The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

The Blacksmith Bureau - 2012 (Jan-Jun) *

Opinion articles that appeared originally at
The Blacksmith Bureau
Lord Justice Leveson ends the year, 11 January 2012
Lord Justice Leveson ends the year The Blacksmith Bureau

Leveson inquiry: David Pilditch

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 at 21:08

David Pilditch

He did so by reminding us, once again, that the Madeleine McCann Affair is a psychological phenomenon as much as a legal one.

2011, remember, was when we got the words out of the couple's own mouths and were able to come to a final conclusion, not just a view, on their veracity. That veracity is the foundation of the abduction claim and the year saw it demolished.

To recap:
  • The repeated claims by Gerry McCann in his 2007 "blog" that he and his wife were not suspected of involvement by the Portuguese police in the disappearance were demonstrated as proven lies, as the date evidence of the police interviews in Madeleine now shows.
  • Kate McCann herself admitted in Madeleine that they had lied (page 206) to the media about the police investigation and attempted to change the untruthful story that she had illegally leaked to the media (Lori Campbell) about a supposed deal offer by the Portuguese police.
Which confirmed the previous evidence of:
  • The Lisbon court statement by the prosecutor Menezes in January 2010 in which he asserted that the group of nine, which included the parents, "had not told the truth" about the circumstances of their checking.
And was followed by:
  • The materially misleading evidence under oath to the Leveson inquiry given by Gerry McCann as to the origins of the "media pack" in Praia da Luz and his relationship with the Press Complaints Commission.
The Cretan Liars

All this evidence derives from irrefutable sources, not the deniable newspaper garbage and forum myths of the past five years. It won't be challenged by McCann supporters because it is unchallengeable. The blogs were direct communications to the public from Gerry McCann via his site, not the media; Madeleine, of course, is on-the-record primary source material which she attests (Page 1) to be the truth; Menezes's statement, unlike his unsworn material in the case summary, is on-oath judicial record; Gerry McCann's statements, also on oath, are now in the public arena.

It all amounts to this: we did not tell the truth to the police about the circumstances of the evening of May 3 2007; we lied to the public about our role in the police investigation of summer 2007; when tested under oath at the Leveson inquiry our version of events was found, once again, to be untruthful. We are also the source of the abduction claim. A pretty Cretan Liar paradox for Scotland Yard!

Here come de judge

There is no reason for Leveson to know much about this. And none at all for him to be suspicious of the pair. But Leveson wasn't just sympathetic to Kate and Gerry McCann: he went out of his way to make a demonstration of his emotional solidarity with the parents, addressing them as he might address two terminally ill grandchildren. Later, by word and deed (impatient tossing of his head, that repulsive lower-lipped sneer) he contemptuously dismissed as "tittle-tattle" evidence of the reports reaching the UK about the progress of the police investigation. The witness he patronised and scorned so loftily, the manifestly decent and reliable - for a journalist - David Pilditch, made it quite clear that his reports had accurately reflected police thinking at the time and had been run by Clarence Mitchell (busy briefing the press against the police daily at the time, according to Pilditch) in advance of submission.

Leveson was having none of it, turning away in another now-familiar contemptuous gesture, that of the rude and grumpy stage husband sniffing and then rejecting his wife's smelly and unpleasant meal. In fact this was perhaps the only time when he almost lost control of the tribunal since an agitated counsel for the celebrities was at once on his feet, anxious to refute Pilditch's statement that the case papers confirmed his claims.

The judge, confronted by David Sherborne and the disturbingly thick sheaf of McCann provided questions under his arm, was stuck, clearly seeing the possibility of a derailment and a mini-McCann trial within an inquiry. He became embroiled in debate before, finally, allowing Sherborne to make a statement but not examine the witness nor produce his evidence - the worst of both worlds. It was an unseemly incident but who was to blame other than Leveson himself? He had derailed matters by ostentatiously demonstrating his emotions - obviously derived from prima facie superficial knowledge gained outside the court, not from the proceedings - rather than sticking to the proceedings themselves.

Judges know very well the importance of their own attitudes and body language, both because they are schooled and warned about them on appointment to the judiciary and because they have witnessed - and deliberately exploited - their impact in open court. There is all the difference in the world between a Lord Justice Sneerson in a criminal case stating "the witness is clearly telling the truth" and using the same words with a raised eyebrow and a crooked smile - both of which, of course, pass clean under the transcript radar and can never be appealed. Leveson knows it yet, unlike counsel for the inquiry Day,who was sympathetic, courteous but largely neutral to the pair, he couldn't resist making a demonstration of his feelings. From the bench about an open case!

So why did he do it?

Why? Well, there are plenty of interpretations. Starting with the possibility that, underneath the fierce intellect, lurks a self-important and at times rather noxious - watch that pendulous lip! - little bully with his own certainties and without much knowledge of the real world beyond the confines of his court. Like most judges in fact.

And then at the other end, of course, sigh, wilt, yawn, we have the Department of Easy Answers conspiracy version: Leveson is being over-nice to the McCanns as part of the protective screen provided by the Establishment.

As we said at the beginning, we lean towards the psychological answer and the one that has always been the greatest ally of the parents: decent people, not the operators who surround the McCanns like flies on vomit, but the mainly decent, mainly pretty intelligent people in the public who don't study the case in detail share a common, if only half-conscious, attitude to the case: its unthinkability.

To study the case rather than skim the headlines is to be drawn in to murky and uncomfortable waters. The possibility of infanticide, even - horribile dictu - within a group, runs so perilously close to our western taboos that most people not only do not wish to contemplate it but refuse even to consider its contemplation, partly because to do so would be a betrayal of our normal sympathy for a stricken pair brought close to us by the media. Discussing it makes them, as many of us have witnessed, acutely uncomfortable, even physically so - just like the judge in fact. Once the evidence in such taboo-touching cases is laid out in its full horror within courtroom walls then people will accept it, often with a shudder. But unless there is cast-iron evidence of guilt we think most people, like Lord Justice Leveson, simply find its contemplation revolting.

Us and Them

Unlike S.Amaral and some others perhaps, we haven't the slightest doubt that Leveson, despite his absurd performance, would preside fairly over any trial of the McCanns. Given our own view of the case - and this is the essential gulf between us and the hidden-handers - we worry not about judges and other "thems" but about juries, i.e. us. In the confines of the jury room people like us will still want that "cast-iron evidence of guilt" before facing the possibly unthinkable: it wasn't there in 2007, as the prosecutors knew, and it isn't there now.

Short of the cast iron making a hefty appearance we can see only one possible threat to this complex public reaction, what we might call the drip, drip, drip effect. All-or-nothing, the unthinkable, suits the McCanns. Yet the slow accumulation over time of evidence not of the unthinkable but of a vastly lower level of dishonesty, such as significant and persistent lying, which the Bureau attempts to publicise, or the assiduous repetition of mere accident which S.Amaral cleverly conveys, could gradually feed its way into public attitudes. And thence even to the jury room. Who knows, if Scotland Yard or some other force turn up light aluminium, rather than iron, one day such attempts might tip the balance.

The lawyers for the McCanns know this perfectly well which is why their main aim in the UK is always to prevent the drip, drip, drip, getting to a wider audience than that of the net and us net nutters. It began with "expunging", remember?

Pass it on

As always the Bureau is glad to help: we did not tell the truth to the police about the circumstances of the evening of May 3 2007; we lied to the public about our role in the police investigation of summer 2007; when tested under oath at the Leveson inquiry our version of events was found, once again, to be untruthful. We are also the source of the abduction claim.

Happy New Year.

Absent friends, 28 January 2012
Absent friends The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Saturday, 28 January 2012 at 16:01

The McCanns. They are shown demonstrating the terrifying psychological damage that their libel writ describes.

The McCanns. They are shown demonstrating the terrifying psychological damage that their libel writ describes.

We ourselves have had no information about whether S. Amaral's lawyer Antonio Cabrita has ceased working for his client. Still, as we wrote in 2010 Cabrita is a serial incompetent who came close to destroying what remained of Scotland Yard police officer de Freitas's career by his bungled attempt to call him as a witness for Goncalo Amaral as well as simultaneously embarrassing both the Yard and Leicester police.

Some weeks later he excelled himself in court when the prosecutor Menezes offered him a gift-wrapped treat in the form of his now-famous statement that the group had lied about the "checking". Unfortunately Cabrita gave it back to him unopened. He completely failed to appreciate its importance and thus didn't develop a line of questioning that would have brought its significance to the attention of both the judge and the slavering media pack outside. Finally the "interpretation" finding in the appeal court judgement which brought eventual success to S. Amaral seems to have owed more to the judges' own reasoning about the case than to any arguments put forward by Cabrita. Nor does it help that he has been severely and incurably ill for some years.

That was why we called on Amaral to get rid of him and that's why we can't help thinking that any replacement would be preferable. But what do we know?

The McCanns describing the appalling and continuous symptoms of pain  that the libel writ outlines.

The McCanns describing the appalling and continuous symptoms of pain that the libel writ outlines.

Anyway the case is postponed, to the disappointment, no doubt, of those who are certain that Amaral is hurtling towards his doom. Much has been made of the impossibility of S. Amaral demonstrating the likely truth of his central contention that the child died in the apartment on May 3. After all we have David Payne who can testify that he saw the child alive, well and strikingly pretty at 6.40 PM, staff at the Tapas restaurant who can testify to the couple's arrival time and the unanimous evidence of the whole group that the demeanour and behaviour of both Kate and Gerry McCann was completely normal and untroubled until 10 PM that night. All the other stuff, say the parents' allies, such as the traumatising effect that the parents claim Amaral's accusations had on them, is really unimportant and peripheral compared with what these solid and undeniable witnesses will tell the court.

So what are we to make of the witnesses called by the McCanns?

Maddie's sticker book, front cover

Just a little reminder

Well, a large chunk of the police and legal system are there, from Alipio Ribeiro down — João Melchior Gomes, António Marinho e Pinto, Paolo Rebelo, José Barra da Costa. Oh, and our dear old friend José Magalhães e Menezes. That the latter was called by Amaral himself in the Lisbon hearings should remind us that in Portugal a witness for one side or the other has a rather different status than in the UK. Their knowledge of what happened in apartment 5A that night comes to them courtesy of Amaral's officers at the scene.

Then we have Susan Healy, Trish Cameron and Michael Wright. They were rather a long way from the apartment that night but with luck they'll be able to tell us all about those shutters. And Susan Healy can tell the court all about her conversations with Kate McCann about the deal that the PJ offered.

Next we have Emma Loach, Susan Hubbard and Alan Pike who'll be able to give the court plenty of "colour stuff" about what wonderful people the pair are and the dreadful symptoms that the pair have been showing ever since Amaral made his claims.

Now some big guns to prepare us for the climax: Ed Smethurst, that well known eye-witness to events will be there, as will Jim Gamble, a Mr David Trickey and Angus McBride.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, after all these warm up acts we have the stars of the show, the Tapas 7.

Only they're not there. Not one of them. They aren't calling a single witness with actual knowledge of anything that happened in and around apartment 5A that night. Well, well, well. Not one.

However there is one last name to add to the list: that modern Sherlock Holmes, Dave "Strangler's Hands" Edgar. He'll sort it all out.

A lesser evil, 31 January 2012
A lesser evil The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 at 18:09

Descent into irrelevance

Leveson is now shrouded in an increasing atmosphere of futility. The inquiry, with all the grand trappings of screens, massed lawyers, strong legal powers and a judge whose air of self-importance has become more risible as his proceedings sink into irrelevance, was based on sand - an assumption from the beginning that "something had to be done" about the press, rather than merely throwing a light on its workings.

Unproven prior assumptions make bad law and worse tribunals. Not only has the truth of the assumption not been demonstrated but it has looked more and more superficial and misguided as the proceedings have progressed. The industry witnesses have rightly pointed out - after a shaky and slightly shamefaced beginning - that 98% of the problems have been nothing to do with regulation of the press but derive from the failure of the police and prosecution authorities to deal with the clear breaches of the law which phone hacking and surveillance involved. The other 2%,say, involve two very unusual cases, the Millie Dowler and McCann affairs and this time hard cases, as the old legal saying goes, also make bad law. As for the showbiz celebrity "victims" who strutted and flounced their way through proceedings like stoned peacocks, their mere memory has become an embarrassment.

Lurking in the background but rarely referred to is the knowledge that the inquiry's eventual findings will either be pre-empted or overtaken by what comes out at the criminal trials now in prospect and by the expected measures to crack down on political lobbying and the use of the back door to Number Ten by media bosses.

That leaves the inquiry with virtually nothing significant to recommend but recommend it will, oh but it will. And that is the final guarantee of futility: almost every witness from the industry and its regulators has seen the proceedings, despite the comical Lord Justice's protestations, as a potential threat to the freedom of the press, if only by the imposition of quasi-legalistic and detailed regulatory powers to a new PCC equivalent. And they are right. As a result the industry and its professional advisors - the crowd of high-powered lawyers for the press sitting at the back of the inquiry, including probably the sharpest legal brain in England, James Dingemans QC - will be ready to deal with the recommendations when they finally arrive. With such disparate bedfellows as steamy Richard Desmond, the editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop, and Christopher Meyer of the PCC all united in defending the status quo, the likelihood is that all but the most anodyne of recommendations will be fought and, eventually, buried.

Back to our blind spot

From our own narrow perspective, the McCann affair, we have gained rather more than we expected. We regret that we have to allude yet again to our supposed blind spot about hidden hands and conspiracies, something which disappoints some of our readers. Yes, we have written reams about the subject over the years but we've failed to convince some that the evidence for any conspiracy to protect the McCanns by UK authorities is exactly on a par with the evidence for abduction: there isn't any.

This led, of course, to our regrettable falling out with S. Amaral and his team. We wanted to help the truth come out by actively assisting his cause rather than merely theorizing and to a certain extent we did so, though here isn't the place to give the details of that collaboration. At times we had wanted to clarify certain episodes such as the Jane Tanner/Robert Murat surveillance operation or the sequence of events in police headquarters on the night of September 6, which we felt were the twin keys to the whole case, but we eventually accepted that while others were able to assist us S. Amaral was unwilling to commit himself, quite possibly because he wanted to keep his powder dry - from everyone.

But the issue of UK protection for the McCanns was critical. Here there was no question of S. Amaral holding back information because of its potentially explosive future impact (now, now Jane, don't worry so much): he talked about it openly in his book, his press interviews and on television. Now S. Amaral knows a great deal more about detection than any of us ever will; on the other hand the Bureau has a pretty good knowledge of how UK institutions, including the secret services, actually operate and S. Amaral's claims simply didn't tally with what we knew. So, ultimately, we had to ask him and his team to produce a single item of evidence, just one, on which he was basing his claims, to give us the confidence to go with him all the way.

Well, they couldn't do it. We were given examples but they didn't stand up. From here we move from facts to speculation, in this case that S. Amaral certainly had felt pressure but in our view it came from within Portugal, about which we know almost nothing, not from outside. With such a basic disagreement about the dynamics of the case. collaboration, sadly, was no longer possible.

Deep Waters, Watson, deep waters

So back to Leveson. As soon as the McCanns made their entrance we were reminded, once again, why so many people have felt there must be a secret explanation for the apparent untouchability of the pair. As we wrote previously Leveson himself was loftily dismissive (and if you dismiss you don't learn) of the pressmen's work and handled the McCanns with velvet gloves. It was, as we said, an unnecessarily excessive public display. But everybody else behaved similarly, including the very people who'd written the stories!

That is why we still believe that the Madeleine McCann affair is a psychological phenomenon, not merely a criminal one. How would any protection for the parents tally with these responses which we were able to watch live? That everyone was sworn to secrecy? That they were following a script? These questions will have to be answered, not because of opposing theories and egos but because the time approaches when they will be tested, and judged, in court.

We don't claim to know the exact make-up of this complex psychological reaction but there it is, a gulf in attitudes to the pair as deep as the Grand Canyon between many people who have studied the case and "neutral" outsiders such as Lord Justice Leveson and the majority of the population. When describing the press reporting of the affair Sir Christopher Meyer, ex-head of the PCC, screwed his face up into an expression of disgust and called it "abominable", reminding us of the way the good Lord Justice had thrown his head back as he muttered about the tittle-tattle. Why the intensity of the reactions?

Is it that back in 2007 both of them had allowed themselves to wonder whether the supposed leaks were right and now they are deeply ashamed that they ever had such thoughts? Just as the journalists who made their embarrassing apologies to the inquiry, for all the world like redeemed heretics, might be. And just as the most vituperative of the McCanns' internet allies are when they talk of the bad old days - when they attacked the parents with the viciousness that they now reserve for the parents' enemies. Those supporters actually talk in terms of having been indoctrinated into a quasi-satanic cult of hatred when they were sceptics and describe themselves as since being "saved"! Could anything more clearly demonstrate the psychological depths that lie beneath this investigation?

Meyer barking

Meyer barking

Meyer, by the way, an ex-ambassador to the United States, is a gentle reminder that intimidating behaviour by a diplomat, in Portugal or elsewhere, does not necessarily mean that they are using the secret power of the UK to subvert. It just comes naturally to many of them to bark at non-diplomats, partly because the only real power a diplomat has in this age of instant communication is the power to be rude and bossy to waiters, drivers, doormen and, possibly, overseas policemen. Or, as in this case, to counsel for the inquiry.

Meyer added that the parents were in "an impossible" position: they needed the press to help the search for their daughter and yet that exposed them to the damage that the press could do. It was, he said, a "Faustian bargain", revealing, once again, the strange way that myth bubbles to the surface when people discuss the case. But was Meyer, a man given to the grand statement, correct? There are many of us who maintain that Gerry McCann should never have started the media ball rolling. The Portuguese police warned him he would be putting his daughter's life at risk by doing so and for all we know they were right and she was slaughtered once her description hit the screens.

Oh no, says the chorus, people who know these things, experts, say that modern best practice is to give an abduction the widest publicity. Really? So Dr McCann just happened to know about this "modern best practice" on the night of May 3 when he started blabbing to the media did he? Why would that be?

And then Sir Christopher, who had been deeply involved in the affair, confirmed that experience and bullying doesn't necessarily bring knowledge when he followed Team McCann's untrue claim that in July 2007 the press were under pressure to create new and novel stories because nothing much was happening. It has to be repeated that this, however often and however loudly stated, is garbage: July is precisely when, as Kate McCann's Madeleine confirms, things started happening as the police turned their attentions to the weaknesses in the parents' version of events.

A free press—the lesser evil

What else did we learn at Leveson? Well, the Bureau has had to bite the bitter bullet and take the side of the journalists. The latter, and in particular, the tabloid editors, we had pictured as cynical exploiters deliberately supporting the McCanns early on for their own purposes; Medusa Brooks clearly is one but Colin Myler equally clearly isn't and the editor of the Mail on Sunday came across as a balanced and highly able professional. "Slimy" Morgan deserves his nickname but wasn't involved in the McCann case. Such is the humanising power of TV, as it was when it brought The Pair to our screens.

Despite the fact that it suits internet blogs and journals to have the overground press hobbled by more legislation and regulation while we prosper, especially if we are located beyond UK jurisdiction, one has to hold one's nose and say what most of the witnesses from the industry would like to have said and, in Richard Desmond's case, almost did: fuck off lawyers and leave the press alone.

Futility revisited, 01 February 2012
Futility revisited The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 1 February 2012 at 15:32

DICK: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Shakespeare, Henry VI part two.

Anyway, we came out yesterday and admitted that if we have to choose between the lawyers and the tabloids we support the latter; historically the lawyers have always been the enemy of free speech.

It's no coincidence that the Bureau's view of the press "crisis" is the direct opposite of the inquiry's. Just as we believe the media only began to tell some of the truth about the McCanns after July and the real scandal was the way they'd reported the affair before then, so we believe that the real problem with UK journalism lies with the so-called quality newspapers, not the tabloids.

We agree with the coarse and crude (he's Australian after all) Rupert Murdoch view: if people want to read trashy tabloids full of celebrity tripe with tits on page three, piles of adverts for internet gambling (a true reflection of what the tabloids really think of their readership) with some over-simplified news slipped into the pot then it's their right to do so.

Feel the quality

The "quality" press is a different matter. Preoccupied by weak finances and declining readership, it has blindly refused to combat the infiltration of its pages by people and organizations with an agenda. For decades now, as the Bureau has described exhaustively, whole industries have been growing up dedicated to penetrating and using the quality press: about 80% of the paper is created by bodies feeding the journalists, either openly, as with the press conferences organized by charities, unions and other visible pressure groups, or semi-openly, like the corrupt travel and motoring pages or secretly by the vast PR and lobbying industry - an industry, by the way, packed with lawyers.

They don't bother with the tabloids much because nobody except the thickos really believes what they read there. The qualities, however, still have the false, if diminishing, reputation that if something appears in them then it's probably true, a situation worsened by the increase in news opinion pages - easier to corrupt - at the expense of factual reporting.

The significance of the McCann affair is that for the first time a spotlight was shone on the way that information professionals - from PR companies, legal practices and government information departments - were shaping the news reported in the qualities. Not only have these papers never admitted what they knew was going on but they actively encourage it by using the conventions taken over from the original infiltrators, the political correspondents. Did you ever read a paper which said "the following stuff comes from a dodgy source that you can read but shouldn't trust"? Unthinkable, isn't it? Instead we have "a pal told us", "sources say", "a friend of the family said" - deliberate lies.

And so we reached the position that by late 2007 The Times was used ("Beyond the Smears") by Gerry McCann to plant secret material regarding Jane Tanner's baby monitor in the public domain in his own interest, something which its wretched reporter only admitted when confronted by a clever German blogger.

Enter the judge

And what does the Leveson inquiry have to say about this sink of misinformation and corruption and what might be done to clean it up? Nothing. It hasn't even noticed it.

But then what can one expect from a supposed legal tribunal that, as we wrote yesterday, had clearly determined before any hearings were held to treat witnesses differently according to prior assumptions? Some of them were to be aggressively examined by the absurdly smug and self-righteous Jay while others had their written evidence accepted virtually without question or demur. Is this sort of goodies and baddies, victims and persecutors, soap-opera view of the world a basis on which to recommend legislation limiting free speech? Does it reflect reality?

