Saturday, 29 October 2016

Britain Leads the Way in Europe

We saw it here first

2015: window-sized pixilated image deliberately placed in front of people in sedentary position. 
Passive recipient  sector of population led by German first minister brainwashed by well-known but rarely acknowledged psychological effects of electronic imagery.
Tears and uproar follow. Image reinforced and unpredictable feedback "something must be done" loop created by follow up images/text and resulting reaction in mass and social media. Uncontrollable mass hysteria follows.  Leading worthies and all politicians respond appropriately to majority "public mood" with European treaty on refugees ignored "by acclamation", local residents ignored or vilified  and  EU law trampled on.  German borders opened to largest movement of populations since 1945.
People turn on each other. Pop singers sobbingly apologize to prematurely aged refugee children. Next decade will be spent in working out the consequences at home and abroad of decisions taken by electronically triggered hysteria, including the departure of the UK from the European Union, hastened by the sudden population movement increase. Will lessons be learned? Is UK experience any guide?

2007: window-sized pixilated image deliberately placed in front of people in sedentary position.
Passive recipient sector of population led by avid junk TV watcher Gordon Brown brainwashed by well-known but rarely acknowledged psychological effects of electronic imagery.
Tears and uproar follow. Image reinforced and unpredictable feedback loop created by follow up images/text and resulting reaction in mass and social media. Uncontrollable mass hysteria ensues. Leading worthies and all politicians respond appropriately to majority "public mood"  with European investigative practices damaged "by acclamation", local residents ignored or vilified with attempts made to pervert the course of extradition law.  Public in  grip of hysteria  hurl money at parents and turn them into millionaires. Pop singers sob convincingly.
Next twelve years or so spent in the consequences being worked out of decisions taken by electronically triggered mass hysteria. Majority of electronically stimulated  subjects seek vainly for an explanation of their own hysteria, turn on each other, enter denial about their role in creating the affair, take refuge in fantasy alibis of government protection, police whitewashes, sinister billionaires, abduction, international plots, keeping weather eye open for media to confirm their beliefs.
Policeman's career destroyed by Portuguese legal system funded by money given freely by the British. Innocent woman dies as a result of the affair, her body followed to the grave by dismissive insults and contempt from still well-read and well-supported British media.
After a decade the fantasy alibis finally  run out of fuel. Majority of electronically stimulated subjects start to put it all out of their minds in bewilderment.  Mass media have long moved on, internet media alibi-sources fall silent, search for other, new,  targets or head for the doors and new identities.

Two years or so still to go.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Nigel Moore

What He Did
AJS writes: The work that Nigel  did in creating and maintaining McCann Files is, of course, well known. That site is simply a gem to anyone who wishes to research the case in either its narrow or broader aspects. Most of the English language primary sources are there as well as a wealth of other stuff  but perhaps the most valuable material is potentially the most misused or misunderstood: media reports.
Such reports tell us almost nothing of value about the supposed subject being covered but, potentially,   a great deal about the people providing the information and why, for little ever goes into a national UK paper without a hidden  reason.  Until Google it was impossible to track what they were up to. Few wanted to search through giant volumes of essentially shallow thinking in press cuttings libraries sorted by date, not thematically; journalists had long got used to living in a kind of permanent present in which the continuity of (hidden) special  interests in their stories was largely unseen and unchallenged.  

With Google’s help the genius of Nigel changed all that. His long, scroll-like threads followed press reports thematically for days and weeks at a time and suddenly – a revelation, in Mr Redwood’s words –  it was all there: with a little practice you could see which group had fed the story originally, how it was added to and developed, which journalists were in the pockets of which PR people, how alternative versions or rebuttals of the original story were handled and so on.  It was extraordinary to see a half-century old modus operandi stripped naked in this way,  as though the people involved had been bugged at their place of work. And the reality was not pretty: an industry completely infiltrated and corruptly available for hire. His exposure was a clinical Anatomy of the Lie.
Nigel’s work in the collation and sequencing of the broadcast media revealed an industry less  corrupt financially  than the press but  open to similar abuse due to the overwhelming power of the image on the screen and its ability to make us suspend or dismiss rational thought. Few people remember the words used in TV news reports: they remember the mood not the boring facts, or absence of them, and this provides a splendid cloak for manipulation, whether for "good" or ill. Who remembers the words to the news item about the drowned refugee child on the beach? The words, all spoken of  course in the undertaker's voice that well-fed correspondents can turn on or off like a tap, or in Olga Guerin's case like a faulty fire alarm, didn't matter: it was the picture that ultimately opened the doors to Germany. Such is the power of television.

