Monday, May 21, 2012

Transcript : Madeleine McCann - The Last Hope - Monday 21st 2012

KATE MCCANN, MOTHER OF MADELEINE: Every night we had dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant. It was very close to our apartment. At 10 o' clock, when I went back to check on the children, which we'd been doing every half hour, just in case one of them had maybe woken up, I discovered that Madeleine had been taken.

GERRY MCCANN, FATHER OF MADELEINE: You're just thrown into this absolute nightmare. Terrifying ordeal; I think the worst thing that could happen to a parent.

KATE MCCANN: When I imagine somebody lifting Madeleine out of the bed, and I Madeleine at some point waking up, I just... so horrific that I just... your brain struggles to accept it as real.

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Five years on, Madeleine McCann is still missing. In England, her parents still grieve, and police are back in the hunt. Welcome to Four Corners. Reliable data is hard to get, but it's estimated that, worldwide, something like eight million children disappear each year, and the United Nations says that at any one time, close to two-and-a-half million people are victims of human trafficking - most of them for sexual slavery. Madeleine McCann was just days away from her fourth birthday when she disappeared from a Portuguese coastal resort. The story made headlines around the globe.

With Britain's tabloid press ramping up pressure, local police struggled for leads in their search for Madeleine and her alleged abductor. Before long, in the face of accusations that they had botched the investigation, police were pointing the finger at Madeleine's parents, casting doubts on their story. Eventually, the Portuguese police closed the case, leaving the parents to swing in the breeze of public opinion. The parents, meanwhile, had launched their own private investigations, and eventually, in the wake of a book written by Kate McCann, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, ordered a new investigation. Some 30 specialist police are on the trail, and expressing optimism that they can crack the mystery. But they're going to have to find new evidence strong enough to force Portuguese police to re-open the case. In the meantime, if she's still alive, Madeleine will have just turned nine.

The BBC's Richard Bilton has compiled this report.

[Report - "Madeleine McCann-The Last Hope"]

KERRY O'BRIEN: One of the significant questions related to Madeleine McCann's disappearance is this: if she was targeted by child traffickers, what would they have wanted with a three or four-year-old? Are children targeted that young? Former senior Scotland Yard investigator, Jim Gamble, has led the British National Crime Intelligence Service fight against child sex abuse, and he was the head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre within the UK police, which did some analysis for the Portuguese police early in the investigation of Madeleine's disappearance. He subsequently did a scoping study for a review of the case in 2009 for the previous Labour government. Jim Gamble had since got to know the McCann's personally, and he joins me now from London.

Jim Gamble, let's get one obvious question out of the way, first-up: from everything you know personally about the McCanns and the case, do you believe they had anything to do with Madeleine's disappearance?

JIM GAMBLE, FMR HEAD, CHILD PROTECTION CENTRE (CEOP): If it ever came out that either of the McCanns were involved in this, I will be absolutely shocked.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Why do you say that?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, from everything I know about it, it's not that as a professional police officer they wouldn't have been first on my list of suspects, because actually, of course they would - they're the parents, they were there, they had last access. But having been involved in the periphery to a greater or lesser degree on different occasions with this case, having met the McCanns, having seen their children Sean and Amelie around them, I just would be shocked. There's nothing which gives me that feeling; there's no evidence which makes me feel that they are in any way complicit in the disappearance. But I'm a human being, you know, and we can err. I'm simply saying that I would be shocked if either one of them were proven to be involved in any way in this.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Given the five year time lapse since Madeleine's disappearance, what do you think the chances are of finding her, even with such a well-resourced UK police team?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, I think there's always hope, and nobody should take away hope from parents who have to get up and look after their other two small children every day. And people often talk to be about the statistics and what's most likely to have become of Madeleine. Jaycee Dugard turned up after many, many years, having been abducted from a bus stop near her home. And when we began to look at the Minute from Madeleine Initiative video, which we created in CEOP some years back, we looked at a number of cases where children had gone missing, been abducted, and many years later were found, or came back themselves. So, I think there's always hope. As the years go on, of course, it's harder to sustain that, and that's one of the reasons I think we all welcomed the recent Metropolitan Police investigation, and the way it's breathed new life back into this enquiry.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What's your basis for saying "it's breathed new life"? Because, because my next question is, why the British police would succeed where the Portuguese police failed, given that at least the Portuguese had a fresh trail to try and follow.

JIM GAMBLE: Well, I don't think it's so much where the Portuguese police failed. The investigation in the early days was complex, as these investigations are, but it was complicated by the fact that it covered such a vast geography. And none of us - you know, the British, the Portuguese, or others - were very good in those early days, because it's not something we do very often. And what happened because of that was that information would be held in different places, and perhaps shared in different ways. Now, with the Metropolitan Police and the level of competence that they have, and experience in these complex investigations, they bring something new to the table. I think there is a willingness within Portugal to have a look at anything the Metropolitan Police find that's fresh, and critically, what I believe the men are doing is bringing together the disparate pieces of information that perhaps sat elsewhere in the UK or in Portugal, and, for the first time, aggregating it in a way that all of that information can be interrogated at a single point.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What did you and your team highlight in your scoping study of the study, as areas for fresh attention?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, without going into too much detail, what we identified was that the information was all over the place. That the fact that a number of difference agencies had very enthusiastically and appropriately helped in their own ways, having itself created a difficulty because there was a lack of coherent leadership, I believe, at different times throughout the investigation - that's simply from the UK perspective. At the very beginning of this investigation, everybody, including myself and CEOP, rushed to help. And because we don't deal with this type of cases, thankfully, on a day-by-day basis, and we were learning as we went along, so I think there were little pots of information, and some big pots of information, that could have been dealt with better. So we identified that, recognised it. We also identified a number of other areas, and a number of other anomalies, where perhaps some of the other information that would have been available, and had been captured, but never properly interrogated. And as the Metropolitan Police are going through a live investigation now, I think it would probably be unhelpful of me to go into any greater detail on that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Can you understanding why David Cameron did eventually reopen the case?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, I'm glad you used the word "eventually". I am thrilled that he, you know, prompted the new review by the Metropolitan Police, but the report which we put in, which highlighted all of the anomalies that are currently being discussed, and have been discussed for some time. That was on that government desk as they came in to power. The Home Secretary had it, and it's unfortunate that it took an open letter from Gerry McCann, on the front of a national newspaper, to prompt David Cameron to do this. But maybe he was unaware that the home secretary already had a report highlighting these issues, but it shouldn't take the plea of a parent in a desperate circumstance to get the Prime Minister to do the right thing. But now that he's done it, absolutely fantastic. With his backing behind it, I think it has more hope than it ever had before.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What was your reaction to the book that came out from the former leader of the Portuguese investigation, particularly when essentially the finger was being pointed at the McCanns?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, first of all, I think it was unprofessional, and secondly, I think it was unhelpful. The fact that this individual perpetrates a view that is clearly his - that the McCanns are guilty, or suggests that the McCanns are guilty of this offence - that's troublesome from a number of issues. That's an issue for a court to decide, and secondly, when a professional police officer, when someone with the access to information that that role would suggest that individual has, starts going down one specific line, it takes our eye off the broader picture. It stops being looking, because they believe, "Well, there's no point, we know who did it". Now, I'm aware of cases myself that I'll not go into in detail here, where because certain individuals have assumed that one person was guilty, the real person, the real culprit, when free for many, many more years than they actually should have, simply because everyone said, "Well, there's no point. We know who did it, we can't prove it, so let's carry on with our day jobs". I think what he's done is foolish.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now, if I understand your position correctly, if you had been conducting an investigation like this, you'd have started with the parents and taken a very quick look and either established there was something suspicious, or you'd have ruled them out and moved on. Now, if I understand it correctly, the Portuguese were kind of the other way around. It took them some time to suddenly develop the view that the McCanns might have been suspicious.

