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Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

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Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by Tony Bennett on 02.07.14 10:11

Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

This is an attempt to put together a short summary of what is known about the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case. It is made following press reports this week about Goncalo Amaral’s recent references to the continuing involvement of MI5 in the Madeleine McCann case. It is not meant to be comprehensive, it is just at this stage a series of notes about the involvement of the British security services in the case. I hope others will add to them.     

It does not cover other forms of government assistance to the McCanns which we know includes:

  • The heavy early involvement of the British ambassador and consul in Portugal

  • The appointment of Clarence Mitchell, then head of the government’s 40-strong Media Monitoring Unit, to manage the reputation of the McCanns and control publicity on the case from the first month right up until today

  • The involvement of CEOP in seeking photographs direct from the public and then, through Jim Gamble, actively assisting the McCann campaign on several occasions

  • Intervention with the Border Agency, allowing the McCanns to avoid going through customs control

  • The personal intervention of Gordon Brown in the case, first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and then as Prime Minister

  • Meetings by successive Home Secretaries with the McCanns

  • Directing the Metropolitan Police to set up Operation Grange. 

MI5, MI6 and security services involvement in the Madeleine McCann case: A summary

1. Goncalo Amaral, in his book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, refers to the active involvement of staff from MI5 in his investigation

2. In an article about the case as recently as 29 June 2014, Goncalo Amaral again spoke of MI5 involvement: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/485524/Madeleine-McCann-Disgraced-Portuguese-detective-MI5-spies-know-what-happened-to-Maddie
He said: “People will eventually learn what really happened when MI5 opens the case files. Don’t forget that the British secret services followed the case right from the beginning. I don’t know if that information will be made available, but if it’s like the United States, it takes years to have access to confidential information”.

3. In his book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, Amaral makes these observations: “Two days later, English colleagues begin to arrive…Bob Small, an officer from the Leicestershire police, and one of his colleagues meet us to take stock of the situation…We insist on knowing what our English counterparts have come to Portugal to do…Then two more police officers arrive who are assigned to psychological support and communication with the family. Little by little, the number of English police officers grows exponentially. We place at their disposal a room next to our crisis unit, Task Portugal. These are specialists from various police services, including Scotland Yard. Special surveillance teams as well as information and telecommunications technicians turn up with their laptops and various high-tech equipment… Members of the British agency the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre [who had arrived in Portugal], take a close interest in Murat and work to develop his psychological profile…”    

4. Amaral also states that Martin Grime, when he travelled back from taking his cadaver dogs Eddie and Keela to Portugal, was met by an MI5 officer who asked him questions (July 2007)

5. Control Risks Group (CRG), a risks and corporate security firm with very close links to the government, sent senior staff to Portugal to advise the McCanns and talk to the Portuguese Police on their behalf. Kate McCann refers to them in her book ‘madeleine’ as ‘primed to help’ (p. 125). CRG were also responsible for sending in another adviser to the McCanns, a man who, when the McCanns asked who he was, said ‘call me Hugh’ and declined to give his name. Kate McCann describes him as ‘a former intelligence officer, now a kidnap negotiator and counselor. ‘Hugh’ said that an ‘anonymous private donor’ was willing to fund the McCanns’ application to make Madeleine a Ward of Court

6. On 14 September 2007 there was a high-powered meeting at Kingsley Napley in London: present were the McCanns, Brian Kennedy, his lawyer and senior Freemason Edward Smethurt, Solicitor Angus McBride (who drove up to Rothley to collect the McCanns), top Solicitor Michael Caplan QC (an expert in extradition proccedings) and at least two members of staff of security company Control Risks Group 

7. Gary Hgland, a private investigator chosen personally by Cheshire businessman to assist on the Madeleine McCann case, mentioned, in a chapter of his so-far-unpublished book, meeting with an old friend of his ‘on the Moroccan desk of MI6’ in connection with the McCann Team’s intention to mount a publicity drive in Morocco

8. A Special Branch officer met the McCanns at the airport on their hurried return from Portugal on 9 September and personally drove them to Rothley (‘madeleine’ by Dr Kate McCann, p. 259)

9. Henri Exton, one of the staff employed by Kevin Halligen and Oakley International, is known to have been the former Head of Covert Intelligence at MI5 – until he was dismissed from MI5 after a shoplifting offence. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal and the O.B.E. for extensive work in covert security matters for the Ministry of Defence. A blogger about the Madeleine case, known as ‘Blackwatch’, who had inside knowledge of the workings of the British security services, once wrote: “This is no middle grade security services player; he was - as is on the record - formerly the Head of MI5’s Covert Intelligence Section – and you don’t get much higher than that”.

