Monday, 2 October 2017

Brenda Leyland


In Memoriam

Brenda Leyland 1951 - October 3 2014


She may yet have justice

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Culture Corner

Maria Callas. What was she describing?
With the Edinburgh Festival ending soon the question arises at all decent dinner tables, “what was the greatest Edinburgh performance of all time?”


In 1957 the glorious Maria  gave us the complete Callas  – complete in the sense that the singing was preceded by hysterical tantrums and contract disputes and she was  “unwell” for two of the shows. Twenty years later the tenor-king  Placido Domingo famously broke female hearts while lilting in Carmen while Rudolph Nureyev,  always willing to please, did the same for  the boys in 1984.
Rudy, in characteristic pose
Richard Burton’s growling 1953 Hamlet became a legend, while in the weird sixties Marlene Dietrich was exhumed to perform cabaret songs, a significant  event since, the Bureau understands,  Dietrich returned to her dressing room to find many welcome bouquets missing, apparently stolen by one of Edinburgh’s numerous street-alkies. Turning to Bert Bacharach she asked icily, “Vair have all the flowers gone?” – and the rest, of course,  is history.
And, of course...

The Winner

But none of these can touch, in acting power or anything else, the stomach-churning performance put on at the festival in 2007 by the celebrity story-teller  Gerry McCann.  You can search for a transcript of the programme, which we watched, but you won't find it. You can search for a video but, like the transcript, it's gone. Under whose instructions? Who knows. None of the participants want to be associated with it, even the main interviewer Kirsty Wark, who'd given GM his first publicity leg-up on May 4 of that year. Ah, show business.
Winner: Gerry McCann (with Liar's Rictus Syndrome) in Edinburgh 2007

Facts Corner

The facts of that dramatic performance are simple: Gerry McCann lied from beginning to end on a colossal scale to an audience of many millions, and lied so prodigiously  that we haven’t got space to list all the deceptions. 

His central lie is a self-portrait of Gerry McCann and a history of the Madeleine McCann Affair, all in a few hundred words. He claimed in Edinburgh that he was utterly mystified by the rumours that he and his wife might be under possible suspicion, just as he claimed in May to be mystified by the loss of his child.  He couldn’t explain why people might be writing such things since there was, literally, not a single fact or event he could think of that might justify such weird slurs. Nothing? Nope.
Richard Burton could never remotely  approach McCann in his acting. That is one reason why the videos are gone. He went through the whole  range of his expressions and tones of voice  - bewilderment, pain, surprise, reproach - as he confessed that he just couldn't understand what it was all about.
He knew how good he was by then, knew that nobody without inside knowledge could possibly believe that he wasn't telling the truth - for only a monster could be able to lie so convincingly about something so close and intimate and raw, and nobody believed Gerry McCann was a monster. That was his greatest strength. To millions of people world-wide, he lied, without a blush or a stammer or breaking sweat: to the people who'd sent money to help find the child and were emotionally transfixed by her possible fate, he lied; to his own relatives he lied; to those who had trusted him he lied; to the police in Portugal  who knew, first hand and directly, that every single sentence he uttered  was untrue, he lied. 

“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.”

Further selected examples from the surviving, fragmentary reports to be found on Gerry McCann’s Blogs: “Mr McCann said that this wealth of speculation is being reported as fact in total disregard of the ongoing police investigation in Portugal…Clearly, he says, they [the media] are feeding each other…it's absolutely wild speculation with no foundation…pointing out that very early on in the process he and his wife were excluded as suspects…the pressure on journalists to find a story was leading to absolutely wild speculation about what had happened, he said, even early on, there was saturation coverage with nothing to report, and there are commercial decisions being made with filling column inches and time on TV. In the last six weeks particularly there has been been nothing…things have gone back to a degree of normality and some calmness has, errr... settled in.”

"Wild speculation. Things have gone back to a degree of normality. Calmness has settled in. Nothing has happened in the case for the last six weeks." The date of this performance was August 25 2007.

During those prior weeks of "calmness":
- The police had told the pair to prepare for investigative changes.
- On  July 30 all regular meetings with the police ended.
- On August 2 the police raided their apartment with a search warrant and threw them out while the search was executed. On August 5 Apartment 5A was forensically examined. On August 6 their hire car was seized and held for forensic testing.  
- On August 8 they were interrogated, not merely interviewed, about the night of May 3. The police stated that they did not believe KM’s version of events.  She threw a fit of hysterics as they accused her outright of lying about when she had last seen the child.
- On August 20, just five days before Edinburgh,  the McCanns appointed a criminal lawyer to defend them, having learned that they were due to be formally questioned by the police in the coming weeks.

Was there ever a bigger bastard of a liar? A more disgusting one? Anywhere? Anytime? The public thought that only a monster would lie on such a scale about a horrible, terrible family tragedy. They were right all along. He is a monster.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Does Lightning Really Strike Twice?

Ribeiro - he's the one laughing now

The Bureau has written before that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is a  simpler story than it appears. The head of the PJ, Ribeiro, knew that as early as August 2007 and specifically stated that he did not need any further resources to widen the inquiry. He needed the answers to just two or three key questions, none of them involving outside forces. He never got them and the void has been filled by people’s imaginations.


1) Established and agreed fact 1: In 2007 an event occurred with such dangerous and life-changing consequences that Kate and Gerry McCann immediately decided they could not face them.
2) Established and agreed fact 2 In the limited time available to form an emergency plan the couple decided that at all costs they must keep the event secret.
3) Established and agreed fact 3To cover their tracks they decided to construct an imaginary scenario – a “fairy story” – that would mask what had really happened.
4) Established and agreed fact 4:They would not just lie but would actively feed this “fairy story” to an assembled media pack. Needless to say this took iron self-control and a rare ability to publicly dissimulate to – literally – a world audience.  
5) Established and agreed fact 5: To reinforce the lies told to the public via the MSM journalists Gerry McCann fed further details of false information via  another source to the public.
6) Established and agreed fact 6: Certain members of the family, who knew that the McCanns had not told the whole truth remained silent.

