Tuesday, 28 February 2012
In this video from December 2007, Martin Brunt mentions the blue sports bag, which was said to have disappeared from the McCanns' holiday apartment. He also shows the view from the table the McCanns sat at in the Tapas Bar and states that the McCanns would not have been able to see anyone going in or out of the apartment.
Brunt then walks the route the McCanns would have taken to check on the children and concludes that it would have taken 80 paces from the restaurant to the gate leading to the unlocked patio doors.
And what will Kate and Gerry tell the twins about that evening when their sister disappeared into thin air? When Sean and Amelie are old enough, they will be told that Kate and Gerry were dining 'in the restaurant next door.'* I hope that Brunt video is still available when Sean and Amelie are judged to be old enough for the explanation because 80 paces to the restaurant next door may seem like more than spitting distance to them or close enough to hear a child crying. I guess that's Kate and Gerry's problem. The twins will be able to explore for themselves before too long and how will their parents explain away all the discrepancies? However hard the McCanns try to make sure certain things get whooshed away, there will be plenty left on the internet for the twins to find. And when they do, perhaps that's when Kate and Gerry will truly have to face the reality of what went on in Praia da Luz, how they went on holiday with three children and came back without Sean and Amelie's sister.
*Daily Mail May 2nd 2010
Thursday, 23 February 2012
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Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Tony rented a Mercedes for going to see the Pope.
In the comfortable car, Laurence thinks about the secret recording: "There's no ethics any more in the profession of journalism. It's all about audience figures." Happily, for some unknown reason, the government is supporting her.
They wait in a small room for the Pope's formal discourse to end.
Laurence drily tell her husband, who is praying beneath a crucifix, to "quit this circus." An escort comes to fetch the Macands to take them to the Holy Father.
On the way there, Laurence takes out of her handbag an Elnett hairspray for dry, damaged hair.
The Pope is old and tired. He looks ill. He is addressing the crowd from the balcony overlooking St Peter's Square. As he comes back, his special adviser, Comman, presents Madec's parents and Madec's photo to him and reminds him that he agreed with the French government that he would speak to them about it later.
The Pope turns back to the crowd for his final homily. To the crowd he presents, not the photo of the child, but the fax, upside down. An adviser respectfully turns it up the right way.
"Questa ragazza è sparita. Piccola Madic è stata sottratta dall'amore dei suoi genitori" (This little girl has disappeared. The little girl Madic has been taken away from the love of her parents.)
The adviser murmurs a few words in his ear. The Pope corrects himself:
"Piccolo Madec è stato sottratto dall'amore dei suoi genitori. Che Dio ci aiuti a ritrovarlo, con il vostro aiuto a tutti." (The little boy, Madec has been taken away from the love of his family, may God help him as well as all of you.)
A moment later, the Macands find themselves back in their car. Laurence is disappointed. All the Pope did was offer her a limp hand, without even looking at her.
During the journey, Laurence receives a call from the Minister. She thanks him and he tells her that the Italian police "are going to get things moving." The secret recording is not mentioned.
For the first time, Laurence feels totally cynical: "All it takes is for something to get a bit muddled for the thing to disappear. Sincerity is human, she thinks, but politics is scheming."
(Thank you Frencheuropean!)
Thursday, 16 February 2012
The Minster is proud of having got the Pope interested in the Macands. His Public Relations service will "leak," the information to magazines about the role he will have played in securing this interview.
The young journalist at France 2 is suspended and the case will be subject to a temporary injunction.
The Josserand's lawyer demands 230,000 Euros in damages and compensation and Laurence considers that they could thank her because, without doing anything, they are going to get lots of money, thanks to her.
Then the internet site of an investigative journal publishes an article accompanied by a secret recording:
"SCANDAL AT THE CSA
When the Macand parents pull the media's strings.
Then Laurence's voice is heard, indistinct because of static. Madec's mother whispers: "between you and me our friends the Josserands, who were interrogated in France, are behind my son's disappearance...He will be dead. The police know who killed my son."
In his office, the Minister is not at all happy:
"-Every time you try to be nice, it backfires on you.
- You made the right decision, Minister.