JIM GAMBLE: Well, I think that's a fair assessment. When we carried out the scoping review, in order to be fair, what we did was, we said, "Let's take a sleepy seaside town somewhere in the UK, and imagine that, you know, late in the evening, a couple had come to us who didn't speak English as their first language, and who were Portuguese and said, 'Look, our child has gone missing'". I think what we accepted immediately is we would have faced a complicated scenario similar to that which the Portuguese did. You're not sure whether the child has simply walked away or been taken away, and it does take a period of time to get that information together, so there were clearly difficulties, and we would all face those. In the immediate aftermath, the systematic approach is what is key, and certainly as professional detectives, we use the phrase "clear the ground beneath your feet". Look at that which is immediately in front of you first of all. And the only difference between the Portuguese and myself would have been that the first suspects that I would have looked at would have been the parents.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Given what you know about child abduction, if this was an abduction, what are the most likely possibilities?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, you can start from someone who has perhaps lost a child, the balance of their mind may be disturbed, and they take someone else's child to replace theirs - to meet an emotional need that they have. And then move to the sexual predator, who perhaps would target a child, engage that child, capture them and abuse them - and we've seen that happen around the world. And then you come to the point of the actual trafficker - someone that would perhaps target a particular child for sale into a specialist or particular market somewhere else around the world. And these things happen, and whilst we can look at the statistical analysis of the likelihood of children still being alive, alive after each of those scenarios, there is always the exception to the rule - Jaycee Dugard is a good example of a child who was actually abducted and abused, and still alive today.

KERRY O'BRIEN: If Madeleine was the target of professional child traffickers, is it at all common, or is it unusual for somebody that young to be targeted?

JIM GAMBLE: No, I don't think it's uncommon for someone that young to be targeted. But, I mean, in our experience, a Western child being targeted and abducted by child traffickers, is very, very rare, because the publicity that surrounds it is so massive. I mean, we often hear the argument, "Why so much attention for one little girl, when so many go missing?" It's a very complicated set of circumstances, missing children, but the kids that go missing because they've been abducted - abducted by someone other than a parent in a parental dispute - they're rare. That's why, if you come to the UK, we'll be able to talk about Holly and Jessica, we'll be able to talk about Milly Dowler, we'll be able to talk about Madeleine McCann - because those cases are so rare, they strike a chord with every parent, that you never ever forget the names of the children or the incident involved. So the cases are rare, but it's not unusual for traffickers to target particular children for particular clients.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is there anything to suggest that this was the work of professional criminals?

JIM GAMBLE: Well, first of all, I'm not privy to information in the current investigation, so I really wouldn't be comfortable speculating about that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What do you think the odds are that we will ever know what has happened to Madeleine McCann?

JIM GAMBLE: I believe in my lifetime we will find out what happened to Madeleine McCann. I believe, in all of these cases, someone is looking over their shoulder somewhere. The person that did this knows, and they'll be concerned that other people around them might also know. And relationships change over a period of time, and if the person that did this ever watches your programme, ever watches this interview on YouTube or on the television, they need to know that someone suspects them somewhere, and it's only a matter of time until they come forward with that information, with that hint, with that degree of suspicion which will finally turn the spotlight on them. I believe we'll find out who did this, and I believe the person involved in it would be better coming forward now and doing the right thing. It's never too late for the person who did this to come forward and give Gerry and Kate the peace of knowing what has happened to their daughter.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Jim Gamble, thank you very much for talking with us.

JIM GAMBLE: Thank you.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Next week on Four Corners, a hard look in a new phenomenon in the Australian workforce that's come from the massive mining boom - the syndome of the fly in, fly out or drive in, drive out worker. We look at who's winning and who's losing. Join us then, but for now, goodnight.

End of transcript



There is a huge amount to discuss within this short transcript (thank you 'friedtomatoes for posting the link) - and most of it concerns the role and agenda of Jim Gamble. I've highlighted a few points of interest in blue, but - running down tne interview in sequence - here are just a few issues brought up by this interview:

* The interviewer mentions the private investigations, but says nothing about the McCanns' two lead investigators in 2007 and 2008, Antonio Gimenez Raso and Kevein halligen, both having been in jail since 2009

* Did Andy Redwood express optimisim that he could 'crack the mystery'?

* Jim Gamble says he would be 'shocked' if it ever it came out that the McCanns had anything to do with Madeleine's parents. That suggests a level of uncerrainty on his part, however small. In that case, why did he commit so energetically to promoting the McCanns' viral 'One Minute Video' and to promoting Dr Gerald McCann as a spokesman at conferences on child sexual abuse?

* Gamble says he has 'been involved on the periphery of this case 'to a greater or lesser degree'. How can you be involved on the preiphery of a case 'to a great degree'? The more one looks at this, especially in the light of this interview, Gamble looks like he has been close to the heart of the Madeleine McCann case for the past 5 years

* Gamble says: Jaycee Dugard turned up after many, many years, having been abducted from a bus stop near her home. So she did - and Gamble mentions her twice in his short interview, because of course he can't think of any other examples. But Jyacee Dugard was an 11-year-old snatched - and seen to have been snatched - from a bus stop in broad daylight, not abducted from inside an apartment, asleep with two younger siblings, with no-one seeing or hearing anything apart form Jane Tanner, and with no forensic evidence left and iin a time-frame of only 3 minutes in between frequent checks

* Gamble says: Now, with the Metropolitan Police and the level of competence that they have, and experience in these complex investigations, they bring something new to the table...bringing together the disparate pieces of information...and for the first time, aggregating it in a way that all of that information can be interrogated at a single point. Notice first how Gamble virtually echoes idnetical words used by DCI Andy Redwood to explain why he thought he could succeed where everyone else failed...and on top of that he speaks of Redwood's men bringing 'a new level of competence...something new to the table'. So much for the Portuguese Police, then!

* Why of all people was Jim Gamble called in to do a 'scoping exercise'? What was it that made him so suitable for doing this? That also simply proves how close he is to the very heart of this case.

