A guest writes - 10.03.2012
Lady Macbeth:Hast thou spoken to the wretch?
Macbeth: Marry, not a word. He lieth still to the ground like Reynard.
Lady Macbeth: That will not save him: Reynard wakes to the snarl of the hounds.
Macbeth: Aye, and to their hot fangs at his neck.
Lady Macbeth: Twas in Lisbon port, recall you, my lord?
Macbeth: At the tribunal?
Lady Macbeth: The very same. The scurvy knave fell silent on us then, when the Signor Amarala set the dogs and pamphleteers of Moraes upon us. And left us to fight for ourselves like bears in the Vauxhall pit.
Macbeth: [bristling] Indeed. Son of a whore!
Lady Macbeth: Mayhap he will return. Or try. But I fear he seeks a way out, my lord, and one that implies a certain distance between us.
Macbeth: Aye, us to the scaffold or the darkness of a Latin dungeon, there to be mocked or garrotted by the king’s dwarves and turnkeys. And he to the heights of politique!
Lady Macbeth: Such, such are his dreams. But the tethers between us will not be cut: he will join us if doom strikes. As he will discover.
Macbeth: It was the woman that turned him, that made him think he could yet be our equal in fame and respect. And safe with it, betimes.
Lady Macbeth: No, no, the wife is a mouse; she hath power for neither good nor evil.
Macbeth: Not the wife, the woman! She spoke to him by the cauldron, chanted of even greater fame, succoured and stroked him, made him paint his hair and lured him from the hearth. Until then the scoundrel was sound.
Lady Macbeth: [laughs scornfully] She will learn. She will rue her choice and yet more her timing.
She turns to him, takes his arm and buries her face to his breast. Outside an owl can be heard calling.
Lady Macbeth: [softly]Must it be?
Macbeth: [with gentleness] Shh. These are things, my sweet Kate, on which we swore our silence. Never speak of them. Remember, the die is cast: we have done all we can and our fate no longer lies within our own grasp.
Lady Macbeth: [draws back and stands erect] No! I say no!
Macbeth: [sinks slowly to his knees and starts sobbing, his head hanging low] Finished!
Lady Macbeth: My lord, no.
Macbeth: Our life is at an end. Our life is at an end. Our life is over.
Lady Macbeth: It shall not be!
Vaster tides than these have you and I endured,
Yet the Gods’ sweet zephyrs have preserved us,
The barren rocks of aged Lusitania –
Macbeth: Nay, speak not of those rocks, I beg thee. [sobs] Not those, not those.
Lady Macbeth: [strokes his hair] – lie behind us,
The sanded shores of Albion are ours,
White cliffed, green topped, sweet refuge and harbour,
Embayed we stand, joined in love, our rock-like love –
Macbeth: [howls] No, not the rocks! I will not hear it! Out, I tell you! [he springs upright] Out, out damned rock!
Lady Macbeth: — which conquers all. Amor vincit Omnia. Think on’t. We are not damned yet, my Lord. Not yet. Come, take my hand, let us sup.
Macbeth: [recovering] Thou hast, once more, put me to shame,
With thy courage we may yet win this game! Steward!
They exit the stony hall, the candles left guttering in the wind. Outside an owl sounds once more
Alternative worlds – and what they tell us - 11.03.2012
Clarence Mitchell speaking last night
Mr Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry are extremely pleased at the news from Portugal. While they cannot, of course, discuss operational matters their understanding is that a man who has been in custody in Oporto for several months has given information identifying the group who abducted Madeleine. “
A pal of the family told the Mail, “They are over the moon. They have suffered so much for so long but their faith in the police has never wavered. Kate has been crying with happiness all day, even though she knows that this doesn’t mean the child is definitely alive.”
The couple are attending mass this morning near Rothley.
The Independent on Sunday, March 12 2012
How the McCanns finally took hold of the investigation
Couple forced review on Cameron “using Facebook”
Rebekah Greed “intervened on behalf of the couple while riding with PM”
Private detective “lived underground in a shelter in Oporto”
Special service of thanksgiving in Rothley today
“At last we can look forward”
For years Kate & Gerry McCann tried to get a proper re-investigation of the case but were rebuffed, first by Gordon Brown and then by the Tories. With all governments unwilling to spend on what they saw as a doomed venture the parents had to fund the search from their charity dedicated to finding Madeleine. In late 2010 their private detective David Edgar lived in a hole in the ground in the Portuguese city of Oporto opposite a girls school that was known to be a magnet for the vilest of Portugal’s many paedophile rings. Living on a diet of earthworms and raw sewage for three months Edgar was finally able to provide the Oporto police with the vital evidence that led to an arrest and the resulting confession that is behind today’s news. Even then his ordeal was not over: Edgar, who had suffered badly during his stake-out and had not changed his clothes or shaved for eight weeks was first of all mistaken for a homeless psychotic by the PJ and accused of exposing himself. He spent two days under arrest in see page 3
The Observer March 12 2012, leading article
The beginning of the end?
The news from Oporto remains obscure and contradictory. What is quite certain is that the police there seem to have the first lead ever to the perpetrators of this dreadful crime.
While the PJ, anxious to avoid the problems caused by its leaking in 2007, have said little officially, the parent’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell has announced that the police have told Kate and Gerry that their lead is “100% pure gold”. We wish them well.
The parents are said to be taking part in a Rothley church service today although it is by no means clear, as Richard Dawkins states on another page, what divine intervention has ever done for them. Nevertheless today’s news is to be welcomed: finally the couple’s suffering – and the criticism of them inflaming the internet – may be close to an end.
The Sun March 12 2012
Auntie Phil in Ryanair Row
Maddie’s aunt Philomena, pictured here in an obesity clinic in Glasgow last month, is at the centre of a row with the airline. Amid rumours that police in the city of Aparto have located the child’s abductor the charity which looks after the family interests booked three in-line seats on Ryanair for herself, herself and herself. But the airline – famous for wanting to start all-standing flights – asked for a £2000 excess weight surcharge on “health and safety grounds” (cont)
The Mirror Sunday March 12 2012
Disgraced cop “has asked to settle libel claim”.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Kate & Maddie, says, “We understand that Mr Amoral is in discussions to withdraw all his claims in the light of certain new information.”
It is understood that the fat cop will have to agree to the destruction of over 7, 500 copies of his book in which he claimed that Kate McCann hadn’t always told the truth. Mr Mitchell said: “The Madeleine Fund (the charity which looks after the child) has hired one of Lisbon’s main squares, the Praca do Comercio, in order that the books can be burned under the supervision of a friend of Kate’s, the Dominican friar Signor Auto de Fe. We are waiting for a reply from Mr Amaral.” Inside: “Now it’s time to take on the internet haters,” says parents’ spokesman.
More timewarps - 03.04.2012
When the Yard detectives finally interview the Tapas group they won't be confining their questions to what happened between 8.30 and 10PM on May 3. The preceding two and a half hours or so also need more than a little clarification. We all know about nice Dr Payne's controversial visit to Kate McCann during that time and we won't deal with it any more today. Less studied, however, are the activities of other members of the group around the same time, particularly those surrounding the so-called "social tennis" event. This was scheduled for 6.PM at the Ocean Club and was to involve all four male members of the group, finishing, according to the instructor, at 7PM. Gerry McCann was already at the courts at six with the instructor, Dan. Kate and the children were in the apartment and the rest of the group were down at the beach in the Paraiso bar, a seaside café some seven to ten minutes' walk away from the Ocean Club. The men left the bar for the tennis courts, the others followed them afterwards, stayed to watch some of the tennis, and then everyone went back to their respective apartments to put the kids to bed and prepare for supper at the Tapas restaurant.
So far so simple. So simple that it is very hard to see why the men, as well as the McCanns, were initially silent about this two and a half hour period. Summarising the May 4 police statements: David Payne had nothing to say about the period, even though it included a towel-wrapped Kate McCann and the striking "vision of angels" in apartment 5A; Matthew Oldfield had nothing to say either; Russell O'Brien, along with his partner Tanner the most obscure and slippery of the whole group, who spoke to the police last and knew what Tanner had said, mentioned nothing other than his return to his apartment at "around 7.15-7.30PM." From Gerry McCann, not a word about the whole period.
The women were less tight-lipped.
Dianne Webster, exactly as one would expect, was positively loquacious: "Concerning the day yesterday, she went to the beach with the children, her son-in-law and her daughter. They arrived there at around 15h45 and left at around 18h15 to go to the tennis courts where she stayed until 19h00. The informant then went to the apartment with the small children and ten minutes later, her son-in-law, David, joined them. With her son-in-law's help, they bathed the children."
Her daughter could hardly disagree, although whether these two statements were genuinely independent is another matter since the times, as you can see, are too similar for comfort: "On the day before yesterday, [this is a translation error for May 3] they slightly altered their routine - they went to the beach with the children and her mother Dianne. They arrived there around 15h45 and left at 18h15, and headed towards the tennis court until about 19h00. Immediately afterwards, the witness headed towards the apartment with her children, and her mother. Ten minutes later her husband David appeared. In the apartment her mother, helped by her husband David, bathed the children whilst the witness went jogging on the beach until around 20h00. Afterwards, she returned to the apartment and got ready."
Rachael Oldfield, in contrast, said the same as Matthew: nothing.
Finally Jane Tanner. And her statement was both relatively extensive and very interesting because in the course of a couple of paragraphs in which she told police that she was on the beach or at the Paraiso from 3.45 until 6.10-6.15, she said little more about herself but gave useful eye-witness alibis for all the men and Kate McCann: Kate? "Around 5.15 she saw Kate Healy jog past the beach and wave." Gerry and the other men? Why, "when the witness, together with her friends and children returned from the beach at about 6.20 they passed by the tennis courts and saw all the men, including Gerry, on court. They stayed there talking to them for about 20/30 minutes." Gerry again? "Gerald behaved normally." Kate again? "She thinks [our italics] Kate was in the apartment putting the children to bed." Everybody? "At about 19h00 they all went back to their own apartments with the children." "All", however, didn't mean all at all, since O'Brien came back "later", time unspecified. And, surprise, surprise, she discussed her statement with Russell O'Brien who told the police that "He completely corroborates his partner Jane Tanner's statements for the rest of the day." Whatever that may mean.
Clearly the police needed a lot more detail and on May 10/11 they attempted to get it, despite the absence of the Paynes and Kate McCann. Under questioning a consistent picture now began to emerge:
Russell O'Brien, David Payne and Matthew Oldfield left the beach for the "social tennis" between 6 and 6.15.
The remainder of the group followed some ten minutes later and stayed talking or watching the tennis until 7 when the women and children left for their apartments.
The independent witness, Dan, confirmed that the social tennis was over by 7PM. Gerry, who had played with the other three, left then.
The other men left ten minutes or so later. From which we can see that: O'Brien, Oldfield and Payne were only out of sight of the women and children for about ten minutes before and ten minutes after the tennis. All the men were in their respective apartments with their partners and children by 7.15-7.20 and remained in them until 8.30.
That was the end of the Portuguese questioning and everything had turned out straightforward enough – insofar as anything the Tapas 7 said was ever straightforward. Only Gerry McCann had mentioned Payne's visit to 5A, admittedly, but that may well have been because the latter didn't get the chance to give a second statement.
Back in England the McCanns and their lawyers began building their defence to the Portuguese accusations, the details surfacing at intervals as their spokesman floated them in the media to see if they sailed or sank. Gerry and the group had little to say about the period in their Panorama "expunge it!" programme – which began as it meant to continue with the comical statement that "the McCanns' story has been the same from day one" – but what they did say confirmed the details they had given on May 10/11.
