Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Above: the McCanns arriving back in the UK soon after being made arguidos.
I'm still on a mission to find the McCanns searching for their daughter. While in Portugal, they traveled a great deal, they probably did a little shopping, but did they search? Even when they eventually reached Morocco, in spite of reported sightings there, which were thought to have been interesting, the McCanns never went to investigate the relevant areas for themselves.
Back to The McCann Files for a detailed diary of events leading up to and following Madeleine's disappearance. Nigel Moore, what would we do without you and your meticulously maintained site?
We are finally approaching some searching folks....well, I think we are, ye know, well, really...
October 2007 saw a great tsunami of activity in the UK press, based on articles in Portuguese journals for the most part.
At the beginning of the month Carlos Anjos, head of Portugal's Police Federation ridiculed Gerry's theory that an abductor had been hiding in the apartment when he went to check on the children. Gonçalo Amaral was removed from the investigation following an outburst about his English colleagues.
Eileen McCann, Madeleine's grandmother who lives in Scotland, stated that any of Madeleine's DNA that was found in the hired car could be explained by the fact that Amelie was wearing Madeleine's sandals and her tops. (Daily Mail 2/10/09)
I find it quite strange that Amelie was wearing her sister's clothes. If one of my children had disappeared, there is no way that their clothes would have been worn by another child in the family. At some point I may have given some to a charity shop, just some, but I would not have immediately been dressing another child in those clothes. This seems like another clue that Kate and Gerry were not expecting Madeleine to turn up any time soon.
It emerged that the McCanns were carrying out their own 'secret investigation,' and their legal team was interviewing all witnesses to the events of May 3rd, the McCanns being confident that they would be cleared by Christmas. (Daily Mail)
A friend of the McCann couple said that evidence gathered would be presented to the Portuguese prosecutor. They would say, 'This is what we have got. We advise you not to go any further.' (Daily Mail)
A very worrying way to address a public prosecutor, I would say. If that really was how they would have worded it, there is a hint of threat there, in my opinion.
On October 18th, Channel 4 broadcast their Dispatches programme about Madeleine, in which it was claimed that entry via the shuttered window would have been almost impossible.
On October 25th, the McCanns released an artist's impression (another one!) of the man Jane Tanner had seen, carrying a child in the vicinity of the McCanns' holiday apartment. The McCanns went into reverse about their claim that an abductor had broken in through the window of apartment 5A and reveal that they believe the window was opened from the inside as a means of escape. Clarence Mitchell said he couldn't go into detail about the matter.
And here we come to the first mention of Metodo 3, Spanish detective agency hired by the McCanns. They are quoted as saying that they are convinced that Madeleine is being held in Morocco.
Into November and there is another alleged sighting of Madeleine in Morocco, which turns out to be old news as the event took place on August 21st.
On November 22nd, Portugal's top law officer, Pinto Monteiro, is quoted as saying that the huge publicity surrounding Madeleine's disappearance would have turned her into a liability if she had been abducted and 'There's a greater possibility of the girl being dead than alive.' (In an interview with current affairs publication Visao)
Searching folks! It is confirmed that Spanish detective agency, Metodo 3, is being paid £50,000 a month by the Find Madeleine Fund, for a 6 month contract. Metodo 3 is said to have up to 40 operatives working on the ground in the hunt for Madeleine, in at least 3 countries.
So, let's have a wee shufftie here at the search for Madeleine by this detective agency.
SOS Madeleine McCann 24/10/2007
By Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis
Levy and Reis present a run-down on the previous work undertaken by this agency. They have no previous experience of dealing with cases of missing children, their work having been focused on clients from the commercial and industrial sectors, dealing with such issues as money-laundering and security. Based in Barcelona, Metodo 3 was responsible for the new phone line set up after the latest appeal for information from the McCanns. The Portuguese police had not been consulted about this phone line.
SOS Madeleine McCann 31/10/2007
By Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis
A top-ranking Moroccan police officer stated that most of the children taken to Morocco were children who were involved in custody disputes, between a Moroccan and a non-Moroccan parent. There was paedophile activity in Morocco, but it was usually Moroccan children being abducted by foreigners for the prostitution trade in other countries, like Italy.