Sources: Kate & Gerry McCann

Kate McCann  has made a full confession  to doing these things since the archiving of the investigation.  Gerry McCann has never admitted his proven lies to this day. The family members who knew that the couple had not told the truth and were deceiving the British public have also remained silent up to now about their knowledge.
These events and actions  exactly match the claims made by Goncalo Amaral on behalf of the investigation and accepted as a valid interpretation  by the Portuguese Appeal Court in 2010.
And when did these events take place?
No, not then.  August 2 2007. The phrase “a repeated and identifiable pattern of behaviour” comes to mind.

Detailed proof of  the established and agreed facts 1-6

1) “An event occurred…” The PJ informed the McCanns that they would be coming; clothes and possessions were seized for forensic analysis and other examination; the couple were not allowed to be present during the search. [Source: Kate McCann's own words in Madeleine]
“Devastating consequences…” [Source: the same]  “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?” No, I can’t. We don’t know what KM imagined would happen because she won’t tell us. As in the famous exercise in lying about the “police deal” on  September 6, [source: KM in Madeleine] she falls back on rhetoric to smother the facts.
2) “In the limited time available…” : [Source: the same]: “We’d never lied about anything…But now we found ourselves in one of those tricky [tricky!]  situations where we just didn’t seem to have a choice”. She does not elaborate on why they had no choice. The phraseology suggests that she was familiar with situations where a lie was the only choice: had they happened recently?  
3) “They agreed a plan…” [Sources KM in Madeleine and GM internet blog] The police raid would be completely covered up with lies, not simply denied.  GM: August 2: “Today was a bit of a write off for me as I was laid low with a probable viral illness which meant I could not stray too far from the house!” Of course he did stray far from the house for many hours. The exclamation mark indicates a further embroidering of the story – that he had to stay near the house because of diarrhoea.
4) “Actively feed…”  [Source KM in Madeleine]“…which we used as an excuse”. KM converts the bare-faced lying into “an excuse”. It remains a bare-faced cover-up lie.
5) “To reinforce the lies…” [Source GM on his internet blog] August 2 above, “feeling a bit better tonight so hopefully be back to normal tomorrow” and August 3, “We were meant to go yesterday but had to cancel because I was ill.”
6) “Certain members of the family…” [Source KM in Madeleine]: “My mum, dad, Brian and Janet set off for the town to get out of the way before the police arrived.” So those four were present, knew that the police were coming and left the house and therefore knew that what the couple told the media pack and the British public was untrue. They have never admitted their covering up for the pair.   
Referring to Note 3 above, readers will remember that Mr and Mrs Healy were the two chief family members who on September 8 claimed that a coercive deal had been offered by the PJ, with Mr Healy claiming that the couple were being “fitted-up”. [Source KM in Madeleine] Our American readers should note that this phrase is slang used by the UK criminal classes and their associates for being “framed” by the police.
As we know, [Source KM in Madeleine] these were not spontaneous comments but media interviews requested by their daughter: “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.”
Note, once more, that the parents  had not told anybody about the August 2 cover-up lies. What else do you think they might have withheld from the public? On what other occasions might they have made false claims about the PJ?  Can you think of any?
Finally, the PJ were, of course, monitoring the McCanns’ media statements by August. That meant that they knew that, while Gerry McCann may well have had the shits, it wasn’t a "virus" that caused them but something much more threatening in the long term.
They knew that then, they know it now and so do Scotland Yard. That is the only reason why Kate McCann made her confession in 2011, albeit in her usual weasel-worded and deceptive way: the public would find out the truth from the PJ anyway.  
I mean, just look at it. Just look at it! Where's the mystery? Apart from the key questions of where the body is and how it got there, there isn't any mystery, is there? It's all laid out in a repeated pattern of behaviour.
 Kate & Gerry McCann, 10 years after a "tricky situation"

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Sensitivity Training


The Outrage Express

JB writes: Police officers are not at their best with “sensitivities”.“Sensitivities”  are what the MSM, particularly the creepy BBC, invented to enable a yeast-like, self-generating, gooey ball of “outrage”, “hurt” – and particularly the all-purpose “fury” – about anything whatever to replace  news reporting.
Observant readers will have noted that the number of pubs has dropped catastrophically in the UK over recent years, a result, it is widely reported, of the tobacco ban. Up to a point, Lord Copper. An equally important reason is the growth in “sensitivity awareness” and the subsequent risk that unguarded talk about sensitive subjects – which these days means all subjects – risks having some repulsive eavesdropper reporting you for crimes against snowflakes, such as mocking gay rugby.   
The pub was always where British people talked unguardedly among themselves, with alcohol and fags reliably fuelling both the loud conversation, the indiscretions and the highly enjoyable gossip. That is no longer  possible. Such talking still takes place but in homes, or other private areas, safely away from thought-grasses. A great pity - was there ever a better, freer,  buzz than that in a good pub?
In this climate a policeman’s – yes, I know* – lot is not a happy one. Most of them come from the same domestic and educational background as criminals and, like them, are unworried about using violence where necessary.  Violence is the heart of their job. If you want a social worker, go to the council: the police are there to protect the public, detain criminals by force and, if necessary, as it frequently is, kill them. That’s what they do and it gives their lives significant meaning.
In the current climate, however, they have to pretend: which is why police officers  don’t go to pubs like they used to. But the attempts of officers like  Andy Hayman to imitate tender custodians of the sweet public rainbow have sometimes reminded me of waiters in British Rail restaurant and Pullman cars a generation ago, when the unions ensured that catering work went not to  those who understood food or liked serving people (and certainly not to women), but  to time-served men no longer able to carry out track-laying, sledge-hammering or the removal of human ordure from between the rails.
 BR Waiter Swelter with  Kitchen Car Assistant
Thus one was confronted on the Glyndebourne specials by huge, gnarled veterans in pretty aprons looking much like Mervyn Peake’s Swelter –  waddling along the gangway, their giant hands encompassing five soup plates at a time as they grunted, “VICHYSOISSE? Ooze  the vichyssoise?”  Dear, dear.
Officer Andy Hayman at Leveson giving his opinion
Officer Yates giving his. It looks like there was a jovial disagreement about the size of a child's coffin

New Brooms...

