Saturday, December 3, 2011

McCanns : Is There Anyone The McCanns Have Not Shafted ?

Leveson Inquiry:

In a witness statement submitted to the inquiry McCann said that after Colin Myler found out  (he had been shafted )about the Hello! Interview he “was angry and asked me (rhetorically) how he could be expected to help if we gave away stories to rival publications and that ‘the staff here felt let down’.

“The NoW (also shafted) had very generously raised a £1.5m reward for anyone who provided information leading to the return of Madeleine.

“It appeared from our telephone conversation that Mr Myler felt this meant that they had first refusal on any story or any interview we wished to give subsequently.”


By Dr Martin Roberts
28 November 2011


As 'core participants' the McCanns regaled listeners at the Leveson inquiry, like Al Capone spraying bullets, with perceived failings on the part of the UK press, the Portuguese press, the Portuguese Police, the broadcast media, the internet...etc., etc. Basically any organisation potentially worth a Carter-Rucking.

Well, we have long understood the importance Gerry McCann attaches to 'evidence.' So, there he was, diligently presenting some of his own, when Kate leapt in with the following (well it was a joint submission):

KM: "These were desperate times. You know, we were, having to try and find our daughter ourselves and needed all the help we could get and we were facing (we'll come onto the headlines) 'Corpse in the car.' How many times I read 'body fluids in the car,' and it gets repeated so often that it becomes fact. There were no body fluids."

'There were no body fluids,' says Kate, categorically and absolutely, whether they might have originated with a body, soiled nappies, or previously worn pyjamas.

Taking Kate McCann's autobiographical pre-occupation with sex, fear and pain, together with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke's classification of rape on a sliding scale of seriousness, tempts the judicial caution: "De minimes non curat lex!" (The Law does not concern itself with trifles). Perhaps, from time to time, the Law ought to do so. Concern itself with trifles, that is. Or should that be 'truffles?'

When the hunter-gatherers of mainland Europe sally forth with their truffle hounds (a more cost-effective alternative to the more traditional hog, which has a tendency to eat the treasure rather than be content with finding it), do they explore the woodland at random, excavating at the roots of whatever tree might take their fancy, or set the dog onto the first patch of toadstools they encounter? Do they ever. They leave it to the dog to indicate where best to dig, taking its well trained reaction as evidence for the presence of a subterranean mushroom. Just as you or I might view the departure of migratory birds as evidence that Winter is approaching. We cannot see the imminent fall in temperature but we’ll feel it soon enough.

Maybe fungi are inadmissible in a court of law.

But the Leveson inquiry was not constituted as a court of law, and there were at least two parasites present so, on learning of the 'incredible' allegations of 'corpse in the car,' what might Lord Justice L and his associates have made of the fact that a sniffer dog detected blood in the wheel well of said vehicle?

No one had been called upon to change the radials, so it wouldn't have been the result of a maintenance mishap.

 But the dog signalled its presence.

Truffles being worth extraordinary sums these days, is it likely that prospectors would take their costly, trained animals for 'walkies,' dismissing their 'nose to the ground' behaviour as unreliable ('if tested scientifically, Sandra')? Dream on.

 So if a dog trained to detect minute residues of human blood indicates blood, what have you got? Blood. And blood is? Why yes - a body fluid!

Prior to their personal appearance, David Sherborne, representing victims of alleged press intrusion, told the inquiry how the Drs. McCann 'found themselves at the centre of a media storm after their daughter Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.'

Not quite 'found themselves,' David. 'Placed themselves' rather. As confirmed by authoress Kate McCann:"Dave, ... sent an e-mail to Sky News alerting them to the abduction of our daughter. (p.79).

"...Rachael had contacted a friend of hers at the BBC seeking help and advice..." (p.80).

"Jon Corner...was circulating photographs and video footage of Madeleine to the police, Interpol and broadcasting and newspaper news desks. (p.86).
Your child disappears during a family holiday abroad, so the first thing you do is...?

Tell the folks back home, of course, including non-family members who will 'take it upon themselves' to broadcast the news as widely as possible.Mr Sherborne continued: "Moreover, Mr McCann will explain how in the months following the abduction of Madeleine, the behaviour of the press changed from an attitude of support to one of hostility.

