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Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

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Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by tigger on 28.08.12 17:26

End of the status quo? The Blacksmith Bureau


Posted by John Blacksmith
Sunday, 26 August 2012 at 18:38

Hogan-Howe bleats

Well, the Yard have spoken. Those who speak darkly of a whitewash, both our Portuguese friends who have the perfectly valid excuse that they don't know the British system any more than we know the Portuguese, and UK citizens, should reflect for a moment.

A "whitewash", if it means anything, means a positive result for the McCanns – some sort of exoneration or some way of putting the case against them to sleep. But the statements of Hogan-Howe and, before him, Redwood clearly indicate that nothing has been found to provide any basis for such a finding: the status quo remains and, if no more money is provided, it will still remain when the review is closed down.

We might ask proponents of such an outcome a very simple question. A whitewash posits a joint effort by police, secret services and government – oh dear, even describing it sounds silly – to give the couple a clean bill of health. The resources of the three bodies are easily sufficient to knock together in a weekend false but irrefutable documentary evidence excluding the couple without going through the palaver of a review. So why haven't they done it?

Now, back to reality.

The status quo

The factual status quo, remember, remains the definitive Portuguese prosecutors' archiving summary which released the McCanns from their arguido status, stating that there was no evidence of any crime by the pair and that they had failed to demonstrate their innocence.

Let's turn to the 2012 BBC Panorama report which, unlike its 2007 predecessor, was made with the co-operation of the British police. In that programme Redwood said that the review was unique in its comprehensiveness:

DCI Redwood: We are drawing together information from three separate sources; the legal enforcement bodies within Portugal, the UK law enforcement agencies of which obviously the police are a main part and also and unusually the private investigation world which as we know is an element that was used by Mr and Mrs McCann to further the search for their daughter… and so what we've done over the past number of months is bring into one place, i.e. here at Belgravia all of those, all of those pieces of the jigsaw.

Police forces leak important details when they are worried about resources – if they have any. It is evident from Hogan-Howe's comments that the triple sourced investigation has found nothing to add to or modify the prosecutors' conclusions and, in particular, hasn't located any new suspects.

The views of those in Portugal, the only country with first-hand knowledge of the case and the only country with knowledge of what the McCanns actually said when examined by the police (rather than what Kate McCann, a self-confessed liar, claims they said) and the only country to have considered the case against the pair judicially (in the civil courts) are fairly clear. The Portuguese appeal court judges stated in 2010 that the prosecutors' "opinions", while valid, were neither judicial nor definitive and that the "death in the apartment" claim remained an equally valid and non-excluded theory of events. As for the public, both educated and otherwise, we have Panorama again.

Carlos Anjos: I think something happened accidentally in the flat that night. In general I think most Portuguese investigators think the same as me. And I think there will be problems for the British authorities.

Bilton (Panorama): Despite Kate and Gerry McCann no longer being suspects, Portuguese public opinion hasn't changed and it continues to be influenced by the man who initially led the investigation before he was removed.

Isabel Duarte: I feel alone because I don't feel support, not in public opinion. I have friends that don't want to talk to me about the case. Because everyone believes in Goncalo Amaral. Everyone believes that I am defending a father and a mother who have killed the daughter and got rid of the corpse.

Everyone.

Our footballers are the best in the world

We have this:

Bilton (Panorama): Here [i.e. in Britain] people seem to be open-minded.

There is not the slightest evidence for Bilton's comment. If "open-minded" means "willing to consider anybody as a perpetrator" then it is absolutely untrue, indeed absurdly so. The clear view in Britain, as put forward by the police (Redwood), a judge (Leveson), Parliament (the media select committee), all the television stations and their bosses, (Desmond, Murdoch), their reporters (Brunt, Simmons) all the quality newspapers and their editors on oath at Leveson, all the tabloids and their journalists (in front of Leveson again) and most of the readers' comments in response to the latter's stories, is that Kate & Gerry McCann had nothing to do with the disappearance of their daughter and cannot be considered as suspects.

