Saturday, 28 April 2018

THE MCCANNS AND THE POLICE, PART ONE

Well done Sonia Poulton for creating such an interesting and informative documentary sans wild imaginings and spin doctoring on behalf of the McCanns.  As we all know the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is so much more than the disappearance of one small child.  It is now such a huge subject, that it has broken down into individual chapters and sub-division, where on earth do you begin

Sonia has tackled this multi-faceted case skilfully and professionally, this will ruffle a lot of feathers, but there is nothing within it that could be considered libellous.  As for my own brief appearance, I already think I  am hideous and this doesn't help, but regardless I still expect photographs and the mirror to reflect the pretty young thing I once was.  In fact I recently remarked that I may not be quite as gorgeous as I think I am.  SAS (Smart Arsed Son) replied with an exasperated 'Finally....!'  Regardless, I am just happy I sound sane.

The whole Madeleine media circus began within hours of Madeleine's disappearance.  The whole world sympathetic towards the parents on an 'it could have been me' basis, the middle class world of the MSM identified themselves with Gerry and Kate, hard working professionals to whom something terrible had happened.  As the woman from Rothley confirmed the stance taken by the police and the MSM would have been entirely different had Gerry and Kate not been Doctors.  

By early morning on the 4th May, the McCanns friend Jill Renwick was telling the world an abductor broke into their apartment and stole Madeleine.  And she was also laying foundations to build a case against the police, by saying no-one was helping the McCanns and no-one other than themselves was searching.  That was a blatant lie, those of us who watched the story unfolding could see the huge amount of resources the Portuguese were putting into the search.  And it was a huge slap in the face to all those kind people who searched - the staff from Warners, the villagers, the ex-pats

Goncalo Amaral admitted there were mistakes made in the original investigation.  Failure to preserve the crime scene?  Several factors apply here.  Gerry was demanding to speak to police of a higher rank than those who showed up.  And already diplomatic pressure was being put on the Portuguese police to 'go easy' on the parents.  The failure of the police to  preserve the crime scene lies in the lap of the police, but in their defence they were up against 6 very assertive (though not very bright) individuals who spent several hours trampling all over the crime scene.  Six doctors who should have known just how precious forensic evidence was.  One fingerprint could have led to an abductor within hours.  Kate in her book was appalled that 'we' were being blamed by the PJ for not preserving the crime scene.  But this is just another instance of Kate blaming anyone but themselves.  How much of that failure is down to the diplomatic pressure? 

I'm not surprised Gordon Brown had nothing to say.  This tiny case may one day prove to be an enormous blight on his legacy.  What was discussed at his meeting with Leicester Police in September 2007?  At this point I am dying to know the actual date of his visit? Was  it before or after Kate and Gerry were made Arguidos?  And from Gonalo Amaral's book, it was then the British police who had been sharing their offices packed up and left.  That the Portuguese police went ahead and made Gerry and Kate Arguidos anyway suggests GB had no sway with the Portuguese.

The McCanns relationship with Leicester police is bizarre as Sonia demonstrates.  Leicester Police have shielded the McCanns very well, but they did fight to hang onto the details of their own investigation where they declared Gerry and Kate not cleared.  I suspect however, there was much division within the ranks.  Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was selling balloons for the Madeleine Fund (I know!), DCI Redwood said with a straight face, neither the McCanns or their friends are suspects.  And that mantra remains unless anything changes.

Sonia is very professional as she doesn't show any bias,  she presents all the anomalies that the MSM have been avoiding for the past 11 years, with a clear and cohesive dialogue that resonates with the viewer.  The interview with former DCI Colin Sutton was intriguing.  I have no cause to doubt him, he is a thoughtful and reasonable man, but I am still struggling to believe that an entire task force (33+ homicide detectives) would tiptoe around the last people to see Madeleine alive.  To make it credible they would have to devise a plot that works with the existing evidence and a plot that would have to stand up to scrutiny not only on the world stage, but possibly in a Court room.  Does Mr. Sutton not ponder whether his colleagues assigned to Operation Grange may have had the same misgivings as himself? 

I think Sonia and I may have differing opinions on the involvement of politicians.  Though my theories were slightly shaken by the responses of Liam Fox and the other tory MP on the questions about Madeleine and Operation Grange.  Their 'don't know anything about it' replies were probably closest to the truth.  Followed swiftly by outrage at the question, and compassion for the parents.  The 'party line' I should imagine. 