Only in the late December Beyond the Smears article by David Smith, which the McCanns had used as a deliberate feed for their version of events, did the pair revert to coyness about the missing two and a half hours, highlighting only the Payne visit and introducing a mysterious tennis injury which had apparently stopped Gerry playing and left him "waiting around the courts" on his own after 4.30 that afternoon. Hm
And so we come to the final effort of the investigation, the rogatory interviews, in which the Tapas 7 were able to fill in the details which had been absent in Portugal. The assembled police of two countries, well briefed about the progress of events on and after May 3 and with copies of the statements to hand, could hardly have been prepared for what occurred during that week of interviews. In short: Payne, O'Brien and Oldfield all changed their stories. In unison. Now they stated that the tennis didn't start until 6.50 and finished at 8PM. Two of the three made some attempt to reconcile the new version with the old; both failed, with Payne in particular being badly caught out by his interviewer. Fiona Payne and Dianne Webster, to add to the developing farce, did not alter their statements, still saying that David Payne was back in the apartment by 7.10. This radical alteration in the timing of events was wrapped in various lengths of flannel by the interviewees as they attempted to make their changes less suspicious and more convincing. No wonder Rebelo flew home before the completion of the interviews! These absurd and often rather shameless alterations to their stories made it obvious that the seven – always excluding Dianne Webster – were not there to help seek the truth of events on May 3 but were simply covering their backs in some way or deliberately muddying the waters.
To Rebelo the idea that any of them would chance returning to a Portuguese reconstruction with this lamentable record of their own evasions was out of the question, even before some of them were asked: clearly they would have to be forced – an impossibility under European Arrest Warrant rules. With his disillusioned flight home the Portuguese investigation was effectively at an end. Nor was he the only one to react strongly to the new version. "It's getting warm in here," said DC Messiah at one point, clearly baffled and irritated at Payne's unbearably long-winded attempts to make the new timings fit the old. There are pages and pages of the stuff as Payne battles to soften the impact of his volte-face by stressing how late everything was running, how he had neither watch nor mobile phone to tell the time, how long and slow was the way from beach to tennis courts and from courts to apartments and on and on. If you cut out the rare statements of fact from the interview but leave in Payne's "uncertainties" you get an idea of just how bizarre Payne's answers were:
"But you know...
"Yeah, what sort of time, excuse me it's getting warm in here, what sort of time was that that you saw them?"
"Err you know and err so that'd be the time that I'd have gone out there... you know err the, I've done a great deal... err well no because I mean like usually like... as far as I remember... err... err... I can't remember... Err well I mean we were probably, as I say... then we left the err restaurant and err you know, I hadn't got a watch on me, I hadn't you know I hadn't got a mobile... we left the restaurant err you know after six o'clock, so you know just working backwards… bit of time on the beach and then you know your meal, which would take an hour, which seems to fit in with the, you know... we left we didn't leave from the beach we left from the err restaurant... Err the, basically the err the children and the ladies that stayed behind, err just to finish off there and err and then we... we'll get up there... err there was Russell and Matt. As I say I can't, can't remember... you know, I can't remember... but I know I went and spoke to Gerry."
"Yeah, and at what point did you have the conversation with him? Did he stop the game or did you speak whilst he was playing?"
"I can't remember, I can't remember. I, you know, in my mind, you know, he stopped playing and you know but I can't remember..."
The other interviewees are just as unconvincing, as readers can see for themselves from the transcripts. Some err and bumble along as they play for time regarding the crucial alterations to their year-old statements; others, like O'Brien, give up any attempt to remove the anomalies, leaving the transcript in a literally nonsensical state. Something was up between 6 and 8.30 The silence of virtually all of them in the first instance about these two and a half hours was suggestive enough; that was followed by suspicious near-unanimity six days later; and then, with a whole year gone, came this farrago, quite enough to make DC Messiah somewhat hot under the collar. What was the need for the change? Why were they so riskily adding an extra hour to events, an hour in which the men were on their own? That's what we hope the Yard will eventually tell us. Once again the apparently naïve but persistently untruthful Oldfield is right at the centre of a modified version. Once again Rachael Oldfield makes changes to her story to back him up, just as she did when she confirmed some of his more unlikely statements in the PJ interviews. Alongside Oldfield but out of sight of everyone else walks the enigmatic figure of O'Brien, just as he was to do at the critical hour of 9.30PM. And Payne, bumbling Payne, struggles to alter his testimony in order to fit in the visit to 5A by him alone.
When did the group become aware of the Paraiso CCTV pictures? Payne makes reference to camera timings but it is not clear which camera he is referring to. They blow open good old unanimous Version One. At 6.13 the three men are standing, clearly about to leave, presumably for the tennis courts. Fair enough. But what about the "ten minutes" or so interval before the others left? They were in fact still in the restaurant until at least 6.36 – fifteen minutes after Jane Tanner claimed to have watched the men playing – and would have arrived at the tennis courts at the same time as the men were just commencing play. If they weren't playing tennis then what exactly had O'Brien, Oldfield and David Payne been doing between 6.13 and 6.50, a period which just happened to include the supposed Payne visit? And if they were playing from 6.50 to almost 8PM how come Fiona Payne placed her husband back in the apartment at 7.10? Come on! If they had somehow been mistaken in unison in Version One and were correcting their evidence because they'd seen the CCTV timings then why on earth couldn't they tell Leicester police so? Why take the risk of looking once again as if they were obstructing the investigation because they had something to hide? And there are many other related questions: the Yard have their work cut out.
Just after the rogatory interviews ended Rachael Oldfield spoke to BBC Radio 4. Had any of their stories changed between the Portuguese statements and the interviews, she was asked. "No, of course not," said the lady who'd once sworn to the PJ that MO returned to their apartment at 7.15. "How could they have done?" she added haughtily, "there was only ever one story." Really? The following exchange of correspondence (see below) between Johanna, who runs the website Unterdenteppichgekehrt, and David James Smith, a UK journalist, was published online about a year ago. For any new readers of this site, who have not seen it before, it is an enlightening insight into the workings, and attitude, of at least one UK journalist and the collaboration that existed at a time when Gerry McCann was still an arguido and subject to the rules of judicial secrecy. The article Kate and Gerry McCann: Beyond the smears was significant in placing the preferred 'official' timeline into the public domain - immediately following the secret meeting that took place in Rothley, on 14 November 2007, between the McCanns and the Tapas Seven.
Over four and a half years! - 26.04.2012
That’s how long it has taken to establish an investigation free from the malign influence of the media imported so irresponsibly by Kate and Gerry McCann on May 4 2007. That’s how long it took until the last vestiges of spin from their spokesman – as against factual responses to questions – were extinguished in late 2011, after the attempt to "manage" the Scotland Yard officers’ visit to Barcelona. Now, finally, we have a situation where the investigators can do their work unhindered. The Bureau, like the McCanns, welcomed the Scotland Yard initiative in early 2011 because it had campaigned for years for the investigation, terminated by the McCanns' refusal to remain in Portugal and their friends’ refusal to return to that country, to be completed. In particular we had pointed to the sheer absurdity of the Portuguese archiving report attempting to provide “conclusions” to an investigation which, as the Reconstruction Section in that report made perfectly clear, was incomplete and inconclusive due to the nine’s failure to co-operate in completing and concluding it. Had the McCanns, in summer 2008, accepted with good grace what they call their “exoneration”and what the report in a sub-section called their “failure to demonstrate their innocence”, and continued to search for their daughter with their employees from then on there would have been little ground for disagreement or criticism. Such relative silence about themselves might even have led to their reputations recovering with the passage of time. They did not do so. Their first action on the day of the archiving of the case was not to come forward with their plans to continue the search for Madeleine McCann. Their very first action was to spin and distort that archiving summary in their own favour via their repellent mouthpiece, including their disgraceful and completely invented story that the summary had “mocked” the efforts of the Portuguese police.
As they began so they have continued until late 2011 – promoting their own version of events and their own innocence of any wrong-doing using spokesmen, media interviews, television documentaries, local and national news editors, leaks, publishers, lawyers, libel lawyers and a book written by Kate McCann with the latters' acknowledged assistance. This effort has accomplished precisely zero for the child but has done a great deal for the parents, in particular for that fashionable objective known as "reputation management". That phase is now over and the police of both countries are investigating matters in a less contaminated climate, one in which, for example, Gonçalo Amaral was allowed to contribute to Panorama without the “disgraced” and other epithets that the McCanns’ lawyers have previously insisted upon. Amaral’s theories were also put forward to the British public factually for the first time – and of course can now be publicly repeated by quoting the words of the BBC without threat of libel. That is in great contrast to the climate in 2007 when the first Panorama was made with the co-operation and and input of nice Mr Smethurst and his Dr Strangelove ambition to electronically overwrite the public's memories regarding the possible guilt of his clients. Pretty good, eh? Five years to get the sort of more or less balanced programme that we had a right to expect in 2007.
What does this mean for the future of the investigation? Let us give you an example. Andy Redwood, the officer in charge of the Yard review just happens to look and sound on video like a Somerset yokel searching under his mattress for his cider jug. Unlike Goncalo Amaral, however, he is not going to be subjected to the disgusting attempts to ridicule and demean him using photographs chosen deliberately to that end; Mr Redwood, for all we know, may live on a diet of pasties, sheep feed and apple cores but his lunches are not going to be photographed to demonstrate what a lazy and gluttonous yokel he really is, are they? Nor will Mr Redwood be falsely accused by BBC East Midlands of saying "fuck the McCanns", even though he may one day find the words springing to his lips. No, the press will not be used this time to destroy a police enemy. The case is not sub judice but for the first time the normal rules of restraint about a current police investigation – one being conducted in both countries – are now expected to be followed by those involved and their publicity contacts, at least in the UK; that means that the cause of justice will not be continually subverted either by anonymous selective public attacks on the investigators by the families of those involved nor by “reputation management” agencies anonymously defending those who can find the money to employ them. Hooray for that.
Apart from the all-knowing "whitewash" brigade all of us, surely, can welcome the investigation itself, the way it is going and the possibility that it will get at the truth unhindered. If, for the very first time, it “demonstrates the innocence of the parents”, no easy task, then three more cheers.
Operation Grange aurait pu au moins démontrer cela.
In early 2011 we welcomed the review but said this, an expression of our opinion: however many thousands of “leads” were followed up, however many “sightings” analysed, the investigators would eventually find themselves coming back to the small area of Praia da Luz encompassing the Batista supermarket, the Ocean Club and its apartments and the adjoining streets, at the perimeter of which the trail went cold – for ever. Sooner or later, we said, they would be driven back to the same unanswered questions that the archiving report so concisely referred to and the same individuals who were questioned before because there is no-one else to question and nowhere else to go.
Of course we could be wrong but that remains our opinion. A year has elapsed and it is manifest that the Scotland Yard review has turned up absolutely nothing of significance outside that perimeter, in accordance with our forecast. Welcome to the McCann case, Andy. At least you can eat your lunch in peace during the coming year.
An Appeal from John Blacksmith - 27.04.2012
As we wrote this week we have a situation where the police are carrying out their work without the continual interference by interested elements using the media which did so much to wreck the first investigation. This situation, as we also wrote, is relatively new. Until late last year spin was still being used in the UK by an anonymous source acting for unknown interests claiming to know the reasons for the Yard officers' visits to Barcelona. Somebody has stopped that for the time being and the media are largely accepting the normal conventions of behaviour applying during an important investigation. Due to the anniversary of the child's disappearance there is, of course, a blip in the amount of publicity which in due time will die down. Kate and Gerry McCann will no doubt wish to go on giving interviews to the public for the foreseeable future as is their right, although I think their own lawyers will be urging care and restraint on them for the good of the justice system and, of course, to avoid any possibility of fuelling tension between Britain and Portugal which might, once again, interrupt the investigation. I believe this relative freedom from anonymous briefing, character attacks and other attempts to influence the course of justice is worth fighting for, whatever one's opinions as to the eventual outcome of the inquiry. As a result I would make this appeal. If any UK resident reads in the UK press material based on information clearly provided by a spokesman or other professional source anonymously which purports to have information about the activities or progress or conclusions of the Scotland Yard team which have not been given by Scotland Yard itself in public statements then I would ask them to take the following action. After considering carefully whether such a report really does meet these criteria, and bearing in mind the police workload, can you send a brief note including a link to the material to the Andy Redwood team at the address on their website or by email – in the body of the email and not by attachment. Any communication should be as radically short as possible: it is the link we want them to look at, not our views on the case. Identification would probably be better than anonymity but it is not critical, as long as the material is accurate, linked and sent in good faith. This will be of very considerable value to the investigation, first of all in identifying if their own team is leaking selectively in this year of Leveson; secondly for the team to identify the likely beneficiaries of such spin; thirdly to assess what the reasons might be for such an attempt to interfere with the investigation in the UK. It may well be that such material might play a role in complaints about specific media or Reputation Management organizations. I appreciate that due to recent public statements by the Yard people might be uneasy about the investigation. Forget that. This is our investigation by our police, not the prime minister's: to believe and say otherwise is losers' talk. Of course initiatives may take place to influence the investigation that will never reach the media but I repeat we have the power in our hands to kill off the disgraceful use of the media by anonymous sources that first perverted and then destroyed the original investigation. Help us do it! And please use the social media to circulate this appeal. Thanks.
