Championing The McCanns as Suspects. Then as now.
I never cease to be appalled by some of the things people say. said Jim Gamble of a woman who exercised her right to hold an opinion that differed from that of the McCann party line, and its champions must be said, to wit, one James "Jim" Gamble.
Leaving the irony of such a statement aside, it just falls to me to say, I know the feeling well. After seven years of listening to the pathetic utterings of the Doctors McCann, not only do I know the feeling well, I think I have become, as no doubt many others have, an expert in the appalling.
But it is not the Doctors McCann that concerns us here today, no, it is the aforementioned Champions, who, without the tiniest piece of irrefutable evidence to bolster their claim, and often acting outside their remit, champion the parents claim, that Madeleine McCann was in fact abducted from the now infamous apartment 5A, Praia da Luz, Portugal.
And should any of these champions, so called experts, or detective chief inspectors, produce that tiny piece of again, irrefutable evidence, that supports the McCann's claim of stranger abduction, not only will I eat my hat, close all my blogs, and apologise profusely, but will wear sackcloth and ashes for the remainder of my years on this planet.
So that said, what lies below, is nothing more than a copy and paste job. Heaven knows, I have written more than enough about our featured champion in the past, time then for someone else to say a few words, and who better, and what better, than the product of the fine analytical mind of the discerning, Dr Martin Roberts.
Below Doctor Roberts' piece, you will find a transcript of the offending interview with Jim Gamble, and here I give heartfelt thanks to Nigel Moore of the McCann Files for transcribing this (all in all) lengthy radio show. And my thanks are heartfelt, having undertaken the same tiresome task myself on occasionions past.
I have however omitted the transcript of "Sarah" the target of Jim Gamble's ire. The content of which, is for the purpose of this article, quite academic. But needless to say, the complete transcript is available below at the relative link.
That just leaves me to say, having read Jim Gamble's tirade, and it can't be described as anything but, I cannot help but come away with the impression of someone in a bit of a panic. Of someone who has nailed his colours to the wrong mast. Nailed his colours to the mast of a vessel so full of holes, that it is imminent danger of foundering. And anyone who has ever been in that (real life) situation, knows only too well, how easy it to sound, if not act, a little panicky.
But no matter what you may think he sounds like, he doesn't sound like an impartial (previous) officer of the law with many years of policing under his belt. Of which by the by, and taken from the recent turgid puff piece in the Belfast Telegraph, you will find mention at the bottom of the page.
TAKING A GAMBLE
By Dr Martin Roberts
25 May 2014
Nowadays, for the McCanns and their public champions, appearances before the camera or on radio are fraught with more risks than ever before. Former head of CEOP, Jim Gamble, illustrates the point only too clearly. Interviewed recently for the Belfast Telegraph (19 May) he concludes with:
"I think Gerry and Kate McCann will get closure in my lifetime. My heart goes out to them. I never cease to be appalled by some of the things people say.
"A woman on the radio earlier was more fixated that Kate and Gerry left the kids and went for a meal.
"You know what? Lots of people make mistakes. Few people pay this price. Sometimes people should just think before they speak.
It must surely be a comfort to know that 'closure' for the McCanns will come within a lifetime. Can we afford to sustain Operation Grange for quite that long? But you're right Jim. People really should think before they speak. The world would be a happier place if we all did so, including your good self if I may make so bold.
That 'woman on the radio earlier' was followed by none other than our Jim, interviewed on the same programme no less (The JVS Show phone-in on BBC Three Counties Radio, 15 May). But before we take a closer look at the thoughts of career copper 'Cap'n Jim', let's just adjust the starting blocks with another of his explanations to the Belfast Telegraph:
Q. "You invested a lot in CEOP, you built it up but then you walk away in 2010. Do you regret it?
A. "I came to the point it was a matter of principle. For me it was the right thing. My fear was that it would be subsumed into a larger organisation. The Home Secretary said it would retain its identity, its profile and they would build on the success it had. Well, arrests have dropped in the last three years, the sign outside CEOP no longer says CEOP. It says National Crime Agency. Its profile has dropped. In NCA the C stands for crime. In CEOP the C always stood for children".
Never mind the beguiling Home Secretary and Gamble's paternal concern for children, the answer to the question is writ large in sentences 1 – 3. 'Subsumed into a larger organization' would mean, inevitably, that he would no longer be 'top banana', and since 'wherever egos Jim goes', Jim went.
