When I was young, while living in Portugal, going to the movies, or to the cinema as it was called then, was a big social event for us toddlers.
Then the age limits to be able to see a movie were strictly enforced. I remember that the movies were classified into the following categories: for all, over 6, over 12, over 16 and over 18.
My earliest cinema memories are from when I was between 6 and 12.
When we walked into the theatre the curtains would be open showing an enormous cloth panel, on which publicity was printed just like an enormous newspaper page filled with small adverts.
Then a gong sounded, the curtains closed, the lights went down, and then the curtains opened and the spectacle began.
It used to start with a short feature called “news” which was a short propaganda film to show the greatness of Portugal and its colonies.
This would be followed with a short film, unrelated with the main feature, as the target audience was between 6 and 12, it would be one or two cartoon films with Tom and Jerry or Speedy Gonzalez.
Then, and only then would the main feature begin.
And that dear readers was exactly what happened with the BBC Panorama programme aired on May 3, around 21:00.
Remember in our last post that we said that Mr Sutton had 2 objectives and that we would only speak about his main one when we spoke of the Panorama programme?
And then we said he had been very successful with it?
2. The Panel of Advertising
Does the reader remember when Colin Sutton appeared on scene?
It was in the Daily Mail article, by James Dunn, “UK detective refused to head up Madeleine McCann probe because 'Scotland Yard would order him to prove Kate and Gerry were innocent and ignore other leads'”, published: May 3 2017 00:03, updated that day at 12:38.
That was the panel filled with publicity the reader faced when looking for their seats and would look at until the show started.
The only difference here is that the spectator was unaware that the show had already started: Sutton saying that Operation Grange was biased and had as its only objective proving Kate, Gerry and the other Tapas were innocent.
The spectator looked at the panel and liked what it was seeing. The main centre advert was in big bold letters, GRANGE BIASED TO BENEFIT THE McCANNS.
This holds promise, everyone thought.
3. The short feature
On May 3rd we woke up with the Sutton news, and we smiled. But by noon we were grinning, when the curtains closed and reopened again so the short feature would start.
The title of that short feature was called “My name is Bilton, Richard Bilton… licenced to please you”.
And onto the screen was projected the Telegraph article: “BBC Panorama's Richard Bilton: 'Supporters of the McCanns asked me to act as a spy - I declined'” by Richard Bilton, BBC Panorama, on May 3 2017 at 11:40am, or 11 hours and 37 minutes after the Mail’s article about Sutton.
Says Bilton, in his own words:
“There were strange moments. I was offered a deal by supporters of the McCanns. If I spied on the press pack, and passed on any stories I heard about the first suspect, Robert Murat, I’d be given leads from inside the camp. I declined.
The McCann family have said they knew nothing about it. I recently told Robert Murat, who’s long since been cleared. He seemed genuinely upset.”
This together with the Sutton piece on the day of the 10th anniversary had the spectators on the edges of their seats waiting anxiously for the Panorama programme that night.
But even as a short feature this one had a twist, this one was like the short film “The Crimson Permanent Assurance” featured before Monty Mython’s “The Meaning of Life”.
“The film [The Meaning of Life] begins with the short film The Crimson Permanent Assurance, where a group of elderly office clerks work in a small accounting firm. They rebel against yuppie corporate masters, transform their office into a pirate ship, and raid a large financial district. The rest of the film is split into seven chapters made up of distinct sketches.”
‘Bilton’s short feature’ was like “The Crimson Permanent Assurance” because it returns during the main feature, in one of its seven sketches the “Live Organ Transplants”
From Wikipedia about that particular sketch:
“"Live Organ Transplants" involves two paramedics visiting Mr. Brown, a card-carrying organ donor, forcefully removing his liver whilst he is still alive. Brown's mother speaks with a musician who performs "Galaxy Song" while discussing man's insignificance in the universe. The Crimson Permanent Assurance return to invade a corporate boardroom discussing the meaning of life, but a tumbling skyscraper ends their assault”
The Bilton the spy story also returns into the ‘main feature’, the Panorama programme.