Benny Hill's Alive Too - 28.04.2012
Andy Redwood might have hidden talents as a whizzbang investigator, though if his role in the shockingly botched Jill Dando murder inquiry, which ended in the long and tragic incarceration of a helpless mentally handicapped victim is anything to go by, these talents must be hidden very well indeed. But at communication he is not just a disaster but a slow-talking, slow-thinking, slow-burning horror show. All he lacks is a suicide vest. In his Scotland Yard April 24 official interview, available on You-Tube, Mr Redwood gave his reasons for going public now. The primary reason for the initiative, he said, is a public appeal for assistance and information that might be of value in terms of sightings etc, complete with a photo projection of what the child would look like now. The other, subsidiary, reason is to prompt the memories of those who were staying in the Praia da Luz area during that week in 2007, an appeal, by the way, first made over four years ago. He said nothing whatever about wanting the case re-opened now, and it was clearly no part of his brief to do so. He spoke of increasing co-operation between both police forces and "working together towards a position where we would very much like the case to be re-opened". This peculiar prose, found at 2 minutes 10 or so on the video and sadly typical of Mr Redwood's mode of conversation, obviously refers to a position which has not yet been reached. At the official media conference to launch the appeal the hapless Redwood was ambushed by questioners into enlarging on this aim and proceeded, with great West Country determination and dexterity, to slowly winch his foot upwards and sideways until it was jammed firmly into his mouth. Before actually swallowing it and putting us all out of our misery, he managed to give the impression to the hacks that the Yard definitely wanted the case re-opened now – the precise opposite of his formal scripted policy announcement on April 24. And off rushed the Guardian, the Independent and the tits and bum papers to write inflammatory stories on that basis without once quoting him actually saying so. Not once. Quite an achievement, isn't it? A Scotland Yard detective has single-handedly started a diplomatic incident on his first major media appearance. Until that press conference the word was that the UK and the Portuguese authorities were working well together; now this witless buffoon has triggered off the UK press into one of its uncouth chauvinist outbreaks with all the consequences that anyone not embalmed in scrumpy could forecast, including a frosty statement from the Portuguese Attorney General, political grunting noises from the former postman Alan Johnson and a clearly perceptible frisson of resentment from Portuguese people which bodes very badly for the future.
Redwood has nobody to blame but himself. It is quite right that the Yard should issue a definitive appeal on the child's behalf and this anniversary was the obvious time to do so – after all even Mr Redwood might gag at waiting until the sixth anniversary, still only halfway through his task, to appeal for more information. It is quite right also that he should treat the McCanns as innocent victims of a terrible event. But the man has the diplomatic sensitivity, nous, finesse and awareness of a walrus. Obviously he couldn't make an age-progression-picture-based appeal for sightings of the child while simultaneously stating that she was dead, could he? So what was his plan for handling this potential contradiction when he was asked about it, as he was bound to be? Oh, he hadn't thought of that, or rather, oh, 'e adn't thorra that. Instead we received his revelation that Madeleine McCann was definitely, yes definitely, certainly, er, alive or dead, an insight which went straight round the world, fuelled by a wave of mockery. Gonçalo Amaral might have been forgiven for just a little schadenfreude behind his sleeve, although he was too decent to twist the knife on a fellow cop in distress - no not just distress but buried up to his neck with his foot in his mouth, his boots in the air, his pants on his face, in a giant brown mound of steaming Somerset cowshit. The Madeleine McCann affair involves some of the most highly paid professional communicators in the world, as well as brilliant media and communication lawyers. All are waiting for their next engagements in the case. Mr Redwood has made his first venture into this snake pit and it has not been a pretty sight. Wait till the heavies get to work on him! Whether he will still be around when the Yard actually have to get to grips with the investigation, which they have certainly not done yet, must be a matter of some doubt. Lastly, for those of the belief that Mr Redwood is in some way carrying out a policy determined for him by others, just pause and think over what you have witnessed. Mr Redwood, a man unable to remember the scripted priorities he had laid out just three days before on April 24 is not the sort of man that David Cameron, or whoever the supposed puppet-master is, would entrust with a sensitive cover-up. On this performance he wouldn't entrust him with calling a taxi.
Progress Report - 03.05.2012
Our commercial & cultural desk writes: Meanwhile we report highly satisfactory progress in the gradual collapse of the Bureau's enemy – the late twentieth century UK press, which embarked on its death ride in May 2007. Not the token villains like Murdoch but the journalists who write the lies voluntarily for loadsamoney. There are fewer of them now and their numbers continue to decline in a most comforting manner. Their earnings are frozen. They are being made redundant on a regular basis. Those remaining are concerned for their careers. Hooray! News Corp, which included so many of these liars, is finished in the UK and the Times will be sold. A significant number of the journalists who wrote the anti-Portuguese, indeed essentially anti-human, filth of 2007 are now on bail and some of them will go to prison. Lovely Lori Campbell, who can smell an abductor or other criminal at fifty yards, now has to wear a clothes peg on her nose when she dines with her partner. The shrew-faced harridan Rebekah Brooks, responsible for the death of an innocent man when she triggered anti-paedophile riots* and set the moral tone for the last act of that press Gotterdammerung faces ruin and humiliation. Good. Very good indeed. May they suffer the consequences of their own actions. Utopia never comes but progress does. Our television critic writes: It was pleasing to note that Panorama's neutral free publicity for Goncalo Amaral's book, which included for the very first time in the UK overground media the actual allegations made by that officer, has led to several of the national papers repeating the charges almost word for word, free now from the threat of libel action. Factual background always helps.
Could the Bureau make a suggestion though? Whenever the BBC next uses those beloved words "Mr Amaral has made £300,000 from the McCann affair" they follow up with, "that's slightly more than the £250,000 earned by Clarence "Coffin Face" Mitchell (plus perks)". *The subsequent riots provoked by this disgusting creature, involving house burnings, threats to kill and random beatings-up are on record, as was the death of 54 year old James White, a man of previous good character who had admitted indecently assaulting two girls some ten years before . After he and his wife were driven from their home by the rioters he spent a week on the run before killing himself. "He had been literally scared to death," said his solicitor who accused the News of the World of creating a climate of hysteria in which vigilantes took the law into their own hands.
The strangled feelings we endured in 2007, the sensation of trying to shout against a tsunami, when we knew there was something amiss with all the public reporting and noise, are gone. To anyone with a sense of proportion the current outpourings of the Lazzeri spaghetti-stall school are simply comical and we can sit back and laugh, knowing that they have no connection with reality and little influence except with the dolts. While there are far fewer journalists now there are far more of us. (If you don't know who "us" are then you don't know the score). The blogs and forums, some good, some bad, provide access to all the factual information on the McCann affair which the poor bloody Stunt Brunts and Smears Keirs aren't even allowed to refer to. Would you buy a second hand story off people like that? Imagine buying a car and asking for the mileage and the dodgy salesman, dark-haired. sweaty-skinned, sharp-suited, resentful-eyed, just like Smears Keir in fact, says, "Sorry, I'm not allowed to discuss that by my employers in case we get sued". Really? "Yes sir, you just have to accept our package".
Meanwhile the investigation in both countries goes on, undamaged by the frivolous trash written last week, undamaged even by the appearance on our public stage of a new and richly comic figure in the shape of Andy Redwood. Mr Redwood looks as if he has just been evicted from his agricultural tied cottage on the Worzalthisthen Gummeridge Estate and discusses the case as if it concerned the disappearance of a Miss Baa-Baa-Blacksheep. But even under him, or perhaps, sorry Andy, his successor, the inquiry is safe and its course foreordained: eventually, and with whatever reluctance, it will, as we've always said, have to home in on the only 9 real leads that exist, after the other 186 are discarded. Amid all this high comedy, noise and mayhem we have the parents, who suffered the loss of their daughter and who rarely laugh, at least not when in the studios. Their situation is a genuinely desperate one, for many, many reasons and we should never forget it. Unfortunately they chose to deal with the disappearance of their child by deliberately spurning the police, choosing their own path and enlisting the UK media to do the job instead, thus incorporating the Madeleine McCann Case into the entertainment business and entwining their own fate and reputation with the most untruthful and corrupt institution in modern Britain, the unreformed UK press of 2007. And they are paying the price for that choice.
It won't go away – Part One - 16.05.2012
When the fuss has all died down and the 195 clues have been chucked into the Thames or the Tagus the police of both countries will turn their attention to the Archiving Summary and the section entitled "In the interest of the reconstruction". It is the repeated contention of the McCanns and their allies that the refusal of the couple to attend is a myth. Why, they say, the McCanns were arguidos, there was no question of not returning: their status meant that they had to return. It was only the Tapas 7 who had problems and expressed reservations against going back. When they did so, goes this version, then the police didn't bother to insist on the parents returning since there was no point unless all nine were present.
Le procureur de la république avait été clair, trop clair : ou vous revenez tous, ou la reconstitution ne pourra avoir lieu. Il était donc tentant qu'au moins quelques-uns se dérobent.
We can leave aside the obvious sophistry of this claim and the way it ignores the fact that the parents had already spent tens of thousands on lawyers with the aim of thwarting the requirement to return, and the unrealistic supposition that the attitudes and decisions of the Seven and the Two would not interact with each other. We can ignore it and go straight to the evidence rather than the alibis. The McCanns and their supporters aren't keen on that, which is why they were so keen to sink the famous Gerry blog and other audit-trail footprints into oblivion. They aren't keen on it because this meretricious version was invented with one eye on the future when there might be other investigations. Which is now. For during the coming months police investigators can hardly avoid asking, what do the actions of the parents in regard to a reconstruction at that time tell us about them? If they were always going to return, OK, but if, after having stated repeatedly that they and their seven friends wanted to go back and help and would do so whenever asked, they actually stalled and refused under various excuses, then that was a quite different matter. And meriting some pretty close attention. Just what were they evading, apart from, as the archiving prosecutor wrote, "the chance to demonstrate their innocence"? And who would ever turn that down? And why? So here we go: we will hear the parents and the Third Man who speaks for the three of them, Clarence Mitchell, in their own words. No leaks, no anonymous feeds, just public verbatim statements. And we can compare what they say they were going to do with what they actually did.
Far from being any sort of myth, the evidence shows a clear pattern of events. From September 2007 until the turn of the year the Three maintained effusively that they and the friends wanted to co-operate in any reconstruction requested by the police. And they knew perfectly well, from the police and their own lawyers, what an official investigative reconstruction, as codified in Portuguese law, involved. After January, however, the idea of the reconstruction began to change into reality. The Portuguese saw both it and the prior rogatory UK interviews as a unity: the McCanns were not involved in the latter because their arguido status gave them the right to silence but the seven friends would be intensively questioned about what they did on the night of the disappearance. And then a reconstruction – which arguido status did not exempt the couple from – would test the credibility, even possibility, of all nine's supposed actions on May 3. In April the parents were given until the end of the month to come to a decision on participating. Their tone changed and the excuses began. In the last few days before the deadline expired the couple made it clear publicly but sotto voce that they would not go. Most of the Seven also declined although until their interviews were leaked – how very unhelpful for them – their refusals were kept strictly secret. But we are not concerned with them here. With those decisions the reconstruction was out and the investigation was effectively at an end. Those who find evidence tedious can simply accept this summary although, then, of course, they won't know,yet again, whether they are being fibbed to.