But now we have the Balliol educated M/S Dick as Scotland Yard Commissioner who will ensure, for example,  that the next time  the police gun down an innocent Brazilian with hollow-charge bullets, as they did under her command some years ago, (his body was “unrecognizable”) she will at least be able to utter the correct soothing and sensitive noises, possibly in elegant Latin verses, to the relatives and the public.
Still, it wasn’t  the nature of previous officers that guaranteed they’d be out of their depth in Operation Grange's media quicksands  but the  task itself.
“We should not have to explain or justify how many times we are going to Portugal," a Yard spokesman said to the Sun ten days ago, “Whatever we do, and we are doing our very best, someone always wants to criticise the actions of the police regarding Madeleine McCann. If we make two trips people say that’s not enough. If we make more that’s seen as being too many so whatever we do we can’t win!”

...Old Tasks

Personally I found that both true and a breath of fresh air. The media job was impossible. All the sensitivities were there like IED tripwires – tots, parents, guilt, outrage, grief, innocence, tears – these, of course, modern Britain being modern Britain, supplied in positively Lake Victoria quantities – all stirred up by an MSM that now  feeds off synthetic emotion and synthetic outrage, as if on a life-support drip.  And all watched by the McCanns’ very own team of media lawyers, PR people and pet journalists ready to reach for the phone.
Nor, contrary to rumour, are most UK police officers politically aware – like Gamble they get replaced PDQ if they are – so the extremely delicate politics involved in the setting up of the review added a further layer of difficulty to their task.
So, the effort to resolve the intractable question –  essentially how do we get the clever bastards without being dropped in the shit ourselves? (old smokers’ pub version) or how do we handle the media bastards? (newer bar version, whispered)  or  how can we protect an innocent and grieving couple against unfair and untrue rumour? (public version) – has led to greater and greater difficulties.
It’s easy to blame Redwood but there we are. Older and wiser heads above him took refuge in the “since the beginning of the operation we've filled 1700 metal waste paper bins marked MP, eliminated thousands of Brazilians  suspects, drunk 423 gallons of PG Tips tea  and eaten 9211 meat pies and we are determined to succeed” stuff; Redwood decided to play the McCanns at their own game and use the media as an arm of the investigation.
The result has been that Scotland Yard has ended up sounding as reliable, truthful and honest as the grieving parents – because both sides have used the same dodgy  PR methods but  the McCanns are far better at it and pay more.  The Yard’s greatest failure, for which Redwood carries the collective can, was to muddy and conceal the exact status granted to the couple for the duration of the investigative review and then evade all questions about it.
The good news is that, as the Sun quote above demonstrates, that period is over. Who knows – perhaps it’s over because the job is largely complete, which is what the Bureau thinks, rather than because the previous approach had become unsustainable. Whatever,  Rowley, clearly by agreement, has for months now been releasing bits of information hitherto withheld, risking the consequences. And making no preparations whatever to soften us up for bad news.  
All without public explosions. That is  partly because the final destruction of the McCanns’ case against Amaral has left the parents, supporters  and media alike with neither energy nor motivation to mount an assault. The Yard can take credit for that as well because, despite the tangles it has got itself into with media problems, it has slowly and quietly bled the pair into semi-helplessness by providing nothing but deep foreboding for them and fine, “sensitive” words for  the public.
*and also a policelady's and, no doubt,  also a policetransitioner's - but life is short. 












Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Don't Ask!

You think so?

A shorter version of this piece appeared on the Amazon KM forum today.
AJS writes: Among so many mysteries, one  thing I am quite certain of is the Anglo-Portuguese agreement to insist that the McCanns are not suspects. The bitchy Mail tested it once again last week with a needling piece hinting that Grange's targets, whoever they might be, certainly aren't in Portugal but a great deal nearer to home.  

What possible sense could the "not suspects" claim make without such an agreement? Facts don’t need re-iterating in irritable police interviews; something that is self-evident never needs saying; something which is settled doesn’t need, let alone demand, insistence.

And since the McCanns are not suspects, then there is no possibility of a future trial, is there? In which case there is zero need to avoid any prejudice. Which leaves what? An attempt to help an unfortunate couple finally put the case behind them out of the goodness of their dear, uniformed hearts? If so, who are they trying to convince? The media?

Hardly. The MSM either stays away from the subject or, like the Mail, needles in we know and you know and you know that we know terms that go right over the head of the "average reader"; both  are impervious to unconvincing Yard assertions made without background. So who are they aiming to convince?

Well, the Yard explicitly  mentioned social media in their response to the Sun last week. Perhaps it's all of us.  You can just imagine the anti-McCann websites solemnly posting, no more criticism of the couple please, the Yard has told us again they aren't suspects, can't you?  Social media is lost to the McCanns forever, writs or no writs, and the Yard and the PJ know it.   
No, pull the other one: they say it because they've agreed to do so, knowing it won't convince anyone but lacking any other way of keeping a lid on a possibly explosive pot until they announce a conclusion.  Neither the Portuguese nor Scotland Yard have made any attempt to  lighten the rumour burden on the McCanns apart from this one claim – no stressing that Smithman is definitely not Gerry McCann, no helping the couple distance themselves from the glutinous Clement Freud, no insistence that, apart from Jane Tanner’s Bundleman “mistake”, the Nine are good, honest witnesses, no reassurance for the pair that "the child may not have been alive when she left the apartment" has no negative implications for them. Oh no, of course not,  none at all.  And no statements at the libel trial by Ribeiro or Rebelo (who was supposed to give evidence for the pair) or any other police officer that the couple are not  persons of interest.   Funny that - until you remember that they were on oath.

