In detective Goncalo Amaral’s book Truth of the Lie he doesn’t spend a lot of time on the subject of a neighbour who came forward and said [anonymously] that she thought she saw the McCanns “ventilating” their rental vehicle. Including at night.
Near the end of his chapter “The Hypothesis of Death is Considered” Amaral makes the following passing remark:
Later, I am brought the witness statement of a neighbour, according to whom, the McCanns left their car boot open all the time. For Gerry’s brother-in-law, the bad smell was explained by the fact that the McCanns transported their bins in it. As for the blood, it had been left by a piece of meat fallen out of a shopping bag. Kate’s cousin explained that the unpleasant smells were due to the little ones’ dirty nappies.
None of that stands up to scrutiny faced with the reactions of these dogs, who are thoroughly trained to detect only blood and cadaver odours.
Amaral provides more detail in the documentary based on his book, and the neighbour also comes forward [though her face is not shown] where she discusses what she thought she saw. This aspect is covered from 4:20 in the clip below.
“I drive down this street every day to turn my car around at that end and every time that I passed the house and I looked at the car, and the car always had an open boot door, day or night. I often passed at night and always verified it. It was a fact, I reported it and that was it”.
Guilhem Battut, an investigative reporter for the French tabloid France Soir, said Portuguese police had given prosecutors a file detailing how they thought Madeleine had died. Battut – an experienced journalist who has worked on a number of major inquiries – claims police believe that evidence found in the McCanns’ hire car will “prove that the little girl had ingested medicines, without doubt sleeping pills, in large quantities”.
A source at the newspaper claimed: “We are not simply repeating rumours carried in other papers. This is not a theory, but a fact contained in hard evidence in the hands of the Portuguese authorities. “It is all very well putting theories and opinions forward, but in the end this case will be decided on evidence. As journalists, we have been trying to establish what evidence is available.”
DNA evidence which has reportedly been found in the hire car includes hair, blood and bodily fluids which match Madeleine’s. Police are said to want to examine the vehicle again. It is currently being kept in a safe place by the family who are considering having their own tests carried out on it as they strive to prove their innocence.Portuguese police are said to be drawing up a list of 40 new questions that they want to put to Mrs McCann. But British forensic experts expressed doubts over the claim.
Alan Baker, of the independent forensic science organisation Bericon, said: “These samples are likely to be far from ideal. If it is just a smear or dried deposit you could detect the drug but not how much.”
Last night friends of the family dismissed the latest speculation. Gerry McCann reportedly told a friend: “There are large craters in every one of these theories, in these ludicrous accusations.’ “As far as Kate and I are concerned there is no evidence to suggest that Madeleine is dead. We are 100 per cent together on this, not one grain of suspicion about each other.”
A close friend of Mrs McCann’s said: “She is a gentle mother who loves her children very much.”
An article in the February 2008 edition of Vanity Fairnotes Kate McCann’s explanation for why the cadaver dogs sensed cadaver odour on the key fob of the rental vehicle. It was because Kate McCann had been around cadavers just before her trip to the Algarve.
The Daily Express six months earlier had been more specific, reporting that Kate had apparently said she’d come into contact with six corpses “in the weeks” before the holiday. Of course the car was also hired weeks after the incident.
More echoes of the Watts case. Remember Watts’ “first confession” where he implicated Shan’ann in killing the little girls. We have the same thing here, where Berreth is murdered to “protect” their daughter. Surely there are other ways of protecting children besides murdering their mothers?
Patrick Frazee reported Kelsey Berreth to child services because she was harming their toddler daughter, new documents could show. The alleged killer, 32, is said to have confided in his mistress Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, telling her that his fiancee abused one-year-old Kaylee.
Kenney testified that murder suspect Frazee had told her Kelsey, 29, hurt their daughter, leaving her with a burn on her hand and a bump on her head. Kenney disposed of crucial evidence in the murder case, including a gun, keys and the missing mother’s phone and claims she cleaned up the crime scene at his request.
Kenney then got rid of Berreth’s keys at Makad Gorge State Park, right over the border from Colorado in Idaho, court documents reveal. The nurse also told police that she burned Berreth’s cell phone and threw it in the trash at work, along with the burner phone she used to speak with Frazee. Frazee is said to have told his lover that they needed to ‘get rid of’ Berreth so she couldn’t hurt or even kill Kaylee.
So often the murder of children by their biological parents or other relatives is associated with prolonged periods of abuse or even torture. This is what makes the Watts case idiosyncratic.
A desperate search for missing 8-year-old California boy went from hopeful to tragic on Thursday after officials announced that the child had been murdered, allegedly by his own father. “It is with a heavy heart that the Corona Police Department must let our community know the missing child investigation regarding Noah McIntosh has been escalated to a homicide case,” the police department stated.
Bryce McIntosh, father of missing Noah, has been charged with his murder. Meanwhile, the search for the child’s body continues. “We would like to assure our community members our department has put all our efforts into locating Noah McIntosh while gathering the facts regarding his disappearance,” police stated. “Our search for Noah continues.”
On March 12, Noah’s mother, Jillian Godfrey contacted the police claiming that she had not been able to contact her son for almost two weeks.The next day a search warrant was served at Bryce McIntosh’s apartment.
The painting, Still Life with Fruit and Chestnuts, was donated to the museum by a couple in 1960 and suspected to be by the Dutch master.
But several experts pooh-poohed the claim. However, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam determined that Van Gogh painted the rather dowdy fruit bowl – perhaps on a blue day – in 1886.
The news has been somewhat muted, as the confirmation occurred last year, but wasn’t reported for months. In a further discovery, the experts found there was a portrait of a woman hidden underneath the still life. The often sad artist – whose works are now priceless – often reused his canvases because he was too poor to buy new ones.
…if we had been that little more welcoming in 1876, perhaps the history of art would have taken a different turn. Instead of those astonishing stars over the Rhône at Arles, they might have been shining down on the North Sea at Scarborough.
During the course of several trips in the south of France I visited Arles, where Vincent lived in 1888, and St. Rémy where he was confined in the famous asylum, for the express purpose of identifying the scenes he painted. In fifty years these scenes have changed amazingly littleand today, but for the major fact that the trees have grown taller, they offer virtually the same appearance they did to the painter at the time. A first glance finds them disappointing both in their structure and their unprepossessing color. The views that van Gogh chose often amazed me by their banality, by their total lack of any emotional quality—that quality he makes so urgent in all of his works. But painting the bridge of Trinquetaille, that Mairie of Auvers, the wheatfield under the rain, or the passageway in the asylum, the artist knew how to accentuate the sensations of intensity, of gayety, of desolation or of melancholywhich he discovered in them. By purely pictorial means he has stressed line and color…
Faced with the themes and the canvases of van Gogh, so strangely alike yet so absorbingly different, one realizes that “reality” cannot exist independently, and that the artist paints after all not what is but what he sees. Vincent himself best defined the problem when he asked his brother: “When the thing represented is…absolutely in agreement and one with the manner of representing it, isn’t it just that that gives a work of art its quality?”
Speaking of the history of world art taking a different turn, if even one of the contentions in this true crime interpretation of the life and death of Van Gogh are true, all of art history going back over a century is turned on its head…
March 30th, 2019
1. Interview with OLAYINKA HAMZA, the attorney who met Shan’ann at restaurant
watching this Madeleine McCann documentary & 1. Why did they leave the door open?? 2. Why didn’t their friend actually GO into the room to check on the children & 3. Why didn’t their other female friend report she seen a suspicious man carrying a child??? Hmmm…
3. “I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt – and evidence of collusion.” – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), during a House Intelligence Committee open hearing, responded to Trump and Congressional Republican’s calls for his resignation, Thursday, March 28,
“They’re innocent,” Douglas said of both Knox and Echols, whom he also referred to as “heroes.” Both have been convicted of murder and both were sitting on stage beside the former profiler. Douglas’ sentiment prompted Knox to choke up and thank him for believing her.
But Echols said he was able to make it through all these hardships because he started practicing magick, which made conditions bearable and kept him sane.
Comedian Dave Hill, who interviewed Echols Thursday, joked a bit about magick, knowing many aren’t super-familiar with the topic.
“Magic is for nerds,” Hill said. “But magick with a ‘k’ sounds like there are goats involved.”
But … what is it?
Magick, as Echols puts it, “is the western path to enlightenment.” It’s similar to things like the Law of Attraction or The Secret, in that it all has to do with manifesting in some way, according to Echols.
“[We’re] wandering aimlessly, that’s what we do through life. We don’t remember where we come from, where we’re going, or why we’re supposed to be going there. Magick causes you to remember some of these things and gives you a sense of purpose,” he explained.
Practicing magick for Echols consists of a variety of… ceremonies and rituals, all for the purpose of spiritual growth. This kept him balanced and helped him manage the physical and emotional stress and pain of imprisonment. Echols was able to learn so much about magick through all his time reading in prison. He got his hands on whatever he could find to read during those endless days, and started from there. Echols is still committed to magick to this day. After all, it wasn’t easy adjusting to life after prison.
“I didn’t realize I had lost things like facial recognition ability, voice recognition ability, destroyed my eyesight. It takes a very heavy toll on you mentally, physically, emotionally,” he explained. He even claimed that he had barely any memories of his first two years out of prison, as he was just so traumatized.
Get the TCRS take on Damien Echols and the West Memphis Three:
When van Gogh moved back in with his parents in 1879 they complained that he did nothing but devour Charles Dickens from morning to night.
Indeed, for van Gogh reading was as compulsive as painting: “I have a more or less irresistible passion for books and the constant need to improve my mind, to study if you like, just as I have a need to eat bread.” He copied down poems by Longfellow, Goethe and Keats; he enjoyed the works of George Eliot as well as Hans Christian Andersen, Thomas a Kempis, Tolstoy, Zola, Dostoevsky, Maupassant, Balzac and Voltaire.
The museum staff decided to send “Vase With Poppies” to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for further inspection. Experts there analyzed the work’s paint, material and style and concluded that it is indeed a van Gogh, one that falls in line with the paintings he made not long after moving from Antwerp to Paris in 1886.
Louis van Tilborgh, senior Researcher and the Van Gogh Museum, notes that the recent investigation into the origins of “Vase With Flowers” suggests that light can be shed on other “floaters”—works that can have been attributed to van Gogh, but whose authenticity remains uncertain. “[O]ne can say that slowly but surely,” Tilborgh adds, “real progress is being made in Van Gogh studies.”
Dr Perlin said it was “possible” Madeleine’s DNA was present in the McCann hire car, potentially opening up a line of the police inquiry that was seemingly shut down by the 2007 “inconclusive” DNA results.