The Dom Pedro Hotel, like Phillip Greene’s vulgar and disgusting gin palace and his McCann-carrying private jet,  is now a byword for greed and  the style to which the parents  became accustomed with others' help. Its notoriety  is due largely to one of Nigel’s triumphs: putting together the footage from the numerous media conferences given by Gerry McCann when he returned to Portugal and allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions.
It remains genuinely shocking to this day: the deception, the shamelessness, the outright lying to the Portuguese public, time and again, about the reasons for his presence in the country. And in there also is Mitchell, stating that staying in a luxury hotel (while secretly consulting his libel lawyer) was a justified use of the money donated to that wretched fund. Yep, Gerry McCann was entitled to the money because he was “searching” while staying in the Dom Pedro. Where, under the f*****g bed?
Such are  Nigel’s innovations and they remain as relevant today, perhaps even more so, than when he developed them. Our friends the City correspondents, the sort of people who enriched Piers Morgan by using the media to illicitly increase share prices, for example,  hardly  need reminding that   the Nigel Moore method works well with them too.
What He Is
As many will be aware he’s had a tough life and some harrowing personal tragedies. Yet you wouldn’t know it when communicating with him about this case: in all the time I knew him he radiated balance, fairness and a sense of proportion.   I never knew him to be openly hostile to the McCann pair. Often, when I’d written something that I thought might be too strong I sent it to him for his opinion and was  rewarded with his calm analysis. He was, indeed, the first person I’d occasionally allow  to edit my work in decades and I always agreed with his suggestions. In my experience he was trusted by everyone involved with the case who dealt with him and - a considerable rarity, this -  as much in Portugal as in the UK, from GA down. I never knew him to breach anyone’s confidence. He had no front to him, no desire to impress or big himself up.
About the snakepit side of the affair – when that black-toothed  and poisonous crone  BB, for example,  stated repeatedly that “everyone knew” that the commentator Dr Roberts was actually him, which of course was deliberately calculated to make people distrust him  –  he shrugged it off. When a couple of crooks tried to take over McCann Files he got rid of them and later described the episode with weary amusement.
To those who think that this might be an idealised portrait I can only reply that I write about him as I saw him and hope to see him again. Any fears among the less realistic of our readers that he dropped out under intimidation  are groundless: Nigel was sensible enough not to libel and was pretty impervious to pressure. Over the past few years, though, he found it a burden to keep up such a high maintenance site while dealing with a sea of troubles; appealing for funds for the site was something he dreaded, which is why when the appeals did come they were late and hesitant, as though he felt he was imposing. He is uninterested in money. FWIW, over the past eighteen months or so he found the flight into unreality that appeared to have overtaken case comment  troubling and expressed his dissatisfaction vigorously.  It is one of life's typical and bitter ironies that, having provided the tools to research the case properly, he watched them being ignored in favour of assertion and fantasy.
Although Brenda Leyland was a Bureau reader, and a complimentary one, I never had any relationship with her and therefore knew nothing about her personality from close up. Yet it is the sense of appalled sadness I felt at her death, and the unspeakable treatment of her by the media, that springs to mind whenever  I think of Nigel and his long travails. He too was  targeted by the (fed and prompted) media and he too has paid a price for what he did.  But it’s something deeper than that.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Secret Stuff

