It’s said that good things come in threes or, as the other side would now say, also do bad things.
But in the Maddie case the good things for us and bad for them have come in fours this summer break.
To be accurate, during the summer of 2016 there seemed to be only three good things, the fourth only arrived just last week with the approval of the funding of Operation Grange for the second semester of the 2016/2017 fiscal year. The first semester had been approved back in April.
Since we returned from holidays we have already addressed two of them in respective posts: the association of Clement Freud with the Maddie case and the firing of Clarence Mitchell.
In the first post, “Freud and Maddie”, we showed how Clement Freud was neither a patsy nor an innocent bystander and that his name had come up for three reasons: firstly to inform the other side what the social status was above which people were safe and below which continued to be of interest, secondly to obliterate any and all last possible sympathy the McCanns could still have with the general public and lastly to have the other side feel grateful to be outed as swingers instead of helpers to a 83 yr old paedo.
In the second one, “Mitchell walking the plank”, we explained how Clarence Mitchell had been fired publicly to put an end to the infamous friend /source close to the family quoted in almost every single news article concerning Maddie.
Today we will deal with the remaining two, the McCann money and the Operation Grange funding.
Both are obviously related to money but neither are about amounts – we will mention some – but about what money means in this game and how it’s being used in it, in what we have called the Maddie Money Game – a game within the game.
2. The squandering McCanns
The news that the MCanns ran out of money appeared on August 31 2016, in articles such as the Sun’s “Kate and Gerry McCann desperate for new donations as search fund is down to last £46k”.
“Last year’s account showed just £746,152 was left in the fund and it has now believed to stand at just £480,000.
And the couple face paying £434,000 to Portuguese former police chief Goncalo Amaral’s lawyers after losing libel action.
It would leave the funds at just £46,000.”
We already had the opportunity to correct the statement saying that Mr Amaral is to receive money from the McCanns as stated in the article. Mr Amaral WON’T, whatever the court result, receive a single penny or cent from the McCanns. And in whatever scenario, Mr Amaral will have to pay for his lawyers’ expenses.
The question is which party will pay the court costs. The article seems to imply that the McCanns have accepted it will be them. The £434,000 referred above would be for that.
The fact that the British press still continues say that this money is destined for Mr Amaral is, in our opinion, because it wants to really pass on the message that the McCanns have lost the libel suit against Mr Amaral. The reaction from the public they seek is for it to think that if he’s not libelling then he can only be telling the truth.
Yes, we know – we were the first to say so in our July 2014 post “No longer libel, so stop calling it libel” – that it is not a libel trial but a damages one. However we are fully aware the perception the British public has of the McCann v Amaral proceedings is that it is libel.
In libel, the British public has become accustomed that the righteous party always receives a pay-out – sorry is never enough – so to pass this message, Mr Amaral must be seen to be receiving something. To the same British public, there’s a direct relationship between the seriousness of the libel, or size of the lie, and the amount to be paid.
The message now being passed on is that the McCanns have defamed Mr Amaral £434,000 worth.
Back to the money remaining in the fund, we are certain that the people who donated to it to help find Maddie and not to help legal actions whenever her parents’ felt offended, upon reading the above article will not be happy to see almost half-million pounds being spent on that.
The article mentions that “more than £4.2million has been donated since she disappeared in Portugal in 2007”, so the £434,00 represents 10% of all donated over the years and will be wasted just because the parents thought they were offended and demanded financial compensation because of it.
To be clear, we think everyone has the right to feel offended and act upon it legally but what no one has the right to is to distort the purpose of donated money to pursue that.
The McCanns are really made to look like they are completely reckless with the fund’s money, squandering it away on petty things.
However, the real squandering is nothing about legal costs.
One just has to do some very simple arithmetic.
On December 19 2015, the Mirror published the article “Madeleine McCann's parents to launch new private search with appeal fund's remaining £750k”.
“A source told the Sunday People : “There is £750,000 in the account. That money has been preserved because Kate and Gerry knew they may want to reopen an investigation at some point.””
Thanks to the Aug 31, 1026 Sun’s article we have now been informed that the £750,000 mentioned in the Dec 19, 2015 Mirror’s article was precisely £746,152.
