Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

15 - JAN à SET - Dr M. Roberts 10

Gone With The Wind – 02.02.2015

Once upon a time there was a little girl who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in Portugal. Thanks to the reach of the mainstream media and, above all, the internet, the case was discussed worldwide. People were concerned that an infant could be abducted from child-friendly holiday accommodation overseas. Others were concerned as to whether they were actually being told the truth.

These concerns, for child welfare, truth, and justice, have spanned nearly eight years. But, as the earth has rotated and the sun illuminated other areas of the forest, vines have gained a foot-hold and now bedeck the canopy. Scarcely visible as such, it is little more than a mass of aerial weeds scrambling for support, the more significant foliage all but forgotten. And beneath, in the darkness, who knows what remains hidden? Peer Gynt? Trolls?

Indeed we are all now witnesses to a squalid evolution. Whereas the focus was once upon the identification of whoever might have removed the little girl from her locked/unlocked apartment, attention has now drifted to the identification of outsiders, members of the wider public (opinion holders, not formers), as subscribers to one or another camp, resident in one or another patch of darkness, deep in a forest of ignorance. In the Hall of the Mountain King it's considered important to recognise the trolls, although the Mountain King himself is occupied elsewhere.

And once the ravages of this civil war have ceased, what will have been established? Certain reputations may have been laid waste, others buried even deeper in the slime from which they strove to emerge. And those who merely wanted to see the wood for the trees, but were denied a clear view by the rampant undergrowth; what will they have to say? In the immortal words of Rhett Butler, echoed in song by Billy Joel: 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn'.

There's a Sasquatch in that forest somewhere. Its name begins with 'M'. And we WILL find it, without either help or interference from trolls, of any complexion.

The Corpse Ride – 13.02.2015

The magnificent seven

In the early summer of 2007, a Renault Scenic (registration number 59-DA-27) was used to transport some decaying matter (garden waste) somewhere in the Portuguese Algarve. Ironically, it afterwards smelt of human death and decay. One of its several registered drivers thought the pungent, unfamiliar, odour was the consequence of leaking shopping bags, full of red meat and fish, but the behaviour of a specialised dog with a keener sense of smell later suggested otherwise. Of course the dog was not to know that another of the vehicle's registered drivers (a Leicester-based GP), was wearing the same clothes on holiday that she had previously worn while sitting with deceased former patients at home in the UK, and holding a child's toy for comfort.

One of the dead fish carried back from the market in July 2007 must have been called Wanda, so nearly incredible is it that this vehicle, hired by the McCann family on 27 May (to facilitate their move to alternative accommodation, some 1.5 km distant from the holiday apartment they had previously rented), should itself become a suspect in the disappearance of the family's three-year old daughter Madeleine.

Investigation into the circumstances of the child Madeleine's disappearance led to the unsavoury conclusion that she had been transported in this voiture sometime after her absence was first noted (a suspicious possibility indeed); furthermore, that she might not have been entirely healthy at the time. Given this train of thought on the part of investigators, it is not at all difficult to appreciate how the sniffer dog's reaction might have come to be interpreted as having something to do with the child's fate. But as we know, or have at least been told, this coalescence of events was nothing more than a remarkable coincidence, leading to a complete misunderstanding.

Madeleine's perplexed parents have asked, rhetorically for the most part, exactly when this extraordinary act of transportation could possibly have occurred, in a car they hired 'weeks later'. A good question, to which there may yet be an answer.

Delivered and signed for on 27 May, the 'his and hearse' MPV was used to transport the goods and chattels of the McCanns to a villa on the outskirts of Praia da Luz on 2 July ("We completed our move to the new accommodation today" – Gerry McCann). The 'fresh food' shopping (and subsequent cleaning), by odour-sensitive, driver for all seasons, Sandy Cameron, must have taken place before he and his wife departed Portugal for the UK, on the 29th. In the meantime they too resided at the McCanns' new, albeit temporary, villa home.

Sandy Cameron was not merely a named driver in this instance. According to a much later interview with UK Police (15.4.08) he was the 'habitual driver' and used the car daily, acting largely as chauffeur to the McCanns' two younger children. No one, not even Sandy Cameron, makes any mention of nasal discomfort during trips made in the car early that month (July). In fact, when describing the perceived need for a 'valet', he explains that it arose later on ("After this shopping trip and still in the month of July 2007, I began to notice a strange odour in the car."), indicating that some time had elapsed between his conveyance of fresh fish (and/or garden waste) and his noticing the noxious smell, 'still in the month of July', and obviously before he left for the UK.

'A stitch in time saves nine', so they say. Preventive measures are therefore the order of the day. It would have been a bit too late to start worrying about the removal of garden waste etc., once Sandy C. had gone and the police sniffer dogs had arrived, which they did on 30 July. Thankfully, the McCanns were being kept abreast of developments ("We were well aware that these developments were going to happen. We were informed in advance" – Gerry McCann). Although they had a 'routine meeting' with Police in Portugal on the very same day the dogs turned up, that could scarcely be interpreted as making them 'well aware', since it would have left them no time in which to attend to all that garbage. However, a longer than expected meeting with Police had already taken place, on Wednesday the 18th.

Kate McCann has more recently returned to her own rhetorical question as regards misadventure involving the hire car, which, like their daughter, was scarcely left unattended, offering little if any scope for abuse. It came during an exchange with a judge in Lisbon:

Judge – "Do you recall an interview that Mr. Amaral gave to Correio da Manhã?"

Kate Healy – "He gave several interviews but I do recall one in particular which was exaggerated. Where he said that Madeleine's body had been kept frozen and then taken inside the boot of the car we had rented seven weeks later."

This is indeed an interesting observation. Whatever support the Portuguese police may have believed they had for their theory that Madeleine's frozen body was eventually relocated, there is nothing to suggest they were ever in a position to specify exactly when such a deed might have been accomplished, i.e., 'seven weeks later', some unspecified time after May 3, when Madeleine is said to have disappeared, and whilst the McCanns were still resident within the Ocean Club complex. Perhaps Kate McCann was talking about the car having been rented 'seven weeks later'. But that doesn't work either, as the car was delivered to them on 27 May – barely three weeks later. What on earth is she talking about here? Well, what happens if we consider seven weeks post-delivery of the car?

Take five

Seven weeks on from 27 May takes us into July, by a fortnight at least, Monday 16th marking commencement of the seventh week. On the 18th the McCanns had their unusually lengthy meeting with police, and on Saturday 21st, the last working day of their seventh week of car usage, they did what?

"Spent the day with the kids and visited the Algarve Zoo Marine" is what, Gerry McCann clearly tiring of writing 'Kate & I' all the while, as he had done in his blog on so many previous occasions, even as recently as the day before.

So there they all were, presumably, Kate, Gerry, and the twins, not forgetting of course their chauffeur, Sandy Cameron, who "drove the children to the zoo and the beaches in the area" - an entirely reasonable assumption, although those with a professional interest in statement analysis would recognise the potential significance attaching to the complete absence of any subject pronoun from Gerry McCann's statement. 'Spent the day with the kids', etc., does not tell us who did so exactly.

Presumably they all ambled around the zoo within conversing distance of each other - hailing distance at worst. Except that being separated, even by the sort of space that exists between a ground-floor apartment and a Tapas restaurant, does nothing to explain why Kate and Gerry McCann should have felt the need to speak to each other by 'phone!

Gerry McCann was demonstrably in the vicinity of Guia Zoomarine when he telephoned Kate shortly after 1.00 p.m., but where was she when twice returning his calls forty-five minutes later? They must still have been some distance apart when Gerry called back again just after 4.30.

Kate's handset activated the Luz antenna, not the same one as intercepted Gerry's calls at all, and each of these radio masts has an operational radius of several kilometres at least. Whilst Kate McCann may not have been 'phoning her husband from the infamous 'triangle' therefore, it is by no means the case that she was necessarily standing in the middle of the town square either. Intriguingly Kate's diary entry for 21 July, unlike Gerry's blog, makes no reference whatsoever to visiting the zoo, despite her daily record being otherwise littered with such trivia.

Only 24 hours earlier, Kate McCann had taken the afternoon off (to deal with a backlog of e-mails apparently), while Gerry accompanied 'the kids' to the beach. She would not have needed to skip off home from the zoo for that same purpose therefore. Gerry McCann made his personal contribution to communications management six days later, on 27 July, spending most of that day "dealing with e-mails and making calls planning future events", until 5.00 p.m., when he left Praia da Luz and, shortly after 6.45 p.m., checked his voicemail messages whilst in the vicinity of Sagres, no doubt grateful to Sandy Cameron for having cleaned the car in the meantime.

What further stimulates interest in Kate McCann's whereabouts that Saturday afternoon (21 July) are the entries in her own diary for the 18th and 23rd, dates on either side:

"WEDNESDAY, JULY 18: It was suggested that Madeleine is dead and buried in an area close to the beach, behind the cliff."

"MONDAY 23 JULY: I got up at 7.00 and went running. I was surrounded by a pack of dogs (more or less 12) – it really wasn't a nice experience. I went to the flat, high part of the cliff as I felt really alone and a little frightened. Please God, don't let Madeleine be buried here."

Reference here is to 'dead and buried' on the 18th, 'buried' on the 23rd. Chronologically, she did not put the cart before the horse at least. In-between there was the 21 July trip to the zoo, concluding that seventh week (from May 27).

In her diary, covering the period 4 May until 31 July, Kate McCann mentions 'death' on only three occasions. The first is on 4 May, when she asks, rhetorically, "Is she dead?" The other two references are as just described.

However, the week commencing Monday 16 July was also that when South African Danie Krugel, and his 'invention' (a missing people locator), joined the search for Madeleine. Since his field-work in this case was monitored by the police, one has to consider the possibility that it is this exercise which spawned Kate's observation of the 18th, as above. Her diary entry for that date continues:

"What can I say? I feel my body's on the verge of collapse. How much pain and emotion can one body take? I had a bad afternoon. I was very worried, desperate, extremely on edge. I don't think I can take any more of this, I really can't. How much longer will this suffering go on? I need Madeleine ALIVE."

Dead reckoning

One could be forgiven for supposing Kate McCann was 'on edge' for reasons other than anxiety over the welfare of her missing daughter. Nevertheless, Krugel's work extended over four days, sixteen hours a day, according to his own account (later offered to both the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mail of 7 October). Additionally, he was at the same time quoted by the News of The World as saying, "I spent four nights in July carrying out my searches."

