Sunday, 16 September 2012

From Hero to Zero




By Vee8.

It’s fair to say I have been around on the net now for quite a long time, in regards to the case of the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Almost from the very first days, in fact. I won’t draw up a list of all the various blogs, forums and chatrooms I have commented on or been a member of, because that isn’t the point of this post. What is, is that I am observing something of a shift of loyalty in the ranks of the McCann critics, those we call the anti’s. In the beginning, the original lead investigator into Madeleine’s abduction, Goncalo Amaral, was their poster boy, their hero, the man who would finally bring the McCanns to justice. His halo shone brighter than the noon day Sun, his demeanour was pure and wholesome, and choirs of angels sung his journey to his office each morning. No one was ever allowed to impeach his integrity, and if any Madeleine supporter dared to mention the multitude of failings of the investigation he ran, well it was tantamount to blasphemy, almost on a par with insulting the prophet Mohamed.

But lately things are changing. His support is discernibly ebbing, dwindling, receding like an ex-solicitor’s hairline. On some open forums he has actually been called ‘A bit-part player!’ Not by any Madeleine supporter, but by McCann critics! There could be several reasons for this small but growing rumbling of discontent. One motive could be that some of the anti’s may, possibly, have woken up to some of the more unpalatable aspects of this man’s unsavoury character. His long proven debts, marital indiscretions, threats to kill his wife and his lover, endangering the life of his own daughter by drink driving. And not forgetting his criminal conviction, in a case he was confidentially expected to win. In all this time his flock have done their best to dismiss or ignore all of these known facts, but it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult for some. The faithful, it seems, are loosing their faith.

Another possible reason for casting their idol aside is the dawning realisation that the libel trial, whenever it takes place, may not be as cut and dried as they may think. His book, ‘The truth is I lied,’ differs considerably in many key aspects from the official files he claims he based it on, as shown here on this very blog. Perhaps that’s why he seems to find innumerable excuses for not being able to attend. In short, he is beginning to give the appearance of shop soiled merchandise, having failed, for over five years now, to deliver the goods. He has talked the (Highly libellous) talk, but he hasn’t walked the walk, and all he has to show for it is yet another court case, for which either side victory will be tempered by the fact that the looser will certainly appeal, and thus the case will probably drag on, interminably, for many years to come. This was never in the anti’s game plan, and so they are loosing patience with Amaral.

Bit-part player. How the mighty are fallen!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Stephen Birch - Genius or Fraud?




By Honestbroker.


South African sleuth, Stephen Birch, certainly caused a blaze, if not with the UK media (where he has been largely ignored), then elsewhere.

Birch asserts, with apparent conviction, that he has found the final resting-place of young Madeleine, described weeks before by Scotland Yard as quite possibly alive and findable.

To take Birch seriously, we must suspend a great deal of evidence which points powerfully against his apparent findings.

Whilst, in other articles, I have expressed reservations about the way cadaver dog Eddie was deployed in Praia da Luz, I've never had the slightest doubt about his ability to find a cadaver. Eddie was a part of the team that searched the Murats' back yard and he didn't alert. But even if we assume (I do not!) that Eddie somehow missed a cadaver, he needn't blush.

Mrs Murat has two guard dogs, although never trained as cadaver dogs, no doubt perfectly capable of detecting a scent, particularly of a body (according to Birch) buried less than 2 feet (500 milllimetres) down.

But that isn't all. Ground penetrating radar of exactly the type Birch claims to have used was actually used in the original investigation and in the search of the Murats' back yard.

From UK investigator Mark Harrison's report:

On 04-08-07 and 05-08-07 a search warrant was executed at the villa and gardens belonging to the PJ suspect Robert Murat. This search involved both PJ and GNR personnel supported by civil defence, geophysical equipment operators and a canine handler.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

This consists of a radar antenna transmitting electromagnetic energy in pulse form at frequencies between 25 MHz and 1 GHz. The pulses are partially reflected by the sub-surface geological structures, picked up by a receiving antenna and plotted as a continuous two-way travel time record, which is displayed as a pseudo-geological record section. The vertical depth scale of this section can be calibrated from the measures two-way travel times of the reflected events either by the use of the appropriate velocity values of electromagnetic pulse through the ground.