- Why did that idiot need to talk crap like that for the first camera to arrive?
- We don't know yet. We 're trying to contact her.
- What will Carolis (former president of France television), Interpol and the CSA think of me?
- It has nothing to do with you.
- I remind you that I informed the Pope: it's gone world-wide.
- It might be a fake, sir.
- You know it's not, he let out in exasperation. The services analysed it.
-Yes, but for the rest of the world, it's perhaps still a fake. Nobody authenticated it.
- You're certain about what you're saying? The politician asked after a preoccupied silence.
- I think we need to play that card, Minister."
Petrified, Laurence picked up her phone. It's the Interior Minister's Public Relations service again. She is told that it's known to be a fake, that the Minister will support her "in her fight for the truth." The voice repeats:
"A message, you've only got to give out a message, which is also ours, Madame Macand - that document is a fake."
Confronted for the first time since Madec's death, with the real world, Laurence locks herself in the toilet. Tony reproached her above all for screwing up their good image. Stéphane looked on her as an enemy.
She takes to musing that life is only a game, "the only game, where the objective is to understand the rules."
With thanks, once again, to Frencheuropean for the résumé in French.
Résumé of chapter 26 - from Frencheuropean
The conference, transmitted by journalists of fourteen different nationalities, is a great success. Donations flood in. By midnight, 300,000 in euros has been promised. Tony takes on to decide how the money will be used: prime time slots on TV being expensive, "he opts for an announcement in the regional and national dailies and a poster on street hoardings." He will also contact graphic artists and advertising agencies.
As planned, Sylviane lodges a complaint against France Television. She calls Laurence to ask her what she should do with the boys as she no longer wishes to take responsibility for them, given the circumstances. In a rather frosty tone of voice, after having consulted how much money was available, Laurence informs her that a local teacher will come and fetch them. The conversation is over, "Madec's mother reckoned that she had never liked Sylviane. That at the first setback, that fat cow had become a stranger to her. Was it possible to be friends with someone who was physically ugly?"
The Minister, for his part, is indignant at the error committed by the journalists. He picks up his phone and two hours later, Antenne 2 receives a notice of reprimand from the CSA for its untruthful reporting.
(CSA = Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, the president of which is appointed by the government, but which is independent.)
On returning home, he meets with fierce anger from his wife, who reproaches him for his intrusive activities, telling him that because he can "get the CSA to issue a notice of disapproval," he gets to feel manly and powerful.
Résumé of chapter 25 with thanks to Frencheuropean, as usual!
In spite of the reticence of the Macands, who find it inappropriate, Tony insists on organising a buffet for the journalists at the conference. On principle, Laurence has obtained an assurance that there will be no lump fish roe because the guests might think it was caviar.
Tony insists that if they are well fed, they'll write longer articles.
Although surprised, the journalists set upon the food and the champagne. "Everybody gets down to guzzling and they fight over the leftovers. There are injuries." Outraged by this behaviour, Stéphane smashes the glass of a journalist who is demanding a fourth glass of champagne. Laurence drags him into another room and puts him sharply in his place, being sarcastic about her husband's usual lack of restraint. He apologises.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
Continuing with the résumés which have been sent to me by Frencheuropean.
The Macands' financial situation is cause for concern. The stay is expensive and Stéphane is no longer being paid. As Tony has organised a press conference, this presents an opportunity to appeal for donations.
Laurence, who has gone out through the back of the building, where the conference will be organised, spots a young journalist in the car park, just sitting idly in his car. She asks to speak to him in private, and once in the vehicle, she whispers: "The police know who killed my son."
As early as 4pm, a rich woman from Versailles writes a cheque for 50,000 Euros made out to a non-profit organisation, which had urgently been set up three days before. "Finding Madec."
Stéphane is furious because he has just watched the 1 o'clock news on France 2 with Tony and heard that Fabien and Sylviane figure "amongst the main suspects in Madec's disappearance (and probably his death) They were under investigation."
He telephones the news to Laurence, who exclaims: "they're totally mad!"