“What was interesting about the report from the FSS 10 years ago is they’re trying to interpret [the McCann DNA] data,” Dr Perlin said.”What this [FSS] report says is there is a possibility that Madeleine McCann’s DNA is present in this mixture,” said Dr Perlin – who Nine.com.au sent a copy of the FSS DNA report which was handed to Portuguese police in September 2007.
“[If] a lab can produce informative data, even if it is complex and mixed, but they can’t interpret it then you can have tremendous injustice; of guilty people not being convicted, of innocent people staying in prison. What is needed is an objective and accurate interpretation that can scientifically resolve the DNA,” he said. Dr John Lowe, the senior scientist at the FSS responsible for solving the McCann DNA samples, stated in his final report that his team could not resolve the evidence because it was too challenging.
In the Maddie podcast, Dr Perlin explained exactly how modern DNA software can reboot the McCann cold case. Madeleine would be 16 years old in May this year. Portuguese police sent dozens of DNA samples to the FSS in 2007.
Forensics teams lifted floor tiles and took DNA swabs from behind a blue two-seat sofa in the lounge area of the McCann holiday apartment. Sections of the boot compartment in the Renault Scenic hire car were also cut out and expressed to the FSS.
Not everyone is supportive of her, though. There are still plenty of people who think that Knox is guilty, and she admitted she spends a lot of time feeling like she needs to explain herself. As a result, her morning routine isn’t just coffee and breakfast. It includes deleting vicious social media comments.
“I kinda have this daily morning routine where I go on my social media profiles and delete all the nasty comments and block all the people that make mean comments to me,” she said. Knox said that while she acknowledges that these kind of comments are now part of her existence, “It’s not nice. It’s not like it doesn’t hurt me but at the same time I know these people hate someone that’s not me.”
By deleting the comments, Knox explained she’s choosing to limit the amount of negativity that she allows to infiltrate her life. While tabloid journalism tore Knox apart…she’s even joined the media world herself. Within weeks of being exonerated, she began writing for a local newspaper in Washington…
…and it was a different story in 2014: Knox's desire to go back to Italy is a reversal from what she has told reporters in the past. She told "Good Morning America" in 2014 that she would never set foot on Italian soil of her own volition.
But no surveillance cameras captured the incidentand one of the men was actually Smollett’s personal trainer, the actor’s attorneys said.
If prosecutors saw holes in their case, they had to do the “best they could do in the interest of justice. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe they looked at the evidence and didn’t feel they could prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Sara Azari, a criminal defense attorney.
The secrecy surrounding the details of the sudden dismissalof Smollett’s charges has left some people calling for greater transparency from the prosecutors office and has led to speculation. A judge agreed to seal Smollett’s court file at the request of his attorneys and without the opposition from prosecutors…legal analysts said the decision to keep the records from public disclosure will stop the community from learning what really happened.
Jussie Smollett has hired high-powered criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos to represent him against the 16 felony charges he is facing in Chicago following his alleged orchestration of a staged homophobic and racist attack.
1. In the video below AD makes a claim about a red vehicle. He neglects to mention or show the angle of the porch camera, and that it isn’t oriented directly toward the neighbor’s wall, but is turned slightly towards the road. Thus the camera seeing the vehicle pull away makes sense. It is interesting that Watts moves his own vehicle forward, perhaps once he realizes the neighbors are stirring.
In 2007, the now-closed British lab, the FSS, was forced to undertake a massive review of up to 2000 cases of violent crime, including rape and murder. There were concerns that the DNA tests relating to these criminal cases had failed to detect minute traces of DNA that could potentially have identified guilty parties.
The search for Shannon was compared to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Matthews served four years in jail for kidnapping her daughter Shannon, nine, in 2008 to generate cash from the publicity.
The mother, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, made several emotional pleas for her child to return during the huge police search despite being aware of where she was.
There are reports that Matthews wants to sell the rights to her autobiography so she can pay for cosmetic surgery in the hope it would help her to go unrecognised. It is believed all seven of Matthews’ children are living under new names and no longer have a relationship with their mother. Last year, Matthews told the Daily Mirror: “I’m not Britain’s worst mum. I didn’t kill anybody.”
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann are still being chased for hefty legal fees nearly a decade after the start of their court battle against the ex-police chief who has attacked them again in a new documentary.
Kate and Gerry McCann are about to be told by a court in Lisbon, Portugal, that they still owe thousands of pounds from their libel fight against Gonçalo Amaral. Amaral, 59, is waiting on a soon-to-come judgement from the European Court of Human Rights over the lengthy legal battle with the McCanns, sparked by his 2008 book The Truth of The Lie, before deciding whether to launch a compensation claim.
The eight-part series called ‘The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann’ was commissioned in 2017 as the true crime genre exploded with TV shows such as Making A Murderer.
The McCanns, who refused to take part in the project and declined to watch a preview, will be infuriated that their tormentor Goncalo Amaral – ‘a thorn in our sides’ – is set to be starring in it. Protection officer Jim Gamble said advances in tech mean she could be found..
The couple, who are still challenging a libel win by the ex Portuguese detective in the highest court in the landthe European Court of Human Rights will be ‘horrified to learn’ that the worldwide streaming service has interviewed the retired officer.
MailOnline first exclusively revealed that Kate and Gerry wanted ‘nothing to do with’ the drama which has cost up to a reported £20 million.
McCanns “didn’t participate or approve of” Netflix documentary.
I used to think for a long time that parents were heavily involved but when Kate was offered a plea for ONLY 2 years in jail for a confession, but never took it, I knew it can’t be it. #MadeleineMccannNetflix
Wasn’t familiar with the story till I saw #MadeleineMccannNetflix. Don’t know the truth, but I know this: 1. You don’t leave a 3-year-old and two 2-year-old alone while having dinner. 2. It’s not a cultural thing whether or not you do point 1. 3. You don’t let the door unlocked.
Sydney Aiello, who survived the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, has died from suicide, people close to the family told CNN. Her mother, Cara, told CNN affiliate WFOR that Aiello suffered from survivor’s guilt after one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history and had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Aiello had been on campus the day of the mass attack but was not in the building where the shootings took place, her mother said, according to WFOR. Aiello, a cheerleader in high school, graduated just months after a troubled teen gunned down 14 students and three teachers there. The family of Parkland school shooting victim Meadow Pollack described Aiello as “someone dear to Meadow.”
The news of the double tragedy comes just as students are out of school this week for spring break. Investigators told the Miami Herald that the male student died in “an apparent suicide” on Saturday night. He was a sophomore and attended Stoneman Douglas last year at the time of the Feb. 14 shooting that claimed 17 lives on campus.
The understanding of these statues changed over time as cultural mores shifted. In the early Christian period in Egypt, between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, the indigenous gods inhabiting the sculptures were feared as pagan demons; to dismantle paganism, its ritual tools — especially statues making offerings — were attacked. After the Muslim invasion in the 7th century, scholars surmise, Egyptians had lost any fear of these ancient ritual objects. During this time, stone statues were regularly trimmed into rectangles and used as building blocks in construction projects.
“Ancient temples were somewhat seen as quarries,” Bleiberg said, noting that “when you walk around medieval Cairo, you can see a much more ancient Egyptian object built into a wall.”
8. From the Archives: John Ramsey interview with Anderson Cooper 
The officers said they would come back in the morning, after 9am. Kate continues: “With that they were gone, leaving us to our own devices. It was incomprehensible. Looking back, it’s inexplicable, of course, that we should ever have been left in what was now a crime scene. We shouldn’t even have been allowed to take things out of the children’s bedroom.”
At the crux of the divide, district attorneys disagree on whether the possibility of the death penalty is necessary to facilitate plea deals on potential capital cases and avoid lengthy, costly murder trials. Without the death penalty, more defendants will be able to plead to second-degree murder, district attorneys who oppose repeal warned, though they clarified that they wouldn’t seek death in a case that didn’t merit it simply to obtain a plea.
“Without this tool that we have at our disposal right now, reserved for the worst of the worst, those pleas simply don’t happen,” said Republican Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke, citing the recent case of a Frederick man who pleaded guilty to murdering his family to avoid the death penalty. “Chris Watts doesn’t have an incentive at that point.”
The vast majority of all criminal cases are resolved by plea deals, including murder cases, said District Attorney Dave Young, a Democrat who represents Adams and Broomfield counties and opposes the repeal. He is pursuing the death penalty against a man charged with killing Adams County sheriff’s Deputy Heath Gumm. “We would not be able to do that without leverage,” he said. “The whole legal system is based on leverage — not just criminal cases.”
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann disputed that analysis and said convictions shouldn’t rely on the prospect of the death penalty, but instead on the strength of the evidence in the case.McCann has said publicly that she will not seek the death penalty in any case because she morally opposes it, and she has said the decision has not affected her ability to convict.
Chris Watts on sex with mistress Nichol Kessinger and wife, Shan’ann Watts
The incomplete DNA information found its way into the press and, before long, unsubstantiated allegations started to circulate.
Tabloids splashed accusations against the McCanns across their front pages and the media frenzy became relentless. One particular newspaper, featured in the documentary, ran a front-page headline with the words: “We have found her blood in the boot of your hire car… Did you kill her by accident?”
There was no evidence to show that Madeleine was the source of the DNA.
There are so many different genres on Netflix is can be difficult to sort through them all. But one thing Netflix does better than just about anyone else? True crime documentaries.
People are obsessed with seeing true crime stories on television. Maybe it’s because the stories are real. Maybe it’s our morbid fascination with violent crimes. No matter the reason, true crime has been popular long before Netflix was even invented. But now they’ve proven how expert they are at taking those stories and bringing them to life.
Journalist Felícia found it odd that in the weeks after Madeleine vanished, the investigating police seemed to be focusing only on the suspected kidnapping and not the family involved. “We know that in most cases, the culprit is someone who is close to the child,” Felícia explains in the documentary. She goes on to tell the story of a visit she made to the restaurant where the McCann group ate on the night of the incident. She sat at the same table as them and found that despite Gerry McCann’s claim that the table had a “line of sight to the apartment” – which they say was a factor in deciding where to eat that evening – there was limited visibility. This was the first contradiction she found in the parents’ statement to police.
“From the position I was in, it was completely impossible to see the apartment or the room where they had left the children to sleep,” Felícia adds. “As an investigative journalist, I have to ask, why? Why would you lie about such a simple thing?”
Her colleague Margarida says that they had a feeling something was off with the timeline and that the McCanns’ version of events doesn’t match that of the employees who served them in the hotel. Further doubt was driven by inconsistencies in Gerry’s statements about which door he entered the apartment through and whether or not it was locked. There’s also her understanding that the McCann group gathered to work out their timeline and then revise it 24 hours later.
