"My reason for writing it is simple: to give an account of the truth"
Kate McCann's preface to "Madeleine"
Nothing To Lose
Nothing has done more to damage the myth of McCann “innocence” than Kate McCann’s decision to admit lying about August 2 2007, when the couple put together an elaborate, if rushed, deception plan to conceal their own actions and the real course of the police investigation.
Sans grande raison de mentir, c'est le pire.
Under different circumstances that plan, and those lies, could have been defended by a clever lawyer as an aberration, a singularity in an otherwise spotless record, brought on by the stresses of the moment.
Il était si simple de se réfugier derrière le secret de l'instruction !
The Foundation Lie
The Foundation Lie, as we can call it, the start of the contagion, has a feature almost unique in the case: full admission. The detailed admission in writing and without legal duress in a book she claims is "the truth" is effectively accepted by all “sides”. The lie is what is called in the legal process an “Established Fact" - one that is not in dispute and is therefore settled once and for all. Remember here that we are not talking about newspaper stories or anonymous claims or suspicions or even typed timelines: we are dealing solely with what the McCanns have said, publicly and under their own names, free of third party corruption or spin. But in a way that Kate McCann could never have anticipated, the virus spread from the Foundation Lie outwards. All anyone has to do is turn from Madeleine and KM’s assertion that on August 2 they had invented a Gerry McCann illness as cover, and look at Gerry McCann’s wretched blog about the same day written four years previously.
There it is: “Today was a bit of a write off for me as I was laid low with a probable viral illness which meant I could not stray too far from the house!”
And confirmed the next day, August 3: “We were meant to go [to Huelva] yesterday but had to cancel because I was ill.”
It is now the most natural thing in the world to ask ourselves, “hang on, forget Kate McCann - if he’s been caught fibbing there twice, is he also lying elsewhere in the blogs?”
So we can turn to adjoining days. Ignoring his untrue claim to have "taken the children out of the Kid's Club" on August 9 (they had no part in the decision to exclude them) as trivial, we find August 8. The blog has a brief and colourless short paragraph about an uneventful day, the highpoint being the departure of KM’s parents “early this morning”.
There is one dull sentence about the investigation, boringly reminiscent of those other uninformative one liners that readers found in many of the earlier blogs - met with the Portuguese and British police for an update on the investigation, (June 26); our frequent meetings with the police help us stay informed, allow us to feed information into the investigation and clarify information with senior officers (July 3); we had a longer meeting than usual with the Portuguese police because I had gone back to London last week .We have a good relationship with them (July 18) - all very chummy and routine. As was August 8: GM writes: “At our meeting with the Portuguese police today we reaffirmed that we have to believe Madeleine is alive until there is concrete evidence to the contrary.” Wait a minute. KM’s take on that encounter is somewhat different. These are some of her words about it:
“The PJ had always been optimistic that Madeleine was alive, but now things had changed…Gerry was asked to leave the room…I was afraid… the sirens in my head were deafening… tell us about that night, they said… they responded by just staring at me and shaking their heads. I was reeling with confusion, disbelief and panic… Neves stated bluntly that they didn’t believe my version of events…I was sobbing… I began to wail hysterically…desperate gasps…. Gerry gave the police his account of the events of 3 May and the reasons why he didn’t believe Madeleine had been killed in the apartment. Through his tears he pleaded…”
What? What's going on? Why has he concealed every single thing that his wife said happened? But wait another minute, if that's his version of that police meeting then what about those other ones we just quoted from weeks earlier but that his wife hasn't "revised" - how are we to know they were truthful? Looking further ahead, how do we know that any one of the blog entries is true? And, again, if a person's blog demonstrates clear evidence of lying and concealment about the investigation into his child's disappearance, of all things, then what about his police statements about that same disappearance? Are they true? And what about their endless public interviews that the police allowed them to get away with until April 2018 - how truthful are they?
Well Kate's Foundation Lie and resultant virus give us a firm answer about the period she was covering in those chapters. Watch.