JB writes: In Cristobell’s admirable blog recently I made a brief reference to  GA’s “mistaken” view that the British security services were involved in the first investigation.  That drew forth a certain amount of steam behind the ears in response, demanding evidence for my opinion.
Well, naturally, I wasn’t going to give anything to an anonymous poster – that’s why we don’t have comments on the Bureau – that might be used to spread discord but, on reflection, I’m willing to enlarge a little on my view. The libel trial is, after all, over now and there is nothing wrong with disagreement. In addition, anything that further convinces the usual suspects that I am working for the McCanns is a Good Thing.
A word about my knowledge of the intelligence services. It is the same, roughly, as that of anyone who reads the careful but pretty voluminous information about them published since the war. I have, in addition, had very brief contact with one agent and one officer when I was very young and knew the family of the head of one of our agencies (not the head himself) some decades ago. But nothing written here derives from that.

As far as I know the claims, at root, derive from misunderstandings. The first relates to the Wikileaks document. I wrote about it years ago and drew down a storm of criticism and really rather filthy abuse from readers of the Joanna Morais blog.
Here is an extract from Sic Noticas, Tuesday, 14 December 2010.
Pedro Mourinho:  Goncalo Amaral…is with us live. (…)A very good evening to you Dr.           Goncalo Amaral.
Goncalo Amaral:  Good evening.
P.M:  Is there any novelty for you in the documents now released by WikiLeaks?
G.A:  No, in reality the only news is the document disclosure itself, since as for the evidence - the indicia - that is in the process. The cooperation and collaboration with the English police is public knowledge and is in the process. The results are there, therefore there isn't anything new.
P.M:  So, for you, it isn't news that it was the British police that found* the evidence that has... would have incriminated   Madeleine's parents?
*A pause here. This is a complete mistranslation from the English to the Portuguese. How many times this mistranslation had been used to GA before I do not know: perhaps it all derives from a common document. The WL cable never said anything about the British police “finding” evidence. It said, of course, “developed”. All the important evidence was “found” by the Portuguese police, with the exception of the dog evidence, in which the British, working to Portuguese requirements, featured and the results of which they helped develop.

GA: No, I didn't say that. It's not news with regard to the evidence. Now, as to the proof held by the British police, I don't know what they are referring to. There was cooperation and collaboration, the evidence and indicia are in the process thus... I don't know, someone should say what the evidence is; perhaps someone from the British police should say it. All the same, it was the cooperation between the British and Portuguese police that arrived at the proof that is in the process. 
The Wikileaks despatch was critically important, and acknowledged as such at the time,   because it confirmed that the claims made by and on behalf of the parents – that it was the wicked PJ alone who were fixated on the McCanns, while  the sensible, non-sardine-eating British cops had no time for that nonsense –  were, surprise, surprise, completely untrue.
But to my extreme puzzlement GA didn’t see the despatch that way at all, and more’s the pity because it was a vindication for him. Instead, and somewhat oddly, it triggered an expansion of his views about British machinations behind the scenes, including his beliefs about satellite images being held back for possibly sinister reasons.
G.A:  As I said before, the investigation is an investigation that is interrupted, an investigation that needs to be concluded. I believe that it is possible to make progress, if it wasn't for lack of political will; now with political will, based on this note - which is only a note as you said, but remains an important note nevertheless between two ambassadors, from one ambassador to the US State Department, that must have the weight that it has. Hopefully now, it will also be disclosed those photos, those satellite images that we believe to be in the possession of the US authorities, that we, the Portuguese police mentioned first, and also requested, a request that was denied to us.
P.M: In your understanding, what could those satellite images reveal?
G.A: They can reveal who was the person that carried the child on that night on its way to the beach. According to an Irish couple's statement, with an alleged 80% certainty, it was Gerald McCann himself. That could be the confirmation of that Irish couple's statement.
P.M: And those images exist?
G.A: We believe that, yes. In fact, the McCann couple themselves, said, a few months ago, that they also searched for them; that they don't exist, someone else later stated that they don't exist. It's possible that the site that has divulged the cable might also be able to release those images. That would be interesting.
P.M: In your opinion, if they exist, why weren't they yet revealed?
GA: *Well, probably because they are a secret of state somewhere... In fact, the whole investigation was a state secret in England. I remind you that there is documentation in that sense, referring that it is a state secret. We do not understand why it is considered as a state secret. In question is the disappearance, and the likely death of a child, and we still fail to understand why that is considered as state secrecy.
*This paragraph expresses the nub of the misunderstanding. The phrase "in fact" is not followed by any supporting evidence for the conclusions. 

