Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blacksmith on Francisco Moita Flores...

We’ve already looked at the Wikileaks cables and the different responses to them, adding our regret and frustration that this glamorous diversion has led to a slackening of the efforts to get the Tapas 7 to volunteer more information about their activities on May 3 2007 - the only remaining way forward for the case unless someone stumbles onto the body of the child or some other forensic trace.

We referred disparagingly to “hysterical” responses from some Portuguese commentators which implied what we called a Hitchcock theory of the case, in other words that the McCanns were protected from day one by a shadowy array of sinister forces within the Portuguese legal and judicial system manipulated or bullied by the UK government.

The fact that these are Portuguese theories doesn’t in any sense belittle them or imply a gap between sensible British and fanciful Portuguese thinking. On the contrary. It just happens that such theories are publicly expressed and seriously argued by respected commentators in the overground Portuguese media, perhaps reflecting certain realities in their own culture and history; in the UK, on the other hand, similar views are only to be found on the internet, often by people lacking detailed knowledge of their own society. There ain’t no arguing with them.

It would be untrue to say that the overground UK media never suggest conspiracies: they do, literally every day. But the targets are almost always those where the opportunities for conspiracy and corruption are greatest: the dream-like jungle of the London financial world; the tawdry and often petty corruption at local government level, chiefly over land planning permission; the modern corporation with its unstoppable momentum towards maximising sales; the occasional wholesale corruption of a police unit by criminals, leading to the identification and violent death of a witness.

Rarely, however, do they examine or find evidence of serious conspiracy in the British political world – serious meaning likely to cost lives. Readers must decide, preferably after study, whether this is because the UK keeps a pretty tight and ruthless control of most politicians, limiting their grasp on serious power and dispersing the levers of that power too widely to be used effectively - or because the English, and naive dreamers like the Bureau people, deceive themselves.

So, after that brief introduction we turn to one of these respected Portuguese commentators, Francisco Moita Flores, ex-police inspector, respected academic. In his evidence in the Lisbon hearings he demonstrated just what an absurd fairy-story the McCanns’ loud and persistent claim of the disturbed, empty apartment was and how, from the first day, it had clouded and hamstrung the investigative effort.

It was a performance of measured yet passionate scorn, something that had needed saying, loud and clear, since May 2007 and it shook the whole courtroom. Before his testimony the pair had been gradually working their passage back to some sort of public respectability; afterwards we watched them starting to unravel on the courtroom steps and they have never been the same since.

For this evidence alone we owe gratitude to Francisco Moita Flores. But as with so many of us, when he turns from the manifest dishonesty of the McCanns and their claims - dishonesty which was confirmed under oath by the prosecutor – to the bigger picture of how and why, he flounders. And now he is drowning.

Our sister blog The Cracked Mirror was so christened because of the weird and discomfiting effect the case has on so many of those who investigate and analyse it, whether from outside or, sometimes, in a professional role: as soon as people move away from the meagre diet of agreed facts or the “anchor chain”, as we call it, of firm evidence, they descend into in treacherous territory in which shadowy versions of their own personalities silently stare back and mock them. Hence its endless fascination.

All too obviously this has been happening to Francisco Moita Flores.

Writing in Correio da Manhã on the well-known Wikileaks excerpt -

“5. (C) Madeleine McCann's disappearance in the south of Portugal in May 2007 has generated international media attention with controversy surrounding the Portuguese-led police investigation and the actions of Madeleine's parents.
 Without delving into the details of the case, Ellis admitted that the British police had developed the current evidence against the McCann parents, and he stressed that authorities from both countries were working cooperatively. He commented that the media frenzy was to be expected and was acceptable as long as government officials keep their comments behind closed doors.”

Francisco Moita Flores wrote this:

“Wiki Leaks has drilled through the USA's security system and has been publishing thousands of documents.
 One of them tells us what we already knew (no, no, put away that mirror) .
The English ambassador reported that the English police had obtained evidence that Maddie's parents were involved in the death and disappearance of their daughter and that, for State reasons, that fact had been simply hidden from the Portuguese Justice.The couple's spokesman did not deny it. He merely stated that this issue was history. It didn't matter. When one is protected, such arrogance is permitted.”

Copy (2) of other flores mirror

Where on earth has all this come from, if not from the deep recesses of the Flores mind?
Obviously, the excerpt says nothing of the sort. It says zero about the “current evidence” except that it is “against” the McCanns. That’s it. “The English ambassador reported that the English police had obtained evidence that Maddie's parents were involved in the death and disappearance of their daughter” is a pure figment of the writer’s imagination, escaping into the public realm quite beyond his control.

It gets worse. Much worse.

“…for State reasons, that fact had been simply hidden from the Portuguese Justice.” Not only is there nothing about anything being hidden from Portugal but the dispatch states that “the authorities from both countries are working co-operatively.” How can working co-operatively encompass hiding or deception? He has chosen to invent, not infer, the complete opposite of the clearly-stated words.

Flores then tells us that the couple’s spokesman couldn’t even be bothered denying the truth of this evidence of death at the hands of the parents and deception of the Portuguese state by the UK on their behalf.
Apparently Mitchell brushed it all aside with magnificent indifference, for all the world like Louis XIV in front of Versailles. “It doesn’t matter,” was his regal declaration, according to Flores. Why not? Because, says Flores, “when one is protected, such arrogance is permitted.” So Clarence Mitchell, minor journalist, is also “protected” in the same way as the McCanns.

Flores adds, “ Wikileaks tells us that the whole thing was well secured by the English government after all, and who knows where the evidence is being kept?” concluding that the “disappearance remains unsolved due to the protection that surrounded her dear parents.”

Year after year we ask proponents of the Hitchcock theory of conspiracy for real evidence to support their conclusions, not as an academic exercise but because if such things are shown to have taken place in the UK we’re going to get out there and start doing something about it, and making some heads roll, pretty damn quick.

But we always get the same answers: “they” have organised it so that the evidence is hidden; people are too terrified to talk; the McCanns are untouchable; don’t be naive, don’t you know how the system works?

Just this once we get a real insight, a window into the truth. Francisco Moita Flores believes that the wikicable is such evidence: he reads it, reads it again and turns it over in his educated mind before braving the streets and the possibility of death at the hands of MI6 agents and heading for the offices of Correio da Manhã.

He, of course, is under protection himself, otherwise he would be dead since, as everyone knows, “they” never allow these things to be brought into the public gaze. Blessed with this immunity he gives us his paraphrase of the cable on the printed page, demonstrating both his thought processes and his strange, helpless, inner world as he pulls out his mirror and misinterprets or distorts every single word of it, including “but” and “and”.

There are many interesting questions to be asked about conspiracy theories and the sense of resigned impotence that so often lies behind them. In the UK political conspiritorialists are usually seen as ineffectual nutters; in Italy, where JB has lived, if you don’t believe in such things you’re missing reality and had better watch your step. In Portugal? The Bureau just doesn't know.

But whatever happens Francisco Moita Flores has failed all tests of objectivity and has childishly, self-indulgently, deceived himself. Worse, he has deceived others.

Groundlings: [in whispers] Ah, but Flores hasn’t told us all he knows. Don’t you understand that?
Posted by john blacksmith at 19:43