As for the four PMs.  Blair and Brown I think are up to their necks in it, but Cameron and May I'm not so sure of.  The direct plea from the McCanns to DC via the front page of the Sun was directly beneficial to chums DC and Rebekah Brooks.  Madeleine stories still shifted tabloids and portrayed the Sun and David Cameron as compassionate.  I however, suspect DC and RB pulled a fast one on the McCanns.  Whether they were cleared or not cleared, would always be hot news.

Both DC and Theresa May have been careful not to get to close and personal with the McCanns, as their predecessors had done.  There are pictures of the current PM and Kate at the same event, but nothing to indicate Kate was getting special treatment or having private discussions. 

I can see how the argument of those who foresee a cover up, are stronger than my own at the moment (where are  you Blacksmith?), Colin Sutton is a compelling witness.  But my common sense, logic and reasoning can't figure out any way in which a cover up could be achieved.  .How can such a high profile investigation be closed with an unsatisfactory result?  Why does Colin Sutton take Mark Rowleys word verbatim?  Has he never been involved in a case that involves subterfuge?   Has he ever been involved in a case where the police have been told to ignore certain suspects? Thirty plus police officers dicing with their future careers is hard to swallow.

In my opinion, the truth behind Madeleine's disappearance cannot remain hidden forever.  There are too many people involved and too much potential for whistleblowers.  Sonia in her brilliant documentary has given an overview of all the elements involved  that makes this case so complex and asks the same questions as those who read beyond the headlines.  Why did the British establishment protect this couple and are they protecting them still?

Will Operation Grange ever reach a conclusion on the disappearance of Madeleine? Prior to this documentary, I would have yes, and that would have been a definite yes.  But my belief is shaken if not stirred.  There have been so many unbelievable moments in this long running saga that I have refused to rule anything out.    

 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

WHY DID UK GOV PROMOTE ABDUCTION STORY?

No-one is pushing the abduction story anymore, not even the parents. Couple of reasons for this I suspect, 1. it doesn't stand up to scrutiny, 2. it is now a huge embarrassment. The biggest problem the British authorities have is explaining how they could have been so incredibly na├»ve. They bought 'the Lie' hook, line and sinker, while the rest of the world watched in astonishment.  . probably wondering how on earth the British police were ever considered among the top crime solvers in the world.  In a nutshell, the McCanns have made them a laughing stock.  Very few prime suspects can look back and say, they had the full support of their government.  
 
What if Tony Blair had decided Karen Matthews was a good egg, and instructed Yorkshire police to go easy on her? 'Don't bother too much with forensics etc, lads, she couldn't possibly be guilty and there is no need to distress her further'.  And what was it that convinced Tony Blair that Gerry and Kate were above reproach?  He liked the cut of their jib? They were the perfect British family? Professional, 2.4 children, clean cut, smart and erudite, people he could relate to, their popularity was his popularity, an opportunity for him to play the hero on his way out. The rescuer of law abiding Brits abroad. 

But did he rely on his own judgment alone - that is his own inbuilt prejudices and bias?  Or, as PM, did he make full use of all the special services available to him, experts who had perhaps been out to PDL and met with the parents?  Maybe the envoy he sent himself, Clarence Mitchell?  It's hard to imagine him sending a government official to assist the McCanns without a proviso that he report back to him.  Clarence in his day could be very convincing, so what was he telling him?   

Then of course, there were the experts, CEOP especially, who seemed to have taken an active role in the Portuguese investigation.  Asking the public to send their photographs directly to them, for example.  And of course, they played an active role in the events that led to the naming of Robert Murat as the first arguido.   They approached the case from an internet angle - ie. seizing the computers of private individuals would lead to an arrest.  Not forgetting of course the profile they compiled that matched the nearest single male adult in the vicinity

I can't recall off hand how many British police agencies were involved, but Leicester Police took a different approach to CEOP.  The report of Mark Harrison was a game changer - they brought in the dogs.   They were advising the PJ to consider the parents as suspects.  CEOP were pro abduction, and seeking a pervert.  CEOP and Leicester Police must have been offering the PM conflicting advice.  Awkward.  Blair could of course  defend his stance with the McCann supporters' chant of only haters and the bad minded would have suspect the parents, but I am not sure childish naivety is a good look for a former world leader.  That however, is all CEOP have as their own excuse, and an even worse look for experienced police officers and criminal psychologists.  Awkward, times 2 and then some.

