Sunday, 4 February 2018


Thursday, 14 January 2010

A Big Event

"WE WANT A BIG EVENT TO RAISE AWARENESS that she is still missing. We would look at high-profile people who have already pledged support. IT WILL BE SOME SORT OF FOCUS AROUND AN ANNIVERSARY, to tell people that Madeleine ’s still missing. I think IT WOULD BE LATER THIS YEAR, once media attention has dropped, to bring it back up, hopefully, for a short period. IT WOULDN’T BE A ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, IT WILL BE SOONER THAN THAT." - Gerry McCann, interviewed by Jason Groves, from the Daily Express, three months after Madeleine McCann disappeared.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Daily Mail: a newspaper with journalists or a circus with a bunch of clowns?

'Maddy was abducted and we have a suspect in mind'
Last updated at 20:19pm on 5th May 2007

“Portuguese police yesterday sealed off the three-storey block and forensic specialists fingerprinted the ground floor window of the McCanns' apartment. All airports, ports and border posts have been alerted.”
“But despite a massive search throughout the night by police, sniffer dogs and dozens of holidaymakers, there has been no sign of Madeleine, wearing white pyjamas when her parents put her to bed with twins Amelie and Sean in the bougainvillea-clad apartment (...)”

Wasted days in hunt for Maddy
Last updated at 22:22pm on 6th May 2007

“A series of blunders by Portugese police could have allowed whoever kidnapped Maddy McCann to get away unhindered.”
“(..) the Mail can reveal that: Portuguese border control were not alerted until late on Friday morning - 15 hours after Madeleine went missing on Thursday. This will have given any abductor a lengthy window in which to make good their escape, via land or sea.”
“(...) The apartment from where Madeleine was taken has not been properly sealed off. Police lines have regularly been crossed by curious passers-by who have been able to touch the shutters forced open by her abductor.”

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

More manipulation from British Press

The police investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance is refocusing on the theory that she was abducted from her bed by a paedophile (...) It emerged that Portuguese police have launched the country’s biggest ever anti-paedophile operation, raiding 75 properties where child pornography has been downloaded (...) While the raids are not being officially linked to the Madeleine inquiry, they indicate the focus of the investigation has shifted away accusations that her parents, Kate and Gerry, may have harmed the four-year-old and back to a search for a potential abductor.”

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Times and Daily Express publish opposite versions about DNA evidence

(Click to enlarge)

David Brown and Patrick Foster wrote, in The Times, that “traces of Madeleine McCann’s DNA that were recovered from two Portuguese holiday apartments have failed to prove that she is dead. Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, detectives still believe that they were justified in making Kate and Gerry McCann official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance (...) tests carried out by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) laboratory in Birmingham have not proven that the four-year-old was killed, but the results are considered significant.”

Martin Evans, from the Daily Express, has a opposite version: “Crucial forensic evidence allegedly links Madeleine McCann’s parents to her disappearance, a source close to the case insisted last night. British DNA tests were said to indicate that Portuguese police were correct to declare Kate and Gerry McCann suspects. The source also rejected claims that the evidence found in their hire car was ‘inconclusive’. The startling turn in the investigation shocked the McCanns, who had been hoping they would soon be cleared of involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.”

The Times
October 9, 2007
Madeleine McCann evidence inconclusive
Patrick Foster and David Brown
"Traces of Madeleine McCann’s DNA that were recovered from two Portuguese holiday apartments have failed to prove that she is dead. Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, detectives still believe that they were justified in making Kate and Gerry McCann official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance. The DNA was found in their apartment at the Ocean Club resort. Samples were also found at a nearby apartment used by their friends at the same time, and from a car hired by her parents 25 days after she was reported missing. Tests carried out by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) laboratory in Birmingham have not proven that the four-year-old was killed, but the results are considered significant."

Daily Express
SHOCK: Evidence allegedly links Madeleine McCann's parents to her disappearance
Tuesday October 9,2007
By Martin Evans in Praia da Luz
"CRUCIAL forensic evidence allegedly links Madeleine McCann’s parents to her disappearance, a source close to the case insisted last night. British DNA tests were said to indicate that Portuguese police were correct to declare Kate and Gerry McCann suspects. The source also rejected claims that the evidence found in their hire car was 'inconclusive'. The startling turn in the investigation shocked the McCanns, who had been hoping they would soon be cleared of involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.”

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Manipulation and false information in the British Press


(Click to enlarge)

The Sun
Published: Today (OCTOBER 7)
A MAN dubbed “The Locator” claims to know where Madeleine McCann was taken after her apparent abduction (*)
“(...) But the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said that the McCanns have not hired Mr Krugel, and said: “We cannot comment on anything that goes to the very heart of the investigation.”
(*) This story has no author

The Mirror
Expert pin-points spot on Algarve beach
He accuses police of ignoring his report
By Nick Owens
Desperate Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a professional "bodyfinder" (Danie Krugel) who says he has pin-pointed the exact spot where their daughter Madeleine is buried.”

