The many victims of the McCann Media Campaign
McCanns Photo shoot with the twins,2007
Since 2007, May 3rd the McCann couple, their family, their lawyers and their media spinners have entered in our TV’s, in our newspapers, in our houses.
I am not going to dwell much on the perversity that was for the McCanns to make a media spot where an appeal was made to Madeleine McCann’s abductor to the innocent children who went to watch the movie Shrek 3 and ended up being terrified; nor I’m going to make any comments on articles sanctioned by the McCanns which might evidence to any sane and responsible person that psychological harm is being done to Madeleine’s remaining bother and sister, Sean and Amelie, who play games like ‘Find the monster that took Maddie’ or who after three years allegedly state things like “She's been taken, when we find who took her, we'll fight them” even though in the McCanns documentary produced by Mentorn media/Channel 4 , the twins seemed practically oblivious of Madeleine, in the kitchen scene where Kate almost forces them to paint the name of their eldest sister. No, this is not the aim of this article.
I am going to remember the other victims of this case, the silent ones, the ones who had their names and faces plastered in the worldwide media, cover pages and TV, the ones who were used and abused by the media and by the McCann media team, the ones who do not have the money nor the know-how to hire Carter Ruck, Isabel Duarte, Rogério Alves, Ed Smethurst, and other lawyers to protect their rights. Victims of vicious games played by those who exploit anyone to sell more newspapers or have more audience ratings, and by those who ‘leak’ to the media sightings, names, photographs, already classified as irrelevant by the proper Police authorities in an attempt to conceal, cover up and confuse since 2007 a criminal investigation and its conclusions.
Let us start with Mari Luz Cortes, a little 5 years old girl, who disappeared in Huelva, Spain on the 13th of January 2008, whose body was later found on 7th March, in a river. The assassin, a former convicted paedophile, Santiago del Valle García was arrested on the 25th of the same month.
At the time of Mari Luz Cortes disappearence what did the McCanns do?
Writing on his blog, Gerry McCann said:
«Kate and I were dismayed to learn today that a 5-year-old girl has been missing from Huelva, in Southern Spain since Sunday evening. As many of you know, Heulva is approximately a 2 hour drive from Praia da Luz and we went there in early August to publicise Madeleine’s disappearance. Hearing of the probable abduction of Mari Luz Cortesa [sic] has brought many awful emotions flooding back. We hope and pray that Mari is quickly found and returned safely to her family. - Day 257 - 15/01/2008»
Then the McCanns decided to use Mari’s image without her parents consent
«Mari Luz Cortes parents have made clear their rejection of the possibility that their daughter should appear on the posters together with the British girl Madeleine McCann, because of their understanding that the investigations of both disappearances are following different lines.» in Público.es
«In statements made to journalists after a meeting with Manuel Chaves, Mari’s father, Juan José Cortes, confirmed that the family “had not given their permission” because “it is not the appropriate strategy to mix both cases nor that Mari Luz should have to be related to the case of Madeleine”.
“They are two totally different cases with two lines of inquiry that are completely different” according to Juan José Cortes, who announced his intention of making a complaint before the British Embassy “so that a reprimand is made to the person responsible for this”.» in Huelva, Europa Press
And the McCanns answer was:
« It is shameful that Mari Luz's father presents complaints
It is "surprising and shameful that Mari Luz's father presents complaints about us in a press release". This was the reaction of Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns when he was informed by the 24 Horas that the father of Juan Cortes does not authorise the distribution of the 18 thousand posters with the images of Maddie and the Spanish girl in Spain and Portugal.
"We regret the confusion. We only wanted to help Mari Luz's family and honestly we thought we had permission from the girl's father to this joint campaign", said Clarence Mitchell. The problem is that the 18 thousand posters were already sent by post, last Thursday to Spain. "Our only hope is that the owners of schools, restaurants and other public places are aware of the reaction of Mr. Juan Cortés and do not display the posters", said the spokesman of Kate and Gerry McCann.» in 24 Horas
And from McCanns cyber-bullies old site:
«Helping To Find Madeleine (HTFM) is pleased to announce that it has undertaken a further mailing project to raise awareness of the disappearance [sic] of Madeleine McCann, Yeremi Vargas and Mari Luiz [sic] Cortez throughout Spain and the Islands of Ceuta and Mellilla.
An estimated 17,400 letters in Spanish accompanied by 2 A3 colour posters depicting the missing children have been mailed to Banks and Building Societies, Schools and Colleges, Restaurants and Fast Food outlets, Post Offices, Ports and Marinas, Churches and Other Places of Worship, Supermarkets and Shopping Centres, Railway and Bus Stations, Garden Centres, Camp Sites, Leisure Facilities, Tourist attractions, Vets, Tobacconists, Bakers, Butchers and Grocers.»
And how did the British media behave?