If I recollect correctly, it was around mid June 2007, that the first cracks in the establishment support began to appear.  The McCanns were being asked to move out of the resort and find their own accommodation.  Bizarre that Warners had been so hospitable for so long, but I suspect they feared a lawsuit.  And it was around this time that Clarence seemed to be out of the loop.  His 'off the record' remarks to Vanity Fair that they were unable to get a get a meeting with a Minister - 'all they were offered was mid-consular level',  signalled the end of the special relationship. No more chummy calls from Blair, Brown etc.

New Labour I'm sure, really wanted the McCann case to go away.  Alan Johnson, then Home Secretary, sat on the report from Jim Gamble and probably would have continued to do so, if there hadn't been a change of government, who then also sat on it, until May 2011.  Of course, since then we have had Leverson, and we are now familiar with how incestuous the relationship is between our leaders and the 'free press'. We all underwent a high speed GCSE Course in Media Studies, and we all collectively, breathed, 'ah so that's how it all works', as we watched Gerry and Kate in hammy Shakespearian tragedy mode, Rebekah supressing her inner Lady McBeth, Tony Blair who is no longer a real boy, and Rupert Murdoch getting a custard pie in the face.  Can you imagine the atmosphere back stage?  Who cared about the McCanns, was TB really having a fling, with Rupert's feisty wife?  Ooer. 

It was of course, all theatre for the masses, an illusion of a free press out of control, causing pain and distress to ordinary people (Gerry and Kate), and the desperate need for privacy laws and more draconian measures to be taken against newspapers and journalists, including imprisonment.  Yes, journalists were imprisoned.  Take note of the date folks 21.4.18, our descendants will laughing at us like the funny little aliens in the old 'Smash' adverts.  Even the divine Rebekah Brookes was threatened with jail.  I'm not sure if I like or dislike the charismatic RB, but if I had a daughter I would say 'be like her honey', OK, maybe not so much, but you get you get the gist.  There is something inherently wrong with a society that imprisons journalists.  And Privacy Laws?  Wtf, is someone doing that they need actual legislation to keep it private? 

The McCanns it must be said, have been used by others who are even higher up in 'the Lie' than they are.  People who have used their tragedy for political and financial gain.  On the official front, the government could be said to have been off the hook from June 2007.  That when signing of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007, they were neutral on the Madeleine investigation and the case was now exclusively in the hands of the Portuguese.  Does anyone believe that?  Or is it more likely, the very diplomatic Gordon Brown had a quiet word in ear of Jose Socrates, maybe something along the lines of, 'listen we totally f*cked up on this, it would cause us huge political embarrassment, could you just bury it and we'll do ...................... for you'.  Purely hypothetical of course.  I don't think the Portuguese rolled over, completely, but they did shelve case when the time limit for arguido status ran out, 8 months I believe. 

It is all hypothetical of course.  Logistically, it just wasn't possible for the PJ to pursue the case vigorously.  The main witnesses had left the country, and all were lawyered up.  It was just another one of those cases that frustrate detectives the world over.  Left to gather dust unless something significant comes along.  Advances in science and technology, a witness changing their story, or new evidence.  I'm going with new evidence, because the Portuguese were adamant they would not re-open their files without it.

As Operation Grange was launched, with great fanfare, the Portuguese got their own files down from the shelf.  Coincidence?  Unlikely, but who opened their files first?  British or Portuguese?  Arguably, Gerry and Kate's biggest mistake was campaigning for a Review.  But it coincided with the Madeleine Fund running low.  It was all about the fund raising of course, and demonstrating how determined they were never to give up.  They were aiming for 100,000 signatures on their Petition, an unrealistic target, but enough to cause a news flurry.  I have always thought this was one of those 'be careful what you wish for, you just might get it' moments. 

