As we showed last week in our “Freud and Maddie” post, finger pointing Clement Freud and welding solidly him to the Maddie case was a turning point in the case.
Katie Hopkins’ article in her column in the Express on February 22 this year was the materialisation of a tide that had definitely changed against those orchestrating the McCann campaign, as we said in our post “Tide Change”.
Its importance wasn’t so much about what Hopkins wrote but about the fact that an article against the McCanns had been published by the UK media. That’s where it made history. Only after almost 9 years was the British media allowed to question the McCanns’ saintly image. Rather late than never and never was what had been determined in 2007 to be.
It was a clear message that from then on, it was okay to put the McCanns at the back of the tent and throw balls at them to win teddy bears.
That article was indeed important, no question about it, but it paled when in comparison with Freud move.
Freud is a game played on a totally different level than Hopkins’ column, at a much, much higher level. Right at the top level we would say.
If Hopkins’ article was “just” about an editor made to feel comfortable in publishing an article questioning the McCanns, Freud is all about the Deciders finally deciding.
By publicising Freud’s name, the UK government is sending the message to the other side, in very crystalline terms that Clement Freud is up to where it’s willing to go.
To tackle Clement Freud is to really want to go up the food chain.
The Guardian article covering his funeral, aptly titled “Powerful and famous line pews at funeral of Sir Clement Freud”, is very clear about that:
“The prime minister, Gordon Brown, sat in the front row, next to Bono and just up from Stephen Fry, Paul Merton and Graham Norton”
“Elsewhere in the congregation were two national newspaper editors: Rebekah Wade of the Sun and James Harding of the Times, Richard Curtis, the film director and Peter O'Sullevan, the former racing commentator, along with several hundred others.”
“Lord Steel, who led the Liberals when Freud was an MP, and George Osborne, representing the Conservatives”
“The prime minister, who spent time murmuring earnestly with Bono but appeared to ignore Lord Steel, who led the Liberals when Freud was an MP, and George Osborne, representing the Conservatives, just along the pew, read the first lesson and broke off to claim Freud not only as an old friend, but as a national treasure and an institution.
He went further, to praise the entire Freud family – Matthew, the PR tycoon, married to Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert, and Emma the television personality, among them – "who have done so much for our national life".”
The Guardian refers to Freud as a national institution.
To show very clearly that a national institution is no longer safe from Operation Grange’s conclusions, then it’s to tell all those who aren’t an institution themselves that they must brace themselves.
The advantage of using Freud is the fact that he’s dead. He won’t use his influence to lower the threshold set and those above him will take their foot off the gas pedal and take a deep breath of relief.
The really big boys will now sit back and watch, relaxed, whatever is to follow. It’s a subject that no longer concerns them outside a natural curiosity.
Those under the Freud don’t have, by a long shot, the negotiation power of the above and won’t dare to involve any of them whatever their fate. They are now on their own.
Immediately comes to mind the Ocean Club staff and management, the Mark Warner staff and management, ex-Pats who reside in Praia da Luz and around the Lagos area, the Leicestershire Constabulary and the CEOP.
As we said last week the Freud move weakened significantly the other side.
All else that has happened (some quite recently) confirms it: the debate around the Operation Grange funding, the no need of further forensics, the firing of Clarence Mitchell and the running out of money in the hands of the McCanns.
2. The game and its moves
In any and all collective sports there are always 2 vectors present: the offense and the defense.
The offense is the process whereby a team does what it can to score against a defending team. Defense is the process used by the other team to avoid that from happening.
The Freud move was definitely an offensive move by the government.
The other side was only able to respond with saying that there was no need for any more forensics. We will deal with this later on.
This move show how weak the other side’s defense has become. Really pitiful when compared with the magnitude of the Freud move. Let us not forget that the backdrop of the Freud move is the Portuguese Appeal Court giving, unsurprisingly, full reason to Mr Amaral.
The other side has only and one only objective: archival.