Saturday, 6 October 2007

PJ detectives union filled a libel suit against two British Media organizations

The head of PJ detective's union confirmed that a libel suit was filed against “two British Media organizations”, because of stories published that were considered defamatory of Poliícia Judiciária. “After we filled it, the British Media moved from attacks against the Portuguese Police to personal attacks against Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral”, said Carlos Anjos. “They are trying to undermine his credibility, either as a professional or as a individual, insulting him without even respecting his privacy and his family.” The PJ detective's union president said they were in touch with Gonçalo Amaral and, if he wants to file also a libel suit, he will have the “full support of ASFIC.”

Carlos Anjos rejected accusations from British Media about the alleged incompetence of Portuguese Police, in Madeleine's investigation, and referred the case of Rhys Jones, a 11-years-old boy who was shot on August 22: “After more than one month, British Police wasn't able to arrest his killer. In this case, they have more than a dozen witnesses, but until now they have arrested 17 suspects and they sent them free, didn't charged nobody

PJ spokesman and chief investigator accused of mocking Madeleine's parents

The PJ former spokesman for Madeleine's case, Olegário de Sousa and its chief investigator, Gonçalo Amaral, were today accused by Sharon Hendry, from The Sun, of “mocking the harried parents” of Madeleine McCann, while in the middle of a lunch, at Carvi restaurant, near the police headquarters in Portimão. The newspaper wrote that both detectives were having lunch – a story broken by David Brown, from The Times – when the McCann were flying to Berlin and Amsterdam appealing “for help in the hunt for Maddie.”

“The two man asked for the TV to be turned up before mocking the harried parents”, wrote Sharon Hendry, who accuses also Gonçalo Amaral of regular “booze-fuelled” lunches “ featuring white wine and his favourite Sagres lager (...) followed by Amaral driving home in his blue Volvo.”

The “hard-drinking (...) hapless plod” and “crumpled copper who looks like a seedy character from a bad detective movie”, according to Sharon Hendry, who was “a real-life villain” to Madeleine's family, “has been demoted a rank — down to inspector.” Sharon Hendry also accuses the main investigator of Madeleine's case of having received “252 possible tip-offs about Madeleine’s disappearance — many of which had allegedly not been followed.” For the journalist of The Sun, Gerry and Kate McCann “will no doubt find a grim satisfaction in the news that Amaral has been removed from the case.”

The story of the two-hours lunches was first published by David Brown, from The Times, who wrote:”The party (Amaral and Olegário) shared a bottle of white wine and there was what appeared to be a bottle of whisky on the table during the lunch, which lasted almost two hours.” Quoting a fellow dinner, David Brown said that Olegário de Sousa and Gonçalo Amaral “asked for the Portuguese TV news to be switched on and sat at the table watching it (...) Madeleine’s parents had given a press conference in Berlin . . . The police were laughing and joking among themselves while it was on. They seemed to be sharing some sort of in-joke.”

Friday, 5 October 2007

Is Mr. Rogério Alves cooperating with a farce? No, of course not!

All the British Media claims that the McCann could go to jail if they talk about Madeleine's disappearance or if they gave interviews. That's the Portuguese Secrecy Law, they say. They can't go the Barbara Walters Show, because they can be prosecuted and put in jail. But that is not truth. OK, it is the normal manipulation of information, with almost all British Media following the tips of Mr. Clarence Mitchell.

But when I read that this information has came from the McCann legal team, I was worried. And my first thought was to pick up the phone, call the “Ordem dos Advogados” (the Portuguese Bar) and ask to talk with its Chairman, Mr. Rogério Alves. Then, I remembered that the lawyer Rogério Alves was hired by the McCann and is one of the members of the McCann legal team.

As the chairman of the Portuguese Bar and the McCann lawyer Rogério Alves are the same person, I decided not to call the chairman of the Portuguese Bar, to ask him for a comment about what I thought could be a farce and a manipulation.

Because I am wrong! This is not, for sure, a manipulation and a farce! This is truth, the McCann can't give interviews of go to a TV show and talk about Madeleine's disappearance, or they will go to jail. I can't believe that, with the lawyer Rogério Alves as a member of the McCann legal team, this same legal team could be the source of a false information. The chairman of the Portuguese Bar will never allow it and he would correct that information, quickly.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Friend of McCann gave back the hired card

The Renault Scenic, hired by the McCanns on May 27, before they departed to Rome in the private jet of Phillipe Green, is back at the parking area of the renting car company, in Setúbal, a city near Lisbon. The contract was extender several times, the last one until September 20, but only a few days ago the friend of McCann family that took the car from the parking area of Faro, after Gerry and Kate left to UK, decided to give it back to the renting company.

How kidnappers passed Madeleine on to a “gang of Moroccans”

Daily Mail explains, on a story published on September 26, how could Madeleine have been kidnapped and delivered on the hands of a “gang of Moroccans”, as they said on a story later deleted (but still available HERE...)
Interesting reading, indeed.

Did kidnappers pass Madeleine on to Moroccans seen in the mystery picture?
Last updated at 14:49pm on 26th September 2007

Questions and Answers: How Madeleine could have ended up in travellers' clutches

How kidnappers pass Madeleine on to Moroccans seen in the mystery picture?

Questions and Answers: How Madeleine could have ended up in travellers' clutches

The small blonde girl being carried on the back of a wandering Moroccan bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine McCann. But could it actually be her?
And if so how would the four-year-old have eneded up in north Africa?

