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Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

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Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by russiandoll on 01.03.13 18:38

John Blacksmith (Antony
Sharples) writes: Now that the McCann Affair has reached such a crucial
stage it's increasingly likely that the public won't need people
trying, however poorly, to be guides to it anymore. If Goncalo Amaral
resiles and asks for mercy then my assessment of him, the one I've
passed on to readers for several years, will be seen to be wrong and
I'll take the consequences. If, however, he is on the verge of victory
then, frankly, I'm going to feel sorry for Kate and Gerry McCann and I
don't want to stick around to comment on what threatens to be a very
painful process for them. So – and only for those who are interested in
reading some minor personal details about the affair – I can speak a
little more freely now that I have no future position, or sources, to
protect.

When I
got the email from a journalist on one of the UK nationals a few weeks
ago asking me if I knew anything about a McCann rumour that had hit the
desks, I had to reply that I couldn't help because I didn't know
anything. A few hours later I received another email, this time from
Portugal, telling me briefly that the pair had given up and asked for
terms.

I sat there
for a while staring at the screen and turning it over in my mind. I
found it almost impossible to believe, so critical were the implications
for the couple. If the story was true it was the beginning of the end
of the affair, of that I had no doubt, for I felt that nothing except
desperation in the face of impossible odds, not necessarily confined to
the libel trial, could have prompted such a move. So before even trying
to think it through I needed to get some confirmation – but how?

In April last year Goncalo Amaral recorded his measured and surprisingly unruffled piece for Panorama before
firing a warning shot across the bows of a certain Andy Redwood,
reminding that gentleman of the limits beyond which the officer's
contribution to the programme would not be allowed to go. In a short but
explosive interview he revealed the existence both of the Oporto squad
and the hitherto unknown Anglo-Portuguese liaison team, as well as
adding his now famous assessment of its progress: things there "were not
going well for the McCanns".

The
creaking and secretive wheels of the Portuguese justice system now
whizzed round with unprecedented speed and transparency: within days the
authorities were forced to concede the truth of his revelations about
the structure of the review: those warning shots had not been aimed at
Redwood alone.

With
that Amaral went into seclusion. He refused to enlarge on his comments
or discuss the details of his own case, as far as I could tell, with
anyone outside his legal team for the rest of the year. People I'd known
who were close to his thinking found that their relations with him
remained affable but uninformative and were able to tell me nothing.
What was clear was that he and his new legal team were now
giving the McCanns zero to use or spin; on the contrary the parents and
their lawyers, who had known nothing about the Oporto and liaison
teams, were reduced to a panicky attempt at damage limitation themselves
by using, yet again, the one UK newspaper still fully committed to
their support – the Mirror. The price of this restraint by
Amaral and his team, of course, was that he had to accept without
response the continuing mud and filth that was calculatedly thrown at
him, part of a renewed (and increasingly desperate) campaign of
defamation which those who organized it may well come to regret.

So
when I tried to find confirmation of the parents' request for terms I
found, just as the press had found for the previous few days, that
nobody could give it. There was no trace of a source and Amaral's team
said nothing, not "no comment" but literally nothing. Amaral himself
remained in seclusion.

Readers
of this blog may never know just how murky the waters surrounding this
affair really are. Trying to sort the real from the fictional in an
environment where people are constantly providing misinformation,
sometimes amateurishly, sometimes with disturbing professionalism, is a
nightmare and even when you've satisfied yourself about a source you
can't quote it without damaging the information supply or the people
providing it.

As
with all leaks the questions were the old ones – what's the reason for
leaking, who stands to gain? And who has suddenly gone silent and why?
In this case everybody was bloody silent and trying to get your head
round the possible gainers led you into a long chain of dizzying "what
ifs". But I had one little advantage. I had been so shocked by the
incredible winner-take-all malice of the McCanns towards the officer who
had worked on the case that for a brief period in late 2009 I decided
that commenting alone wasn't enough: I would take that pair on at their
own game of spin to try and do something, anything, to counter what I
saw as a piece of wickedness on the part of the parents. For me it
wasn't the Madeleine McCann Affair anymore but the McCann Affair in
which the pair attempted to inflict pain on another person as great as
any pain that they had suffered in 2007.

Having
offered my services unconditionally and for free to Amaral's team – I
have never met Goncalo himself – I set about adding to the documents and
information I'd already accumulated on the case. When the Lisbon
hearing was about to begin I made an appeal to Sky news to
provide at least one correspondent to provide a daily round up of the
case. We all knew that the case was set to be heard in closed court, in
other words in secret, and so Team McCann, in the absence of a balancing
force, would be the only source of information to the UK public.
Provide a correspondent, I said to Sky, and I'll provide
bilingual people with access to the hearings to give a brief view
independently of the McCann spin machine. At least that would supply
fairness.

I got no
guarantees but then something happened that changed events entirely.
Most of you will know the gist of what Amaral's colleagues and other
defence witnesses said in court and the impact their words had. How much
do you know about what the original McCann witnesses in this case had
said when the injunctions were first sought? Almost nothing? Right,
because those witnesses were heard in secret so that not even Amaral
knew what they'd said. And the McCanns, like the rest of us, were
certain that Amaral's witnesses would also be heard in secret in
January – until, at the last minute, somebody in the dark recesses of
the Portuguese legal system, and I still don't know who, put the case
into open court.

