Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

09 - DÉC - Blacksmith Bureau 1




The entire Madeleine McCann investigation began with a lie from both parents and ended with a lie from both parents.

From Beginning to End  

The investigation into the disappearance of their daughter began on May 4 2007, with the taking of police statements from the parents and their friends. Both parents lied in their statements about the crucial matter of how often the safety and condition of the child was "checked" while they were out that night.
Selon le PGR, ce n'est pas un mensonge, mais une non-vérité
Every newspaper and television station in the world still repeats the lie - that the child was checked "every half hour" that evening. In fact, after 8.30 PM the child was "checked" just once, by her father at 9.10. Nobody else ever checked her. She was never seen again.
The investigation into the child's disappearance ended on July 21 2008 with the report by the Portuguese prosecutors' shelving the case. Like a second bookend the parents offered up the lie that they had been cleared. In fact, the prosecutors' report states explicitly that the McCanns could not be cleared because they had refused to come back to clarify the
ir roles in the case.
Stricto senso, ils n'ont pas refusé de participer à la reconstitution des événements de la soirée du 3 mai, puisque, comme arguidos, ils ne le pouvaient pas. Mais ils n'ont rien fait pour encourager leurs compagnons de voyage à  répondre positivement à la demande du Procureur, car 'imaginer que le groupe des 7 se soit dérobé alors que leurs malheureux compagnons désiraient collaborer avec la PJ, alors que le sort d'une enfant était en jeu, est tout simplement aberrant.

It says that, in failing to attend a reconstruction to clarify their roles, 
...we believe that the main damage was caused to the McCann arguidos, who lost the possibility to prove what they have protested since they were constituted arguidos: their innocence regarding the fateful event...

If they had attended, rather than refusing to co-operate with the investigation, then they could have been cleared. They did not do so. They were never cleared. The case was shelved unless and until new evidence appears.


16.12.2009
Such nice people

What is PR? Or rather what is Crisis Management PR? Are you one of the old-fashioned people that believe PR – Public Relations – is about well-bred young ladies offering information packs about the great taste of Cadbury chocolates? The sort of thing, like marketing or advertising, you’d like your dad or your daughter to be in?

Still, even if it’s changed along with everything else you could say that at least PR is about building something, a brand or anything else, even if they fib and manipulate to do it. Crisis Management PR, CMPR, is a quite different ball game. What do you think its USP is? Helping with things like “Baked beans sales in crisis” or “Heathrow Terminal Five being slagged off?” or “BBC blows it by overpaying Jonathon Ross”? Sort of repairing the damage?

CMPR = Communications, Marketing and Public Relations

Don’t be silly, that’s for the kiddies. Take a company at random from Google. Let’s pick this one, Bernstein Crisis Management. Their puff for their services begins, “There's a death or serious injury due to questionable circumstances...”

And that’s it. CMPR is about getting people out of deep s**t by going as far as they possibly can to manipulate the facts and the truth without actually ending up in the nick themselves. For very big fees. It isn’t just about calling press conferences to fib. Much deeper than that. They place questions in parliament; they coach you in how to deal with embarrassing and hostile media interviewers trying to uncover the truth; they arrange for stories to be “given” to the media; and they have good contacts with lawyers, civil and criminal – just in case it goes that far. And if it gets really dirty...

Alex Woolfall, the man who Gerry McCann expressed his gratitude to in the House of Commons, the man who started teaching GM the rules of the game as early as May 5, is a pure CMPR man.
You could, of course, say, “look he just happened to be around at the beginning, he came out to help the Mark Warner company. It was co-incidence that his speciality was as a 'dig you out of deep s**t man', rather than just a PR man, you know, to handle the press. That’s what the pair needed and would have used but he was there.” You could say it, sure. But it wouldn’t be true. How about this, from CMPR experts Hanover Communications?

We helped the McCann family deal with the media storm which surrounded them on their return from Portugal in September 2007. From scratch, we created a comprehensive media handling package within six hours which enabled us to handle 850 media calls in the first week. By giving journalists positive stories to report, coverage turned from hostility to the McCanns to sympathy about their ordeal. This campaign won the crisis communication category at the 2008 CIPR awards.