Mr Sneer QC. We prefer the one on the left.

Mr Sneer QC. We prefer the one on the left.

So we had the nauseating spectacle of the bearded Jay, who asks his questions from behind his hand as though hiding bad teeth and worse breath, and the toad-like Leveson, treating the surprisingly dignified and sensible Peter Hill, editor of the Express in 2007, like a bad smell. Had they bothered to listen carefully to Hill's evidence - and we invite those interested in the subject to read the transcript - they would have learned much about how the media work. But they didn't listen: they mocked and sneered.

Can you hear the sneers?

Man with beard:
And the answer is what? What did you do to check on the validity of those stories?

Peter Hill:
We did the best that we could do, which was not very much.

Which was nothing, wasn't it?

. I'm not saying it was nothing, but we tried our best.

. Okay. But against that, of course, you had another eye on the circulation figures, didn't you?

. One always has an eye on the circulation.

Peter Hill, enemy of the people, before receiving the death sentence

Peter Hill, enemy of the people, before receiving the death sentence

Is that a neutral attempt to discover the truth? Read some more.

. I felt that the stories should be published because there was reason to believe that they might possibly be true.

So that was a sufficient basis: reason to believe that they might possibly be true, so we'll whack it in the paper. That's true, isn't it?

I don't use expressions like "whack it in the paper". I find that to be a very judgmental expression.

Yes, well, I don't actually apologise for it. I'm going to carry on. At the same time, Mr Hill, you knew –

The fact of the matter is that this is a public Inquiry. And I do not believe that I am on trial.

I'm sorry, Mr Hill, I'm just going to carry on.

But I think you are putting me on trial.

Judge grovels on hands and knees – latest

Rather different from this, don't you think? No we're not making it up: it also comes from the transcript – except for our italics.

[sinks to knees] Before we start, you've probably heard me thank others before you for coming along, voluntarily, to speak of matters which I have no doubt are intensely personal and extremely sensitive, and I am [chokes back sob] very, very grateful to you for doing so. In your case, of course, nobody, and in particular nobody with children, could fail to appreciate the terrible impact of your daughter's abduction on you and your family, so words of sympathy for these appalling circumstances are utterly inadequate, but I am very grateful to you for coming. [rolls on back]

Urgh! You can tell they're going to get a really rough and probing ride, can't you?

Finally, for those like the Jay and the Toad who swallowed Gerry McCann's untruthful line that the UK media really had "turned on" the McCanns in summer 2007 because they wanted new, invented and sensationalist stories, have a look, for once, at a neutral view: The McCanns' Trial by Media - TIME in September 2007 beginning:
"There's been no shortage of surprises in the ongoing saga of Madeleine McCann, the 4-year-old British girl who disappeared from her family's vacation apartment in Portugal more than four months ago - the biggest shock occurring earlier this month when Portuguese police officially named her parents as suspects. Still, it was somewhat stunning when a YouGov poll published in the Sunday Times of London this week found that only 20% of Britons think Gerry and Kate McCann are completely innocent.

That indicates a huge disconnect between the public and Britain's many and multifaceted newspapers, which are usually adept at playing to their readers' biases. The press here - from populist tabloids to serious-minded dailies - has largely been unswerving in its support of the McCanns. [our emphasis] "Madeleine: Her Mother is Innocent," shouted Wednesday's Daily Express. "Torture," declared Sunday's The People over a picture of Kate McCann, Madeleine's mother. And Chris Roycroft-Davis, a media consultant and Express commentator, thinks that's how it should be. "The media have been very, very sympathetic toward the McCanns, quite rightly so," he said on a Sunday morning BBC Radio 2 program."
Doesn't quite tally with the McCann version, does it?

But who cares?

Still, as we said the inquiry is becoming irrelevant. The press itself is looking for new models as the failure of the "quality" pretence becomes clearer. The Guardian, having lost hundreds of millions over the last few years despite its large-scale tax avoidance, now says that it is considering closing the paper edition completely and going 100% on line, an admission of the depth of its failure. And the Murdoch group has been exposed as a nest of criminals with consequences we can't yet foresee.

Meanwhile, thank God, the internet is here and the public can get behind the newsfeeds to find out more. They can also see some things for themselves – such as how the tribunal witnesses performed. Better than sitting like fat, passive Strasbourg geese waiting to have the Clarence Mitchell version stuffed down their throats.

When is an oath not an oath?, 03 February 2012
When is an oath not an oath? The Blacksmith Bureau

McCanns at Leveson Inquiry

Posted by John Blacksmith
Friday, 3 February 2012 at 16:30

Let us return to Gerry McCann's claims about the strange change in UK media attitudes at the Leveson inquiry. These followed (very closely indeed) the answers he and Clarence Mitchell had given to the Commons select committee in 2009. They were:
  • That at first the huge media pack were "broadly supportive" but altered their attitude in late June 2007.
  • This was because, he says, there was a shortage of hard news about the case around that time which led to the media, under pressure from their editors, searching for scraps or, worse, starting to invent stories. These, for some unknown reason, were critical of the parents, either by innuendo or pure invention.
  • Despite their denials that there was any truth to these stories the situation got worse and worse as the imaginations of the journalists ran free until they were printing horrible fantasy speculation.
Counsel: The date you give for the shift of the emphasis of the media reporting is about June 2007, is it, but then you feel the mood may have been moving or turning a bit in the British press? Or perhaps a bit later than that?

McCann: Yeah... it was probably towards the end of June 2007, and slowly deteriorated through July, culminating in September 2007.

This repeated what he and Mitchell had told the Commons committee in 2009:

Mr McCann: We saw pressure, particularly on journalists, to produce stories when really there was not anything new to report. Probably that was the point where things became what I would call irrelevancies or half truths or suggestions were making front page news.

Chairman: Your impression was that the newspapers wanted to go on reporting stories about Madeleine's disappearance and, if there were no new facts to report, they started to resort to making up things?

Mr McCann: I totally agree with that.

And from the Leveson evidence again:

"In June 2007 it appeared to us that the focus of the media reporting was shifting from the search for Madeleine to Kate and myself which made us very information from the investigation began to dry up the journalists had to look elsewhere for their copy. Not only were journalists seeking stories from and about our friends and relatives at home in Leicestershire. At other times we believe they were simply making stories up. One story that sticks out in this regard was an article in the Daily Star that suggested that we had sold Madeleine and shift this back to Madeleine into white slavery to pay off our mortgage. I cannot imagine how any self-respecting journalist in Praia da Luz at that time, and who could witness what Kate and I were going through, could write such lies."

Note how McCann has phrased this. "One story that sticks out in this regard" clearly means at this period. But the Star story was published on November 26 2007! And this sums up the deception.

Now, the facts.

Computerised tracking of all the English language media articles coming out of Portugal on the McCann story shows a dramatic drop in material from late June to late July - and with a virtually complete absence of any obviously "made-up" anti-McCann tales.

And there are two good reasons why.

First: the man who'd been creating so many of the "broadly supportive" stories, Clarence Mitchell, had gone home! He had been recalled to the MMU in London when his contract posting ended in mid-June. The latter, by the way, makes a nonsense of Mitchell's claim to the Commons committee about witnessing the idle UK press pack sitting in the bars waiting to make up stories during this period - he wasn't even there!

And when do the computer tracking statistics show the quiet period ending? In early August. And what do they show? That the McCanns had become the focus of the police investigation.

That, of course, was the other reason for the "quiet period": unable to answer the gradually increasing questions from the media about the PJ homing in on them, the couple, lacking Mitchell to screen them and invent alternatives, had first lied and then gone to ground. We are not talking here about rumours or behind-the-hand PJ leaks but about material events such as the pair's apartment being searched and their car seized, or their being called in for interrogation by the police.

These facts had nothing to do with invention and were no more a campaign against the parents than were the similar events that had been so fully reported about police actions regarding Robert Murat. In themselves the events didn't mean that the parents were guilty of anything, just as the searches of Murat's property and his interrogation didn't mean guilt in his case either. What possible reason was there to deny the truth of them?

Never once have the pair answered this crucial and obvious question. We know what they'd say now, don't we? The all-purpose magic nonsense answer still being used in the libel claim against Goncalo Amaral - that it was to avoid a diversion in the famous "search for Madeleine".

But that's junk as well, isn't it? And disingenuous junk at that. Because one can accept that the McCanns are totally innocent of anything involving their daughter but pose the question: surely admitting the truth of the police focus and dealing with it honestly would have speeded up the process of freeing them from investigation and getting everyone back to the search? Whereas documented lying, evasion and a determined defence kept the energies of both themselves and the police away from other avenues until summer 2008.

But deny them they did, and lie about them, they did, both in their "blog" and (Madeleine, page 205) in their meetings with the UK media. And the UK media, far from having turned against them in June, were not only "helpful" but actively suppressed the stories of police interest in them that were all over the European media by August. By then it was simply impossible for the UK media to help them anymore - to anyone outside the UK it was making them look biased and foolish.

And note this report from the Guardian of August 10 2007, by which time the McCanns, paralysed by the fact that the things they had lied about or denied were now seen to be true, and unable to unsay them, were refusing to deal with media questions at all:

"With the small town's beaches now packed with holidaymakers, the couple face a besieged existence behind the high gates of their villa, loaned to them by friends. "We are trapped," said Mrs McCann. "What can we do?"

The couple's criticisms were directed at local media. British journalists in Praia da Luz have been careful not to harass the family."

It wasn't the UK media that had changed, let alone invented things. It was the McCanns who had invented things (page 205 again) and the McCanns, their lies exposed, who had changed their behaviour.


In their evidence to both the Commons committee and the Leveson inquiry the McCanns have tried by every means at their disposal, but primarily by lying, to give the impression that the UK reporting in late June/July and early August - which in the main was either suppressing information in the McCanns' interest or completely accurate and truthful in reporting police activity against them - was all of a piece with the quite different reporting after they were made arguidos.

Nothing, as we have seen above, could be further from the truth. The real inventions began, in the inventive UK tabloid press, after September 6, for the very simple reason that all the latter had become convinced that the McCanns were heading for trial and conviction and would therefore be unable to sue - something which they are now ashamed to admit either to the tribunal or the public. And something which the McCanns are determined to go on lying about.

Paranoia ahead, 06 February 2012
Paranoia ahead The Blacksmith Bureau

Richard Desmond crying with shame

                                           Richard Desmond crying with shame

Posted by John Blacksmith
Monday, 6 February 2012 at 17:13

Despite the tears of remorse that Fleet Street's finest shed when testifying about how ashamed they were of persecuting the McCanns, the story itself remains a magnet for the tabloids. And not buried on the inside pages, either, but as we can see, still taking over front pages.

Had Mr Richard Desmond really meant it when he said how dreadfully sorry he felt for the parents then one can assume he would ask his editors to leave stories concerning the pair and their friends - rather than the "search for Maddie" - alone. But no: Murray's article is a gratuitously "unhelpful" piece which highlights yet again some of the extremely questionable elements of the collective version such as the Jane Tanner sighting and the Mathew Oldfield unsighting.

And the Mail, the skilled and cynical voice of Mr and Mrs Average Opinion, had no hesitation in following the story up. Lord Justice Leveson, the greatest defender of the untouchable sanctity of the grieving parents (the person who prevented the wild "McCanns-ate-their-baby" headlines from the written submissions being read out to the inquiry) has, most ironically, brought the period of press silence about the case - rather than the search - to an end.

Such is the wide-ranging ferocity of the UK libel laws that the media could, until recently, have been warned off such a story. Not because of super-injunction nonsense but because Carter Ruck could claim that, in the absence of significant new events, reporting the possibility of re-interview could imply that the T7 have information that had not been provided before and was, therefore, potentially libellous. Any press defence would have to prove that this was not the case. So, no story.

That, for example, is why James Murray, in his 2010 Express piece year about Praia da Luz CCTV, carefully covered his paper by referring to the person who may have stashed a body nearby as "the abductor", even though he knew that Amaral was talking about the Smith sighting and his belief that the person carrying the child may have been Gerry McCann: referring to the "abductor" avoided any libel problem.

Now, however, there are significant new events, both the hearings themselves and, more importantly, the Scotland Yard review, and as long as the media hang their stories around these twin towers they are safe.


Keeping track

When attempting to make sense of the rumours that will increasingly surround the review until its completion the safest bet is to assume that none of them, now or in the future, come from Scotland Yard. The Yard, like Leicester Police, have shown a rigid determination not to leak about the case, illustrated by their attempts to keep references to their operations out of the Portuguese case files before publication. They are not about to jeopardise that record now.

Thus stories about the progress of the case, other than official statements from a Yard spokesman, are likely to reflect jockeying for position by the two public sides in the affair, not inside information. One side is now a press which senses that changes are afoot and doesn't want to miss out, and the other is the careworn and faded Team McCann. Significantly, the days of Clarence Mitchell setting the agenda are gone and he is now reacting to the media instead of - with the aid of the lawyers - leading it. The press are going to continue twisting his tail, as Murray has done in this case.

Murray, in fact, claims that his information derives from the Tapas group, not the police: "the Sunday Express has learned that the Tapas Seven "fully expect" to be asked to go over the statements they made to Portuguese officers shortly after Madeleine vanished on May 3, 2007." Neat, eh? Since they aren't in daily contact with each other they don't know whether one of them has been talking to Murray or not. And if Clarence rings them all up - on whose behalf? - to find out then the Yard will draw the appropriate conclusions. The paranoia count rises.

Richard Desmond is someone very determined in his own interests and a games player who doesn't give a shit. Both qualities were exemplified when Desmond, a Jew, lost patience in complex negotiations with a major German printing group some years ago and started goose-stepping up and down and giving the Hitler salute in front of the stunned executives. £375,000 and costs is certainly an interest to be determined about.

Expect much more.


They never learn

The line about SY possibly asking for retranslations has brought out our intellectual friends, the internet McCann supporters. The Portuguese, they claim, are wily and dishonest translators; one of their most unreliable and dishonest bloggers, they say, is Duarte Levy: he provided the rogatory interviews to the UK and deliberately mistranslated parts of them in Goncalo Amaral's favour before doing so. Clearly, they conclude, the Yard know that they have been corrupted and that nobody can trust this supposed "evidence".

This claim, which is demonstrably wrong in every particular, was first made on a blog which is supposedly dedicated to careful critical analysis and refutation of anti-McCann "myths" [loud and prolonged laughter.] It illustrates the inability to handle evidence and the sheer determination to avoid the truth which characterises the work of that crowd. The Bureau has corrected them before but, yawn and stretch, we'll do it again.

Jane Tanner: Rogatory interview screenshot

The rogatory interviews were not distributed in the UK by Duarte Levy: he was given access to them at the same time as a small number of others, including members of the Bureau. We all stayed quiet except Levy who set up an English language members-only forum and fed edited extracts from the interviews to its readers.

The original documents were not translations but prints of the English language Microsoft Word original transcripts, as shown in the example above, complete with timings synchronised to the DVD record.Examination and analysis showed that they had not been tampered with in any way, that the personal details, telephone numbers and addresses etc. were correct and would have been unknown to anyone except the participants and the police and that there was no evidence of interpolation. Furthermore, as anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of English and Romance language grammar and usage would have noted, the language was demonstrably original English throughout.

The legal questions surrounding the reproduction of the documents in their original Word format meant that it was safer to publish only edited and unformatted versions and this is probably why Levy did so. Still, to some of us it was unsatisfactory that one group was publishing edited parts of them not to the public but only to selected forum members - all "antis" - without showing the originals.

Out of fairness, therefore, one of the recipients sent one unedited facsimile copy to a notoriously pro-McCann and anti-Amaral UK internet researcher and  forum poster (calling herself "Nicked") and one to a more or less neutral and reliable UK poster (who used the name "Cushty"), giving them permission to use and circulate the material as they saw fit. This ensured that any attempt to provide inaccurate versions of the documents, either for or against the McCanns, would be easily identified and challenged. From then on they were gradually circulated throughout the net.

Scotland Yard will have been using exactly the same facsimiles in the review since there are no other transcripts.

Our intellectuals won't correct their stories though: they never correct anything. That's why they're stuck in May 2007.


Inside the Labyrinth

Finally, the Portuguese legal system remains shrouded in mystery to us, despite our attempts to master it. So we were fascinated to be told by a Portuguese legal expert that the McCanns will have to prove the truth of each of their libel claims against Amaral, not merely make a suggestive case.

The McCanns in Amsterdam

As we know, the only member of the British public that the McCanns have shown the 36 page writ to is the dodgy Lori Campbell of the Mirror, so we have to depend on that paper to feed us a few scraps. Still, it will be interesting to see how they prove the truth of their claims that they suffer "permanent anxiety, insomnia, lack of appetite, irritability and an indefinable fear" because of his book, as well as the claim that Kate McCann is "steeped in a deep and serious depression".

Then there is the claim that the couple are "totally destroyed from a moral, social, ethical, emotional and family point of view, beyond the pain that the absence of their eldest daughter causes them". Quite, we'll go with that. But what was the book to do with it? We shall see.

"Proof", rather than anecdotal opinion, that the book has hampered the famous search for Madeleine might be slightly hard to find as well.

Duarte Levy The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Tuesday, 7 February 2012 at 17:44

We don't take comments or defend this blog. That is either because we're all liars incapable of taking criticism or because we think it only leads to trolling and strife –take your choice.

But a word about yesterday's item on the rogatory interviews. We criticised Duarte Levy years ago over what we thought were important matters but that was then, not now, and we haven't the slightest desire to prolong disagreements.

We made no overt criticism of Levy in the latest piece. Levy broke no agreements, tacit or otherwise, in publicising the interviews and owes the Bureau no explanations at all. Some of us felt that it was unfair or unwise to ration them and so we acted in a different way.

The interviews, one way and another, are now available in reliable copies for anyone interested in the case to study, which is all that matters. The reason for the post, as we said, was to correct the blockheads who still maintain that the interviews are "suspect" because they "were translated from the Portuguese" – not to re-open old conflicts or claim the moral high ground.

Pssst..., 10 February 2012

Keir Simmons

Keir Simmons. He knows, you know.

Posted by John Blacksmith
Friday, 10 February 2012 at 15:46

We posted the other day that the safest course to take with rumours of progress in the case, whoever they come from, is to make the assumption that Scotland Yard officers have not leaked anything to anybody about the progress of the review and will not do so before the investigation ends. Therefore it follows, if you accept our view, that any article or broadcast claiming to have information about the review that has not been given in the terms of reference or official statements to the public will not be true. Readers must judge for themselves what the appearance of such untrue articles or broadcasts actually signifies and in whose interest they are being published.

The main reason we gave for offering this advice is that the Metropolitan and Leicester Police forces have not leaked up to now but have, indeed, shown a ruthless determination since 2007 to protect the secrecy and integrity of their investigations. In 2008, as we know, Leicester Police went to the High Court to deny anyone, including the McCanns, the right to see the files. And in December 2009, following some subterranean negotiations between themselves and the Metropolitan force regarding police officer Jose De Freitas, they issued a definitive statement covering McCann case information, Operation Task Publication Strategy. Relevant excerpts from the document can be found here:

Now? Are you kidding?

But there are further reasons why we should completely disbelieve the existence of any such supposed leaks or comments to journalists. The police know that a large number of lawyers are monitoring the media for any material that might prejudice a trial in the UK and they will have impressed on their officers the vital necessity to avoid anything that could be construed as prejudicial.

And, lastly, there are the current circumstances. In the past it was accepted that media crime correspondents were briefed unofficially and off the record in exactly the same way that the PJ did in the McCann case in 2007, although with a good deal more discretion. Those who wish to know more should study the evidence and the various public statements of the ex-editor of the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie.

The relationships, however, which were always vulnerable to cash-for-information attempts, got out of hand, particularly where News International journalists were involved. With the Joanna Yeates/Jefferies case highlighting the risks of such prompts, with Leveson running and, last but not least, the arrest of a number of Metropolitan Police officers for criminal offences connected with these sweetheart relationships, officers know that until calm is restored some time in the future the game is over. Some of the arrested leakers will go to jail and the careers of anyone caught leaking in the McCann case are finished.

As a footnote, by the way, we observe that in the Joanna Yeates affair the UK police, faced with a scary case and a really large press pack, a combination that our Portuguese friends had had to deal with before them, performed abysmally regarding leaks to the media and far, far worse than the PJ. The latter have not had to pay out hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages to the McCanns, as our brave bulldogs have done to Jefferies, have they?

Reasons to be cheerful

Now, the whitewash question, one frequently raised by overseas followers of the case. Unlike the Yeates/Jefferies affair, which centres on bad judgement and bad briefing, here we are talking about the supposed perversion of the course of justice. Just as we are not criticising people for accepting some of the dodgy stories coming out at present and supposedly based on leaks, nor do we criticise people from other jurisdictions - whose knowledge of UK investigative systems is on a par with our knowledge of those of the Portuguese - for wondering if such a review could be corrupted.

For those from the UK of the same mind, however, it is slightly different. Presumably they have some knowledge of their own country's institutions so we can ask them just how such a whitewash could be arranged. A whitewash, unlike, say, the attempt of one corrupt policeman to protect an individual or gang, implies an organized institutional effort. How would such an effort be made? Who would initiate it? Who would speak to whom? How exactly would a large number of officers be selected to break the law? How would it be squared with the information already held by Leicester police? Would they too have to collude with the Yard? What would be the incentive for collusion? How would it be done? It's no use saying that you don't know how it would be done, because that means you are claiming it ignorantly and without evidence, doesn't it?

There is no evidence of any Scotland Yard organised investigation ever having "whitewashed" - come to a deliberately false and corrupt conclusion about a guilty party - anybody, whether gangster or politician. A major gangster can delay nemesis by bribing a few policemen and terrorising potential witnesses. For a while. A knowing politician with deep pockets and good lawyers can slow down a sensitive inquiry, again for a while, by making it go over its facts again and again to ensure that they will stand up in court.

But actually subverting it? Perhaps people would like to ask themselves how Mr Christopher Huhne would have gone about it. Who would he have approached? How exactly would he ask them to help him? If such a person agreed how would they help him?

