Without comment, posted and preserved for posterity. You will however, find a clip or two below, where Summers and Swan opine on other subjects.
Atrocious representation of a problematic narrative, fraudulently disguised as 'objective investigative journalism.',
12 Sep 2014
By Vten "Vten"
This review is from: Looking For Madeleine (Kindle Edition)
This is a genuinely troubling work.
Much of Anthony Summers 'kudos' stems from his work debunking government narratives and 'official' accounts of controversial events, not least in his work on the Kennedy Assassination, which is effectively what made his 'name' in this kind of field of research. His volume on that subject is considered a staple of speculative 'research' and earned him some degree of respect.
It was on that basis that Summers allowed himself to be regarded as an 'investigative journalist' or an 'investigative reporter' (whichever he prefers) and indeed he certainly epitomised the altruistic skeptic, cutting through the 'official story' to dig through the nuggets of inconvenient, irrepressible, undeniable facts which defied the attempts at establishment whitewash, refused to go away, the testimonies and evidences which called loudly to be heard above the white noise of government narratives.
Sadly, and inexplicably, Summers has taken recently to becoming an apologist for incredulous 'official' narratives - for writing volumes which reassure the reader that it is safe to overlook the inconvenient, irrepressible, undeniable facts which defy attempts at whitewashing, to disregard them. He did so lazily with the subject of 911, a topic which would certainly have lent itself to requiring far more pages even to debunk the circulating theories and claimed misinformations. An investigative journalist should not merely form a narrative, but should investigate. With depth. Thoroughly. And one claiming to be 'impartial' or 'independent' or 'objective' should do so affording equal opportunity to the troublesome points of issue or debate.
This volume is no exception. It is nothing short of an emotionally sickly rehash of a tired and unconvincing narrative in which the author(s) (and I suspect that this is more of her work than his) has managed entirely to avoid objectively investigating troublesome points of issue or debate in this case. Indeed, the author appears to be inexpllcably proud of the very minimal amount of contact and interview that has been conducted, which shows in the content of the book.
I've actually had to resort to skim reading the book, because there's literally nothing new in it, and I'm shocked and appalled by the sheer amount of foregone conclusion and logical fallacy involved in glossing over a very small number of the glaring problems in the Tapas Group's narrative and the 'official story.'
Once upon a time, as with the JFK controversy, the very inconsistensies and incriminating evidences (sniffer dogs alerting positively to McCann apartment, hire car and clothing) would have a serious investigative journalist straining for a pen in order to get to the bottom of those very damning details. Summers, however, clearly past his prime, is doing little more than giving (if at all) a fleeting reference to these inconveniences and offering a reassurance on the basis of his own claimed authority and acumen, that there is 'nothing to see here.'
For certain, his is an utterly unique work in this field.
But not for the reasons he'd like you to think. Not because his work is definitive. Not because his work is so cutting edge and accurate. Not because he's gotten to the truth.
Rather, his work is unique because it is so utterly redundant, and pointlessly benign.
You see, he's offered nothing that isn't already being pushed by the McCann family and their agents including PR guru Clarence Mitchell. He's offering nothing that hasn't already been published, ad nauseum, by the apologists.
But that's the point. You cannot declare yourself an 'investigative journalist' or an 'objective reporter' on a subject where critical or contradictory analysis CANNOT be legally published. In the UK the texts which take a dim view of what should be, in any case like this anywhere in the world, the prime suspects and the smoking gun evidence, have been banned by request of the people who have the most to lose from the eye of critical assessment.
In short, the ONLY narrative that can be printed in book form in the UK and sold for profit is a narrative which affirms the 'official' story. Yet that 'official story' is not supported by any independent, testable, credible evidence whatsoever. Rather, it exists only in the testimony of the people who were claimed as being present at the time - testimony which, the official PJ files show, has changed a disturbing number of times. From the outset, it was never possible for this book to exist and to deliver anything other than this very same affirmative narrative irrespective of the facts, the evidence and the wealth of contradictory opinion - all of which are available freely in the public domain.
