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I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

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I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by honestbroker on Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:27 am

And I know the good denizens of that board scour this forum particularly avidly.


So what better place to display an exhibit of the literary output of the jewel in the crown of Mccann sceptic aficianados throughout cyber space. This, in the wake of publication of the audited accounts of the Find Madeleine fund, is a truly shocking revelation from Ms Raccoon:

Mr Clarence Mitchell said: ‘People will be able to see that every penny of the money they so generously donated has been spent properly in the hunt to find Madeleine.’

I would suggest, Mr Mitchell, that the publication by Companies House last night of the accounts for the private company (limited by guarantee) ‘Leaving No Stone Unturned’, often misleadingly referred to simply as ‘the fund’, a term more commonly applied to a Registered Charity, will have an entirely different effect.

Less than a third of the Audited monies have been spent on directly searching for Madeleine. ‘Search fees’ of £250,000 out of the ‘£2 million’ figure quoted in the Daily Mail’s banner headline is not a figure that will impress the most numerically challenged reader, far less the army of ‘widows and orphans’ who raised this sum in order to ‘Help Find Madeleine’ as they were exhorted to do in a series of emotional appeals.

The remaining two thirds of the monies are accounted for under a series of headings that could be paraphrased as ‘protecting Madeleine’s (and by extension the McCann’s) image and reputation’ and ‘providing for the needs of those entitled to draw from the fund’ - the lawyers, the friends and family who act as Directors.

In 2007, Esther McVey, then acting as a Director of the fund, was quoted as saying

“And with Mr McCann, the family’s main earner, on unpaid leave from his job as consultant cardiologist, part of the Fund has been used to meet their living costs.
“I haven’t got the exact figure but it is just under £300,000,”

The living expenses of a highly paid professional couple was hardly uppermost in the minds of those who scrapped together their pennies to ‘Help Find Madeleine’. Nor were legal expenses of just under £200,000 to ensure that Madeleine’s image and intellectual property rights remained under the control of the fund.

Web site costs of £37,071 is another figure which has left many aghast. Was the web site sued for libel? I cannot fathom any other reason why this figure should be so astronomical. The web site was set up by a pupil of a family member - surely acting in an unpaid capacity, it is unthinkable that a relative should wish to profit from this sad saga. As each and every blogger who has written extensively on Madeleine knows, it costs peanuts in financial terms to set up and run a web site. The vast 3Arguidos web site which is accessed daily by thousands of members to keep up to date with the ‘McCann news’ quotes a figure of £1,597.44 as the ongoing costs to date of hosting a busy web site.

One of the most interesting figures is the £26,113 paid for ‘media monitoring’. Quite how this helps to search for Madeleine is hard to understand. Did someone suspect that Madeleine would put a small advert in an obscure classified column somewhere ‘Here I am, please release me’……. in which case monitoring for such an appearance is emphatically an example of Mr Mitchell’s ‘every penny [...] spent properly’. Though given Gordon Brown’s involvement in this matter, and that of his wife’s association with Julia Hobshawn’s ‘Media Monitoring’ company, the suspicion must remain that the monitoring was not for word from Madeleine herself, nor from anyone who preferred writing to a newspaper to the more efficacious method of dialling 999 as a means of transmitting news of her whereabouts, but that this item may indeed be for payment to the army of ‘posters’ who have appeared on every web site determinedly pushing the use of the word ‘Abduction’ in preference to ‘Missing’ or Vanished’ or ‘Lost’. Incidentally, should the £81,904 spent on ‘posters’ be added to this section or to the merchandising and and campaigning section? Posters is a misleading term. If that is so, it has been a wasted £26,000 for I can think of no ‘News outlet’ that is not under the control of the McCann’s that still uses the word ‘Abduction’. Can you?

We must remember that these are the accounts for an initial ten month period - further accounts will reflect the massive libel payouts made last year and further donations.

Gosh! How shocking. The highlighted part was in September 2007. And Madeleine went missing in May. So in just 5 months, the McCanns milked £300,000 from the fund on personal living expenses?

Shocking? Well, no. Just (let's be charitable!) Ms Raccoon falling from her usual, impeccably high standards of investigative reporting. No. She's not made the quote up. The quote is there. But it's (ahem) slightly out of context. It comes from the British provincial newspaper the Liverpool Daily Post.