A basic math question:
If a couple 8.3 months ago, had £746,152, and in that period of time they spent £434,000 on dresses and cigars and now only have £46,000, then how much money has the couple spent monthly on other expenses? Please present your answer to the nearest pound.
£746,152 - £434,000 - £46,000 = £266,152
£266,152 / 8.3 = £32,067
To those who have a brain that freezes the moment they see a math equation, let us explain the reasoning.
The media said the McCanns had on Dec 15, 2015 they had £746,152. On Aug 31, 2016, 8.3 months later, they say they will only have £46,000.
The difference of £700,152 needs explaining. The article says that of this money, £434,000 is for Mr Amaral. We know it isn’t, we think it could be for legal costs. Taking this £434,000 from the £700,152 to account for, there remains £266,152 to be explained.
|(table from Aletheia's footsteps for Madeleine McCann)|
The McCanns reported for the fiscal years of 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 the following yearly expenses:
- Merchandising/Campaign costs: £115,109
- Admin Expenses: £23,910
- Total: £139,019
- Monthly: £11,584
- Merchandising/Campaign costs: £63,638
- Admin Expenses: £21,005
- Total: £84,643
- Monthly: £7,053
It’s understandable that expenses decrease yearly so one would expect that what was spent in the fiscal year of 2015/2016 would be less than for the 2014/2015 and this would be less than for 2013/2014, the last year shown above.
But let’s benefit the couple and take the average amount between the 2 fiscal years mentioned, meaning a yearly expense of monthly expense of £9,319 ((£11,584 + £7,053)/2), or £77,348 for 8.3 months.
So, AFTER we deduce what we have calculated (benefiting the couple) the expenses for Merchandising/Campaign costs and Admin Expenses for that period of time, £188,804 (£266,152 - £77,348) are still to be accounted for in those 8.3 months. That makes a monthly amount of £22,747 to be explained.
Taking into account they have a national police force trying to find what happened to their daughter, and we keep being told by the press about the spiralling costs of this official investigation paid by the taxpayer, one has to question where exactly have the McCanns spent £189,000 of the fund’s money between Dec 15, 2015 and Aug 31, 2016.
Especially taking into account that they are supposed to be in avaricious mode since at least December 2015 – to preserve funds to continue the search in the case Grange closes – where has £23,000 gone every month?
Not on Clarence Mitchell as the man has only been working as required or as needed, since 2013.
Between 2009 and 2013 Clarence Mitchell worked full time being paid by the fund, but at a reduced rate after Brian Kennedy stopped doing so for financial reasons as stated in the Mail article of June,6 2009 by Daniel Boffey “Crunch-hit tycoon scales down cash aid for the Madeleine McCann campaign”.
“Brian Kennedy, who pledged to support the McCanns until Madeleine was found, has stopped paying for the couple’s media campaign after the credit crunch hit his business interests.
The Madeleine Fund – which is down to £500,000 and expected to be empty by the end of the year – is now paying for the media relations work of former BBC reporter Clarence Mitchell, although at a reduced rate.”
After 2013, Mitchell has only worked for the McCanns as required, or as needed, firstly because of his unsurprisingly failed candidacy to become an MP and then because of the creation of his own PR company in 2015.
Mitchell would have then received in these 8.3 months whatever was due for when and only when his services were required (or needed), so just a fraction of an already reduced rate.
But we’re certain that all expenses related to Mitchell would be under Merchandising/Campaign costs declared, so he doesn’t account for the missing money.
We are left in total ignorance on what the McCanns have spent that money and it seems they have, according to the media, spent it.
One thing appears to be very clear and that is the McCanns are real squanderers. Or at least are made to look like that.
But much worse, it seems that their lack of control over the funds is much more serious than what we have just described.
In the Sun’s article of July 19 2016 “Kate and Gerry McCann hope new PM Theresa May will revive search for missing tot”, this gem can be found:
“The McCann source added: “It would be a boost to Kate and Gerry for the inquiry to continue but when it does end they will continue the search themselves.””
On July 19 they say they have money to pick up the search after Grange, a little over a month afterwards, on August 31, they declare they have only £46,000 and cannot.
Between July 19 and August 31 nothing changed. The McCanns submitted their appeal to the Portuguese Supreme Court on May 23 2015 so nothing new, as in any surprising legal costs, on that front during those 43 days.
