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)

15-16 - JAN-DÉC - Blacksmith Bureau 11

Roy Lichtenstein - Finger Pointing, 1973



The Dust Starts to Settle – 23.01.2015
Late last year we said it didn't matter much anymore what people, including us, claimed about the McCann case in the media or the net since, at last, a new chapter in the affair is open in which events are no longer a matter of opinion and public debate but are now being determined as matters of fact within the judicial process. We have to wait for any criminal case concerning the child to reach the courts. The civil case, though, is nearly complete and, thank God, pretty transparent: for the first time the claims of Kate and Gerry McCann, in this instance covering the period 2008-2009, have been examined properly and in great detail, and judged. The libel action, which began in squalid and near-medieval secrecy, is ending in a hearteningly transparent manner except for one, temporary, problem. While the judge's conclusions form part of and determine the final judgement to come they are not, of course, the final judgement itself. As such, under Portuguese law the words of the judge on January 21 may not be published verbatim at this stage. The significant findings, however, can be given in the public interest by third parties. Over time, naturally, the picture will be filled in without any breach of the law – since more and more details can be released as being significant – but in the meantime it presents a couple of the usual McCann Case problems of verifiability. As we know, representatives of the McCanns immediately chose to release a version of proceedings to the Lusa news agency which has now been widely accepted – most obviously in retractions and corrections in the Portuguese media – as spun, i.e. false. Readers will judge for themselves why they did so.


Equally this legal requirement preventing the exact words of the judge being quoted provides grounds for supporters of the couple – or neutrals – to claim bias in the internet reports, as they did about the earlier Anne Guedes court reports. It doesn't matter: the truth will out. Readers will remember that very much the same thing happened in 2008 when the McCanns – through Clarence Mitchell that time, not lawyers, Link communications and Lusa – put out the deliberately dishonest first version of the archiving summary in Britain's Associated Newspapers. But the words are now there, unspun, for everyone to see. There is plenty to chew over and much in the judge's findings to discuss, including the interesting question of whether the judicial examination of the McCann claims of 2008/9 gives us a clue as to the likely veracity of their claims in 2007. In the meantime it is now possible to compare results so far with what the McCanns went after in their libel claim.


On July 12 2009 Team McCann, as we know, provided the Mirror newspaper with the Portuguese libel writ for PR purposes. The details can be found in the McCann Files. In amongst the shocking personal abuse of Amaral the Mirror listed the seven claims at the heart of their case for large scale damages and the silencing of Goncalo Amaral. Here they are, with progress to date.
1. Amaral's "false accusations", had left them totally destroyed and damaged them irreparably.
Court finding (12): the McCanns failed to establish this claim.

2. The writ adds that the couple also suffer from "permanent anxiety, insomnia, lack of appetite, irritability and an indefinable fear" from the same accusations and that Kate McCann is "steeped in a deep and serious depression".
Court finding (13): the claim is established. The judge adds an apparently contradictory rider about the conditions being "pre-existent". Court finding (16) apparently excludes the "serious depression" element.

3. "Madeleine has been deprived of the possibility of a fair and adequate investigation into her disappearance, putting her moral and physical integrity at serious risk."
Court finding (11): the McCanns failed to establish this claim.

4. Amaral accused them of accidentally killing their three-year-old daughter and then covering up her death.
Court finding: None required - the claim was false and withdrawn.

5. Amaral… has repeatedly claimed Madeleine died in the holiday apartment on the Algarve and the parents hid her body.
Court finding: none required. The Lisbon court of appeal had already ruled on the validity of the claim.

6. Amaral made a million pounds (1.25 million euros) from the book and documentary and the claimants are suing for that entire amount.
Court finding (3) /(4): Amaral actually received some 360 000 euros.

7. The lawsuit also highlights their fears for four-year-old twins Sean and Amelie when they start school later this year and begin to hear rumours that Madeleine is dead.
Court finding (15/17): It is established that the twins have not yet found out about the thesis that the child is dead and that the couple feel the need to keep them from finding out about it.

Such were the McCanns claims, about which their lawyer Duarte, summing up, said in the piece: "Somebody has to stop him and shut him up. He is a rich man now, earning millions from the distress of this family. We believe he has made up to 1.2million euros (£1million) from the book and the video. We want the court to punish him by taking at least that much from him."

Readers will judge whether any of M/s Duarte's aims have been accomplished. After six years of legal action against Goncalo Amaral five of these seven claims have now been rejected by the courts, leaving just two for which damages could be awarded. One, concerning psychological impact, has been established with ambiguous reservations, the significance of which will not be known until any damages award is made; the other (15/17) makes no mention of potential liability.




How much they hate us – 21.03.2015
The supposedly radical Independent and the scourge of bent politicians Telegraph both covered the suicide of an innocent woman who freaked out after a journalist ambushed her with the same set of priorities and the same headline. (...)



Death Sentence Pronounced on the Abduction – 24.03.2015
(...) The initial Operation Grange scheme of total silence ended in spring 2012. Its replacement was a dishonest dogs' dinner of a policy, with the Yard unable to choose between the clear future – updating the public via Twitter and social media – and the eternal temptation of using – in all senses – the MSM. The Yard/crime correspondent fix, which Kelvin McKenzie thought the Portuguese should adopt in 2007, was mocked to death in the parliamentary and Leveson hearings of 2012. It hasn’t been rebuilt, leaving ad hoc arrangements to stagger on. Redwood, having gone for shock and awe with the media like the Panorama and Crimewatch operations destroyed his own squads credibility, apparently single handed. It was the confidential media briefing sessions for crime correspondents that did it and when the Yard attempted to use those briefings to attain semi-political objectives disaster followed. What a clumsy, size thirteen boot failure! The hacks felt the game that the Yeates murder and the inquiries had called time on might be back; trust between the U.K and Portugal ruptured; it stimulated "whitewash" nonsense among the credulous; and the off the record media briefings provided deep cover for people like the odious Clarence Mitchell to join in the leaking. Since the Yard were covertly spreading rumours themselves (Portuguese feet-dragging etc.) nobody knew which rumours were authorised and which weren't. It was a lamentable performance. …but not the reality
Redwood, who may yet turn out to have won the operational, if not the information, battle has gone and for three months now there hasn't been a single instance of the gimmicks that devalued his tenure. The question is, what now lies under the silence blanket? These latest stories demonstrate that the damage may be less than we thought and that off-stage the situation might be better than it seems. What, in particular, does the latest Mail story, written by that Widow Twankey of the case,the always tearful David Jones, tell us? The Widow, older now, stouter and, judging by the factual gaffes – window ajar indeed! – losing mental concentration, is a reliable weathervane. She wept gallons, tot-wise, for the parents in early 2007 but, perhaps because Gerry McCann wouldn't speak to her, after the initial quivering she began covering her arse against "unhelpful" outcomes by using very Mail-ish sneaky asides about the couple from July onwards.

"Settling into his sleeper bed in Virgin Upper Class (mindful of the sniping about the £946,000 fund for Madeleine, of which £67,000 has been spent, he bought an economy ticket, but was given a complimentary upgrade), the 39-year-old heart consultant was exhausted." The on-demand tears disguised the sneers but by September the Widow could, like Evelyn Waugh's hapless prison chaplain Prendergast, confess to being afflicted by Terrible, Terrible Doubts about the pair. Prendergast subsequently had his head sawn off by a madman in the prison workshop but the Widow merely suffered a sharp rebuke from Gerry in his All Hail The King phase at Leveson – But then the couple slipped the Portuguese noose! What would the Widow do? Well, first stay out of the way of a vengeful couple, naturally. Then, after a decent interval she surfaced with another flip-flop, one which the King maliciously highlighted for his subjects in the same court. Now, like the pantomime Dame she has always been, Jones rotates helplessly upside-down on stage, dangling from the rope tied to her feet, her red-frilly skirts fallen over her face to reveal capacious Victorian brown bloomers. Don’t these MSM journalists give good value! She is now,apparently, trembling in the it-will-never-be solved direction. But is that just a way station? Right, now the serious stuff. The Mail is no longer in direct communication with the parents. Mitchell's comment was a pool one – given to a number of outlets, not the Mail: the sweetheart relationship has gone missing. In the other papers too the McCann's frozen, apparently paralysed, months-long near-silence continues: even the threat of winding up the project they fought for, the end of The Search that, like some Spielberg knightly grail, they passed on into the sacred hands of the Met, hasn't flushed them out into the light. Oh, and the Mirror, currently with a few police problems of its own, hasn't said a word for them in three months. Next. The MSM via a long, flagship Mail story is formally announcing that they genuinely don't have a f*****g idea about what happened to Madeleine McCann, not even an abduction idea. The Mail, unlike the miserable loser Mirror, always moves with the times and, finally, the door to the "Empty Cupboard" with which we've mocked the supporters – the absence of anything to back the McCanns' version of events after eight years – is clearly open in the MSM newsrooms. And the parents haven't got a single shred of Yard evidence, not a mouldy packet of Grange biscuits or Redwood syrup, to top it up. Everything comes to an end sometime. But what comes next without an abduction, eh? Gosh. Oh well, they'll have to get someone, somewhere, perhaps some washed up journalist and a young female aide, to start all over with some revelations to bring the media back onside. Oh...