Er, 'abduction' M'Lord? What abduction?

The appropriate term is 'disappearance.'

But let's not quibble, shall we.

Let's hear some more of what the protagonists themselves have to say. Kate McCann, for instance, describing the root cause of her 'violation:'"You know, I'd written these words, my thoughts, at the most desperate time of my was my only way of communicating with Madeleine...There was absolutely no respect shown for me as a grieving mother or as a human being, or for my daughter."

Your only way of communicating with Madeleine during that first week?

A pity you didn't think to address her directly during any of your 'pieces to camera,' a criterion which, by the way, the FBI study in cases of unexplained disappearance.

Granted, that still does not excuse the lack of respect shown you in your time of grieving.

 But why grieving?

Were you not a mother desperate for the return of her daughter, there being no evidence that she had come to any harm, certainly not at that early stage?Naturally, husband Gerry was just as concerned that rampant press behaviour could place daughter Madeleine in jeopardy.

GM: "I think there's been contempt demonstrated by the media...both for the judicial process and, at times, Madeleine's safety."Now why are these particular acts of contempt unsurprising.

Could it be because Kate herself has written that she clandestinely gave the folks back home 'the green light' to voice their disgust at her treatment by the PJ during a police interview that took place within police headquarters at Portimao, Portugal.

And afterwards of course we had the 'good marketing ploy' that was tantamount to signing the child's death warrant. No one can accuse the McCanns or their holiday-making associates of being safety conscious, that's for sure.

The 'judicial secrecy' line has long since worn thin.

In fact it's worn out.

That means, unfortunately, we have no defence against assault with tongue-twisting (or brain numbing) logic.

Speaking of the British press particularly, Gerry says they "didn't know the source, didn't know whether it was accurate. It was exaggerated and often downright untruthful and often, I believe, on occasion was made up."

Often, on occasion...? Was the witness leaving it to the stenographer to 'delete as appropriate,' one wonders.

Barely a minute later and he gives us, regarding mid-June, "We decided we had to stay, in Portugal, to be close to Madeleine..."

So how did he know that, a month after her 'abduction' to order, his daughter Madeleine was still on the Iberian peninsular even. Being in Portugal's not much help if your child's been spirited away by boat to (nearby?!) Barcelona.

After a period of time there was little new news to report.

GM: "For example, there must have been 'McCann Fury' on the front page of many newspapers over that Summer that would quote an un-named source or friend and, unless our phones were hacked, which I don't think they were, then these were made up because they were simply not true."

Simply not true, eh? Run that by me one more time. 'Unless our phones were hacked,..., then they were made up.' So, if your phones had been hacked then they would not have been made up, i.e. they would have been true, because expressions of 'McCann fury' would have been overheard.

Does the tree in the forest only collapse if someone hears it fall?

 No. 'McCann fury' was clearly vented whether reporters realised it through illicit acts of telephony or otherwise.

Oh, the despicable UK press!

GM: "The first really bad thing was an article that was written in a Portuguese paper which was entitled 'Pact of Silence.'

Although we might be concerned at the Portuguese media's being struck by a stray bullet here (collateral damage, as it were), we might be somewhat more interested in Gerry's choice of the word 'bad.'

Were the Portuguese press simply being as naughty as their UK counterparts, or was their report 'bad news' for the McCanns at the time, given the source of the headline - David Payne, who is reported to have said directly to a Sol journalist, "We have a pact. This is our matter only. It is nobody else's business."

Sounds pretty much like a pact of silence to me. A bad thing alright.

Concerning the not so small matter of their litigious exploits, Gerry informs us that

"We were told that we had, after taking counsel's advice, that we would be very likely to be successful in such a claim, and my understanding of that was that there would be a very strong argument that Express Group Newspapers knew that the allegations, or many of them, were unfounded or certainly couldn't prove any of them."

In easy stages: A very strong argument does not define certainty. Many (not all) of the allegations were known to be either unfounded or could not be not proved. It is not impossible that this entire sub-set fell into the latter category, i.e. not provable at the time the claim was made. That something cannot be proved at any given instant does not make a proof impossible in the long run (the discovery and exploitation of nuclear fission was not a one-step process).

