Monday, April 30, 2012

#Leveson: Murdoch's Poodle #Cameron UNLEASHED!

David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons
Righteous indignation can be all very well when your case is strong. But when a government's case is weak as it is on Jeremy Hunt, BSkyB, Adam Smith and Fred Michel it is much better to deal with any questions calmly and with a little humility.
I don't know why some Tory MPs seem to have trouble grasping this point, but Lord Justice Leveson's remit does not cover breaches of the ministerial code. It simply doesn't. He was tasked with examining press ethics and practices after the now-defunct News of the World was revealed to have hacked Milly Dowler's mobile. But still, clearly put up to it by the whips, a queue of Conservative MPs lined up to parrot the Prime Minister's not very credible line that he cannot intervene on the question of the ministerial code until Hunt has appeared in front of Leveson. A few Tory MPs I spotted at least had the grace to look embarrassed by their colleagues' toadying.
David Cameron himself was absolutely furious at being asked to come to the Commons to answer an urgent question on Hunt. I do not see what he has to be so annoyed about, unless perhaps he is deep down annoyed with himself and the mess he is in. More likely, he just didn't like his enemy Speaker Bercow ordering him to turn up.

Meanwhile, the Tory chairman's claim that this was all unnecessary because the PM had been questioned on television yesterday is yet more evidence that Baroness Warsi is struggling to grasp the basics. The PM is accountable to Parliament, not to Andrew Marr.

From the off Cameron's approach was wince-inducingly ill-judged. He rushed his statement and sounded steadily more touchy as he got deeper into it, lashing out and even shouting at one point about Charlie Whelan. It wasn't very Prime Ministerial.
In contrast, Miliband was much better today than in his botched PMQS outing last week. Rather than sounding like a whiney teenager he opted for a calm, forensic set of questions and attacks.

This only angered Cameron even more. Whenever his motives or integrity are questioned by opponents a red mist descends. This is admirable, to an extent, because it shows he takes the character question very seriously. But it can also induce in him a boiling rage that is not likely to look attractive to any passing voters. At one point it was Flashman to the max: "Get yer facts right", a puce Cameron snarled at Miliband.
"More! More! More!" brayed some Tory MPs at the end, clearly unaware of how awful the overall performance had been. Make it "Less, less, less."

The Tory leader was good on Marr yesterday; that was Cameron at his best. In the Commons today we saw him at his worst.

#Leveson : Video - #Cameron Is Voted CUNT Of The Day By Shrub Monkey !

David Cameron is today's Cunt of the Day.
The UK's boy prime minister who, in the words of Norman Tebbit, is running an accident prone government, was today called to parliament to answer urgent questions about culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's handling of News Corp's proposed takeover of BSkyB.

What a fucking gong show and an embarrassment to the UK this whole situation has become.

There are many reasons to find Cameron a truly despicable human being, but today, under pressure, he showed a glimpse of the boy beneath his chummy facade. The BBC describes Cameron appearance as "combative, at times angry, as he insisted Mr Hunt had acted fairly and impartially in the BSkyB takeover". The result is that, for the time being, there will be no inquiry because Cameron thinks it is "not necessary or right". According to the FT's Jim Pickard, Cameron "raged, fumed and argued until he was red in the face to insist that Hunt had done no wrong" and the prime minister has now bound himself to Jeremy Hunt.

It is, however, for yet another off-the-cuff comment that Cameron takes today's Cunt of the Day and that is for his response to a question by MP Dennis Skinner in which Cameron said, "Well, the honourable gentleman has the right at any time to take his pension and I advise him to do so". The question was a serious one about the way the prime minister is protecting Jeremy Hunt, and Cameron's response shows him up for what he is: a rude, disrespectful, arrogant man who thinks he is above everyone else. Not only was he disrespecting Skinner, who is 80 years old and has been an MP for over 40 years, he was disrespecting all older people who are productive in society when they could be retired.

Watch Cameron's breathtaking arrogance for more

#Leveson : What Uneducated Cameron Told David Skinner

4.04pm: Labour's Dennis Skinner asks why Hunt has got better employment rights than other workers in Britain.

Cameron says Skinner should retire and take his pension.

4.02pm: Labour's Chris Bryant asks Cameron to accept that Hunt's adviser gave News Corporation advance information about market-sensitive announcements before they were made in parliament.
Cameron says that Bryant himself used confidential information which he had obtained as a participant to the Leveson inquiry to make false allegations about Cameron in the Commons last week. If Bryant had any honour, he would apologise, he says.

4.00pm: Labour's Tom Watson asks Cameron if he will offer to provide Leveson with copies of the text messages sent by Treasury special advisers to News Corporation's lobbyists.

Cameron says Leveson can request whatever evidence he wants.

4.00pm: David Davies, a Conservative, asks if Cameron has ever phoned a newspaper proprietor to offer his services as a godparent, or to offer to hold a pyjama party. Cameron says Davies puts that well.

3.57pm: Julian Lewis, a Conservative, asks if Cameron can assure people we are getting value for money from the independent adviser on ministerial interests in these "cash-strapped times". (Sir Alex Allan is paid £30,000 a year, and has not carried out any inquiries.)

Yes, says Cameron, he can give that assurance.

3.56pm: Peter Bone, a Conservative, says he checked with his constituency office (Mrs Bone) to see if any voters were complaining about the culture department. There have been hundreds of complaints, he says, but only about Harry Redknapp not becoming England manager.

3.55pm: Cameron says that it would be easy to say "off you go" every time a minister got in trouble. But it is important to get the facts, and to allow natural justice to take its course. That should happen more often, he says.

3.54pm: Ben Bradshaw, the Labour former culture secretary, says Hunt did not always follow the advice of Ofcom, because Ofcom said the BSkyB bid should be referred to the Competition Commission.

Cameron says that if Hunt had not indicated his willingess to accept undertakings in lieu as an alternative, he would have been liable to judicial review.

3.52pm: Peter Lilley, a Conservative, says it would be sensible to allow Leveson to establish the facts.

Cameron says he agrees. If he asked the independent adviser to carry out an inquiry now, that would duplicate the work being carried out by Leveson. The independent adviser and Leveson would be looking at the same set of papers.

3.51pm: Cameron says he consulted Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, about the right process to follow in this case.

3.49pm: John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the culture committee, asks Cameron to confirm that he will have a proper inquiry if there are any questions about Hunt's conduct left unanswered after he has given evidence to Leveson.

Cameron says that of course he will give that assurance. The questioning at Leveson is more rigorous than it would be under a civil service inquiry. And if evidence comes forward suggesting that Hunt did break the ministerial code, he will order an inquiry, he says. But at the moment no such evidence exits.

