Tuesday, 29 March 2011

H.M.Government-Office of Cover-ups.



By Vee8

As I pointed out in the first of this series, debunking conspiracy theories is very difficult. This is because the theorists seldom, if ever, provide anything resembling hard evidence to back up their claims. This is both at once their greatest weakness and their greatest strength. They cannot prove that what they say is right, but without providing any background for believing what they do it is also almost impossible to prove them wrong. For instance, imagine you have misplaced your car keys. You ask your wife where they are, and she says they are in the lounge. You have a quick look before saying that you can’t find them and that therefore your wife must be wrong. She replies that she is certain that she saw them sometime, somewhere in the lounge, so that is where they must be. Now, unless you spend a huge amount of time taking your lounge apart, brick by brick, and searching every square centimetre of the ruins you cannot prove that your wife did not see your keys in the lounge!

Now, as we previously pointed out, when Amaral cast around for some sort of excuse for his failures in the Madeleine investigation he latched onto the idea of British government interference. In his book Amaral even states that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was informed that Amaral was being removed from the case before he himself knew of this decision. But HOW did he know? Who told him? Did he speak to Mr Brown himself? Without any evidence all we have is the word of a convicted criminal, found guilty of lying under oath in a court of law, and we would be foolish indeed to take his word for it. But it is this very claim that is the cornerstone of the anti-Madeleine’s belief in a government order to protect the McCanns, indeed it is the very fountain from which springs ALL their conspiracy theories. I propose all of these strange notions can be traced back to the various utterances of Amaral’s excuses for his failures.

In order to counter these convoluted and bizarre thought processes we have to rely principally on logic and good, old fashioned common sense. We need only to ask simple questions, such as WHY would the government pass any kind of uber-secret orders to protect the McCanns at all costs? IF Kate and Gerry really were the devious, cunning and manipulative child killers we are told by the anti-Madeleines, what possible reason could not one but TWO successive governments have to protect them? If such a story ever managed to break, if an investigative journalist ever managed to dig out the truth, or if an honest junior minister decided to break ranks and talk, the resulting political explosion would be cataclysmic. MP’s are not above the law, as several who fiddled their expenses accounts have found out to their costs. Some are even now doing time. What sort of jail sentence would a Prime Minister who covered up the death and possible sexual abuse of a child expect? The truth has a habit of finding ways to be known, and if there were any government involvement eventually we would all know, and those ministers who colluded in it would be caught and severely punished.

What little evidence the anti-Madeleines do have, such as it is, can be easily dismissed with some simple research. They point to unusually high Ambassadorial assistance offered to the McCanns from the moment Madeleine was abducted. Now, any SENSIBLE person would know that anytime a British citizen becomes a victim of a crime abroad they will receive consular support from our embassy staff. The more serious the crime the greater the level and depth of support. But to the anti-Madeleines however, this support is somehow suspicious, an over reaction. So, to be sure, I took the trouble to write to my MP, asking what sort of level of support could a British tourist abroad, as a victim of a serious crime, expect to receive from the British embassy. By reply I received, from the Foreign office, a very useful and comprehensive booklet, also available online in a downloadable PDF format. It is packed full of information, but I have posted the pertinent sections here.

http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20080205132101/www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/consularfullguide,0.pdf

WHAT KIND OF HELP WE CAN PROVIDE

We offer help which is appropriate to the individual
circumstances of each case, including:
• issuing replacement passports;
• providing information about transferring funds;
• providing appropriate help if you have suffered rape
or serious assault, are a victim of other crime,
or are in hospital;
• helping people with mental illness;
• providing details of local lawyers, interpreters,
doctors and funeral directors;
• doing all we properly can to contact you within 24
hours of being told that you have been detained;
offering support and help in a range of other cases,
such as child abductions, death of relatives overseas,
missing people and kidnapping
;

• contacting family or friends for you if you want; and
• making special arrangements in cases of terrorism,
civil disturbances or natural disasters.