Could the photograph really be Madeleine?
The quality of the holiday snap, taken on August 31 in northern Morocco, is extremely grainy but the cut of the blonde hair has elicited enough interest for sources close to Kate and Gerry McCann to describe the picture's emergence as "a very promising lead".

Could Madeleine have been transported across the border into north Africa?
Its credibility is bolstered by three independent sightings of Madeleine in Morocco. It will now be analysed by experts from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which has used state-of-the-art facial recognition computer software to study thousands of pictures sent in by holidaymakers in Praia da Luz.

How would Madeleine have got to Morocco?
The drive from Praia da Luz to Morocco is straightforward. It's only about 90 miles to the Spanish border, where officials were not notified Madeleine had vanished until several hours too late, and from there it is a further 220 miles to Algeciras, the main port from which ferries make the short trip across the 21 miles of the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco.

Why would Madeleine have been taken to Morocco?
Morocco is a common route for people smuggling - but going in the opposite direction with Africans being brought illegally into Europe via Spain. Hashish is also commonly smuggled into Europe this way.Quite why smugglers would take a blonde British girl into a country where she would stand out so obviously will be something British and Portuguese investigators will be wanting answers to. One theory is she was taken by a childless couple who smuggled her into Morocco but then gave her away because of the attention surrounding the case. Another may be that a gang of paedophiles took her and then gave her away.

Who are the other people in the photograph?
The group appear to be itinerant Moroccans, led by a man pushing a wheelbarrow containing several suitcases. Behind him is a young woman with a suitcase on her back, a young girl and then a woman wearing a colourful hat and scarf, with a blonde girl on her back. Two further women wearing headscarves follow. The blonde girl, with much paler skin, certainly appears out of place. But could such a group have been unnoticed in Praia da Luz and then had the cash to take her across borders to Morocco?

Why has the photograph only just surfaced?
The picture was taken on 31 August by Spanish holidaymaker Clara Torres in Zinat near Tangiers after she spotted the blonde girl among the group and thought it was odd. She only took it seriously after reading about other sightings in Morocco and contacted her local police force in Albacete near Valencia. The picture was sent to Interpol and to the McCanns' legal team, who are now studying it.

Can this photograph be related to the other sightings in Morocco?
Apart from all being in the same country, the previous sightings took place in different parts of Morocco and much earlier on in the investigation.
A Spanish woman says she saw Madeleine holding the hand of a "Muslim womanî in Zaio in the north at the end of May. On 9 May, two independent witnesses say they saw Madeleine in Marrakech, much farther south, at a petrol station.
On that occasion Madeleine was seen with a blonde woman and a darkskinned man with black hair, apparently different fromthe people in today's photograph. If the sightings are connected it would add weight to the theory Madeleine was dumped by her original kidnappers because of the huge amount of publicity the case has attracted.

What will police do now?
Portuguese detectives believe Madeleine is already dead and have suggested Kate McCann may have killed her daughter, a claim vehemently denied, so there will inevitably be suspicions they will not rush to investigate the latest sighting. The Policia Judiciaria has been accused of dragging its feet and failing to follow up leads before. The McCanns will be anxious that independent experts look at the photo as soon as possible.

Morocco, colateral damage in the Madeleine case

Aujourd’hui Le Maroc
Morocco, collateral damage in the Madeleine case
By Driss Ajbali

A picture taken by a couple of tourists reinforced the Moroccan clue. “We can see, in the picture, a ‘Chamalia’, dressed in the local colourful clothes and with a large hat, a small child in her back. Nothing strange in that area, unless for the eyes of a foreigner.”

“But the small child is blonde. And all Arabs, everybody knows, have black hair. What does a a blonde girl in an area well know for its drug traffickers and Mafia groups? At last, it’s found that the supposed Maddie is called Bouchra. And she is blonde and Moroccan. How appearance can be mischievous and, when prejudice is also present, it can produce such an accusation!”

Madeleine may be “in the hands of a gang of Moroccan traffickers”

NEW THEORY: Madeleine may be with known criminals
Saturday September 29,2007
By Nick Fagge and Martin Evans

“MISSING Madeleine McCann may be in the hands of North African people smugglers. Police in Morocco, investigating a reported sighting, believe they have identified a link with a ruthless gang of traffickers.”

“A nationwide hunt has been launched for the smugglers who operate between North Africa and Spain, ferrying people – and tons of marijuana – into Europe each year. The breakthrough came a few weeks after Madeleine went missing when a Spanish tourist reported seeing a blonde girl matching her description being dragged along by a scruffy, Arab-looking woman in the town of Zaio.”

The sighting was immediately dismissed by Portuguese police, who believe the little girl is already dead. But when details were passed to the Moroccan secret police, a major hunt was launched by the anti-smuggling task force (...)”

Daily Mirror: New suspect in stairwell

Charlotte Pennington, a very helpful nanny

Nanny Charlotte Pennington, a.k.a. Charlotte Wighton, born Charlotte Elizabeth Alice, an actress in her spare time says she saw man who was “in a small dinghy just off the Praia da Luz seafront at 11.30pm. She claims he was kicking at an object stored in the boat's hull.”