The
McCanns were totally unprepared for this and never caught up, indeed
they hadn't even briefed Mitchell to provide the summaries I expected,
so convinced were they that there'd be a repeat blackout. It was the
shock that the UK public was hearing all these horrible details through
the Sky twitter commentary that eventually produced Gerry McCann's memorable meltdown outside court. Once the court had been opened Sky moved
very quickly, much more quickly than the couple, and put Jon de Paolo
in, so for the very first time since 10PM on May 3 2007 the UK public
had access to unspun information about the affair. People have their
concerns, or hatreds, about Murdoch and his editors, particularly the
adventuress Rebekah Brooks, as well as reservations about the somewhat
equivocal Martin Brunt; as I've said before, however, we owe an immense
debt of gratitude to Murdoch-controlled Sky for what they did in Lisbon in the interests of truth. If only others had done as much!

At
the same time I began the same game that the couple had been playing
incessantly for years, feeding information first via the blog and then
direct to the UK nationals. And that was the little advantage I had in
February this year. Being briefly at the centre of a news triangle
involving Goncalo and the couple I knew exactly what the press were
reporting before and during the case because I'd given it to them. I was
the only one who knew about the additional material I gave the press
over and above what I put on the blog so I was able to compare the facts
I'd given with the attempted responses from the Team and with the
versions that the "activist supporters" of the couple were posting up.

There
wasn't a lot of it but what there was made some headlines as well as
some sizeable waves at Scotland Yard and Leicester police headquarters.
As far as the underprepared Team McCann was concerned I discovered that
they were attempting to respond daily to the stuff on the blog and
making a hash of it. Mitchell, in particular, was in many ways an
amateur when confronted with new stories, very slow to think on his
feet, despite the relentless self-publicity that had enabled him to
convince people of his hidden power. I found, to my great surprise, that
I was able to predict the way the team would respond day by day and put
in a counter story before they'd even got their feed published. It was a
very strange, indeed weird, feeling to be involved in this way and for
the first time I understood the secretive sense of power that
behind-the-scenes briefing gives to people like Mitchell

Of
rather less importance, but still significant for February 2013, was
what I found out about the activist supporters and their methods. Anyone
who dismisses my description of them as decent but suggestible, unable
to see the McCanns in the round and therefore susceptible to having
their strings pulled, as mere insult needs to think again. I made the
charge based on some years' insights into their activities but most of
all on that January 2010 experience,because time and again that month
they were exposed making stuff up to cover their own ignorance and the
psychological fixation with the couple that had made them incapable of
independent judgement. I had the grim and slightly disturbing pleasure
of reading their numerous withering posts about my blog "lies", which
they repeatedly compared with the alternative truthful versions of
the "real journalists" covering the same stories on the nationals. But
both versions came, every time, directly from me!

We
all know that Amaral lost that round and for the time being there was
little more I could do to help, so my brief period manufacturing the
news came to an end. But I'd learned my lessons and I'd learned enough
about the methods of Team McCann to feel pretty sure that I'd be able to
analyse whether the 2013 rumour was true or not before deciding whether
to put it out. Always accepting, of course, that I might end up being
wrong.

____________________



             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


russiandoll

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by Inspectorfrost on 01.03.13 19:16

If, however, he is on the verge of victory
then, frankly, I'm going to feel sorry for Kate and Gerry McCann and I
don't want to stick around to comment on what threatens to be a very
painful process for them.

*********

The other week BS was saying he has no sympathy whtsoever with them as they acted wickedly and will now pay for what they did to GA

Off to read the rest


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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by olipet on 01.03.13 20:15

Blacksmith is as ever, cool.
Thank you Russian Doll, once again, for highlighting his post.
Illuminating to say the least.
Being one half Portuguese, I do hope that BS is right about Amaral and his razored edge stoic chest!

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Cam

Post by Guest on 01.03.13 20:39

Dear John,

I do hope you hail from my Alma Mater and read the next:

This is more awfull than David Kelly

LuvU

as in Cambridge

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by Guest on 01.03.13 21:05

Portia, you get me worried ...

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by Inspectorfrost on 01.03.13 21:22

@Portia wrote:Dear John,

I do hope you hail from my Alma Mater and read the next:

This is more awfull than David Kelly

LuvU

as in Cambridge

Care to share? Seeing as you posted this here and not sent BS a PM?

Are we to expect a govt murder or something??? Of someone Portia? what a load of.....

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by aiyoyo on 02.03.13 14:17

Blacksmith said he was sitting pretty followed by sitting comfortably only now to confirm that he needs not have to close down his little bureau as his critics wished upon it because his claim has been right all along ie that Kate's rumour is true, that kate mccann asked for the suspension of the case and to settle on Amaral terms.





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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by JackieL on 02.03.13 21:39

All this reminds me of a scene from one of my favourite films, "All the President's Men":

Deep Throat: You'll have to figure that on your own.
Bob Woodward: Look, I'm tired of your chicken shit games! I don't want hints! I need to know what you know!

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by Inspectorfrost on 02.03.13 22:35

@JackieL wrote:All this reminds me of a scene from one of my favourite films, "All the President's Men":

Deep Throat: You'll have to figure that on your own.
Bob Woodward: Look, I'm tired of your chicken shit games! I don't want hints! I need to know what you know!

but bs is almost always right

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by JackieL on 03.03.13 0:22

[quote="Inspectorfrost"

but bs is almost always right[/quote]
Yep, I know - but the suspense of not knowing exactly what he's saying here is driving me nuts!

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Re: Blacksmith. 1st March 2013 : Then I'll Begin

Post by Inspectorfrost on 03.03.13 2:26

@JackieL wrote:[quote="Inspectorfrost"

but bs is almost always right
Yep, I know - but the suspense of not knowing exactly what he's saying here is driving me nuts![/quote]

Well i trust him so should be good lol

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