* Gamble says: I'm glad you used the word they "eventually" set up a review...the Home Secretary had it, and it's unfortunate that it took an open letter from Gerry McCann, on the front of a national newspaper, to prompt David Cameron to do this. Well, his bitterness towards Home Secretary Theresa May for dismissing him is coming across loud and clear here; the Home Secretary's decision to relieve him of his duties looks more and more like it was one of her better decisions. And, no, Mr Gamble, it wasn't an open letter from the McCanns that did the trick, it was Rebekah Brooks and her News International staff who threatened to 'put Theresa May on the front page every day for a week' that forced Cameron to give way. We have that on the authority of no fewer than five sources: two senior civil servants, the Panorama programme, the Leveson enquiry, and, last but not least, Rebekah Brooks herself. Except she used the word 'persuaded'.

Research by Tony Bennett
* The interviewer asks (a good question): "Is it unusual for somebody that young to be targeted?" Gamble replies: No, I don't think it's uncommon for someone that young to be targeted. On the contrary, Gamble knows fine well that a child under 4 being abducted from inside a person's home by a stranger is such a rare event that no-ine can even name a broadly similar actual example - in fact the very nearest that Gamble can get is an 11-year-old taken at a bus stop in broad daylight. Neither are children under 4 'trafficked' - look at any major report on child trafficking

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Daily Star
by Jerry Lawton
24 December 2007

Vital holdall goes
missingA TENNIS bag that could have been used to move Madeleine McCann's body has gone missing, it was claimed last night.

Dad Gerry was reportedly seen with the holdall as he took up to three tennis lessons a day on the ill-fated holiday that ended with Maddie, four, vanishing.

But the blue sports bag has been lost, according to a shock new TV special on the mystery that is gripping the world.

Police are desperate to trace it to discover if it was used to carry the little girl's body.

Sources say police believe Maddie died in an accident inside the McCanns' apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3.

It is also reported that officers accused her parents of disposing of her body to mask negligence and dodge a manslaughter rap. The McCanns, both 39, deny any involvement in the disappearance.

According to The Madeleine McCann Mystery - a Sky News special on tonight at 7.30 - the bag is vital to the investigation.

But the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Gerry's baffled. He's never owned such a bag. There simply is no missing bag. They are entirely innocent."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Parents: We can prove we didn't sedate our children

Daily Express
20 October 2007
David Pilditch in Praia da Luz

SCIENTIFIC tests now support the denials by Gerry and Kate McCann that they ever sedated their children, it emerged yesterday.

The development further undermines an essential plank in the case being prepared by the Portugese police.

The development suggests other scientific and DNA test results will explain other disputed allegations against them.

The tests were carried out on the couple's two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, as part of their defence case. It could reduce the likelihood of them being charged.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell refused to discuss the development, but added: "I am happy to confirm once again that Kate and Gerry have never, ever, used sedatives on their children." Friends of the McCanns said they believe Portugese police are behind a smear campaign against them, which would account for recent claims that Gerry is not Madeleine's father, there were seven children in their apartment the night she vanished, and that they sedated their children. But Portuguese police admitted yesterday they made a crucial error.

The night the child vanished, police allowed Kate and Gerry to move to a nearby apartment, taking all their possessions. Yesterday a high-ranking police source said the move is likely to have led to vital evidence being lost or destroyed.

Reports in Portugal said the McCanns were allowed to move to an apartment within the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz unchecked. The first flat was never formally searched by police, who have been criticised for making basic errors in the vital early hours after Madeleine's disappearance.

The investigation has gained new momentum following the appointment of Paulo Rebelo, Portugal's second most senior policeman, to head the inquiry. He is continuing to treat Madeleine's parents as the chief suspects.

An unnamed Policia Judiciaria source told Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas: "It is obvious the house had to be sealed off but with everything inside and without it being touched. That's not what happened.

" The report said: "The PJ let the McCanns 'clean' the apartment after Maddie's disappearance. The move could have been fatal to the investigation and, on top of it all, it was authorized by the PJ." Yesterday friends said the McCanns were dismayed at the prospect that the police had given up looking for their daughter.

One said: "Kate and Gerry obviously want their arguido status lifted, but what they want most of all is for answers about what happened to their daughter.

"Kate and Gerry did move apartments. They took guidance from the police about what they could take with them. If the police are now saying the crime scene wasn't preserved properly then that is a matter for them." Yesterday 24 Horas reported one theory that British ex-pat Robert Murat could have helped the couple.

Murat, 33, also denies being involved in Maddie's disappearance.

Come home soon sister: Amelie hugs Maddie’s favourite toy

Last updated at 13:55 19 May 2007

It is 16 days since Madeleine McCann was abducted as she slept in her bed and the toll is starting to show on her little sister Amelie.
The two-year-old tot appeared close to tears as she hugged her sister's 'Cuddle Cut' soft toy during a walk with her Mum and Dad in Para de Luz yesterday.
After a week of dramatic developments in the investigation into the four-year-old's disappearance, Portuguese police are keep a low profile.
But there were reports that a girl matching Madeleine's description was seen in Morocco last week, while inconsistencies emerged in a key witness's accounts of his relationship with the only suspect in the case.
Scroll down for more...
amelie mccann Miss you Madeleine: Amelie McCann, two, with her sister's favourite toy Cuddle Cat
Marie Olli, a Norwegian woman who lives in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol and once lived in Leicestershire, said she was "very sure" she saw the missing girl in Marrakech on May 9.
While stopped at a petrol station she saw a "sad" young blonde girl who initially appeared to be standing on her own.
Then an "anonymous-looking" man in his late 30s came over and the girl asked him: "Can I see mummy soon?"
There was another sighting of a girl fitting Madeleine's description on the Greek island of Crete yesterday, the Portuguese paper Correio da Manha reported.
A Swiss holiday maker alerted the local authorities after seeing a young girl with a man in a hotel in the town of Hersonissos, according to the paper. The report was investigated but turned out to be a false alarm.
Another Portuguese paper, 24 Horas, reported that the size of the rewards on offer for information about Madeleine's disappearance - totalling more than £2.5 million - have hampered the police investigation.

