Saturday 9 June 2018

Progress Report

We began highlighting the four-year-long attempts to sabotage or discredit the UK investigation into the fate of Madeleine McCann in late March, and we’re very pleased indeed with events since then.
A lot of rowing back has been going on.The absurd Purple Woman story, which had been in and out of the news since November last year, has fallen to pieces. It was an act of desperation by a team that is not only losing the battle but which has lost its previous touch for implanting fake stories  in the MSM without too grossly overstepping the mark.
This time their use of tired and wilting fictions – getting the tabloids to quote “a source”, or a “source close to the investigation” to give credibility to completely false stories, getting a “friend of the McCanns” to respond to the stories before they had even  been published – went too far.
Not only did the liars claim that Grange was all over Europe searching for this key witness but they made the very serious, and completely untrue, statement that this stage-farce junk was the famous “last lead”, referred to on the record by Scotland Yard officers. And then they watched while the story was folded into the “don’t give Grange any more money” stories of 2018.
Too far. It was always going to come one day. The Yard has been very careful, not to say over-careful, in its responses to the team deceptions over the years. Perhaps this time it acted. In April, Clarence Mitchell finally tried to distance the McCanns from these efforts with a highly unconvincing appeal for Grange to be left alone.

Common Sense Breaks Out

Since then there has been relative silence, not just from the MSM itself but from the previously noisy Usual Suspects whom the deception team had so successfully enlisted, one way and another but chiefly by exploiting their credulity, in their support. So the internet has been witnessing far fewer anti-Grange, anti-funding tweets and posts than previously.
M/S Pat Brown, the only one of these sources to call herself a professional, and who advertises her consultancy services to law-enforcement agents in the United States, has not, however, withdrawn her repeated and defamatory claim that 30+ corrupt police officers are working within Scotland Yard to abort operation Grange. Nor has she provided the evidence for such a claim.
It should be remarkably simple for her to do so, shouldn’t it? No truly professional criminology consultant would make the claim without evidence to hand. But no, nothing. One wonders whether the claim will be featured in future on her website list of qualifications and achievements; one wonders also whether its known existence is going to encourage US police forces to use the services she advertises there.
As for the others, well, it’s a free country. Evidence is the last thing we’re going to get, isn’t it? Asking for evidence from them is like waving a crucifix at a room full of vampires. We’ve never had it before and we won’t get it now.

It Gets Better

But the good news doesn’t end there. The transparent “appeal” from the discredited and somnolent Mitchell was followed by the very carefully worded news from that Friend of the McCanns that, well, er,  Gerry and Kate McCann had been asked to – how shall we put this – turn the f****** noise down, by none other than Scotland Yard. Now that was worth waiting for, it really was. A warm glow of satisfaction and pleasure suffused us and brought smiles of pure enjoyment to our cynical lips, and not for the first time this year.
Neither Mitchell nor the McCann couple, nor even a “friend” or a “close friend” of theirs, and most definitely not Scotland Yard,  want to release the actual words used to the pair by the police. Now why would that be?
And then we had that unclaimed orphan of stories, the Dr Totman junk, put up as what the information trade calls a “trial balloon”, a highly anonymous attempt to get people to show themselves.  It caused great  excitement in netland, since it was in the newspapers and therefore really mattered, but since it doesn’t fit in with the well-established  Usual Suspects’ view of the case (because, unlike the previous deception campaign stories, this one  wasn’t aimed at them) – it led to incoherence and confusion.
And above ground? The MSM dried to drip feed the Totman "story" for the next few days, its originators still hoping for a reaction, but the trial balloon failed to float. Now why would that be?

Goodies 1 Unknowns 0
Once again, the McCanns and Mitchell had nothing to say and nor did the Yard. And, once again, nor did Jane Tanner. The Bureau had been telling the Suspects and their followers  for months - not from secret sources but from simply analysing the known on-the-record statements of the Yard - that none of them are going to talk because doing so will give away too much. And none of them want that,  for very different reasons.  So why  are the researchers  so puzzled? Still, there are always those trusty standbys in a free country, the dogs and a ten year old photograph: they'll go on running and running to the end.
Anyway, there we are, the best few months since Goncalo Amaral won his case, perhaps even better. For the moment the theme remains welcome quietness.