3.47pm: Labour's Margaret Hodge said Hunt told MPs on Wednesday that his permanent secretary had "authorised" Adam Smith to play the role he did.

On Thursday the permanent secretary refused to confirm this when giving evidence to her committee.

But on Friday the permanent secertary wrote to Hodge saying he was just "content" with the arrangement.

Cameron says he saw the permanent secretary giving evidence. Hodge is wrong, he says.

3.42pm: Cameron says Miliband is "weak and wrong".
Labour still has not apologised for 15 years of pyjama parties, he says.
On Hunt misleading MPs, he says Hunt gave a full answer in September 2011.
On the role of the special adviser, Cameron says Adam Smith, the adviser, has said that his contacts went beyond what was authorised.
And on Hunt taking responsibility for his special adviser, he asks who took responsibility for advisers like Charlie Whelan when Labour was in power.
He also says that Harriet Harman called for Hunt's resignation only 23 minutes after the Leveson evidence was published, even though she had not read it.
Today we have learned something about Miliband, he says. "Bad judgment, rotten politics, plain wrong." That is something Miliband will regret, he says.

3.38pm: Ed Miliband says Hunt was in clear breach of the ministerial code.
This matters because we need a government that stands up for ordinary people, he says.
Lord Justice Leveson said he was not the judge of the ministerial code. Leveson is doing his job. It is time Cameorn did his, Miliband says.
Miliband identifies the three alleged breaches of the ministerial code.
First, Hunt told MPs he was revealing all his department's exchanges with News Corporation. But he left out the Adam Smith contacts, he says.
Second, News Corporation was given confidential information before it was disclosed to the Commons about the BSkyB takeover.
Thirdly, Hunt is claiming his special adviser was "on a freelance mission". But is Cameron really reduced to the News of the Word defence - one rogue person, acting alone. If Hunt is that clueless, he should be sacked anyway.
The special adviser had to go to protect Hunt. And Hunt has to stay to protect Cameron, he says.
Cameron is "too close to a powerful few, out of touch with everybody else" more

#Leveson : Watch LIVE - David Cameron At The House Of Commons

Sunday, April 29, 2012

#Leveson: Abolish #IPCC - May 1st Come To The Demonstration.

PROTEST: Abolish the Corrupt IPCC

PROTEST – Abolish The IPCC.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is, officially anyway, the watchdog who’s “main role is to increase public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales”. (See ‘About the IPCC’)

To say they have failed is an understatement here’s another of their statements; “It is [the IPCC] independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police, government and complainants”. Yes of course they are but I’m not sure how they manage that, as 90% of their investigators are ex-cops.

The IPCC needs to be killed off and new truly independent, non-racial and all-round inclusive organisation put in its place. An organisation with teeth, a body that has legal powers to prosecute without reference to the other corrupt organisation the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

If you can join us at the protest on May 1, at 90 High Holborn, London WC1 6BH. It starts at 3pm; there are many speakers and hopefully a coffin....Please go to above link for more information

#Leveson #Brooks Bullied Labour MP Martin Salter.

The PNC checks

PNC checks were made by detective constable Diss on three Labour politicians, according to police interview transcripts obtained by the Guardian. All were in late 2000.

• The first, on 13 September 2000, was on Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading West.

Salter had displeased Rebekah Brooks, then News of the World editor. He refused her request to support her notorious campaign for Sarah's Law to "protect us from pervs". Shortly afterwards, on 24 September 2000, NoW readers were urged to pillory him personally in a "naming and shaming" stunt.

Salter says: "She responded with some foul personal attacks so typical of the bullying style of the former NoW. I remember canvassing that Sunday morning and it was particularly unpleasant."

False rumours had been circulated earlier in the year by opponents in his constituency that he had convictions for cannabis and GBH. He had also made no secret of the fact that he had smoked cannabis in the past and believed in its decriminalisation.

• A few days later, on 18 September, DC Diss was asked to do another check, this time on Nick Brown, the agriculture minister and Labour MP for Newcastle East who had previously been "outed" as gay by the News of the World. Nick Brown had just been tipped as Gordon Brown's campaign manager in a rumoured leadership bid attempt to unseat Tony Blair.

• The third occasion came two months later, on 16 November, when a check was requested on "James Gordon Brown". The Murdoch papers were at that point taking Blair's side in his continuing feud with Gordon Brown.

All the requests came from Glen Lawson at Abbey Investigations in Newcastle upon Tyne, who paid £20 or £40 a time, according to the seized invoices. Each time, the answer "no trace" was faxed over to him.

Lawson refuses to identify his customer, but the court was told it was believed to be a newspaper.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

#Leveson: #NewsCorp - £29m bonus package for Murdochs if they are sacked by News Corporation

Rupert Murdoch and his son James are in line for multi-million dollar bonuses if they are sacked by News Corporation, the company in which their family is the biggest shareholder.

Documents filed in New York show for the first time how much the pair are entitled to collect in bonuses should their employment be terminated.

Rupert Murdoch is chairman and chief executive while James is deputy chief operating officer, though the documents refer to his earlier title as chairman and chief executive of Europe and Asia.

Bonuses: If James and Rupert Murdoch are sacked, each will be entitled to take the proportion of their annual bonus they have earned up to that point
Bonuses: If James and Rupert Murdoch are sacked, each will be entitled to take the proportion of their annual bonus they have earned up to that point

The agreements between the pair and the company resulted from a change in the way they were rewarded, aimed at more closely aligning their pay with company performance rather than basing it on earnings per share, said News Corp sources.

Rupert Murdoch was entitled to a maximum bonus of $25million (£15.4million) in 2011 while his potential payout under a long-term incentive plan was $4million for 2011-2013.


James Murdoch’s maximum cash bonus was $12million with a potential $6million long-term incentive plan payout.
If either man’s employment with the company is terminated, each will be entitled to take the proportion of their annual bonus they have earned up to that point.
They will not be allowed to have a payout under the long-term incentive scheme if they are a year or less into the scheme. But they will be entitled to one if they are in the second or third year of the scheme, even if they are sacked.
The payouts would be made in the case of dismissal on a variety of grounds including because they have pleaded guilty or been convicted of a felony, or because of ‘deliberate and material breach by you of your duties and responsibilities that results in material harm to the company’.
They would also get payouts if they are sacked because of addiction to drink or drugs. For full details go to

Read more:

Leveson:Robert Emmel Whistleblower Incurred Wrath Of Murdoch Empire

Relentless legal pursuit of ex-News Corp employee likened to 'Rambo tactics'
Robert Emmel worked for News Corporation and later notified authorities about illegal business practices. Photograph: Timothy Fadek/Polaris
Five years ago Robert Emmel was enjoying the American dream. He lived in a detached house in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, drove a BMW, and earned $140,000 a year as an accounts director in a highly successful advertising company called News America Marketing.