Nanny Charlotte Pennington, a.k.a. Charlotte Wighton, born Charlotte Elizabeth Alice, an actress in her spare time, said “the man was wearing a reflective yellow jacket (*) with a hood but she could not make out his face”;

Nanny Charlotte Pennington, a.k.a. Charlotte Wighton, born Charlotte Elizabeth Alice, an actress in her spare time, said “the following day she was shocked to see a man - whom she had come to know over the preceding week - wearing exactly the same distinctive jacket (*) as the man in the boat.”

Daily Mail writes that “Portuguese police are taking the sightings seriously and Miss Pennington, 20, has twice spoken to Leicestershire detectives about her evidence.”

Hummmm... Right. "Daily 'Roswell Incident' Mail"...

(*) Same yellow jackets that fishermen all over the world use...

Friday, 28 September 2007

Presidente of Portuguese Bar is missing in action

It seems that the most recent aquisition for the McCann legal team is already lost in action. That's the only reason for the fact that a so shocking manipulation of information about legal procedures is being feed to Media - the McCanns were "banned" from the Barbara Walters show, they are formal suspects, so if they go there Portuguese Police will prosecute them.

Where are you, Mr. Rogério Alves? Missing in action? Mr. Angus McBride doesn't ask you about these details, concerning Portuguese Law? Dont' tell me that they just hired you to help carry those large bags with documents that lwayers take to court...

“Judge” Branson has already decided, we can go home

How stupid we are! Judges, courts, trial, police, investigations? For what? Mr. Richard Branson knows better! Sorry, Your Honnor, “Judge” Richard Branson, of course...

Daily Mail
“The McCanns are innocent” declares Sir Richard Branson
Last updated at 10:22am on 28th September 2007

“Sir Richard Branson has said he believes the McCanns are innocent and has pledged to give the couple further support if they need it. He has already donated £100,000 to the GPs, who are both aged 39, in a bid to help them clear their names. The boss of the Virgin empire, who has spoken on the telephone to the McCanns regularly, said he believed the McCanns were innocent and described their experiences as a "grotesque nightmare (...)"

Another invention from Team McCann

Team McCann is working extra time. Now, they say Kate and Gerry have “been banned from appearing on Barbara Walters show, because they would face prosecution in Portugal". Sorry, guys, this time you have no excuse!!!!

You hired the President of the Portuguese Bar, Mr. Rogério Alves and he is part of your legal team. He can explain to you that this is not possible. Just ask him, he knows very well that any formal suspect can talk to the Press and give interviews.

Robert Murat, for example. How many times he talked to Pres and he gave interviewes? Once, when he talked about specific details of the ongoing crime investigation, the Public Prosecutor had to analyse that interview, to see if he breached the Law. He didn't, as there was no charges against him and no prosecution.

Basic and fundamental questionS:




"The parents of a missing British child have been banned from appearing on BARBARA WALTERS' talk show to promote their plight. Gerry and Kate MCCann have been touring the world, appearing on TV to raise awareness of the disappearance of their four year old daughter Madeleine from a holiday resort in Portugal in May (07). Walters invited the couple to appear in an hour-long TV special - but they would face prosecution in Portugal, where they are still officially suspects in the case. According to reports, the MCCanns' legal team is searching for a loophole that would allow them to reach a potential TV audience of tens of millions."

If Madeleine McCann was Black, Would the Media Care?

The Huffington Post: If Madeleine McCann was Black, Would the Media Care?

Madeleine McCann, who you've no doubt heard has been missing over in Europe, is a white British four-year-old whose disappearance has sparked a massive global media focus. Front pages of major magazines, top news stories on television and a hunt that has spanned continents. No matter how awful that is, it is hard to imagine this same scenario playing out if she was not white.

Imagine if the exact same chain of events -- daughter missing on vacation, parents distraught and searching for clues -- happened to a black family. Or Hispanic, Asian, name your race. Would the world be in such an uproar? Would the parents be invited to the Vatican to pray with the Pope, as did the McCann's recently?

Imagine if the genocide in Darfur got the media coverage of Madeleine McCann. Or any one of the thousands of missing children in this country others that are so unfortunate as to be non-white. Now I am not a parent (though I am a new uncle) but I can imagine the grief one would go through having their child go missing.

However, the media focus on this case has grown to a level that is completely out of balance with reality. I'm sure we all agree that solving Madeleine's disappearance would be a positive turn of events.

But until there is some parity in the world's concern about ALL missing children of EVERY race, color and nationality, a case like this only serves to propagate the mistaken stereotype that if you're white, you somehow matter more. And to all the parents of missing non-white children out there, that is a cruel and unnecessary facet of a reality that desperately needs to change.

Robbie Gennet

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Congratulations to “Correio da Manhã” !!!

Three days after we published the story about Police investigations in Spain, with some detail, the Portuguese daily “Correio da Manhã” managed to discover exactly the same story. That's what I call a good journalism. Pity it wasn't before me and my colleague Duarte Levy have published it. Anyway, my congratulations to Henrique Machado, Tânia Laranjo, and a special one to João Saramago.

They performed a hard investigative work, surfing the Net for more than 10 minutos. Special thanks to João Saramago are due to the fact that we worked together, years ago. It' always good to see that a former colleague didn't forget who I am.

