Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#Leveson : #RichardDesmond - Who Is Claiming The Police Are Leaking To The Media ? - The MEDIA Are Gagged BUT Wish It To Be Known The McCanns Have NOT Been Cleared .

The Blacksmith Bureau


Paranoia ahead


Richard Desmond crying with shame

Despite the tears of remorse that Fleet Street’s finest shed when testifying about how ashamed they were of persecuting the McCanns, the story itself remains a magnet for the tabloids. And not buried on the inside pages, either, but as we can see, still taking over front pages.

Had Mr Richard Desmond really meant it when he said how dreadfully sorry he felt for the parents then one can assume he would ask his editors to leave stories concerning the pair and their friends—rather than the “search for Maddie—alone. But no: Murray’s article is a gratuitously “unhelpful” piece which highlights yet again some of the extremely questionable elements of the collective version such as the Jane Tanner sighting and the Mathew Oldfield unsighting.

And the Mail, the skilled and cynical voice of Mr and Mrs Average Opinion, had no hesitation in following the story up. Lord Justice Leveson, the greatest defender of the untouchable sanctity of the grieving parents (the person who prevented the wild“McCanns-ate-their-baby” headlines from the written submissions being read out to the inquiry) has, most ironically, brought the period of press silence about the case—rather than the search—to an end.

Such is the wide-ranging ferocity of the UK libel laws that the media could, until recently, have been warned off such a story. Not because of super-injunction nonsense but because Carter Ruck could claim that, in the absence of significant new events, reporting the possibility of re-interview could imply that the T7 have information that had not been provided before and was, therefore, potentially libellous. Any press defence would have to prove that this was not the case. So, no story.
That, for example, is why James Murray, in his 2010 Express piece year about Praia da Luz CCTV, carefully covered his paper by referring to the person who may have stashed a body nearby as “the abductor”, even though he knew that Amaral was talking about the Smith sighting and his belief that the person carrying the child may have been Gerry McCann: referring to the “abductor” avoided any libel problem.
Now, however, there are significant new events, both the hearings themselves and, more importantly, the Scotland Yard review, and as long as the media hang their stories around these twin towers they are safe.


Keeping track

When attempting to make sense of the rumours that will increasingly surround the review until its completion the safest bet is to assume that none of them, now or in the future, come from Scotland Yard. The Yard, like Leicester Police, have shown a rigid determination not to leak about the case, illustrated by their attempts to keep references to their operations out of the Portuguese case files before publication. They are not about to jeopardise that record now.

Thus stories about the progress of the case, other than official statements from a Yard spokesman, are likely to reflect jockeying for position by the two public sides in the affair, not inside information. One side is now a press which senses that changes are afoot and doesn’t want to miss out, and the other is the careworn and faded Team McCann. Significantly, the days of Clarence Mitchell setting the agenda are gone and he is now reacting to the media instead of—with the aid of the lawyers—leading it. The press are going to continue twisting his tail, as Murray has done in this case.

Murray, in fact, claims that his information derives from the Tapas group, not the police: “the Sunday Express has learned that the Tapas Seven “fully expect” to be asked to go over the statements they made to Portuguese officers shortly after Madeleine vanished on May 3, 2007.” Neat, eh? Since they aren’t in daily contact with each other they don’t know whether one of them has been talking to Murray or not. And if Clarence rings them all up – on whose behalf? –to find out then the Yard will draw the appropriate conclusions. The paranoia count rises.

Richard Desmond is someone very determined in his own interests and a games player who doesn’t give a shit. Both qualities were exemplified when Desmond, a Jew, lost patience in complex negotiations with a major German printing group some years ago and started goose-stepping up and down and giving the Hitler salute in front of the stunned executives. £375,000 and costs is certainly an interest to be determined about.

Expect much more.


They never learn

The line about SY possibly asking for retranslations has brought out our intellectual friends, the internet McCann supporters. The Portuguese, they claim, are wily and dishonest translators; one of their most unreliable and dishonest bloggers, they say, is Duarte Levy:* he provided the rogatory interviews to the UK and deliberately mistranslated parts of them in Goncalo Amaral’s favour before doing so. Clearly, they conclude, the Yard know that they have been corrupted and that nobody can trust this supposed “evidence”.