It is clear that such unanimity can't be the result of "hushing up" – it is of course much too widespread. More importantly it is also clear that this unanimity of public opinion cannot be based on the evidence either, since, to take just two examples out of hundreds, the Portuguese prosecutors' views quoted above are never quoted in full and are therefore unavailable to the majority: only the "no evidence" section, not the "failure to demonstrate their innocence" one is quoted in the UK media; and the Portuguese appeal court judgement that Amaral's interpretation of the evidence was of equal validity to that same, legally untested, prosecutors' opinion, is almost unknown in Britain.

Something is wrong. One of these two countries is clearly not "open-minded" and is not looking coldly at all the evidence, even though it believes it is. There isn't any alternative, is there? If UK opinion is right then Portugal's is delusory and vice versa. Which one is it, Portugal or the United Kingdom? The country with all the first-hand knowledge of the case cited above or the country whose only real connection to the affair is that the former arguidos were born in and have a loud voice in it?

Perhaps readers will have a clearer idea now why we refer to the case as a "psychological" one. On the evidence above one country or the other, at least as expressed publicly, is psychologically incapable of accepting possible evidence and interpretations brought to its attention and is convinced that the other country's view is wrong.

There is nothing new or revolutionary about this – it has happened throughout history once those enemies of the truth, national loyalties, are brought into action, whether in war, diplomacy or something as harmless as a football tournament. And it is the public media, the tabloids in particular, who have always been in the forefront of fanning atavistic flames. That's something of a clue for the open-minded, isn't it – which of the two countries was the first to whip their redtops into action and create an "enemy"? And citizens of which country used paid agents to influence those tabloids?

Times change

Sometimes, however, events force the truth on unwilling recipients. It may be that this four year status quo is finally about to end – but not through any efforts of Scotland Yard. In Britain the first of the prosecutors' conclusions, the favourable one, has sufficed for all purposes. In Portugal the other conclusion, that the pair "failed to demonstrate their innocence" is, assuming Goncalo Amaral can sustain his efforts, about to be tested.

In Portuguese law libel claimants have to prove their accusations: Kate and Gerry McCann will finally have to demonstrate their innocence of involvement in the child's disappearance in court if they are to win their case. To prove libel they will have to show that the prosecutors' report, the one that has been so useful to them, is wrong. And then they will have the Herculean task of overturning the findings of the court of appeal judges on the validity of Amaral's theory. If it were clear that developments since 2010 had overtaken the judgement they might have a good chance. If Scotland Yard had managed to dig up a single suspect or even a tiny piece of real evidence, anything, for the lawyers to put before the court they might be home and dry. But the cupboard is empty.

Bad luck Kate, bad luck Gerry. You can blame nice Mr Redwood.

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Re: Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by ProfessorPPlum on 28.08.12 19:52

Riddle-esque or not, I like what Blacksmith has to say. Always thought provoking and in this case really got me thinking about the following:

In Portuguese law libel claimants have to prove their accusations: Kate and Gerry McCann will finally have to demonstrate their innocence of involvement in the child's disappearance in court if they are to win their case. To prove libel they will have to show that the prosecutors' report, the one that has been so useful to them, is wrong.

Interesting, if true. I'm not a legal person but it feels like the onus in UK is for the accused to have to prove their innocence rather than the accuser proving their claim. If this is the case, it seems a lot more sensible - not to mention fair. I'll bet Tony Bennett would prefer it that way round.

I hope Blacksmith is right on this.

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Re: Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by Cristobell on 28.08.12 20:06

@ProfessorPPlum wrote:Riddle-esque or not, I like what Blacksmith has to say. Always thought provoking and in this case really got me thinking about the following:

In Portuguese law libel claimants have to prove their accusations: Kate and Gerry McCann will finally have to demonstrate their innocence of involvement in the child's disappearance in court if they are to win their case. To prove libel they will have to show that the prosecutors' report, the one that has been so useful to them, is wrong.

Interesting, if true. I'm not a legal person but it feels like the onus in UK is for the accused to have to prove their innocence rather than the accuser proving their claim. If this is the case, it seems a lot more sensible - not to mention fair. I'll bet Tony Bennett would prefer it that way round.

