20 March 2009

McCann Case: Freedom of Information Act on John Buck former Ambassador

It was Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who were behind the instructions given to the UK ambassador, John Buck, and to the British consul, Bill Henderson (the two senior UK diplomats in Portugal at the time she disappeared), to make sure Gerry and Kate McCann were given all possible assistance.

A few minutes after the return to Faro of the team of experts that the PJ had sent to Leicester, Her Majesty's British Ambassador, John Buck, to the Portuguese Republic was already visiting their premises. The presence of the diplomat, that has been confirmed by several journalist, is in direct relation with the Madeleine McCann case and was not asked by the Portuguese Authorities. The ambassador has stayed half an hour with the police.

John Buck - British Ambassador in Portugal in May 2006 - resigns his post on 10/09/07 - shortly after the McCanns are made suspects. John is replaced by Alexander Ellis. Leaves the Diplomatic Services entirely.

Related

Daily Express: Madeleine: British Diplomat had doubts about McCanns
3 December 2007 (no longer on-line)

A British diplomat warned the Foreign Office of concerns regarding Mad­eleine McCann’s parents, it emerged last night. Doubts about Kate and Gerry McCann were raised almost immediately by an official sent to Praia da Luz due to what he considered to be “inconsistencies” in the couple’s testimonies about the night the four-year-old vanished. The warning was contained in a classified document sent from the Algarve to the Foreign Office days after Madeleine’s disappearance. Details of the letter have been leaked through the British diplomatic mission in Brussels to the respected Belgian newspaper Derniere Heure.

The unnamed diplomat voices his concern about the “confused declarations” as to the whereabouts of Kate and Gerry McCann and their friends in the final hours before Madeleine’s disappearance. He also mentions the couple’s “lack of co-operation” with the Portuguese police in the light of instructions from London suggesting consular staff “overstretch their authority and put pressure on the Portuguese authorities”. The document also asks for confirmation of orders sent by the Foreign Office in London the day before, commanding embassy staff to give “all possible assistance to the McCann couple”.

Diplomats on the Algarve were told the McCanns had to be “accompanied at all times during any contact with the Portuguese police” by a member of consular staff or by British police officers sent out from the UK. The letter, sent just days after Madeleine disappeared, warns of the risks of siding with the McCanns so completely. Excerpts published in a report by La Derniere Heure quote the diplomat as saying: “With the greatest respect, I would like to make you aware of the risks and implications to our relationship with the Portuguese authorities, if you consider the possible involvement of the couple. “Please confirm to me, in the light of these concerns, that we want to continue to be closely involved in the case as was requested in your previous ­message.”

A huge team of diplomats have been involved in the case since Gerry McCann asked the Foreign Office for help. In an unprecedented move, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair despatched special envoy Sheree Dodd, a former Fleet Street journalist, to Portugal to act as a “med­ia liaison officer” for the McCann family. Direct government communications with the McCanns came to an abrupt halt, however, when the couple were made official suspects in the case in September.

Portuguese detectives believe it is possible Madeleine died as the result of an accident on May 3 in the family’s holiday apartment and that her parents hid and later disposed of her body with the help of their friends. The couple have always said they had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance. The Belgian report says it is highly significant that almost all of the diplomats involved at the outset have now been taken off the case.

Special envoy Sheree Dodd has since resigned from the Foreign Office, the British consul in the Algarve Bill Henderson has retired and the British ambassador to Portugal John Buck is no longer in Portugal. Last night the Foreign Office refused to comment on the report.



Extracts from the FOI released by ICO - Information Commissioner's Office

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Section 50) Decision Notice 3 March 2009 Public Authority: Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Reference: FS50188322

In October 2007 the complainant asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for information concerning communications between the then Ambassador to Portugal John Buck and the Portuguese police on the subject of the disappearance of the child Madeleine McCann. However, some further information continued to be withheld; it was this refusal to provide information that the Commissioner investigated.

FCO added that, at the time of the internal review (December 2007), the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann had been ongoing and that, for legal reasons, it had not been possible to disclose further information then.

FCO told the Commissioner that, although the Portuguese authorities had released many documents about the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, sensitivities remained and FCO believed that the section 27(1)(a)* exemption still applied. If FCO were to disclose all the details about HM Ambassador’s contact with the Portuguese police they would risk damaging the relationship on which good inter-governmental co-operation was based.


FCO recognised the public interest in knowing the extent of UK government involvement in the investigation but believed that the reasons for exemption outweighed those that favoured release.

The Full Freedom of Information Act on John Buck, The British Ambassador in 2007 at the time of Madeleine McCann disappearance.