This claim, which is demonstrably wrong in every particular, was first made on a blog which is supposedly dedicated to careful critical analysis and refutation of anti-McCann “myths” [loud and prolonged laughter.] It illustrates the inability to handle evidence and the sheer determination to avoid the truth which characterises the work of that crowd. The Bureau has corrected them before but, yawn and stretch, we’ll do it again.

Police Exhibit No
Person Interviewed:
Number of Pages
Place of Interview:
Force Headquarters, Enderby
Signature of Interviewing
Date of Interview:
Officer producing exhibit
Time Commenced:
16.29 hours
Time Concluded:
17.25 hours
Duration of Interview:
56 minutes
Interviewing Officer(s)
Tape Reference nos:
Other Persons Present
Tape counter times
Person speaking

"Right it’s sixteen twenty nine and it’s the afternoon of Tuesday the eighth of April in the year two thousand and eight. This I think is our fifth interview and I’m DC Sophie FERGUSON from the Major Crime Unit and you are?”
"I’m Jane TANNER.”
"Thank you Jane. We’ll carry on, well I say from where we left off, we won’t, we’ll go over some things that I want to just clarify with you.”
"Firstly, the (inaudible) label should be attached to your plan that you’ve drawn which we refer to now as JT one, so can I just ask you to sign that please there. And whist we’re talking about plans, this is a copy of exhibit reference DM two, that refers to whoever it is that’s drawn it, it’s their initials. Now we
The rogatory interviews were not distributed in the UK by Duarte Levy* : he was given access to them at the same time as a small number of others, including members of the Bureau. We all stayed quiet except Levy* who set up an English language members-only forum and fed edited extracts from the interviews to its readers.

The original documents were not translations but  prints of the English language Microsoft Word original transcripts, as shown in the example above, complete with timings synchronised to the DVD record.Examination and analysis showed that they had not been tampered with in any way, that the personal details, telephone numbers and addresses etc. were correct and would have been unknown to anyone except the participants and the police and that there was no evidence of interpolation. Furthermore, as anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of English and Romance language grammar and usage would have noted, the language was demonstrably original English throughout..

The legal questions surrounding the reproduction of the documents in their original Word format meant that it was safer to publish only edited and unformatted versions and this is probably why Levy  did so. Still, to some of us it was unsatisfactory that one group was publishing edited parts of them not to the public but only to selected forum members—all “antis” — without showing the originals.

Out of fairness, therefore, one of the recipients sent one unedited facsimile copy to a notoriously pro-McCann and anti-Amaral UK internet researcher and  forum poster (calling herself “Nicked”) and one to a more or less neutral and reliable UK poster (who used the name “Cushty”), giving them permission to use and circulate the material as they saw fit. This ensured that any attempt to provide inaccurate versions of the documents, either for or against the McCanns, would be easily identified and challenged. From then on they were gradually circulated throughout the net.

Scotland Yard will have been using exactly the same facsimiles in the review since there are no other transcripts.

Our intellectuals won’t correct their stories though: they never correct anything. That’s why they’re stuck in May 2007.

* But we have to make a correction: we called him Reis instead of Levy when this blog was originally posted, a remarkably stupid error. Apologies to Paulo Reis


Inside the Labyrinth

Finally, the Portuguese legal system remains shrouded in mystery to us, despite our attempts to master it. So we were fascinated to be told by a Portuguese legal expert that the McCanns will have to prove the truth of each of their libel claims against Amaral, not merely make a suggestive case.

As we know, the only member of the British public that the McCanns have shown the 36 page writ to is the dodgy Lori Campbell of the Mirror, so we have to depend on that paper to feed us a few scraps. Still, it will be interesting to see how they prove the truth of their claims that they suffer "permanent anxiety, insomnia, lack of appetite, irritability and an indefinable fear" because of his book, as well as the claim that Kate McCann is "steeped in a deep and serious depression".

Then there is the claim that the couple are "totally destroyed from a moral, social, ethical, emotional and family point of view, beyond the pain that the absence of their eldest daughter causes them". Quite, we’ll go with that.  But what was the book to do with it? We shall see.

“Proof”, rather than anecdotal opinion, that the book has hampered the famous search for Madeleine might be slightly hard to find as well.