Freitag, 8. Juli 2011

A conversation with the press

Article in Question:

Message: Dear Mr. Smith,

In your article "Kate and Gerry McCann: Beyond the smears", from 16th December 2007, you mention this fact: "Russell O’Brien
and Jane Tanner had brought a monitor too, but theirs wasn’t getting much of a signal from the Tapas restaurant 50 yards away."

The couple never mentioned to the PJ that they brought a monitor as well, in all their statements they claim that the Paynes were
the only ones with a baby monitor. Only in April 2008, in the rogatory interviews conducted by Leicestershire Police, this piece
of information appeared. It might seem a small omission, but in the light of possible neglect charges, would have been important.
Jane Tanner claims in the rogatory interview that she brought it with her in the evenings and positioned it on a ledge/wall behind
her. This was NEVER mentioned to portuguese Police as the released statements show. The question I have is, how did you
get this info before the rogatory interviews even took place? I know you have to protect sources, but this seems a very strange
inside knowledge.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards


Who are you and what is your interest in this case?


I am sorry if I have upset you... Well I gave my name, I am from Germany and I am interested in the case. Since the files have
been released I have been trying to build myself an opinion based solely on facts and no spin. I am in the possession of the
DVD with the released case files and have spent a lot of time with their analysis. That is why I came upon this rather curious
discrepancy regarding the baby monitor. There was a meeting of the McCanns and their friends in Rothley in November, and in
December your article was published with this "new" fact. I am just curious where it suddenly came from.



No i am not upset. I just don't to fuel the web ghouls (i have no idea whether you are one of them or not...) who seem obsessed
with what i consider to be the grotesque idea that the mccanns or their friends did away with madeleine. In addition to the
further distress it must cause the mccanns and their friends on top of the devastating event that started it, I just feel it is a
complete waste of time and energy. That said, however, I had a long briefing with Gerry McCann before I wrote my article and
I guess the baby monitor info came from him. I am aware that many discrepancies arose in the portuguese statements through
misunderstandings of language. And you ought to be aware that there will always be minor discrepancies of fact in statements
- failings of memory, interpretation and so on - which are not in themselves sinister or suspicious.

One skill of good policing is sifting the wheat from the chaff and knowing what matters and what doesn't. I strongly suspect
the baby monitor issue lies in the latter category. As you will gather, I have every sympathy with the McCanns and no sympathy
with those who want to play amateur detective in public on the net with no apparent consideration for the McCanns' feelings.

I respect facts.

Rant over...



Dear David,

thank you for the information about your source regarding the baby monitor. Allow me to add my 2c to the rest of your mail.

Last time I checked, the case was not solved, Madeleine had not turned up, and no evidence of an abduction had emerged.
If you are content with the current status quo that is your prerogative, but I am of the opinion that the death or disappearance
of a 3-year old girl should not simply be shelved after only a couple of months. To label all those that want explanations as
ghouls is a preferred method of the media, the McCanns and Clarence Mitchell to discredit and ridicule a thinking minority
that is in the possession of the casefiles. To ask questions is and should stay allowed in the light of so many discrepancies
that were revealed with the release of the police files. The emotional blackmail, that those questions "add to the distress of the
parents" is just an additional way to stop these questions.

I agree with you that the added fact of a second baby monitor, that never got mentioned in Portugal, is not important enough
to change the course of an investigation that is no longer open. Still it was deliberately added and even "translation issues"
cannot conceal the fact, that it was never mentioned to the Portuguese Police. The fact that the information was given to
you by the then "Arguido" Gerald McCann, published without confirmation, does not instil confidence in the rest of the

But since you are of the opinion that sifting the wheat from the chaff is up to the police you are excused for not questioning
the details. I know I won't be granted another reply after my rant, but there is one question that I wanted to raise with a proper
journalist for ages.

The evidence of the Smith family from Ireland would have been the perfect "proof" for an abduction. A man carrying a "sleeping"
girl towards the rocky beach via dark roads. Between June (when the article was published for the first time in the Drogheda
Independent) and September (when Mr. Smith suddenly realised the man might have been Gerry McCann) it would have
enforced the abduction theory immensely. But this evidence was never used, neither by the McCanns nor by the british press.
No mention of it anywhere. While hundreds of sightings poured in from all over the world, this one sighting was never
mentioned. Why?

Have a nice Sunday


No, I won't let you get away with that. You are asking me to endorse or tolerate a world in which interfering outsiders blunder
around misinterpeting snippets of information and re-presenting them as suspicious facts, in reality half-facts.
I do broadly think it is the job of the police to investigate crimes. Those are the people we appoint to do it on our behalf.

The media's role is to examine, challenge and sometimes investigate too. I think those web ghouls are driven by prejudices
formed on the basis of...of what? Television appearances? How the McCanns appear to be? Most of those opinions about
them were formed long before the case file was released. There is also a sad desire to give weight to conspiracy theories.

