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FOI Act Questions: Who assured Clarence Mitchell that this was 'a rare stranger abduction'?

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FOI Act Questions: Who assured Clarence Mitchell that this was 'a rare stranger abduction'?

Post by Tony Bennett on 23.07.11 9:25

Please see my letter today to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Freedom of Information Act Section:


From: Anthony Bennett M.A.
66 Chippingfield
HARLOW
CM17 0DJ
Tel: 01279 635789 HARLOW
e-mail: ajsbennett@btinternet.com Essex

Saturday 23 July 2011[/size]

Foreign Secretary
Att. Freedom of information Section
King Charles Street
LONDON
SW1A 2AH

Dear Sir/Madam

re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request: Foreign Office briefings to Clarence Mitchell re the McCanns in 2007

On 31 January 2008, the Daily Mail reported as follows:

QUOTE

“British police and child protection officers do not suspect Madeleine McCann's parents of involvement in her disappearance, the couple's spokesman said.

Clarence Mitchell said officials had assured him in private briefings that they were treating the case as one of ‘rare stranger abduction’.

He was speaking last night as he launched an outspoken attack on the "appalling" standards of some media coverage of the disappearance of Kate and Gerry McCann's daughter in Portugal in May”.

UNQUOTE

The report followed his speech at a meeting titled: ‘The McCanns and the Media’ at the London School of Economics the previous day (30 January 2008).

These ‘private briefings’ appear to have been provided by, inter alia, staff of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, hence my addressing my Freedom of Information Act request to yourself.

In response to my FoI Act request of December 2007 [ FOI 0010-08 (CONS 03/2008) ] on related matters, you replied: “Clarence Mitchell was seconded by the Central Office of Information, where he was the Director of the Media Monitoring Unit, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 21 May 2007”.

At the time Madeleine McCann disappeared, Clarence Mitchell was working as the Head of the Media Monitoring Unit at the Central Office Information, and based I understand in the Cabinet Office.

My questions are:


  • 1. How many ‘private briefings’ of Clarence Mitchell were held either by Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff, or which were attended by Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff?
  • 2. On what dates?
  • 3. Who else attended those briefings?
  • 4. Who gave the briefings? - please name all Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials who gave those briefings
  • 5. Did the officials brief that this was a case of ‘rare stranger abduction’ only, or did they brief about other possibilities?

I await hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Anthony Bennett
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Re: FOI Act Questions: Who assured Clarence Mitchell that this was 'a rare stranger abduction'?

Post by PeterMac on 23.07.11 10:21

Chances of a sensible reply to those questions, Tony,
Approximately nil.

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Foreign Office reply to FoI Act questions 21-12-2007

Post by Tony Bennett on 23.07.11 10:26

@PeterMac wrote:Chances of a sensible reply to those questions, Tony,
Approximately nil.
Their responses were quite sensible last time:

From: Anthony Bennett M.A.
66 Chippingfield
Tel: 01279 635789
HARLOW
Essex
CM17 0DJ
Tel: 01279 635789

Friday 21 December 2007

Foreign Secretary
Att. Freedom of information Section
King Charles Street
LONDON
SW1A 2AH

Dear Sir

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request: Foreign Office and Consular Help to the parents of Madeleine McCann

Please answer the following questions in relation in particular to this article which appeared in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ online report timed at 00.01 hours on Friday 4 May 2007:

QUOTE

A three-year-old British girl has gone missing while on a family holiday in Portugal, the Foreign Office said today.
Portuguese police are investigating the disappearance from a holiday complex in Praia da Luz in the western Algarve.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that he understood the girl's parents had gone to have dinner once their children were asleep last night, but returned to check on them only to find the girl had gone missing.

"They reported it straight away," he said, adding that consular assistance was being offered.

UNQUOTE

1. Who was the Foreign Office spokesman who spoke to the ‘Daily Telegraph’?

2. At what time did the Foreign Office first become aware that ‘a girl had gone missing’?

3. At what time did the Foreign Office/British Embassy first decide to offer and provide ‘consular assistance’?

4. Who made the decision to grant ‘consular assistance’?

5. To whom did the Foreign Office speak to, to obtain the details that “the girl’s parents had gone to have dinner once their children were asleep last night, but returned to check on them only to find the girl had gone missing”?

6. On what date was Mr Clarence Mitchell seconded by the Foreign Office to assist the McCanns in Praia da Luz?

7. What was the cost to the taxpayer of Mr Mitchell’s accommodation in Praia da Luz and his travelling, subsistence and all other expenses?

