Thursday, September 11, 2014

Authors Summers and Swan reply to critics of their book about Madeleine

The best-selling authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan have responded to criticisms that their new book Looking for Madeleine, published today (September 11), amounts to a pro-McCann ‘whitewash’ rather than the first in-depth, independent and objective analysis of the disappearance and search for the little girl. The criticisms come from people who do not accept the theory that Madeleine McCann was abducted.
In their first interview with the media in Portugal, the authors told me they had in the past tackled controversial subjects, “but never have we encountered this degree of intense reaction to a book even before it has been published. It underlines, we think, why authors who do our kind of intensive investigative work needed to tackle this story.”
How, I asked, did they decide on this subject in the first place?
In May 2012, readers may recall, the UK’s Scotland Yard released an age progression image of Madeleine as she might have looked if still alive. Robbyn was watching the news with our own young daughter, who is a little older than Madeleine McCann, and whose middle name happens also to be Madeleine.
Her interest was piqued by hearing her own name, and she asked: ‘What really happened to that little girl? Do her parents really believe she is still alive?’
And – this really got us: ‘How long would you look for me, Mummy?’ Robbyn realised she didn’t have good answers, and we started tentatively digging. We starting a first scan of the massive police dossier, read Kate McCann’s published account - and took on board the voluminous criticism and analysis of the case, and of the McCanns themselves, that was available online.
We soon realised as we talked to people from all walks of life that many, many people seemed to suspect there was something wrong with the parents’ account and – and we started to think we could bring something to this almost unique story by drilling down to the best evidence. Our publisher agreed. That’s how it started, and here we are more than two years later.”
The authors are adamant they have not been influenced  at any stage or in any way by the McCann family or anyone close to the investigation. As you will see in the Notes section of Looking for Madeleine, we felt at the outset that it was only right to advise Madeleine’s parents and London’s Metropolitan police that we planned to investigate with a view to a book.
We had a single meeting with the McCanns and one with the Met – both of them early in our research. The parents, and then the police, made only one request of us – a fair one given the parents’ hope and the Met’s working thesis that Madeleine may still be alive –  that we do nothing that might hinder or interfere with the ongoing investigation. We have been careful to abide by that request.”
How much cooperation did they get from Kate and Gerry McCann during their research and writing?
 “We have been totally independent of the McCanns – and we emphasise this, given the torrent of internet innuendo to the contrary even before Looking for Madeleine was published.
An initial meeting aside, a meeting at which Madeleine’s parents made no attempt at all to influence our thinking, there was no cooperation. The parents believed we should work independently of them, and we would not have wanted it otherwise.”
Since the couple began working on the book, both the Portuguese Pol√≠cia Judici√°ria and the Metropolitan Police Service have moved from ‘reviewing’ to renewed investigation and so they have had no more information from either force than was “ethically correct.”  
However, they said they have had contacts with former senior law enforcement officers in both countries and these have served as a valuable guide to the early investigation, and to some degree to what has been going on more recently.
The authors said that before they started their research they had no opinion on whether Madeleine had been abducted or not. And after two years of non-stop work, they have an opinion but not a definitive one.
We were open - and still are - to anywhere the evidence might lead us. When Madeleine vanished we were deep into the research for our previous book, on the September 11 attacks. That also involved reading many tens of thousands of documents, travel, etc. So, like millions of others, we only had the blurred impression gained from the welter of media coverage and the torrent of rumour. It is only now after looking at every angle that we can justify expressing an opinion. We do that in Looking for Madeleine.”
Anthony Summers and his wife Robbyn Swan think the most likely scenario is that Madeleine was indeed abducted. There is a “cogent skein of evidence” pointing to the notion that she was a carefully selected target, very possibly of a paedophile.”
Does the book contain any real revelations? In other words have Summers and Swan uncovered any previously unknown facts that bring us closer to understanding what really happened to Madeleine?
Looking for Madeleine is shot through with new information and analysis. In particular, we obtained information not seen publicly before that throws vivid new light on the activity and modus operandi of the intruder who perpetrated at least one of the child sex attacks in the period preceding Madeleine’s disappearance.
As important, we obtained detailed information on an incident in Praia da Luz that may suggest one of the phoney “charity collectors” may have had a sexual motive. This episode, in particular, coupled with analysis of the overall jigsaw of testimony, contributes to a new understanding of a possible abduction scenario.
Another key element is the first ever in-depth interview with Brian Kennedy, the wealthy benefactor who throws light on the McCann’s private investigation effort. And much, much more.”
As to the serious doubts about independence and objectivity expressed before the book’s publication, especially by critics who totally reject the abduction theory, the authors responded: “The notion of criticising authors about a book even before it has been published may speak volumes about the biases of those levelling the criticisms.”