How then was Kate McCann seemingly able to recount a suggestion of death and burial on Danie Krugel's part after only 24 hours, before Krugel's work was even finished, never mind documented? NPIA man Mark Harrison, who did not arrive in PdL until his services were formally requested by the PJ on 20 July, wrote his report and conclusions concerning Krugel's investigative methods on the 23rd.

This question is further aggravated by Kate McCann's subsequent book ('madeleine'), in which she describes how their meeting with the PJ on 18 July "ended with a final body blow. Danie Krugel...had produced a report for the PJ based on his findings." (p. 199)

'Had produced'? Prior to this meeting even? Krugel had only just arrived in Praia da Luz, from Portimao (on the afternoon of 16 July, at the earliest, according to Goncalo Amaral, the 17th according to those duplicate accounts in the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mail, of 7 October). He would of course proceed to invest four days (and nights?) in his personal search.

How can he possibly have prepared a set of conclusions for the PJ before their meeting with the McCanns on the 18th therefore? Once again, 'it was suggested' offers no clue as to who in fact made the suggestion, or when. Nor does Kate's diary entry attribute the suggestion to anyone in particular. It is in her book that she renders it just possible, describing the couple's return to Portugal from the UK as being synchronous with Krugel's arrival in Praia da Luz ("We flew back to Portugal early on the morning of Sunday 15 July – the day Danie Krugel, his team and his 'matter orientation system' arrived in Praia da Luz." p. 197-8).

Unfortunately she then proceeds to compromise her own story.

"In spite of the cynical tone of my diary entry, we were actually both quite excited about the prospect of Danie's work, though I think this was probably due more to the fact that something was happening which might take the investigation forward than to absolute faith in his methods. It might come to nothing, we knew that, but anything was better than the sense of stagnation we felt was beginning to seep in." (p. 198)

What diary entry? Kate made none for the period 13 -16 July, nor did she make any mention of a meeting with Danie Krugel on the 17th. The book reference is clearly to a conversation prior to, and in anticipation of, Krugel's 'search'. Even the opening remarks of Kate's 18 July entry can scarcely be described as 'cynical'.

If a meeting between Krugel and the McCanns took place between 15 and 17 July, as Kate implies, then why did she make no reference to it whatsoever in her 'diary'? Krugel himself alluded to it that autumn at least, which appears to confirm that it happened. Crucially however, he did not reveal where or when. As far as Gerry McCann's blogs for the relevant period are concerned, Danie Krugel is conspicuous only by his absence, as is any mention of an alarming report emanating from his 'search'; a report that Gerry would surely have found no less troubling than did his wife. Clearly the incident was of less significance for Kate McCann than the twins' riding in 'Noddy's car' and 'Popeye's boat' (7 July).

Kate's diary would go on to underpin her later book. On her own admission therein, she did not commence making diary entries as such until 23 May:

"Setting aside some blank pages in the notebook I'd been given for the days that had already passed, I wrote a few paragraphs on a couple of occasions the following week, though I didn't begin in earnest until 23 May, twenty days after Madeleine was taken. From then on, I kept my journal consistently, and when I had a spare moment I went back and filled in the blank pages with notes of our activities and my recollections of every day since 3 May 2007." ('madeleine' p. 126-7 )

It is apparent from this, Kate McCann's personal account, that her daily commentary for the period 18 – 23 July should have been contemporaneous, i.e., not overly retrospective and concomitantly subject to errors of recall. That in itself is sufficient to cast serious doubt upon the veracity of her entries concerning this potentially crucial weekend, although Kate's memory for activities on any given day may well have been suspect (e.g., "SATURDAY, JUNE 2: I can't remember today.").

On the face of it the McCanns cannot have learned of Danie Krugel's reported conclusions at the close of their meeting with the PJ on 18 July, as, with a four-day search in prospect, he would not yet have arrived at them. In which case, any reference by Kate McCann to death and/or burial around this time is just as likely to have originated with Kate herself, not with a third-party who, coincidentally, would go on to confirm her suspicions.

Kate McCann has apparently attempted, in her book, to shift Krugel's activities back in time, just as she has eased others forwards. If so, she is at least a day late, and a dollar short. Even if he got started on 16 July, by his own reckoning Danie Krugel will have just finished his 'work' on the 19th – a day after the McCanns meeting with the PJ.

It is always possible however that Krugel exaggerated, or was misquoted in the press that autumn. As far as he was concerned his four working days may have included the Sunday of his arrival, if Sunday was indeed when he landed, after which any one 24-hour period might have involved sixteen hours of toil, though not all four days necessarily.

As to his meeting with the McCanns, perhaps that was not so much a meeting with them exclusively as one at which they happened also to be present. And yet the 18th would have been too late to announce his intentions, which were by then already accomplished. For his and Kate McCanns' recollections to coincide, they would have to have met beforehand. (The McCanns seem to have had rather more meetings with the PJ than those they have deliberately brought to the attention of their readers in any event).

Kate McCann's 'account of the truth' though is open to question. So too is the diary. Her entry for 17 July opens with: "Finding it very difficult to talk to people from home, unless they are directly involved. It is difficult to show an interest in other people's lives and children at the moment." The pair had just returned from a christening, in Yorkshire, of the Wrights' two children!

Gerry, at least, visited the zoo on July 21st. On the 22nd, the eighth week after the car was delivered to them, he left for America. In his wake, on the 23rd, Kate exclaimed, "Please God, don't let Madeleine be buried here". It seems, on this one occasion at least, as if God may have been listening.

Back to the future

Credibility in this instance appears to hinge upon exactly when Danie Krugel touched down in Portugal from South Africa, as that would determine the time of his eventual arrival in Praia da Luz to begin his 'search' ( i.e., 16 or 17 July). He did not appear in PdL that very Sunday, as Kate McCann would have us believe. That said, Krugel's follow-up report to the police was so trivial, by all accounts, he probably could have handed it in after a day or so. Surprisingly perhaps (because it again receives no mention whatsoever in 'the diary') the Krugel expedition had in fact got under way several weeks earlier:

"So, in the second week of June, we had confided in Auntie Janet and our friend Amanda back in Leicestershire and got them to go round to our house looking for hairs that could only be Madeleine's. They came up with five head hairs from the inside of a coat hood and a couple of eyelashes from her pillow and couriered the lot off to Danie in South Africa. They didn't question what we were doing: they, too, were just desperate for Madeleine to be home.

"A week or so afterwards, Danie informed us that he had obtained 'signals' relating to Praia da Luz, but that he would need to come over in July and operate the machine in the Algarve to produce more accurate results and pinpoint Madeleine's location." ('madeleine', p. 187)

If the McCanns' activity in late July appears suspicious, the same could be said of their previous movements that month.

Let's just recap that Lisbon courtroom interaction:

Judge – "Do you recall an interview that Mr. Amaral gave to Correio da Manhã?"

Kate Healy – "He gave several interviews but I do recall one in particular which was exaggerated. Where he said that Madeleine's body had been kept frozen and then taken inside the boot of the car we had rented seven weeks later."

The PJ may well have been lacking the specifics, but if there is one thing about which we can be absolutely certain it is Kate McCann's adroit use of syntax.

Throughout her book there are instances of her misleading the reader via their own spontaneous, yet false, interpretations. Take the above for instance, where the phrase 'seven weeks later' is positioned so as to qualify the preceding 'car we had rented'. If, as we have already seen, one applies this concatenation to events as they occurred, it makes no sense at all; unless, that is, one treats reference to car rental as commencing with its delivery.

There is another possibility however - that with or without the PJ holding evidence at the time, the word order of Kate's courtroom response ought to have been:

"Where he said that Madeleine's body had been kept frozen and then taken, seven weeks later, inside the boot of the car we had rented."

Seven weeks beyond 3 May takes us to the week 21 – 28 June. Although Kate describes in her diary matters of domestic importance arising on Sunday 24th and Tuesday 26th, Monday 25th apparently failed to materialise. It didn't happen. Nor did the Wednesday, Thursday or Friday (for Kate at any rate), or indeed the entire first week in July! We have to resort to page 186 of the book for any mention of the McCanns' suggesting to the PJ, on 28 June, that Danie Krugel be invited to officiate in Praia da Luz. Although the phrase 'dead and buried' is not used explicitly, Krugel's area of expertise, so called, makes the inference perfectly obvious.

Kate picks up the story again on 7 July, which Gerry describes in his blog as a 'quiet family day', saying nothing further. The more fulsome Kate however concludes with: "(I can hardly wait to say "See you tomorrow.")" Mmm.

Faites vos jeux

There appear therefore to be two candidate periods in relation to Goncalo Amaral's seemingly 'ludicrous' suggestion. Unfortunately, Sandy Cameron's cover story, as told in his Rogatory interview of 15.4.2008, does not allow us to choose between them:

"On one occasion, I believe it was in July of 2007, I took Patricia to the supermarket. We carried bags in the boot (trunk) of the Renault Scenic; bought various items including fresh fish, shrimp and beef. When we unloaded the shopping bags, we noticed that blood has run out of the bottom of the plastic bag. After this shopping trip and still in the month of July 2007, I began to notice a strange odour in the car."

Perhaps the casting vote should go to the concerned resident of Praia da Luz who, had she bothered to approach the vehicle, might also have noticed a strange odour, but who at least noticed the car boot open, day or night, from the time it arrived with the McCanns at their new villa address. Translated, her statement toward the end of the documentary, The Truth of the Lie is given as:

"I drive down this street every day to turn my car around at that end, and every time that I passed the house I looked at the car, and the car always had an open boot door, day or night."

The McCanns completed their move to this accommodation, we are told, on 2 July. It wouldn't be very long before Sandy set off to fetch the shrimp.