On this basis the author makes several false statements and perpetuates several fallacies which are repetitions of staple claims and insistences made by the McCann Organisation, but which bear no resemblance to the statements made by the appropriate investigative authorities in Portugal or the UK. Similarly, the author's work is already out of date. The authors, like the McCann organisation, make frequent insinuations about the mysterious figure allegedly seen carrying a limp girl through the chilly streets during the mere moments of incredulous 'windows of opportunity' presented by the Tapas Group in their numerous contradictory statements, as identified by one of the Tapas Group as an 'afterthought', when in October 2013 Scotland Yard and the BBC Crimewatch team began a comprehensive dismissal of this 'mystery' figure by identifying and eliminating from enquiries the individual in question. The authors also make reference to optimistic claims by senior detectives at Scotland Yard that the missing child is probably still alive, while the reality is that the lead detective at Scotland Yard has lent a disproportionate support to the 'consensus' that the child did not leave her family's holiday apartment alive.
This work cannot be considered a credible, independent, objective evaluation of this mysterious and controversial case while it is so clearly formed from the outset around drawing and reinforcing foregone conclusions without any kind of credible examination of inconvenient facts, critical assessment of incriminating evidence, or fully revelatory examinations of the case against the only universally recognised prime suspects in the case.
In actual fact, you would learn more about the statistical probabilities, tried and tested likelihoods, and investigative due process in 'missing child' cases by watching some old episodes of 'Without A Trace' than you will from reading this book, because here the authors immediately dismiss what patterns and profiles police departments have established internationally from examining such cases, and declared - solely on their own testimony - the prime suspects to be free of culpability and above scrutiny and suspicion.
Even more incredulously, the authors have become apologists for the controversial actions of parents who left their own children for multiple nights in a row home alone in a strange, unlocked holiday apartment while they ate and drank in a holiday resort in which, it seems, the bulk of their holiday was spent sending their children off to organised activities to be looked after by holiday resort staff.
An apologetic is not an objective assessment. It is a pre-determined agenda. Informational sleight of hand.
This volume is strong on regurgitated narrative, and bereft of actual, critical, objective factual examination.
Similarly, it is premature. Summers previous work has been on 'cold case', biographies and investigations into past and concluded matters. This is an ongoing, unsolved investigation which has been the subject of significant political and media interference and is as yet unconcluded and leaves a significant population of the UK, and a sizeable majority of the US, Australia and Europe strongly questioning the carefully screened and deliberately spun narrative presented via the mainstream media where this matter is concerned. This cannot, by nature, be a post-mortem of a case, which begs the question as to why Summers and Co felt the need to wade in with such selective partiality. In the UK no books can be sold which offer a contradictory or controversial analysis of the case and the 'official story', although in Europe the media market is free enough to allow citizens to purchase and read the work of unconstrained investigators and journalists who yield a very different conclusion to that presented in UK media. So this volume is, as a supposedly 'critically objective' work, utterly redundant. It instead appears to be an unnecessary contribution to the steering of public opinion in favour of the mainstream media, regurgitating and reinforcing the already well-established 'consensus' account of the case.
There is, literally, nothing here for readers that has not been heard ad nauseam and without challenge, for seven years - great sections of the book are simply lifted from case files, media interviews and so on. There is naught original here, nothing brave or challenging about this writing, and the curious reader would be far more enlightened and intrigued by referencing the PJ Police Files directly or in their translated form, or reading the commentary from investigating officers in Portugal.
In view of the informational and misinformational mess that this case has become with too many parties with vested interests dipping a stirring spoon into the pot, particularly in recent months, it almost seems like this book comes along to lift the Tapas Group's carefully contrived and harmonised narrative out of the noise of the active investigation and to reinforce it with the illusion of a safe, impartial, academic authority.
As a work, this isn't worth the paper or the pixels that its printed with, because it has no academic or informational value that could not be better served elsewhere for free.
M. Goldberg says:
Excellent appraisal. Put into words thoughts I could never articulate so succinctly. It is, in essence, a eulogy for the McCanns. The authors knew that straying from the official narrative would have them carpeted at Carter Ruck and that Amazon would never stock it.
