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)

14 - JAN-AOÛ - Blacksmith Bureau 10

Alexander Alexeieff - E.A Poe - The Fall of The House of Usher (1930)

Wheels within wheels - 08.01.2014

The latest suspects story – Three Men and a Baby, first plotted in 1987 and described even then as a comedy – raises once again the origin of these newsfeeds; and the origin then tells us, to a pretty high level of probability, the motive for them.For over six months they have all possessed the same pattern: they are unattributed but purport to be coming out of Scotland Yard off-the-record; they contain information that could only come from the Yard – in this case, as in a number of others, mobile phone tracking information; they consistently include a "pointer", a sophisticated piece of background information apparently showing that the newsfeeds are the visible weapons in a low-intensity war between the Yard and the UK prosecuting authorities on one side and the Portuguese police and Attorney-General's department on the other. The UK, therefore, is using the leaks to maintain pressure on the PJ into co-operating much more closely with the investigation of the Yard's suspects. Here we have the template, as it were, of the "leaking to pressurise" strategy of the Yard. It comes from many months ago: "It is believed that the British police desperately need the help of the Portuguese police to make any arrests in Portugal and to further their investigation into primary suspects who were working or living in the Algarve at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance. But to cooperate fully with the British team, the Portuguese will have to admit certain mistakes and potentially admit they let the real kidnappers go while they focused on the McCanns as their prime suspects. There are hints that a behind-the-scenes strategy to soften the blame put on the Portuguese is already underway. The British police have been openly forgiving in recent days, even defending the Portuguese for earlier mistakes in sharp contrast to years of harsh criticism." "Three burglars have been ­identified as prime suspects in the hunt for Madeleine McCann after detectives trawled through thousands of phone records. Scotland Yard believes Madeleine was snatched by a panicked gang who ­accidentally woke her in the family’s holiday apartment and decided to take her with them. Mobile phone analysis shows the men made an unusually high number of calls to each other in the hours after she disappeared aged three in Praia da Luz, Portugal. British officers now want to arrest the men but need the Portuguese to agree to a formal joint investigation as UK detectives cannot swoop on foreign suspects."

The trouble is that the "campaign" simply doesn't add up. If the Yard were attempting to pressurise Portugal via the media why on earth would it admit to doing so? Why, for example, would the newsfeeds include that sentence "There are hints that a behind-the-scenes strategy to soften the blame put on the Portuguese is already underway." If it's a "behind the scenes" strategy how come it's been fed to the media by the very people hiding it? Accepting the Yard as the true source means accepting that it's telling the Portuguese through these leaks that it wants to manipulate them. Now that really is hard to accept. There are other problems. The mobile phone and other stuff which gives the Yard origin its apparent plausibility has in fact all been made public in the past, indicating a scissors and paste job rather than a genuine confidential briefing. And as we know, when the feeds started appearing in this form the "persons of interest" that the Portuguese were supposedly dragging their feet about were identified paedophiles. Now they are Three Men and a Baby burglars. Yet the form of the "campaign" remains the same with new names being slotted in instead of the old. That makes no sense at all. Finally we have the dog that didn't bark in the night: the only people who are never included in this bunch of suspects, this goulash of paedophiles, tractor drivers, gypsies and housebreakers, are the McCanns themselves. It has to be admitted that the Yard hasn't helped by going into the briefing business on its own account from 2012 onwards. Had it kept to the rigid silence of the first year's operations then we would all know for certain that these newsfeeds are deceptions; instead we are left with probabilities. But the Yard officers themselves are not. They know whether they have been briefing. Which means they know whether someone has conspired to attribute the briefings to them in a clumsy attempt to disguise the real source. And it lays the deceivers open to being "played" by the Yard itself.

The Bureau has said repeatedly since 2011 that if Team McCann started leaking explicitly in their own defence while Grange was still in progress then it would be a cast-iron certainty that they are doomed, on the grounds that only complete desperation would make them take such a huge risk. Yet the evidence above does suggest to us that Gerry McCann and Mitchell are behind the feeds, and with their prints becoming increasingly visible. 'Yesterday a source close to parents Kate and Gerry said: “It could be a major breakthrough. Kate and Gerry are buoyed up by this latest development. Whilst they don’t want to build up their hopes too high they are feeling optimistic. They felt it was only a matter of time before new clues came to light.”'That was attached to the entire Three men and a Baby feed partially quoted above. Desperate times indeed, with all discretion now being thrown to the wind. But then what do we know?

Tory Candidate News – 14.01.2014

The only source for Sunday's headline story "3 burglars facing arrest", "officers were last night preparing to fly to the Algarve to make their first arrests" and "whether the Portuguese will co-operate remains to be seen...with the differences they've had" was the Mirror. The Mirror stated that the CPS rogatory letter was their source, the contents of which they apparently knew: "The Crown Prosecution Service has sent an International Letter of Request to ­Portuguese police seeking permission to arrest the trio," it said. Clarence Mitchell was not quoted as a source but merely as a commentator, apparently reacting to this news on behalf of the parents. Yesterday the Guardian stated that Mitchell, conservative candidate for Brighton, was the true source of the story, not the CPS and its letter. In other words he had dishonestly invented the whole thing, added a reference to "differences" between the UK and Portuguese authorities and then released this untrue material anonymously. Then he had put on his famous "other hat" to comment by name on his own invention ; Since the UK Crown Prosecution Service announced last year that its senior officers had been working in Portugal, Operation Grange, the Yard reinvestigation, has been plagued by a series of leaks all with the same three themes: that there are significant "differences" between the two countries regarding the investigation, that a large number of assorted suspects are the "focus" of Operation Grange and, finally, that the McCanns are completely excluded from all investigation into the disappearance. It is glaringly obvious from what the Guardian and Mirror published that Clarence Mitchell is the source of this series of "anonymous" false newsfeeds. In view of the significance of the Guardian's claim for Kate and Gerry McCann and for Mitchell himself, will he be asking the Guardian to correct or retract its story? So far he has not done so, allowing it to stand unchallenged. Has anyone asked him when he's going to deny it?

Conservative Candidate Unravels – 14.01.2014

"We can confirm that a second International Letter of Request has been sent to the Portuguese authorities by the Crown Prosecution Services this week... in connection with Operation Grange,'' Scotland Yard told ABC News in a statement today [January 13 2014]. The authorities would not discuss any further details." So ABC turned to Clarence Mitchell, fresh from inventing the story and fresh from commenting on his invention in the Mail, Mirror and Guardian during the past twenty four hours, and asked him if he could throw any light on the story. "I'm afraid we are saying nothing about any aspect of Operation Grange whilst the police work continues, least of all about any tabloid speculation surrounding it,'' the spokesman told ABC.

Tanner's Terminator (he just keeps coming back at you) – 23.01.2014

What we published yesterday was front of house stuff, i.e. taking only publicly released official statements from the latest investigation and then applying simple logic (deductive not inductive, for what it's worth) to determine what those statements couldn't mean. The usual prizes, of course, for any refutation or challenge (there won't be one) to the deductive conclusion that the targets of nice Mr Redwood are either already behind bars or can only be people who are a) world famous and b) were in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007. And there are very, very few of the latter, aren't there? Meanwhile there is plenty of suggestive but inconclusive bumping-around going on behind the curtains, the latest manifestation of which is the Find Madeleine site's updated wanted dead-or-alive poster. Despite the official sounding text with its business-like air of authority and pretence of joint police-parents origin there is no reason to believe that any of the three are based on reality rather than imagination and one of them, the farcical Barcelona Baby Buyer, is a complete invention. But then on a McCann site what else would you expect? There is still a lot to say about M/S Tanner and her sighting but we'll leave most of it for the next time while concentrating on the FM message alone. What does it tell us? A lot actually, though not in the way the parents intended. According to the website
These two pictures show a man carrying a child away from the family's apartment. This sighting was seen by a witness at 21:15 on the evening of Thursday, May 3rd, 2007. Based or more recent information, the Metropolitan Police now believe this man may represent a guest at the Ocean Club who was carrying his daughter back to their apartment. However as it is not possible to be certain that these two men are actually the same person, if you have seen this man in the pictures or suspect who it may be, please contact the Metropolitan Police's OPERATION GRANGE.

Andy Redwood triumphantly called it a "revelatory moment" in a two years plus investigation while the McCann gospel has it that it's a mere "belief" that it "could be" the man who Jane Tanner claimed to have seen. A belief that someone who someone might have seen "could" be someone else (unnamed) seen possibly by the same someone but we can't be sure hardly justifies the use of the word "belief" at all, does it? It certainly doesn't describe Mr Redwood's revelatory exposition. What about Andy's parent-carrying child, can he help? Nope, he doesn't seem to be available and nobody's saying why. Have the parents even met him? Frankly, there's no evidence that nice Mr Redwood has told them any more about him than he's told us. Nor is that the only textual clue. Read it again and note that underlined part is mangled and grossly incorrect English. The McCann couple, as we have observed over the years, are not renowned for their fluent English style but that isn't the reason for this betise: it's a giveaway that the many hands that wrote it are trying to suggest far more than the language can carry and this is the best they agree on. Just like Madeleine really, and probably written by the same people. Sceptical readers know what the writers want to express with the phrase "it is not possible to be certain that these two men are actually the same person": they want readers to assume that they are describing agreed facts, agreed, furthermore and by implication, with Mr. Redwood himself. But the language can't meet the requirements of their sleight of hand and as a result it comes out as not just ungrammatical but literal nonsense: of course "it is possible to be certain that these two men are actually the same person"! How on earth could it be impossible?

My, my. Imagine one of the co-writers authoring a consultant's report on the state of your heart and the recommended treatment in this clogged junk-language. Would it give you confidence that you were in the hands of an educated clear thinking person? One you could put your trust in? So why doesn't Dr. McCann cut the crap and say, or get his co-writers to say, "we are not certain at this point that they are the same person"? Because that's the last thing they want to say, for it destroys the clear pretence that this stuff represents a joint Yard-McCann statement. They'd have to come clean and say, "We, Kate and I, that is, are not certain..." Cos nice Mr Redwood sure isn't going to sign up to it. And that is precisely what the mangled language is trying to conceal at any cost, just as the mangled language of Gerry McCann's blogs attempted to conceal until the very last minute that another police team had a quite different view of May 3 to his own. That didn't end too well, did it? We've said before that the best ever appraisal of Madeleine was written by wise Dr Roberts and it bears repeating. The book, he says, reads strangely as if it were written as a pre-emptive defence document for a trial that has not yet come. Nearly three years on, the website's strangled words and Mitchell's clumsy and exposed intrigues suggest that police and parents are once again drifting dangerously apart.

Meet The Waddies – 24.01.2014

Those usual prizes for refutation of Bureau conclusions we mentioned the other day have been on offer since 2011, by which time most of the sources were in place; but nobody's put in a claim. Nor will they. In all the key areas that we've dealt with since then, the proven and systematic lying of the parents; the sheer Bates-Motel weirdness as well as base-rock dishonesty of Madeleine; the refusal of the couple to assist the Portuguese investigation at critical times; the grotesque diversion of donated funds that might have helped families in despair into luxury hotel stays for the pair instead – just writing about that one brings on a wave of nausea – and the deliberate misrepresentation of Operation Grange's activities since April 2012, the response has always been the same. From the Official FM Internet Monitor himself, through his little band of Human Wrights Activists down to the charmingly strange diehard disciples – all of them increasingly reminiscent of that recently dead Japanese soldier who refused to leave the jungle for twenty plus years after VJ day – the response is always, these days, the same, even when there’s a f*****g great mushroom cloud in the sky behind them. For a time it was the absurd, Isabel Duarte-inspired strategy of saying that these things were "old news", a giveaway non sequitur that may partially account for the fact that M/S Duarte knows rather more about losing McCann cases than winning them; even the WAs have given up on that one and now adopt an alternative strategy: don't, under any circumstances, attempt to challenge or even mention the premisses, or steps, of the argument, which are usually factual, but instead dismiss the conclusion in broad and simplistic (we leave aside "abusive") terms. As the reader may have noted, that is the direct opposite of the WAs' response to such questions as the cadaver dog evidence, in which they challenge the premisses every step of the way, gradually drowning the debate in a giddying foam blanket of circular detail. Why the difference? Simple: because the cadaver dog question, given the constraints on its judicial admissibility, is an objectively undecidable one which can go round in circles for ever and therefore presents no direct threat. We think that's why our Wrights Activists, far from being fearful of the subject, love it so. But how do you go about drowning the stuff the Bureau and others focus on? Instead of the endless arguments over conscious or unconscious prompting by the dog handler, which the PJ itself began in an evaluative report in the original files, we have the printed texts where Kate McCann, for example, admits lying to the press to prevent the British knowing they were suspects (not arguidos). That's very admissible indeed, as well as unchallengeable. Or the repeated and on-the-record claims that the Tapas 7 were really, really keen to return to Portugal to help the investigation? Or the Archiving Summary with its damning words on their non-co-operation and its highly admissible – as the Lisbon courts have recently demonstrated – views on "exoneration"? Or Gerry's "blogs" where he assures everyone in the UK that Mr Amaral and his officers don’t for a moment suspect him and his wife of anything – this when they've already turned over his bedclothes and seized his property! Or the Don Pedro and other luxury hotel bills? The answer is you can't, it can't be done. All you can do is rubbish the conclusion, hope that people won't remember the steps that led to it and sit tight. Just like Kate McCann did really.

The most ironic part of this strategy is that while deliberate silence coupled with arbitrary dismissal fails to convince anyone, including the police of two countries, it is a highly effective piece of self-deception. To ignore the steps of a deductive argument but deny the conclusion based on them is equivalent to noting an increasing number of flames in your house but somehow denying that a call to the fire brigade has to follow. A much more recent example for our Wrights Campaigners and disciples to mull over and then ignore is, of course, The Redwood Book of Revelation. Immediately after Crimewatch last year people began pointing out what a profound and inescapable threat to the entire abduction narrative, and therefore to the future of Kate and Gerry McCann, the revelation presents. The WAs, dimly self-deceiving as usual, haven't got around to appreciating the lethality of the threat even now but their heroes, assisted by their lawyers, most certainly have and are reacting accordingly. As widely pointed out elsewhere there is no evidence, forensic or otherwise, that more than one person was on Rua Dr. Agostinho da Silva between 9.10 and 9.15 on May 3, despite the presence of three eyewitnesses actually on the street or only yards away. Indeed, even accepting that there was one person on the street depends on accepting that Jane Tanner is a truthful, observant and accurate witness. But truthful, observant and accurate Jane reported seeing only one person on the street in this five minutes period of opportunity and Wilkins saw none. To make the claim that there might be two, one of them Redwood's man and one of them unknown, call him 666, is an act of imagination that directly contradicts the evidence – it has not been deduced in the Sherlock Holmes sense because a deduction must have a first step, a premiss, a piece of evidence to deduce from and there isn't one. It is, in the strict sense of the word, an invention. Yet Kate & Gerry McCann, in the latest FM statement, refer unambiguously to two men in the five minute window!

Mais le second homme est Smithman et il n'était pas dans Agostinho da Silva quand il a été vu !

Now the conclusion we draw from these irrefutable premisses follows ineluctably and without effort: it presents itself. Kate and Gerry McCann are once again working against a police investigation by widely publicising possibilities that are not based on the evidence but are inventions, the latest in a long line from Abductor Bundleman to Yacht-owning Baby Buyer and Zit-Faced Predator. From which it follows, as night, they say, follows day, that they are working against the discovery of the truth about their daughter's fate. Ouch. That's the bit that the Wrights Activists & Disciples, the Waddies, will deny after forty-eight or more "no comments" and it’s such risible self-deception in the face of the evidence that makes them such worthless commentators and, as Lisbon has recently shown, equally poor witnesses.

Fitting the facts – 31.01.2014

There was no "spate" of burglaries in Praia da Luz before the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The police themselves officially stated that there was an "increase" in the total number as compared with April 2006 but that this total number was "insignificant". The definition of "insignificant" is "too small or unimportant to be worth consideration". But who's complaining? A few possible burglars and a final total of 41 persons of interest after exhaustive review indicates that the Yard is going through all practical possibilities in detail, however far-fetched. Except the involvement of the parents, who are not included on the list.
La vérité proche est inquiétante, troublante, dérangeante, la vérité lointaine n'affecte que les autres.
Many in Portugal and some in the UK believe that after the gradual elimination of all 41, Grange will be closed down. But will it? There is a much simpler explanation which so far fits all the known facts and requires no extra-factual (i.e. faith-based) postulate of a "whitewash". To paraphrase Holmes, "Once you have laboriously eliminated all 41 suspects and possibilities, however unlikely, what are you left with, Watson? The two people not on the list."  
S'ils ne sont pas sur la liste, OG peut fermer la boutique. Rien après tout n'oblige personne à lancer une nouvelle opération où figureraient les deux absents de la liste d'OG.

Options – 03.02.2014

(...) It is possible that Redwood has someone lined up in his sights whose conviction would eliminate the suspicions of parental involvement forever; and it is possible that he is targeting the parents, particularly since none of his actions, as against his words, have indicated any increased trust or closeness to the couple. 
Si cela était, ça se saurait. Par exemple, au lieu de dire que les TP9 ne faisaient pas partie des personnes "intéressantes", DCI Redwood aurait dit qu'ils ont été ré-interrogés et mis hors de cause.
So, Option a) his targets are not the McCanns in any way and Option b) they are. (...) Under option a), "the McCanns are not targets" none of this media activity makes any sense at all. None of it. The newsfeeds coming from Mitchell, their demonstrated but clumsy "anonymity", their amplification by the redtops and the repeated failure of the predictions to come true— how could any of that possibly be in the interests of a couple waiting expectantly for the police to lift a seven year burden from their shoulders? Whereas Option b), the possibility that the McCanns themselves are in some sense targets, makes sense of everything from A to Z, including the inference from the facts above that Redwood is deliberately letting them show their hand. As always our readers, whom we trust to check the evidence and see for themselves where it's pointing, will draw their own conclusions. We're still waiting for any signs that Option a) is a strong possibility so we suggest we all join nice Mr Redwood in watching Kate and Gerry McCann and Clarence Mitchell being "played" before our eyes.

Lastly, some excessively unrealistic optimists might claim that since even the MSM are beginning to mock Operation Grange because of the procession of "suspects", then the idea that the Yard would stand by or encourage this loss of credibility is absurd. Is it? Have you looked at the source of the only MSM criticism of the operation? It is the Mirror again, the house journal of Kate & Gerry McCann that has never wavered in its blind support of the pair in six years. "And if the Met has to write "request letters" to the ­Portuguese police asking if they can search these men's homes and access their bank accounts, how close are they to arresting anyone? Four officers from ­Operation Grange in Portugal last week, are now back in London having made no arrests. How devastating this must all be for Kate and Gerry McCann – another flurry of headlines, more promises of suspects and arrests... and then nothing. Again!" A neat little bit of poison, isn't it? Redwood's squad are failing and letting Kate 'n' Gerry down. Now would a Mirror editor who works hand in glove with Mitchell publish a piece like Carole Malone's bleat if Option a) is true?

Return of the Zombie – 04.02.2014

The Bureau doesn't get involved with the Gaspar statements, the main message of which appears to be that the McCanns' narrow social circle contained some very strange people indeed. But we knew that anyway. Dr Payne's fateful Passeggiata through Praia da Luz on the early evening of May 3 is another matter. Much as Izzy Duarte and the monitors would like to consign it to the "old news" skip, every few months the pile of black plastic bags, nappies and rotting meat stirs and the owlish figure of Payne in his crumpled tennis gear digs his way out to confront us, blinking, in the evening sunlight. Then he proceeds to haunt Kate McCann all over again like some horrid bespectacled zombie. He takes his latest bow as a result of the Crimewatch programme which somehow mislaid him – as everyone else seems to have done – between the tennis courts and those famous patio doors. The 6.30pm visit, as others have pointed out, is not in the programme at all. Why? Not only is 6.30 the natural start of any timeline of that evening's events – and Mr Redwood is very hot on timelines – but the meeting is of huge significance: the very last time that anyone other than the parents claims to have seen Madeleine alive. Given such importance it's a profound pity, and a great mystery, that the two participants were unwilling to tell the police anything about it, neither of them mentioning its existence, let alone its content, in their May police statements. And for most of the seven years since they've added almost nothing, certainly nothing of value, apart from Dr Payne's interview with Leicester police in April 2008, when he said a great deal, mostly erm, and Kate McCann's brief, and weird, comments when she was fighting for her life on September 6 2007.

This evasion is all the more extraordinary, not to say suspicious, when we remember that the meeting, honestly described, would have been a formidable plank in the parent's defence. It is now well known that the PJ were investigating whether Kate McCann, alone and wired out, had had an "episode" in the apartment before 7pm, resulting in the accidental death of the child. Payne entering the apartment and witnessing a very alive Madeleine, two untroubled twins, no atmosphere of tension and a calm, relaxed and above all normal Kate McCann – just twenty minutes or so before Gerry McCann's Honey I'm home – is an out and out defence witness. Their super-duper defence team realised that PDQ after the couple's flight authorised and agreed return to the UK. Accordingly Mitchell was despatched to confirm the meeting through leaks to the MSM: Kate McCann hadn't gone berserk that afternoon and they had a witness to prove it. But detail about this trump card remained sparse. When we come to the perfected "authorised version" that would have formed their anti-extradition evidence, fed to us courtesy of Smethurst and the team, Panorama and David James Smith's Beyond the Smears, neither would play; Payne stayed out of Panorama altogether and Kate again refused to describe anything, the only information about a meeting coming, as usual, from someone who hadn't been there, Gerry McCann
At 6.30 Gerry McCann asks a friend, David Payne, to pop in on Kate to see if the children are coming down. He goes to the flat, he says all is well, but the children are too tired and are already in their pyjamas.
And in the Smith piece, Kate McCann,yet again, has nothing to add, directly or indirectly. "On the evening of May 3, the last moment when Madeleine was definitely seen alive by anybody other than the McCanns was at about 7pm as the group put their children to bed."