Kate McCann’s "Madeleine" description of the six weeks or so following mid-July – please remember this figure of six weeks – is one of melodramatic and apocalyptic hysteria and rage against a world that has turned on her and a police force that, having told her early in August that they no longer believed her version of events, has brought more terrifying news week by week and is now talking of a murder inquiry and mysterious dog searches suggesting death in the apartment. Life had been turned upside down, so fast was the police investigation developing. It “…felt like an eternity. It was like being on some kind of endurance course run by sadists… we had no idea what was happening with the investigation… anger, bitterness, frustration, desperation… We felt like two lone figures with catapults fighting an army…" until, on August 20, "Gerry contacted Carlos Pinto de Abreu, a human-rights lawyer in Lisbon…"
You get the picture. What has Gerry McCann got to say about that? According to repeated statements made by Gerry McCann, public, on the record and transcribed, nothing had happened in the investigation during those six weeks! Literally nothing.
Show it to us
Let’s see samples of how Gerry McCann described these nightmare developments at the time, talking on August 25 to numerous broadcasters and interviewers when he was in Edinburgh during the festival. The reliably supine BBC had invited him up. All the italics are ours.
GM1: ... there clearly is a lot of pressure on people to write things just now, because they're in Portugal, when there's not actually very much happening. Uh, huh.
GM2: Absolutely, because, you know, there has been huge amounts written with no substance. Uh, huh.
GM3: … things have gone back to a degree of normality again and some calmness has settled in…Uh, huh.
GM4: Even early on, there was saturation coverage with nothing to report, and there are commercial decisions being made with filling column inches and time on TV…Particularly in the last six weeks, other than the recent searches, there has been nothing. Uh, huh.
Coo-eee sur-prise! Nice Mr Abreu's here...
So little had been going on in the investigation, apparently, that the couple had got themselves a criminal lawyer, according to wifey, five days before his Edinburgh stunt. Lucky that: twelve days later and he was in the nick trying to get them out.
...to get you out of the nick
We've never been bothered to go through the records to find further confirmation of the pattern: enough is enough. Again, after all this, which of the two do you believe? The answer, obviously, is neither; they are a dead loss, useless to any investigation, any search, anything to do with their daughter since May 3. Nobody can safely accept anything from them without independent evidence in support. That goes for us, McCann supporters, opponents, police, lawyers and judges. All the way. If any of them, or our readers, has a way of knowing when the pair are telling the truth then, in Menezes’s immortal words – show it to us.
It follows, as night follows day, that it is impossible for their version of what happened after 7.30 PM on May 3 2007 ever to be accepted. By that we mean something much stronger than disbelief or “some people think they’re guilty”. We mean impossible, as in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the investigation of which cannot begin, let alone proceed or conclude, until independent evidence for their account of that evening is found. Sure, people can try but without that independent evidence any investigative attempt will collapse at the first judicial hurdle. As the Portuguese, unable even to establish formally what crime they were investigating, were the first to discover.
No such evidence has been found by any of the three investigations over seven years active work– otherwise the parents would have been told by the police and the evidence would then have been leaked. Bureau readers can, therefore, decide for themselves whether the investigations are all a “farce” and no investigation has actually begun, or whether the two current investigations have long ago written the pair off completely and proceeded on their way by, using a cricket term, "playing around them". Without admitting it.
Next time we’ll look at this business of “no other choice”.
Quick “source stuff”
The relevant Madeleine passages will be found in Chapters 13-15. We have "sampled" many of KM's hysterical sentences about the "six weeks" rather than quoting them separately at full volume and inordinate length.
The deadening “GM blog” is to be found here. Unlike Kate McCann our professor does not give a preface to his blog - instead the first pages are, most appropriately, filled with financial details of how to give him and his fund money.
Gerry McCann’s Edinburgh publicity blitz can be found here. The reader should scroll down past the “telecinco” stuff.
A vintage performance of Professor McCann fibbing at Edinburgh can be found here: Note the immortal “there’s not much happening” at about 54 seconds, reminiscent in many ways of the words so shockingly alleged to have been uttered by a past mayor of Hiroshima.
The Portuguese inability even to establish the type of crime without the independent evidence: official finding - "Type of Crime: Unknown".
For those with excessive time on their hands, suffer from aimlessness and have no fear of suddenly going mad, the Bureau's philosophy and allotments correspondent, Herr-Dr Karla Spade, adds: the profound epistemological and legal problems posed by Frau Kate McCann's opening words about her book, quoted above, are outlined here:
"In philosophy and logic, the classical liar paradox, or Karla Spade dilemma is the statement of a liar who states that he or she is lying: for instance, declaring that "I am lying" or "everything I say is false". If the liar is indeed lying, then the liar is telling the truth, which means the liar is lying.