The sheer arrogance of Jim Gamble is reflected in his conspicuous lack of professionalism toward fellow police officers and sardonic ungraciousness toward others. He and Gerry McCann no doubt got on very well together. After listening to what 'that woman on the radio' said earlier, Gamble expresses his considered opinion with respect to the proposed excavation of Praia da Luz requested by the Metropolitan Police:
"'Why now?' that's a question perhaps for the Portuguese police. These issues are being addressed because they weren't done at the time. The... the British authorities and the Metropolitan Police, who have brought a real professional focus to bear on this..."
Implying, of course, that the Portuguese police brought something other than 'a real professional focus' to bear. Gamble's insinuation is not only tactless, it is unwarranted, disrespectful and quite disgraceful. But no more so than his comment upon 'that woman's' (Sarah's) earlier point of view:
"I think it's misplaced and she's given us a lot of her opinions, so let me just give you my opinion of her call.
"I think it's spiteful, I think it's small-minded, I think she's a condescending individual that needs to reflect on the hurt that parents feel - not the issues in the margins". He later adds:
"So, I think she needs... she really needs to look in the mirror, and if I was her this morning, after listening to my interview be broadcast, I wouldn't want to look in the mirror, and, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to meet ordinary mums and dads in the street after what she just said, whether it's in Praia da Luz or where she lives".
Well, Jim, we are each of us entitled to hold an opinion about things, but is a concentrated character-assassination really worthy of a former Police supremo with residual ambitions? I think not. The true worth of Jim Gamble's advocacy of the McCanns soon emerges, as he continues:
"but the fact that a child was, you know, has... was... did go missing... is still missing, and that those parents are tortured..."
Let's get one thing out of the way shall we? The parents have been 'tortured', as Gamble puts it, for seven years. Their daughter Madeleine is dead for eternity.
Now, what was it he twice had to duck out of saying? 'has been abducted', 'was abducted' perhaps? What makes him so uncertain? Let's allow 'big Jim' to tell us himself:
"These are the parents of a child who is suspected to have been abducted".
(The boot's on back-to-front here isn't it? 'She was the child of parents who were suspected of hiding her body').
"The initial inquiry had led, you know, to... to no... no one being arrested, no one being held to account for this".
(Standing a bit too near the edge again here are we? The initial inquiry had led, you know, to... to the McCanns. That’s in the evidence the 'professionals' engaged in Operation Grange will have reviewed)
"I mean, this is about searching for a child who may well have been abducted and who may well have suffered, you know, harm including murder. And I really don't like to speculate about what may, or may not have happened, but had the investigation covered all these bases in the beginning we wouldn't be here now".
Ah Jim... Jim... No sooner do you attempt to feed the world bullshit than you give yourself the impossible task of polishing a turd.
"I mean, this is about searching for a child who may well have been abducted"
The child may have been abducted. On the other hand she may not. Small wonder then that Gamble declines to 'speculate about what may or may not have happened'.
You see, as Jim Gamble so eloquently explains, this is all about a child who may have been abducted OR...
Our Jim, for glaringly obvious reasons, refrains from articulating the alternative. The same alternative that was expressly 'shut out' from the (published) remit for Operation Grange. But since he has introduced the element of doubt, there can be nothing illegitimate about our clarifying the situation on his behalf.
Madeleine McCann may have been abducted, or something else must have happened to cause her disappearance. Now what could that be? There's no way she could have left the family's apartment on her own (we've been told that often enough) and yet she has not been seen in her parents' company, or anyone else's for that matter, for seven years. Someone must have taken her from 5A. But that's abduction isn't it? And she may not have been abducted (the admissible alternative to Jim Gamble's 'may well have been').
Notwithstanding his understandable reluctance to speculate, Jim Gamble nevertheless gives us, in the same breath:
"...but had the investigation covered all these bases in the beginning we wouldn't be here now".
All what bases? The ones pertaining to the search for a child who 'may have been abducted'. Which makes the question of abduction itself a base to be covered, then as now.
