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 - MAI à AOÛ - Dr M.Roberts 1



@mccannfiles.com



Analysis of McCann media interviews – 30.05.2009
The purpose of this exercise is twofold: to evaluate answers to specific questions, and thereby identify any statements which may be of relevance to issues beyond the immediate interrogative context. When we answer a question, a great many thoughts pass through our minds of which we are unaware, as evidenced by 'freudian slips'. The more complex the context, the more 'considered' will be the utterance, deliberately or otherwise. Pauses, and the insertion of unnecessary elements (uhms, ahs, etc.) are instances of the brain's 'playing for time'. It follows that, in circumstances such as that under consideration here, things will inevitably be said which reference topics outside the realm of immediate relevance. 
The situation may be likened to a Venn diagram, where a given intersection is defined by two or more overlapping sectors. At these points of semantic overlap, we catch a glimpse of the alternative entailment(s). It is not a question of hidden meanings, coded responses or the like. The emphasis is on semantic clarity and logical consistency, not subjective interpretation. 
Due account must be taken also of things which remain unsaid, as in aborted phrases and sudden departures from the anticipated syntax. When we say anything at all, we plan each phrase beforehand. This is evidenced by spoonerisms, where transpositions can occur across as many as seven syllables. An aborted phrase should therefore be viewed as 'not completed' in the active sense, rather than incomplete, the voicing of the terminal aspect being prevented by the speaker, and not simply 'missing'. Though unspoken, it will have been there, as will the thought behind it.
Above all, statements should be taken at face value. People will strive to tell their truth, however idiosyncratic, at interview. Put simply, they will avoid lying and the stress it causes them. Importantly, even if what they say fails to answer the immediate question, it may provide an answer to another question altogether. All but one of the transcripts examined here are of interviews given to the broadcast media. They provide direct and verifiable evidence of statements by the principals, with no appeal whatsoever to reported speech. The presentation that follows is topic-centred. Quoted sources are therefore partial and cross-referenced on occasion.

1. Time of Departure
There is a wealth of witness testimony regarding events at the Ocean Club, Praia da Luz on 3rd May, 2007, in the light of which it is strange that neither Kate nor Gerry McCann appears able to discuss their last recollection of daughter Madeleine, on that fateful day specifically.
Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 : Allow me to take you both back to the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember about Madeleine?
Kate MC : Just a happy little girl. A beautiful, happy little girl
Not 'She was sleeping beautifully' or 'was sound asleep'.
Gerald MC : Just think of all the times... the nice times that we've had with her in our house, and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the twins."
Note that the question sought to elicit the last thing remembered, not a lasting remembrance. GM could not even place Madeleine in Portugal. He describes happy times at home in Leicester. The interviewer tries again later. 
A3 : ...Some questions concerning that night, the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember of Madeleine that day?
KMC : It's a little bit like as I mentioned before, she was very happy, errm... and very loving and, you know, I know Madeleine was very happy with her life. She's special.
Still no specific recollection regarding May 3rd however.
A3 : Kate, you were the last to see her weren't you, because Gerry was playing tennis I believe, isn't that right?
KMC :  (Struggles to answer. Fails to answer).
GMC : I saw her. I saw her and, errm... I thought how beautiful she was and how lucky I was to be the father of three children.
Note that this was in answer to the immediately preceding question of who was the last to see Madeleine, the date reference having now been dropped. To accompany this non-specificity of date, there is elsewhere an adjustment of time. KMC is understood to have raised the alarm, upon discovering Madeleine's absence, around 10.00 p.m. GM et al are reported to have been at the Tapas restaurant at that time.
Jane Hill (BBC) asks: And then on the Thursday night, Kate, when you realised that she wasn't in her bed where you'd left her, did you think, even momentarily perhaps that she'd just woken up, wandered off of her own accord perhaps?
KMC : Not at all, no. (long pause)
GMC : No, I mean, that, I think, was absolutely certain but, you know, before you raised the alarm, we double and treble checked, but we certainly had no doubt in our mind that she'd been taken.
So, GMC appears to have been aware of Madeleine's absence earlier than 10.00 p.m. on May 3rd. (This circumstance is further alluded to under a subsequent topic heading – 'point of departure').

2. Sleeping arrangements
Jane Hill, we notice, spares the interviewees from having to describe the situation in apartment 5A that Thursday night, by telling them what happened herself! But is her supposition confirmed? No, it is not.
KMC : (in BBC Breakfast) Is it right for somebody to go into your apartment and take your child out [of] your bed?
During an interview for commercial television we get the following exchange:
Q: ...everyone's been asking each other the question: 'Would you have left them?' and I've asked myself the same thing... But there must... you must look back and think: 'We did the wrong thing.'
KMC : I mean, the restaurant where we were eating, errm... is on the complex where we're staying and I think the... diagrams that were maybe shown at the beginning of all of this, don't really portray how close it actually is. Errm... I mean, we've said before, it was a little bit... we think it was quite similar to – on a summer's evening at home – eating in your garden, while the children are in your bed, you know, it's that close, errm... you know.
To Jane Hill again, in response to a question about adverse comments, comes this from GM initially:
GMC : ...No one will ever feel more guilty than us for the fact that we were not with Madeleine at that time when she was abducted and whether we'd been in the bedroom next door we would still have felt as guilty, I'm sure, but, you know, you've seen the proximity of the restaurant.
For the moment we should focus attention on the phrase 'whether we'd been in the bedroom next door.' The distribution of accommodation inside 5A was such that there was no 'bedroom next door.' The two bedrooms were separated by a communal living space. Was GMC hypothesizing about themselves, the parents, sleeping in an adjoining apartment? Maybe he was alluding to proximity in terms of their all being in the 'next' bedroom together. A more pragmatic interpretation is suggested by GM's contribution on this subject to ITV.

3. Point of departure
The response on ITV about 'doing the wrong thing' is:
GMC : I think, you know, the messages of support, errm... and from the thousands of people who have said they would either do the same, or have done the same, have helped us, but it will not take away the feeling of guilt – that we will have with us forever – that at the moment Madeleine was abducted, we were not there. And I've tried to rationalise it. We do not think that what we did was irresponsible but it won't take away the guilt but equally, if we'd been in the adjacent bedroom and it had happened, I'm sure we would have felt equally as guilty and, of course, that we're not, but, you know, what has happened is done and we are absolutely focussed from the minute that we discovered her gone, that we have done, and will continue to do, everything in our power to find her.
We shall examine the emphatic references to guilt a little later. For now we observe, once again, mention of another bedroom, this time adjacent. But the only area that either bedroom was adjacent to was the lounge. One need only interpret GM’s previous 'next door' reference as meaning within the apartment, to arrive at a coherent picture. Even had they been in their bedroom at the time, the McCanns would still feel guilty for Madeleine’s having been 'taken' from the adjacent lounge (and then into the bedroom in question, whence she was later removed, as already pointed up independently by KMC). There is, in addition, confirmation here that the McCanns together discovered Madeleine was 'taken' ('from the minute we discovered her gone'). Indeed, GM will later claim (for Antena 3): "…nothing that's happened to us in this time…has come close to upsetting us the way we felt when we discovered Madeleine missing."

4. Abduction – means, motive, opportunity
Much has already been made by the McCanns concerning the first two of these aspects which can be briefly summarised as 'through the window by a paedophile.' But what of the third? Speaking on 'Panorama' KMC confirms:
Yeah, you're right, there was only a small window of opportunity, but...
Whilst earlier in the same interview she says:
They've been watching us over a matter of days, I'm sure.
Now, bearing in mind that people are much less likely to lie under interview, we can pass on from this statement (deliberately qualified by uncertainty - I'm sure, I believe, I'm convinced etc.), to what the McCanns had to say about stalkers to Ian Woods of Sky News:
IW : Looking back, I mean, did you see anything suspicious in the days leading up to her abduction? Did you notice anything? Have you been racking your brains to try and think whether people might have been watching?
KMC : We didn't.
GMC : If we did we wouldn't tell you because it may be important information, but we didn't.
This is both emphatic and equally important information.
IW : Is there a lesson, do you feel, to other parents?
GMC : ...If you think about the millions and millions of British families who go to the Mediterranean each year, really the chances of this happening are in the order of a hundred million to one.
Contrasting what GM himself tells us is an extreme unlikelihood, with the fact that the majority of so-called 'stranger abductions' actually involve the parents or a close relative/acquaintance, we see immediately that any criticism of the PJ's evolved line of inquiry is nothing short of perverse. GM concludes his response to BBC's Jane Hill and her question regarding adverse comments thus:
GMC : If you thought for a minute that someone could abduct your child, of course, you would never have left them but, you know, that was the furthest thought from our mind during... what really was, up until that point, the most idyllic holiday.
In other words, the McCanns thought someone could not (or no-one could) abduct their child. Anything might happen to anyone in principle, but specific misfortunes can only befall us if we are exposed to those particular risks. That’s why insurance is such big business. The McCanns clearly took the view that Madeleine was not available for abduction; that she was secure. Why? Because the apartment was locked, perhaps?

5. Dead or alive
The likelihood of Madeleine having been abducted is vanishingly small when assessed in terms of mathematical probability, and we must therefore consider an alternative fate. A lengthy statement by GM to ITV on 25th May, 2007 opens the door somewhat.
GMC : We truly believe that a member of the public holds the information to unlock where Madeleine is being kept. They either will have seen something, that will lead to the abductor being traced, or they will notice suspicious behaviour from someone, and we truly believe that and I think, you know, we cannot have imagined how successful our campaign to keep the publicity going, regarding her disappearance, has been, but it's because people have seen that and with information technology, the world is so much smaller, we believe that there truly is a feeling here that the people will not allow this to happen and they want Madeleine to be found and everyone is acting, some in big ways; every small piece of action here helps the search.
We begin by discovering Madeleine's fate on departing 5A. She was locked up inside something or somewhere (by the way, how does GMC know that a key is required to access his daughter?). A few months later (October) KMC tells us it's a house:
A3 : Do you still maintain the hope, that is, genuinely believe that Madeleine is still alive?
KMC : I do, maybe even more so, I strongly believe that Madeleine is out there, errm... I think she's probably in someone's house. I don't know why, errm... and I... I suppose it's a feeling but I feel, as Madeleine's mummy, I feel in my heart really that she's there and I don't believe Madeleine's been taken from us permanently. I don't believe that; don't feel it.
(n.b. I believe = I am uncertain. I strongly believe = I seriously doubt. I don't believe (x) = I am more certain of (y) than (x)).

Superficially, it seems KMC is clinging to the hope that Madeleine is 'on loan' somewhere. The underlying logic of her final remark suggests otherwise, as do her various lapses into the past tense when speaking of Madeleine, e.g. the October observation, "I know Madeleine was very happy with her life", and earlier with Jane Hill.
JH: And what sort of activities does Madeleine like doing? Does she get in and muck around with all the other children, that sort of thing?
KMC : She likes running, she played tennis as well, didn't she?
We should also look very carefully at the statement, "I don't believe Madeleine has been taken away from us permanently. It sounds as though KMC is referring to a visit from Social Services. Whilst it is tempting to speculate about a subliminal anxiety, that would perhaps be straying too far afield. The sentence structure is subtle and complex even so; altogether more elaborate than necessary ('I don't believe Madeleine will be missing forever' would have sufficed).
Once more, bearing in mind a universal propensity to avoid telling lies on camera, it is noticeable how KMC steers clear of the ambivalent constructs 'taken'/'taken from us' (references, in common parlance, to someone's passing away) by expedient insertion of the preposition 'away', implying abduction. Her intention is to suggest that Madeleine's absence is a temporary state of affairs, 'permanently' being a part of what KMC does not believe. However, the phrase 'from us' presents an obtrusive and, one might contend, altogether superfluous extension to her argument, as the protagonists in this drama have been identified long since. Leaving aside the expressions of relative certainty and permanence, the residual antithesis of KMC's statement is neither 'Madeleine has been taken from us' (is dead), nor 'Madeleine has been taken away' (removed), but a personalization of the latter. Let us consider theft for a moment. When describing something we've lost to a thief we might say, 'it was stolen'. If more detail were required we might add 'from my car' (house, handbag etc.) none of which necessarily implies that we were present at the time. The statement 'it was stolen from me', on the other hand, immediately makes us a party to the act. It is something of a puzzle as to how, given our instinctual avoidance of telling lies, GM was able to make his unforgettable homecoming statement on the airport runway without showing any obvious sign of discomfort ('...except to say that we played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine.'). Although he substituted 'disappearance' for 'abduction', the opening disclaimer, 'we played no part in', remains troublesome. If this was not lying, might that have been because GMC privately and deliberately misconstrued 'no part' as 'no active part', thereby dismissing any connection with the contributory negligence of child abandonment? Or was he being absolutely truthful? There may be sufficient evidence to confirm that Madeleine was not the victim of a 'stranger abduction', but how do we know someone else did not make her 'disappear'? We do not. And if the McCanns were not directly responsible for any injury to the child in the first instance, then GMC's statement is entirely valid and entirely truthful into the bargain. What this brings us to, I believe, is the very real possibility that the McCanns had help in squaring the situation, and that KMC's statement ("I don't believe Madeleine has been taken away from us permanently.") is alluding, literally, to a handover. 
 