There's a death or serious injury due to questionable circumstances... No, Mr Woolfall wasn’t a one off.
Why the parents lied, in the most literal sense, from beginning to end of the investigation, we have no idea. Nor is there any wink, nudge, draw your own conclusions, no smoke without fire garbage here. We don't know. And no, we are not campaigning for the case to be re-opened. No, we don't want any action taken against the parents, none at all. We just want to see the disintegration of their revolting spin machine. Just how many people has that machine fooled?
You could ask a random group of people, "how often was Madeleine McCann checked on the night of May 3?" Don't be fazed by the look you'll get, that Oh, God is this a Madeleine McCann freak gaze. Live with it. Of course they give you that look - because they think, as the machine has told them, that it's done and dusted and they know the facts and only loonies go on about the case. That's what the journalists say, isn't it? And they must know, mustn't they?

Go on, persevere. If they give an answer at all nine out of ten will tell you "every half an hour." Then ask those who might be interested, "when were the McCanns cleared by the Portuguese authorities?" The correct answer is, of course, "never". You won't get that one very often - try it and see. One of us, just for once, tried it the other day, at a table that included a senior BBC executive...Yep, that's right. It's quite a spin operation that's pulled that one off.
And the spin machine isn't done and dusted yet. And no, "the McCann affair" isn't just a matter for sad people. It might have been once but when the people at its centre moved from protecting themselves to hurting others by trying to silence them, and then hurt them more by seizing their earnings to hamstring their defence, then it became serious stuff. Step one is to see some of their lies exposed in court, in Lisbon in January 2010. Watch this space: that disarray is going to be much greater by January 12.


19.12.2009

From the shadows

“The reason [the McCanns] ended up doing more than they would have done if this had happened in the UK is because there was a news vacuum,” Mr Woolfall has said. “They knew that the pressure was on them in the absence of any new information coming from police.”
L'emballement médiatique plus important qu'il serait normal au RU est dû au "vide d'information".
Well, we can argue with that, can’t we? But fair enough, let’s accept that the parents of a missing child decided to go on a publicity campaign to gain the world's help in locating her, even though the police had explicitly asked them not to.
On a donc les parents d'une enfant disparue qui décident de faire une campagne publicitaire pour obtenir l'aide du public mondial, bien que la police chargée de l'enquête lui ait explicitement demandé de ne pas bouger.

But they do it. The balloons, the interviews, the posters, the websites, the sobbing BBC stories, the appeals for money, the whole thing. But where does that fit in with the creation of a team for controlling information, not giving it out? Where does that fit in with an effort that from the very first hours was feeding stuff in their own interests? Readers who are interested in the blitz of media stories provided by Gerry McCann on May 4, before he’d had any assistance from professionals, and which concentrated not on alerting others to the missing child but on deflecting criticism, will find a full, documented, study of that day in The Cracked Mirror. It does not make comfortable reading.

Apart from the disturbing emphasis on mitigating factors – the nearness of the restaurant to their apartment, the supposed frequency of the famous checks and so on – the most striking element is the way that the parents were using proxies to tell their stories before they’d ever met information experts like Alex Woolfall, or the media helpers provided by the consulate and the UK government. The proxies were their friends and family who gave interview after interview full of information from Gerry & Kate - self-serving information - while the latter claimed to be “staying silent”. Gerry McCann didn’t need any coaching from Woolfall or Mitchell – he was brilliant at it.
Mais c'est très probablement le produit du hasard et de la nécessité. Il s'agit pour les MC de se protéger de tout blâme venant de leurs proches, il fallait impérativement transférer sur autrui, de préférence un prédateur, une culpabilité que très certainement ils ressentaient. Ils n'ont pas demandé à leurs proches d'ameuter les médias. Ceux-ci désemparés par une compassion qu'ils ne pouvaient manifester en raison de la distance et par leur propre angoisse, s'en sont remis aux médias, d'autant plus que les MC décrivaient une police inadéquate, des opérations inappropriées et un sentiment d'abandon.
At publicity? No. The publicity skills came from others – from the volunteers, including his stunned family who piled in to help as the effort got off the ground. Gerry wasn’t an expert at publicity – he was, from day one a genius at its opposite: denying publicity to areas he didn’t want clarified and limiting access to information – all without being seen to do so. Working in the shadows. By Proxy. Last night, on a bitterly cold December evening, Peter Lawrence, the 63 year old father of a missing woman, stood in King’s Cross railway station handing out leaflets while waiting for the big screen to show pictures of his daughter. It was a publicity event, to try and find out more about her whereabouts. The contrast couldn’t have been more stark. Here was a man standing in the open, willing to look people in the eye and answer their questions. No spokesmen hiding him. No friends & family spinning out different versions. Nobody standing in the shadows agitatedly clutching his mobile, telling others what to say - or not say. No team.