The depth of penetration achieved by the radar pulse is a function of both its frequency and the conductivity of the ground.


The equipment benefits in use by detecting anomalies in the ground and is particularly effective through sand and concrete. However, it is limited in undulating terrain or areas where it is an anomaly rich environment such as a wooded area.


This equipment whilst readily available in the commercial surveying industry and university geophysics departments requires expert interpretation of the imagery for grave detection.


If Birch is to be believed, two dogs of Mrs Murat's and one trained to find cadavers, as well as operators of exactly the same equipment Birch claims to have used, which requires specialist expertise for use in grave detection, all missed what Birch found. How clever is our man Stephen Birch? His genius, apparently, extends further.


In (by his own admission) trespassing on the Murats' property, Birch and his team somehow evaded Mrs Murat's two guard dogs, Estrelas, a Portuguese breed of dog, soft and gentle with humans it is familiar with and recognises; ferocious with strangers.


But others, sharper-eyed than me, have poured over video footage of Birch's you-tube releases and are satisfied that it was, indeed, taken in the Murats' back yard.


It is a fact that the Portuguese authorities have distributed material from the process, including rogatory interviews to fraudster Levy, offically never released, into the public domain.


What happened to the official video of the search as part of the official investigation in the Murats' back yard?






Sunday, 17 June 2012

Courage has no colour.



By Vee8.

I’ve just been to the cinema this afternoon, and yes, I promise you this will be on topic. I saw ‘Red Tails’ the true story of the WWII American 332nd Fighter group, the ‘Tuskegee Airmen’ the first all black American fighter squadron. These guys faced the most appalling racism and bigotry right from the start, and the whole Tuskegee programme was set up as a sop to those who thought blacks could ever fly, and was expected to fail. This was in a time in American history when blacks were forbidden from combat, and deemed only fit to drive trucks, carry supplies or cook. There were many supposedly intelligent people in the higher echelons of the military, and congress, who fervently believed that black men lacked the cognitive abilities to process information fast enough to survive in combat, that blacks were inherently lazy, stupid and cowardly. There were even scientific and medical records that supposedly proved that the blood vessels of a black man’s brain were significantly smaller than a white man’s, and that therefore could not carry enough oxygen to the brain at combat altitudes. All now known to be fallacies of course, but these myths and racist lies were repeated and repeated until they were accepted as proven and unquestionable facts.

And here’s the point. Those myths spread during the early days of WWII were accepted just the way many myths that surround the McCann case are accepted, such as the McCanns changed their stories, the dog indications can only have one meaning, they only have to ask and the case will be reopened, and so on. But lies they were, and lies they remain. The 332nd ended the war as the most highly decorated fighter group in the US Air Force, and were eventually personally requested as the escorts of choice by the bomber groups. Lies will always be found out, and the liars humiliated, and just as the congressman who did everything he could to stop the Tuskegee flying programme succeeding ended up in shame and ignominy, so too will those like Bennett, Amaral and others who try and stop the McCanns from finding Madeleine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpA6TC0T_Lw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskeegee_airmen

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Blacksmith backpedals!



By Honestbroker.

I disagreed with Vee's excellent rebuttal in one respect.

While it's certainly fair to ask why Blacksmith should have pointed his reader to the source (in Kate's book) that rebutted Blacksmith's claim that Kate had reneged on prior words about the nature of the deal offered to Kate and Gerry by the PJ following their arguido interviews, I think Vee had the reason wrong.

While Blacksmith could, perhaps, rely on his supporters complacently to accept what he said at face value, Blacksmith has been around us pros long enough to be certain we would check. I think it more likely Blacksmith anticipated a rebuttal such as Vee's and had his response already prepared. Here it is:

“Mrs McCann's lawyer told her that police would offer her a two-year sentence if she pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her daughter.”

And in the Guardian and Sky news:

‘Philomena McCann, Mr McCann's sister, said the police claims were "ludicrous". "They are suggesting that Kate was somehow responsible for accidentally killing Madeleine and kept the body and then got rid of it. I have never heard anything so absolutely ludicrous in my life," she told Sky News.’

