Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Reflections on that Express Article

Here, we are really picking up where we left off with Amaral’s success in overturning the injunction on his book – but with an unexpected twist.   The first part of the script was predictable enough.  This egotist who tried to con us into the belief that he brow-beat Stuart Prior into phoning the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham and hectoring them on the subject of the Portuguese police’s powers of arrest came off the ropes brimming with bull and bravado.  He would sue the McCanns for loss of earnings from the unjust imposition of the injunction and, yes, the book would roll off the production-lines once more and be sold, including in Britain.
On the first point, all earnings from the book have remained in a frozen bank account and if – only if – Amaral wins the forthcoming libel trial, will be released to him.  On the second point, there is one way, alone, that he will get booksellers to take his book, in Britain, or arguably, anywhere else in the world, and that is if he revises and rewrites it to strip the present text of all libelous content.  Amaral is not stupid and must understand that.

Perhaps that is the background to the unexpected twist – this interview he gave to The Sunday Express.  For two, obvious reasons, we can dismiss suggestions that The Sunday Express faked the interview.  This paper, like all its sister papers from The Express stable, has been sued by the McCanns and the editor risks going to prison if he steps out of line with a story about the McCanns again.  So the paper will have been very careful to verify both the interview and the content of the story as accurate.   The second reason is, simply, that if the paper had made this up  Amaral would, already, have issued a swift and widely reported denial.  No such denial has been issued.

So what of the story?  It is claimed that  footage of a CCTV camera from the Estra da Luz Hotel, almost certain to have contained video image of a man seen carrying a child on the night, had been wiped before officers, on Amaral’s instructions, had recovered the footage.  A certain area of waste ground had been thoroughly searched by officers.  And, most startlingly of all, a gate of a disused (on May 3rd 2007, as now) villa had been open on the night.  This villa is on the route known to have been taken by the man seen by the Irish Smith family. 

The point has been verified, including by those with a DVD of the case files, that none of this information, apart from the Smith family sighting, is in released material.  That needn’t mean that it isn’t in what the Portuguese term the process as not everything in the process has been publicly released.  Indeed, even the McCanns have not seen everything.   But let’s assume that this information is in the process.  That would mean that in the writing of his book as it now stands Amaral, too, concealed information known to him at the time so that he could present a biased and misleading account pointing to the apparent culpability of the McCanns.  Remember that part of Amaral’s reasoning for his belief that Gerry concealed Madeleine’s body on the beach was that, as not a local man, he would have no local knowledge, and therefore the beach was the obvious place for him to hide a body.  Now, with this apparent revelation about the empty villa, he is invoking local knowledge and ruling out Gerry as the man the Smiths saw.  That analysis, if it’s true, lays Amaral bare as having produced a book, not only libelous and error-ridden, but also written with malicious intent. 
The other alternative is that this material isn’t in the process.  In that case, either the paperwork got lost, or Amaral is making it up as he goes along.  I can’t think of any other viable explanations, and of the options cited, the only one that seems remotely plausible to me is that the diligences are in the process, but just yet to surface.  Of course Almeida, as author of the interim report, if he was aware of this other information, must have been complicit, too. 

The first point is that Amaral’s initial book would be, not only a calumny even worse than first thought against the McCanns, but a scandal, not of Amaral’s making, that the McCanns have, to date, never been given this most vital piece of information.  Why not?  And why would Amaral, now, come out with this amended version that sets straight the record about the investigation on his watch?    All I can think is that all the senior PJ officers (including and especially Amaral) presiding over the case in late August and early September, when the Keela and Eddie/Martin Grime road show hit town were just bowled over and mesmerized.  Any sense of objectivity that had existed before was lost upon the sight of these canines in action.  So certain, more fruitful, developments and lines of enquiry, such as the disused villa, that might, more productively, have been pursued, were simply sidelined because (as Amaral and his fellow senior officers believed) the dogs had cracked the case.  Indeed, in one of his interviews, Amaral refers to the dog indications as ‘evidence’, ‘proving’ what had been suspected all along, that Kate and Gerry were guilty and had conducted a cover-up of their daughter’s death. 

Since then, everything has unraveled, which takes me back to my first two paragraphs.  Amaral knows that the cover is about to be blown on his own partial and distorted interpretation of events and there’s nothing he can do about it.  The libel trial will finally blow the lid.  So Amaral is cutting his losses and re-writing his book (it seems he has a Spanish publisher lined up) in a format that will be acceptable, even to retail outlets in Britain.  But if all the new effort amounts to is a tale of missed opportunity with CCTV footage, a disused villa with an open gate (that might have been used by a passing tramp!) but no other clues; and otherwise , a catalogue of other, fruitless, leads, then while the book will be non-libellous and saleable, it won’t exactly capture the collective imagination the way the first book did.  The first book, for its many-fold flaws of a badly and outright libelously told story, contained that one explosive ingredient everyone wanted to see – the McCannsdunit.  Its successor won’t.  And of course, the massive u-turn will lose the author still more credibility.  Therefore, even if very different from the online version people can now read free, it’s unlikely to sell, at least in great numbers.

Meanwhile, the McCanns will be left to rue yet more missed opportunities and failure, not just of Amaral, but of others, to pass on to them vital leads that just might have unlocked the mystery of what really happened to their loved and cherished daughter.  No doubt the McCanns, even now, would cheerfully give Amaral a mansion to live in for the rest of his life and a million euros, in exchange for that greatest prize of all – the return of Madeleine, safe and well, to make their family complete.  For them, nothing else really matters.  Nor should it.  Two giants, swimming in a sea and against a current of mediocrity duplicity and mean-minded, petty nastiness and vindictive power-struggles. 

By Honestbroker