The testiness and obvious sticking-to-the-script caution* account for the constipated nature of police/media interviews whenever the subject is broached: whatever happens they will not expand upon the answer in any way, because they can't - for if they do  they at once  open a Pandora's Box of follow-up questions, beginning with  why aren't they suspects? That, of course,  is why Rowley, Redwood, do Carmo and Co., when discussing the subject with the usual mixture of silence and bluster, sound rather like the evasive  McCanns themselves in their TV interviews, who also have areas where we are not going to go. "Period!" as  Pedro do Carmo says.

Do Carmo’s response was particularly noteworthy. He was asked if it had been a mistake to make the couple arguidos, which, contrary to the claims of Gerry McCann and their child-like  acceptance by Leveson counsel (now judge) Jay, means either “defendant” or “accused” in English.** His answer was to talk about “nao ‘suspeitos’” about which he wasn't asked. His hapless attempt to stick to the script was the reddest of red flags. It also included the superb, "ask the dogs" reply:

“I do not want to talk about what happened up to 2008. This has been sufficiently debated at its appropriate place.”

Where was that, Pedro? In the Portuguese Supreme Court?
Mind you, those fellow posters  who take the view, or rather aggressively insist,  that Grange is being deliberately run into the ground, adding helpfully  that the Bureau is "desperate to claim that Grange will succeed", might ask themselves what  do Carmo’s statement means for them.  If he's supporting Grange, then the Grange conspiracy, or whitewash or whatever they agree it is, isn't just a British conspiracy but an international one. Really?

The McCanns are NOT SUSPECTS.
Easy to say, isn't it?


* Latest: "Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online, the SY spokesman said defiantly [our italics]: “We should not have to explain or justify how many times we are going to Portugal. Whatever we do, and we are doing our very best, someone always wants to criticise the actions of the police regarding Madeleine McCann."


Note particularly the definitive  "Uma vez constituído arguido, deve considerar-se suspeito da prática de um crime"  ["once constituted an arguido a person must be considered a suspect (suspeito) in the commission of a crime"]but the entire content of the statement gives the lie to this endlessly repeated invention of Gerry McCann - most recently in the Sun last week:

'In September of that year, Gerry and Kate, who are both doctors, were sensationally named as ‘arguidos’ by Portuguese police. While arguido is often translated as ‘suspect’, it actually means a person being questioned under caution.'

It doesn't.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Great Escape - Conclusion

The Archiving Summary - McCann/Mitchell Version
 Oh really? The Standard Presents the Parents' View of the Summary

Job Done

The City of London finished its work on behalf of the couple on July 21 2008, with the shelving of the Portuguese investigation and release of the parents from arguido status.  
The true professionals had excelled themselves: the corporate lawyers had constructed the Madeleine Fund as an infinitely flexible funding tool, as requested; the accountants made sure the Fund structure was fine-tuned for optimum returns to the right people, as requested; criminal lawyers effortlessly dismembered the weak-to-non-existent case put forward by the Portuguese prosecutors; the libel lawyers put the media on notice of the defamation proceedings waiting for them. Finally, the less classy but still necessary  PR and Reputation Management people, from Hanover Communications to the worm Mitchell, put these realities into a form suitable for the gullible public – lies.  
The result?
For the City, a job well done; for Mitchell, a name well-made, even if it was at the expense of a child’s corpse.  For the parents, a catastrophe – unless you believe that the McCanns are guilty of disposing of the child or her body. If you believe that, then fine, the donors’ money was well spent in keeping them out of prison for a while; if, on the other hand, you believe in the couple’s innocence, or the possibility of their innocence, then it is a horrible failure.
For what has it accomplished? Nothing. In the now well-known absence of evidence against the pair, a fifty quid an hour conveyancing solicitor from Halifax could have got them off in 2008, as long as they kept their traps shut. On the other hand, even if Goncalo Amaral’s claim had been proved  and conviction in Portugal had followed, they would have been out of prison  years ago. The public’s memory, especially when it comes to celebrities and their “mistakes”, is that of a gnat, their judgement of what redemption actually means, worthless.
Then, by  the time their surviving children had come to awareness of their fate, after a few years, perhaps, of being looked after by relatives, they would have grown up, like so many, with a painful episode in the family past to overcome. Instead the twins and other relatives  exist in a mercilessly transparent specimen-cage. After prison Emma Loach would no doubt have managed the occasional "soldiering on" piece on the pair in the Saturday Guardian. Instead they are a grotesque freak show, an occasional target of  tabloid innuendo, put through the mincing machine of the internet world-wide twenty four hours a day. Few neutrals can bear to discuss them.

Now Why Would They Do That?

All the parents have ever done since 2007, for whatever reason, is buy time. The Archiving Summary put time near the centre of its conclusions, its “Reconstruction” section devoted purely to the unresolved (as yet) nature of the questions about the group. In 2013, despite all the efforts of the McCanns, the first answers to those questions began to emerge, with the invalidation of the Bundleman claim. Did the McCanns really think that those questions would just go away? They can never go away until they are answered. If they aren't answered in the couple's lifetimes as a result of police action then they will be fodder for a hundred books for a hundred years  - already there is far more to chew on and speculate about than in the Jack the Ripper case.  But Jack the Ripper has no known descendants or dependents.
Yet even after the shelving the McCanns, instead of settling for the relative freedom they’d been granted and walking away,   tried to buy more time. They used their prior knowledge of the findings to misrepresent the entire Archiving Summary, in a manner so gross – and one that the Bureau alone has highlighted time and again over the years against not just McCann supporters, who don’t matter, but against Carter-Ruck's claims – that, finally, the assembled sages of the Portuguese Supreme Court told the world that what we'd maintained since 2010 was true and that, yet again, the McCanns (“Portuguese prosecutors mock their own police”) had lied through their teeth, this time  about "exoneration".