As expected, the British Media, the McCann's Team and Clarence Mitchell tried to spin the story that the cases of Mari Luz Cortes and Madeleine's Case were somehow connected. At least by proximity, since Mari Luz lived in Huelva, Spain just 2 hours away from Praia da Luz, Portugal, and that was more than enough reason to use the Cortes family nightmare to benefit their own agendas.
Some titles from the UK media:
“The police hunt for new madeleine missing girl” , “Maddie: second girl taken” , “Has McCann maniac struck again?”, “Madeleine police in hunt for Spanish girl, 5, snatched 120 miles from McCanns' apartment”, “Maddie scare as girl, 5, goes missing”, etc..
And a few Extracts:
Telegraph: Private detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are looking into possible links with the recent disappearance of a five-year-old Spanish girl in the same area.
Leicester Mercury: The development came as police began searching for a five-year-old Spanish boy [sic] apparently abducted on Sunday evening. It is only 120 miles from Praia da Luz. Officers are investigating a travelling circus in the area at the time.
Mirror: Officers have linked the case to Madeleine, according to reports. The island (Gran Canaria, Spain) is just a short plane of ferry ride from Portugal. [obviously, there are no ferry rides from Portugal to GC]
The Portuguese press:
«DRAMA AND LIES: How the McCanns use Mari Luz in the Maddie case - The opinion of crime specialists
Whether Maddie is alive or dead, what’s important is to talk about the issue. And to do it emotionally. “It’s information management in times of crisis,” they say.
Every time some news comes up that is not favourable to the McCann family as regards the disappearance of Maddie, another news imposes itself favouring the missing child in the Algarve. From vigils, evocations, storytelling, YouTube movies, there are situations that repeat themselves and leave in the air the feeling that the positive overcomes the negative. “The strategy of the McCanns is well implemented, it has a spokesperson and composes the campaigns, studies how they should be carried out, where they are to be placed. Some of them are carried out in a mystifying way, others in a surgical way,” explains Francisco Moita Flores, an ex-investigator of the PJ and a commentator of the case.
Edson Athayde, a specialist in communications, without wanting to state that this is the case with the McCanns, believes that “this behaviour is typical of a crisis management situation.” And he says: “When it is installed in the media, interesting factoids may be produced that eliminate the facts”. (…)However, Edson argues that this may not stay confined to the South of Spain. “Soon we may even have the Maddie of Brazil, the Maddie of France… The media attention will concentrate on those places until the public is tired”.»
As anything changed?....
A brief epilogue to the Cortes family tragedy
Mari Luz parents initiated in May of that same year, in 2008, a petition campaign in which they pledged for tougher laws on convicted paedophiles. The Spanish president, José Luís Zapatero, received them and as a result, after some controversy and national debate, Spain adopted the creation of paedophile database registry only accessible to the judicial authorities, in order to protect the constitutional rights of the sex offenders.
I could write similarly about Joana Isabel Guerreiro Cipriano, whose horrible death was also used to spin, attack and discredit a former judiciary police coordinator and the Portuguese Judiciary Police investigation on Madeleine McCann - a media spin involving Metodo 3 private detective agency and the psychic lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia. Or I could write about the scare that a couple from the Moroccan Rif Mountains had when their daughter was photographed by another hysterical British tourist, on the same day that another Norwegian tourist spotted Madeleine in Marrakesh - the Moroccan 5 year old girl and her parents faces ended up being published in the vast majority of the British media.
Or I could write about the case of the Croatian footballer’s son, who was almost kidnapped by two frantic British tourists who thought the 2 year old boy was Madeleine McCann.
Or about the Portuguese man from Altura in the Algarve and the other Portuguese man adjectified by the UK media as «creepy», both named persons of interest by the McCanns Team, they also sold a few more newspapers; or the 5 year old who was caught on a street CCTV in Brussels walking with her nanny; or the little girl that was caught on CCTV at a Repsol Gas station in Portugal, and the other one in Montpellier, France spotted by an overexcited teenager. And the Victoria Beckham look-alike traced to an Australian millionaire socialite yacht owner...
And I could go on, until this week where two other innocent girls had their face published on the world wide media, one already dismissed by the New Zealand Police and the other child currently being opportunistically exploited by the British media. A Portuguese couple and another Portuguese woman photos are also being published on the British media as the new «suspects» - privacy rights and journalism ethics?!
Well it does not matter does it? It is blatantly obvious that the media in the UK is not regulated, even if one makes one or one thousand complaints to the PCC, the UK press independent self-regulatory body - which clearly states in its code of practice:
«The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.
A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.»
No corrections were made or apologies issued to most, if to any, of the above mentioned children and adults.
As a final note, I leave a question to the readers, does anyone else find it strangely coincidental that each time the McCanns, their lawyers and spinning team were given information from the Process to the investigation of their daughter Madeleine that same documentation ended up, somehow, being published in the UK media, or is it just my impression?
We are still waiting for the McCanns to ask the Portuguese Public Ministry to re-open the process. And so is Madeleine.