Spin and Manipulation - Round Up the Usual Suspects
Roderick Macdonald leaving court, 18th Oct. 2014 | Photo: Matthew Xuereb
By Isabel Oliveira and Joana Morais
During the last couple of weeks, coinciding with yet another Scotland Yard’s visit to Portugal, the press blitzed its readers with the breaking News that Roderick Robinson (also known as Roderick McDonald) had been arrested in Malta in connection to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
These were some of the headlines for October 2014:
1 –Times of Malta, Update 2, 14th October 2014 – “76-year-old Briton to be extradited - possibly linked to McCann case”
2– Daily Mail, 14th October 2014 – “REVEALED: Paedophile arrested over Madeleine McCann's disappearance molested two Australian girls before fleeing to Thailand”
3 – Daily Mirror, 14th October 2014 - “Convicted paedophile believed to have been in Portugal at the time of Madeleine McCann's disappearance arrested in Malta”
4– Irish Mirror, 15th October 2014 - “Madeleine McCann paedophile suspect jet-setted around globe after giving police slip two years ago”
5 –Irish Independent, 15t October 2014 - “British paedophile arrested in connection with Madeleine McCann disappearance”
In summary, the media stated that Roderick Robinson was arrested in connection to the Madeleine McCann case, some media placing him in Portugal in 2007 at the time of disappearance, some media describing him as being on the run for a varied amount of years, some reported him as being the possible suspect in the alleged break ins in the Algarve from 2004 to 2010, some mentioning he sailed in a private yacht around the Mediterranean stopping in Praia da Luz.
In all articles, the media stresses the connection between Roderick Robinson and Madeleine McCann disappearance and states or insinuates that Mr Robinson was living in the Algarve at the time of events.
Let’s take a closer look:
The Times of Malta writes: “The Mirror reported that Mr Macdonald was in Algarve when the three-year-old vanished in 2007.Scotland Yard detectives chasing new leads in Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing wanted to quiz him about paedophile rings in the area in 2007. Police were investigating 18 possible linked break-ins at Algarve villas by a lone intruder from 2004 to 2010. The attacks stopped in 2010, at around the time Robinson was deported from Portugal to Australia for raping an eight-year-old girl there, the Mirror reported in May.”
The Daily Mail Writes: “Robinson aka McDonald has been on the run for 25 years for molesting girls under the age of 10 years” “Roderick William Robinson, 76, was extradited from Portugal in 2010 to face the Sydney child molestation charges, just three years after Madeleine, aged three, was abducted from Portugal's Algarve region. Robinson, also known as Roderick McDonald, is being held in Malta pending extradition to the UK on sex offences.”
The Daily Mirror Writes: “The Sunday Mirror revealed earlier this year how police were trying to find McDonald after it was claimed he was living on the Algarve back in 2007. He also raped a girl, eight, in Australia. A source said: “He is a notorious and dangerous sex offender. He’s shown a pattern of disturbing behaviour wherever he has travelled.” The British girls’ mum said it was “unbelievable” police had missed the chance to quiz the ex-oil rig worker over Madeleine. She said: “The police knew he was in Portugal around the time she vanished, but let him slip through their fingers.”
The Irish Mirror Writes: “Today shocked friends in Sannat revealed MacDonald would often boast to them how he would sail a private yacht around the Mediterranean, often stopping in resorts like Praia da Luz in Portugal.” “Retired policeman John Buttigieg, 55, who knew MacDonald during his time in Malta, said people could not believe they had such a dangerous predator in their midst.”
The Irish Independent Writes: “He is also to be questioned about his connections to a paedophile ring linked to the abduction of the toddler in the Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007 as he was reportedly living in the country at the time of her disappearance.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Yes it does, and this is why:
On the 17th May 2014 the Daily Mirror writes that “A paedophile hunted in the Madeleine McCann case has “slipped through the fingers” of British police, the mum of two of his victims claimed tonight. Roderick Robinson, 77, was in the Algarve when the three-year-old vanished in 2007. He was given a suspended prison sentence in 2012 for abusing five- and seven-year-old girls in Brighton who bore a resemblance to Madeleine.”
On the 4th May 2014, the Daily Mail writes, “British police are hunting for an 'on-the-run' paedophile who was in Portugal at the same time as series of sex attacks which have been linked to disappearance of Madeleine McCann”
On the 16th February 2011, the Daily Mail writes that “Robinson fled to Australia in 1988 while awaiting trial for repeatedly abusing an under-aged girl. In Australia he was arrested by police for sexually abusing another under-aged girl the following year. However he was once again released on bail and fled to New Zealand, where said Police Colonel Shusak Phanatamphorn, he was also accused of abusing young girls. He escaped to Portugal but Interpol police caught up with him there in April 2010, while he was reportedly living on a campsite in the Algarve.”