It won't go away - Part Two - 16.05.2012
Throughout the summer and autumn of 2007 The Three, that is the McCanns and the spokesman who retailed their views, maintained time and again that they wanted to go back and help with an officially mooted police reconstruction of May 3. From November onwards the idea of such a reconstruction, the format of which was fixed and which, of course, had nothing to do with Crimewatch – type badly acted re-creations, began to turn into reality. In April the McCanns were informed that there was an end of the month deadline for their decision and at that point the tenor of the Three's public statements began to change. As late as January 2008, however, they were still repeating their four month old mantra of full-hearted support for the Portuguese investigation.
Clarence Mitchell, December 5 2007:
If Kate and Gerry, or indeed any of their friends, are required to go back to Portugal they will be more than happy to comply. They will do anything necessary if it helps them move on and be eliminated as suspects.Clarence Mitchell, December 13:
We are well aware of what the papers are saying but we have heard nothing official from the Portuguese police. If it does happen, no-one has anything to hide and they will happily tell the police what they want to hear over timings and anything else they are not sure about.Clarence Mitchell, January 4 2008:
Kate and Gerry, and their friends particularly, are very keen to talk to the Portuguese police again because they want to be able to clarify any inconsistencies to do with the timeline of events on May 3, or whenever the police put forward.Clarence Mitchell, January 29:
For some months now we have actively offered to assist this process, to get it underway as soon as possible. Kate and Gerry's friends are keen that it should happen soon and want any bureaucracy - whether it's in Portugal or England - to be cleared quickly. Any inconsistencies the police believe exist in their evidence can be cleared up very quickly and then we hope Kate and Gerry's names will be cleared. As far as we are concerned this cannot happen soon enough.There followed a lengthy period of relative silence while the groundwork was being laid for the UK rogatory interviews in early April. The Portuguese saw the reconstruction and the interviews as a unity: the Tapas 7 could have their full say and then the reconstruction would test their considered versions. The reconstruction was therefore suddenly becoming a reality rather than a possibility and the McCanns had until the end of the month at the latest to inform the Portuguese of their intentions – so it was now time for the parents to put their "keenness" to co-operate with such an exercise into action. On April 7 the PJ arrived in the UK for the interviews.
Clarence Mitchell, April 4:
Kate and Gerry are currently deciding whether to return to Portugal. [again, clearly demonstrating that they had a choice]. It is being discussed. Going to Portugal would send out the strongest possible message that Madeleine could still be alive and the search for her should continue. The family feel the focus should be on finding Madeleine. Next week's interviews will help in gauging the police attitude. In an ideal world they would not be arguidos and their lawyers have always warned them not to return while they have that status.
Clarence Mitchell had let the cat out of the bag, hadn't he? And two days later he explicitly confirmed that under legal advice they were not going back to Portugal until they were no longer arguidos, even though all the reasons and reservations they were to come up as their "reasons" hadn't arisen yet!
Clarence Mitchell, April 6:
If they returned now to Portugal it would be a distraction and would put pressure on police. Their lawyers would block it anyway. But once their arguido status has been lifted, they will feel differently.And a day after that they began to spin in the new direction. What had happened to the repeated promises to participate with enthusiasm? After being quoted anonymously as saying that Kate McCann might be too traumatised to take part in a reconstruction Mitchell made another statement. He put forward the complete invention that a PJ reconstruction, an official measure of the Portuguese criminal code, its status and format fixed and known, a part of the investigative process and not for public consumption, was actually a televised Crimewatch episode.
Clarence Mitchell, April 8:
There are loads of questions still to be addressed such as whether the twins, Sean and Amelie, will be required and what the actual re-enactment will be used for. No-one knows whether it will be done behind closed doors or whether it will be a Crimewatch-style reconstruction used to try and generate new leads. All these types of things need to be ironed out before a decision is made. [But, as you have just seen, the lawyers had already made the decision].And then in an another interview at the same he and the parents made their second invention of the week. That the idea of the reconstruction was not part of the Portuguese penal code at all – but a suggestion of the McCanns!
Gerry and Kate suggested months ago that a reconstruction [here the three deliberately conflate the idea of a television appeal with the Portuguese penal code provision] should take place but were told by the police that they didn't do it. We want to be sure that no confusion or contradiction comes out of this [!] and that it doesn't in any way make matters worse. They are happy to assist the police in anything that might help them generate new leads but there are genuine considerations to be discussed.And now Kate appears to have had one of her convenient mental collapses.
Kate is upset. There's been no sense of concern for her feelings or the anguish it will cause her. On an emotional level she is not sure she can go through with it. The family will consider it. If it's felt that there's a chance of it helping to find Madeleine then, of course, they will do it. But given it is a year on, you have to wonder about the value of it." [Again, free to choose, and in the process of choosing, not compelled]Clarence Mitchell:
However, Kate and Gerry would very much welcome a Crimewatch-style reconstruction which is properly broadcast for millions of people to see and could generate important new leads and fresh information. It's untrue to say that Kate and Gerry have been called back or summoned back. Their lawyers are very much continuing discussions with the Portuguese police and if any such decision is taken to take part, an announcement will be made at the appropriate time.So yet again he is confirming that their presence was a matter for decision by them and their lawyer team, not the Portuguese. And, with the deadline for telling the Portuguese of their decision only days away, Gerry finally came in to speak himself on the BBC.
Gerry McCann, April 24:
We want to work with the Portuguese authorities, we have co-operated with them since day one and we have been completely open and transparent. We've told them every single bit of information that we have had at our disposal and answered all their questions, so of course we can see a scenario by which we continue to work with them.Fine. But near the end of the programme the interviewer asked him if going back to Portugal for the reconstruction was "risky", given that they might be still be charged with child neglect.
Well we talked about this early on. We were given legal advice that what we did was well within the bounds of reasonable parenting and of course, at the time, we thought what we did was perfectly reasonable. However hindsight has proven that we made a mistake. Clearly we would never leave the children again. We are paying more for that than anyone could possibly ever imagine, but, you know, clearly I think such a charge one has to ask why are people talking about that now when we’re almost a year down the line and Madeleine hasn't been found? They have no more information now than was available to them on the 4th of May, so why are we talking about such a charge now?Did you get all that? He was asked the simple question "was it 'risky' to return to Portugal now?" Yes or no? Where's his answer in all that self-serving junk? Why isn't it there? The answer is missing from the transcript. Readers may wonder – although the reason is really obvious given the terms that the pair and their lawyers impose on their interviewers – why that is so and why music is played instead. After the music ends the interviewer seems to have been in no doubt that he had replied and what the answer to his question was.
Interviewer: So the McCann's continue to campaign and to travel, but for now Portugal remains off limits. The crime of 'abandoning' children carries a jail term of up to 5 years, and the couple simply won't risk another confrontation with the police." The McCanns were given a transcript of the programme before it was broadcast.
It won't go away Part Three - 16.05.2012
So the decision had been taken, just under a week before the Portuguese deadline was up; clearly it had not been dependent on any decisions the Tapas 7 had taken. Since it was the first Madeleine Memorial Birthday Carnival & Jamboree the two dozen or so interviews that the pair gave that week concentrated on the gooey stuff, not the highly significant decision they had taken, which – surprise, surprise – was drowned out by the noise. It remained for Mitchell to try and package the whole affair up on behalf of all three of them, insert the alibi about it being the T7's decision and not the parents', since the latter had no choice, and hope that it would all be forgotten. Bad luck, Clarence! On May 9 he was interviewed in Ireland in front of an audience and was given a most helpfully phrased take-off point for discussion of the reconstruction by a production team and interviewer with rather odd standards of background research. Just what Clarence wanted, in fact.
Mitchell's Irish interviewer - Note the limited neural area. That's why Mitchell was there.
Interviewer : Now, the.. the last err, thing is quite amazing. It's an astonishing development in the sense that it's about a cancellation of a reconstruction of what happened on that night. Wh... the reconstruction wasn't going to be televised, so what was the point of it?"
Clarence Mitchell : [Having, of course, had Portuguese investigative reconstructions explained to him in detail by the couple's lawyers for months but apparently totally ignorant of them now] Well, that's exactly the question that Gerry, Kate and their friends were asking. Err, there were a whole host of reasons that they had very strong concerns about what this would actually achieve, what they've all said consistently and continue to do so, will do anything to help find Madeleine.
And then, sounding rather like Aunty Phil, as he often does on the rare occasions he speaks extempore, he gave the compelling reasons that had somehow overridden those months of promises to return and co-operate. Note again how an official action under the penal code had somehow been turned into a kind of showbiz "proposal" with no investigative or legal basis.
Clarence Mitchell : This particular proposal, the way it was phrased and the way it was being put forward, then [sic] felt not in any shape or form help to find her. [no, we don't know what the twat meant by that either.] As you say, it wouldn't have been televised, there would be no new leads coming in... Err, why, what good would it have done well over a year after the event. Erm, nobody seemed to have given any consideration to Kate's mental well being. You know, was she expected to see a child playing Madeleine in front of her? All sorts of other questions.
Interviewer : Now, they, they were going to use erm, the McCann's and the people who were there actually that night rather than actors.
Clarence Mitchell : Well exactly, and how many reconstructions have you heard of, erm, in Ireland, Britain, or anywhere else, where the original people involved in a case, actually take part. It is virtually unheard of. And so again, that made us, made our Lawyers wonder what, you know, what is going on here? And on top of that the Portuguese as a norm, do not do reconstructions.
Finally, the new line emerged in all its glory, the one the supporters have fallen for ever since, that – despite all the evidence you have read above that the McCanns were not going back come what may – the parents couldn't refuse because they were helpless law-abiding arguidos but the Tapas 7 were free to choose and unfortunately…
Anyway, read, and treasure this climatic example of Mitchell-junk at its uncomplicated worst.
Clarence Mitchell : Last year, just after Madeleine was taken, BBC Crimewatch [ah, not Gerry or Kate then] proposed just such a reconstruction with actors, and the police said no, no, we don't do that here, we don't do reconstructions. And yet suddenly they turn round over a year later to say we will do one on our terms. And, erm, you know, there was some debate within the group. Now Gerry and Kate, as arguidos, as... as suspects, err, I... [remembers his lines] would have had to go back if they were forced back, legally to go. There was no question of them saying 'no we couldn't go'. But the friends are not, erm, suspected of anything, or not involved directly in that sense, err, that degree. And as a result they have freedom of choice. And they discussed it themselves at length, and decided to let the police know that no, thank you for this offer on this occasion, but we don't feel it would be helpful. An... and that's what happened and the Police made it clear as well, they wanted everybody or it wouldn't happen. And as soon as one or two of the friends said no, then it simply, erm, fell away. And... "
Yes Clarence. Yes, Kate & Gerry.
Lest we forget... 18.05.2012
It won't make the Bureau popular but before we all start getting hung up on a version of events going, more or less, the Sun and the News of the World, both owned by Murdoch, immediately "adopted" the McCanns – for whatever reason – and set in train the crazily uncritical media support that drowned out factual analysis of the case, we need to pause. However attractive such an Answer To It All may be we could be kidding ourselves. The Bureau has always contrasted the performance of the "overground" media in the case with that of the Internet where, we felt, among the clamour of different voices it was possible to read another side of the story. That, certainly, was not the case on the overground: while readers' comments carried some telling criticisms there was the well known similarity of view about almost all the writing and television reportage of the case. At least, that was so in late June/July 2007 when the original Bureau first took an interest in the case and neutral sites such as the Mirror forum provided an invaluable research tool for those interested in the affair. But what about before that? We know that the overground had gone slightly mad from about two days after the disappearance onwards. What was the Net, which wasn't under the control of anyone, doing then to keep it honest? Well let's have a look with someone who knows, Emma Brockes of the London Guardian, writing on May 19 2007. Here are some excerpts from an article we hadn't seen before.