At 29:08, Bilton dramatically reveals:
“Through their lawyers the McCanns told us they were not any party of intimidation or targeting. They also say that they didn’t know anything about a deal that was put to me by one of their supporters “I was offered exclusive access to any new developments in the case, an inside track on any new breakthrough, but there was a price, I was expected to act as a spy, within the press pack.””
Follows this dialogue between him and Robert Murat:
Bilton: “I said to you before the interview that there was a thing was I was going to tell that which have never told you before, during that period I was offered a deal by someone inside the McCann camp, not the family, and they said they would give me access to lines from the inquiry, new stories, if I reported back on what the press pack was saying about you…”
Murat: “Right, ok”
Bilton: “I mean I turned them down… what do you think about that?”
Murat: “That would make me incredibly angry, again, because again, they’ve taken the focus away from trying to get to the bottom of this, find actually what happened and trying to put the full focus on somebody else and it’s… it’s incredulous…”
4. The movie critics
Before we ‘criticise’ the main feature, the show had just finished and the reviews were already in the press: The Daily Mail at May 3 at 23:45 and the Mirror at May 4 2017 at 00:53.
And guess what they decided to highlight? The fact that Bilton had just blown the whistle on the McCanns!
The Daily Mail: “BBC reporter claims he was offered exclusive access to Madeleine’s family if he spied on press pack for the McCanns” by James Dunn, on May 3 at 23:45, updated the next day May 4 at 11:31.
The article has the following subtitles:
“- Ten years ago today Maddie McCann vanished from apartment on Praia de Luz
- Richard Bilton claims McCanns' investigators offered him 'exclusive inside track'
- Claims they wanted him to spy on press pack opinion on 'arguido' Robert Murat
- Murat, who said accusation destroyed his life, was 'incredibly angry' at the offer”
“A BBC reporter claims he was offered exclusive access to the McCanns' team if he agreed to spy on the press pack for their investigators.
Richard Bilton, who covered the disappearance in 2007, said investigators hired by the family offered him the deal because they wanted information on a suspect.
They asked him to find out what other journalists were saying about Robert Murat, who was later cleared by police but since said the accusation alone 'destroyed my life'.
Speaking on Madeleine McCann: 10 Years On, Mr Bilton asked Mr Murat how he felt about the offer for an 'exclusive inside track' he said was made to him.
'That would make me incredibly angry because again you have taken the focus away from trying to get to the bottom of this and what actually happened and trying to put the focus on someone else,' Mr Murat replied.”
The Mirror: “BBC reporter reveals he was asked to 'act as a spy' by 'somebody inside McCann camp' after Madeleine vanished”, by Kyle O'Sullivan, May 4 2017 at 00:53 and updated on the same day at 12:38.
“A BBC reporter has revealed "somebody inside the McCann camp" offered him a deal to act as a spy.
Richard Bilton confessed to Robert Murat, a "person of interest" in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, that he was asked to operate covertly within the press pack.
Mr Murat, who helped police with translation before being made an official suspect, admitted he felt "incredibly angry" at the revelation.
The Panorama presenter said private detectives put people under cover in the Ocean Club in Portugal and he was offered "exclusive access" to new developments at a price.”
5. Sutton’s success
No doubt about it, or so it seemed. Sutton and Bilton were clearly showing that the walls around the McCanns were indeed crumbling.
Only they did not only NOT show that as what they did show was the exact opposite: that the walls of the other side as strong, solid, ready to resist and to continue fighting.
To understand that one has to understand what was Sutton’s main mission: to prepare the ground for Bilton.
Both Sutton and Bilton could have spoken before the 3rd but both chose that proximity to the airing of the Panorama programme to give the audience ‘already seated in the theatre’ the feeling those walls were really crumbling down around the McCanns.
After Bilton followed Sutton, whatever he, Bilton, would show in the Panorama programme would have a margin of manoeuvre that no one has ever held to distort truth.
And Bilton took it.
Sutton was so successful that after Bilton showed a devilishly biased product everyone was saying at the end that they thought it was a rather balanced piece because it showed the blood and cadaver dogs, and even them alerting to the Renault Scenic.
But, as we will see, it was balanced as cubic yard of solid steel against a cubic yard of cotton candy.