Several questions come to mind, the most obvious being, was Roderick Robinson in the Algarve in May 2007 after being on the run for a decade or more, depending on the publication?
The surprising answer is a clear “NO” and it can be substantiated by a credible and official source, the 2009-2010 Annual Review of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) or in a press release by the same Entity published on the 8th June 2010.
“A 72 year-old British man, Roderick Robinson, arrived in Australia on Sunday 6 June 2010 following his extradition from Portugal. He had been on the run since 2001 for alleged sexual offences against a child in Australia. He was tracked down and arrested in Portugal as a direct result of the activities of CEOP’s Overseas Tracker Team.
Robinson was first arrested in 2001 in Australia for the alleged assault of a young girl and was bailed pending court hearings. He failed to appear to answer the charges in 2001.
Fleeing Australia, he entered New Zealand where he was arrested for child sexual offences allegedly committed there. He was granted bail with the requirement he surrender his passport.
In November 2009 using a stolen passport, Robinson left New Zealand bound for the UK. Piecing together intelligence on his transient movements in the UK, CEOP investigators worked with local police and the UK Borders Agency and located him in Portugal.
The Overseas Tracker Team disseminated intelligence on Robinson to Portugal, via INTERPOL, to advise them of the threat he posed to children in their country.
In response to Australia’s request for Robinson’s urgent provisional arrest, Portuguese police arrested Robinson in March 2010 and he was extradited to New South Wales, Australia to face justice.”
In summary we can state with certainty:
1 –Roderick Robinson was not in the Algarve in 2007.
He was in New Zealand from 2001 where he was arrested for new child offences and granted bail surrendering his passport. He escaped New Zealand in November 2009 using a stolen passport.
2 – Roderick Robinson was NOT on the run for 1 or more decades. In fact he was:
Arrested in Australia in 2001
Arrested in New Zealand
Arrested in Portugal in March 2010 and extradited to Australia
Arrested in Australia again in 2010
Arrested in Thailand in 2011 and extradited to the UK
Arrested in the UK, where in 2012 he received a suspended sentence after abusing two girls, aged seven and five in Shoreham, West Sussex...
Escaped the UK, “Sussex Police said following his conviction he changed his surname to MacDonald and left the UK, breaching the terms of a court order.”
British Police had numerous opportunities to question Mr Robinson regarding the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
They had the opportunity to do so in 2010, when he was arrested in Portugal and deported to Australia and, more importantly, they had the opportunity to do so in 2012 when Mr Robinson was arrested and faced trial in the UK.
The other very pertinent question in this case, is this media incompetence, a lack of accuracy because it sells papers or something else?
It took us only a few hours of internet search to find the relevant CEOP document proving that Roderick Robinson was not in the Algarve. We are only amateurs with limited time to dedicate to this matter; we are not professional journalists with access to police sources. A journalist, any journalist, would have access to this same information in a matter of hours and would fact check it. So we are ruling incompetence out.
Dear UK media hacks can you explain how the 100000th #McCann suspect was in Luz in 2007, it seems he was living in New Zealand from 2001/09?
— Joana Morais (@xklamation) October 16, 2014
Selling papers? Because sadly this is a subject that sells papers? We are prepared to rule that out as well. It sells papers, yes, but the fact that this article is recycled and published recurrently makes us look in another direction. The truth is these type of articles were published in May 2014 to coincide with Operation Grange new suspects (the forever changing suspect that assaulted young girls in Portugal, or the suspect(s) alleged to have broken into houses) that the media insinuated could be Roderick Robinson.
The truth is that these articles came out and were pushed into the public on two occasions:
Before Scotland Yard working visit to Portugal in June 2014 for the “digs” and questioning of 3 arguidos and several potential witnesses.
In October 2014, just before the current Scotland Yard Visit to Portugal to meet with the Faro PJ team and the laboratory in Portugal where some samples of hairs and other materials from the night of May 3rd are kept and were subjected to forensic tests in 2007. (*1)
The only conclusion we can draw is that these articles are always within the context of a Scotland Yard visits to Portugal. They are media spin and manipulation of readers to validate Operation Grange and its only remit. That Madeleine McCann was abducted in PDL in May 2007, while her parents had dinner in a nearby restaurant.