What we want (sur les déclarations d'Ed Smethurst)

We don't know anything about what happened to Madeleine McCann. Not a thing. That's for the sleuths. No claims from us that the parents had any involvement, let alone responsibility for, the disappearance of their daughter. Our subject is what's happened since then, and how the parents' attempts to protect themselves have degenerated horribly from defence to assault - an assault on Goncalo Amaral and on the truth itself.
On ne sait pas ce qui s'est passé, comment Madeleine MC a disparu, mais on sait assez bien ce qui s'est passé après grâce aux déclarations que les parents de Madeleine ont faites à la presse. Avec complaisance, mais pour le bien de Madeleine. Avec un esprit victimisant, mais pour répondre au besoin compassionnel du public.

They run a murky and nasty spin machine - built on the sympathy and decency that was offered to them as a gift when the child disappeared - which has become an enemy of the truth.

Edward Smethurst (legal co-ordinator), explique dans le Panorama (BBC) que les MC ont été voctoùes d'un procès ourdi par les médiast : Nous divulguons ici des données en partie en raison des spéculations et des perceptions médiatiques ; il nous incombe de montrer la vérité aux médias et en particulier de tenter d'éliminer les théories sans fondements qui circulent sur l'implication des MC afin que l'attention médiatique puisse se focaliser à nouveau sur l'enlèvement. 
Part of the reason why we're here disclosing evidence to you today as opposed to keeping our powder dry is a recognition that there were two strands to this case, part of it is the criminal case, but part of it is the media speculation and the media perception, and we see it as incumbent upon us to portray the truth to the media and in particular to try and expunge any ill-founded theories about Gerry and Kate's involvement so that the media attention can focus back onto the abduction and therefore onto the fact that we have a missing little girl out there. In the modern world the choice is always inescapable: you cannot get away from the media, you must work with it – meaning use it.
La devise inculquée aux MC très vite est la suivante : dans le monde moderne on ne peut esquiver le choix : on ne peut pas se débarrasser des médias, il faut travailler avec eux, autrement dit les utiliser. Sous-entendu, sinon ce sont eux qui vous utilisent.

GMC told the House of Commons Select Committee:

The first impressions really started on day one when we came back to Praia da Luz having spent the day in Portimao at the police station. Clearly, there was a huge media presence there already...

Quand ils revinrent de Portimão le soir du 4 mai, ils avaient passé la journée au commissariat, ils furent surpris de voir les rues si calmes de PDL encombrées de véhicules, d'équipement TV, de journalistes, d'antennes, etc. Ils n'en croyaient pas leurs yeux. Était-il encore temps de faire machine arrière ?

First impressions? But Sir Gerald, the media pack had been alerted and summoned by you, your family and your friends.It’s a very powerful machine, as the results show. Using the three channels the same piece of information can be sent out, modified, amplified and spun in not just three different ways but more – Clarence the Coffin can then add further off the record responses when the news desks ring him back for "clarification" of the various versions, as they've been asked to do. Off he goes, telling them what he is to be quoted as this time - “a pal”, a “family friend” “a person close to the parents”. All, of course, except for the “daylight” stuff like the rigidly controlled or scripted interviews, is completely deniable. That was the most important lesson that Gerry learned from Sheree Dodd, a political spokeswoman. Deniability.