A picture of Madeleine is shown on the big screen at the FA Cup Final
More than 75 million people around the world have expressed their support for Madeleine's family by visiting their official website,
Tottenham Hotspur said the club's players had made a private donation to the "Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned" appeal.
Player Robbie Keane said: "The lads all saw the news about the appeal on the television and thought straight away that we wanted to do our bit to help."
Football fans have also been enlisted again in the search for Madeleine McCann. A film of the missing girl has been played at the FA Cup Final, while her picture has also been shown on Wembley Stadium's TV screens.
The video clip, which has the soundtrack of the Simple Minds hit Don't You Forget About Me, was earlier screened at the Uefa Cup final between Sevilla and Espanyol in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Read more:

Alan Johnson :From Diana to Britney, when a bodyguard gets too close the results are always explosive

From Diana to Britney, when a bodyguard gets too close the results are always explosive

By Helen Weathers

The relationship between bodyguard and the person protected treads a fine line at the best of times.
Long hours together, coupled with the stress of facing life-or-death situations; it is perhaps no surprise that such relationships – based on mutual trust – can so easily overstep professional boundaries.
It will be of little comfort to Alan Johnson, but history is littered with such cases where ‘principals’ (as they are known) or their spouses become a little too close to their protection officers, according to Dai Davies, 59, former operational commander in charge of protection for the Royal Family.
Brave face on it: Alan Johnson in his constituency this morning
Laura Johnson, who is alleged to have had an affair with her husband's bodyguard
Fine line: Mr Johnson's long hours as Shadow Chancellor may have left his wife Laura and the bodyguard the opportunity to start an affair - and it is not the first time it has happened
During his three years at the helm, there were occasions when officers were swiftly removed at the first whiff of overfamiliarity with their charges – although in his time none was ever alleged to have had an affair.
‘Overfamiliarity has long been recognised as a risk and frankly this latest scandal doesn’t surprise me one iota,’ says Mr Davies, who retired from the post in 1998 and now works in the private sector.
‘I have no doubt that Alan Johnson works incredibly long hours with this officer left looking after his wife. The opportunity was there and they took it.

‘Inevitably you build up a relationship because you are together for such a long time and they are human beings. It takes two to tango but this is highly embarrassing for the Metropolitan Police. It is not acceptable for a protection officer to be doing the tango while allegedly on duty.
‘It is one thing for a principal to become too close to the protection officer, but it is potentially far more explosive when it involves the principal’s wife. It destroys all trust, which is the key issue in the relationship between the officer and the person he protects.
‘There are numerous examples of male and female protection officers going too far and unfortunately developing a personal relationship with the people they are employed to protect or other family members. Sometimes the boundaries become blurred. 
Protection chief: Dai Davies says that it is not uncommon for the bodyguard and the person they are protecting to cross the line
Protection chief: Dai Davies says that it is not uncommon for the bodyguard and the person they are protecting to cross the line
‘Often both parties are very attractive people and the policemen may be reasonably handsome. When you are dealing with females in difficult and very traumatic cases, they look to you as the strong figure.
‘It’s amazing how people react in stress and in areas where you are their rock. Even I, looking like a Welsh gnome, have had many offers from women over the years. 
‘I have never been tempted, but some are. So you have to be strong and turn them down, but that strength of character seems to be lacking these days in the Met. A moral laxity appears to have permeated from top to bottom and what we need now is a review.
‘When Alan Johnson was Home Secretary he was the head of the police force and he has been humiliated by a constable. It doesn’t get any worse than that. It’s like a footman having an affair with one of the senior royals. It’s that kind of level.’
Former Chief Superintendent Davies kept a close eye on the officers selected to become bodyguards.
Although during his tenure the royals were either a little too old or too young for the bodyguard/principal relationship to spill into something more romantic, this was something previous senior officers have had to contend with.
In 1980 Detective Sergeant Peter Cross, a married officer from Mitcham, South West London, was relieved of his royal protection duties a year after he was appointed amid suggestions that he had become ‘too close’ to Princess Anne.
Removed from the glamour of royal protection to a desk job in Croydon, in 1984 he sold his story to a red-top tabloid detailing how he and the princess had intimate meetings and would snuggle up on the sofa while watching TV at Gatcombe.
The Princess Royal has never commented on his claims.
Similarly royal protection officer Barry Mannakee, the late Princess Diana’s bodyguard, was in 1986 moved from his duties at Kensington Palace to the Diplomatic Corps amid rumours that they were ‘too close.’
In 1987 Mannakee, a married officer with two children, was killed in a motorbike accident.
Close relationship: Barry Mannakee and Princess Diana formed a close bond until he was removed from his duties. The Princess believed that he was killed over their 'affair'
Close relationship: Barry Mannakee and Princess Diana formed a close bond until he was removed from his duties. The Princess believed that he was killed over their 'affair'
In a 90-minute film – shot by her former voice coach Peter Settelen – Diana was reported to have confessed to an affair with Mannakee and sensationally claimed he had been killed as a result. 
Talk of an affair was dismissed by Diana’s friends, who insisted she saw Mannakee as a ‘father figure’ and confidant during one of the most troubled periods of her life.
Abroad, Princess Stephanie of Monaco married her former bodyguard Daniel Ducruet in 1995 after she bore two of his children. They parted company a year later.
Last year it was reported that South African president Jacob Zuma was battling a scandal involving his second wife, who it was claimed had become too close to her bodyguard.
Zuma’s office dismissed the claims that his wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, was allegedly pregnant by a member of his security team as part of a smear campaign.
And there are many celebrities – including Britney Spears – who are rumoured to have been linked to their security staff, mirroring the 1993 Hollywood movie The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.
And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII... Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston in the 1992 film 'The Bodyguard'
'And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'... Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston in the 1992 film 'The Bodyguard'
Certainly, even without the potentially incendiary sexual attraction between bodyguard and principal, Dai Davies is only too aware that the job can go to some protection officers’ heads.
In Britain, only the top 10 per cent of street officers are recommended for protection duties by their superiors and they have to undergo a rigorous 12-week training course, on top of other courses including advanced driving and firearms, before being selected. 
They undergo intelligence and fitness tests, are assessed for diplomatic skills and the ability to assess and anticipate risks. They must also have first-aid skills close to those of a paramedic.
‘It is a highly competitive, highly sought after role,’ he says. ‘You go round the world and have to deal with ambassadors, heads of consulate, foreign police forces. 
‘They are going in at a fairly high level, so they have to be able to speak and articulate properly.
Generally, they are reasonably well educated and their ability to communicate is a key skill. You need to be warm and ­understanding, but you also have to lay the law down to your principal, and that requires strength of character. 
‘The divorce rate is very high in such departments because of the time you spend away from your family and the risk of becoming too close to not only the principal but their ladies-in-waiting, maids or servants.
Wedding bells: Princess Stephanie of Monaco married her bodyguard in 1995 and had two children, but they split up a year later
Princess Anne was close to bodyguard Peter Cross
Intimate meetings: Princess Stephanie of Monaco married her bodyguard in 1995 and they had two children, while Peter Cross had an alleged affair with Princess Anne in 1980 before he was relieved of his duties
‘That strength of character needs to be based on confidence in both your skills and what you are telling the principal, because that principal is putting their life in your hands. 
‘If assessment isn’t done properly, these people are in serious risk. This isn’t Mickey Mouse, this is real. They could die and the first person to die with you is your protection officer.
‘Most of the job isn’t physical, it’s mental ability to think ahead and to think the impossible and then think it again.
‘The job sounds hugely glamorous, but most of the time it can be boring. There are long stretches of time when you are away from your family. You can be stuck outside a room. 
‘That is something protection officers have to overcome and to compensate for that you
get a very good allowance, thousands of pounds on top of basic pay.
‘They get clothing allowance, travel allowance, they get to go to these fabulous locations, they fly business class, they get to stay in the best hotels.
‘Sometimes the danger is that they forget who they are working for. They are working for the Commissioner, but I have known officers to almost think they are at the same level as the person they are ­protecting. They start to adopt the mannerisms of the principal. They dress like the principal, speak like them and they sort of become minor clones.
‘I remember one royal protection officer saying to me in a very posh accent, “I suppose you are the titular head”, which means in name only.
Rumours: Singer Britney Spears is one of many celebrities who have alleged links to their security staff
Rumours: Singer Britney Spears is one of many celebrities who have alleged links to their security staff
‘That was a big mistake because he soon found out I wasn’t a titular head at all.’
Following the Alan Johnson incident, and PC Paul Rice’s admission of an affair with the politician’s wife, Dai Davies now believes there should be a thorough review and new rules introduced limiting the time an officer works in protection to between five and seven years.
Any longer and he believes the relationship can become compromised. All royals, politicians and celebrities have their ‘favourites’ when it comes to bodyguards but the balance of that relationship can be thrown through familiarity.
‘In my mind it would remind all parties they are there to do a job, including the principal,’ says Mr Davies, ‘while allowing the officer to go back to normal duties and be refreshed.
‘I also think the Metropolitan Police now needs a little bit of ethical cleansing. There are some officers these days, some senior, who seem to think it 
OK to misbehave but at the end of the day it is a disciplinary offence. 
‘I don’t know all the details of this case, but I doubt very much that this officer will be sacked although he probably won’t protect anyone else again.
‘This is bringing the service into disrepute. If you are in an official protection role, that gives you the same status as a medical professional to a point.
‘In my mind it does raise this ethical moral issue and whether certain moral standards should be applied in the 21st century. I happen to think they should, because it keeps people on the straight and narrow.’

