemason. Nothing surprising in itself, perhaps, but Poulson did use Masonry as a back door to obtaining business. In Web of Corruption, the definitive story of Poulson and his infamous PR man ‘I. Dan Smith, the authors state:

      If the Church was one of the focal points in Poulson's life, the Freemason's Lodge was another. In business much of what he did was behind closed doors, and he was naturally attracted to the secret society of Freemasonry, which practised morality, charity and obedience to the law and yet offered its members enormous political and business advantages. In the Middle Ages, you had to be a cathedral builder to become a Freemason but, in Poulson's Pontefract, the rule had been stood on its head, and an architect really needed to be a Freemason to design a block of flats. Poulson joined two lodges, De Lacy, code number Pontefract 4643, and Tateshall, code number 7647.* Together these lodges had recruited most of the town's business and professional people.

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      • #33
        Poulson, say the authors, 'liked the ritual of Freemasonry, the rites and trappings and chivalric brotherhoods. He became master of both his Lodges and capped his underground career by being elected Provincial Grand Deacon of Yorkshire.' He exploited Masonry to the full in *This is a typographical error in Web of Corruption. Tateshall Lodge, which meets at the Masonic Hall, Garleton Close, Pontefract, is numbered 7645. advancing his professional interests and establishing contacts in all fields of potential advantage.

        Banking is another stronghold of Freemasonry in the world of business. I have met bank employees at all levels from clerks in small local branches to directors of national clearing banks. It is generally accepted that promotion, although far from impossible for the non-Mason, less so now that so many women are entering banking, is nevertheless much more likely for the man who joins a Lodge early in his career. This is especially true of promotion to branch manager level and higher, where very few women or non-Masons reach even today. The Bank of England is rife with Masons and has its own Lodge.

        I have been told by several informants how details of their bank accounts have been obtained by parties with no right to the information by way of masonic contacts in banks. The high proportion of bank managers and bank staff who are Freemasons can make the acquisition of this kind of confidential information relatively easy for a Mason, having as he does the right of access to every Lodge in the country. One man wanted to discover how much his twenty-nine-year-old daughter had in her two bank accounts, and to whom she had written cheques over the past year. He paid several visits to the Lodges in the town, about thirty miles away, where his daughter lived. Eventually he found a brother Mason who worked in a bank. It was an easy task for this Mason to telephone - through the legitimate inter-bank enquiry system - the branch where the other Mason's daughter had her accounts. When he obtained the information, the bank employee passed it to the father, doubtless convinced it was for good reasons as the request had come from a fellow Freemason. Indeed, the father himself believed it was for good reasons because he suspected that his daughter was involved with a man who was draining her of all she had. In fact, the daughter had a steady and long-term relationship with a man four years her junior who was studying for a PhD in London. They intended to marry when he got his doctorate. Meanwhile the woman was supporting him. This arrangement infuriated the father, whose view of life dated from the sterner 1920s. He traced the fiance through the cheque records illicitly obtained from the bank, and wrecked the relationship by revealing to the man that his daughter had been pregnant by someone else when she met him, and had later, without his knowledge, had an abortion. This information had also been gleaned from clues obtained from cleared cheques from the masonic contacts in the bank.

        In industry, Masonry is far stronger among white-collar workers and management up to the highest echelons, although once men on the shop floor attain the position of foremen or its equivalent, there is usually distinct advantage in joining the appropriate Lodge. The nationalized industries are rife with Freemasonry, especially the British Steel Corporation, the National Coal Board, British Rail, the Post Office, the regional gas and electricity boards and the Central Electricity Generating Board, the Atomic Energy Authority and London Transport. Mr Raymond B. Mole (Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, 1977), chief executive of the Royal Masonic Hospital at Hammersmith, told journalist Robert Eagle, 'You often find that when a man with London Transport gets promotion and a bit of gold braid on his uniform, he then starts thinking of becoming a Mason.'

        Eagle's investigation was centred on Masonry in the medical profession, which is prevalent, especially among general practitioners and the more senior hospital doctors. Hospital Lodges prove useful meeting places for medical staff and administrators. Most main hospitals, including all the London teaching hospitals, have their own Lodges. According to Sir Edward Tuckwell, former Serjeant-

        Surgeon to the Queen, and Lord Porritt, Chairman of the African Medical and Research Foundation, both Freemasons and both consultants to the Royal Masonic Hospital, the Lodges of the teaching hospitals draw their members from hospital staff and GPs connected with the hospital in question. Tuckwell and Porritt are members of the Lodges attached to the teaching hospitals where they trained and later worked - Porf itt at St Mary's, Paddington (St Mary's Lodge No 63), which has about about forty active members out of a total of 300, half of them general practitioners; and Tuckwell at St Bartholomew's (Rahere Lodge No 2546), with about thirty active brethren. Other London hospital Lodges include King's College (No 2973); London Hospital, Whitechapel (No 2845); St Thomas's (No 142) and Moorfields (No 4949).

        Many of the most senior members of the profession are Freemasons, especially those actively involved with the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons, which has benefited from a massive £600,000 trust fund set up by the Brotherhood for medical research. Masonry does seem to have had an influence over certain appointments. Tuckwell emphatically denied that membership of the Brotherhood ever helped any doctor's career, telling Eagle that there was not the slightest truth in the rumour . . whereas Lord Porritt more circumspectly said that "it would be hard to deny that some people have been helped"'.

        Although the governing bodies of most major hospitals are formed largely of Freemasons, the one overriding consideration in medicine, at least in the non-administrative areas, seems to be placing the best person in the job, whether Mason or otherwise. This is perhaps best illustrated by the staffing of the Brotherhood's own hospital. The Royal Masonic Hospital is not staffed exclusively by Freemasons, although most of its consultants are Brothers.

        Chief executive of the hospital Raymond Mole says that Masonry is not a criterion for appointment. The only qualification demanded is that a Royal Masonic consultant be a consultant at a teaching hospital. Robert Eagle again:

        . . . registrars at the hospital are not usually Masons . .. one of the few women doctors to work at the Royal Masonic Hospital told me that during the several years she held the job she heard very little mention of the subject.

        'Obviously no one asked me to join; but I had no idea whether even my closest colleague there was a Mason.' As she subsequently became a consultant at the hospital she does not seem to have been the victim of Masonic misogyny either.

        Freemasonry plays a significant but declining role in the field of education. It is common for junior and secondary school headmasters and college lecturers to be Brothers. There are as many as 170 Old Boys Lodges in England and Wales, most of which have current teaching staff among their members.

        The ambulance and fire services are strongly represented in Masonry, and there is a higher proportion of prison officers than police officers in the Brotherhood. Unlike the police, though, there is little fraternization between the higher and lower ranks in the service. The senior officers of prisons have their Lodges, the 'screws' theirs, and rare the twain shall meet. One premier London Lodge has in a matter of a few years completely changed its character due to an influx of prison officers from Wormwood Scrubs Prison. Lodge La Tolerance No 538, consecrated in 1847, until recently considered something of an elite Lodge, was in need of new members. One of the brethren knew a senior officer at the Scrubs who was interested in joining the Brotherhood, and it was agreed that he should be considered. The prison officer was interviewed and accepted into the Lodge. Such was the interest among the new initiate's colleagues that one by one the number of prison officers in Lodge La Tolerance increased. As more and more joined, so more and more older members left because they were unhappy with the changing character of the Lodge. Lodge No 538 is now dominated by prison officers from the Scrubs, where it is strongest in D Wing, the lifers' section. Although I have heard no allegations that promotion at the Scrubs is difficult for non-Masons, claims throughout the service of masonic favouritism are more common than in the police.

        It is not possible in the space available to give more than a general survey of the part played by the Brotherhood in the field of business and work. The specific allegations investigated produce a picture of undeniable masonic influence over appointments, contracts and promotions in many areas, but also of widespread suspicion of masonic collusion where none exists. Certain strongly masonic areas of life not covered in this chapter are looked at in some detail elsewhere in the book.

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        • #34
          CHAPTER SIXTEEN The Dissidents
          One of my major sources of information was a former Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander of the Thirty-First Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite who had withdrawn from Masonry in 1968 for religious reasons. As with so many other people in the labyrinthine world of Freemasonry, I was led to him by way of a series of contacts. He agreed through a third party to be interviewed by me concerning his conviction that no active Christian could in all conscience remain a Freemason.

          When I met him I learned that he was a judge, and a particularly quick-tempered one. Although I had heard of him, I had hitherto known little about him.

          We spent a long time talking about Masonry and religion, but after a while I began to ask him about the Ancient and Accepted Rite of the Thirty-Third Degree. He was, after all, only the fourth initiate to the Rite who had agreed to see me. He answered quickly. 'No, I dare not go into that,' he said. 'We'd better stick with religion.' It seemed a perfectly normal answer - I had received many such replies over the months of my investigation. It sounded like the usual rebuff. But I thought immediately afterwards how strange it was that he had used the words 'dare not'. Most people said, 'I'd better not', or 'I'd rather not'. I remarked on his use of the word. He said, 'Anyone in public life has to be cautious.'

          'Cautious,' I repeated. 'That's a masonic word of recognition.'

          'You've obviously delved into the ritual, so you know,' he said. 'But I mean cautious in the sense everybody understands it.'

          'What must you be cautious about?'

          'Mr Knight, I don't like this line of questioning. I agreed to speak to you in general terms about why my commitment to Jesus is incompatible with the masonic religion. I do not wish to be drawn into discussion of matters covered by whatever undertakings I have . . . taken.'

          'By undertakings, do you mean masonic oaths?'