6. The “Daily Mail Panorama programme”
We called the BBC’s Panorama programme above this because it was a repetition of that Daily Mail article by Neil Tweedie published on Feb 11 2017 “When will the McCanns’ tormentor in chief stop adding to their misery? The Portuguese detective whose book pointed the finger at Maddie's parents is now writing a second volume” we debunked in our post “Counter-attack”.
Remember, that one article that everyone got excited about because it mentioned that blood had been found in the apartment, that Gerry had been recognised by Martin Smith and that Kate’s fingerprints were found on the shutters?
That same article that then concluded that it had been determined the blood was not even human, that Martin Smith was not wearing glasses and that Kate’s fingerprints didn’t mean any wrongdoing?
The Panorama programme did the exact same thing.
One, was that we were much more hypnotised beforehand by Sutton and Bilton, and two, the human being retains the written word much more than we do with moving images.
With moving pictures we can get away with little tricks we cannot do when we commit ourselves to words on paper.
Just an example, in the introductory images Bilton says he was able to find the man that the British police have spoken with, and the images show him walking towards a door and then showing a man, Mr Ribeiro.
Later in the documentary we will see that the door has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Ribeiro, or with the only other Portuguese man – outside Pedro do Carmo from the PJ – we got to speak with.
So why show that door when saying “we were able to find the man…”? Simple answer, it gives the illusion of successful reporting when indeed it was nothing but a dud.
7. The beginning
The thing starts with some introductory images, like the one with Bilton walking to the door.
We would like to highlight what he says at 03.35:
“The judges pointed out that the McCanns hadn't been found innocent. Rather the case had been shelved because the police hadn't been able to gather sufficient evidence to the contrary.”
“The McCanns hadn't been found innocent” is a phrase that gave the viewer a sense of confidence and that finally some truthful things were about to be shown.
But as the show went on we will see that important phrase is something Bilton speciously, and sometimes even blatantly, forgets he has said it.
Probably hoping the viewers had also because what memory retains is the last thing said/shown about a subject.
The show really kicks off at 06:46 when Bilton says “The fact is two police forces from two countries came up with two different conclusions and both contradict each other”.
Unless he’s talking about the Malaysian and the Swiss police, or about police from any other countries in the world besides Portugal and the UK, then he starts off the programme with two lies.
First, neither police have concluded anything because, as far as we know, both countries have open processes on the case. That alone calls him a liar.
The Portuguese police came to an intermediary conclusion in September 2007, which pointed towards Maddie having died in the apartment and to the guilt of the parents in simulating a kidnapping and of disposing of the body.
The public ministry did not disagree with this and determined that the investigation was to be continued.
After months of facing resistance from the UK and seeing the FSS do a U-turn on what it had initially said and come up with a specious report, the PJ handed the report to the public ministry not denying, thus maintaining, their September 2007 convictions but pointing out that little progress had been made since then and they were not foreseeing any progress being possible in the near future.
The public ministry found that the evidence presented to substantiate the PJ’s conviction was not enough to charge any of the arguidos and so took the decision to archive the process, to be reopened in case new evidence should arise.
The case was reopened in 2013 by the PJ and it hasn’t reached any conclusion as far as we know.
About the British police, well we are all anxious to know what it will conclude after 6 years and tens of millions of pounds of public money later and lately with some “compelling evidence” and a “key-witness”, which together the Home Office and Whitehall found worth investing £185,000 on.
And after these two lies he continues the falsities:
“Tonight we will show you the two theories and why both have failed to solve this mystery”
As we will see, the first, about the PJ’s conviction he indeed does his best to call it a failure and about the British investigation he simply proposes that one theory – the bungled burglary – which only the British media has publicised but that as far as we know the Met has never assumed as official, will be their conclusion.
If it is we have many questions to ask, then.
8. The curtains
Here Bilton starts “DailyMailing” by showing how the evidence seems to be damning to the McCanns:
At 8.06 Clarence Mitchell says:
“She [Kate] then opened the door, looked in and in the darkness didn't immediately realise that Madeleine wasn't there. She realised the curtains were flapping and the window to the street was open, which is not how they left it. They'd left the shutters down and the window closed.”
And to illustrate the above, the following images:
No flapping curtains, no open windows, shutters down and very strangely in the supposed panic someone had tucked the left curtain between the wall and the bed.