I am not sure if I am being unfair about the MCanns' acting abilities, they went into full book tour mode and pretended to be happy about David Cameron's benevolent decision.  They didn't seem in the least perturbed by it, but they weren't celebrating their victory, the Review they were asking for.  Beyond common courtesy, there isn't anything to suggest this tory government would invest money and their reputations on an embarrassing international incident that had nothing to do with them. Why would they?  When Blair, Brown, Alan Johnson et al, were all clearly in the frame for interfering in another country's criminal investigation.  Sadly, it is yet another revelation as to how seedy Blair and his inner circle had become.  If they could sex up a student's thesis to make a case to go to war, the disappearance of one small missing child should never have been a problem.  Unfortunately for them, one of those small, niggly problems that always have the potential to explode into a major news story, without a tight lid kept on it.  Of sorts.  Given human nature however, my money is on them 'thinking about it tomorrow', a la Scarlett O'Hara.  Tony Blair already had his sights set on bringing peace to the Middle East, what did he care.  Little Madeleine, I would imagine, is way down on the list of Blair's dodgy dealings and matters that cry out for public Inquiries. 

Theresa May can fund Operation Grange until it reaches a result, safe in the knowledge that her party played no part in any obstruction of justice.  There is not very much that I like about old British conservatives, apart from their 'wat ho, just not cricket old chap' sense of noble justice.  An innate sense of fairness that formed the basic ideology of the Empire.  Something the socialists, in the form Blair, Brown, New Labour, ran roughshod over with their tacky attempts to jump on the popular Madeleine bandwagon.  Cash in first, explain later, or not at all.

Madeleine was not just a missing child, she was multimillion pound baby, Her sweet angelic face brought funding to police agencies, charities, purveyors of crisis management companies and makers of cctv cameras.  Not since the big bad wolf and the bogey man, had there been a greater danger to small children tucked up safely in their beds.   Any explanation other than an abduction,  would put an end to all the thriving new industries that sprung up out of Madeleine's disappearance.  And an end to New Labour's hopes for compulsory ID cards, a national DNA database and stricter border controls. 

I can't see this case ending in any other than a sea of red faces, at the very least.  Imagine Cherie Blair phoning Karen Matthews and telling her to hang on in there.  When you apply the special treatment of Gerry and Kate to any other case you can see how totally inappropriate it was.  The Blairs and the Browns can blame their advisors and their own compassion. The compassion will probably work for all those interviewers and breakfast TV presenters who gave them such an easy time.  But for the British police and the British secret services, it is beyond embarrassing. I can't help but think there may be grudges in play, a determination to bring the real culprits to justice.  That is far more likely and reflective of human nature than a 7 year quest to hide the truth. 



 
 

Monday, 16 April 2018

HOW MADELEINE WENT GLOBAL

 
On my last blog a poster commented that there was a history of child trafficking in Portugal and Europe.  This surprised me because in all the years I have watched the Madeleine mystery, I have never heard of any child trafficking rings being raided or arrested.  Significantly, I have never heard of any missing children being rescued from child traffickers.  
 
The McCanns blame the Portuguese police for not responding quickly enough and for not closing the borders, sea ports and beaches presumably. Why their first thought was that she was being taken out of Portugal is bizarre, sadly most stolen children are found close to where they were taken and not alive. Travelling with an abducted child would be an absolute nightmare, especially a near 4 year old who could blurt out anything. Abductors of children and adults, ‘get rid of’ their hostages as soon possible for fear of being caught.  
 
Strangely on the night of Madeleine’s abduction, the McCanns were already focused on taking the search away from PDL, statistically the most likely place Madeleine would be found, and where the police and volunteers were already out searching. The idea that Madeleine may have been taken to another country may have been comforting for the parents, but it is not realistic.  It simply never happens.  Couples desperate to adopt a child have limitless legal means to do so, and let’s not forget, Madeleine was sharing a room with two babies, a boy and a girl, why would a potential adopter push past the babies to reach the 4 year old?  
 
The astonishing part of this (imaginary) happy ever after fairy tale, is the fact that the government, the British police and the media ran with it. That such an abduction has never happened before in the history of the world, was brushed aside as the search for Madeleine went global.  Jim Gamble and CEOP even released an aged progressed 'Asian' Madeleine. And in the early days, an innocent Moroccan family were targeted simply because their small daughter had blonde hair. As if a poor and struggling family in Morocco could or would sponsor an international crime to acquire another mouth to feed. But the McCanns were selling and the papers were buying, pouncing on an innocent Moroccan family may have been ludicrous, but it sold papers.
 
The Portuguese Authorities approached the investigation with calm and logic.  Most missing children turn up safe and sound.  The parents, not unnaturally, were frantic, as any parents in such a situation would be, but their unwillingness to leave it to the professionals, simply added more suspicion.  We can only imagine the astonishment of Goncalo Amaral and his team watching Gerry and Kate visit the Pope and tour Europe.
 