Metodo 3 claimed to know that Madeleine was being held in the Rif area of Morocco, but a Moroccan organisation against paedophilia, 'Touche pas a mon enfant," was quoted as saying there were hundreds of blonde children in the Rif area and also they did not believe that Madeleine would have been taken there by a paedophile ring, as claimed by Metodo 3, who state that they have a number of leads to follow up and know precisely where Madeleine is being held.
SOS Madeleine McCann 5/11/2007
Another blonde Moroccan child who isn't Madeleine McCann. A Spanish woman contacted the Metodo 3 help line to say that she had reported to the Spanish police in August having seen a blonde child whom she was 100% sure was Madeleine McCann. The Moroccan police were obliged to follow up every sighting and this child was not Madeleine. Metodo 3 insist that they have witness statements from lots of people who have seen Madeleine in Morocco.
SOS Madeleine McCann 10/11/2007
An Irish citizen on holiday in Bosnia contacted Metodo 3 to report that he had seen Madeleine in a Bosnian city. Clarence Mitchell said this sighting was being taken very seriously.
And so it goes on:
November 18th 2007: Francisco Marco states that he knows who kidnapped Madeleine.
November 20th 2007: A woman gives a witness statement to Metodo 3, stating that she had seen Michaela Walczuch, Robert Murat's friend, in Morocco, close to where Madeleine had been sighted.
Miss a few! See SOS Maddie blog for all posts on this subject.
December 22nd 2007: Metodo 3 admits never having known where Madeleine was, although they had assured that they would have Madeleine home by Christmas.
December 28th 2007: Metodo 3 comes up with two witnesses who say they had seen Robert Murat in the vicinity of the McCanns' apartment on the night she disappeared.
If they can't find Madeleine, it's that fall-back technique, once again, finger a patsy!
February 23rd 2008: Metodo 3 detective who had been involved in their hunt for Madeleine, is arrested for theft of cocaine from a police warehouse in Barcelona.
March 13th 2008: A detective working for Metodo 3 in Morocco is alleged to have paid witnesses to say they had seen Madeleine, according to a senior Moroccan police officer.
February 2nd 2009: Metodo 3 under investigation for money-laundering.
The Metodo 3 contract was not renewed on the same basis, but the agency was kept on a retainer and would raise its head again!
First of all, a very unlikely detective agency to be hired to hunt for a missing child, one that had no experience in this area of detective work and one that had previously been under suspicion for illegal phone tapping (The McCann Files day 206)
And what a shower they turned out to be: theft of cocaine, suspected of paying witnesses, suspected of money-laundering and admitting that they had never actually known where Madeleine was.
Metodo 3 didn't seem to do a great deal of actual searching for Madeleine. Their mission appeared to be to find as many witnesses as possible to alleged sightings, none of which turned out to have any basis in truth.
Hey ho! Next!
Monday, 28 December 2009
Above: Gerry and Kate take the twins to the zoo.
Through June and July 2007, Gerry McCann was well into writing his blog, steaming away there with jolly updates about taking the twins to the zoo, doing media interviews, meeting with the Portuguese police, picking up various visitors from the airport and jogging to the top of the hill. He also found time to pop into the local church in Praia da Luz, after his morning run, to spend 10 minutes praying for Madeleine.
Days 29 - 58 on the McCann Files take us to the end of June 2007.
Day 57: Friday June 29th
"An early rise for Gerry this morning to drop off and pick up more friends from the airport. They bring back his wallet, which had been returned, with all the cards, driving licence and 30 euros in cash intact! Only the sterling cash appears to be missing. Later a friend from Amsterdam drops in for 2 hours, whilst on a golfing trip in the Algarve."
These entries are précis from Gerry McCann's blogs and are jaw-droppingly trivial for the most part. I think the McCanns took to their celebrity status very quickly and appear to have assumed that us ordinary folks out here really want to know really, you know, what they had for breakfast and how often Gerry emptied his bowels. Whatever was going on with the police investigation, the McCanns seemed to have established their routine of answering emails and phone calls and tweaking their level of media attention. It was almost as though they were playing happy celeb couple on the Algarve and occasionally they'd meet with the police to make sure they weren't about to be prosecuted for neglect, then got on with living in their own little La-La Land, planning long-term strategies for their campaign.