Special congratulations to the editor of “Correio da Manhã”, Octávio Ribeiro, whom I know since more than 20 years, when he was just a young man in his 20's (I was a journalist at Rádio Renascença) and none of us imagined that he would be, one day, a journalist.

Paulo Reis

PS – Here are some other breaking news we published and “Correio da Manhã” hasn't yet published. You just have to translate it, guys. And if you don't feel at ease with English, just go to my partner's page, SOS Madeleine, you have it in French, there. Or just look at our page in Portuguese, “Notícias da Europa”.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Seven questions to the President of the Portuguese Bar, Mr. Rogério Alves

Mr. Rogério Alves (*):

1- Can you identify the person, company, institution or organization that is paying your fees or does your contract includes a confidentiality clause that doesn't allow you to reveal any detail about it?

2 – Can you tell how much are you being paid?

3 – Do you agree with Mr. Gerry McCann when he says that “Portuguese policemen are imbeciles”?

4 - Do you agree with Mr. Clarence Mitchell, the Press Officer of your clients, when he says that naming Mr. Gerry MCCann and his wife as formal suspects “is a travesty”?

5 - Do you agree with Mr. Clarence Mitchell, the Press Officer of your clients, when he says that Mr. Gerry MCCann and his wife were victims of a “heinous crime” when they were named formal suspects (“arguidos”)?

6 - Do you agree with Mrs. Kate McCann when she says that "Police don't want a murder in Portugal and all the publicity about them not having paedophile laws here, so they're blaming us?”

7 - Do you agree with Mrs. Kate McCann when she says that “the Portuguese police are running out of budget for this investigation and want it to end?”

(*) Hired, yesterday, by the McCann, to be part of their defence team of lawyers

Sky News: Madeleine: Was there really an intruder? Or did Madeleine wandered out of the apartment and was taken by somebody?

Sky News Video
Madeleine: Was There Really An Intruder?

Former Scotland Yard detective John O'Connor has been in Portugal trying to pick up clues. He believes Madeleine may have in fact wandered out of the apartment to a nearby supermarket from where she was taken and he thinks she is still close by.

The Scotsman
Gerry McCann 'came close to Madeleine's abductor'

PA Chief Reporter in Praia da Luz
MADELEINE McCANN's father believes he might have come within a few yards of his daughter's abductor when he saw her for the last time, a friend said today. Gerry McCann has become convinced an intruder was already hiding inside the family's holiday flat when he left his meal to go back and check on his children on the night of Madeleine's disappearance (...)
The Telegraph
Madeleine McCann: Gerry certain he was in bedroom with kidnapper
By Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 8:54pm BST 21/09/2007

Gerry McCann is convinced his daughter's kidnapper was hiding behind a door in their holiday apartment as he checked on his sleeping children, according to a friend. The cardiologist saw all three of his offspring – Madeleine, and the twins Sean and Amelie – sleeping peacefully at just after 9pm on the night of her disappearance. But as he turned to leave the ground floor room, he noticed that a door which he thought he had closed earlier was slightly ajar. Agonisingly, he is now sure that standing behind this door was his four-year-old daughter's abductor, waiting to steal her from her bed in the Praia da Luz (...)

From The Times
September 22, 2007

Abduction by a stranger is the most plausible reason for disappearance
David Canter (*)
“(...) It appears that the Portuguese police may have fallen into the trap of having first formed a view of who the guilty party is, then seeking out the evidence to support that conclusion.” (...)In a case such as Madeleine’s disappearance, we should expect professional investigators to pull together systematic accounts of the circumstances of a wide variety of child abductions and see what they can learn from them. It does not seem to me that the Portuguese police have done this. (...)
(*) - David Canter is Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool. The second edition of his book, Mapping Murder , will be published by Virgin Books in October.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Daily Mail: 17 years since last abduction on the Algarve, and again the victim was British - but the killer was also British..

Daily Mail: 17 years since last abduction on the Algarve, and again the victim was British - but the killer was also British..

“A British mechanic, Michael Cook from Southend, was jailed for 19 years for her murder after a Portuguese judge dismissed his defence that he only confessed after a severe beating by police”, wrote the Daily Mail, on May 10, 2007. “The last child to be snatched on the Algarve was also a British girl. Nine-year-old Rachel Charles was enticed into a car in November 1990 near Albufeira, 20 miles from where Madeleine vanished.”

