The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
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The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
Welcome to 'The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann' forum 🌹

Please log in, or register to view all the forums as some of them are 'members only', then settle in and help us get to the truth about what really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann.

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Post by Jill Havern 23.04.19 14:53

Tony Bennett originally wrote this article on 7 July 2015. It was revised and updated by MMRG on 14 May 2019.



First of all, a short biography

From Wikipedia:

“Earlier in his career he was Head of the Northern Ireland Anti-Terrorist Intelligence Unit in Belfast, then Deputy Director General (with the rank of Deputy Chief Constable) of the National Crime Squad, which, in April 2006, merged into the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He was also the Head of the Belfast Region of the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s Special Branch”.

Let there be no doubt whatsoever, then, that Jim Gamble, a long time ago - two to three decades ago, in fact - had, relatively early in his career, risen to one of the most senior roles in the country in the murky and sometimes sinister worlds of intelligence-gathering and Special Branch Operations. 

Those running the governments of the day and their intelligence and security operations must have had a very high degree of trust in him.

Here is an extract from an interview Jim Gamble gave to the Belfast Telegraph about his career:

“My father was in the RAF so I grew up with a service background. The natural progression was into the Army for me. I joined the military police. I was stationed in west Berlin…

"I joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary, then moved on to Special Branch.  When I came back to Northern Ireland it was initially with the bomb squad in a military police role and then I joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary, later moving on to Special Branch. I went through the ranks to be head of Special Branch in Belfast. As peace was breaking out, I passed the Strategic Command Course and ended up as the Assistant Chief Constable in the National Crime Squad.

“I then became Deputy Director-General of the National Crime Squad. I was asked to build a new organisation called the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). I resisted it at the beginning, I didn't think it was exactly what I wanted to do, and in the end it was one of the highlights of my career. What I will say is that I have been proud of many of the things I have done in my career and that pride is as strong as anywhere as regard that work we did in RUC Special Branch….every organisation will have bad apples, people who are motivated to do the wrong thing…”


Jim Gamble and Operation Ore

As we know, Jim Gamble was handed the job of leading one of the most controversial police operations ever to be run in this country: Operation Ore, an investigation into people in the UK accessing child sexual abuse images online.

Operation Ore began in 2002. 

Once again, what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

“After 2003 Operation Ore came under closer scrutiny, with police forces in the UK being criticised for their handling of the operation. The most common criticism was that they failed to determine whether or not the owners of credit cards in Landslide's database actually accessed any sites containing child porn, unlike in the US where it was determined in advance whether or not credit card subscribers had purchased child porn. Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell exposed these flaws in a series of articles in 2005 and 2007.

“Many of the charges at the Landslide affiliated sites were made using stolen credit card information, and the police arrested the real owners of the credit cards, not the viewers. Thousands of credit card charges were made where there was no access to a site, or access only to a dummy site. When the police checked, seven years after Operation Ore commenced, they found 54,348 occurrences of stolen credit card information in the Landslide database. The British police failed to provide this information to the defendants, and in some cases implied that they had checked and found no evidence of credit card fraud when no such check had been done. Because of the nature of the charges, children were removed from homes immediately. In the two years it took the police to determine that thousands had been falsely accused, over 100 children had been removed from their homes and denied any unsupervised time with their fathers. The arrests also led to an estimated 33 suicides by 2007.

“One man was charged when the sole ‘suspicious’ image in his possession was of young-looking - but adult - actress Melissa Ashley. Also arrested were Massive Attack’s Robert Del Maja (later cleared) and The Who’s guitarist, who was cautioned by the police after acknowledging a credit card access to the Landslide website. Duncan Campbell later stated in PC Pro magazine that their credit card charges and IP addresses were traced through the Landslide site, and both were found to have accessed sites which had nothing to do with child pornography. The actor and writer Chris Langham was among those convicted.

“Independent investigators later obtained both the database records and video of the Landslide raid. When this information was presented in a UK court, Michael Mead of the United States Postal Service contradicted his US testimony under oath regarding several details relating to the investigation. As a result of the errors exposed in the cases, some people arrested in Operation Ore filed a group action lawsuit in 2006 against the detectives behind Operation Ore, alleging false arrest”.

I will add in here what Jim Gamble said to the Belfast Telegraph about how he came to lead - or rather, ‘review’ – Operation Ore, and become the Head of CEOP: 

"Almost by a quirk of fate one day I was asked to carry out a review of an operation called Operation Ore. Once I completed that review I recommended that because of the complexity of the technology involved, the weight of data coming in, that there needed to be an approach that was child-centred. Within a few days I was appointed as the lead for co-ordination of Operation Ore which for some was seen as contentious. I saw it as a huge success in that identified and located over 100 children and, over the years it unfolded, held more than 2,500 people to account. Having done that I was offered to take on the role setting up what was to become CEOP”.