Day 67: Monday July 9th.
Kate and Gerry both manage early morning runs. (Well woopee doopee!)
Day 78: Friday July 20th.
More early morning runs, they have a meeting with their campaign manager, Gerry takes the twins to the beach and Kate answers emails.
Are they searching yet? I'm beginning to feel like the kid in the back of the car, asking, "Are we there yet?"
Days 90 - 120
On day 94, Sunday August 5th, sniffer dogs are brought in to investigate the McCanns' living areas in Praia da Luz and several vehicles, including their vehicle, hired around 3 weeks after Maddie's disappearance. Are the McCanns bovvered? Seemingly not because the following day, Gerry goes to Portimao to buy a new printer. On day 96, when samples are sent for analysis, Gerry records that he and Kate manage their early morning run in 'pleasantly cooler conditions,' and they record an interview for Sky News.
It's this attitude, I think, that made many people wonder about the McCanns and their daughter's disappearance. While many parents in similar circumstances could have been worried about what might have been found, the McCanns just kept right on with their daily routines and activities related to their media campaign. Perhaps they were simply confident, for some reason, that nothing would be found.
Meanwhile, the British media reports on the possible findings from the dogs' work and on day 98, Gerry complains that the media attention has become intrusive. Reality, it seems, was in danger of creeping into his perfectly constructed model of his world, with he and Kate as saintly parents, recipients of the world's adoration, sympathy and oodles of dosh!
I don't think they're searching yet, though. I think they're just waiting for the Portuguese police not to find Madeleine and, dare I say it, having a fine time in the Algarve sunshine.
Days 121 - 150: September 2007
Folks, I'm still looking for any signs that Kate and Gerry McCann are searching for their daughter. I wouldn't call doing lots of media interviews for various TV channels in diverse European countries searching, but then I guess the McCanns were saying that this was to maintain Madeleine's high media profile and perhaps jog the memories of people who might spot Madeleine in France or Spain etc., or suddenly recall having seen something significant during a holiday in the Algarve.
At the beginning of September, Kate and Gerry are aware that they will be called in for questioning by the Portuguese police at any time, but the morning runs continue, up and down that hill and along the beach, and the relies keep on arriving and departing.
On day 126, Thursday September 6th, Gerry McCann is reported to be very angry that he had to find out from the media that the PJ had the lab results back from Forensic Science Services.
Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa says, "The lines of investigation are the same since the beginning - they are all open. We said the results are important for one of the lines, the one that considers the hypothesis of the little girl being dead."
By late evening on Friday 7th September, as the world knows, Kate and Gerry McCann had both attained arguido status. The Times reports Gerry as saying, "We are completely f******, we should have seen this coming weeks ago and gone back to Britain."
There you have it folks! They should have hightailed it back, got going while the going was good, before those nasty sardine-munching police officers got those results and dragged them in for questioning. Never mind that they were not going to leave without Madeleine, as soon as they were asked a load of very awkward questions, they wanted to be out of there! And out of there they got, as fast as they could book a flight, let Sky News know what flight they'd be on and throw their belongings into a car. Sky News reports that the large press gathering at 7am, as the McCanns scarper from their villa, is there at the McCanns' invitation. Intrusive media? Not when it suits their purposes obviously!
Folks, at this point in the story, they're scooting, vamooshing, but they don't seem to have done a lot of searching in Praia da Luz or anywhere around Europe, North Africa or any other continent.
On September 29th, Clarence Mitchell, now the McCanns' full-time spokesman says he and a few journalists he worked with on the Soham case see parallels with Robert Murat, but he cannot say any more about it!
The McCanns and their spokespeople do appear to have been doing some searching....for a patsy!!
So, Gerry McCann, as of December 2009, insists that he and his wife are still searching for their daughter? I'm still asking when they started!
To be continued!
Above: very clear image of a small blonde child accompanied by an adult female at the service station on the A22 in Portugal, soon after Madeleine disappeared.