Gonçalo Amaral, former Chief Investigating Coordinator with the Portuguese police, says that statements by Jane Tanner, who claimed to have seen a man carrying a child in pajamas away from the resort, seemed to evolve as time went on.
Our prurient attraction to crime, gore and the misery of others is not new: equivalent publications to Crime Monthly (though tamer) can be traced back at least to Victorian times—an era when Jack the Ripper was turned into a species of folk legend. But today’s fixation, and the sheer barrage of content it brings with it, can make us forget standards and neglect others. We lose in the variety and styles of storytelling we watch. And perhaps, just perhaps, we lose something of ourselves when we slow down to gawp at the car crash as we pass.
Peer-reviewed medical journals are peppered with studies that posthumously diagnose the illnesses of artists, using data that ranges from medical records to, in rare cases, the artist’s physical remains. Most commonly, though, such medical connoisseurs turn to the deceased’s body of work for clues.
This might seem like an amusing sport, but Marmor warned that many doctors use flawed measurements and take their conclusions too far. “Artists have license to paint as they wish, so style is mutable and not necessarily an indication of disease,” he said. “Speculation is always fun, but not when it is presented as ‘evidence’ in scientific journals.”
When Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin passed away on the Marquesas Islands in 1903, he left behind four teeth in a glass jar and abundant speculation about whether or not he died from syphilis. An opportunity to address some of the unanswered questions surrounding his legacy arose in 2000, when those teeth were extracted from a sealed well near Gauguin’s former hut. Caroline Boyle-Turner, a Gauguin specialist, wanted to first confirm that the cavity-ridden molars did indeed belong to the Frenchman, and then see what could be learned from the remains.
A chance encounter on a cruise liner treading through the South Pacific put Boyle-Turner in contact with William Mueller, a founding member of the Dental Anthropological Association. The two became investigative partners, and their findings were published in Anthropology in 2018. The DNA extracted from the teeth was compared with DNA taken from the interred remains of the artist’s father (recently identified in Chile), as well as a sample from Gauguin’s living grandson. The results were a match. The molars were also tested for traces of cadmium, mercury and arsenic, which were all common treatments for syphilis during Gauguin’s time. None were found, which doesn’t necessarily conclude that Gauguin wasn’t syphilitic, only that he didn’t receive those treatments (or at least not in a high enough dosage to leave a residue).
“Van Gogh was 20 when he arrived, an impressionable age for anyone, so his period in London had a deep influence on him,” he said. “What was important about London was that he worked in an art gallery, and this helped introduce him to painting. Had he never worked in a gallery, I believe it unlikely that he would ever have become an artist.”
Bailey wrote in the Art Newspaper that Van Gogh is thought to have fallen in love with Loyer’s 19-year-old daughter, Eugénie,during his visit.
Alongside the insurance documents, builders also recovered a tattered 1867 edition of “A Penny Pocket Book of Prayers and Hymns.” The offices of the book’s publisher, Frederick Warne, were in Covent Garden, close to the gallery where Van Gogh worked. Bailey wrote that the book was probably owned by Ursula, but may have been read by Van Gogh, who became a devout Christian while in London.
But what if an artist seeks — nay, demands — obscurity? That’s the premise of Dan Gilroy’s contemporary art world satire-cum-horror, in which the dying wish of a hermit painter is ignored and his works fed into the hungry mouth of the market instead of being destroyed.
Stretching five days, “Death Becomes Us” pieces together the rare opportunities to sit before the wrongly accused (Amanda Knox, Damien Echols, etc.) and the cold-case experts who’ve turned such cases into a Hollywood obsession.
A highly anticipated eight-part docuseries on the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann is gripping if you don’t know the storyand a disappointment if you do. Somebody knows exactly what happened to Madeleine McCann, the 3-year-old Briton who disappeared without a trace from her bed in a holiday resort on a family vacation with friends in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. But it clearly isn’t the makers of the new Netflix series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Unfortunately the writer of this piece cops out on his own premise. There are many bogus documentaries out their claiming to represent the premise of true crime, among them Making A Murderer [both seasons], the Paradise Lost trilogy, and virtually all coverage of the McCanns and the Ramseys, especially coverage in which they voluntarily participate.
3. Police detective testifies in Packham murder trial
The culture around The Tortured Genius represents that the more mentally ill the artist, the more brilliant his work. The first person that comes to mind is apparently none other than Vincent Van Gogh. His severed ear is part of popular culture parlance. When the gifted artist wasn’t having psychotic episodes or cutting a part of his ear off, he painted exquisite paintings as he transferred his inner anguish on his canvas. Others like Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, Franz Kafka, etc. had similar fates. Their professional lives flourished as they battled mental illness. But the question remains. Is the idea of the Tortured Genius a myth or a reality?
Made of earthen-color fabric on steel frames up to 32 feet high and 800 feet long, the walls shield industrial machinery from a high school and wetlands greenbelt in Greeley, prairie homes in Windsor, and kids riding bikes and skateboards in Mead.
It is the latest innovation for companies equipped with horizontal drilling technology that are trying to solve a puzzle: how to extract more fossil fuels from under where people are living and minimize impact.
The walls help companies meet Colorado’s noise limits (55-80 decibels during the day and 50-75 at night, and measured 350 feet from the source). Walls also are being considered for wildlife habitat where proposed drilling threatens mating of sage grouse. Previously, oil and gas companies tried to ease impact of industrial operations near people by stacking hay bales and shipping containers around engines. Beyond cutting noiseby 20 to 30 decibels, the fabric walls partially block the glare of floodlights and dust cloudsduring companies’ multimonth period of drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
It was a simple retelling – in what felt almost like real time, so leadenly was it done – of the story of the three-year-old’s disappearance from the holiday resort of Praia da Luz one terrible night in May 2007. It was a blatant cash-in on the vogue for the true-crime series that have become a staple of Netflix’s output since the success of Making a Murderer a few years ago, but without any of the justifications previous works in the genre have provided. It was not the disinterment of a forgotten case, it was not the re-examination of a suspected miscarriage of justice. It offered no new facts, no new insight. It didn’t even have a point of view.
Instead, it was purely a rehashing of everything anyone who was alive at the time, or who has been of an age to understand the periodic appeals on anniversaries, birthdays and other painful dates by the McCanns for more information in the 12 years that have elapsed since, already knew…
3. Michael Jackson’s maid reveals sordid Neverland secrets
It's quite funny that the #McCann have "pretended" to object to the #Netflix film. Look at the copyright tag in the photo. Guess who would have provided permission to use it?> 'never-before-heard testimonies from those at the heart of the story', including the McCanns' friends pic.twitter.com/AvQyQFGPFf
Aoife Smith described the man she saw carrying the little girl towards the beach on the night of 3rd of May, as wearing beige trousers with buttons, like the ones Gerry McCann is wearing in this photo.#McCannpic.twitter.com/cbJYm9XLMn
1. I’m no hero. 2. I never ‘blasted’ anybody. 3. As I said to the decent Australian journalist from whose podcast this was culled and distorted by someone without his integrity, a reconstruction would have been a great idea if only those involved would have taken part. https://t.co/XaxNB58jKj
I believe the claim the McCanns refused to participate is the opening gambit to get viewers to believe the Netflix documentary is on the up and up. Viewers will come in believing it is going to be objective and get a solid propoganda film exonerating the McCanns. #mccann
Portuguese asked the group to return to the scene to run through their movements on the night of May 3, 2007. But negotiations with the witnesses allegedly stalled because of disagreements over how it would be managed by investigators.
The reconstruction had been planned for May 2008, six months after Kate and Gerry had been declared arguidos, or official suspects. Their friends raised concerns over the arguido status in emails to police.
They were also said to fear a media frenzy if they flew back to the resort, and questioned the purpose of the re-enactment. One member of the group proposed the police use actors instead, but Portuguese detectives refused.
Police were said to be frustrated the reconstruction did not happen. They shelved the investigation in August 2008 and the McCanns’ arguido status was lifted.
“Why do you think he’s telling the truth now?” asked host Phil McGraw.
Rzucek said he believed Watts spoke honestly about the killings because “I think it’s eating him up. I think he was more than glad to talk to somebody for five hours, sitting in a box 24/7,” said Rzucek, who was the children’s godfather. “We loved him like a son and Frankie loved him like a brother,” Sandy Rzucek said. “I just don’t understand.”
Patrick Frazee is pictured checking out baby supplies and formula at a WalMart on Thanksgiving Day in documents from his murder case that were obtained by DailyMail.com. A still from the store’s surveillance system shows Frazee pushing a carriage with a baby seat which is believed to hold his daughter Kaylee just after 1pm.
It was minutes after this that Frazee was seen with a crate in his truck heading back to Berreth’s house, despite telling investigators he went straight home after his fiancee handed over their daughter earlier that afternoon. A neighbor’s surveillance video shows that Frazee was inside the residence for two hours before leaving, during which time authorities now believe he murdered Berreth by bludgeoning her with a bat.
On his way out of the home, Frazee called both his mistress Krystal Jean Kenney and his mother Sheila Frazee, though they were not the only two women the accused killer spoke to over the next few days. Court documents show that Frazee was also in contact with a third woman from Idaho. The relationship between Frazee and that woman is unclear, and she is not a suspect and never been identified as a person of interest in the case.
She was however just a few miles away from where Berreth’s phone pinged in Idaho on November 25, and contacted Frazee at the exact time the missing mother’s cellular was registered by a nearby tower. The woman, 39, has also been employed in the medical field, so there is a chance she may have been a friend of Frazee’s mistress, Kenney.
“I think the hardest part is knowing our granddaughter watched her sister die and then begged for her life,” says Shan’ann’s mother, Sandy Rzucek, reacting to what the family has been told about her son-in-law’s description of the last words spoken to him by Bella.
“I felt my daughter’s spirit, the moment she died,” says Shan’ann’s mother, Sandy Rzucek, who lives in North Carolina. She describes waking up everyone in her house the morning her daughter and grandchildren were killed to tell family members that she felt something was wrong with Shan’ann.
“We didn’t even know she was missing yet,” says Shan’ann’s brother, Frankie, confirming his mother’s account.
After authorities found her daughter’s body, a few days after her and the girls’ disappearance, Sandy says she felt Shan’ann’s presence in her home. “I felt her, and I heard her say, ‘I love you, Mommy, and I’m sorry.’”
Sandy claims she received another visitation from Shan’ann and her children after Celeste and Bella’s bodies were recovered.