The Abducted Abduction – 30.03.2015
The Express, Mar 25, "Hunt Should Go On", sob, sob: "...money which has been spent on investigating the abduction of disappearance of Madeleine McCann...the trouble is that the abduction unexplained disappearance of a child is never a cold, unemotional event..."
Sunday Post, March 29, Lorraine Kelly, "This utterly heartbreaking case," honk, honk, "...was abducted disappeared on May 4, [sic] 2007...exactly how all the parents of abducted disappeared sons and daughters feel."
Daily Mail, March 19, Ian Drury, "Time We Ended.", bleat, bleat, "...investigating the abduction disappearance...Since the girl, who would now be 11, was abducted vanished, every possible theory has been explored, including that she was kidnapped by a paedophile..."
The Sun, March 29, Mike Hamilton, "...the parents of Madeleine McCann plan to plough their own money into the search for their abducted missing daughter if police halt their investigation..."
Sunday Express, March 22, James Murray, "...time is running out for ­Scotland Yard to question three Portuguese suspects in connection with the abduction disappearance of Madeleine McCann."
The Telegraph, March 17, Gordon Rayner, "Madeleine McCann Latest", "...hours and days after Madeleine's abduction disappearance...on the day she was abducted vanished...area on the night of the abduction disappearance..."

Comments: (1)
I think this is unfair to Kate and Gerry. All of them suddenly saying it's a disappearance is like calling them liars and that's not right. After all they were there, weren't they? What would Maddie think? This is so wrong. Justice for_ Maddie (from Norbury)





Trickling into the Sand – 16.04.2015
After almost two years of active investigation the March 15 conference marks a watershed in Scotland Yard's Grange Operation. Five international letters of request and the resultant interviews in Portugal must have more or less cleared the famous 38 names list that they claim to have begun with in the summer of 2013; a rumoured sixth letter, which the Portuguese were said to be expecting in autumn 2014, has disappeared into the information void, together with any news whatever of the climactic Lisbon Christmas interviews. What a contrast with the announcement of the investigation phase! Then the pages and screens had been filled with hysterical tales about Scotland Yard finally meeting the couple's wishes and quasi-royal expressions of "encouragement" from the dodgy couple themselves, all mixed in with a rich Mitchell Fantasy selection ...new witnesses...new key witnesses...He had a really fat face and had two-tone sunglasses on...Serial paedophile's deathbed confession...Gypsy stole Maddie to order...Twisted trolls have sent death threats to Kate McCann over the disappearance of her daughter...weird stranger at apartment...and on and on and on... That was the beginning. The end is being played out almost unannounced, dribbling quietly away like a stream into the sands. Much of this is due to the Yard itself. When, after careful planning, the active investigation phase was formally launched, a Yard priority was to ensure that the 2007 circus-cum-car crash of media coverage was not repeated, particularly since the news of the CPS visits to Portugal in April had filtered out. The key July 4 media conference at which this was accomplished began unpromisingly for neutrals with a journalist's opening question prompting a collectors' item Redwood Waffle Torrent:

Journalist: What has changed, have you had new information, new evidence? What has changed to lead you to open this investigation?
Det Ch Insp Andy Redwood: Well, as we have worked carefully over the last sort of two years, through that review process, we have now processed some 30,000 documents and some of those documents could have, say, one page, some have got hundreds of pages. From that, you will recall last year that I said we had 195 investigative opportunities. We have now generated over 3,800 actions and it is from a careful analysis of that work that we have been able to establish new thinking and we have spoken to witnesses that have provided new evidence for us.

When the audience had recovered from this onslaught Redwood moved swiftly to his main point.

Journalist: Some people... some people suggested, quite cruelly at the time, [isn't he lovely?] that the McCann parents might be [go on, go on, go on] in some way involved with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. What can you say about the involvement of Madeleine McCann's parents in anything to do with her disappearance?
Det Ch Insp Andy Redwood: Neither her parents or any of the members of the group that were with her are either persons of interest or suspects.
Il aurait pu dire : la preuve a été apprortée que les parents de MMC ne sont pas impliqués dans sa disparition. La réponse de AR se limite à déclarer qu'aucun des TP9 n'est suspecté. Il ne dit pas pourquoi, mais la réponse s'impose si l'on songe que le cahier des charges réduit la disparition à un enlèvement.

Journalist: Because, obviously, there were some rumours [Nobel Prize for delicate understatement on its way] at the time, but you are quite categorical in that?
Det Ch Insp Andy Redwood: They are not persons of interest or suspects, they are parents who have lost their daughter and we are doing all that we can to bring resolution for them to find out what has happened to Madeleine.
Personne n'a jamais contesté que, quoi qu'il soit arrivé, les MC n'étaient pas des parents qui avaient perdu leur enfant.

In those few dozen pre-planned words (which he just happened to repeat elsewhere that day) Redwood ensured that not a single UK MSM outlet would speculate unfavourably about the McCanns before the investigation was complete: the lawyers would never allow them to since the statement at once removed any defence to being injuncted at the first hint that they might, indeed, be "of interest" to the Yard. Having no wish to make an involuntary donation to the Save the Tot, Finance the Family fund the cowardly but fleet-footed Bureau was also quick to withdrew its claim that the CPS visits pointed in one direction. So the MSM couldn't be blamed too much for the spectacular McCann arse-lick-fest that ensued – for the gap between Redwood's warning assertions and his Monster Waffle Assault versions of what his squad was actually up to, was narrow indeed, so narrow that they had nothing to write about except fantasy or what Mitchell gave them. After all, this being the MSM, Telegraph readers were unlikely to find a lengthy centre-page piece on the Yard’s Don't Panic message with its interesting implication that over-the-top, fair-trial-wrecking, media madness would only occur if the McCanns, rather than the Prince of Wales or the Pope, were somehow at the centre of it. Now why would the Yard assume that? The brutal fact is that nobody in this extraordinary case gives a tuppenny f*** about anyone's involvement other than the McCanns'. They couldn't care less. The relentless parade of rumoured suspects isn't just banal and uninteresting – petty thieves, burglars, dead paedophiles, white van cleaners – but, despite the best efforts of the Team – all of them resolutely refuse to take off into public space. Not one has tempted journalists or anyone else to go and research their possible background and origins, even though some of their names are supposedly known. Within days of being splashed all over the MSM they are forgotten. There is, in fact, a creepy similarity between the Yard's supposed suspects that the MSM – not the Yard itself – has brought us and the purely imaginary Rorschach blots that the McCanns and their doltish accomplices showered us with for years, from Bundleman to Baby-Buyer. The only difference lies in their origins, the different motives for their invention. The McCanns had their agenda. The Yard has its own.

The couple, fronted by Mitchell, may have had a clear media run since the day of the Redwood veto but one by one the sources that have sustained their initiatives have been turned off: there are no more suspects, no new witnesses with a likely tale to tell, no visible new lines of inquiry, no leaks from Portugal, no conflicts between the forces of the two countries, no hint of a report from the latest interviews. Above all, two years investigation hasn't produced a single tit-bit, not a crumb, that the couple can point to, wave at Leicester's assistant chief constable and say there, vindication! But nor can they now run to their media lawyers and editors screaming there, police persecution! So the stream trickles into the sand amid an overground public silence more profound than any since 2007. With it trickles also the last possibility of the MSM influencing or damaging the investigation on the 2007 model: the latter's destructive powers have been completely tamed, indeed emasculated. If arrests come in the UK then the contempt of court rules immediately take over to maintain the peace. For all the internet rage and paranoia about the MSM bias its effect has been zero, and now, rather deliciously, all of us on the net find ourselves free to speak – as long as we stick to the truth – while our steam-age opponents above ground are impotent! Isn't that great?

Who should we thank for that? Operation Grange, for putting us all on an equal footing. All of us, the MSM, Kate and Gerry McCann, and the Brighton conservative candidate included, know exactly as much about the operations and activities of Grange as we did in spring 2011: absolutely nothing. All any of us, readers or writers, have had is the power of inference. Whatever the final result, and whatever our intermittent frustrations at not knowing what to believe of the squad's honeyed words, it has kept its operations triumphantly secret – and therefore free from interference by anyone. And so it continued: the chasm between what the the Yard has actually done – work secretly with the Porto squad, appraise the evidence, involve the CPS and gradually dismantle the abduction claim they began with – and what the MSM, and chunks of the net, says they've done is grotesque and, literally, unbelievable. Nobody could possibly be as childishly stupid as the MSM of both countries has made the Yard out to be, nor as transparently corrupt and power-crazed as net "profilers" like Pat Brown and others claim: this is story book stuff. The paradox is that the UK MSM, unlike in 2007, shows not the slightest sign of believing in the rubbish they've been printing since early 2013 while people like M/S Brown and others seem to have fallen for all this play-acting and believe that what they're writing – gained from the MSM naturally – is true! As we've described at length recently something very serious brought the spinning to an an abrupt, indeed stomach-churning, halt in December 2014. The appointment of a new head of Grange alone cannot be the reason: silencing the McCanns has not been within her control and the couple have always been adroit at using the opportunities that changes in command or direction can bring, as Goncalo Amaral and others know very well. Nor could Wall have ruptured the long-term alliance between the Mirror and the McCanns. No, everything – the silence of the couple, the subtle distancing of the MSM from them, the absence of any succour for the pair from the entire Grange operation, the hint of bated breath in overseas media – suggests that we have reached some sort of inflexion point in the investigation. The only thing that now seems certain is that the Yard have, against all the odds, protected the integrity and operations of their review and investigation with 100% success. One by one the possible threats to their inquiry have fallen silent, first in Portugal, now in the UK. Not one of us – and that clearly includes the McCanns – has any confirmed knowledge of their thinking or their intentions. All we have is inference. They've been willing to look stupid, comical, dishonest and ineffectual by turns in defying every single attempt to breach their secrecy. It's quite an accomplishment.