WE CANNOT:

• get you out of prison, prevent the local authorities
from deporting you after your prison sentence,
or interfere in criminal or civil court proceedings;
• help you enter a country, for example, if you do
not have a visa or your passport is not valid, as we
cannot interfere in another country’s immigration
policy or procedures;
• give you legal advice, investigate crimes or carry out
searches for missing people, although we can give
you details of people who may be able to help you
in these cases, such as English-speaking lawyers
;

• We cannot collect evidence or investigate crimes
ourselves, and in many countries investigating
authorities and the courts will refuse to answer
enquiries from other people and organisations,
including consuls. So, you should consider
appointing a local lawyer who can look after your
interests in court, and follow any trial for you.
We can give you a list of local English-speaking
lawyers and interpreters. We would not ordinarily
go to a court case involving a British national
and cannot influence the outcome of any trial
.

• Back in the UK, you may feel you would benefit from
extra support to help you cope with the effects of
the crime. Organisations such as Victim Support can
help (www.victimsupport.org).

NEXT OF KIN AND
REPRESENTATIVES

If there is an on-going investigation
overseas, the Police Adviser to Consular
Directorate will also decide whether
to ask a local UK police force to use a
Family Liaison Officer (FLO) to advise
and help the family in dealing with the
investigation. The relevant UK police force
will make the final decision as to whether
an FLO is appointed
.


And most importantly,

INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION
• If you are worried about your child being abducted
overseas by the other parent or a relative, you
should contact our Child Abduction Section
on 020 7008 0878 (or our switchboard
on 020 7008 1500 outside office hours).
• If your child has been abducted, we can tell you
whether the country which your child has been
taken to has joined the Hague Convention on
International Child Abduction. If it has, we can
put you in touch with the relevant authorities
in the UK which can ask the court in the country
concerned to make an order for the child to be
returned to the UK.
• If the country to which your child has been
taken has not joined the Hague Convention on
International Child Abduction, we can give you
a list of overseas lawyers who speak English.
Some may be specialists in family law. However,
we cannot pay any legal fees ourselves.
• We can give you basic practical information about
the customs and legal procedures of the country
to which your child has been taken. We can also
provide travel information and, if necessary, offer
guidance on finding accommodation locally. We can
help you contact the relevant local authorities and
organisations when you are overseas
.


As you can see, this booklet shows quite clearly that the McCanns received no more support than anyone else in a similar terrible situation. Of particular note is the following paragraph,

We can give you a list of local English-speaking
lawyers and interpreters. We would not ordinarily
go to a court case involving a British national
and cannot influence the outcome of any trial
.


I mention this because it is suggested that the McCanns ‘Rush’ to appoint lawyers to act on their behalf is another part of the reason to suggest they are not being truthful. (It is also said, totally erroneously and again with no shred of proof, that the lawyers the McCanns appointed were extradition lawyers.) In reality, ANYONE who becomes victim of a crime would need a lawyer to act on their best interests, on the assumption that in good time the crime would be solved, the perpetrator apprehended, and a court case would ensue. The tragedy is that the McCanns had the double misfortune, on top of having their daughter abducted, of putting their trust in finding Madeleine into the hands of a man who was himself corrupt, and would later himself end up in court.

What about all those private phone calls to the McCanns from the Prime minister? The insinuation is that this is some sort of assurance that the government will do everything in their power to cover up the parental involvement in the tragic death of a small child. Again, using logic, we ask, why? Why would Gordon Brown take the trouble to call the McCanns and assure them that they would receive the highest level of protection? Sounds crazy when you put it like that, doesn’t it? No, what actually happened was nothing more than a call to pass on his sympathy, and assure them that everything possible would be done to help them recover Madeleine. In other words, the same sort of call that would be made to any other victim of the most serious of crimes abroad.

But wait, isn’t the PM a Freemason, along with half of the government? And Gerry McCann is a doctor, and it is well known that all doctors are Freemasons, right? And we all know a mason will bend over backwards to protect a fellow mason, even a child abusing killer don’t we?

Please stay tuned for our next instalment.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Conspiracies R Us.