I shall digress a little here from wondering who actually searched for Madeleine McCann to mention two very odd events, featuring rather strange reactions from parents who were convinced that their daughter had been abducted, who said they were doing everything they could to get her back.
The first odd event, featured Kate McCann and the case of a child seen at a service station on the A22 road in Portugal. The PJ had received news of the reported sighting and were keen to get Kate McCann to Portimao without delay, so that she could view the images captured on CCTV at the service station.
Gonçalo Amaral describes Kate's journey to the service on May 4th 2007 in Chapter 3 of his book, "A Verdade da Mentira." (1)
"FIRST EYE WITNESS STATEMENTS; KATE HEALY'S SURPRISING REACTION"
"Madeleine's parents are already back in Vila da Luz when we receive photos taken in a service area of the motorway: you can make out the figure of a little girl, who looks like Madeleine, accompanied by a couple. These images come from a CCTV camera on the motorway linking Lagos to the Spanish border. The McCanns are asked to come to Portimão in order to proceed to an identification. It's the end of the day. Kate Healy seems annoyed at coming back and made uncomfortable by the speed of the police car taking her.
We are somewhat astonished by her reaction, as if she was not expecting to get her daughter back. The identification turns out negative."
The second odd event featured Gerry McCann waiting for a phone call from a man who had attempted to extort a large sum of money in return for supposedly handing over information in his possession about Madeleine's whereabouts.
Chapter 5 of "A Verdade da Mentira." (*)
"AN ATTEMPTED EXTORTION AND AN UNCONCERNED FATHER"
"One day, we were all together at the PJ in Portimão - inspectors and negotiators, members of Scotland Yard and the Leicestershire police - waiting for a contact to define the place and the conditions for the handing over of the money in Holland; when the tension was at its height and we were all holding our breath, Gerald McCann displayed a nonchalance that surprised all of the police officers present, including the English. The atmosphere got heavier as the waiting drew out, but McCann, relaxed, was reading trivia on the internet and discussing rugby and football with the English police, while licking a lollipop. On the telephone, he laughed with friends who called him. Perhaps this was nervousness; sometimes it's totally displaced, given what is at stake at the time. His attitude shocked. When, two days later the dutch police informed us that the individual had been arrested, that he was not holding any information and had lied from start to finish with the sole objective of extorting money from the couple, we were not surprised."
So far, I have noted three situations that evoked strange reactions from parents who were convinced their daughter had been abducted, situations where they did not appear to be overly concerned that they might be about to receive important information about the child whom they were 'really working very hard really,' to get back: the reported sighting at the service station; the anonymous note sent to the Dutch newspaper about the location of Madeleine's body; the contact with demands for money. Does any of that sound like parents who are devastated by their daughter's disappearance and desperate to follow up all leads to find her? Were they doing 'everything we can,' to get Madeleine back, considering that they supposedly had no idea where she was or who she was with?
* Chapter 5 of A Verdade da Mentira in English: Here
(1) Chapter 3 of A Verdade da Mentira in English: Here
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Daily Mirror 12/12/09:
"DISTORTION, LIES, FABRICATION AND SLANDER."
Outside the Civil Court in Lisbon, where Gonçalo Amaral had been due to present witnesses in his effort to have a temporary injunction on his book, "A Verdade Da Mentira," overturned, Gerry and Kate McCann took advantage of their right to freedom of expression to accuse Dr Amaral of distorting the truth about their daughter's disappearance.
"Gerry, also 41, yesterday said the furore over Amaral's book threatened to obscure the fact that the McCanns were still searching for Madeleine."
Still searching? I didn't realise they'd started! They certainly didn't make an early start. Me? I'd have been running around like a headless chicken if I had discovered one of my children was missing. Not Kate McCann, though. Kate did not physically search for her daughter. Nor did she actually answer the question on this subject put to her by Jane Hill of the BBC. Why weren't you out there Kate? Well, errr..ummm...ye know....cluck cluck...tut tut..it was like...shrug...well....
Jane Hill: I met people who didn't go to work for more than a week because every day they were down along the beach, searching the streets. Did you, as a mother, Kate, just sometimes think 'I've got to go and be out there with them.'?