Did they blow it all away on a single month? If so, on what?
They either squander shamelessly or are not trustworthy to be given money, or both. Or, again, made to look like that.
And where has the £434,000 figure come from?
As far as we know only at the end of the trial can the court costs be calculated and determined who has to pay what. And as far as we know the trial is ongoing.
And isn’t the £434,000 just a tad much too precise to be an estimation?
Besides, even taking into account the unusual amounts for the Portuguese courts asked by the McCanns, we find it hard to believe that the court costs would be anywhere near £434,000. Not even a quarter of that.
Also why the McCann pessimism? Where is the revenue from Kate’s book and the fund’s merchandising? Are they not expecting any money from any of that? As we showed in our post “Fraud” these have been, supposedly (and very doubtfully), a solid source of revenue. Is there any reason for this to have stopping being so?
And who could ever forget the £100,000 ripped off from the fund, as reported by the Sun in the article of October, 26 2015 by Gary O’Shea and Gerard Couzens “‘£100,000 fraud’ on Maddie fund”?
Oh, apparently the McCanns could, because as far as we know no one has done anything about it since it was reported!
It’s as if £100,000 is just loose change for these people. Once one gets used to millions what really is just a hundred thousand?
It was interesting to be reminded by the Sun why people did donate to the fund: “One said: “What made the fraud so disgusting was money came from people who shed tears over her disappearance and wanted to do their little bit””.
We imagine the “little bit” of the “people who shed tears over her disappearance” wasn’t to see the parents squander away their money on legal costs over their ego being supposedly damaged. And let’s not to speak of the money wasted in unexplained expenses.
We are reminded of our unicorn v leprechaun in the McCanns backyard analogy in our last post. Doesn’t this thing about the McCanns suddenly running out of money all sound just like someone is making an effort to make us believe in fairy creatures?
Don’t these numbers seem like they are just being thrown about?
All is explained when one understands the Maddie Money Game, the game being played within the game.
3. The Maddie Money Game
Money has two important characteristics: it’s tangible and objective.
It can be quantified with precision so it speaks a universal language. The British pound, the American dollar or the European euro each have, in the moment in time they are mentioned, a known and objective value.
When it’s said that Operation Grange has consumed over £12 million of the British taxpayer’s money that is being precise and allows each recipient of that particular bit of information to visualise in their own world what it means.
But money in the Maddie case is not exactly money but more a powerful tool used to convey messages.
To better understand the idea, please read again the prior paragraph and see how we conveyed the message that the British government is wasting money with Operation Grange. We used money and its objectiveness.
Nowhere did we use the verb to waste but that’s what it is conveying.
Also note that even though the McCanns aren’t mentioned in the paragraph, it makes them be disliked a little more, or maybe a whole lot more after one reads that.
As we have said repeatedly, the other side has been only fighting to have this process archived.
Both they and the government would have preferred for the outcome to be “The Third Option” AKA Negligent McCanns but as we showed in that post, it’s just not feasible. They tried, really tried but at a certain point in time realised it was pointless.
The evidence that is there and can be easily found is just too damning for a bungled burglary to be minimally credible.
By the way, if the Third Option continued to be the chosen option, the other side would be working together with the government and we wouldn’t get such messages as those saying that forensics will be inconclusive and the process must be archived. Forensics would be of the essence to support tha thesis.
If the two sides were in agreement they would be showing a unified front for that conclusion and archival wouldn’t be pushed as an option by one side.
Also, if the decision was to pin all on an anonymous Portuguese burglar, then why bring Freud into the picture so late in the game?
If the intention is to say it was an anon Portuguese burglar who was on an errand gone wrong for Freud, then one has to ask how could anyone possibly know that if the man is unknown to all?
No, the two parties involved are showing clearly they have separate camps. They’re not working together, they’re out at a barbeque and one side is the cook and the other the steak. The other side is starting to feel their skin crusting due to the proximity of the fire the government is stoking.
The other side finding itself without the Third Option, of the two remaining options, archival or truth, only one is acceptable to them and we don’t have to tell you which. And that’s the one they’re fighting fiercely for.
In our last post, when we used the unicorn v leprechaun analogy to demonstrate how messages are sent, we forgot to mention the part played by the public, and it is a crucial one.