"...if you went online yesterday, seeking an outlet for your sympathy, you would have been confronted by a confusing and in some quarters horrifying array of options… dozens of sites and subsites that have sprung up in the last fortnight - findmaddie.com, help_find_madeleine_mccann.com, givemaddieback.com ...of such breadth and randomness that by yesterday morning, the appeal set up by the McCann family... was forced to identify itself as The Official Website".
"There are 90 different Madeleine-related groups on Facebook alone, circulating her photo to user communities of between six and 76,000 members...the official website has registered 60m hits and posters of her have been seen in campsites as far away as Bulgaria, translated into local languages via appeals put out by bloggers..."
"When...Sarah Payne and James Bulger disappeared, there weren't the online communities available to power this kind of grassroots response, and for that response to have a knock-on effect in loftier quarters. But that doesn't quite explain the tone of the outpourings...homemade video tributes to Madeleine, posted on YouTube to soundtracks by Christina Aguilera and N Sync, and indistinguishable in tone and relish from the regular pop-star fan tributes...mutterings that this is a post-Diana thing...but much of the response seemed to have more to do with the News of the World's erstwhile anti-paedophile campaign, and the general hysteria that governs "right" versus "wrong" parenting.
"On the parenting websites, so riven along sectarian lines, here at least was something everyone could get solidly behind...No wonder the stampede to share the McCanns' pain has been so thunderous - although before the family's impeccable credentials became clear, one imagines there was a conflict in some tabloid newsrooms over Parents who left their kids alone while they had dinner, versus Evil Paedophile Under the Bed, he's coming for your kids next."
[Full article reproduced below]
Not much about the Net being full of "haters", is there?
In fact it seems that there was much more pro-McCann bedlam on the Net early on, both in word-count and in readership ("60 million hits") than there was in the wicked overground media! And if you check the EMM news explorer site you will see that the really hefty propaganda for the McCanns on the overground hadn't yet begun: the outpourings on the Net were not triggered by Rebekah Brooks-type manipulation but based on the reasonably factual early agency reports and, most significantly, the claims, exhaustively described in the Cracked Mirror, of the parents themselves using their Team amplifiers.
The Bureau has always described the affair as a "psychological" phenomenon. That means roughly – because of course we're still learning – that the answer to the mystery underlying the Madeleine McCann Affair – as against the mystery of the child's fate itself – lies in the much deeper mystery of the way ordinary people perceive and behave. In this case that means the way that the great majority of the public reacted to the news that they read and accepted at the beginning, and not in any Sheepgate machinations of individuals, be they Brooks, Brown, Mitchell or Murdoch, all of whom, it now appears, were following that public mood, not creating it. As we've suggested before, however unpalatable it is to accept, nobody but the people created the invulnerability of the McCanns, just as nobody but the people created the flower-strewn martyrdom of Princess Diana. As in that sad case a large section of the British public – including editors and ministers, who are human beings as well – spontaneously poured out immeasurable torrents of emotion, or some as-yet-unidentified variant of emotion, onto the couple, and instead of scattering flowers, they followed up by hurling trunk-loads of money that the parents – Oh horrible irony – have used against us ever since. As things stand the broader situation is now extremely hopeful: the interrupted investigation has finally resumed and the absurd media birthday jamboree is unlikely to have had the slightest effect on police activity, despite Redwood's inexperience with the media and Third Man Mitchell's rather tired gimmicks. In tandem we are watching the gradual destruction of the UK media players who, though they didn't initiate the lies – the McCanns and their Woolfall-taught team did that – treated us as mere counters in the various Great Games they were playing at our expense. Even the Portuguese, with more excuse than most to fear a whitewash, must have had some of their fears alleviated recently as the legal system has ground on, slowly but finely. But if we're really interested in where the truth lies we should surely be cautious in pinning the blame for the origins of the affair on such easy targets as M/S Brooks or her senile employer. Time has brought the shadowy Master Manipulators of the Universe, one by one, starting with Gordon Brown, into the light, revealing them – disappointingly? – as rich but otherwise very ordinary people without the power to protect even their own reputations, let alone those of others. The Bureau could, of course, be completely wrong but we still think it does no harm to consider the role of the British public – Us – in making the McCanns so invulnerable.
Temporarily. Article referenced above:
In chatrooms and message boards, Madeleine hysteria grips the world The Guardian
Saturday 19 May 2007 17.42 BST
The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Tuesday May 22 2007
Phil McCann is the aunt of missing Madeleine and not, as we said in the article below, her uncle. This has been corrected.
If you logged on to your computer yesterday, you may have received an email that looked, at first, like spam. Forwarded many times and with crazy punctuation, it may have carried a preliminary message along the lines of "please help us!!!!!!!", before scrolling down to the original email: a sober address from Phil McCann, aunt of Madeleine, the missing four-year-old, asking for your assistance.
Madeleine McCann has been missing for over two weeks and responding to her plight doesn't rely on being able to do anything about it. But if you went online yesterday, seeking an outlet for your sympathy, you would have been confronted by a confusing and in some quarters horrifying array of options. The dozens of sites and subsites that have sprung up in the last fortnight - findmaddie.com, help_find_madeleine_mccann.com, givemaddieback.com, hopeformaddy.com and the misspelt findmadeline.com - were of such breadth and randomness that by yesterday morning, the appeal set up by the McCann family, ww.bringmadeleinehome.com, was forced to identify itself as The Official Website To Find Madeleine McCann. It is noticeable that, bar in the context of an abbreviated text message, nowhere on the site is she referred to as "Maddie".
In these days of mass media sophistication, no one needs it explaining to them that where a child who gets kidnapped is news, a pretty child who gets kidnapped is headline news and a pretty child who gets kidnapped and whose parents save lives for a living and go to church is rolling news. Even so, in the days since she disappeared, the Madeleine campaign has, for scale of involvement, outdone anything we've seen before. There are 90 different Madeleine-related groups on Facebook alone, circulating her photo to user communities of between six and 76,000 members. The official website has registered 60m hits and posters of her have been seen in campsites as far away as Bulgaria, translated into local languages via appeals put out by bloggers. At least four premiership football stars have made TV appeals and there is reward money on offer totalling some £2.5m.
It was the point at which big business started to get involved, however - BAA, the British airports operator, is carrying the "help find Madeleine" message on its website - and yellow ribbons began appearing on all benches in the House of Commons, that people started to feel a little uneasy. While the BBC flew out Huw Edwards to look apocalyptic, live from Praia Da Luz, people started to ask how much of this was actually helping, and why people were doing it.
Partly, it is a function of resources: when Holly and Jessica, Sarah Payne and James Bulger disappeared, there weren't the online communities available to power this kind of grassroots response, and for that response to have a knock-on effect in loftier quarters. But that doesn't quite explain the tone of the outpourings. Some MPs privately voiced concerns about the bandwagon aspect of wearing yellow ribbons last week, but more offensive were the homemade video tributes to Madeleine, posted on YouTube to soundtracks by Christina Aguilera and N Sync, and indistinguishable in tone and relish from the regular pop-star fan tributes.
There have been mutterings that this is a post-Diana thing. But much of the response seemed to have more to do with the News of the World's erstwhile anti-paedophile campaign, and the general hysteria that governs "right" versus "wrong" parenting. On the parenting websites, so riven along sectarian lines, here at least was something everyone could get solidly behind.
No wonder the stampede to share the McCanns' pain has been so thunderous - although before the family's impeccable credentials became clear, one imagines there was a conflict in some tabloid newsrooms over Parents who left their kids alone while they had dinner, versus Evil Paedophile Under the Bed, he's coming for your kids next.
The most unsettling aspect of the case has been the juxtaposition of hysterical language with huge pictures of the child, redolent of the Onion's spoof front page after 9/11 - "holy fucking shit!" read the headline, across the blazing towers - which satirised the undisguised relish of much of the coverage.
Of course, at root, people only want to help. But their exaggerated responses look from some angles like self-gratification. "Help us," wrote one group of people who had never met the McCanns, to another group equally remote from them. "Missing for two weeks now please forward to anyone abroad - she may be as far away as Bolivia or Colombia or the USA," wrote someone else, hyperbolically, and lots of people pondered and responded to the indefensible posting "imagine what she's feeling?" And everywhere reproduced the picture of Madeleine's unusual right eye, in close-up, presented as a helpful distinguishing mark.
This is not how it came across, however. At this stage, we are so absurdly far removed from the point of the exercise that it is is only a matter of time before someone superimposes a big cartoon tear beneath it and, appealing for further help in a world that doesn't exist, posts it on Second Life.
You'll get there boys, you'll get there - 02.06.2012
To repeat: it doesn’t matter whether it’s three months, six months or six years, le temps ne fait rien à l'affaire, Scotland Yard will not uncover anything about the child’s whereabouts, dead or alive, as long as they concentrate on looking outwards and away from Praia da Luz, a prediction of which we will remind our readers on September 1 and December 1 this year. Only when, however reluctantly, they focus where the presumptuous Bureau has told them they will eventually have to – the people around the child on the evening of May 3 – will they have any prospect of success. But the cheeky little Bureau is not actually alone since our view, believe it or not, is based largely on that bible of the McCanns and their supporters, the all-exonerating Portuguese prosecutors’ archiving summary. As we know, the parents, their supporters and their libel lawyers love this document, particularly its conclusion. Pourquoi lire autre chose que la conclusion ? And it is, as they say, the definitive statement of the progress and content of the investigation, one that anyone professionally concerned with the case, Scotland Yard included, have to take on board. There, waiting for the Yard and any future Anglo-Portuguese investigative team, is this 57 page summary stating exactly where the investigation had got to by the summer of 2008 and all the lines of future inquiry which are incomplete and remain open until the shelved inquiry is resumed. Most of them are in the section on the reconstruction. The list is below.
The relevant parts of the summary for each area are cited briefly at the end of the list. Since the best English translation does not have page numbers, and since the Bureau research staff are not going to count line numbers – life is short, after all, even for McCann obsessives –the beginnings of the relevant passages are cited so that readers can find for themselves the references. The slightly cumbersome English translation and the way Menezes has structured the document conceal the full impact of what he is actually saying but when we list out what is being suggested it is quite an eye-opener.
These footnotes, with the same numbers as the points they refer to, can, as usual, be ignored by those with a low boredom threshold. There are, however, a number of important points made alongside the citations.
The most significant of these are fully explored there but here is a summary: All of the areas highlighted by the police and the prosecutors as incomplete and requiring further investigation are listed here. Some of them are relatively quick or easy to answer, given the availability and willingness of witnesses, but some require very considerable resources to explore in depth (points 1, 2 , 8 and 10, for example). Given the rate at which Andy’s Army works they need to start allocating resources soon, otherwise we’ll all be dead by the time their successors report. Every single one of the areas in the Madeleine McCann case requiring further investigation and amplification, without exception, involve the McCanns and their friends. There is not a single suggested lead that involves anyone else. This stark fact has been muffled for the past four years since the prosecutors, mainly Menezes, appear to have taken steps – quite fairly, given the circumstances – to mitigate its impact. Those steps, which unlike the list itself, involve a measure of (persuasive) speculation by us, are described in the footnotes.
This is what is being suggested :
- The establishment of the exact sequence of events involving the nine witnesses and the child between 6.45/7PM and 10 PM on May 3.
- Further investigation to concentrate in particular on the “checking timeline” on May 3, given that the existing statements of the group appear to leave very little time for any abduction to take place.
- Investigation of the reasons for the “checking routine” being altered, according to the statements of the nine, on May 3 compared with previous days.
