Incidentally, Dr Roberts and I, quite independently, picked up on the very same talking points.
Which leaves me but to ask just the one question: What is it that police detectives normally do when there is "such a lack of evidence" and I don't mean fit someone up?
To borrow a phrase: Operation Grange, a twelve million pound denial.
PerceptionBy Dr Martin Roberts
15 December 2015
Optical illusions confirm that the human brain exercises a degree of expectancy when evaluating visually ambivalent information, context playing a major role in how we see things (the Ames room is a powerful demonstration of the effect). It is no less true of our efforts at reading. A duplicated word is often missed. Focussing attention on the semantic architecture of a piece can allow the occasional ‘stray brick’ to pass unnoticed. However, if we’re not careful, oversight can afflict our interpretation of meaning even.
Such is the case with matters McCann.
The much discussed outcome of Tony Bennett’s persistence in securing something of an apology from the Daily Express is held up by some as an admission of guilt on the part of the newspaper, for which they have at last apologized. Regrettably it is not and they haven’t. Here, verbatim, is the comment in question, as published on 7 December under the heading, ‘Amplifications and Corrections’:
“Goncalo Amaral – Correction
“On 29 April 2015 we published a headline on the front page which said “Maddy detective did lie about death cover up claim”. We would like to make it clear that there was no determination by the Portuguese court that Mr Amaral lied. In fact the court ruled that Mr Amaral had breached the McCann’s right to reputation and ordered him to pay damages to them.”
Note: The word ‘apology’ is conspicuous by its absence.
This ‘correction’ is not suggesting that Mr Amaral did not lie. The Portuguese court may not have reached a determination in that regard, but guilty suspects are sometimes freed by the courts. Oscar Pistorius, for example, has only now been found guilty of murder, since his trial was concluded.
Elsewhere ‘Blacksmith’, who “finished writing about the McCanns some months ago”, has resumed writing…. about the McCanns. His arguments are as refined and penetrating as ever, save this one:
“..if there is general agreement that no evidence exists of the commission of a crime by any of the group and none to be found in the case files – and nobody with the slightest legal knowledge disputes this – then there is, of course, no need of any cover-up assistance for the group, whether by politicians, media people or, literally, anyone else.”
This being an ‘if – then’ proposition, its conclusion depends entirely on the validity of the premise. It sounds solid enough, but ‘general agreement’ does not represent ‘total agreement’ necessarily. Nor does the absence of evidence from the case files signify the complete absence of evidence. Of course it might. But it doesn’t. As for putting one’s faith in those with ‘the slightest legal knowledge’, well….
Personally, I disagree that ‘no evidence exists of the commission of a crime by any of the group and none to be found in the case files’, since interfering with a police investigation (to its ultimate detriment) is a crime, and there is evidence in the files of this having happened. Whilst it might not have been viewed as such at the time, retrospective assessment is as valid as a retrospective verdict.
The author’s conclusion that “there is, of course, no need of any cover-up assistance for the group, whether by politicians, media people or, literally, anyone else” is on less than solid ground therefore. If there were ‘no need of cover-up assistance’, then why was it afforded? Clarence Mitchell’s despatch to Praia da Luz was a government initiative after all. And if that were merely an instance of concern for their citizenry, why should Mitchell have proceeded personally to lie on the McCann’s behalf (“They got out of the window fairly easily” indeed!) and feed the media with misleading information? The principal reason for telling a lie is to hide the truth. That wouldn’t be a ‘cover-up’ would it?