This is what passes for investigative reporting in England these days, apparently. Frankly, this would have even failed my high school Junior Journalist Club's standards.
In a political attempt to score points off of the Metropolitan Police and David Cameron's government in the wake of the London riots, Lewis' article stirs a meaningless pot of "controversy" over the fact that London police officers who are Masons established Sine Favore Lodge No. 9856 last September. They did so quite openly, and their website isn't exactly furtive. Yes, I know. Pesky details.
But let's get right to Mr. Lewis' scathing expose from the Telegraph, "Freemasons in the police leading the attack on David Cameron's riot response":
Leading police officers have set up a national Masonic lodge where they can meet in secret in defiance of fears about the influence of the secret society on the criminal justice system.
In defiance of fears... not laws, not rules, but simply "fears" because some people have hysterics over Freemasonry, stoked, not by any provable reality, but by myth and delusion. Over here, we call that paranoia.
The founding members include senior officials from the Police Federation, the police staff association, which is currently fighting the Government over its plans to cut budgets.
The new Masonic lodge is led by John Tully, a Metropolitan Police officer, who has given numerous interviews in recent days accusing the Prime Minister of "fighting violence, arson and looting on our city streets with sound-bites".
So, David Cameron's timid and slow response to the riots in an attempt to be sensitive and politically correct, a response that appalled Britons and foreigners alike, is not open to criticism by the police officers who were hamstrung by his "evolving" policies as the country burned. Got it.
Other founder members include officers from the Metropolitan Police, Essex Police, Thames Valley Police and from other forces including Northumbria, Dyfed Powys, South Wales, South Yorkshire and even a high ranking officer from the Royal Gibraltar Police.
Egads, no! Not the Royal Gibraltar Police! Zounds!
The "Sine Favore" Lodge was opened despite the conclusions of a Parliamentary inquiry which warned of public fears that "Freemasonry can have an unhealthy influence on the criminal justice system".
Fears. Not facts. Fears.
The inquiry followed questions about masonic involvement in the abandonment of an investigation into a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland and with the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, which was disbanded after evidence of police malpractice.
NOT Masonic malpractice.
Membership is open to all serving and retired officers across Britain and others working alongside the police, including lawyers, criminologists and even the financial advisers who manage officers' retirement plans.
Sounds like they have pretty low standards, if they'll let all those lawyers, real estate developers, bankers and non-police in. Tough to keep law enforcement secrets with all those civilians roaming about in lodge.
The idea for the new police Masonic lodge grew out of a series unofficial get-togethers in hotel bars during Police Federation annual conferences.
Hotel bars, those dens of iniquities. Not good working class pubs.
Masonic rules require members to do all they can to support each other, to look after each other and to keep each others' lawful secrets.
Yes, that's right. Lawful secrets. Not unlawful ones.
New members of the so-called Brotherhood are blindfolded, a hangman's noose placed around their necks and they are warned their throat will be slit and their tongue torn out if they break their oath. Critics argue this could put them at odds with discharging their duty to serve the public.
"So-called" Brotherhood? If Lewis knew anything beyond what he read in his well-thumbed bathroom copy of "From Hell", and had actually researched Freemasonry, he would have found numerous instances of all lodges' generous gifts to all sorts of organizations. And if he'd ever seen the way the widows and orphans of fallen brother officers are aided by other Masons, he'd have shut his pie hole eight paragraphs back.
And by the way, Freemasonry in England removed the so-called "bloody oath" penalties from their ritual decades ago, specifically because crackpots like Lewis didn't understand symbolism. Frankly, a cowardly act that points out that Masonophobes will still use it as a stick to beat you with, so why bother changing ritual for people who are not members?
The inquiry by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1998 called for a public register of police officers who joined the Freemasons, although in the end the then Labour government proposed that officers could make voluntary disclosures about their membership. Few did.
That's because ZERO wrongdoing was discovered by Jack Straw's cash-hemorrhaging witch hunt, and such registrations have been deemed illegal by both English law and the European Union. Picture having to "disclose" being a Catholic. In England. Again.