Kate McCann: I mean I did. We'd been working really hard, really, apart from, as Gerry said, the first forty-eight hours were incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning, I'd say, but after that you get strength from somewhere. We've certainly had loads of support and that has given us strength and it's been able to make us focus really. So, we have actually, in our own way...it might not be physically searching, but we've been working really hard and doing absolutely everything we can really to get Madeleine back. (Errrr, ummmms, sighs, etc, omitted.)
So, locals in the village of Praia da Luz were out there for a whole week searching the beaches and the streets, while Kate McCann was working "really hard really," on some unidentified tasks in an effort to get her daughter back? Picking up friends and relies from the airport? Dropping the twins at the crèche and then what? Phone a few contacts, speak to the British Ambassador, give media interviews.*
(*Detailed notes on the events leading up to and following Maddie's disappearance can be found on the McCann Files. Days 1 - 28 here)
For the first forty-eight hours, according to Kate McCann, she and her husband were almost non-functioning to the point of being totally unable, obviously, to get out there and search for their daughter. As most police officers, who have been involved with missing children, are well aware, the first seventy-two hours are very important in the search if there is to be any hope of finding the child. The McCanns, though, were unable to get themselves shifted, unable to fight against their non-functioning state, both of them! They are completely self-centred, feeble excuses for parents and/or they were lying. I'll go for 'and.'
The Portuguese PJ, however, together with local people, searched until the early hours of May 4th, stopped at around 4.30am, with a view to resuming in daylight.
Gonçalo Amaral describes those frantic first few days in his book: these passages are extracted from chapter 3.
The Truth Of The Lie Chapter 3
Chapter 3: The First Seventy-two Hours.
THE ORGANISATION OF THE INVESTIGATION
Since dawn, chief inspector Tavares de Almeida has been getting down to the job at the Department of Criminal Investigation in Portimão. He is following through with the first measures taken within the context of the investigation. At this time, he should have been going on holiday, but faced with the gravity of the case, he has decided to put it off until later. Neither the director of the Faro judiciary police nor myself are going to have the time take our holidays anytime soon.
The disappearance of a child must be flagged up as widely as possible, on the national as well as on the international level. All Portuguese police are already on alert, as well as Interpol. During the night, the National Guard, supported by the civilian population, has started to organise searches. They will be continued and widened tomorrow.
After the searches undertaken in the surrounding area - dustbins, containers, sewers -, it is necessary to proceed with the interrogation of certain potential witnesses
Make contact with the marinas and the maritime police; we must have access to video recordings as well as the registers of boats entering and leaving in the last few days.
- I am going to contact them and make sure they have started the sea searches.
In anticipation of the volume of information we are going to have to deal with, we decide to fit out a room dedicated to the investigation, our crisis unit.
Still May 4th.
The searches on the ground continue, with the help of a helicopter from Disaster Management. Interviews of holiday-makers and the resort's employees multiply. We're worried, aware that it's a race against the clock: tomorrow, many tourists will be leaving the resort.
The accommodation we are occupying in the town centre rapidly becomes overcrowded: we need more sheets and blankets. Beds are allocated; some investigators have to sleep on sofas, others on the floor. Astonishingly, in this place, however jam-packed, total silence reigns. We all need to rest. Our dreams are disturbed, our worries are multiplying. Thirty-four hours after Madeleine's disappearance, we tackle our second day of the investigation. In this apartment of temporary refuge, it's the morning bustle; we mustn't lie around. In spite of the lack of sleep, no one shows any sign of fatigue: on the contrary, we are all in a hurry to getting back to work and impatiently wait our turn outside the bathroom.
On the outskirts of Lagos, in the direction of Aljezur, there is a Gypsy encampment. Of course, traveling people are no longer thought of as child-stealers. Nevertheless, it is important to make sure they have nothing to do with the case before they hit the road again. As soon as they are informed of our searches, they collaborate voluntarily and let the agents do their work and conduct a search of their tents and their cars. No one has seen little Madeleine in the area.