And in the Telegraph, under the heading, Madeleine McCann's family accuse police:

‘“The McCanns were both named as "arguidos", or formal suspects, on Friday after two days of police interviews during which Mrs McCann was offered a "deal" of a suspended prison sentence if she admitted to "accidentally" killing her daughter and told police where the body was.”’

It should be clear, I think, that the claim was specific. The deal revolved around Kate McCann admitting that she had killed the child accidentally. And the implication was also clear: that if she didn’t so confess to killing the child under these circumstances then the possibility of a more serious charge – killing the child intentionally, i.e murder – might result.

To rescind: verb. To make void; repeal or annul.

Finally we turn to Kate’s book, page 243. Where is the above claim? It is not there.
“Carlos announced what the police had proposed. If we, or rather I, admitted that Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment , and confessed to having hidden and disposed of her body , the sentence I’d receive would be much more lenient: only two years, he said, as opposed to what I’d be looking at if I ended up being charged with homicide."

Blacksmith has relied on the words of a third party (Kate's sister-in-law and Gerry's sister Philomena McCann) as his evidence for a "contradiction". There are two problems with this. The first is that Kate cannot be held responsible for words of any third party aside, possibly, from Gerry. The second is that we know, not from Philomena or any UK media source, but from the first coordinator of the Madeleine enquiry, Dr Goncalo Amaral, that the PJ, indeed, suspected the McCanns of direct responsibility for Madeleine's death. In his El Mundo interview, Dr Amaral says this:

Q - So, what are we talking about?

A - About an accident. The child could have fallen from a sofa, could have had an accident with Calpol (a sleeping solution). We never had access to the girl’s medical history, so we don’t know whether she was healthy or not. We can only speculate. There are many very strange details.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=33480435751&topic=5488

I think that's pretty plain. Amaral is suggesting Madeleine might have been overdosed with calpol. If that were true, there are only two people who would have given it to her, Kate or Gerry.

If the point (that there was a belief among the PJ that Kate or Gerry were directly implicated in Madeleine's alleged demise) needed emphasising, it is surely emphasised by what Kate tells us in her book -- that if they refused the deal, the couple would both face murder charges.

Back to the drawing board for Blacksmith, I think.


Addendum by Vee8.

Just to further make things clear, for all of Blacksmith’s obfuscations about what he originally said in his first post, (See below) the fact remains that, in simple terms, he claims Kate made no mention of the deal in her book. Now, unless the words ‘Proposed’ and ‘Offered’ have taken on new meanings since I left school, then Kate does mention the deal. No amount of backpedalling by Blacksmith, in an attempt to change what he originally said will alter the written truth.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The bigger fool?



By Vee8

Here’s a question. Who is the bigger fool, the fool who leads or the fools who follows him? By now it is well known all over our particular corner of the internet that one Tony Bennett, erstwhile secretary of the so called ‘Madeleine Foundation’ is in a whole world of hurt. Currently about to be sued by Mr Edward Smethurst, one of the McCanns financial backers, for a sum not exceeding £100,000 in relation to a continual campaign of libel and defamation, he is also now the subject of a contempt of court case brought about by the McCanns. Things most certainly look extremely bleak for the disgraced ex-solicitor. No wonder then, that those of us who really do support Madeleine are rubbing our hands in glee at the thought of Bennett’s suffering.

Given Bennett’s constant spreading of the most disgusting lies and smears, his continual dissemination of disinformation, his perpetual non-stop campaign against not just Kate and Gerry themselves, but any honest and caring person who takes it upon themselves to do whatever they can to help in the search for Madeleine, I think it is fair to say Bennett deserves everything that is coming to him, and much more besides. And who could blame us?

Well, it seems Blacksmith can. Blacksmith is a name we have mentioned before, in a post entitled, ‘Blacksmith, Polemic and debate.

http://amaralfiction.blogspot.com/2011/02/blacksmith-polemic-and-debate.html

Now Blacksmith and Bennett have never seen eye to eye. He has made that abundantly clear on numerous occasions. He had Bennett weighed up very early, almost as soon as most Pro’s did. However, as evidenced by the recent post on his bureau, below, it seems he does have a small degree of sympathy for Bennett’s current situation, and seems surprised at the reactions of the TSM’s (True Supporters of Madeleine) to Bennett’s self inflicted wounds.

