The Express, April 3rd 2016 wrote the headline “Six months to find Maddie: Scotland Yard set to GIVE UP on hunt for missing girl”, but a closer look at the article suggests it’s a repeat of last year’s guesswork.
What the Home Office spokeswoman is quoted as saying:
“Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95 thousand funding which will cover the first half of the 2016/17 financial year.”
Nothing about a final cut-off date.
What follows is the opinion of Express journalists James Murray and Tracey Kandohia.
“Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange.”
Not “definitely” or even “certainly” but an “almost certainly”. Just a guess. Just like the guess reported in Sept 19th 2015 – “Six months to find Maddie: Police get £2 million to solve mystery” – which proved to be wrong.
Basically the same headline by the same reporter, Tracey Kandohia (or is it Kandohla?). In 2015 she wrote the article with David Pilditch, in 2016 with James Murray.
When we heard the news, we first considered whether this time scale was given to put pressure on the Portuguese Judges hearing Mr Amaral’s appeal; the message being – “We can afford to wait until the appeal is decided before we announce our findings.”
But on reconsidering, the opinion of journalists who have got it wrong so recently can’t be relied upon and there is no cut-off point.
And who has stated Operation Grange will certainly be shelved? The same journalists.
We can all make guesses and assumptions and we do, but we’re not the press. We don’t have access to the sources quoted and we don’t have the ability of the press to manipulate readers into believing that what they read has been stated by a reliable source.
Time is not a friend in this ongoing saga. Each year brings lots of hidden secrets to both main stream and social media. Whether it concerns the private behaviour of a Minister and a dominatrix, or the hidden tax arrangements of the rich and powerful leaked by the Panama Papers, it may remind those engaged in covering up secrets that their days may also be numbered. It could only be a matter of time.
We have already stated that we don’t believe a whitewash is now possible and that the only outcomes can be truth or archival. Who wants to be part of a cover-up that could emerge at any time and leave them totally exposed? All it takes is one person to admit to a lie in a chain of lies and watch the house of cards topple as the underpinning card is removed.
People in power don’t remain there forever and alliances can change. Each change of government means more people become burdened with the knowledge of what really happened. The general public mood also seems to have shifted away from sympathy for the family.
As a sidenote, one has to wonder why it was needed £2 million for Operation Grange to function from October 2015 to April 2016 when apparently can do the same with less than 5% of that amount, £95K, for the same amount of time, 6 months.
So why the repeat of this 6 month timeline given and the £95k associated with it?
The reason, in our opinion is very simple and very straightforward: UK is saying they won’t make a decision before the Portuguese courts settle the issue in Lisbon. Not pressure but resignation.
In September 2015, it was thought that by April this year a decision would have been taken. Who didn’t? And not only was it thought that it would happen as it was thought that April would give sufficient margin for UK to react after said decision.
But it is the Portuguese justice system (PJS) that we are dealing with.
It’s April 2016 and we’re still waiting. We have in the blog reacted against unfounded accusations of corruption and incompetence made against the PJS but we have agreed, and reiterate our agreement that the PJS is not only incompetent but very much so, when it comes to deliverance.
Justice delayed is justice denied and the PJS is completely denying both Mr Amaral and the McCanns justice.
The Portuguese law does give any time limit for the investigative phase of a process apart from the times in which the crime legally prescribes.
But as an example, it was recently determined that the accusation against José Sócrates should (not must) be made before Sept 15 this year.
José Sócrates was arrested on Nov 21 2014, under a process called “Operação Marquês” which PJ officially opened on July 19 2013 after having received, as determined by law, in April that year information about some bank account movements between him, his friend Carlos Santos Silva and his mother.
It was said then in the news that the case involved the laundering of an approximate amount of 23M€ and since his arrest, the investigation has apparently also turned to a real estate deal in the Quinta do Lago, Algarve, estimated at over 10M€.
We do not wish to pronounce any sort of judgement on the José Sócrates case, we are just trying to establish within the PJS a parallel between a case of such magnitude, complexity and visibility and the Maddie case.
One involving the former PM of Portugal and millions of euros, the other the daughter of a couple of doctors from Rothley, England.