Seeing What's In Front of Our Eyes – 21.04.2015
People are reluctant to accept the evidence of their own eyes that the MSM – journalists, cameramen, news editors and opionionistas like Tony Parsons and the rest, not their owners and not the "people who secretly threaten and control them" – co-created and prolong the Madeleine McCann Affair. It doesn't fit in with what our imaginations crave: it lacks the dramatic elements we all need. A single hidden hand, just like MSM stories, offers the chance of unmasking and resolution. Real life, in contrast, offers nothing but more real life. That’s why we watch and read the media. Yes, the couple of people directly involved with the disappearance of the child on May 3, will probably end up in court and it will be a world-wide defining story. But the numbers of Hidden Hand candidates alone mean that all the imagination-derived expectations can never be met. A weirdo Bladerunner UK under the dictatorship of politicians whose reach extends to the Algarve overnight might satisfy Goncalo Amaral or other Portuguese people. But how can this vision be reconciled with the power of a couple using nothing but non-government Portuguese citizens and Portuguese law to fetter him for six years? A police force so brilliant that it can execute whitewashes for different governments on demand might satisfy M/S Pat Brown even though Londoners' everyday experience of a force that has been bumbling its way through while losing cases, notebooks, witnesses and suspects since the 1850s makes a nonsense of it. How does it fit in with a force that has foiled all attempts by politicians to stop it taking graft from London villains for over a century? Why hasn't one of those coppers told one of his villain contacts about the "whitewash" when he meets him in a Bromley pub to collect his little hundred quid sweetener? What stops him? Ah, we know. Because he's scared that the secret services will kill them both the next day if he does. And then there are the paedophiles. Oh, those paedophiles. (...)


The Acid Tears of Time – 23.04.2015
"...then you noticed how the columns flaked sulphurously against the sky and witnessed what the acid tears of time had done to the pink stone..." – Above the Waves (2005) by AJS.

Another May 3

So another May 3 approaches and with it the need for new, useable headlines. And there aren't any left. Time – not grief, not loss – has done terrible things to the McCanns, as a glance at the image pages demonstrates. But not just to them. For time, which eats away at everything we love, also, and wonderfully, acts to bleach or dissolve away falsehood. Even the greatest, most elaborate, attempts to cover the truth always fail in the end for time washes away the lies and reveals the bones of the truth untouched. The Ottoman Turks drove the Armenians into the empty desert to die, unseen and, they thought, forgotten in 1915, yet a hundred years later their crime is as visible as Istanbul itself; the Germans, sworn to secrecy, burnt the very fat and bones of their victims, razed the buildings and harrowed their ashes into the soil before killing every survivor they could lay hands on, yet it was all in vain: the Shoa is the most well-attested crime in history, for while the lies die with the liars the truth lies waiting to be revealed.

How Dare You? Nor is there any inappropriateness in mentioning these vast crimes in the context of one missing child – for the horror which greets the death of just one child is so intense and overwhelming precisely because it is an involuntary, other-worldly cry against the death of all innocents throughout all times. The McCanns, their advisors and their media friends were mad enough to amplify these mysterious and devastating emotional forces into a world-wide wave of hysteria for their own ends and they are, rightly, paying the price. Emotion, as we all know, is eaten away by time: we look back and talk of having been "blinded" by love or hate to what was actually going on. So it is with the McCann affair: looking back, 2007, almost world-wide, seems weird and dream-like, a planet in which ordinary human beings like John Hill or Goncalo Amaral struggle just to keep their heads above some enveloping alien treacle. What could have possessed someone like harmless little Tony Parsons, for example, to aim foaming attacks at the Portuguese in a way that would have seen him arrested if his targets had been black Americans? How could anyone have ever taken such a manifest carpetbagger as Clarence Mitchell at face value? And those two extraordinary eye-flickering, lip-licking Bladerunner replicants – Scouseborgs – sitting bolt upright as though in the electric chair, she-replicant hand clutching he-replicant groin like a hidden power-pack, telling their tale in voices apparently processed by Stephen Hawking's laptop – did billions of people actually watch that without bursting into laughter or fleeing for their lives? Yes, we did: like Parsons, like Gordon Brown, like the Pope, we were gripped. Whatever it was, exactly, that gripped us it is gone and we look around through different eyes. And the atrocious truth for the McCanns is that, without the hysteria which enveloped us, there is absolutely nothing there to see and sustain them.

The Planet of the Gapes Scouseborgs have quite vanished, replaced by a shrunken, tetchy couple of whiners with bad complexions and a sense of entitlement; the fat arses of their clan no longer fill twin Rynanair seats all over Europe, their faces no longer lord it with their televised "judgements" on the wicked PJ and the press no longer print their typically petty-criminal claims of police "fit-ups". They are silent or bewildered or fearful, like Patricia Cameron clearly was in Lisbon, of what the future holds. Or, like Michael Wright in the same venue, they are ridiculous. All those incredible suspects – windows into the mind of Gerry McCann – which look like they were created in Gotham City by a Viz illustrator on a bad Brecon mushroom trip don’t belong in real life at all, do they? They survived until the acid tears not only dissolved the flesh off bundleman but slowly revealed the datedness of the others, a particular datedness that only afflicts fictional film characters, not real people. Which is the only one that hasn't dated? That's right, Smithman, which just happens to be the only one that didn't spring from the minds of Team McCann. And only the passing of time, of course, could eventually kill off the farcical "sightings" – long, rather than short-range, projections of Gerry McCann's imagination – which provided sustenance and cover for the couple for so long, by making a "living" Madeleine McCann, thank God, now unrecognizable. The only partial compensation for the wickedly unjust role of time in the Portuguese justice system is that in the libel trial the years alone, without need for examination in court, gradually revealed the emptiness of the McCanns' 2009 claims as they failed to provide any of the evidence they promised. The one finding in their favour that matters, Count 14, hedged about as it is with reservations, was made by the judge despite the McCann claims, not because of them, as the court record and judgement shows: The judge, finding in their favour, adds "that the claimants failed to prove shame, with Kate McCann stating it was not shame that she felt". With all the McCann junk and the false evidence acid-dissolved away, what is left? Everything that matters: the bones of the truth gradually but inexorably coming to the surface.

The Other Side of the Mirror

Exactly the same process is at work on the counter-fantasies to the McCann stories. The bold claims of conspiracies – so easy to make, so hard to back-up, so impossible to rebut – are dying before our eyes, not through refutation but, like the dated pictures of "suspects", through the gradual exposure of their purely imaginary nature. It needs repeating: if no facts exist to confirm – not suggest – a theory then the theory, like Gerry McCann's "paedophile bastards" is, literally, an imaginary claim by definition and is therefore beyond the reach of factual argument or debate. So how do such claims eventually fall away? They die with their proponents, as has already happened in the McCann case, or they fade away as the people who made them slowly fall silent since they have nothing to add. Nobody, not even Pat Brown, can go on repeating the same stuff for ever without the lifeblood of demonstrable fact to sustain it: people simply stop responding or disappear, or die. Why, in the end you get bored with repeating it yourself, as M/S Brown now has.

The fate of Mr Bennett's site is an exemplary one. Without the years having provided a gram of evidence to convert any of the various imaginary claims to real ones, let alone to counter the accusations that it is a "cess pit" – an unsavoury libel machine led by a vicious old man with a loud blue pencil and a desire to cause pain – people with any sense, or any sense of shame, have voted quietly with their feet, leaving a small rump of casualties/believers behind.

Like Goncalo Amaral Mr Bennett got the chance to have his claims tested in court. Unlike Goncalo his imaginary claims were dismissed with derision and he pays a monthly stipend to remind us of it. Of course if you're a casualty you get around this embarrassing fact by claiming that the courts were wrong and ignored the truth – which makes the whole game of "justice-seeking" a bit futile, doesn't it? After all, a state with a justice system dedicated to your destruction and a Metropolitan police force able to whitewash justice-seekers away and a media that is permanently gagged by hidden hands doesn't give you or your children much of a f****** future, does it? We'd be joining the boat people in Libya to get away from that but, curiously, this nightmare vision of a Kriminalstaat doesn't stop the posters sleeping happily in their beds at night or chirping their libels in the morning and no MI5 exclusion zone yet surrounds 66 Chipperfield. Which suggests that, deep down, the posters don't really believe a word of what they're saying or, alternatively, are quite incapable of understanding the obvious implications of their own claims. Bennett excepted, of course: he believes everything. Anyway, the rump, which by no accident now numbers about the same headcount of regular posters as the equally dissolved-by-time Locked Ward site, has been rewarded for its loyalty with an exposition of the intellectual underpinning, as it were, of the Blue Pencil Claims. Pat Brown, who has never recovered from the polite but devastating mauling she, her intellectual pretensions and her treatment of evidence received at the hands of the admirable blogger Johanna, is looking for a different song to sing and posted the other day something about Occam and that razor as a start. Oh, and she mentioned the Smiths without libelling them! Rump Uproar. Amid the squeals, as another of Johanna's hapless victims, David James Smith, might say, Mr Bennett stepped in with his matchless gravitas and provided this summation of eight years study and investigation.

Q: "Why would the police reopen a case that was already shelved just to spend over £10 million to cover it up?"

Bennett: [suppresses ban reflex; clutches jerkily at own Dr Strangelove hand as it reaches, trembling, for the Blue Pencil] "Because they were told to by Britain's most powerful woman, Rebekah Brooks...who told David Cameron, who told Theresa May, who told Sir Paul Stephenson. And who did they put in charge Det Chief Supt Hamish Campbell, a bloke who spent another £10 million fitting up the wrong bloke in the Jill Dando case."

Got that, have you, gentle reader? Spare a thought for poor old Judge Tugendhat listening to eight hours of that stuff in the High Court. Bennett's lucky the judge didn't plead provocation, snatch the black cap and sentence him to death. Anyway -

Q: [slashes Occam's tool across giant bald head] "So why would Rebekah Brookes want the case reopened so that £10 million could be spent on covering it up?" [sharp intake of breath at all three screens following the exchange. How dare he?]