10. Earlier this year, the Sunday Times published an article which said this about evidence compiled by Kevin Halligen, Henri Exton and Oakley International: “The evidence was in fact taken from an intelligence report produced for Gerry and Kate McCann by a firm of former spies in 2008. It contained crucial E-Fits of a man seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, which have only this month become public after he was identified as the prime suspect by Scotland Yard. A team of hand-picked former MI5 agents had been hired by the McCanns to chase a much-needed breakthrough in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine”.

11. Kevin Halligen, the disgraced criminal employed by the McCanns for 4 months at a cost of around £700,000, had extensive connections with the security services. For example, on 30 July 2004 Tim Craig-Harvey, Natasha Duval and Halligen set up Red Defence Ltd; all had connections with British government security services.

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by Pershing36 on 02.07.14 11:55

Quick question as I know nothing about child abduction cases.

How usual would it be for MI5/MI6 to get involved in these crimes?

I know they are intelligence gathering agencies but I was under the impression their work was mainly anti-terrorism, global fraud etc.  I am not saying that a missing child is not very important but surely this is better suited to the Police.

Do we know of any other child abduction or possible murder when they have got involved?  For instance would the Needhams or Jones had MI5 involvement and if so how ealy on and what would trigger it?

What expertise would they bring?  Would it be phone tracking etc?

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by Sonmi-451 on 02.07.14 12:57

Yep, MI5 spend much time on anti-terrorism, global fraud, etc. ... or as we'd probably say "protecting the established interests of the UK".

However, it's only a minor matter to consider 'the establishment' as being synonymous with The Establishment', implying those members of the political, social and commercial infrastructure that run this country...and so I've no doubt sections of our Security Services will do whatever's necessary to see that any potentially awkward applecarts are not overturned, and if and when they do, that debris is covered up from the eyes of the masses!

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by SixMillionQuid on 02.07.14 13:41

@Pershing36 wrote:Quick question as I know nothing about child abduction cases.

How usual would it be for MI5/MI6 to get involved in these crimes?

I know they are intelligence gathering agencies but I was under the impression their work was mainly anti-terrorism, global fraud etc.  I am not saying that a missing child is not very important but surely this is better suited to the Police.

Do we know of any other child abduction or possible murder when they have got involved?  For instance would the Needhams or Jones had MI5 involvement and if so how ealy on and what would trigger it?

What expertise would they bring?  Would it be phone tracking etc?
I dont know any other missing child case that has involved government security officials. The McCanns were warned not to interfere with the official PJ investigation but with days CRG were already in Portugal.

Judging by that channel 5 documentary about Halligen it seems these ex-security officers specialise in surveillance but it makes me wonder what else they were up to in Portugal.

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by The Rooster on 02.07.14 20:38

It's a tough one to understand why the UK's domestic counter intelligence and security agency would have any interest in the McCann's, their friends etc even from a serious crime point of view or a surveillance tasking requirement. Yet as you point out GA has spoken about their involvement on a number of separate occasions. Was it to protect the political reputations of those who jumped on the sympathy bandwagon in case things got out of and and there was more to the case than originally thought?

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by haroldd2 on 02.07.14 20:44

@Tony Bennett wrote:Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

This is an attempt to put together a short summary of what is known about the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case. It is made following press reports this week about Goncalo Amaral’s recent references to the continuing involvement of MI5 in the Madeleine McCann case. It is not meant to be comprehensive, it is just at this stage a series of notes about the involvement of the British security services in the case. I hope others will add to them.  
Great work, Tony!

"Head of Covert Intelligence" at MI5 probably means head of the watchers.

Michael Caplan looks like SIS (MI6) to me. International crime in his specialisms, and successfully "defended" Pinochet (he of the miraculous recovery from Alzheimer's after his plane landed in Chile). Unquestionably a safe pair of hands: former chairman of the Police Appeals Tribunal and chair of the City of London Law Society’s Corporate Crime and Corruption Committee. Kind of SIS-police liaison?? The firm he works for also has medical connections. "Advising on public law issues" of course means brokering 'access' to government.

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by Tony Bennett on 02.07.14 20:55

@The Rooster wrote:It's a tough one to understand why the UK's domestic counter intelligence and security agency would have any interest in the McCann's, their friends etc even from a serious crime point of view or a surveillance tasking requirement. Yet as you point out GA has spoken about their involvement on a number of separate occasions. Was it to protect the political reputations of those who jumped on the sympathy bandwagon in case things got out of and and there was more to the case than originally thought?
A lot of these MI5- and MI6-connected people seem to have been brought in by Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy.

For example, Gary Hagland, besides being an expert in money-laundering and financial compliance regulations, also clearly had friends at MI6.