I hope Blacksmith is right on this.




I have not yet read's Blacksmith's latest article, about to take a look, but I would guess there is some political shennanigans going on behind the scenes. It would be unthinkable to reveal their hand, until after the GA trial. They have effectively bought themselves a few months in which to come up with a solution. I have just done a blog along these lines, if anyone is interested.

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Re: Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by Ashwarya on 28.08.12 20:12

I think in this case the McCanns have to prove that the Prosecutor's report is wrong, and unfortunately for them the bits of it that they never allow to be quoted in the British media back up Amaral's theories. In Portugal he is obviously not regarded as the lazy alcoholic maverick Team McCann have managed to portray him as here, but is a highly respected investigator who had the great misfortune to be on duty on the night of May 3 2007. His views and therefore his book are absolutely mainstream, and no one in the PJ disagrees with his conclusions. So normally I expect you would be right Professor Plum, and someone who had published unfounded allegations against another person would have to prove they were true in court. But Amaral has nothing to prove - the McCann couple have to demonstrate that his views, along with those of the Public Prosecutor, are wrong. It will be interesting to see Mme Duarte sorting this one out for them.

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Re: Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by Cristobell on 28.08.12 21:13

@tigger wrote:End of the status quo? The Blacksmith Bureau


Posted by John Blacksmith
Sunday, 26 August 2012 at 18:38

Hogan-Howe bleats

Well, the Yard have spoken. Those who speak darkly of a whitewash, both our Portuguese friends who have the perfectly valid excuse that they don't know the British system any more than we know the Portuguese, and UK citizens, should reflect for a moment.

A "whitewash", if it means anything, means a positive result for the McCanns – some sort of exoneration or some way of putting the case against them to sleep. But the statements of Hogan-Howe and, before him, Redwood clearly indicate that nothing has been found to provide any basis for such a finding: the status quo remains and, if no more money is provided, it will still remain when the review is closed down.

We might ask proponents of such an outcome a very simple question. A whitewash posits a joint effort by police, secret services and government – oh dear, even describing it sounds silly – to give the couple a clean bill of health. The resources of the three bodies are easily sufficient to knock together in a weekend false but irrefutable documentary evidence excluding the couple without going through the palaver of a review. So why haven't they done it?

Now, back to reality.

The status quo

The factual status quo, remember, remains the definitive Portuguese prosecutors' archiving summary which released the McCanns from their arguido status, stating that there was no evidence of any crime by the pair and that they had failed to demonstrate their innocence.

Let's turn to the 2012 BBC Panorama report which, unlike its 2007 predecessor, was made with the co-operation of the British police. In that programme Redwood said that the review was unique in its comprehensiveness:

DCI Redwood: We are drawing together information from three separate sources; the legal enforcement bodies within Portugal, the UK law enforcement agencies of which obviously the police are a main part and also and unusually the private investigation world which as we know is an element that was used by Mr and Mrs McCann to further the search for their daughter… and so what we've done over the past number of months is bring into one place, i.e. here at Belgravia all of those, all of those pieces of the jigsaw.

Police forces leak important details when they are worried about resources – if they have any. It is evident from Hogan-Howe's comments that the triple sourced investigation has found nothing to add to or modify the prosecutors' conclusions and, in particular, hasn't located any new suspects.

The views of those in Portugal, the only country with first-hand knowledge of the case and the only country with knowledge of what the McCanns actually said when examined by the police (rather than what Kate McCann, a self-confessed liar, claims they said) and the only country to have considered the case against the pair judicially (in the civil courts) are fairly clear. The Portuguese appeal court judges stated in 2010 that the prosecutors' "opinions", while valid, were neither judicial nor definitive and that the "death in the apartment" claim remained an equally valid and non-excluded theory of events. As for the public, both educated and otherwise, we have Panorama again.

Carlos Anjos: I think something happened accidentally in the flat that night. In general I think most Portuguese investigators think the same as me. And I think there will be problems for the British authorities.