HORRIFIC: Christopher Watts drove the girls along with their dead mother's body on a 45-minute drive to a secluded oil field where he smothered the youngest with her favorite blanket and killed his 4-year-old after she watched her sister die. https://t.co/ul6FgNe8mo
parts of new #ChrisWatts information i think he is still making up. "He said that he killed his wife because they were going to get divorced and she said he'd never see the kids again." I believe premeditated and he cares what people are thinking of him #excuse
“He had no empathy for life,” Curie said about Frazee, in an exclusive interview with NBC’s “Dateline.” Curie said she and Frazee started dating in 2010.
“I was attracted to his sharp wit and he had a very explorative mind. He contemplated everything. And he was excellent at reading people,” Curie told “Dateline” correspondent Andrea Canning. But, four months into their relationship, Curie said Frazee started playing mind games on her.
“He began not calling me for days, and then calling me in the middle of the night telling me he had visions of me in a wedding dress. And we’d talk and argue for hours. And we’d end up winding right back into each other.”
The emotional abuse, as she described it, went on for a year. She said Frazee would put her on a pedestal, then tear her down. But, she said, she continued to be drawn to him. As their relationship continued, Curie said she observed Frazee, a rancher and popular farrier, hit his dogs.
“Dateline” interviewed a man who knew another side of Frazee. Clint Cline said Frazee worked with his donkeys, and describes him as a “nice guy, very conscientious about his work, very concerned about the health and well-being of our animals, very great with his daughter.”
Curie and Frazee’s on-again, off-again relationship ended in 2014, when Curie said she came across the definition of a psychopath online. “He fit the bill to a T. And that’s when I left him.”
In an interview with Dr. Phil that will air on Monday, Sandra and Frank Rzucek were joined by their son to share their grief over the deaths of their daughter, her two children Bella and Cece, and her unborn son.
Chris’ recent chilling “confession” gives us even more insight into his perverted mind. He shared the tale of heartlessly killing Shanann after making love to her, then telling her he didn’t love her and wanted to leave her before finally strangling her to death. He claims she didn’t even struggle and said It was like Shanann was praying, thinking of scripture and forgave him for doing it.
He also described being overtaken by an outside power that got him to compulsively kill his family; he retells the moment as if he was powerless over his impulses to overcome this heinous crime.
Chris Watts may not have been able to find his relevance in the real world, but seems to have found it in prison. In prison, Chris feels like an important man; the man he always thought he should be. He gets fan mail and love letters. His newly revealed confessions, after “finding God” are making him even more of a global star, albeit a notorious one. He is making his mark on history, so he thinks. His egotistical plan and sick need for distinction and recognition are finally being met. Criminality led to his celebrity.
Throughout their investigation and prosecution of this case, Rourke said they tried to figure out what happened, but he told the Coloradoan that “reality turns out to be much worse than anything any of us surmised from the evidence we had… about the worst you could imagine.”
“I’m assuming what he is telling is truthful,” Rourke said, adding that the skilled investigators who interviewed Watts also believe he was honest in his most recent confession. “I don’t think that everything that came out of his mouth during those interviews was the truth because I honestly don’t believe that this monster has the ability to have remorse at all.”
Rourke said some pieces of evidence match Watts’ most recent confession, including footage from a neighbor’s security camera that shows another shadow aside from Watts’ by his truck when he was loading Shanann’s body into the back seat.
In the video released by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, Watts is seen standing by his work truck when another shadow appears to be moving toward him, and Watts leans down to pick something up, likely one of the girls.
That video “would be consistent with his statements that the girls were alive when they left the house and walked out to the truck,” Rourke said.
NOTE: I will be doing an analysis of the film At Eternity’s Gate, and explain how my research challenges the popular myth of the great artist.
Jo, the widow of Vincent’s brother Theo, made it her mission to introduce the world to Vincent’s art. She sold some of his works, loaned some out for exhibitions and published the letters that Vincent and Theo wrote to each other. #internationalwomensdaypic.twitter.com/jwJHcNZ88c
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation released this morning records pertaining to Chris Watts’ Feb. 18 confession to law enforcement about how and why he killed his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste.
The records released at 8 a.m. include two audio files documenting Watts’ five-hour long interview with CBI, FBI and Frederick police, two images of Watts, a 37-page CBI report, and a letter from Colorado Department of Public Safety Executive Director Stan Hilkey.
The Tribune has accessed the records and reporters are reviewing them.
Michael Jackson’s estate is engaged in a campaign of adverts, lawsuits and interviews in an attempt to salvage his image after the screening of Channel 4’s documentary Leaving Neverland, which details years of alleged grooming and child abuse.
Jackson’s estate – which has made $2.1bn (£1.6bn) since his death in 2009 and is run by John McClain, a co-executor with Jackson’s former lawyer John Branca – originally tried to block the release of the documentary by contacting Channel 4 and issuing a $100m lawsuit against HBO, which broadcast Dan Reed’s film last weekend in the US.
The estate said the documentary, which premiered at Sundance in January, is “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death”, and added that “the film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact”.
Eamonn Forde, a music industry expert, said the estate was engaged in an unprecedented containment and damage-limitation exercise to attempt to preserve the most lucrative posthumous fortune in the history of music.
“This is a new era for artist estate management, because this is about containment rather than maximising the profile of a deceased artist,” said Forde. “To an extent, estate management is about building a narrative around an artist; they are the directors of the narrative.”
On Dec. 15, authorities filed a search warrant executed on Frazee’s home, which listed 67 seized items. Police took possession of Frazee’s financial records, five pairs of his wrangler blue jeans, a Verizon tablet, his boots, a tan baseball cap and 50 9 mm bullets and two casings. They also wanted items that could provide DNA samples of the suspect and victim.
They also found “four teeth in a small envelope” and a fifth tooth held separately. One of Berreth’s teeth became a gruesome point of discussion during a recent hearing involving Frazee’s alleged accomplice, Krystal Jean Kenney Lee, an Idaho nurse.
Lee told investigators that Frazee had her clean up “a mess” at Berreth’s townhome after he killed her, the affidavit says. Frazee specifically asked her to look for a tooth that may have fallen down an air vent. Lee found a tooth inside the apartment that included the full root.
Frederick, Colo. – Four-year-old Bella Watts pleaded for her life, just moments after she watched her father kill her younger sister “CeCe,” according to lawyer Steven Lambert. Lambert, of the Grant & Hoffman Law Firm, represents murder victim Shanann Watts‘ parents Frank and Sandy Rzucek, CBS Denver reports. The law firm shared new details about the murder with Dr. Phil in an exclusive interview.
According to lawyer Thomas Grant, Chris Watts confessed new details to investigators after finding faith in prison. Watts spoke for hours with police on Feb. 18 from a prison in Wisconsin.
“He is claiming that he is remorseful, and he has found God,” Grant told Dr. Phil.
Lawyers confirmed Sandy Rzucek was not given access to the audio recording in advance, but was briefed on the discussion by law enforcement. Rzucek wished to share the information with the public, prior to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation releasing the redacted audio recording on Thursday.The Rzuceks hoped sharing the story would help clear their daughter’s name, after some believed Chris Watts’ original story that she killed the children.
Chris Watts had just strangled his wife Shan’ann and was wrapping her in a sheet to dispose of her body when their daughter Bella walked into the room. “What are you doing with mommy?” the 4-year-old asked her father. As Watts began to wrap her body up in a sheet, Bella walked in and asked about her mother, Lambert said.
“She’s four, what we’ve been told she’s quite smart — was quite smart — and knew something likely was up. And what he said was that, ‘Mommy is sick, we need to take her to the hospital to make her better,'” Lambert said.
A spokeswoman from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation [Susan Medina] tells PEOPLE the office plans to release more information on the case Thursday, adding that the office was taken by surprise by the Dr. Phil interview.
Chris Watts murdered his elder daughter after she witnessed him killing her mother according to an interview that will air Tuesday on The Dr Phil Show. Steven Lambert, the lawyer who is representing the family of Shanann Watts in their wrongful death lawsuit, claims that his clients were informed of just how Watts carried out the brutal murders.
It started with Shanann threatening to keep their children from him after she learned of his affair, and ended with the mom and both daughters dead. Bella reportedly spent her final moments begging her father to spare her life.
‘The night in question Shanann came home. She and Chris had got into a fight. They made up. They were getting along really well,’ Lambert tells Dr Phil in a clip obtained by DailyMail.com. ‘Later on, they got into a fight again. In that fight he essentially confessed to having an affair, that he wanted a divorce. That it was pretty much over between them, and she had said something to the effect of, “well you’re not going to see the kids again.”‘
Lambert then adds: ‘As a consequence of that conversation he strangled her to death.’ The clip ends with Lambert revealing: ‘Bella walked in and asked what are you doing to mommy.’ The interview was conducted at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin, where Watts was transferred back in December. It is unclear however if he is still there, or if he may have leveraged his interview with authorities to be moved to another facility.
Authorities do not believe that Watts ever gave a factual account of what happened the night of the murders. The release last week of doorbell footage that showed Shanann arriving home on the night she was murdered also suggests that the Weld County District Attorney may have come across new video evidence.
[This last sentence is patently incorrect. Law enforcement had the doorbell footage by as early as November 2018, although curiously the exact date when the footage was viewed is not provided].
3. Michael Jackson – Child Molester or just plain Whacko?
The controversial Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland premiered on @HBO. It chronicled the relationships the singer had with Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both men claim that Jackson sexually abused them as children. https://t.co/UwIhdFvRdN
Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California is back on the market for $31m, a steep cut from the $100m asking price four years ago. The dramatic price cut for the iconic property is partly due to years of droughtin the region that affected the real estate market, Kyle Forsyth, one of the listing agents, told US media.Jackson reportedly paid $19.5m for the property in the 1980s but a real estate investment firm bought it in 2008 for $22.5m after the singer defaulted on a loan.
His ranch was raided in 2003 as part of a child molestation case against him and police at the time seized a large collection of pornography and images of nude children.
Once Trump is impeached, we as a community need to impeach the idiots who defended him daily for over two years. After lying on a daily basis on national and international television, and in spite of his lies and deceits receiving national attention and consistent analysis in the media, Trump’s supporters nevertheless continued to actively defend him. This defense is indefensible.
I would like to see the Trump supporters who are active in true crime put up their hands and admit to enabling a serial liar and deceiver, while simultaneously campaigning against injustice. I’d like to see those supporters do the one thing Trump can’t, and won’t. Admit your mistake and apologize.
“I made a mistake.”
I won’t hold my breath.
For the rest, this is the TCRS take of Trump [published in July 2017].