          He paused. 'Yes, I do. I prefer the word obligation to oath. It's not the same.'

          I remember thinking as I turned the conversation back on to the track I wanted it to follow that it would be interesting later on to return to this question of the distinction between an obligation and an oath. I never did.

          ' Why do you have to be cautious, careful?' I said. 'You're not a Mason any more. I've got copies of all the rituals of the 4th to 33rd degree. There is no obligation which could possibly be interpreted to forbid you from telling me what you meant when you used the word "dare" in an ordinary conversation.'

          'This isn't about my religious convictions, is it?'

          'Many of your former masonic colleagues are very powerful people in this country. Do you think there would be some kind of reprisal if you gave away any secrets?'

          'Not of the kind you write about in your book about Jack the Ripper.' He laughed. A bit hollowly, I thought.

          'Well, not murder, no, I wouldn't have thought so.' I, too, laughed. I felt oddly embarrassed. 'But there is some kind of reprisal to be feared then? Something more . . . subtle?'

          He began to look angry. He had made a slip. 'That was a figure of sp— I was making a joke. A very bad joke.' 'But you said—'

          'I know, I know! And I do not believe for one moment that what you suggest in your book has happened in real life - then or ever.'

          I could see the rattled ex-Mason automatically slipping back into the practice of a lifetime. Sometimes you shall divert a discourse, and manage it prudently for the honour of the worshipful fraternity. I would not be diverted into defending the evidence and arguments in my first book. I felt I was close to something. I pressed on.

          'Leaving murder aside, can I ask you . . .' And then it hit me. 'Can I ask you, as a Christian, have you ever seen at first hand any sort of reprisals carried out by Freemasons using masonic influence against any non-Freemason or anti-Freemason?'

          All at once, he seemed to relax, or to somehow collapse into a smaller man as he let all the anger go out of him. 'As a Christian . . .' He paused thoughtfully, and I noticed how very many times he blinked his eyes during this hiatus. I wondered at one point if he was praying for guidance. He drew a long, slow, deep breath. 'As a Christian, I have to tell you that I have never in my whole life witnessed or heard about a single act of hostility by a Freemason or group of Freemasons that was sanctioned by Grand Lodge or Supreme Council.' He looked at me significantly as he laid stress on that qualifying clause. 'There,' he said. 'I have said nothing which betrays my obligations.'

          'I have heard from quite a lot of contacts about organized action by groups of Freemasons that have resulted in the financial or social ruin of certain people,' I said.

          'So have I,' he said, still looking me straight in the eye as if telling me this was important. 'So have I, Mr Knight.' 'Have you any direct knowledge of such happenings?'

          'Not of such happenings which had the backing of official Freemasonry.'

          'But of action which was unofficial? In other words, Masons abusing the Craft for their own ends?'

          'You know the answer to that, from the way I have said what I have said.'

          'I have also heard about people who have "crossed" certain Masons and finished up in prison . . .'

          He stopped me in mid-sentence by placing a finger on his lips.

          'If I told you everything I know about Freemasonry being betrayed by its members, it would surprise even you,' he said. 'It would make your hair stand on end. I can't tell you any more.' Then, as if it was an afterthought, but I don't believe it was, he said, 'Give me your phone number. You might hear from someone in a few days.'

          I gave him the number. 'Who?' I said.

          The finger went back to his lips and he went to fetch my coat.

          'God bless,' he said as I left, and I ran pell-mell to a sandwich bar in nearby Chancery Lane to scribble down the notes on which this account of our meeting has been based.

          Four days later I received a phone call from a man who told me he had seen my advertisement for people with information about Freemasonry in an old copy of the New Statesman*' He said he had read my Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution and would very much like to meet me. I tried, as I tried with all my callers, to get him to say something concrete on the phone, but he would not even tell me whether or not he was a Mason.

          *This advertisment had appeared for four weeks in the summer of 1981, some nine months earlier.

          I had already received a dozen or so similar calls, some of which had proved useful, some wild goose chases. But the researcher's world is the natural habitat of wild geese and red herrings, and one accepts the necessity of chasing them. Despite his unwillingness to talk - perhaps, in a way, because of it - I arranged to meet him the following Saturday in the vestibule of the Cafe Royal. From there we would go to his club. He said his name was Christopher. Whether this was his Christian name or his surname I didn't know.

          When I arrived, he was sitting in the armchair to the right of the fireplace just inside the entrance, smoking a small cigar in a holder and reading that day's Times. He was tall, more than six feet, slim and aged about fifty. Everything about him spoke of affluence, except his plain National Health Service glasses. We went to his club, which he pledged me not to name as it could be used to identify him. It turned out that Christopher was one of his three Christian names and that he was a very senior Civil Servant in Whitehall. He had contacted me, he said, not as a result of seeing the New Statesman advertisement - although he had seen it when it appeared - but at the request of my cautious Christian judge. He asked me what I wanted to know. I said I took it that he was a Freemason. He nodded and took some papers out of his slimline briefcase. He wanted me to be in no doubt as to his bona fides.

          After examining the papers I told him I was interested to know what a person might have to fear from a group of influential Freemasons if circumstances made him, for instance, a threat to them in the business world; or if he discovered they were using Masonry for corrupt purposes; or had fallen a victim of their misuse of Freemasonry and would not heed warnings not to oppose them.

          'It is not difficult to ruin a man,' he said. 'And I will tell you how it is done time and again. There are more than half a million brethren under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge.

          Comment


          • #35
            Standards have been falling for twenty or thirty years. It is too easy to enter the Craft, so many men of dubious morals have joined. The secrecy and power attract such people, and when they come the decent leave. The numbers of people who would never have been considered for membership in the fifties are getting larger all the time. If only five per cent of Freemasons use - abuse - the Craft for selfish or corrupt ends it means there are 25,000 of them. The figure is much closer to twelve or thirteen per cent now.'

            It transpired that Christopher was one of a small and unpopular group within Masonry who some time in the early seventies had decided that either they had to get out of the Brotherhood or they had to do something 'to stop the rot' which the blinkered officers of Great Queen Street refused to admit was there. His reason for talking to me was to assure me that the Brotherhood was an essentially good body of men devoted to all that was best in the British social system and which promoted brotherly love and contributed to the wellbeing of the country and to the relief of suffering. He wanted this put firmly across to the public, and his group wanted pressure brought to bear on those in positions of responsibility within the Brotherhood to put Freemasonry's house in order - to institute proper policing, to close down Lodges used for shady dealings and to root out corrupt brethren and expel them. The group -it had no name - also wanted the whole business of masonic secrecy looked into by Grand Lodge, most of them believing that secrecy was more harmful than helpful to Masonry.

            Christopher explained that Masonry's nationwide organization of men from most walks of life provided one of the most efficient private intelligence networks imaginable. Private information on anybody in the country could normally be accessed very rapidly through endless permutations of masonic contacts - police, magistrates, solicitors, bank managers, Post Office staff ('very useful in supplying copies of a man's mail'), doctors, government employees, bosses of firms and nationalized industries etc., etc. A dossier of personal data could be built up on anybody very quickly. When the major facts of an individual's life were known, areas of vulnerability would become apparent. Perhaps he is in financial difficulties; perhaps he has some social vice - if married he might 'retain a mistress' or have a proclivity for visiting prostitutes; perhaps there is something in his past he wishes keep buried, some guilty secret, a criminal offence (easily obtainable through Freemason police of doubtful virtue), or other blemish on his character: all these and more could be discovered via the wide-ranging masonic network of 600,000 contacts, a great many of whom were disposed to do favours for one another because that had been their prime motive for joining. Even decent Masons could often be 'conned' into providing information on the basis that 'Brother Smith needs this to help the person involved'. The adversary would even sometimes be described as a fellow Mason to the Brother from whom information was sought -perhaps someone with access to his bank manager or employer. The 'good' Mason would not go to the lengths of checking with Freemasons Hall whether or not this was so. If the 'target' was presented as a Brother in distress by a fellow Mason, especially a fellow Lodge member, that would be enough for any upright member of the Craft.*

            Sometimes this information-gathering process - often

            *I discovered from other sources that this system has been long established within Masonry for the 'legitimate' purpose of bringing succour to a distressed Brother Mason or to the family of a departed Mason. It is common for details of a Freemason's debts, for instance, to be passed to his Lodge by his masonic bank manager. This 'invasion of privacy' is for no more sinister reason than for his brethren to club together and pay off his debts. This occurs most often after the death of a Mason, but by no means always. And this, apparently, is just one example of the many methods by which Freemasons obtain information about each other for genuine purposes.

            involving a long chain of masonic contacts all over the country and possibly abroad - would be unnecessary. Enough would be known in advance about the adversary to initiate any desired action against him.

            I asked how this 'action' might be taken.

            'Solicitors are very good at it,' said Christopher. 'Get your man involved in something legal - it need not be serious - and you have him.' Solicitors, I was told, are 'past masters' at causing endless delays, generating useless paperwork, ignoring instructions, running up immense bills, misleading clients into taking decisions damaging to themselves.

            Masonic police can harass, arrest on false charges, and plant evidence. 'A businessman in a small community or a person in public office arrested for dealing in child pornography, for indecent exposure, or for trafficking in drugs is at the end of the line,' said Christopher. 'He will never work again. Some people have committed suicide after experiences of that kind.'