But the severe beating by Police, according to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd, never happened. At least it was what Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd said, during a debate in the House of Commons, on June 9, 1992

House of Commons Hansard Debates, June 9, 1992

Dr. Robert Spink (Castle Point) :

Rachel, a 9-year-old girl, was murdered by strangulation in a car on the Algarve in Portugal in November 1990. Michael Cook, a friend of Rachel's family, was convicted of the murder in February this year and sentenced to 19 years' imprisonment. He was tried by three local judges without a jury. The House will hear that the conviction is unsafe.
Cook appeared in court, with black eyes and a missing tooth, and he was deeply bruised. It is claimed that Cook was hung from an upstairs window by his feet, that his feet were beaten until he could not stand, that he was tied to a chair and beaten, that he was deprived of sleep, and that a revolver was forced into his mouth and the trigger pulled in a mock execution. Cook's lawyers were said to be pushing for the release of a television video report which allegedly showed police beating Cook. Those lawyers were involved in a tragic accident involving a front tyre blow-out which, incidentally, it is claimed has never been properly investigated by the police. In that untimely accident, Dr. da Silva was killed and Dr. Coelho was severely injured.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd) :

The House will be grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Dr. Spink) for bringing this important case to its attention. I note the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Arundel (Sir M. Marshall), who represents his constituent, the mother of Rachel Charles. I should like to outline the action taken by Her Majesty's Government on behalf of Michael Cook and his family since his arrest. On 5 December 1990 the British consulate in Portimao was informed that Michael Cook had been arrested the previous day for the murder of Rachel Charles. The consulate was told that he had confessed and would be taken before a judge on6 December to be formally charged.

The Portimao consul visited him on 6 December. On that occasion he said that he was being well treated and had no complaints. A Portuguese police officer was present throughout that meeting. On 10 December the Portimao consul had a private meeting with Michael Cook. On that occasion Mr. Cook said that he had been beaten twice : once when detained for questioning on 22 November and subsequently after his arrest on 4 December. He said that he had confessed under duress. He claimed to have been beaten on the chest and feet ; this, he said, explained why there were no signs of ill treatment.

On the following day, at the consul's insistence, Michael Cook was asked by the prison staff whether he wished to see a doctor so that a formal complaint about his mistreatment could be made. He declined to do so. Also on 11 December the British consul in Lisbon told Mr. Cook's Portuguese lawyer that the embassy would make a formal complaint if Mr. Cook wished. The offer was not taken up either by the lawyer or by Mr. Cook during subsequent visits by the Portimao consul. Thus, no medical examination to substantiate the allegations or otherwise took place.

From 11 December 1990 to 30 January 1992 when his trial began, Michael Cook was visited seven more times by consular officials. He complained once, in February 1991, of having been threatened verbally by other inmates, but said that the threats had ceased. Twice he complained of suffering from mental stress and three times from ulcer problems. The British consul on those occasions sought and received assurances from the prison governor that Mr. Cook would receive the necessary treatment.
On 19 February Michael Cook's brother, Colin Cook, rang the embassy in Lisbon to say that he had heard that Michael Cook had been stabbed in prison in Faro. The embassy immediately made inquiries. It was assured that Michael Cook had not been stabbed, although he had been involved in an argument over cigarettes with another prisoner. The following day the vice- consul from Lisbon visited Mr. Cook. Although physically all right, he was understandably extremely upset over the trial verdict. The prison governor gave assurances for Mr. Cook's safety. On 4 March 1992, Michael Cook was transferred to Coimbra high security prison, about 110 miles north of Lisbon.

During that month, the consul and vice-consul drew the attention of officials at the Portuguese Ministry ofForeign Affairs to the great degree of British ministerial, official and public concern about Michael Cook's case. On 8 March The Sunday Times published an article reporting that Mr. Cook had been ill treated at the hands of other prisoners. The pro-consul in Lisbon looked into those allegations without delay. He contacted the prison governor on 10 March to register the embassy's concern for Michael Cook's safety and welfare. He was assured that there was no evidence of ill -treatment. Later that day, the vice-consul spoke to Mr. Cook by telephone. Mr. Cook said that one inmate--not a cellmate--had uttered a verbal threat, but that he had not been physically attacked.

He mentioned that he was suffering from a stomach ulcer and had dental problems. In response to this, the vice-consul said that the embassy would write to the prison governor about these problems. A letter was sent on 13 March. On 6 April Coimbra prison confirmed to the embassy that Michael Cook had been given a full-time job in the prison car paint workshop. It also confirmed that he had seen a doctor about his ulcer and had been put on a special diet. He had also seen a dentist.

On 16 April, the consul visited Michael Cook for two hours in a private room. Mr. Cook confirmed that he had gained some weight as a result of his special diet, and did not wish to have any matter raised with the prison authorities. Michael Cook recently told his parents that he had been taken to see a psychiatrist. He was under the impression that the prison was trying to have him committed to a mental home, which would make it even more difficult for him to prove his innocence. Coimbra prison has told the consul that Michael Cook did not in fact see a psychiatrist. He was taken to see a specialist about his stomach ulcer. Unfortunately, it appears that the prison mistakenly translated "specialist" for "psychiatrist" when talking to Mr. Cook. The consul will visit Mr. Cook again on19 June.

I have described the full support given by the consuls in Portimao and Lisbon. Prisoners Abroad, an admirable organisation run by our former colleague in the House, Keith Best, has been in regular contact with Michael Cook and is giving him full support. I know that Michael Cook, his family and others believe that there has been a miscarriage of justice. I can well understand their concern, but, whatever we may think, it would be wrong for me to express an opinion on the conduct of the trial while an appeal is pending.

If the lawyers believe that the case has not been dealt with in accordance with Portuguese law, it is their responsibility to take appropriate steps. Portuguese law provides for this and, indeed, the lawyers have submitted an appeal on Michael Cook's behalf. They have told the British embassy that the Portuguese Supreme Court has accepted the appeal and that, in their view, the appeal process is proceeding satisfactorily.