Throughout the day, numerous apartments are visited in the resort and neighbouring areas: the investigators search more than 400, without result."
So, let's consider where the McCanns looked and what they meant by doing everything to get their daughter back. They went to the Vatican, kissed the Pope's ring, did some more interviews, but there was no sign of Maddie.
Then what? Where did the search take the relentless duo, having now recovered from their non-functioning state and set up a web site and a fund for donations? On May 30th, they met the Pope. On May 31st, they were off again, to Madrid. After a brief sojourn back in Praia da Luz, the McCann were in Berlin on Wednesday June 6th, where they gave a press conference about their search and then headed for Amsterdam, where they did a series of TV appearances, press conferences and appeals, while obviously searching for their daughter.
(See The McCann Files days 29 - 58. here)
On Wednesday May 9th, two reports of sightings in Morocco had been received by the Portuguese police.
"In Morocco, Norwegian tourist Mari Pollard says she saw a girl who looked like Madeleine with a man at a petrol station in Marrakesh. On the same day, a British holidaymaker saw a youngster outside the Ibis Hotel in Marrakesh."
And so, with haste and urgency only the McCanns can achieve, they set off for Morocco on Saturday June 10th.
Now, what did our intrepid duo do in Morocco in their constant quest, their unrelenting search for their daughter? Hand out leaflets in the areas where the sightings had been reported? Tramp the streets in those areas, showing photographs of their missing daughter in an attempt to jog the memories of anyone who might have seen a child who resembled her? Well, apart from complaining that a plane sent to transport them was only a turbo-prop, they had a few meetings, did a few interviews and accepted flowers from schoolchildren. Why didn't they go and actually search in the areas where there had been reported sightings? Beats me, that one.
(Also from The McCann Files days 29 -58)
Kate and Gerry spend the day in Rabat meeting British ambassador Charles Gray, Morocco's most senior police officer Charqi Draiss, the Interior Minister Mohamed Benaissa as well as representatives from 3 child welfare groups, including Touche Pas Mes Enfants (Do Not Touch my Children), an organisation set up two years ago to tackle paedophilia.
As well as the meetings, the McCanns visited the National Observatory for Children's Rights. As they pulled up in the car there were about 150 children waving posters of Madeleine with the words 'All Moroccan Children Are With You Madeleine - Madeleine: Back Home'.
The McCanns also did a couple of interviews for ITV and Sky focussing on a change in the phase of the campaign. They confirmed that there would be a period of reflection before they decided on the best role for themselves."
While Kate and Gerry were madly searching through all those meeting rooms in Morocco, an anonymous letter was received by the Dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf, containing a map of an area close to Praia da Luz, marked with a x where the author claimed that Madeleine's body was buried. I would have thought this would engender great worry, anxiety and distress in parents, who were convinced that their child had been abducted, but Gerry McCann seemed more irritated and inconvenienced by it.
"While it is all for nothing and we will not get our child back with this. We know that a big, international action like ours has its shadow side and attracts idiots." (McCann Files)
So, how did Gerry know that Madeleine was not to be found in that location? He seemed quite sure though, and rather than sit around, worrying about what might be found, Gerry and Kate fetched a friend from the airport.
"Initial searches of scrubland indicated by the letter to The Telegraaf do not reveal anything unusual.Kate and Gerry pick up a friend from Faro airport who has helped with publicity and the production of the 'Don't You Forget About Me' DVD. Gerry and this 'friend' Jon spend the rest of the day discussing 'campaign strategies'." (McCann Files.)
The next few weeks are taken up with appointing a spokesperson, having meetings with the police and generally keeping up the media interest. Then in July, Gerry went to the United States. he spent 4 days there, having meetings, doing the obligatory press conferences and then returned to Praia da Luz.
So, this could be a good point at which to do a reprise of the activity of the McCanns up to this point: they saw the Pope; they went to Madrid; they went to Berlin; they went to Amsterdam; they went to Morocco; Gerry went to the United States; they produced posters, released lots of balloons and banked a loada dosh in the form of donations. Woops! Forgot! They took the twins to the zoo and they discovered that Sean had a liking for sea bass. Gerry wrote up his blog about trips to the beach and child-friendly toppings on desserts!