And so it was that in April 2006, just one year before Madeleine McCann was reported missing, CEOP was formed. Once again, Jim Gamble was entrusted by the powers-that-be with running the entire CEOP operation.


Was Jim Gamble one of the police officers heavily criticised in the Operation Ballast report by Baroness O’Loan?

On 22 January 2007, Nuala O’Loan (now Baroness O’Loan), Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, reported on ‘Operation Ballast’, her investigation into alleged complicity by the police and security services in a series of murders between 1991 and 1997. Link here:,d.bGg

As far as I know Jim Gamble was right at the heart of security and intelligence operations in Northern Ireland at this time. I believe that McCann Team investigator Dave Edgar was also employed in Northern Ireland at this time.

Topics covered by Baroness O’Loan’s enquiry were: 

1) two attempted murders in 1991.
2) the murder of Sharon McKenna on 17 January 1993.
3) the attempted bombing of the Sinn Fein office in Monaghan on 3 March 1997.
4) the blocking by Special Branch of searches during a pre-planned CID operation intended to disrupt the activities of the UVF.
5) the murder of John Harbinson on 18 May 1997.
6) the murder of Raymond McCord Junior on 9 November 1997.

I now quote from specific sections of Baroness O’Loan’s report. The whole report is an absolutely damning indictment of the activities of the Royal Ulster Constabulary but especially of the intelligence services and Special Branch, the areas for which Jim Gamble had prime responsibility. I could highlight in red the whole of these extracts from Baroness O’Loan’s report, but have just highlighted in red those areas that seem to relate particularly to Gamble’s role:
6. We examined Informant 1’s alleged involvement in drug-dealing between 1994 and 2003. 

8. Other issues emerged during the course of the investigation…
32.4.  In the absence of any justifiable reason why officers behaved as they did, the Police Ombudsman has identified from police documentation, records and interviews, collusion in the following areas: 

• The failure to arrest informants for crimes to which those informants had allegedly confessed, or to treat such informants as suspects for crime;
By creating interview notes which were deliberately misleading; by failing to record and maintain original interview notes and by failing to record notes of meetings with informants;
• The failure to deal properly with information received from informants, so that informants were able to avoid investigation and detection for crime;
By arresting informants suspected of murder then subjecting them to lengthy sham interviews by their own handlers at which they were not challenged and then releasing them on the authorisation of the handler;
• By not recording in investigation papers the fact that an informant was suspected of a crime despite the fact that he had been arrested and interviewed for that crime;
• By failing to take steps to hinder an attempted bombing by the establishment of an operation either to disrupt or arrest the alleged perpetrators whose names were known to Special Branch;
• By giving instructions to junior officers that records should not be completed, and that there should be no record of the incident concerned;
• By ensuring the absence of any official record linking a Special Branch informant to the possession of explosives which may, and were thought, according to private police records, to have been used in a particular crime;
• By withholding information from CID that the UVF had sanctioned an attack;
• By concealing from CID intelligence that named persons, including an informant or informants, had been involved in particular crimes;
• By withholding information about the location to which a group of murder suspects had allegedly fled after a murder;
• By the concealment on a number of occasions of intelligence indicating that up to three informants had been engaged together in murders and a particular crime or crimes;
• By routinely destroying all Tasking and Co-ordinating Group original documentary records so as to conceal an informant’s involvement in crime;
• By destroying or losing forensic exhibits such as metal bars and tape lifts;
• By not requiring appropriate forensic analysis to be carried out on items submitted to the Forensic Science Service Laboratory;
• By blocking the searches of a police informant’s home and of another location, including an alleged UVF arms dump;
• By not questioning informants about their activities and continuing to employ informants without risk assessing their continued use as informants;
• By finding munitions at an informant’s home and releasing him without charge;
• By not informing local police of an anticipated attack, and not taking any action to prevent the attack;
• By not using the available evidence and intelligence to detect a crime and to link the investigation of crimes in which an informant was a suspect;
• By some Special Branch officers deliberately disregarding a very significant amount of intelligence about informant involvement in drug dealing in Larne, and North Belfast and in punishment attacks linked to drug dealing from 1994 onwards;
• By continuing to employ as informants people suspected of involvement in the most serious crime without assessing the attendant risks or their suitability as informants;
• By not acting on witness and other evidence received in particular crimes when the suspect was an informant;
• By not considering or attempting to conduct identification processes when there was particular evidence from witnesses about a criminal’s appearance;
• By providing at least four misleading and inaccurate confidential documents for possible consideration by the court in relation to four separate incidents and the cases resulting from them, where those documents had the effect of protecting an informant;
• By not informing the Director of Public Prosecutions that an informant was a suspect in a crime in respect of which an investigation file was submitted to the Director;
• By their failure to maintain the record of intelligence which was the basis for applications for extensions of time in detention to the Secretary of State;
• By withholding intelligence from police colleagues including the names of alleged suspects which could have been used to attempt to prevent and to detect crime;
• By the practice of Special Branch not using and following the practice of authorisation of participating informants;
• By completing false and misleading authorisations and reviews of informants for the purposes of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act;
• By cancelling the wanted status of murder suspects “because of lack of resources” and doing nothing further about these suspects;
• This investigation has examined the activities of police officers responsible for informants over a period of twelve years. On only one occasion have PSNI provided any document indicative of consideration of the termination of the relationship which Special Branch had with any of these informants, despite the extent of the alleged involvement of these informants in the most serious of crimes.