According to these numbers, human beings are about 10 times more poisonous than poisonous snakes. https://t.co/jfFMHAsPeN
The mindfuckery reaches a dizzying crescendo in the final episode in the Netflix documentary, especially in the last 30 minutes. One moment a brand new suspect is identified, then another, then another, THEN ANOTHER, THEN ANOTHER…
It’s almost with gleeful celebration that these names and numbers are touted. Why all of this information is “saved” for last is odd. Why not have an episode that deals exclusively with the long list of suspects [all of whom turned into dead ends], rather than throwing darts at a board and going, could it be this guy, how about this one? Could Madeleine be in Morocco? How about Australia? What about this Marina here, at 06:00 on May 4th?
There is a cultish triumphalism about “keeping the faith” in episode eight that reminds me of Apocalyptic Doctrine in the bible. The longer the Apocalypse doesn’t happen, the more certain it is to happen. If Armageddon hasn’t happened after 2000 years of prediction, oh boy, are we close to it happening now!
Also, the longer the Apocalypse doesn’t happen, the more evidence there is that it’s about to. It’s the End of Days. Something is about to happen.
It seems the same counter-intuitive gospel is being used here. The longer Madeleine remains missing the more certain she is to be found. The longer she remains missing, the more certain there is to be evidence that shes out there.
If we applied this gospel to our everyday lives, whether applying for a job, or asking someone out on a date, most would agree that the longer the period without confirmation, the more certain the reply is likely to be negative.
Of course it’s of no use to be broadly dismissive [of anything] in true crime. And, like we see in The Matrix, one can’t be told what something is, one must experience it in order to know it. Saying something is bullshit is one thing, smelling it is another.
With that in mind, let’s take three specific examples of mindfuckery in the final episode, to see what we’re dealing with.
1. It’s The Ocean Club’s Fault
Kate McCann found out that a booking they’d made at the Tapas Restaurant had been visible to others. In other words, it’s written explicitly in the registration/bookings book that the families would spend a week dining in the Tapas Bar at a particular time because their children were somewhere else. Now it’s the Ocean Club’s responsibility for allowing this sensitive information to fall into the hands of a shadowy, lurking pedophile abductor who happened to be floating around the Club there and then.
One of the co-authors narrating the story provides reinforcement for this same mind-job. This time it’s the fault of the authorities for not informing tourists that Praia da Luz was swarming with pedophiles, and if they’d only known this, they would never have left their children alone.
This is a wonderful jab firstly at the irresponsible Ocean Club staff, and secondly at the bungling Portuguese cops. Had they done their jobs, the parents could have dined in peace without their child being abducted while they were away.
There seems to be absolutely no question that leaving young children alone for an extended time actually invited some sort of incident in the first place.
One aspect of the McCann narrative that is also missed is that the McCanns didn’t just leave three-year-old Madeleine so that they could dine somewhere else, they left three children, including two one-and-a-half-year-olds. In addition to this, when the McCanns were dining out, Kate herself didn’t do her check when she was supposed to, but gave up her check to someone else. On the night of May 3rd, the night Madeleien disappeared, by the time Kate did her one check Madeleine was already gone.
It’s also strange what Kate doesn’t seem to say – not in the documentary nor in so many of the interviews she’s given over the years. It would be the most natural [and understandable] thing in the world for her to say, and if she said it one would probably feel a lot more sympathy for her. “I feel guilty. I feel bad. It’s my fault…”
But you don’t hear those words. Instead it’s everyone else’s fault but the McCanns, and everyone else is a suspect, or made serious mistakes, or errors in judgement, but the McCanns.
Ten years after she vanished, Kate said: “You do feel guilty. Other families haven’t had the publicity and money.” Former GP Kate, 49, admits she used to feel “really embarrassed” about the £11 million spent on the investigation.
I wonder – do they feel guilty about £20 million spent on a documentary that’s really about implicating a host of obvious suspects, while clearly making an effort to exonerate them in the court of public opinion?
One should also note that after years of adverse publicity, the Ocean Club resort where Madeleine died or disappeared went bankrupt. A lot of people lost their jobs. All the money Kate felt embarrassed about could theoretically have gone to saving some of those jobs lost as a result of unrelenting bad press surrounding the luckless resort.
The property, which the new owner is partially shielding from public view, was axed from tour operators’ recommended accommodation after stunned holidaymakers learned it was “the Maddie flat.” A British expat living in the resort told The Sun Online said today: “The place is no longer being used as a holiday option. I’m surprised it lasted so long as a viable let with its grim history.”
The McCann’s had rented the flat from Mark Warner Holidays for around £1,500 for a one-week holiday when three-year-old Maddie vanished from her bed on May 3, 2007.
The two-bedroom apartment lay empty for a month but was then used by two families for a one-week and fortnight-long holiday before it was finally sealed off as a permanent crime scene. Once the world’s media had departed the front of the Ocean Club complex and Portuguese police closed their investigation in 2008, the property was put up for sale for around £250,000. The price was repeatedly slashed until it was eventually sold earlier this year for around £113,000 by British widow Kathleen Macguire-Cotton.
…for two years after her disappearance, the number of tourists “noticeably decreased”. “People lost their jobs because of this. A lot of shops and restaurants closed down. It had a huge influence on the real estate market.”
If it was the Ocean’s Clubs fault, they and much of Praia da Luz have paid a price and done their penance many times over.
2. “New Technology will help us find Madeleine…”
This is a decent point raised in the final episode. Advances in technology are improving the forensic side of true crime investigations. The application of these technological breakthroughs in the McCann case could be applied in two areas above all, DNA testing and facial recognition software.
The Netflix narrative doesn’t highlight either of these very practical areas in any detail, but instead goes to the fuzzier area of time-lapsing Madeleine’s appearance. What would she look like now?
Ernie Allen [pictured above] is the ex-President & CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in America. He narrates chunks of virtually every episode in the series [with apparent impartiality].
In the final minutes of episode eight we see Allen working side-by-side with the McCanns for the first time. Allen is touting cutting edge technology to the McCanns, and doing so on camera. It has nothing to do with DNA [and there is much in dispute and much uncertainty regarding the DNA evidence surrounding this case] or facial recognition software. It’s simply a kind of digital “aging”.
Although the value of “aging” Madeleine’s face has dubious application in my opinion [especially if Madeleine is no longer with us], the interaction between Allen and Kate is worth noting.
Observe how both Allen and Kate emphasise how Madeleine’s features resemble her mother’s.Gerry is not mentioned and remains uncharacteristically silent throughout this aspect of the discussion.
Why would it be “upsetting” to see her three-year-old recast as a little girl, apparently alive and well? If Madeleine is dead, then clearly all of this is a reminder of what Madeleine herself has missed, isn’t it?
3. “There are many, many, many similar cases of abductions where years went by and the people were found, and they’re JUST LIKE Madeleine..”
The Intertextual aspect in the McCann case is very important, and provides potentially a lot of insight to understanding this case. Although the documentary does hint at the relative rarity of a child as young as Madeleine being abducted [as part of the official statistics], they gloss over the truly Intertextual aspect.
In the final flourish of episode eight cases are noted where children are abducted only to return “safe and sound” years later, and in a solitary instance decades later.
The trouble is, all of these reference cases involve children around ten or eleven years old, or even older, and in two of the three instances cited, the children are abducted from public outdoor areas such as waiting for a bus or outside riding a bike.
In Elizabeth Smart’s case the fourteen-year-old was abducted from home. Yeah, she was fourteen, not three going on four.
In the single instance cited where a child was much younger, it was a baby snatched at a hospital, and in that case the baby [not identified by name in the series] grew up and self-identified herself to her parents. The baby wasn’t snatched or abused by pedophiles.
The unidentified woman highlighted by the series is Carlina White, the case with the longest-known gap in a non-parental abduction in history where the victim was reunited with her parents [23 years].
Clearly all of these cases are miles apart from from a three-year-old girl supposedly abducted, because if one thing is clear, a three-year-old child is way harder to look after or even engage sexually with for an extended period [as uncomfortable as that is to hear] than an older child.
When very young children are abducted for sexual purposes they are typically murdered very soon after. The idea that a survivor of a pedophile ring might be allowed to grow up and one day wander off, back into society and then blow the lid off this massive enterprise is idiotic in the extreme. It simply doesn’t happen.
Now for a few final observations.
In the final episode we see Julian Peribañez, the detective hired by the McCanns finally appearing to deliver on his mandate. Some pedophiles are arrested.
Then we see Peribañez driving in what appears to be a Porche, performing the role in front of the cameras of a successful, stylish, smart detective.
MADRID, 19 FEB – Four people from the ‘Metodo 3’ agency, including the owner, Francisco Marco, the director and two employees were arrested Monday night as an investigation into the Catalonia bugging scandal picks up pace. Two of the arrested have admitted illegally taping conversations…
Of course we don’t see Amaral in the final episode, at all. During the entire series we never see Amaral driving around or looking cool. Instead whenever we see him he’s stuck in an undisclosed space between rooms. It’s oppressive and boring, and the lighting and divided space behind him is faintly distracting. The filmography is subtly trying to express the sentiment that Amaral is neither here nor there.
Peribañez by contrast is represented as a young,powerful predator of criminals, driving effectively through the streets, a force for good.
But hello…what sort of record did Goncalo Amaral have, in terms of arrests and achievements? It’s simply not mentioned anywhere in the series. Isn’t it important?
The suggestion they’re playing with through this glamorous and flattering depiction of Peribañez seems to be if you worked in law enforcement and managed to get someone arrested at some point, and you drive a Porche, it means you’re one of the good guys. Well done! Nice work for solving those cases… [It’s left to the audience to connect the dots between that and the Hope Narrative that’s been hammered into place over the final few minutes].
The final minutes of the series really does ratchet up the “Hope Narrative”. Fittingly, a priest is used to bolster this idea of “keeping the faith” as a moral imperative.
I agree with Ernie Allen and the premise of the final episode: Somebody knows. Somebody does know exactly what happened to Madeleine. Is it more likely to be Madeleine’s parents or some faceless shadow?
In September 2017, following the ten year anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s disappeatance, Australia’s Sunrise show interviewed American criminal profiler Pat Brown. At about 4:44 in the segment, the female reporter notes:
“Well, uh…your views on this [Madeleine McCann]…uh…have been…almost…silenced. You haven’t been on American TV for seven years [Brown nods on the split screen]. The UK media won’t talk to you…[Brown: Correct]. You’re here on Australian TV…um, and as you say, your book was banned from Amazon. Um, what do you think it is particularly about your theories that are…um…not liked by American and British authorities…”
The segment, titled “Crime expert claims Maddie McCann died in her holiday apartment 5A” has been viewed over 1 million times, and received about 1700 comments on YouTube, which is clearly indicative of the level of public interest in this question, and arguably its newsworthiness to the public, if not to American and British media.
As a former mainstream media and magazine journalist, where it was my stock and trade to pitch stories and engage with newspapers and editors, I had a very personal and very direct experience with the media in the McCann case.