*The exemption under section 27 exists to protect the United Kingdom's international relations, its interests abroad and the United Kingdom's ability to protect and promote those interests. [full PDF here]

Section 27 consists of two different kinds of exemption:

Section 27(1) focuses on the effects of disclosure rather than on the type of information. Information is exempt if its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice any of the matters mentioned in section 27(1)(a) - (d):

a) relations between the UK and any other state

b) relations between the UK and any international organisation or international court

c) the interests of the UK abroad

d)the promotions or protection by the UK of its interests abroad

Section 27(2) protects confidential information obtained from a foreign state, an international organisation, or an international court. Section 27(2) describes information by reference to its origins and the circumstances in which it was obtained.


24 comments:

  1. This clearly shows that there was government interference since the first days in the investigation, from pressure applied to the Portuguese Police to the manipulation of the media via the UK 'special envoys' and various spokespersons.

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  2. Yet another leak of a very important, sensitive and significant document, and this time it was not the P.J., the preferred scapegoat everytime something not favorable to the McCanns comes out in the press!
    I believe there are no longer any doubts that there was a big involvement from the british authorities in this case, and that their interference "killed" the investigation. The reasons for this unprecedented interference, who knows? But it has to be something very serious, something highly dangerous and damning to people in high places, in cannot explain it in any other way. What it might be...my gut-feeling tells me it is probably connected to paedophiles, "pillars of society" with skelletons in the cupboard, or some ultra-secret medical experiences like human-cloning, or complex genetic experiences in some way.

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  3. Gracias, Joana y Astro.

    Cada vez entiendo menos todo el asunto. O más. No sé.

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  4. Can anyone offer an explanation about the information received by a family member? I assume it is a family member who doesn't want Kate and Gerry to know they have given relevant information?

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  5. Right at this moment I've got no time to read well and comment this all but I will come back.
    But somewhere I read about a British consul in Algarve.Where in Algarve and how far from Praia da Luz? How many minutes driving?

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  6. Sorry if i am being a bit daft, but who is "the complainant"?
    And I too do not understand the reference to the "family member", and the "individual" who made comments in "strickest confidence" to FCO. What's this all about?
    Rosie

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  7. "about HM Ambassador’s contact with the Portuguese police they would risk damaging the relationship on which good inter-governmental co-operation was based."

    This really says it all, the so-called co-operation and respect between two independent sovereign countries is a falacy! Two countries united by the world's oldest alliance, my foot!
    The british trampled all over the portuguese government, police and justice system, behaved like Portugal was a"bananas republic", with no authonomy or rightful and lawful government, like they were at home, in some sort of extension of Gibraltar, did as they very well pleased, but with a façade of colaboration and deference. They want to keep their face and not show the world the evidence of their abuse of authority and disrespect towards a legitimate and independent fellow european country. When they are capable of this despicable acts when dealing with their oldest ally, who knows what they will do to their enemies?

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  8. A lot of information to be read carefully. New pieces for the blog's puzzel.It takes time to comment this.I miss dates and timelines in a few things.
    When did exactly Gerry contacted the Foreign Office( or a friend did it for him) for the first time?
    Could it have been before the alarm was raised? Could it be that the British diplomats in Portugal knew about the death(by accident, in pyjamas) before the guests of the hotel and police knew it? And that would explain the 14 messages Gerry exchanged between 9.00pm and 10.pm? "... an official sent to Praia da Luz..." almost immediately.I remember the Ambassador in Portugal arrived the day after. And he found out the truth?
    Did he know Tapas 10, did he see the body and did he notice that it could not have been an accident?
    But why didn't those people put Madeleine's body in a forest or on a field, in order to be found by the police? What kind of evidences did her body had? DNA? And why should Tapas 10 keep protecting the parents? Orders from the UK?
    WHAT IS BEHIND ALL THIS?

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  9. Yes, that is bright. Now I ask myself if the ambassador saw the body, at Tapas 10's.
    If he met Tapas 10,and now I believe it, I suspect he saw the corpse.
    Because there is secrecy of Justice in Portugal and he could not know that the police were experience inconcistencies and already suspecting the parents.

    How could he allow Murat being made arguido and allow the McCanns become millionairs, money given by the British people?
    He is now free, not working at diplomacy anymore or maybe not even working for the govenment.
    I hope he will come foward telling what he knows.

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  10. I hope those diplomats took pictures of the body, kept them to be shown on a trial some day.

    This would be great!

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  11. Gerry was following instructions by the british authorities after the so called "accident" on what to say and how to behave etc, hence his flippant behaviour. He was also assisted in disposing of the body. He knew then that he was Mr Untouchable.
    I think one has to delve into their past, investigate their contacts, lifestyle etc and also their connection with Blair/Gordon in order to get to the bottom of this case.