            Masons can bring about the situation where credit companies and banks withdraw credit facilities from individual clients and tradesmen, said my informant. Banks can foreclose. People who rely on the telephone for their work can be cut off for long periods. Masonic employees of local authorities can arrange for a person's drains to be inspected and extensive damage to be reported, thus burdening the person with huge repair bills; workmen carrying out the job can 'find' - in reality cause - further damage. Again with regard to legal matters, a fair hearing is hard to get when a man in ordinary circumstances is in financial difficulties. If he is trying to fight a group of unprincipled Freemasons skilled in using the 'network' it will be impossible because masonic Department of Health and Social Security and Law Society officials (see pp 189-90) can delay applications for Legal Aid endlessly.

            'Employers, if they are Freemasons or not, can be given private information about a man who has made himself an enemy of Masonry. At worst he will be dismissed (if the information is true) or consistently passed over for promotion.'

            Christopher added, 'Masonic doctors can also be used. But for some reason doctors seem to be the least corruptible men. There are only two occurrences of false medical certificates issued by company doctors to ruin the chances of an individual getting a particular job which I know about. It's not a problem that need greatly worry us like the rest.'

            He continued for about half an hour to list examples of the ways in which corrupt members of the Brotherhood could defeat opposition, repeating every few minutes that these kinds of circumstances involved a minority of the brethren and that most would be utterly appalled at even the suggestion that such things were happening, let alone countenance them. That they were happening at all reflected the deterioration of the Craft inasmuch as its entry requirements were no longer stringent enough. Those in power in Freemasons Hall knew something of what went on, but they felt defeated by it and preferred to look the other way rather than take steps to eradicate it. If Christopher and his group failed to force the issue into the open, he said, the organization would become so morally polluted that it would simply cease to exist. But he was not solely concerned with the Brotherhood. It was the victims of those who used Masonry as a source of personal power who had to be helped as well.

            'Only the fighters have any hope of beating the system once it's at work against them,' he told me. 'Most people, fighters or not, are beaten in the end, though. It's .. . you see, I. . . you finish up not knowing who you can trust. You can get no help because your story sounds so paranoid that you are thought a crank, one of those nuts who think the whole world is a conspiracy against them. It is a strange phenomenon. By setting up a situation that most people will think of as fantasy, these people can poison every part of a person's life. If they give in they go under. If they don't give in it's only putting off the day because if they fight, so much unhappiness will be brought to the people around them that there will likely come a time when even their families turn against them out of desperation. When that happens and they are without friends wherever they look, they become easy meat. The newspapers will not touch them.

            'There is no defence against an evil which only the victims and the perpetrators know exists.'

            Comment


            • #36
              PART FOUR The Law
              CHAPTER SEVENTEEN The System
              A large number of people who have contacted me in the past seven years have been concerned that Freemasons in the judiciary and legal profession exercise a pernicious influence over the administration of justice. Allegations of collusion between judges and lawyers, on behalf of their brethren in the dock, have been rife. The impartiality of Freemason judges has been called into question. There have been claims of huge masonic conspiracies between rival firms of solicitors and suggestions that Freemasonry is such a Grey Eminence that proceedings in open court are merely outward show, while everything is decided in advance, long before cases involving Masons reach court. I have heard many claims of civil battles lost and won on the basis of masonic signs made in court. Even the odd murderer is said to have got himself off by pulling the trick at an opportune moment.

              But are any of these fears grounded in truth?

              The legal system of England and Wales has certainly been a bastion of Freemasonry for generations. For a first opinion on whether this poses any kind of threat I approached the head of the judiciary, the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

              One of the most powerful men in the country, the Lord Chancellor is responsible for the appointment of High Court judges, Recorders, Circuit judges and magistrates, as well as having a host of other duties. In his office come together the three powers of government - judicial, legislative and executive - which in all other individual constitutional positions except that of the Sovereign are kept separate as a safeguard against tyranny. As head of the judiciary he is the most powerful man in the first of the three spheres of power; as President of the House of Lords he exercises legislative power; and as a member of the Cabinet he exercises executive power. At the time of writing, this position - eighth in order of precedence after the Sovereign - is occupied by the Rt Hon Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone. So fervent is Hailsham's faith in the incorruptibility of the legal system over which he presides that when I tackled him on the subject he swept aside the widespread concern that a Freemason judge might be tempted to show favour to members of the Brotherhood who appear before him. Freemasonry is irrelevant in the administration of justice in England, says Hailsham. He told me he was not a Mason and declared that my research was 'worthless activity' and my book 'a valueless project'.

              Lord Gardiner, Labour's Lord Chancellor in the four years prior to Hailsham's first appointment to the office in 1970, was a senior Mason. Lord Elwyn-Jones, Lord Chancellor in the Labour years between 1974 and 1979, when Hailsham was reappointed on the advice of Margaret Thatcher, was not a Freemason.

              After the Lord Chancellor, the highest judicial appointments are to the Supreme Court of Judicature. These are: Lord Chief Justice: Head of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division); Head of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court; Member of the House of Lords. Current incumbent: Lord Lane of St Ippollitts in the County of Hertfordshire (Life Peer, born 1918). Master of the Rolls: Lord Chancellor's deputy. Head of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). In charge of superintending the admission of solicitors to the Rolls of the Supreme Court. Current incumbent: the Rt Hon Sir John Donaldson, PC (born 1920).

              President of the Family Division: Head of the High Court division which handles matters including matrimonial appeals from magistrates' courts (maintenance, separation orders, etc.), marriage of minors, divorce, and non-contentious probate. Current incumbent: the Rt Hon Sir John Lewis Arnold (born 1915).

              Vice-Chancellor of the Chancery Division: Head, after the official President (the Lord Chancellor), of the High Court division dealing with matters that include private, public and charitable trusts, the administration of the estates of those who have died, dissolving and winding up companies and other company-related matters, mortgages and land charges, wards of court, revenue, bankruptcy, contractual disputes, and commercial partnership matters. Current incumbent: the Rt Hon Sir Robert Megarry (born 1910).

              I wrote to all these men asking if they were members of the Brotherhood. My first letter to Lord Lane received no reply; my second was opened and returned to me without comment. Sir John Donaldson, before he succeeded Lord Denning, a non-Mason, as Master of the Rolls, told me, 'I do not really feel that the question of whether or not I am a Mason is a matter of public concern ... It is a totally irrelevant consideration in our work.' Sir John's wife is tipped as the first woman Lord Mayor of London, an office that membership of the Brotherhood is usually helpful in obtaining. Sir John Arnold, who did not reply to two letters, is a Freemason of grand rank. He was an Assistant Grand Registrar in 1970 and was promoted to Past Junior Grand Warden in 1973. Sir Robert Megarry did not reply to two letters. If he is a Freemason, and most people I have spoken to who know him think it unlikely, he is not of grand rank.

              Lord Lane's predecessor as Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery, was an extremely enthusiastic Freemason of grand rank, holding office as Past Junior Grand Warden and Past Senior Grand Warden.

              Comment


              • #37
                CHAPTER EIGHTEEN The Two-Edged Sword
                A former High Court judge who had been a member of the Brotherhood for more than fifty years told me, 'Yes, I knew which judges were and which judges were not Freemasons in my time. I am speaking of the High Court and Court of Appeal only - and of course the Law Lords. I know, I think, most of the judges who are Freemasons who currently sit in those courts. I am not at liberty to give you names, you understand. If they wish you to know they will tell you themselves. For myself, I can't see why you shouldn't know. Being a Freemason is the last thing I would wish to hide. I can tell you that there were many judges in my time who were members of the Craft. Probably fifteen years ago, sixty or seventy per cent of us were Masons. It's lower now - probably not much above fifty per cent - and that's not necessarily good.'

                I asked if in his view Masonry exerted any influence over judges.

                'Of course it does. Freemasonry cannot fail to influence a man. It has a very great influence for good.' 'And ill?'

                'Only very occasionally.' 'Can you be more specific?'

                'Yes I can. Freemasonry teaches a man to love his fellow men. Now, that might sound twee, but it isn't. It's perhaps more important than anything else in the world.'

                'The good it brings or can bring is like the good that can come from Christianity, then? Or Buddhism?'

                'Yes. But it's bigger than Christianity. Bigger than all religions because it embraces them all.'

                'You said it occasionally has a bad influence.'

                'Judges are men. Freemasons are men. Being a Christian doesn't make you like Christ, try as you might. The problem is in understanding what your religion, be it Christianity, Buddhism, Hindu or whatever you like, is all about, isn't it? It's a misunderstanding of the tenets of Freemasonry's aims, which can cause serious moral problems sometimes. But judges are less likely to misunderstand or misinterpret than most other people. The problem of the judge, and you realize this every day you sit, is that he's human.

                'I have known two cases in my entire life at the Bar and on the Bench when Freemasonry influenced a judge in a way he should not, properly speaking, have been influenced. Bear in mind this is two cases out of perhaps twenty or thirty occasions when I have seen a man indicate by a movement or form of words that he was a Freemason.'

                'That sort of thing does happen, then?'

                'Of course it does. But we ignore it.'

                'Most judges who are Freemasons say it doesn't happen.'

                'It can't truly be said that people don't try these things because some people do. And who can blame them? I think part of Freemasonry's problem is that it tries to pretend that men in the Craft are above using it for their personal benefit. That's rubbish. Many wouldn't consider using it -most I would say. But thousands do every day, in all areas of life.'

                'So some Freemasons who appear in court do try to use their membership to help them.' 'I've said so. Some, but in my experience not many.

                Hundreds of Masons must pass through the courts without anyone knowing if they are in the Craft or not.'

                'How can a Freemason make it known that he is a Mason without non-Masons in the court being aware that he is doing or saying something strange?'

                ‘I am not at liberty to tell you these things because they are covered by our pledge of secrecy. There are certain words, certain phrases, certain motions. If you weren't a Freemason you wouldn't notice. They are not big gestures or anything like that, or strange mumbo-jumbo words.'