By Vee8

In my previous piece, ‘Fear and Loathing: The Secret Heroes,’ I mentioned Amaral’s spurious and thus far totally unsubstantiated claim that it was interference from the British government that scuppered his chances of solving the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and how this strange and rather bizarre statement gave rise to all sorts of cover up conspiracy theories among the anti-Madeleines. I and my fellow authors would like now to delve a little deeper into some of the more prominent conspiracy schemes dreamed up by these people, and attempt to unravel some of the twisted tangle of disinformation lying at the heart of these imaginative but wholly bogus stories. This, however, is not an easy task. Many of these schemes have been in existence almost since the day Madeleine was abducted, and large numbers of the anti-Madeleines cling limpet-like to them, cherishing them and holding them close to their hearts, and they will not be dissuaded easily. But for the casual reader I can do no better than to start with the following piece on conspiracy theorists by Donna Ferentes, and I have to say it is so apt in describing those who try to cast doubt in the minds of the public regarding the innocence of the McCanns it could almost be specifically written about them.

http://www.urban75.org/info/conspiraloons.html

Conspiracy Theorists. A Useful Guide By Donna Ferentes.


Arrogance.
They are always fact-seekers, questioners, people who are trying to discover the truth: sceptics are always "sheep", patsies for Messrs Bush and Blair etc.

Relentlessness.
They will always go on and on about a conspiracy no matter how little evidence they have to go on or how much of what they have is simply discredited. (Moreover, as per 1. above, even if you listen to them ninety-eight times, the ninety-ninth time, when you say "no thanks", you'll be called a "sheep" again.) Additionally, they have no capacity for précis whatsoever. They go on and on at enormous length.

Inability to answer questions.
For people who loudly advertise their determination to the principle of questioning everything, they're pretty poor at answering direct questions from sceptics about the claims that they make.

Fondness for certain stock phrases.
These include Cicero's "cui bono?" (of which it can be said that Cicero understood the importance of having evidence to back it up) and Conan Doyle's "once we have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however unlikely, must be the truth". What these phrases have in common is that they are attempts to absolve themselves from any responsibility to produce positive, hard evidence themselves: you simply "eliminate the impossible" (i.e. say the official account can't stand scrutiny) which means that the wild allegation of your choice, based on "cui bono?" (which is always the government) is therefore the truth.

Inability to employ or understand Occam's Razor.
Aided by the principle in 4. above, conspiracy theorists never notice that the small inconsistencies in the accounts which they reject are dwarfed by the enormous, gaping holes in logic, likelihood and evidence in any alternative account.

Inability to tell good evidence from bad.
Conspiracy theorists have no place for peer-review, for scientific knowledge, for the respectability of sources. The fact that a claim has been made by anybody, anywhere, is enough for them to reproduce it and demand that the questions it raises be answered, as if intellectual enquiry were a matter of responding to every rumour. While they do this, of course, they will claim to have "open minds" and abuse the sceptics for apparently lacking same.

Inability to withdraw.
It's a rare day indeed when a conspiracy theorist admits that a claim they have made has turned out to be without foundation, whether it be the overall claim itself or any of the evidence produced to support it. Moreover they have a liking (see 3. above) for the technique of avoiding discussion of their claims by "swamping" - piling on a whole lot more material rather than respond to the objections sceptics make to the previous lot.

Leaping to conclusions.
Conspiracy theorists are very keen indeed to declare the "official" account totally discredited without having remotely enough cause so to do. Of course this enables them to wheel on the Conan Doyle quote as in 4. above. Small inconsistencies in the account of an event, small unanswered questions, small problems in timing of differences in procedure from previous events of the same kind are all more than adequate to declare the "official" account clearly and definitively discredited. It goes without saying that it is not necessary to prove that these inconsistencies are either relevant, or that they even definitely exist.

Using previous conspiracies as evidence to support their claims.
This argument invokes scandals like the Birmingham Six, the Bologna station bombings, the Zinoviev letter and so on in order to try and demonstrate that their conspiracy theory should be accorded some weight (because it's “happened before”.) They do not pause to reflect that the conspiracies they are touting are almost always far more unlikely and complicated than the real-life conspiracies with which they make comparison, or that the fact that something might potentially happen does not, in and of itself, make it anything other than extremely unlikely.

It's always a conspiracy.
And it is, isn't it? No sooner has the body been discovered, the bomb gone off, than the same people are producing the same old stuff, demanding that there are questions which need to be answered, at the same unbearable length. Because the most important thing about these people is that they are people entirely lacking in discrimination. They cannot tell a good theory from a bad one, they cannot tell good evidence from bad evidence and they cannot tell a good source from a bad one. And for that reason, they always come up with the same answer when they ask the same question.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Now it's official-Amaral IS a liar.