Anyway, just for once the Bureau has a nice hopeful message. There is no reason to suggest that the review will be anything other than straight as a die. We hope that those who disagree with us will give us the evidence for supposing otherwise.

So stay cheerful.

Not like the good old days, 13 February 2012
Not like the good old days The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Monday, 13 February 2012 at 16:23

McCanns in Amsterdam

Now you see it...

As a bearded loony once wrote, "history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

Oh for the great, late, days of 2007 when the Team of the parents, their paid mouthpiece, their relatives and their lawyers set out to enlist the public as their human shield against extradition - when the pages of the Mail were used to plug weaknesses in their stories ("the missing hours") and invent new defences ("Gerry thinks abductor was there with him"); when the Times reporter was willing to smuggle secret details (the baby monitor) into his stories at Gerry's prompting and when even the BBC was used by Ed Smethurst and his "expunge" campaign in Panorama. Such, such were the days!

But now?

The tired team, or its pathetic remnants, sees no other course but to repeat the strategy, only this time with no new information - after five years - and when British public opinion is now irrelevant to their fate. They have been "exonerated", their enemies have been sued or scattered, they have not a blemish - even of tea-stain size - on their characters. Yet they cannot, simply cannot, stop spinning in their own defence.

So to the Mirror story about a far off libel case where UK public opinion doesn't matter and can't help: "Revealed: How shamed cop made a fortune spouting lies about Madeleine McCann's parents."

There it is once more, an article that from the internal evidence could only have come from the McCanns, that pours on the old insults about Amaral - "outrageous...shamed...booted off...spouting lies...slurs...three hour boozy lunches".

But what a come-down, what a parody of past glories now the ammunition cupboard is bare. Boozy lunches? Again? Is that the best they can do after five years? Even Clarence Mitchell is ashamed to admit being involved - not once are his normal, transparent disguises, "a source" or "a pal of the McCanns", used in this rubbishy piece; instead the information is credited to a "legal source", which cannot mean Mitchell. It bears, indeed, all the hallmarks of the McCanns themselves.

And then - farce after tragedy once more - they follow the old Team method of putting in new factual material near the end of the piece. Oh dear. Like we said recently, the remnants of the Team not only have nothing new of significance to offer but all they can do these days is passively react, not enact. So what is the "new material"?

It is a lacklustre confirmation of what the Bureau wrote over a week ago
, when we gave the names of the witnesses they were calling and pointed out that the only people with a chance of factually rebutting Amaral's claims of death in the apartment, the Tapas 7, were not being called, with the obvious inference that the defence, or the Tapas group itself, dare not risk examination in the witness box.

With the second inference, that our list of the names of "friends, relations and those who worked with the couple after Madeleine's disappearance" demonstrated that they were going to go for an emotion-based defence in which those witnesses will testify to having seen "evidence" of Amaral's impact on the pair's emotional well-being. And sure enough the Mirror thuds the message in with a picture to prove that that's what they going to try, captioned "Destroyed: Kate and Gerry McCann."

McCanns in Rothley you don't

And what is an "emotion-based defence" in this case? It is an admission of defeat. It tells us that the prosecutor Menezes and his colleague told the truth in the Archiving Report, when they wrote that the McCanns' behaviour and their lack of co-operation with the Portuguese police "lost them the chance to prove their innocence".

shouted the parents' allies, how ridiculous, when do people have to prove their innocence?

At the libel trial in April 2012, that's when. As we now know, the burden of proof in that trial is on them. Menezes is right and the parents know it: the chance is gone. They are admitting it by concentrating instead on the more hopeful and subjective "we saw how destroyed Kate was". The one piece of new information in the report is a shame-faced attempt to slip out the fact that they themselves don't want to risk cross-examination either and will try and avoid testifying.

The only thing in the Bureau's report the sad Team haven't attempted to spin is the list of police and judicial witnesses we provided. Obviously if they had certainty that all of them would testify that the suspicions of the parents are utterly groundless then they would be broadcasting it from the rooftops, with Clarence visibly in the forefront instead of skulking in the rear. They haven't got that certainty so they are left with hope – hope these witnesses will answer the harridan's obvious shrieked questions in the right way:

: [bellowing] Did your final conclusions include any claims of death in the apartment?


[SCREAMING] Why not?

We found no firm evidence of it.

[discharging spittle] Exactly.

But it's high risk with all of those witnesses because cross examination – now that Cabrita is gone—may reveal a less black and white picture. So the parents are too unsure to spin about them yet.

But even if the public were convinced by this passive and shoddy reminder of the great days, what would it achieve? As we've asked before, why? Why, faced with the inability of the public to help them, don't they just shut up?

We admit we don't know. But we found ourselves pondering the words of a recent message to us by one of the wiser commentators on the case: "it's beginning to look," he wrote, "like the [book Madeleine] is derived rather less from any diary and more from a defence script being held in abeyance until called for."


A wolf by the ears, 23 February 2012
A wolf by the ears The Blacksmith Bureau

Goncalo Amaral

Posted by John Blacksmith
Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 17:32

Would I lie to you?

Want to know why Gerry McCann went to Lisbon in January 2009? Just turn to these pages in McCann Files and you'll find Gerry giving interview after interview explaining that he was there to see how to improve the "search for Maddie" with his criminal lawyers and to "see how we can work with the authorities to explore areas where other things can still be done that might make a difference".

And there were lots of other comments as well, such as his desire to "build bridges" with the Portuguese, forget the past and start afresh.

The one thing he didn't give us was his true reason for going to Lisbon. That's because, yet again, Gerry McCann was lying through his teeth, as he does with monotonous regularity. Not forgetting, not being slightly misleading, but outright lying in the dictionary sense of the word.

His wife confesses to having an equal propensity to lie (Madeleine, P206), but in this case it seems we can accept her version on page 335 of the same book. Having spoken to Duarte on the phone at the end of November, she writes, "Gerry went to Lisbon to meet her" exactly six weeks later.

Watch what I do, not what I say

Welcome to the world of the McCanns' Portuguese libel claims. Spin and lies are at the heart of them, as they have been since the very beginning; only now, three and a half years after the case was archived, can we see that gradually but inexorably the legal system has begun to catch up with the couple: spin has encountered the courts and the courts are winning.

It was in July 2008 that the case was shelved and the McCanns were released from their arguido status. On the face of it this was their moment of triumph. The UK press, chastened and confused by the failures in Portugal that had led to the Express libel awards, lapped up the dishonest versions of the archiving report provided by a sneering Clarence Mitchell - that the report had "mocked" its own police force for its incompetence and had exonerated the pair. The way was now clear for the parents to use this "acquittal" as the basis for proceeding not just against the fantasists of the Express and Star but against anyone who questioned their role in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The ghost at the feast

Almost simultaneously Goncalo Amaral launched The Truth of the Lie in Europe, complete with the startling claim that the child had died in the apartment on May 3 and the parents had concealed the body. There was little mention of the book in the UK press and almost none describing its central claim: as the media lawyers no doubt pointed out, the book clearly defamed the McCanns and merely repeating the claim was equally defamatory. Amaral would have to prove the truth of his assertions and that was impossible since the investigation, as summarised in the archiving report, had found "no evidence of any crime" by the pair.

Amid the euphoria of the parents' exoneration Amaral's claims were initially of little significance and the couple were content to wait for the policeman to launch a UK edition of the book and then crush him in the courts. But the huge and continuing success of the work and the impact of its associated television programme proved to be too much for the pair and in April 2009, following further consultation with Duarte, they took the decision to sue.

Was it a rational decision? It was certainly an extremely difficult one: Amaral had deliberately set a trap which might lead the pair out of the protected comfort zone of spin and media domination and towards the courts, where spin and spokesmen alike counted for nothing and where failure to prove the truth of their claims might lead to unpredictable dangers as well as financial penalties. Yet silence and inaction would be tantamount to acceptance of Amaral's devastating claims.

"I've always been considered quite a gentle person", wrote Kate McCann, apparently with a straight face, "but these attacks [by Amaral] 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."

So it looks as if Kate McCann's serious lack of emotional control which, as we know from the pages of Madeleine, had featured so largely in Portugal in 2007, influenced their decision to sue, despite the risks.

Lawyers always get paid

Nevertheless their lawyers, both Duarte in Portugal and Carter Ruck in the UK, put together a package that offered some prospects of success. There was no guarantee that a Portuguese court would accept the archiving summary as an absolute statement of innocence but there was a chance; the parents had always denied any involvement in the disappearance of the child; attacks on Amaral's personality could demonstrate that he was motivated by money rather than principle; and, finally, the Tapas 7 could testify both that there was insufficient time for the parents to dispose of a body on May 3 and that their behaviour on the night was inconsistent with Amaral's central claim.

In addition the critical burden of proof issue could be put off to the distant future by a preliminary attack on Amaral using the infinitely flexible language of human rights, rather than libel, law. That attack, when it came, astonished almost everybody by its malevolence (Duarte's hallmark) and manifest vindictiveness (characteristic of the McCanns). It virtually removed Amaral's own human rights and it didn't do much for the image of Portuguese justice abroad but it had a logic of its own: it greatly increased the chances that Amaral would sue for peace before any full libel trial with its proof requirement  ever came to court.

Despite the acute discomfiture of the parents at the Lisbon injunction hearing when they encountered the painful realities of a Portuguese courtroom for the first time, January 2010 represented an apparent triumph for the couple as decisive as their "exoneration" eighteen months before: judgement was given in their favour and Amaral remained hog-tied and virtually helpless. Soon afterwards it emerged that Amaral's wife had virtually collapsed under the pressure of their ordeal and was begging her husband to reach a settlement with the McCanns.


"In victory magnanimity...", as a British statesman once wrote. But just as Kate McCann's mental instability had featured in the decision to sue, now another quality of their personalities, their vengefulness, ensured that they would never reach out to Amaral in their moment of triumph but would pursue him to the end.

Amaral, to his great credit, simply carried on, helped by a small number of dedicated supporters and fund-raisers. Finally, in summer 2010 his persistence and determination were rewarded when the Portuguese court of appeal found in his favour and lifted some of the injunctive restraints. Despite the near silence that greeted Amaral's success in the UK it was clear that a watershed had been reached.

The judgement, which was definitive, made it clear that whatever supporters, spokesmen or lawyers like Carter Ruck claimed outside the courts, the archiving report/AG statement was explicitly not a judicial finding of any kind but was one possible interpretation of the investigation data with no legal (i.e. conclusive) standing. It was exactly on a par with other possible non-judicial interpretations or opinions based on the same data, the judges said, in particular with that of Amaral as expressed in The Truth of the Lie. Thus the conclusion of the report, "that there was no evidence of the commission of any crime" by the pair was at once downgraded to the reason for their release from arguido status at that time, not to a finding of innocence.

Duarte had to tell the incredulous - and inevitably furious - pair that a large chunk of their "proof" of libel had been despatched at a stroke: the summary and A/G statement could not be used in the forthcoming libel trial in the way they had hoped and as Carter Ruck, in the UK, had already been attempting to use it.

It gets worse

In fact the situation was much worse than that for the true significance of "the onus of proof on the claimant" now began to emerge in ways that the pair had never anticipated. When attention had been drawn to other parts of the archiving report in the past, particularly the statement that the McCanns had "lost the chance to demonstrate their innocence", whatever that might mean, they were dismissed as irrelevant - since when did suspects have to demonstrate their innocence?

And now, disturbingly and unexpectedly, there was an answer: soon, and in court. With the "exoneration" excluded Duarte could only argue that the archiving summary is a more convincing interpretation of the investigation than that that of Amaral - yet that interpretation asserts in black and white that they have failed to demonstrate their innocence as the libel court requires them to do!

In the world of fib'n'spin this might be dismissed: because they couldn't demonstrate their innocence then doesn't mean that they still can't do so, just as the Leicester police view that "there is no clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement in Madeleine's disappearance" while true in 2008 might not be true now. Dream on! The Portuguese Attorney-General confirmed as recently as 2011 that no significant evidence had appeared since 2008 to add to the case or justify a re-opening. A "demonstration of innocence" or "evidence that eliminates them from involvement" would, of course, be "significant evidence". It hasn't appeared.

What happened to the 7? What?

With this leg of the claim gone the testimony of the parents and their friends assumes much greater significance if there is to be any chance of the McCanns proving their case. But now, astonishingly, we know from the list of witnesses being called by the McCanns that none of the Tapas group are going to testify. And from the noises being made on behalf of the parents it looks increasingly as though they themselves won't be called either. The reasons remain a mystery.

As we posted recently that list indicates that Duarte has now given up on proving that Amaral's central claim is libellous. Yet how do they let go of the wolf's ears without being savaged? Their hope seems to rest, as we said, on concentrating on an emotion based defence combined with personal (and no doubt loud) attacks on Amaral, a strategy that, as we have seen, has already been floated via the Mirror. While they won't be able to prove their central claim they have a chance of convincing the court that the pair - and the famous search - have been harmed by Amaral's "harassment". Hm.

What about all the police and legal figures that the McCanns intend to call - might they provide new material to strengthen the pair's claims? Answer NO. The Attorney-General's statement that no new evidence has emerged once again applies and the days of libel court ambushes are over. The police and legal worthies can only give their personal opinion about the differing interpretations of the archived investigation, not new facts.

So what can we make of it all? We have to say that our relatively recent gloom about Amaral's chances has lightened considerably: it appears that his views on what caused the shelving may not need to be aired in court. And never for a moment did we think that the Tapas group would fail to testify. It is impossible to avoid the feeling that after all these years the character flaws of the pair - the compulsive lying, the blind vengefulness, the manipulation of the press that seems to have damaged their own view of reality and the strange violence - now documented - of Kate McCann's personality - are finally catching up with them in the only place that has ever mattered: the courtroom.

Fibs'r'us news, 26 February 2012
Fibs'r'us news The Blacksmith Bureau

Another innocent victim

Retired businessman Christopher Tappin, with wife Elaine, outside Heathrow police station

Christopher Tappin emoting

Posted by John Blacksmith
Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 16:00

Bureau readers will no doubt have been sobbing into their corn flakes over the tragic case of Mr Christopher Tappin, 65 year old "retired businessman" last seen noisily protesting his innocence at Heathrow airport before being put on a plane to America.

Mr Tappin, who is said to have spent £250 000 since the Americans began trying to extradite him for attempting to supply embargoed parts to our friends the Iranians, was almost beside himself as he accused David Cameron of letting him down and claimed, with a catch in his voice, that he had fewer rights than Abu Qatada. We're surprised he didn't call for an "independent review" of his case.

In case you haven't got the message by now, Mr Tappin is yet another baddie attempting to evade justice by mounting a PR spinning campaign to get him out of trouble. All the usual signs are there - the simultaneous eruption of planted stories in a dozen different newspapers, the worries for his health, the giveaway catchphrases that the media are fed and asked to use - Mr Tappin is always either the "retired business man" or the "golf club president" - the disingenuous Wikipedia entry and, why, even a Mail piece by a features journalist, the ever-reliable Peter Hitchens, in his usual purple and yellow prose - "...the penalty for daring to plead not guilty - certain financial ruin and a possible 35-year sentence - is so savage that the presumption of innocence, and jury trial itself, have been to all intents and purposes abolished...blah blah..."

No, no, of course this isn't really a case of paid agents trying to help Mr Tappin get away with it: it's all about that wicked unfair UK/US extradition treaty. As the brains behind the Natwest 3 PR campaign let slip, "don't get into the guilt/innocence thing...look for a cause you can give to the media instead".

Mr Tappin's fortune didn't stretch to employing a full time paid spokesman, so he had to deliver his own lies, among which was his straight-faced statement that there isn't a shred of evidence against him. Really? What about the intercepted phone conversations, the emails, the logged calls? What about the witness testifying that Tappin was up to his neck in it all? What about the way it was spelled out to him by the FBI front organization set up to intercept smugglers like Tappin that there was only one use for the batteries that Mr Tappin was trying to ship to Iran via the Netherlands – to supply power to Hawk missiles? Or Mr Tappin's claim that he thought the batteries were for the car industry? All thirty five of them at $5 000 each. Nor was he entrapped. Unlike Mr Tony Bennett he approached the front company, not the other way round.

Christopher Tappin will be extradited

Not quite the old buffer here, is he?

It can all be found in the High Court judgement available after five minutes searching on Google but, as usual, why let the truth get in the way of a dishonest story and the ackers that go with it?

Having told the world that he'll be a hundred years old before he gets home - if he survives his ordeal at all - watch poor, innocent Mr Tappin change his tune in the next few weeks: he'll plead guilty to everything and get about two years in jail.

Words always catch up with you in the end

Have a look at this entry in Gerry McCann's blog on August 11 2007.

It begins "Just another day..." and is followed by four paragraphs supposedly dealing with everything that had been happening to them. The last paragraph runs:

"Other tests are outstanding and Kate and I do hope that these take us forward in finding out who took Madeleine and where she is. Unfortunately we have to add patience to our other characteristics. There was a statement from the Portuguese police today regarding the recent activity in the investigation and media speculation. They confirmed that there are new leads and that we are not suspects in Madeleine's disappearance."

Not suspected, eh? The entry was written nine days after the police had ejected them from their villa while it was forensically examined and bin bags of their possessions were seized for examination, including Kate's diary, her bible, all their clothes and the cuddle cat toy; five days after the pair's car was seized for testing without warning; three days after they were interrogated and accused of failing to tell the truth about the disappearance, leaving both of them in hysterical tears. None of these events had been mentioned by Gerry because, as his wife foolishly let slip in her book, they felt lying was a better option than letting the public - their potential saviours as long as they continued to believe in the pair's innocence - know the truth about what was really happening.

Suspect, noun: "One who is suspected, especially of having committed a crime."

But wait! Gerry, our clever Gerry, has been very careful in his use of words: the intention was clearly to lie, to pretend that the police didn't suspect them in any way - that was the whole point of the deception which Kate McCann later admitted was taking place. But he's used that word "suspect" in a context where, should the truth of what had been happening ever come out - as it eventually did in Madeleine - his paid liar, Clarence Mitchell, or his defence lawyer would be able to say, with a straight face, "Gerry stated quite correctly that the police had told them they were not arguidos, so he was telling the truth."

Dishonest rubbish, of course, as so many as the Team's statements are, but difficult to disprove conclusively.

But time passes and, if you are compulsive liars, the more that passes the less able you are to  keep track of your own "cleverness" anymore.

In November 2011 we find this in Gerry's witness statement to the Leveson inquiry:

"The nature of the reporting changed dramatically after Kate and I were declared arguido by the PJ...this officially meant that we were "persons of interest" and were entitled to legal aid representation which is not the case for "witnesses". Under Portuguese law at that time the police determined when a witness became an arguido and this status would remain until the investigation was complete. The media interpreted it as meaning we were formal suspects in the police investigation.”

And, just in case we hadn't got his point, he added as a witness:

Mr Jay:
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?

[trying to cover himself yet again] That's what we were advised was the closest correlation.

Mr Jay
: 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. Do you think, rightly or wrongly, the British press somehow interpreted "arguido" as equivalent to "suspect", which carried with it, therefore, its own connotations?

Yes. I mean clearly the word was used that way almost exclusively.

So arguido, according to Gerry, definitely does not mean "suspect". Therefore if he was telling the truth at the Leveson inquiry then he cannot have been telling the truth in his blog entry! And if he was not telling the truth at Leveson then he still cannot have been telling the truth in the blog entry!

You see how constant and compulsive lying eventually starts to trip you up virtually every time you open your mouth?

New from the cess pit

Septic tank emptying

Campaign headquarters

Word is the team are busy being clever again preparing a new campaign. A new search? Nope. New appeal? Not quite. Tell us.

They're busy "underground", as it were, putting the final touches to yet another "smear Amaral" campaign in the Portuguese media. To coincide with the libel trial and to pre-empt Amaral's forthcoming new book. Don't step in the new stuff when it appears.

The "vestiges of a simulation", 07 March 2012
The "vestiges of a simulation" The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 19:30

Watch that bazooka!

Goncalo Amaral who, according to reports from his various enemies was recently trying desperately to extricate himself from the deadly consequences of his libels on the McCanns, has been seen showing his head above the parapet once more. And, surprise, surprise, not beneath a tattered white flag but, on the contrary, with something looking suspiciously like a rocket propelled missile launcher on his shoulder.

In two interviews he has put his personal troubles aside and emphatically repeated, with additions, the charges of the utmost gravity against Kate & Gerry McCann he originally made in his book and television documentary on the case. Not quite the behaviour of a broken man suing for peace is it?

Also, and refreshingly, he cut through nearly five years junk reporting by the media and outright lying by the McCanns and went straight back to the essence of the case - the "impossibility" of the parents' version of events on the night of May 3. "Undeniably," he said in one of the interviews, "this window, [the children's bedroom window] as I have said before, is a window 'facing the world'."

Not only was the window open to the world's view on May 3, with no place to hide for potential evil doers, but in another sense it is also the window through which one can enter this mysterious case. And probably exit it too, for as GA added, "it is where the solution of the case lies."

Five years well-funded adventurism by the couple, the crazed chiaroscuro of SAS men, paedophile rings, private jets, the Vatican, Metodo, the committee rooms of the House of Commons, moustachioed fugitives, moored yachts with waiting baby-buyers, lost wallets, dying suspects and the rest, all created by that artist of futile melodrama Gerry McCann, have failed to serve their purpose: do anything possible to muffle or drown the message of the window facing the world until it can be written off as "old news"...

GA's case has always been, forget the mysteries, the possibilities so beautifully dreamed up by the McCanns, forget, at least by implication, the everlasting world-wide search for a living child - a brutal but necessary decision - and concentrate on a trail: "vestiges", says Amaral, "of a simulation". The investigation of the case then consists in following the evidence of this simulation through to the end. Was he right? Or should he have been busy "closing the borders" and pursuing the paedos as all those failed policemen-consultants told us - until News International stopped paying them.

For our purposes there is no need to list contradictions by the dozen until the head spins. Let us enter that open window, look briefly at some of those "vestiges" and the the outlines of an investigation immediately become clear - for those initial "vestiges" lead on to new problems and then to new "vestiges", as the witnesses alter and develop their stories to plug the new holes. We can see it in action - and as the Bureau once asked, to a certain amount of bemusement, why bother with mysteries when we can concentrate on the "knowns"?