                'What happened on the two occasions when the judge was swayed by the knowledge that the man before him was a Freemason?'

                'It happened years and years ago when I was defending two brothers on charges of larceny. After re-examination of the younger of the two, the judge started asking him some particularly awkward questions which hadn't been raised by the prosecution. My client began to stumble over his words and contradicted himself on a fundamental point. The judge - who I should point out was a bit eccentric anyway and was retired prematurely - spotted it straight away and said that what my client had just said meant he could not have been speaking the truth before. Before he had finished speaking, my client made a sign which told the judge he was a Mason. Instead of ignoring it, he reacted.'

                'How?'

                'He looked surprised and very disconcerted.' 'What did he say?'

                'Nothing. And he did not ask the questions which should naturally have followed.' 'What happened?'

                'In his summing-up to the jury, the judge turned the incident back-to-front and referred to my client's sincerity. He went as far as suggesting that the jury might well consider that any apparent contradiction in his evidence was due not to a wish to befog the truth but to a confusion arising from the strain of a long hearing and natural nervousness.' 'Couldn't that have been true?'

                'My client was lying. I knew it and the judge must have known. Nobody can say that the judge's summing up does not influence a jury, and on all but the main charge the Freemason was acquitted. The brother, who had not been the prime mover, was found guilty on all charges. In sentencing them, the non-Mason received two years and the Mason a year - for the same crime.'

                'The other case?'

                'Was when I was on the Bench, but it wasn't a case of mine. The judge was a very eminent Freemason, now dead. A man said something which made it clear he too was a Freemason. The judge told me afterwards that he had imposed a much more severe sentence than he would otherwise have done for that offence.'

                'Why?'

                'Because, as he saw it, the crime was the more reprehensible because a Freemason had committed it, and the defendant had compounded this "betrayal" of Freemasonry by abusing the masonic bond of brotherhood that existed between himself and the judge.'

                'Do you agree with the judge's action?'

                'No, I do not. But it does show that Freemasonry among the judiciary can be a two-edged sword.'

                Comment


                • #38
                  CHAPTER NINETEEN The Mason Poisoner
                  'Frederick Henry Seddon, you stand convicted of wilful murder. Have you anything to say for yourself why the Court should not give judgement of death according to law?' 'I have, sir.'

                  Reading from notes, the poisoner calmly spoke of his innocence of the murder of his middle-aged spinster lodger Eliza Barrow. Then, turning to the judge, Seddon made a masonic sign. 'I declare before the Great Architect of the Universe I am not guilty, my lord.'

                  The Hon Mr Justice Bucknill, PC, who was approaching his sixty-seventh birthday, was a senior Freemason. In all his thirty-seven years as barrister, Recorder, and finally Judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, he had never encountered anything like this. He was appalled. He had no alternative but to sentence this avaricious killer to death. And now, at the very last moment, that killer had revealed himself as a fellow Mason - one of those whom Bucknill had sworn on bended knee and on pain of being 'severed in two, my bowels burned to ashes', to assist in adversity and to 'cheerfully and liberally stretch forth the hand of kindness to save him from sinking...'

                  This incident at the Old Bailey on 12 March 1912 passed quickly into legend. Like most legends, it has grown, changed, and become confused in the telling. There are now almost as many versions of it as there are people who quote it. I have heard versions set as early as the 1850s and as late as the 1940s. I have heard it applied to murderers as diverse as William Palmer, Crippen, Haigh, Christie, Armstrong and Buck Ruxton. In 1972 a man being interviewed about Freemasonry on television applied the story to Rouse, the blazing car murderer who was hanged in 1931. In this version it was embellished to the point where the prisoner in the dock produced his full masonic regalia and appealed to the judge to free him! The judge in the case has been variously named as Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Lord Justice Avory and others. Most people who repeat the yarn do not identify the characters involved. To them it is the story of the masonic murderer who made secret signs to the masonic judge and as a result.. .

                  The denouement is another variable. Countless people have told me that the murderer was saved from execution as a direct result of the judge learning he was a Freemason. Many more, mainly Masons, denounce this as a lie.

                  It is important that the truth of this most famous of all stories about Freemasonry perverting the cause of justice within a court of law should be understood at the outset.

                  When Bucknill realized that Seddon was a Mason he was speechless. He seemed completely dazed as the black cap was placed on his head and oblivious to the usher crying out the traditional, 'Oyez! Oyez! My lords, the King's justices do strictly charge and command all persons to keep silence while sentence of death is passing upon the prisoner at the bar, upon pain of imprisonment. God save the King!'

                  Even now Bucknill sat as if struck dumb for a full minute. When he had composed himself enough to speak, he said, 'Frederick Henry Seddon, you have been found guilty of the wilful murder of Eliza Mary Barrow. With that verdict I am bound to say I agree. I should be more than terribly pained if you thought that I, in my charge to the jury, had stated anything against you that was not supported by the evidence. But even if what you say is strictly correct, that there is no evidence that you ever were left at a material time alone in the room with the deceased person, there is still in my opinion ample evidence to show that you had the opportunity of putting poison into her food or in her medicine. You have a motive for this crime. That motive was greed of gold. Whether it was that you wanted to put an end to the annuities or not, I know not. You only can know. Whether it was to get the gold that was or was not - but which you thought was - in the cash box, I do not know. But I think I do know this: that you wanted to make a great pecuniary profit by felonious means. This murder has been described by yourself in the box as one which, if made out against you, was a barbarous one; a murder of design, a cruel murder. It is not for me to harrow your feelings.'

                  All through the admonition, the judge was visibly shaken. The prisoner meanwhile listened calmly to Bucknill's quiet, gentlemanly tones. 'I do believe he was the most peaceful man in the court,' wrote Filson Young, a journalist who was there.

                  'It does not affect me, I have a clear conscience,' said Seddon.

                  'I have very little more to say,' went on Bucknill, struggling with the powerful emotional conflict Seddon had brought about by that one reference to the Great Architect of the Universe, 'except to remind you that you have had a very fair and patient trial. Your learned counsel, who has given his undivided time to this case, has done everything that a counsel at the English Bar could do. The Attorney General [prosecuting] has conducted his case with remarkable fairness. The jury has shown patience and intelligence I have never seen exceeded by any jury with which I had to do.'

                  Every now and again, the judge's voice dropped to a whisper. It did so now. 'I, as minister of the Law, have now to pass upon you that sentence which the Law demands has to be passed, which is that you have forfeited your life in consequence of your great crime. Try and make peace with your Maker.'

                  'I am at peace.'

                  'From what you have said,' and the judge was now all but sobbing, 'you and I know we both belong to one Brotherhood, and it is all the more painful to me to have to say what I am saying. But our Brotherhoood does not encourage crime. On the contrary, it condemns it. I pray you again to make your peace with the Great Architect of the Universe. Mercy - pray for it, ask for it.. .'

                  He continued speaking for about half a minute before pausing and bracing himself. 'And now I have to pass sentence,' he said, looking across the hushed courtroom at his Brother with tears filling his eyes. Another long pause. 'The sentence of the court is that you be taken from hence to a lawful prison, and from thence to a place of execution, and that you be there hanged by the neck until you are dead. And that your body be buried within the precincts of the prison in which you shall have been confined after your conviction. And may the Lord have mercy on your soul.'

                  This, then, is the real story about the Freemason murderer and the Freemason judge. But getting the facts straight is only half the battle. Only by perceiving what was behind the facts can we decide if this so-called 'classic' case is even relevant. Freemasons will say that Bucknill's reaction to Seddon's appeal for help is proof positive that there is no masonic influence on the execution of justice. Anti-Masons will argue that Seddon made his appeal too late, that by the time he made clear the esoteric bond between himself and the judge he was beyond help because the jury had already declared its verdict. Thus, although Bucknill might have wanted desperately to 'save him from sinking', his hands were tied.

                  Both these arguments are specious: the Bucknill-Seddon case proves nothing. The reason for this is simple. Seddon was not trying to exploit the masonic bond between them to influence the judge's actions.

                  This must be clear to anyone who returns to the original transcript of the trial. First, if he had intended to influence the judge in his favour, he would have made his membership of the Brotherhood clear at an earlier stage - certainly before the verdict had been returned, and before the judge's summing-up, by which a jury might conceivably be swayed. And if he had expected his Masonry to help him, he would surely have communicated the fact that he was a Brother to the judge in a way which would not have been noticed by others. There are methods, as I found out for myself, for Masons to identify themselves to one another without incongruous signals and invoking aloud the Great Architect. No, it is clear that Seddon was not saying to Bucknill, ‘I am a Freemason like you. Help me,' but that he was using the masonic term for God to reinforce the usual oath he had taken on entering the witness box to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It came as a natural culmination of his carefully thought-out speech in his own defence:

                  . . . The prosecution has not traced anything to me in the shape of money, which is the great motive suggested by the prosecution in this case for my committing the diabolical crime of which I declare by the Great Architect of the Universe I am not guilty, my lord. Anything more I might have to say I do not suppose will be of any account, but still if it is the last words that I speak, I am not guilty of the crime of which I stand committed.