The new "Sine Favore" lodge, is named after the Latin motto of the Police Federation, "Without Fear, Without Favour".
The founders include Police Federation Treasurer Martyn Mordecai, John Giblin, chairman of the Federation's Sergeants Central Committee, and Steve Williams, general secretary of the Federation's Inspectors Central Committee.
Earlier this year Mr Giblin told the Federation's annual conference that government ministers "hate the police service" and wanted to "destroy" it.
A fair enough grumble from an officer who feels that government ministers make policy changes without consulting the police who have to carry them out. I'm guessing Lewis bitches about his bosses, too. Or is it merely Brother Giblin's Masonic membership that makes this seditious?
Other founding members include solicitor Tristan Hallam, a personal injury lawyer who specialises, according to his firm Russell Jones and Walker, in "road traffic accidents and public liability cases for both private clients and associations including the Police Federation".
Mr Hallam said: "Membership of any organisation is a personal choice. Russell Jones & Walker are aware of my membership."
I wonder if he's also a member of the Basingstoke Philately Hob Nobbers, the local ruggers club, or the IRA? Perhaps he's one of those creepy Rotarians! Or is his Masonic membership the only issue vital to national safety?
Stewart Imbimbo, an ex-Thames Valley police officer and now a senior official at Milton Keynes council, Robert Taylor, a financial adviser, Eric Misselke, director of a police credit union which provides cheap loans, savings accounts and insurance, and the Metropolitan Police's resident criminologist Dr Attilio Grandani.
...Did what? Lewis needs to go back to English Composition to learn that sentences have nouns, verbs and objects. But he can skip the class on innuendo; he's got that down pat.
Dr Grandani sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority's equality and diversity sub-committee and is behind the Met's new controversial statistical-led policing model, which aims to combat areas of high crime as opposed to more thinly spread bobbies-on-the-beat territorial policing.
Sounds like a common sense approach. Silly me. Can't be. Mason, you know. Must have a secret agenda.
Lodge number 9856 was officially opened by a senior Masonic official, Russell Race. He is the Metropolitan Grand Master, head of the Grand Lodge of London, a corporate financier and chairman of a construction firm behind the huge Westfield shopping centre in west London and The Pinnacle office development, which, when complete, will be the tallest building in the City of London.
The lodge is based at 10 Duke Street in central London, which is also the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, one of the most important and mysterious bodies in international Masonic circles, which has an elite membership of only 75 people.
Yes, only 75 members can be 33° Masons in England at any time. The U.S. jurisdictions also have limitations on "active" 33rds. An unlimited number may be 32° Masons. What's "mysterious" about it? Perhaps we can also have an accounting of all of London's membership numbers in its famous, infamous and "elite" private clubs.
The building, known as Grand East by Masons, contains the "Black Room", the "Red Room" and a "Chamber of Death", used for Masonic rituals.
The term is "Chamber of Reflection." Oh, silly me. Facts again. Lewis' line came directly out of Stephen Knight's juvenile exposé, "The Brotherhood," which has been denounced since its publication as false and filled with lies.
The Police Federation last night refused to discuss whether any of its officials had disclosed their involvement with Freemasonary.
A spokesman said: "Being a member of any organisation is a matter for the individual, so long as membership of that organisation does not compromise their duties and responsibilities as a police officer."
Indeed. And thank you for that. England is not a jackbooted dictatorship. Not yet.
Lodge Secretary Mr Tully, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation refused to comment.
And why should he comment on such a lurid, poorly researched hit piece masquerading as reportage?
Thankfully, in the U.S. we are not subjected to this brand of idiocy in the press. Freemasonry is treated here as a harmless diversion by doddering old men in crumbling buildings, and journalists who report on our successes behave as though they've discovered a curious alien species. But in Europe, our brethren are treated with derision, scorn, hatred and downright slander, as this character assassinating piece of codswallop proves.