On 19 February Colin Cook complained to the British consul in Lisbon that the trial violated article 6 of the European convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. On examination, he agreed that the European convention can be brought into play only when all local remedies have been exhausted. We are keeping in close touch with Mr. Cook's lawyers and the Portuguese authorities. We are asking them to do what they can to ensure that Michael Cook's appeal is heard by the supreme court with the minimum delay. Our ambassador in Lisbon wrote to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 3 June to press this point, and I will be in touch with my hon. Friend as soon as I have a reply.

I fully appreciate my hon. Friend's concern about this case, but I hope that he will understand from what I have said that we cannot intervene until the Portuguese legal process has taken its course. Until then we shall, through our consular officials, continue to visit Mr. Cook regularly and to offer him and his family all the support that we properly can. I shall continue to keep my hon. Friend fully informed.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Mark Williams-Thomas, director of a PR company, confirms business links with McCann family and later denies it

One of the most well known faces for the viewers of Sky News, the former Hampshire CID officer Mark Williams-Thomas, is also managing director of WT Associates, a company that offers, among many other services, media handling and advice for high profile cases and “design or review organisations media crisis policy”. Mr. Mark Williams-Thomas has been one of the most violent critics of the Portuguese Police investigation of Madeleine McCann's case.

We emailed WT Associates and asked if the company “has or had any contract with Mr.Gerry McCann, or with a relative of Mr. Gerry McCann, or with any Public Relations or Media company that has any relation with Mr. Gerry McCann or any relative of Mr. Gerry McCann.” The first answer was short and clear: “Yes we have. What is it you are after?”, was the reply, from a company's email, with no name or identification of the author, but sent from a Blueberry.

When we asked to confirm two details we already had – the contract was to provide media handling and advice for high profile cases, since the middle of May – the following answer was the opposite of the first: ““We are not providing any media support to the mc cann familly. But I have been in contact with the press officers for the family. I am unclear what you are after?”

A third attempt to clarify things got a reply that seemed more an order: “Call me. 07734 4XXXXX”, always whitout identifyng the person that was sending the emails or “asking” to be called on the phone. We send a text message, with our contacts and we are waiting for whoever sent the emails, from WT Associates, to call. We emailed also Sky News, asking it they were aware of the business quality of Mr Mark Williams-Thomas, whyle they invited him in to give opinion about Madeleine McCan's case, presenting him as a "child protection expert" or a "crime expert".

Mark Williams-ThomasProfile
His expertise includes in particular risk management and assessment of offenders - he has most recently been seen providing expert commentary on Sky News from Portugal about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - and he now owns his own Child Protection and Risk Management Consultancy - WT Associates Ltd. Prior to setting up WT Associates in 2005, Mark was a police Detective specialising in major crime. He worked on or was in charge of some of the largest paedophile and murder investigations in the country, as well as being one of only 10 specialist Family Liaison officers during his time in the police. Mark is also completing a Masters in Criminology at the University of Central England.

Duarte Levy, in Rothley and Paulo Reis, in Málaga

UPDATE: On September 18, at 13h13, Mr. Mark Williams-Thomas sent me an email, with the following statement:

"There are no conflicts of interest. WT Associates has no business connections with the Mc Cann family and Mark Williams-Thomas provides his comments completely as an individual with no bias."

New PR manager in action: McCann launch advertisement campaign to look for Madeleine

Charles Lewington, managing director from Hanover

(to be continued)

Sky News Crime Expert is director of a company for media handling and advice for high profile cases

One of the most well known faces for the viewers of Sky News, the former Hampshire CID officer Mark Williams-Thomas, is also managing director of WT Associates, a company that offers, among many other services, media handling and advice for high profile cases and “design or review organisations media crisis policy”. Mr. Mark Williams-Thomas has been one of the most violent critics of the Portuguese Police investigation of Madeleine McCann's case.

Martin Brunt, Sky News: Local papers are “accurate” and “pretty clear”

Martin Brunt, before (June 17, 2007)

"One paper seems to have good contacts. The rest of the stuff (news published by Portuguese Press) is best described as 'culhoes."

Note: In neighbouring Spain that would be 'cojones". This is one the most obscene words in Portuguese language, used to mention "testicles". And no, this word, in Portuguese, doesn't have the same as meaning as "bollocks". The right spelling is "colhões"...

Martin Brunt, after: (Seprember 15, 2007)

"W've learned to look at what's in the local papers with a little bit more of respect... Remember, for many weeks, we ignored it, we thought it was wild speculation, but as time went on, particularly the events of last weekend, we began to realize that what the local Media were doing was pretty accurately reflecting the tone and the speed and the direction of the investigation ad suddenly we had the McCan's named as suspects, so a lot of what the papers have been writing, as I said, was a pretty clear and accurate reflection of what police was thinking..."

Duarte Levy, in Rothley and Paulo Reis, in Spain

Friday, 14 September 2007

What will be the next step in the British Media campaign to defend Gerry and Kate McCann ?