                  As he said, 'I declare .. .', he lifted up his hand to accompany the oath and to show it was his solemn word. Yes, it was a masonic sign. Yes, they were masonic words. But they were the natural words of a Freemason wishing to convey with all possible gravity that he was speaking the truth. That Seddon's action was perfectly natural and quite lacking in the sinister undertones ascribed to it by anti-Masons and others is shown by the openness with which it was performed. Because there was nothing hidden in the interaction between Seddon and Bucknill, it remains interesting to the student of Freemasonry only in the depth of brotherly feeling which was either inborn in Judge Bucknill or which Freemasonry had instilled in him. It tells us nothing of any alleged influence by Masonry in the courts.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    CHAPTER TWENTY Barristers and Judges
                    Where Freemasonry does play a big part - and this is why so many judges are Masons - is in the process by which appointments to the Bench are made. I discovered this as a result of acting on the advice of a London Circuit judge who wrote to me:

                    Apart from the professional judiciary, I would think it just as important to ascertain the position in respect of the lay magistrates who decide the overwhelming number of cases, especially outside London ... I would not hold out much hope of success, but it might be worth asking the Lord Chancellor's Department if any consideration is given to Masonry when applicants for the Magistracy are interviewed.

                    There would have been no hope of getting a straight answer to the question by a direct approach, but after some weeks I established contact with an acquaintance of an acquaintance of a contact of a trusted fellow writer. This man, as a senior official in the Lord Chancellor's Department, knew a great deal of the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing which culminates in the appointment of a judge, magistrate or other member of the judiciary.

                    Judges are appointed from the ranks of those barristers and solicitors who have been in practice for at least ten years. Although there is a growing tendency for solicitors to be given preferment to the judiciary, the great majority of judges are former barristers.

                    To understand why Freemasonry is so powerful in the law, it is helpful to be familiar with the distinct roles of the two branches of the legal profession.

                    The barrister is the only member of the profession who has the right of audience in any court in the country. Whereas solicitors may be heard only in Magistrates' Courts, County Courts and, in certain circumstances, Crown Courts, a barrister can present and argue a client's case in all these as well as in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the House of Lords. But unlike the solicitor, the barrister cannot deal with the client direct. Contact between client and barrister is supposed always to be through the solicitor, although this does not always work out in practice. The etiquette of the profession demands that the solicitor, not the client, instructs the barrister. Thus the barrister is dependent on the solicitor for his living.

                    In England, the rank of barrister-at-law is conferred exclusively by four unincorporated bodies in London, known collectively as the Honourable Societies of the Inns of Court. The four Inns, established between 1310 and 1357, are Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, the Middle Temple and the Inner Temple. Prior to the establishment of the latter two Inns, the Temple, which lies between Fleet Street and the River Thames, was the headquarters of the Knights Templar, declared heretics by King Philip IV of France and wiped out during the early fourteenth century. There is a modern-day Order of Knights Templar within British Freemasonry which claims direct descent from the medieval order. From the beginning the men of law were linked with Freemasonry.

                    Each Inn has its own library, dining-hall and chapel. Thousands of barristers' chambers are crammed into the large, impressive eighteenth- and nineteenth-century houses. There are cobbled alleys, covered passages, Gothic arches and winding stairs. There are gardens, swards, opulent residences and courtyards, all turning their backs on the outside world and looking into their own small world, redolent of dusty ledgers, moth-eaten wigs, public school mores, black gowns, scarlet robes and all the ponderous unchanging majesty of the law of old England.

                    Each Inn is owned by its Honourable Society and is governed by its own senior members - barristers and judges - who are known as Benchers. The Benchers decide which students will be called to the Bar (that is, made barristers) and which will not. Their decision is final. As with so much else in British Law, ancient customs attend the passage of students to their final examinations and admission. Candidates must of course pass examinations, which are set by the Council for Legal Education. But in addition they must 'keep twelve terms', which in everyday language means that on a set number of occasions in each legal term (Hilary, Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas) for three years, candidates must dine at their Inn. If they do so without fail, pass their exams and pay their fees they will then be called, and the degree, or rank, of barrister-at-law will be bestowed upon them.

                    The Scottish equivalent of a barrister is an advocate, and the Scottish equivalent of the Inns of Court is the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh. King's Inn, Dublin, is the Irish counterpart of the English Inns.

                    In 1966 a Senate of the Inns of Court was set up as an overall governing body. Its first president was, not unexpectedly, a Freemason of grand rank: Mr Justice Widgery. Widgery had been Junior Grand Warden in the United Grand Lodge in 1961. In Masonry he went on to become Senior Grand Warden in 1972, and in the non-secret world to become the first Lord Chief Justice of England to have been a solicitor as well as a barrister.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      The Senate itself was superseded in 1974 by a new body which combined the functions of the Senate with the General Council of the Bar. This was given the name of Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar and to its ninety-four members including six Benchers from each Inn devolved the duty to oversee the conditions of admission, legal education and welfare, and the authority to discipline and disbar, which was previously vested in each Honourable Society. The presidents since 1974 have been Lord Justice Templeman, Lord Scarman, Lord Justice Waller, Lord Justice Ackner and Lord Justice Griffiths. Of these, Waller is a Freemason of grand rank; Templeman did not respond to letters of enquiry; Ackner, asked if he was a Mason, could 'give ... no information at all concerning Freemasonry'; Griffiths, in reply to the same question, regretted that he was unable to enter into correspondence on the matter raised; and Scarman did not reply.

                      Gray's Inn has its own Craft Lodge - No 4938 - which has its own Royal Arch Chapter and which meets at Freemasons Hall on the third Monday of January, March and October (its yearly installation meeting) and on the first Monday of December.

                      Some specialized sections of the Bar have their own Lodges, such as the Chancery Bar Lodge (No 2456), constituted in 1892, whose membership comprises barristers dealing mainly in chancery matters and judges of the Chancery Division of the High Court. The Lodge meets in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Masonic barristers are among the hardest Masons of all to persuade to talk, or even admit to being part of the Brotherhood. Take, for example, the barrister with chambers in Gray's Inn who, unable in truth to deny his membership, told me, 'I don't know in what circumstances you may or may not have been told and I am not in a position to discuss the matter with you in any shape or form.' While the Bar remains a masonic stronghold, there is not such a high proportion of masonic barristers as masonic solicitors, who are looked at in Chapter 21.

                      One reason there was always less need for a barrister to join the Brotherhood is that barristers traditionally had the compensation of circuit life. One barrister told me: 'We are already a brotherhood in a sense. We are a small profession and are therefore very close to each other in any event, and don't really need the additional qualification of being Freemasons in order to be known among ourselves.' Despite this, Masonry remains strong. Why?

                      The Bar is a strange profession in many ways, not least because most of the very top people do not want preferment, thus creating great opportunities for second-raters. I was first given insight into this phenomenon by an experienced barrister, a non-Mason, who had excellent contacts in Masonry. He told me, 'A top silk can earn between a quarter and half a million pounds a year. He will not thank you if he is promoted to being a High Court judge, because his income will drop by ninety per cent.* And with the prestige and respect in which he is already held, the automatic knighthood that goes with an appointment to the High Court would be neither here nor there. This applies to half a dozen, perhaps a dozen of the really household names.

                      'And there has been considerable evidence, certainly since the war, that the appointments to the High Court bench have been - with a few notable exceptions - if not second eleven members, at least not the first rank of the first division.

                      :iThe annual salary of a High Court judge in 1982-3 was £42,500.

                      'This was underlined with the appointment of Henry Fisher to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court in 1968. Fisher had been an absolute top practitioner in City matters - commercial law and the like. He accepted the appointment to the High Court Bench, then two years later made legal history by resigning to go back into commercial life. He couldn't return to the Bar of course, but he went into the City as a company director. In 1973 he became Vice-President of the Bar Association for Commerce, Finance and Industry, and he has conducted several important enquiries, notably into the operations of Lloyd's. It has been said by his friends, although he hasn't said it, that it was not just the loss of financial income that led him to resign, it was the horror at suddenly moving away from the most eminent businessmen in the country and their really intellectually stimulating problems, and just sitting there trying criminals and listening to old ladies who get hit by motor cycles and claim a couple of thousand pounds' damages. He didn't even have the patience to wait for promotion to the Court of Appeal as he was bound to get. And even if he had got to the Court of Appeal, only one case in twenty is of any intellectual stimulation.'

                      The top lawyers who don't want preferment are the specialists, those with outstanding ability and long experience in specialized branches of the law like patent law, Common Market law, restrictive practices, Revenue, Chancery, shipping, and so on. These are the first rank of specialists, and for the most part have no ambitions to become judges.

                      There are therefore never enough people of ability to fill all the posts such as circuit judges, stipendiary magistrates, chairmen of employment tribunals, National Health Service commissions, and so on. First, the pay is a fraction of what people of outstanding ability can command; secondly, they are often soul-destroying occupations. That of circuit judge was described to me thus:

                      Can you imagine sitting there for eleven months of the year listening to people repeating the same old excuses as to why they have committed crimes? And then you can't even make a decision for yourself - you sum up to the jury, then the jury makes the decision guilty or not guilty. Even when it comes to your discretion on passing sentence, it's all on a scale, and if you exceed the scale you're either going to be reversed by the Court of Appeal or the Home Secretary is going to say the judges are not doing what they're told.*

                      Oh, they give them a bit of prestige. They dress them up in colourful robes and call them, 'your Honour' and the like. One of the few reasons for a lawyer of real ability to want to become a circuit judge is the very attractive pension arrangements.

                      But of course, preferment becomes extremely attractive to people who do not have that level of personal ability that they are going to maintain their professional career up to retirement age. Because once you're a little bit over the top, you're fifty or fifty-five, if you haven't made it, or unless you are offering a specialist service, you are what is called a general practitioner. And all the general practitioners always have young and attractive men and women following behind them and they get pushed out as has-beens. Therefore there is terrific competition on the part of the second-rate barrister to get what I call 'minor' preferment. And these second-rate barristers are the people who are prepared to join a Bar Lodge of Freemasons.

