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Criticism of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet: A response to Wintabells on ‘Missing Madeleine’

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Criticism of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet: A response to Wintabells on ‘Missing Madeleine’

Post by Tony Bennett on 29.10.12 13:52

Criticism of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet: A response to Wintabells on the ‘Missing Madeleine’ forum.

It has been drawn to my attention that a poster known as ‘Wintabells’ has posted criticism (on 28 October) of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet, published in 2009. I’ll take the opportunity to respond.

The first point to make is that the compilation of this leaflet was a joint exercise, carried out in public, by about 30 posters on the now-defunct 3As internet forum. There was discussion of the contents, which were refined and agreed there before the leaflet went out.

Second, it was a Madeleine Foundation leaflet, not mine, though I concede that I was the primary author.

Third, the leaflet contained several dozen facts within its 4 pages. Wintabell has raised five objections

Below I reproduce Wintabells’ comments, then I answer specific criticisms of five key statements in the leaflet, by reproducing what was in the actual leaflet, and responding to Wintabells’ comemts

Wintabells wrote:

Since the purpose of this thread seems to be an invitation to discuss TB and his actions, for my part, although he may well be hostile towards the McC’s, this does not in itself mean everything he says or does is right or appropriate. I was appalled by his Rothley leafleting antics and his ‘10 Key Reasons which suggest M wasn’t abducted’ list was frankly embarrassing. Some of its content included unsourced comments and hearsay, such as the ‘six corpses’ tale, The Sun newspaper’s ‘cuddle cat was put on a high shelf’ story , the ‘Sol’s alleged ‘pact of silence’ and the claim that ‘the McC’s never physically searched’. He also states that ‘immediately M was reported missing ' extradition lawyers were appointed, which, as far as I’m aware is untrue.

(I stopped taking an interest in TB's literature after his first '10 reasons' leaflet campaign, because, as I mentioned in my earlier post, it contained several elements which were based on unsourced heresay).

++++++++++

Wintabells’ criticism No. 1

unsourced comments and hearsay, such as the ‘six corpses’ tale,

What we wrote in 10 Reasons:

Family members claimed the death smell on Dr Kate McCann’s clothes was due to having attended six corpses at work during the fortnight before her holiday. She even claimed that the death smell on ‘Cuddle Cat’ was because she took Madeleine’s toy to work.

Comment:

I think the comment about the ‘six corpses at work’ was originally made by Philomena McCann, and was later made by Dr Kate McCann’s mother Mrs Susan Healy (see below), so that first comment is entirely correct.

The following report appeared in ‘The People’, dated 24 September 2007: “During 16 hours of police questioning over two days, says Philomena McCann, ‘Kate was repeatedly shown the sniffer dog video’. Kate McCann reportedly explained to police that, as a GP, she came in contact with six bodies shortly before leaving for Portugal. As a senior Scotland Yard investigator points out, cadaver dogs can’t tell one corpse from another and have little value in tying a suspect to a specific body. ‘Dogs can sniff out death’, he says. ‘However, you can't ask a dog to stand up in court and give evidence’."

One of the sources for the ‘Cuddle Cat taken to work’ story was this newspaper report: “Kate didn’t contradict the fact that her two pieces of clothes and the stuffed animal [Cuddle Cat] had been signaled by the English dogs trained to find cadaver odor. She justified it by her profession. Kate McCann’s mother alleged that as a doctor at the Leicester health centre, she was directly present at six deaths before she came to Portugal on holiday, giving the same excuse for Madeleine’s stuffed animal, that was with her in the months after her daughter disappeared”.

This last newspaper report is the only source I can find at present for the claim that the McCanns said that Dr Kate McCann sometimes took Cuddle Cat to work. That report suggests that Dr Kate McCann told her mother that she sometimes took Cuddle Cat to work. That makes our statement in ’10 Reasons’ fully accurate.

++++++++++

Wintabell’s criticism No. 2

The Sun newspaper’s ‘cuddle cat was put on a high shelf’ story…

What we wrote in ‘10 Reasons’:

The McCanns claimed Madeleine always took her favourite soft toy, ‘Cuddle Cat’, with her. They then said the abductor had handled ‘Cuddle Cat’, placing it on ‘a high shelf or ledge’

Comment:

On the mccannfiles site is this quote: “Also worth noting is that there is no 'high shelf'; onto which, it was reported, Kate McCann had described seeing Cuddle Cat - the significance being that it was out of Madeleine's reach and could therefore only have been placed there by an intruder. However, it should be added that these reports came from 'sources' and there is no such quote directly attributable to Kate herself”.

So, it is very possible that the reference to the high shelf did come from the McCanns or someone in their camp. But there’s no proof of this, so the second sentence above does not stand up.