Tacit confirmation of Madeleine's demise comes from both parties at around 25th May, barely three weeks after Madeleine's reported disappearance, when interviewed for ITV.
ITV : What do you think happened to her?
GMC : All I can say is that, you know, the information is that she's been abducted. We don't know who's done it and it doesn't help... speculation really doesn't help us. We know that she's gone, we do not believe that, err... she's dead. I truly believe that she's alive and we will not give up looking for her.
This brief episode is richly informative. The opening remark is a classic. GMC is only prepared to reveal what he can say. There is without doubt something that he cannot. The information (only - not the actuality necessarily) is that she's been abducted. In the next sentence we need to appreciate that the second instance of the pronoun 'it' does not represent the noun 'speculation', which follows an interruption. If it did, GMC would simply have continued with 'to speculate'. There is clearly something else to be added to the phrase 'it doesn't help'; something which GMC deliberately cuts off. The mere insertion of the word 'anyway', for example, would have put a completely different complexion on things. There is an interruption in the next sentence also. Whatever it was that GMC was prepared to announce as something they did not believe, it was not that Madeleine was dead. There is a conspicuous pause for thought, with the result that 'she's dead' becomes dissociated as a stand-alone remark. Adopting the argument that belief equals uncertainty, GMC first declares the child dead, the phrase 'she's dead' being divorced from the antecedent 'We do not believe that', then reaffirms this statement by saying he 'truly believes (he strongly doubts) she's alive.'
ITV : And you've said that you won't go home either but at some point you may have to go home. Whe... At what point do you decide: 'Our lives must continue, we've got two other children, we have to get on?
KMC : I mean, at this... at this moment in time I cannot think about going home without Madeleine, errr... and we certainly have no plans at all to go home with Madeleine... without Madeleine.
This last, telling remark, is complete in itself. 'Without Madeleine' is a corrective addendum.
Madeleine's death would of course imply that the 'abduction' is a charade, just as GMC tells us when he says, "everyone is acting, some in big ways." Superficially it seems as if GMC is expressing gratitude for the magnanimity of the general public, but to suppose that everyone refers to the entire population of planet earth would be presumptuous in the extreme. Everyone ought also to 'take action' if they genuinely mean to help. GMC is clearly not referring to the world as a whole, but to a discrete group of actors, some with bigger parts to play than others.

6. How did it happen and who was responsible?
A3 : There is a theory developed in the press that there could have been an accident on account of the children being sedated. You have denied repeatedly ever giving sedatives to your children to make them sleep, being doctors yourselves...?
KMC : You know, I'm not even going to answer that question I'm afraid.
Is the question beneath her dignity to answer? No. KMC refuses to discuss it because there is something she does not wish to reveal (an echo of the 48 perhaps). But GMC is more sure of himself. 
GMC : I mean, that... it's ludicrous and, you know, these sort of questions, and the publishing of them, are nonsense and we shouldn't be giving them the time of day. There is absolutely no suggestion, errm... that Madeleine (n.b. there is a very deliberate disjuncture/correction to the answer at this point) or the children were drugged and it's outrageous.
The first thing to notice about GMC's reply is that it does not properly answer the question put to him. He says nothing about any previous denial of published comments. But there is something else. At the break in his final sentence, GMC does not correct himself so as to conclude with the phrase 'Errr... the children.' Instead he reinforces the distinction between Madeleine and the children in clearly saying 'Or the children'. Despite Madeleine being a child herself, there are two categories defined here, and it is the latter (the children, as distinct from Madeleine) to which GMC affixes his vague negation of drugging. This leaves the question of Madeleine's sedation open. Furthermore, GMC never refers to the act of sedation, only to the suggestion of it. It is patently not true that there was 'absolutely no suggestion' that drugs were administered. Beaucoup de témoignages sur l'état des jumeaux. It had already been suggested by a number of people – hence the question. So how can this in itself not be a lie? GMC is probably referring to his internal lexicon, wherein 'suggestion' is synonymous with 'evidence.' In the absence of evidence, there can be no suggestion.
Innocence, of a sort, is elsewhere expressed in the course of this same interview when the McCanns answer a question concerning their faith in their friends.
A3 : ...do you have full confidence in them?
KMC : One hundred percent. One hundred percent.
Off camera – of everyone?
KMC : Of our friends, yes.
Des gens qu'ils connaissaient à peine, hormis les WP. This tells us that there is at least one person (not a holidaying friend) in whom KMC does not have full confidence. Recollecting the discussion of Madeleine having been 'taken away from us permanently', this is a further indication of third party involvement.
GMC : Absolutely... and... but... you know, the same way that we will be eliminated, they will, as well. No doubt in my mind about that we are much more optimistic about what Mr Ribeiro, the national director, and Mr Rebelo are saying that all lines of enquiry are open and we know because of our... we know because we are innocent, we know that she was taken.
What do they know and how do they know it? They know that 'all lines of enquiry are open' (including, of course, abduction) and they know this because of their... police contacts perhaps? They also know, because they are innocent, that Madeleine was taken. Innocence in relation to what misdemeanour exactly is a pre-requisite for knowing that Madeleine was taken or abducted? The question concerned the McCanns' confidence in their friends. We have already seen from statements presented under section 3 that the McCanns felt guilty for not being present 'at the moment Madeleine was abducted' (which would, in effect, have prevented her 'abduction'), but were not equally guilty, apparently, for what happened. A semblance of equivocation in May, 2007 then, but none whatsoever come October.
A3 : Investigators are expecting publication of the results of DNA tests which it is thought might incriminate you. How do you deal with that?

KMC : Well, they're not gonna show anything to implicate us, so I'm not... you know, I'm not concerned, If I'm honest.
And if KMC were not honest, what then?
A3 : Since that day, in all this time, nearly six months, is there anything you regret, anything you think you didn't do properly?
GMC : Not from the moment we found her gone.

7. A question of paternity
Having no regrets once she was gone seems an unbelievable thing for a parent to say about a missing child in this situation, but there appears to be a reason for it, which we may move toward via GMC's response to the October question regarding DNA evidence.
We're certainly not scared, you know, if there is anything in the DNA results and we don't know them and we... we cannot know them, and I don't believe anyone in the press knows them either, but there is nothing in those DNA tests, related to Kate and I, that will show anything other than completely innocent.
Besides the break in the statement indicating a suppressed idea, GMC's choice of words is intriguing. Turned on its head, the claim is that 'anything incriminating will not be related to Kate and I.' The reports concerned traces of Madeleine's DNA found in both the apartment and the McCanns' hire car. Why should Madeleine not be related to both parents? It was in this same interview that GMC struggled for a recollection of Madeleine on the 3rd May.
GMC : Just think of all the times... the nice times that we've had in our house, and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the twins.
Look at the end of this sentence. Madeleine in the playroom with what? Her toys? Her guinea pig? No. With the twins. Why did GMC fight desperately to articulate, or rather not to articulate, the phrase so obviously synonymous with 'the twins', i.e. 'her brother and sister.'? People strongly resist lying under interview, remember. Would this identification have been a lie despite GMC's considering how lucky he was "to be the father of three children."? What a strange thought this is to have arisen spontaneously whilst on a family holiday, emphasising, as it does, the three aspect? The notion of children is not qualified in any way. They are not 'fine', 'beautiful', 'adorable' – 'challenging' even. They are simply 'three.' And, taking up from the lack of any regret from the moment of Madeleine's disappearance, we can additionally observe that they were not three after all, but two plus one.  
JH : for the (BBC) How do you look to the future for their (the twins') sake?
GMC : Yeah, I mean, without doubt, they... they help us to continue, you know. This is every parent's worst nightmare and everyone can feel and imagine what we've gone through but, you know, if we'd had discovered all three of the children had gone or if something else had happened, then, you know, we... we'd not have had the same strength and resolution and determination to find Madeleine that Sean and Amelie give us, as well, because we know that they're there, errr... life continues but we need to bring them back... bring Madeleine back as much for them, as for Madeleine, as for us.
This is a particularly revealing statement. First we encounter a definition of the situation as 'every parent's worst nightmare.' Parents are invited to ponder exactly what their worst nightmare might be. A parent myself, I venture to suggest that kidnap might come a close second, but would not top the poll. However, it is the hypothetical scenario following that really raises the red flag: All three children missing – 'we need to bring them back'. But 'them' does not include Madeleine, because the McCanns know that 'they' (Sean and Amelie) are 'there' (not here), and Madeleine is referred to separately. GMC does not say, simply, "bring them all back." And whose interests are served by Madeleine's return? Best served are the twins, least served – the parents, with Madeleine in-between. That's the declared order of priority.

8. Qui bono ?
If the parents are least likely to benefit from Madeleine's return, what might they benefit from? GMC provides a clue in his own on-line diary (parentheses mine):
There's still money in it (the fund). I can't give the exact figure but we have spent, and continue to spend a lot of money with the aim of trying to enhance the chances of finding Madeleine.
As we know, it costs a lot to search for Madeleine (13% of the gross at least). Or does it? GMC is fond of telling anyone who will listen that "all it takes is that one 'phone call'", in which case the true cost of finding Madeleine is a few euros. But the diary entry raises further suspicions. The objective, as stated, does not conform to any of the principles supposedly governing recourse to the fund. I refer specifically to the aim of 'trying to enhance the chances' (of finding Madeleine). In the world of advertising this phrase would be recognised for what it is; a collection of 'weasels'. The clearest illustration that comes to mind is that of treasure hunting on a farmer's field. One person with a metal detector stands a chance of finding it. Two people working together stand a better chance – but only if the treasure was buried there in the first place. The McCanns might hire Interpol if they could afford to, but to what purpose exactly? GMC graciously expands on the purpose of the fund for JH (BBC).
GMC : Well, you know, the fund, errm... was really... really evolved to provide an outlet for people who wanted to contribute financially, and their offers, errr... will help us and are helping us and that has helped us to bring in quite a comprehensive legal team and independent sector, errr... consultants as to what we could and should be doing.
First: The money is to help the parents. Second: The money has paid for a legal team and consultants (recruited within days of the child's disappearance). Third: There is absolutely no mention of funding search activities per se.

Conclusion
Abduction is most unlikely. Madeleine appears to have been sedated and to have died prior to May 3rd, 2007, in which case her parents discovered her in the lounge of the apartment and put her in their bedroom, whence she was later removed by, or with assistance from, an as yet unidentified third party, then taken to a safe house. The parents feel guilty for not being present when Madeleine was taken from them. By 25th May, 'everyone is acting.' There are clear indications that Madeleine was not directly related to both parents and that she was the least favourite child, hence a lack of genuine concern or regret over her disappearance. The fund is principally for the parents' benefit. This synopsis, virtually identical to that of Gonçalo Amaral, is derived from the McCanns' own statements entirely.


Update comment - 04.06.2009
It has been suggested that GMC's comment about the 'key to unlock where Madeleine is being kept' is no more than a confused metaphor. Well it's all of that, and more besides. GMC is, we are supposed to believe, an articulate professional. So why does he stumble over something as straightforward as, 'to unlock the mystery of where Madeleine is being kept?' I would contend that the phrase 'the mystery of' was suppressed because GMC knew the answer. For him there was no mystery, and by not alluding to it he avoided lying. Philomena McCann's interview with the BBC on 04 May 2007, offers up another gem:
Gerry and Kate knew instantly - which is why Kate responded by being hysterical - that someone had snatched her daughter.
So they both realized simultaneously (Gerry did not have to be told) that her daughter was gone.