The definitive conferral evidence

At its heart lies an apparently trivial, but in the event absolutely intractable, problem. A period of just five to ten minutes means the difference between a possible abduction and an impossible one; some members of the Nine realised this by May 5 yet the attempts to master it, beginning with the construction of the third "timeline", not only failed completely but ended up providing the trail.

At their first conferral over the day's events, between 10.30 PM and 1 AM on the night of the 3/4 May, documentary evidence (the sticker-book entries) proves that the participants, Gerry McCann, Russell O'Brien, David Payne and Mathew Oldfield, all agreed, in writing and in two separate documents, that there was a gap of between five and ten minutes between the return of Oldfield from his "shutter check" and the departure of Gerry McCann for his "check". The walking time between restaurant and apartments is some 90 seconds to the front of the apartments, 65 seconds to 5A patio doors.

Timeline A relevant entries

. pm

Matt returns 9.00-9.05 - listened at all 3

                               - all shutters down

Jerry 9.10-9.15 in the room + all well

                      ? did he check

9.20/5 - Ella Jane checked 5D sees stranger & child

Timeline B relevant entries

8.45pm. all assembled at poolside for food

9.00pm. Matt Oldfield listens at all 3 windows 5A, B, D ALL shutters down

9:15pm Gerry McCann looks at room A ? Door open to bedroom

9:20pm Jane Tanner checks 5D - [sees stranger walking carrying a child]

Such agreement and documentation cannot be "reversed" since it is definitive – the participants were all present and jointly created the document and no relevant information sources that could change their conclusions were absent during the conferral.

The police statements

The conferee's May 4 statements, made before they had any chance for further discussion, are instructive. Gerry McCann: "at 9.05 pm, the deponent entered the club, [Ocean Club apartment] using his key, the door being locked, and went to the children's bedroom and noted that the twins and Madeleine were in perfect condition." [Assim, sendo palas 21.05 o declarente veio ao clube, entrou no quarto munidoda chave respectica, estando a porta transcada.] But there was no mention of Oldfield and his return to the restaurant.

And Payne made no mention of Gerry's first check at all. "He no longer remembers in what order they went see their children."

O'Brien was no support. "He recalls that Matthew Oldfield left the restaurant at shortly after 21h00 to check the children. He is no longer sure who went out first, but five minutes later [our italics] Gerry McCann and his own partner, Jane, went out, almost at the same time, [ours again] to check the children."

But Oldfield's statement was the best: "That around 21h05, the interviewee went to the area of the apartments, notably to the area near the windows of all the children's bedrooms. That he did not hear any noise."

So when Gerry McCann approached his front door with a key he would have found Mathew Oldfield bent over listening to the shutters...


Put shortly: the twin parameters of time/distance analysis results and the presence of the independent witness Wilkins determine fixed intervals that cannot be manipulated: the abduction, whatever form it takes, key or no key, abductor or abductors, has to occur after a certain time (the time Oldfield left the shutters) and be completed before a certain time (Tanner's sighting). That being so a gap between Oldfield's return and McCann's departure from the restaurant of more than a few seconds, combined with McCann's entry to the apartment via the locked front door, cannot be fitted in. It is impossible.

...and developments

It was not just the police who began noting this impossibility. In his second statement on May 10 Gerry McCann decided to tell the police about others' actions as well as his own. "At 21H05, Mathew returned, the time at which the deponent left the table to go check on his children." Mathew has been pulled away from the shutters he stated he was listening to at 9.05, been teleported through the darkening streets without being asked and the interval is down to zero.

So Gerry now knew to the second when he had left - 9.04. He wasn't asked how he could be so exact before his arguido statement in September. That was when he told the police he had looked at his never-before-mentioned watch! Of course this completely contradicted the sticker book evidence which he had helped prepare and the chief feature of which was the inability to time that same departure exactly by any of those present. Including Dr McCann. Anyway it was incorporated (as 9.05) in David Payne's helpful exercise in clarifying new timelines.

Finally McCann bites another bullet - there was no alternative because of the timescale and the possibility of further theoretical "collisions" like that between himself and Oldfield outside the apartment door - and completely changes his description of how he entered the apartment.

Now you cannot "unremember" an event. And it is well known that for information analysis purposes the first statement is always the most reliable in describing actions, rather than emotions or states of mind. Gerry McCann had told the police flatly that he went into the apartment by opening the locked front door with a key and had then signed and attested the truth of his statement having had it read back to him in English.

The only entrance requiring a key is the front door one off the car park, for the patio doors do not have a lock but are bolted from inside. But now he claimed, without comment or explanation and in breach of his previous attestation of the truth, "He walked the normal route up to the back door, which being open he only had to slide." [Efectuou o trajecto normal ate a porta das traseiras, a qual estando alberta somente teve de a deslocar send que.] Then, in an easy procedure for Gerry McCann he signed for and attested to the truth of this statement, having had it read back to him in English.

Step back – that's it!

The history of the rest of the case consists not of moustachioed Monster sightings nor, regrettably, the search for a living child, but of the doomed attempts to remove these wicked little problems and polish the "authorised version", each of which, of course, leaves an audit trail. Much of the work was done in late 2007 when Gerry's lawyers so helpfully pointed out the weaknesses which jumped out to the legal, or prosecutorial, mind and invited him to reconsider his evidence yet again - before testing out the new versions in the media via Clarence Mitchell to see if they floated.

That led to the farcical Medical McCann Memory Total Recall Syndrome when Gerry discovered that he was now "sure" there was a Hiding Monster listening to him pee from some secret refuge in 5A. Mitchell's will-it-float feed of this epiphany sent poor old Carlos Anjos into something resembling an apoplexy but there was no need to worry: Gerry McCann and his bad-breathed paid mouthpiece had added another bit to the trail that began at 10.30 in Praia da Luz. It's all still there, Clarence.

The work still proceeds: many of the proposed "solutions" to the ten minute problem can be heard softly, like an almost hidden background theme, in Madeleine. Clearly, as at least one other commentator has noted, she feels they may yet be needed

The group

The full extent of Tapas 7 collaboration with the pair is vexed. Note, for example, that even after the Rothley meeting David Payne's recollections of 6.30 - 7PM on May 3 were still very much out of line with Kate and Gerry's, which implies an absence of late group collusion. But when the memories of two of the core group who conferred over the sticker-book have evolved so usefully for the couple, then at the very least a passive willingness to fall in with Gerry McCann's untrue assertions without necessarily being privy to exactly why they were needed is quite indisputable.

Oldfield, for example, who was ignorant of the exact time of Gerry's departure at the sticker-book conference, has made neurological history alongside Gerry McCann by the constant improvement of his memory, so that in April 2008 he could say, "So, erm, back to the table, erm, we have, oh, back to the table, Gerry got up to go and, to go and check on his kids, I mean, and I'd come back and said, you know, I didn't hear any noise when I listened outside your room, so I thought it was a little bit odd that, you know, not kind of a wounded pride that he sort of didn't trust me, but..."

My, my. While O'Brien has made similar history in the reverse direction – Selective Short Term Memory Loss Trauma Syndrome: "Erm," he muttered in that same week, a week in which his recall was generally quite magnificent, "Erm as we discussed the other day, I'd forgotten these over the year." "These" were no doubt eminently forgettable to Dr. Russell O'Brien, who had far more important things on his mind than those little sticker book covers, overwhelmingly sad and desecrated remnants of a child's life, torn out thoughtlessly in a gesture that remains the abiding symbol of the Madeleine McCann Affair.

There is only one reason why the Tapas 7 question is "vexed": it has still, after five years, never been fully investigated. Investigated, that is, in the sense of the attempted reconstruction of claimed events and the clinical confrontation of the McCanns and the core group with their different and developing stories. A withdrawal and substitution of evidence, such as Gerry McCann's two statements about his entry to the apartment, is itself evidence for the prosecution.

The vestiges of a simulation

That is why Amaral, whatever his merits and faults, was and remains rightly furious at the eventual failure of the investigation to look through "the window facing the world" at these vestiges of a simulation and, indeed, its lame surrender when confronted with the Seven's outrageous refusal to return to Portugal. Instead the investigation dropped the shutters on the window, turned away and succumbed to the childish mass delusion of the "world-wide search for sweet missing Maddie" - until it ran into the sands, as illusions, helped on by the cowardly evasions of creatures like Menezes, always will.

Maddie's sticker book, front cover

Madeleine McCann's forgotten memorial

Vroom vroom!, 10 March 2012
Vroom vroom! The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Saturday, 10 March 2012 at 16:19

Things are gathering speed very nicely indeed.

There is little point in trying to push too hard for the progress of the Yard review: the conclusions haven't yet been written. In the meantime, as in 2007, we are at liberty to infer.

That is not quite the same as guessing. Because of the documentation kindly made available by the Portuguese and, even more kindly, by Kate McCann, we can be quite certain that those lay people who have studied the case know more than most of the Scotland Yard officers did before they were appointed to the review team. And very much more than any journalists, whose knowledge of the case is gained by skimming the blogs and – again! – copying from the Portuguese media: note how poor Kier Simmons was once more caught out.

That is one of the few benefits for those of us who have become obsessional about the case while others, police, journalists, lawyers, in both countries, have had to concentrate their energies on other cases, other stories. Those fortunate enough to have the time and wealth to keep in touch with the case in a way that is impossible for the others can be surprised by the eventual packaging of the review but no, not by its contents.

90% of the evidence is known to us. 5% say, the vital 5% which includes the likely identity of the person or persons who removed the child from the apartment and disposed of the body, is unknown but will almost certainly already have been explored as a possibility by those interested in the case; the remaining 5% is the detailed information still held in confidence, mostly consisting of UK police files which were excluded from the case papers release, such as the statements of officer Bob Small, for example.

It's the way he tells them…

Conclusions of a report are another matter. While there isn't the slightest likelihood of a Yard whitewash –nobody would know how to perform one even if it were desirable – we know from the archiving report that conclusions can sometimes contradict the data itself, if the authors simply see no way of going forward and wish to provide a halt, temporary or otherwise, to what's going on.

…Menezes that is

The decision to release the arguidos at that time was a perfectly reasonable one, marred by the unfortunate attempts of the prosecutor Menezes to invent a flowery intellectual justification for it instead of saying the truth which everyone except Amaral tacitly acknowledged – "we've had enough,we're buggared, we aren't getting anywhere, release them and let's all go home". Still, there was never going to be a tidy and trouble-free end to that particular chapter. Can the same thing happen again after the Yard review?

In a sense, yes. Unless someone can be prosecuted then the police have little room for manoeuvre. Only a court can exonerate the McCanns so if nobody is prosecuted then the report will have to be kept confidential on "natural justice" grounds to the parents.

That will irritate us but will bring no change whatever for the McCanns: they'll have to continue in their self-imposed limbo until the next state-sponsored attempt to get at the facts in another five years and on and on for the rest of their lives. Unless the civil law, in the shape of the libel courts and their effect on public consciousness, imposes its own solution.

So, for those interested, here are our views of events so far. Readers will accept or reject them according to their estimate of our reliability.
  • The Portuguese investigation was first reviewed by its own prosecutors who recommended the archiving of the case.
  • That review, the archiving summary, lists and evaluates the data uncovered in the investigation: almost 100% of the information is found to offer no opportunities, or leads, for probing the case further. That remains the case.
  • Almost 100%. There is just one section in the summary which deals with the few leads which have not been followed up and it is headed "About the Interest of the Reconstitution".
  • It follows that any new review which is not prompted by new information must, after the reviewers have familiarised themselves with the case, concentrate on that section. How could it not?
  • And no new information prompted the establishment of the review. The only prior claims of possible new information, the McCann's various suggested suspects, were found to lead nowhere, usually within hours of their announcement.
  • Therefore, the foundation stone of the review remains the "About the Interest of the Reconstitution" section and the complete resolution of the questions raised there.
  • The success or otherwise of such a resolution will determine the success or failure of the Scotland Yard review; successful investigation of the questions may lead to a re-opening of the case and the possibility of a trial. Failure to do so will leave matters exactly where they were in 2008 – except that the chances of the child being alive are now much less than the official "fifty-fifty" then.
And now for the good news

The apparently reliable news of the Oporto connection, of course, fits in rather cheerfully with the above conclusions. Again, look at the logic of events. The Portuguese, whom you could almost hear sighing with relief when they got rid of the McCanns in 2008, have turned into gluttons for punishment and established a fresh squad of their own before the Yard review has finished. Why would that be?

Well, there are two answers. Both of them seem to suggest liaison between Portugal and the UK is as good as we were hoping. The first is the one that the lawyer Alves seems to be hinting at: that something quite outside the Tapas 9 has been discovered in the review so important that a squad has been set up to "develop" it, probably working once again with British officers. Since it's Alves who's claiming it, in a mumbling sort of way, we can assume that it's abductor news. Dreams do, after all, come true.

If they do you'd think the McCanns would be the first to know, wouldn't you? All right those hard protestant northerners in London and Leicester aren't saying anything but you might think that Alves and Abreu, Duarte and the rest would have picked up some good vibes to pass on to them by now. Nope. The McCanns know zero from England and only what they read in the newspapers or Amaral tells them from Portugal. Odd, don't you think?

Or you can ignore Alves as a clumsy windbag who won't have any facts to add and believe, as Amaral and for what it's worth, the Bureau does, that the Yard and the Portuguese are together getting close to completing the work that the archiving summary was inviting them to undertake. And Kate and Gerry McCann are frozen in the headlights.*

Come on Clarence! There's a lorra, lorra work to do! Stop ignoring Gerry's calls and start meeting him to work out a strategy for the rest of 2012. What about the obvious stuff like driving a wedge between this bloody Brits and Ports co-operation, for Christ's sake? And why haven't you provided the follow-up to the the Mirror stuff about the libel trial? Clarence, you can't just lie there and hope it will all go away. Clarence!


He's gone missing again

*The McCanns, like their lawyers, always read the Bureau. Can we expect a public appearance to prove us wrong?

More timewarps, 03 April 2012
More timewarps The Blacksmith Bureau

The Paraiso beach restaurant

The Paraiso cafe and bar

Posted by John Blacksmith
Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 17:02

When the Yard detectives finally interview the Tapas group they won't be confining their questions to what happened between 8.30 and 10PM on May 3. The preceding two and a half hours or so also need more than a little clarification.

We all know about nice Dr Payne's controversial visit to Kate McCann during that time and we won't deal with it any more today. Less studied, however, are the activities of other members of the group around the same time, particularly those surrounding the so-called "social tennis" event.

This was scheduled for 6.PM at the Ocean Club and was to involve all four male members of the group, finishing, according to the instructor, at 7PM. Gerry McCann was already at the courts at six with the instructor, Dan. Kate and the children were in the apartment and the rest of the group were down at the beach in the Paraiso bar, a seaside café some seven to ten minutes' walk away from the Ocean Club.

The men left the bar for the tennis courts, the others followed them afterwards, stayed to watch some of the tennis, and then everyone went back to their respective apartments to put the kids to bed and prepare for supper at the Tapas restaurant.

Silence is golden

So far so simple. So simple that it is very hard to see why the men, as well as the McCanns, were initially silent about this two and a half hour period. Summarising the May 4 police statements: David Payne had nothing to say about the period, even though it included a towel-wrapped Kate McCann and the striking "vision of angels" in apartment 5A; Mathew Oldfield had nothing to say either; Russell O'Brien, along with his partner Tanner the most obscure and slippery of the whole group, who spoke to the police last and knew what Tanner had said, mentioned nothing other than his return to his apartment at "around 7.15-7.30PM." From Gerry McCann, not a word about the whole period.

The women were less tight-lipped. Dianne Webster, exactly as one would expect, was positively loquacious:

"Concerning the day yesterday, she went to the beach with the children, her son-in-law and her daughter. They arrived there at around 15h45 and left at around 18h15 to go to the tennis courts where she stayed until 19h00. The informant then went to the apartment with the small children and ten minutes later, her son-in-law, David, joined them. With her son-in-law's help, they bathed the children."

Her daughter could hardly disagree, although whether these two statements were genuinely independent is another matter since the times, as you can see, are too similar for comfort:

"On the day before yesterday, [this is a translation error for May 3] they slightly altered their routine - they went to the beach with the children and her mother Dianne. They arrived there around 15h45 and left at 18h15, and headed towards the tennis court until about 19h00. Immediately afterwards, the witness headed towards the apartment with her children, and her mother. Ten minutes later her husband David appeared. In the apartment her mother, helped by her husband David, bathed the children whilst the witness went jogging on the beach until around 20h00. Afterwards, she returned to the apartment and got ready."

Rachael Oldfield, in contrast, said the same as Mathew: nothing.

Finally Jane Tanner. And her statement was both relatively extensive and very interesting because in the course of a couple of paragraphs in which she told police that she was on the beach or at the Paraiso from 3.45 until 6.10-6.15, she said little more about herself but gave useful eye-witness alibis for all the men and Kate McCann:

Kate? "Around 5.15 she saw Kate Healy jog past the beach and wave." Gerry and the other men? Why, "when the witness, together with her friends and children returned from the beach at about 6.20 they passed by the tennis courts and saw all the men, including Gerry, on court. They stayed there talking to them for about 20/30 minutes." Gerry again? "Gerald behaved normally." Kate again? "She thinks [our italics] Kate was in the apartment putting the children to bed." Everybody? "At about 19h00 they all went back to their own apartments with the children."

"All", however, didn't mean all at all, since O'Brien came back "later", time unspecified. And, surprise, surprise, she discussed her statement with Russell O'Brien who told the police that "He completely corroborates his partner Jane Tanner's statements for the rest of the day." Whatever that may mean.

A new beginning…

Clearly the police needed a lot more detail and on May 10/11 they attempted to get it, despite the absence of the Paynes and Kate McCann. Under questioning a consistent picture now began to emerge:
  • Russell O'Brien, David Payne and Mathew Oldfield left the beach for the "social tennis" between 6 and 6.15.
  • The remainder of the group followed some ten minutes later and stayed talking or watching the tennis until 7 when the women and children left for their apartments.
  • The independent witness, Dan, confirmed that the social tennis was over by 7PM. Gerry, who had played with the other three, left then. The other men left ten minutes or so later.
From which we can see that:
  • O'Brien, Oldfield and Payne were only out of sight of the women and children for about ten minutes before and ten minutes after the tennis.
  • All the men were in their respective apartments with their partners and children by 7.15-7.20 and remained in them until 8.30.
That was the end of the Portuguese questioning and everything had turned out straightforward enough – insofar as anything the Tapas 7 said was ever straightforward. Only Gerry McCann had mentioned Payne's visit to 5A, admittedly, but that may well have been because the latter didn't get the chance to give a second statement.

Back in England the McCanns and their lawyers began building their defence to the Portuguese accusations, the details surfacing at intervals as their spokesman floated them in the media to see if they sailed or sank. Gerry and the group had little to say about the period in their Panorama "expunge it!" programme – which began as it meant to continue with the comical statement that "the McCanns' story has been the same from day one" – but what they did say confirmed the details they had given on May 10/11.

Only in the late December Beyond the Smears article by David Smith, which the McCanns had used as a deliberate feed for their version of events, did the pair revert to coyness about the missing two and a half hours, highlighting only the Payne visit and introducing a mysterious tennis injury which had apparently stopped Gerry playing and left him "waiting around the courts" on his own after 4.30 that afternoon. Hm.

…and another

And so we come to the final effort of the investigation, the rogatory interviews, in which the Tapas 7 were able to fill in the details which had been absent in Portugal. The assembled police of two countries, well briefed about the progress of events on and after May 3 and with copies of the statements to hand, could hardly have been prepared for what occurred during that week of interviews. In short:
  • Payne, O'Brien and Oldfield all changed their stories. In unison. Now they stated that the tennis didn't start until 6.50 and finished at 8PM.
  • Two of the three made some attempt to reconcile the new version with the old; both failed, with Payne in particular being badly caught out by his interviewer.
  • Fiona Payne and Dianne Webster, to add to the developing farce, did not alter their statements, still saying that David Payne was back in the apartment by 7.10.
This radical alteration in the timing of events was wrapped in various lengths of flannel by the interviewees as they attempted to make their changes less suspicious and more convincing. No wonder Rebelo flew home before the completion of the interviews! These absurd and often rather shameless alterations to their stories made it obvious that the seven – always excluding Dianne Webster – were not there to help seek the truth of events on May 3 but were simply covering their backs in some way or deliberately muddying the waters.

To Rebelo the idea that any of them would chance returning to a Portuguese reconstruction with this lamentable record of their own evasions was out of the question, even before some of them were asked: clearly they would have to be forced – an impossibility under European Arrest Warrant rules. With his disillusioned flight home the Portuguese investigation was effectively at an end.

Nor was he the only one to react strongly to the new version. "It's getting warm in here," said DC Messiah at one point, clearly baffled and irritated at Payne's unbearably long-winded attempts to make the new timings fit the old. There are pages and pages of the stuff as Payne battles to soften the impact of his volte-face by stressing how late everything was running, how he had neither watch nor mobile phone to tell the time, how long and slow was the way from beach to tennis courts and from courts to apartments and on and on. If you cut out the rare statements of fact from the interview but leave in Payne's "uncertainties" you get an idea of just how bizarre Payne's answers were:

"But you know...

"Yeah, what sort of time, excuse me it's getting warm in here, what sort of time was that that you saw them?"

"Err you know and err so that'd be the time that I'd have gone out there... you know err the, I've done a great deal... err well no because I mean like usually like... as far as I remember... err... err... I can't remember... Err well I mean we were probably, as I say... then we left the err restaurant and err you know, I hadn't got a watch on me, I hadn't you know I hadn't got a mobile... we left the restaurant err you know after six o'clock, so you know just working backwards… bit of time on the beach and then you know your meal, which would take an hour, which seems to fit in with the, you know... we left we didn't leave from the beach we left from the err restaurant... Err the, basically the err the children and the ladies that stayed behind, err just to finish off there and err and then we... we'll get up there... err there was Russell and Matt. As I say I can't, can't remember... you know, I can't remember... but I know I went and spoke to Gerry."