These articles and their timing are not a random media initiative. These are part of a very efficient and well developed marketing campaign with the co-operation of the media (even Portuguese journalists and ExclusivePix photojournalists). Who places it, we can guess and so can you. We will name no names.
We finalise with the most important. That these articles in October 2014 were only a small part of a far more sinister and well planned crisis management marketing campaign.
#mccann #jim gamble excellent Sky news coverage of secret UK review of case covered in "Looking for Madeleine"
— Summers & Swan (@summersandswan) September 1, 2014
Welcome praise. #madeleinemccann Madeleine - Exposing the Myths: Looking for Madeleine,new book .... http://t.co/9IWIFma7eA
— Summers & Swan (@summersandswan) September 18, 2014
Looking for Madeleine, the new book by @summersandswan outs the leaders of the campaign to smother the facts about #MadeleineMcCann.
— Summers & Swan (@summersandswan) September 15, 2014
@ComingUpTheHill I am happy that both police forces have asked questions & made decisions. Also @summersandswan book is totally independent
— Jim Gamble (@JimGamble_INEQE) October 10, 2014
@ComingUpTheHill Read the @summersandswan book if u want an impartial intelligent insight. It debunks conspiracy theorists amateur analysis
— Jim Gamble (@JimGamble_INEQE) October 10, 2014
We will develop that matter on a later date but, for today, we would stress that it is our belief that the Gamble Report commissioned in 2009 by the then Home Office secretary Alan Johnson to Mr Jim Gamble, was shared with Sky News and with two relatively unknown authors, Summers & Swan and cited in their book, as we can see bellow.
The Portuguese police, Gamble remembered reporting, had appeared ‘incompetent, haphazard’ at the very start, during what police call ‘the golden hours’, the minutes and hours immediately after it was realised that Madeleine was missing. ‘The golden hours aren’t called that for nothing,’ Gamble said in 2014. ‘You can’t go back and recover them. They hadn’t secured the scene right away – there were people coming and going. There was contamination of the scene. They didn’t have structured house-to-house or apartment-to-apartment searches.
‘They told British officers that everyone in the resort’s apartments had been interviewed. But it became apparent that wasn’t so. Holidaymakers who had been at the Club got in touch with British police and said they hadn’t been interviewed. Not all the staff at the resort had been fully eliminated from the investigation, either.
‘Statistics tell us that there is often parental or family involvement. The Portuguese hadn’t begun with the parents as suspects. They hadn’t cleared the ground in front of them. Then they went down the [Robert] Murat route, were totally focused in that direction, and when that hit a dead end they went off in another direction. Later, when the dogs went in, they seemed to think they had the silver bullet. But the forensics tell you that they had not.
‘I remember in the interviews [with British officers who had been involved], that nobody could talk coherently about the forensics because it had become such a bugger’s muddle. People were afraid to talk about it in case they would be misquoted … There was at first a beauty contest among the British agencies about who could or would help and how. That created a bunfight. There was an unhealthy competitive element at the beginning along the lines of “Me, me, me, we’ll help.”
‘From the Prime Minister of the day [initially Tony Blair, then Gordon Brown], to all the ministers, to senior police officers, they were well intentioned. But I believe they congested the environment, confused others about priorities and agendas … CEOP was no different. We all rushed to the door. Leicestershire, who had the lead, understandably became extremely territorial, would say, “You must come through us.” They were a small force focused on local policing, not necessarily with the capacity to upscale.’
Gamble recommended that there should be renewed and stronger engagement between British and Portuguese law enforcement, an exchange of all information on the case – and action to pursue all outstanding leads, including those developed by the McCanns’ private investigators.
‘When you looked at the volume of information passed by the UK to the Portuguese in 2007,’ Gamble said, ‘only ten per cent had been actioned.’ High on the review’s priority list for renewed effort was: further work on analysing phone calls on the night Madeleine vanished, a reassessment of the forensic investigation – and other crimes committed in the Algarve in the relevant period – and information on known sexual offenders.
The one UK force with the capacity to handle the fresh work, Gamble thought, was the Metropolitan Police, and Portuguese cooperation would be essential. In contacts with the Met, senior officers indicated willingness to come in ‘if there was a likelihood of it being successful, of bringing someone to justice and if funding requirements could be met’.
The CEOP review landed on Home Secretary Johnson’s desk in early May 2010, just days before the Labour government was thrown out in the general election. Abruptly, it ceased to matter whether Alan Johnson supported a review of the Madeleine McCann case or not.