So I’m a little confused. Who is getting thrown under the bus here? Is it the journos trying to report on a counter-narrative [the flip side of the narrative coin to the McCann’s version of events] which incidentally is also the “disgraced” lead detective’s scenio [he’s also been blocked, banned, sued etc], or are the McCanns being unfairly victimised by the media? Which is it?
If the media are so crooked and willing to throw the McCanns under the bus at the drop of a hat [as portrayed in Netflix docuseries The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann], why didn’t any British publication mention the series I wrote on the case – ever?
On the ten year anniversary, DOUBTand DOUBT IIconsistently outsold Kate McCann’s book, and DOUBT remained the #2 Amazon Bestseller on the Amazon.co.uk True Crime charts for days on end when coverage of the McCann case was at a peak.
Right now [March 25th, 2019] DOUBT is #9 on the same Bestseller list currently [just three spots behind Kate McCann’s book]. But not a single British reporter has ever contacted me and not a single article or reference to my book has appeared, even in articles dealing with all the books written on the McCann case, and believe me I checked.
Even more obvious in its absence from this category is the lead detective Goncalo Amaral’s book Truth of the Lie. In fact if you search for Amaral’s book on Amazon it’s only available in Portuguese.
From my side, the lack of engagement from the media isn’t sour grapes [well, LOL, maybe a little], but the broader point is there seems to be more of an agenda of the media towing the McCann line [perhaps for fear of being sued if they don’t] than of anti-McCann propaganda in the mainstream media.
But the way Netflix portrays it, the media coverage of the McCann case was and still is evil, biased, unfair and dishonest, and reporters inexplicably had and still have an axe to grind with the McCanns.
Fact is it was open season on the McCanns in the media for a very short window of time, and one could argue that the negative coverage following the cadaver alerts and the DNA narrative didn’t emerge in a vacuum.
I’ve worked in a newsroom in a major media house. Before I worked side-by-side with teams of editors, reporters, multimedia crews and sub-editors, I suspected there might be agendas and protocols and political and corporate arrangements running the show at newspapers as a matter of course. Sometimes there are. In some cases there are. But the media on the average day in terms of its basic coverage and general mandate is also a very dumb machine that simply does as it’s told.
Get the story. Tell the story as you see it.
Someone important says something, the media reports on it. Someone else important responds to it, the media reports on that. It’s often that simple.
The media’s strong point isn’t analysis or interpretation. If the media inveigles itself in these areas, especially when it comes to legal matters, it exposes its big fat cash cow underbelly to litigation. It would prefer not to if it can get away with it. It prefers to play dumber than it really is and instead panders to its audience and stakeholders.
Personally I find this attitude patronizing and cynical, but then patronizing isn’t necessary a bad word when you’re the one profiting out of the process. And some media coverage is neither here nor there, it’s simply a reflection of public sentiment. The media works as a sort of marketing machine, gauging public demand but also attempting to shape, influence and shift it. The media recycles what it’s told and it feeds the monster [us], tries to keep the monster full and satiated while trying to keep itself in the black. The media also has budgets, revenues and targets.
In this sense the media acts like both a barometer and a mirror, and sometimes what it reveals [us] is a salivating, greedy, addicted and oftentimes deeply ignorant flock of sheep. We too tend to believe what we’re told as an extension of the media doing the same thing.
Many journalists, including those writing about true crime, aren’t paid or even asked to think about it. They’re not required to prognosticate on the guilt or innocence of a particular character, in fact if anything they’re required not to. They’re told to record, report and repeat what others say, and often that’s all they do. So media coverage is by definition limited in its investigative scope.
In other words, if you wanted to find a counter-narrative to the reigning pro McCann Apologia, you wouldn’t find it in Britain or America. You had to go to the ends of the Earth – New Zealand, Australia and an obscure little English periodical in Portugal – to find it. Is that fair? Is that balanced? Is that ethical? Is this free speech? Is it defensible from the perspective of a free press?
More commonly you’ll find the British tabloids coming up with puff pieces like this:
I made a few forays to get publicity for my book and even those journalists that seemed more inclined towards Madeleine no longer being alive [named above] apparently didn’t feel my research was worth their time. That’s their right. But that’s editorial independence for you.
The #Netflix documentary was an exercise in completely exonerating the McCanns and “disproving” any evidence indicating their possible guilt. Smithman was hardly even addressed. Total propaganda. #mccann
In the past, there have been some ugly skirmishes between the McCanns, the media, trolls and even Pat Brown, which I will cover in a post specifically dedicated to that subject.
Fortunately the court of public opinion is vast, and thanks to the democratisation of information, it’s becoming even more vast. As such, I for one as a former journalist don’t actually need the media or experts to endorse me or my work. I simply need my readers to trust me, to purchase my work and to keep purchasing it, and to do that I have to be a reliable, trustworthy, consistent and honest source, and one with no agenda.
I have no affiliation, no horse in the race other than to address and focus on the facts such as they are. And to some I execute that mandate, some might say quite well. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me, all this in spite of the media’s thumbs up for some while thumbing their noses at others.
Although the McCanns have washed their hands in public of the Netflix documentary that’s all about them, their struggles, and the search for their daughter, they do feature prominently in every episode.
That’s odd because the eight-part docuseries does the McCanns [and their version of events] many favours, not to mention the timing of it. The timing of the docuseries – from a PR perspective – is perfect.
So maybe we should mention the timing and one other thing – the money and potential fortunes – that’s ebbing and potentially flowing around the McCanns and the McCann case as of right now.
In terms of timing, the European Court of Human rights is about to rule, about to pronounce a verdict now, at the end of an eight-year legal slugmatch between the McCanns and their arch nemsis. The Portuguese detective that initially led the investigation features prominently in the Netflix documentary, although much of what he says is juxtaposed with others casting doubt or disputing his version of events.
Goncalo Amaral did the unthinkable in this story – he had the temerity to suspect both parents of complicity in covering up whatever happened to the doctors’ daughter.
Amaral was fired in October 2007 just five months into the investigation, and only one month after the McCanns were named official suspects in a highly controversial shift. This also caused the media coverage to change dramatically in tone from sympathetic to suspicious.
In any event, the timing of the Netflix docuseries coming out now is interesting, if nothing else.
The docuseries does a brilliant job of besmirching Amaral’s reputation as a possibly corrupt cop and potentially compromised individual.
If the series was as unbiased as it purports to be, it would have also investigatedJulian Peribanez, the former Metodo 3 investigator hired by the McCanns with the same meticulous thoroughness. It seems a little tricksy to have the McCanns’ detective narrate large fractions of the documentary where he openly criticises, accuses and undermines his opposition in the case.
In many of the slick true crime documentaries, the devil is in the details, not in terms of factors or evidence, but how the audience is influenced. Amaral is invariably interviewed in the same dour, claustrophobic setting.
The McCann’s PR person who also does plenty of narrating here, is shown in a lofty office which conveys a sense of professionalism and authority. Peribanez, Amaral’s counterpart , also appears in a professional setting, and then occasionally he is depicted “on the job” as it were, the crack detective in a fancy car basically role-playing the Spanish version of Magnum P.I.
Along with his boss, Francisco Marco and other Metodo 3 staff, he got into big trouble inearly2013. He and a number of other Metodo 3 staff were revealed to have been behind the illegal recording of conversations between high-level Spanish politicians in a Barcelona restaurant. Peribanez was discovered to have been involved and arrested. However, unlike his boss Marco, Peribanez rapidly admitted his guilt, confessed all to the police, and may have ended up assisting the police with their enquiries.
In 2014, it was announced that he had become a ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ by publishing, jointly with the former head of Metodo 3 in Madrid, Antonia Tamarit, a book blowing the lid on corruption in Portugal but also, more specifically, the cess-pit of dark, nefarious and illegal activities carried out by Metodo 3. By this time, many of the top Metodo 3 staff had been arrested or imprisoned over the illegal recording of conversations at a Barcelona restaurant, and Metodo 3 had gone into liquidation.
So, in a classic case of ‘thieves falling out’, Peribanez and Tamarit decided to wrote a ‘tell-all’ book exposing the corrupt and criminal activities they had themselves been engaged in…
That’s more than the budget – almost twice the budget – of the entire search for Madeleine McCann by the authorities over the span of twelve years, the most expensive missing person’s search in history.
If we add the cost of the documentary to the cost of the search we’re in the region of £32 million spent on “the disappearance and search for Madeleine McCann.”
That’s a shitload of money based on a rather glaring assumption, that Madeleine McCann is alive and went missing to begin with.
Kandohla notes in her puff piece that the Netflix series was “commissioned in 2017” and conflates the commissioning of the series with “the explosion of the true crime genre.” In other words she’s suggesting the Netflix documentary was commissioned to make a mint out of the true crime genre, but she neglects to provide specifics on who commissioned it.
By mentioning the two documentaries in the same sentence, she also effectively compares The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann to Making A Murderer – the latter not necessarily a paragon of true crime documentary investigation in terms of accuracy or neutrality either.
Does anyone seriously think the filmmakers are going to make a profit on a budget of £20 fucking million for a documentary? The answer to that probably depends on who the filmmakers [and backers] are.
In Steven Avery’s case, all the Making A Murderer documentaries ultimately bore fruit, didn’t they? In February 2019 it was announced Avery had “won” the right to an appeal. You could say that, but you could also argue his PR had triumphed eventually. It’s not the first time that’s happened either. The Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries also led to the release of the three men accused of murdering three boys in West Memphis [the West Memphis Three].
So we see in 2017, the same year the legal tide turned against the McCanns, the 8-part documentary was commissioned. It was a major PR coup for them if the commissioning of the documentary with an enormous budget which just happened to support their own “pedophile abduction” theory to a “T”, happened coincidentally. But was it? Was this pure happenstance?
While Amaral’s libel damages as they stand now [£29 000] are fiddlesticks, barely a tenth of what the McCanns sued him for, it’s possible if the McCanns lose their final appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, the floodgates will open, clearing the way not only for Amaral to launch countersuits but potentially also many new media that the McCanns have sued for the years for defamation. Even if this doesn’t happen, a verdict that goes against them at this stage could swim the pendulum of public and media sentiment against them.
Interestingly in the Guardian article cited above the McCann’s refer to how much “the landscape has changed” in the eight years since they lodged their lawsuit against Amaral. Well, no landscape has changed more fundamentally than the media landscape, particularly with the advent of social media and more recently, streaming services like Netflix.
It’s clear Netflix has made available a documentary that is likely to influence people’s opinions on the McCanns, one way or the other. Does Netflix hold any responsibility in this regard? Should they? Should they be held to account for the veracity of the investigative content they provide to their subscribers especially as regard high-profile true crime?