In April 2008, with the imminent shelving of the case obvious to almost everybody except the Bureau, David Payne finally described the meeting and answered Leicester Police's questions about it at length. At great length. The interview is worthless from beginning to end since among the erms, evasions, inventions and fanciful rhetoric there is nothing in the lengthy transcript remotely recognizable as the meeting Kate McCann claimed – just once – had occurred. Dr Payne, crumpled tennis gear and all, is on another planet, a zombie planet, and nobody can understand, let alone believe, his words. The only contents of value are the numerous hostages to fortune that he has left for eventual use by other police forces. That being so it's pretty clear that any re-investigation has got to focus on this very strange business, one which is quite enough on its own to demonstrate why the group could never have returned for a reconstruction including that supposed meeting, starting with "show us where you were standing...". A reasonably normal person would assume that if the McCanns are "not suspects" any longer then the police must have answered all the questions surrounding the meeting and given Kate McCann a clean bill of health. Yet among the welter of leaks and formal statements not one, official or unofficial, from the police or, tellingly, from the McCanns' accomplice and media bagman Mitchell, has even hinted that any such contact has occurred. Jane Tanner, yes: Crimewatch revealed that she's been talking to Grange, although that seems to have come as an unpleasant surprise to the parents, but nobody else has been mentioned. And the bagman hasn't been leaking tales of how impressed Grange has been with Kate's answers "...can't say any more but she was there for hours and came out radiant..." Any of you seen stuff like that? So the last known word apparently remains that of Kate McCann in that pursuit of the truth Madeleine.

No longer an arguido, no judicial secrecy, a firm favourite in the hearts of the nation and Woman's Hour, Kate has no need to run anymore and nothing to fear from the truth – unless Dr Roberts' words on the status of Madeleine, that it is essentially a defence document in search of a trial – apply. Here is her truth, which is a prettified rewrite of her September 6 statement: 
At around six-forty, as I was drying myself off, there was a knock on the patio doors and I heard David's voice calling me. Swiftly wrapping my towel around me, I stepped into the sitting room. David had popped his head round the patio door, looking for me. The others had met up with Gerry at the tennis courts and he'd mentioned we were thinking of bringing the kids to the play area. Dave had nipped up to see if he could give me a hand taking them down. As they were all ready for bed and seemed content with their books, I decided they were probably past the stage of needing any more activity. So he went back to the tennis while I quickly dressed and sat down on the couch with the children.
Or, annotated to exclude the bits that don't describe the meeting: 
At around six-forty, as I was drying myself off, there was a knock on the patio doors and I heard David's voice calling me.
Right, good, so he's arrived outside the door. Now tell us about your meeting. 
Swiftly wrapping my towel around me, I stepped into the sitting room.
Yes, OK, what happened?   
David had popped his head round the patio door, looking for me.
No, no, you didn't know that until you'd talked in the meeting – what about the meeting? 
The others had met up with Gerry at the tennis courts and he'd mentioned we were thinking of bringing the kids to the play area. 
No, Kate, that's about David's meeting with Gerry. What about yours? "
Dave had nipped up to see if he could give me a hand taking them down.
[Sighs] Those are Gerry's words and he wasn't there. What did Payne say in your meeting? What did he do? 
As they were all ready for bed and seemed content with their books, I decided they were probably past the stage of needing any more activity.
That's the children! What about Payne?? 
So he went back to the tennis while I quickly dressed and sat down on the couch with the children.
She cannot tell us. She knows it looks wrong, she knows people will pick up on it, but the words won't come. And she cannot tell us why. And judging by Crimewatch she hasn't told that nice Mr Redwood why either.

Selective Secrecy – 19.02.2014

To repeat: the screen erected round the investigation is too thick for our brains to penetrate and decide just who the two police forces are after and the strength of the case against them. But some light is now being thrown. For a whole year after the launch of Operation Grange in early 2011 almost everyone with a serious interest in the case – we exclude the nutters – accepted that it was pointless to speculate about the course of the investigation, given the Yard's clear statements that they weren't going to comment on progress: better to let them get on with it. On the very few occasions when the UK police were spotted at work, such as their trip to Barcelona, few people got too excited: it was pretty obvious that it must be something to do with Metodo3 and the only wish-fulfilment came from the Bagman, who leaked that it was all about interviewing the tall, Gloria Swansonish baby-buyer, an early reminder that it was the McCann Team who needed to spin the review, not the critics. Gonçalo Amaral's revelation about the existence of a secret Oporto team in early 2012 changed everything. It led to the Grange squad entering show business for the first time with its Panorama co-production and the slightly dodgy media briefings that followed, themselves worthy of Sundance Festival PR production puffs. As that rather creepy operator Jon Corner once told the McCanns, "make sure you yourselves don't become the subject"
En fait il leur a dit qu'ils étaient l'histoire, ce qui était médiatiquement évident, il ne les a pas mis en garde contre cela. 
and the Yard might have done well to follow the advice: it's great to tip-toe into the media management business but there's no door marked "exit".

The almost tangible sense of shock in the PJ as it dawned on them in 2007 that they were faced not with mere criminality but a twenty-first century Panzerwelle of just-about-legal, London mobilised media power, whose techniques were undreamed of, whose budgets exceeded their own and whose record, once people started looking, included getting a blood-soaked South American dictator out of gaol, reverberates to this day. It was this expert harnessing of a deluded but useable human horde that made the PJ and the Yard determined to prevent it happening again. But how? Reversion to near total secrecy appears to have been rejected. The new strategy, chosen by both forces but driven by Redwood, appears to consist of "managing the silence" in full view, a risky one which comes close to attempting to harness the human horde for themselves. Good luck with that one. There are no free lunches. Scotland Yard can point to the unique problems of extra-territorial investigations and plead in addition that Leveson and operations Weeting/ Elvedon have broken the fifty year old UK system of "cuing and guiding" the media from behind the hand and off the record (described by ex-editor Kelvin Mackenzie here and elsewhere). That has led them to evolving new policies on the hoof but whether these are the right ones nobody yet knows: sooner or later their methods will be examined, possibly in court, and they will have to justify them. It is a sombre thought that in rejecting the rigid "no comment" route and opting for this one they are being drawn inexorably into the territory of public deception and manipulation, Gerry McCann's home ground. Here, we're afraid, we and the unfortunate police forces are faced with problems outside the realm of mere criminal detection. The mystery of how Gerry McCann has drawn tens of millions of people along and into his personal psychodrama, starting with seven panicky friends, an issue which the Bureau has alluded to before, has yet to be researched and is unlikely ever to be definitively solved. Meanwhile nice Mr Redwood and his colleagues, people who like nicking villains, as they call it, and whose instruction manuals on "handling crowd psychology" deal with water cannon but not McCann-created mass delusion, have a job on their hands. As did Gonçalo Amaral. How was it that the frankly rather ordinary story of a child-death outlined by the PJ, one of banal misjudgements by a group of grey provincial doctors involving a cheap package holiday on the cold Atlantic, a bit of petit-bourgeois self-indulgence, possibly sexual, post-natal depression, unexpected fatal injury, panic and luck – all the usual elements of boring real life – somehow transmogrified into something quite other? The answer is deceptively simple but very, very strange: Gerry McCann's deeply disturbed mind.
It began with him literally writhing on his back, his face distorted and slavering, screaming and shouting hysterically of the paedophile ring that he "knew" had taken the child and since then his deeply perverse and shadowy imagination has never stopped conjuring a grand guignol fiction from which people seem powerless to free themselves: mysterious international lawyers, ransom-demanding kidnappers, ex-SAS men toting guns, "operational reasons", conmen who aren't little con men but become Halligen secret agents, sexy baby buyers stepping off a Barcelona-moored yacht, Metodo3, dying paedophiles with last-minute confessions, a parade of poxed-faced, long-haired beasts prowling the darkened streets of the Algarve, woodcutters' lairs hidden deep in the forests – who brought young Gerry the Ladybird Hansel & Gretel book? – blonde kiddies groomed for forced humping by dark-skinned tribes in blue robes in the Atlas mountains – where's the dagger between their teeth, Gerry?

None of it ever happened. Yet somehow this pitiful stuff, creepy product of a culturally impoverished but hypnotically convincing mind, has taken over the imaginations of half the western world, as well as, it increasingly seems, the person that invented it. So both the Yard and the PJ squads, some of them as vulnerable to this weirdo stuff as the rest of us, as the ex-Yard officers' tabloid pieces confirm, have to try and solve a crime against this background of temporarily dormant but potentially powerful, massed delusion, one which encompasses the international brigade of teenage thickos on OFM right up to the forensically trained and intellectually penetrating mind of Lord Justice Leveson. This isn't an indulgence of we poor loonies on the Bureau known for our emphasis on the "psychological angle". Far from it: whatever the police choose to call this factor in their work, if they can even find the words, they have to deal with it. Mobilised mass sympathy/delusion/belief based on lies saved the couple in 2007: the certainty that the couple, if pressed, will try and stir the lunacy into life again via organs like the Mirror and individuals, paid and unpaid, who, as the Lisbon trial demonstrated, have a hypnotic belief in the lies, can't be ignored. It is this essential weirdness of the affair that appears to be driving the strategy of putting together a case against the couple in secret while leaking diversionary tales to prevent this mobilisation until is too late: a strategy, to let Gerry McCann's mind influence ours for a moment, akin to keeping vampires placid while a crossroads is found and stakes are sharpened. But as well as demanding strong nerves – would you like to be Mr Redwood knowing that two of the possible criminals have far greater access to politicians than you or your bosses do? – it requires a lot of things to run smoothly. "Diversionary tales" are at the edge of legality by dint of their dishonesty, good cause or no: remember that Gonçalo is still accused of near illegality for overstating the dog evidence to intimidate the parents into mistakes or confession, behaviour that was once routine bluff but is now increasingly questioned by the lawyers under the human rights rubric.

The light that is beginning to fall on this stuff is pretty low-intensity. We know that the Yard are deliberately leaking false stories since they were caught doing so a couple of months back: that is fact, not speculation but the factual evidence available so far does not, unfortunately, include the exact reasons or the targets so it doesn't put the McCanns in the frame at all. Secondly, of the two MSM McCann specialists we know (out of a national total of about a dozen or so) neither of them appears to have any better idea of where the investigation is heading than we and you do, despite their access to Grange briefings. Few who read here, we assume, hold the fond idea that national editors hold thick files on the McCanns "waiting to be used"; if they do it's a very well kept secret indeed. In our view not one exists. Thirdly, the stories of distrust between the two forces are not inventions of Mitchell's but are grounded in fact: again, though, we don't know of any evidence that such distrust revolves around the parents. Lastly, someone is leaking, not critical stuff but not worthless either, and some of it has been picked up by Mitchell. We're not talking Yard media briefings here – which themselves are making the MSM restless – but a mole. Whose interests the mole is working in is unknown. The Yard have asked for a joint meeting as a matter of urgency to discuss it. Now there are rumours (not from the MSM) that the Yard are preparing "detector dye" leaks, so beloved of the intelligence services – deliberately false leaks to see who repeats them and pinpoints the source. Each move is upping the stakes and the risks further and the only fire escape in this game is the one marked "convincing result".A "convincing result" means one that is "not career-ending for all those involved, starting with the squad head". All this before Gerry McCann even shows his hand. Is he innocent and untroubled or kept off balance by the strategy? Good luck Mr Redwood. In this weirdest of all weird cases, you'll need some.

Take Your Choice – 21.02.2014
In the long run it is always better to face the likely truth rather than stick to your own guns in error. So let's change the focus and try and judge the re-investigation by the facts of what its members are telling us, not by treacherous leaks, not by where we think our own interpretations point. Do what the parents' supporters ask us to do in fact. In the UK that "telling" has been done by official media presentations to the public and by separate but official briefings to journalists to which the public have no access. Such briefings are normally – if anything is normal since Elvedon/Weeting – an expansion of the content in answer to questions from the journalists about a public statement. Already we new realists have a problem: "remember the Archiving Summary and listen to what the police are saying, stupid", as our Twitter experts, marshalled or otherwise by Michael Wright, tell us. OK, we'll behave. But do we accept only the public media statements or the closed briefing-derived statements as well? If we accept the latter then we are straightaway departing from strict "announced facts & progress" and moving into potentially grey off-the-record territory. But if we don't we're going to miss important material direct from the officials. What are we realists to do? Where do we start? An example. In the very important April 2012 Panorama programme, the foundation of the Yard's new open strategy, Mr Redwood stated that they were going to present output from the review to their Portuguese counterparts at some time in the future.
AR : I am satisfied that the systems and process that we are bringing to this set of circumstances will give [not have given] us the best opportunity to find those investigative opportunities that we can then present [not have presented] to our colleagues in Portugal.
And, on the question of rumoured possible differences between the two squads, he was not merely diplomatic but forthright:
AR : My engagement with the Portuguese is with the police officers sitting within the review team in Porto. Those officers are engaged. They are open. They are working with us collaboratively and I've not encountered with them any of those views.
Two days later the results from the journalists' private briefings following the programme began to flow and it was a very different story. The Mirror's take was representative. A statement from Portugal that the authorities had seen no evidence justifying re-opening the case yet was spun that the Portuguese were "not co-operating". And the spin came – openly – from the Yard itself. "The hunt for Madeleine McCann stalled yesterday as Portuguese cops refuse to reopen the case...the Yard urged their Portuguese counterparts to re-open their search for the youngster, who vanished in May 2007". That referred to the Panorama programme in which Redwood had made no such "urgings" and, to repeat, had talked in terms of presenting findings in the future.Yet the official, but unnamed, Yard spokesman was quoted in the Mirror story as saying: "We can't compel the Portuguese to do anything but we will keep trying and we don't think this is the end. We will keep lobbying." And the spin was repeated throughout the MSM. As realists, therefore, it looks like we have to listen to the stuff from the private briefings, at least where a Yard spokesman is quoted in direct speech, since a false attribution to a directly quoted official spokesman is refutable and can be withdrawn. So we assume that they are, at root, truth-tellers in the briefings as well as at the open-to-all performances who want this information to reach the public. Finally then, off we go on the official common-sense realist route. Two separate police reviews have now been in existence since early 2011. Both forces have completely excluded the McCanns and their 7 friends as suspects. They are not in the frame in any way. For just under two years the Yard squad has been persistently and officially briefing the media in private that the Portuguese are in some way "dragging their feet"
Cela semble normal si l'on songe que les Portugais se sont débarassés d'une patate brûlante dont ils ne pouvaient et ne voulaient rien faire, sans que les intéressés ne pipent mot. Pas une seule fois, en tout cas publiquement, le Ministère public n'a rappelé que les MC n'avaient opté pour la phase d'instruction qui aurait permis d'apurer l'investigation.
In fully public announcements they have continually asserted that co-operation is "good". In early 2013 the Yard made it clear it was moving into an active investigative, rather than review, phase, based on results so far. It was announced that CPS officials had been visiting Portugal. The Portuguese stated in April 2013 that. In October 2013 the Portuguese case was re-opened. They did not say what new evidence had come to light or from where.
Ils pouvaient difficilement laisser interroger des gens pour le compte de OG sans les protéger par le statut de arguido et donc sans rouvrir l'enquête eux-mêmes, un pur simulacre probablement.
At the same time the Yard went to Crimewatch with new identity appeals, mention of cell-phone intelligence – and its one unequivocal achievement so far, the discounting of the Jane Tanner sighting. The Yard have recently made it clear officially that they want a single bi-national squad. The Yard are now making letters rogatory requests for action on their behalf in Portugal. The Portuguese have made none to the UK. The head of the Yard has now publicly confirmed that the two squads are working on completely different theories and have been unable to resolve them!

Just writing it down makes it look pretty f*****g horrific, doesn't it? No wonder that "realists" have confined themselves to waiting for results rather than trying to make something useful out of what appears to be a story of unrelieved, almost comical, failure. Going through those eleven headings in sequence we observe that: The two review squads were activated independently and have not yet even publicly agreed on which began first. The first clear and important agreement in the list, the perfectly valid exclusion of the McCanns, appears to derive from studies of the evidence before the squads' work began, which reduces the joint substantive results score from two (this and the JT sighting stuff) to one, and that is only attributable to joint results by according a role to the Portuguese squad in the JT discovery, one they haven't claimed themselves. For two years one of the squads has continually – and officially – briefed against the other while denying doing so.
Quant aux MC, la patate brûlante, il semble évident que les écarter ait été non seulement accepté, mais désiré par le Ministère public, qui a peut-être même rouvert l'enquête (formellement) à cette condition expresse.
The briefing has at its heart demands for the other party to follow its lead. The official, transcribed public denials of the intrigue are clear evidence that the Yard are consistently lying when they see it in their own interests to do so. A determination to accept the official words of the police forces, not fibs or unattributable rumours, has led to the perverse conclusion that the Yard is lying anyway! It can't get any worse, can it? The move to investigation rather than review was announced unilaterally by the Yard. The Portuguese response was a refusal to acknowledge any valuable new evidence having arrived from the review phase. The Yard findings Spring 2011- September 2013, therefore – i.e the eventual presentation of Mr Redwood's material – are insignificant in Lisbon's view. Or, if they are not insignificant the official legal authorities must be deceiving their own people when ignoring them. The same logic applies to the re-opening of the Portuguese investigation, which was notably light in crediting any Yard work beind the decision. The Crimewatch Jane Tanner result, the Yard's one big claim to fame, has been received in silence by the Portuguese (qui ont très vite discrédité Tannerman), has not been confirmed and has not been accepted by the McCanns. Since, again, the pair are excluded from the investigations there can be no appraisal of what its non-existence now implies for the original abduction claims. The sole important evidence about May 3 2007 in seven years has little value in this re-investigation, its only consequence for the two teams within their self-imposed remits being to extend the time frame available to include further abductors. Uh-huh.

In a realist and official joint world full of co-operation you'd think that statements from Kate & Gerry McCann, allowing them to give their reasons for not accepting the evidence as definitive, could only add to knowledge of the case, wouldn't you? But no, due to the exclusion zone their questioning – without imputation, only to get a picture of their views – is out and, since there aren't going to be any further squads for a long while, the un-sighting' s significance regarding JT herself is also likely to remain uninvestigated in our lifetimes. Finally Mr Hogan-Howe's recent confirmation that the two years' joint operations have resulted in a much worse situation than even haters like the Bureau thought possible: to add to the disaster zone of the first ten points above above we are now told that the joint effort has not brought the two teams together an inch but has resulted in two completely divergent lines of inquiry. 
Les Britanniques espéraient-ils que les Portugais, dociles, mal-traités, méprisés, se plieraient, les suivraient sur une piste qui contournait scandaleusement leur constat d'impuissance face une enquête inachevée/inachevable  et feraient fi de la conclusion principale du rapport final des procureurs : le crime dont a été victime MMC n'a pu être déterminé et les hypothèses du début restent intactes à la fin.
In other words, after three years' work the investigative results from one of the two teams must be wrong, i.e. bullshit. Which team? So true, Gerry, so true; that's twice now. There we have it: three years work as described by the official record. Unless, that is, nice Mr Redwood, the person who we all know lied to us on Panorama, is, along with others, lying about the whole caboodle. We have to add that, despite the feelgood factor that our own very unofficial Bureau versions may have brought some readers, we ourselves just don't know which of the two versions is true. 
L'opinion publique britannique n'ignorant pas l'abondance des moyens (pas seulement financiers) mis en oeuvre par OG pour retrouver MMC, allaitt, le temps passant sans progrès malgré les promesses de mai 2011,  commencer à se poser des questions. Il faut donc l'embobiner, l'étourdir, espérer que le blâme se portera sur les Portugais, tout en assurant que la collaboration est excellente. Le cahier des charges de Operation Grange est une épine dans le flanc de SY.

We all face the same choice – accept the official tale above, one of virtually unrelieved failure pointing to humiliation and the permanence of the McCanns' limbo, worthily represented now by Mr Hogan "what's my name?" Howe; or look at it the Bureau (sometimes) way, which makes sense of otherwise inexplicable events, hints at possible closure and looks at Redwood's eyes as the real measure of British policing, not what's my name's foot-filled mouth. Unfortunately there is no solid and agreed evidence for the Bureau's version at all. How strange that this record of unexpected and paradoxical results springing from the official version concludes with the famously "anti" Bureau's version offering a tiny glimmer of hope for some sort of release for the McCanns (with a trial) – while the official record offers them nothing. For Mr Redwood's "live, findable child" – he always tells the truth – has served another three years sentence of nameless horror since they announced their intentions. "Findable", eh? Three years! At this rate it'll be a findable crone who stumbles, blinking, in front of the cameras, not a child. And not a word of regret or apology or real explanation for spending years attempting and failing to find a way of working together instead of locating the child. 
La seule tentative visible de localisation de MMC a finalement été le piochage des terrains vagues de PDL.
If, that is, they are telling us the truth. Funny, going by the Official Facts again, the McCanns seem as untroubled at this record of disaster and the terrifying implications for a living child as the failed coppers themselves. But then Kate's the forgiving type, y'know.

