Wednesday, 13 May 2015


From: ‘The Establishment: and how they get away with it’ 

by Owen Jones Published by Penguin 1 March 2015

(Lord Bell is commenting on the ‘Hacked Off’ campaign. )
‘Attempts to scrutinize the Murdoch empire were fiercely resisted by its allies in the British elite, who contrived to say they didn’t understand what the fuss was about. ‘I don’t want to know what happened to the Dowler family, and I’m very sorry, but honestly I can’t get into a state about it, says Lord Bell, Thatcher’s former advisor, chairman of PR giant Bell Pottinger, and a close ally of the Murdoch empire. He has long given Rupert Murdoch PR advice, and advised Rebekah Brooks during the phone-hacking scandal. ‘And I’m really not interested in what the McCanns think, because the McCanns paid me £ 500,000 in fees to keep them on the front page of every single newspaper for a year, which we did.’
Leveson Enquiry 31/1/2012 the Press Complaints Commission
Sir Christopher Meyer:  ‘What I said to Gerry McCann when I first saw him was that this is what the PCC can do for you, this is how we can help. If you want damages, if it comes to that, we do not do money. The courts do money, so you’re going to have to make a choice’ 
Mr. Jay: To be clear about that, when did you say that to Dr. McCann? 
Sir Christopher Meyer: In July of 2007.
Mr. Jay:  And the circumstances were what? Was it a meeting? 
Sir Christopher Meyer: At my house. 
Mr. Jay: [..] Between September 2007 and January 2008, there were 38 defamatory articles in the Express Newspaper group’s publications.[..] Did the PCC do anything at all during that period? 
Sir Christopher Meyer: We did a lot. We were in pretty close contact with the press handlers of the McCanns. [..] can’t be more royalist than the king on these matters. You cannot wish to stop something more ardently than the first party. But by that time I think they had chosen to go to law. [..] But I have to say to you - this is so important - we’d made particular efforts with the McCanns to make ourselves available. Within 48 hours of Madeleine McCann disappearing, we informed them through the British embassy in Lisbon that we stood ready.  [...] I go back to this again: you can’t wish for something more than the first party themselves, and I think Dr. McCann has expressed rather well the complexity of the situation in which he found himself. He needed the press, but he didn’t need those articles. He had professional handlers and I can’t say more than that. 
But on the 25th August 2007 the PCC got no mention - TM was still alone in the wilderness it appears.  Perhaps that was because Sir Christopher Meyer had already told him they didn’t do money? In July of 2007 -  GM was in the UK at that time.
BBC Edinburgh :
Nick: ‘Gerry McCann, why did you want to come here to a conference of television executives?’ 
GM: ‘[..] what I didn’t expect was such an intense coverage of the news story for such a long time.’ [..] ..what we really just want to do .. I mean we hope it never gets there but if Madeleine is still missing we just want to remind people from time to time, infrequently now that she is still missing and we’re still looking.’ 
Nick: ‘From the outside it appears that you’ve been running... candidly, crudely a very professional campaign with a lot of very experienced public relations professionals and so on .. (Gerry is grinning at this point) I mean clearly that is accidental but how did that come about?’ 
GM: ‘Well it’s not at all, you know we’re just err happen to be a fairly ordinary family  err some of whom were quite good at err speaking on television. Of course, we had advice at the beginning from the PR people brought in by Mark Warner [...] and then due to this massive media demand on us - not the other way round - not us asking for media we were advised that we should have a family spokesperson and we asked the Foreign Office to provide that  [...]  and then of course we did decide that we needed someone to help advise us err longer term for our campaign and with madeleine’s Fund we decided to appoint a campaign manager.. [..] I think the key thing is that erm what we would ask that the, the story Madeleine’s disappearance and investigation is reported responsibly and only newsworthy material being reported.’ 
Nick: So you would like much less coverage.’ 
GM: ‘Absolutely, you know because there has been huge amounts written with no substance. 
Here again,  just like Sir Christopher, it seems Nick is on the ball. He can recognise a professional campaign when he sees one. Gerry tells him they weren’t asking for media, what comes across is the urgent need to control what is printed. What appears to be rather less urgent is finding Madeleine as it will now be enough to remind people from time to time, ‘infrequently now that she’s still missing’  does not strike me as an urgent appeal to find his daughter.  
The Leveson Enquiry: Gerald Patrick McCann - 30-10-2011:
What followed was a sustained, inaccurate and malicious series of headlines in a number of papers which gave the impression that we were in some way responsible for or involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. 
[..] Daily Mail a journalist called David Jones, who I had never met felt it appropriate to write an article with the sub heading ‘ I pray the Portuguese police are careering down the wrong track, but from the start, a terrible nagging doubt has refused to leave me.’ .
[..] Associated Newspapers had also published a number of very serious allegations. ..
The complaint was resolved with the payment of a substantial donation to be used in the search for Madeleine... [..] 
[..] had it not been for the availability of a Conditional Fee Agreement, it would have been very difficult - if not impossible - for Kate and I to have brought the complaint as we do not have the resources to take on large media organisations in this way. 
[..] we agreed to an interview with HELLO! to publicise this campaign (Amber alert).
When the NotW editor, Colin Myler, found out about our interview with HELLO! he telephoned me direct.[..] The NotW had very generously raised a £ 1.5m reward. [..]It also sadly highlighted that any help given to help Find Madeleine was conditional. 
In the end we were made to feel so guilty that we agreed to give an interview to the NotW despite not really wanting to do so. At the time we did not want to upset the NotW and wanted to keep them onside for Madeleine’s sake. {..] an article by NotW columnist Carole Malone also featured in the paper under the heading ‘I wept for Kate but I still blame her.’
The advice we had from our lawyers was that the press would not consider an adjudication from the PCC to be a deterrent. We were advised, and this was confirmed by Sir Christopher, that an effective remedy to prevent further damaging articles could only be achieved through the Courts and that the PCC were essentially powerless in stopping the Press pre-publication. [..]
One of those we met was Rebekah Brooks who was very persuasive. [..] Rebekah said that she would actively assist us in seeking a review and set out various ideas of how The Sun could help. It was this campaign [..] that persuaded us to agree to serialised extracts of kate’s book being published in The Sun and The Sunday Times. 
After the publication of the diary : The NotW agreed to publish an apology to Kate and to pay a financial donation to further the search for Madeleine. (£ 125,000,- -  Express paid £ 550,000.- Associated Newspapers paid £ 375,000.- to Tapas friends who passed the money to TM. 
Libel trial McCann v Gonçalo Amaral - Day 4 Witness No1
20.09.2013 10am.    Michael Wright 