Bennett: [raves] 1. Sales for News International and stories for SKY. 2. She knows something about the case that would severely embarrass the government.

Frankly, it's too cruel to go on. Just writing down that exchange has made us feel a wave – promptly suppressed – of sympathy for the McCanns. Anyone who can write that is genuinely insane, and we use the word carefully. Just imagine being stalked for eight years by that, not only a nutter but a nutter who likes to have a little team that he can aim at people who displease him. Sleep well with that, Kate. Perhaps it's a kind of karma: it took a very special personality – Gerry McCann – to turn an unpleasant crank nonentity into a genuinely nasty madman who has lost touch with reality. Gerry, and more particularly, Kate McCann must think themselves lucky that it was only an angrily bulging and swollen leaflet that was thrust so provocatively and repeatedly into their letterbox and not...something...no, no, we can't go there. That's what you get when you try and f*** about with people's heads via the media, Gerry. You end up triggering things you can't control. Meanwhile, time continues its work.




Humpty Dumpty Speaks Again – 30.04.2015

When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.
So the dust begins to clear. I've now had a preliminary chance to look at the judgement. "Preliminary" means, among other things, there is still a full-scale examination of the text to come. Well, there isn't such an examination to come and I'll give the reasons why below. First: the implications of the trial and verdict for the investigation. There aren't any. They are irrelevant. And for vindication of the couple and their innocence? The court proceedings recorded by M/S Guedes are, as we can guarantee from personal experience, 95-99% accurate. Those proceedings are notable for the fact that the defendants made no attempt to introduce evidence supporting their innocence, except for a last minute shout at the judge from the witness box by Gerry McCann that the dogs' work wasn't any good. So much for that. And for us? The witness evidence provided a reliable fifth primary source to add to the case files, GM blogs, the Leicester interviews and Madeleine for research into the case. So, next: where do we all go from here? It would be a betrayal to cease supporting GA now. We've all stuck with him this long and neither this trial nor any actions of his own have weakened his claims. There is nothing in the findings that should make any of us, writers or readers, rethink our support; indeed the opposite is the case - in this long judgement not a single one of the horrible and mad personal accusations made in the locked wards and elsewhere about Goncalo's abilities or personal motives has been supported in any way. Witnesses from Alipio Ribeiro downwards refused to say a word against him. There are no attacks on him personally by the judge. Nowhere does the judgement suggest that he acted dishonourably, dishonestly, from wounded pride or from personal dislike of the McCanns, or in any other way that should make us lessen our support for him. Quite the reverse. So I ask anyone who has supported him financially in the past not so much to give more but to try and widen the fund-raising circle in any way that you can so that he can appeal. This weekend I'm going to try and convince my wife (!) to make a payment, not because she supports our cause – she hates the whole McCann affair – but precisely because she doesn't. I will ask her if, even as a non-supporter, she will make a small payment to see the case through. If all of us can add a few people then GA retains a fighting chance.

Now, the bones of the judgement. Damages have been awarded on the Human Rights issue: we are back in early 2010, around the time that the McCanns were promising all that evidence of what Amaral had done to them and please can we have our Human Rights injunction, now? Evidence that they never provided. Did you think the Human Rights issue was decided by the court of appeal back in late 2010? Yep, so did we. So, it seems did almost everybody else. Here's the appeal court judgement:  
The book at stake in this process – the Truth of the Lie – which was written by the defendant Dr. Gonçalo Amaral, has the main motivation of defending his personal and professional honour, as the author points out right away in the preface and throughout his text. The contents of the book do not offend any of the applicants' fundamental rights. The exercise of its writing and publication is included in the constitutional rights that are secured to everyone by the European Convention on Human Rights and by the Portuguese Republic's Constitution, namely in its articles 37º and 38º. As we arrive at this point, we conclude that the decision that was made by the Court must be revoked, and the analysis of the other issues that are placed under appeal are not justified, as they are considered prejudiced.

Clear and definitive? Think again: this is Portugal. Yoo-hoo – surprise! The present judge ignores it and develops a line of reasoning completely at odds with the appeal court's findings.
In the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights the principle of presumption of innocence imposes a standard of conduct for all agents, employees and magistrates involved in the administration of criminal justice. According to the ECHR the presumption of innocence prohibits the premature expression of opinions or belief in guilt by the courts and in addition bans the claims of any public servants involved in procedures which might lead the public to believe in the culpability of suspects under investigation. In the Karaman process deriving from the German courts it has been held in this context that Article 6 § 2 aims at preventing the undermining of a fair trial by damaging statements made in close connection with proceedings. It not only prohibits the premature expression by the court itself of the opinion that a suspect is guilty but also covers statements made by other public officials about pending criminal investigations which encourage the public to believe the suspect guilty and prejudge an assessment of the facts by the competent judicial authority. The Allen process deriving from the UK emphasizes the importance of the presumption after the acquittal or dismissal of the criminal investigation, explaining that this principle prevents suspects or defendants in such cases being treated as if they were in fact responsible for the criminal offences of which they were accused and stressing that without this second level of protection - the level of full respect for acquittal or archiving - the presumption of innocence is illusory or merely ideal.

Accordingly:

This form of conflict resolution between rights reveals the unlawfulness of the conduct of the defendant Goncalo Amaral for the purposes of article 484º of the Civil Code.

That is the basis for the damages award. Surprised? So were we. Why? Well, a start would be that none of us saw reference to this in the 2013 court proceedings. Everything we read or were told from Portugal – from all sources, not anti-McCann ones – stated explicitly that the Human Rights aspect of the case had been decided in 2010 and did not form any part of these latest proceedings. Which brings me to the question of why we won't be adding an in-depth look at the judgement to our brief current one, one which would consider the way "archiving" (a non-judicial process) has been slipped into the judgement. Or the fact that the judgement has used the ECHR precedents referring to "suspects" when, as Lord Leveson and the McCanns themselves have repeatedly made clear they have never been "suspects" only arguidos. But we're leaving that work to those who profit from the system: to us it isn't worthwhile because there is clearly no sense to be made of Portuguese law in the way that we can analyse other western codes: they make it up as they go along. This "democratic" legal code, all of forty one years old, is a betrayal of its people – not because we disapprove of its findings but because eight years of contact with our Portuguese friends have demonstrated time and again that every trial outcome is a surprise – a surprise to the parties themselves, the commentators, the lawyers and to the Portuguese people. A legal code that causes surprise on this scale – usually with the introduction of arguments that nobody knew existed – and that incorporates unpredictability as an integral part of its proceedings is not a democratic legal code. Look at the contortions of the Amaral/Cipriano case where nobody can even agree on exactly what the verdicts mean. Is that a "legal" system or something else?

I am astonished that the wild criticisms of Scotland Yard based on nothing more than suspicion – and, I regret to say, originally whipped up by Portuguese people and GA himself – are not matched by comment on the factual and absolutely shocking record of the Portuguese legal system in the McCann case, beginning seven years ago with that contemptible Archiving Summary in which the prosecutors "exonerated" the McCanns while including a "reconstruction" section which completely undercut that "exoneration" and guaranteed that it would cause pain and dissention for everyone for ever, including the couple themselves. It was an exercise in irresponsibility.
C'est une manière
de voir, mais il y en a une autre. Jamais au grand jamais, compte tenu du soutien compulsionnel apporté aux MC par les autorités et célébrités britanniques, les MC n'auraient pu être traduits devant une cour de justice portugaise pour le délit de recel de cadavre et d'obstruction à la justice. Le ministère public a énoncé les règles de la reconstitution de telle manière qu'il était facile aux TP9 de se dérober et facile aussi pour le procureur de se laver les mains. Ce qui fut fait. Les règles étaient légitimes, conformes à la législation. Les avocats ont trouvé plus prudent de conseiller l'abstention. Personne n'a pensé que seul le procureur tirerait son épingle du jeu.

It was then matched by the quasi-mediaeval attack on Goncalo Amaral, plotted and conducted in secret, its findings completely unknown to the victim until afterwards – a legal process more suggestive of Kazakhstan or Venezuela than of a modern European state. And then the equally wicked failure to provide justice for either party for six whole years while leaving one of the parties in acute financial distress for the whole period.
La faute n'est pas attribuable à la justic
e. Ce sont les MC, ou leur avocate, qui ont eu l'idée de geler le patrimoine de GA afin de garantir le paiement des dommages. Le tribunal a jugé la demande légitime, les compensations demandées étant exorbitantes.
Is that based on ECHR judgements of the right to timely access to justice? Of course it isn't! We repeat: they make it up as they go along. Culminating in a judgement arriving over a year after court proceedings were essentially concluded, containing material that nobody outside the case was aware would be considered. What a rotten, corrupt abortion! We'd exclude the appeal court judgement as a shining exception to this dreadful list but what use has it been? What use is it to anyone outside the system if it takes an appeal from GA to bring it back in again in, say, three years time? And then what? A counter appeal? I am not being in the least chauvinistic in suggesting that a "system" like this is simply unrecognizable to anyone who comes, for example, from the UK, where the law is what you use without dread, where people turn to the small claims courts for speedy and unfrightening restitution, finding the process much more predictable and infinitely preferable to dealing with "customer service" departments of corporations or cowboy builders. I tried to get restitution from Dell for a crappy computer for over a year without result a couple of years ago: it took me two hours and fifty quid to sue them and they paid up within a week, including, of course, all costs. In a democratic society the law is ours, not theirs, even if many people don't believe it, and its there, available, to be used by anyone who can read or write. No wonder that a Portuguese friend once told me that, deep down, he didn't believe in Portuguese law, that faced with trouble – and this was a liberal speaking – he instinctively began to think of people who might help "sort things out". And then reached for the phone. Faced with this record in the McCann affair, can you blame him?