Making the search for Madeleine global, was of course a masterstroke in marketing, and unique, most parents of abducted children don't claim they have been taken out of the country.  Madeleine, bless her, was special I'm sure, but no child is special enough for someone to arrange an international kidnap.  She was too old to blend into an existing family, and too recognisable to be seen in public.  None of which would have been a problem if they had taken one of the babies. 
 
I can understand why people would want to comfort the parents by agreeing that their hopes of rescuing Madeleine are feasible, but is it really a good idea to feed an obvious delusion?  And what kind of sick minds came up with an image of Madeleine with brown skin? 
 
There were of course a lot of benefits in taking the search for Madeleine worldwide.  Not least it distracted from the actual search in PDL and jammed the police switchboards.  But it also boosted the Fund.  I believe they received over 50m hits in the first few days.  The idea that Madeleine could so easily have been shipped away, took hold as they visited Morocco (why?), and Kate, or one of her relatives, had a vision of a boat. 
 
Unfortunately, every abduction theory leads eventually to the ludicrous.  An organised international kidnap? Seriously?  A random opportunist? body would have been found. Burglar? Among the more ridiculous and from SY to boot.  A Gang? Would the police, both Portuguese and British allow them to carry on for 11 years uninterrupted?  An adoptive family? Given the publicity, there was never any hope of a normal life. A monster with a basement? Dear God, let's hope not. 
 
It is very unlikely that poor Madeleine ever left PDL, even if she had been taken by an abductor.  Yet Gerry and Kate never searched the area around them.  Looking back at the campaigns of Gerry and Kate, even from the earliest days, they have taken their search everywhere but Portugal, yet it is the last place they saw their child.  
 
It is hard not to be cynical about the parents motives for taking the search for Madeleine worldwide.   It was an almighty distraction, not only to the search in PDL, but also to the tricky issue of the child neglect and the suspicions of the Portuguese police.  How could these parents who were working so hard to publicise their daughter's disappearance, possibly be involved?  It is assumed that the guilty hide away lest they be caught, but often the opposite happens, they, like the lady, doth protest too much.   
 
Without knowing the fate of their daughter, they embraced the cause of missing children worldwide, especially in the USA where the huge NCMEC has it's own TV network and specialist centre for tracking down missing children.   It's TV host, John Walsh, the father of a child taken and murdered many years ago.  CEOP by comparison, were the poor relations, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Gamble had big plans for it.  For whatever reason, the non charismatic JG thinks he's great on the telly, and would have had a permanent spot, with good public speaker, hmm, Gerry in the John Walsh role. 
 
Children in reality, very rarely get abducted, and the best source for that statement is Wiki's list of global kidnappings.  If abduction is rare, taking a child across borders is rarer still, it has simply never happened.  The parents were miffed because the PJ simply wouldn't support their bizarre appeals in countries all over Europe.  John McCann said in an interview, they would continue their private investigation, but are happy if the police wanted to join them.  I'm trying to think where that would come on an arrogance scale, but the summer of 2007 was a summer of madness and it has much to compete with. 
 
Those of us unfortunate enough to become entrapped by this mystery, remember all too well the hysteria and lunacy this high profile crime unleashed.  The idea that Madeleine could be found literally anywhere in the world caught on.  Week in, week out, the tabloids ran stories about sightings, in fact the sightings continued for years, right up until Scotland Yard opened Operation Grange, and they stopped.  So too did the appeals and so too the fundraising.  It would of course, be disrespectful to the British police to act independently of them whilst a live investigation is underway, but they had no qualms about doing it to the PJ.  They held press conferences, they put out appeals, they staged faux police briefings.  Clarence was always with them, but never a serving or even ex, police officer from the PJ endorsing them.   
 
John McCann gave a lot away in a self congratulatory interview, though many of us didn't realise it at the time.  He confirmed, with glee it must be said, that not only had Team McCann gone rogue, but they expected the PJ to praise them for it, a tick in the 'shows initiative box'.   The McCanns had already decided that the PJ weren't up to the job, so they would do it themselves. 
 
Bizarrely, the McCanns conducting their own investigation, never attracted the comment it should have.  Instead of being criticised for taking the law into their hands, they were praised by the British establishment and media as heroic.  As if suspects looking for a stranger to pin the crime on, and not co-operating with the police, was the most the natural thing the world, rather than the obstruction of justice that it was.
 