And it’s showing signs that it has resigned itself of not achieving it.
We wish we could have the same clarity about the government’s intentions.
All seems to point that it wants to go for full truth – involving Clement Freud with Maddie is the biggest example of this – but one is fully aware that it never commits itself clearly to an objective. It treads the path towards truth but keeps all other doors wide open.
To give an example of what we are trying to say, when it’s said that it’s Operation Hydrant that will look into the mail exchange between the McCanns and Freud, is exactly what we mean by leaving all doors open.
It clearly should be a responsibility of Operation Grange.
Whatever may be in the mails between Freud and the McCanns that would interest a child abuse investigation even if (please do not jump over this IF) the first was the worst of paedophiles would have to involve Maddie.
Isn’t that Grange’s remit, to find out what really happened to that little girl?
But they had to say it was Operation Hydrant doing it otherwise if it was said that it was Operation Grange that would be investigating those mails that would be to commit to the full truth.
That, it seems, has to be avoided at all costs. To avoid that, the commitment to the single option of full truth, it was preferred to accuse the McCanns of being paedophiles.
Yes, because if the content of those mail is of interest of a child abuse investigation it can only be because both parties involved – Freud AND the McCanns – are suspects of being involved in child abuse.
But then, are we honestly supposed to believe that Freud and Maddie’s parents discussed about the first having abused and killing Maddie? No, of course we’re not. But that’s the way the game must be played.
And it is interesting to understand how really this game is played.
Just like with tennis, with the exception of the service, one’s play depends completely on how the one’s opponent has played the ball on the previous play.
If one happens to be right-handed and one’s opponent has returned the ball to one’s left, one’s response has to involve a backhand no matter how much one had planned to use a forehand.
But the peculiarity about this particular game is the following twist: no side can ever call the other’s side bluff.
If one side blatantly lies, the other has to play along with the fib as we will explain why in a moment.
First let’s give an example of how the game is played to help readers understand the point we’re trying to make, by using an absurd scenario.
We ask the readers to imagine that government, for whatever reason, wanted us to believe that the McCanns have fairy creatures in their backyard.
It would start by feeding the media with a headline along the lines of “McCanns suffering with an infestation of unicorns in Rothley”.
According to the no bluff calling, the other side cannot just say that it’s absurd and ridiculous but has to play along.
The counter-play would then be an article saying, that, yes, the McCanns had unicorns in their backyard, but not exactly an infestation because there were only 2 of them, but unfortunately both passed away due to complications from stardust flu.
With the ball now on their side, the government and to persist on its objective it would then respond by confirming that the death of the 2 unicorns was effectively due to stardust fever but that a local laboratory had determined that the contamination had come from the community of leprechauns that have resided in the McCann backyard for the past 5 years. The other side would confirm the leprechauns and find a lame excuse to get rid of them and so on.
Why can’t any of the sides admit to the whole thing just being ridiculous and absurd?
Because that would be recognising there were 2 sides involved. It takes at least 2 to call anyone a liar.
The game must be played in such a way that it appears that only a unique source is feeding it. To do otherwise would be to recognise the fact that all is just a sick game.
To the outsider reader, the unicorn v leprechaun absurdity comes from a single source, reporting and updating the fairy tales supposedly going on in the Rothley backyard.
That’s why we keep having contradicting news. First Operation Grange has no budget but then it has because it will get more but then that money won’t last as it will end soon but then it won’t end soon because… recognise the modus operandi?
As we said things happened during this summer besides Freud: the debate around Operation Grange funding, the no need of further forensics, the firing of Clarence Mitchell and the running out of money in the hands of the McCanns.
We have dealt with Freud, let’s look at the forensics or the supposed lack of need any more.
The Mirror article of 6 Aug 2016 (updated 09:07, 7 Aug 2016) by Nick Dorman “No more forensic work on Madeleine McCann case say British police” stated that forensics on the case were completed.