"Yeah, and at what point did you have the conversation with him? Did he stop the game or did you speak whilst he was playing?"

"I can't remember, I can't remember. I, you know, in my mind, you know, he stopped playing and you know but I can't remember..."

The other interviewees are just as unconvincing, as readers can see for themselves from the transcripts. Some err and bumble along as they play for time regarding the crucial alterations to their year-old statements; others, like O'Brien, give up any attempt to remove the anomalies, leaving the transcript in a literally nonsensical state.

Every picture tells a story

was up between 6 and 8.30 The silence of virtually all of them in the first instance about these two and a half hours was suggestive enough; that was followed by suspicious near-unanimity six days later; and then, with a whole year gone, came this farrago, quite enough to make DC Messiah somewhat hot under the collar.

What was the need for the change? Why were they so riskily adding an extra hour to events, an hour in which the men were on their own? That's what we hope the Yard will eventually tell us. Once again the apparently naïve but persistently untruthful Oldfield is right at the centre of a modified version. Once again Rachael Oldfield makes changes to her story to back him up, just as she did when she confirmed some of his more unlikely statements in the PJ interviews. Alongside Oldfield but out of sight of everyone else walks the enigmatic figure of O'Brien, just as he was to do at the critical hour of 9.30PM. And Payne, bumbling Payne, struggles to alter his testimony in order to fit in the visit to 5A by him alone.

Paraiso restaurant CCTV image, 03 May 2007

Come on ladies!

When did the group become aware of the Paraiso CCTV pictures? Payne makes reference to camera timings but it is not clear which camera he is referring to. They blow open good old unanimous Version One. At 6.13 the three men are standing, clearly about to leave, presumably for the tennis courts. Fair enough. But what about the "ten minutes" or so interval before the others left? They were in fact still in the restaurant until at least 6.36 – fifteen minutes after Jane Tanner claimed to have watched the men playing – and would have arrived at the tennis courts at the same time as the men were just commencing play. If they weren't playing tennis then what exactly had O'Brien, Oldfield and David Payne been doing between 6.13 and 6.50, a period which just happened to include the supposed Payne visit? And if they were playing from 6.50 to almost 8PM how come Fiona Payne placed her husband back in the apartment at 7.10? Come on!

If they had somehow been mistaken in unison in Version One and were correcting their evidence because they'd seen the CCTV timings then why on earth couldn't they tell Leicester police so? Why take the risk of looking once again as if they were obstructing the investigation because they had something to hide? And there are many other related questions: the Yard have their work cut out.

Just after the rogatory interviews ended Rachael Oldfield spoke to BBC Radio 4. Had any of their stories changed between the Portuguese statements and the interviews, she was asked. "No, of course not," said the lady who'd once sworn to the PJ that MO returned to their apartment at 7.15. "How could they have done?" she added haughtily, "there was only ever one story."


The following exchange of correspondence (see below) between Johanna, who runs the website Unterdenteppichgekehrt, and David James Smith, a UK journalist, was published online about a year ago. For any new readers of this site, who have not seen it before, it is an enlightening insight into the workings, and attitude, of at least one UK journalist and the collaboration that existed at a time when Gerry McCann was still an arguido and subject to the rules of judicial secrecy.

The article Kate and Gerry McCann: Beyond the smears was significant in placing the preferred 'official' timeline into the public domain - immediately following the secret meeting that took place in Rothley, on 14 November 2007, between the McCanns and the Tapas Seven.

A conversation with the press, 08 July 2011
A conversation with the press Unterdenteppichgekehrt

Friday 8 July 2011 at 15:38

Article in Question:

Message: Dear Mr. Smith,

In your article "Kate and Gerry McCann: Beyond the smears", from 16th December 2007, you mention this fact: "Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner had brought a monitor too, but theirs wasn't getting much of a signal from the Tapas restaurant 50 yards away."

The couple never mentioned to the PJ that they brought a monitor as well, in all their statements they claim that the Paynes were the only ones with a baby monitor. Only in April 2008, in the rogatory interviews conducted by Leicestershire Police, this piece of information appeared. It might seem a small omission, but in the light of possible neglect charges, would have been important. Jane Tanner claims in the rogatory interview that she brought it with her in the evenings and positioned it on a ledge/wall behind her. This was NEVER mentioned to portuguese Police as the released statements show. The question I have is, how did you get this info before the rogatory interviews even took place? I know you have to protect sources, but this seems a very strange inside knowledge.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards

Who are you and what is your interest in this case?


I am sorry if I have upset you... Well I gave my name, I am from Germany and I am interested in the case. Since the files have been released I have been trying to build myself an opinion based solely on facts and no spin. I am in the possession of the DVD with the released case files and have spent a lot of time with their analysis. That is why I came upon this rather curious discrepancy regarding the baby monitor. There was a meeting of the McCanns and their friends in Rothley in November, and in December your article was published with this "new" fact. I am just curious where it suddenly came from.


No i am not upset. I just don't to fuel the web ghouls (i have no idea whether you are one of them or not...) who seem obsessed with what i consider to be the grotesque idea that the mccanns or their friends did away with madeleine. In addition to the further distress it must cause the mccanns and their friends on top of the devastating event that started it, I just feel it is a complete waste of time and energy. That said, however, I had a long briefing with Gerry McCann before I wrote my article and I guess the baby monitor info came from him. I am aware that many discrepancies arose in the portuguese statements through misunderstandings of language. And you ought to be aware that there will always be minor discrepancies of fact in statements - failings of memory, interpretation and so on - which are not in themselves sinister or suspicious.

One skill of good policing is sifting the wheat from the chaff and knowing what matters and what doesn't. I strongly suspect the baby monitor issue lies in the latter category. As you will gather, I have every sympathy with the McCanns and no sympathy with those who want to play amateur detective in public on the net with no apparent consideration for the McCanns' feelings.

I respect facts.

Rant over...


Dear David,

thank you for the information about your source regarding the baby monitor. Allow me to add my 2c to the rest of your mail.

Last time I checked, the case was not solved, Madeleine had not turned up, and no evidence of an abduction had emerged. If you are content with the current status quo that is your prerogative, but I am of the opinion that the death or disappearance of a 3-year old girl should not simply be shelved after only a couple of months. To label all those that want explanations as ghouls is a preferred method of the media, the McCanns and Clarence Mitchell to discredit and ridicule a thinking minority that is in the possession of the casefiles. To ask questions is and should stay allowed in the light of so many discrepancies that were revealed with the release of the police files. The emotional blackmail, that those questions "add to the distress of the parents" is just an additional way to stop these questions.

I agree with you that the added fact of a second baby monitor, that never got mentioned in Portugal, is not important enough to change the course of an investigation that is no longer open. Still it was deliberately added and even "translation issues" cannot conceal the fact, that it was never mentioned to the Portuguese Police. The fact that the information was given to you by the then "Arguido" Gerald McCann, published without confirmation, does not instil confidence in the rest of the article.

But since you are of the opinion that sifting the wheat from the chaff is up to the police you are excused for not questioning the details. I know I won't be granted another reply after my rant, but there is one question that I wanted to raise with a proper journalist for ages.

The evidence of the Smith family from Ireland would have been the perfect "proof" for an abduction. A man carrying a "sleeping" girl towards the rocky beach via dark roads. Between June (when the article was published for the first time in the Drogheda Independent) and September (when Mr. Smith suddenly realised the man might have been Gerry McCann) it would have enforced the abduction theory immensely. But this evidence was never used, neither by the McCanns nor by the british press. No mention of it anywhere. While hundreds of sightings poured in from all over the world, this one sighting was never mentioned. Why?

Have a nice Sunday

No, I won't let you get away with that. You are asking me to endorse or tolerate a world in which interfering outsiders blunder around misinterpeting snippets of information and re-presenting them as suspicious facts, in reality half-facts. I do broadly think it is the job of the police to investigate crimes. Those are the people we appoint to do it on our behalf.

The media's role is to examine, challenge and sometimes investigate too. I think those web ghouls are driven by prejudices formed on the basis of...of what? Television appearances? How the McCanns appear to be? Most of those opinions about them were formed long before the case file was released. There is also a sad desire to give weight to conspiracy theories.

On the basis of the hard established facts of the case - the way in which the characters' lives intersect that evening, after Madeleine was last seen by anyone else - how many people would have to have known and been involved in the mccanns' self-abducting or killing their own child? The police always start with motive. Every crime has a motive. What would be the motive and what could be so great a motive it involved all that group of people and was capable of being seemingly indefinitely concealed. What do you think, they were all paedophiles? Sex game enthusiasts? Child traffickers? Or merely agreed that pretending an abduction had been committed was the best way of disguising an accidental calpol overdose?

Come on, get real. Find something useful to do - go and campaign against war crimes in rwanda or something - and leave those poor people in peace. That is not emotional blackmail it is a recognition of their loss and an acceptance of the reality that not a single plausible suspicious shred about them has emerged in all the months since.

All those delusional sites devoted to conspiracy theories about the mccanns are kind of repugnant. I can't remember the detail of the smith sighting but surely it was quickly established it was not reliable or significant.


By David James Smith: "I respect facts"

By David James Smith: "I can't remember the detail of the smith sighting but surely it was quickly established it was not reliable or significant"

Britain's foremost crime writer you are called by the papers. Please do yourself a favour and check on the facts. Nine people saw a man carrying a child in PdL at 21:50 on the 3rd of May and it was mentioned NOWHERE. The Smiths were brought over to Portugal for a reconstruction with the PJ and were regarded as very credible witnesses by the GARDA. The PJ regarded the sighting as very significant, so much so, that they were supposed to be brought over again to Portugal just before Paulo Rebelo took over the investigation. The fact that you dismiss the Smith sighting, imo the most crucial bit in the case, tells me you have not had a look in the actual police files. A pity But thanks for the enlightening conversation

Have a nice remaining Sunday.

Over four and a half years!, 26 April 2012
Over four and a half years! The Blacksmith Bureau

Andy Redwood

Posted by John Blacksmith
Thursday, 26 April 2012 at 15:42

That's how long it has taken to establish an investigation free from the malign influence of the media imported so irresponsibly by Kate and Gerry McCann on May 4 2007. That's how long it took until the last vestiges of spin from their spokesman – as against factual responses to questions – were extinguished in late 2011, after the attempt to "manage" the Scotland Yard officers' visit to Barcelona. Now, finally, we have a situation where the investigators can do their work unhindered.

The Bureau, like the McCanns, welcomed the Scotland Yard initiative in early 2011 because it had campaigned for years for the investigation, terminated by the McCanns' refusal to remain in Portugal and their friends' refusal to return to that country, to be completed. In particular we had pointed to the sheer absurdity of the Portuguese archiving report attempting to provide "conclusions" to an investigation which, as the Reconstruction Section in that report made perfectly clear, was incomplete and inconclusive due to the nine's failure to co-operate in completing and concluding it.


Had the McCanns, in summer 2008, accepted with good grace what they call their "exoneration" and what the report in a sub-section called their "failure to demonstrate their innocence", and continued to search for their daughter with their employees from then on there would have been little ground for disagreement or criticism. Such relative silence about themselves might even have led to their reputations recovering with the passage of time.

They did not do so. Their first action on the day of the archiving of the case was not to come forward with their plans to continue the search for Madeleine McCann. Their very first action was to spin and distort that archiving summary in their own favour via their repellent mouthpiece, including their disgraceful and completely invented story that the summary had "mocked" the efforts of the Portuguese police.

As they began so they have continued until late 2011 – promoting their own version of events and their own innocence of any wrong-doing using spokesmen, media interviews, television documentaries, local and national news editors, leaks, publishers, lawyers, libel lawyers and a book written by Kate McCann with the latters' acknowledged assistance. This effort has accomplished precisely zero for the child but has done a great deal for the parents, in particular for that fashionable objective known as "reputation management".

That phase is now over and the police of both countries are investigating matters in a less contaminated climate, one in which, for example, Goncalo Amaral was allowed to contribute to Panorama without the "disgraced" and other epithets that the McCanns' lawyers have previously insisted upon. Amaral's theories were also put forward to the British public factually for the first time – and of course can now be publicly repeated by quoting the words of the BBC without threat of libel. That is in great contrast to the climate in 2007 when the first Panorama was made with the co-operation and and input of nice Mr Smethurst and his Dr Strangelove ambition to electronically overwrite the public's memories regarding the possible guilt of his clients. Pretty good, eh? Five years to get the sort of more or less balanced programme that we had a right to expect in 2007.

What does this mean for the future of the investigation?

Let us give you an example. Andy Redwood, the officer in charge of the Yard review just happens to look and sound on video like a Somerset yokel searching under his mattress for his cider jug. Unlike Goncalo Amaral, however, he is not going to be subjected to the disgusting attempts to ridicule and demean him using photographs chosen deliberately to that end; Mr Redwood, for all we know, may live on a diet of pasties, sheep feed and apple cores but his lunches are not going to be photographed to demonstrate what a lazy and gluttonous yokel he really is, are they? Nor will Mr Redwood be falsely accused by BBC East Midlands of saying "fuck the McCanns", even though he may one day find the words springing to his lips. No, the press will not be used this time to destroy a police enemy.

The case is not sub judice but for the first time the normal rules of restraint about a current police investigation – one being conducted in both countries – are now expected to be followed by those involved and their publicity contacts, at least in the UK; that means that the cause of justice will not be continually subverted either by anonymous selective public attacks on the investigators by the families of those involved nor by "reputation management" agencies anonymously defending those who can find the money to employ them. Hooray for that.

Hoping for the best

Apart from the all-knowing "whitewash" brigade all of us, surely, can welcome the investigation itself, the way it is going and the possibility that it will get at the truth unhindered. If, for the very first time, it "demonstrates the innocence of the parents", no easy task, then three more cheers.

In early 2011 we welcomed the review but said this, an expression of our opinion: however many thousands of "leads" were followed up, however many "sightings" analysed, the investigators would eventually find themselves coming back to the small area of Praia da Luz encompassing the Batista supermarket, the Ocean Club and its apartments and the adjoining streets, at the perimeter of which the trail went cold – for ever. Sooner or later, we said, they would be driven back to the same unanswered questions that the archiving report so concisely referred to and the same individuals who were questioned before because there is no-one else to question and nowhere else to go.

Of course we could be wrong but that remains our opinion.

A year has elapsed and it is manifest that the Scotland Yard review has turned up absolutely nothing of significance outside that perimeter, in accordance with our forecast. Welcome to the McCann case, Andy. At least you can eat your lunch in peace during the coming year.

An Appeal from John Blacksmith, 27 April 2012
An Appeal from John Blacksmith The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Friday, 27 April 2012 at 13:13

As we wrote this week we have a situation where the police are carrying out their work without the continual interference by interested elements using the media which did so much to wreck the first investigation.

This situation, as we also wrote, is relatively new. Until late last year spin was still being used in the UK by an anonymous source acting for unknown interests claiming to know the reasons for the Yard officers' visits to Barcelona. Somebody has stopped that for the time being and the media are largely accepting the normal conventions of behaviour applying during an important investigation.

Due to the anniversary of the child's disappearance there is, of course, a blip in the amount of publicity which in due time will die down. Kate and Gerry McCann will no doubt wish to go on giving interviews to the public for the foreseeable future as is their right, although I think their own lawyers will be urging care and restraint on them for the good of the justice system and, of course, to avoid any possibility of fuelling tension between Britain and Portugal which might, once again, interrupt the investigation.

I believe this relative freedom from anonymous briefing, character attacks and other attempts to influence the course of justice is worth fighting for, whatever one's opinions as to the eventual outcome of the inquiry.

As a result I would make this appeal. If any UK resident reads in the UK press material based on information clearly provided by a spokesman or other professional source anonymously which purports to have information about the activities or progress or conclusions of the Scotland Yard team which have not been given by Scotland Yard itself in public statements then I would ask them to take the following action.

After considering carefully whether such a report really does meet these criteria, and bearing in mind the police workload, can you send a brief note including a link to the material to the Andy Redwood team at the address on their website or by email – in the body of the email and not by attachment. Any communication should be as radically short as possible: it is the link we want them to look at, not our views on the case. Identification would probably be better than anonymity but it is not critical, as long as the material is accurate, linked and sent in good faith.

This will be of very considerable value to the investigation, first of all in identifying if their own team is leaking selectively in this year of Leveson; secondly for the team to identify the likely beneficiaries of such spin; thirdly to assess what the reasons might be for such an attempt to interfere with the investigation in the UK. It may well be that such material might play a role in complaints about specific media or Reputation Management organizations.

I appreciate that due to recent public statements by the Yard people might be uneasy about the investigation. Forget that. This is our investigation by our police, not the prime minister's: to believe and say otherwise is losers' talk. Of course initiatives may take place to influence the investigation that will never reach the media but I repeat we have the power in our hands to kill off the disgraceful use of the media by anonymous sources that first perverted and then destroyed the original investigation. Help us do it!

And please use the social media to circulate this appeal. Thanks.

Benny Hill's Alive Too, 28 April 2012
Benny Hill's Alive Too The Blacksmith Bureau

The Review Leader in action
The Review Leader in action

Posted by John Blacksmith
Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 16:57

Andy Redwood might have hidden talents as a whizzbang investigator, though if his role in the shockingly botched Jill Dando murder inquiry, which ended in the long and tragic incarceration of a helpless mentally handicapped victim is anything to go by, these talents must be hidden very well indeed. But at communication he is not just a disaster but a slow-talking, slow-thinking, slow-burning horror show. All he lacks is a suicide vest.

What he said

In his Scotland Yard April 24 official interview, available on You-Tube, Mr Redwood gave his reasons for going public now. The primary reason for the initiative, he said, is a public appeal for assistance and information that might be of value in terms of sightings etc, complete with a photo projection of what the child would look like now. The other, subsidiary, reason is to prompt the memories of those who were staying in the Praia da Luz area during that week in 2007, an appeal, by the way, first made over four years ago.

He said nothing whatever about wanting the case re-opened now, and it was clearly no part of his brief to do so. He spoke of increasing co-operation between both police forces and "working together towards a position where we would very much like the case to be re-opened". This peculiar prose, found at 2 minutes 10 or so on the video and sadly typical of Mr Redwood's mode of conversation, obviously refers to a position which has not yet been reached.

What he then said - or did he?

At the official media conference to launch the appeal the hapless Redwood was ambushed by questioners into enlarging on this aim and proceeded, with great West Country determination and dexterity, to slowly winch his foot upwards and sideways until it was jammed firmly into his mouth. Before actually swallowing it and putting us all out of our misery, he managed to give the impression to the hacks that the Yard definitely wanted the case re-opened nowthe precise opposite of his formal scripted policy announcement on April 24. And off rushed the Guardian, the Independent and the tits and bum papers to write inflammatory stories on that basis without once quoting him actually saying so. Not once.

An international debut

Quite an achievement, isn't it? A Scotland Yard detective has single-handedly started a diplomatic incident on his first major media appearance. Until that press conference the word was that the UK and the Portuguese authorities were working well together; now this witless buffoon has triggered off the UK press into one of its uncouth chauvinist outbreaks with all the consequences that anyone not embalmed in scrumpy could forecast, including a frosty statement from the Portuguese Attorney General, political grunting noises from the former postman Alan Johnson and a clearly perceptible frisson of resentment from Portuguese people which bodes very badly for the future.

Redwood has nobody to blame but himself. It is quite right that the Yard should issue a definitive appeal on the child's behalf and this anniversary was the obvious time to do so – after all even Mr Redwood might gag at waiting until the sixth anniversary, still only halfway through his task, to appeal for more information. It is quite right also that he should treat the McCanns as innocent victims of a terrible event. But the man has the diplomatic sensitivity, nous, finesse and awareness of a walrus.

Obviously he couldn't make an age-progression-picture-based appeal for sightings of the child while simultaneously stating that she was dead, could he? So what was his plan for handling this potential contradiction when he was asked about it, as he was bound to be? Oh, he hadn't thought of that, or rather, oh, 'e adn't thorra that. Instead we received his revelation that Madeleine McCann was definitely, yes definitely, certainly, er, aloive or dead, an insight which went straight round the world, fuelled by a wave of mockery. Goncalo Amaral might have been forgiven for just a little schadenfreude behind his sleeve, although he was too decent to twist the knife on a fellow cop in distress - no not just distress but buried up to his neck with his foot in his mouth, his boots in the air, his pants on his face, in a giant brown mound of steaming Somerset cowshit.

Andy Redwood's cold, ruthless hitman killer Barry George
Andy Redwood's cold, ruthless hitman killer Barry George

Eaten for Breakfast

The Madeleine McCann affair involves some of the most highly paid professional communicators in the world, as well as brilliant media and communication lawyers. All are waiting for their next engagements in the case. Mr Redwood has made his first venture into this snake pit and it has not been a pretty sight. Wait till the heavies get to work on him! Whether he will still be around when the Yard actually have to get to grips with the investigation, which they have certainly not done yet, must be a matter of some doubt.

Lastly, for those of the belief that Mr Redwood is in some way carrying out a policy determined for him by others, just pause and think over what you have witnessed. Mr Redwood, a man unable to remember the scripted priorities he had laid out just three days before on April 24 is not the sort of man that David Cameron, or whoever the supposed puppet-master is, would entrust with a sensitive cover-up. On this performance he wouldn't entrust him with calling a taxi.

Progress Report, 03 May 2012
Progress Report The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 15:16

Our commercial & cultural desk writes: Meanwhile we report highly satisfactory progress in the gradual collapse of the Bureau's enemy – the late twentieth century UK press, which embarked on its death ride in May 2007. Not the token villains like Murdoch  but the journalists who write the lies voluntarily for loadsamoney. There are fewer of them now and their numbers continue to decline in a most comforting manner. Their earnings are frozen. They are being made redundant on a regular basis. Those remaining are concerned for their careers. Hooray!

Are you going to report the latest villain Lori? You know, that one
Are you going to report the latest villain Lori? You know, that one

News Corp, which included so many of these liars, is finished in the UK and the Times will be sold. A significant number of the journalists who wrote the anti-Portuguese, indeed essentially anti-human, filth of 2007 are now on bail and some of them will go to prison. Lovely Lori Campbell, who can smell an abductor or other criminal  at fifty yards, now has to wear a clothes peg on her nose when she dines with her partner.