Read more:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Madeleine McCann investigator didn't listen to ANY tip-offs given to hotline - and squandered £500,000

By Daniel Boffey In Washington

Kevin Halligen, who claimed to have experience in the British secret services, was arrested last week in an Oxford hotel after an FBI manhunt over an unrelated £1.3million fraud case in America.
His investigations company, Oakley International, was taken on in March last year by the Find Madeleine Fund and her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.
Kevin Halligen with girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis in Washington
Mystery man: Kevin Halligen, the private eye whose company was employed by the McCanns, pictured with girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis in Washington, where in one month he spent more than £3,000 on dining out
But The Mail on Sunday can reveal today that despite setting up a hotline for potential informants and witnesses, none of the hundreds of calls received by a call centre hired by Halligen, 48, was listened to by Oakley investigators - and Halligen also bragged to his colleagues that he had executed a series of peculiar tactics to find Madeleine.
He claimed to have hired an actor to pretend to be a 'drunken priest' who would seek confessions as he toured the bars of Praia da Luz, the resort where Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.
And he told colleagues that a family with a Madeleine lookalike daughter had been paid to set up home in a nearby resort in order to tempt out a potential kidnapper.
Meanwhile, a paper trail obtained by The Mail on Sunday shows that Halligen, a former director of a catering firm, launched an extraordinary spending spree on hotels, cigar bars, restaurants and luxury goods while he was in the pay of the Find Madeleine Fund, and in the period shortly after he was fired last summer.
Madeleine McCann
Missing: Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007
Documents show that in his first two months as lead investigator in the search for Madeleine, Halligen spent £7,000 on a personal chauffeur.
A few months later, on a short trip to New York with a girlfriend, he lavished £1,600 on Salvatore Ferragamo leather goods, £5,500 on handbags, £500 on an Italian meal, £150 on a pair of designer glasses and £900 on a three-night stay at the five-star Renaissance Hotel.
And in a one-month visit to Washington, where he owned a £1.5million mansion, he spent more than £3,000 on dining out and £6,000 on a room at the US capital's Intercontinental Hotel.
He also paid out more than £50,000 on plumbing and mosaic tiling for his house in Great Falls, Virginia - a property in which he has never spent a night because of constant home-improvement work.
The revelations will dismay everyone who donated to the Find Madeleine Fund. But perhaps of most concern is the lack of attention paid to the hundreds of phone calls received by the Madeleine hotline.
Halligen and Oakley International, based in Washington, failed to listen to a single call received on the hotline set up for potential informants by Kate and Gerry McCann last year.
Johan Selle, the director of operations at iJet, the US firm that managed the Find Madeleine phone line, revealed that for a year nobody even asked his company if they could listen to any of the calls received.
Mr Selle said his operators, in Annapolis, Virginia, had answered 'hundreds of calls', but the information seemed wasted - possibly squandering valuable leads.
He said: 'We delivered Oakley a report with a summary of the calls and said if they wanted to come back they could listen to the recording, but nobody did.
'For someone with an understanding of the case it would be very easy for some to say that maybe 80 or 90 per cent of the calls were hogwash, but there may be a percentage where one would say maybe we should listen to this one or listen to that one. But our understanding is that this never took place.
'We are not sure whether Halligen provided our report to the family or to the trust or to those working with them or to the teams working after him, because no one came back to us.
'We sent the report to Oakley group and our assumption was that they were using it as a piece in the puzzle. But it appears that wasn't the case.'
The firm says it was not paid for it services by Halligen or Oakley International.
Kevin Halligen being led away by a policeman in Oxford
Arrested: Kevin Halligen being led away by a policeman in Oxford
Two of Halligen's former colleagues in the investigation, John Taylor and Dr Richard Parton, said they became concerned early on in their working relationship with the self- styled 'super-spy'.
Dr Parton, whose company Psyintel was employed for its expertise on interview techniques, said he and his partner had been encouraged by Halligen to get involved with the high-profile case.
Halligen had also mentioned other future projects that could net them millions of pounds, although these schemes never came to fruition.
But Dr Parton said fears over Halligen's suitability for the job first arose when the private detective suddenly asked him to stop calling him Richard, the name by which they had known him for several years. He then also raised details of Halligen's extraordinary tactics to find Madeleine.
Dr Parton, who claims he was later left with an unpaid invoice for £50,000, said: 'It was very strange. I had met him years earlier and it had been Richard. Then before a meeting with some people who wanted a presentation on my techniques, I was asked to call him Kevin from then on. I thought it was odd but he was so secretive and that was just the way he was.
'Whenever we had a meeting he would also always immediately say that he needed to leave for a flight. Every time. He would always also try to get the conversation around to talking about the psychological characteristics of a sociopath.'
Dr Parton added: 'I repeatedly told him his investigators on the ground in Portugal were not doing a proper job but he insisted lots of things were going on I didn't know about.
'That is when he told me about some of his schemes, such as the drunken priest seeking confessions from people drinking in the bars of Praia da Luz and the family with a girl who looked similar to Madeleine. This family were set up, apparently, in a resort near to Praia da Luz just to sit and wait and see what happened.
'It was all such a waste of money and time.'
However, it was only later, when tape recordings of interviews undertaken in Praia da Luz were sent to Dr Parton and Mr Taylor, in Washington, that they started to fear the worst for the investigation.
Mr Taylor said: 'The quality of the interviews was terrible, very amateurish. The noise in the background was bad, the interview questions were useless and the subjects were irrelevant. I told them to stop wasting time and money on such low-key figures - homeless people and receptionists who knew nothing.'
Kevin Halligen's US identity card
Kevin Halligen's US identity card
Things came to a head after Halligen reneged on repeated promises to pay their invoice. Dr Parton said: 'I took him to one side and asked when I was due to be paid. Three days later he disappeared. He had fled to Rome with his girlfriend.'
It was then that Dr Parton and Mr Taylor started to contact others who had been hired by Oakley International. Mr Taylor added: 'He would hire lots of people to do work but only pay a few of them. Meanwhile, he was spending lots of money on his own lifestyle. It only gave the appearance that work was being done.'
They also contacted Maria Dybczak, a trade lawyer for the US Commerce Department, whom they understood to be Halligen's wife. It emerged she had agreed to go along with a fake wedding service to keep up appearances for Halligen.
Dr Parton said: 'She admitted she wasn't proud of it but she had been tricked, too. He claimed that a job he was doing with the CIA meant that he couldn't have his name on a marriage certificate.
'She was manipulated into going along with a fake wedding with an actor posing as a priest. He said they would get properly married a few weeks later, but that never happened.'
Shortly afterwards Halligen fled to Rome with a girlfriend, named in a writ filed by another former colleague as Shirin Trachiotis, a glamorous doctor based in Washington.
Almost immediately after arriving in Rome on their first-class Lufthansa tickets, Halligen withdrew hundreds of thousands of pounds more from Oakley International's bank accounts and spent £8,000 on a luxury hotel before slinking back to the UK a few months later.
Dr Parton said: 'He has left a trail of debts across America and the UK. But the horrible truth is that he stole from the McCanns what they really couldn't afford - time.'
Following a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court last week, Halligen was refused bail and was remanded in custody until December 2, when the next stage of his case for extradition will be heard.
The US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, from Surrey, earlier this month alleging that he tried to defraud a London law firm.
They claim he took £1.3million as part of a deal to secure the release of Dutch business executives arrested in the Ivory Coast. Instead, it is claimed, he spent it on a mansion, a gift to his girlfriend, cash machine withdrawals and debit-card transactions.
Kate and Gerry McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell refused to be drawn on the details of Oakley's investigation, much of which, it is understood, the McCanns were unaware of. He said: 'The first phase of the contract was satisfactorily seen through, such as the setting up of the hotline. Towards the end of it there were question marks about delivery and the relationship was terminated.
'Given Mr Halligen is in custody it is inappropriate to comment further.'