So you're thinking of pruning a tree in your garden which happens to overhang the fence with your neighbour (who is entitled to engage in deforestation on his own account), and considering which side of the fence to work on yourself. No contest. Especially when you weigh up the number of branches involved. No one makes unnecessary work for themselves do they? No. So the first base either the Portuguese or the Met Police should have covered, Jim, is whether Madeleine McCann was abducted or not – not who might have abducted her in the event that she 'may have been'.
Well the seemingly less professional Portuguese acted sensibly. The Met, on the other hand, are lumbered with pruning all those extra branches. Which means, Jim, that you, the McCanns, and the rest of us, will probably have to wait a lifetime after all for the 'closure' to which you refer, unless or until someone in authority decides to lift the taboo on the blindingly obvious, and permit examination of the forbidden alternative, the existence of which you yourself have admitted.
Care to take a gamble on how long that might take, Jim? It would make a change from taking the Michael for the past seven years. http://www.mccannfiles.com/id232.html
The JVS Show phone-in on the Madeleine McCann caseEdit
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Jim Gamble is a former policeman and was head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. He was involved in the search for Madeleine from 2007 to 2011. Good morning to you, Jim.
Jim Gamble: Good morning.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Morning. So, listening to what Sarah says, she says that, you know, many years have now passed since this very unfortunate incident took place - it's time to move on. Can you understand her sense of frustration with this or do you think it's misplaced?
Jim Gamble: I think it's misplaced and she's given us a lot of her opinions, so let me just give you my opinion of her call.
I think it's spiteful, I think it's small-minded, I think she's a condescending individual that needs to reflect on the hurt that parents feel - not the issues in the margins, but the fact that a child was, you know, has... was... did go missing... is still missing, and that those parents are tortured. This is an unusual case - they're not, you know, twelve to the dozen. This is a case that has perhaps only one other child been missing in these circumstances, over this period of time, in a similar way, and that's Ben Needham.
So, I think she needs... she really needs to look in the mirror, and if I was her this morning, after listening to my interview be broadcast, I wouldn't want to look in the mirror, and, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to meet ordinary mums and dads in the street after what she just said, whether it's in Praia da Luz or where she lives.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] Well, you know Jim...
Jim Gamble: Her interview was disgusting.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: You know, Jim, she is getting some support as well. There are people contacting the programme already saying 'this... this woman from Hertfordshire has vocalised what I've been thinking all these years'.
Jim Gamble: Well, do you know what, and maybe there is a... a number of people out there that think that, but they're not the people that I've spoken to over many, many years in this investigation. There are a small group, for example, who go online on a 'hashtag' and they talk about the McCann case in the most vociferous and spiteful way. In fact, you know, if we were able to identify who those individuals were, their comments as such, that you'd prosecute them for harassment. These are the parents of a child who is suspected to have been abducted - we don't know what has happened to her - and to... to pour your bile out against them in the way that she has, in that condescending and aloof manner, with no real experience of... of investigations, or investigative strategies, or why the police do what they do, when they do. It's just despicable.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Well, let's just run through some of the points she makes and you can obviously respond to them.
So, first of all, she says that Kate and Gerry McCann, they lost their daughter because ultimately they went out for dinner and they left their daughter, and their other two children, in a hotel room, on their own. And they could have taken their children to the restaurant with them but they didn't - they left them in a room, on their own. They did something that they possibly wouldn't have even considered to doing back home in the UK and yet they went to a foreign country and they did just that. And yet, there is a sense that everybody should feel sorry for them. That was the first point that she made.
Jim Gamble: Well, if you want to concentrate on that error of judgement, at that time, and you think that is the key issue, well... well knock yourself out.
But here's the thing, how many genuine parents out there listened to that interview and thinking: 'There but for the grace of God go I'. I, you know... those parents that sat in the lobby of a hotel, with the baby-listening on - you don't know what's going on there. Those parents that sit at home at night, and have a few drinks while their children are in bed, and have maybe one drink too many.
Lots of parents lose their children momentarily, for lots of reasons. Some people make momentary errors of judgement, you know. Would the McCanns do that again? Of course, they wouldn't. But the bottom line is, if that's where you want to focus your concern [stressed in a mocking away], you know, all these years after this child's gone missing, then... then to be honest, that says more about you. This should be about finding out what happened to Madeleine and seeking an end to this.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: And actually that is very relevant to the latter point that Sarah made in her conversation with me. She makes the point that this investigation has now been going on for seven years, errm... and yet, seven years later, it has been decided at the beginning of the holiday season, in a holiday resort, in a country that is still suffering terribly from an economic recession, it has been decided to go and dig up some fairly major parts of that resort, which will have a... a very detrimental effect on the resort itself and on the businesses there. Do you understand that and she is woman who feels passionately about that particular holiday resort, having been going there for thirty years.
