The disappearance of Madeleine McCann nine years ago is a case like no other. The role played by the media has kept her face on the front pages of the tabloid press .
Police files on the case are available on the internet. The Scotland Yard investigation is ongoing.
This blog is a collection of facts - sourced from witness statements, Portuguese police files, Leveson inquiry papers, interviews, videos, transcripts, newspaper articles and other material in the public domain.
Monday, 11 April 2016
DARK ARTS AND MASTERS OF SPIN
To be fair to the press: this article is of interest- especially the connection between Hacked Off and the last paragraph.
The people who know best: Dark arts and links
with the Masters of Spin...
By RICHARD PENDLEBURYhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2233716/Dark-arts-links-Masters-Spin-.html
PUBLISHED: 00:37 GMT, 16 November 2012 | UPDATED:
08:09 GMT, 16 November 2012
Beyond Authority, the book written by
Common Purpose and Media Standard Trust founder Julia Middleton setting out her
leadership ethos, contains several instructive passages about the 'long games'
and other strategies she advocates for success.
In a chapter which begins 'So what of
conspiring? The "dark arts"?', Middleton quotes approvingly and at
length one Doug Miller. He tells her: 'You start with clear and defined
objectives … Then you establish what the obstacles are … they are usually
people. So you have to establish what motivates them, and then decide if you
can win them over by the power of the idea …
'Sometimes, if it gets messy, you might have
to run over them, undermine them, go around them or discredit them. As a last resort,
you consider bullying them, or buying them off.'
Middleton and Sir David Bell, respectively
chief executive and a trustee and former chairman of Common Purpose, state they
are simply striving for a more accountable press. More transparency. More truth.
At the launch of Hacked Off, its co-founder
Dr Martin Moore, also director of Middleton and Bell's Media Standards Trust,
said that without a public inquiry the extent of the so-called 'dark arts' of
newspapers would not come to light.
And yet, as we shall show, Common Purpose,
the Media Standards Trust and Hacked Off are all closely linked to or employ
lobby PR firms which the free press have frequently exposed as being
practitioners of such 'dark arts' as secretive lobbying and spin.
Take Sovereign Strategy, described by The
Guardian as 'Labour's favourite lobbyists', which has close links to party
grandees David Miliband, Peter Mandelson and Lord Cunningham. It has reportedly
donated more than £150,000 to Labour in the past decade.
Lord (Jack) Cunningham, a Sovereign Strategy
board member from 2002-07, chaired the inaugural meeting of Hacked Off when it
was launched at the House of Lords.
Horatio Mortimer works as a 'strategic
consultant' for Sovereign Strategy and has provided free support to the victims
of phone hacking and their families.
Mortimer is a childhood friend of former
Formula One chief Max Mosley's late son Alex. Max Mosley is a leading light in
Hacked Off and a client of Sovereign Strategy.
Another client of Sovereign was Formula One's
Bernie Ecclestone, whose £1 million donation to Labour was subsequently returned
because of the controversy surrounding sponsorship of the sport by the tobacco
The 'international communications agency', as
it calls itself, was founded and is owned by Alan Donnelly, a former chief
steward of Formula One. The HQ has the same Trafalgar Square address as
Mosley's charitable arm, the FIA Foundation.
Donnelly lives with Peter Power, an
ex-spokesman for and close associate of the former Business Secretary Lord
Media Standards Trust boss Martin Moore said
last year: 'We met with Lord Cunningham and others, including Alan Donnelly,
who said they could help us however we liked.'
Sovereign Strategy has been investigated on a
number of occasions by all sections of the press.
In a June 2004 piece about New Labour
ministers and corporate consultancies, The Guardian noted: 'One-time Cabinet
enforcer Jack Cunningham, the loyalists' loyalist, records three remunerated
directorships — Brinkburn Associates, Anderson MacGraw and Sovereign Strategy.'
No wonder those behind Sovereign Strategy are no admirers of the press and
eager to help rein it in
In 2005, The Mail on Sunday reported that the
former Labour Health Secretary Alan Milburn had received a payment of up to
£10,000, after ceasing to be a Minister, registered in 2004 from 'Sovereign
Strategy, a corporate consultancy firm on Tyneside, of which Labour MP
"Junket" Jack Cunningham is an associate director — for a speech and
follow-up internal round table'.