FRIDAY, 19 AUGUST 2011

Dancing on graves

The Bureau is no friend of Mr Tony Bennett, for reasons that go a great deal deeper than personality clashes: in fact we strongly disagree with just about every action he has ever taken in the Madeleine McCann affair.
But a quick tour yesterday through the low-lying blog and forum marshland which the few dozen professional McCann believers so noisily inhabit was a saddening experience. The news that Mr Bennett is now being pursued for libel by Ed the Expunger and for contempt of court by the McCanns has been welcomed not with satisfaction so much as intense pleasure. The excited interchanges, indeed, about the time this old man might spend in prison – years, we hope! – or the prospect of him and his wife living rough for the rest of their days- wonderful! remind one of the collective drooling of an S&M webporn ring.

Don’t any of them have even a moment of doubt at what they are writing? It seems not.


Leaving aside for a moment Blacksmith’s obvious expertise with S&M porn sites, to which I bow to his superior knowledge, should we, in fact, be surprised at his expression of compassion towards Bennett? After all, they do have more in common than perhaps even they realise.

Both, for instance, have their followers, fan clubs if you will, people who hang on their every word, and who, especially in Bennett’s case vociferously sound their support from the wings. Bennett in particular is heavily reliant on these supporters being, how can I put this without sounding like I am being insulting for the sake of it? Stupid? No, perhaps gullible or easily led is better. In short, he is dependent on his followers blindly accepting that whatever he says is true, without making any attempt to verify his writings for themselves. And there’s the next similarity between the two; Both are accomplished and proven liars.
With Bennett it is easy to spot his lies. His writing style has all the literary elegance and grace of a hippopotamus on roller skates. Long, turgid and tedious in the extreme, full of legalistic jargon. But to accomplished studiers of the case his lies readily jump out at you. One has only to read, for instance, the excellent rebuttal to his ’50 facts the media are not telling you’ leaflet, composed by the redoubtable blogger Jayelles and her team,

http://madeleinemythsexposed.pbworks.com/w/page/39076140/Main-Page

to see for yourself just how obvious his lies are. Pity then, that posting links to this rebuttal in conspicuous places so that Bennett and his foolish followers can find it is like casting pearls before swine. The fools will not read it, and make themselves look even more foolish every time they repeat one of these ‘Facts.’ And to the TSM’s Bennett just looks an even bigger fool, because we are all laughing about him, and his abject refusal to accept that he is wrong, even if it costs him his house, his savings, even his liberty.

Blacksmith, to his credit however, has a more palatable writing style. He, at least, enables us to read to the end of one of his posts without suffering a brain haemorrhage, or the desire to pluck our own eyeballs out of their sockets in order to stop the pain. But he too relies on the obedience and unquestioning loyalty of his readers. The only difference is that because his postings are shorter, more digestible, his lies stand out even more clearly than Bennett’s, like an Alligator in a Mink farm.

But just recently Blacksmith exceeded even himself for the sheer unadulterated blatancy of his lies. So much so that I just had to present one such article to a wider audience. The following extract is from a piece of his entitled ‘Exoneration 2-Richard Feynman’ It’s a rather rambling piece, the point of which I am not sure, but I think it’s something to do with opinions, and how everyone has one. Within that post is the following extract.

The question of “the deal”. The pair claimed in a media campaign that they were offered a deal involving a reduced sentence if Kate McCann admitted accidentally killing the child. If she did not confess to this untrue accusation a “homicide” or murder charge would result. We know that in Spring 2011 Kate McCann in the book “Madeleine” completely withdrew this claim, replacing it with a new form of words which made no mention of the above deal. According to her all she was told, via her lawyer, was the factual statement that if the child had died accidentally and she had hidden the body she would receive a lesser sentence than if she had killed the child. (Read it and see, page 243)

Now I have to confess I have no idea who Blacksmith is trying to kid here. Kate’s book is still in the top half of almost every best seller list in most of the countries it is retailing in, and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The chances of any of those members of the public who have read the book also being aware of Blacksmiths bureau are about the same as my chances of walking to New York across the Atlantic on the backs of bottlenose dolphins. So I must assume he is addressing his supporters. But even among those supporters there MUST be some who have also read Kate’s book, even if it is an illicit downloaded copy of the Kindle version. So then, why does Blacksmith proceed to make a complete and utter public fool of himself by giving the precise page number, and INVITE others to actually READ it for themselves? A double-bluff ? Or again, an over-reliance on the compliance of his flowers, making the assumption that they will take the attitude of “That’s all right mate, we don’t need to check, we believe you, oh enlightened one!” Because if they ever DID check, this is what they will find.

