Wednesday, July 22, 2015

UK Home Office Goncalo Amaral We The People

As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us. - Winston Churchill

Previous see Natasha Donn tag.

Brits Send Maddie Cop’s Appeal Fund to €50,000

Portugal Press
July 20 2015

The wave of public support for former PJ investigator Gonçalo Amaral has hit a new record this week, with over €50,000 now amassed to help him fight his appeal over the €500,000-plus damages awarded against him in the long-running civil action taken out by the parents of Madeleine McCann.

But as supporters shared the news, calling it a victory for “people who put their heads above the parapet”, an internet campaign trying to prove “there is no appeal” and that Amaral is simply raising money under false pretences is trying to gather steam.

In a bid to establish the true picture, the Resident has been in touch with the offices of Isabel Duarte and Ricardo Correia, the lawyers acting for the McCanns.

Dr Correia told us: “You are right. Gonçalo Amaral made an appeal on 15th June, and we replied on 13th July”.

As to the length of time this appeal is likely to take, he was unsure.

“It is an appeal that goes up in the ranking of the courts”, he told us, adding it would take “at least a month”.

And as to why no lay person has been able to access these details via Portugal’s judicial website, CITIUS, he explained:

“You aren’t able to get details unless you have a password and a log-in”.

As a lawyer, you “don’t see any lawyer’s cases, just your own”, he added, which explains why anyone trying to research this case and where it stands will only ever find screenshots.

With the August judicial holiday almost upon us, the chances of Amaral’s appeal being heard before October look slim - but in the meantime, the online appeal to help him pay legal costs is ongoing.

Intriguingly, this appeal that has joined over 2,000 people - many of them giving small amounts every week - has been virtually ignored by mainstream media.

No one is sure why it is being ignored, but certainly the truth is that anyone who publicises it will then find themselves vilified online.

As a legal expert agreed, “it is a curious mark of this case that anyone who does not comply with the accepted storyline will find him or herself being insulted, harassed and generally abused. I can see a story there, actually”.

It is indeed a story. And as the expert warned: “You do realise that the minute you stop this rumour, they will find another one to bug you with, don’t you?” Link

As far as I am aware, the sum of Euros 250,000 (each) is four times, eight times in total, that of any other previous award made by a Portuguese civil court. Page 17

Which begs the question, why?

Previous: Dr Martin Roberts - Watch That Space

Monday, July 20, 2015

Metaphoric Comprehension by Dr Martin Roberts


By Dr Martin Roberts
20 July 2015

Metaphorical understanding is arguably the most powerful intellectual device we have. Fascinating to study, and no less so to employ, the metaphor is without doubt of inestimable value when it comes to the transference of ideas. Take the following, for instance:

Throughout the entire history of high-rise construction, there have been only three recorded instances of steel-framed structures collapsing as a result, supposedly, of fire damage. All three instances occurred in New York on September 11, 2001.

To be compared with:

“I can’t ever remember where the Government has acted as a PR adviser/stroke minder for a family in a situation like this. This is just one of the factors that make this story so extraordinary.” (Roy Greenslade - former tabloid editor, speaking of the McCann case).

It makes one pause for thought rather. The sort of thought that might accompany a further comparison:

The BBC’s Jane Standley describing the recent collapse of building 7, the World Trade Centre, while standing with her back to an image of said building, intact and still erect.


“Some more breaking news for you this morning. Errr... We're just hearing that a search is underway for a 3-year-old British girl who's gone missing in the Algarve area of Portugal; and she went missing last night. Hundreds of people have been searching for the girl; and that search continuing this morning. So we will try to get as much on that as for... for you as soon as we can; errr... that, errr... missing girl in Luz and we will bring it to you as soon as we get further detail.” (Transcript: Nigel Moore).

Notice the time of the broadcast – 7.48 a.m., on the morning of 4 May, 2007.

‘“Yaddah, yaddah”, what’s the matter?’

Bridget O'Donnell (the Guardian, 14.12.2007) wrote:

“The next morning, we made our way to breakfast and met one of the Doctors, the one who had come round in the night. His young daughter looked up at us from her pushchair. There was no news. They had called Sky television - they didn't know what else to do. He turned away and I could see he was going to weep.”