By Vee8.

Last week former head of the investigation into the abduction of Madeleine McCann, Goncalo Amaral, had his appeal against his conviction for perjury in the case of Leonor Cipriano rejected. You may remember, we told you about this tragic miscarriage of justice here on this blog earlier,

http://amaralfiction2.blogspot.com/2010/11/joana-cipriano-goncalo-amarals.html

This means that with immediate effect Amaral’s sentence begins, and he now has a criminal record. It would be all too easy for we authors of this blog to smugly say “We told you so.” In fact I confess to mutely letting out a small whoop of delight when I heard the news. But our joy is tempered by the memory of the victims of Amaral’s crimes, Leonor, the grieving and wronged mother, and poor little Joana, so callously failed by Amaral.

Let’s put that in simple terms. Amaral KNEW Leonor was innocent, he KNEW there wasn’t a shred of evidence against her, and he KNEW that, within the very building where he worked, several hired thugs were beating the daylights out of that poor woman, in order to obtain a confession. Then, with full knowledge of what had happened, he colluded with the torturers in order to cover up their heinous deeds. And the court agreed. This judge concurred with the summation of Amaral’s first trial judge, that there is ample evidence that Leonor was indeed tortured.



It is now time, way past time, for all those who fell at this disgraceful man’s feet, worshipped him, sent him birthday wishes and Christmas cards, called him the ‘Brilliant detective’ to hang their heads in the deepest shame.

SHAME, that they could not see, or worse, chose to deliberately ignore, that which we of this blog, and ALL who have steadfastly supported Kate and Gerry all along, have seen right from the beginning.

Yes, Amaral may have also had a small victory this week, with the Portuguese supreme court upholding his right to sell his book, but it will prove to be a hollow victory. Who now will buy a book, entitled, “The Truth of a Lie” when the author himself is now known throughout the world as a proven liar? Who can now ever trust the word of a convicted criminal?

We have done our best to highlight Amaral’s misdeeds, not just here, on this blog, but everywhere we can, on the internet and by word of mouth. Now, with this judicial proclamation, we feel justified and vindicated. I just hope and pray that it is not yet too late for the children that Amaral failed for them to be found, and brought back to the arms of their loving families.

Transcript of the court ruling can be found here.

http://www.cmjornal.xl.pt/detalhe/noticias/ultima-hora/advogado-de-leonor-cipriano-vai-processar-estado

Value of Évora retains the punishment PJ inspectors

Leonor Cipriano lawyer to sue state

The Court of Appeal of Evora not upheld the appeals of two inspectors from the Judicial Police condemned the Leonor Cipriano case and decided to keep the ruling of first instance, said this Friday's lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia, adding he would sue the Portuguese Government for Violation of Human Rights.

According to the lawyer for Leonor Cipriano, the Court of Appeal considered "quite sufficient" all the evidence in the first instance to prove the existence of a "serious crime of torture" against Leonor Cipriano.

At trial, held in Faro, for several months, the two inspectors of the Judicial Police, Gonçalo Amaral and António Cardoso, were sentenced to one year and six months and two years and three months respectively, suspended in its execution.
Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of the Criminal Investigation Department in Lagos, as the author was convicted of a crime of false testimony, and Antonio Cardoso, as the author of a crime of forgery of a document.

According to Marcos Aragão Correia, the Court of Appeal of Evora has declared "unfounded" every resource, including the claim of the defendants' proof of renewal. "

The lawyer adds that the judges who reviewed the resources, and decide to keep the full ruling of first instance final, confirmed that Leonor Cipriano "was brutally tortured by agents of the various Portuguese Judicial Police who remain unidentified."

According to Aragão Correia, the court considered "not to exacerbate" the sentence imposed by the Goncalo Amaral this be a "primary offender" and also the same as being retired from the police.

Marcos Aragão Correia announced that in consequence of this decision, Leonor Cipriano will lodge a formal complaint against the Portuguese government to the United Nations for violating "the most basic gross human rights".
Defence lawyers said the conviction will be sought and the expulsion of Portugal's Human Rights Commission of the United Nations.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Eddie and Keela in Praia da Luz – Matching claim and Performance



Article by Honestbroker.