* Anthony Summers, formally a deputy editor of the BBC's Panorama, is the author of eight investigative books and the only two-time winner of the Crime Writers' Association's top award for non-fiction. Robbyn Swan, his co-author and wife, has partnered Summers on three previous biographies and investigations. Their book The Eleventh Day, on the 9/11 attacks, was a Finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.


veniviedivici said...

I though they said the other day, they hadn't met the McCann's ?

Himself said...

There is a “cogent skein of evidence” pointing to the notion that she was a carefully selected target, very possibly of a paedophile.”

What a hack.

Natasha said...

venievedidvici is quite right. But perhaps this was an oversight. They may not have considered one meeting at the very beginning of their research as 'collaboration'.
What worried me much more however was the comment in the second paragraph: "never before have we encountered this degree of intense reaction to a book even before it has been published".
This shows the authors missed the point of the reactions, entirely. Reaction - certainly my own - stemmed from the welter of PR, packaged as 'news' by Sky News in particular, for days before Looking for Madeleine was released.
This is what upset people looking for the truth. The constant spin generated by the British media.
It had nothing to do with the release of a book that has tried to sift through all the police files and witness statements, but instead it had everything to do with the way this book has been 'packaged'.
The stress, for example, that the Algarve was/ is "a hotbed of sex assaults", and had the McCanns only known this, they would not have chosen Praia da Luz for their family holiday, was another classic piece of 'media manipulation', which only serves to make bystanders looking for balance question everything all the more.

Anonymous said...

Summers and swan said it themselves that the mccanns requested that it was a fair book that gave them hope. In other words dont write anything negative or youll get sued because that will damage the search for madeline blah blah. Wast of money

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the book is very disappointing. Though I realise that an honest account of this case can never be published in the UK, this book doesn't even try. It is a propaganda manual, not investigative journalism - biased, dishonest and deliberately misleading. The valid doubts that people have regarding the abduction are airily dismissed and those who question the abduction are referred to as 'haters' - that in itself is very revealing, and if I didn't know any better I'd say the authors were fully paid-up members of Team McCann.

Anonymous said...

"possibly a paedophile" So they're just guessing then and if they'd read the PJ files, then they wouldn't have come up with this rubbish!

Anonymous said...

Not one word about Payne's visit as the last one outside of the parents to see the little girl alive but two whole chapters dedicated to bashing those who doubt the parents theory.

Not really what you would call a fair and in depth account, it is really a joke !

Lorraine Holden said...

The McCann's sue if you don't go with the abduction theory you obviously didn't want to risk it or you've been paid to do this appalling book.
You Mr Summers worked at the bbc one of the many contacted by the tapas group on May 3/4th 2007
Do not insult the intelligence of thousands of people who have researched this a lot longer than 2 years by passing us off as haters the same was said about the people on the Tia Sharpe case when pointing fingers at step granddaddy!
To quote the Zapata case sort of rests our case when it comes to cadaver alerts perhaps you should look at the many others Lisa Irwin,Suzanne Pilley etc
There is absolutely no evidence of abduction and absolutely no time for one and you Mr Summers have helped again confirmed what many believe to be an establishment cover up,and you'd know only too well about such things and would probably be better qualified to write a book on that and your time at the bbc when Jimmy Saville was at large...