There's nothing to say that she's not out there alive - 27.06.2009

GMC : She's out there or she's not, and there's nothing to say that she's not out there alive. So it's simple. She's out there until proven otherwise.
The expectation appears to be that, in order to prove she's not 'out there' one must establish her alternative whereabouts. That this is extremely unlikely is reflected in Gerry McCann's confidence that the current situation is "indefinite". Unfortunately for Gerry McCann, the situation isn't the straightforward dichotomy he supposes. There is an equally stark alternative reality, summed up as: 
Either an intruder entered 5A on the night of May 3rd, 2007, or Madeleine is dead.
In embellishing his own 'straw man', Gerry McCann has himself unwittingly introduced a patchwork of possibilities. Two contingent factors are involved: 'whereabouts' and 'state of being'. Organizing these into a simple matrix presents four distinct conditions, one of which must define Madeleine's situation post May 3rd, 2007.
 
As there's 'nothing to say she's not out there alive' we can place a cross in the bottom left quadrant. (Both the syntax and the speaker's vocal inflection indicate that the phrase being negated in this statement is 'alive', not 'out there', an appropriate paraphrase being 'she's not alive out there'. This is easily confirmed by substituting alternative, less emotive phrases, e.g. 'she's not at home, asleep'). We can confidently place a cross in the upper right quadrant also, as this condition represents Madeleine safely with her parents, which is self-evidently not the case. That leaves two conditions, one of which must apply. Gerry McCann has been hiding behind the obvious difficulty in 'proving the negative'. But it's really not necessary, because one can test the remaining positive condition independently by other means. Simply disproving it alone exposes the remaining condition to be true - body, or no body. The original investigation found no evidence of a break-in. Could an abductor have just walked into the apartment? Consider the following statements:
...that's exactly what I felt like, you know, a few minutes before our world was shattered and probably 3 or 4 minutes before Madeleine was taken.
Part of the reason we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the front door.
Notice that they 'ended up' coming through the back, apparently. They did not decide to do so 'early on.' So when was this decision arrived at? It must have been after 9.05 p.m., because Gerry McCann used his own front door key on that occasion, according to his original statement to police. The intruder then had just 3 - 4 minutes to enter via the patio Comment, sous le nez de GMC et JW ? and leave with Madeleine via the window, opening the shutters in the process, while Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins were standing outside (if the abductor didn't open them to get in, he must have opened them to get out. Not only did Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins not hear this commotion but Matthew Oldfield did not report the shutters/window open following his visit to the apartment at 9.30). Subsequent sightings of two different men (as described) moving in different directions, and at different times, counteract each other as candidates.
It did not happen. It could not have happened. And if no unauthorised person accessed the apartment, then Madeleine was not abducted from it. Thus Madeleine McCann is dead, confirmed by the '100 days' statement, in which Gerry McCann refers to 'the belief that Madeleine was alive when she was taken'. What could possibly have happened for the child to have died within 3 minutes of having been witnessed asleep by her father?

Analysis of McCann media interviews II -  06.07.2009
Whether they are being interviewed for American TV or documenting their personal experiences for a domestic audience, contradictions and revelations continue to loiter on the lips of the McCanns. The 'Oprah' dialogue, for example, exposes an alarming self-contradiction by Kate McCann:
KMC : ...there's no evidence at all to suggest that Madeleine's come to any harm.
Yet later we hear:
KMC : I mean the last thing I want obviously is to cause any extra further harm to Madeleine...
Kate clearly knows something about harm done to Madeleine that we do not. Should anyone construe abduction per se to be harmful, they may be comforted to learn that "there's no evidence at all to suggest (it)." But what, then, is the nature of the initial harm for which evidence is lacking? We lack Madeleine after all, but that does not mean she was never there.
A liberal sprinkling of 'justs' in their statements is questionable in itself. 'Just' this, that, or the other, deliberately limits the scope of the observation, whilst 'truly', 'really', 'honestly' are attempts to enforce a sense of veracity.
KMC : It's obviously quite hard thinking about it... sorry. She was just really good company, you know, just, errr... she just, I mean... she just... she's like my little friend, sort of, all the time...
...the ones that Madeleine has done I just can't pull down to be honest.
GMC : Can I... Can I just say, I think the worst thing about, you know, the fact that many people have blamed us and vilified us, and with hindsight you know it was clearly a mistake, with hindsight, but the worst thing for me about that is there's an abductor out there and that person stole our child and went into an apartment and took a child and he's anonymous and blameless.
Given a world population in excess of six billion, there are no doubt more abductors 'out there' than the one singularly responsible for stealing the McCanns' 'child' (a conspicuously impersonal turn of phrase). This person is also responsible for going into an apartment and taking a child (not our apartment and our child, notice). And for all of these misdemeanours he is blameless. Perhaps he did not do it really, or maybe Madeleine was taken without malice. Elsewhere, Gerry and Matthew Oldfield each have further 'just so' stories to tell.
GMC : So, I actually came in and Madeleine was just at the top of the bed here, where I'd left her lying, and the covers were folded down and she had her cuddle cat and blanket, were just by her head. It's terrible because, I , errm... had one of those really proud father moments, where I just thought, you know. I just thought, you're absolutely beautiful and I love you and I just paused for a minute and then, I just pulled the door closed again and just to about there and, errrr... I felt incredibly proud standing there and having, you know, three beautiful children.
MO : Pretty much from the approach down here, you can see straight into the room. So you can see the cots as you are walking in. So it never really felt like there was any real need to, sort of, go all the way into the room. Errm... you could see both cots and see into them from there. I, sort of, ummed and ahhed about the angle and things. All I just know is that I had an unimpeded view and it was just dead quiet, and just... why I didn't take those extra couple of steps in...
A couple of extra steps in from where, exactly? This contribution of Matthew Oldfield's, to the reconstruction that wasn't, is made from half-way across the living room of 5A, from which point he did not have an unimpeded view of very much; only the cots occupied by the twins, which were visible, apparently, through the crack in the door at some distance. According to his earlier police statement, he did not see Madeleine, whose bed was positioned behind the partition wall. It is certainly not out of place to conjecture that, in terms of unimpeded views, Matthew Oldfield’s visual surveillance that Thursday night would have been scarcely less effective from outside the patio doors. Gerry McCann takes up the story:
GMC : Part of the reason we ended up coming through the back was the noise coming through the front door. We didn't want to disturb them (sighs)... stupid, now, isn't it?
What was the other part of the reason they 'ended up' coming through the back? It must have taken until 9.06 p.m. at the earliest for Gerry to arrive at this decision, since he used his own front door key to enter the apartment at 9.05. With the window long since relegated from 'point of entry' to 'point of exit', one is left to ponder how an intruder might have entered via the patio door before Gerry had even unlocked it, or why, on the other hand, Gerry should walk a long way round and knowingly make a noise coming through the front door, if the back door was already open. We interrupt this sentence to bring you... Aborted statements are intriguing as they invariably reveal the subsequent constructs to have been other than at the forefront of the speaker's thoughts.
GMC : (to Oprah) ...Jane went to check on her children and it was at that point she was just past me going up to the corner and she saw a man carrying a young girl with almo... she described independently the pyjamas that Madeleine had on and she didn't see the child's face. She didn't, you know, she saw me there, she'd seen that I'd just been in the apartment and so she... at the time she thought it was something odd, but it didn't raise enough alarm bells to challenge the person or anything.
Mention of a young girl with 'almost the same pyjamas' would have been rather less convincing than describing one with the very same pyjamas. If it were not the same child however, they are most unlikely to have been the same pyjamas. The replacement clause avoids any untruth, substituting instead a comment lacking temporal specificity, and therefore significance, i.e. 'She described independently the pyjamas that Madeleine had on.' The description coming well after the putative event, its author could simply have been provided with the details in the meantime. She 'didn't see the child's face', so the child was not identified as Madeleine. Elle n'a pas vu le visage du ravisseur, donc celui-ci ne peut être identifié. 'She'd seen that I'd just been in the apartment' is an unwarranted assumption, unless she (Jane Tanner) actually saw Gerry McCann leave the apartment, which she never claimed to have done; so too is the clause we are denied by Gerry's change of syntactic direction. During a 'piece to camera' on home soil, Gerry McCann offers up another tell-tale moment of interrupted thought.
GMC : There'll always be a hope, you know, we're living with a carrot, that potentially she could come back and, I think, that makes it more painful, that you don't know and that she's... she's... she's out there and separated from you. It's less raw, errm... less painful on a day to day basis, errm... but it's still pretty painful, (sighs) errm... it's different.
Gerry claims to be living with a vegetable, when in fact he's living with a 'weasel'. 'Potentially she could come back' (of her own accord, maybe). 'Potentially', anything is possible, and Gerry seems unclear as to Madeleine's circumstances. 'She's... she's... she's out there...' Why the false starts? What is it that GMC wishes to say but cannot bring himself to articulate? He even distances himself from the situation through the expedient substitution of subject pronouns (you for we). Kate too offers up a moment of potential significance:
KMC : I mean, how many people carry their children on a cold night, not covered, you know. Nothing on their arms or their feet, no blanket? (probably the same number as leave their infants to fend for themselves while they go out for dinner).
Now, either there's been two people carrying children that way, who haven't come forward to eliminate themselves, or potentially they're related.
Note that Kate refers here to the suspects themselves, not the sightings, describing them not as 'one and the same person', but 'potentially related'. To whom? Each other, or the child they were supposedly abducting?

Family ties
Madeleine seems a precociously independent child, with a considerable propensity for 'coming back' unassisted, as evidenced by her very first entry into the McCann household.
KMC : (discussing family photos) ...well this one I think is really sweet and it's Madeleine just when she arrived home from hospital, erm, to our house.
Kate speaks of her daughter much as one might a dial-up pizza! Mother and new baby typically arrive home together. In Madeleine's case she just turns up at Rothley from the hospital, to the parents' house.
Stricto senso elle était dans cette maison depuis le jour de  l'introduction de l'embryon dans le ventre de sa mère. Il est possible que Kate se représente ce bébé issu de la FIV comme extérieur à elle, finalement elle serait comme une mère porteuse.
Further relationship questions are prompted by Kate's description to Oprah of the 'last few hours'.
KMC : In the last, kind of, few hours that I spent with Madeleine were lovely. Errm... she was really tired... very, very tired, errm... after she'd had tea, dinner, errm... we went back to the apartment, errm... bathed all the kids, and then we... we sat on the couch and we read some stories and had a few little treats and we were all cuddled in and it was nice. It was, errm... it was warm and loving and... and I can remember it quite vividly. Mmm... Yeah, I can visualize it as I'm speaking."
Ces derniers moments ont manifestement été reconstruits, peut-être après avoir lu quelques forums. Tout d'un coup Madeleine est terriblement fatiguée à l'heure du thé, alors que GMC demande à David WP d'aller voir, une heure plus tard, si Kate a besoin d'aide pour amener les enfants sur l'aire de jeu. There are several incongruous aspects to this statement, the first being that the opening word 'in' doesn't belong. Grammatically unnecessary, its inclusion lends a morbid tone to the opening phrase, echoed shortly afterward by the emphasis on tiredness; a notion which has no causal connection whatsoever with subsequent observations. Then one encounters the distributed pronoun 'we', without ever being told its referent. Unless these last few hours occurred at some time other than Thursday evening, as is generally supposed, the initial 'we' could not have included Gerry, who had remained on the tennis court Non, il est revenu du goûter avec Kate, mais le second "we" ne peut inclure GMC and asked David Payne to look in on Kate for him. Nor could it have included Madeleine (if these are the same people who go on to 'bathe all the kids', of whom Madeleine was one). In fact it is not clear that 'we' (that is including KMC herself) bathed the kids at all, as the pronoun is dropped following an interruption to the statement. Someone clearly did so according to this account, but who exactly? There is a hint of inappropriate language here also. In lieu of 'tired out' we have 'really tired... very, very tired', and instead of 'cosy' we're told the situation was 'warm and loving'. And this is followed on video by a self-satisfied smirk. Madeleine's journey home is likely to take longer than her parents' return from the Algarve. Like Odysseus Ulysses she will hardly be recognisable:
GMC : I glanced (at the photographic age-progression image). It's a different child and that is really important. It's not the four-year-old, or nearly four-year-old little girl, and it's hard, because, in our memory, we remember her the last day she was in Portugal and what she looked like.
GMC : It's really important we get this image out, as far and as wide as possible. Because ultimately, we don't know where Madeleine is, and if she was moved out of Portugal quickly, she could be anywhere.
How odd that Gerry should be pleased with an age-progressed image of a different child, and that the parents do not simply remember Madeleine, but remember her 'in their memory' - less a spontaneous act of recall, more a reference to a stored proposition. And how does Gerry know it was Madeleine's last day in Portugal? After two years she could indeed be anywhere, even if she'd travelled by donkey. Given the elapsed time, speed of removal is neither a necessary condition, nor one which supports the argument, hence we may reasonably infer that Madeleine was removed from Portugal, and quickly, this last being extra information. And this begs the question as to why private detectives working for the McCanns should now believe the answer lies in Praia da Luz. However, if the 'answer' is dissociated from Madeleine herself, they may yet be right.