Today, Emmel is described by his lawyers as destitute. Jobless and in debt, he was discharged from bankruptcy last year. He does occasional consultancy work that last month brought in $500, and this month, court documents show, will probably produce nothing. His wife's earnings raise monthly household income to about $3,000 – half their outgoings.

This is a cautionary tale about what can happen to someone who dares to become a corporate whistleblower. Or, more specifically, someone who incurs the wrath of News Corporation, the media empire owned by Rupert Murdoch, of which News America forms a part.

Emmel's lawyer, Philip Hilder, has had a ringside seat at the gradual unravelling of his client's life. A former federal prosecutor based in Houston, Texas, Hilder is well versed in whistleblower cases having represented Sherron Watkins, who helped uncover the Enron scandal. Hilder said: "News America has engaged in Rambo litigation tactics. They have a scorched earth policy, and it's taken a huge toll on him." more

#Leveson:#NewsCorp And 'Mole' Dishing Dirt Joe Muto.

A Double Standard For News Corp. Justice?

April 27, 2012  by Eric Boehlert

Two weeks after getting fired from Fox News for being a "mole" dishing dirt on Rupert Murdoch's news channel, Joe Muto reported that on Wednesday he received an early morning visit from New York County District Attorney officials who arrived with a warrant and left with his phone, laptop and notebooks. They were responding to News Corp.'s allegations that Muto had committed larceny when he shared his inside-Fox News account, complete with in-house video from the channel's servers, with Gawker in a series of controversial posts.

This week's swift law enforcement response to the relatively minor criminal case stands in stark contrast to when competitors to a News Corp. subsidiary, News America, spent years beseeching law enforcement agencies to fully investigate claims that News America employees had illegally hacked into a competitor's secure website and stolen proprietary information in an effort to steal away clients and "destroy" the company, according to one of its owners.

At the time, federal investigators at the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's office, overseen then by Chris Christie, refused to take the Murdoch-related case seriously and no criminal charges were ever filed. That, despite the fact that years later as part of a civil case, a News Corp. attorney admitted in open court that the company's computers had been used to hack into a competitor's website. (News Corp. insisted it couldn't determine who did the hacking; evidence suggests the company didn't dig very deep to find out.)

In the wake of the "mole" story there's certainly a sharp contrast in terms of how quickly the story about Muto's mid-level mischievousness sparked a criminal investigation, as compared to how the much more serious allegations of corporate corruption within the suites of Murdoch's American empire went mostly untouched for more

#Leveson :Alex Salmond denies acting as lobbyist for Murdoch and BSkyB

First minister says he was acting to protect Scottish jobs after emails suggest he was lobbying for News Corp's BSkyB takeover
Alex Salmond holds up a photograph of Ed Miliband, dismissing the Labour leader's claims he acted as an undercover lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
The Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, has denied acting as an "undercover lobbyist" for Rupert Murdoch and his media empire.

The Scottish Nationalist party leader said on Saturday that his relationship with Rupert Murdoch was "good and business-like", adding that he was willing to intervene on the media mogul's behalf to protect Scottish jobs.

His comments come after the release of emails from Frédéric Michel, News Corp's European director of public affairs, to James Murdoch that suggested Salmond was prepared to lobby the business secretary, Vince Cable, and culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to wave through the takeover of BSkyB.

Further documents published by the Leveson inquiry this week showed a "cup of tea" that Salmond said he had had at his official residence with James Murdoch in February was actually a lunch that also included Michel, whose role was to overcome obstacles to the BSkyB deal.

The revelations prompted the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, to describe Salmond as an "undercover lobbyist" for Murdoch.
Salmond told BBC's Today programme that BSkyB employed 6,200 people in Scotland and he was willing to advocate for Murdoch because "the consolidation of business ownership would be a platform fro the expansion of BSkyB" and Scotland was "excellently placed" to benefit from that.

He said he was "delighted" that Murdoch described him as a "funny guy" and added that he did not believe his newspapers were the only ones guilty of phone hacking. "The idea that malpractice and potential illegality is confined to one organisation is for the birds," he said.

Speaking of Miliband, Salmond said: "This is a guy who last July was having champagne and canapes at a News International reception but now thinks people will forget all of Labour's previous associations."

Miliband, who was campaigning with his party in Glasgow on Friday, said: "If he had nothing to hide, why did he hide it? What he actually did was, he acted as an undercover lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch. I don't think that's what people expect of the First Minister of Scotland."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said on Saturday: "We see evidence of the favourable newspaper coverage Alex Salmond received after he offered his lobbying service to Murdoch, but the first minister is asking us just to take his word that he really did the deal for jobs – despite failing to provide any proof.

"The longer these details are held back, the more suspicious the public will become about Alex Salmond's version of events. I'm not sure how many people in Scotland really believe him."

#Leveson #NewsInternational #McCann :Mark Hollingsworth Investigates The McCann Files

Kevin Halligen is in a British jail awaiting extradition to America. It was alleged he stole 300.000 pounds from the Madeleine fund BUT not by the McCanns, oddly enough the SUN carried the story, they also claim he tried to SUE the Madeleine fund for 150.000 pounds ??? If Halligen had stolen from the fund the McCanns could not go to the police because the fund is clearly fraudulent. See link under Enid O' Dowd.

Kevin Halligen maybe knows a little too much of what is going on and someone does not want him to be extradited.

Brian Kennedy also needs investigating he has interfered with witnesses in the McCann case and they are now too afraid to speak with the police as Mark Hollingsworth discovered when writing this article.

The only person who can investigate if there are connections with News International, Brian Kennedy and Kevin Halligen is MP Tom Watson, I will forward this too him and let him do his work.What is very clear there is much more to this than a missing child.

Clarence Mitchell is heavily involved in this case and it is possible on the payroll of News International, again Tom will have to investigate.

Enid O'Dowd took a forensic look at the fund and it is clear all is not what it seems..see link below

A sends:

Some interesting info for you. It's also worth reading the blog comments on this for background.

