Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Police shut down global paedophile network in Operation Rescue

Forces co-operate to make 184 arrests worldwide, with 60 children in Britain among 230 taken to safety

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Karen McVeigh, Wednesday 16 March 2011 17.29 GMT
Article history

Operation Rescue identified 670 suspects and 230 abused or at-risk children globally. Photograph: Ceop/PA

Hundreds of children – including 60 in the UK – at "significant risk" of abuse from named paedophiles have been removed from immediate danger after British police helped destroy what they believe is the largest online paedophile network in the world.

The three-year operation exposed more than 70,000 members across the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand, and led to 184 arrests internationally, 121 of them in Britain.

The investigation, Operation Rescue, led by the UK's national centre for child protection, was joined by Europol, the US immigration and customs enforcement agency, and police from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada. It identified 670 suspects and 230 abused or at-risk children globally. Some of the first arrests were made in Thailand.

Police were unable to say how many children had been taken into care as a result of the investigation. One suspect, a scout master whose case is still pending, was arrested 24 hours before a camp where he was allegedly planning to abuse a named boy in his care.

Offenders were tracked to countries including Italy, Spain and Thailand. Details were revealed at a press conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, where the website's server was based.

The network hid behind, a legal forum which attempted to function covertly by operating as a discussion-only forum where members could share their sexual interest in young boys without committing any offence. But members, having made contact, would then move to more private channels such as email to exchange and share images of children being abused.

In the UK, the 240 suspects included police officers, teachers and youth leaders, with an age range of 17 to 82. One of the UK suspects was a woman. To date, 33 have been convicted, including John McMurdo, 36, a scout leader from Plymouth, who was jailed in January last year after admitting possessing and distributing child pornography, and Lee Palmer, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2010 after pleading guilty to the sexual abuse of two boys, aged two and nine. Police discovered more than 60,000 indecent images on his computer.

Peter Davies, the UK police chief who leads the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), and is also the UK's lead for child protection, said: "The scale and success of Operation Rescue has broken new ground. Not only is it one of the largest operations of its kind to date – and the biggest operation we have led – it also demonstrates the impact of international law enforcement agencies working together with one single objective: to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice. That drive has been the hallmark of all the forces and teams involved.

"What we show today is that while these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them. Everything they did online, everyone they talked to or anything they shared could, and was, tracked by following the digital footprint."

Davies said all 230 children identified were at significant risk from named offenders but it was impossible to count how many had been rescued from future abuse "over the lifetime of these offenders". "There are occasions when the threat is so close that the only option is to take these children into care, but the risk can come from babysitters or neighbours. Most of them are individuals but there may be clusters."

He said one of the key messages from this operation is that the internet is not a haven. "My advice to young people is to think carefully when they go on the internet because they don't necessarily know who they are speaking to – and nor did some of these offenders, who found they were actually making contact with members of our international police team."

The founder and owner of the website, Amir Ish-Hurwitz, 37, from the Netherlands, was jailed by a Dutch court on Wednesday, triggering the decision to publicise the scale of the police operation. The site was closed down on the 25 November 2009.

"We could have publicised this earlier, or later, but once the website owner was in court it was obvious that information would emerge," said a Dutch police spokesman.

Operation Rescue began in 2007, after Ceop and Australian police independently found Three detectives then posed as members to identify those who posed the biggest risk to children.

The breakthrough came when officers were able to access and take over the account of the only UK administrator, based in Durham, and were able to see the personal details, including date of birth, occupation and country of residence of members. "We were amazed that they had registered their true occupations" said Kelvin Lay, a senior investigating officer and one of the three responsible for infiltrating the site.

Lay and the other officers identified those who had an occupation or hobby that put them in contact with children as grade A. He said: "We painstakingly went through every post and message to identify whether they were physically abusing children or had access to children." This process led to the 121 arrests.

The Europol director, Rob Wainwright, described the results of the investigation as "phenomenal" and praised analysts at Europol's headquarters for infiltrating the sophisticated computer codes designed to cover the tracks of those using the online forum to meet or exchange illegal images of children. He said: "The safeguarding of so many vulnerable children is particularly rewarding."

He added that Europol had so far issued more than 4,000 intelligence reports to police authorities in more than 30 countries, which had led to the arrest of suspects and the identification of abused children.

The website,, had attracted a cross-section of professional workers including teachers, taxi drivers and IT consultants, he said.

As part of the operation, Ceop provided intelligence to Thai police in February 2008 about British nationals suspected of committing child sexual abuse in their jurisdiction. This led to Operation Naga in November 2008, during which four suspects were arrested, according to Ceop.


Zoompad said...

There's a big gang of them in the secret family court system. They get access to the children via the secret family courts. The secrecy of those kangaroo courts is a gift to paedophiles, as it shields them. They use Parental Alienation Syndrome which was invented by Dr Richard Gardner (who was a paedophile and friend of the paedophile Dr Ralph Underwager) to "prove" that mothers who try to protect children from fathers who are abusive have this made up mental illness and the children are forced to stay with that father and the mothers are repeatedly threatened with prison and sometimes they are jailed for "contempt of court". I'm generalising here, because some of the McKenzie Friends who are in the paedophile ring befriend unsuspecting mothers who are going through these awful torture trials, and they encourage and help them to press the court to accuse their partner of PAS, but it is a double cross game, a smokescreen to try to confuse people about Richard Gardner's junk science theory. Not all the men who are using PAS are paedophiles, some are utterly ruthless and greedy lawyers, some of whom are funding fathers rights groups which encourage all men who come to them automatically to accuse the mother of PAS.

The police need to round all these people up as well, it is a network of criminals who are causing mayhem and misery to a lot of people and making a good deal of money whilst doing so.

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Zoompad said...

I don't know about my blog being creative, I'm just a middle aged woman who got really badly hurt by falling prey to child abusers and who just wants to be allowed to live.

I hate bullying and child abuse and abuse of any small vulnerable creature, and just don't think human beings, who are according to the Bible made in the image of God, with such beauty and glory, ought to be so set on destroying one another.

I think we ought to reflect God's glory as much as we can, by doing whatever we can to make tghe world a better place, even if it isn't very much. I can't do very much about these gangsters who are creating mayhem, except what I am doing, and just trying to show other people what is happening to people who get dragged into the secret family courts. I feel like an ant trying to wave a flag in the middle of a football stadium though.

Zoompad said...

I don't really know who you are, and I don't mean to sound rude, but in future could you actually identify yourself with a name, I've let your comment through this one time, but I won't be able to do it again, as I don't like publishing anonymous comments. I don't mind so much if they are from other child abuse or secret family court survivors, but not from someone just posting the name of their company without actually saying who they are. I'm sure youy will be able to understand why I am so suspicious, if you read the rest of my blog and see the awful way I have been treated over the years by spooks.

Zoompad said...

The other thing is that I am getting hacked. Now that is illegal, and I have told the police, but (if you will excuse my language) they can't be arsed to do anything about it.

So just suddenly getting attention from an IT company representative with no name of a real person attached doesn't really gladden my heart.