Comment: We published this article 6 years ago, but it still as relevant as ever. Sexual assault is back in the news courtesy of Harvey Weinstein. But the even bigger sickness is pedophilia – not only in Hollywood but also politics. And today, George H. W. Bush was accused of sexual assault. What we didn’t point out in the article below is that Bush was directly implicated in the Franklin pedophile scandal and named as one of the perpetrators. Bryant doesn’t name him in the book, instead referring to him as an extremely high-level politician, or words to that effect. But with a little research you can discover that the victim was referring to Bush.
Män som hatar kvinnor – ‘Men Who Hate Women’. That’s the original Swedish title of Stieg Larsson’s runaway best-seller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Those who have read the novel or seen the Swedish film adaptation know that it’s the perfect description. Larsson weaves a story of rape, sadism, spousal abuse, human trafficking, white-collar crime, and political corruption around the iconic characters of Lisbeth Salander and investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Yeah, it may just be a novel, but after the research I’ve been doing lately, I’m convinced that there’s more to the Larsson’s subject matter than just a page-turning good read. As the character ‘V’ put it in V for Vendetta, “Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.” That’s the truth, and if I’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that truth is stranger than fiction, and even more disturbing.
While I’m a fan of Larsson’s work, and fiction in general, there’s something to be said about true accounts. They have a way of ‘seating’ in the mind, making what was at first only ‘interesting’ and perhaps ‘entertaining’ fiction become real: solid, vital, life-altering. Fiction gives us the truth, but at a distance. It’s up to the reader to divine the real-life applications and implications. But when they become clear, it can be a profound and painful experience. It’s all too easy to take the easy way out when that experience is just too painful, with the potential of shattering too many deeply held illusions about the way reality really works. “It’s just a story, after all.” Those six curiosity-killing words are enough to prevent a person from doing the research to see that there may be more to a story than just the product of a good imagination. There may be a disturbing underbelly to the surface events of everyday life. In my case, that’s where real-life investigative reporter Nick Bryant’s 2009 book The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal comes into the story. It’s the book that made a lot of things hit home for me, and it was absolutely devastating.
Bryant is a professional journalist, having published articles in many ‘mainstream’ newspapers and journals. But after deciding to research the infamous ‘Franklin scandal’ of the late ’80s and early ’90s, no mainstream editor would take his story. It was just too hard to believe. For those readers unfamiliar with the scandal, you can watch a never-aired documentary produced by UK-based Yorkshire Television titled Conspiracy of Silence. The documentary was commissioned by Discovery Channel, who pulled out at the last minute. Luckily, someone with access to a rough cut of the piece leaked it and Bryant has made it freely available on his website, here. The Franklin Scandal not only confirms what the Yorkshire team presented, but adds reams of new details and documents demonstrating a level of criminality, corruption, perversion of justice, and sadism that is simply mind-blowing.