The blogspot has redacted text in response to this D-notice:
The following text is an unredacted version retrieved from Google cache, with redacted text in red identifying a former undercover police officer who worked with MI5. See other hosts of this via Google on "Henri Exton."
September 25, 2009
Mark Hollingsworth Investigates The McCann Files
Disillusioned with the Portuguese police, Gerry and Kate McCann turned to private detectives to find their missing daughter. Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false hopes. Mark Hollingsworth investigates the investigators.
by Mark Hollingsworth
It was billed as a ‘significant development’ in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an E-FIT image of an Australian woman, described her as ‘a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike’, and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen ‘looking agitated’ outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine’s disappearance. ‘It is a strong lead’, said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. ‘Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant.’
But within days reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished.
The apparent flaws in this latest development were another salutary lesson for Kate and Gerry McCann, who have relied on private investigators after the Portuguese police spent more time falsely suspecting the parents than searching for their daughter. For their relations with private detectives have been frustrating, unhappy and controversial ever since their daughter’s disappearance in May 2007.
The search has been overseen by the millionaire business Brian Kennedy, 49, who set up Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, which aimed ‘to procure that Madeleine’s abduction is thoroughly investigated’. A straight-talking, tough, burly self-made entrepreneur and rugby fanatic, he grew up in a council flat near Tynecastle in Scotland and was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. He started his working life as a window cleaner and by 2007 had acquired a £350 million fortune from double-glazing and home-improvement ventures. Kennedy was outraged by the police insinuations against the McCanns and, though a stranger, worked tirelessly on their behalf. ‘His motivation was sincere,’ said someone who worked closely with him. ‘He was appalled by the Portuguese police, but he also had visions of flying in by helicopter to rescue Madeleine.’
Kennedy commissioned private detectives to conduct an investigation parallel to the one run by the Portuguese police. But his choice showed how dangerous it is when powerful and wealthy businessmen try to play detective. In September 2007, he hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain’s ‘language and cultural connection’ with Portugal. ‘If we’d had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces’ said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann’s at the time. ‘And it’s quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.
The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. ‘We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,’ boasted Metodo 3’s flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.
Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by ES shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.
ES has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that:
* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’.
* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.
* Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police.
* Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work.
By April 2008, nearing the first anniversary of the disappearance, Kennedy and the McCanns were desperate. And so when Henri Exton, a former undercover police officer who worked on MI5 operations, and Kevin Halligen, a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ, walked through the door, their timing was perfect. Their sales pitch was classic James Bond spook-talk: everything had to be ‘top secret’ and ‘on a need to know basis’. The operation would involve 24-hour alert systems, undercover units, satellite imagery and round-the-clock surveillance teams that would fly in at short notice. This sounded very exciting but, as one source close to the investigation told ES, it was also very expensive and ultimately unsuccessful. ‘The real job at hand was old-fashioned, tedious, forensic police work rather than these boy’s own, glory boy antic,’ he said.
But Kennedy was impressed by the license-to-spy presentation and Exton and Halligen were hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses. Ostensibly, the contract was with Halligen’s UK security company, Red Defence International Ltd, and an office was set up in Jermyn Street, in St James’s. Only a tiny group of employees did the painstaking investigative work of dealing with thousands of emails and phone calls. Instead, resources were channelled into undercover operations in paedophile rings and among gypsies throughout Europe, encouraged by Kennedy. A five-man surveillance team was dispatched in Portugal, overseen by the experienced Exton, for six weeks.
Born in Belgium in 1951, Exton had been a highly effective undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick and dynamic figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980’s. While not popular among his colleagues, in 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists, and was later awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for ‘outstanding bravery’. By all accounts, the charismatic Exton was a dedicated officer. But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgement when he was arrested for shoplifting.
While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt. Exton was sacked, but was furious about the way he had been treated and threatened to sue MI5. He later set up his own consulting company and moved to Bury in Lancashire.
While Exton, however flawed, was the genuine article as an investigator, Halligen was a very different character. Born in Dublin in 1961, he has been described as a ‘Walter Mitty figure’. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself ‘Kevin’ or ‘Richard’ or ‘Patrick’ at different times to describe himself to business contacts. There appears to be no reason for all this subterfuge except that he thought this was what agents did. A conspiracy theorist and lover of the secret world, he is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) as head of defence systems in the rather less glamorous field of new information technology, researching the use of ‘special batteries’. He told former colleagues and potential girlfriends that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA. He also claimed that he was nearly kidnapped by the IRA, was involved in the first Gulf War and had been a freefall parachutist.
Very little of this is true. What is true is that Halligen has a degree in electronics, worked on the fringes of the intelligence community while at AEA and does understand government communications. He could also be an astonishingly persuasive, engaging and charming individual. Strikingly self-confident and articulate, he could be generous and clubbable. ‘He was very good company but only when it suited him’ says one friend. He kept people in compartments.’
After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries. He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen’s first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.
Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton.
During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. ‘He was there virtually the whole day,’ a former colleague told ES. ‘He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol and a prodigious memory and so occasionally he would have amazing bursts of intelligence, lucidity and insights. They were very rare but they did happen.’
When not imbibing in St James’s, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen ‘received monies for Oakley’s services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts’ and ‘repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley’s bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses’.
Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin.
Meanwhile, Exton was running the surveillance teams in Portugal and often paying his operatives upfront, so would occasionally be out-of-pocket because Halligen had not transferred funds.
Exton genuinely believed that progress was being made and substantial and credible reports on child trafficking were submitted. But by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote ‘between one and ten’. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid.
While Kennedy and Gerry McCann accepted that the mission was extremely difficult and some secrecy was necessary, Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses. And eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by ES, shows that for ‘accrued expenses to May 5, 2008’ (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The ‘point of contact’ was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number.
While Kennedy was ready to accept Halligen at face value, Gerry McCann ­ sharp, focused and intelligent ­ was more sceptical. The contract with Oakley International and Halligen was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000-plus expenses had been spent.
For the McCanns it was a bitter experience, Exton has returned to Cheshire and, like so many people, is owed money by Halligen. As for Halligen, he has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels. He is now believed by private investigators, who have been searching for him to serve papers on behalf of creditors, to be in the UK and watching his back. Meanwhile, in the eye of the storm, the McCanns continue the search for their lost daughter.

The McCanns , News International and the SUN pressured David Cameron to review the case. Detective Andy Redwood needs also to be investigated to see who put him up to a 'stranger abduction' when the police files clearly implicate the McCanns in the disappearance of their daughter.AND what is Redwood doing chatting on TV Sofas about a case that has yet to be concluded?