- Establishing the precise extent of visibility of apartment 5a from the Tapas restaurant, taking into account the then obstructions to vision from the Nine’s table, to assess the extent of supervision of the apartment by the group. (And, conversely, the question of Kate McCann’s view of the group from the apartment and how feasible it was for her to call for help without leaving that apartment at 10PM). Cela principalement, l'extension de l'audibilité, outre celle de la visibilité !
- The need for practical examination (by reconstruction) of the Tanner, Gerry McCann and Wilkins encounter near the apartment, their relative positions and the distances between them. Close examination/reconstruction to establish exactly what Jane Tanner saw or could have seen.
- The reconciliation of the position in which the child was seen by Tanner a few yards from the apartment (horizontal) with the position the child would have had to be in for both she and the abductor to get out of the bedroom window (vertical).
- Close investigation of the possible causation of the sudden draught which slammed the door of the children’s bedroom at 10PM in apartment 5A. La possibilité physique d'un élément qui n'était pas dans la première version des MC (tout ouvert)
- Questioning of Kate McCann to establish the exact reasons why she left the other two children alone after discovering that her daughter was missing. Au lieu de hurler du balcon "help, somebody help !"
- Investigation of the reasons for the twins’ failure to wake up despite the extreme disruption and noise levels in the apartment after the disappearance.
- Examination of the exact motives for the Tapas 7 declining to take part in the original mooted reconstruction.
Footnotes and boring detail
1.“What happened during the time lapse between approximately 6.45/7 p.m.…”
En passant, note the difference between the wording of this paragraph in the summary and that in the PJ report and the implications for the credibility of David Payne – unless, of course, you regard it as a simple correction by the prosecutors of a PJ error. Is that likely? It’s not a mere correction but an entirely different statement, removing all questions about the period from 5.30 to 6.45. No doubt there were good reasons for the change but Mr Menezes and his colleague remain silent about them.
2. “The establishment of a timeline and of a line of effective checking on the minors that were left alone in the apartments, given that…”
3. “…which leaves unexplained why, on that night, the procedures were altered in the sense of reducing the checking intervals.”
4. “…although Matthew Oldfield refers  that from the restaurant table there was very tenuous visibility, taking into account…”
5. “The physical, real and effective proximity between Jane Tanner, Gerald McCann and Jeremy Wilkins, at the moment when…”
6. “The obvious and well-known advantages of immediate appreciation of evidence, or in other words… “
Note the end of the paragraph below that makes clear that doubts remain about the “innocence” of the parents which further investigation might, at last, allay. Note also the refutation of McCann supporters’ absurd attempt to discount the same doubts expressed by the assistant chief constable of Leicestershire and quoted, rather foolishly, on page 316 of “Madeleine”: “While one or both of them may be innocent, there is no clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.” The attempted refutation claims that the ACC’s formal statement for the High Court in which this point was made predates the release of the archiving summary and is thus rendered “inoperative” by the latter’s removal of all doubts. But that is patently untrue since “doubts” have not been allayed in the archiving summary but are explicitly mentioned in it here. “…fulfilment of the principle of contiguity of evidence in order to form a conviction, as firm as possible, about what was seen by Jane Tanner and the other interposers, and, eventually, to dismiss once and for all any doubts that may subsist concerning the innocence of the missing child's parents.” And of course there is the more widely known extract from the summary: “ We believe that the main damage was caused to the McCann arguidos, who lost the possibility to prove what they have protested since they were constituted arguidos: their innocence towards the fateful event.”
Clearly such “dismissal of doubts” lies in the future once these matters in question have been fully investigated, so the ACC’s statement stands: UK police and Portuguese police and prosecutors are in agreement as to the Nine’s status at the shelving and that status remains exactly the same today.
7. “…It is added that the supposed abductor could only pass, through that window, holding the minor in a different position (vertical) from the one that witness JANE TANNER saw (horizontal).”
8. “…to clarify if there was a draught, since movement of the curtains and pressure under the bedroom door are mentioned, which, eventually, could be verified through the reconstitution.”
Facile à reconstituer avec de simples policiers.
9. “…Kate, after noticing that the bedroom's window and shutters were open and Madeleine was missing, headed for the Tapas Restaurant asking for help…”and “ …it is incomprehensible, or only comprehensible in a state of panic, that she once again abandoned, this time only the twins, while the Tapas was close enough to shout for help…” Surtout dans le silence des nuits de PDL !
10. “Finally, the fact that, despite all that confusion and all that noise, the twins continued to sleep, as mentioned by GNR Officer José Maria Baptista Roque…”
11. “Nevertheless, despite national authorities assuming all measures to render their trip to Portugal viable, for unknown motives, after the many doubts that they raised about the necessity and opportunity of their trip were clarified several times…”
Two points may be added. In Mr Menezes’well-known and resounding peroration towards the end of the summary we have a sentence which can be taken as rhetorical or as a possible invitation, though one of much less strength than those above, which is why it was not included in the list:
Even if, hypothetically, one could admit that Gerald and Kate McCann might be responsible over the child's death, it would still have to be explained how, where through, when, with what means, with the help of whom and where to they freed themselves of her body within the restricted time frame that would have been available to them to do so.No problem – if the Yard want to know exactly what he was suggesting, if anything, they just have to pick up the phone and ask him.
The second point is one of emphasis. Supporters of the McCanns have been able to point out that Menezes’ peroration is virtually the end and climax of the report – if, that is, one ignores his barely comprehensible, and no doubt greatly regretted, hot-air references to Durrenmat et al. The inference to be drawn from the supporters’ statements is that the need-for-a-reconstruction section is buried in the detail of the report and only pulled out of context and high-lighted by nit-picking spoilsports like the Bureau. Now it is quite clear that the eleven areas listed above are all taken from the factual bones of the cases as summarised by the separate PJ final report. It is also clear that if the two reports are closely compared Menezes and his colleague have actually added to and strengthened the areas which remain unexplored. Now as a matter of fact these eleven areas requiring further elucidation share one crucial property: they all involve the Tapas 9. Search the 57 pages of the summary and you will not find a single example of an open question requiring further investigation that doesn’t involve them. Why is this? Why is it that the entire, enormous, investigation has failed to provide a single lead or piece of suggestive evidence for further investigation that doesn’t involve the McCanns and their friends? To take one example to illustrate the point there is not a word about Robert Murat in this context, not a single detail involving him that the PJ or the prosecutors can suggest should be clarified or studied further. And there is not a single unsettled “doubt” about his innocence. Read it for yourselves – nothing about the need for further research into boats in nearby harbours, nothing regarding the possibilities of further study of holidaymakers who left shortly after May 3, nothing about further investigation of Mark Warner staff now overseas and, like the Nine, beyond the immediate reach of the Portuguese authorities. Only the Nine –in a summary that is claimed to exonerate the parents! This is presumably why Menezes made himself something of a laughing stock in judicial circles by bolting on statements of opinion regarding the parents that seemed not only verbose and windy but out of kilter with the rest of the report. The explanation is almost certainly that Menezes wasn’t being dishonestly protective of the parents but realised that their involvement in every single open question that he listed was potentially extremely prejudicial. He appears, therefore, to have softened the blow by stressing the innocence of the parents – and quite right too.
Future investigators and lawyers, the only people who mattered as far as the eleven areas were concerned, would see for themselves what was there, while the general public, who would never read the report, would see nothing prejudicial in its findings. And that, of course, is exactly what happened. The public in the UK, for example, broadly accepted the loudly broadcast claims that the report exonerated the pair but the Lisbon appeal court judges studied the report and came to rather different conclusions. Now it's the Yard's turn. In the same spirit of attempted fairness Menezes did something else. Comparison of the archiving summary with the PJ report of the same length shows that the summary very closely follows the order and content of the latter –with one rather significant exception. The PJ report submitted to the prosecutors has a different conclusion to the archiving summary: as befits the importance that the PJ attached to it, it finishes with the required reconstruction involving the Nine, an ordering that clearly carries its own message; to leave it in that form would, once again, have severe and, in the context of arguido-release, possibly unfair implications for the parents. Menezes takes the entire section from the end of the PJ report – pages 54 to 56 of its 57 pages – and puts it back to page 45 of 58!
Shhhh.... - 20.06.2012
The rather presumptuous call we made during the May insanity for volunteers to report any McCann/Mitchell disguised feeds about the investigation – shall we call it the Media Monitoring Unit, Clarence? – to the Yard certainly hasn't resulted in Andy Redwood's inbox overflowing. Why not? Because in the seven weeks since the asylum gates closed there hasn't been a hint, a breath, a scent, of anything planted by the Team. Snaps of Kate McCann sweating in her skinnies across the UK turf for charity – what a heart the girl has! – have provided light relief, as have the ramblings of the weirdo psychics. But as for the virtual TM family members, those test-tube created substitutes for a lost daughter – "family friend", "source close to the parents", "pal of the parents", who sing like canaries before their keeper, "the McCann's spokesman", sternly corrects them or refuses to comment – not a bleedin' peep. Indeed, to digress for more than a moment, one could wonder about the continued mental health of Mr Mitchell and his clients when one considers this chattering phantom family whizzing around in their heads. Do they mentally picture Mr Family-Friend before he is set in motion to talk to Antonia Lanzarotti? Does dark-robed Gerry McCann disappear into an Alasteir Crowley designed secret, red-curtained, mirror-walled temple dug out of the bowels of the Rothley redbrick to invoke Signor Close-Source and other Golems with his rod? Does Mad Mitchell lock himself in the Burson Marsteller lavatories to ask delightful M/S Parents' Pal what she intends to say to Lori Campbell? Begone such visions. Where were we?
If there's one thing we've learned from Kate McCann's masterpiece – and there are a few phantom friends flitting around in there too, aren't there? – and from their appearances under oath (more please) it is that silence from the Team never indicates inactivity. Only years later, to take one example out of dozens, do we find out that the distraught couple, paralysed by shock and grief, were busily creating a virtual ward of court and setting up the dodgiest private eyes since the days of Mickey Spillane. Only at Leveson are some of the frantic negotiations with the supposedly hated tabloid editors unveiled. And, of course, total silence surrounded Gerry McCann's activities between the twin bookends of airport arrival and departure snapped so avidly by the Team-alerted paparazzi on his visits to Portugal: the loudly announced "bridge building with the Portuguese authorities" – Jesus, how does he keep a straight face while retailing these whoppers? – actually took the form of tying the final knots in the legal net intended to deliberately strangle Goncalo Amaral. Now not only have the dodgy sightings dried up but there aren't even any feeds about the libel case and that disgraced cop who made three hundred grand from a missing child (as against the three million plus which nice K&G can dip into at any time for necessities like jet flights and house purchase). (...)
Hammering away - 21.06.2012
Let’s answer the question indirectly by going back to what the Blacksmith Bureau has been all about since its inception. As we’ve said over and over, we don’t claim to know what happened on May 3 – no theories, no clues and no accusations that the parents were involved in their child’s disappearance, the thesis mentioned on BBC’s Panorama recently. We agree, in a sense, with all those funny little defenders of the McCanns who claim that “nobody” knows what happened that night and the case is a mystery. But we don’t deal primarily with the mysteries of the Madeleine McCann Case but with the evidence of the Madeleine McCann Affair, a quite different, though related, subject in which the child herself plays almost no part and with the parents at the centre, just as Kate McCann’s book Madeleine, a key primary source, has the parents at the centre, beginning and end, with the child consigned to a section of some twenty pages out of 383. Unlike our elusive abductor the parents have been extremely visible, although it is a peculiar sort of visibility in which, as we mentioned yesterday, their prominence on our screens and pages is in sharp contrast to the shadows surrounding almost everything important that they actually do. Nevertheless their recorded words provide primary evidence about them. And that is the rather lengthy answer to the question posed above: there is no getting away from the fact that Kate and Gerry McCann are known and proven liars, utterly comfortable when deceiving, completely capable, as Kate McCann makes clear in her book, of not giving themselves away in public when acting a part. These aren't opinions or criticisms of the parents' characters but statements of fact. In other, happier, circumstances they might matter very little – most of us, after all, have known somebody who lies a lot and after a while we grow used to handling it. “Oh Brian exaggerates a bit,” we say, or “gosh, I don’t think Charlie has as much money as he claims”. And as long as they don’t invite you to get involved in some smashing new financial opportunity, or offer to accompany your husband on an overnight trip to Brighton, the relationship can survive. Again, it is a common accusation that our politicians lie all the time, so the McCanns are nothing special. But politicians don’t, not, at least, in the way the McCanns lie. What they do, and have to do, is avoid answering some questions, in other words, be “economical with the truth”. If they are caught out in provable porkies, rather than evasions, they’re on the way out. The McCanns’ lack of truthfulness is not on this trivial, evasive level, as the Portugal visit and Madeleine, demonstrate. On page 206 of the latter we read of a situation which the couple decided to deal with by, as she admits, lying. Even if the situation had been serious they could have been evasive and postponed their planned Huelva meeting with journalists with apologies or with circumlocutions avoiding an outright lie. Kate McCann is such a liar that the idea of doing the latter appears never to have occurred to her! The pair of them felt, she tells us, that if the journalists found out that the police were coming to their home at 10AM it would be some sort of serious disaster, implying, of course, that a lie might be justifiable. But was this a potential disaster that might justify such fibs? Or was it simply the McCanns' normal way of handling threatening situations? With the clever disingenuousness sournois which characterises so much of her book she avoids giving us any answer. Why?