The Ultimate Enemy

And so we come to Goncalo Amaral. Anyone who thinks that the six years expended on Grange is crazily long and must mask secret complications, should consider the fate of Amaral carefully. Despite his desperate need to free himself from their grasp, his unrivalled knowledge of the case and his continuing connections with the Portuguese police, it has taken him eight years to liberate himself from the clutches of the couple. At no time has he ever been able to produce, or call on, any judicially-acceptable evidence of the couple’s guilt that would have forced them to drop the case. That is how deep the evidential black hole surrounding the fact of her disappearance is.
Yet Amaral really is the couple's nemesis. Perhaps that is why Kate McCann, who said she'd had uneasy premonitions ahead of   the Praia da Luz Trip - before denying the comment,  as usual - also felt a sharp, mysterious and, as it turned out, totally justified, terror of the man's presence  many years ago, enough to have made her clutch her hidden crucifix as he passed by. It's all there in coarse and debased soap-opera form in the McCann Affair, isn't it? Shakespeare, disaster foretold, magical amulets and Catholicism via Crossroads. Only death will part these  three people.
It is no mere symbolic victory. More was revealed about the McCanns and the way they operate in the witness box than had ever come to light in the worthless staged interviews and puff-pieces of the MSM. Much of the money from a witless public that has sustained them is being taken away in costs, destroying the financial power of the couple to harm others, thank God. And unless other legal proceedings occur in the future – ah, who knows? – the Supreme Court libel case judgement is the final judicial word on the status of the McCanns: nobody has ever  freed them  from suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of  the child, thus confirming the criminal case Archiving Summary’s original finding that “they lost the chance to demonstrate their innocence” when they failed to co-operate. Both complement the Leicester police case statement that “no evidence exists to demonstrate their non-involvement” in the disappearance of the child.
This unanimity from three separate corners of the law reflects the realities that  the McCanns have fought for ten years to conceal or stifle and it does so in the clearest possible terms. The parents’ failure is a verdict on their own cunning but weird conception of life, one in which there is a blank where certain human feelings should be,  as well as a judgement on the cynical opportunism of all those, like the worm Mitchell, who took their money in the equally naïve but fashionable belief that altering human perception, whether by lies or force, can alter reality itself.
Wrong. Reality itself is not malleable by anyone but waits silently for us all; the most you can do is delay the impact of reality for a time by deceiving others or, more commonly, yourself and that, as in this case, always makes things worse. All those worms that fed on the tiny coffin altered perceptions much less than the truth embodied in the passage of time itself.  Look at them. "Bodies don't lie," as ex-lovers say ruefully, and nor does time or the burdensome truths it carries, as Shakespeare, again, knew. Quite suddenly the McCanns are an ageing and increasingly distant-looking couple,   galaxies   away from our own experiences, blurred photos  from a soggy,  ancient and, most of all, discarded, cinema poster. 
If it weren't for the fate of Brenda Leyland, a genuine, recognizable  human being, not an exhibition pair like these two, they'd be pitiable. As it is one just feels nothing at all, not even contempt.  










Monday, 19 June 2017


Flames Are Great

Ten days or so ago I wrote a letter to the once great but now rudderless Spectator magazine following yet another article about President Trump by a BBC nonentity called Greg Woods. It was  the usual sneering, rumour-filled recipe.
In the letter – which was not published –  I made no defence of Trump: if it turns out that he was a Russian spy I’d be perfectly happy for him to be shot after a trial or impeachment. When the facts, not the rumours are known. No, I asked whether maybe the MSM here and in the States should consider the consequences of Trump being eased, or forced, out. Do they think the Garden of Eden will be the result? Have they considered that the well-armed American blue-collar workers will suspect a coup? Why, I asked, don’t they try calming things instead of fanning the flames and treating politics as not just show-business but as a breathless, cliché-filled box-set which, being show-business, has to have heroes, victims  and villains?
A few days later a prominent republican and several others were shot by an enemy of Trump, the gunman himself being killed.  
It is the MSM, not social media, which is responsible for the dangerous, crazed, atmosphere in the UK and the States now. And it goes right back to the McCann affair.
US national media heroine Kathy Griffin with Trump head

Flames Are Them

I wrote ten years ago that the MSM did not understand the very complex psychological forces they, like children with matches, were so unthinkingly whipping up in the Affair and which, once unleashed, would be uncontrollable. And so it has proved.
At the time I thought it was temporary, an aberration that would pass as the MSM itself rapidly disintegrated, drew conclusions and found a new model. A decade later their fear-of-the internet Death Ride, as I called it, still runs and is now spreading to every aspect of news and every story. It manipulates people’s emotions - it can't help it. It manufactures hate - it can't stop. And hate kills.
In 2007  the MSM turned a sordid family disaster  into a “fairy story.” Then they perfected the generation of strife by putting factual McCann news items at the front and bribing feature writers to take opposing stances within. The more angry the disagreement the more the MSM loved it and perhaps saw it as a solution to their troubles.  As time has passed  the factual news stories have shrunk away to almost nothing, while the hate-generation pages - print and screen - have swelled like elephantine cancers - all of them pretending to be concerned for "tragic victims" and "justice" against whatever "them" is the target of the moment. Oh yes, overflowing with selfless love is the MSM: everything they do they do it for you.   
Hate in the UK media didn’t start on the net. The MSM pre-empted it by sending the emotional temperature soaring throughout summer 2007 with their “good cop-bad cop” act, just as they are making it soar through summer 2017. Then they turned, like curs, on the McCanns themselves, making more and more revolting inventions about the couple – Hi, Jerry Lawton – than anyone on the net had produced. Then, with everything bubbling nicely,  that disgusting apology for a human being, journalist Tony Parsons, attacked the Portuguese as though they were slime-filled slugs to be trodden into the dirt. It was the original fact-free hate piece, a pure product of the imagination, paid and encouraged. News, you know.   
But then the MSM tried to turn the hate tap off because they suddenly found they weren't in charge of the performance anymore, that they were going to be sued and disgraced - and their fact-free reporting had left them lacking anything to defend themselves with in court. But while you can turn the hate tap on with ease, if you're cynical or sick enough, you can’t turn it off again.  It isn’t under anyone’s control and never has been.