#Leveson :Check requested on James Gordon Brown (2003)

Gordon Brown 

Gordon Brown's office were warned about illegal data checks on the former prime minister in 2003. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
An unexpected ruling by a judge six years ago effectively covered up the chance to publicly expose evidence of the illegal targeting of Gordon Brown, which had been unearthed by a startled team of provincial detectives.

Operation Reproof, by Plymouth police, revealed the first of what became many systematic attempts to gain illegal confidential information on the prime minister and his family, but their findings were suppressed.

The Guardian has now been able to document the facts.

Files buried in police archives detail the discovery of an extraordinary nationwide network of private investigators, whom a corrupt local police officer was feeding with information filched from the police national computer (PNC).

To the detectives' surprise, the targets included the then chancellor of the exchequer, listed by his full name, James Gordon Brown and date of birth, as well as two other Labour politicians.

They were the chancellor's close colleague, the agriculture minister Nick Brown, plus the embattled MP for Reading West, Martin Salter, who at the time of the PNC break-in had been publicly put on an "enemies list" by the then News of the World editor, Rebekah Brooks.

An Exeter detective constable, Phil Diss, was covertly performing PNC checks, which were subsequently sold on to private investigators in bulk, for as little as £40 or even £20 a time.

Gordon Brown's office were privately warned in 2003 at the time of discovery of the illegal data checks, according to sources familiar with the case. So too were Nick Brown and Salter.

Diss, a popular and long-serving police officer, used his official access to the PNC to supply results to his former boss, a retired police inspector, who ran a commercial investigation agency in Exmouth, servicing other private detectives across the country.

SAS Investigations in Exmouth gleaned material from a stable of several local police officers and civil servants able to get into official databases, containing criminal records, other police intelligence and social security details.

The purchaser of information on the three Labour politicians was Glen Lawson, another private detective in Newcastle upon Tyne, according to police records and court transcripts obtained by the Guardian.

Lawson, who still trades in Tyneside under the name Abbey Investigations, refuses to say which journalists contracted him to pursue Gordon Brown and other members of the Labour government. He told the Guardian at the weekend: "I am not going to make any comment".

Lawson was raided on 26 February 2003 by Devon and Cornwall police and his files seized. He himself was not charged, the court was later told, because of a CPS decision to try to avoid excessive prosecution delays.

But the evidence involving Gordon Brown did form part of the Crown case against Diss and his former boss, Alan Stidwill of SAS Investigations. Eventually, six people were charged with offences involving misconduct in public office after a three-year investigation across the country called Operation Reproof.

It strained the budget of Devon and Cornwall police, forcing them to agree to limit the range of defendants and to focus research on their own West Country area. But, a police spokesman told the Guardian this week, as far as those six were concerned: "We thought we had a strong case."

The police team were then surprised and upset when Judge Paul Darlow refused in 2005 to regard the issue as sufficiently serious to go to trial. He prevented a jury from hearing the case, saying the alleged behaviour was too trivial to justify criminal misconduct charges, and the proposed trial would be a waste of public money.

The papers in front of him identified the two ministers and an MP. Darlow specifically referred at a pre-trial hearing to the fact that "particulars in respect of the chancellor of the exchequer were sought and obtained".

But he nonetheless accepted defence claims that the illegal PNC information had been primarily passed to respectable insurance companies, finance houses and other detective agencies, in order to prevent fraud.

He asserted that an eight-week trial might cost as much as £1m in legal fees: "In my judgment it is not a proportionate use of valuable resources to prosecute these matters," he said.

As a result, all the defendants were formally acquitted, and none of the evidence was made public.

Stidwill, whose counsel maintained he had no idea the names being checked belonged to politicians, said after being cleared: "It has been a dreadful waste of taxpayers' money. We've been to court 13 or 14 times over that period and treated like criminals. It's had a terrible effect on us all."

The PNC checks

PNC checks were made by detective constable Diss on three Labour politicians, according to police interview transcripts obtained by the Guardian. All were in late 2000.

• The first, on 13 September 2000, was on Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading West.

Salter had displeased Rebekah Brooks, then News of the World editor. He refused her request to support her notorious campaign for Sarah's Law to "protect us from pervs". Shortly afterwards, on 24 September 2000, NoW readers were urged to pillory him personally in a "naming and shaming" stunt.

Salter says: "She responded with some foul personal attacks so typical of the bullying style of the former NoW. I remember canvassing that Sunday morning and it was particularly unpleasant."

False rumours had been circulated earlier in the year by opponents in his constituency that he had convictions for cannabis and GBH. He had also made no secret of the fact that he had smoked cannabis in the past and believed in its decriminalisation.

• A few days later, on 18 September, DC Diss was asked to do another check, this time on Nick Brown, the agriculture minister and Labour MP for Newcastle East who had previously been "outed" as gay by the News of the World. Nick Brown had just been tipped as Gordon Brown's campaign manager in a rumoured leadership bid attempt to unseat Tony Blair.

• The third occasion came two months later, on 16 November, when a check was requested on "James Gordon Brown". The Murdoch papers were at that point taking Blair's side in his continuing feud with Gordon Brown.

All the requests came from Glen Lawson at Abbey Investigations in Newcastle upon Tyne, who paid £20 or £40 a time, according to the seized invoices. Each time, the answer "no trace" was faxed over to him.

Lawson refuses to identify his customer, but the court was told it was believed to be a newspaper.

BROWN to BLAIR 'I will bring you down with sleaze'

#Leveson : Clarence Mitchell Profile - Mr. Spin - Is He On Murdoch's Payroll ?

I was the head of the government’s Media Monitoring Unit. Forty people work there and their function is to control what comes out in the media.”  

Clarence Mitchell now works for the PR company, Freud Communications, whose boss is Matthew Freud – the husband of Elisabeth Murdoch, who is the daughter of Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch is the world’s most powerful media magnate, with major terrestrial TV, satellite and media interests in dozens of countries. So who is Clarence Mitchell? Find out below…


Carlos Anjos, head of the Portuguese police professional association, who had dealings with Clarence Mitchell, said of him: “He lies with as many teeth as he has in his mouth”.

Clarence Mitchell in his own words, on 29 September 2007 to Espresso: “I was the head of the government’s Media Monitoring Unit. Forty people work there and their function is to control what comes out in the media.”