Here is the article, with the relevant part underlined:

Internet campaign planned to keep hunt for Madeleine McCann going





Sep 26 2007
Nearly £300,000 has been spent so far on the search for Madeleine McCann, it was revealed tonight.
Directors of a fighting fund set up to help find the four-year-old and support her family met today to discuss how the cash is spent.
To date, according to its website, individuals and organisations have given £1,036,104 to Madeleine’s Fund, a non-charitable not-for-profit company.

Donations have rolled in from people touched by the appeals of parents Gerry and Kate McCann, whose daughter vanished from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3.
And this afternoon, the Fund’s board of directors - comprising colleagues, friends and relatives - met in the couple’s home county of Leicestershire to decide how to use the money.

The exact figures for what the donations are spent on will not be disclosed until the end of the financial year when the accounts are made public, said director Esther McVey.

But the board did reveal that nearly a third of the money collected has already been used.
Costs incurred include the launch of the Find Madeleine campaign, advertising, the production of the yellow and green wristbands and the employment of former campaign manager Justine McGuinness.
Legal fees had to be met for the setting up of Madeleine’s Fund.
Private investigators, understood to include ex-military personnel, are being employed to search for the Rothley youngster outside of Portugal.

And with Mr McCann, the family’s main earner, on unpaid leave from his job as consultant cardiologist, part of the Fund has been used to meet their living costs.
“I haven’t got the exact figure but it is just under £300,000,” said Ms McVey, after today’s meeting.

On not producing a full breakdown of the costs, she added: “We are doing what every charity does. We are going by best practice charity rules.”
A new £80,000 advertising campaign in the area of Portugal, Spain and Morocco, announced earlier this month, was among future costs discussed at the meeting, said co-director John McCann, Mr McCann’s brother.
He said: “At the moment we are negotiating with the suppliers of billboards and the focus will be the north Iberian peninsula.

“We are looking at more internet virals. We are talking to truck organisations about using the sides of their lorries.
“We are still negotiating with the big advertising companies to get better discounts.”
Asked about expenditure on investigators to help find his niece, Mr McCann added: “We agreed in principle that we would leave no stone unturned and if we deemed it practicable it could be effective that private investigators be used.
“Not in Portugal, but it could be possible to use them in Morocco or Belgium, where there are sightings.”
The McCanns and their supporters have become concerned in recent weeks that speculation surrounding the case has diverted attention away from the search for the youngster.
Speaking after today’s meeting, director Dr Doug Skehan, a friend and colleague of Gerry McCann’s at Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester, said: “I think the Fund remains directed towards Madeleine and the search and that was the whole focus of the discussion today.

“There’s a focus on a reinvigoration of the campaign.”
The couple’s bill for their new spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, is being met by millionaire businessman Brian Kennedy, who shares a name with Mrs McCann’s uncle.

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has confirmed he is giving £100,000 to help with their legal bills.
It was decided that the McCanns, named official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance, will not use the fighting fund to pay for their defence costs.

In a statement, the board said previously: “The Fund directors realise that there is not only a legal answer and recognise the spirit which underlies the generous donations to Madeleine’s Fund, which it is the directors’ responsibility to steer.
“For this reason the Fund directors have decided not to pay for Gerry and Kate’s legal defence costs.
“We stress that Gerry and Kate have not asked for these costs to be paid.”

Madeleine’s Fund was set up, said its directors, “to find the little girl, support the family, bring the abductor or abductors to justice and, subject to that, help other missing children”.
Surplus funds could be converted into a charity to help families and missing children in the UK, Portugal and elsewhere in similar circumstances, they said.

The board said it was following best practice governance procedures as set out in the Good Governance Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector.

The directors of the company include retired hospital consultant Peter Hubner, Mrs McCann’s uncle Brian Kennedy, John McCann, former television presenter Ms McVey, a long-time friend of the couple, Dr Skehan and lawyer Philip Tomlinson.
A fund administrator has also been appointed to ensure “the highest standards of transparency and accountability”, the board said.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for sometime next month.



Ms Raccoon has, somehow, attributed to Esther McVeigh words that are actually the reported words of the journalist, not attributed to her at all. And I think the newspaper article makes fairly plain that the scandal that would be, isn't.

Nice one, Anna!

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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by vee8 on Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:31 am

First of all, we need to bear in mind that this post is in a public section of the forum, and with the knowledge that the 3a's are set on closing down all forums/blogs/websites that are in support of the McCann's, and therefore stifle free speech, we must remain calm, and not throw any insults that will give them the excuse to complain.