9. The bars on the window
Bilton seems to be obsessed with the bars of the window Maddie is supposed to have been taken through:
However, he’s very careful – and we’ll pretend we wonder why – not to show that the other ground floor windows of the same building are without bars:
And if one browses through the streets of Luz on Google maps one is able to see that the town has very few barred ground floor windows.
The “kidnapping of Maddie” didn’t frighten the town, everyone knows it’s an hoax, nowhere near representing any sort of threat.
10. Mr Amaral’s first appearance
At 09.40, Mr Amaral tells Bilton “I could give you all the clues that showed there weren’t signs of someone breaking into the that apartment, I would tell that there’s no evidence that apartment was broken into, that the window Kate McCann tells the police it was open is a simulation, that there isn’t, in terms of kidnap, or possibility of abduction is materially impossible.”
Bilton continues, “detectives also had doubts about the accounts of the groups account of the night, the police didn’t believe the McCanns timelines, there were inconsistencies they say in the way the group at the restaurant described the events that night, like the time they went up and down to check on their children, the police didn’t pull their punches.”
Bilton even highlights where in the PJ report it is said that the group’s statements have inconsistencies between them.
This is very important because it shows Bilton has read the files attentively.
11. When Brits are British
About the McCanns and or/T7 having called the media, 11.21:
Mitchell: “(snickers) The Portuguese police advice was, quote “no media, no media”. That might be the Portuguese way but it ain’t certainly isn't the British way or the Western European way.”
Bilton: “Why would the McCanns feel they know more than the police force?”
Mitchell: “Richard, by midnight, one a.m. the British media were being alerted and the British media were beginning to make relevant inquiry. Now, there's nothing wrong. I would do the same if I felt my child was missing and the police officer in front of me was not really wanting to move heaven and earth to get them back.”
For starters, this puts an end to the debate of whether the McCanns called the media before midnight that night, as their official spokesman has just recognised they did.
Being very politically incorrect it is quite ironic see how the citizens of a country who when they immigrate – they are not called immigrants but ex-pats – create “little Britains” wherever they settle and in some cases, like in some places in the Algarve a Portuguese who don’t speak English find it very difficult to be understood, has in less than a year voted to leave the European Union, based, among many other arguments, that the immigrants who have come into their territories refused to drop their cultural values and refused to start to assimilate being British.
Did the Portuguese police say this or that? Who gives a damn or who even cares, right? They’re only natives and these Portuguese are even more backward than the rest of Europe and we are Brits, so for God’s sake, it’s obvious we know best!
Out of curiosity we would like to know from Mr Mitchell an example of a “relevant inquiry” the British media was making by “by midnight, one a.m.”.
And also what gave the sensation that the police officer in front of the McCanns was not moving heaven and earth? Maybe because Kate didn’t search for her own daughter and so could observe attentively the lack of urgency she thought they were having?
Or, was it because they didn’t call the helicopters at once like in a Hollywood movie?
As far as we know, by midnight no one from the Tapas 9 is on record asking for a helicopter but by midnight, the British media was already making “relevant” inquiries.
12. The fake agency
At 12.42 says Bilton: “A British investigator brought in to help the Portuguese says he initially had concerns about Gerry McCann “When I met Gerry I was struck by how cold and clinical he appeared to be, so why did… you know, I’m human as well as being a police officer and did think hmmm… and reflect on that, but I wanted to say very clearly as time has gone on, I’m absolutely convinced that it wasn’t the parents””
That investigator being Jim Gamble who appears on the programme with the title “Former Head, Child Protection Agency”
There is no such thing as a Child Protection Agency, or ever was. What exists in the NSPCC – National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
What Gamble was, was the former head of the CEOP – Child Exploitation Online Protection.
To say he headed something called Child Protection Agency, would make him o to have been “brought in to help the Portuguese”, while being the head of something protecting children against online threats makes no sense at all for him to be at the scene at all.
The fact the name of the agency is invented tells us that Bilton is either a liar, and tried to fool his viewers or then he’s quite an incompetent journalist and the liar would then be Jim Gamble.
Ian Horrocks thinks the McCanns are innocent because there’s no family history to back up their guilt but Gamble takes British criminal profiling a step further, he thinks a “hmmm” and determines if a person is guilty or innocent.