Lift Consulting, the Portuguese PR company with the McCanns amongst its clients. As we mentioned yesterday they seem to have a number of whistleblower employees who claim the agency has been planning to throw more dirt on Gonçalo Amaral. And just happen to have told GA’s supporters, in confidence about it.
The right to live for the rest of our lives without accusations after we've been acquitted by the courts. "Depois de terem sido inocentados pelos tribunais," is what the statement says. The Law, my lords, is a funny thing
Carter Ruck have a problem. Normally in a big libel case you whack the other party with a “full disclosure” demand which means you have access to all the information relating to the alleged libel – computer records, everything. It costs time and money to meet the demand, sometimes enough to make the other party withdraw right then, and it provides the lawyers with masses of data to trawl through and make their case with your information. But in this topsy-turvy case there’s nothing for CR to find! It’s all out in the open, eleven thousand plus pages of the police case files, material from the investigation that Goncalo Amaral says is the basis of The Truth of the Lie. And worse, however deeply CR look into those files – and leaving aside the fact that someone is going to have to pay tens upon tens of thousands for the translated trawl - they will never find the evidence to show that Amaral is wrong and the parents are in the clear – because it isn’t there. How do we know it isn’t there? Why, from the very document that the McCanns put into court to get the Portuguese injunction – the famous prosecutors’ summary report that the McCanns say “cleared” them and that will be at the heart of the appeal on January 12 and, as things stand, in the full libel trial in the future.

But, as Goncalo Amaral has written in his latest book:

It is also no secret that, in the case, the Public Ministry had a choice of two types of archiving, as follows: 
1) an archiving due to "enough evidence" having been collected to prove that there was no crime or that the arguidos did not commit the crime in any way, or 
2) an archiving because it was not possible to show enough signs of a crime having taken place or who its authors were, with the result that the evidence does not lead to a reasonable likelihood that the arguidos will be convicted in a trial. [all my " "]
En fait le fond de la question est que le crime n'a été reconnu mais n'a pu être déterminé. Donc aucune accusation possible.

Archive reason one would indeed have led to the McCanns being "cleared". And Adam Tudor as well as M/S Duarte could have sent their office juniors into court to plead the case, so easy would it be to defeat Goncalo Amaral and cop their 1.2 million. Unfortunately for them the record shows that did not happen. They were released from arguido status under reason number two. Game on!
 
During the night Gerry and Woolfall would contact "friends & family" in the UK by phone and email, synchronising the stuff that would appear in the home media in the morning. Then, that same morning, the waiting newspeople in Praia de Luz would receive a schedule of statements, interviews and media shoots. The PDL content was primarily Woolfall's with a big, big emphasis on the visual. In the trade it's known as awareness marketing, where you concentrate on keeping your brand in the public eye, getting your message across subliminally - as the ad directors sometimes shout, "f*** the words, show the faces, show the tits!" And that fitted in nicely,didn't it? Because, as the pair kept repeating, they weren't allowed to say a single word about the investigation to anyone, anywhere, because of the famous secrecy rules.
L'obligation de ne pas dévoiler le cours de l'instruction a servi merveilleusement l'injonction de se concentrer sur le visuel, plutôt que sur les paroles : l'image frappe davantage.
Funny that, though, because the UK friends and family stuff, organised by insomniac Gerry and the faithful mobile, and almost certainly out of Woolfall's earshot, was absolutely stuffed with information about that very same investigation, material that could only have come from Kate & Gerry and which served a different purpose from the PDL stuff. And, as if two different lines of communication for two different sets of messages wasn't enough, Gerry was now getting a third.


The Coffin appears

The UK Foreign Office, by now quite comfortable with the Blair celebrity culture - as TB himself might have said, "there's nothing bigger than a sob-celebrity " - sent out a spokesperson, the wonderfully named Sheree Dodd to help out. She was really only there because most victims of serious crime confronted with the media wolf pack on their doorsteps, want said wolf pack to vanish and leave them alone, preferably by disappearing painfully into a hole in the ground or being fried by a lightning bolt. Sheree was there to protect them.

Le Foreign Office leur envoya très vite une porte-parole, Sheree Dodd, dont la mission principale était en fait de les protéger du harcèlement médiatique infligé aux victimes sous prétexte de compassion. Mais les MC ne semblaient pas vouloir quelqu'un qui s'interpose entre les médias et eux pour faire respeter leur vie privée.

As she very rapidly found this pair weren't quite like any crime victims she'd ever known and, no, the McCanns weren't in need of someone to answer the door and say "Kate & Gerry have asked for privacy. M/S Justine McGuinness, eventually to be followed by the lugubrious failed newsreader Clarence "Coffin" Mitchell. What a combo! And, once the balloons and the fund and all the rest of that dream-like campaign took off, a publicity machine like nothing ever seen before was running daily.  Brilliant Stuff!
All with the sole aim of keeping Madeleine's face in the public eye in order to get her back.

Le seul objectif était que l'image de Madeleine reste dans les esprits afin d'avoir une chance de la récupérer (disaient-ils).