“No more forensic work on Madeleine McCann case say British police”
“The Sunday Mirror can reveal the final scientific tests on the case were completed three months ago as part of Scotland Yard’s £12million inquiry.”
Quite a revelation indeed.
After all, our friend Andy Redwood, had gone specifically to Coimbra, quite far from the Algarve, on October 2014, to meet with the Portuguese forensic authorities. We were led to believe that forensics are very significant to the Maddie case, as we think they are.
But who has told the Mirror that the final scientific tests were completed?
“A source said: “The final forensics were carried out about three months ago but, sadly, they didn’t take us forward. There are no plans for any further forensic work to take place.””
A source. Just a source.
Not the British police mentioned in the title.
Not a SY source, much less one from Operation Grange (now they are only 4, we’re certain they won’t get into any “anonymous source” sort of games).
It could be anyone and if we were to bet on it, we would say said source would be someone interested in there not being any new forensic conclusions about the case. The inconclusive existing ones suffice. The other side evidently.
But, could this be the government passing on the message that forensics were ready for accusation?
No. The article is very clear: all forensics that is possible to do in the case has been done and because it’s inconclusive the case must be archived, otherwise why expect shelving?
“But it is expected to be shelved in the autumn amid concerns about its spiralling cost while other areas of policing face budget cuts.”
Note the insistence in mentioning that Operation Grange is having budgetary difficulties. We will hopefully deal with that next week.
Forensics is what will clinch the case. Both sides know that. It’s what sways any court, it’s what will confirm the suspicions of the public about what happened to Maddie.
It’s our belief that the forensic tests have been completed long before May. And we believe the forensic results are conclusive against the other side. They are simply waiting in the wings waiting for the cue to walk on stage.
Forensics are damning to the other side. Them trying to convince anyone that what forensics that is known is all there will be is to beg, very loudly, for archival. Not ask, beg.
Note that the mirroring of the Mirror article by the Sun article takes the begging one step further, it’s absolutely overt about it:
“MADDIE SEARCH END GAME. Brit cops confirm end of forensic work in hunt for missing Madeleine McCann”.
Inside the article, the confirming Brit cops are the same unreliable “a source” as in the Mirror.
Government did not respond to this play. It was a dud. A double-fault service.
We’re certain that when the government will need the right forensics for this case it will find it with ease.
Yes, it is that sort of a game.
4. The firing of Clarence Mitchell
To be very clear, no powerful (wo)man is ever fired. Ever, as in never, ever. Powerful people resign. Most of the times they are convinced to resign but that’s what they do, they resign. Never fired.
We even have an example of this in the Maddie Affair. Jim Gamble was not fired from the CEOP, he resigned.
A direct corollary to this is that one can evaluate one’s status by the way one’s skills are excused.
On the top of that scale is one being convinced to resign while on the bottom of it is being fired via letter, e-mail or phone message in that order.
In between there’s the firing done by the in-my-office-conversation, always very unpleasant but at least showing some respect to the employee about to let go.
To be fired by letter, e-mail or phone message is not only disrespectful as it’s humiliating.
The firing of Clarence Mitchell supposedly by the McCanns and the way it was done, by e-mail, proves very clearly that not only Mitchell was never powerful in any sort of way as, on the contrary, he is so low in the food chain that he can be publicly disrespected and humiliated in the way he was.
He didn’t jump ship. He was informed he should leave it by e-mail.
It’s nice to be right.
This episode has shown how right we have been about this man who we have always said iy was just someone propped up to be something he never was or could ever be. We have been saying it since 2009.
Before being involved in the case, he was just a mere news reviewer to save the time of the really busy people in the UK cabinet.
His job was just to make sure that all relevant news was seen by the eyes in the need to know.
He was never a media expert, as we showed in 2009, at best he was an expert page-turner and speed-reader.
But being called a media expert led to him having the even more undeserved title that many have bestowed on him all these years, that of THE mastermind behind all the McCann campaigns.