And if we write "this sentence is false" is true, then the sentence is false, but if the sentence states that it is false, and it is false, then it must be true, and so on. This is what this loony pair of McCanns haf done to our heads, Godammit. But if it gets them into jail, then who cares? Eh?"
Counsel: One key event in this narrative is you becoming, if I pronounce it right, arguido, under Portuguese law, which occurred on 7 September 2007, and this is paragraph 34 of your witness statement. To be clear about it, and you'll correct me if I'm wrong because you know more about this than me, "arguido" does not mean "suspect", it means "person of interest"; is that correct?
McCann: That's what we were advised was the closest correlation or translation within UK law at the time, and I think it is probably important to emphasise that as a witness in Portugal at that time you were not entitled to any legal representation. So if the police wanted to ask any question, which your answer may give incriminating evidence, then they must declare you arguido, then you were entitled to have a lawyer there.(1) And in many ways you could argue that all parents of a missing child, certainly those who would have been the last to see them, could have to answer questions like that. So being labelled arguido was not necessarily such a bad thing.
Counsel: Maybe there are two points here. The first point is the obvious one that needs to be stated. There isn't an equivalent concept of arguido in English law?
McCann: No. And I think the aspect on that is we've never been arrested, we've never been charged with anything. We've never stood trial.
Counsel: Do you happen to know whether under Portuguese law they have a category of suspect?
McCann: I think it is loosely used, but you could have multiple arguidos within any investigation, and at that time, the title "arguido" stayed with those involved until the file was closed.
Counsel: Do you think, rightly or wrongly, the British press somehow interpreted "arguido" as equivalent to “suspect", which carried with it, therefore, its own connotations?
McCann: Yes. I mean clearly the word was used that way almost exclusively.
Counsel: At this point we are in the late summer, obviously, or early autumn of 2007. If I can move you forward to paragraph 39 of your statement. You're making the point that the story in terms of objective fact is beginning to run dry and reporters now are thrashing around for something new.
“Aware that we were only an hour and a quarter’s drive from southern Spain, and beyond that lay the borderless continent of Europe – not to mention the short hop across the Strait of Gibraltar to north Africa – David was saying, ‘We need roadblocks set up. The borders to Spain, Morocco and Algiers need to be alerted.’ Russell later asked us for our digital photos of Madeleine and went off somewhere with our camera.”
“Dave, seeing Gerry’s anguish and frustration at how little was being done, knew Madeleine needed more help than she was getting. At some point before the PJ left, a retired British couple in a nearby apartment lent him their computer and he sent an email to Sky News alerting them to the abduction of our daughter, using an address listed on their website.”
“That morning I learned of the man Jane had seen in the street. Although Gerry and our friends had been trying to protect me from further distress by not telling me about this sooner, when they did I was strangely relieved. Madeleine hadn’t just disappeared off the face of the earth. There was something to work on.”
il y avait deux volets dans cette affaire, une partie était l'affaire criminelle, mais l'autre était la spéculation et la perception des médias, et il nous incombait de dépeindre la vérité aux médias et en particulier d'essayer d'éliminer toute théorie mal fondée sur l'implication de Gerry et Kate…
L'objectif de la défense était de s'assurer qu'ils ne se trouveraient jamais à moins de 100 miles d'une cour de justice portugaise, et encore moins d'y laisser les faits «démontrer leur innocence».
The details and methods can be found in the most open of these cases, that of Gary McKinnon the “superhacker,” to which the reader is referred. It’s all there: a budget provided largely by sympathetic well-wishers, a huge PR campaign to create the “victim” role (and mental health issues), to whip up xenophobia, (“wicked American dungeons” “against “wicked corrupt cops”) to trivialise the charges (“just a bedroom hacker” against “we’ve all done it”) and so on. The similarity isn’t surprising – the McKinnon people were following the same template. It’s dirty but it works. No extradition!
Les distorsions des relations entre Scotland Yard et la police portugaise au cours des cinq dernières années peuvent donc difficilement importuner les MC. Les menaces sur le financement de Grange non plus. Les attaques répétées et inventées contre le professionnalisme des deux forces et la prétendue liste des «derniers suspects» non plus.
The "Nick Pisa fiction" story was not the aberration of a gormless free-lancer. It was a multiple-outlet news feed using new information provided by the McCanns, not an "exclusive": the Mail version of the same feed - which contained additional quotes - came out three hours after the original Sun piece - during the night and before the story had appeared in the paper editions. Both included a quote from Mitchell.