P.M. You have spoken before about the 'political will'. Do you consider that there was a connivance of the British government, with the McCann couple, knowing that the London authorities - and at least we now have that certainty - were indeed aware of the evidence uncovered by the police of their own country? What I want to ask you, in your opinion, in the scope of this document, is, if we can understand a little bit better the manner in which the McCanns left the country?                                                             
G.A: I apologize for stating the obvious, but they have left the country by airplane. And they were well received back in England. What we became increasingly aware was the political influence, of the intervention of the British prime minister at the time, Gordon Brown, of the conversations that he allegedly had with our own prime minister, in October, at the Lisbon Summit - if they indeed spoke on the subject or not, we weren't there to listen. Some say they did, others say they didn't; but a fact remains, and this was the result: there was a point that the British police officers working on the case had to sign a document as if they belonged to the secret services, requesting their confidentiality so they wouldn't speak about the case. Definitely something strange, not usual under other circumstances. Thus, from then on, and with other elements - that would be too lengthy for us to be detailing here now - remains no doubt that a political intervention, practically, archived the case.
The apparent misunderstanding of the despatch and the paragraphs above, the last of which has no connection to the ambassador's despatch,  are the basic “evidence” given by GA for state secrecy and the involvement of the security services. (The minor comments made at other times about  “people on the tarmac”, what might have been said by someone to Martin Grime and the taxi service provided by Special Branch are not worthy of consideration).
It just doesn’t hack it, I'm afraid.

I am unaware of the existence of a document that British officers had to sign about secrecy, by the way, even though that great authority on the McCann case, Paolo Reis,  claimed there was  one. If somebody lets me know about it I’ll have a look. But if it exists it certainly won’t confirm the existence of “state secrecy” in the McCann case, if only because GA refers to it as merely “requesting confidentiality” and throwing in the phrase “as if they belonged to the secret services” is a bit naughty, isn't it?
Certainly as late as December 2010  GA had the wrong end of the stick about the Official Secrets Act which all UK police, as well as many other public servants, had to sign up to at the beginning of their careers. He was, for example, unaware that his lawyer’s demand for attendance of the McCanns’ Scotland Yard liaison officer in Portugal as a defence witness at the Lisbon HR libel trial would be worthless precisely because of the routine confidentiality that applies in all British  cases, at home or overseas. The officer was not forbidden to come because of the case but because of the law but GA, when it was explained to him, didn't see it that way.   
The "state secrecy" that so troubled GA - in this case the relevant provisions of the Official Secrets Act - was to do with nothing more than the problems of information received during investigations and the necessity of protecting people from the effects of premature or unjustified release of information. That, it should be remembered,  is a problem for Portugal as well – as the final libel trial judgement made very clear in great detail. The two countries deal with the same problem in different ways and one of them, the Portuguese way, was set to cost GA a quarter of a million euros or more before the appeal saved him: so far no evidence has emerged to show that the British legal approach to secrecy in police investigations has cost him a penny.    
GA’s belief that there was something extra-secret at work in the McCann case justifying the likelihood of “MI5” – we all know that “MI5” wouldn’t have been working overseas, but that’s just trivia – or other intelligence agencies being involved might have merit but he has provided no facts to back it up.
He was speculating about overseas matters outside his normal area of expertise. In the absence of any evidence one can only accept his claims because of who he is and what he has done. But that isn't enough. It never is.

As I've said, it will all come out in the wash.