I note the usuall use of words like 'widow's' 'Children' and 'OAP's' has again been used, in an attempt to tug at the emotions. Naturally a portion of donators will include these groups, but the majority of donations came from the average family, from working class to upper class, married, single, parent or child. Such use of emotive terms is disengenuous, designed to turn the conversation to the detrtement of the McCann's.

Then there is the 'paid posters' rubbish again. The 3a's cannot accept that the vast majority of the public are not behind the 3a's, but are behind the McCann's. What about all the closed forums, where people post in private. Do they get paid? Do WE get paid for our posts in the members only section? What would be the point of that? Stupid and ridiculous! The 3a's always said the funds would never be made public. Now they have been, they are still not satisfied. They will always see only what they want to see. The funds have clearly been used in the correct manner, and the 3a's are now clutching at straws.

Katie Smith sums it all up perfectly here.

http://katiesmith.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/662/

Don't forget, we are being read!
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by dianeh on Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:57 am

It is quite clear that this quote has been taken deliberately out of context.

I would like to highlight that the 300,000 pounds refers not to the McCanns' living expenses but that total expenses of the fund to that date. When you look at the preceeding paragraph, there is a summary breakdown of the expenses, and the part about the living expenses is part of that paragraph.

The motives of anyone who would attempt to deliberately mislead others must be questioned. Why is it necessary to resort to such deception? What benefit does Ms Raccoon derive from such a deception?

This is a good example as to why it is a good idea to do your own research on claims made and not accept them at face value. In some cases the errors may be accidental, and then in others they are deliberate, but regardless, they should not be accepted without question.
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by Rosie on Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:48 am

Exactly so Diane. But the majority of people will not do their own research to verify claims like this and this is how disinformation is spread!

This is why I feel it is important to to counteract each and every falsehood, misinformed, libellous and unsubstantiated rumour. People cannot just write things down, take things out of context and make them look like they say something the author wants them to say.

Vee hit nail on the head, certain people have a real problem in understanding that the majority of people do not think like those that inhabit the 3 A's and the other foul place. The extreme views of these people are just that 'extreme views' held by a minority.

I noted too the use of emotive terms, pensioners, children and widows.

I have donated several times to the fund and I am not a widow, child or pensioner. The people forever complaining about the fund, are those that never donated to it, so quite what their problem is no one knows, as there is absolutely no outcry or rage etc at the published accounts of the fund, then you have to assume that the vast majority of people who have donated to it, are simply quite happy with the way their money is being spent.

These people have been calling for the publication of these accounts, yet all calm rational people knew that when they were published, they would never meet with the approval of 'some', these 'some' were always going to kick off, they probably had their arguments written down long BEFORE the accounts were published, so sure were they that they were going to try and cause as much trouble for this unfortunate couple as they could!

The irony is, a certain forums 'Hero' to the best of my knowledge has never published accounts of the foundation, yet has called for the publication of the accounts from the official fund! H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y.

When I donated to the fund, I fully expected my money to be used to help the family, or else why would I donate it?
Why did people send money anyway? They sent money to help this family during this time, a time when both parents took leave for their work. Gerry McCann's 3 months were actually UNPAID leave from the NHS.
The reason I sent money was for the family to use it to survive while looking for Madeleine, or being forced away from their daily routine and their employments disrupted and truth be known, I would expect most people if questioned may have a similar view.

The thing is that the conspiracy theorists antis, had this money down as some kind of reasoning for why they thought the parents abducted their own daughter and now even this spurious argument has been taken away from them!

The 3 A's should get over it
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by sadie on Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:19 pm

Couldn't agree with you more.

Do these people have an agenda?

Sometimes it makes you wonder if there is a group out there, whipping these people up in order to create a smokescreen. Have these people stopped to think; do they want Madeleine NOT to be found?
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by honestbroker on Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:49 pm

Another technical aspect I found interesting is that, so far as I can gather, the proper term for money a charity has available to spend is not (as asserted above) fund but reserves.

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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by honestbroker on Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:08 pm

It's even worse than I thought. I've just been reading the 3As board. It seems Ms Raccoon has actually caught up with her own error and generously conceded that it is (sic) no longer clear that the McCanns milked £300,000 from the account on personal living expenses. Well, I suppose that bit isn't bad. But she's made no attempt to remove her blog entry. Why not?

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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by Catkins on Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:11 pm

sadie wrote:Couldn't agree with you more.

Do these people have an agenda?

Sometimes it makes you wonder if there is a group out there, whipping these people up in order to create a smokescreen. Have these people stopped to think; do they want Madeleine NOT to be found?