                      There are of course circuit judges who are of the first order of ability. And among the London stipendiary magistrates there is a small number who have chosen that particular appointment in preference even to being a High Court judge or a circuit judge because they feel it more rewarding to work in the community. Equally, there are individual circuit judges who feel they can best serve society in that capacity. There are several outstanding examples in men who have specialist knowledge - particularly of family law. There are some extremely compassionate circuit judges in this field who feel they are more valuable dealing with divorce, custody and related matters in the County Courts than they would be higher up. There are also circuit judges of the first ability who have accepted what many regard as a second-rater's appointment because they resent the dogmatic or Establishment-mindedness, even the narrow-mindedness of the typical authoritarian circuit judge and want to dilute that quality.

                      *Under the separation of powers, of course, judges are not supposed to do what politicians tell them.

                      Be this as it may, the vast majority of 'top' lawyers do not want preferment. They are, by the nature of brilliance, rare men of law in any case - probably not more than a hundred in number.

                      So what of the others, the second- and third-raters? Beneath the first rank of specialists there is another rank of specialists. These barristers are not highly specialized in that they are not dealing in extremely erudite and abstruse subjects which require a high level of qualification. They are in areas where, because of experience, they are able to practise in a limited field where there is a degree of mystique and expertise, where the longer they go on the more they are going to know, and where the youngster can never achieve the older man's knowledge by ability alone, only by passage of time. This second group of specialists can do moderately well by the standards of the legal profession - and can be reasonably confident that they can continue in practice beyond what barristers call the 'has-been age' in life because their knowledge will always be saleable.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        The spectre of the 'has-been age' drives many barristers into Freemasonry. Those who most dread it are the general practitioners with no specialist knowledge. Some of this largest of all groups will do extremely well because they have a degree of success, one good case, and they become fashionable. But most, of course, don't become fashionable. Because they do not specialize in a particular field, they feel under constant threat by brilliant young people coming up behind them. If a young barrister is talented and gets the opportunity for experience, it will probably take him or her no more than five years to be as good in general practice as a man or woman twenty years older. As a barrister gets older, his cases do not get better. He is briefed in exactly the same kind of cases when he is sixty as when he was thirty.

                        It is at this level that barristers live in fear of not getting preferment. They realize that if they are not appointed to the Bench in their early fifties, they probably will not have a practice after they are fifty-five. The only way they can hope to maintain their earning capacity into their late sixties or early seventies is by being appointed to the circuit bench, the stipendiary magistracy, to a chairmanship of tribunals or such like.

                        These are the men who turn in large numbers to Freemasonry,* because initiation unlocks a door and allows them admission to the right place where they can be seen by the right people. There is a euphemism at the Bar for this 'right place'. If a barrister is seeking preferment and wishes to see and be seen by judges and executives and Civil Servants of the Lord Chancellor's Department, he must 'join the Bar Golfing Society'*.

                        I was told by a leading QC who is a Freemason, 'There is a legitimate Bar Golfing Society, but most people who talk about being members of the Bar Golfing Society can't play golf at all. They are Masons. Why this childish code has come into being I do not know. They behave as if they are ashamed of being Freemasons. Using Masonry as a stepping stone to the Bench is not wrong. Why do people pretend they don't do it? It would be wrong if on becoming judges

                        *There is nowhere for women barristers in the same position to turn.

                        they were tempted to abuse it, but I don't believe for the most part they do.'

                        Although it is not essential for candidates for the judiciary to be QCs, it is a big move in the right direction, and there is no doubt at all according to sources both masonic and otherwise that joining the Brotherhood, while not a prerequisite, certainly helps in getting to be a QC. Of course, first-rate barristers will be successful in their applications whether they are Masons or not. In fact, the most successful practitioners have to become QCs or the amount of their work becomes impossible. A barrister in the Inner Temple told me; 'At the risk of over-simplification, it can be said that a QC does a smaller number of larger cases. If a successful barrister remains a junior barrister [a barrister who is not a QC, not necessarily very junior in years], his practice becomes so top heavy that he just cannot cope. You can't start refusing work otherwise your practice disappears. Indeed, you become a QC if only to protect your position.'

                        But these men rarely want preferment, as said before. It is the second-raters, those who want to become QCs in their late forties in the hope that it will help them to attain other appointments, who join the Bar Lodges.

                        My masonic contact among the senior executives of the Lord Chancellor's Department told me, 'When a barrister joins the right Bar Lodge he can be certain of getting on intimate terms with scores of influential judges, big names many of them, and with large numbers of my colleagues in the Lord Chancellor's Department. And this is right and correct, a right and proper method for men of integrity to come to the Bench. Being a judge is an important, exacting task. Strength of character, personal probity, courage, are all qualities a good judge should have in full measure. And compassion. Where better to find out if a man has these qualities than in Lodge? Can you tell me? This is why most judges are Freemasons. Because Freemasons make the best judges.'

                        I asked him in whose opinion it was that the best people to be judges were Masons. He replied, 'By those whose job it is to select and recommend. By those who are judged the best people to know.'

                        Which, of course, was a way of saying, 'Freemasons'.

                        I asked him about the Lord Chancellor's position in all this, about how Lord Hailsham's not being a member of the Brotherhood affected the procedure. Surprisingly, he had not known whether Hailsham was a Mason or not. But it seemed a matter of indifference to him. 'The Lord Chancellor is in a very peculiar position,' he said. 'Hailsham is good. Absolutely brilliant, whether he's a Mason or not. I hope you don't think I'm saying that only Freemasons make good judges. Of course, the Lord Chancellor has the final say in the appointment of puisne judges, but as he should and is only right, he takes note of the recommendations of existing judges and of the Department. I am sure Hailsham doesn't care whether a man's a Mason or not.'

                        The fact is, Hailsham as a non-Mason does not know who among the judges he appoints are Freemasons or otherwise. By his own admission, he does not think the issue worth considering. Without knowing it he is fed recommendations of Freemasons by Freemasons. Perhaps there is no great ill in this. Perhaps Masons do make the best judges, although men like Lord Denning and the few women judges such as the Hon Mrs Justice Heilbron in the Family Division of the High Court indicate the calibre of some of the non-Masons in the law.

                        There is surely something more admirable in a woman or man who has proven her or his ability and reached the Bench of the High Court without having to resort to the secret ladder of Freemasonry. In this sense, it could be argued with some force that it is non-Masons who make the best judges.

                        The best potential judges are, of course, to be found both within the Brotherhood and outside it, and the very best are going to be appointed regardless. But so long as the system that allows Freemasonry to be a factor in the appointment of judges persists, those of 'second division' ability within Masonry will always have the advantage over their equals outside the Brotherhood - and the majority of judges in this country will continue to be Freemasons.

                        Most of the non-Mason judges I spoke to knew nothing that pointed to any secret influence in the courts. But, many of them added, as outsiders they would be unlikely to know even if it existed unless it was blatant. Two non-Mason judges were particularly strong in denying the Brotherhood had influence. One, a London judge, told me, 'If the judiciary is at all under the influence of Freemasonry it is a very well kept secret as I have never heard the subject mentioned during eight years as a Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and nine years as a Circuit Judge. To be truthful, the thought has never crossed my mind. In my seventeen and a half years' experience on the full-time bench I do not think the subject of Freemasonry has ever been discussed in front of me by my colleagues and I have never been aware of any influence it has had in their appointment, promotion, or their professional lives.'

                        The strongest statement disputing allegations of untoward influence in the courts I received from a non-masonic judge (I received some much stronger ones from Masons, as might be expected) was from Judge Rodney Percy of the North Eastern Circuit: 'Although I was in practice at the Newcastle Bar for thirty years from 1950 onwards, I never became aware that Freemasonry played any part in "influencing" any decisions made either in or between counsel themselves or counsel and judges. I am sure that I should have recognized and remembered such occasions, but I can recall none.'

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          A Hertfordshire judge whose father and father-in-law are both Freemasons, but who is not one himself, told me, ‘I have not experienced anything in my profession as barrister or judge to indicate any sinister influence at work by Freemasons.' A judge currently serving on the North Eastern Circuit, which covers courts in Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sheffield, Teesside, York, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Durham, Beverley, Doncaster and Hull, was representative of many non-Mason judges in his view: ‘In the whole of the time I have been in the legal profession I have never been conscious of Freemasonry playing any part in any decision.'

                          There is, of course, a natural disinclination by anyone who has spent his life dispensing justice to the best of his ability to acknowledge the possibility that some of his colleagues, whoever they are, might not be doing the same. And a judge not being aware of a certain phenomenon does not necessarily mean it isn't there, as evidenced by the Kent judge who does not know 'any member of the judiciary to be a Freemason', although they are all around him. This judge, too, has 'no reason to think that Freemasonry plays any part in the administration of justice'.

                          One of the most eminent judges in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, who associates with masonic judges daily, has this to say: ‘I am not a Freemason although I have had numerous opportunities of becoming one. I have a fundamental objection to any secret society, which has the power of influencing decisions affecting its members in a manner which would otherwise not have occurred, and/or to the disadvantage of non-members.'

                          Strong stuff, but to the chagrin of those seeking evidence of the masonic influence in the courts, he adds, 'I have, of course, no evidence that Freemasons exercise such a power in that way.'