Last week we made a proposal for a survey to (NOT) be made among all prisoners and release all those who didn’t have family history of similar crimes and this week we propose (NOT) that those still unreleased should line up and have Jim Gamble have a good look at them. All those he says “hmmm” to should be released immediately.
14. Case against the McCanns
Up to here Bilton seems to be building a rather solid case against the McCanns.
In favour of them we have, up to here only Clarence Mitchell ridiculously justifying why the Portuguese order was intentionally disobeyed about not involving the media and Jim Gamble’s profound “hmmm-profiling” certainly resulting from years of experience heading an agency that has never existed.
The curtains of the bedroom showing that they were fixed, even stuck, and not flapping about, the window closed and the shutter down contradicted Mitchell’s account of what he says happened.
Even the bars on the window created the sensation that leaving the children alone in that room was a reckless decision.
But it is at this point of the show that Bilton starts to “debunk” the Portuguese investigation. Subtly but steadily.
15. The dogs
From 13.20 onwards the Panorama programme brings in the dogs:
Bilton voice off: “The Portuguese detectives were looking at Kate and Gerry McCann and central to their theory were 2 sniffer dogs from the UK.
They assist investigations because they can find minute traces of blood or where bodies have been. They were taken into apartment 5A 3 months after Madeleine disappeared.
The cadaver dog which tracks the smell of a dead body also grabbed Madeleine's favourite toy Cuddle Cat. When the police found out the soft toy had been washed they became more suspicious.”
The programme then cuts to an interview between Mitchell and Bilton:
Mitchel: “Kate washed it because simply it had become dirty, quite filthy and grubby.
She'd been holding onto it in front of the world's media for something like 70 days. If it was that important piece of evidence why did the Portuguese police allow it to keep it for 70 days before she even washed it?”
Bilton: “Can you not see how the police might view it as suspicious though, particularly given that the dog reacted to it?”
Mitchell: “If you see the video Richard, the dog pulls it out at one point then walks past it twice without even going back to it.”
Bilton voice off: “But Cuddle Cat remained part of the Portuguese theory. The sniffer dogs were also taken to check 10 vehicles. They only barked when they came to the McCann's hire car. The dogs jumped into the boot. Their reaction was widely reported and was seen as damning evidence in Portugal.”
The programme then cuts to an interview between Sandra Felgueiras with Kate and Gerry McCann:
Felgueiras: “How can you explain the coincidence of the scent of cadaver found by British not Portuguese dogs?”
Kate: “Sandra maybe you should be asking the judiciary because they've examined all this.”
Felgueiras: “But don't you have an explanation for that?”
Gerry: “Ask the dogs Sandra.”
Felgueiras: “Ask the dogs? No Gerry. Now I think I feel free to ask you.”
The programme then cuts to an interview between Sandra Felgueiras and Richard Bilton:
Bilton: “Do you remember talking to Kate and Gerry McCann about the sniffer dogs? Do you remember that exchange?”
Felgueiras: “I remember as if it was today. He answered me “Ask the dogs” and I replied I'm asking you Gerry. I think it was something like that.”
Bilton: “What did you think of Gerry's reaction?”
Felgueiras: “I thought he's being arrogant, he's not understanding my point. I'm not offending him. I just want him to give me his opinion.”
The programme then cuts to the interview between Sandra Felgueiras with Kate and Gerry McCann:
Felgueiras: “Don't you feel free to answer me?”
Gerry: “I can tell you that we obviously looked at evidence about cadaver dogs and they're incredibly unreliable.”
Gerry: “Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows if they are tested scientifically.”
The programme then cuts to the interview between Sandra Felgueiras and Richard Bilton:
Felgueiras: “He just tried to fight. It was a kind of fight not a kind of an interview.”
Bilton voice off: “It got worse for the McCanns. Traces of blood were discovered in the apartment.
The police found tiny samples of DNA in the car and in this apartment and early tests suggested that that DNA could be could be Madeleine McCanns.
The Portuguese had settled on their theory and before they knew the final DNA results: Madeleine had died in apartment 5A and her parents had covered it up.
The official PJ report concluded that Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in the concealment of the body of their daughter Madeleine.”
Again Bilton shows where this is shown in the PJ Files.