Madeleine McCann Was Not Abducted - 22.02.2015
Insight is a truly wonderful thing. It nourishes and advances those who are able to appreciate it. For the rest, knowledge is merely borrowed for the purposes of reference, not genuinely shared. Things are either what they are because we appreciate and understand what has been established, or they are simply taken on trust, on an ‘it is said by others’ basis.
For seven years past a watching international community has been witness to a growing clamour of borrowed knowledge regarding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, hearsay tearing repeatedly through the fabric of reason like a succession of tornados in America’s mid-west, and bringing us more recently to the most ludicrous of situations; one in which a UK police force is given a seemingly limitless budget, so as to review and pursue a case over which it has no legal jurisdiction, and in deliberate disavowal of the evidence collated by the original investigators. In an admitted collaboration with the UK government, they are acting ‘as if the abduction happened in the UK’ without first, or indeed ever, establishing whether ‘abduction’ happened at all.
It is at this point that I refer you wholeheartedly to the post that follows.
Law enforcement agencies, crime writers and Hollywood film producers are all perfectly aware that the crux of any crime resides at the point of commencement, when the perpetrator, however practised they may be, is most likely to have made a mistake. The disappearance of Madeleine McCann involved circumstantial criminals who did exactly that. To appreciate what these data are telling us therefore, it is necessary to discard the shroud that has been thrown over them in the intervening years and look afresh at what has been staring at us all from the outset.
How likely is it that two people can be independently mistaken about an open or shut situation? How likely is it that these same two people should independently, yet simultaneously, decide to ‘prune’ their respective cell ‘phone memories?
How likely is it also that two different dogs, on two separate occasions, could show interest in different, yet mutually corroborating, scents, and at the very same loci?
These are the fundamental issues addressed here, and for which various bizarre, unrealistic, even childish explanations have been proffered over time – as knowledge for the undiscerning. If instead we open our eyes to another’s insight, it soon becomes apparent that the origins of, and explanations for, many of the reputedly paradoxical phenomena associated with the case of Madeleine McCann do indeed reside at the very beginning.

Should I so desire, I could lay before you, anomalies related to this case, by the score. As equally by the score, I could inundate you with unanswered questions. But that is not my intention here today. Rather, I present just three, but extremely important questions for your consideration.
But these three chosen questions are not exclusively for your perusal, they are in fact directed at what I shall call the McCann Establishment, or for ease here on in, the Establishment.
That the Establishment now includes the Prime Minister David Cameron, who, as a result of pressure by Rebecca Brooks, pressure being a polite word for coercion, as coercion is for blackmail one must say, is for the intents of this post, quite academic.
As for the involvement of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, that involvement becomes a good deal less academic, given the Home Secretary's overall responsibility for the policing of the Nation. Granted that some of that responsibility is now diminished since the introduction of police and crime commissioners, a system laid bare to justifiable charges of nepotism, I easily add. But that is by the by and concerns us little, for there was no such office at the time of initiating a "review" of the Madeleine McCann case by DCI Andy Redwood and Scotland Yard's finest. Something, I think I can maintain, that is unique in the history of English policing. But that uniqueness is far from alone, as we shall see.
Is it not unique, that in the case of a missing child, presumed dead by the investigating police force and for good reason, that when the very cornerstone of the McCann's claim for a case of stranger abduction turns out to be a tissue of lies, but is then seemingly ignored by those charged with this nonsensical review?
The McCanns set the parameters.
Before we had even heard the name Madeleine McCann, the script had been written, distributed, and was being learned by rote, albeit to an embarrassing degree, by seemingly every member of the McCann's extended family and various friends. The source of which, and undeniable, Kate and Gerry McCann.
"The shutters had been jemmied and poor wee Madeleine was taken." echoed every family member, with unwavering similarity.

Meanwhile, Madeleine's uncle, John McCann, from Glasgow, countered criticism from those who say the couple were wrong to leave their children alone in the holiday apartment while they ate dinner at a nearby restaurant.
"If you look at the layout of that place, it was entirely safe. The issue at stake here was, that the flat was broken into, and wee Madeleine was abducted," he told BBC Radio Five Live.
Only the shutters weren't jemmied, and wee Madeleine was not taken.

Cause and Effect
So let us look at such.
"The shutters had been jemmied" cause.
"and poor wee Madeleine was taken" effect.
I hardly need to say it do I? No cause, no effect.
It is that simple and so fundamental to the McCann's claim of abduction. No jemmied shutters, no abduction.
Never forgetting, the jemmied shutters story was not some wrongly evaluated, mistaken concept, it was orchestrated by the parents of the missing child.
As simple as that may sound, it is in fact, of such profundity that it cannot, and should not, be ignored. The cornerstone for abduction, and all that surrounds it, is a house of cards. A house that took a shift years ago. The only thing propping it up now, is the litigious nature of the McCanns. Not forgetting of course, the wilful blindness of the Establishment whose reputation and roll in this sordid affair would hardly stand the scrutiny that would be so deserved. Now call me old fashioned if you will, but this bothers me. But it bothers me more, that this fundamental and crucial component of this case, not only remains unaddressed, but seemingly, is totally ignored.To finish up this part of the post, there being two other fundamental issues I wish to address, let me try and apply some perspective to this staggering and blatantly obvious miscarriage of justice.

If our featured two were suspected of robbing a Post Office, and it's not by accident that I use a PO as an example, because, you may be surprised to know, there is no greater crime in the UK than making an unauthorised withdrawal from said establishment. So if our two suspects, under questioning, uttered the kind of testament or set in motion testament such as we have witnessed, what might you suppose, the outcome would be?

Parts two and three will be delivered when and whenever, creativity and the will to write are pretty rare commodities for me these days.
But do bare in mind, should you come under attack, from whatever quarter: No jemmied shutters, no abduction. And also remember who set the parameters, within which, enabled the child to be "abducted," the parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

Part Two, The Deleted Phone Logs
Are they such an important issue you may ask? Well they were important enough for the McCanns to lie about them, so they must be. That we have already ascertained in part one, the setting up with family members the case for abduction, the deleted phone logs, selectively deleted I must add, and at a time, the day before in fact, of Gerry McCann's announcement to the world that his daughter had been abducted. Via of course, the jemmied shutters that weren't.
What follows, is the only section of this article where some parts are not provable, but given the circumstances, let us take a look at the situation circumstantially.
The speed, or should I call it indecent haste? (and being all the more suspicious for it) The indecent haste with which the McCann Machine (Government machine) rolled into action was, putting it mildly, quite staggering.

I think at this moment, I shall let the Portuguese coordinator of the case, Goncalo Amaral, take over the narrative. This on the 4th of May
GA: At ten in the morning, twelve hours after the disappearance, the British Consul to Portimão goes to the Department of Criminal Investigation.
We inform him of the actions taken up to then and the next stages being considered. He doesn't seem satisfied.
Someone hears him on the telephone saying that the police judiciaire are doing nothing. Now, that's strange! Why that untruth? What objective does he have in mind? Giving another dimension to the case? Perhaps, I don't know a thing about it, but this is not the time for conjecture; we have to concentrate on our work, of finding the little girl.

Why indeed?
A little later still on the 4th May John Buck, British Ambassador to Portugal, descends on the scene.
GA- The McCanns are put up with David Payne.
We want to search the accommodation of the family friends to try to pick up Madeleine's clothes, especially those she was wearing on May 3rd at 5.35pm when she returned from the day centre with her mother and the twins.
Evidently, this initiative is not widely supported. The British ambassador meets with the team directing the investigation. The political and the diplomatic seem to want to prevent us from freely doing our work.
GA- I'm sure this check is necessary.
JB- The clothes? Are you mad? if I understand you properly, you want to go into the apartment to take clothes to have them analysed?
GA- Yes. What's the problem? It's a perfectly normal procedure in cases like this.
JB- Of course, but with this media hype...I don't think I have ever in my life seen so many journalists....And I didn't come down in the last shower.
I leave you to arrive at your own conclusions regarding that little nest of vipers.

To the phone logs then.
To fully understand the importance of this clip, one has take into account, that having just fled Portugal, the McCanns feel free to tell all the lies they wish and to do so with impunity. Never realising of course, to just what degree the files of the investigation would be made available to the public once the investigation was shelved.
Gerry and Kate McCann's fury after 14 texts slur
Gerry McCann reacted angrily yesterday to claims he received a string of mystery texts the day before his daughter vanished.
Police applied to Portugal's supreme court to seize his phone records after learning of the alleged messages.
They claim Gerry was sent 10 texts from an unknown number 24 hours before Madeleine disappeared. And detectives say four messages arrived from the same mystery number the day after she went missing, according to court documents.
But Gerry and wife Kate have dismissed the claims as "utter rubbish".
A source close to them said: "They have had their phone records available for inspection for months. But the police never asked for them. And now they have formally asked, they have been refused.
Any suggestion of Gerry receiving 10 texts the day before Madeleine disappeared are utter rubbish.
He hardly used his phone during the holiday and most of the friends with them didn't even have mobiles.
The only time his phone rang was when work called and he explained he was on holiday. There are no mystery texts. Gerry has nothing to hide. It's yet more nonsense coming from Portugal.

More on the deleted phone records from Paulo Reis, a worthy read.
So from whom, and what was the content of the fourteen texts messages that Gerry McCann selectively deleted and subsequently found the need to lie about?
It is my personal opinion that 90% of the answers to this case are inseparably linked to the source of said deleted text messages.
Just one last question and then we shall move on. A question you might ask yourself for that matter.
Would Gerry McCann have the wherewithal to implement and carry out such hair-brained scheme as the one we have witnessed without the gears being set in motion by third parties of no little importance or influence?

Part Three, Cadaver Odour.
Disregarding the thousands of column inches that have been written on the subject. Disregarding the thousands of arguments for the accuracy of the dogs' alerts and to a lesser degree, the arguments against the importance of said findings, and quite shamelessly by some that, not should know better, but do know better, we have but a few things to consider.
Originally upped as "large." But I think twenty five year career cop, Jim Gamble, justifies extra large.
Firstly, two irrefutable facts. No one had previously died in the McCann's holiday apartment, likewise nobody had previously met their end in the car hired by the McCanns.
Keeping in mind, that all that has been written about the dogs, for the purpose of this article, and for the sake of my argument, we shall ignore.
What we can't ignore however, are two simple facts, but by virtue of their simplicity, they do in fact become the most damning.
You may wish to remember, that the dogs alerted uniquely to things McCann without exception. On the other hand, you may choose to ignore these facts. It doesn't matter. And why doesn't it matter you may well ask?
It doesn't matter, because Kate McCann acknowledges the existence of both blood residue and cadaver odour, both in the hire car and on her own clothes.
The reasons for such we are asked to believe, range from rotting meat in the car (odour) to the transporting, however unlikely, dirty nappies of the twins. (DNA)
Regarding the cadaver odour on Kate McCann's clothes, what we are asked to believe is even more unlikely than the dirty nappies explanation. So unlikely in fact, it staggers the imagination.
The reason for Kate McCann's clothes smelling of cadaver, we are incredulously asked to believe, is that prior to the ill fated holiday in Praia da Luz, Kate McCann, as a part time locum in a general practice, came in contact with cadavers. Any number of them, depending on which source you read.
But that's not all we are asked to believe, she came into contact with said cadavers wearing her holiday clothes. And if you like that cake, I have some topping for it, she took Madeleine's soft toy, Cuddle Cat, along with her for the ride.
How hard to confirm or deny this, DCI Andy Redwood?
And of course, not only does Kate McCann acknowledge the existence of cadaver odour, but her husband too, Gerry McCann. Why else would he go to such lengths (America) to discredit the accuracy of the dogs?
And it was to such lengths he went, contacting lawyers in the US and quoting the Eugene Zapata case where the judge wouldn't accept as evidence, the alerts of the dogs.
How did that one work out for you Gerry McCann? Not too good when the Zapata eventually admitted to killing his wife and the subsequent revelations that the dogs were right all along.
How damning do the actions of the parents have to be? Madeleine McCann disappeared in the most controversial circumstances imaginable, and the last two people to see here alive, and statistically the most likely people to be involved in that disappearance, the parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are doing their utmost to explain or discredit the stench of death that surrounds them.
I'm sorry, not in my world. Madeleine McCann was not abducted.