In various places in the file, Grime makes specific claims about the performance of his dogs. Matching claim with the record from the file or other sources reveals an, at times, incongruous picture. About Eddie, Grime says:

The dog's olfactory system is so highly developed that it continues to be efficient at cellular level:


Distinguish the time difference between footprints to give a direction of travel.


Distinguish live from dead within minutes.

The first claim seems to be for dogs trained to track the scents of living people. Cadaver dogs, as a rule, are trained to ignore the scents of living people.

The second claim is perplexing, too.  For a long time, it was accepted without question on-line that the time interval between death and emission of a scent from a corpse detectable to a dog was 90 minutes. 

Then someone established the provenance of the claim, research in America on a so-called 'body farm', to which people donate their bodies after death for the purpose of training cadaver dogs, and also research.  A study into the very question of how soon after death a scent is released detectable to dogs yielded a soonest time of, actually, just less than an hour and a half.  But that was an isolated result.  The majority of all results yielded what the study took as the actual average time, 2 and a half to 3 hours.  So we can only guess where Grime gets his time of "minutes" from.

http://www.csst.org/cadaver_scent.html
Grime says that Eddie is sure of the scent he is trained to detect and won't bark if he has doubts.  From Grime's profile, he cites this from a case Eddie worked on in Northern Ireland:
Page 2267

APPENDIX.... (To Martin Grime's Profile Report)


ATTRACTA HARRON.


A missing person, last seen returning from church, on foot, in N. Ireland.
A missing person search did not reveal her whereabouts.
The search of a suspect's 'totally burnt out vehicle' by forensic scientists did not reveal any evidence.
A 'one minute' search by the EVRD identified a position in the rear passenger footwell where the dog alerted to the presence of human material.
A sample was taken and when analysed revealed the victim's DNA.

And in his rogatory interview, he says:
The dogs' passive CSI [Crime Scene Investigation] alert provides an indication as per their training and does not vary. They only give an alert when they are 'positive' that the target of the odour is present and immediately accessible. If they had any doubts they would not give an alert.
This is about both dogs.  The alleged scent from the 'cuddlecat' toy was, apparently, more accessible to Eddie when the toy was hidden in a cupboard than when he could see it, touch it and play with it.
Yet, following the inspection in the villa the Mccanns hired after vacating the holiday apartment, we read this from the file:

Following the search effected at Rua das Flores, 27, during which certain items were seized, this present inspection was performed, in a place appropriated for its purpose, attempting to identify particular pieces of clothing possibly indicated by the dogs, namely Eddy [that] indicates cadaver odours and Kila [that] indicates blood odours.

Possibly indicated?  The scent of which Eddie, is, apparently, quite certain might, or might not, have been detected in the villa, and so everything had to be taken up, relocated to a different venue (a gymnasium) and re-checked.

There is also research which suggests that sniffer dogs worked too hard get tired and are more likely to make errors; further, that handlers who have a strong reason to think that a scent might be present in an area being searched are more likely, subconsciously, to give a cue to a dog that leads to a false alert.
 
The second search of the clothing in the gymnasium was conducted in the early hours of the morning.  It is surprising and worthy of note that, during the inspections in the gymnasium, both dogs trampled over clothing they were inspecting and Eddie in particular picked certain items up in his mouth. That seems an odd way to treat items that might have held crucial forensic evidence. Perhaps that also, in part, explains why nothing reacted to during that search was forwarded to the forensic laboratory in Birmingham.

From video footage, it has been widely remarked how many times Grime had to call Eddie back to the Renault hire car before the dog, finally, reacted (we know) to spots of Gerry's blood on the ignition card.  Eddie simultaneously inspected 10 vehicles, and it seems reasonable to speculate that other cars, too, might have had blood deposits.  Could that be why it took Eddie so long to react (in contrast to the vehicle in the Attracta Haron case cited above)?  There were also the 'Madeleine' stickers on the back of the McCanns' hire car.

About Keela, Grime says:
'Keela' The Crime Scene Investigation (C.S.I.) dog will search for and locate human blood to such small proportions that it is unlikely to be recovered by the forensic science procedures in place at this time due to its size or placement.

I think we're entitled to ask how Grime would know.  However he does, Keela, apparently, reacted to blood on a curtain in apartment 5a they could find no trace of at the Forensic Science Service forensic laboratory in Birmingham.