We are inured to the Mitchell driven spin surrounding the McCanns and this has his rank scent rising from it from cover to cover. Summers and Swan have literary, sorry, literally sold out. Oxfam and remainder fodder.
I think so.
It's a shame.
Truth is truth. Even in a sea of misinformation, even in a flood of speculation and negative comment, truth will prevail and those telling the truth can maintain a quiet dignity in knowing what they know. They have no need to hire a Carter Ruck and they have no need of a PR expert. Indeed, this is one of the details that has done this family the most damage. Many rational human beings the world over cannot even fathom that the parents of a missing child would engage in anything other than upping sticks and spending every last penny and every last breath doing everything they can to help the police and to make the search their own. Many rational human beings immediately sense the hairs on the back of their neck bristling when they hear about parties, however unfairly scandalised, who bother giving gossip and unkindness the legitimacy of a PR campaign to counter, or a law firm to sue, or superinjunctions to silence. It immediately sends a message which speaks of anything other than the conviction of innocence and a commitment to stay on track and on topic in the relentless, ceaseless, tireless quest for a missing child.
The establishment of a media-savvy organisation which gives new jobs to family and friends, the crusade of searching four star hotels and chat show sofas across the Western world, the endless fundraising activities, the lack of cooperation with the primary investigating police force and the bypassing of due process in order to steer attention and information toward a privately owned (and ultimately predictably corrupt and useless) investigation team - all these have done this family far more damage than any word uttered by any skeptic anywhere in the world. Even the mainstream media (Channel 5) recently recognised this, and began - as much as the injunctions would allow - to explore the theme of where this did tremendous damage.
I was personally disappointed, not because I have a dog in this hunt. I have very clear opinions about this case, based on the objective analysis of all the available (freely available - thank you Policia Judicia) evidence, and arrived at conclusions (if not complete theories) which I believe no rational, reasonable thinking adult could fail to reach, even with the greatest desire to believe the best. More than that, however, I'm fascinated with the extensive government and organised media interference, and again, it is this abundantly evident exceptional involvement which prompts the suspicion of a cover-up and a dark truth waiting to be revealed, seemingly of the scale of Watergate and in the spirit of every great conspiracy to cover-up the dastardly.
Summers should have been a researcher capable of handling this subject intelligently and objectively. And he didn't. As you rightly say, this content and conclusion was predictable for whichever author produced it, and makes me wonder if it wasn't the publisher that commissioned the content. After all, this is literally the only book on this subject which could sell. If a publisher could crack the injunctions and conspiracy against free press that is currently suppressing Goncalo Amaral's 'The Truth of The Lie', then that is certainly a volume which will spin straw into gold, and should this case ever crack in that direction, and the power of Carter Ruck be rendered null and void, I can't imagine a media organisation on the planet that wouldn't kill to sign the rights.
With this, the incredible absence of speculative, albeit controversial texts, is evidence of the suppressive nature of whatever legal threat is in place. And in those circumstances the publisher - who is almost certainly ambivalent to the conclusions which can be drawn, impartial in opinion, is simply seeking the opportunity to make money. Whether Summers and Co were chosen by the publisher, commissioned by an outsider, or have succumbed to some kind of intellectual dementia or the dulling effect of greed, the publisher makes money on the sale of a title which I suspect they grossly overestimated a demand for. I doubt Summers and Co will be overly excited about their earnings on this one. And let's face it, News Corporation would serialise the inventory of a grocer's shop, if they thought it would sell copy. These people are morally ambivalent by nature, and no publicity is bad publicity. All of it has plausible deniability built in. The duped can turn hero. The sued and censured can be vindicated. The fence straddle can come down on the right side.
I wanted this to be a good, intelligent, investigative read - a comprehensive study of the wealth of evidence and the inconvenient conclusions they lead to. It wasn't anything even close.