There was never any real possibility that Madeleine had been taken out of PDL, but the idea that she might have been, sold millions of newspapers and planted an irrational fear among the public, that will never go away. The case of missing Madeleine has demonstrated just how rare child abduction is, if anything it proved there was no necessity for a specialised team of child rescuers on standby should such a similar abduction occur in the future.  A dream of Jim Gamble, who is sure he could have done so much more.  
 
Making Madeleine's search global was a major achievement for the marketing arm of Team McCann.  They somehow convinced the watching world that they too should be looking for Madeleine, even if they lived thousands of miles and several continents away.  Holiday makers were urged to put up posters wherever they travelled, and the truly devoted bought holiday packs with prayer cards and luggage tags.  
 
There is a sadness about parents looking for their lost child, parents who return again and again, to the place their child went missing.  Still putting up posters. still showing photographs and still begging the police for information.  But other than the first few weeks, that never happened with  Gerry and Kate.  They rely on others to put the posters etc, up for them.  Do they phone the PJ regularly to see if there are any updates?  Do they return to PDL, out of sight of the media?  do they have masses said in the small church that became their sanctuary?
 
Some might still say, Gerry and Kate were right to be wary of the Portuguese police, some might say they had good reason to be hostile towards them, but ultimately, they were the McCanns best hope of getting their daughter back.   Refusing to cooperate with the detectives searching for your daughter, is unfathomable to most people, they would put the fate of their child above any fears they may have for themselves.  
 
Madeleine being taken out of the country was actually the least likely scenario, but for Gerry and Kate it was the most likely - on the night she disappeared and in the weeks that followed.  What parent goes on a European tour, leaving their toddlers in the same place their older sister was taken from, and knowing the body of their child could be found at any time in the place they just flew out of? 
 
A global search was never necessary, yet Gerry and Kate convinced the world it was.  11 years on, we can see how bizarre the actions of the parents were in their conviction that Madeleine had been taken out of the country, and how blaming the police for not closing the borders is just about all they have to blame on the police.  Their allegations of incompetence, dressing badly and having long boozy lunches are not the reason for the first investigation coming to a halt. 
 
The first investigation ended because it couldn't go any further without the co-operation of the main players, ie, the McCanns and their tapas friends.  The search for Madeleine in Portugal was officially over.  The worst result possible for parents of missing child.  Not for Gerry and Kate however, who could now officially take over the investigation, and feed the press anything they wanted.  They even demanded the files of Leicester police, but happily their demands were thrown out by a Judge. 
 
Despite the fact that Gerry and Kate could at any time, have asked for the Portuguese to re-open their files, they chose not to.  Instead they appealed directly to the British Prime Minister for a Review, not by the sardine munching Portuguese police, but by a panel sympathetic to their good characters, their professions and their British and Celtic roots.  A panel that would lift the horrible little cloud of suspicion left by the disgruntled ex Detective.  
 
I suspect for the Portuguese Judiciary, the opening of the British doors with Operation Grange, offered them a way to re-open that interrupted investigation.  The Tapas group were out of their jurisdiction, safely home in the UK and out of their reach - they couldn't interrogate them, nor could they put pressure on them, only a British force could do that.   

 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

ARMCHAIR DETECTIVES - MCCANNS HIT BACK

Eleven years on and the only people brave enough to comment on and indeed question, the ongoing search for missing Madeleine McCann are two people with missing loved ones of their own. No politician, no celebrity with a platform, no newspaper columnist and no breakfast TV presenter.  All are united in keeping it zipped when it comes to criticizing the £12m costs and unlimited police resources that have been poured into this one case. And all are gushingly sympathetic to the parents, not for one moment questioning the neglect, their failure to co-operate with the police, or their vendetta against the former police detective.  
 
Suspecting the parents is as taboo as it ever was, those few celebrities who have said anything remotely critical of Gerry and Kate, have quickly seen their careers nosedive.  We have been living a twilight zone, where we all have to play an elongated game of pretend with the parents as innocent victims of the corrupt Portuguese justice system.  No-one dare ask why the Madeleine case continues to get special treatment and why funds for her search are seemingly limitless.  Kerry Needham was right to point out the vast difference in the way Madeleine's disappearance has been treated, and the father of a man missing since 2015, complained that he and many others with missing family members are told by the police nothing more can be done.  Kerry and Paul, are probably the only people able to ask these questions, without being stamped on by the McCann media monitoring machine.  With family members missing themselves, they are above reproach. 
 