The McCanns, however, had hedged their bets by meeting with Conservative Party leader David Cameron well ahead of the election. This had perhaps not been difficult to arrange, for their spokesman Clarence Mitchell – a future Conservative candidate – worked for the Conservative election campaign. Cameron, who had himself tragically lost his eldest child to illness the previous year, might be expected to sympathise.
With the new Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition now in power and Cameron installed in Downing Street, the McCanns kept up the pressure and met with the new Home Secretary, Theresa May. CEOP’s Gamble met with her, too, but differed with her about his agency’s future independence – he was to resign by the autumn. She ‘hemmed and hawed’ on the matter of the Madeleine case, according to Gamble.
in Looking For Madeleine - Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan's book, published in the UK by Headline Publishing Group in 2014
The “Snitch Dossier” compiled by “concerned members of the public” and the Sky exclusive report of this dossier are not isolated events. They are part of yet another marketing and manipulation of public opinion campaign designed to fulfil/push forward several personal and political agendas, all this leading to Brenda Leyland's tragic death.
These four consequential events have two common denominators. The Gamble Report and Sky News.
Was this report confidential?
Did Mr Jim Gamble write this report as the Head of CEOP or outsourced already under his new company INEQE?
Why and is it legal that parts of the report were shared with the book authors and Sky News?
Was the “troll gate” Dossier given to Sky News and then to the Police? Or was the dossier provided to the police first, on September 9, as stated in this article, and then because the assessment was taking too long or didn't meet the expected impact it was given to Sky News?
Why is Mr Gamble interviewed by Sky News both on the occasion of the report and on the occasion of the “dossier”, in this last case standing with the logo of his private company “INEQE” quite visible behind him?
Who gave the dossier to the police? The “concerned citizens” that gave it to the media, Sky News, the McCanns? For two weeks the McCanns and their spokespersons (the plural is deliberate) denied any involvement in the “Dossier”.
If Gerry McCann had the Dossier, why did he say on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he had not read Sweepyface's tweets?
@robyatkins @tomdonofin my understanding is that the McCanns did not hand the dossier to police.
— Jim Gamble (@JimGamble_INEQE) October 22, 2014
@BoboPhoenix no I don't favour vigilante approaches. I do think we should empower properly vetted, recruited & trained civilian volunteers.
— Jim Gamble (@JimGamble_INEQE) October 21, 2014
@briso1873 Personally I would like to see then ring leaders, still active & abusive on twitter investigated by police. They draw others in
— Jim Gamble (@JimGamble_INEQE) October 12, 2014
The Sunday Times (18th October) states that the McCanns delivered the Dossier to the police.
The Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe affirmed on a recent BBC London 94.9 radio interview the McCanns handed the Dossier to the police.
What is the truth?
There is currently a FOI regarding the Gamble report and we will soon, hopefully, have some more answers.
Ofcom is supposedly investigating Sky News following complaints over their report accusing Brenda Leyland of 'trolling' the parents of Madeleine McCann.
The CPS must also be investigating not only those who were behind the dossier but all parties, including the media, that played a role in Brenda's outing and subsequent death.
“I don't really want to talk about trolls, we're here very much to talk about child rescue.”, Gerry McCann on Brenda Leyland, Mondrian London hotel, Oct. 9 2014
This incredibly well orchestrated integrated marketing campaign sadly resulted in human tragedy with the loss of a life. Hounded by the media and public opinion that labelled her as a “troll”, when she was clearly not, a human being was pushed to despair and Brenda Leyland is believed to have taken her own life in a hotel room in Leicester.
It is essential that the truth regarding the report, the book, the Sky exclusive on the report, the “Dossier” and the Sky exclusive report on the dossier is told and we trust the competent authorities to do so and to do it urgently.
These are not just mere coincidental isolated actions, these were planned and integrated, part of a whole disastrous PR and marketing campaign.
As the target audience we were and are, as tax payers and law abiding citizens it is our right and our moral duty to research and question what we read and watch and, above all, demand the truth surrounding these events.
Note: (*1) On a small off topic note, those heartened by this SY request should realise that SY wants to test hairs in the apartment collected on the night of the 3rdMay. In other words, they want to take the samples to the UK to analyse them in order to establish there was hair from a stranger in the apartment. The fact is that a hair proves nothing; they come into houses brought by hoover brushes, mops, laundry, in someone’s feet or clothes or simply brought in by the wind. We fail to see the point. But we do note that SY wants these hairs to be tested in the UK. We reserve opinion on this matter until, and if, it happens. We hope Portuguese authorities will not allow it considering there is an open investigation, independent from SY in Portugal, running at the moment and those samples are an integrant part of it.