Paint Your Bandwagon – 23.02.2015

I confess. I have in the past appealed to the saga of Richard III's 'rediscovery' as a metaphor. In so doing I made no attempt whatsoever to inject myself into a process I consider exemplary. A truly wonderful instance of truth being stranger than fiction, the location/examination of the last Plantagenet's remains made heroes and heroines of the otherwise anonymous professionals who undertook the task, and contributed their respective expertise to a team performance of which the British Lions would have been proud. It virtually launched the career of one young lady in particular (osteologist, Dr Jo Appleby). Nevertheless, applause was, and is, due to all in equal measure.

So why now discuss these events once more?

After a court battle to secure the right to re-inter the much abused monarch, the City of Leicester is shortly to witness a ceremony accomplishing exactly that, after a procession no less; a procession which will pass the nearby Bosworth Academy, where pupils have for some time been busy constructing a substantial piece of artwork by all accounts, describing, in plastic, over 5000 white roses. (No, they have not been goaded into provoking the residents of that other northerly county).

As a charming, articulate young member of the school has explained on TV, the 'roses' represent those who go missing in the county of Leicestershire. The innocent young thing generously explained that people have been looking for King Richard for over 500 years without giving up, so that looking for the missing currently may just as likely yield a result or two.

How very thoughtful. And exactly whose idea was that? It will come as no surprise, perhaps, that the charity MISSING PEOPLE is supporting the project. Indeed a page of the Academy's website is given over to promoting the object symbiosis between the search for the deceased regent’s remains and more contemporary acts of compassion.

Well call me a cynic, but...

Of course I would not criticize the young girl for repeating information given her by adults. Nevertheless, 'out of the mouths of babes' etc.

King Richard III was never missing, either in life or death. Those who killed him knew exactly where he was buried, as did those who came afterwards. The location of his last resting place only became 'lost' on account of an impatient historian of yore, who, having identified the wrong priory, subsequently gave up looking for it, leaving a muddled legacy for later generations.


Well, as instructive as were the (very) distant relatives and other interest groups that all of a sudden came out of the woodwork laying claim to the relics others had laboured for years to rediscover, we now have the charity MISSING PEOPLE piggy-backing their propaganda on the back of an international success story that has nothing whatsoever to do with missing people.

A question to those, such as the Diocese of York, who all shouted 'mine' once the 'donkey work' had been done: Who paid for the excavations leading to discovery of the king's remains?

Leicester City Council may have sacrificed one of their car parks, whilst the University allocated its analytic resources, in the form of staff and technical facilities, but the lion's share of the funding effort required to get the project off the ground in the first place fell to the Richard III Society, who, extraordinarily, raised the tens of thousands of pounds necessary to make it all happen. It is to this dogged, if esoteric, group that we should all say 'thank you'. They paid, to find their talisman.

So what exactly are MISSING PEOPLE doing lining the route to the cemetery (the Cathedral as it happens)?

By analogy, if there is any justification at all for this organisation's pouncing on another's project, one that does not even entail a missing person, then their ambassador elsewhere should put her hand into her own pocket and underwrite the search for her own missing daughter, not sit back and watch as the UK government invests £10m plus in doing so. (£400k transferred to her limited company does not qualify. We're talking looking for people here, not looking for a tax break).

I have absolutely no argument with the Bosworth pupil's contention that locating missing people is a matter of some importance. Of course it is. But then so are a great many other concerns. £10m distributed across all of them would still represent a useful sum of money, but this (and more), is what the UK government is prepared to spend looking for a solitary missing person. Supporting the charity in these terms for any length of time would bankrupt the nation. Should the object of the McCanns' desires in this instance likewise remain 'missing' for 500 or so years, what then?

The core of the Missing People appeal via the Bosworth Academy, for that is in essence what it is, reads as follows:

"...each rose representing one of the 5929 instances of a citizens (sic) of Leicestershire who go missing every year, the vast majority are young people. Each instance of a missing person is caused by a failure to protect often the most vulnerable in our society. As with the passion to seek, find and make safe King Richard, we pledge to seek, find and make safe those young people who for whatever reason go missing each year in Leicestershire.

"To seek, to find, to make safe

"Our aim is to raise awareness of this silent tragedy affecting our community, and for the efforts of the search for Richard III to bear additional fruits in helping our community seek, find and make safe those missing today. Leicestershire had 5929 reported incidents regarding missing people, with by far the largest group being those aged 12-18.*"

* Home Office Statistic 2012/2013

Readers are later invited to donate to the charity and told where to send their cheque(s). As to 'make safe King Richard'... You must be joking. To do that you'd have needed a quiet word in the ear of Henry Tudor, and he's been dead for almost as long!

Rather than become enmeshed in discussion as to what, exactly, constitutes a 'missing person incident' (of which there were, nationwide apparently, 273,319 recorded for the year 2012-13, as surveyed – fewer than 4.8 per thousand of the total population), a more pertinent question might be the following:

Since Leicestershire Police claim to have spent £13m two years ago looking for missing people (according to The Leicester Mercury, 4 January 2015), how much might the charity Missing People have contributed to their noble effort?

My guess would be, 'nada, nothing, zero, zip, zilch', the reasons for their collaborative abstemiousness being two-fold:

First, "many of the cases did not require police involvement" and "roughly one third of (those) cases – approximately 1,800 alerts – were generated by 73 teenagers, most of them living in city or county council children's homes. Mental health units also generated an average of 15 cases a month." (Source: Leicester Mercury) Second, according to their resume (to be found at the foot of their 'advertorial', as hosted by Bosworth Academy):

"Missing People is a UK charity that provides a lifeline when someone disappears. We offer dedicated support to missing people and their families through our 24/7 helpline. We listen in confidence, support people who are missing and their families and, where possible, we help families and their missing loved ones to reconnect. We provide our services through working in partnership with the police, social services, other charities and professionals. We work with many media outlets to create publicity for cases upon request of families. We also undertake research and policy work to understand the experiences of missing people and families. We couldn’t achieve this without the great support of fundraisers and communities."

Essentially, they claim to duplicate the work of the police, and perhaps publicise individual cases – but only if the family in question remembers to ask them. Otherwise they work 'to understand others experiences'.

And if the circumstances confronted by Leicestershire Police are anything to go by, then the 4.8 per thousand figure mentioned earlier would, in reality, be considerably smaller still, suggesting that police forces nationwide should be far better able to cope, provided other responsible institutions have a greater regard for their own residents' security, and without assistance from charity-led answerphone services.

The person Richard III has not been 'found'. He was never reported missing. It is his last resting place that was finally located and his bones that will henceforth be safeguarded.

At least his grave was identifiable as such.

The Ruby Hat of Old Ma McCann – 19.03.2015

First Quatrain:

Awake! For morning in the bowl of night

Has flung the stone that puts The Stars to flight

And lo! The hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan's turret in a noose of light.

(Translation: A well-known 'Red Top' has just increased its circulation by running a certain story. On behalf of its proprietor, it has drawn attention to the chief of police, illuminating his squad's activities on behalf of Dr and Mrs McCann).

Ah, the power of the metaphor! But is this one not just a little too grandiose? Perhaps. Nevertheless, a similar view was once taken of Mendeleev's Table of the Elements – until further discoveries filled in the gaps, exactly as he had predicted.

The Daily Star article, which questions the wisdom of continuing with Operation Grange, is of interest for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that the present misgivings with regard to expenditure, on this project exclusively, have not been widely echoed across the mainstream media as one might have expected.

The story has been picked up by at least one other UK publication though – the Daily Express. And who owns both titles? Richard Desmond. The same Richard Desmond who, several years ago, found himself finessed out of half-a-million by the very beneficiaries of this additional government largesse, and whose demeanour before the Leveson inquiry suggested he had not forgotten.

Anyone inclined to suppose that this man would be content to 'grin and bear it' should note that, in 1987, The Daily Star was obliged to pay exactly this sum of money to Jeffrey Archer, by way of libel damages. In 2002 the publication, now under Express Group ownership, recouped around £1.8 million (the original sum plus interest!) when Archer was found to have earlier lied in court.

But why?

Why should RD's publications appear to support such criticism of Operation Grange, so obviously stirred up by McCann spin doctors? Well really. Is it that obvious?

Regardless of the authoring journalist's credentials, the foundation for the story in question rests with the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, John Tully, whose several quoted opinions reflect those of fellow members at various levels of seniority. It is unlikely that they would be influenced in their thinking by a prospective Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion, or a former colleague who now finds himself very much on the outside looking in. No, this vaguely belligerent attitude owes its origins to authority, although whose authority exactly is another question altogether.

Those with blind faith would suppose the McCanns fear that 'knock on the door' resulting from Operation Grange and its due diligence - hence their desire to rein back what they themselves moved heaven and earth (Brooks & Cameron at least) to unleash. The wind has changed and the gas is now blowing in their direction sort of thing. Meanwhile, back in Bayswater...

One should not overlook the fact that the McCanns are not the only agency with a vested interest in the functionality of Operation Grange, an undertaking which has so far served one of two purposes: Either it is a genuine effort after the truth, the cost of which is a reflection of its complexity, or it is a protracted attempt to obfuscate the original conclusions of the Portuguese investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. What it cannot be is a good cause gone bad, or the changeling progeny of a Commissioner playing the role of poacher-turned-gamekeeper.