That tells us all we need to know, surely, especially as only two days later (16.12.07) we had confirmation of same, sort of, from David James Smith, on behalf of Timesonline no less:

“It is widely believed among the Portuguese media, and perhaps the police too, even now, that the McCanns called Sky News before they called the police. For the record, Sky News picked up the story from GMTV breakfast television, at around 7.30am the following day.”

‘For the record’ – Got that!

Well Jill Renwick certainly got it (the message from Kate McCann that is) via a 7.00 a.m. communique (text or voice, the account is a touch ambiguous in that regard). According to Bridget O’Donell (again):

‘McCann family friend, Jill Renwick, revealed how panicking Kate sent her a text saying: ''I need help.'' Jill Renwick has known the McCanns since they all worked together at a Glasgow hospital more than a decade ago.

‘She spoke to Kate at 7am on the morning after Madeleine vanished and said: ''Kate was at the police station in hysterics. When we spoke she said the police weren't doing enough.''’

Helpfully, the Guardian (2.6.07) embellished Renwick’s commentary with: "They didn't know what to do. So I phoned GMTV.

(We’d better just gloss over the fact that the McCanns did not even leave for the police station until after 8.00 a.m. that morning or we’ll lead ourselves astray).

The sequence of events is perfectly clear is it not? Kate McCann ‘phones Jill Renwick, who in turn ‘phones GMTV, who break the story, so that SKY News can run it a few minutes later. The Tapas 7 then ring SKY Television (to ask for confirmation, or a set-top box perhaps, who knows?). End of story.

Well it might have been had Martin Frizell not ‘relived the moment’ in the company of Kate Garraway, for the purposes of last year’s Channel 5 documentary, Madeleine McCann – A Global Obsession, the ‘promo’ for which reads:

“In May 2007, Frizell - then editor of GMTV, ITVʼs breakfast programme - took the unprecedented decision to put a call through to the studio from a family friend of the McCanns. A three-year-old British girl had gone missing in the sleepy Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz and the family was distraught. By that afternoon, it was the leading news story on a number of channels.”

Sensing the importance of what he had just heard, Frizell put Jill Renwick in direct contact with his presenters that morning. As Frizell himself recalls:

“On May 4, 2007, I was the editor of the country’s most popular breakfast show broadcasting to millions of viewers every day. It was a Friday. It was just after 8.00 a.m. and the mood was lighthearted.”

For her part Kate Garraway describes how:

“We were having a generally jokey moment on a Friday morning and, suddenly, and I think you can even see on the footage, I sort of go a bit like that ‘cause you, the call came through on my earpiece saying – “we’re going to do an interview with a woman, she’s really concerned about her friend, her friend’s child has gone missing and she’s desperate for help.”

The actual broadcast dialogue that Friday morning (4 May, 2007) proceeded as follows:

KG: “We’ve got some more breaking news for you this morning, very serious story is developing and is coming through to us and it’s of a 3-year-old British girl has gone missing in Portugal. We can speak now to Jill Renwick, who err, who’s a family friend – ‘What can you tell us about what happened?’”

JR: “They were just, you know, watching the hotel room erm, and going back every half-hour….and the shutters had been broken open and they’ve gone into the room and taken Madeleine.” *

Martin Frizell (in documentary mode once more) continues:

“My instincts had been right. The story that we’d just broken was developing fast.”

So fast, in fact, that SKY News had broken it some fifteen to twenty minutes earlier!

Moral support is later offered by Mary Nightingale (ITN):

“I remember seeing the Maddie story on GMTV first of all.”

So too did David James Smith no doubt – for the record of course.

Apparently Martin Frizell has, for the past seven or eight years, been under the mistaken impression that it was he and his GMTV colleagues who ‘broke’ the McCann story via the UK broadcast media, when it was SKY News after all. Which obliges us to return to that vexatious question of who informed SKY News, since the record (as espoused by David James Smith at least) is clearly wrong in that respect.

The first default setting in this instance would appear to be the Tapas 7, one of whose members let it be understood (by Bridget O’Donnell) that they had ‘phoned SKY Television before breakfast that Friday morning. Whoever they were, they must have put the call in before that 7.48 a.m. broadcast, obviously.