Clarence Mitchell’s media career began in the late 1980s as a BBC regional reporter in Leeds. He moved to London where he covered stories about the Royals. A 2007 article on the BBC website by Laurie Margolis about him says: “Clarence was also a presenter on various BBC news programmes, looking to make that his main career. The presenting world is a precarious and capricious one, however, and he never quite made it. Once, I was working throughout the night. Clarence was presenting hourly bulletins on BBC News 24. He did the 1am, and 2am, but at 3am a slightly dishevelled looking producer appeared doing the news. It turned out Clarence closed his eyes, sleeping  through the 3am bulletin. Clarence left the BBC suddenly, becoming the Labour government’s Director of its Media Monitoring Unit at the Central Office of Information. There, his job was to ‘correct’ bad media stories about the government and to put out the government line”. A ‘spinner’, as some would say, or ‘a professional liar’ as others describe it. In May 2007 he was suddenly seconded to the Foreign Office to work as  the McCanns’ chief PR man, assisting another McCann spokeswoman, Justine McGuiness. In September 2007, in an unusual move, he resigned from the civil service to become the McCanns’ full-time spokesman, on £75,000 a year. He remains in that role, though he has been employed for the last few months by another major PR agency, Freud Communications.


Margolis also noted Clarence Mitchell’s strange association with controversial murder cases:  “He was closely involved with the Fred and Rosemary West case, where a murderous couple had killed young girls and buried the bodies under their patio in Gloucester. He was one of the first reporters to arrive at Gowan Avenue, Fulham in south west London, when the immensely popular BBC TV presenter Jill Dando was shot dead in a murder many feel has never been satisfactorily explained”. Mitchell also covered in depth the arrest and conviction of mass-murderer Dennis Nilson. When Paula Yates’ partner Michael Hutchance died in mysterious circumstances in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Sydney, Australia, in 1999, Clarence Mitchell was despatched to cover the death; more recently, in a story he worked on right up to the day he left the BBC, Clarence led coverage of the murder of the Surrey schoolgirl Millie Dowler in 2002. The case has never been solved. Mitchell has also written books on the Fred & Rosemary West and Jill Dando cases. He also reported extensively on the murder by Ian Huntley of Soham girls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. On 9 January this year, the Independent ran a brief article titled: ‘Remember Clarence Mitchell?’  It said: “Clarence Mitchell, formerly of the BBC and now spokesman for Madeleine McCann’s parents, has developed a nice little niche as a spin doctor of misery. First he took on Fiona MacKeown, mother of teenager Scarlet Kelling, who was murdered in Goa.  Then he started representing the parents of murdered London  teenager Jimmy Mizen. And today we’ve discovered that Mr Mitchell is also speaking for the wife of Jeremy Hoyland, the British jet skier who went missing off the coast of Bali last October.  Mr Mitchell is not charging for his services. But his presence can hardly be reassuring – the PR equivalent of an angel of death”.

Clarence Mitchell has achieved much in the Madeleine McCann case. He played the key role in arranging for the McCanns to meet the Pope on 28 May 2007, just 25 days after Madeleine McCann was reported missing. A man with connections at the highest level, Clarence Mitchell openly boasted in a TV interview that it was he who arranged, via Roman Catholic Archbishop Cormac Murphy O’Connor, for the McCanns to visit the Pope – in what was a highly publicised visit. The Pope put pages of material about the McCanns and Madeleine on his website. But two days before the McCanns were made arguidos – ‘provisional suspects’ – in September 2007, the Pope wiped all references to Madeleine from his website. Margolis wrote in 2007: “I would imagine Clarence is content in his new role as the family’s voice. He’s centre stage on a huge story, intimately involved as ever, and on television and in the papers all the time. It was extraordinary how, last week, his intervention seemed to eliminate within hours any misgiving about the McCanns in the British media”.

Who has been paying Clarence Mitchell’s salary whilst he has been working for the McCanns? This remains a mystery. We know that up to September 2007, the British government paid his salary. He left the government that month. Since then, the McCanns and Mitchell have said on the record that the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’ has not paid any part of his salary. They say that he was paid by ‘an anonymous backer’. But Clarence Mitchell won’t say who that backer is, nor why that backer is giving him so much support. [UPDATE: In an article in the Independent on Sunday, 1 March 2009, Mitchell has contradicted previous claims that his salary was being paid by an anonymous backer. He now says he gets a retainer of £28,000 a year from the Helping to Find Madeleine Fund, donations to which were given to ‘help find Madeleine’, not pay the salaries of PR professionals].

Clarence Mitchell and the McCanns:

21 Issues of Concern

Here we examine 21 of the many issues that have caused people concern about Mitchell’s role in the Madeleine McCann case. At the end of our leaflet we explain how to obtain more information on the Madeleine McCann case, including our 60-page booklet: ‘What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? – 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted’.  
1. Allegedly being involved in tipping off the McCanns that the Portuguese police had been, or were going to, track their e-mails and ’phone calls

The McCanns were tipped off that the Portuguese police were monitoring their e-mails and ’phone calls. There was naturally concern over how this information leaked to them. A former Portuguese police officer has admitted working for the Spanish private detective agency, Metodo 3. He in turn had an inside contact in the Portuguese police who supplied Metodo 3  with information about the investigation. Clarence Mitchell was asked in an interview by Simon Israel on Channel 4 how the McCanns were tipped off. He refused to answer. 

2. Being forced to deny the McCanns’ initial claim of a break-in

On the evening that Madeleine was reported missing, the McCanns claimed an abductor had broken into the children’s room by ‘jemmying open the shutters’. They repeated that claim many times – a claim the media reported extensively. But the managers of the Mark Warners resort where the McCanns were staying, and the police, soon discovered that the shutters had not been tampered with. This forcing the McCanns to dramatically change their story – one of many changes of story – to say: ‘the abductor must have walked in through an unlocked patio door”. Asked about this discrepancy, Mitchell was forced to concede on the record: “There was no evidence of a break-in. I‘m not going into the detail, but I can say that Kate and Gerry are firmly of the view that somebody got into the apartment and took Madeleine out the window as their means of escape. To do that they did not necessarily have to tamper with anything. They got out of the window fairly easily”. It is however most unlikley that an abductor could have ‘got out of the window easily’ leaving no forensic trace.

3. Smearing Robert Murat
A curious feature of the Madeleine case was the targeting of Robert Murat, a dual Portuguese-British citizen, as a suspect. A journalist who worked closely with Clarence Mitchell, Lori Campbell, suspected Murat of involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance and reported him to the Police. Three of the McCanns’ close friends, the so-called ‘Tapas 7’, also reported seeing Robert Murat close to the McCanns’ apartment the evening Madeleine went missing, a claim he denied. The McCann camp made a concerted attempt, for whatever reason, to smear Murat. Clarence Mitchell himself played a key role in this: He said:
    “An outcome similar to Holly and Jessica [Soham children murdered by Ian Huntley] is possible. I don’t want to, and I can’t, talk about Robert Murat, but some journalists who worked with me in Soham, and that were now in Portugal, saw resemblances between that case and Robert Murat. And I won’t say more”. He was very lucky that Murat did not sue him for libel, since in 2008 Robert Murat collected a reported £550,000 in libel damages from news media and journalists whom he claimed had smeared and libelled him.