M. Goldberg says:
Thank you for your reply. Once again hammered down into a succinct precis of my thoughts this past seven years. Having followed the Soham Murders and their parents machinations and demeanour it was immediately evident that, with the McCanns, something was rotten in Rothley.
Where are Summers and Swan's analysis of the plethora of footage of Gerry shutting Kate up in interviews? Their true colours shining incandescently outside the Lisbon Court? The ridiculous implausibility of a part time GP visiting 6 corpses two weeks before her holiday taking her child's soft toy with her? The reversal of Gerry's initial statement regarding his choice of entrance to 5A? The risible "Ask the dogs, Sandra?" His less that empathetic comment, quote, "Gerry: "And if Madeleine had hurt herself inside the apartment - why would that be our fault?" end quote.
Have they established what time it was Dr Payne visited 5A the "last day", a person Crimewatch managed to omit completely in their "reconstruction"?
Do they not question the McCann prescience of arranging forthcoming anniversaries of 100 days missing weeks in advance when she could so easily walk right back in through the Villa door? The monumental and unprecedented protection of the McCanns, ranging from Gordon Brown and Special Branch to the mainstream media's luvvies. The UK media, when held up against any other country, smacks of Government gagging. The banning of a book here takes me back to a Totalitarian Fascist-like state akin to 1930's Germany.
None of this has reached us via the TV and pulp media here, all filtered out after the media found themselves successfully sued by serial wannabe litigators, the McCanns.
What of the crooks they hired, Metodo3, Halligan (whichever way he spells it these days)? Of Edgar and Cowley's jury rigged ramshackle little unregistered outfit?
And Summers and Swan don't spot a theme, here?
It is, of course, another pro McCann ditty, a guarantee (they thought) of making money, possibly part of the publisher's requirements to fulfil their output quota deal.
Having seen Swan on Sky calling Eddie and Keela "so-called cadaver dogs" was sufficient for me to know the ostensible purpose of this cozy little literary genuflect to the media lionised McCanns.
I'm not sure what category this "book" could be nominated for. I don't think Pulitzer give prizes for obsequious potboiling.
Not at all...
You don't need a work of fiction to serve a purpose or carry potency. You don't need poetry to serve a purpose or carry potency. You don't even need a shameless apologetic or even a biography to serve a purpose or carry potency.
But when a piece of writing claiming to be investigative journalism, claiming to be the result of years of objective analytical study, which presents itself as having the authority of riding on the coat-tails of critically acclaimed pieces of writing where materially implausible 'official stories' were debunked by precisely focusing on the mass of detail found in the evidence which has formally been overlooked, ignored, childishly explained away, suppressed, or by consideration of the glaring inconsistensies and contradictions, then I maintain my view that without purpose and without potency in doing so, the work is utterly pointless and shamelessly commercial.
In musical terms Summers has stepped beyond the artistic concept album, he's left behind the cutting edge punk explosion, and he's settled squarely in the field of middle-of-the-road geriatric pop. He has the right to do so, but to feel any obligation to accept where he's at as having in any way been the result of a process of maturing, improving and advancing would be nothing short of madness.
In terms of prematurity, this work is as ill-placed as if he had written, four years ago, an 'expose' of Hillsborough in which overlooked the majority of available testimony, glossed over the pertinent details which court controversy, and simply affirmed that everything the British police had already said was entirely true, regardless of the fact that experts from across the world were screaming that something was stinking.
Heck, for the sake of journalistic integrity in the field (Summers' former field) of conspiracy theory alone, you would be compelled to at least devote a chapter to how tried and tested it is to recognise extraordinary government intervention and the extraordinary and exceptional behaviour of nationally controlled police and secret service agencies which was neither precedented nor has ever been repeated in this case, as bearing the hallmarks of something extremely suspicious, even if only by the absolute abstractness from form of those actions and interventions.