It seems, however, as if ‘they’ was something of a proxy vote as far as Bridget O’Donnell’s doctor was concerned. With the sole exception of David Payne, none of the Tapas 7 made any ‘phone calls early on the morning of 4 May. David Payne’s solitary pre-dawn ‘ping’ was at 1.17 – way too early to have been a news feed for SKY, whose reporter was only just learning the details at the time of the 7.48 broadcast.

Which leaves the McCanns.

Gerry made a number of calls. He also sent and received several text messages (which I think we might dismiss as a sensible means of communicating an out-of-the-way emergency to a televised news desk). Concentrating on his voice calls up to and including 7.15 therefore, we may note that none of them involved SKY Television, as their switchboard number simply doesn’t feature in the schedule.

What about Kate McCann? She made so many calls before 10.30 that morning the phone ‘ping’ map couldn’t keep pace! It must have been she who had SKY Television on ‘speed dial’ therefore.

Just how likely is that? Are we to attribute such initiative, such presence of mind, to the same woman who, by 7.00 a.m., thought only of contacting a friend in the UK with a plea for help, and left said friend to dial GMTV on her behalf?

Someone clearly contacted SKY News, and did so before Jill Renwick spoke to anyone at GMTV. They were either very quick off the mark that morning, or even quicker the night before. On balance it would appear that the McCanns were not that fleet-of-foot (24 hours elapsed before they were ready to face the press, Gerry McCann reading from a prepared script – it didn’t take that long to write his little ‘words cannot describe’ speech, surely?).

Should anyone feel this conclusion to be unjustified, they might prefer to place a little more faith in SKY News’ own reporter, Ian Woods:

“It is absolutely not true that they (the McCanns) reported it to SKY News before they reported it to the police. We didn’t know that Madeleine had disappeared until 8.15 on the Friday morning – not the Thursday night, the Friday morning, at 8.15, and that was because a friend of the McCanns, knowing that their child was missing, and knowing that they were desperate, ‘phoned a television station called GMTV – another television station, not SKY News – and did a telephone interview at 8.15 on the Friday morning. That was the first time any journalists knew anything about this. Kate McCann did not call SKY News. And I know that it has been put out there as an accepted fact, and I’ve heard, you know, Carlos Anjos talking about this on Portuguese television, that he knows that the McCanns called SKY News. It…it…it is just not true.”

Run that by me one more time, Ian…

“8.15 on the Friday morning… was the first time any journalists knew anything about this.”

‘Believe half of what you hear, three-quarters of what you see’ so they say. Well, here’s that three-quarters once again (‘Breaking News’ being broadcast by SKY at 7.48 a.m.):

Given Ian Woods’ effective denunciation of his own broadcasting company, what could possibly have been incriminating about his either inferring or explaining that someone contacted SKY that Friday morning after Kate McCann had ‘phoned them – someone like Jill Renwick, for instance? Why deny knowledge if it springs from an admissible source?

The implication appears to be that the source itself was inadmissible.

So if it wasn’t the McCanns, then who was it? In sum, not only do we not know the ‘who’ in this instance, we do not know the ‘whence’ either.

There are good grounds for suspecting the FCO’s earliest diplomatic initiatives to have been kick-started from within the U.K. Should the paradoxical appearance of a press release in the Telegraph, timed at 12.01 on 4 May, be substantiated in all respects, then it too will ultimately have been FCO progeny, since an FCO spokesperson was cited therein.

Is it at all reasonable to suppose that the FCO could have had a vested interest in statements issued via the press, but not those broadcast on national television?

Martin Roberts

 * Before we had even heard the name Madeleine McCann, the script had been written, distributed, and was being learned by rote, albeit to an embarrassing degree, by seemingly every member of the McCann's extended family and various friends. The source of which, and undeniable, Kate and Gerry McCann. Madeleine McCann Was Not Abducted Includes a section on the phone records.

Saturday, July 04, 2015



Update: Though we are not quite at the threshold where Blogger takes exception to the number of comments on any one thread, seemingly around the two hundred mark, I think it prudent to re-up the post and carry on afresh here. Thank You.