Some light, more shade – 24.02.2014
All right, a fraction more on the ups and downs between the two forces. The "clear the air" meeting went ahead, without any airport photo shoots. The Yard did not confront the PJ accusing them of leaking a specific piece of information but were rather more genial: "are you sure that security [regarding the specific issue] is tight?" There was less tension between the two parties than we'd understood to be the case. Mitchell did not invent the "three burglars" at the heart of all these shenanigans but repeated what he understood to be solid intelligence deriving from the Yard. It does come from the Yard and it is untrue. The fact that the McCanns clearly made no attempt to stop their bagman digging himself deeper with this fiction – whether it's a "play", rather than a cover story, is another matter – means, obviously, that they didn't know that it was a deliberate leak either, which tells us more or less all we need to know about how "in the loop" they are. The rogatory letter requests do not involve burglars and there are more than three names on the list, none of them Portuguese. And two of them are women. Make of that, if you think it's reliable, what you will. Two women rather suggest to us that it might be witnesses being named rather than suspects, but who knows? When Mitchell reads the Bureau again and finally gets up to speed perhaps he'll start leaking that "it is understood" that one of them is the well-known sexy (right, Gerry), superyacht-owning (right, Gerry), baby-buyer from disturbed imagination land Barcelona.

Disintegration Diary – 25.02.2014
Whenever the libel trial does finish and the transcripts, all of which can be safely quoted in the British MSM under last year's libel reform act, start to circulate we'll find that our dwindling circle of supporters/ Wright's Activists has once again been not only wrong but making things up. How many times is it now that the WAs, starved, as so many have pointed out, of ammunition and supplies (the empty cupboard), have claimed that "as the facts come out" the sceptics on Twitter and elsewhere will all be exposed and humiliated? Go back only three years of the seven and recall how we were told day after day that Kate McCann's quest for truth, Madeleine, was going to kill off the haters' gossip and set the record straight. That lasted until publication day and a relentless confirmation, page by damning page, of almost all the rumours, including, to take a single forty eight hour episode, her admission about the systematic mobilization of family shills to lie on her behalf – the famous "green light" – and Gerry McCann's dignified and unwavering belief in his own innocence, so strong that on hearing the details of the case against them late on Thursday September 6 – including that shadowy and as yet unnamed witness who saw them "carrying a big black bag" – he burst into tears and cried "we're finished!" And followed his next-day interrogation by making plans to "sneak" (Kate McCann's word) across the border in a hire car. Strong truthful Kate talked him out of it and instead "on the advice of our lawyers" the pair "decided to get out as soon as possible," i.e. with a panicky Saturday September 8 as their last day in Portugal. "Of course," writes our heroine, "many sections of the press would suggest we were running away – ". That's right, Kate, they would, they did and you were. But Kate, in a typical Madeleineism, forgets what she's written a few paragraphs before about legging it SAP and completes the sentence "– but as I've recounted, the decision had been made several weeks earlier" and "all we were doing was leaving a day earlier than originally planned." Reading that typical exhibition from a nauseating, self-admitted and proven liar reminds us why WAs don't quote Madeleine much anymore, doesn't it? Instead they put it into a "Don't mention again" locked drawer.

The carefully plotted conspiracy to ruin Gonçalo Amaral, the Dom Pedro Hotel Ambush – is that one of the disgusting and deceitful episodes that Kate & Gerry are trying to prevent their children discovering on the internet? – was "eventually" going to demonstrate that GA was indeed an isolated rogue cop, just wait and see! Until it came to court. We can remember tuning into one of the WA's little sites as they re-posted Jon di Paulo's courtroom record as it arrived tweet by tweet; viewing the forum was like watching American Hustle, so loud, anguished and comical were the responses as witness after witness confirmed that every policeman involved shared GA's view. The WAs had been conning themselves. Just as they had when they ignored the meaty factual stuff in the original case files while endlessly repeating the prosecutors' subjective gloss on them, so now they put the courtroom evidence in the locked drawer with Madeleine, quoted the 29 year old judge's flawed (let's be charitable) verdict and drooled over the prospect of GA's financial paralysis being made permanent. When one of our regular Portuguese members wrote in the Bureau that the appeal court judgement in the case – which neither the MSM nor the WAs even knew existed – had not just winged the lying pair but had shredded them, the response, once again, was denial, "wait for the facts" and then... silence. Into the drawer! Remember the three years of confident assertions that the libel trial would never come to court since Gonçalo Amaral would run for it and was abasing himself by pleading for terms? How his lawyer, who had to retire due to illness (as everyone in the loop knew) was a liar continually stalling the case until he gave up and ditched Amaral, so certain was he of eventual defeat? But Gonçalo doesn't share Glasgow hardman Gerry McCann's propensity for sobbing hysterically when under threat, does he? Nor a tendency to "sneak away". Come the day there he was, standing comfortably outside the court in the sunshine. Smiling. Oops!And the long-lasting "don't be fooled haters we know the case files English translations are dodgy" – even as the Pamalam stuff drops, thud by deadening thud, onto their hopes, the Portuguese facsimile text alongside for anyone to check or Google. That really is a gesture of despair, isn't it? Another one soon to be, ahem, forgotten.

Now we hear the rogatory letters' content and the Yard's supposed line of inquiry will confirm the abduction when, wait for it, "eventually revealed". Now this is moving from the empty cupboard and understandable denial into serious delusional territory: do people who affect to believe this really think that the Yard have found the very first piece of solid, material evidence to corroborate the parents' May 3 claims and not leaked it? When leaking it would pull any diehard PJ sceptics into line and solve Hogan "what did you say my name is" Howe's problem at a stroke? When an in-the-loop couple's release of that evidence in a Lisbon court via Isabel Duarte's foghorn delivery would win them an immediate €1.2 million? Oh dear. Yep, back to the court and those coming transcripts which, the WAs assure us weekly, will expose the dishonesty of the temporary record produced by the admirable Anne Guedes, one which has been as painful for the WAs as Jon di Paulo's original. Unfortunately they are wrong and dishonest yet again. Another of our Bureau members, a good listener with pretty fair Portuguese, spent quite a time in court and wrote about it for us late last year; when he compared his own notes to M/S Guedes skeletal shorthand records he was surprised at how much she had got right, her objectivity and the virtual absence of significant errors. Some of M/S Guedes' version, indeed, seems to him and consequently the rest of us, a lot fairer to defence witnesses than they deserve, particularly her restraint regarding the truly shocking witness Loach and the eye-bulging aggression – whose DNA does he share? – of Monitor Wright. The surprises in store, as you'll see, are all for the WAs, not the sceptics, including the increasing listlessness of Duarte's contributions and those repeated elegant but deadly assassina performances by Guerra & Paz's lawyer in which she effortlessly dismembered the claimants' case.

(...)To us that is a great big road sign saying the facts demonstrate that the McCann supporters are always wrong or fibbing. And that's a genuine navigation aid, isn't it? Secondly, the supporters and the WAs, some of them as we know from the OFM, supplied with information by the parents themselves, reflect or model the ups and downs of the couple's last seven years. They are "entwined with Madeleine", as one of their less normal members said, giving rather more detail about the lower half of its androgyne self than we want, thanks; but it is the parents' fate that they are actually entwined with. In 2008, with some of them no doubt under the tutelage of MW, they were strong, numerous, triumphant and at their peak, their cupboards full, the locked drawer unneeded, resonating in harmony with a chastened MSM while the rest of us stood aghast and bewildered. For six years now they have starved and shrunk, despite their somewhat contrived bravado, until they are a remnant with nothing to offer except falsehoods. Exactly like the couple. The fate of each reflects the reality of the other. Good.

Diary – 28.02.2014

Notice the radio silence from Clarence lately? He finally sussed – or someone sussed for him – that he's been used. Not the sharpest knife in the block, this dark master of government secrets, is he? And will we see Kate & Gerry taking up jogging in a big way again? It was always unfair to criticise them for doing so after May 3: after all it wasn't thoughtless and cold-hearted recreation they were after – it was the only way that they could talk in the absolute certainty that they weren't being bugged. Brooding once more on the testimonies in the Lisbon libel trial and what they revealed of the McCanns' current existence, we fell to considering the role of all those wonderful people who have helped and advised them over the last seven years. Some of them gave evidence in Lisbon and their descriptions of their encounters with the pair made grim listening. The witnesses seem to face a pervasive sense of paranoia and restless, defensive self-projection from a couple akin to characters in late Beckett drama, in which spot-lit faces pour out a torrent of unbroken pain without pause or comma. We believe that they really are, as they often claim, living a nightmare, though not necessarily the one they describe. Like Beckett's actors they may be convincing the Pikes, Loaches and Trickeys in their audience with performances: the testimonies, indeed, with their unintentional demonstration of the pairs' mastery of presenting different faces to different audiences, strongly suggest such a possibility. But the evidence of performance doesn't weaken the nightmare at all, far from it: would you like to be locked into presenting an unpaid performance on and on, every day of your life? Such are the benefits of the "recovery and exoneration" that they and their advisers worked so hard for. So who deserves an award for their services? Having grown fat on the bonuses left by an unwitting Madeleine and her fund what exactly have they achieved?
Mais peut-on encore parler de performance quand à force de performer le protagoniste est devenu sa performance ?

Mr Pike and his counselling colleagues, looked smart, well-fed and thoroughly contented with their lot as they testified – except when they were drawn out of the comfort zone of their fictional "disciplines" into actually having to think by the defence lawyers or, increasingly, the judge. But their descriptions of the pair were no advertisement for the benefits of "counselling" to the troubled soul: if the ineffable Pike's attempted medicalization of ordinary human distress has led to one of those front-page Daily Express miracle cures then the results are not yet showing. Frankly, they look more like basket-cases. Nor do the triumphs of Public Relations and crisis management appear to have done anything for the pair. In his tribute to Woolfall before a rapt House of Commons committee Gerry McCann appeared to think that he and Kate were the clients, as well as the beneficiaries, of that unlikely hero; the truth was that both Woolfall and Pike were in PDL for Mark Warner, not the couple – the latter as part of the modern "duty of care" corporate responsibility structure required by law, the former as concierge for its balance sheet. It was all in vain: Mark Warner no longer exists in the form it did and after seven years the heavily-promoted McCann brand has sunk down into Ratners' territory, with PR firm Hanover Communications so ashamed of the association that, along with the Vatican, they've banished the McCanns from their once proud website position.
Curieusement. Est-ce par prudence, comme le Vatican ?
Who gave the McCann account to Hanover? The Bureau doesn't know, nor the answer to the bigger question – was it the famously disturbed Gerry McCann imagination that selected their key advisers, or did the latter, with their inflated sales-pitches erect and enflame the hitherto dormant horror-comic side of his personality? As for Mitchell he's simply beneath contempt, a coat tail rider on a corpse who deserves all he is going to get, one whose dough-ball of a face radiates a kind of stunned, heavily medicated, wonder at its owner's progress as he poses for the Tory party camera. But was it his boastful invention that he "controlled the government information services", a complete fantasy from this erstwhile supervisory journalist that is believed in Portugal to this day, that further encouraged Gerry McCann down the power-wielding but ultimately useless media path he chose?

And then there are the lawyers. The lawyers. My, my. The jumped-up IFLG group, first to the honey-pot, has done all right for itself in terms of publicity, hasn't it? Just like Mitchell they offered this unworldly couple an enticing glimpse of secret glamour, the frisson of hiring ex-intelligence agents and gun-toting SAS men – at a cost. Gerry's inner flame must have started to rise and burn. Result after seven years? Yep, that's right. Followed by MacBride and the others, the fantastically expensive legal team ready and waiting for them at the end of their Casablanca "flight to freedom" – Gerry and Kate McCann fully developed now as Bogart and Bergman – and a high speed Special Branch escort home. Once again, the McCanns play their roles at the centre of fictional drama mystery, this time with the robustly un-mysterious double-glazing lawyer Smethurst in charge as he attempts to manage not claims of leaky windows "but the mind of the British people". In fact all these supposedly hard-headed people have ended up managing Gerry McCann's preposterous fantasies. Whatever: the fund got smaller, their rewards got bigger and the joint "achievement" of all the lawyers and all the money was the failure to return to Portugal and the subsequent Archiving Summary, an "exoneration" that year by year looks more like a ball and chain. Out of the whole bunch we believe that just one has ever put the real interests of the couple ahead of wallet and temptation and given advice that, instead of projecting the pair further and deeper into their own nightmare, offered them a chance to break free.

Carlos Pinto de Abreu seems unlikely to be canonised but, in circumstances which will remain hazy until his assistant's record is one day published – something else for the twins to look forward to in their middle age – he appears to have encouraged Kate & Gerry McCann to admit to a role in the disappearance of the child's body, a crime, be it noted, that is usually met in Western jurisdictions with sympathy and understanding, since it is victimless and does not imply any intent to harm. Neither Abreu then nor the Bureau now knows whether such an admission would have contained any truth. It doesn't matter, as Abreu may well have sensed. Given the last seven years and the grim prospect ahead it's clear that such an admission would have left the pair in a much better place than the one they stand in now, guilty or not. On page 244 of Madeleine, however, we have Kate McCann's soap-operatic and supposedly outraged response at this idea that they should admit something "so untrue"— a particularly rubbishy rodomontade that would carry more conviction if the entire four page section didn't show strong signs of careful construction and multiple edits. None of it, though, can disguise the fact that both of them did consider Abreu's "outrageous" guilty-or-not suggestion very seriously and at length; nor that Gerry McCann was in favour of following his advice. Any why not? A confession such as this was not binding; it was inadmissible without confirmation before the judges and the parents could have withdrawn it at any time – leading perhaps to the full testing of evidence, such as it was, against them in court. There would have been big costs, both career and respect-wise, but it is doubtful that either of them would have served a day in jail and public interest in them and, importantly, their surviving children would hardly be where it stands today.
Le recel de cadavre ne "vaut" qu'une amende. Les dommages auraient donc été essentiellement psychologiques, mais ceux qui avouent ont toujours un pas d'avance et forcent le respect, quoi qu'ils aient fait. Reste la question de Madeleine's Fund, mais ils n'y avaient pas pris de part vraiment active, ils avaient laissé faire, et comment auraient-ils pu s'abstenir ? 
 But outrage and gesture prevailed, dumb Justine no doubt applauded and mum and dad Healy stayed happy as they helped write the next day's headlines, unencumbered by that boring judicial secrecy law. In the McCanns' mental template, the impoverished land of soap, film and horror-comic, the heroes always act in heroic ways. The parents rejected Abreu's chance to stay, wounded and humiliated but with a future, in the banal and decidedly un-heroic real world of things-gone badly-wrong-on-a-package deal holiday and opted instead for Casablanca heroism and the eventual pinched and spot-lit faces in front of the Crimewatch audience. And that, friends, is why we believe that their only way out of this nightmare might be a trial in connection with the disappearance of their child, one in which they would have the chance to "demonstrate their innocence" at last. Logically they ought to be pleading with the CPS to get one going, a kind of reverse show trial. But they won't do it. In real life, rather than soap land and Casablanca, people go on making the same mistakes and listening to the people who feed their weaknesses.

Disintegration Diary – 04.03.2014

From the site Stopthemyths that counters those pesky McCann myths by calling on its network of sophisticated experts for the truth behind the lies, we have this recent insight into matters of expertise. One of the site's international sophisticates is known to us as Evil Bert, to others as Hairy Bert and to the eleven or so citizens who take him seriously as Bert Janosch, a blogger who spams the web on a bigger scale even than Professor Arbuthnot, full of officialise about a weirdo whose deformed prehensile arms took him not to a Human Freak exhibition but to the outside of Madeleine McCann's bedroom in PDL, whence he effortlessly plucked the "tot" off her bed on the far side of the room and out through the window, his feet remaining firmly planted on the ground outside throughout. Bert, a Madrid resident whose expert qualifications do not include a diploma in that important discipline sentido común, or common sense as we northern barbarians call it, also lacks Portuguese, which prevents him reading the case files except in those famously unreliable on-line translations. And it stopped him knowing what the online stuff about Yard Wars was all about. He needed an expert translator – pronto! What to do? Why, what any other academic would do, naturally. No, no, no, not ask the specialists in Portuguese and South American literature in the next-corridor-but-one in your university. Much too obvious. Instead he remembers that Salamander network of international brains, the Bilderberg-based Stop The Myths think tank and its shadowy eminence-grise and candle lover...Pedro Silva. For it is he. Mr Silva, as regular Bureau readers will know, was once asked to use his famous language skills to translate a Portuguese package by one of its more comical members whom it would be unfair to name. (...) And these are the highlights from that bilingual Pedro's translation: PJ warns Englishmen that don´t want to see investigation in the newspapers...The PJ inspectors state that the " international cooperation there is no room for states of mind ...the discomfort went so far a that PJ have warned Metropolitan Police that refuses to do investigation through newspapers...since the British police decided to investigate on their own the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the British press began to publish frequently about the ongoing efforts.. news turned out to be unfounded , diverging from the possibility of cooperation with the PJ.According to knowledgeable sources in the process, the PJ have already informed the British counterparts that " wants to continue to do his investigation on the process and not in the newspapers ." ..a caution to make it clear they do not want the English police sources speak out about alleged facts of the Portuguese investigation . Because, they say , is something that the British did not know. PJ will continue with the necessary discretion , which is aware of its British counterpart . The media is out of our equation during the investigation . And it was never said that there is suspicious because there is nothing strong enough...Yet last week a report was published in Portugal realizing that the English had received from a secret dossier of PJ about burglars who lived in the Algarve and that might have even committed crimes against children. (...) It really does tell us all we need to know about all of them, don't you think?

Disintegration Diary – 06.03.2014

Much positioning and fancy footwork by the police of both countries, with Hogan "what's my name?" Howe in particularly good form as he effortlessly conducts the Yard whitewash by pretending he doesn't know what Operation Grange is. The obvious fact that broadcaster Nicky Campbell's guest was a new and inexperienced body-double, covering for the boss while he attended a secret meeting with Rebekah Brooks, has been missed by everyone except the well-briefed Bureau. The alternative theory, that HH couldn't whitewash a f****** wall without tripping over his bucket and thrusting his long-reach brush up his own arse, is laughably naive. Since the "clear the air" meeting a couple of weeks ago the leaking tap appears to have been, temporarily at least, turned off: the Ionline stuff reads like nothing so much as approved-all-round gesture politics while the risible "secret dossier" was obviously a jovial invention by journalists without any police input. And Clarence Mitchell has stopped appearing with the parents' "reactions". No doubt it can all change again in an instant but the impression we get is that the Yard finally seems to be clamping down and re-appraising its media strategy. Meanwhile the atmosphere surrounding the couple is eerily reminiscent of September 2007, when the child's toys were piled up behind the Rothley windows like sandbags while a paralysed couple waited for others to save them. Feel the love!

All routes, however different, lead to the same place – 07.03.2014

Quiet, please and off we go: let's accept, for a page or so, that an official "whitewash" by Scotland Yard is logistically possible, meaning that the secret personnel structures, audit-trail-free funding, instruction hierarchy, safe-house meeting places, immunity from scrutiny by their enemies the secret services, laboratories, dirty tricks departments, requisite brain power – a big ask, that one – all those details, in other words, that nobody ever seems to give us, were ready and waiting to be used. A bit trickier than the usual Yard form, on display again this week, of copping backhanders from the villains they grew up with. A "whitewash" means, we assume, that the investigation ends with the positive manipulation of the facts to secure a result that leaves no public doubts about the innocence of the beneficiaries. Just like that, as the immortal Tommy Cooper would say. But it seems obvious to us that, even if we erect this imaginary logistical superstructure, a whitewash, in the sense that people put it forward, remains not just unlikely but in the McCann case completely impossible.

Once initial and total suppression has failed, a whitewash, surely, can only happen two ways: the "discovery" or manufacture (remember, in this game, "they" can do anything et peut être n'importe qui, excluant "je" encore plus que "on") of evidence, eye-witness or forensic, strong enough to exclude public doubt; or the provision of a living person to take the blame. Taking the former option first, the McCann case has been opened up so thoroughly to public inspection by the Portuguese release of the case files and the material provided by the parents themselves, that there is nowhere for such false evidence to be planted! The movements of the nine have been gone over so exhaustively that, to take just one example, it is impossible for Kate & Gerry ever to be alibied away from the crime scene like the loathsome Guardian journalist and ex-politician Huhne. The McCanns themselves, their lawyers and the ever-helpful David Payne have spent years spelling out how rarely either of them were alone and in a position to harm or dispose of the child and their various testimonies cannot now be unsaid. So a previously unknown and exonerating absence from the Ocean Club environs cannot just be conjured up, given the undignified light that the couple have willingly shone on their own movements. OK, a malleable taxi-driver might be found with a tale to tell of an equally undignified but whitewashing assignation on the beach between Dr McCann and a big-breasted hooker, thus taking him out of the frame – but when? At 8.35 when he was seen in the restaurant? At 9.07 when he was in the lavatory? At 9.13 at the gate? A quickie indeed. Perhaps it was 9.55 then? No, no, no. Dr McCann was in the restaurant again, seen by loads of people, definitely not heading towards the beach for a hook-up or anything else. Falsified forensics – newly discovered abductor's fingerprints, for example, on the shutters or windows? A "jemmy" thought to be a metal wall fixture, say, and somehow overlooked for weeks? But the DVD has photographs of everything, walls included, without bits of metal or anything else available for "discovery" and the lab results are already established for prints. A highly secret reconstruction by the Nine and the Yard minders, excluding the poor old PJ, demonstrating innocence? Hmm, we'll come to that. Since the sentimental couple are bound to have kept all the clothes they were wearing on the ill-fated trip, especially Gerry's trousers (aux boutons), then new DNA could be "found" on them, indicating an intruder, all matching the dogs' alerts. Silence falls in the plotting room in the bowels of Whitehall Citadel. Bring the dogs in to support the pair? After what they've said about them?