Neither side was saying anything new to the other. What in reality each side did was to inform the other about how they were influencing the public so they could reach their goals:
- Government using media to say McCanns had unicorns in their backyard. Message: look how we are telling the public the McCanns have fairy creature in their backyard;
- Other side using media to say unicorns died due to stardust infection. Message: look how we are getting rid of your unicorns in the eyes of the public and convince people there are no fairy creatures in that backyard;
- Government using media to confirm unicorns dead but infestation from leprechauns. Message: even though you got rid of the unicorns look how we insist to have public believe there are fairy creatures in that backyard.
As the other side wants archival, what is the only way it can convince the public that the it’s for the best to have Operation Grange archived? Money.
They have to show the public there’s enough money for the McCanns to do their own investigation while trying to convince us that Grange is running out of it and it’s pointless to give it any more.
That’s what the Maddie Money Game is about. It’s to convince the public that the best option for government is to archive the process.
That’s why we have been hearing from time to time how Operation Grange is to be axed because funds allocated have all been spent. Message: look how we’re telling the public that as Grange hasn’t reached any conclusion up to now wouldn’t it be best if UK did like the Portuguese and archive instead of spending more money on it?
This is worked together with also saying that it won’t be a big deal if Operation is archived, after all even those who supposedly requested it, the McCanns, understand the difficulties and reasons why Grange hasn’t reached any conclusion and are willing to continue the search for their daughter on their own.
An example of this campaign happened on April 3 2016, in the Express article “Six months to find Maddie: Scotland Yard set to GIVE UP on hunt for missing girl”.
“Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange, their five-year review and investigation, which has cost close to £12million but has failed to bring anyone to justice or discover what happened to Madeleine”.
“Scotland Yard has said there are no “immediate” plans to further cut the team working on the case and insisted “there are still focused lines of investigation to be pursued”. However, it remains to be seen whether those inquiries will produce meaningful results.”
This was preceded by the December 19, 2015 Mirror article by Matthew Drake “Madeleine McCann's parents to launch new private search with appeal fund's remaining £750k”, saying the McCanns are ready and prepared to continue the search after Grange closes.
The two vectors of the other side’s Maddie Money Game, to convince government the public is convinced that Grange has reached its financial end and that the McCanns are ready to take over.
However, this summer, both these vectors got a surprising demonstration of force as a response from the government.
4. The McCann Money
We will start with McCanns and their money. Or the sudden lack thereof. Following what we have just said the reader can immediately see that having McCanns without money is exactly the opposite of what the other side wants.
It wants the McCanns with money so they can continue from where Grange is to leave convinced to archive. A penniless McCanns is really not good for them.
On July 2016 it seemed they were financially comfortable to pick up the search from Grange but suddenly at the end of August they came out to say they weren’t.
The reason is simple to explain, government just told the other side look how we’re showing the public how the McCanns cannot possibly support any follow-up of the search on their own, so let’s put an end to that baloney of how the McCanns are alright with Grange closing down without conclusions.
To put it plainly, the government fired the McCanns from the Maddie case.
The Maddie case is now a Scotland Yard exclusive.
On August 29, Clarence is fired and 2 days later, on August 31, it was the McCanns’ turn to be fired as well.
No more friend/source close to the family and no more of the couple meddling in the Maddie case. If they do, the public will ask with what money.
On the other hand by firing the McCanns the government has volunteered to put pressure on Scotland Yard.
If there’s no one to pick up after Grange, and if it is inconclusive, then it means in practical terms that UK will have admitted total defeat in the quest to find out what happened to Maddie after all the years and millions spent.
No other UK government will ever make the same mistake again, the issue will never be picked up again.
The message is very clear: government is telling the other side to look how they are telling the public that when they close Grange it will be the end of Maddie, so there’s no way they can archive it, they MUST come to a conclusion that satisfies the public, there’s no other option.
5. The Operation Grange funding
This is where we were pleasantly surprised last Sunday.
Before this, we were putting the debate over the funding of Operation Grange together with the McCanns running out of money in a move we didn’t agree if we should call it no-sigh-we-won’t-archive or yes-sigh-Grange-will-continue. The other side pressing for Grange to close without conclusions and the government responding that wasn’t going to happen.
But last week something made this move have an importance it didn’t have before.