8. Has Mr Mitchell resigned from the civil service permanently, or is there an arrangement in place for him to return to the civil service when his contract as Public Relations Manager for the McCanns ends?

9. What other Foreign Office staff were appointed to help Mr Mitchell and the McCanns? – and on what terms, and for how long?

10. Please provide an estimate of the total cost of Foreign Office and consular assistance to Mr Gerry and Mrs Kate McCann up to 31 December 2007.

I await hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Bennett

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MADELEINE MCCANN - ANSWERS FROM THE FOREIGN OFFICE

Answers supplied by the Foreign Office to the Madeleine Foundation, 1 February 2008 (Summary)

NOTE: This information was supplied under the Freedom of Information Act in response to questions centring around the ‘Daily Telegraph’ publishing an online report timed at 00.01 hours on Friday 4 May, referring to Foreign Office involvement in the abduction of a three-year-old child at 10.00pm the previous evening. I now think it is probable that the ‘00.01’ time is not the correct time that the ‘Daily Telegraph report was filed but that the 00.01 time was left in place when the report was filed some hours later - T Bennett, Secretary, The Madeleine Foundation]

Foreign Office reference: FOI 0010-08 (CONS 03/2008)

QUOTE - verbatim but with parts snipped:

The online [‘Daily Telegraph’] report appears to have been posted 3 minutes after we were notified that a child had gone missing. If this timing is correct, then it is impossible that a Foreign Office spokesman could have spoken to the paper. The timing may be an error. In this case, the duty officer would have spoken to the ‘Daily Telegraph’; however we cannot give any further information due to the uncertainty over the timing.


At 23:58 on 3 May 2007 our duty officer in Portimao received a call from a Mark Warner employee reporting that a child had gone missing from the Ocean Bay Club, Praia da Luz. Out duty officer in Lisbon informed the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Response Centre in London at 00:30 on 4 May 2007.

We offer consular assistance, depending on the individual circumstances of each case, to British nationals in distress overseas. In this case, consular officials provided the appropriate assistance when the disappearance was first reported. The details about the disappearance given in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ article, namely that the girl’s parents had gone to have dinner once their children were asleep that night, but returned to check on them only to find that the girl had gone missing’, were given to our Duty Officer in Portimao when the disappearance was reported.

Clarence Mitchell was seconded by the Central Office of Information, where he was the Director of the Media Monitoring Unit, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 21 May 2007.

In accordance with the Civil Service Management code, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office refunded reasonable expenses incurred by Clarence Mitchell in carrying out his duties of providing assistance to the McCann family in exceptional circumstances. The total amount was £6,230.90.

The Central Office of Information made a statement on 17 September 2007 confirming that Clarence Mitchell had resigned as Director of the Media Monitoring Unit at the Central Office of Information. For any further information, you will need to apply to that Department.

No Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff were specifically appointed to assist the McCanns, although a number of our staff were involved in providing consular assistance to the family. We do not maintain financial records of the individual costs of consular cases.

UNQUOTE
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McCanns apt & hire car


Blood and cadaver alerts
dismissed by UK Government


Retired DCI Gonçalo Amaral: "The English can always present the conclusions to which they themselves arrived in 2007. Because they know, they have the evidence of what happened - they don't need to investigate anything. All this is now a mere 'show off'."

Retired murder DCI Colin Sutton: "I would also like to make the point that Operation Grange was so restricted from the start as to be destined to fail."

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley made public on national TV that Operation Grange is a complete fraud.

Ex-DCI Andy Redwood had a "revelation moment" on BBC's Crimewatch on 14th October 2013 when he announced that Operation Grange had eliminated the Tanner sighting - which opened up the 'window of opportunity', in accordance with their remit, to allow the fake abduction to happen.

Despite "irrelevant behaviour" from blood and cadaver dogs in the McCann's apartment, on Kate McCann's clothes, and in the car they hired three weeks after Maddie disappeared, Ex-Chief Inspector, Ian Horrocks, said: "The thought that Kate and Gerry McCann had anything to do with the death of their daughter is frankly preposterous."

Gerry McCann called for example to be made of 'trolls'. SKY News reporter Martin Brunt doorstepped Brenda Leyland on 2 October 2014. She was then found dead in a Leicester hotel room. Brenda paid the price. She paid with her life.

Ex-Deputy Chief Constable, Jim Gamble QPM, congratulated SKY reporter, Martin Brunt, on twitter for doorstepping Brenda Leyland on behalf of Gerry McCann.

Prime Minister Theresa May introduces Prime Suspect Kate McCann to Royalty: The Duchess of Gloucester.

Good Cop Down: The reality of being a police whistleblower
https://goodcopdown.wordpress.com/