Nope, it can't be done. Whitewashing requires prior darkness, shadowy spaces to be filled in, and while Gerry McCann's imagination, as we know, contains suggestive darkness in excess, the PJ investigation has left most of Praia da Luz and environs lit very brightly indeed. That leaves us with a new abductor. A moment's thought will indicate that he has to be alive, capable of proving his involvement by filling in the details with "facts" that only an abductor could have known. Even Hewitt, tailor-made for the imaginary role with his appalling looks and appalling habits, has had his fifteen minutes of fame and convinced nobody, despite the existence of an alleged confession. That turkey won't fly again. But if such an obvious star with all the qualities for the role was dismissed with such mirth and contempt how will anyone fly? Well then. what about a dead tractor driver with a smack habit and a phone? Would he do the job? Let's add in secret new technology enabling his mobile phone to be tracked into 5A itself. OK – but a thousand net experts will be cross-referencing that location with the existing evidence within minutes of its announcement. And if the phone miraculously tracks him to an apartment then, no doubt, it will track him through the streets he took the child along, all the way to his dealer's house in drug ridden PDL and his tractor shed and the grave or holding pit to be found there. But not even whitewashing Crimewatch has claimed any sightings of a dark-skinned guy shuffling through the streets to swap the kid or corpse for a ten euro wrap, so eyewitnesses will have to be invented too. A whitewash has to satisfy the doubters and leave no loose ends to explore: dead men are out. But where will even Cameron and the Yard find a live patsy who can confess all, plead guilty, satisfy the websleuths and demonstrate the McCanns' innocence? Ridiculous, isn't it – but wait a minute, wait a minute, we're talking whitewash. How did Tractorman, a bona fide suspect of the very non-whitewashing PJ creep in? How have we managed to mix up the two?

Well it's forgivable, because once you start looking at the details of these fictions you can't separate them: they are one and the same thing, something that may come as a relief to readers who thought we were wasting time on conspiracy theorists. The very facts that demonstrate the impossibility of a whitewash in this case are the same as those that make "the exclusion of the parents as suspects" impossible! Have another look. The lack of time and space for corrupt invention is also a lack of time and space for honest investigatory alternatives to the parents as suspects. That, of course, is why the "exclusion" has never occurred, anymore than the whitewash has. We don't take issue with either the PJ or the Yard saying that the McCanns are excluded and "not suspects": we accept that as completely as the parents' supporters do. But a copper's life, like Gerry and Kate McCanns', would be a very desirable one indeed if stating something made it true, wouldn't it? No, what we say with absolute certainty is that such an exclusion has not resulted from any evidence in the review or re-investigation. Remember that even the gaps in the record highlighted by the PJ's final report and the Archiving Summary are as useless for "excluders" as they are for "whitewashers": a good-result-for-the-nine-reconstruction cannot show the truth of what they claimed happened that evening, only its lack of impossibility, and that is not a "demonstration of innocence", otherwise known as "exclusion from suspicion". But no official reconstruction has taken place so the group's versions remain untested. And no other way to even a partial exclusion zone has been found by the police so far, certainly not via the supposed 190+ opportunities for abduction:* we know that beyond any doubt because of the "€1.2 million" question—the absolute certainty that such evidence would have been introduced into the libel trial as well as being posted and amplified world-wide from the OFM website. Or are there people who actually believe that the "exclusionary" evidence would not have been provided to the couple by the Yard? And they wouldn't put it on OFM. Really? You really believe that? So we come, somewhat surprisingly given our starting point, to a paradoxical conclusion: the "knowing" whitewash claims by some anti-McCann people are the mirror image of the knowing "not suspects" claims by the couple's supporters: in the Madeleine McCann case all routes, however weird, unlikely or apparently opposed, always bring us back to exactly the same place. One with no abductor in sight. Facts are like that.
* Since the Yard's self-imposed timescale can only be 90 minutes max and since the window required is a demonstrable but iffy minute or two, to reach such a large number the Yard must be multiplying time-based opportunities by their own numerical factor. They aren't to be taken seriously.

One by One – 17.03.2014
One Choice: Whether to co-operate.
One Chance: To demonstrate their innocence.
One Decision: The wrong one, from which all else results.
One Timeline: Built to fit an abductor.
One Abductor: Gone but not forgotten.
One Revelation: That destroyed the abductor.
One Priest: Who could not shrive them.
One Pope: Who could not save them.
One Honest Lawyer: "Plead guilty."
One Reaction: "Our life is over".
One Re-think: "They've got nothing!"
One Silence: 48 questions.
One Flight: To England but not salvation.
One Promise: To return.

One Belief: That the public are gullible.
One Fortune: Left by a dead child.
One Release: From arguido status.
One "Exoneration": That cannot clear them.
One Ambush: On a policeman who dared to search.
One Chief Constable: Who cannot exclude them.
One Brutus: Who will go down with them.
One Nemesis: Who will defeat them.
One Review: That can never help them.
One Fate: A life sentence, freely-chosen, self-imposed.
One Wait: For the inevitable.

Redwood's Travels – 21.03.2014

In "Sullivan's Travels" by Preston Sturges, perhaps America's finest, certainly its most sophisticated, film-maker, the hero, bright, well funded and determined, is always trying to find the "real world out there". Yet his travels, farcical and disastrous by turns, always end by bringing him back to the same starting place. Soon he's off once more: this time it will be different. Probably only the Coen brothers, the direct descendants of Sturges and heavily in his debt, could make the film of the Madeleine McCann Affair. It wouldn't do the parents much good selling them the rights, though, since a Coen brothers film could only open one way – with a shadowy figure returning to where the body was hidden to find that it has gone… Truth and fiction are entwined in the affair as in no other crime; so are showbiz and celebrity. But where either begin and end hardly anyone, including the main players, seems to know. Sometimes it's as though everyone involved, from the McCanns and Amaral onward, XXXfind themselves playing roles that they never intended but from which they can never break free. XXXNo movie could be as unreal as this one. And we in the audience struggle, really struggle, to break free too. Without success. Some months after the Scotland Yard review was set up the Bureau wrote that " the end, after all the searching, the police will have to come back to the Ocean Club and the surrounding area where the trail went cold ".

To recap: our opinion didn't arise from any theory that the parents were involved in the child's disappearance. It's important to re-state this, both out of some sort of fairness to the Nine (they deserve a bit) and because our own reasoning, much to the confusion or displeasure of some readers, has never started with a theory of what happened to the child. We don't know. But one fact, above all, dominates the case: the trail goes cold on May 3 in Praia da Luz, perhaps in the Baptista supermarket area, perhaps at the sea's edge. Until that point there were, and are, investigative "footholds" – people, timings, events, sightings, weather conditions, physical objects, all capable of interrogation, measurement, corroboration and forensic examination. Once we leave the resort we find only a void. But it is a void, as a look at the thoroughly disturbing "sightings" volumes of the case files will show, bubbling with invention, crazed and otherwise. In the case files of the Interrupted Investigation dealing with the Ocean Club and its residents we have evidence capable of development, to use the British ambassador's word. Beyond there is only this gigantic void with no anchors to act as a check on speculation and belief: hence the characteristic descriptions of all but one of the supposed "suspects" in the case – they are products of the imagination, not reality, horror film or bad-dream figures arising from within the mind, whether that mind belongs to a Gerry McCann rolling on the floor and bellowing of "paedophile bastards", or level-headed police officers past and present. As we learn in childhood, during our first walk into the darkness, the mind always fills a void with its own inventions.

So when the Yard review was set up in early 2011 it was pretty simple to form an opinion as to its chances of gaining results if it chose to reject the Interrupted Investigation and start completely anew. Had the trail been picked up anywhere since 2008? No. Had a single item of evidence which would give investigators something to bite on emerged in those four years? Nope. Had the famous anomalies in the evidence of the Nine listed in the Archiving Summary been resolved? No. Was there any new evidence to counter the Archiving Summary's statement that the McCanns had lost the chance to demonstrate their innocence? No. So we took the view that any new inquiry wouldn't find anything real in the void either, only illusion. The question was merely how long it would be before it was driven back, or came full circle, to its starting point, when the real work could finally begin. We thought a couple of years, maximum. Hmm. In 2013 the Yard announced that it had 38 "persons of interest", that is people with no known connection to the disappearance, to eliminate. A year later they still have 38 and we head towards the dreaded St Madeleine's Day in May with the prospect of more statistics, more promises, more confusion and no reduction in the numbers. If, that is, we listen to what the Yard is telling us about its accomplishments. The McCann diehards, behind the curve as usual and seeing the case in the childish goody-baddy terms of the McCanns themselves, took the view that scepticism about the Yard's announcements, and the belief that some of their work was not being highlighted, were all down to "haters'" disappointment that the parents were not being put in the frame. In vain did people point out on Twitter that the Yard's public communications simply could not be made to add up to a coherent picture. Either the Yard was deliberately not telling the truth about its work or it was failing and failing: there are no other possibilities. Only recently have the disciples' brows begun to furrow at Mr Redwood's announcements: welcome to WTF? world.

But when we turn away from the rhetoric a faint but consistent development is clearly discernible, though whether it results from accident or intention is quite unclear. The supposedly worthless remnants of the "bungled" 2007 Ribeiro investigation are resolutely refusing to shrivel up and die under the harsh Scotland Yard growlamp while the healthy young shoots drawn from the void are not just failing to flourish but disappearing onto the compost heap. Metodo3's creations, yacht-owning baby buyers and all, have quietly been wheeled onto the pile along with Edgar's risible garden gnomes, the Transylvanian woodcutters, axe under one arm, pleasure-child under the other. The famous paedophile ring, which abducts its infant victims with military precision and unlimited financial resources, another fantasy but presented with absolute conviction by a string of coppers past and present, has vanished. And since last autumn Bundleman, that Frankenstein's monster invented by a group of unscrupulous doctors, has also gone, leaving only a helpless zombie remnant on the OFM resuscitation trolley. These elements alone should be enough to demonstrate that the "return to the Ocean Club" will not be a mere backward look. On the contrary. Bundlestein, for example, may have been terminated but the magical recipe book for his creation remains, the paper almost crackling under the bright new light cast by "revelation". In two sticker books, one timeline and seven police statements the exact way in which he was incorporated can now be followed step by step as the creators build him up. Look at the sticker books and watch Oldfield and O'Brian removing themselves from the juggled narrative to make way for him. Read Gerry McCann's open-ended first statement with its reference to the shutter blades being partially open when he left the apartment at 8.30 and his helpful mention that Oldfield had found everything normal in the apartment an hour later – and then compare it with statement two and the tell-tale clues which Bundlestein has scattered around the apartment, with the "open shutter blades", which would, of course, have been the source of Oldfield's "external light" now forgotten.

You don't need a reconstruction to confront the prime movers with this evidence of collusion and invention. You simply put a highlight pen over the insertions and alterations, pass the papers over and and say, "OK, can you tell us the exact reasons why you changed this bit and added these bits? Thanks." One day it will happen. And now we have, horror of horrors, the first admission that the belief of Ribeiro's team in a death in the apartment is "a possibility". Let's not intrude into private grief by confronting the hopeless tangle that the two police forces have got themselves into over the latest hapless suspect. Black or white? Dead or alive? Burglar or pervert? Smelly or sweet? One or two? It serves them all right for their hopeless and repeated breaches of the secrecy both forces promised, breaches which the Bureau has been moaning for six months were leading them into a swamp. Open disagreement between the two forces, the possible intervention of a prime minister, the same atavistic tensions between the two countries – and still the Yard is briefing against the Portuguese. When Alipio Ribeiro (rightly) let Amaral go, since he had become the focus, or rather the latrine bucket, of chauvinist insult not seen in the UK since WWII, it was in the shared belief that the hatred would go with him. No.
Il est très probable que Ribeiro ait espéré que GA fonctionnerait comme fusible.
 Seven years on it still simmers for God-knows-what reasons beneath the tabloids, ready to erupt at any time into an outburst of vicious contempt aimed at all Portuguese police, their authorities and their legal system. The naive among us might think that that Yard could try a little diplomacy as well as silence. Mr Redwood's admission has inescapable implications, even when given in the same strangulated prose that Kate McCann uses when birthing a difficult porkie. In Britain's tender-hearted (except when it comes to paedophiles and Portuguese) MSM fantasyland he can't bring himself to use the word "dead", even though coppers like him are hosing away entrails and eyeballs on motorways or crime scenes on a daily basis. No, no, the tot, as we must call her, might, it seems, have left the apartment "not-alive", in other words, Andy, feet f*****g first, as dead a parrot and a whole lot harder to hide. What will OFM, when its doctors turn away from trying to pummel the zombie back into life, make of such an unhelpful possibility? Surely it was demonstrated years ago that death in the apartment was a fantasy of Gonçalo Amaral's, in conflict with the forensic evidence, the time constraints, the sheer wickedness of such an idea, wasn't it? Just where is this terrible stuff coming from? "I mean," you can hear that dreaded nasal whine just as you can watch its owner, blank-eyed and as stiff as a statue, appear before your eyes, "I mean, never in a million years wouldn't we have known of something like that. [sighs] We were there. We knew." [falls silent, shakes long-suffering head, purses lips, clutches adjacent groin]. And she has a point, doesn't she? She and hubby were there most of the time and the most famous gust of wind since the Big Bad Wolf bore no whiff of Binman's notorious body odour. And while the bedroom door was ajar open unmoved wide open as I left it ten degrees open half way open wide open the bedroom itself, with the child's bed clearly no recent host to Stinky Pervert Binman, didn't show any signs of a violent monster-killing at nine fifteen just minutes before 10pm.

Don't mention the dogs! We rarely do, but might they now provide at least some suggestive pointers to clarify or eliminate the new possibility? The trouble is that of the dogs' thirteen "markings" for further investigation described in the PJ final report, only four could point to Binman while the other nine, most embarrassingly, point solely at Kate & Gerry McCann, of all people, via their possessions. None of the four are in the children's bedroom, either. So perhaps it's not surprising that Mr Redwood was so sensitive to the feelings of the grieving family in his language. Whichever way you choose to explore this possibility is going to cause some seriously unhelpful pain. How does Stinky Pervert Binman smuggle the body out? In a black bag? Don't. All right, a blue bag then. Not funny. Push the stiff out of an open window into the waiting arms of Bundleman? But he's dead! Finally, we have the question of how Stinky carried the stiff through the streets, assuming, in this fantasy land that both police forces appear determined to inhabit, that it wasn't neatly baled in a refuse truck. And that, friends, really does take us out of all these free creations and back to solid ground, the ground of Ribeiro's Interrupted Investigation, which, day by day, is beginning to look like a rational model of realistic investigation compared with its successors: the only unresolved sighting of a man with a figure in his arms that evening around 10pm was no pot-bellied stinker from the void, was he? And he was undeniably real.

First time as tragedy... - 28.03.2014

All of us must have experienced situations when our innocence might have been under question. We at the Bureau, including Sharples, who's been round the block more times than an old Swansea hooker, certainly have. Whether long ago as unfairly punished schoolchildren, as accident prone adolescents, in traffic incidents defending our own blamelessness or as neutral witnesses of street crime, we know what it's like to be innocent. What steadies us, both now and then, is our solid memory of what actually happened: we hang onto it like a lifebelt, an amulet or the inviolate memory of someone we loved. We go over it, time and again, in private re-appraisal and, while we can accept that others might have grounds for a viewpoint of their own, our memories are simply not negotiable: they are part of us. Whether our troubles result from accident or trivial misunderstanding, or whether we are undergoing a genuine ordeal, the memory sustains us: it is ours alone, beyond the reach of others. Of course it is the McCann story that prompts these thoughts and, in particular, the new perspective that the abduction of Bundlestein by policemen unknown has created. Yet what we see now beyond any reasonable doubt is the absence of real memory in the McCanns' claims. Instead of falling back on the fixed and invariant bedrock of what they saw or felt Kate & Gerry McCann have done the opposite. Their police statements about the disappearance are not pure eyewitness statements at all but partially built with materials provided by others. Unlike ours their "memories" are not fixed but can be changed and shaded at will. Their story of the loss of their child is a flexible dramatization, not a fixed recollection of experience.

Scene One – Gone! The shouted discovery of an apartment following a recent break-in, almost certainly between 9.35 and 10pm.

Scene Two – Tracked! The place of the abduction is a set capable of change, not an unchanging vision called up from memory. Now the scenery, the curtains, doors and windows are lit differently to accept a new abductor, Bundlestein, at a different time. By the second round of statements the interval 9.35-10pm has become almost empty of event and observation while 9.00-9.35pm is as busy as Waterloo station.

Scene Three – Innocent! Money-no-object professionals are brought in to help the pair after Ribeiro's reviewers expose the weaknesses and incompatibilities of the work-in-progress on September 6 2007. Once a turkey always a turkey but an expensive re-write patches some of the most glaring flaws with the final version being previewed both on the BBC, in Panorama, and the MS press, in Beyond the Smears.

Let's pause and make it quite clear what we're alleging. We aren't saying that this is all a carefully written invention by the Tapas 9, a fictitious tale from a group meeting called after they'd donned Freemasons' aprons and put Madeleine McCann in a cook-pot or whatever the latest cesspit theory is. To us, that's just another conspiracy theory in which everyone plays their allotted role to perfection and evil triumphs. No, we're asserting rather less ambitiously but a good deal more realistically that Kate and Gerry McCann have demonstrated such flexibility in their supposedly bedrock description of their child's disappearance that genuine recollection has to be excluded. Consider our opening paragraphs and that "...lifebelt...amulet or the inviolate memory of someone we loved". Do you see the McCanns falling back on their memories? Where is the stoic repetition that we expect, brief, vivid and, above all, helplessly unchanging? The simple statement, full face to the PJ officers, to the libel trial judges, to us via the cameras, "look, there is nothing to change, nothing to negotiate, nothing to re-remember, this is all there will ever be until the day we die"?

Now, unlike Ribeiro and his men in 2007, we know with absolute certainty – from pages 205/6 of Madeleine – that the McCanns have a different, and troublesome, attitude to the truth to the rest of us; forget the personalities though, crucial as they are, and look at the documentary record. Kate McCann's "lifebelt" is what she saw immediately after entering the apartment and described to the police: a clear line of sight from a couple of feet in through the wide-open bedroom door to the window. It is strictly impossible for such a vision to change into Kate McCann's final version in Madeleine, page 71, however sophist you are, however much you claim poor translations, indirect speech, blah, blah. It is impossible for both versions to be true. Whatever Kate McCann is describing on page 71 it cannot be her memory of events. So much for the bedrock evidence of the only person to see the apartment as "the abductor left it". But remember again our primary target here is not her claims themselves, untruthful as they clearly are, but her history of "amending" – and thus destroying – "memories", something she shares with her husband: it is the process of updating that destroys them, not any particular update.
Ce qui est troublant n'est pas la question de savoir si la version a est plus vraie ou moins fausse que la version b, mais de s'apercevoir qu'il y a deux versions.
For Scene Two, the process is at work again, this time in Gerry's hands. In just one sentence, given to the Portuguese police on May 10 2007, he proves that the bedrock "evidence" he originally offered for forced intrusion, expanded upon to their relatives during the night of May 3/4, was not based on truth or memory. 
The deponent," goes the police record, describing what Gerry McCann was now saying about his first statement, "had had the wrong idea that Mathew had seen the bedroom shutters closed when he was there at 21.30 and therefore he thought the disappearance would have taken place between 21.30 and 22.00, but now he is fully convinced that the abduction took place during the period of time between his check at 21.05 and Mathew's visit at 21.30.
There is little to add to this virtual suicide note. Gerry McCann's crucial evidence was an idea based on the statements of others, not a memory. A "wrong idea" which he is here changing to a "right idea", Dr Bundlestein. Now Bundlestein is dead that idea has become another "wrong idea", hasn't it? So when will the idea change again? Eyewitness evidence, McCann style.