Grime says about Eddie:
In six years operational deployment in over 200 cases the dog has never alerted to meat based foodstuffs.

From the file and the search of apartment 5D we learn:

Apartment 5 D

We've put the victim recovery dog through this apartment, the only interest has been in some food that he has found, other than that there is no interest in anything that he has been taught to tell me that he has found.

Eddie reacts to swine cadaver scent. That much is known. Many people have wondered, therefore, why he wouldn't react to meat products derived from the pig.

Lastly a point about Grime himself.  In the search of the vehicles in an underground carpark, he is seen on video dressed in the protective overalls of his trade, to prevent cross-contamination.  In the searches of the apartment and in the villa, Grime is dressed in jeans and tee-shirt.  Why?
 
According to one press report, Grime showed film of Eddie reacting to the McCanns' hire car (where Grime was correctly dressed) at a presentation before he was hired for the  Haut de la Garenne children's home job in the British island of Jersey.  If the report is accurate, the veil of sercecy still rested on the Madeleine investigation at the time, and so the video ought not to have been shown.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

FEAR AND LOATHING: THE SECRET HEROES.



By Vee8.

Most of us, at some time in our lives, have been grateful for the appearance of a good Samaritan. A kindly stranger who’s act of random benevolence helped us out of a tricky situation. I remember one particular occasion from my own life, many years ago when I was a technician in the Royal Air Force. Driving home for the weekend I was passing through Thetford Chase, a large and sparsely populated forested area, when I ran out of petrol. So keen was I to get home I had neglected to check my fuel gauge! I had a petrol can in the boot, but it was empty, so I had to face a long walk to the next town and a petrol station. It was only a few minutes into the long trudge when a car passed. Before I had even put out my thumb in the classic hitchhikers’ gesture he had already pulled over in front of me. “Out of gas?” he asked, pointing to the can in my hand. I nodded. “I have a full can in the boot if you like.” I offered to pay for the petrol but he seemed almost offended, telling me to just return the favour to someone else at the next opportunity. I never did get his name, but I have since always tried to remember to keep a full can of petrol in my boot.

Sometimes these Samaritans are not just selfless but actually brave to the point of heroic. Often we see headlines in the press like ‘Stranger pulls drowning child from dangerous tide’ or ‘Neighbours save family from burning house.’ On a bigger scale, when news cameramen cover a major disaster, such as a flood or earthquake, you will, more often than not, see not just the emergency services in frantic efforts to rescue survivors, but ordinary members of the public, covered in grime, sweat and sometimes blood, risking their own safety to pull victims from a hazardous situation. They do this not for fame, nor glory, or monetary reimbursement. Many of them shun the publicity. They do it simply because, well, it is the right thing to do. Perhaps that spark of human decency that most of us have within burns just that little more brightly within them, compelling them to do something more than just watch from the sidelines, or pass on by on the other side. Whenever we read or hear about these selfless, noble or heroic people we feel a sense of pride that there are those among us like that, perhaps thinking to ourselves, ‘Good on you.’

When Madeleine McCann was abducted in Portugal, on May 3rd, 2007, there was immediately a huge surge of public sympathy for her and her family. We all felt terribly sorry for them, watching their unfolding anguish, and we all prayed for a happy ending. Many, like myself, wished that somehow we could actually DO something, though perhaps not really knowing what we COULD do, for a family we didn’t actually know, so far away.

But a small group of the aforementioned class of people DID decide to do something, something more than just wring their hands in pity. They got together and formed a volunteer group, dedicated to finding ways to support the McCanns, by helping raise awareness of Madeleine, and doing whatever they could think of to work towards the goal of reuniting this torn family. Starting with just a few people, this group soon gained members from every walk of life, from all across the globe, such was the reach of the story of Madeleine’s abduction. All good and noble people, with the very best of intentions in their hearts.

IN ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES these people too would receive the public accolade they deserve, even if not directly to their face.

