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Background to the Rebuttal Wiki

Page history last edited by Administrator 9 years, 3 months ago

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Foreword

 

THEY’VE TAKEN HER NAME

 

Among the true supporters of Madeleine McCann and her parents, one man’s attempt to misappropriate Madeleine’s name in his own personal quest for fame has, unfortunately, become all too well known. A former civil servant from Harlow who, having failed at a career in law, (while working as a solicitor he was found guilty by a tribunal of his peers of bringing the profession into disrepute) he tried to find a niche on the political ladder, and after a brief spell as a local independent Labour councillor then joined several fringe political parties, but left all of them under less than auspicious circumstances.

 
He published a book, alleging that the McCanns knew of Madeleine's death, and conspired to cover it up, but when he tried to claim it was published by Parents' Aid, a charity HE HIMSELF founded in the 90's, they reacted with horror when approached, and placed the following disclaimer prominently on their website.

 

Quote:

 "Disclaimer:
“To whom it may concern: there is absolutely no connection between this registered charity, Parents’ Aid Southern Essex, and the organisation calling itself the “Madeleine Foundation” or any associated publication.
We understand that our name may have been attached to its literature without our permission.”
- The Management Committee and Trustees of Parents’ Aid.
© Parents’ Aid 1995 – 2009

 

Further conversation with the management of Parents' Aid revealed that they too have not one good word to say about him.

 

Although we aren't naming him here, (we will produce a more complete biography later), we can report that he has a history of attempting to insert himself into high profile cases by bringing private and controversial prosecutions against people who are in the public eye for one reason or another. None of these have ever been successful. This man is no stranger to controversy having been arrested in the past for removing metric road signs in England. When arrested he gave a false name to police and claimed that he worked for the road maintenance company.  

 

In a recent BBC documentary journalist Simon Hare described him as seeming to enjoy the notoriety (not exact quote). It is certainly true that when he brought about one of his private prosecutions, he choose to serve it when the celebrity in question was in Channel four TV’s Big Brother House. He also turned up at the House of Commons when Gerry McCann was addressing the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, which was holding an inquiry into press standards, and positioned himself immediately behind Dr McCann and in full view of the camera.

 

His attempt to forcibly insert himself into the case of Madeleine’s abduction in general and the parents’ lives in particular have certainly gained him a degree of the infamy he seems to crave. Unfortunately his past writings and internet postings on this subject are replete with distortions, disinformation, misleading and out of context quotes and, it has to be said, plain and simple lies.

 

We will not cover too much of his past here, but rather concentrate on his latest attempt to plant doubt about the McCann’s innocence in the minds of the public with a leaflet campaign put out by a spin-off from his own Madeleine Foundation, a collection under his leadership known as the Madeleine McCann Research Group, (Henceforth referred to as MMRG.) and in particular two of his collaborators, who we only know as ‘Kikoraton’ and ‘Alison’


Kate and Gerry McCann have made it quite clear what their opinion is of the Madeleine Foundation with the following quote:

 

http://www.findmadeleine.com/updates/updates@page=2.html

 

Quote:

 “We do not wish to dignify the actions of the so-called 'Madeleine Foundation' with any response. We do feel it is important, however, that the general public are made aware that the 'Madeleine Foundation' has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us to find Madeleine, including law enforcement agencies or child welfare NGO's (non-governmental organisations). We also strongly believe that the actions of this organisation do not have Madeleine's best interest at heart; if anything, the organisation is hindering all our efforts to find Madeleine and achieve justice.”

 

 

The leaflet in question is entitled ’50 facts the media are not telling you’ and this dossier has been set up to correct the record behind each one of these so called ‘Facts.’


We must start by saying this rebuttal of the MMRG leaflet has been enormously difficult. This is because the individual in question is notorious for never supplying sources for any of his work, and this, his latest literary endeavour, is no different. This means that the volunteers who have devoted so much effort to create this website have had to spend countless hours of their spare time, poring over literally hundreds of old press articles, official statements, interviews and many other sources in order to find where each of these erroneous so called facts may have possibly originated from.

 

And the results are startling! We found that fully 68 % of the ‘Facts’ that the MMRG claims the media are not telling us are sourced from….the media! Not only that, but most of them have more than one media source, and have often been reported at length and in great detail.


More shocking, however, is that 54% of these so called facts are, in fact, either partially or entirely false. A further, 32% are misleading, with the MMRG distorting or altering the context of what was written in the article with the result that the meaning conveyed is not that which was intended. Finally, 32% contain out-of-context quotes, or quotes that have been signifiantly altered such that it changes the meaning.

 

We need to question seriously the motives of the MMRG.  Why are the MMRG and this man distributing leaflets and posting links on the internet to facts that are published by the media?  Why do they publish misquotes, or take them out of context?


Is it their intention to mislead the public or damage the search for Madeleine? Or are they insinuating the McCanns committed a crime for which they have never been charged, let alone convicted because there is no concrete or circumstantial evidence pointing to such crime?


We invite all those who truly support and care about Madeleine (and her family) to read and learn the truth.

