Friday, 20 October 2017

Almost There

The Madeleine McCann  Affair, as opposed to the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann,  was created between  May 4  and May 10 2007. In that one week the nine people at its heart created a written  narrative of events for the police, which they submitted  prior to their second round of interviews. Simultaneously the McCann family, against the wishes of the police,   created a quite separate narrative for the media.
The motives for the two parallel actions remain unknown to this day. The results of them do not. It is now clear  that, as a direct result of their actions,  neither the police in the first instance, nor the public in the second were able to find out what had happened on May 3. 

The Narrative Provided to the Portuguese Police



That statement does not impute criminal guilt of any kind to the parents or their friends, since, as a direct result of their actions, nobody has been able to establish publicly just what those actions were. That is why the 2007/8 investigation was shelved under “type of crime: unknown”. The nine people, all of them close to the child and her activities and whereabouts,  most of them checking on her well-being while she slept that evening, had not even provided sufficient information for the justice authorities to determine whether she had been abducted!
The Archiving Summary stated there was  no evidence of a specific crime against anyone. Not against the three arguidos, who were released from their legal restraints, not against their friends and not against person or persons unknown. The same summary noted that the group of nine had refused to assist the police in resolving issues concerning their evidence and the  disappearance “for reasons unknown”.  
Ten years later it is quite clear that the investigation failed because the Nine collectively created  a narrative of events that does not correspond to the now known facts. Again, that does not impute guilt; but it is  certain that it did not assist the police in taking the first step in every investigation – forming a clear picture of what the people closest to a crime scene were doing before and during the crime itself.  They never did find out.
There is no way round this whether you are a supporter or an opponent of the McCanns. The document they produced is firstly a travesty of what witness evidence  should be. What possessed a group of educated people to “recollect collectively” rather than give their individual statements to the police is unknown. Much worse than this breach of all witness norms is  that they “filled in gaps” in each other’s stories rather than giving witness evidence of what each of them had seen  and experienced. And it is packed with subjective assumptions and spin which completely subvert the idea of witness evidence. Words used in their document supposedly describing events  include, in order,  "believed", "possible", "possibly", "may well have been", "possibly drugged", "possibly", "possibly", "probably", "perhaps", "probably", "possibly", "perhaps".
When did you last experience a "possible event"? Experienced a "perhaps event" recently?  Felt "possibly drugged" lately?

Yes We Will...No We Won't

So the first job of the Portuguese police in interviewing them was to try and unravel this stuff  as well as the possible reasons for its creation – instead of being able to concentrate their limited time on finding the child. They  were unable to unravel it because seven of the nine refused  to help them do so. Previously Jane Tanner had stated on television:  

BILTON: So you said you're prepared to answer questions.

JANE: Yeah.

BILTON: In some ways would you like to?

JANE: I'd love to, yeah, I think.. you know, I actively want to be re-interviewed. If there is a feeling that what we're saying is wrong, you know, be interviewed.. you know, and we can clarify that it's not wrong, you know, we're not making things up, it's just what happened.

BILTON: Have you been asked to return to be questioned?


BILTON: Would you be prepared to?

JANE: Yes. Yeah of course we would. Yeah, and I mean if it helps to find Madeleine, be interviewed tomorrow, you know, we're obviously key witnesses.” 

As we all know she wouldn't and didn't.