32.5. Special Branch systems for information management, dissemination and retention were seriously defective. In effect handlers, and on occasion controllers, determined what information went into such systems as did exist. Those systems which did exist were not effective. 

33.6 There is evidence that information was withheld by handlers. Instructions were given that matters should not be recorded. The general absence of records has prevented senior officers, who clearly have significant responsibility for the failings, from being held to account. It is abundantly clear that this was not an oversight, but was a deliberate strategy and had the effect of avoiding proper accountability. The former ACC Crime Operations has described this situation as one of “plausible deniability”. 

33.8 Police officers at all levels working in Special Branch very often determined the future dissemination, if any, of intelligence held within Special Branch, to officers outside Special Branch. Had the necessary systems of accountability been in place the situation which is described in this Report should not have arisen. However the reality was that a Constable or a Sergeant could, and did, refuse to divulge information even to senior officers, and the mechanisms by which the decisions of individual Special Branch officers could be challenged were not used effectively by senior officers. The Special Branch liaison officer for any particular investigation, who was responsible for the verbal passing of information, was very often the handler of an informant who was a prime suspect for the particular crime. The Police Ombudsman also identified abuses of the existing controls for dissemination which often resulted in the failure to disseminate information at an appropriate time.

There was no documented record of the reasons for the decision making in this area.

8.3. In the course of the investigation the Police Ombudsman sought the cooperation of a number of retired RUC/PSNI senior officers. Officers who were being treated as witnesses were asked to provide an explanation of Special Branch and CID internal practices during this period. Investigators offered to meet retired officers at venues with which they would be comfortable and at times which would suit them. They were advised of the areas of questioning and provided with significant disclosure of information, at their request. The majority of them failed even to reply. This was despite the fact that witness details would be anonomised in any public statement. Amongst those who refused were two retired Assistant Chief Constable’s, seven Detective Chief Superintendent’s and two Detective Superintendent’s.

Some retired officers did assist the investigation, and were helpful...

8.5. Others, including some serving officers, gave evasive, contradictory, and on occasion farcical answers to questions. On occasion those answers indicated either a significant failure to understand the law, or contempt for the law. On other occasions the investigation demonstrated conclusively that what an officer had told the Police Ombudsman’s investigators was completely untrue.

8.6 The evidence indicates that there was a major failure to ensure to ensure the proper management of Informant 1 and other informants…


So was Jim Gamble instrumental in ordering or authorising people to be murdered? 

In the light of Baroness O’Loan’s report, the question must be asked.

We must also ask if Gamble was one of the police, intelligence and security service officers so severely condemned in this report. 

And as we consider those questions, we need to ask why Jim Gamble was given the task of heading up Operation Ore in 2002 and then entrusted with heading up the brand new government creation of CEOP in 2006. 

Gamble is on record, I believe, as denying that he is ‘named’ in Baroness O’Loan’s damning document. And he is quite right about that. He is not ‘named and shamed’. But was that a cunning evasion? Saying that he 'was mot named' in the report is NOT the same thing as saying he was not in fact one of the anonymous officers mentioned in the report. 

[UPDATE by MMRG: Look at a comparable example from the Madeleine McCann case. We know that on 13 May 2007 Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat, whom she had seen walking past an unmarked police car as part of a PJ identity parade, as the alleged abductor she claimed to have seen walking away from the McCanns' apartment, carrying a child. Later she changed her mind and said the person she saw looked like a man in an artist's sketch with straggly hair and a moustache (even though she had never seen the man's face!). 

Both she and the McCanns' PR spokesman Clarence Mitchell later said, in answer to questions, that they had never 'named' Robert Murat as the person she said she's seen. That was technically true. But it is also 100% true that she had identified him. - MMRG, 14 May 2019]      

But, surely, as the man at the heart of the corrupt, murderous, intelligence, security and Special Branch operations in Northern Ireland, Gamble is also condemned by Baroness O’Loan’s report?

My thesis is that, just like Clarence Mitchell, Jim Gamble is a man who is trusted by those at the very heart of our political establishment to do whatever is necessary.

Is that why both men - Gamble and Mitchell - were handed such key roles in influencing public perception about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann?

FURTHER READING ON CMOMM: 'JOINED AT THE HIP: Starring the McCanns and Jim Gamble':

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