On the basis of the hard established facts of the case - the way in which the characters' lives intersect that evening, after
Madeleine was last seen by anyone else - how many people would have to have known and been involved in the mccanns'
self-abducting or killing their own child? The police always start with motive. Every crime has a motive. What would be the
motive and what could be so great a motive it involved all that group of people and was capable of being seemingly indefinitely
concealed. What do you think, they were all paedophiles? Sex game enthusiasts? Child traffickers? Or merely agreed that
pretending an abduction had been committed was the best way of disguising an accidental calpol overdose?

Come on, get real. Find something useful to do - go and campaign against war crimes in rwanda or something -
and leave those poor people in peace. That is not emotional blackmail it is a recognition of their loss and an acceptance
of the reality that not a single plausible suspicious shred about them has emerged in all the months since.

All those delusional sites devoted to conspiracy theories about the mccanns are kind of repugnant.
I can't remember the detail of the smith sighting but surely it was quickly established it was not reliable or significant.



By David James Smith: "I respect facts" 

By David James Smith: "I can't remember the detail of the smith sighting but surely it was quickly established it was
not reliable or significant" 

Britain's foremost crime writer you are called by the papers. Please do yourself a favour and check on the facts.
Nine people saw a man carrying a child in PdL at 21:50 on the 3rd of May and it was mentioned NOWHERE.
The Smiths were brought over to Portugal for a reconstruction with the PJ and were regarded as very credible witnesses
by the GARDA. The PJ regarded the sighting as very significant, so much so, that they were supposed to be brought
over again to Portugal just before Paulo Rebelo took over the investigation. The fact that you dismiss the Smith sighting,
imo the most crucial bit in the case, tells me you have not had a look in the actual police files. A pity But thanks for the
enlightening conversation

Have a nice remaining Sunday.


  1. I feel the monitor was a small consideration, what about the cleaners who left the children's bedroom window UNLOCKED. Far too much 'ARGUIDO STATUS' information. Where else, does it mention the status of the locking of the window?


    'Beyond the smears' was on par with 'The pact of silence'

  2. He was used by a suspect in a police investigation to alter evidence. There was rumours that time that some wanted to change statements. I am sure Jane demanded the addition of the monitor as a further protection against neglect charges before the rogatory interviews. Planned at the Rothley meeting in November, spread by the author of the article in December as an established fact and added in her rogatory interview in April. No matter how you are positioned to the McCanns or the "ghouls" you should not get briefed by suspects and let yourself be instumentalised without an ounce of research. Disgusting

  3. Johanna, deine Argumentationsführung mit diesem Menschen ist brilliant! Ich kann mir die Position, die dieser Typ bezieht, nur so erklären, dass (wieder einmal) viel Geld geflossen ist. Ich finde seine Art und Weise der Argumentation sehr aggressiv, beleidigend und skrupellos. Genauso erschreckend wie ekelhaft...

  4. Cody, ich glaube nicht dass Geld hier eine Rolle spielte. Mr. Smith ist in der Tat einer der besten seines Fachs (was damit scheinbar nicht viel heißt), er hat u.a. einen sehr interessanten Artikel über den Jersey Kinderheim Skandal geschrieben. Er ist ein Beispiel dafür, wie sehr der Wunsch nach Ruhm in Form eines Leitartikels in der Times zum berühmtesten Vermisstenfall des jungen Jahrtausends das Hirn und die Sorgfaltspflicht eines Journalisten ausschalten kann. Gepaart mit der Überzeugungskraft eines Gerry McCann und der "Gewissheit" dass die Eltern nichts damit zu tun haben,kann man schon mal zum Medium der Verbreitung neuer "Beweise" werden.

    Was er zu den sog. "Ghouls" schreibt, ist ja auch nicht so falsch, wieviele machen sich wirklich die Mühe, die Fakten zu betrachten und urteilten vom ersten Tag an ausschließlich über das Verhalten der Eltern, entwarfen die krudesten Theorien ohne jegliche Basis. Davon kennen wir beide schliesslich auch eine Menge :)

  5. Johanna, es ehrt dich, dass du diesen Herrn trotz seiner wie ich finde, doch recht arroganten Ausdrucksweise noch wohlwollend beurteilst. Das fällt mir sehr schwer, da er die Argumentationsweise der McCanns fast wie im O-Ton kritiklos übernimmt. (Sprachliche Mißverständnisse, '...minor discrepancies...' - geringfügige Abweichungen?! Die massiven Widersprüche, die die Polizei in den Aussagen der McCanns und ihrer Freunde gefunden hat, nennt dieser Mann 'geringfügige Abweichungen'. Ich finde das unverzeihlich im Hinblick auf den Hauptleidtragenden: Das Kind! Wenn er sich nicht genügend mit den Fakten befasst hat, sollte er auch nicht darüner schreiben und sich schon mal gar nicht von den zu der Zeit Verdächtigen instrumentalisieren lassen, alles imho, wie immer :-)