The same can't be said of the media and members of the public who are freethinking enough to opt out of the game of pretend.  Any sign of dissent is struck down with great vengeance and furious anger, no newspaper or broadcaster can look beyond the headlines for fear of being labelled as 'haters'.  A nasty little word that crept into our lexicon in 2007, commonly used by those without answers, explanations or the ability to debate.   
 
I happen not to believe Scotland Yard and Operation Grange are part of some great big scam to cover up the crimes of the guilty.  I also happen to think they are operating under Portugal's laws of judicial secrecy. It is often forgotten that the Portuguese have the lead in this case and it is up to them to prosecute, or not.  The 'or not' isn't an option.  Those of us who have been around a while will remember how stubbornly the PJ refused to re-open their files.  They were insistent that there had to be new evidence and they were not playing games. 
 
Several years ago, Alison Saunders, the outgoing head of the CPS travelled to Lisbon for talks with her Portuguese counterpart.  Both must have agreed the investigations were worth pursuing and both must have agreed on the role the British police would play.  Even if the British police say absolutely nothing about their investigation and their findings, all will be revealed when the Portuguese police files become public.
 
Moving on from the recurring cover up argument,  I see the McCanns, via a pal, have 'hit back' at the armchair detectives.  They seem to have completely forgotten those biblical passages that urge the turning of the other cheek.  Every politician, every celebrity, every comedian and indeed, every writer, knows the golden rule about not attacking your audience.  Even if you are right, dead right, you should never do it.  I'm sure there are many celebrities who would like to say 'listen you bastards' to journalists, photographers and members of the public, but those who do can be found in the 'where are they now' section of YouTube.   Telling people exactly what you think of them gives only momentary satisfaction, but the damage can last a lifetime. 
 
I am astonished that the McCanns have not yet taken in the concept of the Streisand Effect.  Simply mentioning the 'armchair detectives' draws attention to them.  It goes without saying that most can be written off as barmy, but those tempted to look beyond the headlines will find Goncalo Amaral's book.  It's as if the parents themselves want to stay in the news, and they want people to read all that's out there, even the bad stuff!  The Truth of the Lie was on sale for a year before they took legal action. Cynics might say the bigger the audience, the bigger the payout.  Other cynics might say, any case against them is prejudiced by the publicity this case has received.  Ergo, there can be no trial.
 
I think however they were referring specifically to Colin Sutton, the ex-detective who has stuck his head above the parapet to share his expertise.  Calling him an armchair detective is probably a 9/10 on the miaow scale, up there with 'who is he'.  Colin Sutton was of course an actual detective, but putting him alongside Bennett and Hall degrades him.  Among all their critics they dislike real detectives the most. 
 
The pal also added how thankful Gerry and Kate were to the police, and described SY as the world's finest.  Thereby putting aside all and any rumours that they might be suspects.  As it is approaching 7 years and no progress, I can't help but think there was a touch of irony in there.  Gerry and Kate still believe Madeleine is alive and findable, not surprising, but so too do the detectives which is surprising. 
 
Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder if the McCann media machine, opts for controversial statements in the hope of getting more column inches, if not the front page.  Why say something positive when something negative is more newsworthy.  Unfortunately, their whole campaign went downhill when it turned negative.  There are so many things the McCanns could and should have said over the years to keep their supporters onside, instead they are always 'hitting back' or incandescent with rage.  Confident people don't do that, or if they do, they do it in a way that ends the argument. 
 
Until this case reaches a conclusion, it will always be open for discussion by armchair detectives.  That's what happens with high profile crimes.  See OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson's doctor.  The McCanns are victims of a heinous crime, or not, but they are the ones who worked so hard to make their case so famous.  If this were a reality TV show, they would be applauded for keeping the ratings high. Unfortunately, all they have to lash out at for the moment, is internet trolls and armchair detectives. Their vendetta against Goncalo Amaral has a hit a brick wall. They lost. And they daren't criticize the British police because they want to appear as if they are working with and alongside them. Awkward.   
 
The case won't and can't, end without each investigation, British and Portuguese, reaching a conclusion.  Both are financed with taxpayers money and accountable to the public.  Whilst the British police might hold back on the information they give to the public, the Portuguese won't.