[..]. He says there always was activity on the internet (e-mails...) but they became very subdued.
ID - What does "negative e-mail" mean?
MW says it refers to all sorts of conspiracy theories that appeared on various forums.
ID - asks if the witness can name some of these forums.
MW The 3 Arguidos and Madeleine Foundation. He says Tony Bennett invited Gonçalo Amaral to do conferences in the UK. These forums were full of speculation focused on GA's conclusions. People said those conclusions must be true because GA had been in charge of the initial investigation.
ID - When?
MW – Activity was increased and heavy in March/April 2009.
ID - Did the McCanns learn about these forums? How?
MW They learned through me, the family members who monitored the activity and their support group. [...(threats to kidnap twins)]..
MW thinks the 3A doesn't exist anymore. He says the McCanns took action against this threat and against the Madeleine Foundation. The main page of MF had the 5 conclusions.
ID asks whether he has a copy.
MW says he has screen shots. He adds he had to tell his cousins about the threats. They reported them to the UK police (Leicestershire Police). He was visited by a police officer on the matter.
ID - Was a process formally investigated?
MW had only one contact with the police. He doesn't know what happened afterwards.

To sum up:   
5th May 2007, the PCC contacts TM offering their help.  Team McCann get a free spokesman from the F.O.  and pay for a campaign manager out of the Fund. 

July 2007 GM visits Sir Christopher Meyer and is informed that the PCC does not do money. One may assume this is an answer to a question. 
In the Leveson enquiry Sir Christopher states that they cannot act for someone who isn’t willing to start the process rolling. Also that they don’t do money. 

August 2007  - bear in mind the dogs have been and gone - GM attends a media conference in Edinburgh and tells us that what is lacking is control of content and he wants much less coverage. 

In the Leveson Enquiry he appears to have misunderstood Sir Christopher who apparently now is the person who advised him to go to the courts. Whereas it is clear from Sir Christopher’s statement that he could have helped but this help was not what GM wanted. 

The two quotes from the press in his statement are hardly sensational headlines. One journalist feeling sorry for Kate but still blaming her and the other having a nagging doubt which he hopes will go away. Why quote these two when there were many far more accusative headlines?

Finally we have Michael Wright who speaks of negative emails and a support group who are monitoring the internet. He mentions the threats in some detail but appears to know nothing about actions or non actions taken by the police. Surely he would have known if action had been taken by his cousins? 