  6. Dear Johanna, regarding the contents, I guess there is not a lot that needs to be said. Most of it is obvious: the fact that the journalist spends more time attacking the web "ghouls" (of which I am one LOL!), ignoring the Smith sighting and defending the McCann couple, than actually dealing with the case files, plus the fact that your treatment of the English language is far better than his... it's all boring old stuff and rather predictable, too.
    But there is a small seed of doubt that I would like to 'plant' here, and I assure you that it does not mean, in any way, a defence of Mr Smith, but rather a possibility that stems from my own experience. It is possible, Johanna, that if you had the opportunity to meet Mr Smith personally, without him having to consider the possibility that a) you are not who you say you are, and b) your conversation is being recorded, you might actually hear a very different speech from him.
    Just a possibility... but I know it's happened to me, and not only once.
    On the other hand, he may well be the intelectually challenged person that he seems to be. I've met my share of people in this case (on both sides of the "fence") that simply refuse to think independently. I guess it's a lot of hard work, and kind of dangerous, too.
    Du machst eine tolle Arbeit! Schoenes Wochenende!

  7. Thanks astro

    The email exchange happened almost a year ago and I hesitated for a long time to make it public because it is against my principles in general. But after 4 years of lazy and outright biased reporting and also in the light of the latest revelations of the british press' conduct and ethics I felt it was worth an exception from the rule.

    I would consider your "seed of doubt" in his answers to me had he not acted as he did in allowing Gerry McCann to "brief" him regarding the complete article and taking everything he was being told on face value. I know that the files had not been released at the time he wrote the article, but simple research would have at least shown that there had never been a second baby monitor mentioned before. This should have alerted him to the fact that he might have been used to change and alter evidence as Kate has so boldly done now with her book.

    I agree that he might have written in the style he did because he did not know me and suspected me to be somebody else, but that was not the reason for me to present the exchange. Solely to show how manipulating the parents acted throughout with the help of the media in general. And how poor the media's research was even after the release of the files (see Smith sighting)

  8. Es ist Frechheit, wie manche Leute ist einfach nicht zu fassen - die sind dermassen von sich selbst überzeugt und glauben auch noch andere in die Schranken weisen zu können...
    Kopf hoch!
    LG Martina

  9. His very good article on the Haute de la Garenne case. He had the best grip of what went on in that place but never picked it up after it was ridiculed by a coconut

  10. Johanna -

    Excellent post. I can't tell you how ashamed I am of the UK Media and the way they have rolled over on this case. Not just the press, radio and TV. Even book publishers won't publish anything on the case. It's incredible! This was the biggest crime case of the last 100 years in the UK (no exaggeration). As we have seen with the McCann book , this is an ideal publishing opportunity - but we have complete silence. I think reputable writers know that they can only raise doubts about the McCann narrative and that is impermissible.

  11. One of the comments from those that wish I would finally stop digging...


    (brushed under the carpet)

    has always been the poor person's Madeleine forum - the journalist who sorted her, has swept the floor with her

    light on detail or even fact - rich on Anti McCann ranting - that's our Johanna

    bet Johanna's from Eastern Germany - but I shan't hold that against her

    do have a banana - dear""

    I suspect it to be a german commentator - why would a British bring up the old East/West debate? It goes to show that all they are capable of is to abuse and incite hate. No discussion or reflection possible.

  12. What a giveaway that comment about Eastern Germany is - racist too in its own little way. The distinction between East and West Germany would really not occur these days to a British person. In respect of David James Smith, is he not that ridiculous man who took his black wife called Petal to live in Lewes in east Sussex, and then complained because she felt uncomfortable about the scarcity of black people compared with in London! You really couldn't make it up. He also complained that a child at his son's school had referred to his son's large nostrils, and that this was racist! It later transpired that his son had teased a white child in his class about the shape of his ears! Smith is an opportunistic moron, and just the type to team up with the McCanns in a self righteous way.

  13. The hypocrisy also lies in his claim that he "researched" the evidence for 6 months and what he produced is the "the most comprehensive — and authoritative — investigation yet"

    Further manipulations or unresearched briefing:

    - The return to Britain was long planned evidenced because "they had been to a farewell dinner that week at the Hubbards"

    - "There had been some reduction (on the price of the holiday) when they had discovered that, unlike most Mark Warner resorts, the Ocean Club did not offer a baby-listening service."