Case abandoned amid overwhelming disgust and nausea at all of them.
Claim: Gerry McCann disabled by a virus on August 2 2007.
Nature of claim: Solely public.
Source: Gerry McCann, Kate McCann.
Present status: Admitted lie.
Nature of claim: Solely public.
Source: Kate McCann. "Something to do with forensics, they’d said. Great timing. And forensics? What was that all about?" and "When you are innocent, it doesn’t occur to you that you could be considered in any other light. Whatever the case, difficult as it is to believe, I still didn’t smell a rat."
Confirmation/rebuttal: Case files: Search warrant issued to search suspects' ("suspeitos") apartment, presented and executed. Both suspects questioned by detectives in connection with disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Present Status: Untrue.
Claim: Police offered the parents a deal: a lighter sentence if she would plead guilty to disposing of the child.
Nature of claim: Public.
Source: Kate McCann. On the morning of 7 September KM, the person who insists that she always abided by the Portuguese secrecy rules, gave a "green light", as she described it, to family members peddling a line to the UK media about the police having offered an illegal "deal" the previous day to intimidate and incentivize her into a false confession to disposing of the child's body. She spent two hours spelling out the stories. Her press spokesperson contacted editors so they were ready for them.
C'est une variante de "how doing things with words", le secret étant que le message soit rapidement capté et multiplié.
Present status: It's up there with the jemmied shutters, which also featured intensive phone-calling to family members. Like the shutters claim it has been abandoned.
See a pattern yet?
More to come.
we had to engage with the media who’d suddenly appeared stuff
Ce sont manifestement les MC qui ont briefé DJS, comment aurait-il autrement connaissance de l'interrogatoire informel, donc pas dans les PJFiles, du 8 août ?
Act Three, continued
Gerry McCann's Blogs
After dropping the twins off Kate and I popped into church for 10 minutes to pray for Madeleine. Spent most of the day going through mail, e-mails and I had a number of calls to make. It was good to spend some time with my family and Sean and Amelie certainly enjoyed their auntie’s dinner- sometimes it is hard to beat mince and ‘tatties’
I dropped my head in my hands in utter disbelief. I began to shake and cry. I shouted at Ricardo, ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing this? I can’t believe what’s going on! This is ridiculous. It’s despicable.’ I shook my head over and over again. ‘This can’t be happening. This just cannot be true!’Trisha and Eileen were staying with us for what was intended to be our final week in Luz. Hearing the commotion from the next room, where they were playing with Sean and Amelie, they came running in demanding to know what was happening. Within seconds there were more tears and more shouts of dismay and disbelief.
I am still amazed at the irresponsible reporting going on in the press with unsubstantiated reports from unreliable sources being repeated in the UK and Portuguese press unquestioningly.
The British and Portuguese efforts to find out what happened to the toddler are being carried out separately - but the two are believed to have met to discuss the theory.A spokesman for Portugal's Attorney General's Office refused to comment, but a well-placed source said: 'The heads of the two police investigations are corresponding with each other directly and have combined their efforts without resorting to rogatory letters like before.A meeting took place recently at the HQ of the General Attorney's Office in Portugal, which was attended by the prosecutor from Portimao who is in charge of the Portuguese inquiry. One of the lines of investigation that continues to be pursued is that the child could have walked out of the holiday flat herself.'
2018 Metro, (part of Mail group) 27 November
A spokesman for Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office confirmed the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance – which is being conducted separately to Operation Grange – is ‘ongoing’ and benefitting from the same bilateral cooperation as before. She [the spokesman] said: ‘The Portuguese judicial authorities do not comment on the lines of investigation that are being pursued by the British authorities.’But the source [read those three words again carefully]: said: ‘The heads of the two police investigations are corresponding with each other directly and have combined their efforts without resorting to rogatory letters like before. A meeting took place recently at the HQ of the General Attorney’s Office in Portugal, which was attended by the prosecutor from Portimao who is in charge of the Portuguese inquiry. One of the lines of investigation that continues to be pursued is that the child could have walked out of the holiday flat herself.’
That strange, inexplicable and utterly sublime masterpiece Astral Weeks is fifty years old today
"Ain't nothing but a stranger in this world..."
Reminding us that truth, beauty and art in the end outlive dishonesty, lies and greed.
The Bureau's Selection of Seasonal Literary Treats