Holloway Prison, Rebekah, no silk sheets, lots of sexual predators
Holloway Prison, Rebekah, no silk sheets, lots of sexual predators

The shrew-faced harridan Rebekah Brooks, responsible for the death of an innocent man when she triggered anti-paedophile riots* and set the moral tone for the last act of that press Gotterdammerung faces ruin and humiliation. Good. Very good indeed. May they suffer the consequences of their own actions. Utopia never comes but progress does.

Our television critic writes:
It was pleasing to note that Panorama's neutral free publicity for Goncalo Amaral's book, which included for the very first time in the UK overground media the actual allegations made by that officer, has led to several of the national papers repeating the charges almost word for word, free now from the threat of libel action. Factual background always helps.

Could the Bureau make a suggestion though? Whenever the BBC next uses those beloved words "Mr Amaral has made £300,000 from the McCann affair" they follow up with, "that's slightly more than the £250,000 earned by Clarence "Coffin Face" Mitchell (plus perks)".

*The subsequent riots provoked by this disgusting creature, involving house burnings, threats to kill and random beatings-up are on record, as was the death of 54 year old James White, a man of previous good character who had admitted indecently assaulting two girls some ten years before . After he and his wife were driven from their home by the rioters he spent a week on the run before killing himself. "He had been literally scared to death," said his solicitor who accused the News of the World of creating a climate of hysteria in which vigilantes took the law into their own hands.

And us?

The strangled feelings we endured in 2007, the sensation of trying to shout against a tsunami, when we knew there was something amiss with all the public reporting and noise, are gone. To anyone with a sense of proportion the current outpourings of the Lazzeri spaghetti-stall school are simply comical and we can sit back and laugh, knowing that they have no connection with reality and little influence except with the dolts.

While there are far fewer journalists now there are far more of us. (If you don't know who "us" are then you don't know the score). The blogs and forums, some good, some bad, provide access to all the factual information on the McCann affair which the poor bloody Stunt Brunts and Smears Keirs aren't even allowed to refer to.

Would you buy a second hand story off people like that? Imagine buying a car and asking for the mileage and the dodgy salesman, dark-haired. sweaty-skinned, sharp-suited, resentful-eyed, just like Smears Keir in fact, says, "Sorry, I'm not allowed to discuss that by my employers in case we get sued". Really? "Yes sir, you just have to accept our package".

Meanwhile the investigation in both countries goes on, undamaged by the frivolous trash written last week, undamaged even by the appearance on our public stage of a new and richly comic figure in the shape of Andy Redwood. Mr Redwood looks as if he has just been evicted from his agricultural tied cottage on the Worzalthisthen Gummeridge Estate and discusses the case as if it concerned the disappearance of a Miss Baa-Baa-Blacksheep. But even under him, or perhaps, sorry Andy, his successor, the inquiry is safe and its course foreordained: eventually, and with whatever reluctance, it will, as we've always said, have to home in on the only 9 real leads that exist, after the other 186 are discarded.

Amid all this high comedy, noise and mayhem we have the parents, who suffered the loss of their daughter and who rarely laugh, at least not when in the studios. Their situation is a genuinely desperate one, for many, many reasons and we should never forget it. Unfortunately they chose to deal with the disappearance of their child by deliberately spurning the police, choosing their own path and enlisting the UK media to do the job instead, thus incorporating the Madeleine McCann Case into the entertainment business and entwining their own fate and reputation with the most untruthful and corrupt institution in modern Britain, the unreformed UK press of 2007. And they are paying the price for that choice.

It won't go away – Parts One, Two and Three, 16 May 2012
It won't go away – Part One The Blacksmith Bureau

The Reconstruction in Portuguese Law

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 at 18:20

When the fuss has all died down and the 195 clues have been chucked into the Thames or the Tagus the police of both countries will turn their attention to the Archiving Summary and the section entitled "In the interest of the reconstruction".

It is the repeated contention of the McCanns and their allies that the refusal of the couple to attend is a myth. Why, they say, the McCanns were arguidos, there was no question of not returning: their status meant that they had to return.

It was only the Tapas 7 who had problems and expressed reservations against going back. When they did so, goes this version, then the police didn't bother to insist on the parents returning since there was no point unless all nine were present.

We can leave aside the obvious sophistry of this claim and the way it ignores the fact that the parents had already spent tens of thousands on lawyers with the aim of thwarting the requirement to return, and the unrealistic supposition that the attitudes and decisions of the Seven and the Two would not interact with each other.

We can ignore it and go straight to the evidence rather than the alibis. The McCanns and their supporters aren't keen on that, which is why they were so keen to sink the famous Gerry blog and other audit-trail footprints into oblivion. They aren't keen on it because this meretricious  version was invented with one eye on the future when there might be other investigations. Which is now.

For during the coming months police investigators can hardly avoid asking, what do the actions of the parents in regard to a reconstruction at that time tell us about them? If they were always going to return, OK, but if, after having stated repeatedly that they and their seven friends wanted to go back and help and would do so whenever asked, they actually stalled and refused under various excuses, then that was a quite different matter. And meriting some pretty close attention. Just what were they evading, apart from, as the archiving prosecutor wrote, "the chance to demonstrate their innocence"? And who would ever turn that down? And why?

So here we go: we will hear the parents and the Third Man who speaks for the three of them, Clarence Mitchell, in their own words. No leaks, no anonymous feeds, just public verbatim statements. And we can compare what they say they were going to do with what they actually did.

Far from being any sort of myth, the evidence shows a clear pattern of events.
  • From September 2007 until the turn of the year the Three maintained effusively that they and the friends wanted to co-operate in any reconstruction requested by the police. And they knew perfectly well, from the police and their own lawyers, what an official investigative reconstruction, as codified in Portuguese law, involved.
  • After January, however, the idea of the reconstruction began to change into reality. The Portuguese saw both it and the prior rogatory UK interviews as a unity: the McCanns were not involved in the latter because their arguido status gave them the right to silence but the seven friends would be intensively questioned about what they did on the night of the disappearance. And then a reconstruction – which arguido status did not exempt the couple from – would test the credibility, even possibility, of all nine's supposed actions on  May 3.
  • In April the parents were given until the end of the month to come to a decision on participating. Their tone changed and the excuses began. In the last few days before the deadline expired the couple made it clear publicly but sotto voce that they would not go. Most of the Seven also declined although until their interviews were leaked – how very unhelpful for them – their refusals were kept strictly secret. But we are not concerned with them here. With those decisions the reconstruction was out and the investigation was effectively at an end.
Those who find evidence tedious can simply accept this summary although, then, of course, they won't know,yet again,  whether they are being fibbed to.

It won't go away - Part Two: The detailed evidence The Blacksmith Bureau

The Madeleine Three
The Madeleine Three

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 at 16:27

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2007 The Three, that is the McCanns and the spokesman who retailed their views, maintained time and again that they wanted to go back and help with an officially mooted police reconstruction of May 3. From November onwards the idea of such a reconstruction, the format of which was fixed and which, of course, had nothing to do with Crimewatch – type badly acted re-creations, began to turn into reality.

In April the McCanns were informed that there was an end of the month deadline for their decision and at that point the tenor of the Three's public statements began to change. As late as January 2008, however, they were still repeating their four month old mantra of full-hearted support for the Portuguese investigation.
Clarence Mitchell, December 5 2007:

"If Kate and Gerry, or indeed any of their friends, are required to go back to Portugal they will be more than happy to comply. They will do anything necessary if it helps them move on and be eliminated as suspects."'

Clarence Mitchell, December 13:

"We are well aware of what the papers are saying but we have heard nothing official from the Portuguese police. If it does happen, no-one has anything to hide and they will happily tell the police what they want to hear over timings and anything else they are not sure about."

Clarence Mitchell, January 4 2008:

"Kate and Gerry, and their friends particularly, are very keen to talk to the Portuguese police again because they want to be able to clarify any inconsistencies to do with the timeline of events on May 3, or whenever the police put forward."

Clarence Mitchell, January 29:

"For some months now we have actively offered to assist this process, to get it underway as soon as possible. Kate and Gerry's friends are keen that it should happen soon and want any bureaucracy - whether it's in Portugal or England - to be cleared quickly.

Any inconsistencies the police believe exist in their evidence can be cleared up very quickly and then we hope Kate and Gerry's names will be cleared. As far as we are concerned this cannot happen soon enough."
There followed a lengthy period of relative silence while the groundwork was being laid for the UK rogatory interviews in early April. The Portuguese saw the reconstruction and the interviews as a unity: the Tapas 7 could have their full say and then the reconstruction would test their considered versions.

The reconstruction was therefore suddenly becoming a reality rather than a possibility and the McCanns had until the end of the month at the latest to inform the Portuguese of their intentions – so it was now time for the parents to put their "keenness" to co-operate with such an exercise into action. On April 7 the PJ arrived in the UK for the interviews.
Clarence Mitchell, April 4:

'Kate and Gerry are currently deciding whether to return to Portugal. [again, clearly demonstrating that they had a choice]. It is being discussed. Going to Portugal would send out the strongest possible message that Madeleine could still be alive and the search for her should continue. The family feel the focus should be on finding Madeleine.

Next week's interviews will help in gauging the police attitude. In an ideal world they would not be arguidos and their lawyers have always warned them not to return while they have that status."
Clarence Mitchell had let the cat out of the bag, hadn't he? And two days later he explicitly confirmed that under legal advice they were not going back to Portugal until they were no longer arguidos, even though all the reasons and reservations they were to come up as their "reasons" hadn't arisen yet!
Clarence Mitchell, April 6:

"If they returned now to Portugal it would be a distraction and would put pressure on police. Their lawyers would block it anyway. But once their arguido status has been lifted, they will feel differently."
And a day after that they began to spin in the new direction. What had happened to the repeated promises to participate with enthusiasm? After being quoted anonymously as saying that Kate McCann might be too traumatised to take part in a reconstruction Mitchell made another statement.

He put forward the complete invention that a PJ reconstruction, an official measure of the Portuguese criminal code, its status and format fixed and known, a part of the investigative process and not for public consumption, was actually a televised Crimewatch episode.
Clarence Mitchell, April 8:

"There are loads of questions still to be addressed such as whether the twins, Sean and Amelie, will be required and what the actual re-enactment will be used for.

No-one knows whether it will be done behind closed doors or whether it will be a Crimewatch-style reconstruction used to try and generate new leads. All these types of things need to be ironed out before a decision is made." [But, as you have just seen, the lawyers had already made the decision].
And then in an another interview at the same he and the parents made their second invention of the week. That the idea of the reconstruction was not part of the Portuguese penal code at all – but a suggestion of the McCanns!
Clarence Mitchell:

"Gerry and Kate suggested months ago that a reconstruction [here the three deliberately conflate the idea of a television appeal with the Portuguese penal code provision] should take place but were told by the police that they didn't do it. We want to be sure that no confusion or contradiction comes out of this [!] and that it doesn't in any way make matters worse.

They are happy to assist the police in anything that might help them generate new leads but there are genuine considerations to be discussed."
And now Kate appears to have had one of her convenient mental collapses.
Clarence Mitchell:

"Kate is upset. There's been no sense of concern for her feelings or the anguish it will cause her. On an emotional level she is not sure she can go through with it. The family will consider it. If it's felt that there's a chance of it helping to find Madeleine then, of course, they will do it. But given it is a year on, you have to wonder about the value of it." [Again, free to choose, and in the process of choosing, not compelled]

Clarence Mitchell:

"However, Kate and Gerry would very much welcome a Crimewatch-style reconstruction which is properly broadcast for millions of people to see and could generate important new leads and fresh information.

"It's untrue to say that Kate and Gerry have been called back or summoned back. Their lawyers are very much continuing discussions with the Portuguese police and if any such decision is taken to take part, an announcement will be made at the appropriate time."
So yet again he is confirming that their presence was a matter for decision by them and their lawyer team, not the Portuguese. And, with the deadline for telling the Portuguese of their decision only days away, Gerry finally came in to speak himself on the BBC.
Gerry McCann, April 24:

"We want to work with the Portuguese authorities, we have co-operated with them since day one and we have been completely open and transparent. We've told them every single bit of information that we have had at our disposal and answered all their questions, so of course we can see a scenario by which we continue to work with them."
Fine. But near the end of the programme the interviewer asked him if going back to Portugal for the reconstruction was "risky", given that they might be still be charged with child neglect.
Gerry McCann:

"Well we talked about this early on. We were given legal advice that what we did was well within the bounds of reasonable parenting and of course, at the time, we thought what we did was perfectly reasonable.

However hindsight has proven that we made a mistake. Clearly we would never leave the children again. We are paying more for that than anyone could possibly ever imagine, but, you know, clearly I think such a charge one has to ask why are people talking about that now when we’re almost a year down the line and Madeleine hasn't been found? They have no more information now than was available to them on the 4th of May, so why are we talking about such a charge now?"
Did you get all that? He was asked the simple question "was it 'risky' to return to Portugal now?" Yes or no? Where's his answer in all that self-serving junk? Why isn't it there?

The answer is missing from the transcript. Readers may wonder – although the reason is really obvious given the terms that the pair and their lawyers impose on their interviewers – why that is so and why music is played instead. After the music ends the interviewer seems to have been in no doubt that he had replied and what the answer to his question was.


"So the McCann's continue to campaign and to travel, but for now Portugal remains off limits. The crime of 'abandoning' children carries a jail term of up to 5 years, and the couple simply won't risk another confrontation with the police."

The McCanns were given a transcript of the programme before it was broadcast.

It won't go away  Part Three, the invented alibi The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 at 16:27

So the decision had been taken, just under a week before the Portuguese deadline was up; clearly it had not been dependent on any decisions the Tapas 7 had taken. Since it was the first Madeleine Memorial Birthday Carnival & Jamboree the two dozen or so interviews that the pair gave that week concentrated on the gooey stuff, not the highly significant decision they had taken, which – surprise, surprise – was drowned out by the noise.

It remained for Mitchell to try and package the whole affair up on behalf of all three of them, insert the alibi about it being the T7's decision and not the parents', since the latter had no choice, and hope that it would all be forgotten. Bad luck, Clarence! On May 9 he was interviewed in Ireland in front of an audience and was given a most helpfully phrased take-off point for discussion of the reconstruction by a production team and interviewer with rather odd standards of background research. Just what Clarence wanted, in fact.

Mitchell's Irish interviewer - Note the limited neural area. That's why Mitchell was there
Mitchell's Irish interviewer - Note the limited neural area. That's why Mitchell was there

Interviewer: "Now, the.. the last err, thing is quite amazing. It's an astonishing development in the sense that it's about a cancellation of a reconstruction of what happened on that night. Wh... the reconstruction wasn't going to be televised, so what was the point of it?"

Clarence Mitchell:
[Having, of course, had Portuguese investigative reconstructions explained to him in detail by the couple's lawyers for months but apparently totally ignorant of them now] "Well, that's exactly the question that Gerry, Kate and their friends were asking. Err, there were a whole host of reasons that they had very strong concerns about what this would actually achieve, what they've all said consistently and continue to do so, will do anything to help find Madeleine."

And then, sounding rather like Aunty Phil, as he often does on the rare occasions he speaks extempore, he gave the compelling reasons that had somehow overridden those months of promises to return and co-operate. Note again how an official action under the penal code had somehow been turned into a kind of showbiz "proposal" with no investigative or legal basis.
Clarence Mitchell: "This particular proposal, the way it was phrased and the way it was being put forward, then [sic] felt not in any shape or form help to find her. [no, we don't know what the twat meant by that either.] As you say, it wouldn't have been televised, there would be no new leads coming in... Err, why, what good would it have done well over a year after the event. Erm, nobody seemed to have given any consideration to Kate's mental well being. You know, was she expected to see a child playing Madeleine in front of her? All sorts of other questions. "

Now, they, they were going to use erm, the McCann's and the people who were there actually that night rather than actors.

Clarence Mitchell:
Well exactly, and how many reconstructions have you heard of, erm, in Ireland, Britain, or anywhere else, where the original people involved in a case, actually take part. It is virtually unheard of.And so again, that made us, made our Lawyers wonder what, you know, what is going on here? [our italics] And on top of that the Portuguese as a norm, do not do reconstructions.
Finally, the new line emerged in all its glory, the one the supporters have fallen for ever since, that – despite all the evidence you have read above that the McCanns were not going back come what may – the parents couldn't refuse because they were helpless law-abiding arguidos but the Tapas 7 were free to choose and unfortunately…

Anyway, read, and treasure this climatic example of Mitchell-junk at its uncomplicated worst.
Clarence Mitchell: "Last year, just after Madeleine was taken, BBC Crimewatch [ah, not Gerry or Kate then] proposed just such a reconstruction with actors, and the police said no, no, we don't do that here, we don't do reconstructions. And yet suddenly they turn round over a year later to say we will do one on our terms. And, erm, you know, there was some debate within the group. Now Gerry and Kate, as arguidos, as... as suspects, err, I... [remembers his lines] would have had to go back if they were forced back, legally to go.

There was no question of them saying 'no we couldn't go'. But the friends are not, erm, suspected of anything, or not involved directly in that sense, err, that degree. And as a result they have freedom of choice. And they discussed it themselves at length, and decided to let the police know that no, thank you for this offer on this occasion, but we don't feel it would be helpful.

An... and that's what happened and the Police made it clear as well, they wanted everybody or it wouldn't happen. And as soon as one or two of the friends said no, then it simply, erm, fell away. And... "

Yes Clarence. Yes, Kate & Gerry.

Lest we forget..., 18 May 2012
Lest we forget... The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Friday, 18 May 2012 at 17:23

It won't make the Bureau popular but before we all start getting hung up on a version of events going, more or less, the Sun and the News of the World, both owned by Murdoch, immediately "adopted" the McCanns – for whatever reason – and set in train the crazily uncritical media support that drowned out factual analysis of the case, we need to pause. However attractive such an Answer To It All may be we could be kidding ourselves.

The Bureau has always contrasted the performance of the "overground" media in the case with that of the Internet where, we felt, among the clamour of different voices it was possible to read another side of the story. That, certainly, was not the case on the overground: while readers' comments carried some telling criticisms there was the well known similarity of view about almost all the writing and television reportage of the case.

At least, that was so in late June/July 2007 when the original Bureau first took an interest in the case and neutral sites such as the Mirror forum provided an invaluable research tool for those interested in the affair.

But what about before that? We know that the overground had gone slightly mad from about two days after the disappearance onwards. What was the Net, which wasn't under the control of anyone, doing then to keep it honest?

Well let's have a look with someone who knows, Emma Brockes of the London Guardian, writing on May 19 2007. Here are some excerpts from an article we hadn't seen before.

"...if you went online yesterday, seeking an outlet for your sympathy, you would have been confronted by a confusing and in some quarters horrifying array of options… dozens of sites and subsites that have sprung up in the last fortnight -,, ...of such breadth and randomness that by yesterday morning, the appeal set up by the McCann family... was forced to identify itself as The Official Website".


"There are 90 different Madeleine-related groups on Facebook alone, circulating her photo to user communities of between six and 76,000 members...the official website has registered 60m hits and posters of her have been seen in campsites as far away as Bulgaria, translated into local languages via appeals put out by bloggers..."


"When...Sarah Payne and James Bulger disappeared, there weren't the online communities available to power this kind of grassroots response, and for that response to have a knock-on effect in loftier quarters. But that doesn't quite explain the tone of the outpourings...homemade video tributes to Madeleine, posted on YouTube to soundtracks by Christina Aguilera and N Sync, and indistinguishable in tone and relish from the regular pop-star fan tributes...mutterings that this is a post-Diana thing...but much of the response seemed to have more to do with the News of the World's erstwhile anti-paedophile campaign, and the general hysteria that governs "right" versus "wrong" parenting.

"On the parenting websites, so riven along sectarian lines, here at least was something everyone could get solidly behind...No wonder the stampede to share the McCanns' pain has been so thunderous - although before the family's impeccable credentials became clear, one imagines there was a conflict in some tabloid newsrooms over Parents who left their kids alone while they had dinner, versus Evil Paedophile Under the Bed, he's coming for your kids next."

[Full article reproduced below]

Not much about the Net being full of "haters", is there?

In fact it seems that there was much more pro-McCann bedlam on the Net early on, both in word-count and in readership ("60 million hits") than there was in the wicked overground media! And if you check the EMM news explorer site you will see that the really hefty propaganda for the McCanns on the overground hadn't yet begun: the outpourings on the Net were not triggered by Rebekah Brooks-type manipulation but based on the reasonably factual early agency reports and, most significantly, the claims, exhaustively described in the Cracked Mirror, of the parents themselves using their Team amplifiers.

The Bureau has always described the affair as a "psychological" phenomenon. That means roughly – because of course we're still learning – that the answer to the mystery underlying the Madeleine McCann Affair – as against the mystery of the child's fate itself – lies in the much deeper mystery of the way ordinary people perceive and behave. In this case that means the way that the great majority of the public reacted to the news that they read and accepted at the beginning, and not in any Sheepgate machinations of individuals, be they Brooks, Brown, Mitchell or Murdoch, all of whom, it now appears, were following that public mood, not creating it.

As we've suggested before, however unpalatable it is to accept, nobody but the people created the invulnerability of the McCanns, just as nobody but the people created the flower-strewn martyrdom of Princess Diana. As in that sad case a large section of the British public – including editors and ministers, who are human beings as well – spontaneously poured out immeasurable torrents of emotion, or some as-yet-unidentified variant of emotion, onto the couple, and instead of scattering flowers, they followed up by hurling trunk-loads of money that the parents –  Oh horrible irony – have used against us ever since.

As things stand the broader situation is now extremely hopeful: the interrupted investigation has finally resumed and the absurd media birthday jamboree is unlikely to have had the slightest effect on police activity, despite Redwood's inexperience with the media and Third Man Mitchell's rather tired gimmicks. In tandem we are watching the gradual destruction of the UK media players who, though they didn't initiate the lies – the McCanns and their Woolfall-taught team did that – treated us as mere counters in the various Great Games they were playing at our expense. Even the Portuguese, with more excuse than most to fear a whitewash, must have had some of their fears alleviated recently as the legal system has ground on, slowly but finely.