“We didn’t feel good about this at all,” she writes, in a paragraph which should be carefully compared with paragraph 2 and the one sentence paragraph 3 on page 243 to see how she works. “We didn’t feel good about this at all, but even if the judicial secrecy law had not prevented us from giving the main reason [come, come, Kate], can you imagine what would have happened if we’d announced to the journalists heading for Huelva that the police were coming to do some forensic work in our villa?” Well no, the Bureau can’t imagine it,really can't, and we don’t have the facts to help us do so. The rhetorical question is a device – she has simply hidden the motivation for their behaviour by addressing the reader directly and leaving us to provide the answers ourselves – exculpatory if you’re a McCann supporter, otherwise if you’re not. Cute, eh?
Now, back to Gerry McCann and the January 13/14 Portugal affair, with the usual warnings that we’re going to quote primary source evidence at some length and if the old concentration span can’t take it, please skip. Gerry McCann made his arrival in Portugal a well-planned major media event. His team released his arrival date in advance, together with steers that it was worth covering: as a result the cameras were waiting for him when he arrived at the airport and journalists from both countries were gathered to conduct their interviews, subject: why I am in Portugal. The words can all be found, verbatim, on the McCann Files, as can his television interview. He was there, he said, to discuss with his advisers “what can still be done in the on-going search for Madeleine.”
What we're really here to discuss is, errr... how we can work with the authorities to explore areas where other things can still be done that... that might make a difference and I think, errr... you know, this is the first visit that I'm here in, errr... Portugal but I expect it will be the first of, you know, several over the next few months.“Q: Do you plan to cooperate with the Portuguese authorities?
GM: Of course. The purpose of this visit was to, errr... really look at what can still be done in the search, we want to be, you know, looking positively, not backwards - looking forwards. 'Cause, you know, we want to find our daughter. It's pretty simple really."In an exclusive interview to the Portuguese News agency Lusa, Gerry McCann stated that he has no intention, at least for now, to promote any process against the Portuguese state or any other entity, namely media outlets, highlighting the fact that the important thing is to forget the past and try to keep searching for his missing daughter. He assured journalists that it is the first of many visits to set up new operations in the search for his daughter.He was asked what he was looking for on this visit.
We are going to analyse if in fact everything was done to find Madeleine [this is in a 24 hour visit]. If the authorities acted correctly. And, more importantly, to find out if there is any lead that we can explore.At the end of the visit “A friend " [in fact one of Clarence Mitchell’s golems]said “Gerry is very pleased with his trip and in future, when the time is right he may well return with Kate, as a couple together.” There we are. Every single word was an outright lie. Thanks Kate ! As Kate McCann so foolishly let slip on page 335 of Madeleine there was one, and only one, reason for Gerry McCann’s trip. She writes:
We had already spoken to our legal team on several occasions about taking action [against Amaral] and knew that the only way of assessing our chances of success would be to seek advice from a Portuguese libel lawyer. We had first talked on the phone to Isabel Duarte on 28 November. She was really understanding and sounded nice. By this point we felt as though we had been condemned by an entire country, so to receive sympathy from someone in Portugal was like stepping into a welcoming warm bath. Six weeks later, [i.e. January 13/14] Gerry went to Lisbon to meet her.He hadn’t come to “discuss things with the Portuguese authorities. He hadn’t “come to see what can still be done in the on-going search for Madeleine.” He didn’t “analyse if in fact everything was done to find Madeleine, if the authorities acted correctly, and, more importantly, to find out if there is any lead that we can explore.”
Watch him lying here: http://www.mccannfiles.com/id107.html
Can you look at that video of McCann lying his head off to a dozen different reporters and be sure that you could tell when he is telling the truth and when he isn’t? We can't. Gerry McCann, like Cliff Richard, who travels to the Algarve unnoticed on a regular basis, could have quietly flown in to Portugal unrecognised ; instead he chose, without any apparent necessity, to lie to the public as a conscious concealment strategy. Like the case of Kate McCann and the Huelva incident we can ask, again, why? Why should a simple consultation with a libel lawyer require secrecy? Why erect such a superstructure of deceit? The only answer to the latter, again, appears to be that it is their normal modus operandi in matters of self-protection. How are we to know what other matters they have concealed? By asking them? And then how will we know if they're being truthful?
And so we come to the crunch: Dr McCann, a demonstrably proven liar, is the last person known to have seen his daughter alive; Gerry McCann and his wife are the only people who claim first-hand knowledge of an abduction; Kate McCann is the only witness who claims that the bedroom window was open at 10PM on May 3. Decency suggests that we should hesitate before disbelieving their versions of the truth, but reality demonstrates that their unsupported words cannot be relied on. And there is, we regret to say, a further factor. The Portuguese archiving dispatch, whose author Menezes had, for obvious reasons, no access to the above proof of repeated lying (yet who still accepted, even then, that they had not told the truth about the “checking”) has this key paragraph justifying his conclusion that they should be released from their arguido status.
The non-involvement of the arguidos, the parents of Madeleine, in any criminal activity seems to result from the objective circumstances of 1) them not being inside the apartment when she disappeared, 2) et 3) from the normal behaviour that they adopted until said disappearance and afterwards, as can be amply concluded from the witness statements, 4) from the telephone communications analysis and also 5) from the forensics’ conclusions, namely the Reports from the FSS and from the National Institute for Legal Medicine.Five reasons. One of them is “the normal behaviour that they adopted until said disappearance and afterwards, as can be amply concluded from the witness statements.” But we've seen the proof that Gerry McCann is a practised and accomplished deceiver, whose manner gives nothing away of his real feelings, as the video link above so clearly illustrates. And the evidence of Kate McCann’s book, previously quoted, and the further evidence on page 122 that she was adept at masking her feelings when necessary, so successful in fact that she was publicly criticised for being “cold “ and “poker faced” while actually in emotional turmoil behind the façade, shows she possesses the same aptitude. Mr Menezes’s sentence, representing some 20% of his justificatory reasons, might have made sense at that time when these facts were unknown. Not now.
Whenever the BB demonstrates facts like these, the supporters of the parents, so verbose at other times, fall strangely silent, or attack the messenger with abuse and, curiously, claim to be "bored", an odd reaction to questions of the establishment of truth or falsity. Unlike their enthusiastic contributions when the evidence is open to opinion, like the angels-dancing-on-a-pinhead interpretations of the dogs' activities, they never have anything to say in actual refutation of the claimed facts we present – and they won't this time. Yes, reading about facts which are uncomfortable to your case but which you are intellectually incapable of challenging could be boring, couldn't it? Anyway, until we see that this key aspect of their behaviour is being evaluated by investigators we’ll just go on hammering away with these facts taken from the pair’s own words – a source which grows larger and more suggestive with every passing year.
Slowly strangling in the web of their own words - 26.06.2012
We note that not a single attempted rebuttal of the last couple of Blacksmith Bureau pieces has appeared anywhere on the net, social or otherwise. Funny that. Here's some more. It seems that many people weren’t aware of the proven, systematic and documented lies and deceptions of the McCanns even though we’ve been setting them out as the examples have mushroomed since 2010. Perhaps too many readers also –and understandably –avoided Kate McCann’s Madeleine and therefore did not realise just what a damming and self-destructive document it is. Madeleine covers the same ground that the McCanns themselves were speaking about at the time, so, we have a split-screen, if you like, of the McCanns in action over the past five years. The contemporaneous words they uttered – directly, not anonymously – are on one side of the screen, made up of their interviews, radio and television appearances and the “blog”. On the other side we have ''Madeleine'', Kate McCann’s own considered words. The result is something like Humpty Dumpty: all the lawyers whose help she acknowledges in producing her book, all the lawyers who ever existed, could never put these differing pieces back together. As we said a few days ago, showing this evidence isn’t about criticising the parents or attacking their personalities, for what point could there be in that? We are not haters and feel little emotion about them, pro or con. Firstly it is a demonstration that the public, the people who first offered their help and who have financed them ever since, have been consistently rewarded with total contempt, treated like mugs, repaid for their generosity of wallet and spirit with lies. Secondly, this pattern of constant deception has a close and direct relevance to the conclusions of the Portuguese prosecution services in their last report before the case was temporarily shelved. There is one general point to be born in mind when looking at further examples of this obsessive deceit. Obviously the McCanns hoped that the claim of “Portuguese secrecy requirements” would cover them. We have dealt with that matter in detail elsewhere and don’t intend to do so again here, except for the stunning example at the end of Part Two. It’s enough to say that the words and evidence of Madeleine, of Lori Campbell and David James Smith and of the relatives of the pair prove that the McCanns fed almost all relevant details of the case to selected individuals right through the investigation.
Bearing this public domain evidence in mind it is astonishing that the McCanns continue to add to the growing manure heap of deception by denying their wholesale breach of the Portuguese requirements and suggesting that they were hopelessly fettered by their observation of them. The latest example was at the Leveson inquiry, where Gerry McCann said under oath:
The point being, which I alluded to earlier, is that we were told in no uncertain terms that if we disclosed anything publicly which we knew to be in the judicial file, i.e. the results which had been shown to us, which we knew were not what was being reported about DNA, then we were threatened with a two-year imprisonment for breaking judicial secrecy, so we were being tried by the media and unable to defend ourselves adequately.Let us return to the conclusion of the Archiving Summary and the four reasons given by the prosecutors justifying their statement that there is no evidence that the parents were involved in any criminal activity.
The non-involvement of the arguidos, the parents of Madeleine, in any criminal activity seems to result from the objective circumstances of them not being inside the apartment when she disappeared, from the normal behaviour that they adopted until said disappearance and afterwards, as can be amply concluded from the witness statements, from the telephone communications analysis and also from the forensics’ conclusions, namely the Reports from the FSS and from the National Institute for Legal Medicine.In summary:
Two of the reasons concern evidence that is indeterminate, that is:
- The forensic results do not exclude traces of Madeleine’s remains being the source of the dog alerts. As the FSS states categorically: “Therefore, we cannot answer the question: is the match genuine or is it a chance match?” They do not confirm any involvement by the McCanns and they do not exclude it. As such there is no evidence to put before a court.
- The telecoms evidence shows no evidence of involvement by the parents in their messages and conversations and none that excludes them, as, for example, in locating them elsewhere. It is indeterminate and as such provides no evidence to put before a court.
The other two reasons are based on an assumption that the parents are people of average emotional control and veracity:
- Reason three is based on their observed behaviour on May 3 showing no signs of shock, turmoil or other emotions that would be expected of average people involved in some critical incident with their own child.
- Reason four depends on the veracity of the parents in describing their actions and whereabouts on May 3.