And so to Scene Three, the final phase of the process of altering "memory". Scene Three, completed at the end of 2007, remains the more or less final word on the case by the couple, a completed defence document that was too difficult and, in one or two areas, far too dangerous for them to approach, let alone modify, but had to be left in place in case of, ahem, possible future events. Even the famous Rothley meeting didn't dare go near it: whatever was on the agenda didn't include getting their stories straight – an impossibility anyway – as the 2008 rogatory interviews, in particular that of David Payne, demonstrate. But the production of Scene Three, made under the threat of possible extradition, turned a child tragedy into low farce. The "memories" of both leading characters have become infinitely malleable, able now to accommodate not just Bundlestein but a five month late addition to the cast, the only male since Adam not to remember what an unclothed woman was wearing when he met her, the owlish Dr Payne, who'd circled his finger round the patio doors to such dramatic effect before being written out of the script and then, just before the arguido interviews, written all the way back in again. This frightened, panicky stuff has gone beyond the reach of rational analysis. Think again of how we began above with talk of real things like innocence, loved ones and truth, the things we know and share. And then think of this horrible pair who debase the words themselves with their wriggling and their lies which make a mockery of real feelings and real memory and soil the memory of a child who died. No, only farce can reach them.
Donc la scène 3, jouée à Rothley, c'est le remplissage d'un vide, le cautionnement de la visite de David WP à l'heure cruciale, autrement dit au no man's time, à laquelle GMC avait fait allusion dans sa deuxième déposition (10 mai), corrigée dans sa déposition comme arguido (7 septembre) et que David, qui n'a fait qu'une déposition (le 4 mai) dans laquelle il n'en parle pas, devra confirmer les dires de GMC ?


Grinding on slowly – 30.04.2014

All parties, every one of them, the dodgy couple, the Yard, GA's team, the Tapas 7, are all so scared of losing or failing that they are now unable to communicate with any honesty: so there is nothing to comment on (unless you like scavenging on the scraps of the MSM leak machine). No thanks. Extraordinarily, none of them are in control of their own destiny: the Yard still can't get a trace on the body, GA lacks the support from his own people that he deserves and, like everyone else in the know, suspects Portuguese law is a lottery; and the 7 long ago mortgaged their futures to the McCanns. At root, though, nothing has changed: either the Yard squad is heading in the direction we pointed to in 2011 or they will fail, end of story. Meanwhile Brighton readers may wish to tweet Mr Clarence Mitchell and ask him exactly what he meant when he said that "he gets on well" with Max Clifford. Don't hold your breath. But the McCanns are finished whatever happens.

The spell is broken – 03.05.2014

After seven years and six anniversaries it's all over: today was just a plop, a wet blob, with the number of national May 3 MSM stories on Google this evening at a drooping three. Exactly as Max Clifford's daily photocalls outside the Old Bailey started with defiant bravura but but had bled away to something inert and pathetic by the last day, so the Memorial Day performances by and around the pair are devoid not just of real emotion – they've never had any of that, only sentiment – but of any sense or vestige of energy. It was the British MSM, not the "establishment", not Portuguese politics, not the friends of Jimmy Savile, not Gordon Brown, but the MSM alone, that turned two volunteers into our very own Dr. McCann Frankenstein's monster and now they and the creatures they nurtured and manipulated have run out of fuel to keep the monster alive and active. The MSM have denied like frightened children what those of us on the right side have been pretty certain of for eighteen months now – since the clear signs that the Yard had failed to find anything new – that seven years have produced absolutely nothing to add to the essentials of the 2008 PJ report: no genuine new suspects, no trail, no cover-ups, no forensics, nothing, so everything that matters in this case lies within that report and the case files that support it. The answers to the very few – three? – real mysteries left – the location of the body, the exact motive for its secret disposal and the route out of the apartment –will come from within the pool of people and circumstances that the PJ investigated in 2007, never, ever from beyond.

It is not that the MSM have suddenly realised all this and changed their stance this week, far from it; it is reality that has starved the story into limp insignificance. News has to be news, that is new, to have its drug-like effect, just as pornography has to be new and varied to bring a hit. The analogy is, in fact, exact: both are psychic stimulants, both need new faces and new themes to retain their effect. The news-porn producers of the MSM and their stars have run out of new positions and props, no fresh bodies are available and the stuff is now so stale that the editors are having to cut down on the space devoted to it because people are no longer either slavering or weeping: they are yawning. And attempts to revive the jaded appetite without anything actually new – the leaks, the rubbishy inventions of Mitchell, the attacks on Amaral— now result in more yawns and the oh, no not again comments which, as we can now see, are greeting every McCann "story". Even the Poppers and Viagra – page 129, smelly binmen sitting on kid's beds, how he and I couldn't f*** by you-know-who, don't work anymore, do they? The MSM are perfectly aware that there are stimulants that will work – the energetic ferment produced by both sides on Twitter and elsewhere on the Net – but they have effectively debarred themselves from using them. The lack of novelty doesn't affect the Net both because the enmity between the various parties there provides plenty of fuel and fire and because sources unused by the MSM continue to feed the appetite in a handsome way – the collation of GM's blogs, for example, Madeleine and, most of all, the libel dispute. It is these sources that have been churning out everything that matters since 2009, not the Redwood operation – in documentary, primary source and (particularly) legal transcript form, not MSM trash and clever-clever Scotland Yard unattributable briefings. The sole exception to this pattern has been the Redwood-announced death of Bundleman but the implications of that loss are so one-way – destructive of the parents' story – that the MSM won't follow them.

The MSM fatally overplayed their hand (on the assumption that the McCanns were going to a Portuguese prison) and paid the price in libel settlements, leading them inexorably to their present role of mere observers, not actors or producers. Then they overplayed again, by demonizing Amaral, before tacitly turning away from all sources of information on the affair save the McCanns themselves and their nauseating bagman Mitchell – so now they stand helplessly and limply by while the facts that matter come from elsewhere. It is a truly astonishing situation: can you think of another occasion when the famously independent UK media were totally dependent on only two sources for a story, one of them Scotland Yard briefings, for God's sake, and the other a paid and compromised spokesman's statements? But that's all they've got. Have a look at this weekend's Mirror, the house journal of the McCanns, and its anniversary story. The people who work on that rag are still journalists with journalists' technical knowledge and instincts: they know how limp and deficient their own story is, you can sense it in every line, together with an overwhelming desire to, as the editor might shout, for f***'s sake find something new. But where can they go? That's Kier Simmonsland now. As for the couple themselves the mental exhaustion is almost total, confirming exactly what the latest Lisbon transcripts told us: one only has to look, read or listen to know why the Bureau described them as "finished" the other day. They are, come what may. They sound not just crushed but institutionalised and look not just fearful of the future but absurdly, eye-flickeringly, furtive and hunted while the latest Memorial Message has the flat, graveyard tones of those famous blogs in 2007 – you know, the ones the couple tried to seize back from Pamalam in order to destroy them, the ones that lied and lied and lied about not being police suspects in the investigation into the disappearance of their daughter.

Borrowed Time? - 05.05.2014

"We obviously want Madeleine back number one, but we want an answer whatever," she said. "I'm not underestimating the blow of hearing bad news that your child has been killed, because obviously we're not going to go 'OK, at least we know.' But I've spent hours thinking about that and, each time, I still come up thinking we need to know. Regardless, we need to know." Kate McCann in the London Standard May 1 2014. Well that one seemed a bit whiffy when it came out last week, didn't it? "While the search for missing Maddie continues the McCanns must also consider the possibility that her body will be found in police digs." The Mirror, May 4. Hmm. The Mirror has read very oddly the last few days; that was why we referred to it yesterday. The tone, as well as the content, of the stories has changed. We don't believe for a moment that the police dig story originates with Mitchell: he'd have a nervous breakdown even contemplating leaking something as frighteningly close to home as that. No, this one's different from all the other dodgy stories. Just as Kate McCann's related comment sounds very different from everything she's said in seven years. Christ, the hunted looks, the deadbeat resignation of this weekend – somebody with a more active imagination than ours might come to the conclusion that nice Mr Redwood had responded to desperate pleas and agreed to hold back until after Memorial Day 2014 was over. But what do we know?

Disintegration Diary – 06.05.2014

Everyone is awakening from the dream at the same time.

Police presence & what it tells us, - 08.05.2014

Back in 2009, when the UK was still fully under the spell of the couple, some members of the House of Commons asked Gerry McCann to address the culture, media and sport committee. It was an act that the incredulous Bureau, choosing its words carefully, described as "inviting the McCanns to piss over the mother of parliaments", so shameful and humiliating did it appear, a kind of Nobel prize for deception— and yet in retrospect it has another side. People are unaware of just how representative of the people British MPs – not ministers but MPs – really are. In their credulousness, their ignorance of the details but most of all in the incredible psychological turmoil that the affair, surrounded by deep and ancient taboos and the unmentionable possibility of their breach, provoked, the MPs pretty exactly reflected public attitudes. And that is as it should be. Gerry McCann took his seat before the committee appropriately flanked by the representatives of the forces that had given him his temporary immunity: the mole-like Mitchell on behalf of the corrupted MSM and smug Adam Tudor, the libel lawyer who ensured that the McCann message was not just the loudest but the only one in town. All under one televised roof: conjurer/martyr, media, the law, the lawmakers and the public. It was an appropriate forum therefore for Gerry McCann, at the very beginning of his address, to give the most succinct description available of his reasons for "engaging with" the media. After his usual preamble about the "surprise" he experienced when seeing the crowd of journalists that his supporters had alerted during the night of May 3, he said:

My natural instinct was to appeal for information, for people to come forward. At that point we were desperate for information and desperate, as we still are, that our daughter could be found and we wanted people to help in that. That is why we spoke to the media and did our appeals.

He added:

Particularly early on, there was a general willingness of the media, an engagement and a real desire to try and help get information leading to Madeleine's whereabouts. Fairly quickly though both Kate and myself, certainly when we were in the apartment watching the broadcasting, particularly on the news channels, and subsequently when we looked at the newspapers, saw that much of the content of the material, even within the first few days—possibly particularly in the first few days—was highly speculative. It was not at all helpful to us…

That is virtually all Gerry McCann had to say about his stumbling, more or less unrehearsed, "engagements with the media", in the days after May 3, in which, as he said, he had appealed for people to help in any way they could. What Gerry did want to talk about in his usual mangled syntax was the "campaign", the fully fledged media operation that emerged before the end of the month by which time the couple was no longer alone and vulnerable but manifestly more sure of themselves and advised by a formidable battery of legal and media advisers. After adding that

Of course the speculation aspects are still on going in many respects until we all know where Madeleine is and who took her,

he got onto the heart of his evidence:

There were elements as we went along where clearly we wanted to get the message out there and particularly the fact that, when it became apparent to us that Madeleine could quite easily have been transferred out of Portugal quickly, added a completely different dimension to us as parents and what we were trying to achieve.

That was what mattered.

As you know, the Spanish border is only about 90 minutes away and we felt, if Madeleine had been moved quickly, our chances of finding her with a local investigation only would be quite slim. Therefore we wanted an international campaign as much as possible and for people to be aware of her being missing.

Dr McCann had wanted a "non-local" investigation," "an international campaign", that is an investigation as far away from Praia da Luz as humanly possible, and he got it in the form of, inter alia, untold thousands of false and loony sightings that threatened to sink the police database and the harassment of families of blonde-haired children on UK beaches. But the "helpful" media which had accomplished all this for him and had shared in the jollies to Rome and Morocco, Dr. McCann and his death-faced spokesman alongside complained, had rogue elements in it that began to hang out in the bars of PDL and show an unhealthy interest in what the police were doing there. So much for McCann's potted history of press relations in the summer of 2007, an uncharacteristically modest one. It suited his purposes to underplay the immense, indeed incredible, success of his efforts once he knew what he wanted to achieve and had the resources at hand to do it: to get the investigation away to anywhere apart from Praia da Luz. From that success everything else followed: the resentment and suspicion of the PJ at the family briefings against them and the couple's outright refusal to do as they were asked; the rapid submersion of the inquiry under media cacophony and useless overseas diversions; the deterioration in Anglo-Portuguese relations, deliberately fanned into football crowd euroracism by the couple's supporters. When the British and Portuguese forces finally managed to drag the inquiry back to where it belonged and set the dogs onto the Ocean Club the couple knew at once that the game was up and ran for it – to take refuge in media-induced national victimhood that would prevent their extradition. Finally, frustration at the way they had evaded Portuguese justice prompted one of them, Gonçalo Amaral, to stake his career and, as it turned out, his freedom to expose them.
Frustration aussi d'avoir été écarté sans égard pour son "honneur", autrement dit de ne pas avoir été nommé à un poste hiérarchiquement supérieur.

The presence of the police of both countries in Praia da Luz once again is a statement that the entire dream-like episode of the last seven years – the famous world-wide "search" that looked everywhere except in the obvious place,
Comme dans "La lettre volée"..
the one that was used to raise gigantic sums of money for the parents to dispose of as they wished, the one that took a mean-spirited, whey-faced product of the Glasgow slums into the House of Commons and the Dom Pedro Hotel by turns and the one that was so wickedly used to try and screw a million euros from Gonçalo Amaral – has been a fantasy, come what may. The "McCann Search" and the "Investigation into the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann" are two entirely separate, indeed opposed, things. The police presence in Praia da Luz this week is the evidence-based outcome of detailed professional investigation that began under Alipio Ribeiro and Gonçalo Amaral. The "McCann Search" is the show-business creation of Gerry and Kate McCann, without a single piece of evidence, not one, to back it and, naturally without a single result, not one, to show for it. Nobody, pro or anti, the Bureau to a large extent still included, can quite get their heads around this yet because to most of us scale means real. The idea that a hangdog couple of unpleasant nonentities could somehow trigger a preposterous conjuring trick on a planetary scale containing absolutely nothing remains unbelievable. But that is what they did.

Peering through the smoke that still clouds the real investigation there are, as far as we can see, only two summary explanations for Gerry McCann's planned campaign, about which he spoke with his characteristic lack of shame and invincible unawareness of the feelings of others to the assembled MPs. Either he wilfully diverted the investigation into areas where it couldn't and didn't succeed, a blind gamble with the fate of his own daughter and an act of interference so wildly reckless in its disregard of everything except his own desires, that it can only be described, in the strict sense of the word, as insane. Or he deliberately set out to shift the investigation away from the beaches and wastelands of Praia da Luz. to the rest of the world – where nothing would ever be found.

L'effet a été d'étourdir la PJ, mais était-ce recherché ou un effet collatéral ? L'objectif premier semble avoir été de faire savoir qu'une enfant avait été enlevée à plus de monde possible, sous prétexte de la retrouver, ce qui pour plusieurs raisons est absurde, peut-être pour asseoir l'enlèvement comme fait. À défaut de preuve matérielle, plus on en parlera, plus on y croira.

Every day that passes... - 10.05.2014

We are dismayed with the way the media has behaved over the last couple of days in relation to our daughter’s case. There is an on-going, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether – [usual egomaniacal non-Madeleine whining about "our distress" elided] – We urge the media to let the police get on with their work.
As others have remarked, isn't this just a little late? Can they even spell the word "irony", let alone understand it? It needs repeating over and over that, if only this nightmare couple had got statements like that out in the days following May 3 2007, there never would have been a Madeleine McCann Affair and the fate of the child would have been known long, long ago. They refused. The police asked them for "no media" and they deliberately assembled the media. Over the past few days a few concerted warnings to the press and broadcasters have resulted in the preliminary searches taking place without chaos and obstruction from the media, even though they were all over the resort. This time, of course, the McCann family hadn't been up all night alerting the media with false but inviting stories, while their seven friends clearly had other priorities than getting people like Sky and James Landale of the BBC to sing of the charms of the sunny Algarve; the PJ threat to down tools if there was a hint of the 2007 nonsense was the other factor. In 2007 that course of action naturally never occurred to them because of their sense of humanity when a helpless child's life was at stake, however selfish, repulsive and suspect their parents clearly were: Portuguese police humanity which the pair repaid, and continue to repay, in the most vile and horrible manner. Their covering-their-tracks "justification" for their undeniable use of the media against their hosts, most clearly expressed by Gerry McCann in the House of Commons and, under oath, at Leveson was, as we know, that they were "forced to engage with the media" because it was there and couldn't be ignored. But what did this nonsensical claim, accepted and endlessly repeated by their supporters in the media and on the Net ever since, really mean? That if the media pack were not fed it would go on the rampage? That they would picket the Ocean Club and bring Praia da Luz to a halt? Throw their bodies in front of the police cars trying to leave the resort? What did it mean? It meant nothing. So what's new?

It was yet another Gerry McCann invention. Not only is there no evidence that the media has to be responded to in this way (for a personal instance see below) but he didn't respond to it! He didn't "engage with the media" when it appeared. He and his wife told the assembled media almost nothing to satisfy it for over nine days, giving just a few muttered platitudes and stumbling away without taking questions – and Praia da Luz didn't come to a halt at their departure and the media pack didn't riot. What makes his evidence, which we repeat he gave on oath to Leveson, even more shockingly dishonest is that while the assembled journalists were left unengaged, but without the world collapsing, he was busy compulsively feeding the media over their heads direct to the UK via his relatives, as he had been since the night of May 3. His "engagement", contrary to his lies, began long before they arrived and it continued by phone to the UK while the mob kicked their heels in the resort. Only from May 14 onwards did Gerry McCann, with Woolfall at his side, turn his attention away from the UK, its home-based editors and politicians and answer questions from the media mob for the very first time. The McCanns deliberately sabotaged, diverted and eventually wrecked the investigation using every means they could, with the media in the forefront. With every day that passes their reasons for doing so become clearer, just as every day that passes now provides evidence to counter their excuses. The police presence this week demonstrated that where there is a will to keep the media from wrecking police activities then they can go ahead unhindered; when, however, there are people at the heart of the investigation deliberately betraying it from within then it is doomed. That is what the McCanns did.

Lastly, on a more personal note. I've written briefly in the past about the murder of my oldest friend Nick under dramatic circumstances in 2009 but it still needs repeating: it is nonsense as well as a McCann lie to suggest that the media pack is some sort of leviathan that engulfs its victims unless they co-operate. Nick's family were already of enormously greater potential interest to the world's press, in a Downton Abbey-meets-Dallas kind of way, than the insignificant McCann-Healy clan and the event itself was even more dramatic. But none of us in the UK, where it mattered, were willing to talk to the media mob, not one out of a huge circle of friends and family, and subsequent attempts by people to write the "inside story" have been rebuffed not by writs and cowardly injunctions but an unwillingness by any of us to feed the vultures – leading one of them to claim, Bennett-like, that we had a "pact of silence". They camped outside his mother's little Battersea house, TV lights and all, night after night. There were no cups of tea or tearful statements or, indeed, anything except repulsion and disdain for that crowd and in they end they slunk away as they would have done from Praia da Luz and that was the end of it. On the solitary occasion that they ambushed Nick's ninety year old mother on the doorstep early on and asked her how she "felt" she looked at them quizzically for a few moments and replied, "Are you quite mad? There's racing on television and I'm watching it," and closed the door. Unlike the McCanns she had nothing to hide.

Pure Spring Water – 11.05.2014

The Star story today is rather wonderful, isn't it? Particularly the headline term "Maddie Dig" (now replaced), which, frankly, has a rather different sound to "Evidence Search", supposedly the authorised description. In its coarse and brutal stupidity, its pretence to be saying anything new and its inability to discover anything for itself, it's a pretty good summary of seven years of the UK press. But there is one huge difference between reading this and the other tripe today and what we've read in the past. Some of those with long memories will, we're sure, share the feelings we experienced in 2007 and 2008. Despite a determination to stay calm and objective at the beginning of a morning Google news scan, within minutes of reading the first half a dozen stories the familiar feeling of being slowly strangled took over. How can they print this stuff with a straight face? What's going on here? Who's putting out these stories? Oh, for Christ Jesus's sake! Help me! Quite different now, isn't it? It's incredible how high the stakes seemed then as we watched the BBC allowing Panorama to be used quite openly on behalf of the suspects, with the co-ordinator of their legal team, Smethurst, saying that his aim was to alter the public mind, (...)

Starving – 16.05.2014
After three years of review and re-investigation the parents have clearly not been supplied by the police with a solitary piece of evidence to support their claims of the past seven years, whether to help them with their public reputations in the UK or to assist them in their Portuguese libel case. As of late 2014, the McCanns were unable to provide a police or prosecution witness to indicate that they were no longer the focus of Portuguese investigators; the evidence indeed, including that of the signatory of the Archiving Summary, was, if anything, in the other direction. And, of course, the police witnesses such as Alipio Ribeiro, the man who removed Gonçalo Amaral from his post, had not a crumb of comfort to offer the couple: Ribeiro, for example, not only didn't criticise Amaral's actions as co-ordinator but had nothing to offer the couple at all, not even a personal view that the McCanns might have suffered unjustly. Nothing. The McCanns introduced no statements by Mr Redwood or Scotland Yard that they were not suspects in the re-investigation. Alves, the McCanns' criminal lawyer who claimed in October 2013 that the McCanns had been told by the police of both countries that they were "not suspects", (in the re-opening phase actually) was not called by the couple. In the UK the review and re-investigation requested by the parents and granted by the government has so far provided no ammunition to silence continuing rumours of their involvement: no forensics, no witnesses, no clear developments, no confessions, no interim progress statements. After three years! Mr Redwood knows perfectly well that a "not suspects" statement without supporting evidence settles nothing, just as PJ inspector Olegario de Sousa's identical statement in 2007 settled nothing. If Redwood had anything the parents would surely have begged, pleaded and threatened to get it, if only in sterilised unattributable form suitable for leaking. Worse, the one substantive leak of the investigation evidence that he has allowed, the loss of Tanner's "sighting", has been seized upon, rightly, by critics and enemies of the parents in justification of their stance and dismissed by the parents themselves. Some help!