So we won't be wasting time on making any further studies of the judgement. One day, perhaps, the people will attack this mediaeval ruin at the heart of their democracy but that is a matter for them. Goncalo Amaral was a policeman, a public servant working for a justice system that has failed to free itself from the pre-1974 dictatorship and responds, as it always did, to backstairs intrigues of the sort plotted and paid for by Duarte and Gerry McCann. It is his tragedy that he believed, and apparently still believes, in that justice system even though it has stripped him of his possessions and condemned him to six years mental and emotional bastinado at the behest of a couple of foreign chancers. To condemn this vile, rotted system has nothing to do with being anti-Portuguese. And please remember that we have never attacked the PJ and its original investigation as others have: it's the system above them that is so worthless. Can Amaral win his appeal in such a system? Probably, when the lawyers have squeezed the maximum amount out of the process – but who knows? We owe him the chance to make it. Support Goncalo Amaral!



Clickety-Clack – 01.05.2015
After the verdict. Right, freed from the burden of ever again attempting to make sense of Portuguese law, and more or less over the huge disappointment we felt at the verdict, we climbed out of our fox holes, our ears still ringing, to see the changed and cratered ghostly landscape. But scans of Twitter and a sneaky glance through the bars of the locked ward's TV room revealed a most peculiar, semi-hysterical tone to the gloating at Goncalo Amaral's discomfiture. Because, to paraphrase a phrase once used about the writer Scott Fitzgerald ("the style sings of hope; the message is despair") the messages screamed of victory while the tone reeked of unease. An impression that has been confirmed, indeed strengthened, since. Why? Who can know their secret fears? But we can note the fact that the supporters are once again wholly dependent on the newspapers and the scraps that various family members might throw them for their information, lacking as they do the co-operative research effort to bypass or overtake the MSM that has been producing wonders for us on the right side since the 2013 trial began. While the mob were on twitter and elsewhere in droves ( the locked ward people were cleverly morse-coding their messages by banging their plastic cutlery on the bars) people were already translating and assimilating the judgement and duly observing that Hecate D. had sent it prematurely to the media. That shows a lot of confidence in the permanence of your triumph, doesn't it? And it got worse. Duarte had been unable to fillet the judgement and pick out juicy bits for Lusa and the Team to shower on the ignorant – 2008’s classic Portuguese Prosecutors Mock Their Own Police Force being the template – because there weren’t any. The supporters gaped, round-mouthed, for nutrition but once again – again! – that bloody cupboard was empty. No "Judge attacks lying cop", no "bankrupt cop’s fantasies exposed in court", nothing: the judgement contained not a word of condemnation for GA.

It got even worse. Amid the strained gloats people suddenly began showering money on GA's defence fund and that sent the righteous absolutely f*****g nuts. Since then all manner of dirty tricks and false identities have appeared to try and smother the fund-raising as an increasingly hysterical sense of bafflement ripples through the posts at the fact that GA's supporters are being cheerful! What? You could almost hear the poor saps asking themselves, why aren't these people aware of the death of their hopes, where's the anger at the way the contemptible Amaral has misled them, what's going on? But then they never have known what's going on, have they? That's what happens when you get your facts from the newspapers.

(...)



Comical Allies – 04.05.2015
Well, Madeleine Day was a nicely flaccid occasion, wasn't it? About time. Not many photo-ops lately, either. Those interested in the Bureau's childish view that Mirror UK's attitude is a reliable indicator of what's actually going on in the Affair should note once again that Mitchell's gaming of the Yard investigation in its pages, dead since December, has not been resumed, even though another 7,200 burglaries in Praia da Luz this week are just crying out for anonymous discussion. Now why, exactly, do you think that would be? That the couple believe that the Yard investigation is now set to vindicate them and that their spokesman no longer has any need to risk compromising himself because the job's done? Really? If that were the case Mitchell's alter egos ("pal", "friend", "source close to the investigation" – we love that one – and "family friend") would be busy preparing the ground, this of all weeks, for celebration, wouldn't they? Did you get any hints of triumphalism and imminent release-from-limbo at the funereal "celebrations" by the war memorial this weekend? Or from the latest message on the official site, its dead fish prose so acutely and unfortunately reminiscent of Gerry McCann's August 2007 "blog" entries? And do you think Tory-hopeful Mitchell would be as coy and sparing in his supportive comments as he is now if he had the faintest belief that the investigation is ending well for the pair? He'd be getting in first, shouting his support from the rooftops since vindication for the McCanns is vindication for his judgement and all that work he did. You know, that work that he now leaves out of his CV.

With the Mirror and Mitchell himself distancing themselves from the pair as though backing away from a spreading pool of toxic waste the couple have been unable to find anyone to pass on the latest burglar suspect mirthfest to the Mirror – except Anthony Summers! Yep, Anthony Summers, who claims to have a source within the investigation feeding him information. Would that be the same source that told him to go and read the case files? Get this wonderful line from the McCanns' Comical Ally: "I was told there was great sensitivity around this forensic testing1, nobody wants to discuss it2, but they are making progress3 and believe the case is solvable4."

1 Yes, there has been since 2007. 2 "Nobody told me anything". 3 Public statement from the Yard. 4 Public statement from the Yard.

Christ Jesus, we'd almost rather have a "pal" talking than this pathetic stuff – from the only journalist who couldn't even make money from the case, the poor sap.



Denial And After – 12.05.2015
Among the sane McCann sceptics – the Bureau target audience – there really isn't any equivalent to the supporters' extraordinary shifting of blame away from the circle surrounding the child on May 3 2007 to other, innocent, shoulders. That circle – everyone with access to apartment 5a that evening – remains the focus of the investigation since it must include whoever disposed of the child. There is, as we know, much disagreement among our readership (remember, we are excluding the lunatics) about whether the investigation should be working from the outside of the circle inwards, as the Yard say they've been doing, or start with those and their close associates at its very centre. But there is no counterpart to the way that supporters of the parents have simply stopped talking about the facts of the investigation, as listed in the PJ final report, in favour of years of foaming abuse aimed at people like Goncalo Amaral, his wife and anyone who dares to help him or, latterly, Brenda Leyland. The facts in the report, which is a summary of the evidence in the case files, are of course unaffected by this attempt to evade the issues: the dog alerts happened, whether admissible in court or not, and no forensic evidence has yet emerged to exclude them from consideration; the report's accusations, made diplomatically but directly, of incompleteness in the evidence provided by the Tapas Nine and their refusal to help complete the picture remain unanswered. That burden of unresolved issues will never go away without positive evidence to refute it – and of that there has not been the slightest trace in eight years: that is why both Portuguese and British (Leicester) police refer to "undemonstrated innocence". What is remarkable is the lack of interest from the parents themselves or their friends in clarifying the record.

For eight years now the Nine have appeared perfectly happy to remain passive in the face of the outstanding PJ questions, as though any attempt to communicate more than the bare minimum – as in the parents' absurdly defensive television interviews – is either unnecessary or some sort of invasion of their rights. They couldn't be more wrong. The "undemonstrated innocence" is a limbo for them, a curse on their children: as the Bureau has argued before, the parents would have done better to camp out on police doorsteps and refuse to go away until they were questioned since, in the absence of decisive exonerating evidence, answers are the only possible way out of their limbo. If the "not-suspects" statements are true, rather than tactical or cosmetic, and reflect the fact that the couple and their friends have not been closely questioned by Grange about their original accounts then this investigation too will betray them, condemning not just the nine but their children and descendants to suspicion for the indefinite future. Unresolved questions about unsolved crimes are a guarantee of sensationalist books and fat advances for their authors for a hundred years to come. Even today poor Walter Sickert's descendants have to cope with Pat-Brownish "experts" like Patricia Cornwell desecrating the painter's memory as only an American pot-boiler can with books like Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper. The Delves-Broughton family lived with a horrible cloud of suspicion over their head for half a century after the unsolved death of Lord Delamere in Kenya in 1931. The acquittal of Jock Delves-Broughton after his trial for murder, a protective cordon of friends and even his eventual suicide failed to end the limbo. In his case, culpability rather than exoneration resolved it, when someone who had foolishly protected him finally provided evidence of his guilt – yet even guilt gave resolution, for the sensationalist and often untrue articles and books ceased for good and the family have been left in peace ever since.

The abuse of Goncalo Amaral and attempts to harm him are merely a symptom of denial in the face of this obvious truth. How could the murderous campaign against Brenda Leyland help the McCann children rather than giving them something else to worry and brood about in the future? The denial, though, starts with the parents and their friends. "How dare they doubt us?" or "We have nothing to prove" may sound good but they are guarantees that the limbo will not end. Yet the parents have had the tools and the finance to tackle the issue head-on, deal truthfully with the unanswered questions and put the result before the public. They've had ex-police officer Edgar available for a "you can ask us anything" exercise since 2008 and competent, if shallow, journalists like Summers willing to write up the results into a short book for them: what could be more valuable for innocent people than a no-holds-barred study of the PJ questions together with frank answers from all nine, backed by supporting evidence? Yet they've remained behind the barricades that they themselves erected. They've not only failed to get Edgar to look at and rebut the doubts about them but, according to his evidence in Lisbon, they rationed his access to the case files while wasting time and money on the ink-blot abductor rubbish. The Seven have never shown any public interest in resolving the very serious questions that the PJ left hanging over their heads and none of them came to court in Lisbon; Anthony Summers, who could have enhanced his own reputation as well as that of the Nine with an open and truthful attempt to come to grips with the PJ's concerns, did the exact opposite with his embarrassment of a book on the case. Let us give just one, tiny, example to stand for all. We all know of the correspondence in the case files between the T7 and the PJ over the issue of a reconstruction. The glaring void in the correspondence is, of course, any mention of what do the McCanns think? Their attitude as to whether their friends should go would obviously have been crucial and yet it has never been explored.