That is where the investigation remains until it is re-opened. Are those latter two assumptions by the prosecutor Menezes and backed by the Portuguese Attorney-General still valid today in the light of later evidence? How can they be if what the Bureau is producing is true? Could, for example, one of the many libel cases threatened or initiated by the parents coming to trial now in September – and veracity is at the heart of libel trials – really leave this evidence aside and accept the Carter-Ruck view that the Archiving Summary draws a line under the case?
On ne sait pas si Carter-Ruck a quelque chose à voir avec ça. Peut-être ont-ils simplement parié sur le fait que personne ne lirait attentivement l'ordonnance de classement.
The media blitz undertaken by Gerry McCann in late August, just before they were finally made arguidos, is a critical incident in the history of the affair. At that time, remember, Clarence Mitchell had been recalled to London so the pair had to speak directly rather than putting their words out through a third party system of deniability. Times, as we shall see, were desperate and the parents decided to speak despite the risks. It was during the “Edinburgh blitz” that Dr McCann first laid out the version of events that he later brought to the House of Commons and the Leveson Inquiry in easily memorised and perfected form, often using the same sentences word for word. The nub of Gerry McCann’s repeated claims was that the rumours of police attention focusing in the pair were without basis, indeed a mystery to the couple themselves. Dr McCann chose to push his prepared message repeatedly – that as there were no official statements confirming that they were the centre of the investigation, then it was not true. Other suggestions were not just rumours but totally unfounded rumours. On UK national TV on August 25 to Nick Higham:
…largely as a result of the Portuguese police official spokesperson, and that's what I would ask people to look at, what is being said officially: That we are not suspects, that there is no evidence that we are involved in Madeleine's disappearance, and, if there was, that the police would have to declare us as suspects. That's Portuguese law. And compare that to what's actually being written and covered. The two do not bear comparison.http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_6960000/newsid_6963600/6963685.stm?bw=bb&mp=rm&nol_storyid=6963685&news=1
On another broadcast at the same time:
What I would like to direct all of your viewers to are the official statements from the Portuguese police, which bear no resemblance to the wild speculation and, you know, the police yesterday made it very clear. First of all, we are not suspects; two, that there is no evidence to suggest that we are involved in Madeleine's disappearance and, if there was, they are obliged by Portuguese law to make us official suspects. So, you know, they just... they do not bear resemblance and Kate and I learned, very early on, only to listen to information that's coming through official channels.And to STV broadcasting:
The current level of activity, you know, I think you're absolutely right, there is a huge amount of innuendo which is being presented in various ways, suggesting that there may be evidence or facts behind it and there are none, and our opinion of what happened that night has not changed. We know certain facts, unfortunately because of the criminal investigation, we can't divulge them, and I want to make it absolutely clear, the reasons why we're not divulging the information; we will not make it easier for the perpetrator to cover their tracks.[!] The police have all the information and we have bared our soul to them[!!], and we'll continue to assist them in any way possible, but, you know, we have to keep silent.[!!!]http://video.stv.tv/bc/news-Gerrry_McCann_brings_Madeleine_campaign_-20070824-gerry-mccann-brings-madeleine-campaign-to-scotland/?redirect=no
Gerry and Kate knew what the official view was but they were determined, for whatever reasons, to deny it until it could be denied no longer. And he did so with a convincing act of innocent mystification, significant because it bears, once again, on the question of whether he and his wife are “people of average emotional control and veracity”. As to the latter, remember that Gerry wasn’t saying that there was no evidence against them, he was saying, just as he did under oath at Leveson, that the media claims that the police had homed in on them were false, Were they? What had been happening during that August? We had the Huelva affair of the police descent on their villa to seize their possessions, resulting, as Kate McCann tells us, in the famous “necessary lie”. And what else does she tell us? Why, that on August 8, two weeks before Gerry McCann said phlegmatically and confidently that official channels showed they weren’t the focus of the police investigation, this was going on:
Kate McCann: There had been a shift in the investigation, they [the police, i.e. official channels] they said…my breathing pattern altered…the sirens in my head were deafening…I was on my own and afraid…tell us everything that happened after the children went to bed…they proposed that when I put Madeleine to bed that night it wasn’t actually the last time I’d seen her… the police responded by just staring at me and shaking their heads…I was reeling with confusion, disbelief and panic…they pressed me…Neves stated bluntly that they didn’t believe my version of events…I was sobbing now, well past the stage of silent tears and stifled sniffs…I began to wail hysterically, drawing breath in desperate gasps…I was in no doubt now that they were trying to make me say I’d killed Madeleine.C'est typique : le soupçon de mensonge est transformé en accusation de crime !
Just another routine day on the sunny Algarve, then. Well it certainly was according to Gerry McCann. For what did Gerry have to say in his blog for that day, a day in which he had joined the stricken and hysterical Kate McCann, whose eyes “were swollen and sore”, to be grilled in his turn on the events of May 3 and had pleaded ”through his tears” with the police officers to tell him if they had any evidence that the child was dead. This is Gerry’s account of that stunning episode on his blog:
At our meeting with the Portuguese police today we reaffirmed that we have to believe Madeleine is alive until there is concrete evidence to the contrary.Is that a reasonable, truthful, even a sane description of events? Doesn't even the memory of what his wife had been through that same day break through this glacis of implacable deceit? Nope. Feelings don't matter; feelings are for hiding; feelings may betray. Or maybe feelings don't exist. And Kate? What about her talent for adopting Menezes’s “normal behaviour…as can be amply concluded from witness statements”? We already know – she’s right up there with Gerry, masking her real feelings and inner turmoil on demand so successfully that the media were full of annoying – to her – charges that she was “cold” and “poker faced” after witnessing her TV appearances for months. On page 122 of Madeleine she says that’s because of the famous advice she’d received that any display of emotion might be picked up on by the abductor. Exactly: when there was a pressing reason to mask her emotions she was superb at doing so: feelings might betray. Or maybe feelings don't exist. And look at this gem of a passage as another example of the slow self-strangulation, when she was asked at Leveson about those terrible days and the appalling, vicious and ludicrous headlines that the gutter press were pushing out..
Mr Jay: We're going to look at that particularly in a moment. In paragraph 40, however, you refer to one piece in the Evening Standard, which is I think the very day you were declared arguidos, 7 September 2007: "Police believe mother killed Maddie."
KMC : Mm.
Mr Jay: Was that the first time that point was made so baldly and so falsely?
KMC : There's been so many headlines of similar gravity that I can't tell you honestly whether that was the first time…
It’s not surprising that Kate McCann went “Mm” and wasn’t too keen to talk about that headline in the context of the “disgraceful and made up stories that the UK media” were supposed to be guilty of. Perhaps she'd forgotten but it came from her! It was one of the stories in the co-ordinated leaks to the world’s media that Justine McGuiness and the family had put out that day under Kate’s instructions. In perhaps the most egregious of all the secrecy breaches that summer, it was Kate's version of what the PJ had accused her of the previous night, including her claim that they had accused her of killing the child. On page 246 of Madeleine, Friday morning, September 7, Kate McCann:
For a good couple of hours we were on the phone, calling family and friends to make them aware of the situation and to give them the green light to voice their outrage and despair if they wanted to. Nobody needed a second invitation. They'd all been struggling to contain their concerns for a long time. Justine arrived to help. While Gerry talked again to Bob Small she was ringing selected editors in the UK.The Standard had picked up the feed and published it the same day! Finally we have an example of dishonesty that pulls all these disturbing threads together.
May 22 2007 Gerry McCann lying about detectives
Ian Woods (Sky News): Gerry, I know that you've been getting lots of money in. People will want to know how you're going to spend that. I mean, I know, one of the thoughts was to hire private investigators. Is that the case and what input do you think they can have that perhaps the Portuguese police haven't had to date?And
GMC : Taking your question on, back to the private investigators. I'd like to reiterate what we've already said. The thrust of this investigation will be the criminal investigation which is being... errr, run by the Portuguese police with assistance from the British police. Regarding the specific point about the private investigators, we've taken advice about the level and the extensive resources both in this country and in the UK which are being... errr, directed and... to Madeleine's search and, at this stage, we don't see a role for private investigators.
Jane Hill (BBC news): And... and some of that support has translated into a lot of money that's gone into the fighting fund, I think nearly £300,000 has been pledged, so far. What of the reports that say, perhaps... those people who suggest that some of that money could be sensibly spent on things like private investigators, for example.http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/avdb/news/uk/video/96000/bb/96786_16x9_bb.asx
GMC : Well, you know, the fund, errm... was really... really evolved to provide an oulet for people who wanted to contribute financially and these offers, errr... will help us and are helping us and that has helped us to bring in quite a comprehensive legal team and independent sector, errr... consultants as to what we could and should be doing. I did, errr... address this and the situation hasn't changed that, at this time, with the huge amount of resource from the police, errr... both in the UK and Portugal that the advice is that private investigators will not help. I personally, and we, believe that it's the public who hold the key to this; someone knows something and we would urge that if anyone has any information to come forward and anyone who's been in this area, within the two weeks leading up to Madeleine's disappearance, to come forward if they haven't already done so and upload those pictures.
Now we won’t bother ourselves with whether Dr McCann had deliberately asked for a question about private investigators to be put to him for reasons that will become clear below, as its suspicious inclusion by two journalists suggests. But the lie about PIs and the evidence for it? Step forward once again, Kate McCann. Over a week before the McCanns had already started using detectives from Control Risks, as she tells us on pages 124-126 of Madeleine. It doesn’t end there. To demonstrate the web of deception we have this extract from The Times in September 2007. Newspapers are never primary sources; we quote this one nonetheless because it was a deliberate feed from Gerry McCann to one of the journalists he maintained for that purpose, passed to the journalist by Mitchell and with the latter's golems all over it – link here. Control Risks Group
The Times: “Control Risks are one of the groups who've offered their services to the McCanns," he [Mitchell golem] said. "You can assume that they are doing some things that the Portuguese police can't do."
Friends of the couple [golems] said the decision showed that they believed Madeleine may still be alive 144 days after she was reported missing from the bedroom of her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.
Mr McCann first contacted private investigation companies less than three weeks after his daughter was reported missing on May 3 [before May 22] because of concerns that the Portuguese police were not properly checking out all reported sightings. But he had publicly to deny that they were using private detectives when Portuguese police said it would be against the law.”
Well, well, well. Gerry McCann, who of course was still under arguido secrecy rules that September, is confirming once again what we have detailed – that, despite his on-oath denials, the rules did not prevent him from communicating about the case whenever he wished. But, tellingly, he also admits that he lies to cover his law-breaking, using once more the phrase “he had to” as if there were no alternatives.
He confirms, in other words, the troubling fact that he lies to cover law-breaking, a point of some importance to the conclusions of the Archiving Summary.
And finally, because the lies have almost become an uncontrollable world of their own, the pair give us more. The lie which, he told the Times man, had been told to conceal his criminal act was not the right lie! Instead of illegally and secretly turning to private investigators because the PJ “were not checking out all reported sightings”, there was apparently a different reason, or lie, as Kate McCann tells us on page 126 of Madeleine:
Kate McCann: By the Sunday evening we found ourselves giving our statements again, this time to a couple of detectives from Control Risks. We were concerned that parts of the statements we had made to the Portuguese police , especially on that first day,” she claims, “might have been lost in translation. We also felt that these accounts were not particularly thorough and wanted to have every detail we could remember registered properly.
If this concluding example proves anything it is that persistent liars will eventually strangle themselves in their own web of deception. Their words, the words that told the police of the abduction evidence, are utterly and completely worthless; they provably lie about everything – apartment door keys, checking, visits from journalists, their own police statements, their interrogations, their own illegal acts, even lies about why they lie, their states of mind, everything. They cannot help themselves.
And so it is they and they alone who have turned this whole case into a Hall of Mirrors. As they once laughingly said to a newsman, unaware of what they were really confessing, “if we knew we wouldn’t tell you”. Clearly that applies to the events of May 3 2007.