We have put this all together because it is here that Bilton starts, subtly to dismantle speciously the Portuguese investigation.
16. Debunking the cadaver dog
One of the biggest problem the other side has is to justify why the dogs, more specifically Eddie, the cadaver dog, reacted to the living room, the parent’s bedroom, the backyard, Kate’s clothes, the toddler t-shirt and the Renault Scenic.
Note of the above how many of these items/locations were mentioned of where Eddie signalled it. If the reader says the Renault Scenic the reader is wrong.
The reader will be wrong because when it comes to the cuddly cat, it is said specifically that it was the cadaver dog but when it comes to the Scenic both dogs amalgamated into “sniffer dogs”.
They started to debunk Eddie with the cuddle cat.
They must have viewed the dog video a thousand times to see how possible it would be to discredit Eddie and they saw it in the 2 times the dog passes the cuddle cat without signalling.
A toy that is said that had been washed so would only have minimal residues of cadaver odour, which, by the way Eddie detected.
But says Mitchell: “If it was that important piece of evidence why did the Portuguese police allow it to keep it for 70 days before she even washed it?”
Because Mr Mitchell, 70 days after May 4, makes it July 13, and the cuddly cat only became an object of interest after the dogs arrived in Luz which was at the end of July.
Remember, like with the Daily Mail, this programme was not intended to be seen by those who minimally understand the case, but by those, the majority, who only know of the case from what they read and see in the media.
From Mitchell’s words it seems that the PJ should have considered the cuddle cat an object of interest, and for that to happen it would only have been after the dog sniffed it, so if it was allowed to be washed then that could only have happened after Eddie had picked it up.
Mr Mitchell’s question seems to imply not only incompetence on the part of the PJ but that even the PJ seemed to have little belief in the cadaver dog’s capabilities.
After all, listening to his words, the cuddle cat was not confiscated, was it? It was even washed afterwards.
So when Mitchell says, and the images confirm, that “If you see the video Richard, the dog pulls it out at one point then walks past it twice without even going back to it” the viewer starts to doubt about the dog’s capabilities as they see Eddie pass the ‘unwashed’ cuddle cat twice.
Let’s jump slightly forward to the “ask the dogs, Sandra” bit.
Being arrogant and unpleasant does not make one a liar, after all he states with a high degree of confidence that he’s studied the issue and, so says the arrogant and unpleasant doctor (which Sandra Felgueiras makes a point of reinforcing that idea), that scientifically the cadaver dogs have been proven unreliable:
Gerry: “I can tell you that we obviously looked at evidence about cadaver dogs and they're incredibly unreliable.”
Gerry: “Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows if they are tested scientifically.”
So henceforth Bilton treats both dogs as an amalgamated “sniffer dogs”: “The sniffer dogs were also taken to check 10 vehicles. They only barked when they came to the McCann's hire car. The dogs jumped into the boot. Their reaction was widely reported and was seen as damning evidence in Portugal.”
17. Discarding, once and for all, the cadaver scent
And then Bilton plays the ace of trump, discarding the cadaver scent like a piece of trash to the bin:
“It got worse for the McCanns. Traces of blood were discovered in the apartment.
The police found tiny samples of DNA in the car and in this apartment and early tests suggested that that DNA could be could be Madeleine McCanns.”
See the trick? Cadaver scent no longer matters or is even referred to.
People, says Bilton, it’s the blood that is the worst for the McCanns, let’s focus on the blood.
And blurred behind in this new storyline is left to be forgotten the cadaver scents on the cuddle cat and not even mentioned where in the living-room, in the bedroom, in the backyard, on Kate’s clothes, on the toddler’s t-shirts and the key FOB. On the Scenic disguised as having been detected by sniffer-dogs.
Bilton, is a whistleblower, so we can trust him, thinks the public. If he says that the blood is what is the worst for the McCanns, then it must be.
And one cannot accuse him of not having mentioned the cadaver dog and the cadaver scent. He did.
He just made sure they quickly became a hazy memory in the background, an issue done and dealt with, because what really mattered was the DNA found in the apartment and car.
And immediately sets the scenario on how to dismantle the threat that remained: the blood found in the apartment and the scenic.
But we will leave that for the next post.