But if we're really interested in where the truth lies we should surely be cautious in pinning the blame for the origins of the affair on such easy targets as M/S Brooks or her senile employer. Time has brought the shadowy Master Manipulators of the Universe, one by one, starting with Gordon Brown, into the light, revealing them – disappointingly? – as rich but otherwise very ordinary people without the power to protect even their own reputations, let alone those of others. The Bureau could, of course, be completely wrong but we still think it does no harm to consider the role of the British public – Us – in making the McCanns so invulnerable.


Article referenced above:

In chatrooms and message boards, Madeleine hysteria grips the world The Guardian

Emma Brockes
Saturday 19 May 2007 17.42 BST

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Tuesday May 22 2007

Phil McCann is the aunt of missing Madeleine and not, as we said in the article below, her uncle. This has been corrected.

If you logged on to your computer yesterday, you may have received an email that looked, at first, like spam. Forwarded many times and with crazy punctuation, it may have carried a preliminary message along the lines of "please help us!!!!!!!", before scrolling down to the original email: a sober address from Phil McCann, aunt of Madeleine, the missing four-year-old, asking for your assistance.

Madeleine McCann has been missing for over two weeks and responding to her plight doesn't rely on being able to do anything about it. But if you went online yesterday, seeking an outlet for your sympathy, you would have been confronted by a confusing and in some quarters horrifying array of options. The dozens of sites and subsites that have sprung up in the last fortnight -,,, and the misspelt - were of such breadth and randomness that by yesterday morning, the appeal set up by the McCann family,, was forced to identify itself as The Official Website To Find Madeleine McCann. It is noticeable that, bar in the context of an abbreviated text message, nowhere on the site is she referred to as "Maddie".

In these days of mass media sophistication, no one needs it explaining to them that where a child who gets kidnapped is news, a pretty child who gets kidnapped is headline news and a pretty child who gets kidnapped and whose parents save lives for a living and go to church is rolling news. Even so, in the days since she disappeared, the Madeleine campaign has, for scale of involvement, outdone anything we've seen before. There are 90 different Madeleine-related groups on Facebook alone, circulating her photo to user communities of between six and 76,000 members. The official website has registered 60m hits and posters of her have been seen in campsites as far away as Bulgaria, translated into local languages via appeals put out by bloggers. At least four premiership football stars have made TV appeals and there is reward money on offer totalling some £2.5m.

It was the point at which big business started to get involved, however - BAA, the British airports operator, is carrying the "help find Madeleine" message on its website - and yellow ribbons began appearing on all benches in the House of Commons, that people started to feel a little uneasy. While the BBC flew out Huw Edwards to look apocalyptic, live from Praia Da Luz, people started to ask how much of this was actually helping, and why people were doing it.

Partly, it is a function of resources: when Holly and Jessica, Sarah Payne and James Bulger disappeared, there weren't the online communities available to power this kind of grassroots response, and for that response to have a knock-on effect in loftier quarters. But that doesn't quite explain the tone of the outpourings. Some MPs privately voiced concerns about the bandwagon aspect of wearing yellow ribbons last week, but more offensive were the homemade video tributes to Madeleine, posted on YouTube to soundtracks by Christina Aguilera and N Sync, and indistinguishable in tone and relish from the regular pop-star fan tributes.

There have been mutterings that this is a post-Diana thing. But much of the response seemed to have more to do with the News of the World's erstwhile anti-paedophile campaign, and the general hysteria that governs "right" versus "wrong" parenting. On the parenting websites, so riven along sectarian lines, here at least was something everyone could get solidly behind.

No wonder the stampede to share the McCanns' pain has been so thunderous - although before the family's impeccable credentials became clear, one imagines there was a conflict in some tabloid newsrooms over Parents who left their kids alone while they had dinner, versus Evil Paedophile Under the Bed, he's coming for your kids next.

The most unsettling aspect of the case has been the juxtaposition of hysterical language with huge pictures of the child, redolent of the Onion's spoof front page after 9/11 - "holy fucking shit!" read the headline, across the blazing towers - which satirised the undisguised relish of much of the coverage.

Of course, at root, people only want to help. But their exaggerated responses look from some angles like self-gratification. "Help us," wrote one group of people who had never met the McCanns, to another group equally remote from them. "Missing for two weeks now please forward to anyone abroad - she may be as far away as Bolivia or Colombia or the USA," wrote someone else, hyperbolically, and lots of people pondered and responded to the indefensible posting "imagine what she's feeling?" And everywhere reproduced the picture of Madeleine's unusual right eye, in close-up, presented as a helpful distinguishing mark.

This is not how it came across, however. At this stage, we are so absurdly far removed from the point of the exercise that it is is only a matter of time before someone superimposes a big cartoon tear beneath it and, appealing for further help in a world that doesn't exist, posts it on Second Life.

You'll get there boys, you'll get there, 02 June 2012
You'll get there boys, you'll get there The Blacksmith Bureau

Andy Redwood

Posted by John Blacksmith
Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 18:10

To repeat: it doesn't matter whether it's three months, six months or six years, Scotland Yard will not uncover anything about the child's whereabouts, dead or alive, as long as they concentrate on looking outwards and away from Praia da Luz, a prediction of which we will remind our readers on September 1 and December 1 this year.

Only when, however reluctantly, they focus where the presumptuous Bureau has told them they will eventually have to – the people around the child on the evening of May 3 – will they have any prospect of success.

But the cheeky little Bureau is not actually alone since our view, believe it or not, is based largely on that bible of the McCanns and their supporters, the all-exonerating Portuguese prosecutors' archiving summary.

As we know, the parents, their supporters and their libel lawyers love this document, particularly its conclusion. And it is, as they say, the definitive statement of the progress and content of the investigation, one that anyone professionally concerned with the case, Scotland Yard included, have to take on board. There, waiting for the Yard and any future Anglo-Portuguese investigative team, is this 57 page summary stating exactly where the investigation had got to by the summer of 2008 and all the lines of future inquiry which are incomplete and remain open until the shelved inquiry is resumed. Most of them are in the section on the reconstruction.

The list is below.

The relevant parts of the summary for each area are cited briefly at the end of the list. Since the best English translation does not have page numbers, and since the Bureau research staff are not going to count line numbers – life is short, after all, even for McCann obsessives – the beginnings of the relevant passages are cited so that readers can find for themselves the references. The slightly cumbersome English translation and the way Menezes has structured the document conceal the full impact of what he is actually saying but when we list out what is being suggested it is quite an eye-opener.

These footnotes, with the same numbers as the points they refer to, can, as usual, be ignored by those with a low boredom threshold. There are, however, a number of important points made alongside the citations.

The most significant of these are fully explored there but here is a summary:

José Cunha de Magalhães e Meneses

  • All of the areas highlighted by the police and the prosecutors as incomplete and requiring further investigation are listed here.

  • Some of them are relatively quick or easy to answer, given the availability and willingness of witnesses, but some require very considerable resources to explore in depth (points 1, 2 , 8 and 10, for example). Given the rate at which Andy's Army works they need to start allocating resources soon, otherwise we'll all be dead by the time their successors report.

  • Every single one of the areas in the Madeleine McCann case requiring further investigation and amplification, without exception, involve the McCanns and their friends. There is not a single suggested lead that involves anyone else.

  • This stark fact has been muffled for the past four years since the prosecutors, mainly Menezes, appear to have taken steps – quite fairly, given the circumstances – to mitigate its impact. Those steps, which unlike the list itself, involve a measure of (persuasive) speculation by us, are described in the footnotes.
This is what is being suggested
  1. The establishment of the exact sequence of events involving the nine witnesses and the child between 6.45/7PM and 10 PM on May 3.

  2. Further investigation to concentrate in particular on the "checking timeline" on May 3, given that the existing statements of the group appear to leave very little time for any abduction to take place.

  3. Investigation of the reasons for the "checking routine" being altered, according to the statements of the nine, on May 3 compared with previous days.

  4. Establishing the precise extent of visibility of apartment 5a from the Tapas restaurant, taking into account the then obstructions to vision from the Nine's table, to assess the extent of supervision of the apartment by the group. (And, conversely, the question of Kate McCann's view of the group from the apartment and how feasible it was for her to call for help without leaving that apartment at 10PM).

  5. The need for practical examination (by reconstruction) of the Tanner, Gerry McCann and Wilkins encounter near the apartment, their relative positions and the distances between them.

  6. Close examination/reconstruction to establish exactly what Jane Tanner saw or could have seen.

  7. The reconciliation of the position in which the child was seen by Tanner a few yards from the apartment (horizontal) with the position the child would have had to be in for both she and the abductor to get out of the bedroom window (vertical).

  8. Close investigation of the possible causation of the sudden draught which slammed the door of the children's bedroom at 10PM in apartment 5A.

  9. Questioning of Kate McCann to establish the exact reasons why she left the other two children alone after discovering that her daughter was missing.

  10. Investigation of the reasons for the twins' failure to wake up despite the extreme disruption and noise levels in the apartment after the disappearance.

  11. Examination of the exact motives for the Tapas 7 declining to take part in the original mooted reconstruction.

Footnotes and boring detail

1."What happened during the time lapse between approximately 6.45/7 p.m...."
En passant, note the difference between the wording of this paragraph in the summary and that in the PJ report and the implications for the credibility of David Payne – unless, of course, you regard it as a simple correction by the prosecutors of a PJ error. Is that likely? It's not a mere correction but an entirely different statement, removing all questions about the period from 5.30 to 6.45. No doubt there were good reasons for the change but Mr Menezes and his colleague remain silent about them.

2. "The establishment of a timeline and of a line of effective checking on the minors that were left alone in the apartments, given that..."

3. "...which leaves unexplained why, on that night, the procedures were altered in the sense of reducing the checking intervals."

4. "...although Matthew Oldfield refers [27] that from the restaurant table there was very tenuous visibility, taking into account..."

5. "The physical, real and effective proximity between Jane Tanner, Gerald McCann and Jeremy Wilkins, at the moment when..."

6. "The obvious and well-known advantages of immediate appreciation of evidence, or in other words..."
Note the end of the paragraph below that makes clear that doubts remain about the "innocence" of the parents which further investigation might, at last, allay. Note also the refutation of McCann supporters' absurd attempt to discount the same doubts expressed by the assistant chief constable of Leicestershire and quoted, rather foolishly, on page 316 of "Madeleine": "While one or both of them may be innocent, there is no clear evidence that eliminates them from involvement in Madeleine's disappearance."

The attempted refutation claims that the ACC's formal statement for the High Court in which this point was made predates the release of the archiving summary and is thus rendered "inoperative" by the latter's removal of all doubts. But that is patently untrue since "doubts" have not been allayed in the archiving summary but are explicitly mentioned in it here. "...fulfilment of the principle of contiguity of evidence in order to form a conviction, as firm as possible, about what was seen by Jane Tanner and the other interposers, and, eventually, to dismiss once and for all any doubts that may subsist concerning the innocence of the missing child's parents." And of course there is the more widely known extract from the summary: "We believe that the main damage was caused to the McCann arguidos, who lost the possibility to prove what they have protested since they were constituted arguidos: their innocence towards the fateful event."

Clearly such "dismissal of doubts" lies in the future once these matters in question have been fully investigated, so the ACC's statement stands: UK police and Portuguese police and prosecutors are in agreement as to the Nine's status at the shelving and that status remains exactly the same today.

7. "...It is added that the supposed abductor could only pass, through that window, holding the minor in a different position (vertical) from the one that witness JANE TANNER saw (horizontal)."

8. " clarify if there was a draught, since movement of the curtains and pressure under the bedroom door are mentioned, which, eventually, could be verified through the reconstitution."

9. "...Kate, after noticing that the bedroom's window and shutters were open and Madeleine was missing, headed for the Tapas Restaurant asking for help..."
and " is incomprehensible, or only comprehensible in a state of panic, that she once again abandoned, this time only the twins, while the Tapas was close enough to shout for help..."

10. "Finally, the fact that, despite all that confusion and all that noise, the twins continued to sleep, as mentioned by GNR Officer José Maria Baptista Roque..."

11. "Nevertheless, despite national authorities assuming all measures to render their trip to Portugal viable, for unknown motives, after the many doubts that they raised about the necessity and opportunity of their trip were clarified several times..."

Two points may be added. In Mr Menezes' well-known and resounding peroration towards the end of the summary we have a sentence which can be taken as rhetorical or as a possible invitation, though one of much less strength than those above, which is why it was not included in the list:

"Even if, hypothetically, one could admit that Gerald and Kate McCann might be responsible over the child's death, it would still have to be explained how, where through, when, with what means, with the help of whom and where to they freed themselves of her body within the restricted time frame that would have been available to them to do so."
No problem – if the Yard want to know exactly what he was suggesting, if anything, they just have to pick up the phone and ask him.

The second point is one of emphasis. Supporters of the McCanns have been able to point out that Menezes' peroration is virtually the end and climax of the report – if, that is, one ignores his barely comprehensible, and no doubt greatly regretted, hot-air references to Durrenmat et al. The inference to be drawn from the supporters' statements is that the need-for-a-reconstruction section is buried in the detail of the report and only pulled out of context and high-lighted by nit-picking spoilsports like the Bureau.

Now it is quite clear that the eleven areas listed above are all taken from the factual bones of the cases as summarised by the separate PJ final report. It is also clear that if the two reports are closely compared Menezes and his colleague have actually added to and strengthened the areas which remain unexplored.

Now as a matter of fact these eleven areas requiring further elucidation share one crucial property: they all involve the Tapas 9. Search the 57 pages of the summary and you will not find a single example of an open question requiring further investigation that doesn't involve them. Why is this? Why is it that the entire, enormous, investigation has failed to provide a single lead or piece of suggestive evidence for further investigation that doesn't involve the McCanns and their friends?

To take one example to illustrate the point there is not a word about Robert Murat in this context, not a single detail involving him that the PJ or the prosecutors can suggest should be clarified or studied further. And there is not a single unsettled "doubt" about his innocence. Read it for yourselves – nothing about the need for further research into boats in nearby harbours, nothing regarding the possibilities of further study of holidaymakers who left shortly after May 3, nothing about further investigation of Mark Warner staff now overseas and, like the Nine, beyond the immediate reach of the Portuguese authorities. Only the Nine – in a summary that is claimed to exonerate the parents!

This is presumably why Menezes made himself something of a laughing stock in judicial circles by bolting on statements of opinion regarding the parents that seemed not only verbose and windy but out of kilter with the rest of the report. The explanation is almost certainly that Menezes wasn't being dishonestly protective of the parents but realised that their involvement in every single open question that he listed was potentially extremely prejudicial. He appears, therefore, to have softened the blow by stressing the innocence of the parents – and quite right too.

Future investigators and lawyers, the only people who mattered as far as the eleven areas were concerned, would see for themselves what was there, while the general public, who would never read the report, would see nothing prejudicial in its findings.

And that, of course, is exactly what happened. The public in the UK, for example, broadly accepted the loudly broadcast claims that the report exonerated the pair but the Lisbon appeal court judges studied the report and came to rather different conclusions. Now it's the Yard's turn.

In the same spirit of attempted fairness Menezes did something else. Comparison of the archiving summary with the PJ report of the same length shows that the summary very closely follows the order and content of the latter – with one rather significant exception. The PJ report submitted to the prosecutors has a different conclusion to the archiving summary: as befits the importance that the PJ attached to it, it finishes with the required reconstruction involving the Nine, an ordering that clearly carries its own message; to leave it in that form would, once again, have severe and, in the context of arguido-release, possibly unfair implications for the parents. Menezes takes the entire section from the end of the PJ report – pages 54 to 56 of its 57 pages – and puts it back to page 45 of 58!

Have fun, Andy.

Shhhh...., 20 June 2012
Shhhh.... The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 13:51

New MMU Report

The rather presumptuous call we made during the May insanity for volunteers to report any McCann/Mitchell disguised feeds about the investigation – shall we call it the Media Monitoring Unit, Clarence? – to the Yard certainly hasn't resulted in Andy Redwood's inbox overflowing.

Why not?

Because in the seven weeks since the asylum gates closed there hasn't been a hint, a breath, a scent, of anything planted by the Team. Snaps of Kate McCann sweating in her skinnies across the UK turf for charity – what a heart the girl has! – have provided light relief, as have the ramblings of the weirdo psychics. But as for the virtual TM family members, those test-tube created substitutes for a lost daughter – "family friend", "source close to the parents", "pal of the parents", who sing like canaries before their keeper, "the McCann's spokesman", sternly corrects them or refuses to comment – not a bleedin' peep.

This way madness lies

Indeed, to digress for more than a moment, one could wonder about the continued mental health of Mr Mitchell and his clients when one considers this chattering phantom family whizzing around in their heads. Do they mentally picture Mr Family-Friend before he is set in motion to talk to Antonia Lanzarotti? Does dark-robed Gerry McCann disappear into an Alasteir Crowley designed secret, red-curtained, mirror-walled temple dug out of the bowels of the Rothley redbrick to invoke Signor Close-Source and other Golems with his rod? Does Mad Mitchell lock himself in the Burson Marsteller lavatories to ask delightful M/S Parents' Pal what she intends to say to Lori Campbell?

Begone such visions. Where were we?

Silent Screen

Yeah, not a peep.

If there's one thing we've learned from Kate McCann's masterpiece – and there are a few phantom friends flitting around in there too, aren't there? – and from their appearances under oath (more please) it is that silence from the Team never indicates inactivity. Only years later, to take one example out of dozens, do we find out that the distraught couple, paralysed by shock and grief, were busily creating a virtual ward of court and setting up the dodgiest private eyes since the days of Mickey Spillane.

Only at Leveson are some of the frantic negotiations with the supposedly hated tabloid editors unveiled. And, of course, total silence surrounded Gerry McCann's activities between the twin bookends of airport arrival and departure snapped so avidly by the Team-alerted paparazzi on his visits to Portugal: the loudly announced "bridge building with the Portuguese authorities" – Jesus, how does he keep a straight face while retailing these whoppers? – actually took the form of tying the final knots in the legal net intended to deliberately strangle Goncalo Amaral.

Now not only have the dodgy sightings dried up but there aren't even any feeds about the libel case and that disgraced cop who made three hundred grand from a missing child (as against the three million plus which nice K&G can dip into at any time for necessities like jet flights and house purchase).

Silence in Court

No doubt we'll find out one day what they've been planning while so successfully biting their media-feed lips and just what it was – Andy Redwood? Their lawyers? – that caused all the virtual family members to be suddenly locked away under their lids. Perhaps that will be at their next appearance under oath.

Meanwhile, volunteer members of the new MMU, please keep your eyes peeled for the first, panicky, breach.

Hammering away, 21 June 2012
Hammering away The Blacksmith Bureau

Gerry's visit to Portugal in January 2009

Posted by John Blacksmith
Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 16:45

Let's go back to what we alluded to briefly yesterday, Gerry's visit to Portugal in January 2009.

Why bother to bring it up again?

Who needs mysteries?

Let's answer the question indirectly by going back to what the Blacksmith Bureau has been all about since its inception. As we've said over and over, we don't claim to know what happened on May 3 – no theories, no clues and no accusations that the parents were involved in their child's disappearance, the thesis mentioned on BBC's Panorama recently. We agree, in a sense, with all those funny little defenders of the McCanns who claim that "nobody" knows what happened that night and the case is a mystery.

But we don't deal primarily with the mysteries of the Madeleine McCann Case but with the evidence of the Madeleine McCann Affair, a quite different, though related, subject in which the child herself plays almost no part and with the parents at the centre, just as Kate McCann's book Madeleine, a key primary source, has the parents at the centre, beginning and end, with the child consigned to a section of some twenty pages out of 383.

Unlike our elusive abductor the parents have been extremely visible, although it is a peculiar sort of visibility in which, as we mentioned yesterday, their prominence on our screens and pages is in sharp contrast to the shadows surrounding almost everything important that they actually do. Nevertheless their recorded words provide primary evidence about them.

And that is the rather lengthy answer to the question posed above: there is no getting away from the fact that Kate and Gerry McCann are known and proven liars, utterly comfortable when deceiving, completely capable, as Kate McCann makes clear in her book, of not giving themselves away in public when acting a part.

Nothing Personal

These aren't opinions or criticisms of the parents' characters but statements of fact. In other, happier, circumstances they might matter very little – most of us, after all, have known somebody who lies a lot and after a while we grow used to handling it.

"Oh Brian exaggerates a bit," we say, or "gosh, I don't think Charlie has as much money as he claims". And as long as they don't invite you to get involved in some smashing new financial opportunity, or offer to accompany your husband on an overnight trip to Brighton, the relationship can survive.

Again, it is a common accusation that our politicians lie all the time, so the McCanns are nothing special. But politicians don't, not, at least, in the way the McCanns lie. What they do, and have to do, is avoid answering some questions, in other words, be "economical with the truth". If they are caught out in provable porkies, rather than evasions, they're on the way out.

The McCanns' lack of truthfulness is not on this trivial, evasive level, as the Portugal visit and Madeleine, demonstrate. On page 206 of the latter we read of a situation which the couple decided to deal with by, as she admits, lying. Even if the situation had been serious they could have been evasive and postponed their planned Huelva meeting with journalists with apologies or with circumlocutions avoiding an outright lie.

Kate McCann is such a liar that the idea of doing the latter appears never to have occurred to her! The pair of them felt, she tells us, that if the journalists found out that the police were coming to their home at 10AM it would be some sort of serious disaster, implying, of course, that a lie might be justifiable. But was this a potential disaster that might justify such fibs? Or was it simply the McCanns' normal way of handling threatening situations?

With the clever disingenuousness which characterises so much of her book she avoids giving us any answer. Why?

Go on, tell us

"We didn't feel good about this at all," she writes, in a paragraph which should be carefully compared with paragraph 2 and the one sentence paragraph 3 on page 243 to see how she works. "We didn't feel good about this at all, but even if the judicial secrecy law had not prevented us from giving the main reason [come, come, Kate], can you imagine what would have happened if we'd announced to the journalists heading for Huelva that the police were coming to do some forensic work in our villa?"