Then came the best bit. Carlos announced what the police had proposed. If we, or rather I, admitted that Madeleine had died in the apartment, and confessed to having hidden and disposed of her body, the sentence I’d receive would be much more lenient: only two years, he said, as opposed to what I’d be looking at if I ended up being charged with homicide.

Pardon? I really wasn’t sure if I could possibly have heard him correctly.
My incredulity turned to rage. How dare they suggest I lie? How dare they expect me to live with such a charge against my name? And even more importantly, did they really expect me to confess to a crime that they had made up, to falsely claim to the world that my daughter was dead, when the result would be that the whole world stopped looking for her? This police tactic might have worked successfully in the past but it certainly wasn’t going to work with me. Over my dead body. “You need to think about it,” Carlos insisted. “It would only be one of you. Gerry could go back to work.”

I was speechless.

The incentive to accept this ‘offer’ seemed to be that if we didn’t agree to it, the authorities could or would go after us for murder, and if we were found guilty, we might both receive life sentences.


Now it seems pretty clear to me, and it must seem equally clear to anyone else who has read the book that Kate most certainly DID mention the deal on page 243. Twice, in fact. So, what was the point of this lie? And what was the point of giving clear directions for anyone who has elementary reading skills to follow, to allow said people to discover for themselves the truth of the lie? Because all that has happened is that Blacksmith, in an attempt to further mislead his foolish followers, has just made himself look an even bigger fool.

Another trait he shares with Bennett.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Just one more question Ma’am!



By Vee8

The infamous forty eight questions! After the now discredited dog ‘Evidence’ perhaps arguably the most inexhaustible point of discussion among the anti-Madeleines. ”Why did Kate refuse to answer them?” “She should be made to go back to Portugal to answer those questions!” “If she was truly innocent she would have answered them!” And so on and so on ad nauseas. But one comment that I particularly remember, and one that is still oft quoted, “If it were MY daughter who had disappeared I would answer ANY questions, if I thought they would help find her.” Well people, so would I.

IF I THOUGHT THEY WOULD HELP FIND HER.

But let’s look at that point in reverse for a moment. If you were Kate, and if the investigation actually WERE engaged in actively trying to find Madeleine and apprehend the culprit, what sort of questions would you expect to be asked? Perhaps something along the lines of,

“Did you ever notice anyone suspicious hanging around outside the apartment?”

“When on the beach, did you notice anyone paying undue attention to yourselves, or Madeleine?”

“Did you notice any person, staff or guest, taking pictures of Madeleine?”

“Did Madeleine ever mention any new ‘Friends’ that she had made?”

“Did she ever bring home any ‘Gifts’?”

“Did she ever act nervous or uncomfortable when around a particular person?”

“Did she ever talk about going ‘On a trip’?”


Now THOSE are the sort of questions I would expect, IF the investigation were looking for Madeleine, and if I were Kate, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask. Questions that would help point to a suspect, or help show a means and/or motive. In short, questions that really WOULD help find Madeleine. Instead, what did Kate have to suffer? Questions that clearly showed that the PJ had no further intention of looking for Madeleine, and every intention of implicating Kate in her disappearance. No wonder her savvy solicitor instructed her to remain silent.

Let’s look at some of these questions more closely.

“Why did you say from the start that Madeleine had been abducted?”

Seriously, you come into the apartment, your child’s bed is empty and the window, which was closed, is now open. You have searched the whole apartment in a state of ever increasing panic and despair, but your child is missing. What assumption would YOU make? That your child had opened the window by themselves and run away to join the circus?

