That’s how long it has taken to establish an investigation free from the malign influence of the media imported so irresponsibly by Kate and Gerry McCann on May 4 2007. That’s how long it took until the last vestiges of spin from their spokesman – as against factual responses to questions – were extinguished in late 2011, after the attempt to "manage" the Scotland Yard officers’ visit to Barcelona. Now, finally, we have a situation where the investigators can do their work unhindered.
The Bureau, like the McCanns, welcomed the Scotland Yard initiative in early 2011 because it had campaigned for years for the investigation, terminated by the McCanns' refusal to remain in Portugal and their friends’ refusal to return to that country, to be completed. In particular we had pointed to the sheer absurdity of the Portuguese archiving report attempting to provide “conclusions” to an investigation which, as the Reconstruction Section in that report made perfectly clear, was incomplete and inconclusive due to the nine’s failure to co-operate in completing and concluding it.
Had the McCanns, in summer 2008, accepted with good grace what they call their “exoneration”and what the report in a sub-section called their “failure to demonstrate their innocence”, and continued to search for their daughter with their employees from then on there would have been little ground for disagreement or criticism. Such relative silence about themselves might even have led to their reputations recovering with the passage of time.
They did not do so. Their first action on the day of the archiving of the case was not to come forward with their plans to continue the search for Madeleine McCann. Their very first action was to spin and distort that archiving summary in their own favour via their repellent mouthpiece, including their disgraceful and completely invented story that the summary had “mocked” the efforts of the Portuguese police.
As they began so they have continued until late 2011 – promoting their own version of events and their own innocence of any wrong-doing using spokesmen, media interviews, television documentaries, local and national news editors, leaks, publishers, lawyers, libel lawyers and a book written by Kate McCann with the latters' acknowledged assistance. This effort has accomplished precisely zero for the child but has done a great deal for the parents, in particular for that fashionable objective known as "reputation management".
That phase is now over and the police of both countries are investigating matters in a less contaminated climate, one in which, for example, Goncalo Amaral was allowed to contribute to Panorama without the “disgraced” and other epithets that the McCanns’ lawyers have previously insisted upon. Amaral’s theories were also put forward to the British public factually for the first time – and of course can now be publicly repeated by quoting the words of the BBC without threat of libel. That is in great contrast to the climate in 2007 when the first Panorama was made with the co-operation and and input of nice Mr Smethurst and his Dr Strangelove ambition to electronically overwrite the public's memories regarding the possible guilt of his clients. Pretty good, eh? Five years to get the sort of more or less balanced programme that we had a right to expect in 2007.
What does this mean for the future of the investigation?
Let us give you an example. Andy Redwood, the officer in charge of the Yard review just happens to look and sound on video like a Somerset yokel searching under his mattress for his cider jug. Unlike Goncalo Amaral, however, he is not going to be subjected to the disgusting attempts to ridicule and demean him using photographs chosen deliberately to that end; Mr Redwood, for all we know, may live on a diet of pasties, sheep feed and apple cores but his lunches are not going to be photographed to demonstrate what a lazy and gluttonous yokel he really is, are they? Nor will Mr Redwood be falsely accused by BBC East Midlands of saying "fuck the McCanns", even though he may one day find the words springing to his lips. No, the press will not be used this time to destroy a police enemy.
The case is not sub judice but for the first time the normal rules of restraint about a current police investigation – one being conducted in both countries – are now expected to be followed by those involved and their publicity contacts, at least in the UK; that means that the cause of justice will not be continually subverted either by anonymous selective public attacks on the investigators by the families of those involved nor by “reputation management” agencies anonymously defending those who can find the money to employ them. Hooray for that.
Hoping for the best
Apart from the all-knowing "whitewash" brigade all of us, surely, can welcome the investigation itself, the way it is going and the possibility that it will get at the truth unhindered. If, for the very first time, it “demonstrates the innocence of the parents”, no easy task, then three more cheers.
In early 2011 we welcomed the review but said this, an expression of our opinion: however many thousands of “leads” were followed up, however many “sightings” analysed, the investigators would eventually find themselves coming back to the small area of Praia da Luz encompassing the Batista supermarket, the Ocean Club and its apartments and the adjoining streets, at the perimeter of which the trail went cold – for ever. Sooner or later, we said, they would be driven back to the same unanswered questions that the archiving report so concisely referred to and the same individuals who were questioned before because there is no-one else to question and nowhere else to go.
Of course we could be wrong but that remains our opinion.
A year has elapsed and it is manifest that the Scotland Yard review has turned up absolutely nothing of significance outside that perimeter, in accordance with our forecast. Welcome to the McCann case, Andy. At least you can eat your lunch in peace during the coming year.
Wonderful stuff from Blacksmith
As for the f the Mccanns alledged comment, it has been proven to be untrue, the BBC have in private confirmed it was not true, but many people quote it as a fact and the journalist who reported on it did not have the balls to apologise for his mistake.
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