Read more:
A private eye whose company was paid £500,000 from a public fund to find Madeleine McCann squandered the money on a series of bizarre schemes that had no chance of locating the missing child.

Paulo Reis : My Opinion About Gerry & Kate McCann

McCann v Bennett

Scotland Yard Freemason Cops

Brian Kennedy : Public Request For Money.

Behind Closed Doors - McCann Foreign Policy

Parents Did Not Register Maddie At Birth.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

News Of The World EXCLUSIVE TO Ap. 5A ?

Madeleine McCann : PLYMOUTH - Something Fishy.

The EXETER Connection

McCann Related Libel Actions.

Brian Kennedy & Robert Murat - The Madeleine Foundation

Why in heaven's name did Brian Kennedy, the multi-millionaire double glazing magnate who out of the goodness of his bountiful heart poured his energies and money into helping to find Madeleine (e.g. by appointing Metodo 3 and Kevin Halligen to help find her), take his lawyer, Freemason Edward Smethurst, to meet with the leading suspect in the case, Robert Murat, who was suspected of abducting or killing Madeleine. And why was Robert Murat's lawyer there?

Were they all on a mission to find Madeleine?

Or were they and their lawyers sorting out something very different and striking up some sort of deal, or even a contract?

Some of the answers maybe in Chapter N of our 120-page article on Robert Murat [ ].

Here it is:

N. Robert Murat’s meeting with Brian Kennedy in Portugal, 13 November 2007

We’ll now move right away from the events of early May 2007 and look at two meetings that were probably of great significance in this case that took place in Portugal in November 2007. One was between Robert Murat and Brian Kennedy, the multi-millionaire double glazing magnate who has effectively bankrolled the various private investigations which were supposed to be about finding Madeleine.

Others were also present at this meeting. He was also, as was made clear in John Whitehouse’s article on our website, the man who was at the centre of these intelligence operations, running them from a house believed to be in Knutsford, appointing the staff and directing them.

We now know that Brian Kennedy flew out in November 2007, about three weeks after this ’phone call, together with his in-house lawyer from the Latium Group, Edward Smethurst. This, briefly, is the Portuguese Police’s account of a meeting between them, Metodo 3, Brian Kennedy and Edward Smethurst. The date of it was probably arranged during or soon after the ’phone call of 19 October:


“We held a meeting on 13 November, with Inspectors Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Paiva present, with Brian Kennedy, Director of the detective agency, Francisco Marco and one of his advisers, plus Antonio Jimenez, ex-chief of the Kidnapping Unit of Catalonia [Note: Other information suggests that Edward Smethurst was also present].

Brian Kennedy insisted that his motives were purely charitable, aimed at finding the truth, and generally helping missing children. He said he was interested in discovering the truth even if the McCann family, the friends, or any other person is found to be involved in the disappearance”.


Brian Kennedy’s involvement in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been controversial. An article by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard in August 2009 claimed that “The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police [in Portugal] for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’.”

The ‘Evening Standard’ article also showed that, later, the relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had ‘completely broken down’. Hollingsworth claimed that key witnesses were questioned ‘far too aggressively’ by Kennedy’s investigators, so much so that ‘some of them later refused to talk to the police’. Interference with witnesses to that extent could amount to a criminal offence.

We are not aware that any other nation allows people to interfere with potential witnesses in an investigation in such a way as to cause them to refuse to testify, as Mark Hollingsworth in his article claimed had happened in this case, due to Kennedy’s investigators.

It was Francisco Pagarete, Mr Murat’s Portuguese lawyer - the one whom he was so anxious to see when he flew out to Praia da Luz on 1 May - who confirmed that a second meeting involving Brian Kennedy took place at Mr Murat’s uncle’s house in the Algarve in November. He told the BBC: “[Brian Kennedy] came here to give his support to Robert and to say he doesn’t believe Robert was involved in this story in any way or sense. And he asked if Robert could help the investigation for the finding of Madeleine in any way”. Mr Pagarete added that Mr Kennedy had ‘promised to stay in touch with Mr Murat’ but ‘had not contacted him since’. Mr Pagarete also confirmed that Edward Smethurst was at the meeting.