It wasn't exclusive guardianship of the truth therefore which allowed the McCanns to attack the press, but their realization that Fleet Street was not in possession of the evidence necessary to substantiate all of their claims. Speculative they may have been. Necessarily untrue they were not.

For a couple so studiously observant of the law, in the shape of 'judicial secrecy,' media and contractual obligations (they'd already set up a limited company, don't forget) it is something of a revelation that they appear knowingly to have breached their own contract with Transworld publishers."News International actually bid for the rights to the book, along with Harper Collins, and one of their pitches was the fact that they would serialise the book across all of their titles, and we were somewhat horrified at the prospect of that, given the way we'd been treated in the past, and the deal was actually done with the publishers, Transworld, that excluded serialisation.

"Now, we were subsequently approached by News International and Associated to serialise the book, and after much deliberation, we had a couple of meetings with the general manager and -- Will Lewis and Rebekah Brooks and others, and what swung the decision to serialise was News International committed to backing the campaign and the search for Madeleine. And that passed our test of how it could help..."

So they 'do a deal' with Transworld which excludes (read as 'prohibits') serialisation, as something that would have 'horrified' them, then do another deal with News International subsequently for 'backing' (i.e.'money') contingent upon serialisation; the very thing their extant agreement with Transworld excluded. Or am I missing something?
What Gerry's adroit turn of phrase does not make clear, deliberately one suspects, is that the McCanns must have sold Transworld the rights to publish in book form, whilst reserving the right to serialize elsewhere.

Thus it was excluded.

How otherwise could they have sold the same product twice, Transworld and News International each paying independently for publication?

Either way, if I were Transworld supremo I'd be inclined to think we'd been 'shafted.

' If the McCanns were actually in breach of contract, the negative PR fallout that would doubtless arise from any legal action against them would outweigh any fiscal benefit in the long run, whilst seeing vast tracts of one's forthcoming publication reproduced in newsprint, however legally, before the book had even reached supermarket shelves, hardly indicates 'cue applause' (unless of course you're the McCanns' agent).

And there's yet more 'secrecy' in store. This time with rather sinister overtones.

GM: "We were told we were under judicial secrecy not to give details of events. What became very apparent was, you know, the media were trying to create a timeline of what happened, and we had obviously created a timeline and given it to the police and tried to narrow down to the closest minutes when we think Madeleine was taken to help the investigation. But when that information goes into the public domain and the abductor shouldn't know it, or the only person who should know it were the people who were there, then that's a concern. It can contaminate evidence.

You could incriminate yourself by knowing something that you shouldn't have known."The interpretation of 'creation' here could give some cause for concern, since no distinction is made between media and McCann versions of the activity, but the subsequent paragraph raises even more questions.

Information as to the precise time of Madeleine's disappearance shouldn't be known to 'the abductor,' apparently.

'The only person who should know it were the people who were there.'

But hold on. The abductor was there wasn't he?

 So why should he, she, or they not know, or be allowed to know, when exactly they committed their crime, to the extent that such forbidden knowledge could 'contaminate evidence?' Having watched the McCanns, 'for several days I'm sure,' said Kate once-upon-a time, the abductor(s) would have had little difficulty either in reconstructing the McCanns' hallowed timeline for themselves, without waiting to read it in the press or on the Internet.

It really is a pity that Adam couldn't resist the taste of apples.

According to Gerry, "You could incriminate yourself by knowing something that you shouldn't have known." Is/are the abductor(s) running the risk of incriminating themselves more deeply by knowing exactly when they did the deed, almost to the nearest minute, or does this remark have more general significance, i.e., might it apply to that person in possession of the 'key bit of information' (or bit of key information) the McCanns have been so desperate for hitherto?

The Leveson inquiry may be concerned with ethical standards adopted (or not) by the UK media, but, like taking a 'doggy bag' to a buffet, it would be well worth any serious investigator's time to collect up the McCanns' regurgitations for later consumption.

Even if they do have to be translated into Portuguese first.

Like Mother Like Son. Maddies Been Gone Just The Two Weeks But Gerry's Fine Now The FUNDS Stacking Up