Well no, the Bureau can't imagine it, really can't, and we don't have the facts to help us do so. The rhetorical question is a device – she has simply hidden the motivation for their behaviour by addressing the reader directly and leaving us to provide the answers ourselves – exculpatory if you're a McCann supporter, otherwise if you're not. Cute, eh?


Now, back to Gerry McCann and the January 13/14 Portugal affair, with the usual warnings that we're going to quote primary source evidence at some length and if the old concentration span can't take it, please skip.

He came, he saw, he porkied

Gerry McCann made his arrival in Portugal a well-planned major media event. His team released his arrival date in advance, together with steers that it was worth covering: as a result the cameras were waiting for him when he arrived at the airport and journalists from both countries were gathered to conduct their interviews, subject: why I am in Portugal.

The words can all be found, verbatim, on the McCann Files, as can his television interview. He was there, he said, to discuss with his advisers "what can still be done in the on-going search for Madeleine."

"What we're really here to discuss is, errr... how we can work with the authorities to explore areas where other things can still be done that... that might make a difference and I think, errr... you know, this is the first visit that I'm here in, errr... Portugal but I expect it will be the first of, you know, several over the next few months."

Do you plan to cooperate with the Portuguese authorities?

Of course."

"The purpose of this visit was to, errr... really look at what can still be done in the search, we want to be, you know, looking positively, not backwards - looking forwards. 'Cause, you know, we want to find our daughter. It's pretty simple really.

"In an exclusive interview to the Portuguese News agency Lusa, Gerry McCann stated that he has no intention, at least for now, to promote any process against the Portuguese state or any other entity, namely media outlets, highlighting the fact that the important thing is to forget the past and try to keep searching for his missing daughter."

"He assured journalists that it is the first of many visits to set up new operations in the search for his daughter."

He was asked what he was looking for on this visit.

"We are going to analyse if in fact everything was done to find Madeleine [this is in a 24 hour visit]. If the authorities acted correctly. And, more importantly, to find out if there is any lead that we can explore."

At the end of the visit "A friend" [in fact one of Clarence Mitchell's golems] said "Gerry is very pleased with his trip and in future, when the time is right he may well return with Kate, as a couple together."


There we are. Every single word was an outright lie.

Thanks Kate

As Kate McCann so foolishly let slip on page 335 of Madeleine there was one, and only one, reason for Gerry McCann's trip. She writes:

"We had already spoken to our legal team on several occasions about taking action [against Amaral] and knew that the only way of assessing our chances of success would be to seek advice from a Portuguese libel lawyer. We had first talked on the phone to Isabel Duarte on 28 November. She was really understanding and sounded nice. By this point we felt as though we had been condemned by an entire country, so to receive sympathy from someone in Portugal was like stepping into a welcoming warm bath. Six weeks later, [i.e. January 13/14] Gerry went to Lisbon to meet her."

He hadn't come to "discuss things with the Portuguese authorities.  He hadn't "come to see what can still be done in the on-going search for Madeleine." He didn't "analyse if in fact everything was done to find Madeleine, If the authorities acted correctly, and, more importantly, to find out if there is any lead that we can explore."

Watch him lying here: id107.html

Can you look at that video of McCann lying his head off to a dozen different reporters and be sure that you could tell when he is telling the truth and when he isn't? We can't.

Gerry McCann, like Cliff Richard, who travels to the Algarve unnoticed on a regular basis, could have quietly flown in to Portugal unrecognised; instead he chose, without any apparent necessity, to lie to the public as a conscious concealment strategy. Like the case of Kate McCann and the Huelva incident we can ask, again, why? Why should a simple consultation with a libel lawyer require secrecy? Why erect such a superstructure of deceit?

The only answer to the latter, again, appears to be that it is their normal modus operandi in matters of self-protection. How are we to know what other matters they have concealed? By asking them? And then how will we know if they're being truthful?

Some things just won't go away

And so we come to the crunch: Dr McCann, a demonstrably proven liar, is the last person known to have seen his daughter alive; Gerry McCann and his wife are the only people who claim first-hand knowledge of an abduction; Kate McCann is the only witness who claims that the bedroom window was open at 10PM on May 3.

Decency suggests that we should hesitate before disbelieving their versions of the truth, but reality demonstrates that their unsupported words cannot be relied on.

And there is, we regret to say, a further factor. The Portuguese archiving dispatch, whose author Menezes had, for obvious reasons, no access to the above proof of repeated lying (yet who still accepted, even then, that they had not told the truth about the "checking") has this key paragraph justifying his conclusion that they should be released from their arguido status.

"The non- involvement of the arguidos, the parents of Madeleine, in any criminal activity seems to result from the objective circumstances of them not being inside the apartment when she disappeared, from the normal behaviour that they adopted until said disappearance and afterwards, as can be amply concluded from the witness statements, from the telephone communications analysis and also from the forensics' conclusions, namely the Reports from the FSS and from the National Institute for Legal Medicine."

Five reasons. One of them is "the normal behaviour that they adopted until said disappearance and afterwards, as can be amply concluded from the witness statements."

But we've seen the proof that Gerry McCann is a practised and accomplished deceiver, whose manner gives nothing away of his real feelings, as the video link above so clearly illustrates.

And the evidence of Kate McCann's book, previously quoted, and the further evidence on page 122 that she was adept at masking her feelings when necessary, so successful in fact that she was publicly criticised for being "cold" and "poker faced" while actually in emotional turmoil behind the façade, shows she possesses the same aptitude.

Mr Menezes's sentence, representing some 20% of his justificatory reasons, might have made sense at that time when these facts were unknown. Not now.

Go on, give us a rebuttal

Whenever the BB demonstrates facts like these, the supporters of the parents, so verbose at other times, fall strangely silent, or attack the messenger with abuse and, curiously, claim to be "bored", an odd reaction to questions of the establishment of truth or falsity. Unlike their enthusiastic contributions when the evidence is open to opinion, like the angels-dancing-on-a-pinhead interpretations of the dogs' activities, they never have anything to say in actual refutation of the claimed facts we present – and they won't this time. Yes, reading about facts which are uncomfortable to your case but which you are intellectually incapable of challenging could be boring, couldn't it?

Anyway, until we see that this key aspect of their behaviour is being evaluated by investigators we'll just go on hammering away with these facts taken from the pair's own words – a source which grows larger and more suggestive with every passing year.

Slowly strangling in the web of their own words – Part One, 26 June 2012
Slowly strangling in the web of their own words – Part One The Blacksmith Bureau

Posted by John Blacksmith
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 17:39

We note that not a single attempted rebuttal of the last couple of Blacksmith Bureau pieces has appeared anywhere on the net, social or otherwise. Funny that. Here's some more. Part Two will appear later today.

It seems that many people weren't aware of the proven, systematic and documented lies and deceptions of the McCanns even though we've been setting them out as the examples have mushroomed since 2010. Perhaps too many readers also – and understandably – avoided Kate McCann's Madeleine and have therefore did not realise just what a damming and self-destructive document it is.

covers the same ground that the McCanns themselves were speaking about at the time, so, we have a split-screen, if you like, of the McCanns in action over the past five years. The contemporaneous words they uttered – directly, not anonymously – are on one side of the screen, made up of their interviews, radio and television appearances and the "blog". On the other side we have Madeleine, Kate McCann's own considered words. The result is something like Humpty Dumpty: all the lawyers whose help she acknowledges in producing her book, all the lawyers who ever existed, could never put these differing pieces back together.

As we said a few days ago, showing this evidence isn't about criticising the parents or attacking their personalities, for what point could there be in that? We are not haters and feel little emotion about them, pro or con. Firstly it is a demonstration that the public, the people who first offered their help and who have financed them ever since, have been consistently rewarded with total contempt, treated like mugs, repaid for their generosity of wallet and spirit with lies.

Secondly, this pattern of constant deception has a close and direct relevance to the conclusions of the Portuguese prosecution services in their last report before the case was temporarily shelved.

There is one general point to be born in mind when looking at further examples of this obsessive deceit. Obviously the McCanns hoped that the claim of "Portuguese secrecy requirements" would cover them. We have dealt with that matter in detail elsewhere and don't intend to do so again here, except for the stunning example at the end of Part Two. It's enough to say that the words and evidence of Madeleine, of Lori Campbell and David James Smith and of the relatives of the pair prove that the McCanns fed almost all relevant details of the case to selected individuals right through the investigation.

Bearing this public domain evidence in mind it is astonishing that the McCanns continue to add to the growing manure heap of deception by denying their wholesale breach of the Portuguese requirements and suggesting that they were hopelessly fettered by their observation of them. The latest example was at the Leveson inquiry, where Gerry McCann said under oath:

Gerry speaks at the Leveson inquiry

MR McCANN: "The point being, which I alluded to earlier, is that we were told in no uncertain terms that if we disclosed anything publicly which we knew to be in the judicial file, i.e. the results which had been shown to us, which we knew were not what was being reported about DNA, then we were threatened with a two-year imprisonment for breaking judicial secrecy, so we were being tried by the media and unable to defend ourselves adequately."

The Archiving Summary

Let us return to the conclusion of the Archiving Summary and the four reasons given by the prosecutors justifying their statement that there is no evidence that the parents were involved in any criminal activity.

"The non- involvement of the arguidos, the parents of Madeleine, in any criminal activity seems to result from the objective circumstances of them not being inside the apartment when she disappeared, from the normal behaviour that they adopted until said disappearance and afterwards, as can be amply concluded from the witness statements, from the telephone communications analysis and also from the forensics' conclusions, namely the Reports from the FSS and from the National Institute for Legal Medicine."

In summary:
  • Two of the reasons concern evidence that is indeterminate, that is:

  • The forensic results do not exclude traces of Madeleine's remains being the source of the dog alerts. As the FSS states categorically: "Therefore, we cannot answer the question: is the match genuine or is it a chance match?" They do not confirm any involvement by the McCanns and they do not exclude it. As such there is no evidence to put before a court.

  • The telecoms evidence shows no evidence of involvement by the parents in their messages and conversations and none that excludes them, as, for example, in locating them elsewhere. It is indeterminate and as such provides no evidence to put before a court.

  • The other two reasons are based on an assumption that the parents are people of average emotional control and veracity:

  • Reason three is based on their observed behaviour on May 3 showing no signs of shock, turmoil or other emotions that would be expected of average people involved in some critical incident with their own child.

  • Reason four depends on the veracity of the parents in describing their actions and whereabouts on May 3.

That is where the investigation remains until it is re-opened.

Are those latter two assumptions by the prosecutor Menezes and backed by the Portuguese Attorney-General still valid today in the light of later evidence? How can they be if what the Bureau is producing is true? Could, for example, one of the many libel cases threatened or initiated by the parents coming to trial now or in September – and veracity is at the heart of libel trials – really leave this evidence aside and accept the Carter-Ruck view that the Archiving Summary draws a line under the case?

Gerry McCann arrives in Edinburgh, 24 August 2007

The Edinburgh Interviews

The media blitz undertaken by Gerry McCann in late August, just before they were finally made arguidos, is a critical incident in the history of the affair. At that time, remember, Clarence Mitchell had been recalled to London so the pair had to speak directly rather than putting their words out through a third party system of deniability.

Times, as we shall see, were desperate and the parents decided to speak despite the risks. It was during the "Edinburgh blitz" that Dr McCann first laid out the version of events that he later brought to the House of Commons and the Leveson Inquiry in easily memorised and perfected form, often using the same sentences word for word.

The nub of Gerry McCann's repeated claims was that the rumours of police attention focusing in the pair were without basis, indeed a mystery to the couple themselves. Dr McCann chose to push his prepared message repeatedly – that as there were no official statements confirming that they were the centre of the investigation, then it was not true. Other suggestions were not just rumours but totally unfounded rumours.

On UK national TV on August 25 to Nick Higham:
"...largely as a result of the Portuguese police official spokesperson, and that's what I would ask people to look at, what is being said officially: That we are not suspects, that there is no evidence that we are involved in Madeleine's disappearance, and, if there was, that the police would have to declare us as suspects. That's Portuguese law. And compare that to what's actually being written and covered. The two do not bear comparison."

On another broadcast at the same time:

"What I would like to direct all of your viewers to are the official statements from the Portuguese police, which bear no resemblance to the wild speculation and, you know, the police yesterday made it very clear. First of all, we are not suspects; two, that there is no evidence to suggest that we are involved in Madeleine's disappearance and, if there was, they are obliged by Portuguese law to make us official suspects. So, you know, they just... they do not bear resemblance and Kate and I learned, very early on, only to listen to information that's coming through official channels."

And to STV broadcasting:

"The current level of activity, you know, I think you're absolutely right, there is a huge amount of innuendo which is being presented in various ways, suggesting that there may be evidence or facts behind it and there are none, and our opinion of what happened that night has not changed. We know certain facts, unfortunately because of the criminal investigation, we can't divulge them, and I want to make it absolutely clear, the reasons why we're not divulging the information; we will not make it easier for the perpetrator to cover their tracks.[!] The police have all the information and we have bared our soul to them[!!], and we'll continue to assist them in any way possible, but, you know, we have to keep silent."[!!!]

Gerry and Kate knew what the official view was but they were determined, for whatever reasons, to deny it until it could be denied no longer. And he did so with a convincing act of innocent mystification, significant because it bears, once again, on the question of whether he and his wife are "people of average emotional control and veracity". As to the latter, remember that Gerry wasn't saying that there was no evidence against them, he was saying, just as he did under oath at Leveson, that the media claims that the police had homed in on them were false.

Were they?

Slowly strangling in their own words – Part Two, 26 June 2012
Slowly strangling in their own words–Part Two The Blacksmith Bureau

What had been happening during that August?

The McCanns in Portugal, 08 August 2007

August 8 2007 – nothing happened really.

Posted by John Blacksmith
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 18:35

We had the Huelva affair of the police descent on their villa to seize their possessions, resulting, as Kate McCann tells us, in the famous "necessary lie". And what else does she tell us? Why, that on August 8, two weeks before Gerry McCann said phlegmatically and confidently that official channels showed they weren't the focus of the police investigation, this was going on:

Kate McCann: "
There had been a shift in the investigation, they said [the police, i.e. official channels]... my breathing pattern altered...the sirens in my head were deafening...I was on my own and afraid...tell us everything that happened after the children went to bed...they proposed that when I put Madeleine to bed that night it wasn't actually the last time I'd seen her...the police responded by just staring at me and shaking their heads...I was reeling with confusion, disbelief and panic...they pressed me...Neves stated bluntly that they didn't believe my version of events...I was sobbing now, well past the stage of silent tears and stifled sniffs...I began to wail hysterically, drawing breath in desperate gasps...I was in no doubt now that they were trying to make me say I'd killed Madeleine."

Just another routine day on the sunny Algarve, then.

Well it certainly was according to Gerry McCann. For what did Gerry have to say in his blog for that day, a day in which he had joined the stricken and hysterical Kate McCann, whose eyes "were swollen and sore", to be grilled in his turn on the events of May 3 and had pleaded "through his tears" with the police officers to tell him if they had any evidence that the child was dead. This is Gerry's account of that stunning episode on his blog:

Gerry McCann:
"At our meeting with the Portuguese police today we reaffirmed that we have to believe Madeleine is alive until there is concrete evidence to the contrary."

Is that a reasonable, truthful, even a sane description of events? Doesn't even the memory of what his wife had been through that same day break through this glacis of implacable deceit? Nope. Feelings don't matter; feelings are for hiding; feelings may betray. Or maybe feelings don't exist.

And Kate? What about her talent for adopting Menezes's "normal can be amply concluded from witness statements"? We already know – she's right up there with Gerry, masking her real feelings and inner turmoil on demand so successfully that the media were full of annoying – to her – charges that she was "cold" and "poker faced" after witnessing her TV appearances for months. On page 122 of Madeleine she says that's because of the famous advice she'd received that any display of emotion might be picked up on by the abductor. Exactly: when there was a pressing reason to mask her emotions she was superb at doing so: feelings might betray. Or maybe feelings don't exist.

And look at this gem of a passage as another example of the slow self-strangulation, when she was asked at Leveson about those terrible days and the appalling, vicious and ludicrous headlines that the gutter press were pushing out.

The McCanns at the Leveson inquiry

Kate McCann at Leveson helping Gerry's nose grow

Mr Jay: We're going to look at that particularly in a moment. In paragraph 40, however, you refer to one piece in the Evening Standard, which is I think the very day you were declared arguidos, 7 September 2007: "Police believe mother killed Maddie."

Kate McCann:

Mr Jay:
Was that the first time that point was made so baldly and so falsely?

Kate McCann:
There's been so many headlines of similar gravity that I can't tell you honestly whether that was the first time..."

It's not surprising that Kate McCann went "Mm" and wasn't too keen to talk about that headline in the context of the "disgraceful and made up stories that the UK media" were supposed to be guilty of. Perhaps she'd forgotten but it came from, her!

It was one of the stories in the co-ordinated leaks to the world's media that Justine McGuiness and the family had put out that day under Kate's instructions. In perhaps the most egregious of all the secrecy breaches that summer, it was Kate's version of what the PJ had accused her of the previous night, including her claim that they had accused her of killing the child.

On page 246 of Madeleine, Friday morning, September 7,Kate McCann:
"for a good couple of hours we were on the phone, calling family and friends to make them aware of the situation and to give them the green light to voice their outrage and despair if they wanted to. Nobody needed a second invitation. They'd all been struggling to contain their concerns for a long time.

Justine arrived to help. While Gerry talked again to Bob Small she was ringing selected editors in the UK."

The Standard had picked up the feed and published it the same day!

And Finally

Finally we have an example of dishonesty that pulls all these disturbing threads together.

Gerry and Kate talk to the press, 22 May 2007

May 22 2007 Gerry McCann lying about detectives

May 22 2007

Ian Woods (Sky News):
"Gerry, I know that you've been getting lots of money in. People will want to know how you're going to spend that. I mean, I know, one of the thoughts was to hire private investigators. Is that the case and what input do you think they can have that perhaps the Portuguese police haven't had to date?"

Gerry McCann
: Taking your question on, back to the private investigators. I'd like to reiterate what we've already said. The thrust of this investigation will be the criminal investigation which is being... errr, run by the Portuguese police with assistance from the British police.

Regarding the specific point about the private investigators, we've taken advice about the level and the extensive resources both in this country and in the UK which are being... errr, directed and... to Madeleine's search and, at this stage, we don't see a role for private investigators."


Jane Hill (BBC news):
And... and some of that support has translated into a lot of money that's gone into the fighting fund, I think nearly £300,000 has been pledged, so far. What of the reports that say, perhaps... those people who suggest that some of that money could be sensibly spent on things like private investigators, for example.

Gerry McCann:
Well, you know, the fund, errm... was really... really evolved to provide an oulet for people who wanted to contribute financially and these offers, errr... will help us and are helping us and that has helped us to bring in quite a comprehensive legal team and independent sector, errr... consultants as to what we could and should be doing.

I did, errr... address this and the situation hasn't changed that, at this time, with the huge amount of resource from the police, errr... both in the UK and Portugal that the advice is that private investigators will not help. I personally, and we, believe that it's the public who hold the key to this; someone knows something and we would urge that if anyone has any information to come forward and anyone who's been in this area, within the two weeks leading up to Madeleine's disappearance, to come forward if they haven't already done so and upload those pictures."

Now we won't bother ourselves with whether Dr McCann had deliberately asked for a question about private investigators to be put to him for reasons that will become clear below, as its suspicious inclusion by two journalists suggests. But the lie about PIs and the evidence for it? Step forward once again, Kate McCann.

Over a week before the McCanns had already started using detectives from Control Risks, as she tells us on pages 124-126 of Madeleine.

It doesn't end there. To demonstrate the web of deception we have this extract from The Times in September 2007. Newspapers are never primary sources; we quote this one nonetheless because it was a deliberate feed from Gerry McCann to one of the journalists he maintained for that purpose, passed to the journalist by Mitchell and with the latter's golems all over it – [Link here]

The Times:
"Control Risks are one of the groups who've offered their services to the McCanns," he [Mitchell golem] said. "You can assume that they are doing some things that the Portuguese police can't do."

Friends of the couple [golems] said the decision showed that they believed Madeleine may still be alive 144 days after she was reported missing from the bedroom of her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

Mr McCann first contacted private investigation companies less than three weeks after his daughter was reported missing on May 3 [before May 22] because of concerns that the Portuguese police were not properly checking out all reported sightings. But he had publicly to deny that they were using private detectives when Portuguese police said it would be against the law."

Well, well, well. Gerry McCann, who of course was still under arguido secrecy rules that September, is confirming once again what we have detailed  – that, despite his on-oath denials, the rules did not prevent him from communicating about the case whenever he wished. But, tellingly, he also admits that he lies to cover his law-breaking, using once more the phrase "he had to" as if there were no alternatives.

He confirms, in other words, the troubling fact that he lies to cover law-breaking, a point of some importance to the conclusions of the Archiving Summary.

And finally, because the lies have almost become an uncontrollable world of their own, the pair give us more. The lie which, he told the Times man, had been told to conceal his criminal act was not the right lie! Instead of illegally and secretly turning to private investigators because the PJ "were not checking out all reported sightings", there was apparently a different reason, or lie, as Kate McCann tells us on page 126 of Madeleine:

Kate McCann
: "By the Sunday evening we found ourselves giving our statements again, this time to a couple of detectives from Control Risks. We were concerned that parts of the statements we had made to the Portuguese police , especially on that first day," she claims, "might have been lost in translation. We also felt that these accounts were not particularly thorough and wanted to have every detail we could remember registered properly."

If this concluding example proves anything it is that persistent liars will eventually strangle themselves in their own web of deception. Their words, the words that told the police of the abduction evidence, are utterly and completely worthless; they provably lie about everything – apartment door keys, checking, visits from journalists, their own police statements, their interrogations, their own illegal acts, even lies about why they lie, their states of mind, everything. They cannot help themselves.

And so it is they and they alone who have turned this whole case into a Hall of Mirrors. As they once laughingly said to a newsman, unaware of what they were really confessing, "if we knew we wouldn't tell you". Clearly that applies to the events of May 3 2007.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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