Saturday, March 10, 2012

#McCann: The Blacksmith Bureau

Vroom vroom!

Things are gathering speed very nicely indeed.

There is little point in trying to push too hard for the progress of the Yard review: the conclusions haven’t yet been written. In the meantime, as in 2007, we are at liberty to infer.

That is not quite the same as guessing. Because of the documentation kindly made available by the Portuguese and, even more kindly, by Kate McCann, we can be quite certain that those lay people who have studied the case know more than most of the Scotland Yard officers did before they were appointed to the review team. And very much more than any journalists, whose knowledge of the case is gained by skimming the blogs and – again! – copying from the Portuguese media: note how poor Kier Simmons was once more caught out.

That is one of the few benefits for those of us who have become obsessional about the case while others, police, journalists, lawyers, in both countries, have had to concentrate their energies on other cases, other stories.

Those fortunate enough to have the time and wealth to keep in touch with the case in a way that is impossible for  the others can be surprised by the eventual packaging of the review but no,  not by its contents.

90% of the evidence is known to us. 5% say, the vital 5% which includes the likely identity of the person or persons who removed the child from the apartment and disposed of the body, is unknown but will almost certainly already have been explored as a possibility by those interested in the case; the remaining 5% is the detailed information still held in confidence, mostly consisting of UK police files which were excluded from the case papers release, such as the statements of officer Bob Small, for example.

It’s the way he tells them…

Conclusions of a report are another matter. While there isn’t the slightest likelihood of a Yard whitewash –nobody would know how to perform one even if it were desirable – we know from the archiving report that conclusions can sometimes contradict the data itself, if the authors simply see no way of going forward and wish to provide a halt, temporary or otherwise, to what’s going on.

…Menezes that is

The decision to release the arguidos at that time was a perfectly reasonable one, marred by the unfortunate attempts of the prosecutor Menezes to invent a flowery intellectual justification for it instead of saying the truth which everyone except Amaral tacitly acknowledged – “we’ve had enough,we’re buggared, we aren’t getting anywhere, release them and let’s all go home”. Still, there was never going to be a tidy and trouble-free end to that particular chapter.

Can the same thing happen again after the Yard review?

In a sense, yes.

Unless someone can be prosecuted then the police have little room for manoeuvre. Only a court can exonerate the McCanns so if nobody is prosecuted then the report will have to be kept confidential on “natural justice” grounds to the parents.

That will irritate us but will bring no change whatever for the McCanns: they’ll have to continue in their self-imposed limbo until the next state-sponsored attempt to get at the facts in another five years and on and on for the rest of their lives.

Unless the civil law, in the shape of the libel courts and their effect on public consciousness, imposes its own solution.

So, for those interested, here are our views of events so far. Readers will accept or reject them according to their estimate of our reliability.
  • The Portuguese investigation was first reviewed by its own prosecutors who recommended the archiving of the case.
  • That review, the archiving summary, lists and evaluates the data uncovered in the investigation: almost 100% of the information is found to offer no opportunities, or leads, for probing the case further. That remains the case.
  • Almost 100%. There is just one section in the summary which deals with the few leads which have not been followed up and it is headed “About the Interest of the Reconstitution”.
  • It follows that any new review which is not prompted by new information must, after the reviewers have familiarised themselves with the case, concentrate on that section. How could it not?
  • And no new information prompted the establishment of the review. The only prior claims of possible new information, the McCann’s various suggested suspects, were found to lead nowhere, usually within hours of their announcement.
  • Therefore, the foundation stone of the review remains the “About the Interest of the Reconstitution” section and the complete resolution of the questions raised there.
  • The success or otherwise of such a resolution will determine the success or failure of the Scotland Yard review; successful investigation of the questions may lead to a re-opening of the case and the possibility of a trial. Failure to do so will leave matters exactly where they were in 2008 – except that the chances of the child being alive are now much less than the official “fifty-fifty” then.
And now for the good news

The apparently reliable news of the Oporto connection, of course, fits in rather cheerfully with the above conclusions.

Again, look at the logic of events.

The Portuguese, whom you could almost hear sighing with relief when they got  rid of the McCanns in 2008, have turned into gluttons for punishment and established a fresh squad of their own before the Yard review has finished.

Why would that be?

Well, there are two answers.

Both of them seem to suggest liaison between Portugal and the UK is as good as we were hoping.

The first is the one that the lawyer Alves seems to be hinting at: that something quite outside the Tapas 9 has been discovered in the review so important that a squad has been set up to “develop” it, probably working once again with British officers.

Since it’s Alves who’s claiming it, in a mumbling sort of way, we can assume that it’s abductor news.

Dreams do,after all, come true.

If they do you’d think the McCanns would be the first to know, wouldn’t you?

All right those hard protestant northerners in London and Leicester aren’t saying anything but you might think that Alves and Abreu, Duarte and the rest would have picked up some good vibes to pass on to them by now. Nope.

The McCanns know zero from England and only what they read in the newspapers or Amaral tells them from Portugal. Odd, don’t you think?

Or you can ignore Alves as a clumsy windbag who won’t have any facts to add and believe, as Amaral and for what it’s worth, the Bureau does, that the Yard and the Portuguese are together getting close to completing the work that the archiving summary was inviting them to undertake.

And Kate and Gerry McCann are frozen in the headlights.*

Come on Clarence! There’s a lorra, lorra work to do!

Stop ignoring Gerry’s calls and start meeting him to work out a strategy for the rest of 2012.

What about the obvious stuff like driving a wedge between this bloody Brits and Ports co-operation, for Christ’s sake?

And why haven’t you provided the follow-up to the the Mirror stuff about the libel trial?

Clarence, you can’t just lie there and hope it will all go away. Clarence!

He’s gone missing again

*The McCanns, like their lawyers, always read the Bureau. Can we expect a public appearance to prove us wrong