Tuesday

Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

Evidence of the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case

This is an attempt to put together a short summary of what is known about the direct involvement of MI5, MI6 and other branches of government security services in the Madeleine McCann case. It is made following press reports this week about Goncalo Amaral’s recent references to the continuing involvement of MI5 in the Madeleine McCann case. It is not meant to be comprehensive, it is just at this stage a series of notes about the involvement of the British security services in the case. I hope others will add to them.     

It does not cover other forms of government assistance to the McCanns which we know includes:
  • The heavy early involvement of the British ambassador and consul in Portugal
  • The appointment of Clarence Mitchell, then head of the government’s 40-strong Media Monitoring Unit, to manage the reputation of the McCanns and control publicity on the case from the first month right up until today
  • The involvement of CEOP in seeking photographs direct from the public and then, through Jim Gamble, actively assisting the McCann campaign on several occasions
  • Intervention with the Border Agency, allowing the McCanns to avoid going through customs control
  • The personal intervention of Gordon Brown in the case, first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and then as Prime Minister
  • Meetings by successive Home Secretaries with the McCanns
  • Directing the Metropolitan Police to set up Operation Grange. 
MI5, MI6 and security services involvement in the Madeleine McCann case: A summary

1. Goncalo Amaral, in his book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, refers to the active involvement of staff from MI5 in his investigation

2. In an article about the case as recently as 29 June 2014, Goncalo Amaral again spoke of MI5 involvement: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/485524/Madeleine-McCann-Disgraced-Portuguese-detective-MI5-spies-know-what-happened-to-Maddie
He said: “People will eventually learn what really happened when MI5 opens the case files. Don’t forget that the British secret services followed the case right from the beginning. I don’t know if that information will be made available, but if it’s like the United States, it takes years to have access to confidential information”.

3. In his book, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, Amaral makes these observations: “Two days later, English colleagues begin to arrive…Bob Small, an officer from the Leicestershire police, and one of his colleagues meet us to take stock of the situation…We insist on knowing what our English counterparts have come to Portugal to do…Then two more police officers arrive who are assigned to psychological support and communication with the family. Little by little, the number of English police officers grows exponentially. We place at their disposal a room next to our crisis unit, Task Portugal. These are specialists from various police services, including Scotland Yard. Special surveillance teams as well as information and telecommunications technicians turn up with their laptops and various high-tech equipment… Members of the British agency the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre [who had arrived in Portugal], take a close interest in Murat and work to develop his psychological profile…”    

4. Amaral also states that Martin Grime, when he travelled back from taking his cadaver dogs Eddie and Keela to Portugal, was met by an MI5 officer who asked him questions (July 2007)

5. Control Risks Group (CRG), a risks and corporate security firm with very close links to the government, sent senior staff to Portugal to advise the McCanns and talk to the Portuguese Police on their behalf. Kate McCann refers to them in her book ‘madeleine’ as ‘primed to help’ (p. 125). CRG were also responsible for sending in another adviser to the McCanns, a man who, when the McCanns asked who he was, said ‘call me Hugh’ and declined to give his name. Kate McCann describes him as ‘a former intelligence officer, now a kidnap negotiator and counselor. ‘Hugh’ said that an ‘anonymous private donor’ was willing to fund the McCanns’ application to make Madeleine a Ward of Court

6. On 14 September 2007 there was a high-powered meeting at Kingsley Napley in London: present were the McCanns, Brian Kennedy, his lawyer and senior Freemason Edward Smethurt, Solicitor Angus McBride (who drove up to Rothley to collect the McCanns), top Solicitor Michael Caplan QC (an expert in extradition proccedings) and at least two members of staff of security company Control Risks Group 

7. Gary Hgland, a private investigator chosen personally by Cheshire businessman to assist on the Madeleine McCann case, mentioned, in a chapter of his so-far-unpublished book, meeting with an old friend of his ‘on the Moroccan desk of MI6’ in connection with the McCann Team’s intention to mount a publicity drive in Morocco

8. A Special Branch officer met the McCanns at the airport on their hurried return from Portugal on 9 September and personally drove them to Rothley (‘madeleine’ by Dr Kate McCann, p. 259)

9. Henri Exton, one of the staff employed by Kevin Halligen and Oakley International, is known to have been the former Head of Covert Intelligence at MI5 – until he was dismissed from MI5 after a shoplifting offence. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal and the O.B.E. for extensive work in covert security matters for the Ministry of Defence. A blogger about the Madeleine case, known as ‘Blackwatch’, who had inside knowledge of the workings of the British security services, once wrote: “This is no middle grade security services player; he was - as is on the record - formerly the Head of MI5’s Covert Intelligence Section – and you don’t get much higher than that”.

10. Earlier this year, the Sunday Times published an article which said this about evidence compiled by Kevin Halligen, Henri Exton and Oakley International: “The evidence was in fact taken from an intelligence report produced for Gerry and Kate McCann by a firm of former spies in 2008. It contained crucial E-Fits of a man seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance, which have only this month become public after he was identified as the prime suspect by Scotland Yard. A team of hand-picked former MI5 agents had been hired by the McCanns to chase a much-needed breakthrough in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine”.

11. Kevin Halligen, the disgraced criminal employed by the McCanns for 4 months at a cost of around £700,000, had extensive connections with the security services. For example, on 30 July 2004 Tim Craig-Harvey, Natasha Duval and Halligen set up Red Defence Ltd; all had connections with British government security services.




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