As if we haven't been given a sufficient inkling as to its purpose these last four years, recent indicators are clear enough. Having followed his remit to the letter, DCI Redwood resigned in December from his 'privileged' position as officer-in-charge (and after all that hard work as well). It seemed as unthinkable as Ronnnie O'Sullivan conceding a frame from a winning position. Unless of course he was already a 'ton' behind with no reds left on the table (for 'reds' here read 'suspects' and/or 'investigative opportunities'). As he once said himself, DCI Redwood's 'mission impossible' was not to solve the case.

Ah, but that recent 'summit meeting' featuring Redwood's replacement, DCI Wall...

Also featuring, we are given to understand, a representative of the Diplomatic Corps, with no more claim to a seat at the table than the usher; unless representing British interests abroad that is. Not quite the contextual ambience appropriate to pursuance of central European homicidal burglars through the Portuguese courts, as would needs be the case.

Exactly. That's what the McCanns are afraid of alright – a prosecution of British suspects, in Britain.

Really? After 4 Years and £10+ million? So why did DCI Redwood choose not to see it through?

If the Portuguese had insufficient evidence to bring charges in 2007, what makes anyone believe Operation Grange has 'upped the ante'? "They've got nothing", as Dr G. McCann once infamously announced. Had there been any kind of seismic shift in the Yard's investigation, the Metropolitan Police Federation would not now be criticizing its own members' endeavours. Nor would James Murray (Associate Editor of the Sunday Express), participate in a 'phone-in to discuss the matter in terms of the entire operation's being a damp squib.

If anyone had a keen interest in Grange coming to a just conclusion it would be Murray's boss, who, as like as not, would be equally keen to see this same smokescreen blown away. He would also derive some satisfaction, no doubt, from drawing his own cloak away from any puddle the present government may be about to step in, having not long ago donated £300k to UKIP (How's that for press control, Dave?).

It seems Home Secretary Theresa May is also concerned with the dispersal of camouflage, as reported by the Daily Mirror (17 March):

'The Home Secretary told the Home Affairs Committee: "There needs to be no suggestion of any further cover-up in the work of an investigation of what seems to have been a cover-up."'


With the troops at Scotland Yard themselves becoming restive, it seems pretty clear that what is gradually being recognized officially is that which has long been recognized elsewhere: Operation Grange is not kosher.

Even the guilt-riven of Rothley, instead of breathing a sigh of relief at the suggestion the Grange dogs be called off (no doubt for being unreliable) have since dispatched 'a friend' to convey the message, again via the Daily Star (for balance?), that they'd quite like to see the investigation continue, as it's not up to the Metropolitan Police Federation to decide these things, only the Prime Minister, the Home Office, and, of course the Metropolitan Police.


If we cancel the Met. from the equation therefore, what does that leave us? A police investigation initiated, sustained (and eventually to be terminated) by government is what.

The sequence of hall-marks here reads as follows: Establishment faith in their own protégées, followed by a populist commitment to placing blame for a tragedy of nationally adopted proportions somewhere other than with UK culprits – a job for the Met.'s finest. And if Portugal can be persuaded to join in the chorus then everyone can go home happy.

But the Portuguese can hold their ale and won't start singing just like that. It’s also their bar, so they get to call 'time', not the lager louts who come in after the football's finished. Best call in a diplomat to arbitrate, especially now the Home Secretary has since had time to catch up on her reading and realizes the extent to which everyone's been had!

The Attorney General's representative, if they were indeed there, will have returned empty handed, just as the CPS delegate before them. The Portuguese investigation, having been re-opened as a pre-emptive measure, will have adjusted its focus to that of a murder inquiry, a move offered some support (but no evidential corroboration) by the last known 'feelings' of Operation Grange. A hunch is not enough however, so nothing can happen there. Nor will anything happen here, especially once the Grange shop is shut on account of a cash-flow failure.

And the McCanns?

Despite not securing their official certificate of exoneration after all, they'll probably still send Sir Bernard a regular Christmas card – from Canada.
Keeping Up With The Jones's – 24.03.2015

Not to be outdone by the Desmond team (Express Group Newspapers), the Daily Mail have now produced their own extensive, eulogistic comment on the Metropolitan Police Federation suggestion that Operation Grange be brought to a halt. There are no prizes for guessing the direction of the eulogies.

David Jones, who claims familiarity with the McCann case ab initio, somehow fails to bring his extensive knowledge to bear in a balanced account, but instead puts his name to a contrived exercise in dis-information. It has reached the point, surely, when observers of this protracted affair can only conclude that, as regards Madeleine McCann specifically, this is all the popular press are good for.

Where does one start...? Well why not at the very beginning?

"I returned to Praia da Luz, the conspiratorial little resort"

'Conspiratorial'? How so?

This is the very same resort about which the author later states:

"From the moment Madeleine was taken, they have behaved with commendable dignity and shown enormous compassion towards her family".

Ah, he goes on to explain:

"The reputation of their once-blameless resort has been irreparably sullied".

So it must have been the entire population of Praia da Luz wot dun it. A modern interpretation of 'Murder on the Orient Express', no doubt.

We continue with:

"...revisiting some of its now-fabled landmarks — apartment 5A at the Ocean Club holiday resort, the white-washed chapel where Kate and Gerry would pray for deliverance — it struck me how precious little we have learned about her fate".

Whose fate? Madeleine's we may presume. But why then should the parents be praying for deliverance? Deliverance from what exactly? Evil? Then whose? Praying for their daughter's delivery would make rather more sense, at least in principle.

Unfortunately for all concerned, "We have no more idea what became of Madeleine now than we did then (May 4, 2007). It is almost as if time has stood still".

Yes, David. Eight years without, it would appear, any significant advancement in our (public) knowledge of what became of Madeleine McCann. Does that not strike you as odd, given the seeming investment of time and resources, and by so many separate agencies, into finding the child? Only a fool would make the same mistake repeatedly and expect a different outcome each time. Have we or the McCanns been making torch-bearers of fools therefore?

"Given the enduring global obsession with the case, we might think this quite extraordinary".


Time for some jingoism then.

"First we had a series of Portuguese police investigations, the ineptitude of which is well documented.

"Next came a procession of private detectives (including a self-proclaimed Spanish super-sleuth, expensively hired by the McCanns in December 2007, who blithely promised to have Madeleine home for Christmas).

"Then, in 2011, at the behest of David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, Scotland Yard's finest were called in to clear up the mess".

It is to be hoped that in a follow-up article one might be offered some examples of the documentation that attests to the 'ineptitude' of the investigation conducted by the Portuguese. Hope springs eternal. And that's probably about the length of time we'll have to wait for such evidence to be brought forth here.

Thank goodness the 'Met's finest' were on hand to 'clear up the mess'. What would we do without them?

"At least, that was the Prime Minister's hope, and perhaps his expectation, when — apparently moved by a personal appeal from the McCanns — he ordered a team of Met detectives to be removed from their other duties and assigned to the case, codenamed Operation Grange".

Well now. The Prime Minister (and the Home Office) had hopes and expectations did they? It's rather doubtful that these pertained to clearing up any mess, since, as far as police work was concerned, there absolutely wasn't one. David Cameron suggested the Home Office discuss the possibility of a review with Scotland Yard. He might contend that he did not 'order' anything however, especially since, in our so-called democracy, such an order would be unconstitutional.

"But almost four years and an eye-watering £10million of taxpayers' money later — an amount that would pay the annual wages of countless PCs — it is patently obvious his intervention is not producing results. (italics mine)

"Though a huge number of man-hours have been spent re-examining the 5,000-page Portuguese judicial dossier in the hope that it might contain a vital missed clue, though great swathes of wasteland in Praia da Luz were explored with sophisticated gadgetry last year, and a plethora of suspects re-interviewed, there has been no sign of a breakthrough".

Well I'm glad, David, you recognize, like the rest of us, that Operation Grange has produced no results. Could that be because they based their investigation on 5000 pages attributable to the Portuguese, and the balance of 25,000 pages deriving from an assortment of impostors and mountebanks?

"...the Met's 'Madeleine Squad' have spent four years painstakingly re-examining the botched Portuguese investigation.

"You cannot fault their thoroughness".

Oh yes we can! And in whose estimation was the Portuguese investigation 'botched'? That of David Jones, obviously, and who else of any significance?

"Meanwhile, every witness statement and tip-off is being re-checked, every theory considered, no matter how unlikely."

Thump! The first nail to go cleanly home strikes the back board.

Does any police investigation, anywhere in the world, proceed by working inwards via the more 'unlikely' theories? If the accepted answer should be 'no', then why have we to sit back and watch as 'the Met's finest' blow millions on unnecessarily exploring the unlikely? Is it possible they have borrowed from the philosophy of Captain R.F. Scott, who dabbled with untried technology and came second as a result, whereas his rival Amundsen simply 'cut to the chase'.

"Each (such) development raises fresh hopes and excites the media, but so far they have all come to nothing. And one had to ask whether DCI Andy Redwood, who had set up the inquiry and had overseen it enthusiastically for four years, would have recently stood down had he been on the brink of solving the biggest case of his career." (italics mine)

Yes, one did ask as it happens (See: The Ruby Hat of Old Ma McCann – McCannfiles, 19.3.15)

Were David Jones to act as the voice of the McCanns in support of Operation Grange, he would be sure, he tells us, to remind authorities of several other cases of abduction rather more successfully resolved, e.g., Jaycee Lee Dugard and Zephany Nurse. But then, as he admits:

"The sad truth is, however, that when we examine such exceptional cases, they do little to support the argument for a hugely expensive and protracted police investigation."

So why go to the trouble of introducing them into the argument?

A more sensible comparison to be made, we are advised, is with protocols and expenditure in connection with children who go missing in the UK.

"So how much time and money might you expect the police to invest in searching for one 'medium risk' child? According to a recent study by Portsmouth University's Centre For Missing Persons, the amount is astonishingly low: between £1,325 and £2,415.

"Compared with the millions poured into the search for Madeleine, this figure — which covers such basic procedures as taking an initial call, risk assessment, obtaining a photograph of the child, undertaking a house search, and a police national computer check — is derisory indeed."

Or put another way, the 'figure' involved in the case of Madeleine McCann is inexplicably high – and then some.