All nine appear perfectly happy with this situation. The supporters can say "the parents never refused to go" because they were arguidos and would have had to go, so there. Yet it's laughably cheap "victories" like this that have guaranteed the continuing limbo. As Edgar could have put it on half a sheet of paper and as Summers could have written it up: Did Gerry or Kate ever express a view on your prospective return? Did they encourage you to assist the investigation as Rebelo requested? Why were all your letters to Rebelo in such a similar format? Was the subject ever mentioned between the nine of you? If "yes" what was said? If "no" then why not? There's plenty more where they came from. Open and non-defensive answers corroborated by Edgar's cross checking would have given the basis for the removal of all doubts, for the truth. And exactly the same applies to the other questions raised by the PJ in their report. The supporters take their lead from the parents. Now the prospect of an appeal, successful or otherwise, by Amaral seems to have sent them beyond the reach of whatever rationality they once possessed. How has "support for a suffering couple" mutated into such blind and undying hatred of third parties with no connection to the disappearance? Amid all the analyses of the McCann pair there is one element of their behaviour that is blindingly obvious when you step back but which nobody ever tackles: a near-suicidal streak of self-destructiveness. (...) 



Well Now – 27.08.2015
The Wayback affair revealed a certain loss of contact with reality in anti-McCann groupings that for the first time made me genuinely uncomfortable about being identified with them. Today I watched part of a Richard Hall video, also for the first time, this one being a sort of news bulletin and was even more shocked, not so much by the content – with one exception – but by the number of people who have supported someone who appears unaware of which planet he inhabits.The exception was when Hall started plugging a book by a Holocaust denier, a person who he also featured in a separate, highly friendly, part of his bulletin later on. His weasel words that he wasn’t supporting the book, because he didn’t know whether it was true or not since he “wasn’t around” at the time of the Holocaust were laughably mendacious. (...)

We’ve tried, unsuccessfully, on the Bureau to shame people into deserting sites like Havern’s on the grounds not of disagreement but of moral choice, that supporting and participating in their activities is wrong, putting them on the same level as the hateful and repellent Kate and Gerry McCann themselves; on the grounds that these supposed “research” sites have never added a single real fact to what we know from the documents and what most of us knew in 2009. Not one. And that all their members have ever done is distort those known facts as a recreational activity. And that they actively support malicious operators who, for reasons of their own, pick on innocent people to hurt and defame, the Smiths being the most prominent example. And because they never provide evidence for anything, only unsubstantiated claims in those wondrous words "all in my opinion". Clearly we’re out of touch with the majority of the anti-McCann movement and its actions and aspirations. To them we just seem sour old killjoys, spoiling their fun. All we can see are a majority of people in that movement resolutely refusing to accept evidence as the criteria. But without evidence, proper evidence, as I've said before, there are no signposts, no correctives to the wilderness of self-deception and wishful thinking. And no yardsticks or methods for identifying charlatans. (...)




The Most Important Document in the Case – 17.12.2015
Impossible Consistency (la 3è ligne de temps)

Those who so unwisely put their names to the written statement of events provided to the Portuguese police committed themselves without reservation to the existence of a single abductor seen fleeing with a child in his arms.The most striking and, of course, damning, element of this document is that it is entirely self-consistent: it only contains information that supports or confirms, in detail, the existence of this abductor. Nothing is put forward, observed or noticed – by nine people! – that could in any way clash with, or throw doubt on, his seizure and kidnapping of the child from apartment 5A. No inconsistencies, no anomalies. As we know from any road accident, criminal trial or legal dispute, no such pattern of events has ever existed: in every such case there are always pieces of evidence, anomalies, eye-witness differences and troublesome alternative narratives that point in different directions. Even the “investigation experts” in the wretched McCann TV documentary stressed that it was “quite natural and expected” for witnesses to disagree all the time about the details of what had happened, as they dealt with the puzzles of the encounter between Tanner, Wilkins and Gerry McCann. Which made everyone involved look rather stupid, actually, because if you read it you'll see that there are no such puzzles in the collective typed version: there were no disagreements about it at all since Tanner said only “she did not speak to GM as she passed". That's really telling the truth, isn't it?

It’s all there waiting for you. Some highlights : the description of the child is a wonderful concoction, in which, by some miracle, everything fits perfectly together. The child, we read, “appeared to be” the same age as Madeleine McCann – not to the month, of course, which might have looked a bit dodgy, but in those magic figures “3-4”. So definitely not two or five then. And even under sodium lights the pyjamas were just what was needed. Not a single thing, in fact, that didn’t fit in. Best of all the group decided not that she'd been merely sleeping but that she might have been “drugged”. Well, well, well. Is that what you think every time you see a sleeping child being carried? And by another miracle, or perhaps by virtue of the preliminary sketch notes of the sticker book, it happened at exactly at the right time.


The timings are a gift that never stops giving. At certain points each of the nine appears to have been issued with a shiny stopwatch, so exact are their recollections. But at others the stopwatches have all mysteriously failed. What a wonderful co-incidence that the stopwatches work perfectly when the timeline needs to create space for their invention to operate in, such as, now don’t laugh at the back of the class, the 8.57pm for Oldfield to listen at the apartment window, the 9.00pm for his “return to the table” and 9.05pm when GM leaves. It’s sleek and smooth like the Japanese bullet train, isn’t it? But then there are the other occasions. Get this classic: after her encounter with the abductor, JT’s bullet train pulls in at 9.20pm dead - or in the group's words “returns to the restaurant, by which time GM has also returned”. Eh? What happened to 9.pm, the exact time when the GM special pulled into the restaurant without, apparently being seen? Why is it being expressed through JT’s eyes when she wasn’t there? In fact when it comes to these timings GM is like a fucking ghost at the party: he never confirms anything except when he specifically wants his movements to be on record. And when is that? Why, the five minutes or so just before the next abductor is due to arrive, when, he notes, the child is very much alive. Just after 9.05, when nobody knows what he’s up to, he’s given the group very precise information for the collective document – doors, child gate, number of degrees – yes, we’re serious – that the bedroom door was open, degrees (5) that he shuts it to – loud laughter in the stalls – and even his too-much-detail about having a pee. Excessive? We’re surprised he hasn’t provided the length of time it took the urine to go from member to bowl. But that's it. Those five minutes are the only time that the star of the show makes an appearance: at 9.10pm or so he is seen by Wilkins but between then and 10pm nobody makes a direct reference to his movements. He disappears!


He won’t actually say in the document when he got back to the restaurant and nor will anyone else; he won’t say how long he was by the apartment gate; he won't say what time he left 5A; he won’t say whether he saw Tanner or not and he won't say what he was doing between 9.20 and 10pm - and nor will any of the others. He is never mentioned again. And guess what? In the preparatory sticker-book timelines which some of the group, including GM, put together before the police arrive, exactly the same thing happened - he's there in detail to see the live child but after 9.15 he disappears! Now why would that be?

This piece of chicanery, which we won’t quote from any more, had one thing going for it. It was, like GM, cute. Not just in the way we’ve described but because there was only one independent witness to deal with – the harmless Wilkins. Otherwise, as long as everyone stuck to the typed script or fell silent at the right moment – as they usually do in both police and rogatory statements – the dark night and the nearly deserted streets meant that their story, which stunk like rotten fish, couldn’t actually be refuted unless somebody cracked. Everybody knew that it stunk, of course, absolutely reeked: even Menezes, who by the time he wrote his archiving report just wanted all nine, like a bad dream, to go away, had to include the dodgy questions it raised in the lengthy “reconstruction” section”. It didn’t matter. Six long years went by, nobody cracked and nobody could unstitch it. But in 2013 everything changed for ever, with Redwood announcing that the abductor, around whom the entire description of events was constructed, had never existed. And then he blithely carried on as if nothing had happened! Now that is weird, weirder than The Big Lebowski. Take a deep breath and think of what this actually means. Let's change the transport metaphor: Nine people have described, say, how a big red bus came by and a kid was seen getting on to it. The nine give all the details, the destination board, the appearance of the driver, the exact time it appeared and then trundled off down the street with the kid fallen asleep in her seat. And six years later the police discover that the kid never got on because that bus had never run.What do the nine say to this news? "OK dear, there'll be another one along soon?" No, there is nothing they can say. They can't invent a second bus, can they? They can't say that it came along five minutes later because all their different accounts confirm 9.05 to 9.15 was the only time it could have come past. Tut, as Jane Tanner sometimes says.Nice Mr Redwood offers to help them out by saying, it's all right, you know, another bus might have come past between 9.30 and 10 PM. And then, with a collective sinking feeling, they all recall that they hadn't bothered to build up a pattern of their movements for that half hour, not even in the sticker book, that Gerry McCann is missing, movements unknown, for all of it and that none of them have provided alibis for each other. Now why would that be? Why had the "sequence of events 8.30pm to 10pm...as recalled by" the whole group, that document dedicated to helping the police fill in the gaps in those one and a half hours, why did it virtually stop at 9.30?


