Those of us gripped by the intriguing mystery of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance have for 11 years watched in astonishment as the Portuguese police were portrayed as the bad guys and the parents of the missing child became breakfast TV royalty. For 5 years plus, they had an open mike, and a platform on TV and in the newspapers to tell their side of the story and to blame the former detective who led the search for their daughter.
Whilst Gerry and Kate had as much media coverage as they wished to spread their propaganda, they ensured their nemesis, Goncalo Amaral did not. His book 'The Truth of the Lie' is still not available in the UK. Here there is only one explanation for Madeleine’s disappearance, abduction. With powerful lawyers Carter Ruck and their reputation as vexatious litigants, the MSM dare not publish articles that question the abduction story. And as someone on the last blog mentioned, they also had power to shut down discussion on the Mirror Forum and others. Any criticism of them became taboo. Only ‘bad’ people would think something awful of the heroic couple. Thus the word 'hater' became synonymous with the McCann case.
Battle lines were drawn, and the internet saw the beginnings of social media warfare and the birth of trolling. You were 'pro' the parents, or 'anti' the parents. The 'pros' worked on the premise that non believers hated Gerry and Kate personally - why? because, they were photogenic, erudite, successful professionals. If we had an English equivalent of the American Dream, it was the perfection of the McCann family. Oh and not to forget, their large detached house and all embracing circle of family and friends. Much to be jealous of if you are that way inclined, but happily that kind of paranoid envy affects very few. It is easier I guess, for the mother of Kate to believe people don't like her daughter because she is attractive, slim and a doctor, than it is to believe they see her as a compulsive liar.
The McCann media monitoring team put the same amount of planning and tactics into their online army as a Roman General preparing for battle. And in the early days, they were legion, many angered by heartlessness of those who questioned the parents. There are very few left, a hardcore of half a dozen I would guess. But I also wonder if that half dozen were especially prolific in the early days, with dozens of different identities and personas. That would have been a crazy idea years ago, but now it is accepted as a given. Trolling worked for Team McCann, they became Masters of it.
They patrolled social media with the sole intention of demolishing all those who refused to believe the abduction story. It was pure thuggery online. They silenced non believers with threats to expose them to their neighbours, friends and employers. They bullied, hunting in packs, descending en masse if anyone put forward logical ideas and opinions. Their aim was to create chaos, to prevent any organised resistance, and to demolish the names and reputations of anyone who wrote truthfully about the Madeleine case. This case did indeed bring out the worst in human behaviour, both in 'pro' and in 'anti' trolls.
However, time has not been kind to their cause, and with no sign of Madeleine, few believe she is alive and few believe the parents are innocent. The abduction story that was impossible to believe over a decade ago, becomes more absurd with each passing year. Any calls for more donations to their Fund, would I think, result in open derision.
The Fund, and the Search for Madeleine campaign has by all appearances, been dormant since Operation Grange began. While Gerry and Kate had no scruples in undermining the original Portuguese investigation with their own private detectives, they have not dared do the same to the officers of Scotland Yard.
But, how will Operation Grange end? I’m tempted to put up a poll. It can’t just be filed away without informing the public of the result. It is a publically funded investigation. Most I think would tick a) Madeleine taken by person, or persons unknown with no explanation given. From a British police PR perspective, that result would be humiliating. They, with their greater wisdom, resources, etc, failed to achieve as much as the interim report submitted by the original investigation.
Will it just fizzle out? Buried in the inner pages on a bad news day? That, I wouldn’t rule out. The public’s interest in this case has all but died out, there are much bigger stories dominating the headlines. Do enough people care about how this case ends? I suspect not.
An actual result, ie. Arrests etc. Logically, this is the most likely outcome. The PJ of course have the lead, but there must be a British side for OG to exist. The two forces must be working together and they must reach the same result. It could be dragging on, of course, because they haven’t. That option is scary, because it means one or both sides are being stubborn and they don’t want their disagreement to spill out into the public domain. Regardless, although public interest in this case may have waned, it is still high profile. Especially as it has the potential to drag in former members of the establishment who promoted the McCanns as victims of a third world justice system.
Sticking with that option. There are some who would say OG have been commanded to find the parents and their friends innocent. Or, told to ‘investigate the abduction as if it occurred in the UK. Ie. They were only to investigate leads pertaining to an abduction. To me that idea is absurd, but some people, especially failed lawyers, insist the small print is carved in stone. I am not a police officer, but I have seen enough crime documentaries to see investigations can and do, veer off into the most unlikely of directions. Investigating small crimes can lead to much bigger crimes, and often do. No-one is above the above the Law, no individual or group can be given assurances that they will not be investigated, the idea is ridiculous.
If this case has been investigated thoroughly, and I am sure it has, then the truth will come out. We have all been struggling with this jigsaw puzzle for 11 years and know that the wrong pieces cannot be rammed into the blank spaces. Many have tried (Bennett, Hall, Hyatt, Textusa, HideHo etc) and failed miserably. Their theories came from their own very dark imaginations, and have little to do with reality. A tad further up the scale, though we are still scraping the barrel, we have Metodo 3 and Mark Williams-Thomas. And of course Dave Edgar, who introduced a Victoria Beckham lookalike seen on Barcelona quayside waiting for 'her daughter'. Oh, and the idea that the abductor seen by Jane Tanner may have been a woman.
The McCanns and their friends are trapped by the statements they gave on the morning of 4th May 2007. They cannot and dare not embellish, because their web of lies is so fragile - that, I suspect, is why they would not return to Portugal to do a reconstruction for Operation Grange.
In the many cases where the witnesses will not co-operate, the police have no option but to shelve or close the file. And when they do, the suspects can breathe a big sigh of relief, just as Gerry and Kate did in their 'Expresso' interview. They were off the hook, no longer suspects, and almost playful. They had outwitted the PJ and were poised to press ahead with new exciting media careers. Some might say they were gloating, others, that they let their guard down, revealed their true selves. In any event, their reaction to the Portuguese giving up the search for their daughter was quite bizarre.
The weight that was lifted from them in the summer of 2008, seems to be back with a vengeance and twice as heavy. They literally cannot relax until the two investigations close. And it is very unlikely to close with 'there's no evidence [that Madeleine has come to any harm]'. Rather than dismiss the alerts of the dogs, OG dug up areas in the vicinity of 5A, and then head of OG said 'there is possibility was not alive when she was taken from the apartment'. Not alive, means dead, but the deranged pros insisted it didn't. I think that kept a thread going for several days.
At the end of the day, only the truth will bring the jigsaw puzzle together. There are no other options. Though the numbers following this case are dwindling, there will always be enough people out there to point out all and any flaws in a conclusion that doesn't accommodate all the original statements and facts.