"It goes without saying that none of this is any fault of the McCanns."

Except, David, you have just said so. Whose fault is it then? If the McCanns are not calling the shots, who is? And why are they aiming in entirely the wrong direction?

(There now follows the eulogy to the parents who "always speak about Madeleine — whose 12th birthday falls this May — in the present tense". No doubt having been advised that previous references to their daughter in the past tense were highly suggestive of exactly that!)

Eventually we get to the 'bottom line', in support of the proposal recently voiced by John Tully of the Metropolitan Police Federation:

"I simply believe, with the best of intentions, that it is time to put sentiment aside, face up to the harsh financial realities of modern policing, and regard Madeleine McCann in the same manner as all those other missing children."

Basically, the Operation Grange budget should be cut from several millions to a couple of thousand. Small wonder DCI Redwood opted for early retirement.

Fraud, and how to support it – 31.03.2015

If, when doing the weekly shop, we are tempted by a BOGOF offer to pick up an extra packet of biscuits, we should hardly expect to be charged for both packets at the supermarket checkout. That would be a deception on the part of the vendor, who will have contravened an inducement to purchase, i.e. the terms of an advertisement which, according to the IPA code, should be legal, decent honest and truthful. It's no different to selling a car with 'no known faults' when it hasn't actually got an engine.

The following is owing to Mike Hamilton, writing exclusively for The Sun:

"The parents or Madeleine McCann plan to plough their own money into the search for their missing daughter if police halt their investigation. Kate and Gerry McCann both 47, of Rothley Leics., fear public donations have dried up as the search approaches its eighth anniversary. So they have pumped almost £1 million into a fund for Madeleine that would be running at a loss without their cash. The money came from Kate's book about Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal in May 2007 and the search for her."

It is made absolutely clear here that "their (the McCanns') own money...came from Kate's book about Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal in May 2007 and the search for her."

Kate McCann has only written one book so far, the various editions of which have incorporated a conspicuous advertising 'flash' on its front cover. This reads:

"All royalties donated to Madeleine's Fund."

All royalties, as announced by Transworld publishing, since the flash was an intrinsic feature of the publication, and not a superimposed sticker.

According to Mike Hamilton however, some of these very royalties must have been directed to the author personally, in order for it to be considered her money, and deriving, as it did, from her book.

It follows, inevitably, that Transworld publishers were responsible for incorporating a misleading inducement to purchase with their product offering.

If all the royalties were paid into the fund in the first instance, then they could not subsequently be placed there as 'top up' funding by Kate McCann, coming from her own pocket so to speak. If, on the other hand, the McCanns are boasting of personal income from book sales, as Mike Hamilton informs his readers, then Transworld are clearly at fault.

Is a 'class action' appropriate here, I wonder?

Something for the Weekend – 24.04.2015

For a close shave, Occam's Razor is to be recommended. Sweeney Todd too probably had something of a reputation for barberous efficiency. Until, that is, he was discovered to have contributed one too many fingers to Mrs Lovett's pies. (Other people's fingers, that is). Back in May 2007, someone cooked up a proposal and sold it to Dr Gerry McCann, who was busy not enjoying himself on holiday. His response too was, 'Love it!' And so the story of Madeleine McCann's abduction was born.

People seldom do things without a reason, however fanciful. If Madeleine McCann was to be reported missing it was because she was, indeed, 'missing', in a generalised sense at least, prior to the announcement of her absence. Our good friend Occam has recently been recruited to support the idea that these eventualities were closely concatenated in time, the one following the other in an inevitable 'stimulus - response' fashion. It is not at all an unreasonable supposition, for even if we stub a toe we don't usually wait thirty seconds before saying, 'Ouch!'

Not all actions provoke an immediate consequence however. Even in the realm of animal learning, subjects (rats) have been deliberately rendered ill as an experimental outcome, inflicted as a direct result of some prior behaviour. Clearly there was an interval of time in-between.

However good or impoverished a theory might appear at first blush, its ultimate power is governed by the extent to which it accommodates all of the known data, not merely the greater part. If there is some observation or other for which one's theory offers no satisfactory explanation, then that theory must be open to question, unless or until the awkward observation(s) should be proven false.

In the case of Madeleine McCann and her disappearance from Praia da Luz, it is the McCanns who first tempted us with an appeal to Occam: Madeleine was missing. She was there a moment ago. Now she's gone. She must therefore have been abducted. As Gerry McCann huffed and puffed in front of the Lisbon court house fully five years ago now, 'Where...where...where is the child? What other explanation can explain how she's not here?'

Many of us I'm sure could offer just such an explanation, which means that abduction per se, although a claim of the McCanns, is by no means 'cut and dried' as the root cause of Madeleine's disappearance. Similarly, opinions as to the 'spur of the moment' nature, or not, of Madeleine's removal from apartment 5A, must deal adequately with all those contextual features of the incident which are known to have arisen. The attribution of mere coincidence is insufficient when there are so many such 'coincidences' to be taken into account.

The question has been asked here before (The X Factor, 28.2.2013): Which of two opposing views (Madeleine's abduction/removal on the Thursday night vs. an earlier departure) better accommodates the strange goings on that week? Another discussion (the Cerberus Problem, 13.8.11) examined the possibility that Thursday 3 May was, in very many respects, an addition to the narrative of the holiday, and logically quite unconnected to prior events.

To give but one example, previously mentioned (although not discussed) in the article 'Schadenfraud' (30.4.2014), Gerry McCann's receipt of regular text messages, and his predictable recourse to voicemail thereafter was a daily routine associated with the aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance. It was also a behaviour he first exhibited on May 2nd – over twenty four hours before Madeleine was found to be missing.

It would be facile to dismiss these mysterious communications as having no relevance whatsoever to each other since, on closer examination, the schedule of those messages, which Gerry received on May 2, strongly suggests a connection both within and between the different groups of messages (see also 'Chapter and Verse', 14.10.2009). And this quite apart from McCann's perceived need to delete them in the first instance, followed by his embarrassed public denial of their very existence.

Ah yes, but how is that related to events afterwards? Gerry's feverish texting is only to be expected in the light of events.

That's as may be. What is not to be expected however is the daily regularity of incoming text messages in discrete groups, followed almost immediately each time by Gerry McCann's 'cross checking' of his own voice mail. If this standardized behaviour is a reflection of Madeleine McCann's abduction, then she must have been 'abducted' (I use the word loosely) over 24 hours earlier than announced, as that is when this style of interchange first arose.

If the McCann telecommunications from May 4 onward were a reaction to abduction then, similarly, those of May 2 would have been a reaction to something occurring previously. Ipso facto the 'discovery' of the night of May 3 becomes a planned event.

As Clarence Mitchell made clear (for the benefit of Peter Levy's listeners):

"That is the working hypothesis on which the private investigation is also based. That there is somebody, perhaps one, or just two or three people out there who know what happened and that there was an element of pre-meditation, pre-planning went into it."

You bet!

Watch That Space – 01.05.2015

By now, thanks to the hurried efforts of Dona Isabel Duarte, the entire Western world has been given the news of the McCanns' successful litigation against Dr. Goncalo Amaral. What will not have been fully explained to the media of course is that the judge in this instance had virtually to invent a reason for awarding them anything at all, much less the astronomical sum announced.

£375,000 may represent the extent of the McCanns' demands with respect to themselves, but it far and away exceeds any comparable award so far by a Portuguese court to a Portuguese. In addition, the arguments advanced as a justification are not merely weak, they are in error. It's as though, if the good lady judge were a mathematician she would be in the habit of reading graphs upside down!

The decision to award the sum demanded was based, not on the evidence heard, but an essay in Jurisprudence, researched by the arbitrator herself, in which Goncalo Amaral is portrayed as a public servant subject to restriction, as though he had signed the Portuguese equivalent of the Official Secrets Act. For balance, courts too are obliged to observe the presumption of innocence in any statement they might make concerning suspects under investigation, so as not to prejudice or jeopardize any prosecution.

In the event that a public official is not sworn to secrecy, exactly how long must they be 'out of office' before they are allowed to comment upon anything contentious? The final decision of this court was supposed to have been given in private, so no blame could be attached to any official statement emanating from it. But what about evidence given at previous hearings? Might not the (publicly reported) statements of such as PJ Inspector Ricardo Paiva be viewed as 'prejudicial to the presumption of innocence'? No castigation offered in that direction though, eh?

In sum, and based upon legal precedent, apparently, we have the duty of a public servant (and others) toward a suspect under investigation, levied against a man no longer in public office, and on behalf of two people who are not suspects, not being investigated, and in no imminent danger of standing trial for anything at all. Does that make any sense?

There are two very clear (and opposing) schools of thought concerning the relationship or otherwise between Operation Grange and the McCann/Amaral stand-off being progressed through the civil courts. This latest decision, evaluated in complete isolation, is nigh-on inexplicable – except when viewed in a context of suitability.

Monetarily, the McCanns benefit, and beyond what should have been their wildest expectations in the wake of the evidence previously heard by this court. But it was never about the money, so they say. There is also the glaring anomaly of the judge, hearing a case for damages, suddenly and inexplicably making a pronouncement concerning Goncalo Amaral's book, quite beyond her judicial remit, taking it upon herself to reverse the earlier decision of a higher court and citing her own research as justification!

Again the McCanns benefit, but they are not alone.

Imagine the difficulty facing the decision makers behind Operation Grange, should the damages awarded the McCanns have genuinely reflected the evidence heard and assessed in Lisbon. How does one justify closing down a review/investigation that has just eaten up four years and £10 million, having identified neither abductor nor evidence of abduction, if the bottom line, as last defined in Portugal, was that the McCanns' claims were worth 'tuppence' and The Truth of the Lie is not only legitimate, but accurate!

As far as the case is concerned, the McCanns did not win the argument. The result however is very much 'against the run of play'. It not only supports, albeit tenuously, their claims of victory, but extends to promote the conclusion that Goncalo Amaral's published remarks, and by implication the concomitant (and troublesome) observations made by the original (Portuguese) process, are in error.

Suddenly, and with fiscal testimony to the illegitimacy of Amaral's reasoning (and by implication the PJ's original position) the counterweight to the McCanns' claims of abduction has been lifted once more. Hence Scotland Yard can relax in the understanding that their investigating a case of abduction was appropriate all along.