In the past, Netflix has been beholden to the consumers of its product.
It remains to be seen whether true crime audiences will be aggravated or impressed, or simply too entertained to care about veracity or bias of the £20 fucking million documentary that the McCanns didn’t participate in [well, they appear in every episode], haven’t seen [apparently] and don’t support [ahem…].
If the the European Court rules against the McCanns, despite the influence or lack of the costly docuseries, will Amaral institute a colossal damages claim against them for systematic character assassination?
Whether he does or doesn’t, and whether the ruling goes for or against them, the McCanns are in an unusual position for the first time in many years. Instead of hope they have something to fear, and perhaps this time there is real reason to fear.
The final episode of the series kicks off by boomeranging back to Robert Murat, the first suspect the series itself fixed in its crosshairs. But in the final episode, Murat is no longer sketched as a prime candidate for the pedophile or trafficker moniker, now it’s poor Robert Murat.
The series seems to have covered a kind of full circle. Murat’s no longer portrayed as a suspect, but as a victim. it’s brilliant mindfuck for what’s to follow. Because this sympathetic twist is also an analogy for the McCanns themselves [nudge nudge, wink wink] as wholly innocent victims, isn’t it?
The docuseries strikes a much more sympathetic tone as it winds down now, basically taking the view that one of the major villains of the story – besides Amaral – is the media. See, the media have condemned and falsely judged Murat, and coincidentally the McCanns as well. See, the media have perpetrated a terrible injustice on an innocent man, just as they have on a wonderful, loving, innocent couple.
When the opening credits roll, Jim Gamble [we really need to talk about him at some point too, because he’s another Arch Apologist for the McCanns] does a handy voice-over about hope.
I want to address the aspect of hope that is such a crucial element of the McCann mythos, and the key dynamic driving their PR narrative. Essentially it is a narrative of hope.
In the past I’ve cited the idea that rebellions are built on hope, but I suspect it’s fallen on deaf ears. It sounds nice. It sounds catchy. But what does it mean? It really requires explication. I’ll do that at the end of this post, so put that thought in your back pocket for now [and give it a little tap]. We’ll attend to it later.
The main theme of episode eight is explicitly built around the notion of hope, and incidentally, it’s the subtext to the entire series as well, even though it pretends to be neutral, investigative, emergentivistic as opposed to reductionist.
Whether Madeleine was abducted by pedophiles, an orphanage, a travelling salesman, a gypsy, a gang of thieves or Santa Claus [don’t laugh, this was seriously presented as one of infinite suspects in the Ramsey case] any and every abduction scenario is a scenario that Madeleine is still alive, and thus this is “just” a missing person case. In other words, “there is still hope”.
As soon as the other narrative is acknowledged, then it’s not merely that Madeleine is dead, but almost automatic that her parents, and perhaps others are involved in some more or less nefarious plot. Are they? Could they be? Or is there some other explanation?
But consider how contrary the atavistic “fallen” notion is to the more progessive and thus sophisticated “hope” plot. And so, for as long as the abduction narrative is popular, and acceptable, and while the narrative that “there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead” continues to hold, the parents – and others – will remain above suspicion and implicitly beyond reproach. That’s not rocket science. We know this.
Episode eight is titled “Somebody knows”, which is to say a) somebody out there knows what happened to Madeleine [who is alive] and b) that somebody is not Kate or Gerry McCann or any of the Tapas 7. It’s not Goncalo Amaral either but some anonymous other person. And then there is c) if Madeleine herself is alive, apparently she doesn’t know who she is either and someone [the someone who knows] needs to tell her, or tell someone.
See, it’s a very hopeful episode. It’s positive. But is it realistic? It feels more than a tad reductionist, doesn’t it?If there’s no evidence that Madeleine is dead, does that mean she’s alive? If no one has seen her for twelve years, does that mean she’s alive? What about twenty years?
At what point does the passage of time actually enter the equation [besides the other crime scene related data]? After fifty years? How about sixty? And how are these time scales related to other missing person cases? Do we normally consider someone alive when they disappear for thirty, fourty, fifty years? If the law decides on this aspect [and it does] what sort of legal narrative are we actually taking about then, if we say there is “no evidence” to say she’s dead? Is there any evidence to say she’s alive?
To the casual observer, and even the not-so-casual observer, the hope narrative is both compelling and convincing. There is even an official inquiry condemning adverse media coverage of the McCanns [notably the the British media] as unethical and poor journalism. Since the media have been accused of this before, it’s easy to imagine they crossed this line with the McCanns, and clearly they did. The question is, how egregious was the inaccuracy? Was it completely baseless or was it somewhat baseless? Or…something else?
What this comes down to, ultimately, is what is truth? And what is the truth in this case? In one sense there is the objective truth [which is in a sense unknowable], and then there is the legal truth [which is what society’s “official” position is on truth]. A useful way to illustrate how potentially irreconcilable objective and legal truth can be, take religious belief. Is it objectively true? Some science, if not most, will say no. Is it legally true? Well, it depends on which country you are. In Saudi Arabia some “beliefs” are legally enforceable but not necessarily legal, and certainly not elsewhere.
The fact is, the legal position of the McCann case is that Madeleine isn’t dead, or rather, there is no evidence to prove that she’s dead. We’ll leave the argument for the moment that there is no evidence proving she’s alive either. In this respect, any publication claiming as fact or as potentially factual that Madeline is dead runs foul of legal fact, but not necessarily of objective fact. Does that make sense? So from a legal perspective, certainly the media are constricted in making certain claims, even if certain circumstantial and other evidence supports their claims.
And publishing Kate’s diary, apparently without her permission, does look bad in the context of this inquiry. On the other hand, Kate wrote a book in meticulous detail which was serialized in the papers, and her diary formed part of that narrative. So the notion that Kate’s interior world was violated feels a little less fraught than the way Kate frames. It may not be, but if we’re talking about the contents of a diary being published as a violation, and then one elects to do the same, well, isn’t one violating oneself?
It should also be noted that the diary was confiscated as evidence, and in many instances, diaries are used cynically by murder suspects to present a false narrative. Jodi Arias famously lied to her diary, which was discussed and analysed at length during her criminal trial. Amanda Knox kept a diary too which she quoted at length in her own self-justifying book.
Now if News of the World committed despicable act by “stealing” Kate’s diary, one could also argue that the same newspaper handed the McCanns a princely sum [£125,000] which went into the Find Madeleine Fund, which is to say, went by hook or by crook to the McCanns and the directors of the fund. The Sun serialised Kate’s book which was a major PR boost for the book, and deal probably worth millions. Let’s not forget it was the newspapers who also raised massive public awareness for the McCanns, including publicising the fundraising on their behalf [with their own readers], and making it known to the “abductor” that massive rewards were in the offing.
It seems impossible to imagine that if Madeleine was abducted, her abductor was not aware of the enormous reward offered for her safe return. Well, apparently it wasn’t enormous enough.
Interestingly, in 2018 the McCanns tried to revive the Leveson inquiry, but this time the inquiry had other fish to fry. The Netflix documentary is silent on this recent failure, however.
Clearly the Leveson Inquiry needs to be seen in proper context given the myriad ways the McCanns benefited from British media coverage and publicity, and some may be so bold to say profited [or that their Fund made a colossal fortune out of it, at least for as long as the coverage was positive…which incidentally includes up to the present moment.] The point is, from a distance, a pair of well-to-do doctors appealing to the media for better treatment appears well-to-do in general, and to the casual observer, and the not-so-casual observer, this step appears to confirm their overall credibility in terms of this case.
But there’s more.
The McCanns took their cause even further and demanded British government intervention – to investigate the disappearance of their daughter. Now I know what you’re thinking. It stretches the credibility of a cover-up to breaking point – doesn’t it – to have the suspects demand an investigation into their case. It may seem that way, and clearly the folks in this particular true crime case are smarter than the average, but the Ramseys made similar appeals to powerful political figures. Ramsey himself ran for election twice. We must remember that these appeals for further investigation were conducted with the express proviso that the investigation be steered in a particular direction [away from the Ramseys as suspects].
It’s also vastly under-reported that Ramsey himself was affiliated with Lockheed Martin, in fact he was a vice president, and thus the death of a little girl actually presented a case for a potential risk or undermining of national security. I know that sounds outlandish, but only until one looks at the size of the MegaMachine that is Lockheed Martin, and its strategic importance to the security of the State it serves.
If one considers a criminal case which has the potential to affect diplomatic relations between two countries, then there are at least two possible scenarios. One scenario is that the suspects are guilty and because there is no prosecution or perception of justice, this can lead to enmity not only towards the suspects, but between the two nations.
In the McCanns case Portugal resented the way it was being depicted in the media, and referred to the British media and the British police treating it like it might a colonial power. This was clearly neither good PR nor politically expedient at a time when Britain wanted to – sort of – and Portugal wanted them – sort of – to belong to the European Union. The solution to problem – certainly one solution – was to make the case go away. By giving the public what they wanted [which was Madeleine to be alive, and the McCanns to be innocent] one could theoretically diffuse a political sensitive time-bomb. And the man the British government appointed to make sure the McCann case went where it needed to go was a man with the appropriately titled surname Gamble.
Gamble happens to be one of the primary narrators of the Netflix docuseries. He’s the man tasked by the British government with “sorting out” the McCann case. And Gamble has elected to sort out the case by publicly putting his weight behind. And he’s very public. He’s very much in the media and in documentaries.
Another prominent narrator is Kelvin MacKenzie, an editor of The Sun who – in episode eight – reveals that “not for a single second” did he believe the McCanns “have ever had anything to do with” Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. He has no doubt the McCanns are innocent. Well why not say so right in the beginning, sir? And why is an editor of The Sun between 1981 and 1994, thirteen years before the publicity of the case started, being asked to share his opinion on how the media treated them?
Well, so much for political expedience, and politically inexpedient court cases. Ten years later Brexit is happening anyway.
The best way to make a criminal case go away is to make sure it never goes to trial. But they didn’t count on the lead detective writing a book, or being sued, or him countersueing and appealing. That has been a long process and hasn’t helped the cause of the McCanns, the Metropolitan police, the British media or the British government. Or even the Portuguese government.
There is another half-hour of analysis to get through in the final episode of the series, but this blog is getting book chapter length and I see it’s 01:37. So let’s wrap up.
I mentioned early on in this post about the idea that rebellions are built with hope, and I said to put that idea in the back pocket. Let’s look at it now.