The Mamas and the Papas had plenty to say on the subject. The McCanns, on the other hand, had nothing to say on the subject, either when asked by police in 2007 or since (in Kate McCann’s ‘Account of the Truth’).

And now it appears they are silent once more – deaf to the question of why a computer file generated by CEOP and archived against a date of 30 April 2007 should have appealed for help in finding Madeleine McCann, who was not due to go missing until 3 May! The man who genuinely should know the answer, former CEOP supremo Jim Gamble, has also ‘assumed the foetal position’.

One cannot help but wonder whether Robert Murat booked his urgent early morning flight to Praia da Luz having read the CEOP announcement the night before. Or whether Kate really did take her famous ‘tennis photo’ on the morning of Tuesday 1 May, when Murat was heading home to Portugal.

You see, if Madeleine’s disappearance was known about on the Monday, it would have been when the child was still perfectly well and able to scamper around a tennis court the following morning. Should she then have been extricated from the family’s holiday apartment on account of some incapacity, this might suggest that CEOP also knew about that incapacity in advance.

You can hear the chorus from wherever you sit: “Oh no they didn’t! Kate McCann was confused. The ‘photo was already available to CEOP’s ‘mccann.html’ file (at 11.58.03)! The link was only broken temporarily - until the McCanns managed to communicate the image!” That very day - Monday 30 April; the morning when Madeleine’s group of infant crèche captives actually had an hour’s mini-tennis planned for 10 .00 a.m.

A ‘pic’ prepared within the hour then. Unless of course it was taken on the Sunday evening, following that impromptu social tennis session for newly-arrived adult guests (another truth accounted for by Kate McCann in her book). It does seem rather strange that a moment in time captured immediately following a group tennis session, be it a group of adults or a group of children, should show not a semblance of any one’s presence save that of the subject and her photographer.

And what of those CEOP internet ‘home pages’ that appear suddenly to have gone ‘tits up’ in October 2007? You know, the 10 October edition that cites the latest news to the 8th of the month and the 13 October edition that forgets all about it, but instead seeks to rival Reuters with a reference to what happened no later than the 2nd. Surely that and other strange perturbations can have nothing to do with the McCanns’ return to the UK, having been declared arguidos on 7 September, nor Jim Gamble’s protestations of their innocence a month to the day thereafter, and which were quoted in the Daily Mirror of the same date (7 October):

"We absolutely support the McCann family, they are to be applauded for their tireless work to keep the campaign to find their daughter in the public consciousness."

No, of course not. Pure coincidence, nothing more.

The current ‘hot topic’ though is that ‘30 April 2007’ archival date attributed by the Wayback Machine to certain CEOP internet files; files that make explicit reference to Madeleine McCann, the little girl who was not destined to leave the Ocean Club, Praia da Luz, until 3 May.

Whilst interpretation of the information they contain, both visually and in terms of their source code, suggests very strongly that the incriminating date (30 April) is in fact correct, there is a rump of detractors who remain adamant that neither of the two files, which feature heavily in the dispute, was composed, ‘crawled’ (archived), or whatever on 30 April, but that they were legitimately configured on some indeterminate later date and simply ‘misfiled’ by the Wayback Machine, which dropped a stitch somewhere along the line. As a staunch proponent of the WBM’s inadequacies has put it quite recently:

“The same process that archived with an erroneous date will have updated the index with the same erroneous date.”

Note the involvement of a single process, an (as in one) erroneous date, and the inclusion of the latter within the (solitary) index.

Since the keepers of the Wayback Machine have been alerted to these specific shortcomings, they are no doubt busily preparing an announcement to the effect that, having identified the process in question and corrected the system error responsible for appending that one false date (in nearly twenty years of operation) they have ‘fixed the problem’, and we can all now go back to work.

Unfortunately no.

The whole being the sum of its parts in this matter, will have to do rather better than that. Considerably better in fact. They will have to examine the architecture of their entire system if they are to convince anyone other than themselves that the ‘error’ which has been brought to their attention is confined to the archiving of but two files in 485 billion, since there is now further evidence that it just might have been a tad more widespread. Either that or CEOP have even more explaining to do.