 By May 12 we had triumphs like this, orchestrated mainly by Alex Woolfall.
Mr. and Mrs. McCann attend a special birthday mass in the village where they say they are convinced Madeleine is alive. Celebrities including JK Rowling and Sir Phillip Green donate towards a £2.5 million reward being offered for Madeleine’s safe return. Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, expresses his sympathy for the parents and later talks to them offering to do "'anything he can to help'".
And these, all orchestrated by Gerry McCann. Spot the difference.

5 May. Family friend Mrs Renwick said the McCanns...felt let down by police.

6 May. Mr McCann's sister Philomena criticised the Portuguese police for initially "playing down" their response to the disappearance.

8 May. Members of the family are understood to be growing impatient with the response of police in the Algarve to Madeleine's disappearance.

10 May. Kate's mother calls for an end to criticism about the parents' decision to leave their children sleeping in their apartment while they ate at a nearby restaurant.

14 May I have sat at that table, I know how diligent Kate and Gerry were about checking the children, says Mrs Healy.

What was that? Where does this stuff fit in? Find out what he's doing! Let’s forget the history for a moment. 
Update on January 12, Daylight Tuesday. The Team are still in disarray. They cannot decide whether to go back to Lisbon or not or how to handle the suddenly strengthening Amaral group. Word is that Carter Ruck – we don’t know about Duarte – can’t do better than a 50/50 estimate whether the injunction will be lifted or not, news that came as a shock to the pair, and particularly KM, since they’d been thinking it was a walkover. Gerry doesn’t know whether to attack or defend, to go for the hate vote or the sympathy school; the advice he’s getting is in conflict and the tension is rising, as anyone who reads the multi-authored and thoroughly downbeat “Christmas Update” can tell. And if they go back they risk being ridiculed and humiliated again, either by another no-show or the lifting of the injunction. If they don’t go then the one implied message they are truly terrified of – that Amaral has them starting to hide - will be out in the open. What to do? It is now Amaral who is calling the tune, for the first time since August 2007, and, like then, they aren't sure of the strength of his hand - they still haven't been able to find out whether the illness was the real thing or a trap (it was the former actually). The McCanns’ Portuguese PR company – yes, they’ve got yet another! - came up with a Big Plan: leak more fibs about GA in the hope that angry responses will help them read his intentions. They’ve done it, in Lisbon. Nobody, so far, has bitten. The truth doesn’t need a team. Gerry McCann paid tribute to the fabled “expertise” that Alex Woolfall brought with him when, wearing his suit, he lectured the hushed and celebrity-struck nonentities of the Select Committee that day, an occasion that stands right up there with the ambush of an uncomprehending Pope in the Vatican as an insult to a historic institution. In fact don’t get me going on those showbiz betrayals, one of them a deliberately arranged publicity stunt in a spiritual centre, the other featuring the two leaders of a news-control team flaunting themselves in the home of free speech. I’m surprised all the bloody statues outside in Parliament Square didn’t crumble into fragments as the pair spoke.[Shakes away disgust at the memory, dismisses comparison with the student who urinated all over a war memorial recently and returns to keyboard and subject.] “Expertise,” eh?

What a PR man, and especially a man in the Crisis Management PR business – remember the motto “someone died or seriously injured in questionable circumstances?" – carries with him isn't so much the teachable skills of his experience - it's a big fat, confidential, address book. An address book with MP’s names and other information, names of government ministers and how to get to them behind their firewalls and, last but not least, just which newspaper editors are sympathetic to just what sort of story, and what sort of approach. A lifetime’s work.
Hospital doctors like the Tapas 9 group don’t have that sort of knowledge. Yes, they knew how to alert the news desks very quickly on the night of May 3, as they have admitted – we don’t do libel here, remember, it’s all true and in writing – but they didn’t know the ins and outs of “angles”, or of keeping a story running day after day, or just how you start getting the media to publish off the record stuff which can’t be confirmed. Or even knowing the names of journalists who specialise in inventing stories over a drink and might be very grateful if they’re offered bits and pieces, no questions asked, to help them along. Clarence Mitchell, whom we shall come to in good time, knew all about them, as he testified in that same House of Commons.


Think about it - where would you start if you wanted to pull that sort of stuff off? Of course there’s another question as well. Why would you want or need to do it?