Flames Are What The MSM Do

The internet hate that specifically accompanies the McCann Affair, still with us,   was nothing to do with distrust of the “abduction” story. It began with the MSM trying to do what it does so often – pretending that the immediate past hadn’t occurred. The media have always done it but since 2007, with "opinion" - read imagination - now in control,  it's a hundred times more prevalent. Looking for apologies or reflection from those MSM experts in the supposedly "quality" papers and news magazines who were confidently forecasting the death of Labour  and dripping with admiration for the "greatest political force ever created," the Tories,  just before the election, is like searching empty tombs.
The MSM tried to go amnesiac  about the McCanns in 2008, after the writs had started flying: so much for the searchers after truth. But they couldn't do it, not once the genie was out of the bottle. Much, much worse, than the silence was that most of them swung to writing incredible, fawning, repulsive, arse-licking, armpit-sucking and groin-sniffing stories about the “tragic couple”. Without any explanation for the volte-face.
It was this that changed everything: everyone with knowledge of the case knew that they didn't believe what they were writing, just as many of us are aware that they don't believe what they're writing about the Kensington fire. It was literally impossible for what they wrote to be sincere, for the same journalists, owners and editors who had bestialized the McCanns day after day late in 2007 were still in place when the groin-sniffing began only a few months later. Why were they doing it?
Most of  the active  McCann critics could see only one rational explanation: since it was inconceivable that the entire media could indulge in  such a vile betrayal of their own readers - nobody with any pride could possibly go down on their knees, tongue out,  like that - then it had to be that the MSM was being forced, by government, by “the rich”, by the masons, by somebody, to act in this way. And it is a logical conclusion to draw, given what they'd witnessed. Once you notice that you are being betrayed on a continuing basis  then you feel powerless as well as betrayed.  Once you start feeling powerless then hate warms up.
That expanding mutual hatred was what was behind Brenda Leyland’s death and it was appropriate  - and never to be forgotten - that old dirty-raincoat himself, Martin Brunt, standard bearer for the old MSM, had carried the hate poison right to Brenda’s front door. Nobody who read the “nonentity McCann-hating troll found dead” MSM reports that thudded off the press and the BBC like so much shit being shovelled onto her coffin, can ever forget the MSM fact: only some people's lives matter.
The conspiracy theorists were right that their explanation was the only rational one for the MSM’s actions - but wrong in practice: there is no rational explanation! Because what the MSM did had never been rational or explicable in the first place, even to themselves. As Desmond of the Express group told Leveson, there was no real money in it for them – increases in circulation had been measured and the extra sales brought in not much more than pennies. It was an obsession produced by the  nervousness and fear  in their industry as much as the weaknesses of human psychology  and  obsessions are not rational, by definition.  As the Leveson testimony graphically revealed, the MSM itself was bewildered and unable to explain the way it had behaved: it didn't know. It no longer understood its own actions.

They Don't Know How To Put Them Out

They still don’t know. They are out of control. And the public are in the position of laboratory rats.
Did any of you read the Guardian comments pages in the run-up to the election? The heat and hate that the rag was generating with its very own McCann-template "good cop-bad cop" opinion pieces radiated from the page: May should be “got rid of”; “locked up”; the Tories and their voters were scum, vermin, filth, dirt, trash. And who taught them that language? No, not the internet but Tony Parsons and his like. Note  "their voters" -  voters are the people we all  live and work next to! Thousands and thousands of pages of spitting hate – in the Guardian, “the conscience of the nation”. That’s what they’ve become. 
Do any of you believe that journalists and editors are  grieving and speaking from the heart about the Kensington fire? Or that the BBC correspondents are?
Do you? Have you thought it through? In fact journalists are always boasting about the way they are unimpressed by the human disasters on which they feed like lice, even failed journalists like Clarence Mitchell who was never fazed by burning aircraft. They aren't members of the public - they are paid voyeurs lacking normal feelings. I’ve worked with the BBC  and they turn the emotion and mood taps on and off at will quicker than on a Hollywood set. We are things to be played with, whichever party is in power.  
Everything we are reading and watching now is not mechanised but McAnnised, creating a constant fever of false and hysterical emotion. The Mail website recently had some twenty stories about the fire, one after another, none of them adding to our knowledge, nor designed to. Just as in the McCann case,  helplessness and anger is what they sell. And, of course, most of all, hate.

They Love Flames

Like secret, compulsive  arsonists, fanning the flames is now what they do. No Leveson or other tribunal can ever cure it. The Death Ride I wrote about has to be completed before things might change. I wish the bastards would get it over with before more people get killed. 




Friday, 16 June 2017

The Pivot


The long-term rehabilitation of the parents’ reputations depended primarily, of course, on the result of the Portuguese investigation. If, as the UK defence team believed, the evidence to proceed against the couple was lacking, their liberty was guaranteed. From the reputational viewpoint, however, much would depend on the wording of the Attorney-General’s report: a handsome and unequivocal release from their arguido status, together with an apology, would be the ideal while, at the other end of the spectrum, a grudging acceptance that there was merely  insufficient evidence to prosecute would be a disaster. The signals coming out of Portugal from early  2008 were that the report would be somewhere between the two.
Having been warned by the McCanns’ lawyers that libel actions were coming, and still in disarray after discovering the evidence they’d been promised by their PJ sources didn’t exist, the media groups were showing understandable signs of searching for the exit doors. A pre-emptive “shock and awe” response by the Team to the report’s findings could ensure they found them, and very rapidly indeed – by forcibly convincing owners and editors that they had no chance in the courts, then or in the future, and no choice but to leave the parents in peace.
This would amount to the evolution of the “twin-track” criminal defence strategy fronted, but not designed, by Edward Smethurst, for use after the end of the case against them. In Smethurst’s famous if inelegant words on Panorama in November 2007:

“Part of the reason why we're here disclosing evidence to you today…is a recognition that there were two strands to this case, part of it is the criminal case, but part of it is the media speculation and the media perception, and we see it as incumbent upon us to portray the truth to the media and in particular to try and expunge any ill-founded theories about Gerry and Kate's involvement...” 