One opened in July 2013, with a series of arrests in November 2014 and is now in 2016 being determined that enough is enough and things must be concluded by September while the other was opened in May 2007, archived in 2008 after a thorough investigation and reopened in October 2013 and is ongoing since then without anyone complaining that it should be concluded by any sort of date.
To note that since the Maddie case was reopened, apart from Euclides Monteiro right at the start, we know not of any other single diligence that this operation has done. All the visible ones in which the PJ participated were from Scotland Yard: the June 2014 Praia da Luz circus and the hearings in the PJ facilities in Faro, in July and December that same year.
So why an enough is enough on a highly complex case like José Sócrates in contrast with a please do take as long as you like with the Maddie one?
The answer we think is simple: neither Operation Grange nor whatever the PJ one concerning Maddie is called are simply police operations. Both are police facades for political decisions to be made by politicians.
Neither know what conclusions they will come to not because of evidence they have or haven’t found but because both are waiting to be told what conclusions each will reach.
Operation Grange was the disastrous jumping of the gun after the erroneous thought of 2010/2011 that the McCanns were easy fish to reel in, and the PJ operation was conceding to the compromise by the UK that they were going to quickly do something decisive about the case.
That was at the end of 2013 and 30 months later one cannot say that the UK has failed in that compromise.
The UK has simply been foiled by the PJS, if people around then remember, they promised a decision for the McCann v Amaral damages trial for… October 2013. The sessions would be in September, the decision in October, so said the PJS and the UK apparently believed it.
It’s April 2016, and patiently, or should we say exasperatedly, the UK has just announced that Operation Grange will continue at least for another 6 months and if, God forbid, by October we still don’t have a court decision then please be ready for another extension.
Can it be assumed that £95k is unlikely to pay for anything other than staff wages and associated costs. No further trips to Portugal, just processing the paperwork? The request for continued funding was made by the MPS and a further request is still a possibility for those waiting for an end to their misery.
Let’s hope, as it will be at the end of this month 1 year after the First Instance court decision, that October 2016 will allow for this decision and whatever time the UK needs to react, in whichever way (in our opinion truth or archival) it intends to react.
We are aware that tragedy and sadness has affected the lives of some of the friends and relatives of those who were on holiday in Praia da Luz in 2007. People who haven’t been named and we don’t intend to name. We don’t believe in karma, so no suggestion of that, nor of anything sinister- just death as it happens around all of us. It makes some take stock of their own lives and what they have- or haven’t- done and what they would prefer to keep from their children. As this case drags on, there must be some on the periphery who regret what they did, even if with the best of intentions.
Each delay must cause their hearts to sink, wondering when it will all be over.
But where does Gerry’s latest stunt fit in this scheme of things?
It was meant to pressure the closure while the McCanns hold the upper hand in the Lisbon affairs. The sentence as it stands is still in their favour and it would be ideal for the other side for things to be archived now before a possible unfavourable emerges from Lisbon.
The government saying we will continue, the other side saying Cameron you’re a traitor.
Yes, it’s a feeble card but what else do they have to play?
And it’s desperate, because they are even turning against the press and the press has reacted. Note how for the press it’s just the McCanns and no longer Mr McCann or Gerry. Note how Gerry was called, explicitly, a hypocrite.
Note the comments allowed. Note how Katie Hopkins was allowed to taunt and invite Gerry over.
And the use of the expressions like “grilled” and “slammed” as in what Gerry had been supposedly subject to on BBC.
The tables have changed. Now it seems that we’re in a fairground game where in which the more one hits the McCanns the more likely one is to win a teddy bear. Times we predicted a long time ago would be coming, much like those we are predicting now when we say truth will surface sooner or later if archival is to be the option chosen.
The difference between the truth emerging sooner or later is that if it’s sooner then the participants can still do some sort of damage control while if later they will simply be mere bystanders reading what will be written about them and what was their participation in this sordid affair.
Gerry, a hyperblinking and worn out man, didn’t minimally appear to believe in what he was saying. Much more like a helpless lamb forced to wait for the slaughter than the protester of anything.
For us, it was a positive episode to which the only relevance we give was the fact the BBC was used. The power of the other side on this matter is waning but can never be underestimated.
We cannot help but notice that with the Panama Papers and the upcoming Brexit referendum the pressure on David Cameron is increasing significantly. A major revelation in the Maddie case could make it seem that his intervention had helped to crack the case.