The Man Who Never Was

But the greatest charge against the Nine’s "evidence"  is that their document, headed “Sequence of Events: Thursday 3rd May 2007 - 2030 to 2200.As recalled by [the nine names]” was no such thing: it was a document that collectively claimed, suggested or hinted  throughout that someone who is now, according to Scotland Yard, known never to have existed,  had left traces or clues of his existence in the McCann apartment.  For the philosophers amongst us a modern definition of truth is a “statement in accordance with the facts”. The written statement was not in accordance with the facts: in other words it cannot be true. 
Read the document, as both Portuguese and British police forces have done many times. This “collectively” says things like the door is slightly ajar (about 45 degrees),  and adds, just in case the police didn't get their gist, which is unusual, making it fit perfectly with the idea that the “abductor” seen a few minutes later by Tanner had moved the door as he entered the room. It is followed by the ludicrous on leaving the room, GM shuts the door to approximately 5 degrees, (do you routinely measure your door-gaps to an accuracy of 1/72 of a circle? Of course you do)  preparing the way for the later MO enters flat... He does not enter the bedroom but can see through a now quite open door (greater than 45 degrees) into the room. Another perfect fit.  And, inevitably, we have of KM’s 10 PM visit,  She is about to leave, when she notices the bedroom door was open (approximately 60 degrees).
Readers will get the message by now and perhaps or possibly  ask themselves the question, “if the abductor seen so well and described so vividly does not, as Scotland Yard states, exist, then who in Christ’s name had been opening and closing doors?” According to the document  there are no timeslots available for anyone else to have got into the apartment before 9.35PM - after the door had already been moved twice.

The words “seen so well and described so vividly” do not refer to Jane Tanner's description. Out of the 1153 words in the document supposedly covering an hour and a half  “sequence of events”, over three hundred (25%) are spent  describing the person whom Tanner claimed to have seen for approximately fifteen seconds   or so at dusk . We’ll simply state as fact that Tanner's police description of what she saw here has been augmented collectively to fit the narrative of a child abductor: she did not describe all those features in a police statement.

And only when the identity of the person whom Tanner actually saw becomes known – as it will, one way or another  –  will we all find out how well he and the child ever matched the Nine’s comprehensive description. All those details lovingly described, including that the child was looking "possibly drugged", all written down and sitting waiting patiently  to be compared with the age, build, appearance and clothing of the man the Yard  say she actually saw.

Ever wondered why he hasn't been identified yet? Ever wondered why he's being kept under wraps like a smallpox sample?  He hasn't been identified because his appearance might prejudice, and more than prejudice, a trial, and we'll say no more about it. But whether a trial comes or not, he will be identified, and back-identified, by someone wanting the huge fee that a tabloid is likely to offer once Grange and any associated legal processes, are finished. That will be interesting, won't it?
So much for the “assistance” that those nine witnesses gave to the PJ. As far as is publicly known, not  one of them ever made an effort to undo the damage before Operation Grange. In the Leicester  interviews of 2008, where the police  were constrained by treaty in the questions they could ask, not one of them helped unravel the confusion they had caused. The oldest of them, a sprightly sixty-plus M/S Webster, claimed to remember hardly anything about a holiday taken only a year previously; the rest, in every single case, made the confusion even worse.  


There is no need to comment further on this performance except to repeat: along with the parallel extra-legal media narrative of the McCann family, this is how the Madeleine McCann Affair  began. Had the Nine not  prepared that pre-emptive evidence together, and had they not refused to explain their actions to the police ever since, then the “Affair”, with all the opportunities it provided for fund-raising, media campaigning, public hysteria and endless conspiracy theories, would almost certainly have ended many years ago. 
It’s at this point that we part company with those who say that this dismal and thoroughly strange performance means the Nine are guilty of a crime. That's not for us to say or to suggest. That their performance has damaged the investigation is obvious, as the Archiving Summary attests; that they not only colluded in preparing an untruthful “narrative of events” (see the definition of untruthful above) but also lied individually about the “checking” (attested to by the co-author of the Archiving Summary in court in 2009) is established. But why, and what pressures short of a crime  may have made them do so, have remained unknown.
Until now. No reinvestigation could possibly avoid confronting these indisputable facts. No reinvestigation could progress without taking “the first step” referred to above. No re-investigation could possibly be wound-up without the questions surrounding the Nine’s narrative having being clarified in depth and in detail. In other words that has already been done by the police re-investigations (nothing whatever to do with "interviews as suspects"), apart from the  loose ends.
What the consequences will be we don’t know. But it’s all we’ve ever wanted, apart from the now-achieved vindication of Goncalo Amaral,  and it’s been well worth the wait.  It's done!