Anonymous said...

Our uk police believe it was anyone other than you know who.

Anonymous said...

"The Algarve is a hotbed of sex assaults". No it's not. Please provide evidence of arrests and convictions. I'd say "The UK is a hotbed of sex assaults" and can provide as many links as you wish.

Anonymous said...

It's an excellent summation of what we can know with some fair guesses at those we cant. The parents are innocent of harming her so it's no surprise they say so.
The sight of people being so ridiculously over the top here and elsewhere is unedifying - get a grip, please!

56cheffy said...

They did..on Sky news.

Unknown said...

((Anthony Summers and his wife Robbyn Swan think the most likely scenario is that Madeleine was indeed abducted. There is a “cogent skein of evidence” pointing to the notion that she was a carefully selected target, very possibly of a paedophile.”)) have i missed this evidence? Oh yeah, the McCanns requested that they do not write anything that may suggest Madeleine has died, therefore they cannot suggest actual facts from the investigation, nor suggest any other possibility other than that she has been taken... because lets face it, if she was still alive then "taken" is the main other possibility... I still do not understand where the evidence lays suggesting a peadophile took her?

Unknown said...

I do wonder whether Kate & Gerry McCann left their children unattended in the UK at any point? Did/Do they feel safe from Peadophiles there? I don't know anyone who thinks any holiday destination is good enough to abandon their children in a holiday apartment to go down the road for a meal? I also question the statement given by the neighbour who claimed Madeleine was crying for well over an hour the night before her disappearance, which was confirmed by Kate and Gerry. The reason i question that is because i was under the impression that the children were being checked every 15/20/30mins... Lastly, i am also surprised that parents opted out from investigating their friend Matt who other than Kate & Gerry was the last person to have been in the apartment twice that night. And the childminder from the day centre who was instead placed into untraceable hiding.

Unknown said...

they were not allowed to publish anything suggesting Madeleine has died, therefore they couldn't publish anything factual from the police files unless it was of an abduction.

Anonymous said...

Summers and swan would have done a better job if they had interviewed the McCann's at length, and got some answers to all the questions the public want to know the answers to!! Maybe if they (the McCann's) agreed to this we might start believing some of what they say happened that night.

trustmeigetit said...

They stated about their book

“We were open - and still are - to anywhere the evidence might lead us.”
What really stands out about this is that there is evidence that does lead to Madeline dying in that room…... The cadaver dog.
The dog hit on the scent of a dead human.
I would like to know what their thoughts are. There are ONLY 3 options here that would allow that to NOT be Madeline’s dead cadaver.

1. The hotel AND the rental car company LIED that there was a death in the room AND the vehicle.
2. We have a murder in both the hotel room AND the car. Because a person does not simply pass away in a small closet and the truck of a car AND the simple fact that it was not reported would suggest foul play
3. Or the dog was wrong. Which, no… they were not wrong.

So I would like to know what they think about that.
Do they think 2 separate companies LIED for no reason. That there just happened to be a murder in 2 random unrelated vacation spots….. Or the dogs were wrong?
I do recall that Gerry tried to discredit the dogs…. But here is a fact… Just because the body is not found does not mean it was not there at some point.
So, I would like to know which of those these “authors” thinks was the case in the evidence of the cadaver dog.
Otherwise they are ignoring one of the most crucial FACTS.

trustmeigetit said...

I'm sure they left them unattended back home too.

And the crying the night before for over an hour is why u fully beleuve the theory Madeline died from an overdose. I think her waking up prompted them to give her more the next night.

Anonymous said...


highmyope1955 said...

After they took their children to one of the Disney locations there was a paedophile scandal there, too. What unlucky people these are. They should have stayed in England and taken the children to Rotherham.

Himself said...

Not exactly hot off the press but I took a look at the quality of previous S&S "research."

First article.