Risk of side effects
During early encounters with the Spanish media, the McCanns steadfastly refused to be drawn on the question of sedatives. Two years later and they persist in replying to such questions without actually answering them.
Oprah W: And then, there were the... the hurtful rumours that you drugged Madeleine or that you gave her sedatives; that you accidentally caused her... her death...
KMC : (After a long pause) I mean we know it's all lies. (what is?)
GMC : It's just nonsense you know, there's no... that people can have theories and that's all it is, there's no evidence to suggest any of that and it's absolute ludicrous, you know, and it's...
Again we have a litany of pronouns with the potential to reference virtually anything other than the subject in question. There is an aborted phrase early on. Might it have been 'no suggestion' (untrue), 'no evidence' (self-incriminating) or 'no chance' (improbable)? Gerry plays safe by veering off topic. Reinstatement of his favourite disclaimer, 'no evidence', occurs in logical relation to people's theories, not the McCanns' capacity to administer drugs. Revisiting the scene of the crime, Gerry offers further food for thought.
GMC : That's the... I think, the worst thing of the lot, that, momentary pause I had at that door, that's actually what it felt like. You know, a few minutes before our world was essentially shattered and probably, three or four minutes before Madeleine was taken and we obviously... absolutely, errr... what's the word? 'Persecuted' ourselves for not being here and, errm... there is no doubt, that not being here at that moment, errm... increased the risk of it.
So, their world was essentially shattered, not by Madeleine's being taken, but as well as. And Gerry was there a few minutes beforehand in both instances. The two occurrences are clearly dissociated, as the time before Madeleine's being taken is not identified with the few minutes leading up to the previous event. "...there is no doubt, that not being here at that moment, erm increased the risk of it." What risk? Gerry is on record, repeatedly, as saying that if they'd thought for one moment there was any danger in leaving their children unattended, they would not have done it. They considered the situation safe. All of a sudden their momentary absence enhances a known risk.

Endgame
GMC : She's either out there or she's not and there's nothing to say she's not out there alive. So it's simple. She's out there until proven otherwise.
Well, it's not quite that simple. The revealing paradigm which Gerry unwittingly introduces is discussed elsewhere. Essentially, disproving entry into apartment 5A by any unauthorised third party leads to the inescapable conclusion that Madeleine is dead.
KMC : ...often, you know, police do say the name's in the files. It was always there, but you just need other bits of information, really, to come in; to basically highlight the name. At the moment there isn't a big arrow and an asterix (sic) by the name.
But it is there nevertheless, isn't it? So whose name might it be?
GMC : Someone knows the information and someone knows who took Madeleine and someone knows where she is.
Is Gerry referring here to three separate individuals, or one and the same person? Compare this statement with something he said during an interview for ITV on 25 May, 2007:
GMC : All I can say is that, you know, the information is that she's been abducted.
From the outset then, Gerry McCann 'knew the information'. One could be forgiven therefore for contemplating a connection between Gerry McCann and the 'trinity' to which he himself has alluded. Interviewed for SKY Television 100 days after Madeleine's disappearance, Gerry made the following extraordinary statement:
GMC : Everything we have done during the last hundred days has focussed on the belief that Madeleine was alive when she was abducted.
The implication is quite clearly one of uncertainty; an uncertainty which dictates that Madeleine was not alive when removed from the apartment, since she would not have been abducted unless she were alive. We all experience speech errors from time to time and this may indeed be one, in which case we should hardly expect Gerry to repeat it. Yet, when interviewed for the BBC's Panorama programme, The Mystery of Madeleine McCann (broadcast on 19 November, 2007), he did exactly that, and more:
GMC : Kate and I strongly believe that Madeleine was alive when she was taken from the apartment. Obviously we don't know what happened to her afterwards...
Not only is the uncertainty shared, but it is exacerbated (they strongly believe). Furthermore, this uncertainty pertains unequivocally to Madeleine's well-being inside apartment 5A. Their knowledge is restricted to circumstances within the apartment because they 'don't know what happened to her afterwards'. So, why might Madeleine have been dead while still inside? This is a question only the McCanns can answer, and no amount of looking for clues 'outside the window' can help them do so.
Ils ne peuvent savoir si MMC a été emmenée morte ou vive, bien qu'ils puissent imaginer qu'un enlèvement suppose un enlevé vivant, sinon on ne parle plus d'enlèvement, mais de recel de cadavre.
L'argument de l'enfant emmenée vivante date d'août 2007 et est liée aux alertes du chien EVRD.


Blinking Liars - 18.07.2009
Blinking is a subconscious activity, necessary for the on-going maintenance of the eye. Under normal circumstances a person can expect to blink between 15 and 20 times per minute, or about 15,000 times per day; rather less if engaged in activities requiring concentrated visual attention, rather more if experiencing negative arousal, such as may be occasioned by nervousness or stress. Since deceptive behaviour is allied to negative arousal, one might reasonably suppose a relationship to exist between a person's degree of veracity and their blink rate, attempts at deception being accompanied by higher blink rates than truthfulness. Such a pattern has been formally demonstrated, in several separate studies, inviting the conclusion that the influence on blink rate of the stresses associated with deception, is a reliable effect and not a coincidental phenomenon. Put simply, a liar will blink more frequently than if they were telling the truth. At the commencement of the McCanns' interview with Amanda Walker of Sky News (9 August, 2007), we are not given an adequate view of either Kate or Gerry's face, but from 15 seconds in, until the end of the first full minute (i.e., 45 seconds in total), we see Gerry blink no fewer than 40 times whilst engaged in answering the first of several questions. That's more than double the normal blink rate. Kate blinks 25 times in the same period. If what the McCanns do with their eyes should tempt one to call their words into question, so too do the words themselves. An interview such as this is no platform for displaying a politically correct 'erudite yet evasive' demeanour, but that is what is attempted here. Little if anything the McCanns say is straightforwardly said, in consequence of which we encounter moments of linguistic confusion betraying a chaos beneath. For example, in attempting to justify leaving his children unattended, Gerry cites the following hypothetical circumstance:
GMC : Whether it be you're downstairs or the child's upstairs...
These are not 'either/or' situations, but one and the same state for goodness' sake. Elsewhere Gerry enthusiastically embraces the use of technology to advance the search for Madeleine:
GMC : We've used the Internet to try and raise Madeleine's awareness.
Raise her awareness of what? What's going on in her absence presumably. Instead of claiming the attention of other people, we have Madeleine described as a latter day Lazarus. And the confusion does not end there. He goes on to target other missing children inappropriately later.
GMC : ...give renewed interest to other missing kids.
That's it then. Give them something to occupy their minds while they wait to be discovered. Similarly inconsistent logic on Gerry's part is revealed when he refers to 'our own kids', without having previously mentioned other children; a disjuncture which places a curious emphasis on the phrase in question. This interview is by no means the McCanns' first exposure to the media, although it did come at a time when they were subject to increasing scrutiny. If it wasn't the novelty of the situation giving rise to internal conflict however, what was it? Probably the same dilemma that prompted immediate substitution of the word 'misery' for 'grief' shortly after the repetition of a rather dubious statement:
GMC : Madeleine is missing and we're just doing our absolute best to maximise the chances of her being found.
This reprises a closing remark made in answer to an earlier question, viz:
GMC : ..everything we have done is to increase the chances of her being returned.
Not to be outdone, Kate too sheds a revealing light on the McCanns' collective thoughts:
KMC : We still strongly want to do what we believe's the right thing to do; what's the right thing for Madeleine; what's the right thing for us...
What do we have here? The answer is best couched in terms of what we do not. 'We're doing the best we can to find her' is spurned in favour of a 'weasel' and a migration into passive language (a deceptive device which dissociates the speaker from the action in question). Essentially, we are not trying to find her, just improving the chances that someone else might. The same claim could be made by someone handing out torches to the search party. The natural hope that a missing child might be discovered alive is nowhere expressed. Added to this we have Kate's 'strongly' wanting 'the right thing for Madeleine', then 'the right thing for us...' That she doesn't merely want to do the right thing seems hardly comforting. Equally unconvincing is that the right thing for Madeleine is not unambiguously identified with the right thing for her parents. Still, we do have Kate's moment of unalloyed contrition:
KMC : We're just sorry we weren't there at that minute.
Now which minute was that? The one during which the abductor entered 5A, the one during which he picked Madeleine up from her bed, having already waited inside while Gerry came and went (Gerry was there for that minute, at least), or the one he took to open the shutters and carry Madeleine out through the bedroom window?
We know how sensitive Gerry McCann can be to questions which allude in any way to 'the investigation'. Here too he cites the investigation as his reason for avoiding the subject of customarily leaving the children unattended in the evenings, but when asked for his feelings about the more recent upsurge of negative opinions expressed in his own local newspaper, he is more forthcoming: "I haven't read the comments" ;"I have no idea who's written them."

"I don't know who the people are or what they have written." In other words, he doesn't give a tinker's cuss. And when, in conclusion, Kate is invited to say something to Madeleine, for the child's benefit, she cannot bring herself to talk to her daughter, only about her little girl, who seemingly disappeared in the blink of an eye.



In The Mind's Eye - 19.07.2009
The following extract is taken from an obituary article on Professor Martin T. Orne (Feb. 18, 2000) by Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Elaine Woo: "Orne's expertise in hypnosis played a pivotal role in the 1981 trial of Kenneth Bianchi, the former security guard who confessed to killing five women in the Hillside Strangler case of the late 1970s. "Attorneys for Bianchi argued that he suffered from multiple personalities that emerged during hypnosis by several trained experts. "Two of the experts told the court that Bianchi was faking. One of them was Orne, then director of Pennsylvania Hospital's Institute for Experimental Psychiatry. "Orne had tricked Bianchi using a so-called double hallucination test when Bianchi appeared to be under hypnosis. It involved introducing Bianchi to his attorney, who was not actually present. Nevertheless, Bianchi shook hands with the imaginary attorney and engaged him in conversation. "Then Orne had the actual lawyer enter the room, which flustered the admitted serial killer and caused him to explain that the imagined attorney had disappeared. His anxiety and statement that one of the "two" lawyer figures had inexplicably vanished convinced Orne that he was not telling the truth. "The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge assigned to the case, now state Supreme Court Justice Ronald M. George, subsequently ruled that Bianchi had faked hypnosis and feigned his multiple personalities. He said he based his ruling in part on Orne's testimony, citing his credentials as the most impressive of the six specialists who examined the murderer." This case is particularly fascinating for another of Orne's insightful 'tests', which the LA Times author does not describe, and which serves as an intriguing pointer to certain behaviour exhibited by Gerry McCann. Orne had his doubts about Bianchi from the outset. Realising the difficulty in exposing his psychosis as fraudulent, he proposed an experiment to the Prison authorities, which he later went on to conduct during interview. As Elaine Woo's article explains, Bianchi sought to evade the ultimate penalty on account of his 'personality' disorder, claiming it was an unruly alter ego which had carried out the murders of which he stood accused. Orne’s wonderfully inventive approach was to exploit something he knew to be true from his many years studying behaviour under hypnosis; something he knew that Bianchi did not - information fed to the conscious mind does not find its way through to the sub-conscious as represented under hypnosis. Whilst discussing Bianchi's condition openly with him, Orne let slip that, in his experience, multiple-personality disorder was precisely that, i.e., the sufferer was likely to be playing host to several competing selves. So far only one had revealed itself. Bianchi fell for it, and the next time they met displayed, while seemingly under hypnosis, the emergence of an additional persona.