In other words, if the criminal case ended with the defeat of the Portuguese prosecutors, as now seemed likely, the “expunging” of “any ill-founded theories about Gerry and Kate's involvement” could be extended into the distant future with the tools available – a now pliant media and the civil law – and targeted at the complete recovery of the pair’s reputation rather than just getting them out of trouble. Reputation by amnesia.
This exceptionally ambitious scheme, which developed, rather than being created from a blueprint, depended on a belief in the couple’s innocence by those financing and leading it: the reason for that is obvious - in the absence of innocence the entire scheme of Reputation Repair could be torpedoed at any time by the emergence of damning evidence which might wreck the reputations of the saviours themselves. Personally I find no reason to doubt the sincerity of their beliefs between 2007 and the eventual high point of “the project” in 2010/11, when Kate McCann’s still-available acknowledgements section in Madeleine – a vital part of the rehabilitation plan – ran to some 850 words. But most of those names are quieter now.
Despite all the good wishes, finance and expertise two further intractable obstacles apart from the Attorney-General's report lay ahead of the project for erasing doubts  so the couple  could lead a “normal” life one day. One, in the shape of the fearsomely unpredictable Goncalo Amaral, lay in the future; the other concerned September 6 2007.
The former we shall deal with elsewhere. The latter, less well-known except to readers of the Bureau, its implications still not widely understood outside the family circle, has always posed a single lethal question: how do you permanently “expunge ill-founded theories of involvement” about a couple who are known to have discussed, in depth and detail, admitting to the authorities that the child was dead and one of them had disposed of the body – and asking their lawyer for his opinion on the merits of doing so? 

Memories Are Made Of This


On the miserable flight back to the UK ahead of their first meeting with   lawyers Caplan and McBride that afternoon (!)  the chances of ever escaping their troubles, let alone recovering their reputations, must have seemed almost zero. But the McCanns are special people, with a talent for repeatedly getting out of tight corners that amounts to something approaching genius, at least in the shorter term. No sketch of these events in the McCann Affair makes any sense without briefly considering the personalities of the couple, in particular their acute impenetrability to outsiders, their closed self-sufficiency  and the iron bonds that join them.
As I wrote in the Cracked Mirror seven years ago, “nobody knows the McCanns” and it remains as true now as it was then.  Everyone who encounters them seems to see a different couple, often, though not exclusively, with similar attributes to themselves. Some, those  who have watched them disappearing into the distance, real or metaphorical,   from Mathew Oldfield to Goncalo Amaral to the News of the World editor Colin Mylor, must  have been left wondering – what did I miss?  But most remain favourably disposed to the pair or at least stay silent, still convinced that they have seen the Real McCann.
The origins of their extreme self-sufficiency are unknown. Perhaps it was their separate early struggles in two of the most poor and violent cities in the UK – cities where at that time your religion could determine which streets were safe to use on the way to  school and where the future was something to be fought, not embraced – that brought them so close together, but in the end we are left guessing. My own feeling is that there is  another key element to their relationship, perhaps  deriving from their eventually successful struggle with infertility, a conviction, steadily growing since 2007, that while each is alone and vulnerable separately, there is almost nothing they cannot accomplish together. 
The media began hunting for “what the McCanns are really like” stories within weeks of the disappearance and ten years on they still haven’t got any.  Recollections of the pair by non-family members then were sparse, banal and numbingly uninformative; those who liked them seemed to be describing minor television personalities rather than real acquaintances: about Kate McCann oh she’s lovely was a common response from those supposed to be her friends but they seemed quite unable to point to the simple, easily recognized, qualities which make someone a friend. Nobody from their past seemed to have any really strong feelings about them, pro or con, but then, whether in New Zealand, the Netherlands or elsewhere, they always seem to have been just out of view, on the other side of the street, often leaving no memories whatever.
This impenetrability-beyond-appearances, the latter themselves mask-like and mutable, is like an unspoken background theme  in the testimonies of their Lisbon witnesses, Loach, Trickey and Pike, for example, as well as in the famous newspaper portrait of the couple by Alex Woolfall in 2007.
All four believed themselves to be exceptionally sharp observers of the human personality:  Pike and Trickey as trained professionals in its disorders, Woolfall as a practised and cynical survivor of the PR snake-pit, Loach, well, because she’s Emma Loach. Yet their supposedly objective witness evidence is packed with wilful discipleship and gullibility well beyond any possible professional brief, an unquestioning, almost submissive, loyalty that was clinically exposed under legal examination and ultimately demonstrated as being in conflict with the facts in the judgement. How could professionals, or in Loach’s case, “professionals”, have allowed themselves to wander so far from their areas of expertise and so far from the facts?
Each of them seems to have encountered a different mask: Pike, the self-described “trauma counsellor”, saw them as, yes, terribly traumatised and in dire need of counselling by people, preferably people  like him; Trickey, the child psychologist, and the most objective of this quartet – which really isn’t saying much –  encountered a dutiful, self-possessed couple concerned above all for their children, not themselves, and conscientiously seeking the best advice from specialists, preferably specialists  like him. Loach, for what it’s worth, was simply besotted by Kate McCann. Readers will not be surprised that she was the trusted literary coach behind the execrable prose of Madeleine.
Listening to these well-meaning – except when it came to describing opponents of the couple – witnesses it was sometimes as though we were not in a court at all but in the audience watching the deluded victims of the con-artists in American Hustle – but the feel-good warmth and humanity of that fine film were quite absent: the screen that we were watching, despite the all-too-frequent mantra of suffering and compassion, portrayed an unremittingly stark, ice-cold world of people being ruthlessly used by those in need of them.
Woolfall, who was meant to be keeping an acute eye on the pair for Mark Warner, seems to have lost control of his senses when observing them, describing a series of masks – not his description, naturally – that nobody else has ever encountered.  “Their early [week-long] assumption,” he insists bizarrely, “was that she had wandered off and had an accident or been taken in by a well-meaning stranger.”
Speaking of a later period and criticism of the pair’s TV appearances (by mere viewers, not experts like him) as rigid, controlled  and “not quite right”, Woolfall was dismissive.  “They were not at all controlled,” he says, of the most controlled pair in the history of UK television interviewing, “When I was with them, [my italics] they were between being completely distraught and trying to do what they felt was the right thing." Ah, that conscientiousness again.
Just as when he was with them they never mentioned the possibility of an abduction – the abduction that one of the Kate McCann masks had been literally screaming to everyone else about since 10.10PM on May 3.  
So much for the presentation. And behind the masks? Perhaps one day we will get a better idea. There are hints, at least, of the  dark, secret and hidden depths of their relationship in their performances under examination: in their first police interviews Gerry McCann somehow found a way of being present during the formal questioning of his wife – and not just present but sitting closely behind her, in firm physical contact; in  television interviews  they can be seen bound together as one, literally grasping, clutching  and hanging on to each other throughout, as if they might drown separately. That isn’t, needless to say, wicked Gerry McCann cueing his wife with secret nudges: it’s something much, much deeper than that.