The Portuguese paper Jornal de NotĂ­cias appeared to have some additional information about this meeting. Their report, early in 2008, said: “The meeting - a dinner that Brian Kennedy asked to be discreet and far away from the eyes of the press - took place in the end of last year at a house of Murat's relatives in Burgau (Vila do Bispo). At the dinner were Robert Murat and Kennedy, their respective lawyers, Jennifer Murat and the aunt and uncle of Murat” [NOTE: This appears in fact to have been Ralph Eveleigh, Murat’s uncle, and Sally Eveleigh, his cousin].

If Murat and Kennedy each had one lawyer with them - Pagarete and Smethurst - that makes seven people present at that dinner in Burgau: Murat and his mother, his uncle Ralph and cousin Sally Eveleigh, who ran the 8-room guest house at Vila do Bispo, two lawyers and Brian Kennedy.

What was discussed at this meeting that Kennedy didn’t want the press to know about?

This evening meeting was either on the same day, or very close to, the meeting that Brian Kennedy had with the Portuguese Police on 13 November 2007 that we referred to above. The two Portuguese Police Inspectors, Ferreira and Paiva, later submitted an account of their strange meeting with Brian Kennedy.

The report, which is amongst the documents contained in the police files, indicates that right at the start of the meeting, Brian Kennedy was keen to stress that his intentions were ‘purely charitable’, because he felt ‘concerned about cases of child neglect and child abduction’. The Director of Metodo 3, Francisco Marco, presented information to the PJ about three situations, allegedly received via their ‘hotline’.

The first of these concerned an incident that the British media had already referred to, at the end of October 2007: a woman who had been baby-sitting at the Ocean Club, in Apartment 5A in August/September 2006, said she spotted a man ‘hidden in the shadows’, the same day that Madeleine disappeared. A story about this had surfaced in the Sun on October 31.

According to the newspaper, “The nanny - identified only as M.H. - reported the frightening incident to the police in England after the hunt for Madeleine started in May, but did not speak to the police in Portugal”. Clarence Mitchell added that: “This evidence supports what we have always said, that Maddie was taken from her bed by an abductor”. The Portuguese Police had however ruled out this report, because the detectives considered that there was no proof that it was in any way related to Madeleine's disappearance.

The second piece of information was about the alleged existence of images of paedophilia on a computer at the home of Sergei Malinka, witnessed by the fiancé of a British woman, four years ago, when he was at Malinka's house. According to this witness, he questioned Malinka on the subject and he explained that the computer belonged to a client and that he would report it later to the authorities. All of the computers at Malinka's house were seized and examined, but the Portuguese Police report said that nothing of any relevance or suspicion was found.

The third piece of information referred to a detailed witness statement, according to the Metodo 3 report, about a woman handing what the witness was convinced was a child, wrapped in a blanket or a sheet, over a fence to a man, next to two parked vehicles, near a town 100 miles from the Algarve. The witness, a Portuguese lorry driver, M.G., looked at several photos and picked out Michaela Walczuk [Robert Murat’s girlfriend, now his wife], saying that her picture was the one that most resembled the woman he had seen.

The British media published a version of this story on 19 November 2007, but with different details. The METRO free paper boldly wrote: “A witness spotted Murat's German girlfriend, Michaela Walczuch, in a car with Maddie, on 5 May, in central Portugal”. On the same day, the Daily Mail published a similar story: “According to a source, a new witness identified Michaela Walczuch as the woman seen with the missing child, in central Portugal, 160 kilometres [100 miles] from where she disappeared on May 3rd”.

As usual, Clarence Mitchell had a few things to say to the media: “We are not going to comment on any line of the investigation except to say that we are encouraged by the fact that our investigators seem to be making progress. Kate and Gerry are not ruling out any possibility”.

The Portuguese Police studied this incident and questioned the Portuguese lorry driver, but the facts that he described to the police were somewhat different to those reported in the British press. The lorry driver said he saw a woman handing something to a man, over a fence, wrapped in what looked like a blanket. It wasn't heavy, because they did it easily and the fence was around 1.6 metres high (5 feet). Asked if it could have been the body of a child, he responded that nothing he had seen would indicate that.

Questioned also about the positive identification of Michaela Walczuk, according to Metodo 3's report, the witness told the Portuguese Police that he couldn't see the woman's face, because he was driving his lorry at 45/50 mph, and the couple were at some distance. He only chose Michaela's photo from amongst the others Metodo 3 had shown him because she had the same hair colour and similar build.

The actual facts which emerged from the lorry driver, then, did not seem anywhere near sufficient to justify the press headlines claiming that he had positively identified Murat and his girlfriend.


The other meeting was between Brian Kennedy, the Portuguese Police, and the Spanish private detective agency recently chosen by Kennedy and the McCanns: Metodo 3. This took place in police headquarters in Portimao.

A report from the Portuguese Police referring to a ’phone call on 19 October, gives us some background; here it is:

On the 19th of October, we were contacted by Alberto Carbas, Chief of the Kidnapping Unit of the Commissary-General, based in Madrid, who passed to us the information that the McCann family had contracted a Spanish private detective agency known as ‘Metodo 3’. The costs of their investigation into Madeleine McCann were being covered by a Scottish multi-millionaire whose name is Brian Kennedy. His objective was to find Madeleine.

“We were asked if we were available and interested in meeting with a representative of Metodo 3 and the Spanish Commissary General and Chief of the Kidnapping Unit of the Police in Spain. The purpose of this proposed meeting, they said, was to find out the truth, but they stated that they would not interfere in police work. At most, they said, they would ‘complement’ our investigation. They firmly stated that they are not working directly for the McCann family, but for Brian Kennedy. They didn’t ask for any information regarding the investigation, nor was any offered to them, for obvious reasons”.