“Assuming Madeleine had been abducted, why did you leave the twins home alone to go to the ‘Tapas’ and raise the alarm? Because the supposed abductor could still be in the apartment.”

Now, as we already pointed out, Kate had by now searched the apartment several times over, long enough to find any loitering abductor. This was in her original statement, so why would the PJ assume the possibility of the abductor still being present?

“What was Madeleine’s relationship like with her brother and sister?”

In other words, is it possible that her younger siblings, in a fit of jealousy, conspired together to commit an act of toddlercide?

“Before travelling to Portugal did you make any comment about a foreboding or a bad feeling?”

I mean, come on, premonitions? Forebodings? Bad omens? Is this what we expect of a modern, civilised police enquiry? Did they really expect Kate to blame FATE?

But the following questions should have had NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER even being in this part of the enquiry.

“Is it true that sometimes you despaired with your children’s behaviour and that left you feeling very uneasy?”

“Is it true that in England you even considered handing over Madeleine’s custody to a relative?”


Because these questions are based on the supposed extracts from Kate’s diary, extracts that were shown by the PJ themselves to have been forged by a Portuguese journalist on the orders of his editor. There was even a rare press report on TV from a PJ spokesman, denouncing these extracts, and confirming that those responsible may face charges for wasting police time. The interviewer knew damn well the questions were, in fact, based on these scurrilous press reports, so why should he then ask the questions anyway?

So, do any of these questions help to actually find Madeleine?

No, and for one very important reason, one that is continually overlooked, forgotten or simply brushed aside by the anti-Madeleines. I have to admit it here, that it annoys me intensely to have to state the obvious, but Kate had just been made an Arguida, a special interest person. In other words, the PJ had by now made it perfectly clear to Kate that they suspected her in the disappearance of her daughter. It also now became crystal clear to her, and so it should now also be clear to everyone else, that because they were concentrating their efforts on Kate, they had by now, to all intents and purposes, given up any attempt at finding a live Madeleine. And if THAT was the case, then it should be clear to all of us that the questions would do NOTHING to help find Madeleine, but could only serve to implicate Kate.

But there was one question that Kate did answer.

"Are you aware that in not answering the questions you are jeopardising the investigation, which seeks to discover what happened to your daughter?"

“Yes, if that’s what the investigation thinks.”


Read that question again, very carefully. You are jeopardising the investigation. NOT you are jeopardising our chances of finding Madeleine, NOT you are jeopardising your chances of seeing your daughter again, but jeopardising the investigation. Which, as we all now know, had given up all pretentions of looking for her.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

“Plea Bargains” and Lies – But Not the Lies You Might Think


Article By Honestbroker


It's begun already, the attempted “rebuttal” to Kate's magnificent, unputdownable, superbly narrated heart-rending book. Said 'rebuttal' has got off to a damp squib of a start. Somewhere in the ether (I'll leave you to find where) floats a youtube video that casts aspersions on Kate's description of the offer that was put to her and Gerry in the early hours of the morning 7th September, after Kate's pre-arguida interview had finally finished at 0040 hours the same day. If the poster Heidi Ho (who produced this video) doubts the veracity of Kate's account, she should try something novel, such as reading the files, then she would know beyond doubt that Kate is telling the truth.

The video makes one point that is true, but also a non-sequitur – even in judicial systems that allow them, 'plea-bargains' are only possible after charges have been brought. The plea bargain is an arrangement intended to speed up the course of justice whereby agreement can be reached with the accused that more serious charges will be dropped in return for a promise from the accused that he/she will plead guilty to less serious charges for which comparatively lenient sentences will be imposed. Before charges are brought, a plea-bargain is impossible, and in countries such as Portugal, where the police and judiciary operate independently of each other, they are not possible at all.

Of course, Kate and Gerry were never charged. Still, in Portugal, as elsewhere, there are prescribed punishments for specific crimes. And in Portugal, the particular crime of concealing a body in an attempt to hide a death carries a sentence of two-years' imprisonment. So the offer put to the couple that if Kate agreed to plead guilty to the charge of finding and concealing a body (that of her beloved and cherished daughter, Madeleine), she would receive a two-year sentence, while the PJ would not pursue charges against Gerry, is quite feasible and quite lawful. Whether it is also ethical is a whole different question. But let's ignore that.