Bilton (Panorama): Despite Kate and Gerry McCann no longer being suspects, Portuguese public opinion hasn't changed and it continues to be influenced by the man who initially led the investigation before he was removed.

Isabel Duarte: I feel alone because I don't feel support, not in public opinion. I have friends that don't want to talk to me about the case. Because everyone believes in Goncalo Amaral. Everyone believes that I am defending a father and a mother who have killed the daughter and got rid of the corpse.

Everyone.

Our footballers are the best in the world

We have this:

Bilton (Panorama): Here [i.e. in Britain] people seem to be open-minded.

There is not the slightest evidence for Bilton's comment. If "open-minded" means "willing to consider anybody as a perpetrator" then it is absolutely untrue, indeed absurdly so. The clear view in Britain, as put forward by the police (Redwood), a judge (Leveson), Parliament (the media select committee), all the television stations and their bosses, (Desmond, Murdoch), their reporters (Brunt, Simmons) all the quality newspapers and their editors on oath at Leveson, all the tabloids and their journalists (in front of Leveson again) and most of the readers' comments in response to the latter's stories, is that Kate & Gerry McCann had nothing to do with the disappearance of their daughter and cannot be considered as suspects.

It is clear that such unanimity can't be the result of "hushing up" – it is of course much too widespread. More importantly it is also clear that this unanimity of public opinion cannot be based on the evidence either, since, to take just two examples out of hundreds, the Portuguese prosecutors' views quoted above are never quoted in full and are therefore unavailable to the majority: only the "no evidence" section, not the "failure to demonstrate their innocence" one is quoted in the UK media; and the Portuguese appeal court judgement that Amaral's interpretation of the evidence was of equal validity to that same, legally untested, prosecutors' opinion, is almost unknown in Britain.

Something is wrong. One of these two countries is clearly not "open-minded" and is not looking coldly at all the evidence, even though it believes it is. There isn't any alternative, is there? If UK opinion is right then Portugal's is delusory and vice versa. Which one is it, Portugal or the United Kingdom? The country with all the first-hand knowledge of the case cited above or the country whose only real connection to the affair is that the former arguidos were born in and have a loud voice in it?

Perhaps readers will have a clearer idea now why we refer to the case as a "psychological" one. On the evidence above one country or the other, at least as expressed publicly, is psychologically incapable of accepting possible evidence and interpretations brought to its attention and is convinced that the other country's view is wrong.

There is nothing new or revolutionary about this – it has happened throughout history once those enemies of the truth, national loyalties, are brought into action, whether in war, diplomacy or something as harmless as a football tournament. And it is the public media, the tabloids in particular, who have always been in the forefront of fanning atavistic flames. That's something of a clue for the open-minded, isn't it – which of the two countries was the first to whip their redtops into action and create an "enemy"? And citizens of which country used paid agents to influence those tabloids?

Times change

Sometimes, however, events force the truth on unwilling recipients. It may be that this four year status quo is finally about to end – but not through any efforts of Scotland Yard. In Britain the first of the prosecutors' conclusions, the favourable one, has sufficed for all purposes. In Portugal the other conclusion, that the pair "failed to demonstrate their innocence" is, assuming Goncalo Amaral can sustain his efforts, about to be tested.

In Portuguese law libel claimants have to prove their accusations: Kate and Gerry McCann will finally have to demonstrate their innocence of involvement in the child's disappearance in court if they are to win their case. To prove libel they will have to show that the prosecutors' report, the one that has been so useful to them, is wrong. And then they will have the Herculean task of overturning the findings of the court of appeal judges on the validity of Amaral's theory. If it were clear that developments since 2010 had overtaken the judgement they might have a good chance. If Scotland Yard had managed to dig up a single suspect or even a tiny piece of real evidence, anything, for the lawyers to put before the court they might be home and dry. But the cupboard is empty.

Bad luck Kate, bad luck Gerry. You can blame nice Mr Redwood.



Another brilliant blog Blacksmith, always look forward to your new releases. Like yourself, I think something's got to give. A small start, by I have recently seen a brief statement from a Danish ex police chief, and representatives from other European countries. Our renowned Scotland Yard is losing credibility on a daily basis. It is not good for a government to have a police force that is seen as corrupt, it could have all sorts of knock on effects.