Is it just me, or does anyone else think they don't seem to have started searching yet?
(Part 2 to follow: the succession of private defectives, I mean detectives, and their search for Madeleine: how Madeleine was not home by Christmas and various shenanigans of the McCanns' hired help.)
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
From Esther Addley of the Guardian, an article that takes an unusually objective look at the media campaign that transformed a little three-year-old girl into an icon. I say 'unusually objective,' compared to the usual sycophantic rubbish churned out by the UK media, wherein Kate and Gerry McCann attain the status of sainthood and become the self-pitying martyrs of the decade.
"It's the unsettling mix of the incredibly intimate and the coolly tactical that has made the mystery of Madeleine McCann the biggest and most extraordinary child abduction story in history."
Yes, the 'coolly tactical.' In an interview for Vanity Fair magazine, Gerry McCann referred to Madeleine's distinctive eye feature:
"Late in 2007, Gerry McCann gave an interview to an American magazine and talked about the decision to publicise the eye defect. "Certainly we thought it was possible that [the publicity] could possibly hurt her or her abductor might do something to her eye . . . But in terms of marketing, it was a good ploy."
The McCanns' daughter became something to be marketed. Their web site was selling wristbands and cheap T shirts at an inflated price that sought to play on the sympathy of the general public to pay through the nose to further what was, in effect, in Gerry's own words, 'marketing.'
"Had Madeleine been snatched in Britain, the McCanns would have been assigned a police family liaison officer and the full, slammed-door stonewalling of a police press office. In Portugal, their advisers were PRs. In October 2007 Clarence Mitchell, by then working as the couple's full-time media adviser, addressed students at Coventry University about the case. The title of his talk? "Missing Madeleine McCann: The perfect PR campaign".
Madeleine McCann became a media career for Clarence Mitchell, ex-director of the UK government's Media Monitoring Unit, 'The perfect PR campaign.' And that perfect campaign has given Clarence a spin-off career as itinerant speaker-for-hire, his latest outing having been at a PR conference in Dubai, where Madeleine McCann was the subject of a slick Power Point presentation on PR campaigns. In 10 years time, please God, don't let Clarence Mitchell be doing the after dinner speaker circuit with his Power Point presentation on how he successfully marketed Madeleine McCann.
In one of Gerry McCann's Christmas interviews this year, he said that the search for Madeleine was driven by 'facts and evidence.' What facts? What evidence?
"Most remarkable of all is that despite the many thousands of articles, the millions of words, written about Madeleine McCann, there remains more than two and a half years later just one solitary fact that we know for sure. In the early hours of 3 May 2007, she vanished without trace from her parents' holiday apartment."
One solitary fact and that is that Madeleine disappeared without a trace: no trace of intrusion into the holiday apartment by a phantom abductor; no fingerprints other than those of Kate McCann on Madeleine's bedroom window; no sightings of a possible abductor apart from Jane Tanner's endlessly changing story and description; no one coming forward with any real information about Madeleine's whereabouts in spite of millions being offered in reward money.
"A beautiful toddler gone missing will always be catnip to newspaper editors, but Kate and Gerry McCann also chose to make themselves active characters in the story, and though their motives were laudable, their relentless drive for publicity unsettled many."
In this 'relentless drive' the McCann's oft repeated mantra has been that there was no evidence that Madeleine was dead or that any serious harm had come to her, even while they were actively, through their hired detectives, pursuing the idea of her having been taken by paedophiles. Gerry McCann labeled the work of Eddie and Keela, dogs used by police forces around the world, as 'unreliable' in spite of their acknowledged success in helping to solve hundreds of cases.
In the McCanns' relentless drive to provoke universal acceptance of the abduction theory, they have also been relentless in their attempts to silence anyone who disagreed. In addition to using PR representatives in the UK and in Portugal, the McCanns have engaged the mega expensive libel lawyers, Carter Ruck, to bully blog owners and other web site owners, such as the Madeleine Foundation, into submission with threats of financially crippling legal action.