4. Being forced to retract his claim that ‘Madeleine is probably dead’

During early 2008, Clarence Mitchell was forced to concede that ‘Madeleine is probably dead’. This caused grave embarrassment for the McCanns, who were determined publicly to maintain that Madeleine was still alive. His statement could also have had serious implications for the Fund, which can only continue to operate and keep asking for donations  on this premise. Dr Gerald McCann was forced to publicly rebuke his PR chief by insisting on his blog two days later that they remained hopeful that Madeleine was still alive.

5. Failing to explain that the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’ was not a charity
Interviewed by James Whale, Mitchell repeatedly refused to correct Whale when he referred to the McCanns’ fund as a ‘charity’. In fact, the Helping to Find Madeleine Fund is registered as a ‘private trust’; its aims are not charitable and include making payments to the McCanns.

6. Asking people to send money in envelopes to ‘Gerry and Kate, Rothley’

Asked on the same James Whale show how people could contribute to the fund, Mitchell said: “Just put money into an envelope and send to Kate and Gerry McCann, Rothley, it’ll get there”. That was unprofessional – monies should have been directed to the registered office for the Fund, namely London Solicitors Bates, Wells & Braithwaite. For example, monies sent in the post could be stolen en route or would not be properly accounted for.

7. Claiming that the Fund was ‘independently controlled’
Pressed about control of the ‘Helping to Find Madeleine Fund’, Clarence Mitchell claimed that the Fund was ‘independently controlled’. This is untrue. The Trust’s Directors consist mainly of members of the McCann family and their friends or acquaintances. 

8. Retreating on whether or not the McCanns would take a lie detector test
The McCanns were anxious to convince the world that they were telling the truth about how Madeleine had suddenly gone missing. To bolster their claim, Clarence Mitchell announced:  “Kate and Gerry McCann would have no issue with taking a lie detector test”. However, two months later, he announced: “Of course they are not going to take any lie detector test”.

9. Making a film for TV about the McCanns’ distress ‘one year on’ whilst at the same time claiming the McCanns were not doing so
Clarence Mitchell told the media: “The McCanns don’t want to do anything about ‘woe is us a year on’. That is what the tabloids would like us to do, but we are not following their agenda, we are following our own agenda” (one of many references to ‘our agenda’). Weeks later, there was a two-hour long pre-recorded TV interview: ‘Madeleine McCann – One Year On’, clearly prepared long before his public statement, and certainly with his personal knowledge.

10. Issuing a ‘Crimewatch’-style video clip with a description of an abductor
It has always been the McCanns who have given out descriptions of a possible abductor. The Portuguese police from early on doubted the truthfulness of claims by Jane Tanner, one of the McCanns’ ‘Tapas 7’ friends, that she had seen an abductor. In early 2008, Clarence Mitchell announced that the McCann team were looking for a moustachioed man seen in Praia da Luz around the time Madeleine went missing. He did this in a widely-shown video clip in which he acted like a Crimewatch presenter. At a meeting at the London School of Economics on 30 January 2008, this performance, plus his commanding stance and choice of words, prompted one member of the LSE audience to ask: “Are you the police?” There was much laughter.

11. Claiming that “…whatever the Portuguese police might find in their investigation, the McCanns will have an innocent explanation for it”
To this bizarre statement, Mitchell added the equally strange comment: “There are wholly innocent explanations for any material that the police may or may not have found”, prompting  many to ask: “How could the McCanns and Clarence Mitchell  know in advance what the police might find and know that there would be ‘an innocent explanation’ for everything?

12. Claiming it didn’t matter if Dr Kate McCann changed her clothes on 3 May
One of the key issues in the Madeleine McCann case is whether the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 7’ friends have been telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the events of 3 May 2007, the day Madeleine was reported missing. In late 2008, a French journalist, Duarte Levy, claimed to have seen photos taken that evening conclusively proving that Dr Kate McCann had left the table during the evening and changed her clothes. That would blow a hole in her claim that she was at the Tapas bar the whole evening. She would have had to explain why she changed her clothes. Mitchell’s official response to these claims was: “So what if she did leave the table and change her clothes?” He refused to elaborate.

13. Saying that ‘none of the Tapas group’ were wearing watches the night Madeleine went missing – and then being forced to retract that statement
Clarence Mitchell had come under pressure from journalists to explain why there were so many major contradictions between the McCanns’ and the Tapas 7’s versions of events on 3 May 2007, when Madeleine ‘disappeared’. There were also many discrepancies in their timelines. Mitchell tried to explain, responding: “None of them were wearing watches or had mobile phones on them that night”. Those journalists then confronted him with the sheer unlikelihood that all nine had neither watch nor mobile ’phone, pointed out that the McCanns and others had used their mobile ’phones that night, and produced pictures of the McCanns and their Tapas 7 friends taken in Praia da Luz that week which showed that they were always wearing watches. Clarence Mitchell was forced into an embarrassing retreat, conceding: “Some of them were wearing watches and had mobile ’phones, some of them weren’t”. It is also now known from the McCanns’ statements to the Police, which have been publicly released, that the McCanns both had mobile ’phones with them that evening. As their official spokesman, Mitchell must surely have been briefed on this before he made his statement.

14. Falsely claiming that the McCanns had been ‘utterly honest and utterly open’
On 11 April 2008, Clarence Mitchell made this bold claim: “Kate and Gerry have been utterly honest and utterly open with the police and all of their statements from the moment that Madeleine was taken”.  He later said, referring to himself and the McCanns: ‘We have nothing to hide’. When addressing a largely student audience during what were called ‘The Coventry Conversations’, Mitchell said: “We are always willing to co-operate with the Portuguese police”. These were astounding claims to make given that…

  • Dr Kate McCann was asked 48 questions by the Portuguese police when interviewed on 7 September 2007 and refused to answer any of them.
  • The McCanns had refused point blank to take part in a reconstruction of the events of 3 May 2007, the night Madeleine McCann was reported missing.
  • The McCanns’ statements contained changes of story, contradictions with the accounts of others, evasions and obfuscations.