Whether Goncalo Amaral appeals the decision at this stage is secondary and largely irrelevant, given the time delay involved. The fact remains that the Grange curtain can be brought down now, courtesy of a judge who has seen fit to portray the McCanns as injured parties, not on account of the evidence, but in spite of it.

DCI Redwood has retired, just as he was on the verge of cracking the biggest abduction case since the Lindbergh baby, DCI Nicola Wall has been brought in to answer the 'phone, and the McCanns, with their eyes focussed on another big pay day, propose to continue where Operation Grange is shortly to leave off (according to Clarence Mitchell at least, and he should know).

If a UK diplomat can influence the direction of a police investigation conducted on foreign soil, there is no reason whatever to believe that 'sweet nothings' cannot be whispered into the ear of a foreign judge, even after a case hearing is concluded, allowing the McCanns to continue searching for their daughter in the same fashion as Hercules, who stubbornly insisted on looking for his dead chum Hylas, whose body lay buried beneath the shattered bronze remains of a Titan (according to Ray Harryhausen at least). We don't yet know what Madeleine is buried under.

Duplicity – 13.05.2015

It is in the diplomatic nature of things, that when the truth looks like being unpalatable, perfectly ordinary men and women will tell a 'white lie' in order to defer discussion of what could become an unwelcome or provocative topic. Politicians, as we know, adopt the tactic of avoidance, answering 'the question before last' instead of taking the bait just handed them. The McCanns have, over time, practised both techniques (lying and avoidance), presumably to safeguard against having to discuss something they would rather not in relation to the disappearance of their daughter. It seems reasonable to infer therefore that they have a motive for doing so, being principals to the saga, as it were.

The story of Madeleine McCann's 'abduction' is littered with contradictions from the outset. Gerry McCann could not faithfully recall the door he used to enter the family's apartment that night. He and his wife could not agree on the door she used to enter the family's apartment that night. Gerry McCann could not agree with Jane Tanner as to which side of the road McCann was standing when Tanner passed him on the street, or even whether they were in the street together at the same time. And very soon after Madeleine McCann's 'abduction' was announced, we heard friends and relatives chorusing 'jemmied shutters'. That too was a lie, although not knowingly theirs. It was what they had been told, separately, by the doctors McCann.

Altogether more intriguing than the questionable utterances by the MCann parents, however, is the readiness with which others of their acquaintance have also been prepared to lie, as if they too were expressing a subconscious desire to 'make the subject go away'. Aspects of Jane Tanner's rogatory statement recorded by Leicestershire police convey the distinct impression that she was working to a script. (How else is one to explain the verbatim repetition of answers? See: Author Unknown, McCannfiles, 7.2.2010). She also contributes to the remarkable tale of the tennis court, where two different photographers are put forward by three different people as responsible for capturing the iconic picture of Madeleine McCann and her tennis balls, and on any one of three separate days (See: Anyone for Tennis, 13.10.2013). Or maybe Kate McCann simply usurped the image for copyright reasons.

Among the strangest contradictions in the entire saga are the claims made, again by others, for Gerry McCann's various 'phone calls late on the night of 3 May. Subsequent to an article first appearing in Correio da Manha, it has been generally understood that: "The first call Gerry made on the night of the crime was to Alistair Clark, a good friend from University days and a diplomat close to Gordon Brown."

In reality, the first call Gerry made on the night of the crime was to his wife, as was the second. Alistair Clark, whoever he may have been, was not even on the register of diplomats that year. He most certainly did not receive a call from Gerry McCann approaching midnight, or at any time soon thereafter. Someone deliberately fed CdM a pup (practising for a time when they might be in a position to offer them Brighton Pavilion perhaps).

Stranger still are the conflicting claims of McCann family members:

1. John McCann (speaking on DATELINE – NBC):

"I got a 'phone call from Gerry at twenty to twelve. I was on a training course down, er, near my head office in Luton, and I had a big day on the Friday, so I'd gone to bed early. I got woken at twenty to twelve with Gerry in a complete panic, completely distraught about what had happened and it was a really horrible moment".

2. Gerry's sister Trisha Cameron (Statement to police, 15.4.2008):

'I remember hearing about Madeleine's disappearance by 'phone on the night of 3rd May 2007. I usually go to bed late but I was particularly tired that night and went to bed early. I was woken by the phone ringing at about 23.30. It was Gerry telling me that Madeleine had been taken'.

3. Susan Healy (to BBC Panorama, 19 November, 2007):

"I think it would be about half eleven - and I'm guessing now, I might be wrong - there was a 'phone call and it was Gerry on the 'phone, and he said it's a disaster. It's a disaster. And he was quite hysterical".

Here are Gerry McCann's first 'phone calls out of Praia da Luz following Kate's announcement of their daughter's disappearance:

23.14 Kate McCann

23.17 Kate McCann

23.40 Trish Cameron

23.52 Kate's Uncle Brian

Where is the call to Alistair Clark? Why did John McCann insist he was called at 11.40, when he most certainly was not, and Susan Healy suppose she was called at 11.30, when Kate states in her book she asked Gerry to 'phone her parents shortly after midnight, which he appears, from the records, not to have done?

If Gerry and Kate McCann have lied, it is because it was in their interest to do so. If Clarence Mitchell lied on their behalf, it was because he was paid to do so. And the rest? Members of the Tapas 7, the McCanns' extended family and others have been, to put no too fine a point on it, economical with the truth. Why?

Loyalty to Gerry and Kate McCann is quite possibly the one thing they share in common, which begs the question as to whether their motive for hiding the chalk might not be the same as that of Madeleine's parents.
Metaphoric comprehension revisited – 18.09.2015
Attention switching
Pitiful though it may appear to some, I cannot help but notice certain similarities between ostensibly unrelated events. I mean, whatever can the tragedy of 9/11 have in common with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?
One notable aspect, for me at least, is the common purpose shared by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST for short), whose report into the collapse of the ‘Twin Towers’ was commissioned by the US administration, and Operation Grange, funded, open-endedly it seems, by the UK government. Both are indisputably endeavours to impose upon the general public an official account of what happened in each case – to the World Trade Centre buildings on the one hand, Madeleine McCann on the other. Both are gratuitously disingenuous. So much so that it hardly takes a leap of logic to infer that the truth must still be ‘out there’, since it is nowhere represented by either of these officially sanctioned undertakings.
However, for the sake of parsimony if nothing else, we should confine discussion to the McCann affair and the misdirection inherent in it.

To quote briefly from a recent facebook/forum comment:
“There is no way on this earth that two insignificant doctors and their holiday companions would be protected by the full might of the British government. Some other event was happening in Praia de Luz that week and that some of those in attendance were powerful movers and shakers who needed to be protected at all costs.
“…some seeking the answer to Madeleine's disappearance will be disappointed if the reason for the protection does not lead to a high level paedophile gang. But it won’t because it isn't the reason.”

Of course there are those who adhere to the notion that the McCanns have accomplished all they have by virtue of their being no more than sharp opportunists, who happened to have had their hands on a few useful professional levers and have gone onto greater things inside the signal box since. The battleground for argument here is usually the explicit exemplars of officialdom’s having taken the couple’s part so readily. ‘Extraordinary!’ cry the conspiracy theorists. ‘Par for the course,’ claim the debunkers. But what of a smaller skirmish about which very little has so far been said?
However influential the McCanns and their T7 allies may or may not have been, it is difficult to see how they might have convinced two Police investigators into the McCann disappearance, one of them a senior and well respected officer in the field of missing persons enquiries, that their future careers lay elsewhere – outside the UK even. I refer of course to Martin Grime (now working with the FBI) and Mark Harrison (now a Police Commander in Australia). How did Team McCann accomplish that?

Our anonymous commentator is of the opinion that some powerful entity outside the McCann circle required protection, but not on account of their association with any paedophile ring. That wasn’t the reason. Which begs the obvious question: ‘What was the reason’?
Apparently, “Some other event was happening in Praia de Luz that week and some of those in attendance were powerful movers and shakers who needed to be protected at all costs.”
For ‘abduction by paedophiles’ one might read ‘destroyed by hijacked aircraft’, since both propositions share the same degree of verisimilitude. Operation Grange have of course adopted the fallback position of ‘body snatching by burglars’, in an attempt to incorporate the small detail of Madeleine McCann’s being dead at the time of departure - about as credible as NIST’s computer modelling of the collapse of WTC7, or indeed any of the hundreds of pages that make up the 9/11 Commission Report, for which countless trees were needlessly sacrificed. (Ed see below)

The inevitable lure here, and the one which has engaged so many for so long, is the urge to get to the bottom of what really happened to Madeleine McCann. And this, with the added frisson of possible misdemeanour involving high status individuals, has, for nearly a decade, successfully steered all our gazes away from the true fulcrum of the drama being played out in the Portuguese Algarve. As per the comment above: “Some other event was happening in Praia de Luz that week.” A ‘tomato fest’ it was not.

Keeping secrets
Certain students of the McCann case, as seen through the eyes of the media for the most part, have derided Goncalo Amaral’s repeated assertions that secret service activities lay behind the ruinous political intervention into the police investigation of which he was co-ordinator. Such a view establishes him as a ‘totem’ for conspiracy theorists, who, according to these learned others, lack a firm grasp of reality. Far too many people (‘three score and ten’?) would have to have been involved for it to work, and they couldn’t all keep a secret could they? Not like the thousands employed at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, or the hundred thousand engaged on the Manhattan Project in the USA, where President Truman was over a week in office before he knew anything about it ( (Ed see below) Then of course we have that inglorious September date in 2001. Has anyone from the directorate ‘squealed’ about that one yet? (And don’t, for goodness’ sake, imagine that’s because there’s nothing to reveal).

Of all those whose opinions concerning the McCann case might be taken seriously, Goncalo Amaral is out in front by a country mile. He was slap bang in the middle of proceedings at the time. So if he reports that a UK police officer (Mark Harrison as it happens) was intercepted by MI5 at Faro Airport then it’s ‘odds on’ the event occurred. So we might ask ourselves, were MI5 tagging along with the diplomatic invasion, like so many opportunist refugees, just in case the people thought by Kate McCann to have been ‘spying’ on her family that week should have absconded with some living embodiment of a state secret or two? Or were they already there?
It’s safe to say that a lot of people were in the Algarve at the time of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, no doubt representing a variety of nationalities. The T7 were known to each other, but not to fellow diners at the Tapas Restaurant. Even newly-arrived Robert Murat, whose mother’s house was just a short walk from the Ocean Club, was a complete stranger to some, whilst Martin Smith had only seen him on a couple of occasions.