                          A former Lord Justice of Appeal stressed how general ignorance of the existence of masonic influence was no guarantee that it did not exist. 'I had chambers for many years in Lincoln's Inn,' he said. 'I was not aware of any masonic activity whatsoever. I then learned what a thriving centre of Masonry the Inn was. They kept the secret so well that I never knew there was any secret being kept. We mix with people all the time and still after many years know nothing about them. One heard of the occasional bad judgement - in civil cases - and as a barrister one saw them also. Later, many more bad judgements came one's way. I know personally of one judgement on the part of a judge in the Family Division of the High Court, who is a Freemason, that I can explain only in terms of this organization.'

                          This case was also brought to my notice independently by one of the main participants. The outline that follows is based on the documents of the case; interviews with the main participant; the former Lord Justice of Appeal who made behind-the-scenes enquiries after first hearing of the case, two barristers who were present during the proceedings, and other well-known and highly respected witnesses involved in the case; and upon my own observations during part of the hearings.

                          The first point to be stressed is the integrity and standing of the main participant, whom I shall call Randolph Hammond. Hammond had been unjustly deprived of all rights over his only child, a girl aged four. Custody of the child has been awarded to his wife, from whom he is legally separated, and access to his daughter has been made so inhumanly difficult for him by a judge that in practice he is never likely to see her again.

                          I shall call Hammond's wife Olivia, nee Denbeigh. Her main witness was her father, a doctor, for our purposes to be called Roland Denbeigh. According to the evidence I have seen and heard it was Denbeigh who is to blame for breaking up Randolph and Olivia's marriage, and Denbeigh who instigated the custody action. Olivia herself has described her father to several people as being 'insanely' jealous and possessive of her, having broken up all her previous relationships, some with well-known and respected people who were willing to testify to the truth of Hammond's statements. But the judge in the case refused to hear the evidence of these vital witnesses. Olivia has spoken to many people over the years of her father's complete domination of her, of her inability to resist him and of her lifelong desire to 'escape' from him. He had only to forbid her to marry her previous lovers for her to comply helplessly with his demand. There is evidence that Denbeigh still has this sinister Svengali-like influence over Olivia, although she is well into her thirties. Now, Hammond fears, he is exerting that influence over his granddaughter as well.

                          During his cross-examination at the trial, it became apparent what a peculiar man Denbeigh was. At a crucial stage in the questioning it came out that he had subjected Olivia to internal examinations every day when she was pregnant, although a Harley Street specialist was in regular attendance. Skilful questioning was beginning to chip away at his upright, moral image and hint at the unnatural relationship he had with his daughter. This in turn showed what a morally and psychologically tainted atmosphere the child would be raised in if Olivia were to be awarded custody. Counsel for Hammond was getting close to showing that the father-daughter relationship was at least mentally incestuous, and was going on to find out the likelihood of there having been actual incest in the past.

                          Hammond was confident he was on the point of gaining custody of his child, that the judge could not fail to see what an undesirable and even sinister home his daughter would be raised in if custody were awarded to Olivia. But one of the barristers in court was by no means so sure. He told me afterwards, 'That whole case had a bloody strange feel to it. The whole atmosphere of it gave me a very bad gut feeling. All my instincts told me that Hammond was in the right but that he would go down, and that's what happened. The decision went the wrong way for no obvious reason I could gauge. But from the evidence in court and the papers of the case, Hammond was in the right.'

                          This barrister either did not see or thought nothing of a movement made by Denbeigh at what was for him the most perilous moment of his cross-examination. He suddenly placed his left arm stiff at his side, his finger tips pointing to the floor, and at the same time craned his head round over his right shoulder, his right hand above his eyes as if shading them. 'It was as if,' said Hammond later, 'he was watching an aeroplane in the back corner of the court.' At the time it happened, Hammond thought nothing of it other than as evidence of the old man's strangeness. Only later, thinking back over the judge's inexplicable behaviour immediately afterwards, did he recall Denbeigh's action. Asked by a friend to describe the action, Hammond imitated it and was astonished to be told that it was a Freemasonic signal. As soon as the judge saw the signal, he jumped forward in his seat and ordered counsel to cease his questioning of Denbeigh, utterly mystifying Hammond.

                          From that moment Hammond's case was doomed. Counsel was blocked at every step in his questioning and, as stated, was refused permission to call necessary witnesses.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Before the first mention of Masonry to him by the friend he told about the sign, Hammond knew virtually nothing of the Brotherhood. Later, when he aped Denbeigh's courtroom antic for my benefit, I was able to tell him that he was making the masonic sign of Grief and Distress, which is associated with the fourth of the Five Points of Fellowship, sacred to the Brotherhood: 'When adversity has visited our Brother, and his calamities call for our aid, we should cheerfully and liberally stretch forth the hand of kindness, to save him from sinking, and to relieve his necessities.'

                            In other words, Denbeigh was appealing to the judge to save him from the disastrous cross-examination and to make certain that custody was awarded to Olivia. When Hammond told me the name of the judge I was able to tell him that he was indeed an advanced Freemason. The name of that judge appears nowhere in this book, but will I hope later feature prominently in the report of whatever official enquiry is set up to examine this case.

                            The other barrister I spoke to signed this statement:

                            I had known [Randolph Hammond] for about six months when he asked me to come in and listen to his case, which I agreed to do. I attended court during most of the action and took notes. I tried to remain objective throughout.

                            I have no hesitation in stating that in my view the judge showed strong bias from the start. [Hammond's counsel] outlined his case, made his points, successfully took apart the testimony of [Olivia Hammond's] witnesses, placed certain cases with clear judgements before the court but was never heard in any real sense. The judge's findings in his judgement are totally contradicted by the evidence of many examples.

                            [Mr Hammond's] suggestions concerning the masonic aspects of his action are matters which warrant consideration. I have no knowledge of Masonry but having sat through the action feel that something very funny was going on.

                            The former Lord Justice of Appeal was in no doubt, finally, that the judgement was 'so bad, so wrong' that Freemasonry, not Right, was the ruling factor in this case. But he could only give an opinion, he said. He could produce no evidence to an enquiry that this was so, and he doubted if it were capable of proof.

                            I was reminded about the story of the judge who told a prisoner still protesting his innocence after sentence, 'These are not Courts of Justice, they are Courts of Law.'

                            An enquiry into this case at the earliest possible time is clearly essential.

                            There are occasions, of course, when the masonic boot is on the other foot. One masonic judge, for instance, stopped a case mid-way, turned to the jury and told them that the defendant had just indicated to him that he was a Freemason. As the judge, too, was a Mason he felt it would be proper to withdraw from the case, and did so.

                            One of my 'moles' in the higher echelons of West Midlands Police, a Freemason, insisted, however, that the masonic link between judges and police officers was 'most damaging to society and to Masonry'. He added, 'The connection between us - the police - and the judiciary is very wrong. I'm not against judges being Masons. It's this unseen intimacy between the groups that is bad.

                            'I really don't like the way the organization [Freemasonry] is going, particularly with the judges and an overwhelming majority of the magistracy being Freemasons. I have seen policemen indicate to judges that they are Masons. They usually do it by making a deliberate mistake when taking the oath - "I swear by the Great Archit— oh, I'm sorry, I swear by Almighty God Every Freemason in court then knows he's a Brother.'

                            I asked him what a police officer could possibly hope to achieve by this.

                            'Oh, I've seen it so often,' he said. 'If the policeman has a sticky case where he's been under heavy pressure, it certainly won't do him any harm for the judge to know he's a fellow Mason. He will hold back on the criticism he might have of the officer's handling of the case, for instance. He will also take the word of the police officer as gospel, where he would not necessarily do so if neither of them were Masons.'

                            'And you've seen this happen?' I asked. 'As recently as last Thursday, yes.' 'How often does it happen?'

                            'I don't really know these days. I don't go to court very often now. I used to see it a lot when I did. I was listening in at Birmingham Crown Court on another matter and I saw it happen. I had a quiet smirk to myself actually. There was no need for it because it was no open-and-shut thing. This rather nattily dressed Detective Superintendent did it in court. There was not a lot of benefit in it, if that's what you're thinking. It's just that I can't see that this famous impartiality of judges can exist under these circumstances.'

                            If the perversion of justice by masonic judges were at all frequent, I am confident that my research would have produced direct evidence of it. There have, as we have seen, been cases of obvious masonic abuse, several reported to me by men of integrity and standing in the law. There are instances where Freemason judges are influenced by their loyalty to the Brotherhood to act in a way they otherwise would not, either to the detriment or benefit of the defendant. Such cases, in whichever direction the judge is influenced to bend or stretch the law, are nothing less than dereliction of duty. They are by their very nature dishonourable and always detrimental to society. But it can safely be stated that such incidents are rare exceptions in the higher courts, although those courts are presided over by a majority of Freemasons.

                            It is only common sense that if there was a single Freemason judge in England who regularly tried to influence juries in favour of masonic prisoners, who showed favour to masonic litigants, or who regularly passed the lowest permissible sentence on his masonic brethren, he would have been exposed long ago, given the large number of assiduous journalists, honest and otherwise, this country boasts

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              CHAPTER TWENT ONE Solicitors
                              Masonry is very powerful among solicitors in England and Wales. According to a survey in which I questioned all the solicitors in twenty selected towns, and a cross-section of London solicitors, it is less prevalent in the capital than it is in the provinces. This assessment of the situation from a Cambridgeshire lawyer who, although not a Mason, knows a great many Freemasons and receives regular unofficial briefings from members of the Brotherhood, rings true:

                              In London there are plenty of other things to do. Life is much more impersonal and Freemasonry is not necessarily going to do a solicitor a great deal of good. What is more, good solicitors are so thin on the ground that if you are really good, you don't need to be a Freemason to get your clients. And if you're not any good, being a Freemason is not going to impress your client.