In any other circumstances. But the abduction of Madeleine McCann is not like other tragedies. You see, there are a tiny but highly vocal minority of people out there who’s spark of decency has been extinguished, who’s milk of human kindness has curdled, and turned sour. These people, instead of sympathy, felt only a hatred of the McCanns, and instead of a feeling of distant pride, felt only suspicion and distrust for their selfless helpers and supporters. Because, for reasons I will attempt to explain later, they believe that there is some sort of cover up going on, that the McCanns are not the innocent victims of a heinous crime but are, in fact guilty of, at least, covering up and perhaps even causing Madeleine’s death. And this minority also decided to act. Using their armchair detective skills derived from hours of watching ‘Crime Scene Miami’ or ‘Life On Mars’ they started investigating anyone who they decided was ‘In on it.’ They would hunt down and attack anyone who they could find who publicly supported Kate and Gerry.

I myself was an early victim. Not many days after the news of Madeleine’s abduction first broke I started leaving comments on the VirginMedia newspages. Every time a new update broke I was there, part of a new and burgeoning online community. But, foolish me, in my naivety I left my comments in my own name. Later, when I joined some of the forums set up in support of the McCanns I used the tag ‘Vee8’ one I have been using for years on all the hot rod and custom car forums I am a member of, including my own local club. But again I reckoned without the sleuthing abilities of those people who had by now become known as the anti-Madeleines. Because on my own clubs website my real name was in the personal details. It was no problem to put the two together. I had no idea of what was to follow. All my personal details, name, address, occupation, family members names, e-mail address, all was made public on one of the first, and now legendary, websites set up to actually persecute the McCanns, the 3arguidos forum. I admit that, at first, I was unaware of what was going on. It was difficult to believe such sites existed. But I soon found out when a friend tipped me off. She sent me a link. And it was all there. Warnings to stop supporting two child killers, threats that if I carried on I would receive a good kicking. Later I got e-mails, which I still have saved, accusing me of everything from causing an innocent man’s suicide, to being an actual paedophile. I was warned my car would be vandalised outside my house. And all this because I dared to publicly support two parents caught in a whirlwind of a nightmare.

It was much the same, if not even worse for the members of the group of volunteers. They too were hunted down and ‘Outed’ as the act became known. As if these good people had done something to be ashamed of. One of the early admin members had her place of work made public. Her employer received so many calls and e-mails the poor woman had no choice but to give up her role in the group or risk loosing her job. Other members received similar threats via e-mails as myself. Some of these so-called ‘Truth seekers’ even tried to infiltrate the group itself, in a vain attempt to undermine and discredit the organisation. Other, more well know public supporters, have suffered similar fates. One of Kate and Gerry’s chief financial benefactors, Brian Kennedy, has had the founder of the inappropriately named ‘Madeleine foundation, Tony Bennett, actually stalk him in his home and workplace, posting pictures of himself in Mr Kennedy’s garden. But what, or rather who, is the cause of all this trouble? Who saw fit to use these more gullible members of society in order to further cause the McCanns misery on top of that they already suffer?

Goncalo Amaral.

It is by now a well-known fact that Amaral headed up one of the worst police investigations into a hugely public crime in living memory. Seen throughout the world as incompetent, the investigation itself was deeply flawed right from the very first day, when he chose to sit at the table at his favourite restaurant, rather that attend the scene of a child abduction.

Human nature, being what it is, often makes it difficult for us to admit when we are wrong, to concede our mistakes, and to be fair to Amaral he is no different to most of us in that regard. Like perhaps many of us, he preferred to pass the blame, make excuses, and abdicate his responsibility for his failures. But his mistakes were SO big, SO blatant, SO hugely public, he had to come out with an equally enormous excuse. And he did! He blamed political interference from the British government! It is this insinuation, never once backed up by even a hint of proof, that is behind the attacks on the volunteers, the helpers and the supporters. Because, knowingly or not, he spawned a conspiracy theory that ranks right up there with faked moon landings, who really shot JFK and Presidential ordering of the 9/11 atrocity. And it is that baseless accusation that has begat the hounding, the stalking, intimidation, the relentless pressure and the death threats against the volunteers, the supporters and the helpers. Amaral’s lame and pathetic excuse has a lot to answer for.

Because of this, the volunteer group now has to tip-toe around, work silently, being oh so careful about revealing their identities, in effect, working with one hand tied behind their backs, for fear of provoking further retaliation from the anti-Madeleines. And all because they were so moved as to wish to help find a lost little girl. And yet, still they persevere. Still do what they can to help this shattered family, despite the risks. Why?

Well, because it’s the right thing to do.