The alternative put to the couple was that the PJ would pursue charges, not of attempting to conceal a body, but of murder, against both of them, for which the maximum term of imprisonment in Portugal is 25 years. That, also, is prescribed in law, and so doesn't remotely invoke “plea bargain”.

We can be certain that what Kate says is true by comparing what Amaral says in interviews with what is written in the files.

In that El Mundo interview I have referred to before, Amaral says this:

A - Both the British and Portuguese police, and even the prosecutor, who has already changed his mind, thought the same. We talked about death by others, not murder. In the room, blood and cadaver odour was found just below a window where a sofa was. The father was talking to a friend just outside that window for a while. The girl was not a heavy sleeper, that's what the parents said. Perhaps she heard her father and climbed to the sofa below the window. But the parents, for the girl not to go out, moved it away from the wall. Madeleine could have fallen.


Q - The girl falls from the sofa, dies with the blow and the parents find her.


A - The mother. It is the mother who finds the girl dead.

They didn't talk about murder? Oh yes they did!

Read this, from Mark Harrison's report:

In considering the two scenarios that Madeleine McCann has been murdered and her body disposed of by a person on foot or in a vehicle, I have reflected on the areas within zone 1 that have been previously searched or subject to forensic examination.

Note that the two scenarios are disposal of a body by foot or by car. Both are death by murder.



The strategy of the PJ becomes clear and is laid bare. From way before Eddie and Keela even arrived, the PJ had formulated their theory of death by unnatural means and had invited exploration of death by murder. They wanted a conviction and they'd go for the 'soft option' of concealment of a crime by disposing of a body, applicable to just one of the arguidos, as a fall-back position from the more aggressive approach of threatening to bring murder charges against both arguido/as. That fits in perfectly with what Kate describes.



However (thank goodness) the joint reaction of Kate and Gerry was not what the PJ was hoping for. The McCanns' initial, and primary response, was thought of the implications of what had been proposed for Madeleine. If they agreed to this, in the eyes of the PJ and the world, the crime would be 'cracked'. What odds of finding Madeleine then? Obviously nil. On that ground alone, the McCanns would not entertain any such chicanery. But there was the ancillary point that they had no intention of submitting to scurrilous accusation of misdeeds of which they were completely innocent. More than that, having been shown the videos of the dogs in action, they were convinced that ex-PC Grime's finest (allegedly employed by the FBI!) were really not very good, and inclined to obey the beckon-call of their master (allegedly advisor to the FBI) after copious direction. Countless others of us who have watched the same videos have come to the same conclusion.



Still, the PJ availed themselves the maximum chance of this strategy working. They hit the McCanns with this proposed 'deal' in the early hours of the morning, when they were surely at their weakest and most vulnerable, after Kate had undergone gruelling examination, had seen videos of the dogs in action and had been subjected to the corrupt misinterpretation of John Lowe's report that 15 of 19 markers of Madeleine's DNA had been found in the car. At that stage, of course, neither Kate nor Gerry had had the chance to read the report of John Lowe of the Forensic Science Service themselves, and so were unable to separate the wheat from the chaff, (the latter) copiously served to them by the PJ. But against all the odds, they didn't crack. Thank goodness they were, at least, spared the added ordeal of pysical assault to which Leonor Cipriaono, who languishes in a Portuguese jail to this day, was subjected.



So, there's just one question left to answer: plea-bargain, Where did it come from?



In an interview to an Irish radio station, Gerry's sister and Kate's sister-in-law, Philomena McCann, in describing accurately what, exactly, had befallen Kate and Gerry in those offices in Portameo, had let slip layman's use of a legal term, 'plea bargain', that wasn't quite exactly accurate, in the scheme of things, a trivial slip, scarcely worth any more acknowledgement than a passing nod.



Finally, Heide ho should catch up on her knowledge of those dogs. They never were employed by the FBI as she claims. Indeed, the licences of both dogs to operate as sniffer dogs expired while they were employed under the direction of the (freelance, ex PC) handler, Marin Grime, in Haute de la Garenne, Jersey.