Not to mention - how could the bedroom shutters in 5A be letting in light at that time when no one any longer existed to have opened them? What phantom opened the bedroom door so wide? And then all is silence - until 10pm when the stopwatches come out, recall is total and the scene bursts into life with action and detail as though a curtain has gone up. Yet funnily enough, Gerry McCann still makes absolutely no sign of appearing. Redwood gave no indication that any of his thirty or so officers might have thought about these matters but sat and chatted affably to the McCanns on Crimewatch like a west-country farmer describing his cows to Lorraine Kelly. The couple stared back at him as though they'd been plugged into 25 thousand volts of electricity. As well they might. Meanwhile the "innocent holidaymaker" at the bus stop has disappeared into the void and Tanner has been hidden away, her claims, her current situation, most of all her attitude during and after Grange questioning, all excluded from any discussion. Remember, this is the Tanner that claimed over and over, both publicly and to Leicester police, “I know what I saw”. Yet now she has agreed to remain in seclusion, her status unknown, her reputation in limbo, without uttering a word about this repudiation of everything she had been claiming for years. And the other eight are paralysed.

Something has to give. Neither Jane Tanner nor the holidaymaker, his child and his photograph, can be kept in the background for ever. Our guess for the denoument is 2016. There is no need for us to push the implications any further. Readers, not forum or blue-pencil fantasists, but those who want to know the truth, are invited to ask themselves very carefully indeed what reasons there could be for the Yard, having announced with great fanfare that they’ve exploded a bomb, refusing to say who the casualties are.

(...)

Secret Stuff - 24.10.2016
JB writes: In
Cristobell’s admirable blog recently I made a brief reference to GA’s “mistaken” view that the British security services were involved in the first investigation. That drew forth a certain amount of steam behind the ears in response, demanding evidence for my opinion. Well, naturally, I wasn’t going to give anything to an anonymous poster – that’s why we don’t have comments on the Bureau – that might be used to spread discord but, on reflection, I’m willing to enlarge a little on my view. The libel trial is, after all, over now and there is nothing wrong with disagreement. In addition, anything that further convinces the usual suspects that I am working for the McCanns is a Good Thing. A word about my knowledge of the intelligence services. It is the same, roughly, as that of anyone who reads the careful but pretty voluminous information about them published since the war. I have, in addition, had very brief contact with one agent and one officer when I was very young and knew the family of the head of one of our agencies (not the head himself) some decades ago. But nothing written here derives from that. As far as I know the claims, at root, derive from misunderstandings. The first relates to the Wikileaks document. I wrote about it years ago and drew down a storm of criticism and really rather filthy abuse from readers of the Joana Morais blog. Here is an extract from Sic Noticas, Tuesday, 14 December 2010.

Pedro Mourinho:  Goncalo Amaral…is with us live. (…)A very good evening to you Dr. Goncalo Amaral.
GA :  Good evening.
PM :  Is there any novelty for you in the documents now released by WikiLeaks?
GA :  No, in reality the only news is the document disclosure itself, since as for the evidence - the indicia - that is in the process. The cooperation and collaboration with the English police is public knowledge and is in the process. The results are there, therefore there isn't anything new.
PM :  So, for you, it isn't news that it was the British police that found* the evidence that has... would have incriminated   Madeleine's parents?
______________________________________________________________________________________
*A pause here. This is a complete mistranslation from the English to the Portuguese. How many times this mistranslation had been used to GA before I do not know: perhaps it all derives from a common document. The WL cable never said anything about the British police “finding” evidence. It said, of course, “developed”. All the important evidence was “found” by the Portuguese police, with the exception of the dog evidence, in which the British, working to Portuguese requirements, featured and the results of which they helped develop.
______________________________________________________________________________________
                                                         
GA : No, I didn't say that. It's not news with regard to the evidence. Now, as to the proof held by the British police, I don't know what they are referring to. There was cooperation and collaboration, the evidence and indicia are in the process thus... I don't know, someone should say what the evidence is; perhaps someone from the British police should say it. All the same, it was the cooperation between the British and Portuguese police that arrived at the proof that is in the process. 
___________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                 
The Wikileaks despatch was critically important, and acknowledged as such at the time,   because it confirmed that the claims made by and on behalf of the parents – that it was the wicked PJ alone who were fixated on the McCanns, while  the sensible, non-sardine-eating British cops had no time for that nonsense –  were, surprise, surprise, completely untrue.
But to my extreme puzzlement GA didn’t see the despatch that way at all, and more’s the pity because it was a vindication for him. Instead, and somewhat oddly, it triggered an expansion of his views about British machinations behind the scenes, including his beliefs about satellite images being held back for possibly sinister reasons.
_____________________________________________________________________________________                                                                    
GA :  As I said before, the investigation is an investigation that is interrupted, an investigation that needs to be concluded. I believe that it is possible to make progress, if it wasn't for lack of political will; now with political will, based on this note - which is only a note as you said, but remains an important note nevertheless between two ambassadors, from one ambassador to the US State Department, that must have the weight that it has. Hopefully now, it will also be disclosed those photos, those satellite images that we believe to be in the possession of the US authorities, that we, the Portuguese police mentioned first, and also requested, a request that was denied to us.
PM : In your understanding, what could those satellite images reveal?
GA : They can reveal who was the person that carried the child on that night on its way to the beach. According to an Irish couple's statement, with an alleged 80% certainty, it was Gerald McCann himself. That could be the confirmation of that Irish couple's statement.
PM : And those images exist?
GA : We believe that, yes. In fact, the McCann couple themselves, said, a few months ago, that they also searched for them; that they don't exist, someone else later stated that they don't exist. It's possible that the site that has divulged the cable might also be able to release those images. That would be interesting.
PM : In your opinion, if they exist, why weren't they yet revealed?
GA : *Well, probably because they are a secret of state somewhere... In fact, the whole investigation was a state secret in England. I remind you that there is documentation in that sense, referring that it is a state secret. We do not understand why it is considered as a state secret. In question is the disappearance, and the likely death of a child, and we still fail to understand why that is considered as state secrecy.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________                                                               
*This paragraph expresses the nub of the misunderstanding. The phrase "in fact" is not followed by any supporting evidence for the conclusions. 
____________________________________________________________________________________
PM : You have spoken before about the 'political will'. Do you consider that there was a connivance of the British government, with the McCann couple, knowing that the London authorities - and at least we now have that certainty - were indeed aware of the evidence uncovered by the police of their own country? What I want to ask you, in your opinion, in the scope of this document, is, if we can understand a little bit better the manner in which the McCanns left the country?                                                             
GA : I apologize for stating the obvious, but they have left the country by airplane. And they were well received back in England. What we became increasingly aware was the political influence, of the intervention of the British prime minister at the time, Gordon Brown, of the conversations that he allegedly had with our own prime minister, in October, at the Lisbon Summit - if they indeed spoke on the subject or not, we weren't there to listen. Some say they did, others say they didn't; but a fact remains, and this was the result: there was a point that the British police officers working on the case had to sign a document as if they belonged to the secret services, requesting their confidentiality so they wouldn't speak about the case. Definitely something strange, not usual under other circumstances. Thus, from then on, and with other elements - that would be too lengthy for us to be detailing here now - remains no doubt that a political intervention, practically, archived the case.
___________________________________________________________________________________                                                                      
The apparent misunderstanding of the despatch and the paragraphs above, the last of which has no connection to the ambassador's despatch,  are the basic “evidence” given by GA for state secrecy and the involvement of the security services. (The minor comments made at other times about  “people on the tarmac”, what might have been said by someone to Martin Grime and the taxi service provided by Special Branch are not worthy of consideration). It just doesn’t hack it, I'm afraid.
I am unaware of the existence of a document that British officers had to sign about secrecy, by the way, even though that great authority on the McCann case, Paolo Reis,  claimed there was  one. If somebody lets me know about it I’ll have a look. But if it exists it certainly won’t confirm the existence of “state secrecy” in the McCann case, if only because GA refers to it as merely “requesting confidentiality” and throwing in the phrase “as if they belonged to the secret services” is a bit naughty, isn't it? Certainly as late as December 2010  GA had the wrong end of the stick about the Official Secrets Act which all UK police, as well as many other public servants, had to sign up to at the beginning of their careers. He was, for example, unaware that his lawyer’s demand for attendance of the McCanns’ Scotland Yard liaison officer in Portugal as a defence witness at the Lisbon HR libel trial would be worthless precisely because of the routine confidentiality that applies in all British  cases, at home or overseas. The officer was not forbidden to come because of the case but because of the law but GA, when it was explained to him, didn't see it that way.   
The "state secrecy" that so troubled GA - in this case the relevant provisions of the Official Secrets Act - was to do with nothing more than the problems of information received during investigations and the necessity of protecting people from the effects of premature or unjustified release of information. That, it should be remembered,  is a problem for Portugal as well – as the final libel trial judgement made very clear in great detail. The two countries deal with the same problem in different ways and one of them, the Portuguese way, was set to cost GA a quarter of a million euros or more before the appeal saved him: so far no evidence has emerged to show that the British legal approach to secrecy in police investigations has cost him a penny.   GA’s belief that there was something extra-secret at work in the McCann case justifying the likelihood of “MI5” – we all know that “MI5” wouldn’t have been working overseas, but that’s just trivia – or other intelligence agencies being involved might have merit but he has provided no facts to back it up. He was speculating about overseas matters outside his normal area of expertise. In the absence of any evidence one can only accept his claims because of who he is and what he has done. But that isn't enough. It never is.
As I've said, it will all come out in the wash.

The Bewilderment Industry - 09.11.2016

We aren’t writing about the investigations into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann or any possible suspects: we don’t want to prejudice a legal process that is working in a most satisfactory way. What the MSM, led by the BBC, revealed about themselves in 2007 was that they had genuinely lost the ability to tell truth from fiction. That, rather than the monopoly corruption and their open-legged surrender to special interests, is the reason the entire industry in its present form deserves to die. And by the MSM we don’t mean the joke villains like Murdoch or the BBC governors, so beloved of the internet plotters' and losers' club, but the people at the heart of the corruption and self-deception – the journalists themselves and the editors that the journalists become. Journalists like the supposedly hard-nosed Alastair Campbell (also Blair's "irreplaceable" spin mechanic) whose latest diary reveals that for over ten years until 2014 he believed without reservation that Lance Armstrong, whom he befriended, was completely truthful and honest. Being an uncouth bully does not mean you are hard-nosed.