And so to the matter of Madeleine McCann.The ITV programme Tears, Lies and Videotape, first broadcast, on 18 May this year, reminded us very clearly of the Shannon Matthews case:
(Voiceover) "24 hours after she made the 999 call, the distraught mother, Karen Matthews, comes out of the house to make an appeal before the TV cameras."
Shannon, if you're out there, please darling, come home. We love you so much. Me and your Dad. Your brothers. Your sisters. Everybody loves you. Your Dad's missing you so much, Shannon. He's even out looking for you. Please come home, Shannon. If you're out there, come home. If anybody's got my daughter, my beautiful princess daughter, please bring her home safe. I need her home.
Compare this statement with one made in Praia da Luz, 24 hours after the apparent disappearance of Madeleine McCann, as featured in a Sky News report of 5 May, 2007:
(Ian Woods - Voiceover) "Last night the family emerged to make a brief appeal for help from the public:"
GMC : Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling as the parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine. We req... request that anyone who may have any information related to Madeleine's disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese Police and help us get her back safely. Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.
In closing, reporter Ian Woods informs the viewer "At the moment this is still a missing person enquiry rather than an abduction."
The two situations are directly comparable. The first announcement, an unscripted statement, opens with the mother, Karen Matthews, addressing her daughter emotionally and directly. She continues to do so until closing with an appeal to any possible captor. For the McCanns, in contrast, it is the father who speaks. Reading from a prepared statement, he first of all refers to the parents' suffering. He then proceeds to appeal for information which might lead to Madeleine's return. Finally he speaks directly to Madeleine's potential captor. Madeleine is not addressed directly at all.
There is a further subtle, yet telling difference between these 'appeals'. Karen Matthews asks of any abductor that they 'please bring her (Shannon) home safe.' Gerry McCann on the other hand asks for help to 'get her (Madeleine) back safely.' The first is an adjectival reference to the person, the second an adverbial qualification of an action. Actif vs Passif plutôt. Someone receiving their late lamented pet intact from the taxidermist would consider the delivery to have been accomplished safely, for example. Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20, and we all now know the truth behind the disappearance of Shannon Matthews. But if we wind the clock back and treat these opening salvos equally, what do they tell us? A priori the circumstances are the same: distraught parents appealing, within 24 hours, for the safe return of a missing child. On the face of it, neither knows the status or whereabouts of the missing person. Karen Matthews speaks directly to her daughter. Gerry McCann speaks about his. This discrepancy has nothing to do with individual optimism. Interviewed for SKY Television a little later in the year, Gerry goes on to say, "Everything we have done during the last one hundred days has focussed on the belief that Madeleine was alive when she was abducted." The ramifications of this particular remark have been discussed elsewhere. Suffice to say here that, according to Gerry McCann's own beliefs, there was no apparent reason for the McCanns to be pessimistic as to the outcome of initial searches for their daughter. What do we deduce from these comparisons therefore? Simply by re-inserting into the equation the wisdom of hindsight, we can say with confidence that Karen Matthews was emotionally able to speak to her daughter, because she knew full well that Shannon was alive. The concomitant explanation of Gerry McCann's completely and utterly impersonal approach to the very same situation, is that he already knew Madeleine was dead. The irony in all of this is that neither Karen Matthews nor Gerry McCann could be said to have made an overtly deceptive statement at the time. Each was an accurate, albeit less than honest reflection of the relevant circumstances. Crucially, in the case of Madeleine McCann, it is this very matter of circumstance which continues to resist resolution.



Who were you with last night? - 31.07.2009
"...out in the pale moonlight." "It wasn't your sister, it wasn't your pa..." So goes the old music-hall song. In the context of the McCann case come 7th May, 2007, we may add, without fear of contradiction, "it wasn't your ma either." If it were, then Kate McCann should not have found herself in such an 'appealing' position on that date. Between them however, the McCanns succeed in turning 'appeal' into 'reveal.' In a previous analysis for McCannfiles, I touched on the possibility of third-party involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The pointers, though obscure, are there, and this brief episode as good as confirms it. Kate no sooner gets her piece to camera underway than Gerry casts a critical glance in her direction. This confirms two things: an error of verbal judgement on Kate's part, and awareness of it by Gerry. What did she say that was so wrong?
We would like to say a few words to the person who is with our Madeleine, or has been with Madeleine.
Half a century or so ago the phrase 'been with' would have had a sexual connotation. Given speculation on the part of some observers as to the predilections and peccadilloes attributable to this holidaying fraternity, a similar interpretation might seem a propos in this instance, but the basis of the remark is, I believe, more Machiavellian than sadistic. We all know the mantra by now: "There is an abductor out there..." But Kate is not addressing herself to an abductor. An abductor, like a thief, is someone who actively takes things, i.e. people. Instead Kate is deliberately intent on saying a few words to someone who is, and has been, passively accompanying their daughter. This is no David Copperfield look-alike, who opens locked doors in no time at all, has the patsy immediately under his spell, and whisks them away in a puff of smoke through an improbably small orifice, unnoticed by all and sundry (except the one member of the audience who wasn't paying proper attention to the trick in the first place). This is not a 'take charge kind of guy', but a passive agent, who didn't need to take the initiative because it was taken for him. Not exactly the public message the McCanns intended. And Gerry is clearly not happy about it. As most students of this sordid affair will appreciate, there are very many facets to it with which legal practitioners would have a field day, given the opportunity. But whilst the McCanns' private detectives are spuriously looking for an abductor, perhaps other investigators should be looking for this passive agent to break the case. The conclusion that Madeleine is dead follows inescapably from evidential dismissal of any illicit entry into apartment 5A (see previous McCannfiles article - 'She's out there or she's not', for discussion). Although it is not a crime, necessarily, to keep company with a corpse (it happens daily, in funeral parlours worldwide), body-snatching is another matter, as I rather suspect it is still on the statute book. One thing is certain, since the McCanns ceaselessly remind everyone of the fact, this person is still 'out there.' Kate McCann has elsewhere informed us that she has 100% confidence in her friends, but in such a way as to signal that there is someone, other than a friend, in whom she places rather less trust. Since this person is not a member of the McCann coterie, then he must be in somebody else's pocket, metaphorically speaking. We are informed through the Archiving Dispatch in this case that "...apart from the English friends that were with them on holiday there, they had no known friends or contacts in Portugal." Yet when asked by reporter Sandra Felguerias whether he knew Robert Murat, Gerry McCann replied without hesitation: "I'm not going to comment on that." He does not say 'no', neither does he wish to say 'yes', the absence of a firm denial making the positive answer much more likely to be the correct one. As the following quote illustrates, the press, at least, appear to have put the converse question to Robert Murat, i.e., was Gerry McCann previously known to him?
I've never met the man before and the idea that I'd met him when he was campaigning for the Labour Party is laughable. I've been a Conservative all my life. (Robert Murat on Gerry McCann, Daily Express, 14 September 2007).
If it should transpire that Murat was, in some sense, previously known to Gerry McCann, even though they might not actually have met, who else might the McCanns have known? In answer to a question put to him shortly before the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, Gerry says (of Praia da Luz):
We've wanted to go back for a long time. I think that's the first thing to say. We've got, errr... a lot of friends in Praia da Luz. We've had tremendous support, particularly from the community and the... and the Catholic church and a lot of ex... also, ex-pats who we got to know reasonably well while we were there...
No known friends in Portugal then? Ils y sont restés plus de 4 mois, et pas incognito ! The final aborted phrase here, submerged beneath deliberate relegation of 'ex-pats' to the status of recent acquaintances, indicates that there were probably brits in PDL whom Gerry McCann had come to know before his family's most recent visit. The fact that the McCann social circle was closed to the PJ tells us nothing of its circumference. The McCanns themselves are doubtless in possession of the key to Pandora's (or should that be Madeleine's) box. There are clear indications, however, that a duplicate exists.


The McCanns' 2-year anniversary statement - 05.08.2009

As the second anniversary of Madeleine's abduction approaches, there is much still to be done. We continue to remain focussed on our aim - to find Madeleine and bring her back home safely. As Madeleine's parents we cannot and will not ever stop doing all we can to find her.

Notice the unnecessary extension in the last sentence of this opening paragraph. 'Cannot and will not' would have said it all. Nor does the embellishment make the sense intended by the author. Instead of the word 'never', which could convey the colloquial significance of emphasis (e.g., 'we can never stop looking...'), 'not ever' has rather more the sense of an open-ended, i.e. ceaseless commitment.

The search for Madeleine continues with the same strength and determination, and thankfully, there are many people who are continuing to help in a variety of ways. The reduction in media reporting does not signify a lack of effort – far from it! If anything, the search for Madeleine goes on with renewed vigour and great experience. We have quietly and persistently been working very hard - exploring all possible avenues in order to get that key piece of information. Someone somewhere knows where Madeleine is.

There is here an oblique reference perhaps to the likelihood that the McCanns' apartment was securely locked on the night of May 3, 2007. Gerry McCann has, over time, made a number of references to 'that key piece of information.' He used his key to enter at 9.05 p.m., despite claiming subsequently that the patio doors were unlocked to an abductor, who is supposed to have entered the apartment before he did – one is reminded of the Hitchcock film 'Dial M for Murder' in this context.

It is impossible for us to ignore the day to day heartache of missing Madeleine but there is however, a very important and positive fact that remains….. In spite of all the investigative work done, there is still absolutely nothing to suggest harm to Madeleine and therefore, a very real likelihood that Madeleine is alive and well. You only have to recall the cases of Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck and Natascha Kampusch to appreciate that children can seem to disappear 'off the radar' for very long periods of time. The return of these children to their families not only gives us great hope but also starkly emphasises that perseverance is essential, and surely what every such child deserves.

First, there is denial of the only inference that can sensibly be drawn from the behaviour of the cadaver dog. No one died in apartment 5a before or after the McCanns occupied it. A member of the McCann family is inexplicably missing, presumed dead unless one can reasonably ascribe their absence to abduction. We know, of course, that this is far from a reasonable explanation. Second, the wording of the sentence, "In spite of the investigative work..." again fails grammatically to reflect precisely the meaning its author wishes to convey. The intention is to imply that there is 'still a very real likelihood that Madeleine is alive and well', but omission of the word 'still' from this closing phrase renders its relationship to the foregoing somewhat equivocal. Assumed repetition of the phrase 'absolutely nothing to suggest' would be equally valid, the interim comma notwithstanding. Many of us would, I think, rather recall to mind the cases of JonBenet Ramsey, Caylee Anthony and Joana Cipriano, but of more immediate importance here is the remark 'children can seem to disappear off the radar'. Even allowing the contemporary metaphor, unless one is a practising illusionist, things either disappear or they do not. 'Perseverance' is 'what every such child deserves'. This begs the question as to whether Madeleine is indeed such a child or belongs, actually, to some other category. "It is vital that we never, ever give up on Madeleine."Note the re-appearance of 'ever'.

Can you imagine a little girl or boy out there, hoping and waiting to be found but for people then to 'write them off', forget about them, just because there's been no 'news'? For that child never to be reunited with their family because everyone had given up on them? Just imagine……………"

This seems an altogether sinister paragraph. The scenario of a missing child is doubly emphasized as an imaginary one, where the subject is 'written off' for want of news. Anything 'written off' is, of course, comprehensively terminated."And so, we will never, ever give up."Repetition again of the open-ended 'ever'. "We urge you to remember Madeleine as a real, living and findable little girl." 'Remember Madeleine...' Remembrance is something we accord the dead, not the living! "Our most sincere thanks go to everyone who is helping us in our efforts. You know why we must keep going." 'Helping us in our efforts' – to do what exactly? 'You know why we must keep going.' Yes, I think we do. And unless they change the direction of their efforts there may be no end in sight. "Please don't give up on Madeleine." On that front at least there is little cause for concern.