Jim Gamble: Well, I'm sure she doesn't feel as passionately about the resort as parents do for their children.
If you want to look at: 'Why now?' that's a question perhaps for the Portuguese police. These issues are being addressed because they weren't done at the time. The... the British authorities and the Metropolitan Police, who have brought a real professional focus to bare on this; that... that's not for them. They have... as soon as they've been able to aggregate all of the evidence, look at the issues and identify areas where there should have been perhaps a... a focus at the time. They can't now say: 'Well, we'll tell you what we'll do. We'll tie that in with people's travel arrangements; we'll tie that in with holidays'. I mean, this is about searching for a child who may well have been abducted and who may well have suffered, you know, harm including murder. And I really don't like to speculate about what may, or may not have happened, but had the investigation covered all these bases in the beginning we wouldn't be here now.
And the fact of the matter is, it is an unusual case because it crosses territorial boundaries and therefore there are tensions and sensitivities which means it takes quite a long time to negotiate and it's taken a long time to negotiate to get to the position where you have this positive relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the Portuguese police. Nothing would be happening there without the agreement of the Portuguese, so they obviously recognise the investigative value of this search. I believe it should have been done at the time - for whatever reason, it wasn't.
And if a child had gone missing, you know, in Bournemouth or Brighton, or a UK town in the same circumstances, and... and a case review had been carried out years later and areas had been identified that could have been more thoroughly explored, I have no doubt that in the UK we would be doing that and that...
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] So, we would allow...
Jim Gamble: ...not many people in Brighton and Bournemouth would be complaining.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: [interrupting] So, we would allow foreign police to... to come over from another country and to start, for example, digging up parts of Brighton, during the summer season?
Jim Gamble: We would partner with... if you're saying a Portuguese family had come over, their child had been, you know, abducted, or a suspected abduction of that child in that area; they'd gone missing. The initial inquiry had led, you know, to... to no... no one being arrested, no one being held to account for this. The fact is that there's still a suspect at large and... and the police from Portugal came and said: 'Look, we've looked at this, we have these clues'. Of course local police would partner with them. It's not about another police force going into someone else's territory. The Portuguese police are leading this, partnered by the Metropolitan Police. If it was in the UK, local UK police would lead, partnered by the Portuguese.
This... that interview was all about the pettiness involved in this. It was all about, you know... to be quite honest, nonsense. I... I am quite disturbed having listened to that, that anyone would go on the air and.. and say some of the things that lady said.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Okay.
Jim Gamble: Even more disturbed that you would broadcast it.
Jonathan Vernon-Smith: Okay, well Jim, thank you very much indeed for having your say. That's Jim Gamble who's a former policeman and was head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. He was involved in the search for Madeleine from 2007 to 2011. http://www.mccannfiles.com/id232.html
Jim Gamble: 'I was under threat but was more fearful for my family' Belfast TelegraphEdit
Chris Kilpatrick talks to the former head of Special Branch in Belfast who applied to be PSNI chief constable and was chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Q. You served with the police for around 30 years, you were a highly-commended officer and you applied for the job of Chief Constable. Why did you not get it? Were you perceived as being outspoken or perhaps because of your security and intelligence background?
A. I think I was a round peg in a round hole at CEOP. The only job that could have attracted me away from that was Chief Constable of the PSNI. At the time I could not resist applying for it. Many of my friends said I was wasting my time because of my background with Special Branch, that would perhaps would be an impediment. Being shortlisted was an honour. Why didn't I get it? Maybe I wasn't good enough on the day. What I do believe with the gift of hindsight was that I wasn't the right person for the job given where we are now. Had I been chief constable people would have been more concerned during these fragile moments because of the political issues, the specific issues we see at the minute. My background as a Special Branch officer would have been unhelpful and perhaps unhealthy for the service. I've no complaints about that. Belfast Telegraph
Have you ever Googled? Nuala O'Loan Operation Ballast
Then as Now links scroll down for the older and relative stuff.