It was the Madeleine McCann Affair that revealed the extent of the MSM’s fall when they lapped up the lies that the McCann family told them, all of them spelled out by the Bureau for years but still never mentioned in the MSM, and then acted as though it didn't matter whether the couple were telling the truth or not. The whole Affair could be played as a game: sceptical news about the couple on page one, favourable comment on page 10, day after day, week after week, in which the public - the people who financed them - were just passive instruments. Which is what the PR industry - which had hollowed out the MSM like those wasps that lay their eggs to hatch and feed on living insects - had always believed. It was, as we said then, a Death Ride. No industry with any confidence or real belief in its role or future would have chosen such a madly self-destructive path. And it was this vile betrayal of the public that earned the MSM our absolute and undying hatred and contempt. Now, nearly a decade later, their inability to analyse, interpret or understand themselves or what is going on around them has been revealed to the wider public by their utter bewilderment and disarray at Brexit and now Trump, the two biggest stories of the last half-century.


That is why it’s been an extraordinary pleasure to read the reactions of this horrible, discredited but above all bewildered bunch to Donald Trump’s election. You can try and sell many things in the news industry - Hillary Clinton, hotels that bribe you with ski holidays, restaurants opened by friends, fear, dodgy share tips, transgender upbringing hints, Lance Armstrong - but the one thing you can't sell is bewilderment. The UK Guardian’s coverage has been the best: acres of tearstains followed by an appeal for funds from its readers because the paper is broke. Good. Keep on dying with the rest of them. Painfully. 



Whose last throw of the dice? - 05.12.2016
We don't write these days about possible legal action against possible suspects because of the risk of prejudicing any future legal action. In this case, however, we make an exception - since Kate & Gerry McCann appear to be doing so themselves.
Nothing changes - The Latest Story
This story was prepared and fed to the press solely by Kate and Gerry McCann and their "ex-employee" Clarence Mitchell. The McCanns authorised Mitchell to pretend to be a source within the investigation, with the condition attached that the papers carrying the story were not to name him as the true source. Mitchell has no knowledge of any kind regarding recent operations of Grange.
Readers may wonder why the McCanns, who have countless times stated that they do not comment on Grange operations, should be providing misinformation about an investigation dedicated to discovering the fate of their daughter.
One answer lies in the consistency of their "anonymous" media interventions: the message is always the same - Grange is always picking out absurd new "suspects", always running out of money, always "throwing dice" or going for "last hopes", always failing to nail anyone, always failing to get co-operation from the Portuguese. With such a record of chaos and failure their eventual conclusions are bound to be, surprise, surprise, worthless. Just as the conclusions of the PJ were in 2007, when the same corny "last throw of the dice" stuff was used against them.* They're a very unlucky couple with investigations into the fate of their daughter, aren't they?
Their greatest allies in this strategy are not the MSM but the net and twitter loonies who fall for this guff every time as proof that Grange is a "charade". But then they've been ruthlessly used by the couple for at least the last three years, the poor sods.
The "Details"
Scotland Yard are now investigating as high priority a critical new lead: that Madeleine McCann was abducted by a gang of people traffickers.
No, they are not. The claim is an invention by the McCanns' media team.
Senior Whitehall officials have been briefed about it by the police because it is so important.
No, they have not. That is an invention by the McCanns' media team.
As a result extra funding has been granted for more months of investigation.
No, it has not. No extra funding whatever has been granted. The funding remains the £95 000 granted earlier this year, which runs until April 2017. It is an invention of the McCanns' media team.
The Metropolitan Police are calling this the "last throw of the dice".
No they are not. No such comment has been made by any officer of the Yard. It is an invention of Kate and Gerry McCann's media team.

* "With the investigation apparently fizzling out it could have been one last throw of the dice for the habitually eccentric Portuguese police operation." Belfast Telegraph 2007. Courtesy of BB/MCF
Poor Old Useless Grange
In 2014 the Bureau, without making a fuss about it, revealed how Grange had located the inside source of a number of leaks about Grange "difficulties" and "problems" being used in Mitchell-placed stories. How did they find it? Using the intelligence services technique of constructing a fictional report, tracking where it surfaced and then tracing it, irrefutably, back to the offender - in Portugal. Where the McCanns PR people Lift Consulting are based.
The leaks ended.
It would be very foolish for Mitchell to believe that Grange stopped doing things like that back in 2014.


Answers Wanted – 10.12.2016
WANTED
Kate and Gerry McCann have always said they will not comment about the investigation into the fate of their daughter.
So why do they allow Clarence Mitchell to spread rumours in the press about Operation Grange?
Why does he use false identities – such as “a source” and a “family friend” to give credibility to these stories?
Why does he talk to the press about new possible suspects – giving them time and reason, of course, to kill the McCanns’ daughter?
Why won’t he shut up?
Why won’t the McCanns stop him?
What is the aim?
What is the motive?

Wouldn't it be nice? - 18.12.2016
We make no attributions of possible guilt in the case to the McCann parents or anyone else. We have neither the evidence nor the desire to do so. Instead we wait for investigation and judicial process to provide the facts. For our regular, sensible, readers who remain genuinely puzzled at the length of time the investigations have taken, perhaps we can make two points.

During the three years from 2008-2011 almost no real investigation took place. That was because neither the UK nor Portugal authorities had any stomach for one, given the public support for the pair and the unlikelihood of the chief witnesses altering their attitude to co-operation. The key point, then and now, is that time was no longer of the essence, for the child was obviously dead. Urgency was no longer a factor. The Hunt for the Dom Pedro, by the way, the McCanns’ utterly ludicrous two men and no dogs “search”, about which the less said the better, may have been many things: urgent it was not.

Only in 2011, with the McCanns’ request for an “investigative review” by the UK, was the logjam broken. Two years later, on completion of the review, the full Scotland Yard investigation began.

So the Yard investigation into perhaps the trickiest and most controversial case in living memory has taken some four years in all. That compares with seven years so far for the altogether simpler McCanns/Amaral libel case in Portugal. Truth can be hard to find.

Secondly we urge those of our readers who are genuinely puzzled or disturbed by the apparently soap opera performance of Operation Grange to look for themselves – as always with the Bureau, really – rather than accept our opinions. The best way to do so in this instance is to go to McCann Files and start skimming through the sections on Grange from 2013 onwards.

All you have to do is check which reports clearly derive from Grange statements or admissions. A large proportion of the reports are centred on Grange press conferences so this isn’t difficult. Unfortunately, and for whatever reasons, the reports continue as if they are still quoting the police officers when in fact they are not.

You will find that 99% of the “facts” about Grange which people on twitter, cesspit and elsewhere quote as examples of the “farcical” nature of the investigation, are inventions and have not been provided by Grange either on or off the record. Have a look, for example, at the widely believed claim that the squad has never had focussed targeting and the cumulative building of a case but has been caught skipping like fictional comedy cops from one unlikely group of suspects to another. You won't find any evidence for the claim except the elaborate, repeated but unsourced junk rumours in the MSM and on the net. "Fictional"? Absolutely - carefully constructed fiction.

Ever since Grange began investigating, rather than “reviewing”, this process of planting false stories, all of them to the detriment of the squad’s reputation, has continued, using the methods of deception that we highlighted in recent Bureau posts. This, of course, adds to the complexity of the case and affects the time-scale, for we are not on normal police investigation territory here: there is clearly a plan to misrepresent and devalue this investigation. Not a vast and spine-chilling conspiracy to keep us awake at night, and not one likely to be threatening in the longer term because the Yard has been following it for over a year, but nevertheless, a plan and it can be seen in operation thanks to Nigel's McCann Files. Stories do not get planted without an aim.

Unfortunately for the majority of public McCann critics, who believe they have a hard-bitten “they don’t fool me” attitude to the police investigation, this interference is not coming from the stock villains - government, MI5, billionaires, police commanders, all straight from Central Casting - but, while they are looking in the wrong direction, from elsewhere.

You will almost never find criticism of Grange on the internet or elsewhere by avowed supporters of the parents and nor will you ever find them repeating and amplifying the "blundering cops" stories as the internet critics so regularly do - much more frequently than the tabloids. That says nothing about the beliefs, credibility or judgement of those who support the McCanns; it tells you something, however, about who the organizers of this Fake News campaign are trying to manipulate. And it isn't the McCann supporters.

We urge you again: don't take our word for it but go to McCann Files and at least have a glance to see the process and the interference in action. We were surprised at the evidence of systematic deception when we saw it there. You might be too.

Wouldn't it be Nice?

Many things which had been bubbling below the surface in the UK erupted in 2016, most of them good, one of them, particularly if you are a democrat, absolutely wonderful and game-changing – the assertion of power by ordinary people in a referendum which brushed aside a prime minister like a leaf in the wind.

In a thoroughly strange way the McCann Affair has always reflected events and attitudes in wider UK society. It began like some sort of creepy bacillus thriving on the remains of the Blair Rich Project, that scarcely believable culture of lies and routine deceit; later, it added, in a small way, to a general sense of cynicism and helplessness following the great crash of 2008.

It would be appropriate if events in the Affair in 2017 added to the new optimism that can now be felt buzzing – away from the wreckage of the MSM and its depressed and bewildered crew – in the UK.

To those readers who share our outlook, not our opinions, and who therefore matter a great deal to us at the little Bureau, a merry Xmas, as always.