A Whiff Of Scandal -  13.08.2009

A week is a long time in Politics and, in our fast-moving information age, in the case of missing Madeleine McCann. Matters discussed, statements made, arguments hither and yon, are all too easily obscured in the mists of time. A modicum of clarification from time to time can be beneficial therefore. One issue in particular remains controversial, largely due to a lack of clarity on the part of certain commentators. And all the while confusion reigns there are others only too pleased to hide behind the resultant smoke-screen. The time is perhaps ripe then to re-visit the topic of canine involvement. I say re-visit, since it was a factor previously addressed in an earlier article of mine ('Goldilocks', lire plus bas). One can deduce, from what the McCanns and others have said, that Madeleine was not constrained to sleeping in her own bed. On the basis of Locard's Principle (Every contact leaves a trace - the fundamental premise of forensics, and one to which Madeleine McCann was no exception), we may reason that residual evidence of Madeleine's existence will have been deposited on items with which she had come into contact, i.e. clothing, bedding, even her favourite soft toy; a deduction consistent with Kate's sniffing of 'cuddle cat' at press conferences throughout Europe. If we are expected to believe that it was the scent of Maddie Kate craved (at least until she decided to wash the toy), then Maddie scent, if you will, is a sufficient common denominator of contact with the child, and thus ties 'cuddle cat' together with the parents' bedroom in apartment 5a, the verandah, various items of Kate's clothing and, crucially, the Renault Scenic hire car. All of these items were 'marked' by the same dog.

Two factors jointly make this connection of loci an ominous one: The fact that the dog was not offered something of Madeleine's to sniff beforehand, and the nature of the scent it was trained to detect, before ever it arrived in Portugal.
Mais ces chiens britanniques n'étaient pas des pisteurs !

Immediately, in the eyes of some, one runs up against the question of reliability. I, for one, do not profess expertise in the training or handling of dogs, any more than others who are quick to contradict what they appear to tell us. I do however have extensive experience of homo sapiens, and it is among this species that one should look for evidence of error. First things first. The dog(s) under consideration are 'first division' animals from the outset. Any candidate trainees that show signs of being fickle, lazy, or otherwise unsuited to the task are simply screened out. Not every dog will have the X factor. That said, one must now address the altogether inconsistent attitude, not of the dogs, but their self-appointed adjudicators. It is revealing how society applauds the deployment of specialist sniffer dogs when seeking to rescue those buried under avalanches of snow (or concrete, in the wake of an earthquake) as well as others differently attuned to the detection of plastic explosives, drugs, etc. These are all patently 'positive' applications that work in the defence of those under threat, i.e the general public. Ipso facto the dog's capability is accepted as superior to that of the human. However, as soon as a dog is employed in a mode which might be said to be incriminatory, anthropomorphism kicks in, and immediately the genuine experts in the field are faced with having to defend themselves and their canine charges against accusations, veiled or otherwise, of unreliability, errors and incompetence. Effet Hans le Malin, surtout.


Judges are on record as stating unequivocally that they would not accept a dog's evidence in preference to that of a human. Others have suggested verification by electro-mechanical or other means. The most blatant, ill-informed 'knee-jerk' reaction however, comes from those who simply 'cry foul', suggesting that the dog must have been mistaken. It is almost bewildering quite how many logical knots people are prepared to tie themselves into in order to defend a cherished position, and at the same time almost arrogantly seek to erase any concession of animal superiority. We should be perfectly clear as to the requirement for consistency in this regard. One cannot acknowledge superiority, even animal superiority, on the one hand, then look immediately to qualify it at the first sign of inconvenience. In terms of specialist dogs detecting specific scents, there can be no argument. The scent is either present or it is not. The dog will neither equivocate nor mislead, as conclusively demonstrated by experiments conducted by Police in Rotterdam (to which we shall return later). In the case of an EVRD dog such as the Spaniel 'Eddie', trained to pinpoint sources (not origins necessarily) of human cadaverine, a reaction signals a presence in the immediate vicinity, historically or currently, of human remains. The dog cannot be expected to identify the corpse in question. The following statements form the body of a personal communication from the BBC, and reveal exactly the class of misconception to which people are prepared to appeal in order to justify manning the barricades.

"The programme [Donal MacIntyre on BBC Radio 5 Live]... was also an examination of the reliability of sniffer dogs generally. The programme also spoke with a handler (pas Martin Grime) who admitted that his dogs did get things wrong on occasion.It was specifically pointed out that Eddie is trained to find remains, and Keela to find blood; there were references to other types of sniffer dogs because ultimately, no matter what a dog is trained to detect, there is reliance on the training they have received - it’s a variable. It's thought that the piece of 'bone' found by Eddie on Jersey is not actually a bone, which would indicate that there is some room for debate about his reliability. It was however pointed out that Martin Grime believes that even if the 'bone' isn't real, Eddie could have detected the scent of remains in the area. Senior management at BBC News have been made aware of his concerns..."


Should it surprise us that Martin Grime himself has expressed concerns at this wayward interpretation? I think not. The first paragraph announces that the concern was with sniffer dogs 'generally' and that one handler has admitted that his dogs get things wrong on occasion. The writer then goes on to say: "...no matter what a dog is trained to detect, there is reliance on the training they have received - it's a variable." Indeed it is, which is why, if scrutinising the performance of a particular animal, it simply does not do to compare it with another from a different school. Beware again the arrogance of species. If errors are made, they are far more likely to be errors of interpretation (human) than errors of detection (canine). Nor is it true that Eddie is trained to 'find remains' and Keela to 'find blood'. Each is trained to react to a particular scent. Nothing more, nothing less. They have no knowledge of the implicit target of their endeavours. That Martin Grime may be heard to direct his dogs with 'find, find' from time to time does not contradict this fact. Neither Eddie nor Keela speaks English, as far as I am aware. "It's thought that the piece of 'bone' found by Eddie on Jersey is not actually a bone, which would indicate that there is some room for debate about his reliability." Well, of course it indicates no such thing. Eddie did not 'find' bone, coconut, or any other solid material. Had investigators excavated a car tyre, no one would have suggested that Eddie had discovered a car! Just as kitchen odours are no respecters of the household furniture they envelop, so the erroneous attribution of a traceable scent is a mistake to be laid at the door to the office, not the kennel. The following extract is taken from the comprehensive overview of Forensics by Dr Zakaria Erzinclioglu (Forensics - True Crime Scene Investigations: Carlton/ Sevenoaks, 2004) and illustrates perfectly clearly how those with a professional concern for the appropriate deployment of dogs in law enforcement, have a rather clearer understanding of experimental verification and how to garner evidence than do their amateur critics. And in that category I do not hesitate to include members of the Judiciary.

Cloths are handed to each of the people involved in the experiment; they handle them and then place them in special jars, with each cloth in a separate jar. The jars are placed in a row in the experiment room and the dog and handler come in. The dog sniffs each jar in turn and then identifies correctly the jar with the right cloth... the jars are moved around in the absence of the dog, who returns with his handler and correctly identifies the cloth. These results are very impressive, but, to my mind, the results of the next experiment are the most impressive of all. The jar with the 'right' cloth is removed completely, leaving all the other jars, plus another to keep the number constant. What will the dog do now? As with the other experiments, the dog is led by its handler into the room. The dog sniffs each jar in turn. It is puzzled. It starts again, sniffing each jar diligently. It stops and looks up at its handler and then looks back at the jars, It then starts to whine to its owner and walks away from the jar; no doubt it feels it has failed in its task. But it has not; it has succeeded brilliantly, for the dog has not chosen a second best, a nearest odour to the one it was seeking. The smell was either present in one of the jars or it was not. It is as simple as that. The dog would not identify a false jar even to please its handler; it would rather fail than do that.

This author goes on to say, I believe that the use of dog evidence in British courts would be a great step forward in the fight against crime. He concludes the chapter thus: Attempts have been made to produce a machine - an electronic nose - that can do what a dog does. These devices have been very successful in determining whether a food product, such as wine or cheese, is fresh and in a fit condition to be consumed. However, their application to criminal investigation has not yet been demonstrated. A dog is still the more reliable tool.

There are those today who would bombastically denounce the admission of dog evidence in a court of law as verging on the scandalous. The fact of the matter as regards the McCann case however, is that they are rather more afraid of the dogs exposing a scandal than creating one.




Which bed did 'Maddie' really sleep in last? - 22.12.2008
Goldilocks - Ripperana - The True Crime Mystery Magazine
A statement made public earlier this year by Kate McCann suggests that Madeleine was not taken from her own bed in Praia da Luz, but from her mother's.
Answering the by-now-familiar question of her responsibility for leaving the children unattended, she concludes by asking, 
Is it right for somebody to go into your apartment and take your child out (of) your bed?
Ce type de répartie est typique des enfants. Afin d'excuser leur comportement, ils dénoncent le comportement aussi mauvais ou pire des autres. Mais ça ne marche pas, ou du moins ne devrait pas marcher, car c'est leur comportement, et non celui des autres, qui est en cause. This astonishing slip of the tongue casts immediate doubt on the scenario of the abduction through the window of the child's bedroom on the night of May 3 last year. L'état du lit de MMC aussi. The parents' bedroom was adjacent to the patio doors (through which an abductor was eventually held to have entered) and Kate is reported to have explained to police the circumstances in which one or other child had already slept with them on the two previous nights; a practice that continued afterwards with the twins, 'for comfort'. Although the possibility of abduction seems still to exist, Kate's unguarded remark leads to a question of considerable significance; Why should anyone choose to fabricate a crime somewhere if a genuine instance of the same thing has actually occurred nearby? Such misdirection would only make sense if conducted by someone involved in both activities and the true misdemeanour were of a different nature. A false abduction on the one hand and a non-abduction on the other would together amount to no abduction at all. Can this extraordinary perspective be corroborated in any way, and what might that mean for the long-held sequestration theory in the case of missing Madeleine McCann? Proving a negative postulate can be difficult. Faced with the McCann's claim of abduction, the onus was upon Portuguese investigators, either to furnish a lead to Madeleine's whereabouts or prove she had not been snatched. In the event they could do neither. But 'difficult' does not equal impossible. As the saying has it, 'The difficult we do on demand. The impossible takes a little longer.' Proving the nul-hypothesis in this instance may turn out to have been merely difficult after all.

It is now widely known that two British sniffer dogs were taken to Portugal to assist the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and while some might consider evidence from sniffer dogs to be unreliable, denying the superior olfactory capabilities of dogs per se would be akin to dismissing a bat's feats of echo location. Man has successfully exploited the gifts of other animal species since the dawn of civilisation: Bees provide honey, geese once successfully served ancient Rome as lookouts, sacrificial songbirds have saved the lives of miners and early submariners alike. Nowadays sniffer dogs are routinely used to detect drugs, plastic explosives, fire accelerants and, of course, missing people. Hence, if a dog signals the presence of a specific scent in an unusual context, then it is entirely reasonable to consider the scent present. Dogs, unlike people, do not know how to lie. The cadaver dog employed in Portugal was no different in these important respects. It is not however necessary to postulate a death, or levy accusations of culpable homicide, in order to progress toward an alternative explanation of Madeleine McCann's disappearance from apartment 5a. Nor is it necessary to couch discussion of the cadaver dog's behaviour in terms of corpses, despite the specificity of the odour he was trained to detect. In deference to the sensibilities of others, and for the purpose of this discussion, we may suppose, to perfectly good effect, that the dog indicated an odour with a neutral connotation; essence of lavender, for instance. Surprisingly perhaps, one need not establish, or even assume, that the scent either originated with the missing child or was somehow shared by her. Whereabouts at the apartment was the identifiable scent detected? Predominantly on floor surfaces in and around the parents' bedroom, also on Madeleine's favourite soft toy, the last recorded position of which was adjacent to the pillow at the head of the child's bed. Hence 'lavender' was present on several immovable surfaces and one very portable one. Now, imagine you are on the point of concluding a 100 piece jig-saw puzzle, of which you had only 99 pieces at the outset. Two gaps remain to be filled, one within a white cloud, the other within an area of blue sky. The only piece you have left is blue. Where do you place it? In the space identified by the most appropriate context, obviously. Madeleine is reported by her parents to have slept with her soft toy. But the only dormitory in which the 'essence of lavender' features as fixed is theirs, not hers. (...) it should be sufficient to locate the soft toy in the parents' bedroom initially, not the one in which it was later photographed. (...) Madeleine, it seems, was not abducted from her own bed, in which case she was not abducted at all and the McCanns have been declared innocent of involvement in a crime that did not take place.