                              Solicitors, especially those outside London, have a particular incentive for becoming Freemasons. By the rules of their profession they are forbidden to advertise. They are therefore reliant upon passing trade, which is often sparse, and recommendation, which is hard to get. I have interviewed countless solicitors who joined Freemasonry purely to get on close terms with the businessmen and worthies of their community, and to gain personal contact with police, JPs, magistrate's clerks and any local or visiting members of the judiciary - men they could rely upon either to put business their way or whose good offices would be professionally valuable.

                              One young ex-Home Counties solicitor told me that after he began to practise in his town he was regularly advised by local Freemasons to join the Brotherhood. He resisted because of his religious convictions - he was a practising Christian - and because he was repelled by the idea of being unable to succeed on his own merits alone. But business was so bad that he eventually relented to the continuing pressure of his colleagues in the firm and to their promises that by becoming a Mason he would get all the clients he needed. He said: 'I was initiated and within days clients began to contact me out of the blue. Within a few weeks I had more than I could cope with. That went on for some months, but it troubled me, and I left Masonry before being made up to the second degree. Most of my clients melted away as fast as they had appeared. They were all Masons. So I moved to London. You don't need Masonry or advertising if you're good here - there's more litigation than all the London solicitors can deal with.'

                              The governing body of the 40,735 solicitors in England and Wales is the Law Society, which has its headquarters at 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2. The Society controls the admission of solicitors and the education for trainee solicitors. Although no solicitor may practise without certification by the Law Society, membership of the Society is not compulsory. At the end of March 1982, 33,226 practising solicitors were members of the Society and 7,509 were not.

                              The Law Society is one of the most masonic institutions in the world. This has proved an almost insurmountable obstacle to certain 'profane' individuals involved either willingly or unwillingly in litigation with Masons, because it is the Law Society whose job it is - with the Department

                              of Health and Social Security - to decide who will be awarded legal aid and who will not. It also dictates the conditions on which legal aid is granted in each separate case. The difficulty is compounded if the subject of any proposed action by an applicant for legal aid is not only a Mason but a solicitor as well. There are cases where the decision whether or not an individual should be granted financial aid in order to pursue his case or defend himself against a case being brought against him has been in the hands of close colleagues of the applicant's counsel.

                              A great many of the sixty-odd members of the Law Society Council as well as a high proportion of the Society's staff and committees - one estimate puts it as high as ninety per cent of all male staff above the age of thirty - are ardent Freemasons.

                              I have thousands of papers on one case alone, a case so well documented it can be followed in minute detail. It involves one of the many masonic members of the Law Society Council, who had personally committed an act of gross negligence which caused one of his clients to lose a £100,000 inheritance. Deliberate action on the part of several other firms of masonic solicitors - some of the biggest names in the legal profession - acting in collusion with the original solicitor and with each other to cover up the negligence, brought the client to the edge of financial ruin. Having mortgaged his home, spent £15,000 in legal fees to lawyers who deliberately ignored his instructions, wasted valuable time and generated hundreds and hundreds of expensive, unnecessary documents, he was forced to apply to the Law Society, of which his chief opponent was an influential member, for legal aid. Finally, in 1982, after fighting masonic manipulation of the legal aid system for more than a year, and only after a direct appeal to a senior and non-masonic official in the Department of Health and Social Security, which works in tandem with the Law

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Society on legal aid applications, he was granted a legal aid certificate - but on extremely onerous conditions. As this case is still not closed, and far from lost following recent unexpected developments in the client's favour, no further details can be disclosed as yet.

                                The term 'masonic firm' is used more often in the law than in any other profession. This is because there is a greater preponderance of companies which are exclusively run by members of the Brotherhood in this area of society than elsewhere. It refers to those firms of solicitors whose senior partners are, without exception and as part of a deliberate policy, Freemasons. In such firms, and this is equally true in London as in the provinces, most of the junior partners will also be 'on the Square'. Some masonic firms will not allow the possibility of a non-masonic partner. In these cases only existing brethren will be taken on. In some larger masonic firms there will be one, perhaps two, of the junior partners who are not Masons. These non-Masons generally never even suspect the secret allegiance of their fellow partners. At a certain stage in their career they might receive an approach from one of the Brothers within the firm - not a blunt invitation to join, but a subtle implantation of an idea, a curtain twitched gently aside. Usually if this is passed over nothing further will occur. If it is recognized and rebuffed, the non-Mason will probably be actively looking for a partnership elsewhere shortly afterwards, as work becomes unaccountably more demanding and as he finds he no longer seems to measure up to the standard expected of him. Most will not realize that it is the standard which has moved in relation to them rather than vice versa. This does not often occur as the senior men in masonic firms 'have been taught to be cautious', and do not make overtures to outsiders without having first established that the odds are in favour of a sympathetic response.

                                Many of the largest and most prestigious firms of solicitors in London are masonic firms. During my research for my book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, I was introduced to Ben K, an elderly Royal Arch Freemason who had been a partner of one of these firms for more than thirty years. An avid and jocular Mason, Ben told me often how appalled he was by the frequent misuse of masonic influence, especially in his own profession. He gave me a lot of help in my researches in the early seventies and we have kept in touch since. In 1980, the year before I was commissioned to write The Brotherhood, he mentioned a case which had been brought to his attention by one of his friends at another top London (masonic) firm. This friend was likewise infuriated by the corruption of Masonry's precepts. The case involved blatant misuse of Freemasonry to conceal criminal conduct on the part of a senior partner in another, even more prestigious, masonic firm. At that time I was in the middle of my second novel and was convalescing from a major operation, so I did not follow it up.

                                In June 1981 I saw Ben again, and asked if he could get me further details. Meanwhile, I went to see the main casualty of the alleged masonic conspiracy. He was visibly shocked at how much I knew of his case. He was also a very frightened man, and told me that he was thinking of joining the Brotherhood himself for his own protection. As a result of harrowing personal experience, he had come to hate the power of Freemasonry, but believed that becoming part of it was his only hope of survival in the highly masonic world of the law. Whether or not he was right in this, it does indicate the tremendous power certain cliques of Masons can exert. It was clear that he wanted very much to speak about his experiences, that his conscience told him he should. But in the end his own sense of self-preservation triumphed and he told me regretfully that he could not help me to publicize the evils which had nearly ruined him.

                                All was not lost. Ben, my Royal Arch companion, phoned me late in July and said he had 'a little something' for me. We met in the Freemasons Arms in Long Acre that evening. His 'little something' was a bundle of photocopies tied up in red tape: the complete file on the case.

                                The story begins in 1980 at the offices of one of the most celebrated firms of solicitors in London. A fashionable yet long established company, it counts several well-known members of the nobility among its clients. Only one partner of this firm whom I shall call Gamma Delta LLB, was not a Freemason. Delta, who had been with the company for seven years, handled general litigation.

                                One of his senior colleagues had to take an unexpected period of leave. Delta was asked to handle the Mason's work during his absence. As he worked through the documents, familiarizing himself with the various cases, Delta became increasingly puzzled. Finally, to his horror, it dawned on him that his absent partner was engaged in corruption on a large scale. The papers made it clear that the solicitor, acting in case after case on behalf of clients seeking compensation from insurance companies, was in fact in league with the insurance companies. He would settle out of court for sums much lower than he and the insurers knew could be obtained, and he would then receive a rake-off from the insurance companies. Delta at first found it impossible to believe. 'I had no idea such things could happen,' he told another of my informants, a client of his colleague and a victim of his deliberate malpractice.

                                Stunned by what he had found, Delta at first did not know what he should do. At last, having checked and rechecked the papers to make certain there was no other explanation, he approached the senior partner of the firm and showed him what he had found. The senior partner immediately called a partners' meeting - and Delta was sacked on the spot. There was no explanation given, merely that his services had been dispensed with, and within two days he was on the street. Why the partners had not been as horrified as he by the conduct of his criminal colleague he could not imagine. It was only then, when he approached a barrister friend who was a Mason, that he learned that the company he had worked for had, without his ever giving it a moment's consideration, been a masonic firm. He had had the temerity to attempt to expose not a crooked and negligent lawyer, but a crooked and negligent Freemason lawyer. Having been found out, that Freemason was in distress. And his colleagues were all of that mould of Mason which takes it as read that, no matter what qualifying clauses appear in Masonic ritual, a fellow Mason must be extricated from distress at all costs. There was also, of course, the consideration that if the case came into the open, the inevitable publicity would harm the whole company.

                                The manner in which Delta was dismissed was designed to give him no credence should he talk about the documents he found. When an instant dismissal of that kind occurs in the legal profession, there is usually only one inference: the person sacked has had his hand in the till.

                                Delta's first move was to approach another of the leading firms in London, another 'big name' company much involved in the world of international finance. The company agreed to act for Delta in his claim against his erstwhile employers for compensation for termination of partnership. But according to an informant within this second company, which also turned out to be a masonic firm, the senior partner of the first company contacted his masonic colleagues at the top level of the second firm, and this firm (this is also documented) dropped Delta like a hot potato. Not only did they drop him after they had agreed to act, they actually then agreed to defend the first firm in any case brought against them by Delta!

                                Eventually, though, Delta found a solicitor who was not a Mason and, evidently fearing adverse publicity, the original firm settled out of court, paying Delta £50,000 compensation.

                                But even after he got his money, and set himself up in his own practice elsewhere in the country, Delta was still aware of the potential power of Masonry to ruin him, and decided that the only safe place was within.

                                This 'if you can't beat 'em . . .' attitude is prevalent, especially among tradesmen and the proprietors of small businesses in all parts of the country.

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