++++++++++

Wintabell’s criticism No. 3

the ‘Sol’s alleged ‘pact of silence’

What we wrote in ‘10 Reasons’:

…a Portuguese newspaper, Sol, tried to talk to one of the McCanns’ friends, Dr David Payne, about what had happened. He refused to talk, saying: “This is our matter. We have a pact”. He added that all requests for quotes and interviews must go through Dr Gerald McCann. Why would the group need to have what has been called a ‘Pact of Silence’ about the circumstances surrounding Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’?

Comment:

I am sure that a newspaper journalist did try to talk to Dr David Payne and that his comments have been accurately reported. I believe some have suggested that the word ‘pact’ has been mistranslated and should read ‘agreement’. So far as I can see, that makes little or no difference, so I believe our statement in ‘10 Reasons’ on the ‘Pact of Silence’ is justified. We referred to ‘what has been called’ a Pact of Silience

++++++++++

Wintabell’s criticism No. 4

and the claim that ‘the McC’s never physically searched’.

What we wrote in ‘10 Reasons’:

the McCanns admit they never physically searched for Madeleine

Comment:

This was a reference primarily to Dr Kate McCann’s embarrassed silence when questioned by (I think) Jane Hall on BBC TV as to whether she and her husband had ever physically searched for Madeleine. I do acknowledge that Dr Gerald McCann says he spent some time searching around 10pm to 11pm on the evening of 3 May 2007 and that the McCanns say they were searching for some time in the late night/early morning of 4 May. To that limited extent, our comment was inaccurate.

++++++++++

Wintabell’s criticism No. 5

He also states that ‘immediately M was reported missing ' extradition lawyers were appointed, which, as far as I’m aware is untrue.

What we wrote in ‘10 Reasons’:

Immediately Madeleine was reported missing, the McCanns appointed many lawyers and public relations experts to help them, including extradition lawyers. What use would lawyers and PR experts be in finding their daughter? Maybe the McCanns knew from the outset that they would need lawyers and PR folk to defend them?

Comment:

Wintabells has slightly misquoted me. But I would accept that the first sentence should read: “Immediately Madeleine was reported missing, the McCanns appointed many lawyers and public relations experts to help them, and later sought advice from extradition lawyers”.

____________________

                            "Maddie's Jammies. Where is Maddie?" - Amelie, May 2007 -  "Maddie's Jammies. Where is Maddie?"


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Re: Criticism of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet: A response to Wintabells on ‘Missing Madeleine’

Post by Guest on 29.10.12 18:26

A link has been posted over there and so far the comments have all been favourable.

It will be interesting to get the reaction of the site's resident troll Snowflake when she emerges from her cave late at night!

Guest
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Re: Criticism of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet: A response to Wintabells on ‘Missing Madeleine’

Post by Tony Bennett on 30.10.12 0:18

'Wintabells' on MM has posted this constructive and generous reponse.

Before posting it, s/he is right about the need for accuracy - and I never have a problem with anyone pointing out if anything I've said is inaccurate. Precision will certainly be needed in court:


WINTABELLS - QUOTE

I'm not a member of the JillHavern forum, but would like to express my thanks to Mr Bennett for taking the time to respond to my criticism of five items included within the contents of the '10 Reasons' leaflet and for acknowledging that some of the items (listed in his post as numbers 2, 4 and 5) were inaccurate.

I'd like to add that I did not feel I had misquoted the leaflet when I referred to the statement about extradition lawyers being appointed 'Immediately M was reported missing' but used quotation my marks to highlight the term I was concerned about, i.e. 'immediately' which Mr Bennett has now conceded happened not immediately, but later.

Regarding the 'pact of silence' - As Mr Bennett has pointed out, it has been argued that what was actually said may have been mistranslated (and after all, would the Tapasniks really have said 'we have a pact of silence' even if they did make a pact of some sort - and I can quite imagine they did) and (for me) it makes more sense if they'd said, 'We have all agreed not to talk to the press about our business' or words to that effect... and that, in itself, could be argued to be a normal enough response when dealing with the press.

As for the six corpses tale - of course its nonsense and we all know this, but surely only if we absolutely know that Mrs McC has stated this should it be used to bolster the argument against abduction, which is why I was unhappy about its inclusion in the leaflet - the sources for this story were Aunty P, Susan H and the press. Unless we are scrupulous about having direct sources and are accurate in the points we make, we will not be taken seriously.

Thanks again to Mr Bennett - I don't doubt that his beliefs about what really happened to MMcC concur with my own and I wish him success in his current battles.

UNQUOTE

____________________

                            "Maddie's Jammies. Where is Maddie?" - Amelie, May 2007 -  "Maddie's Jammies. Where is Maddie?"


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