Monday 4 June 2018

History Corner

A rum trade, British journalism. Those who do well out of it can’t wait to forget their “get your foot in the door, laddie” training and start acting as though their families have been farming a thousand acres in Purbeck since the Norman conquest, writing occasional anguished letters to the papers they once edited about whether Purdey can survive being owned by a Swiss fancy goods company. And so on.
Charles Moore, ex-editor of everything, isn’t one of these, of course, but he does give the impression of penning his Spectator columns after an exquisite afternoon in the grounds with his family, being painted by Gainsborough.
He can also say some sensible things. As a dedicated non-watcher of the BBC, I haven’t seen the Thorpe programme but he has and last week he wrote, after noting that horrible things can be highly comic, “For some reason, I share the general hunch that Thorpe probably did ask for Scott to be murdered, but it has never been proved. In a case in which almost everyone involved had trouble with the truth, the jury were surely right to acquit.”
It’s a little reminder that, even if there’s a “general hunch” about someone, actually translating that into a solid prosecutable case is quite another matter, just as it’s a reminder to certain others that Thorpe was probably “acting on the advice of his lawyer” when he sat stony-faced and utterly silent throughout the trial, rather than risking cross-examination – as though a lawyer’s advice ever has anything to do with innocence or the truth.
I knew his wife Marion’s  family a little but not him. Thorpe had been very popular in the early days, an exceptionally funny mimic whose impressions of fellow politicians regularly had party-goers – he was in demand socially – in fits of helpless laughter, perhaps creating his media reputation for being “modern” and “unstuffy”.  Well yes, ordering someone to be shot dead may not be very modern but it was certainly unstuffy, wasn’t it?
His secret lay partly in being a Liberal MP. The Liberal, or Liberal–Democrat  party has attracted rogues, thieves and hustlers for a century, like moths to a flame. The thoroughly sinister Thorpe and the unspeakable Cyril Smith, who required a chair for each unloved buttock, found their natural home among members who will believe absolutely anything as long as it’s “liberal”.
Thorpe had, in fact, been preceded by the most sinister figure of them all a half a century before, when Maundy Gregory, son of a clergyman, had begun illegally selling peerages for the Liberal party on a scale that makes Nixon look like a petty shoplifter, netting himself millions in commission. Among the usual Liberal scandals, bankruptcies and trials one performance even outshone Thorpe’s when, after the sudden death of the partner who’d changed her will in his favour, he was oddly reluctant to have her buried.
A botched killing, a hired assassin who looked and talked like Peter Sellers, a dead dog and a weeping Norman Scott in the barren vastness of Dartmoor had nothing on Gregory’s tableau vivant: he schlepped around the beautiful old churches of the Thames valley with a map on his lap and the corpse  of Edith Rosse jammed upright into the front passenger seat of his car. There he would leave her - there is no record of her complaining - while he was inside the vicarage making inquiries as to graveyard vacancies before returning, unruffled, to his jalopy and bowling on to the next church.
This sublime performance ended when he finally located a suitable riverside church where  Edith, none the worse for all the travel, was eventually interred in a coffin with a loose lid. Nice Mr Gregory, it seems, had been looking for a burial place subject to floods, one that would eventually dilute the traces of the poison he had used on her. Ah, these Liberals! All heart.
Thorpe’s trial was a thoroughly squalid affair with Thorpe trying unsuccessfully to put space between himself and the dirty little gang of villains and fixers who sat alongside him in the dock. Bessel, the chief witness, was yet another hair-raisingly corrupted Liberal MP from central casting, a Methodist preacher turned financial hustler and fraudster, gravel voiced, quite without shame and, already cadaverous from the lung disease that killed him, reeking of the death and cynicism that surrounded the whole affair. If the prosecution had been looking for a witness to ruin their case then they couldn’t have made a better choice.
No doubt many believe that’s what they did. It’s still worth remembering, though, that it was a jury that acquitted him and, reluctantly, I agree with Moore that the jury was probably right not to convict. Two things worked particularly in Thorpe’s favour: the fact that nobody had actually been killed, or even hurt, which to an extent  took the sting out of the issue, and the extraordinary and disturbing weirdness of the accusations and personnel.
And their near unbelievability. Looking through the narrow McCann prism, one remembers that Amaral’s logical inference that if the body was gone then the parents calculatedly  transported it, was met not just with disagreement but public expressions of outraged, arm waving, disgust and horror that he could even think such a thing, the maniac, about Kate McCann. And I think that Thorpe benefitted from the same reaction. It’s not just corruption that protects public figures but the crazed belief of that public that they have somehow got close to them through their celebrity, close enough to believe that they could never “do such a thing”.
So no, juicy visions of Thorpe being forcibly gang-sodomized, preferably in the Dartmoor prison near where the shooting took place, went unfulfilled. The rest of his life, though, was equally horrible, more grotesque and much more long-lasting – disgraced whatever the verdict, paralysed first by the realization that rehabilitation would never be possible and then  by disease, he lingered on  for decades, mostly  in a darkened room amid the stucco and elegance of his wife's beautiful house in  Orme Square, a reminder of what can happen if you are acquitted but cannot “demonstrate your innocence”.
He still revolts me, viscerally, to this day.

One of their own