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  12. No government would cover-up an ACCIDENT of a small child.

    The question now is, who killed her and why?

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  13. I got to correct something I wrote here at at 12.24 .
    The diplomat was writing the Uk about inconsistensies, but not found out by the police but found out by himself. Different inconsistensies from the inconsistencies The Lying Doctors were telling the police.
    I think it had to do with the sofa against the wall, under the window,
    "pushed by Madeleine", causing the fatal fall of 3 meters. I suspect Gerry did not tell the window communicates directly with the street.Maybe he said she fell down on a privet garden of 5a.
    Why not put the corpse in the woods or a field (Tapas 10)? Afraid a test on her hair would show use of drugs?
    Or were her injuries not caused by a fall? I think they weren't.
    I go back to the DNA : whose DNA did she have in her body? Difficult to be cleaned up?
    Last question: why did the dog only identified the red T-shirt (cadaver scent) and where were the rest of her clothes she was wearing when she died? Why were they not kept, like the cuddle cat,Kate's clothes, the red T-shirt? Traces of violence?
    We have to try to find out why Tapas 10 did not dispose of the body, when he found out he had been cheated. I would have done it, Blair or no Blair.I even would have called the police.

    Who is the family member who talked to FOI or ICO and what did he/she tell?
    More leaks, thank Haevens.

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  14. Joahanna, I beg to disagree. Imagine this cenario: The child suffered an accident while the parents were out, the child was left alone to fend for herself, they were not there to assist her and take her to the hospital, maybe to make things worse she had been sedated.Also imagine that this couple is private to something unspeakable, some dark secrets from people in high places, that they are involved in unsavoury activities. Now, faced with the prospect of an inquest into the circumstances leading to the child's death, a post-mortem, etc., the dread of loosing guardianship of the twins and their medical licenses, their reputations shattered, I do believe they would do anything to save their own skins, they would call some favours, threaten to expose the secrets they know, and demand for help in return for their silence.
    It sounds crazy and far-fetched, I know, but by now, with all the bizarre contours of this sad story nothing will surprise me anymore, no matter how weird and unlikeky...

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  15. Thinking about the Tapas 9 inclination to sue left and right, I wonder why Mr. Payne never took legal action against that couple who spent an holiday with them and made the allegations of improper paedophilic behaviour from Mr.Payne and Mr. McCann. Why did that account "die", as well as the social-worker( Yvonne?)questions towards Mr. Payne? isn't an allegation of paedophilia serious enough to take action, if one is absolutely innocent of any wrong- doing? Would one not be expected to want one's good name cleared from any suspicion?

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  16. Where were Tony Blair and all those diplomats when Gerry was unemployed for two years?

    Each of them had 24 months to find him a job and they didn't.

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  17. Many people in britain still believe the cover up story; it shows the power that these people have over the masses and i'm afraid that the truth will never be discovered as we're talking professionals here! someone else mentioned paedophiles and twisted medical researches..i won't be surprised anymore. Good may bless that poor little girl that paid the highest price; the sinners will root in hell for the ETERNITY.

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  18. Yes, I agree with somebody above who asks him/herself why David Payne did not sue the person who said he is a paedophile.
    He even did not sue Amaral and he could have done it.
    Odd, very odd.
    To cite Gerry: "Past tense".
    It is past tense in Portugal but not in the UK.
    If the media tries to tell about what happened in the past( PJ rapport), they are sued.

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  19. It has become clearly apparent that this is a cover up like the Jersey case and the Islington Home.

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  20. Senor Goncalo Amaral said from the start that there was goverment interference. i believe madeliene was abused and they had to dispose of her body as this would have been exposed through dna .anyone who can live with with knowledge and keep it quiet is evil.They may think there will be no payback for this but there will be .examine your conscience and do the right thing.A weight will be lifted from you...madeliene can then rest in peace...

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  21. Did anyone ever question why the mccanns released the photograph of madeliene that we are all so familiar with which was a younger madeliene than a more recent photo...surely if you believe your child was abducted the best chance of her being found would be the most recent image of her ...COVERUP WITHOUT A DOUBT .....





















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  22. I wonder if they checked the names of any visitors from the UK staying in the area at that time - or leaving it! It would be wise to check anyone connected with UK Government.

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  23. Updated links due to the mention on Craig Murray's article: The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/04/the-strange-case-of-gordon-brown-and-the-mccanns/

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  24. Why would you leave your apartment and walk back 15 mins to the restaurant to tell your husband your daughter was missing and leave your twins in bed alone? One child missing and leave the 2 others unattended for nearly 30 mins????

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