Mitchell, according to some, with a snap of his fingers would have the entire British media salivating. Hearing them one get the idea that when he ordered the media to sit, it sat, and when he told it to fetch it bolted obediently away.
That’s how powerful he was said to be.
As this game has been basically played on the media, he was pictured as the MOST powerful person of the Maddie saga. According to some, that is.
They said he ordered all, he thought of all, he was just THE main man, while we kept on saying it wasn’t so
The thought of a person like Jim Gamble expecting approval from Clarence Mitchell to do something always made us snigger and the thought of Clarence Mitchell telling Rupert Murdoch what he could and what he couldn’t publish about the case made us laugh out loud.
As we said, we have tried over the years to explain to people what Clarence Mitchell’s real importance was in the case.
Initially, his title of spokesman was true however poorly he executed the job.
A spokesperson is just the vocal chords for what is needed to be said, and that is what Clarence effectively did.
However a spokesperson does not decide what is to be said, only the way it will be said.
The message is never from the spokesperson as by definition s/he is only the messenger.
The responsibility of a spokesperson is enormous – it is from his/her mouth the public hears the message – but his/her power is very close to zero. The power resides in those who generate the message not on those who are told to tell it.
The other side saw in Mitchell a person who possessed all the professional qualities required for this highly treacherous but sensitive job: a sold-out with total absence of any moral values, no personal dignity whatsoever and a canine loyalty.
But Mitchell had a flaw and it was that he lacked any human empathy.
He did not generate any sympathy, quite the contrary. His arrogance and the fact that his communication skills were indeed rather amateurish quickly made him a symbol of all negative. He lied so transparently that he couldn’t give away a live chicken to a hungry man for fear of poisoning if he tried. He did it so obnoxiously that he quickly became as disliked as Gerry and Kate.
Every time he appeared a significant bunch of supporters was lost while making even a greater number of others to become more resolute in uncovering the truth.
In fact, the first name given to those who we call today pros was pinkies based on the man and his infamous pink shirts.
If we are here today, much is owed to Mitchell. He made the lie so obnoxious and arrogant that it spiked us to continue to fight even more.
The other side very quickly realised he was more of a handicap that an asset.
He stopped being the spokesman, taken off-stage to become a donkey to pin the tail on, or the famous source or friend close to the family.
Mitchell had become so much associated with the McCanns that his mouth could used to speak on behalf of the McCanns without him even uttering a word.
All that was needed was to hand over to the press whatever was needed to be published and Mitchell would find out at the same time as the rest of us what he had supposedly said the day before, as the source or friend close to the family, when he read the same papers we did.
To whom would he complain to? One does not bite the hand(s) that are feeding us.
To quote a source doesn’t necessarily mean there was ever a source, especially when that source is compliant.
We think him being fired happened a long time ago.
We think it happened when Operation Grange kicked into place, and not by coincidence.
We would say he was made redundant sometime around 2009 when his appearances (as in the public seeing him say anything about the case in public) became scarcer.
This was the period of time in which he hindered more than he helped so was told to keep his profile as low as possible.
Operation Grange is the materialisation of the shift of control of things which started to happen when current the Prime Minister started to head the Home Office.
The first visible sign of this shift was the sacking – he resigned – of Jim Gamble from the CEOP on October 2010.
But on September 2014, during the ignominious set of events that would lead to the tragic death of Brenda Leyland, Jim Gamble acknowledged that he had been ordered by May to write up a report on Maddie as we showed in our post “Sky News - The clarifying report”.
We think the power-shift we’re talking about happened in the moment that reported was ordered.
From then on, Jim Gamble and whomever he worked for stopped being in control and reluctantly handed things over to Theresa May.
But only with Operation Grange was this power shift formalised.
As we have said repeatedly, Operation Grange was a huge mistake. If we recall correctly its gusto lasted less than a month. Everyone quickly realised the conundrum they were in as it was not possible to hang up to dry the McCanns on their own.