Totally agree with you............How will these "people" look when Madeleine is found and its proven that her parents had nothing to do with her disappearance ?
Most will just crawl quietly away and pretend they never took part in an awful witch hunt against this poor family.
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by honestbroker on Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:50 am

Credit where it's due. Ms Ranccoon has amended her blog. I reckon it would be improved further if she gave a link to the original, Liverpool Daily Post article. But at least it is not as misleading now as when first written.

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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by dianeh on Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:58 am

HB

I for one will not give any credit for her going back an ammending her article. There is two reasons why.

1. To post something so damaging without doing proper research is disgraceful. And that is giving her the benefit of the doubt, that she didnt realise it was a misquote, because I believe it was deliberate.

2. The only reason it has been ammended is because she was caught out. If it hadnt been noticed that it was blatant lies, and highlighted, it would not have changed.

This is a very good reason as to why we are all here.

Just a thought, where was this published, if it was done outside a blog ie if done on an online journal, or something else that represents itself as media, it will covered under your laws concerning the press. Perhaps it would be appropriate to lodge a complaint with the appropriate body.
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by honestbroker on Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:06 pm

dianeh wrote:HB

I for one will not give any credit for her going back an ammending her article. There is two reasons why.

1. To post something so damaging without doing proper research is disgraceful. And that is giving her the benefit of the doubt, that she didnt realise it was a misquote, because I believe it was deliberate.

2. The only reason it has been ammended is because she was caught out. If it hadnt been noticed that it was blatant lies, and highlighted, it would not have changed.

This is a very good reason as to why we are all here.

Just a thought, where was this published, if it was done outside a blog ie if done on an online journal, or something else that represents itself as media, it will covered under your laws concerning the press. Perhaps it would be appropriate to lodge a complaint with the appropriate body.

In response to your last point, so far as I'm aware, it was just a blog entry, Diane.

While not disagreeing, in principle, with anything you say, I suppose I am operating a pragmatic argument. Her cage was rattled (principally by me) sufficiently hard to persuade her to go back and change it. Even then that, comparatively minor, achievement of note, is tarnished by the fact that other blogs have picked up and posted the original version, no doubt, still displayed.

Still, she could, simply have brazened it out and allowed what she originally wrote to stand unamended, but didn't. I suppose that is not quite as disgraceful as it might be, and could, at a stretch, be described as credit. And what stands now on her blog is not as potentially damaging as before.

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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by dianeh on Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:11 am

HB

You are correct when you say that she was rattled so changed the article. However, it is not a simple matter of bad formatting as she has tried to claim. She deliberately took the comment out of context. I say deliberate because the timing of the original article, from which she quotes (actually misquotes) makes it quite clear that 300,000 pounds couldnt have been paid to the McCanns for living expenses in that short space of time. This coupled with her taking only a portion of a paragraph where the total expenses are discussed in breakdown and leaving out the other components that were discussed, suggests it is deliberate.

The Raccoon knows that her credibility was gone with this article and is trying to save face. Her error was being far to blatant, so that even the anti's can see what she has done. This goes far beyond merely twisting the meaning of words, this was a deliberate attempt to deceive, and she was caught out.

I saw her blog yesterday, and it is clearly a blog. Taking a quick look it is clear that the Raccoon is articulate and well read, so once again, I can only come to the conclusion that what she did was deliberate.
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Re: I gather Anna Raccoon is something of a darling on the 3As ...

Post by honestbroker on Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:24 am

dianeh wrote:HB

You are correct when you say that she was rattled so changed the article. However, it is not a simple matter of bad formatting as she has tried to claim. She deliberately took the comment out of context. I say deliberate because the timing of the original article, from which she quotes (actually misquotes) makes it quite clear that 300,000 pounds couldnt have been paid to the McCanns for living expenses in that short space of time. This coupled with her taking only a portion of a paragraph where the total expenses are discussed in breakdown and leaving out the other components that were discussed, suggests it is deliberate.

The Raccoon knows that her credibility was gone with this article and is trying to save face. Her error was being far to blatant, so that even the anti's can see what she has done. This goes far beyond merely twisting the meaning of words, this was a deliberate attempt to deceive, and she was caught out.

I saw her blog yesterday, and it is clearly a blog. Taking a quick look it is clear that the Raccoon is articulate and well read, so once again, I can only come to the conclusion that what she did was deliberate.
Can't (and don't want to!) argue with any of that, Diane.

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