The McCanns clearly want freedom of expression for themselves in churning out their relentless campaign, but not for anyone else, including Dr Gonçalo Amaral, the Portuguese police officer who initially led the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. They have sought to ban Dr Amaral's book, 'The Truth Of The Lie,' but only when it looked as though it was about to be published in English. Unlike UK journals, like the Daily Express, Dr Amaral has not rolled over and complied with the McCanns' bullying tactics. The court process concerning the book resumes in January, with several witnesses, including senior police officers who were closely involved with the investigation, speaking on Sr Amaral's behalf. Please, God, let this be an end and a new beginning: an end to the McCanns' power over the press and the judiciary and the beginning of the real fight for truth and justice for a little three-year-old child who went on what was supposed to be a family holiday, was left in the crèche all day and left on her own with two-year-old siblings in an unlocked apartment every evening.
God bless Gonçalo Amaral and his relentless campaign for justice for that little girl, not the icon, but the real little girl.
Friday, 18 December 2009
And in today's Daily Express, we have the...traa laaaa...Christmas appeal! Is this going to be a regular occurrence for the next 50 year until 89 year-old Kate McCann is pleading for her daughter to walk through the door of Rothley Towers, where her bedroom is just as she left it, with all her Christmas and birthday presents from the intervening years blocking the way to her toddler bed?
Now, I know I must be sounding unsympathetic to their plight, but this is just a money-grubbing exercise at the time of year when folks out there are thinking of other people less fortunate than themselves and are in the mood to give to worthy causes.
"Kate and Gerry McCann have issued a fresh appeal for help in finding their missing daughter Madeleine as they face spending a third Christmas without her."
Third Christmas without Madeleine? Well, actually, if we're counting, it's the fourth, because at Christmas when Madeleine was 2 years old, in 2005, Madeleine spent Christmas with her grandmother, Eileen Mccann, while I assume the rest of the family enjoyed the twins' first Christmas back at Rothley Towers.
"Madeleine McCann's gran on the family's year of tears." Daily Record April 27th 2008.
"Eileen said: "Madeleine was in my heart from that very first day.
"She was born on a Tuesday and I went down to see her on the Friday.
"I felt I had a really special bond with her.She said: "When she was two, Madeleine spent Christmas at my house and it was lovely.
"The next year, the family came up for New Year but on Christmas Day Madeleine called and said she'd got a kitchen from Santa. She was very excited and said 'I'm going to make some tea'."
So, Madeleine wasn't at the festive table that Christmas. Seems odd to me that she wouldn't be part of the twins' first Christmas, but then I find such dates and events memorable and special and well worth the effort that has to be put into them when you have small children.
"In an emotional plea greeting visitors to the site, they said: "There will be a spare place at the Christmas table again this year. If you know anything - do the right thing and help us fill it." (Daily Express)
From what I can gather, there's been a spare place at that table before, not just at Christmas either. Early on in this case, Kate McCann, asked about how the twins were coping with Madeleine's disappearance, said that they were ok because they had never spent much time with Madeleine. So, I guess there weren't many lingering meals en famille then?
"Mr and Mrs McCann added: "There's only one thing Madeleine wants this Christmas - and that's to be back home. If you know where she might be, please help." (Daily Express)
If Madeleine is still alive somewhere, being treated like a princess, or as Kate McCann said in an interview for Spanish TV, "in somebody's house," I seriously doubt that were she to turn up to sit at the Christmas table, that she would just slip happily into the family fold and joyously tuck into the roast turkey. A child who was suddenly taken from her family in the trauma of a night time snatch, from where she had been left sleeping, and kept apart from that family for nearly three years, would be an emotionally distressed child, returning to a house she did not recognise any more, siblings she had hardly known before and who would now be strangers, and parents she hardly remembered, who would also have changed in the intervening years.
And if, God forbid, Maddie is alive and in the hands of paedophiles, as her parents have suggested so many times, then that place at the table would not be the most appropriate place for an abused child's introduction back into the arms of her family. Have a slice of turkey, Madeleine, and forget that you were abused in every imaginable way, after we left you alone in the dark in an unlocked apartment. Let's all join hands and sing Kumbaya. Somehow, I don't think so!