The Operation and the case stalled. For months the only news on the case we got was about a sighting in India.
It stalled up until the UK Crimewatch on October 2013.
We think Clarence Mitchell was effectively fired before the UK Crimewatch aired.
To be more precise on July 27, 2013 when he was given a hopeless bone to play with: the impossible to win Brighton Pavilion candidacy for parliament.
In the Express article announcing this, he acknowledges that his role in the case had indeed come to an end: “The former BBC reporter said he continues to work with the McCanns “when required” and his relationship with them will continue.”
To work for someone only “when required” is to no longer be that person’s employee. Even part-time jobs are not “when required”.
In other words, Clarence went from keeping a low-profile on the case to be told to go below deck, play with his toy and stay out of sight.
Please note, that even below deck and out of sight the other side could continue to use him as the “source/friend close to the family” as he continued to be in the ship.
The UK General election was on May 7 2015 and as expected Mitchell lost. He came in third.
It was needed to continue to keep Mitchell below deck and out of sight. Away from case but with the possibility to be linked to it, to continue to be the very convenient source/friend.
To have him still be in the ship but below deck and out of sight. That’s why he “created” a PR company on August 2015. His new hopeless bone to play with.
Again, in the ship but very safely hidden away: “Clarence Mitchell to continue to represent Kate and Gerry McCann ‘when needed’ after establishing his own company”.
The “when required” became ‘when needed’, or nothing new. Until now.
Now we are being publicly told that he’s no longer in the ship.
The reader may ask, why was he fired now if he had already been fired?
Because government wanted to send a message to the other side. And that message was very clear and objective: no more source/friend of family.
That useful manoeuvring space that the other side had was simply stripped away from them when Mitchell was fired in such a public manner.
That’s why he wasn’t thrown overboard. He was made to walk the plank.
All had to see him fall into the sea. That way all, crew (the other side) and passengers (public), were witness to his fate.
From now on the other side can no longer use Clarence Mitchell for anything- When a news article about Maddie quotes a source or a friend close to the family, the public will now ask, if it’s not Mitchell, who is it then?
And if it’s not Mitchell (and cannot be Mitchell because he was fired) who the public assumed moved within the media circles and would know stuff, then how does that friend close to the family know what is being quoted saying?
The other side had already seen their tennis racquet downsized to a ping-pong bat. Now even that was taken away from them. From now on, all they have to play with are their bare hands against an opponent who serves faster than Novak Djokovic.
To fire Mitchell was a very important move by the government, not because of the man but because of the importance to the other side of what he was made to represent.
In fact, Clarence Mitchell in this entire case, right from the start until the day it finds closure reminds us of a teenage when seeing his parents discussing between themselves the chores he’s to start doing around the house and when s/he tries to say something, hears: “Shush, do sit down and be quiet. We’re talking about you and not to you, so just wait until you’re told what you have to do.”
Hope the reader has noticed that we’ve hardly mentioned the McCanns. They, like Mitchell, matter for what they were made to represent and not what they were or are.
The firing of Clarence Mitchell, although not as important as implicating Freud with Maddie, was a very significant one by the government.
We think the pieces are being set on the board by the government for the final showdown. The first was Freud, the second, Mitchell.
Next week we will deal with the third one which was the debate about the Grange funding and the McCanns running out of money.
We received a couple of comments from Anonymous to Textusa at 16 Sep 2016, 15:47:00 and 15:50:00:
“I thought this might interest you. It’s a dialogue I picked up at (censored) and shows clearly a link between the Freuds and Mitchell:
(Note: we have edited out names)
Reader of blog
September 3, 2016 at 11:42 am:
Were you aware when you were trying to work out what the hell Clement Freud was up to, the McCanns were linked early on to a PR company called the Freud Agency, for whom Clarence Mitchell acted as consultant, which was started, sold and then reacquired by one Matthew Freud, son of knighted nonce Clement Freud? There’s your link right there, surely? Doesn’t explain what he was up to, mind.