15. Claiming it would be ‘hugely entertaining’ to devise a cast list for a proposed film about Madeleine going missing
On 7 January 2008 it was widely reported in the media that the McCanns and their advisers were in talks with media and film moguls IMG, who made the film ‘Touching the Void’,  about a possible film about Madeleine’s disappearance. Clarence Mitchell was asked whether  Gerry and Kate would play themselves in any film or if their roles would be played by celebrity actors. He said: “It may be hugely entertaining and a bit of fun to speculate on a cast list, but we are a million miles away from that sort of thing”. On another occasion, he said of Madeleine: “If she is dead, she is dead”. These and other comments made some wonder how much ‘feel’ or concern for Madeleine’s welfare and fate Mitchell really had.

16. Claiming it was a British cultural custom for parents to put children to bed early so they could enjoy the rest of the evening
Interviewed by Irish TV station RTE, Clarence Mitchell tried to explain why the McCanns left three young children under four on their own, several nights in a row, whilst on holiday, and out for the evening wining and dining. He told his TV audience: “There is a cultural difference between Britain and Portugal. It is a British approach to get your children washed, bathed and in bed early in the evening, if you can, so you can have something of the evening to yourself. That’s the British way of doing things. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It doesn’t mean it’s right”. Many British parents objected strongly to Mitchell’s description of them..

17. Trying to deny that the McCanns had left the children alone every night
In an interview with Jon Gaunt of TalkSport, Clarence Mitchell was trying to explain why the McCanns had left their children alone ‘that night’ (i.e. the night of 3 May when Madeleine was reported missing). He was quickly corrected by Gaunt who reminded him: ‘But they left them alone every night’. Mitchell had no answer.

18. Blaming Romany gypsies for abducting Madeleine

Clarence Mitchell on one occasion pointed the finger of suspicion at Romany gypsies for having abducted Madeleine. It appeared he had no basis whatsoever for smearing this group of people. He has never apologised for making it.

19. Using an image of Mari Luz without her parents’ permission
Months after Madeleine went missing, another child, Mari Luz, went missing, though in very different circumstances. Sadly she has since been found dead. The McCanns printed posters  of Madeleine together with Mari Luz – without gaining the parents’ prior permission. Her parents were very upset, and complained. Clarence Mitchell reacted by stating: “It’s a shame that they are complaining about us in a press release. How can they be angry with is for wanting to help when all we’re trying to do is find their own daughter?”

20. Being ‘encouraged’ that Madeleine ‘may have been abducted by paedophiles’
In early 2008, stories were put about by an unknown Portuguese lawyer, Marcos Alexandre Aragao Correia, that Madeleine McCann had been abducted by paedophiles, raped, murdered and her body dumped in a dammed lake. At the time, a new drawing of a possible abductor was released, and part of the Arade Dam was searched. A friend of the McCanns was quoted as saying: “We fear that a group of two or three paedophiles may have been fishing around the apartments, casing them with a view to taking children”. Mitchell then commented:

“Developments such as this give Mr and Mrs McCann renewed hope. That is exactly the sort of call we want. We think the image is of such a quality that anyone who knows him will be able to identify him. Kate and Gerry are quite buoyant at the moment – every time we do something like this and move things forward it gives them strength. We’re very encouraged by this – putting all this information out, these images out, is helping Gerry and Kate in one way; simply by doing it we have got some momentum and are pushing the agenda forward on our side of the equation”.  Many asked why Mitchell and the McCanns could use such words as ‘buoyant’ and ‘encouraged’ in relation to Madeleine’s having been raped and murdered. The use of the word ‘agenda’ once again prompted the question: What was their ‘agenda’?

21. Explaining why the McCanns deliberately left their three children alone again the night after Madeleine and Sean had been crying the night before
On SKY News, Clarence Mitchell was interviewed, following a pre-recorded interview with the McCanns in which they admitted, for the first time, that two of their children had been crying on the night before Madeleine went missing. There was public outrage that the McCanns were told by their children that they had been crying the previous night whilst they were out wining and dining, only to then leave them alone again the very next night. The SKY News presenter asked: “Why did Kate and Gerry choose to leave the children the same way the very next night?”  Clarence Mitchell’s reply is instructive. Here it is in full:

“That is one interpretation. Let me put it in context. On the morning of May the 3rd, the day Madeleine later went missing, she came out, and said to Gerry and Kate at breakfast, very briefly as an aside, in no way was she unhappy or crying and then, in no way was she reprimanding her parents as some reports papers have wrongly, er, said. She simply said: “Why didn’t you come see – come and see me and Sean when we were crying, last night?”, and Kate and Gerry were puzzled by that, because in their checks – they had been checking her every 25/30 minutes, the same as they did the next night, when she went missing – they had found nothing to suggest that she was in any way distressed or upset, they found her asleep each time. There was nothing wrong. Rachel Oldfield, one of their friends, was in the apartment next door, in the room adjacent to Madeleine’s bedroom.

“She too was there all evening and heard no crying through the walls.  There was nothing to suggest this had happened. So it was a puzzle to Kate and Gerry when Madeleine mentioned it. They tried to question her about it, and she just walked off laughing, and, er, happy, she was [note the past tense] a child and she and, and so, so she dropped it. Now they of course had a serious discussion about what had possibly gone wrong and they decided to check her more thoroughly that next night, and that’s what they did. And in the context of what happened later – her disappearance – they felt that that conversation, puzzling as it was, was very important to bring to the police’s attention. They wonder why, if she cried, why she cried. Was something, or someone already in that room to make her cry and they fled when she cried? Who knows? They can’t prove that, but they told the police in confidence – legally protected documentation has been in those files for 11 months – and why does it appear on the very day they were at the European Parliament? Somebody in the police doesn’t want Kate and Gerry to widen the agenda [that word again!], for whatever reason. It’s wrong. It’s illegal, and the Portuguese government needs to stop this…from happening in the future” [NOTE: The ‘leak’ came from a Spanish journalist known to be very sympathetic to the McCanns].

During this long reply, we see the master media manipulator at work. He makes light of two children crying while their parents were not with them. He justifies the McCanns’ decision to go out wining and dining and leaving all three children alone again the very night after the children told them of their crying. He claims, without evidence, that the Police leaked the story about the McCanns’ children crying on their own the night before. He claims the police have done something illegal. Some might admire him as a master of his craft, and indeed one writer has already said that the McCanns’ public relations campaign will for years to come be a textbook example of how to control the media and manipulate public opinion. But, we may ask, if this is true, whose interests has Clarence Mitchell been serving? Is he someone who helps us get to the truth? Or someone who does his best to stop us getting to the truth? 

Read more shockers here