The idea of a rebellion built on hope is perfectly appropriate to the McCann case, at least in my view. The rebellion is arguably a rebellion against fear [fear of death] which is in some ways admirable, positive and constructive. But one might also argue that this rebellion isn’t just a touchy feely belief, but that in spite of claims of “no evidence” that Madeleine is dead, actually it looks like there might be some evidence. If it’s stronger than that, than the rebellion isn’t just against fear, it’s potentially against common sense, against reality, even perhaps against a legal system. We know the case is being debated and evaluated at the European Court of Human Rights. That court will decide whether the notion that Madeleine McCann is dead or alive – either way – is frivolous. It’s interesting because now Britain as a member of the European Union has sort of fallen out of favour with the EU, and not due to any fault of the EU.
What we can also say is that plenty of pageantry surrounds the McCann case. It’s not simply a case where we see investigations and police searches. We also see the couple meeting the Pope and releasing balloons, and suing people. A lot of people.
We see book deals, book launches, color coded wrist bands, hundreds of exclusive interviews [invariably written by the same journalists], dozens of documentaries, innumerable anniversaries and celebrations [Madeleine’s birthday, commemorating her disappearance], and of course, the revolving door of PR personnel who plead the McCann’s case to a salivating press – who in turn regurgitate these statements almost verbatim. That kind of pageantry.
The pageantry isn’t a foreign concept to Britain. The notion of Royalty in the modern era, and the royal family is fairly idiosyncratic to Britain, and arguably the most British aspect of the nation. One could also say that the pageantry of the British Royal family is more public and more publicised than royalty in any other country bar none. So let’s not kid ourselves when we say pageantry can be a very popular, powerful and profitable tactic.
But how much of this pageantry is really just a rebellion against a more pragmatic and realistic approach. Pageantry is bright, colourful but above all hopeful.
A final word on misleading media coverage – or at least what I thought was misleading – published in The Sun. This graphic. Notice anything wrong with it?
The graphic shows where the “last photo” of Madeleine McCann was taken. This photo is almost certainly fake, and appears to be doctored, its metadata altered so that the photo is dated May 3rd.
The indicator for where the Tapas Bar is on the graphic [right below the McCanns’ apartment] is misleading and incorrect. The Tapas Bar is way to the left, closer to the centre of the image.
In the next frame, the dogs didn’t alert to the sofa, they alerted to blood and cadaver evidence on the floor and walls behind the sofa.
Kate and Gerry’s beds were two single beds pushed together, but the graphic doesn’t indicate that both beds were pushed a long way away from the wardrobe, far enough to fit in the cots of the twins.
The same image makes no mention of cadaver traces found in the McCanns cupboard, nor of those found outside in the garden below the balcony.
The graphic suggests the door to the parking lot is the door to the patio. This is simply incorrect. The patio is on the other side, where the sliding doors are.
The way the door opens in the middle graphic and the bottom graphic is wrong. In fact it opened the other way, so that when one peered inside the first thing one would see would be Madeleine’s bed. An innocent mistake by the animator/illustrator, or deliberately misleading?
The graphic highlights the window and shutters as “the main source of the investigation” whatever that means. In fact Kate McCann’s fingerprint was found on the shutter, and Amaral didn’t believe an abductor would break in through an open, unlocked door, only to leave through an exposed window exit that would rattle loudly when opened. Why not simply leave the way he had entered?
In bold text The Sun emphasises:
KATE ENTERED THE BEDROOM TO DISCOVER THE WINDOW OPEN AND MADELEINE MISSING.
The perspective of both illustrations at the bottom emphasises the window. The bottom-most graphic actually views the apartment from the perspective of the wide open window, not the perspective of the door.
It’s this sort of chronically misinformed coverage that is either spineless, pandering journalism or ignorant to the extreme. One thing it clearly is is the same thing that all tabloid newspapers are – pageantry.
A final point to make is this photo that appears in the final episode. Why has it been artificially enhanced?
Perhaps because the unedited photo is so grim and gloomy. The child looks completely isolated in the original photo.
Which is why the photo is edited to make her seem less on her own, and her surroundings brighter, and sunnier.
As with so many things in the McCanns case, this simple image – when one looks closer – appears to be fake. Is it pageantry or isn’t it, and if it is, what more than this?
In the penultimate episode of the Netflix docuseries, the pedophile theory goes into high gear. We’re told that human trafficking is a $150 billion-a-year industry, and about pedophiles lurking in the dark web.
The pedophile theory is a handy one when you need a revolving door of potential suspects. It’s served the Ramseys well over the past 20 years or more, and it’s the gift that keeps giving in terms of new suspects, in the endless search for Madeleine McCann.
At the end of episode seven, the McCann’s PR dude holds up the latest pedophile of the moment, an Australian woman and the mainstream media go nuts. Maybe Madeleine is in Australia?
Instantly the previous suspect [whether the bucktooth creeper or Tannerman] is forgotten as the narrative hops from one handy pedophile to the next. While a distracted audience not paying attention to the McCann case might be jarred back into it intermittently with a sense of “oh they’ve found another suspect, the investigation hasn’t been fruitless” a more consistent approach exposes the investigation into Madeleine’s Disappearance as an ongoing circus act.
If Madeleine’s not dead, the public need to reminded periodically that she’s out there, and to do that the show must go on. More and more circus acts are needed, and with them, circus ringmasters.
If the McCann’s and the Tapas Seven have been very effective over the years at PR, at prosecuting and at suing and silencing their critics, they’ve been staggeringly ineffective at investigating their daughter’s case.
In the apology published below, which coincided with another massive payout from the Sunday Times, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the McCanns appeared to be a little on the slow side in making information available. The Smithman efits came out sometime in 2008 but were only handed over to the cops in late 2009. The Metropolitan Police only received them two years after that. Not exactly a picture of urgency or efficiency, is it?
Neither, as it turned out, were more than one of the investigators the McCanns seemed to handpick for the job. Remember, money was not a limiting factor, the public had handed over millions to be spent on the search, and yet which investigators did these clever doctors choose to spend this easy money on?
The blood-soaked corpse of a private detective who investigated Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has been found at his mansion. Kevin Halligen, 56, dubbed a “cloak-and-dagger, James Bond-style spy”, took the high-profile case in March 2008.
And while Halligen was hired by the McCanns he was involved in a dispute and accused of conning the fund to find their daughter by living a lavish lifestyle during his probe, but producing no results.
It turns out that Kate and Gerry McCann suppressed for five years ‘critical evidence’ that became the centerpiece of the recent BBC Crimewatch program on the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine. Findings by ex-MI5 agents long kept under wraps by the McCanns included the two e-fit images described in the Crimewatch program by Scotland Yard’s Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood as of “vital importance.”
The images are of a suspected kidnapper seen by an Irish family in Praia da Luz the night Madeleine went missing. They were given to the McCanns by a handpicked team of investigators from Oakley International hired by the McCanns’ “Find Madeleine Fund” in 2008.Henri Exton, an MI5’s former undercover operations chief who led the team, told the Sunday Times he was “utterly stunned” when he watched the Crimewatch program and saw the evidence he had passed to the McCanns presented as a new breakthrough. For some reason the images were not published even in Kate McCann’s 2011 book Madeleine, though it devoted a whole section to eight “key sightings” and carried e-fits on all of them except the Smiths’.
Secret Oakley International Report into the disappearance of Madeleine #McCann might be released to the public following the death of crooked PI Kevin Halligen. pic.twitter.com/M5qrnxsxf1
Former Det Insp Dave Edgar said he believes Maddie is still alive, possibly hidden in plain sight on Portugal’s Algarve with no memory of her real identity.
Speaking to the Sunday Express, Edgar said: “There is every possibility that Madeleine is still alive and could be being hidden somewhere. “Although Dave Edgar has no evidence to back his theory, he believes Madeleine is being held captive in a basement or cellar 10 miles from where she disappeared in Praia da Luzand will give a conference when he has something more substantial to report.”
The investigator that narrates the Netflix docuseries points out, without a hint of irony, how “surprisingly unlucky” the McCanns were in “choosing” one bumbling Inspector Clouseau to investigate their daughter after another.
In virtually none of their many, many press conferences, do the McCanns express regret over their own investigators, nor do they appeal for other investigators or detectives to come forward to lend their expertise. Instead, they appear content to “hope for the best”.
Metodo 3, in Spain, has already been linked to other scandals connected to the political and the financial world, and, recently, was equally put in question by their work in investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, where one of the close associates of Francisco Marco, Antonio Jimenez, who was accused of having driven several British journalists to meet previously paid witnesses, who would then declare to have seen the small British girl [Maddie] in Morocco.The Metodo 3 coadjutant, responsible for investigating Maddie was, thereafter, arrested in a case of theft and cocaine trafficking.
According to sources connected to Metodo 3, several detectives working for the agency, have questioned the capacity of Francisco Marco in the Madeleine McCann investigation, accusing him of destroying the credibility of the agency, especially after he put to practice a disastrous mass communication strategy.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the misappropriation of funds and money laundering can concern “colossal” sums of public money.
At the same time the docuseries announces a new suspect resembling Victoria Beckham identified as a sort of cliffhanger to lead into the finale, the series “remembers” an incidental but possibly gamechanging piece of evidence.
A witness in the apartment above saw someone leaving the area below [outside 5A]. Carole Tanmer saw a man acting rather strangely as he closed the gate at 5A. See, this is why an exhaustive timeline – set out in the beginning – makes sense.
Although many on social media are crowing about how thorough and professional the docuseries is, what it does is it manages to provide an endless series of twists and turns, and intrigue, much as the McCanns themselves seem to have done. There’s always something else lurking around the corner and when we get to it, it’s a false alarm, but oh look, there’s something else over there…
One thing we should see but never do in the docuseries is a clear grid for where all the characters in the Ocean Club were staying relative to the McCanns, including and especially the Tapas 7.
We’re also not provided with a conceivable, clear route an “abductor” might have taken if he headed from the Ocean Club to the Smithman sighting. It’s simply not depicted. No timeline is provided for how long it might take to carry a child from 5A to the location of the Smithman sighting either. There’s also no attempt to interrogate the time of the Smithman sighting in any detail. Since the Smith family ate at a nearby restaurant that night, and received a timestamped receipt, this detail shouldn’t have been too difficult.
Specific information such as the apartment number the McCanns moved to INSIDE the Ocean Club after the incident for the first two months is also left out. It was G5A, the apartment in the same block very close to Dr. Julian Totman [aka Tannerman] former apartment and in fact right beside G4M.
“Book 4 in the K9 series is a must read for those who enjoy well researched and detailed crime narratives. The author does a remarkable job of bringing to life the cold dark horror that is Chris Watts throughout the narrative but especially on the morning in the aftermath of the murders. Chris’s actions are connected by Nick van der Leek’s eloquent use of a timeline to reveal a motive.”