 

 

 

  

Background to Wiki

 

Contributors

There have been many contributors to this substantial project, from those who spent so much of their time painstakingly researching each "fact" and rebutting it, to those who proofread, checked links, double-checked sources and watched hours of video tape to find actual quotes for us to use.  It was often a thankless task to search for the source of quotes which were actually misquoted and assertions which had been seeded by "unnamed sources" in columns of tabloid newspapers.  However, we gave our time freely and gladly - driven only by the goal of righting the false information which threatened the search for Madeleine McCann. 

 

 Many thanks also to those who gave advice and encouragement.

 

 

What is the Madeleine Foundation?

From their website:

Quote:

The Madeleine Foundation was set up in January 2008 with the following aims:

 

a)   To change the law in whatever way is needed in order to send out a clear message to all parents that leaving young children on their own is never acceptable, and to strive for the adoption of a new law with its key provisions ensuring that parents “Never leave young children on their own”

 

b)   To pursue - in conjunction with others - the truth about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance on 3 May 2007.


c)   To investigate the facts behind the extent of British government involvement in this case and the reasons for it.

 

d)  To ensure that the media, in particular the British media, report this case accurately and give due weight to all viewpoints on Madeleine’s disappearance.

 

e)   To generally promote the welfare of children, in particular by ensuring that parents are aware of the psychological needs of their children and ensuring that the relevant authorities take appropriate action to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

 

And yet the MF have backed a leaflet which not only relies on erroneous media articles, but actually misquotes them?

 

Who are the Madeleine McCann Research Group?

The "50 Facts" document originally appeared in a thread started by Internet poster "Get Em Goncalo". 

Colour coding at anti-McCann discussion forum jillhaverns, would suggest that the MMRG are posters called:-

 

kikoraton

alison

 

Are these posters alone responsible for the astonishingly high number of inaccuracies in the leaflet?

 

According to the secretary of the Madeleine Foundation, in an email to James Murray, Associate Editor, Sunday Express:-

Quote:

The leaflet is actually the work of a separate group called The Madeleine McCann Research Group, to which of course we have close links.

 

 

Media Coverage of the Madeleine McCann case

From an Interview at The Churches' Media Conference 2008 with Clarence Mitchell

Quote:

 

They -- they want pictures of Kate in her bedroom crying. It’s just gratuitous, emotive, sentimental rubbish….

 

AG: …But Clarence you’ve been on both sides of this.

 

CM: Yes

 

AG: You’ve been a reporter.

 

CM: But even as a reporter I would’ve felt uncomfortable

 

AG: … are you saying that you haven’t done that sort of stuff?

 

CM: Even as a reporter I would’ve felt uncomfortable asking for that sort of thing.

 

AG: So were you shocked at what your own trade was doing?

 

CM: I -- I -- I wasn’t shocked by that sort of thing - that unfortunately is all entirely predictable and it’ll continue for as long as this sort of tragic situation continues. What I was shocked about was the -- the lack of standard of reporting that took place in Portugal -- in that the reporters on the ground did absolutely no investigative work whatsoever. When the police said, ‘Sorry we’re not talking.’ That was it - they accepted that and they just sat in the bar which was offering free white wine -- alcohol. That became the newsroom and every day they would then just translate the Portuguese papers which began to be full of smears - lies in many cases - downright inaccuracies -- they would just lift that.

 

They’d phone me -- I’d say, ‘this is wrong -- its rubbish -- that’s not true.’ That was it -- ‘Mitchell balances it’ -- piece runs -- ‘thank you.’ It runs the next day in Britain. And then the next day the Portuguese press would run it again - saying the respected British press had confirmed our story - they hadn’t. It was just utter nonsense. The whole thing was just a ridiculous spin cycle… of insanity.

 

 

From the Guardian on 29th April 2009

Quote:

The evidence given to the Commons select committee yesterday by Daily Express editor Peter Hill was extraordinary. He made persistent references to the uniqueness of the Madeleine McCann story as an excuse for his paper's tawdry and defamatory coverage.

He blamed the Portuguese police for leaking untrue stories, which he was happy to publish, he said, because he believed them to be true "at the time". 

 

From Skynews on 1st February 2008

Quote:

Even if the public had already made up their own minds, Clarence Mitchell said the coverage by some newspapers certainly didn't help.

The former Royal Correspondent for the BBC said he felt "shamed" as a journalist by the "appalling standards, sloppiness and laziness of journalism" and the lack of basic fact-checking which left him having to deny allegations on a daily basis.

Lawyers for the McCanns are still reviewing some of the coverage which Mr Mitchell said was not only "distorted, but wilfully misrepresentative at times of the facts as we known them". 

 

The McCanns went on to successfully sue several newspapers with the awards going to Madeleine's Fund. 

 

Unfortunately, some of these false stories remained in circulation and continue to be recycled by some internet forums today.  Many of the false stories which have been long discredited are even still claimed as "fact".

 

 

"50 facts about the case that the British media are not telling you."