The Pivot

September 6 2007 is increasingly the “pivot”, as it were, of the entire McCann Affair to this day and Kate and Gerry McCann know better than anyone else how crucial it is. Three years later, when the subject was no longer too hot to touch, they tried to get themselves out of trouble in Madeleine by tackling the issue head on and, for once, apparently levelling with Kate’s readers, warts, tears, despair and all.

They failed. They will always fail because it’s on the record elsewhere, they know it’s on the record, they can’t unsay what was said in front of witnesses and they know that others involved, police and lawyers, have kept their own silence all too well – a silence that bodes ill. In attempting to single-handedly re-write history to evade these realities Kate McCann only entangled  herself more deeply. 
The precise issue is this: the Kate McCann answer to our question above – why would any truly innocent couple have discussed a plan formally admitting that their child was indeed dead, after claiming for months that she’d been abducted? – is that they were forced  towards making such a desperate  admission not because it was true but because the only alternative was a life sentence for murder in a foreign, worse, Portuguese, hellhole of a prison. And the life-sentence would be doubly wicked in its effects  – not to her, for she could bear it, proud, innocent wounded creature that she was, devoid of any self-pity –  but with her slowly rotting behind bars who would search for Madeleine? Tell me, sweet God, who?  
The police claimed to possess, she writes, and had told her lawyer they possessed, “overwhelming” evidence that would bring about that fate unless she did a “deal”, in which case she would get a minor sentence.  Faced with such a terrifying and inhuman threat, already in shock at even being suspected, surely  any innocent person might at least consider briefly  the lesser of two vile alternatives before rising to the occasion and proudly rejecting any deal, come what may.
The resemblance to third-rate hack literature and a thousand Hollywood B-weepies of Kate McCann's  overblown tale of tragedy and heroism is no coincidence – because it too is bad fiction, poorly executed: it is a demonstrable invention from beginning to end.   
The Indisputable Facts
The evidence that it is all, without exception, lies is openly available and much more "overwhelming" than anything the police might have possessed, as any reader can easily establish for themselves.
Let’s take the details one by one. First, the foundation of all the claims, the offered "deal”. There never was an offered deal. Not only is there no documentary or witnessed evidence of one, not even Kate McCann claims any actual knowledge of one, partly perhaps for the same reason that she has always kept very quiet indeed about her own direct experiences with the police that day. Her claim that a deal was offered, is based, she says, on nothing but hearsay: what her lawyer, Abreu, told her suggested that such must be the plan.
But there has never been any confirmation, independent or otherwise, that Abreu did this. The police have denied the existence of a deal repeatedly and vehemently, the prosecutors have dismissed it as not only untrue but impossible under the Portuguese legal system and guaranteed to cause the failure of any prosecution; no-one else has ever heard of it before or since and, finally Abreu himself,  who supposedly started it all, has said in his only recorded comment on the matter that no such deal was ever offered and that Kate McCann’s suggestion of one was “based on a misunderstanding”. A misunderstanding! Lawyers have a way with words, haven’t they?
But it gets worse. Not only did the deal not exist but the terms of the deal that Kate McCann invents are hopelessly confused, contradictory and, in the strict sense of the words, make no sense. The “overwhelming” evidence that would supposedly guarantee a murder charge and the hellhole unless she did a “deal” for a lesser sentence had already been spelled out to her by Abreu. What did it amount to?
The video of the sniffing dogs, a crumpled page from  a Bible referring to a missing child, her request for a priest on the night of the disappearance and a claim that they had been carrying a “big black bag” on the same night. But that was not at all a shock and certainly not "overwhelming". At the very worst, if the dog stuff was confirmed,  it was putative evidence that, as Amaral maintains to this day, the child had somehow died in the apartment and the parents had concealed the fact, not that anyone had harmed anyone, let alone intentionally.  None of that was new to the McCanns  since their August PJ interviews had made essentially the same accusations. If Abreu really said, “If you were Portuguese, this would be enough to put you in prison,” then he should have been despatched back to law school that night, not retained for years to come, for none of it amounted to a row of beans.
So the “deal” as described by Kate McCann was “in exchange for you admitting the death of the child you’ll only get two years, and if you don’t agree to the deal then with the evidence we’ve got you will also get about two years!" – which is palpable nonsense.  

Ask The Dogs

No, the elaborate web of lies that Kate McCann, after three years preparation and brooding, has spun has simply enmeshed her in a  highly coloured but incoherent mass of contradictions, much more damaging than the original  “green light” to claim a deal that she gave the benighted McGuinness and her terrified family to spin the next morning.
There is, after all that, a much simpler and much more truthful explanation of the night of September 6. It  is that, given their interviews and given that their lawyer believed there was some sort of evidence  against them, enough at least to constitute them as arguidos,  they had to explore, like all criminal suspects, the least painful way to get out of the jam they were in, particularly given the presence of the dogs.  And that is what they did, that is what they were discussing with their lawyer. But admitting that is to admit that they knew the child was dead, something that Kate McCann can never do.
Next time we conclude with the impact of the Archiving Summary, then and now, and the actions of Goncalo Amaral. Together with the issues of September 6 they guarantee that the McCanns, despite all the efforts and all the money, can never, ever, sleep easy.