And she gets to thinking:
"The wheels were in motion. In a few hours, the Josserands would inevitably have seen the news. They would be indignant at being accused. They would lodge a complaint for defamation. And dig their heels in. Ruling out participating in any way in a reconstruction. Inspector Braconnet would give up his infernal idea."
It's looking good, muses a relieved Laurence, practically savouring the moment: the loss of a child accompanied by loads of things to do and exhausting disagreements, but which, all the same, make you forget, somewhat, the sadness of the loss itself.
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
US criminal profiler Pat Brown met with Tony Bennett, secretary of the Madeleine Foundation, today in Windsor, to discuss the complete mystery of Madeleine McCann.
Read the report of that meeting here ("Gerry McCann Abuse of Power" blog.)
Thursday, 2 February 2012
After regaining consciousness, Laurence, who is not annoyed at her husband, (and even rather liked it) cries with him. It is beyond her power to change the events of that fatal night into something she'd like it to have been.
To get some air, Laurence walks to the rocks on the shore.
She has never in her life found fulfillment. Her husband has never understood her expectations, in spite of a willingness to try.
She thinks of her video: "She was not famous, but she was known. it was like being more real." From Tony, she learned the essential principles of media training: "Know when to be silent,...list the facts, think about the details of what she is saying." The golden rule, in crisis communication, being to "repeat the concrete details, over and over, robotically - and nothing but the concrete details (date, time, places, names)" She then realises that since the start of the day, she she has not thought about her son.
Andreotti has met a young woman who wants to set up home with him. Given the state of the world and the constraints of his job, he is hardly enthusiastic. In a local paper, he reads a news item: a bather has been injured in the foot by a meat fork. The newspaper calls on the local people to be careful of objects thrown into the sea. And Andreotti deplores that a newspaper should give so much space to a scratch on the beach, a quite insignificant event. Ah, "since Berlusconi, things have gone downhill..."
Notes: Thanks, as usual, to Frencheuropean.
The book, "Belle Famille," by Arthur Dreyfus, can be purchased here
Résumé of chapter 22 - with thanks to Frencheuropean for reading the book and sending the résumés to me in French.
The Macands decide to produce their own message, using their camera, back-lit, with close-ups that make their features look hollow, as though they have not slept well. This message is a success on the internet.
Meanwhile, in a drawing room in France, the Junior Minister of The Interior, someone who courts the media, puts down his newspaper, Le Figaro, and thinks this is a good opportunity to restore the image of the French police abroad. He decides to send one of his best inspectors to Tuscany.
Just when, on Tony's advice, the Macands are about to deactivate their phones to take out an Italian line rental, Laurence's telephone rings: it's a call from the Minister of the Interior. During the five minute conversation, the Minister presents himself as a father.
He assures them of his personal commitment to make sure that everything will be set up to bring their son back.
He was so convincing that for a few seconds, Laurence hoped that Madec would be found.
The French inspector, Jacques Braconnet, gets an unenthusiastic welcome from Andreotti, who anticipates a lot of useless effort, especially as, at the request of the Minister, journalists accompany the French police everywhere. Braconnet explains to the Macands that an abduction alert should have been launched. This doesn't bother Andreotti because, if he didn't launch an alert, "it was because he did not consider it to be necessary. Instinct told him that the truth was hidden elsewhere."
The French inspector wants to set up a reconstruction, which seems impossible to Laurence, who has totally erased the events of that evening from her memory.
At his headquarters in the Place Beauvau, the Minister thinks about the Macands' video seen on a magazine programme shown by TV channel TF1 (regretting that he had forgotten to call the presenter to wish him a happy birthday).
"In their despair, the Macands seemed to be united. What was their daughter's first name? Before her abduction, little Madaine (original first names hard to remember) must have been happy."
Stéphane, who is attempting to manage his absence from the hospital, calls the Josserands to let them know that the French inspector wants to do a reconstruction. Their trip will be paid for and it wouldn't take very long. Fabien voices their agreement, if it's good for Madec.
Stéphane relays the news to Laurence, who has returned from the hairdresser's ("look at my head. I'm ashamed to be on the telly.") The next instant, his wife slaps him. Taken by a sudden rage, he violently hits her across the face and she faints.