So that elusive "demonstration of innocence", the absence of which the Archiving Summary so lamented, and the "clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement" that Leicester police are still waiting for (otherwise they'd tell us, wouldn't they?), seem further away than ever. It is not, of course, mathematically impossible that someone will confess to the crime and demonstrate the truth of their confession by leading the police to the body (and anything less decisive and unquestionable than this would not quell suspicion of the pair). But if that is just a hope for the future it is quite meaningless in the context of probabilities, rather than possibilities. It could only be a real probability if the police already had it in hand – suspect's co-operation, likely location of grave – but that would be the "clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement" – which Redwood hasn't given them because, we maintain, it doesn't exist. But let's look at it the other way, let's accept that we're quite wrong and assume nice Mr Redwood and his team have got something more than holes in the ground to offer, some evidence that the couple can use to quieten the rising public suspicion and clamour in the media comments pages as well as media comment itself which, while superficially supportive of the parents, carries a tense message of impending revelations. What's preventing him from showing it and allowing the parents to leak it and sing of their exoneration? Has Mr Redwood looked at the couple recently? Since last autumn they've given the impression of physically and mentally wasting away, actually beginning to unravel. What exactly does he make of this? Does he feel that the certainty of their innocence is so great and self-evident that public perception can't hurt them and they're just going through a temporary bad patch, unconnected with his investigation? But we know from the Lisbon transcripts that public suspicion is gnawing away relentlessly at the McCanns like rats' teeth: witnesses testified that, far from being immune to rumour and accusation, they are driven half-mad by it, even to the point of contemplating suicide. If Redwood really has got something, anything, that they can use to demonstrate their innocence shouldn't he be offering it now, for fear that they might actually carry out what they've considered ? Which is it – that he's got nothing to offer or that, for whatever reason, he won't help them?

Diary—the Feelgood Factor – 22.05.2014
"Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said the forthcoming activity would be led by Portuguese police with the involvement of British officers" – BBC. He added: "A thorough, serious crime investigation works systematically through all the credible possibilities, and often in an investigation you will have more than one credible possibility." In fact it doesn't: as Mr Rowley knows perfectly well, the list of credible possibilities in any investigation is so large (it is, in fact, provably infinite) that all of them begin by discarding the majority of "credible possibilities", either because certain evidence has leaped into view or because the time or resources do not exist to operate according to this fanciful prescription. But his disingenuous words fit perfectly well into the common-sense interpretation of Operation Grange increasingly put forward by sensible people on Twitter: that the police of both countries really are examining and excluding every conceivable alternative (claimed or likely to be claimed) "possibility" until only one, in this case the obvious one, remains. Time is no problem because the victim is long dead and the suspects have nowhere to flee to; resources are no problem either because, as Alipio Ribeiro long ago declared, the McCann case is not a resource-hungry investigation since the crime remains stubbornly localised, despite the parents' deliberate attempts to broaden it into a resource-eating world-wide monster. The ten million quid or so which Theresa May and David Cameron so sensibly made available on our behalf, not that of the parents, is peanuts.
Let the loonies of both sides froth while we all lie back and enjoy it.


Ten Reasons why I can't take Scotland Yard Seriously in the Madeleine McCann Case, 22 May 2014
The Daily ProfilerPosted by Pat Brown
May 22, 2014
Shh! Don't Tip Off the Suspects!
I have received a bit of heat in recent weeks for my opinion that Scotland Yard is not really doing a credible review of the Madeleine McCann case, that they appear to be involved in a whitewash of the McCanns' possible involvement in the disappearance of their daughter, Maddie. First of all, I want to state that I am behind all hardworking detectives out there in the world. It has been my mission to improve criminal profiling and crime scene analysis methodology FOR law enforcement, so that detectives may have more success in solving difficult cases. I also am behind all law enforcement agencies as they work to solve the next homicide case that lands on their desks even if the department screwed up the last case through lack of training or incompetence on the part of whatever detective got assigned to the case and even if the department mishandled the last case due to political pressure (even if it was one I worked on with them). I wish them the best on the next case and hope they do a better job with all their future investigations. I recognize that law enforcement suffers the same problems as any other profession; they are not perfect nor successful nor honorable one hundred percent of the time. Knowing that does not mean I don't support them when they do a good job or want to improve their ability to solve cases and bring justice to criminals and the community. I don't hold grudges against any police agency; I just want to see a brighter future for all homicide investigations. As to Scotland Yard, they have done great work in the past and also not so great work, just like every other agency. I am sure they will do some great work in the future as well as not so great work in the future. For the moment, they may be solving cases right and left, but something is seriously wrong with the Madeleine McCann case and here are ten reasons why I think this is not business as usual and there is a political coverup going on of some sort.
1) The amount of funds being allotted to Scotland Yard to investigate one missing person's case - a case which is not even within their own jurisdiction, a case in which the parents' own neglect of their children and refusal to cooperate with the authorities is shameful - is unprecedented and outrageous.
2) Scotland Yard began their "review" by publicly stating that the parents were not suspects instead of simply saying no one can be excluded from suspicion who does not have a solid alibi as is the usual statement made by police right out of the gate. Exact, donc déclarer (en réponse à une question posée par un journaliste) que les parents ne sont pas suspects dans la révision en dit long. Les MC sont tout simplement mis à l'écart, ni mis hors de cause ni mis en examen.
3) Scotland Yard constantly says they are updating the parents of the missing child, something that is only done if the parents are absolutely not suspects. Outrecuidant, mais conforme au motif qui a décidé DC à engager une révision.
4) Scotland Yard did not do a reconstruction of the crime; they only did a reenactment of the McCann version of the crime for television. OG a déclaré avoir utilisé le logiciel HOLMES pour produire une reconstruction.
5) Scotland Yard validated Jane Tanner's version of what she saw on a narrow street where she was not seen by two people as she supposedly passed by them. Pas vraiment, puisqu'elle n'a pas vu un ravisseur (la preuve n'a pas été donnée, sans doute pour ménager Ms Tanner.
6) Scotland Yard verified that Tannerman existed with a claim that was not credible. Tout ce que l'on peut dire, c'est que AR n'a fourni aucun détail, comme s'il ignorait ou se moquait du savoir de certains membres du public.
7) Scotland Yard relatively large "Operation Grange" team has spent three years reviewing files that should have taken no more than a few weeks or months.
8) After reviewing all the evidence and leads in the files, Scotland Yard is investigating suspects that have no connection to the case. Ils sont méticuleux...
9) Scotland Yard wants to search for Maddies's body (and, yes, they would be searching for a body as all other evidence would be long gone after seven years) in the most unlikely place to find her, right near the apartment in a very open-to-the-view-of-the-public location with hard-as-rock ground where no shallow grave could have been missed by the PJ or anyone walking by. Faut-il croire que OG a suivi les indications de "témoins" les ayant appelés à la suite de Crimewatch. Songer au coût d'une opération aussi absurde...
10) In spite of the fact the PJ has asked for there to be no press about the case, Scotland Yard has its own people still giving interviews.
Along with these ten reasons, if we need one more to seal the issue, it has to be AC Rowley's recent statement to papers: "If you get any information ahead of our actions do not publish anything that may give suspects advance notice."

Since Scotland Yard and DCI Andy Redwood have been shouting from the rooftops since they started working on the Madeleine McCann case, I hardly think any suspect couldn't have covered his tracks over these many months if he hadn't done so in the four years prior to the beginning of the Met review. The naming of the first supposed dig location and Rowley opening his own big mouth hardly encourages me to believe that Scotland Yard is doing everything they can to keep their interest in suspects in the case under wraps, unless you believe they have spend millions of dollars and massive man hours in misdirection and their real suspects are the McCanns. I don't believe this because nothing more than a short case review and a reinterview of the Tapas 9 and reexamination of the physical and behavioral evidence would have been necessary to turn the investigation back toward the McCanns. No, all the actions of Scotland Yard can only mean one of two things: the present detectives (especially Andy Redwood) are dumb as a box of rocks (which I find hard to believe with the amount of obvious evidence in this case) or they are just going through the motions of rounding up suspects and eventually assigning probable guilt toward one party so that the sad case of little Madeleine McCann can finally be put to rest and the McCanns can be removed from under the cloud of suspicion that has been hovering over them for seven years.

Beyond Parody – 22.05.2014
A piece of puffery on Twitter by and for a M/S Pat Brown, about whom the Bureau knows very little, sent me, for the first time, to her blog. There she has written that "…something is seriously wrong with the Madeleine McCann case and here are ten reasons why I think this is not business as usual and there is a political cover-up going on of some sort." At last – a smoking gun!

The Ten Commandments
These, briefly, are the 10 reasons which tell Pat Brown that there is something called a "political cover-up" going on in the UK.
The amount of funds being allotted to Scotland unprecedented and outrageous.
Scotland Yard began their "review" by publicly stating that the parents were not suspects.
Scotland Yard constantly says they are updating the parents of the missing child.
Scotland Yard did not do a reconstruction of the crime.
Scotland Yard validated Jane Tanner's version of what she saw on a narrow street.
Scotland Yard verified that Tannerman existed with a claim that was not credible.
Scotland Yard relatively large "Operation Grange" team has spent three years reviewing files that should have taken no more than a few weeks or months.
After reviewing all the evidence and leads in the files, Scotland Yard is investigating suspects that have no connection to the case.
Scotland Yard wants to search for Maddies's body (and, yes, they would be searching for a body as all other evidence would be long gone after seven years) in the most unlikely place to find her, right near the apartment in a very open-to-the-view-of-the-public location with hard-as-rock ground where no shallow grave could have been missed by the PJ or anyone walking by.
In spite of the fact the PJ has asked for there to be no press about the case, Scotland Yard has its own people still giving interviews.

I have rarely seen a more shoddy disconnect between a claim - a really serious, unprecedented and dramatic claim that would instantly bring about the fall of the government and their mass imprisonment if it were found to be true – and the "evidence" supposedly justifying it.
Leaving aside the ignorance of British institutions that the list reveals and the failure to understand even the most elementary basics – an investigative review as this does not involve "suspects", reconstructions are not normally used in UK investigations for the resolution of witness anomalies – it consists of childishly subjective opinion ("outrageous", "not credible"), suppositions ("a few weeks or months", "Scotland Yard validated..."), non-sequiturs ("after reviewing all the evidence and leads in the files, Scotland Yard is investigating suspects that have no connection to the case") and hearsay, ("Scotland Yard wants to search for Maddie's body in the most unlikely place to find her" ) but not a single syllable linking this rubbishy rodomontade in any way to her central accusation. She has made the claim up. It hardly needs pointing out that these Ten Commandments, where they are not worthless or nonsensical, can be used as evidence of almost anything. Scotland Yard incompetence, the mental state of a "Criminal Profiler", the fact that all the world's police forces are conspiring against us, anything: all three such theories are as well supported by the ten points as her own claim is. Most damningly they are very strong evidence indeed for the theory that the McCanns are innocent of anything connected with their daughter and that the police know it! Is that what M/S Brown is trying to prove? I'm sorry but I genuinely don't believe from this blog entry that she even knows what evidence actually is, any more than Tony Bennett does.

A researcher rather than a self-publicist might have started such an explosive j'accuse with known examples of such United Kingdom cover-ups in the past, with the exact machinery that enables them to work, their successes and failures and, having established their existence, go on to give the precise reasons that would provoke politicians to embark on such a crazily self-destructive course. But no, nothing. Instead a gossipy junk shopping list that even Jerry Lawton wouldn't write. Prevalent types of features among men convicted of larceny (without violence). I know nothing about Brown's career but I gave my opinion of "criminal profiling" many years ago on the 3As site: it is based on nineteenth century junk-science concepts of "criminal attributes or dispositions", which arose out of highly questionable eugenics research around the same time as phrenology, with which it has many things in common. The only investigative system that has ever really encouraged it is, by no coincidence at all, that of Nazi Germany, where its junk and anti-humanist concepts (humans aren't humans, they're types) fitted happily into that state's murderous belief in "criminal" as well as "racial" types. Its Wikipedia entry still today refers to its ambition "to accurately predict and profile the characteristics of unknown criminal subjects or offenders". To call it pseudo-science is to flatter it enormously. Give me phrenology anytime.

I beg to differ... - 23.05.2014
Undterdenteppichgekehrt - Johanna

Ten Reasons why I can't take Scotland Yard Seriously in the Madeleine McCann Case - The Daily Profiler. "For the moment, they may be solving cases right and left, but something is seriously wrong with the Madeleine McCann case and here are ten reasons why I think this is not business as usual and there is a political coverup going on of some sort.
@1 A flaw in reason and logic: This reason given is in no way supporting the claim. It is on the contrary supporting the opposite. If there was to be a cover-up why start a review, turn it into a full-fledged investigation, get the country that was treated so badly into their boat and press on for 5 years? I am sure Hewlett would have been able to be made into the perfect scapegoat - and I do believe that this was contemplated by some forces at the time - if that would be the current purpose.
@2 The examples for the exact same conduct in other cases are too numerous to be listed. There is no reason why Scotland Yard should adjust to the purported need of interested parties on the internet against common practice. Especially in the stages of a review.
@3 Of course a police force HAS to inform the parents of a missing child until these parents are charged and a suspicion is drafted. As to extent of the information given we only have Clarence Mitchell's word to judge by.
@4 It was the request of the Policia Judiciaria for a reconstruction. It was requested to verify or discard the witness statements regarding the timeline of events, mainly to prove that Jane Tanner would have been unable to be where she claimed to have been and to see what she had claimed to have seen. No other statements could have been verified by a reconstruction since no third party witnesses were present. Not the time of the alarm, not the alleged checks. Since Scotland Yard had already smashed the Gordian Knot that Jane Tanner's statement presented to the case there is no need for a reconstruction, something police forces (UK, Germany) very rarely use anyway. La reconstitution ne sert pas seulement à apurer des déclarations ou des heures, comme il ressort clairement du rapport de classement. Par exemple, l'histoire du courant d'air était-elle possible ? Comment était exactement entrouverte la porte du patio ? Ne pouvait-on s'attendre à y trouver beaucoup d'empreintes ?
@5 This is debatable but in my opinion a genius move. We know she lied, she knows she lied, the police know she lied, but the petty reward for outing her lie through a reconstruction was discarded for the much more satisfying destruction of Gerry McCann's alibi at the "moment of her abduction". And the way for the Smith sighting was opened. And an offer was made to Jane... Jane peut avoir inconsciemment déformé ce qu'elle avait vu (l'heure, le lieu, la direction prise par Tannerman, les détails "invisibles").
@6 The claim that Tanner saw the abductor was refuted which is so much more important than to prove Jane was lying (which would have proved rather difficult anyway). The ultimate truth is more important than petty revenge on Jane.
@7 The bulk of the review was most certainly done on those parts of the files that have not been published: the reports about (mainly british) paedophiles or alleged paedophiles or rumours of paedophiles in the area. Taken together with the innumerous sightings that have been discarded never to be read by those following the case with a now preset mind this amounts to a huge workload that would have to be done BEFORE any conclusions could have been reached. A quick skim through the 10000 pages of the files can form an opinion but leads to a position that can be attacked in so many ways. (q.e.d.)
@8 All the leads Scotland Yard are following and of course have to follow are part of the case. As mentioned above there are the sightings and reports about paedophiles in the area and of course those alleged incidents that only recently and miraculously turned up have to be verified and investigated even though some might turn out to be mere creations of distraction not unlike some of the sightings we had to put up with the previous years. But by investigating them, evidence might even come from these. In the prospect of the world's biggest court case ever, they better make sure that every other possibility is properly investigated and excluded or I would be very unhappy.
@9 IMO there has yet an exact location to be named where they might be looking for evidence. The location in the center of Praia da Luz would be ideal to distract the world's media from the real procedings. Should they be close to finding her body they would never let the media partake in any unearthings. This open space in PdL is just sweetly perfect for the staging of excavations, with ample parking at hand...
@10 The PJ and Scotland Yard have asked the media to behave and lately Clarence has received the firm instruction to finally stfu.

I am sure that at some stage in the past seven years there were efforts being made to cover-up the case and the hype around Hewlett was the closest we got to the presentation of a patsy. He was perfect, DNA evidence could have been provided and the public would have bought it. But luckily there was never a general consent for a cover-up between all involved parties. In the past year we had the alibi of Gerry destroyed, Smithman brought to the public's attention, the cover-up of the photofits exposed, Madeleine's death accepted and even the dog's mentioned in connection with a fresh search for her body. I have no idea WHAT would convince the sceptics, but it can hardly have been better than that.

Do You Mind? - 24.05.2014
The desire for harmony among groups with possibly similar aims is an admirable one – but in this case, as in so much of life, it can't always be attained. We're not exactly arguing about cake recipes, are we? And the McCann Affair is very much not kid's stuff, except in one nauseating instance where a group of panicking cowards (there are no other words) desecrated a child's memory by ripping up and scrawling on her sticker book.
Nombreux sont ceux qui se sont indignés et pourtant il ne s'agit pas d'un livre, même pas d'un fascicule pour dessiner, mais d'auto-collants ! Tout le monde se serait fait un plaisir d'en acheter mille autres à son retour.

What about argument among the sceptics though? Here the Bureau has a problem: we're rather isolated because there is a profound and intractable underlying disagreement between us and other sceptics. It's nothing to do with theories about what happened to the child. As we've said over and over we don't have any theory about the disappearance because the facts to support one are not available yet and we don't really do guesswork. It is not, as wild Don Rumsfeld has described them, the "known unknowns" and the "unknown unknowns" of the holiday that attract us, though we admire and defer to those who are much better sleuths than ourselves, like Dr Roberts and Johanna and many others; it's the "known knowns" of 10pm onwards that we concentrate on, in particular the lies. Along with all the other sceptics we've been bewildered by the treatment of this dishonest pair by public figures and the media, their immunity not to prosecution, because as the AG correctly said, there is no evidence to bring one, but to scrutiny and a sense of proportion, a weird, still inexplicable, overkill in their favour. Take one example and let it stand for all in UK public life: Sir Brian Leveson. All of us who've been in courtrooms know that criminal judges keep control of their body language. They have to, since failure to do so will eventually bring an end to their careers. There is no doubt it is used, either against or in favour of the defendant, but very sparingly. So why did Leveson move from the normal graceful courtesy of a trial or tribunal to an extraordinary demonstration of puppy-like support for the pair? When he questioned them it was in the syrupy tones of an undertaker discussing the choice of a child's coffin with the shattered parents; when he listened to them his expression was that of a consoling priest; when he thanked them for their attendance it was if he were addressing the queen. Of course they deserve the sympathy of non-sceptics but why this hyperbolic, theatrical performance? Which, as we remember, he followed with an equally un-judicial piece of ham mimicry when Pilditch described the Portuguese investigation. Then he leant back and sighed, he curled that cod-like lip in contempt, he wriggled as though he had bad piles, he raised his eyes to the roof and, finally, he mocked all the Portuguese works as "tittle-tattle". Jesus Christ! It was by far the most extraordinary performance by a judge we've ever witnessed – and for what? What purpose did it serve? He was judge in a tribunal, for God's sake, not some Rumpole trying to make the jury sob. 
Beaucoup qui ignoraient tout de l'affaire mais ne voulaient pas en avoir l'air se sont évertués à répéter les slogans, notamment les railleries à l'égard de la police portugaise. Ne pas le faire aurait été reconnaître qu'ils n'étaient pas informés ou paraître abusés. C'est toujours l'histoire du roi nu.

Trying to explain this surreal and representative performance is the heart of the affair. The overkill is so great that many believe it has to be somehow managed from above, just like the century long claim that a cultured, powerful nobleman, not provincial, faceless Will Shakespeare must have written the greatest plays ever staged, so this unimpressive couple cannot possibly have mastered this affair on their own. Ils ont été admirablement souples, ils ont suivi le courant. 
There have to be powerful figures working in the background for the charade to work. We can't share it. We see the need for explanation but we can't see any sign of hidden hands and have come to the conclusion that they don't exist. If they don't exist then the reason for the overkill must lie elsewhere and that's why we started calling the affair a psychological one, with the McCanns skilfully surfing the wave of celebrity-hood, otherwise known as extremely powerful, unexplored mass hysteria, that had been granted them. Not the most accessible explanation, is it? Not one that the Mirror will be putting before its reader and her partner. We'll be perfectly happy to see it refuted by emerging evidence, particularly since its view of human credulity is by no means a cheerful one. Until then we seem stuck with it: it's the best we can do. And, fortunately, it doesn't imply that the progress we're seeing the police making is illusory. Perhaps it's the subjective baggage that we, like everyone else, bring to the case that makes us see it this way. AS, whose dad was a minor showbiz celebrity, recalls the strange magic power it conferred at school, where kids who had no time for you suddenly did a creepy 180 and let you into their gang once they knew the name. What else might they do for you? And then there was JB's work years ago when, after agreeing to help a couple suing Scientology (on the grounds that they'd been successfully brainwashed), he undertook a lengthy and bizarre voyage into cult waters and group belief. Now that was weird, much weirder than any masonic garbage. But any weirder, at root, than the performance of Sir Brian Leveson? We don't think so.(...)