To understand, let’s list in chronological order what has happened on this subject lately:
#1) Dec 19, 2015 – the Mirror article by Matthew Drake “Madeleine McCann's parents to launch new private search with appeal fund's remaining £750k”, in which is said that the McCanns say they will continue the search after Grange closes – player, the other side;
#2) Apr 3, 2016 – the Express article by Tracey Kandohia and James Murray “Six months to find Maddie: Scotland Yard set to GIVE UP on hunt for missing girl”, in which is said the other side is pulling the plug in October 2016 – player, the other side;
#3) July 19, 2016, the Sun article by Lauren Fruen and Tracey Kandohla “Kate and Gerry McCann hope new PM Theresa May will revive search for missing tot”, in which is said that Theresa May “could now make a U-turn giving the family fresh hope” – player, government;
#4) Aug 6, 2016 (updated Aug 7), the Mirror article by Nick Dorman “No more forensic work on Madeleine McCann case say British police”, although about the supposedly inconclusive forensics it also says that Operation Grange “is expected to be shelved in the autumn amid concerns about its spiralling cost while other areas of policing face budget cuts” – player, the other side;
#5) 24 Aug 24, 2016, the Evening Times article “Madeleine McCann police may seek more government cash for 'oustanding work'”, in which is said “a force spokesman told the Press Association: "Whilst there remains outstanding work on this case, the Metropolitan Police Service will remain in dialogue with the Home Office regarding the continuation of funding."” – player, the government;
#6) Sep 18, 2016, the Express article by James Murray and Caroline Wheeler “Madeline McCann: Fresh cash lifeline in search for missing child”, in which is said that Theresa May funded Operation Grange for the second semester of the fiscal year 2016/2017, with an extra £100,000 which will keep it going until April 2016 – player, the government.
Quite a lively bout!
Before Freud, the other side were playing really hard but after Freud they only came up with the forensics article in which the very doubtful “a source” says the forensics on the case were inconclusive and because of that and the spiralling costs it was expected that the case be shelved.
Surprisingly – and before last week’s surprise – was the government’s affirmative stance especially in August.
This time its participation went up in a crescendo, as if following a clear and objective game plan.
Instead of just saying that the funding would continue and kill the subject in a single stroke, the option was to create suspense.
Instead, it decided to first say that May could do a U-turn, so change her mind, and continue the funding, or so the McCanns hoped, but that wasn’t certain.
Then to say it was the Met stepping forward to ask for the funds as if that was what was really needed to convince May.
Lastly and only after clearing Mitchell and the McCanns off the board, finally say that the funding would continue for the following semester but only because of the strong, solid and convincing arguments Scotland Yard used to justify their request.
May is not simply continuing the funding but being convinced into it by the Met.
It wasn’t the McCann hope that did it. It was the team investigating Maddie and the arguments they presented.
And how did Operation Grange win her heart? With what in our opinion is the game clincher: compelling evidence.
Let’s read what the article says:
“But a fresh request, believed to be for a sum of around £100,000, was submitted to the Home Office as the deadline approached and has now been signed off.
A Whitehall source had indicated funding would be approved if “compelling evidence that justifies the use of additional taxpayers’ money” was provided by the team.
A spokesman for the Home Office said on Friday: “We have provided the Metropolitan Police with the funding required for Operation Grange to continue until at least the end of this financial year.”
Please follow the flow of the events above very carefully.
First this fresh request comes from the people with the boots on the ground (a SY spokesman is quoted v the “a source” from the other side) and not from the politicians.
It’s the police asking the politicians to continue and not the politicians ordering it to continue.
Then this filled with enthusiasm request doesn’t stop at the Home Office. It goes up to the central government, or Whitehall, for approval.
Before, as far as we know, it was just the Home Office that approved the previous funding without the public knowing if Whitehall had or not intervened in the process.
Whitehall looks at the request Scotland Yard brought to it by the Home Office and warns it will be approved only and only if there is compelling evidence.
The request is approved.
It was not approved based on a probability, however high, of there being compelling evidence until next April. It was approved based on the certainty there was and is compelling evidence.
This compelling evidence was presented by the police itself and it had to be strong enough because without it, the article strongly suggests, the continuance of the funding wouldn’t have been approved.
Scotland Yard went all the way to Whitehall to show how convinced it is that it can close this process with success. Archiving is not exactly success, is it?