These are the premises under which Summers worked when he penned earlier titles. When American police forces (FBI or otherwise) ignored information, destroyed vital notices that rang alarm bells. When police gave right of access and even right of control to non-police individuals or agencies, that rang alarm bells. When the authority of a sailor shut down the investigation which should be led by a pathologist, that rang alarm bells. When tried and tested forensic science was declared irrelevant, because it produced a result which to all intents and purposes was valid but inconvenient, that rang alarm bells. When witnesses were omitted from official investigation, and untraceable but convenient witnesses were conjured up to affirm the official story, that rang alarm bells. When government departments with much better things to do stepped into situations that were outside their remit and enacted measures which were not their usual way of dealing with similar matters, that rang alarm bells. When timelines were changed, when conclusions and divergences were being publicised before even the dust had settled, before a forensic examiners briefcase had even been opened, that rang alarm bells. And Summers, like others including those whose shoulders he stood on to pen his unoriginal but comprehensive work, was writing in response to the very valid alarm bells.
With this work he's doing nothing short but muffling them.
I can tell you this... As a journalist if I got used to seeing my local police force night after night picking up abusive drunken wifebeaters, bouncing them down the garden path, tossing them head first into a black Mariah, dragging them out again dripping in the urine they excreted against the side of the van, endured the spitting and the verbal abuse before booking them in and tossing them in a cell to cool off until a court appearance in the morning, if I was hearing that on one such occasion the police escorted a man away from the scene while referring to him as 'sir', refused to handcuff him in case he felt insulted, said 'thank you' when he urinated and laughed heartily at ever curse and insult, offered him the front seat in the van and asked if he was comfortable enough and what radio station he'd like playing, covered his head and refused to book him in under any name other than 'Mickey Mouse' before escorting him to an unsecured lounge so he could sleep it off with the assurance 'don't worry sir, this will never go to court' then as an 'investigative journalist' I think I'd be utterly failing in my job if I was not all over that exceptional, extraordinary case with the fully correct suspicion that this wasn't merely a 'generous day' down at central, but that - in fact - the subject who had been removed from the arrest-worthy situation was someone extremely important, who was in the process of escaping justice. I think my sense of indignance would be heightened if I then heard that back at the crime scene it was a body that had been discovered, and the police were busy inside staging a sham of an investigation and were even then engaged in attempting to find a drunk or degenerate mentally ill person in the neighbourhood who they could frame.
Whatever this work is, there's one thing it is not. It is not a piece of investigative journalism. To be that, it would have to be objective, it would have to be investigative. Instead it is part biography, part apologetic, and appears in whole to be simply an attempt to catalogue in one 'definitive' volume only the information and the conclusions that certain vested interest parties would like to be known for, published by someone other than themselves in order to create the illusion of verified authenticity.
M. Goldberg says:
I was drawn to, quote, "When witnesses were omitted from official investigation, and untraceable but convenient witnesses were conjured up to affirm the official story, that rang alarm bells." end quote.
As an author who investigated JFK, Summers will not have failed to notice that that is exactly what the Warren Commission did. The Government cover up demands a narrative from which anyone straying is labelled a "conspiraloon", "nutter" "fantasist and so on.
Summers and Swan's reactions to criticism of their book has echoed that, talking of alarms bells.
Their book is like a "Fanzine" compendium, a Christmas bumper collation of all the disinformation supplied by Mitchell and the McCanns this past seven years. It is ostensibly designed as the definitive McCann manual, which, in the extant days of the Internet, would be laughable were it not inherently a very serious subject.
If anyone wishes to read the antithesis to the McCann "official" fable they should read the PJ files online and/or Amaral's book instead, as all you have here is nothing more than yet another feeble endorsement of, or rather attempt at, the McCann's exoneration. Customer Reviews Amazon
Summers & Swan "A plane absolutely did hit the Pentagon"
9/11 - NO PLANE HIT THE PENTAGON - only once aired report
The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of September 11 and Osama bin Laden (Summers & Swan)
Summers and Swan: Building 7 fell down due to "damage by falling debris"
But of course.
Come, take my hand.
Footnote: Should "Vten" wish to avail himself of a platform, for this or any other subject, I would be delighted to offer a spot as a guest writer. Your input, as your eloquence, is not without appreciation. Thank you.