Perhaps Brian Kennedy could be asked why he chose these men, including the former head of the Covert Intelligence Unit at MI5, Henri Exton.

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by haroldd2 on 03.07.14 8:01

@Tony Bennett wrote:
A lot of these MI5- and MI6-connected people seem to have been brought in by Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy.

For example, Gary Hagland, besides being an expert in money-laundering and financial compliance regulations, also clearly had friends at MI6.

Perhaps Brian Kennedy could be asked why he chose these men, including the former head of the Covert Intelligence Unit at MI5, Henri Exton.
Here's a change of perspective...

There is probably a long-standing and cosy relationship between the Everest home improvement network, 'built' by Brian Kennedy, and MI5.

Here's why:

1) local knowledge

2) cover for being in almost any street in the country with vans and personnel

3) local criminals on call (I have received various accounts about the sort of people who go door-knocking for Anglian and Everest, casting a wide net and trying to identify gullible individuals for the besuited conmen to go in and try to persuade later; it is quite common for the first-out knockers to get abusive when rebuffed; be aware that not all MI5 surveillance ops or auxiliary tasks are done by techies and disinterested individuals with a fixed salary and pension scheme)

4) training in how to con people - here I am talking not about the ruffians but about the conmen who use various techniques of persuasion once they're sat cosily in a prospect's living room - this is absolutely classic intelligence training (some spooks also train in the 'seduction community'; I am not joking)

And as for help flowing in the other direction...

A lot of the company's work involves hooking people not just into paying treble or quadruple for double glazing, but also conning them into taking out large loans, so I would not be surprised if in some cases financial and perhaps other personal information about a punter is put the company's way by MI5.

(Edit: note too the SHARP system - see also here - safeguarding young people across a whole range of issues...offering a confidential reporting system which works alongside existing school reporting procedures...including where information about gangs is concerned... Have you heard of "PREVENT" and so on - the four Ps, Prevent Protect Prepare Pursue? Kennedy has "one of ours" written on him all right.)

(Edit: Kennedy is a Jehovah's Witness. They too have a door-knocking network, although on a smaller scale in terms of pairs of feet than Everest and Anglian. I wonder where that might lead.)

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by tigger on 03.07.14 9:33

@Sonmi-451 wrote:Yep, MI5 spend much time on anti-terrorism, global fraud, etc. ... or as we'd probably say "protecting the established interests of the UK".

However, it's only a minor matter to consider 'the establishment' as being synonymous with The Establishment', implying those members of the political, social and commercial infrastructure that run this country...and so I've no doubt sections of our Security Services will do whatever's necessary to see that any potentially awkward applecarts are not overturned, and if and when they do, that debris is covered up from the eyes of the masses!

It was political from the start and the McCanns benefitted enormously from the protective cover that was sent out to prevent the collateral damage that the 'abduction' was likely to cause.
In fact that damage limitation was far more important than the McCanns.

To my mind, those recently posted photos of Gerry reading his emotions off a piece of paper, aided by a torch, tell the story of those panicked early days.
At that time they were not yet made safe. They look frightened, soon afterwards they look and behave relieved and happy.
By the time we see the clip of a grinning and laughing Gerry on the balcony, a few days later, they know they're safe.

By the time they've had 5million hits on their site, they own the world.

So yes, if only we knew what the collateral damage would have been.
Then there's the Prum treaty, then there's Blair's ambitions and his imminent removal from nr 10 - allegedly by GB having resorted to using 'sleaze' to get him out.
Blair certainly could not afford the least whiff of scandal by then. Must have worked, money's rolling in, Middle East is about to implode.
However, This is just my take on it, based on Gerry's behaviour, my guess is that they didn't tell their minders the whole story and disposing of a body wasn't the remit of MI5 imo.
An amateur job, far too many traces left.

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by Guest on 03.07.14 9:52

@haroldd2 wrote:
Here's a change of perspective...


Very interesting haroldd2, I suspect you may have something there. I am of the belief that G4S do something along similar lines - ostensibly they read our meters but from the sheer amount of them driving around at any given time I find it hard to believe that this is all they are being deployed for.

I have wondered if the McCann disappearance was a private scheme that was somehow uncovered and hijacked by higher powers.

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Re: Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Post by tigger on 03.07.14 10:41

Clay Regazzoni wrote:
@haroldd2 wrote:
Here's a change of perspective...


Very interesting haroldd2, I suspect you may have something there. I am of the belief that G4S do something along similar lines - ostensibly they read our meters but from the sheer amount of them driving around at any given time I find it hard to believe that this is all they are being deployed for.

I have wondered if the McCann disappearance was a private scheme that was somehow uncovered and hijacked by higher powers.

What about the TV detector vans?  winkwink 

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