Did disgraced Olive Press journalist Jon Clarke risk Madeleine McCann's life still further with his fake news?

Decline and Fall of Modern Journalism
One small slip for a man; one giant fall for a profession.

In previous short Chapters (29 - Fake News; 30 - Clarke Lies and videotape; 31 - On Lies and conspiracies; 33 - Jon Clarke Entrenched Lies ) I tried to unravel some of the extraordinary stories relating to the reported disappearance of Madeleine Beth McCann put out by Jon Clarke the disgraced journalist, editor and proprietor of “The Olive Press”, a free tabloid newspaper and advertising sheet found at supermarket-check-outs in southern Spain.

I tried to unpick the way in which outright and provable lies were printed, published on-line, and then, bizarrely, put into first-hand reporting in the recent Netflix ‘documentary’.

I showed how a whole series of Clarke’s lies was immediately revealed by the contemporary video footage included in that same Netflix production, and how anyone watching and thinking about what they were seeing could identify the untruths and inventions and falsehoods he was uttering direct to camera, sometimes as he was actually making the mendacious statements.

As each Chapter was finalised new evidence was uncovered and comments from readers flooded in, drawing my attention to yet more aspects of this totally unacceptable behaviour.

What follows is a series of short essays to try to unravel still further what many believe to be a web of deceit .
Jon Clarke. The Olive Press

As readers of his paper have realised, Clarke is very free with invective and ad hominem abuse, Clarke and his paper love nothing more than identifying people by name, occupation, age and place of residence. He purports however to be protective of his own family. A long time ago his children were named by a contributor in an on-line forum, and he asked for the details to be removed. Very quickly they were.

It is in fact easy to find full details of Clarke’s wife and of his children by conducting a ‘google’ search. Even a cursory search will find a Daily Telegraph article – now no longer available except by using the WayBack search engine – where the meta-text, the précis and extracts which appear under the headline, remains.

People familiar with the system will know that by adding one of the terms from the meta-text and then repeating the search a slightly different result is obtained. After as few as five iterations of this type the full names of all the family and details of their home can be seen. The ages of his children are easy to calculate. [ As a matter of common courtesy I shall not append the details here.]

Clarke placed all this in the public domain himself, and yet complains when others do it. He may of course have been paid for the article, and that may have over-ridden his core objection.

During our unproductive e-mail exchange in which I asked for a retraction of the deliberate lies Clarke had told about me, and perhaps some sort of correction and apology, he finished by making an extraordinary statement about publishing details of my family.

It may be that this was a vague threat of some sort, but it is slightly confusing.

Given that my brother was a Blue and twice an Olympic athlete, (Montreal and Moscow, since you ask) then held a National position within the NHS, and lives in a house of historical interest which can be found on the internet; given that my niece holds a middle management position in PR for the UK’s oldest and most famous wine merchant and appears under her full name on the Company web-site; given that my nephews both hold high profile positions one within the world of finance, the other in on-line trading across the world, and that any cursory ‘google’ search will find them all, as indeed it will find me, it is unclear how giving out their details would disturb anyone.

Perhaps the theme of ‘knowing where someone lives’ is a powerful one.

Clarke claimed to have been forced to leave the Costa del Sol some years ago when his activities as an investigative journalist began to attract unwanted attention from his targets. His claims to have sought anonymity in a renovation project outside a small village in the mountains of Andalucia are slightly at variance with his decision to publicise the considerable renovation work in a major national newspaper, and then to open the place as a high quality rural retreat, advertised in all the usual places.

Fact, False Hope, or a Hoax ?

Clarke uses the theme in the story about the Angolan Bouncer [q.v] where it was said that he had ‘been forced to flee to Spain’ (Huelva) from Portugal to avoid his assailants.

The inconvenient facts that there is an open and uncontrolled Schengen-area border between Portugal and Spain; that Huelva is less than 50km from that border, less than 100 km from Faro, and less than 150 km from Portimão; and that the gentleman in question had been living happily in Huelva for some considerable time and had been instrumental in the local basketball team’s success in a relatively major competition – all of this discoverable within two minutes on ‘google’ – seem not to diminish the power of the words used.

The claim that the Angolan Bouncer was living in fear of the gang of high-profile and aggressive Portuguese child traffickers was also slightly contradicted, if not to say revealed as totally bizarre and frankly unbelievable, by the publishing of a full face head and shoulders colour photo at the head of the story in question, reproduced across all the syndicated papers, and still retrievable on the internet.

As with all things McCann, none of it makes sense, and much can only be explained by making the assumption that it is pure invention. Or in plain English – lies.

One of the (many) intriguing aspects of the Angolan Bouncer story is that despite its having been reported by a self-styled Investigative journalist, no follow-up article has even been published.
There is no mention of the result of phone calls to the Spanish police to confirm their receipt of the dossier, nothing about asking the PJ to confirm they had in fact received it, no details of emails to the FBI or Interpol, no follow up interview with the man himself, with his lawyer, or indeed with anyone.
No article either castigating the authorities for their total failure to follow up this important information, nor congratulating them for taking it as far as they did

The story exists as if in a vacuum. It came from nowhere, and went nowhere.
It is as insubstantial as a dream, a phantasm.
It became cat litter and was disposed of in the normal way. It exists in permanent form only in the internet archives in the deep caverns of northern Finland.

More worrying thoughts

The Angolan Bouncer story has been dissected at length and a long series of questions which naturally arise from it has been documented. To date it seems none has been addressed or answered.
There are yet other aspects of that strange story which are more worrying.

Did Clarke and The Olive Press, and the Sun for whom he was also writing, allow time for SpanPol to contact PortPol in the form of the PJ, to contact Interpol and to contact the FBI to start appropriate enquiries with the US Border and Passport control agencies among others, before they published the article ? Or did Clarke just blunder in and risk Madeleine’s life still further – or yet again ?

PeterMac's Free e-book: What really happened to Madeleine McCann?

Gonçalo Amaral's 'Maddie: Truth of the Lie

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'
Please click on image to view all three Madeleine films

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

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