Time for a re-launch? - 28.05.2014
One of the problems facing culturally empty unfortunates like the McCanns and others who instinctively express themselves in soap terms, is the revenge that real life slowly exacts. The very qualities that take you on to the popular pages and screens and keep you there – providing soap narratives on a week-by-week basis and presenting a tabloid fantasy story of "suffering", "agony", "hope", "search", all dripping with cooking-fat sentimentality and false emotion – are the ones that are least valuable in facing the heavy trials of real life and death, as the short existence of Jade Goody demonstrates. The Hollywood studios which invented bogus drama and invited tired working people to submerge themselves in it are, after all, known as the Dream Factory. Ninety years on Hollywood remains the inspiration for the tabloid fantasy world. Seven years is a good chunk of real life. Children have been born, people have grown apart or died, horrors have been faced, prizes have been won, real love has sometimes, somehow, survived. The equivalent of the celebrity magazine photos that ruthlessly expose the sagging lines and botched surgery of yesterdays' stars are the court transcripts from Lisbon, just as the witness statements from the ineffable Pikes and Loaches are reminiscent of the squalid Michael Jackson inquest with its unforgettable portrait of the frightened little human being behind the locked mansion doors. Life catches up with all of us, one way or another, but it catches up in a particularly ruthless manner with products of the Dream Factory. Gonçalo Amaral, whose current travails began in 2007, may be many things but he is not manufactured and certainly not uncultured, as The Truth of the Lie so effortlessly demonstrates, and his indifference to image-and-dream-existence, which made him such an easy target for the tabloid photographers, is obvious. Anyone who studies what has happened to him in the intervening years recognizes at once a real life story, partly because it hasn't been told, or sold, to us by the usual suspects. There's no soap in the Amaral story: he's a recognizable human being with human flaws, not part of an invented cop-wins-against-the-odds or any other narrative myth. His suffering hasn't been presented to us by myth-makers but is there in the transcripts and verdicts, the convictions and seizures, the chaos of his marriage, the unrelenting public hatred poured on him by the allies and agents of the Two Liars, the occasional sense of bewilderment that the institutions he worked for, well or badly, have turned on him. And the photographic record of weariness and exhaustion, as well as emphatic determination.

In the genuine, rather than tabloid, meaning of tragedy – that is, a truly terrible fall from grace prompted by the interweaving of fate and personality – Gonçalo Amaral is a tragic figure, not a mere victim of harrowing experiences. He may die dishonoured and forgotten; his life won't have a happy ending because real lives don't. (...) As a result there are only two McCann stories with any solid gold prospective re-launch mileage: the capture of an abductor and the long, meaty drama of trial and retribution that will follow – "Kate comes face to face with hunchback who took Maddie" – or the story of the Fall of the McCanns. Since late 2013 there has been a strong sense that some sort of climax, and with it the possible completion of the Interrupted Investigation, is approaching. To the casual observer the return to PDL after the seven year diversion elsewhere, dear Kate, the digging near the beach to which the only unidentified suspect was seen hurrying on May 3, dear Seven, the "expunging", dear Mr Smethurst, of Jane Tanner's vision, the re-appearance of corpse-sniffing dogs, dear Dr McCann, (cruel and unnecessary punishment, surely to announce them in advance), the year-long involvement of the CPS, not to mention the smiles on so many faces recently – all these might possibly provide a fairy-tale ending for the couple and that triumphant "Kate comes face to face..." Mirror headline that will bring crowds cheering onto the streets. But, as readers know from their own experience, fairy tale endings don't feature much in real life, do they? 

A Quick One – 30.05.2014
I don't know about you but if I was subject to these visions of "whitewash" that currently pervade the net I'd be scared to sleep at night, I really would. How can people keep their sang-froid when they are mere puppets? Common sense, as well as personal survival, suggests that when you have clear evidence of a threat to yourself or your community, yes, you act on it in every way you can: that's what being a citizen, or an autonomous adult, means. But when nobody has any evidence or experience to provide on the net, only belief in some sort of all-powerful "they", then why bother? If you're going to believe without evidence or experience then why not believe that you're a winner? The more one witnesses this latest spasm of "the threat from they" – I'm not talking about Portugal here – the more Gerry's dumped fridge comes to mind. No matter that nobody can provide any evidence that Gerry ever took a fridge to a public dump and supposedly blogged about it before his post was erased – it can still start a fifty page thread on an internet forum. Fair enough. The trouble is that a lot of those fifty pages will consist of people saying "I know that I read it" in very determined tones. Who gains? You can't show the fridge's existence to anybody so you can't share the knowledge of its existence. You can only share talk of it. What on earth is the use of that to your community, whether it be Twitter, website, friends or country? Far from having shared anything and by doing so enlarged the knowledge of others, you've actually given people nothing. To fridge watchers and whitewashers alike, as long as there's no verifiable evidence you can share, why do you want to give people nothing? At root it seems a very selfish thing to do. Meanwhile, in my naive and illusory false consciousness, I feel great about things, particularly McCann things. Can I share it with you? ETA: [deep deep sigh] No, I haven't any secret information to share; I never have had. I feel great about the McCann affair from what I hear and read and I'd be happy if you shared that feeling.

Diary – 03.06.2014
The Bureau thinks it's very sad that Kate and Gerry McCann are having to endure this shocking period at the centre of a media storm without professional support. Wouldn't it be a good idea if somebody was appointed as a spokesperson on their behalf? If that happened then the media pack, with which people have to engage, could be given proper stories regularly rather than hanging around the bars of Praia da Luz making things up. And, even better, Kate and Gerry could give sensibly structured interviews on "a pool basis" so that they could get their message of hope to the well-wishers all over the world who are sharing their tragedy. At the moment the couple are obviously too overwhelmed by events to speak coherently for themselves – imagine how a spokesperson could lift that onerous burden from their proud shoulders, leaving them free to grieve for the rest of the time. Why has nobody thought of this? The Bureau asks is there a public spirited person, someone with media experience, who could help? It might be someone in the midst of a career change, perhaps regretting the wrong path they once took and now looking for new horizons or an escape route of some kind. Or just someone who believes in fair play. It only needs one person to stand by Gerry and Kate's side, announce proudly that the couple are innocent, and offer the warm hand of support. Failing that, and bearing in mind the public interest in this sad case, could the government not send one of its many dud press officers to assist? Who knows, it could be the start of an exciting, if unpredictable, new career. At least then Kate's despairing four-in-the-morning cry in the darkness – "why isn't anyone doing anything?" – as she and poor Gerry slipped away, unaccompanied and unseen, for the Praia da Luz scrubland that dreadful day, would at last have been answered. The Bureau believes it's such a pity that the last act of poor Maddie's tale is being played out by her alone at the edge of the vast Atlantic. Wouldn't it be comforting somehow if family members dropped everything and flew out to Praia da Luz to show solidarity with the tot? Do readers remember when Ryanair's passenger decks were strengthened specially so that one of her aunts could waddle out there to brief against the police? Or the heroic work that another relative did in ferrying the couple around while they were too disturbed to drive? Amid that appalling stench of dead meat under the Renault Scenic floor in the summer heat, too. And then there were all those people from the law groups and accountancy practices who jetted in so willingly and selflessly in 2007 when the sun was shining, there was money to be made and the departure gates were whizzing like the Stamford Bridge turnstiles.The Bureau says We don't believe that spirit of solidarity has really vanished! Wouldn't it be wonderful if, away from the headlines, a house in Rothley is simply bulging with all those people once more, joined by others like Alex Woolfall, Angus MacBride and Richard Branson, dozens of them, all standing in a circle holding hands and singing to Kate and Gerry every evening "We'll always believe in You". Yes, we forecast that in the coming weeks and months more and more people are going to come out and say how proud they are to be associated with this tragically misunderstood couple. Just you wait and see.

Death Rides and After – 04.06.2014
The contrast with 2007 couldn't be any stronger. Then the MSM had a monopoly of event reporting, a temporary, privileged position that they thought would last for ever. And, with James Landale leading the way during the night of May 3/4, they abused their position, as monopolists always do. 
Le premier journaliste averti dans la nuit du 3/4 mai par sa femme, amie de Rachael Oldfield.
(...)Bureau readers may recall the famous BBC news editors' "blog" – as if news drudges could ever understand what a real blog is! – when, in exactly the same corrupt, boastful and self-congratulatory tones as Hanover Communications used later in the year, an editor wrote proudly of the collective decision to report events in Praia da Luz "only from the viewpoint of the McCann family". That monopoly in the UK is now broken. Whatever the lunacy on Twitter, the tweets on the different threads sort the wheat from the chaff much more quickly than any editor. Why? Because there is now a free market in information and it is the hidden hand of the market that works like a miracle to flag up valuable stories, just like the street market flags up low prices. (...)
Finally we remind those of our readers who don't know: the MSM will never, ever, "break" this story. They will take their material from the net as and when they feel it is safe to do so. As they have started to do. 

Diary One – 06.06.2014
The sceptics in the McCann affair are getting a pretty easy ride at the moment on Twitter and elsewhere since the supporter clique is so traumatised by recent events that they've given up on interpretation in favour of streams of rather giveaway hysterical abuse.Why that's happening is no mystery. Understandably but unwisely, the parents' public supporters have indulged themselves with a fierce belief that the child is alive, a conviction giving a very strong moral edge to their campaigning. It is not an insult to point out that the leaders of the sympathy group have always been retired grandmothers, people with more intense feelings about toddlers than the rest of us, as those who've struggled with the mother-in-law problem are well aware. It is they who set the tone for the bruisers who accompany them. The spectacle of pits being dug in Praia da Luz, and the undeniable message they hold that the search for a living child is over, has hurt them dreadfully and dispossessed them of their moral drive. Acting purely as defenders of a dubious, rich couple for the rest of their lives doesn't offer quite the same moral certainty, does it? Many sceptics, on the other hand, have taken the police view that the child was dead when she was brought out of the apartment and retain their own moral certainty – that theirs is a fight for justice (or, in the Bureau's case, for retribution) – unscathed. For we sceptics the digs, while having a strange and slightly disturbing resonance (quite brilliantly captured by JCL with her circulation of the Douanier Rousseau today), are simply a step in the right direction. It shouldn't be for the Bureau to write the supporters' lines for them but since they're too wobbly at the moment to think clearly, why not? Especially since the things they aren't saying will be said, not by broken crones but by the lawyers who even now are waiting to find out where their fees will come from. They could start by pointing out that the foolish cries of "arrest the parents" are as absurd today as they were in 2008; there is still no evidence in the public domain to counter the Archiving Summary's conclusions and the idea that you can round up the T9 and intimidate them into giving answers is simply junk thinking: it isn't possible to question them without charging them first, there is nothing to charge any of them with and in western Europe people can no longer be forced to answer questions. As for the "try waterboarding" and similar comments, they are beneath contempt.

And in periods of lucidity the supporters can point out that as things stand the activities in Praia da Luz fit in much better with the theory of a local criminal doing away with the child, put forward by police, than they do with parental involvement, mainly because it is unlikely that the Nine alone, strangers to the district with limited time available, could have located a convenient and suitable hide in the scrubland. Local villains who, according to gossip, congregate amongst the scrub and have every reason to know where to stash stuff, are another matter. There is a connected, and much more wounding, charge for the parents' supporters to make. The bafflingly irrational belief in a whitewash can make perfect sense if it is seen as an unconscious preparation for "bad" news by those who suspect, deep down, that the police might find evidence that the child did indeed die at the hands of a burglar. What better mask for the choking of seven years' belief in the parents' guilt than crying "it's all a fix"? So come on supporting grannies! Try and get over your mental collapse, stop slagging people off, pull yourselves together and make an intelligent case against your adversaries. Not that it will make the slightest difference to events, though. 

Diary Two – 06.06.2014
Debate won't make the slightest difference because the case has moved beyond the stage where public opinion (the Bureau's Mr Big) matters. It mattered in 2007/8 because, in the absence of a prima facie case for an EAW, Mr Big would decide the issue, as the defence team well knew. If Mr Big was of the opinion that the couple were innocent then a government as obsessed with listening to him as Brown's was would never be party to their return to Portugal. Hence the entire defence strategy, as expressed, somewhat foolishly, by its somewhat foolish head, Smethurst. All that is in the past as the case moves from the political and international arena into the justice system, where jurors are specifically told to put aside prior opinions and attempts to influence their opinion, whether through the media or other forms of corruption, are treated the same way: with arrest. Only the evidence matters. Having said which let's turn once again to our favourite subject, the one that ultimately determines our thinking about the case, the Known Knowns. Let's suppose for a moment that a group of, say, eight or nine people involved in trouble overseas set out to try and destroy the investigation into their activities. What sort of things, taking advantage of their supposed victim status, might they do? They'd have to pretend that they weren't trying to wreck it, of course, so all their actions would be accompanied with public claims that they "fully supported" the investigation and "would do whatever they could" to help it all the way through. Next? Well, what about using people you can trust, like your family, to brief against the investigators? And another key move in the Wrecker's Manual would be to start complaining bitterly about the incompetence of the investigation before it was more than a few hours old, so hadn't yet had a chance to be incompetent. Naturally you'd follow it up with a tacit refusal to co-operate with the methods of the police (no media!) and add in various supposed reasons why the investigation should focus elsewhere, (helicopters!) preferably overseas. As the investigators got closer despite your efforts, you might up the stakes: try to drive a wedge between different police forces, appoint a spokesman to lie on your behalf about police actions, ask your government to intervene, travel all over Europe professing bemusement as to why the police seemed interested in you, even though they'd already told you why. Finally, despite all the sabotage, the call comes for you to answer some questions at the police station. Now all pretence of co-operation is past and, driven into a corner, you refuse to answer any more questions. Can you think of anything else that you could possibly have done to wreck and discredit the investigation? Oh yes, get on to dad and tell him you're being framed. He's not very bright, the poor old sod, he's ancient and seriously unwell so the stress may kill him but never mind, get him out there telling the journalists that you've been "fitted up". And then make yourself scarce after telling those naive coppers that you'll come back whenever you're asked. And finally, along with your seven friends, you stall on honouring your own promises and the new chief of the investigation's pleas for help until the prosecutors give up and you've won.

"You are aware, are you, that by not answering you're jeopardising the investigation into your daughter's fate?" That was the only one of the famous 48 questions that Kate McCann answered in September 2007. To this day all of us at the Bureau have found it impossible to put ourselves in the place of someone answering "yes" to that sombre query. But Kate McCann, as she relates, had no difficulty in giving an answer that was her own daughter's virtual death warrant, the end of the only attempt to locate or save her. It's just impossible to get your head around someone giving that answer, unless she is, in the commonly understood sense of the word, a monster. Or unless – and this is really the only possible, whew, "extenuating" circumstance – she knew the child was already dead. That's why we don't believe Portuguese burglars or British humpbacked paedophiles have the slightest reason to fear anything from the Praia da Luz digs. It's not burglars, it's not paedophiles, it's not Robert Murat who are so terrified of what a successful investigation might reveal that they wrecked the first attempt at one. It's the child's parents.

The Train Moves On – 10.06.2014 
Well, Gonçalo Amaral's made his position absolutely clear in this latest interview, hasn't he? He's comfortable alongside Mr Tony Bennett, M/S Pat Brown and Joana Morais and perhaps he's right. Unfortunately the little Bureau disagrees completely with everything he's said, there's no possibility of common ground and so we wish him luck and say goodbye to Gonçalo.

Shamelessness is All - 11.06.2014 
Repeating the same things is getting boring but here, once more, is a summary of our position. The 2008 PJ report and the associated archiving despatch give an accurate description of the investigation and the two crucial elements at its heart. The "line of investigation" was expected to produce confirmatory evidence that the parents were involved but did not do so and, as a result, the prima facie evidence required for the issue of a European Arrest Warrant could not be provided. That left the investigation, which, of course, included British assistance, dependent on the voluntary co-operation of the Nine, all of whom had abandoned the child and retreated to the safety of the UK. Public opinion in the UK was strongly supportive of the couple from day one, in the usual gooey and revolting way of media disaster stories, but waned when the police suspicions, which the couple's news management had prevented from reaching UK ears, finally became common knowledge. By September 2007 the general assumption, one that was thoroughly repugnant to most people yet fascinating because of its hints of breached taboos, was that the parents were indeed involved in the disappearance. During the next few weeks lawyers for the couple discovered that the Portuguese prosecutors were unable to provide any of the widely expected evidence against the parents, a fact that was systematically leaked to the media. They had no case to answer. Some idea of the shock and disbelief that greeted this revelation can be found in the evidence of David Pilditch at Leveson. This absence of any legal case to answer dwarfs into irrelevance the various theories surrounding it. No efforts in the couple's favour, whether by politicians who sympathized with the pair, like Gordon Brown, or supporters with the money to indulge their interest in the case, like Kennedy, or the lawyers themselves are of the least significance compared with this single, simple fact. As for UK public opinion (the Bureau's Mr & Mrs Big), attempts were certainly made by the defence to influence it as a fall back position in case something turned up in Portugal and extradition loomed. But they were kicking at an open door: very few people wanted to believe that the couple had turned from suffering victims into taboo-breaking monsters and in fact most seem to have been completely freaked out at the idea, with women in particular, in our experience, uncomfortable with even suspecting it. When the media onslaught on the PJ was not countered by the expected prosecution evidence people were only too glad to believe in them: it didn't need buffoons like Smethurst to point the way. It didn't need anybody. Given the situation all the couple had to do was disburse the fees, be shameless and sit tight.  
Which they did, as did the other seven. The penultimate act in the first investigation, the rogatory interviews, while providing much background information about the group, offered only suggestive evidence, which the PJ already had in abundance. Their officers flew home from Leicester to make a direct appeal for the group to return and assist by clarifying events on May 3 which was met by refusal. Accordingly the case was shelved. We remain bemused by the accretion of unnecessary theories to account for the couple's "success" in escaping prosecution when no prosecution case was put forward. As of 2014 the situation is unchanged. The fact that the despairing question why haven't they been arrested is constantly posed on the net is itself troubling since the answer remains they haven't been arrested because the investigation turned up no evidence to arrest them and none has emerged since. Why is such a simple answer so difficult to accept? Why do people feel such an urge to ignore the facts in favour of a mystery? The Bureau's position has been the same since 2009: that the nine hold the key to the case and that a re-investigation will only succeed if it turns that key. But that, unlike what we've written above, is simply an appraisal, an opinion. In 2011 the British government ended the stasis surrounding the case by authorising exactly what we and many others had been calling for, one which is likely to confirm or refute that position. It – the completion of the interrupted investigation – is everything we've ever wanted. The reason we think that the outcome of the investigation will be positive is the record of the last seven years and the inexorable progression of events. Think of the case on May 3 as a blanket covering semi-shapeless lumps and humps. Until July 2008 the couple told us what lay under the blanket while the rest of us guessed. After that the edges began to be lifted. It began with a flood of light from the case files and the rogatory transcripts; two years later the Lisbon human rights case lifted another edge; in 2011 Madeleine was published; in 2013 the libel trial took place. The result has been that the pile of mystery lumps is now one heap in the middle of the blanket, nearly all the others having been brought out into the light for examination. Not a single one of the objects under the blanket claimed by the McCanns has been found. Not one.

What's Under the Blanket? The "shutters question", the evidence for intrusion, wasn't there, the "things that convinced Kate of abduction that she couldn't talk about" weren't there either; the "rogue cop" didn't exist, only a police consensus reaching up to the head of the PJ, Alipio Ribeiro; the "exoneration" never existed either, as the libel lawyers in both the UK and Portugal now concede; no deal was ever offered by the PJ to the couple, the blogs with their "we are not suspects" claims were exposed as outright lies, Gerry McCann's "upset stomach" never existed, the "return to Portugal to build bridges" in early 2009, was revealed as pure deception by Gerry McCann, a cover story; the "trauma", the claimed million euros worth of psychological damage inflicted by the Truth of the Lie, shrank to nothing under the Lisbon court lights; once the box marked "operational reasons" was dragged out from under the blanket the "search" was revealed as a meaningless charade, with its head confessing that Gerry McCann had only allowed him to see selected translations from the case files (!); the checks hadn't been half-hourly; the group never contacted the emergency services, despite the "certainty" of abduction; the group did contact the media that night; the parents did systematically brief journalists against the PJ while denying doing so; the largest shape left under the blanket, shadowy bundleman, was revealed by police torches to be a dummy created by the group itself. Very little remains of the parental claims made while the rest of us were in ignorance so common sense suggests that they have been lying about everything all along. But that's induction, an assumption, and as long as the last heap under the blanket, the corpse of the child, remains unrevealed, assumption is all it remains. If we were on a jury now we couldn't possibly find the couple guilty of anything involving the loss of their daughter, however much they and their shamelessness disgusts us, because the evidence isn't there: that's what the British justice system, based on jurors taking responsibility for conviction or acquittal, irrespective of what a judge, a government or any other f***** wants, is all about. It works. And that's why the investigation, our investigation by our police for us matters and why the attempts by some outsiders, assisted by a few local losers, to rubbish and defame the entire UK legal and investigative system as a corrupt fraud are an attack on justice, as well as self-delusion on a heroic scale. 