What The Papers Say - 18.08.2009
Anniversaries have been golden episodes for the McCanns in terms of engaging media interest in their situation, and they have studiously marked them accordingly. But there is also a downside, and in their case it is having to speak with a measure of spontaneity about something which, one suspects, they would rather not speak about under such circumstances, despite the more obvious benefits from doing so. A case of 'Give the Devil his due'. Whereas filmed accounts can be made to mislead, albeit inadvertently, in the course of the editing process, press reports are rather more liable to error, owing to the scope for journalistic input between the saying and the printing. Bearing that caveat in mind, the McCanns' exchange with the Daily Telegraph on the occasion of the first anniversary (transcription by Nick Britten. Published: 7:00PM BST 01 May 2008) contains some interesting commentary.
Q: Is this the best hope now of finding Madeleine?

KMC : I'm not sure about that but the media interest will wane without any developments and I guess you've got to use this opportunity. We need that information and we strongly believe that information is out there, somebody knows something.
A large slice of context must be assumed for this statement to make sense. We need that information is clearly the thrust of the first phrase highlighted here, but what, exactly, is this demonstrative adjective referring to? Is the subsequent ambivalent instance of the word 'that' adjectival, emphasising 'information', or not, in which case everything that follows, including the information, becomes non-specific.

GM (Dubbing today "May Day for Madeleine"): It's the last chance to capture a lot of the information that's gone into the investigation that we're not privy to and clearly we need to know everything that's been done. What we're asking people to do is if you've given information to police, Crimestoppers, Portuguese police, we're asking you to give it to us as well.

At the time of this interview the McCanns were still 'arguidos'. A lot of the information had already 'gone into the investigation', i.e. was held/known to investigators. Gerry is clearly intent on 'capturing' it for himself. By what right does Gerry McCann presume an entitlement to information regarding the case, when he and his wife are still virtual suspects?

GMC : It's about that key bit of information - someone has it but they might not necessarily put it together.

Put it together with what? Unless it's a fragment of a larger entity, that 'key bit' is surely complete in itself. As is his wont, the good doctor is speaking in illogical cliches.



GMC : I personally don't think running stories on Madeleine makes that much difference. Her image is everywhere.



Kate clearly does not share Gerry's opinion. Just moments later we get:

Q: When the arguido status is lifted will this story go away?

KMC : Being made arguido has not helped the search for Madeleine. I'm sure when the arguido status is lifted it will be a major development and huge headlines.

Q: There is lots and lots of media coverage but has it helped the search?

GMC : A lot of people think Madeleine is dead. Today is about us stating our absolute categoric belief that there is no evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed.

It is noticeable that they share a belief in the absence of evidence, not in Madeleine herself being alive.

GMC : There's a really good chance she is still out there, based on years of experience of missing and abducted children. What Earnie Allen's (national center for missing and exploited children in Washington) exact words were are there are a host of scenarios by which Madeleine could still be out there.

One has the feeling that 'dictation' was never one of Gerry's strong points. If these are Ernie Allen's exact words, then his grasp of English too is as flawed. 'There are a host of scenarios' is as poor as the preceding 'exact words were are...'

GMC : The experts are saying there is a strong chance Madeleine is out there but it's back to what we need to do which is address the situation: Who took her? Is that person alone? If they are alone they don't live in isolation, they live in a town, in a holiday resort, they interact with people and they might have accomplices we don't know what motivates them.

'Write about what you know' they say. The same goes for anyone trying to make it up. This story involves a 'loner' who lives just down the road in a holiday resort (factoring in what Kate is about to say next). And despite his 'loner' tag he might have influential contacts (accomplices). Who might that be? No resident of Skegness that's for sure.

KMC : Even people who are classed as loners are known as the loner down the road.

About Sean and Amelie:

??: Sean and Amelie talk about her constantly. They include her in everything. They ask about her. They essentially still play with her and that's really heartening for us. A year down the line, our three-year-old twins still see it as that and if Madeleine walked in the door tomorrow they'd say which one do you want and play with her.

How on earth can the twins play with Madeleine, essentially or otherwise? And what, or whom, would they offer up on Madeleine's return?

Explaining to them what has happened:

KMC : I've got my journal but we took advice and have done everything that we thought was best for Sean and Amelie. A psychologist we spoke to said basically be honest. The problem is you haven't got a story to tell and can't fill in the facts.

Word order is important. 'basically' does not qualify how the psychologist gave his advice but the honesty he advocated. Is it not strange that two people with demonstrable powers of imagination cannot concoct a credible story for their own children. Taken at face value the statement could be interpreted as a summary of the McCanns' own position.

GMC : I hope she's back with us before they're of an age when they're on the internet and searching. We will face difficult decisions down the line and we are not forcing information on them.

As they ask the questions, they are being told straight and the situation now is still they know Madeleine is missing. They have some understanding of the concept of being lost and that people are looking for them and they say heartbreaking things to us like they're going to find Madeleine and bring her home.

Just who might be lost here? Without a designated subject, the default becomes the twins themselves. Is the absence of a 'lost' subject significant, one wonders? There may well have been a deep-seated reluctance to predicate the status upon any subject, Madeleine in particular, on account of the analogy being fundamentally deceptive. Gerry McCann may not have known what he was doing necessarily, but omission of the subject (e.g., 'someone') within the phrase in question, suggests that the very idea was suppressed. What one hears/reads as a result is thus semantically confused, simply because a necessary part of the sentence structure is missing.

KMC : They will say things like that because we talk about when Madeleine comes home.

'When Madeleine comes home'. That's being 'straight' alright. Preparing them for when they do their own internet searches no doubt.

GMC : We have a right to information and what has been done to our daughter and if we are not given the information we will try and do anything. Anybody who has contacted any authority should contact us.

This is akin to a chess player asking his opponent, 'Would you please tell me why you made that move?' They also have a 'right to what has been done to their daughter'. Are they proposing to take ownership of what has been done then? Without the information they crave they will 'try to do anything'. In order to accomplish what exactly - find Madeleine or confound the investigation? Once again we are context driven. I personally spoke to an authority (the Inland Revenue) recently. Should I now contact the McCanns also? This may seem like an altogether frivolous observation, but the fact is that the more the McCanns can depend upon their listeners 'filling in for themselves' semantically, the less precise they need be.

Q: How do you see her?

KMC : When you picture her it's memories. I don't speculate on what situation she's in. It's memories. I don't have any vision if where she is now. I just sense her still being there. It's hard to explain really. It's a sensation, a feeling. It is comforting, very comforting, that she's that bit closer.

No vision, but a sense nevertheless of Madeleine's still being 'there'; a location Kate cannot imagine. Comforting that Madeleine's 'a bit closer' - to whom, Kate McCann or God? If Kate cannot imagine her daughter's whereabouts, how can she assess her proximity?



The Return of the Non-Native - 24.08.2009

Kate McCann's prior claim of 'We'll return to Portugal often' was, as we now know, given tangible expression in the form of Gerry returning once to Praia da Luz, in the company of Jane Tanner and Matthew Oldfield, for publicity purposes only. Despite apparently asking his various collaborators to 'observe radio silence' in advance of the TV production Madeleine Was Here, so as not to create a media frenzy, Gerry still managed to say as much if not more about this project than he did in fulfilling his lead role within it. Never short of an answer when in front of the camera, Gerry McCann is equally and revealingly forthcoming in his April interview with Brendan de Beer of Portugal News.

The interview, edited here, progresses thus: On his return to Praia da Luz and the absence of his wife Kate, Mr McCann explained:
Kate and I have been desperate to come back to Praia da Luz, but we haven't done so due to the media exposure and the controversy such a visit would pose. We want to come back and meet the people, without it being highlighted. There is nothing bad about this resort, it is beautiful. In these difficult economic times we don't want to worsen things.

There appears to be a fusion of ideas here. Controversy is created. Questions are posed. What question might a return visit have posed?

But I do hope people understand why we are doing what we've done. This is a key factor in an investigation strategy. Madeleine is still missing. We need to do everything reasonable to get any information. The best thing for everyone is that she is found and that whoever took her is caught.

Les gens n'ont pas très bien compris, y compris au Royaume-Uni, pourquoi ils avaient esquivé la reconstitution demandée par le procureur. Yet another instance of conjoined ideas. Whether people understand what you are doing may or may not have a bearing on their understanding of what you have already done. Exerting oneself to acquire any information whatsoever is pointless. Specific information on the other hand could well be more difficult to come by. But, as is so often the case with Gerry McCann's statements, contextual aspects are assumed rather than included. These almost habitual omissions are important, since the meaning of what is said varies with the context, and a context assumed by the listener might not be that which the speaker has in mind. Crocodile tears of self-pity are just as wet as tears of genuine remorse, and just as easily mistaken for them. Mr McCann ruled out any other visits to Portugal in the near future and as for Madeleine's mother, said: "She'd love to come back. But we will not be returning for the anniversary. We wanted to come here and do this as quietly as possible and not to disrupt", with last weekend's media attention not aiding this desire. Gerry McCann seems conveniently unaware that his spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, had already declared to Portuguese journalists, on arrival in Praia da Luz, that Kate "is not ready to return to Portugal yet". A situation seemingly further worsened by Gerry's reception, the day prior to this interview, which led to the Daily Mirror's 6 April announcement: Kate McCann vows never to return to Portugal as husband Gerry is heckled.

The reason we are doing this documentary is that it should be about Madeleine. I can understand why people don't like it or that our level of child care was not to their standard, but the focus should be on an innocent child and that someone has taken her.


An innocent child. Gerry McCann's recurrent reference to childhood innocence is curious. After all, any genuine victim of abduction is an innocent participant in the process. Here we have attention seemingly being drawn to Madeleine, but in reality Gerry is distancing himself from her. The focus is not on 'our innocent child' but 'an innocent child'. Madeleine is missing. That much can be taken for granted. That someone has taken (i.e. abducted) her is conjecture, unless of course the taking in this instance is of a different nature.

There's one thing that has been revealed in the case files which is that there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there is no evidence to suggest that Kate and I were involved in any theories. It's about Madeleine. As her parents, I hope people understand that we have to do what we are doing", argued Mr McCann.

One thing is revealed. Gerry McCann cites two. Scrutiny of the case files has uncovered rather more than that, but it is indeed true that neither of the McCanns were involved in the construction of any theories pertaining to Madeleine's death, for which Gerry tells us there is no evidence. (Would he point to evidence of Madeleine's death under any circumstance?). Such apparent lack of evidence would, in Gerry's view, also contribute to countering suggestions that the McCanns were involved in the execution of these theories. Is there really no evidence to suggest the McCanns' involvement in developing other classes of theory, i.e. abduction? This statement clearly and deliberately overlooks all of the details which, singularly and severally, suggest that abduction, whilst theoretically admissible, was not feasible. It can only have been a theory. And who were its first and loudest proponents? The McCanns. The evidence for their involvement in the construction of that theory is now perfectly clear. Frankly, many people fail completely to understand why the parents of Madeleine McCann must 'do what they are doing'. Far too many wonder why the McCanns are not doing what they should be doing.

Sans l'insistance des MC, qui "savaient", sans leur histoire du volet et de la fenêtre, aurait-on même contemplé la possibilité d'un enlèvement ? On aurait imaginé, ne trouvant pas l'enfant, qu'elle avait peut-être été victime d'une mauvaise rencontre. Mais l'histoire de l'enlèvement du lit n'aurait pas effleuré les esprits.

But Gerry McCann refused to answer a question on whether or not Madeleine's room has been left unchanged in the event she is found. Maybe the fund has paid for its redecoration. Who knows? What have they (the twins) been told about where Madeleine might be?


They completely understand she is missing and they understand someone has taken her. There is not a lot more. We had counselling on how to cope with the twins, given to us by a child psychologist who has dealt with child abduction who said we should fill in the gaps as they get older. But, with us, the psychologist said the problem you have is that there is very little to fill in. The fact remains, she was there one minute and gone the next.