In May 2005, The Guardian confirmed this when
it returned to the subject of former ministers working for lobby companies. It
reported that both Milburn and Lewis Moonie, the former Defence Minister, had
been 'fast-tracked by a government appointments watchdog to take up work with a
Labour-donating lobbying company which ignores a voluntary code of conduct not
to pay or employ politicians'.
The Guardian reported that Sovereign Strategy
'is unusual in not belonging to the lobbyists' professional body, the
Association of Professional Political Consultants, which has a code of conduct
not to employ or pay any MP, peer or MEP'. The company confirmed it was not a
member of the APPC, but said it insisted all paid advice by public officials
had to be declared in the relevant registers. (It later claimed to have stopped
paying serving politicians in 2007.)
No wonder those behind Sovereign Strategy are
no admirers of the press and eager to help rein it in. Mark Linder is a Common
Purpose trustee. He is also an executive at the leading lobby and PR firm Bell
Pottinger. Linder's responsibility is 'sector reputation'. Common Purpose CEO
Julia Middleton blogged about a Common Purpose meeting at which Linder had
spoken, eulogising: 'Mark was … a man who knows his stuff and knows how to
communicate it. It was a privilege to be there. A reminder of what drivel —
what amateur drivel — we all talk most of the time.'
The people at Bell Pottinger are the supreme
international lobbyists and image makers. In the past, they have worked for
supporters of the Chilean tyrant General Pinochet, Alexander Lukashenko of
Belarus (known as 'Europe's last dictator') and the protest-unfriendly
leadership of Bahrain. They even 'advised' Asma Assad, Syrian's first lady.
Such activity, one would have thought, hardly fits in with the Bell/Middleton
ethical approach to business activity.
Well-connected: Chief executive and founder
of the charity Common Purpose Julia MiddletonSue Stapely is a trustee of the
Media Standards Trust (MST) and appears on the Common Purpose website. She
appeared on the panel of an MST-organised debate on the media as someone who
'represents the general public'.
In fact, she worked closely with the London
lobbying firm Quiller Consultants. As such, she was the spin doctor brought in
at great cost by Newcastle Council to handle public relations following a home
care scandal. Here is how the local newspaper reported this in 2006:Council
chiefs were involved in a new row today over using taxpayers' money to recruit
image consultants. Crisis management expert Sue Stapely has helped Newcastle
City Council on three occasions in the past 18 months … Last year a row erupted
after Ms Stapely, working with London-based Quiller Consultants, was recruited
to advise council officers on dealing with the media at a cost of nearly £23,000
following an independent inquiry into the killing of Olive Garvie, 93, in a
Newcastle care home by fellow resident May Thrower, 83 …
Deputy Labour leader, Councillor Nick Forbes,
who quizzed the Lib Dems about the use of Ms Stapely and Quiller Consultants,
said: 'If something has gone wrong, why do the Lib Dems think it is more
important to spin a positive reputation for the council than identify the
problem and put it right? That is a serious misjudgement.'But the Lib Dems say the council's former Labour
administration also used Quiller Consultants and paid the firm more than
£70,000 for advice following a legal case.
In response to questions about her working
for large corporations, Sue Stapely said: 'I have always undertaken some work
on an unpaid basis for ordinary members of the public who either cannot access
or afford professional assistance. 'I have also sat on a number of boards as a
non-executive director, usually unremunerated, and have always attempted to
represent the views of typical consumers.' She said of the Newcastle affair:
'It was some time ago. I do not think it would serve any useful purpose to
revisit this issue. I do recall the council was strongly divided.'
On its website, Quiller boasts: 'We believe
our team has an unrivalled insight into the Conservative and Liberal Democrat
parties and the inner workings of the Coalition Government.'
Quite. One might find irony in the fact that
those lobby groups whose dark arts undermine the democratic process are closely
connected to the Media Standards Trust/Hacked Off campaign for further
regulation of the press.
FOOTNOTE: One of the recommendations of
Common Purpose's Media Standards Trust is that any new press regulation body
should consider co-ordinated 'third party' complaints. Reluctant to become
embroiled in political, ideological or commercial disputes, the PCC usually
only dealt with complaints by individuals — not third party organisations. The
Media Standards Trust recommendation would, if acted upon, clearly be a
huge boost to the lobbyists and 'dark arts' practitioners.
To add: 'The Sun Vault - the death star of British journalism'