Finally, since Bell Pottinger were on the job virtually the day after 3/5/07, I would think that it was in the early days that the agreement with the PR giant was made to keep the McCanns in the press for a year. 


  1. Good post, Tigger, it's funny how everything they do is a pattern and repeats itself frequently.

    The McCanns would stop at nothing to control both the press and the investigation even from the outset - the ward of court application and the £500,000 payout to Lord Bell. Then there was the charities commission and Sir Christopher Meyer turning themselves inside out to help them whereas all the while it was all about the money so instead of a charity they opted for a Limited Company and instead of PCC payments on the steps of the courthouse.

    And even today are headlines that make Mother Teresa look like a ruffian. McCanns have been trolled (I suspect own goals) give Kate money. Vicious circle and bottomless pit spring to mind.

  2. Cosy invites to Christopher Myers home,legal steps including WOC and the limited co,oh and a chat with R Brooks!!
    These are not the moves of middle class doctors this is organised at the highest level,no detail too small(Bennet)no complex legal move too big (WOC)
    Cracking Tigger you never tire of pumping the facts and in fact we get to the truth!

  3. And Meyer knows all about money. His wife Lady Meyer, Catherine, is the PACT woman who pays herself 80% of the annual takings, and who counts attending a reception at No 10 as an achievement.

  4. Given that the media is still intensely interested in anything McCann related you'd have to wonder if they've been paying a fee ever since.

  5. Manipulative, is an understatement to describe the McCann's. I just hope it won't be long before their lies finally catch up with them. Jerry thinks he's got everything under control and his agenda is going to plan, what he forgets is, there's always someone a damn sight cleverer.

  6. This is from Gerrymccannsblogs website, Alan Pike at the damages trial.
    I'm putting this here as it is clear from the PJ files and other sources that SKY was phoned very soon after 10.00 pm 3/5/07. However, I'm interested in the charith Missing People as I'm sure I read that Kate had had a call from them in the early days, might have been in the diary. I remember noting is was around end May/early June, have not been able to find it since.
    But here is Pike, indicating that calling the press was on the advice of Missing People. Which doesn't make sense in view of the speed with which the press were called - unless their advice was given even earlier. Alan Pike was on the job as from the 4th, meeting the McCs at 6.00 AM on the 5th:

    19/9/2013 Lisbon

    SO – Did you advise the McCanns to promote news of the disappearance using the media?

    AP says it wasn't his advice. The McCanns were advised by an organisation which specialises in missing people.

  7. From the book, interesting in light of Lord Bell's revelation and Jon Corner's documentary

    "Since our campaign trips, it had become apparent that, with coverage reaching saturation point, the press were exploring different angles. Their appetite for the "human interest" aspect seemed insatiable. No longer was it about our lovely missing daughter; it was becoming the Kate and Gerry show. Our friend John Corner predicted this very early on. After sitting in on an interview session with British journalists one day, he said to us, "They're asking you about whether you still go running and what kind of trainers you wear, for God's sake. The longer it goes on, the worse it's going to get. It will be about you, not Madeleine" We had made a strategic decision to signal to the media that we would be withdrawing from the spotlight"

  8. I'm adding this comment which is relevant to this post. PeterJukes on twitter and on the Byline blog is definitely a very good journalist to follow. Some time last year he published a speech he made in Warsaw on Brooks and Murdoch. It's published on Byline. Below is the content of the tweet I saved:

    Canine Truth@K9Truth tweeted this on 11/11/15: (to @PeterJukes@zelo_street


    Well, we will pay 1500 euros for every afternoon that you meet up with our team and comment on the evolution of the Madeleine case.
    There is just one small detail..
    We have an editorial line that is positioned against this form of investigation, and we would obviously like to know whether we can count on your support.
    We have a problem there, my friend.. it’s that I am in favor of the investigation line that is being carried out by the Policia Judiciaria.
    But if the problem is money ...2000.
    Maybe you have misunderstood me, but when you arrived here, I was already here and when you leave, I will stay here and there is no money that will make me betray the country of the things that I believe in, do you understand?
    Hum, ok, but we all have a price, haven't we? 2500 and we have a deal.
    Look, little fellow, if you have a price then that is your problem, I don’t have a price and you know what? Do not call me again. If you call me again, I will go and meet you to wash my honor in your face.

    On the other end of the line, the call was ended, but this was another example of a ‘professional’ and of whom he represented, one who could never be classified as a ‘journalist’. A journalist listens to all the parties and only reproduces the true facts, informing the persons who read or listen to him about what he has been able to establish.