Once again the McCanns are a special case, with a special problem. They have little to fill in. Madeleine was 'there one minute, gone the next.' Except that we have all been led to believe that Madeleine was there for a couple of hours at least before she was 'gone.' A characteristic of deceptive accounts is truncation of the story. Whereas a genuine tale will extend comfortably beyond the focal act, to describe events in the immediate aftermath, a deceptive account is much more likely to come to a relatively abrupt halt, the coda, so to speak, being shorter. Why then do the McCanns find themselves with insufficient material with which to 'fill in'? Because, apart from describing irrelevant visits to the Vatican and various international press conferences, they cannot explain to their remaining children how they 'searched high and low that night, again the following morning, the next week and beyond.' They have no such detail to confide as they did no such thing. Mr McCann also admitted that their approach to raising their other two children has been significantly altered by Madeleine's disappearance. "I am undoubtedly much more aware of potential danger or a threat to the kids now and things which we previously considered safe, and probably still are, are no longer." Well, are they safe or not? Or are they safe, yet no longer (+verb), e.g. 'practised'.


It's a horrible balance we as parents now face between being cosseting and allowing the kids freedom, and at what age. I grew up in a very child-orientated environment, playing in parks, with minimal adult supervision. I think that's healthy", he explains as he leads up to the question about regrets they have over their actions as parents on the evening Madeleine went missing.


Obviously what we did (leaving the children alone while dining at the nearby restaurant) we thought was safe.


Here is yet another instance of the listener being called upon to provide the context. The interviewer assumes Gerry is referring to 'leaving the children alone'. But how does he know that Gerry is not himself referring to something else entirely, such as 'sedating the children'? He does not.

The whole aspect of a foreign child being abducted while on holiday never entered our thought process for even one moment, because if it had, we wouldn’t have done what we did, he said.


Every parent considers their own child 'special'. It is perfectly natural, as on a personal level they clearly are. But individuals are only considered special by others when they merit such deference, for one reason or another. What Gerry McCann fails to appreciate is that, in elevating Madeleine's misfortune to 'special' status at every turn, he is describing something, in this case an abduction, that is ever more remote. And would the possible abduction of a Portuguese from a Portuguese holiday resort not also have influenced their thinking? Child abduction does not represent various degrees of felony each defined by nationality. If one has to ask why Gerry McCann's view of abduction should exclude native residents, then one has to question whether it is 'abduction' per se which underlies his retrospective reservations about 'doing what they did'. And what was that exactly? As is apparent earlier in the interview, when Gerry is referring to what was done, the precise topic is not at all clear. On returning to the apartment last Saturday and how he felt re-entering it almost two years after last being there, Mr McCann said:


The apartment doesn't hold any bad karma. It was just a couple of thoughts really, it was about re-enacting (the events on the night of her disappearance) and it was where I last saw Madeleine. But actually, I felt more emotional at church this morning (last Sunday) with the support and seeing the photograph of Madeleine with the words 'Help me' along with the green and yellow ribbons around it was more difficult to cope with.


Yet again, one would rather have the context clarified by the interviewee than substituted by the interviewer. Re-enactment societies exist to recreate historical events in which members were not actually involved. With the majority of 'moving parts' in the McCann production given to actors, it stood to be no more accurate than Mel Gibson's 'Patriot' (a historical film notorious for its misrepresentations). Is it not strange that Gerry who, by his own admission is not especially religious, should be more affected by a visit to church than the scene of his daughter's last known whereabouts? Gerry McCann explained his involvement with the documentary, which will be aired next month and shown in several European countries including Portugal shortly afterwards, was purely aimed at finding Madeleine. Which could just as reasonably be read as 'aimed at consolidating the abduction hypothesis.' He also recalled that failed attempts to stage a police reconstruction were not of their doing.


We would have been obliged to come back (due to their status as arguidos that was only lifted last July). It did not fall on us to do it, but other people. Don't get me wrong, we had major concerns as to why the reconstruction was being done. As opposed to this reconstruction, which will be broadcast with a view to getting new information, the police reconstruction was not aimed at finding Madeleine, but rather to look for inconsistencies. There were 12 or 15 people involved and it is inevitable there would be inconsistencies", he said. 
A response which led to the question over his disagreement with Jane Tanner (a member of the so-called Tapas 7) over where he was standing as Miss Tanner walked past him the night she spotted what she believed to be a man carrying a child:

In my mind, I am 100 percent certain I was on the other side of the road, though Jane Tanner and Jez Wilkins said I was on the side closest to the apartment. I can't resolve that, I remember making a conscious decision to cross the road.


Gerald la fait souvent au culot. Cependant il a signé une ligne de temps collective, dressée quelques jours après la disparition, dans laquelle il ne traverse pas la rue... Quant à sa mémoire, elle a donné un signe certain de défaillance lorsqu'après sa première déposition, il est revenu sur un point non anodin,  le trajet de l'unique ronde qu'il a faite le soir du 3 mai. Are we talking mind-body duality here? Which aspect of Gerry McCann's own being is certain, the real or the imaginary? And since when was it standard practice for suspects in a crime to negotiate their response to Police requests for information, or assistance with their inquiries (which is what a reconstruction amounts to). Would Gerry consider it appropriate for nursing staff to evaluate his work as a cardiologist and advise patients accordingly? Mr McCann also revealed that the family has made peace with the fact they might never see Madeleine again, but would never give up the search for her.


We have always known that's a possibility and that is why we have to rely on other people. And we have that incredibly difficult balance between doing this [filming the reconstruction] and the human interest aspect. While we also want our lives to be private and normal for the sake of Sean and Amelie, we also need to do as much as we can. It's a possibility we might never see her again, but until we have absolute definitive evidence of what happened to Madeleine, we can't stop searching.

D'une certaine façon, oui, ils ne peuvent s'arrêter de (faire) chercher, même sachant que c'est pour rien. Can't stop? They never commenced searching for Madeleine. Searching their hearts perhaps? Now that's a different matter altogether. Again, because Gerry denies us the object phrase, the statement is ambivalent.

Do you think the Portuguese PJ police did everything within their powers to find Madeleine?

I think the way you are asking the question is right. PJ did more in this case than on many other occasions and worked extremely hard. And there were many different pressures. If you look back there were probably mistakes made on all sides.


As for the role of private investigators and reconstructions, Mr McCann said it was a way of ensuring no stone is left unturned in the search for his daughter.Just how presumptuous can a person get? Suddenly Gerry McCann is an expert on the history of the PJ. Imagine a hospital outpatient claiming that the doctors did more for them than for many others. A preposterous comment. The 'many different pressures', on the other hand, is a factor that Gerry would certainly have known something about, having introduced several of them himself. The Find Madeleine Fund, which has received around 2.5 million pounds since it was set up shortly after Madeleine's disappearance in 2007, now appears to be running out of financial resources.

There's still money in it", says Mr McCann, adding: "I can't give you the exact figure, but we have spent and continue to spend a lot of money with the aim of trying to enhance the chance of finding her.


Instead of 'cutting to the chase' ('We continue to spend a lot of money trying to find Madeleine') we are treated to weasels galore: 'the aim of' (we might miss the target) 'trying to enhance' (attempts at improvement not guaranteed) 'the chance of finding her' (the foregoing qualifications notwithstanding it is still a hit-or-miss affair). On the chances of the Fund drying up completely he responded: "It won't dry up in the next few months, but probably by the end of the year, at the rate we are running." He concluded that fundraising is presently being considered as an option to boost funds and thus ensure an ongoing interest in finding Madeleine. Other options being law suits for libel no doubt.





Sands of Time -  27.08.2009

In the opinion of BBC interviewer Anne Davies, "the facts can be changed for anyone." Ms Davies is clearly the kind of suggestible individual Jed Rubenfeld had in mind when describing a character named Banwell early on in his bestselling mystery, The Interpretation of Murder:
Mr Banwell had mastered the great truth that truth itself, like buildings, can be manufactured.

Many things in life are indeed open to interpretation. 'One man's meat...' etc. Context is often called upon to reconcile ambiguity. The weight of expert opinion is brought to bear upon issues of legal uncertainty. And, in the wake of scientific advance, old tenets are re-assessed, occasionally having to forfeit their status in the light of more recent findings. True, we inhabit a world of uncertainty. Yet we depend, no less than did the ancients before us, on the stability of certain concepts; certitudes around which we organize our lives; facts, if you will, that cannot be changed for anyone: things falling to earth, action and reaction, night and day, are all issues that we hold immutable, and all embodied in the hour glass. Even Anne Davies would surely not dispute the sublime sophistry of Omar Khayyam. 'The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on.' 'Yesterday', 'Today' and 'Tomorrow' are coarse-grained units of time that, together with more finely tuned measures, afford a frame of reference against which to observe events - temporal facts, with calendars their incorruptible custodians. May 3rd 2007 was not May 2nd nor was it May 4th. Like every other day of the year it had a specific, factual identity; an identity which, as the Rubaiyat reminds us, cannot be changed for anyone either. And on that day - that day alone, little Madeleine McCann disappeared - from view, from her parents' apartment, from Praia da Luz, Portugal, the face of the earth. To this day no one seems quite sure. The child was last seen asleep in apartment 5A, where she had previously been left, and would soon be so again, by her father, shortly after 9.05 p.m. on the date in question. Some fifteen or twenty minutes later, while he was engaged in conversation at the foot of a flight of external stairs, a holiday companion of his witnessed an adult carrying, across the street ahead of her, what appeared to be a dormant child dressed in pyjamas not unlike those of Madeleine McCann. It was dark and the street lights were no more than adequate to their purpose. The father had his back turned to the incident and saw nothing. It was left therefore to his wife to discover their child missing, approximately three quarters of an hour later. The distraught mother knew what had happened. She knew her daughter would not have walked out by herself. She knew that Madeleine had been abducted because of how things had been left in the bedroom, a conclusion confirmed by her husband subsequently. And when questioned by police the following day she even had the presence of mind to tell them of a fleeting conversation with her daughter at breakfast that previous morning, during which Madeleine had asked her mother why she had not come to her room 'when the twins were crying'. She thought it important to mention as it might have been evidence of a prowler, but, as she later stated, 'if Madeleine hadn't been abducted, we'd never have thought of that comment again'. All in all, useful facts for the police to ponder: a sleeping child, abducted from her bed at night, virtually from under her parents' noses. That is what happened. Or did it?


It stands to reason that, several months later, Madeleine's disappearance having been publicly discussed by her parents on any number of occasions already by this time, the facts of the matter would remain as previously established. All those involved knew what had happened. Except that on September 17th that year, Kate McCann saw fit to denounce the known facts completely. They were, in Anne Davies words, 'changed', for anyone and everyone:

I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances." (Source: Flash! magazine (Portugal)/The Daily Mail)

What happened was not, after all, due to the children having been left asleep. The circumstances, when it happened, were different. In what way? In that the parents were with their children, in which case abduction was entirely preventable, or that the children were not asleep? Kate McCann, it should be noted, did not say, 'due to the fact of us leaving the children alone', but 'leaving the children asleep.' Euphémisme évidemment, ce qu'elle veut dire n'est pas left asleep, mais left alone asleep.  Night will always ease gradually into day, and vice versa, but, as far as human experience is concerned, if we are not asleep then we are awake. Madeleine McCann was abducted from her bed, where she was last seen, asleep, by her father not ten minutes earlier. That is the father's view, supported by a third-party witness; a view to which the mother is now diametrically opposed. She knows that what happened to Madeleine happened when the child was awake, in which case she could not have been abducted immediately after her father’s 9.05 return to the apartment. In the apparently safe embrace of such a family oriented holiday resort as Praia da Luz, there was only a 'small window of opportunity', on May 3rd, for an abductor to seize his prey. That opportunity presented itself shortly after 9.05 p.m., we were told, after 'they had just seen Gerry had been in the apartment' and when the McCann children were asleep. But we have since been told, quite clearly, and by a first-hand source, that what happened to Madeleine happened while she was awake. Clearly, the opportunity for abduction had not yet presented itself. Something else must have happened therefore. Is Anne Davies vindicated? Can facts be changed after all? If so then they were never facts in the first place. In the real world the title 'fact' is reserved for those demonstrations, events, states and observations that illustrate a dependable consistency. What Kate McCann thought she knew in May of 2007 is not what she knew in September of that year. Her facts, drawn from these periods, are mutually exclusive, like the constituents of a binary number, which are categorically 1 or 0, never something in-between. The one unassailable fact is that she failed completely to account for the 'Moving Finger.' As Edward Fitzgerald's wonderfully evocative translation continues: "nor all thy Piety nor Wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it." 


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