The Wayback Machine is something of a technological wonder of the modern world. Its database is unimaginably large and its retrieval systems concomitantly complex. Nevertheless, at the touch of a button almost, it is possible to establish just how many files associated with a specific URL it has actually recorded over time, even those files set up and administered by CEOP – all 8779 of them according to recent estimates (see following):

For larger image, right click open in new tab.

If one takes the trouble to review this inventory, it very quickly retraces events back to….30 April 2007. And what should we find listed among all those separately identified files with their unique URL terminations? Why, two image files labelled ‘madeleine’, recognizable as ’madeleine_01.jpg’ and ‘madeleine_02.jpg’:

For larger image, right click open in new tab.

There can be no question that the ‘madeleine’ referred to here is Madeleine McCann, as these terminators are exactly those employed within the structure of the CEOP home page as visible (and archived) on 13 May 2007, a construct which, incidentally, features several references to ‘mccann.html’, another data structure that according to WBM detractors was not created until later that year. (Why on earth would anyone program a computer to access a non-existent file? I ask myself):

For larger image, right click open in new tab.

To judge from the foregoing, either The Wayback Machine could be off-line for a considerable period, while their ‘techies’ rebuild almost their entire indexing and retrieval systems, or J. Gamble Esq. had better come up with some convincing explanation as to what CEOP would have been doing with photographs of Madeleine McCann barely two days into the McCann family’s fatal 2007 vacation.

Martin Roberts

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Portuguese Start Reacting to McCanns’ “Libel Win”

How refreshing, journalism.

Amaral to appeal as Portuguese start reacting to McCanns’ “libel win”

Portugal Press
April 30, 2015

Confirmed by journalist Len Port today, Gonçalo Amaral is set to appeal against the vast sum of damages awarded against him in the civil action for defamation taken out by the parents of Madeleine McCann.

As we revealed yesterday, Amaral told us: “We are in the face of a mere battle in a war that is far from over”.

But today, reaction from Portugal and elsewhere to the ruling by judge Emília Melo e Castro has started pouring in, both via mainstream and social media.

Sol’s columnist João Pinto Costa write: “Former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral was condemned to pay €500,000 to the parents of Madeleine McCann because of the publication of his book ‘Maddie: The Truth of the Lie’. Finally, we found one person who will not make any money from the disappearance of the English girl.”

Lawyer João Grade is quoted on Facebook as saying: “I read his book and I was convinced, as I had been before anyway, that it was not an abduction. The book does not defame the McCanns, Gonçalo Amaral does not express his opinion, but an investigative thesis.”

And in the US, criminal profiler Pat Brown, who has followed the case to the extent that she travelled over to Portugal three years ago to lend her support to Amaral, wrote that the “devastating ruling” had “nothing to do with Madeleine. It has been and is about the state. This is the way the world works. When there are no compromising issues like incompetence, misconduct or corruption, killers are caught, cases are properly closed and the community is safer. When it goes awry for whatever reason, the state and who controls it will make sure they don’t go under because of one unfortunate situation.”

Certainly the way the news was leaked to the press - not from any official court announcement, but via the McCanns’ lawyer in Portugal Isabel Duarte - opens the door for an official complaint by Amaral’s legal team, writes the laidbare blog under the title “the plot thickens…”

Meantime, Amaral has posted these words on the Projecto Justiça Gonçalo Amaral website: “I find the court’s decision is unfair and questions my right and every Portuguese citizen’s right to freedom of expression and of opinion.
“For that reason, I do not resign myself to the decision and I will appeal it until the very last judicial instance.

“If I am able to continue on counting on your support, I will continue to fight within the judicial system for the Truth and achievement of Justice.”

Pledges of support are already coming through, with even our own site eliciting comments like the one posted by a reader by the name of Scargill who states: “The amount of compensation seems vastly at odds with non-British European definition awards and you have to wonder if there are greater forces at play here.”

“I feel very sorry for Amaral,” the reader continues. “He understandably believes that the McCanns have a case to answer and he has been very brave in publishing his opinions.” Link