September 3, 2016 at 11:59 am:
Freud’s son and the connection to Clarence does not explain why Clement first purchased Casa da Colina. And unless Clarence was on board with the son’s company at the time of the two visits of the McCanns to Casa da Colina, there is no link there either.
Reader of blog
September 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm:
And Sir Paedo bought the villa before all this, I thought. The PR firm are around since the 85 IIRC. Recently unemployed Mitchell was on the scene from the start. He worked for the FA. Might well continue to do so. That is SP’s son’s company. How is that not a link? It’s something you’ve been interested in, so I thought I’d point it out as I just happened upon it, and as a courtesy. Not sure why you’re so narky about it. Plenty more fish in the sea.
September 3, 2016 at 9:43 pm:
Mitchell was working for the govt when he went out to Luz to help or represent the McCanns. At the point that I see some evidence he was employed by Freud’s son at that time, I might get interested. To date, I have seen nothing.
Reader of blog
September 3, 2016 at 11:39 pm:
And, much as I’d love to pique your interest… not that you needed it piqued, given the huge amount you’ve already written on the topic… I didn’t say he went out working for FA… everyone knows his role when he went out… it was subsequently that he was employed by them… he went from Kennedy’s to their books… and that does indeed predate the contact CF made with the McCanns. That’s your link. It’s not my fault you missed it. Don’t shoot the handsome messenger.
September 4, 2016 at 11:06 am:
From Kennedy employ to the McCanns?
Your original point was a link to Clement’s son because Clarence would be employed by him. So the key date is when Clarence started working for the son.
Unless you are saying there was a link between Kennedy and Clement or between Kennedy and Clement’s son, I don’t see what relevance Kennedy has.
Reader of blog
September 4, 2016 at 4:49 pm:
Again, not what I wrote at all. Struggling to understand your difficulty with comprehension. He was funded by Kennedy, then the Fund and worked for Freud’s son’s PA agency. It’s not complicated.
September 4, 2016 at 6:47 pm:
It’s complicated, or is it?
Mitchell was funded by Kennedy after leaving the FCO to become spokesperson for the McCanns.
He might or might not have been funded by the Find Madeleine fund. I don’t know about that one.
Clement met the McCanns twice in the PJ Files, in mid-2007.
Which is the chicken and which is the egg?
Was Mitchell employed by Clement’s son before or after Clement met the McCanns? If before, it explains why Clement got involved. If after, the only link is the other way around.
Reader of blog
September 4, 2016 at 11:12 pm:
No. He was. And he was. In that order. Simple.
September 5, 2016 at 12:59 am:
He joined Freud Communications 16 months after Madeleine disappeared.
There is no prior connection to Clement and the McCanns in Luz, which was 3-5 months after the incident.
Reader of blog
September 5, 2016 at 9:18 am:
Fair enough- and actually, it was 2 months after the incident, rather than 3-5, that he invited them round. I thought it was a good bit later. In any case, the link is there, if perhaps inverted. Sir Clement made his way across the continent to arrive in Luz and schmooze the McCanns. Kennedy was paying Mitchell… after that he was paid by the Fund. Perhaps some of the schmoozing was the suggestion by Sir Clement that his son could help out. It is fairly unlikely just to be a coincidence… there are 64 million you people in or around Saxonia, and another 5 odd million of you ruining beautiful Mediterranean countries as ex-pats with your bowling clubs, toby jugs and beans and chips… it can’t be a coincidence out of the 70-odd million one of the paedophiles you queen knighted (of the circa 1 million) showed up to befriend the McCanns out of the blue, and then their chief PR adviser starts to bill his son for his services under a year later, can it? Let’s just say it’s not likely. It just seems it happened that way around, and not the other… which means speculation as to why he did the schmoozing remains valid.”
Thank you Anon!