    - The achilles injury that tried to explain Gerry's whereabouts on the afternoon of Thursday. Until this day we have only conflicting statements regarding his whereabouts between 15h45 and 18h00

    - yet another version of the events at bedtime (no bathing with Gerry - stories in the living room and not in the bedroom)

    - claiming there are no contradictions in their statements. Did he ever read the files in retrospect???

    Getting sick while reading the article again. It is very obvious that NO RESEARCH whatsoever has gone into the story, just Gerry McCann dictating the all so eager to believe "journalist" - therefore confirming their version - even discribing the twins as "comatose" without wondering why they were not examined immediately when suspicion allegedly arose that they might have been sedated.

  14. What I find incredible is the failure of journalists in the UK to consider the circumstantial evidence (whilst also discounting the evidence of the dogs and the DNA evidence).

    Why for instance (one could cite 50 such items) don't they:

    1. Cast doubt on the McCanns' claim that Madeleine would never go wandering - given the star chart at home which showed she was in the habit of seeking our her parents in the middle of the night.

    2. Query the lack of organised searching by this group of professionals (many used to emergency situations).

    3. Query the slowness with which the JT "sighting" of the suspect was communicated to the McCanns by these allegedly close friends.

    4. Question why no organised search was made in the direction suggested by JT's sighting.

    5. Ask about the strange prostration adopted by G McCann when the Police arrived. (I can assure people that is most unlike the behaviour of a middle class professional from the UK.)

  15. Johanna
    Interested in this thread and think that you have in turn highlighted an issue with the British media and possibly many other countries media?
    As it seems to me, that its is extremely rare for an article to be put together which is not "skewed" in some way towards a particular theory? Objective reporting is not what sells Britsh newspapers. As the Editor of The Sun said in an interview once, regarding the case of MBM, circulation increases significantly whenever an article written about the case? But such articles will typically have a "slant" say in favour of the McC's or against them (although the later is not typically the norm). There appears no room for a "mid point" as in these are the various scenerios?
    The case as you know has created huge interest in the UK and still does. And my impression, is that for whatever reasons the British public dont want to face up to the fact that the parents and others may have been involved? Very few people have taken the trouble of reading in depth as to the background to the case. And so there persceptions are driven by the media and the little they have written or seen on TV? I feel that there is still a feeling in this country, like maybe the Tapas 7/9 have done. That it is a case of "circling the wagons" against those whom seem to be discrediting the McC's. Far easier to put the blame on others such as the PJ, RM, foreign pedeophile gangs etc. Rather than upstanding and well respected British professionals? A view that seems to be endorsed by the media, The Prime Ministers office, the Pope, Seniors Police offices not directly involved in the case etc.
    Finally, saw above a reference to you possibly being of Eastern German origin?! If you are not careful, you will be "tarred with the same brush" as being a foreigner just poking there nose into a UK issue!!! Personally I dont care where you orignate from! It is what you write that is important. And just for the record, I come from the UK, and from the Eastern side of it, not the West!

  16. I can assure you that I come from "west" Germany. Luckily after more than 20 years it is of no importance whatsoever. Childabuse is a global topic and criminals that fool the world involving tons of innocent people can not be a national problem.

  17. Danke Johanna für deine Arbeit!

  18. Johanna
    Hopefully you appreciated that my post about coming from the Eastern part of the UK, was just "tongue in cheek"! I genuinely have no interest in which part of Germany you come from.As I feel it completely irrelevant. Questioning, the nationality/region/ethenic origin of the Blog's author. It could almost be seen as a divertionary tactic or one which is being used to discredit you? A tactic which seems familar?!
    The important thing to my mind is what you have written and the debate that it has created. You come over as someone whom is very genuine and has no ulterior motive other than to try and glean what exactly has happened in this terribly sad affair.

  19. So..what do you think, who are theses McCanns?? How come they are so powerful??? Please...get real!! Does anyone actually believe it happend like that: one of them found madeleine dead behind the sofa, oops.., then comes up with a quick plan how to get rid of the body, drags all the other friends into this, they all play along, nobody freaks out or loses it...And all because they fear about problems regarding leaving small kids alone?? Gerry carrying his dead daughter through PDL....HELLOOOOOOOOOO People!!! Come on!!!!! It was normal to leave small kids alone not long ago, think BUTLINS , they had babylistening services.....I pray this little girl somehow turns up ok. If 5 people stand on a street when an car accident happens, you get 5 different statements about the exact same thing. so next time you sit in a restaurant with 7 friends, then try after a few hours to remember every little thing, who did what,and when ...impossible.

  20. Well if you ask... I think they very early on made a deal with News International, which is confirmed by Kate herself, through the PR firm of Rebekah Brooks. The deal was exclusives like the REWARD!!! and other stories for protection. Pretty simple. The rest is history. And yes after "knowing" them for years now, I think this is exactly what happened. Or do you think I put up a theory of which every shred is supported by the PJ files just for fun?