I think if this were a chess board, I think the game as reached 'check'. I almost salute the main protagonists for their nerves of steel and abilities to improvise - if only their talents could have been used for the good. But I don't want to steer away from the subject, and get right down to the nitty, gritty, How can they possibly stop the publication of the findings of the Portuguese Review? The Portuguese are rather more assertive than we anglo saxons, and their pride, their known love of kids and their tourist industry have been knocked senseless because of the questionable child care of a few selfish doctors who won't answer a few simple questions. In a nutshell, this case hits the heart of the Portuguese economy, and the Portuguese voters.

I believe the Portuguese people have taken this case to heart, and who could blame them? They put their heart, souls and physical labour, towards finding this poor lost foreign child. It was cruel of the McCanns to plead 'no-one is helping us', and patently untrue. We had a Sky news channel dedicated to Maddie updates. We saw with our own eyes, the earnest, dedicated people of PDL, searching day and night.

The Portuguese police are not under any pressure. A result either way, matters not. Forensics may at some point in time evolve to such an extent that proof positive can exist. In the meanwhile, they are in a win, win, situation, they might find Madeleine alive and being cared for like a princess in the village of Stepford and we can all live happily ever after. Or they can give a clearer conclusion next time, so we don't have to play merry go rounds with semantics.

As wonderful as that happy ending would be, those of us who can cope with the real world occasionally, can see the reality is probably the opposite. Where on earth do you drawn the line between optimistic and deluded? And I'm not knocking deluded, for some it can be quite a positive life choice.

However, where deluded actually harms other people, their livelihoods, their families, it is wrong on so many levels. My heart goes out to the people of PDL, and those affected so cruelly by this whole affair.

The main players however cannot resist the lure of the roulette wheel, the flashes of the paparazzi, those golden moments on the sofa with Eamon and Kelly? Heck, I don't even blame them, who hasn't had a wonderful night hogging the microphone at a karaoke, or trying out a new cheesy line on a member of the opposite sex. That moment in the spotlight is addictive to some, especially the photogenic, they like to go back, and relive every moment, ask to re-do it, so they can throw in that odd iconic line, that they forgot in the first take. People are first and foremost, and I cite each and every one of us, narcissistic and self centred. Where we are on that particular scale often varies, but its usually at the forefront.

Some are way, way, better than others, at hiding their basic wants and desires, pretending to put other peoples' needs first, and in my experience they come under the category of psychopath or sociopath, I'm never sure which is which, but it is phoney and their real motives are nearly always unscrupulous, in the Shakesperian sense.

I study psychology, by my thesis are amateur, it is always interesting to look at a subject from a different perspective.




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Re: Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by russiandoll on 29.08.12 14:02

I never read or heard anything from Andy Redwood about any suspects involved in Maddie's vanishing, where and when did he dismiss any parental involvement? All I heard him say was that he wanted to establish what had happened to her.
I did read something from a journalist about Redwood dismissing wild conspiracy theories, what constituted wild was never elaborated upon. No direct quotes, the most I heard him say was that someone not specified went into the apartment and took her. Seemed to me he had an open mind.No mention of a specific apartment or specific person/s.
I think DCI Redwood kept his cards close to his chest, chose his words very carefully, was deliberately ambiguous and took care to mention his good relationship with the Portuguese authorities.

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             The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate,
contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and
unrealistic.
~John F. Kennedy


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Re: Blacksmith 26/8/12 End of the status quo?

Post by PeterMac on 29.08.12 14:20

@ProfessorPPlum wrote:I'm not a legal person but it feels like the onus in UK is for the accused to have to prove their innocence rather than the accuser proving their claim. If this is the case, it seems a lot more sensible - not to mention fair. I'll bet Tony Bennett would prefer it that way round.
TB will speak for himself, but the two cases are in law totally different. The one is a libel trial, the other an attempt to commit to prison for alleged breach of undertakings given to a court. Not the same thing.

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