A small township populated by all sorts and frequented by strangers then. Perhaps we should not be surprised therefore at the McCann appeal for holiday-makers at the time to submit to CEOP (led of course by Jim Gamble) any photos that featured unfamiliar faces – you know, the sort of family snap you happen to take just as someone else wanders into view.

Despite Gerry McCann’s personal mantra about the importance of ‘getting information into the investigation’, no photographs trawled in this manner were ever passed onto the PJ, who were conducting it. Furthermore, according to Kate McCann (Crimewatch, June 2007), "Probably about 60% of tourists to this area are British, but following that are the Germans and then the Dutch.” But then we have Gerry’s ‘blog’ of 9 June, 2007, in which he tells us:
“After returning from the beach we did the Irish version of Crimewatch -'Crimecall'. There are a lot of Irish tourists in and around Praia da Luz and although the awareness of Madeleine's disappearance in Ireland is extremely high, we want to ensure that everyone is aware of the appeal and we want the Irish public to come forward with photographs of people who they do not know who were in and around Praia da Luz in the 2 weeks leading up to the 3rd May.”

The Smith family members, whose ‘sighting’ seems to have been of some significance, are of course Irish. Maybe friends of theirs had inadvertently secured an image of the same ‘abductor’ during daylight hours? More generally, and much more likely, such an Irish photographic ‘accident’ might have involved another Irish individual, most probably at a venue frequented by Irish ‘tourists’.
The McCanns and their ‘Tapas’ friends arrived in Praia da Luz over the weekend 28/29 April. Madeleine McCann was publicly reported missing on May 3, whereafter Kate McCann was quite sure ‘They’d been watching us for days’ (well it couldn’t have been a week!). And yet the McCanns, CEOP, and in all likelihood Jim Gamble, who had rather more than one string to his professional bow at the time, were interested in photographs featuring people ‘in and around Praia da Luz in the 2 weeks leading up to the 3rd May’. That’s over a week before the McCanns even arrived.
What surreptitious activity might the suspected abductor(s) have been up to prior to watching the McCanns for a few days? Did they know the McCanns were coming? Had they access to their booking arrangements? Did they take time to reconnoitre likely vantage points for surveillance perhaps? Of course not. Yet someone of interest must have been there, otherwise there would have been no chance of their being captured on film, and concomitantly no point to the appeal for photographs.

The first rule of survival
‘Take care of no. 1’. It follows that, on a national scale, the first priority of a state is to see to matters of state. And what might matter to the state is not the domestic fate of a young child abroad, nor the criminality, if such it be, of that child’s parents. Thus, faced with the rejection of FOI requests on the grounds that to respond could jeopardize international relations, are we not bound to infer that what was actually being safeguarded was not the good names of a rag-tag bunch of middle-class medics? (See: “A Magical Mystery Tour” and “‘Mad Cow’ Legislation” – McCannfiles, October/November 2009).

So what was happening that spring, in Praia da Luz particularly or the Portuguese Algarve in general, that was neither a tomato fest nor a child abduction? Whatever it was, it was of international significance. Did it have something to do with the Lisbon Treaty perhaps? Nope. That was not signed until December. The Freeport scandal coming to a head? Well that certainly had an international dimension, but it’s difficult to see any immediate connection with the very immediate steps taken to submerge the McCann affair. What say we look at another chain of ‘incidents’ altogether, working backward from 2012?
This from The Portugal News Online of 15 November that year

“The trial of five men accused of trafficking weapons to supply a dissident faction of the IRA – the Real IRA (RIRA) – began in the Algarve last week under a blanket of tight security.
“Three men from Northern Ireland and two Portuguese nationals are implicated in the case, which dates back to July 2011, when a PJ counter-terrorism unit swooped on a campsite in Olhão and dismantled the set-up.
“Three of the suspects are being held in Portugal, one remains free and the fifth suspect is in Ireland where he is facing extradition.”

The arrests were in fact reported in the Guardian at the time they occurred (10 July -
Continuing with The Portugal News Online:
“It is not the first time RIRA activity has been exposed in the Algarve. In 2009 two men believed to belong to the Real IRA were found to be using a restaurant in the small fishing village of Alvor as a main European base.

“It was at the Panda Grill on the fringe of the village that Paul Anthony McCaugherty and Michael Gregory allegedly negotiated the buying and selling of weapons for the Real IRA, between 2005 and 2006.”

The Telegraph (30.6.2010) explained that these 2009 arrests had proceeded to trial and that
“The trial had heard that the Real IRA was using a restaurant on the Algarve in Portugal as a global hub for weapons shipments to Ireland. McCaugherty met the agent in Portugal and in a number of other locations including Amsterdam and Istanbul.”
Fully five years ago yet another ‘anonymous donor’ left a comment on a popular blog to the following effect:

“Anonymous 23 April 2010 20:34:00
“In my opinion, Jim Gamble was not looking for photos of possible abductors. He was looking for photos that could have identified MI5 operatives. There is a trial scheduled to take place this month (April 2010) in regard to the Real IRA activities in the Algarve. It may not have to do with that case….”

On the other hand it just might.
Given these suspects were only arrested in 2009, in relation to criminal activities conducted between 2005 and 2006, what were they doing in the intervening period – and where were they doing it? A quick look at the map reveals that the ‘small fishing village of Alvor’, otherwise a European base of operations for illegal arms trafficking, is just beyond the headland from Luz, to the other side of Lagos.

And that ‘agent’ the accused was supposed to have met? The Telegraph (30.6.2010) again explains:
Paul McCaugherty, 43, was caught trying to buy an arsenal of weapons from an undercover agent posing as a Middle Eastern arms dealer.

“The Security Service agent, known as Ali, spent two years meeting McCaugherty and bugging 90 hours of conversations which became the cornerstone of the prosecution’s case at Belfast Crown Court.”

No one was arrested until 2009 remember, which means that this operation was on-going during 2007, the year the McCanns decided to visit the Algarve. And let’s not overlook the headline afterwards carried by the Telegraph (30.6.2010):

Real IRA commander caught in MI5 arms dealing sting

A Real IRA commander has been convicted of attempting to smuggle weapons and explosives into Northern Ireland after being snared by a daring MI5 sting operation.

From which it is abundantly clear that MI5 didn’t just wander into the Algarve in the wake of the McCanns. They were already there, and had been for some considerable time.

A stitch in time
Picking up on the earlier perspicacity of ‘Anonymous’, as demonstrated on 23 April that year (2010), if there is one thing about which the security services are undeniably scrupulous it is protection of their assets’ identities, and for very good reason.

Examples of this concern (or lack thereof) are to be found in the furore following members of the Bush administration’s deliberately, and maliciously, ‘outing’ CIA field agent Valerie Plame Wilson, simply to spite her husband, a diplomat who had taken a very public moral stand against US foreign policy in the Middle-East. (Ed. Joe Wilson husband of Valerie Plame revues Bush's memoir link) On the home front, MI5’s eventual willingness to share CCTV images of two of the alleged 7/7 bombers was counterbalanced by their ‘cropping’ the pictures in such a way as to make reliable identification of the individuals nigh-on impossible.

But that’s just for context. What we have for more immediate consideration is an on-going MI5 operation in the Portuguese Algarve, where suddenly, and without prior warning, Police activity is about to go into overdrive, possibly giving locally based targets entirely the wrong impression that they are on the point of being ‘rumbled’ (a moment that was still two years hence), and jeopardizing years of investment in under-cover infiltration in the process. Not to mention the risk of ‘Ali’s being recognised in a context other than that of his role as a putative arms dealer.

Such would have been the situation had the PJ acted without media or other intrusion on the occasion of Madeleine McCann’s ‘disappearance’.

But isn’t that what they did?

Not really. It’s what they did on the night of May 3rd.

Now consider a UK government and its security services appraised of the possibility of such imminent turmoil before it actually kicked off. Say, a few days before. Time in which to delay ‘abduction’ (in lieu of a death) and instruct ‘Ali’, for example, to adopt a low profile elsewhere for the time being. Police spot checks throughout the Algarve would be inevitable, but significant others would at least be out of the firing line. Had the Portuguese been called to action stations without prior reference to MI5 they would have taken everyone unawares, not just Madeleine McCann’s abductor, had there been one that is.
So Madeleine, instead of dying on the Monday, is abducted, as planned, on the Thursday, giving MI5 the breathing space it needed to manage its own activities in readiness. The very prompt (and loud) international media revelation of Madeleine McCann’s abduction ensured that television watchers everywhere would then know why the PJ, the GNR, and all those helicopters, were suddenly so busy, even those who might have been watching in Alvora, and who obviously hadn’t kidnapped anyone.

I know, I know, ‘if this weren’t so pitiful it would be funny’. But there is a paradox attaching to Madeleine’s disappearance which has yet to be addressed by anyone as far as I am aware, and it is this:
If Madeleine McCann was ‘abducted’ in a hurry on the Thursday night, there was not enough time for her to have lain dead beforehand. And if she died earlier that week, then why would Gerry McCann have waited several days before removing the evidence, only to snatch her corpse out bed at the last minute, just before his wife raised the alarm. The reason for the delay, I suggest, was someone else’s.

And let us not overlook the very significant role in proceedings played by Jim Gamble of CEOP, both at the time and since. Who really conjured up the notion of an extreme paedophile operating in Portugal (Madeleine McCann was barely four years old don’t forget), and who, not long previously, had been steeped in the dark practices of the security services in Northern Ireland?
MI5 eventually secured their targets. The McCanns have their ‘hush money’. And Operation Grange is probably just this current financial year away from ‘capping’ the entire episode like a toxic well (they would have done so sooner had a credible reconciliation been available - remember DCI Redwood’s admission that ‘solution’ was not on the menu?). Oh, and in the wake of the ‘St Andrews Agreement’, the Northern Ireland Assembly was restored and a new Northern Ireland Executive formed - on 8 May 2007.
The chances of the McCanns ever appearing in court as accused parties are exactly those of their daughter being returned to them by an abductor – NIL. Otherwise they would be standing before the judge as accomplices to a deception perpetrated by the very government on whose behalf they were being prosecuted! Or are we also to believe that NORAD could be blind-sided, the Pentagon attacked, and some of Manhattan’s premier real estate flattened by a bunch of dissident Saudis squatting in an Afghan cave?