Light and Darkness – 12.06.2014
It was good to read the latest press release from Scotland Yard yesterday: it had a different tone from all the previous releases and was a model of what communications in the case should be. Is it too much to hope that the Yard are beginning to see the net as their friend? And their MSM-only briefing sessions as out-dated? Our farewell to Gonçalo on these pages was simply an acknowledgement that he has crossed into commentator territory that we can't follow him to, aligning himself with a disparate group who can't back their claims with any evidence. Most of these people, along with a number of others, only descended on him once he was thoroughly weakened by the McCann/Portuguese law ambush, all of them seeking to gain from the contact. The odious Bennett and his equally crooked business partner Marsden have been remarkably coy about their attempts to enrich themselves at his expense by acting as "authorised? agents" for A Verdade da Mentira, haven't they? Or the other people's money that Bennett used to tempt Gonçalo when the latter hardly knew where his next meal was coming from – but only on condition, naturally, that GA turned up as a trophy speaker to give the miserable "Foundation" some credibility. People like that pair always move in when others are skint or in distress, just as they did on Brenda Ryan when she collapsed under the strain of running her forum and just as they did with that beacon of decency Nigel Moore when they attempted to wrest McCann Files from him at a troubled time. Can you imagine Bennett in charge of the press cuttings? Unlike the vexed question of the McCanns' actions in Praia da Luz we know almost all that matters about their treatment of the police officer who was still searching for their child after they'd abandoned her and decamped to the UK to save their own skins. The thoroughly black side of their personalities which is only occasionally revealed to us in the context of the disappearance, smothered as it is under the oily sentimentalities of their "friends" (as the Cracked Mirror says, nobody actually knows the McCanns), is on full view in their vicious pursuit of Amaral. No crucifix in her pocket will ever help Kate McCann. The woman makes token attempts to disguise her psychopathic hatred of Amaral in Madeleine, attempting to portray what is essentially a quest to cause another human being serious pain as a rational attempt to save her child:
It is impossible to convey, particularly to people outside Portugal who were not aware of Amaral's behaviour, just how difficult this smear campaign was both to withstand and to counter. And we desperately needed to counter it...Blackening our names was one thing, but if people there were taken in by Amaral's theories, they were going to think there was no point in looking for Madeleine, or in passing on any information that might be relevant. We are quite sure that Amaral's posturing has reduced our chances of finding her.
But in a thoroughly out-of-control book the undercurrent of madness that her legal advisers were unable to censor triumphantly breaks through. Rational?
I spent many days in tears, sobbing at the injustice being done to Madeleine by the very people who should have been helping her. There were times when I felt so incensed by the conduct of Amaral and his friends I thought I simply wouldn’t get through the pain and anger...Dear God. I'm finding it really difficult to believe you’re there at the moment. The more our suffering and pain continues and the more we are tested, the more I find myself doubting your presence, which is really scary. I've always been considered quite a gentle person but these attacks [Amaral's] stirred up terrible emotions in me. It was as if my whole body was trying to scream but a tightly screwed-on lid was preventing the scream from escaping. Instead I was just howling internally. My punch bag certainly came in handy at times.
Would you sleep well knowing that a creature like this was pursuing you? Howling? Punch bag? Terrible emotions? What if the shower curtain was torn back and you found that facing you? And then in typical nutter fashion the storm passes and the gay little girl comes out to play again: in the very next paragraph she picks up her skipping rope and starts singing: While she [Aunty Duarte] did the preparatory work," she trills, "we were off to the States again – to appear on Oprah Winfrey's talk show. Little girlie has a lovely time with huggable Oprah. Not a care in the world. Isn't it fun!
A choice of clothes and shoes had been brought to our hotel for me…to the Harpo Studios and Oprah's team. I had my make-up and hair done by two lovely ladies (if only I could look like that every day!). Just before we were due to go on, Oprah dropped in to see us and we wanted to hug her. In fact I'm sure we did hug her.
But soon after meeting Nice Aunty Oprah in her reely, reely nice new shoesies the clouds darken and little Katie isn't being nice at all. Suddenly she's angry which is really, reely scary, especially for Cuddlecat. Just like doubting God. And switches from the nice hotel to the Bates Motel: "He deserves to be miserable and feel fear." Dear reader have you ever felt that about anyone? Have you ever met anyone who writes sadistic hate like that down? Sharples says he has – when he was taking a drug cure in a loony bin. And all this is after those people in the acknowledgments section of her book have scanned it and no doubt toned it down. Can you imagine what it was like before? Can you imagine what she thinks in the undisturbed and sometimes "scary" refuge of her private reflections? That is what Amaral has had to contend with for seven years. And the loathsome Duarte, instead of barricading herself in her office and calling a psychiatrist when Kate McCann outlined her desires and waved her Fund, instead encouraged her and did her very best to help her make misery and fear a reality to Amaral, the horrible, horrible lizard. No wonder she describes herself as the "most hated person in Portugal". Good to hear one truthful sentence from that mouth.


Winning or losing... - 14.06.2014
Anyone familiar with the libel trial evidence knows that, yet again, the parents' way with the truth is different. They had a case; not a very good case under Portuguese law, but a case. That case was implicit in the testimony of one of the very few McCann witnesses who tried to tell the truth, Trish Cameron. As did, let us hasten to add, Angus MacBride. In her artless, extremely sad and stumbling, hesitant replies M/S Cameron got it right. Yes, she accepted (like the other witnesses she had no choice, since the evidence was crushing) that the material in the book came from the case files. But, but, but... and here she searched for the words, it wasn't fair because the reader was "led" to a conclusion [of the parents involvement]. Yes, all that material was in the files but the files (and here we are paraphrasing her whispered replies) concluded with an "open verdict" [type of crime unknown, no evidence against anybody] while GA's conclusions were, effectively, the prosecution case, not the investigation in the round. That viewpoint, which would have been – and still is – critical in a UK libel case, and which, we repeat, seems to us to be fair and largely true, was almost completely ignored as a line of attack by Duarte throughout the case, perhaps because it matters less in that mysterious cavern of darkness, Portuguese libel law. Instead the McCanns went for a much more ambitious strategy, one which, like all their other strategies, has a gaping hole at its heart where the truth should be – the million euros worth of "psychological damage and trauma" that the book had caused. Now, to grab your money for psychological damage, whether from the UK benefit system, insurance companies or the courts anywhere in the world, you have to provide medical evidence from a medical practitioner or tribunal. This, in either written or spoken form, the parents were unable to provide and so the claim has not been established in court, i.e has failed. 
La preuve doit être présentée oralement à la cour, même si un témoignage écrit figure dans le dossier.
Instead the claim was made by lay people, the McCanns' witnesses, and they, with a comical, if not suspicious, unanimity of view, testified enthusiastically to the signs and "symptoms" that they had observed in the couple. But there was a dangerous problem here for the claimants: how could the court be sure that the supposed "damage" was caused by a book published in 2008, rather than by those same accusations plutôt soupçons made by the Portuguese state at arguido time? The witnesses had had the chance to observe the pair at the time of both events so honest answers, of the sort that Trish Cameron had at least tried to provide, could be very important. Perhaps that's why the court didn't get them.
Each of the witnesses was asked about the comparative reaction and most of them, far from elucidating questions at issue, fibbed or floundered. When pressed they fell silent. A familiar pattern with friends of the McCanns, isn't it? Whether this was because of their own convictions, as well as their inability to be honest with the court, or whether it was an agreed line from elsewhere readers must judge for themselves. A very few examples out of a very large number, to give you the picture. 
Defence lawyer: How did the couple react when they were made arguidos?
Susan Hubbard: The McCanns didn't fear the arguido status because they knew they were innocent.
Defence lawyer: Did the constitution of the arguido status create a "secondary trauma."?
Alan "Don't Tell Them"Pike: The McCanns had expected to be made arguidos sooner, because it was quite normal in an investigation for people close to the victim to be investigated first.
Judge: What did the public conclude from the arguido status?
Michael Wright [for it is he]: It's very common and normal that the parents are the first suspects. He adds that being arguidos wasn't a preoccupation for the McCanns.
Judge: Can you explain why the arguido status didn't provoke many e-mails?
Michael Wright: [remains silent]
Michael Wright: [eventually] says there were e-mails saying it confirmed what they suspected, but the e-mails with specific threats only occurred after the book was published.
Well, well. No trauma, no real problems. Compared with Amaral's book and its claims being an arguido was just a doddle. Note that the exception to this misinformation, unsurprisingly, came from the professional, Angus MacBride. Unlike the others he knew that you don't play with subjects where the truth is already on record and will still be if appeal time comes. He kept his mouth shut. 
Defence lawyer: What about the impact of the disappearance itself and the conferring of arguido status? How did that compare with the impact of the book?
Angus MacBride: He has no idea and doesn't have any numbers.
(Judge: The court wasn't expecting you to turn up with numbers in your pocket.)
Trish Cameron herself didn't shine in her answer, contenting herself with the reply that the couple were "quite unhappy" at being made an arguido. Ah, that's all right then.
So there we are. If you know anything about the McCann affair it stinks, doesn't it? It really stenches up the nostrils. All of them except Angus MacBride maintaining from their personal knowledge and observation that being made arguidos hadn't been horrible and traumatic, that the pair had "expected it", that being made arguidos with the vastly greater publicity than the book received "didn't preoccupy them" at all, that they "didn't fear it". On oath. 
"Had expected it"? 
KMC : "...if you'd told us a few weeks earlier that we were going to be declared arguidos we wouldn't have believed that either." 
GMC 5/9/07: "We were surprised to find increased media presence in Praia da Luz again today. We were followed down to church, then to the shops and back to our accommodation which is very unusual...all the excitement seems to be over the results of the recent forensic tests that again have created a huge amount of speculation." 
GMC 10/9/07 : "We could never possibly have imagined being put in this unbearable situation." 
Apparences, apparences.
"Didn't fear the arguido status because they knew they were innocent"? 
KMC : "...can you imagine what would have happened if we'd announced to journalists heading for Huelva that the police were coming to do some forensic work in our villa? We were not to know our excuse would prove to be no more than a temporary holding measure." 
"Being arguidos wasn't a preoccupation for the McCanns"? 
KMC : "The preparation of a case like this could take years...the prospect of being separated from Sean and Amelie holed up in jail...was terrifying. Gerry was seriously considering sneaking us into a car and driving us all across the border to Spain."
"…had expected to be made arguidos sooner, because it was quite normal…"? 
KMC 8/8/07: "What did they know? I was sobbing now, well past the stage of silent tears and stifled sniffs. I began to wail hysterically, drawing breath in desperate gasps. I was becoming more and more distressed and more and more scared...knock her off balance by telling her her daughter was dead and get her to confess...drove to the Hubbards…when we calmed down a little and told them what had happened we were presented with several shocked faces. Susan suggested I went and had a bath...I leaned over the washbasin and peered into the mirror. My eyes were narrow slits in fat, purples lids. My blotchy face seemed to be ageing by the day...what's going to become of us all?...a difficult evening...we spoke to Alan Pike, who was sympathetic, understanding and rational, as always."
But that's it, that's the Kate and Gerry McCann way with the truth, one that draws other people into their net. That's what GA has had to deal with. That's what Trish Cameron has to deal with.

Alice back in Wonderland, - 12.07.2014  
It was the Lisbon judge who provided the strongest support for the Bureau's contention that the libel trial has become a complete irrelevance to the establishment of truth in the Madeleine McCann affair. As she said to Gerry McCann:
"The point isn't to establish whether things are true or not, this is not the issue."
Well you can't say fairer than that, can you?
With the little matter of the role of truth disposed of, what's left? Well, partisanship worthy of a Brazil world cup tie, judging by comments surrounding the case on the net. Much elation at possible signs that the judge is "not fooled" by the couple; but that's another way of saying that she shouldn't judge the case on the evidence but on what sceptics think is the true nature of the pair. That's not really what "justice" is about, is it? What would sceptics say if a McCann supporter expressed satisfaction that the judge can "see through" Gonçalo Amaral? Or gloated at a judge's supposedly curt demand for Gonçalo to be quiet? Come on! There really is a deadly contradiction here. If right and wrong are so easily seen from the stands then how come the Portuguese justice system has been unable to establish them on the field after five years and counting? Either Gonçalo Amaral has no case to answer, in which event he is the victim of a disgusting and medieval miscarriage of justice by the Portuguese, a scandal which nobody in Portugal, literally nobody, shows any sign of ending (national holidays etc. are much more important); or else there is a solid case in Portuguese law that the couple, as things stand, have been wronged – which makes a nonsense of the lazy certainties of commentators that GA didn't libel them. Well which is it?
To be fair the judge at the London trial of that unlikely martyr Tony Bennett also excluded any consideration of the truth about the disappearance from his proceedings, confining them, as he had to, as things stand, to the narrow question of the observance or otherwise of Bennett's undertakings. Yet, without wanting to be unkind, the contrast between the fate of Bennett at the hands of the corrupt, whitewashing, paedophile-led, McCann-protecting British justice system and that of Amaral is stark: Bennett was never ambushed by a secret tribunal like Amaral nor judged in his absence but given chance after chance to stop libelling; he suffered no seizures of his property and his fortune remains almost completely untouched; he is at liberty; he has been pursued for only a fraction of the costs he was liable for, with the UK public via its contributions to the money-spinning Fund, paying the rest; far from being subject to some ghastly UK super-injunction the restrictions on his right to comment on the case have been laughable in their looseness; Bennett was not trapped in an incomprehensible five years plus legal nightmare but dealt with expeditiously once he had stopped stalling the case. And, importantly, everyone has access to the full judgement on the internet and can purchase the official transcript if they wish. Doesn't that suggest something or other?
La saisie des biens de l'inculpé, demandé par les demandeurs, ne se fait pas impunément. Si les demandeurs perdent le procès, ils devront payer à l'inculpé les intérêts des biens gelés, calculés aux taux judiciaire, qui n'est pas du tout le taux bancaire.

The court statements by the McCanns last week were something of a damp squib for those of us who had waited many years to see them in court. Real life being what it is we weren't going to get tearful collapses as their lies were ruthlessly exposed, Hollywood fashion. European trials don't provide the jugular-dripping savaging of witnesses that the UK adversarial model so satisfyingly displays, so we'd already grown used to watching trial witnesses (with the exception of Angus MacBride of course) falling into silence rather than being gleefully shredded. And the personal statement format provided additional protection for the couple. Thus the parents, well briefed by Duarte, were able to make a smooth, not to say oily, transition from the outrageous fiction of their claims in the original writ to their new versions without being verbally cudgelled for their dishonesty, leaving it to connoisseurs of McCann porkies to note the way in which the semi-catatonic depression originally claimed was just, well, feeling a bit miserable for a while, and the quarter million euros worth of horrific, permanent and disabling insomnia and anxiety had, in Gerry McCanns soothing words, dwindled into a mere temporary episode. When listing the undeniable inferences to be drawn from Amaral's book about their actions as things stand the couple were on much firmer ground, as the judge's comments unquestionably confirm, prompting the thought that had they stuck to these claims alone they would be favourites to win; being the McCanns, however, they had to surround the possible truth at the heart of their writ with a thick dressing of lies, in this case easily disprovable ones. In an English libel court this irrefutable evidence of mendacity in the claim would weigh heavily in the judgement – but in Portugal? Only the Portuguese, one presumes, can say. Their statements to the court avoided the undeniable collusion in their May 4 2007 police statements, the very first act, be it remembered, in their successful obstruction of the Interrupted Investigation— for agreed stories are, by definition, a subversion of an inquiry. But there was just one recognizable "agreed joint line" in their statements last week. It concerned Mr Bennett. 
KMC: Both People on the Web and through e-mails were stimulated to insult them, like the Madeleine Foundation, and created a lot of damages. As Gonçalo Amaral was the coordinator of the investigation, it provided him credibility and it intensified the vilification of them.
Judge: What is the Madeleine Foundation?
KMC explains that it's a group of people who essentially promotes theories up to the point of trying to manipulate people in their village.
Judge : What relation is there between this group and the book?
KMC says there is none, but they invited Gonçalo Amaral. She thinks that he didn't go.
Judge : This group was created because of the book?
KMC – No, it existed before the book was published. She says that obviously the book strengthened them.
GMC says that, thanks to the legal actions, the content of the book hasn't been published by the MSM, but small minority groups, in the UK, have launched campaigns of persecution against them, based on the book.
Judge : Can you name them?
GMC : Yes, we had legal actions against the Madeleine Foundation and the name is Anthony Bennett.
Judge : What relation exists between this group and the publication of the book?
GMC says that AB used parts of the book, interviewed Gonçalo Amaral and invited him on a forum.
Judge : Did the group exist before the publication?
GMC isn't sure about that. But he's able to say that the material they used was based on the allegations of the book. They published pamphlets that said that Madeleine hadn't been abducted. They distributed them to his neighbours and in the whole Leicestershire. This led AB to receive many warnings from his juridical counsels and finally to be sued.
The reader can see at once the prepared nature and, in places, near identity of their comments. In the scheme of things – the alleged suffering, the implications of Amaral's book, the effect on their children, the apparent conversion of the whole of Portugal into believers in their guilt by the book, all the things laid out at length and with such fury by Kate McCann in Madeleine – the emphasis on Mr Bennett seems absurdly disproportionate. And it is: those words about Bennett make up twenty per cent of their statements. The drift of their shared line is clear: they wish to stress a firm link between Amaral and Bennett, one that includes Bennett's foundation using Amaral's theories to persecute them, including distributing incriminating leaflets and "manipulating" their neighbours all over their home county; Amaral, they claim, was close enough to Bennett to be invited to address his foundation. And they make it clear that they sued him for libel. Successfully. Note that a considerable part of the McCanns' Portuguese libel claim, involving, particularly, the testimony of Angus MacBride, is the effect Gonçalo Amaral's book has had in the UK, both in causing pain and distress to the couple with the claims of body disposal and cover-up and in helping convince the British that the child, and therefore the search for her, was dead. The McCanns want to win their case. Very, very much. So the question for the reader is, "why did they spend 20% of the time granted to them in court addressing the judge on Amaral's supposed links with Bennett"? What exactly were they hoping to achieve by doing so? To us the answer is blindingly obvious but others may have a different view. As things stand. Well, if people want things to stand differently then they'll just have to look beyond Lisbon, won't they? As, come to think of it, may Gonçalo Amaral since the only place where the establishment of truth "is an issue" is within the wicked, whitewashing joint investigation. That's all there is, chums.

Already sentenced but not convicted – 08.08.2014
The sentence effectively imposed on the McCanns by their own actions, and put into words by the authors of the Archiving Summary, dwarfs anything that might have resulted from a guilty plea, tactical or otherwise, to disposing of their child's body. However much lawyers or agents of the couple try to spin the shelving document it makes no difference: the low-key yet lethal words buried halfway through the summary that the group's actions and evasions cost the McCanns "the chance to demonstrate their innocence" cannot be argued away. That isn't because the prosecutors' statements are convincing, or learned or powerful. It is because they reflect reality. That reality, that truth, that the couple's innocence cannot be demonstrated is there in front of us. First, because it is based on facts established by the PJ and summarised in the report that formed the basis for the prosecutors' appraisal. The questions raised by the facts and events listed in paragraphs 1-5 of the "reconstruction" section have never been answered and therefore the suspicions remain as valid today as in summer 2008. That is unanswerable reality One. Reality Two is just as stark. The "failure to demonstrate their innocence" is at the heart of every comment on the affair for the last seven years, whether supportive or critical, since if the McCanns had demonstrated their innocence there would be no contention and nothing to argue about. That is what demonstrable innocence means: it exists, it can be demonstrated and it is finally self-evident. Yet even the most fervent defenders of the couple, whether in the media or the libel courts, are unable to point to evidence and say, "look, this clears them." Instead the best they can do is repeat over and over that "the prosecutors say there is no evidence against them", a line of argument that is an admission of defeat. The same applies to the related matter of Leicester constabulary's sworn statement – based, like the Archiving Summary on the facts of the investigation – that "while one or both of them may be innocent, there is no clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement in Madeleine's disappearance." Kate McCann may huff and puff about how hurtful she finds it and the supporters may claim that it's "old news" (!) that somehow doesn't apply anymore (!) but none of them have been able to challenge the self-evident truth of the statement. That is why it has been neither withdrawn nor modified: withdrawing it would mean asserting that there is "clear evidence that eliminates them" otherwise the withdrawal would be meaningless. Where is it? And exactly the same applies to Scotland Yard: Redwood can assert that the McCanns are not suspects but he cannot assert that there is now "clear evidence that eliminates them" without providing it. There is not a hint or trace of such evidence having been unearthed in the three years of Operation Grange's existence. Such is their situation and their fate. Their graphically vivid disintegration, not at the hands of the "haters" or Gonçalo Amaral but under the burden of the truly horrible pariah status that has resulted, possesses an elemental quality, a sense of inevitability foretold by the measured words of the catholic Menezes, whose phrases are, after all, only a repetition in legalese of an ancient message: the truth can set you free if you let it. In other words nobody can ever release them except themselves — by submitting unreservedly to uncertain fate and telling everything they know without shame, hope or qualification. But that is something they clearly will not and cannot do, as the words of Madeleine alone make crystal clear. Thus they stand locked in the modern equivalent of the medieval pillory with no prospect of release and without a single shred of dignity: instead of being pelted with old vegetables and stones by yokels they are stripped naked, probed, mocked and pissed and shit upon by internet mobs, their daughter the butt of filthy jokes on the sicko comedy sites, their "innocence" referred to with amused irony in the pubs and bars. Whatever happens the future for the couple is unspeakably dark.