6. State of the game
By accepting to continue funding Operation Grange the government has committed itself to something.
Logic would dictate that something would be the truth but as this is a slippery game, to not use a more demeaning term, we will just say it’s an abstract something.
What that something isn’t is archival. That’s for certain.
The message to the other side couldn’t have been clearer. To consider archiving after deciding to continue investing public money upon seeing compelling evidence is unthinkable.
To archive after Whitehall having seen compelling evidence and be satisfied with it is practically impossible.
If this is not excellent news, we don’t know what excellent news could be.
The something may be, as far as we can see, a Brit paedo patsy (whitewashing), an anonymous Portuguese burglar (Third Option) or truth.
Those of us familiar with the case, can ask ourselves: is there compelling evidence to make a Brit paedo patsy credible? Nope, clearly there isn’t. Can it be debunked? Very easily.
Is there compelling evidence for an anonymous Portuguese burglar? Nope, clearly there isn’t. Can it be debunked? Very easily.
Is there compelling evidence to expose the truth? Yep. Plenty of it. Loads and loads of it. by the bucketful. Can it be debunked? Truth has nothing to debunk.
Some have said that this continuing to fund Operation Grange is just to gain time.
If this was so, why not just approve the second semester without any show? We all know everyone is waiting for the conclusion of the Lisbon Trial and as evidently it won’t end by October, it would be expected for Grange to continue to work until April (hopefully by then the trial will be over).
Why bring any attention to the fund at all if all that was intended was to gain time?
Why tie their own hands with this compelling evidence thing?
Why “kill” Mitchell and the McCanns creating a critical time in the plot if the show if they wanted to have many other following episodes?
Why convey a sense of “this is it” explicitly from Whitehall?
We have never seen the government being this so directly connected to the closure of the case before.
The man with the bugle has been told to polish his instrument and to be ready to sound the charge anytime now.
If the game was a chess game, we would say the board is now looking like this, with white to move next, checkmate in one move:
As not all readers know how to play chess, let us explain what this means. The objective in chess is to place a piece attacking the opponent’s king directly and there’s no square the opponent can move his king to because the squares are either occupied or under direct attack as well. That is what is called a checkmate, the end of the game.
The solid red the arrows cover the squares the black king cannot move to because they are under direct attack from the two white rooks and the bishop.
The squares to where the king may move have been reduced to two, the one above him and the one where he is and can return to.
To give a checkmate, white has only to move its queen to any of the 2 squares pointed out by the yellow arrows.
When placed in either, the white queen directly attacks the black king (dotted red arrow) and as there’s no square where the black king can go without being under attack, it’s checkmate and black loses the game.
As we said, if the Maddie case was a chess game, the other side’s king would have been squeezed into the predicament of the black king by the Mitchell and McCann rooks and the Freud bishop.
One simple and basic move from the white compelling evidence queen and the game is over.
All that is needed now is for the damages trial to be over. Only then all loose ends in Portugal will be tied.
And the fresh victory of Mr Amaral over the McCanns that we are all hoping for will be the igniter needed to order the bugle to sound and the charge be launched.
Now, please don’t order the confetti yet.
We do not want to fall into the enticing embrace of optimism (nor be caught by the ugly claws of pessimism). We try our best to be realists.
We have not said the case is over. What we have said is that all is pointing to it being over.
We have shown that all is set for that one last final and simple move.
But that move has to happen. In chess when a player holds a piece he must move it and only when he releases it from his hand is the play over. Until he touches the piece and releases it, anything can happen.
One think that can happen is white not wanting to win.
Even with the board the way we have shown it, white can move the queen, against all logic and shame, to the square shown above.
To those who don’t play the game, in this way the king is not under direct attack but has no square to move to, and as in chess the king cannot commit suicide, it’s blocked.
As black cannot move any of its pieces on the board – in this case, only the king – the game is a tie. No winners, no losers.
Or worse, instead of not wanting to win, white may want to lose, so it doesn’t even have to touch the queen, it just has to topple its own king and lose the game.
Illogical, unreasonable, ridiculous and shameful but possible.
To end on a positive note, as we explained throughout this and the previous 2 posts, we truly believe that logic, reason, decency and shame will prevail and put finally a decent closure to the case.