The McCanns, Clarence Mitchell, Rupert Murdoch and the General Election result

An article by The Madeleine Foundation - 15 April 2010

A General Election will be held in three weeks’ time.
In 1997, when Tony Blair was elected in triumph to the post of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Sun claimed, with no little justification: ‘It was the Sun wot won it’.
The Sun had switched sides a couple of years beforehand, backing Labour to win the election, and had proactively campaigned on their behalf through its news coverage and editorials. Richard Branson jumped on the bandwagon that night and just ‘dropped in’ on the Labour Party celebrations early in the morning, thus beginning over a decade of close co-operation between him and New Labour.
The Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch. So is the Times, the Sunday Times and the News of the World, all part of his News International and News Corporation empires. He owns BSkyB and Sky News. He has many other media interests, including Fox News in the United States.  In 1993, Murdoch acquired Star TV, now worth billions, and one of the biggest satellite TV networks in Asia.
In late 2003, Murdoch acquired a 34% stake in Hughes Electronics, operator of the largest American satellite TV system, DirectTV.
He added Intermix Media Inc. to his interests in 2005. They operate MySpace and other popular social networking websites. Months later he acquired IGN Entertainment for £500 million.
He is, arguably, the most powerful media figure in the world.
So why was it that in 2008, Conservative Party Leader David Cameron met Rupert Murdoch on his private yacht in the Mediterranean?
It emerged that Cameron had accepted free flights to hold
private talks with Rupert Murdoch on his luxury yacht, Rosehearty, off the Greek island, Santorini. Cameron, however, failed to reveal his talks with Mr Murdoch in the House of Commons register of interests, merely declaring that on 16 August 2008, he and his family had accepted free flights provided by Matthew Freud. 
His entry actually read: “16 August 2008, private plane from Farnborough to Istanbul for my wife and two children. Then from Istanbul to Santorini, and return to Dalaman, for myself, my wife and two children; provided by Matthew Freud, of London”.
Cameron had been on a brief visit to Georgia at the time and met his wife in Istanbul. So far as we are aware, Mr Cameron has never discussed what he talked about with Rupert Murdoch. Mr Cameron has not broken Commons rules by not revealing the fact that he spoke to Rupert Murdoch and not disclosing anything about his talks with him. Cameron talks the talk of ‘democracy’ and ‘transparency’ etc., but he does not walk the walk. He has kept silent about what the two men discussed.
The Sun switched its support from Labour to Conservative on 30 September 2009, about a year after the yacht meeting with Murdoch. Here’s how the Sun triumphantly reported the reaction to this the following day:


LABOUR'S high command chumps got the hump with The Sun yesterday when we ditched them after 12 years. Angry Gordon Brown led the moaning with a grumpy performance on TV. The Prime Minister lost his temper during an interview that was being broadcast live on Sky News. He tried to walk off the set with his microphone still attached after a grilling by political anchorman Adam Boulton.
And Mr Brown's sidekick Lord Mandelson jokingly accused Britain's biggest newspaper of being ‘chumps’ after we threw our weight behind the Tories. The PM was joined by a succession of Cabinet ministers lining up to shrug off our move.

Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman took a swipe at The Sun's Page 3 girls. She opened a debate at the party conference in Brighton by saying she was speaking about ‘something The Sun knows absolutely nothing about - equality’. Ms Harman went on: “Let's face it, the nearest their political analysis gets to women's rights is Page 3's News in Briefs”. Then she told delegates: “We may be the underdog but we won't be bullied. This underdog is biting back”.

Mr Brown then told TV stations: “It's the British people that decide the election, it's the British people's views that I am interested in. I think Sun readers actually, when they look at what I say, they will agree with what I said”. Mr Brown's bad-tempered Sky News questioning showed the fury felt at the highest level at Labour's annual rally.
He repeatedly tried to talk about the economic slump but faced questions, instead, about The Sun's withdrawal of support. At the end of the interview he looked daggers at Mr Boulton before heading off - still tangled in the broadcasting gear. In his eagerness to depart he forgot he was due to have a second interview with the BBC's Sian Williams in the same chair.
Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock was also peeved that The Sun had lost faith in Labour but tried to dismiss it. He said: "The Pope's a Catholic. That's how much surprise it gave me. "It's been obvious for a long, long time that they've been edging and edging."


It was not a very difficult decision for the Sun to make. At the time the Conservatives were running at between 15% and 20% ahead in the polls.
So who was the Matthew Freud who laid on his private plane for Mr Cameron? He’s the owner and boss of one of Europe’s leading media relations and communications companies, Freud Communications, based in London. But of much greater significance, he’s married to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Elisabeth.
So, who is Clarence Mitchell and where does he fit into this picture? The answer: right in the middle.
In 2005, Mitchell was made Director of the 40-strong Media Monitoring Unit in the Central Office of Information. In an interview with the newspaper Espresso published on 29 September 2007, he boasted that his role there was to ‘control what comes out in the media’. He was right at the heart of the Labour government’s formidable public relations machine; one of their chief ‘spinners’.
A year after his Espresso interview, Mitchell was employed by Matthew Freud of Freud Communications in an undisclosed capacity.
And on 4 March this year, Conservative Leader David Cameron appointed him as second-in-command to his chief media relations and communications adviser, formerly News of the World Editor, Andy Coulson.  Cameron, Coulson and Mitchell therefore constituted a veritable clique of Murdoch contacts.
So, we may get a Conservative government on 7 May. If so, political control of the country will pass from Labour to Conservative.
But Murdoch will still control a huge media empire. And Clarence Mitchell, who has been close to Matthew Freud and Rupert Murdoch for the past 18 months, may well be at the heart of the Conservatives’ new media manipulation team, just as he was for Tony Blair.
So what is the connection with the McCanns and the fate of their daughter Madeleine? Simply this: that on 7 May 2007, just four days after Madeleine was reported missing, Mitchell was appointed the McCanns’ chief public relations adviser in what was to become one of the biggest international media stories of the past three years.
Why it was necessary for him to be transferred to the Foreign Office in May and fly out to Praia da Luz on 22 May is not known. He soon dominated media stories about the McCanns, setting up media-friendly interviews for them, shielding them from awkward questions, and so on.
Many others flew out there to ‘help’ - ostensibly to look for a missing child: three staff of Leicestershire Police, staff from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), and the National Police Intelligence Service and possibly MI5 as well - they were certainly involved at a later stage. Then there were at least two staff from the private intelligence agency Control Risks Group and two more staff from the ‘crisis counselling’ agency, the Centre for Crisis Psychology, plus staff of the British Embassy in Portugal and the Foreign Office.
The Director of Mark Warner, managers of the Ocean Club where Madeleine went missing, flew straightaway to Praia da Luz, and with him went the Head of Crisis Management at leading communications and media relations firm Bell Pottinger, Alex Woolfall. Just why so many important people rushed out to Praia da Luz remains very unclear. Perhaps if we all knew why they did so, we would be closer to unravelling what Mitchell himself, on 19 February this year, called ‘a complete mystery’.
So we have Mitchell safely in position under David Cameron, the Conservatives a  comfortable 7% to 8% ahead in the opinion polls, and Mitchell still on a retainer to advise and represent the McCanns in their public relations. Therefore there seems to be of little prospect that, if the Conservatives do get elected to government, there will be any change in the government’s position regarding the mystery of missing Madeleine.
It is doubtful if we shall see any serious effort by a Conservative government to try to get to the bottom of what really happened to Madeleine McCann. The promised ‘re-investigation’ of Madeleine’s disappearance, as recommended by CEOP Chief Executive Jim Gamble, will probably start, its hand tied behind its back from the outset by being limited to only exploring the possibility of Madeleine having been abducted, and not other possibilities. No doubt a Conservative government would continue to refuse, as Labour has done, demands for a public enquiry into the whole affair, or even a public inquest with all the material witnesses called to give evidence on oath.
Murdoch and Mitchell, between them, will have Cameron under their control.

[Article filed 15 April 2010