 

Prior to the launch of this wiki, the Secretary of the Madeleine Foundation was asked four questions. The questions and his answers are provided below-

 

 1. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being wild speculation and 5 being only proven facts, how would you rate the standard of source accuracy which you deem necessary before accusing anyone of a heinous crime such as causing the death of a child or covering up the death of a child.

 

REPLY BY TB: Either accusation is serious. You would need to rely on proven facts in order to make, let alone sustain, such an accusation.Speaking of proven facts in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the ’50 Facts’ gives a more than adequate basis for questioning the McCanns’ account of events. These facts and many others might lead one to think about a possible cover-up of Madeleine’s death. I would not like to say whether these and other facts go far enough to prove that. The facts are IMO less persuasive when it comes to an allegation that the parents caused Madeleine’s death. However, you are dead right about one thing: causing the death of a child or covering it up are indeed heinous crimes. And that word ‘heinous’ would also apply to anyone else who knowingly withheld knowledge of someone causing the death of a child or covering it up, be they a close friend of the family or the former Director of Tony Blair’s Media Monitoring Unit.

 

2. On December 16th, 2007 at 12:28 pm, you posted the following on the Anorak site:-

Quote: Can Bridget O’Donnell and ‘Jes’ Wilkins be regarded as ‘witnesses of truth’? If Ms O’Donnell has printed half-truths, or not told all the truth, in effect can we place 100% reliance on anything the two of them say?

 

So do you stand by your statement that the reliability of anyone who tells half-truths or who does not tell the whole truth should be questionable?

 

REPLY BY TB: I am mightily impressed with your database of remarks I made on a forum over three years ago. Very good. My answer to your question is ‘Yes’.

 

3. As you seem happy to back it and have your name associated with it, do you personally vouch for the accuracy of the Madeleine Research Group’s 50 facts leaflet which you intend to circulate in the near future?

 

REPLY BY TB: Yes, I am satisfied that those 50 facts in that leaflet are all true. We would be able to prove that if you had the balls to debate '50 FACTS' with me as you said you would.

 

4. In your educated opinion, do the following phrases have exactly the same meaning and therefore entirely interchangeable?

“The only assumption”
“Only an assumption”

 

REPLY BY TB: Well, let us have the whole quotation, so we both know exactly what we are talking about. This is a verbatim transcript of Clarence Mitchell’s remarks on Radio Humberside on 6 January 2011, I’ve highlighted the relevant remarks in italics:

QUOTE

The only assumption they can make is that somebody took her out of the apartment. That is the working hypothesis on which the private investigation is also based. That there is somebody, perhaps one, or just two or three people out there who know what happened and that there was an element of pre-meditation, pre-planning went into it. Possibly because of the location of the apartment; it was on a fairly remote corner of that particular resort. Errm... Children would have been coming and going over months/weeks beforehand and there... it... the private investigation believes there was a degree of pre-meditation and planning, errm... and the very fact that nothing has been found of Madeleine since, not a trace, tends to suggest that she has been taken somewhere else and has been... hopefully, is being looked after, or at least cared for, errr... with someone. Errr... That is... that is the working hypothesis.

UNQUOTE

Up until Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ chief mouthpiece, spoke these words – three times mentioning ‘assumption’ and ‘hypothesis’, the McCanns and their numerous advisers and spokesman had always insisted that Madeleine’s abduction was a FACT, though in March 2010 on Channel 4 Mitchell conceded that her disappearance was ‘a complete mystery’. Now this has all changed. Now it is no longer proclaimed by the McCanns’ mouthpiece to be a fact, but ONLY an assumption and ONLY a hypothesis. I trust I have made myself clear?

 

Conclusions

The Secretary of the Madeleine Foundation not only personally guaranteed the accuracy of the leaflet, but he also acknowledged that the reliability of anyone who tells half-truths or who does not tell the whole truth should be questionable.  As we have proved that almost half the "facts" in the leaflet are actually false, does he stand by his statements?

 

Remember - this rebuttal is fully sourced.  Many of our sources are primary sources - i.e. direct quotes - often with video-taped proof.  On the other hand, the "Madeleine McCann Research Group", which claims close links with the "Madeleine Foundation", provided no sources to substantiate their very serious assertions about the McCann family.  Instead, they want you to simply accept their word for it.

 

How accurate is the 50 Facts Leaflet?

Following a thorough analysis of the 50 "facts", our fully sourced rebuttal proves the following:-

 

27 (54%) of the "Facts" are false.
11 (22%) of the "Facts" contain significant misquotations.
16 (32%) of the "Facts" are misleading or contain misrepresentations of the facts.
1 (2%) of the "Facts" is a rumour - even the source claims it to be so.
4 (8%) of the "Facts" are Irrelevant - unfortunately, three of these are the only claims which happen to be true!
2 (4%) of the "Facts" contain unsubstantiated claims.
3 (6%) of the "Facts" are based upon quotes which have been taken out of context. Many of these are also MISquotes. 

 

Conclusion - Facts that the media aren't telling us?

We are told by the MMRG - which have "close links" with the Madeleine Foundation - that this leaflet contains "50 facts about the Maddie case that the British media are not telling you".  In fact, we have proven that the media (and mainly the British media) was the source for 68% of these "facts".



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