Nine year old Rachel Charles was kidnapped and killed, in November 1990, near Albufeira, Algarve. A British citizen, Michael Cook was arrested and sentenced to 19 years in jail. He said, during the trial, that Police beat him until he confessed the murder. "But the case was mired in claims of police incompetence and corruption", according to a daily British newspaper. British Media, at this moment, is trying to find find enough coincidences to be allowed to write that the two Portuguese defence lawyers of Michel Cook were the target of a murder attempt, perhaps from Portuguese Police, because they had a car accident, some time after the trial, and one of them died.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Daily Express: “Find Madeleine” campaign scaled down following advice from Gordon Brown – 29.08.07

Tuesday August 28, 2007
By Martin Evans and Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz
“Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Find Madeleine campaign has been scaled down on advice from Downing Street. At the weekend Gerry, an NHS cardiologist, admitted he had started to think about returning to work and said it was time to ease back on the campaign. A source close to the family claimed they had spoken to Gordon Brown on a number of occasions and had been advised that it was time to take a step back. The source said: ‘Dealing with the media is obviously something Kate and Gerry are not used to so they have had to learn as they have gone along. They are happy to take advice from those with more experience in these matters. After all, the only thing that matters to them is finding their little girl.”

Editor’s note: Just as Gazeta Digital (Dangerous connections) and SOS Madeleine McCann (Liaisons dangereuses) wrote, two days before - on August 26, 2007…

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The forgotten victim in the McCann case

(My version of some paragraphs of Matthew Parris column, from “The Times”, about the disgraceful hounding of Robert Murat)

A life has been destroyed after the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Perhaps two, for we do not yet know Madeleine’s fate, and perhaps we never will. But for Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, the man in charge of the investigation whom much of the British newspaper industry, not casually, decided to accuse, a life lies in ruins. There is no redemption for Mr Amaral now, not if the Angel Gabriel should appear on television to exonerate him. The name alone brings a shudder.

His reputation will not now be rescued even by the arrest and conviction of anyone else. Imagine today giving your name at a hotel reception as Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral — or Colin Stagg, or Sally Clark. Linkages between a crime and a name are set up in the public imagination and persist even after the story has changed direction. “Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral — wasn’t he the one suspected of framing Madeleine McCann parents? Or cleared of it? Whatever. Mixed up in it anyway.”

Now watch the British media at work. I will not exercise the same courtesy that Matthew Parris had, so I will post links to the newspapers that published stories about Gonçalo Amaral, the Portuguese Chief-Inspector that “tortured” the mother “of another missing girl” . Let the headlines and reports that follow provide a handy journalists’ guide to assassination-by-innuendo.

Kate McCann 'being framed by Portuguese police'
Kate McCann is being set up by Portuguese police to take the blame over Madeleine, it was claimed today. The husband of a woman serving 16 years in another missing child case in the Algarve said: "I am worried Kate will be framed for a crime she did not commit, the way it happened to my wife."
Three years ago Leonor Cipriano was convicted of murdering her nine-year-old daughter Joana although her body has never been found. The detective leading the hunt for Madeleine has been charged with criminal offences in the Joana case amid claims that a confession was beaten out of Cipriano.
Goncalo Amaral, who is co-ordinating the search for Madeleine, and four other Portuguese police officers, were charged in June with offences relating to the inquiry into the disappearance of Joana.

Chief Madeleine detective charged over 'beating' of suspect in another missing girl case
The detective leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann has sensationally been charged over his conduct in another missing child case. Goncalo Amaral, head of the regional Judicial Police, is one of five officers accused over the beating-up of a suspect during questioning. They are said to have attacked Leonor Cipriano, whose nine-year-old daughter Joana vanished from the Algarve in 2004.

Detective in McCann case is charged with assault
A senior detective co-ordinating the hunt for the abductor of the missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann has been charged with criminal offences over another missing child case. Goncalo Amaral and four other Portuguese police officers were charged over the weekend with offences related to the beating and questioning of the mother of a missing girl.

Madeleine officer on attack charges
A senior Portuguese police officer working on the Madeleine McCann case has been charged over an attack on the mother of another missing girl. Goncalo Amaral, co-ordinator of the Policia Judiciara in Portimao, Algarve, is one of five men accused of "scenes of aggression" against Leonor Cipriano, whose nine-year-old daughter, Joana, disappeared in September 2004. The little girl's body has never been found but Cipriano and her brother, Joao, were charged and convicted of her murder.

Madeleine Cop Charged Over 'Mum Attack'
A senior Portuguese detective hunting for Madeleine McCann has been charged over an attack on the mother of another missing girl. Goncalo Amaral, of the Policia Judiciara in Portimao, Algarve, is one of five men accused of "scenes of aggression" against Leonor Cipriano. Her nine-year-old daughter Joana disappeared in September 2004. The girl's body was never found but Cipriano and her brother Joao were charged and convicted of her murder.

The whole disgusting business, the whole media-driven infatuation with this little girl and her parents, the whole sick, morbid, sentimental campaign of news generation and news manipulation, has been a disgrace to the British media.

Paulo Reis
(Phrases in red, newspapers links and quotations are my own responsibility, the remaining text I reproduced it from the column of Mr. Matthew Parris'.

PS – A British friend send me an email, with a curious quotation from Humbert Wolfe (The Uncelestial City):

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British journalist.
But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to.

Friday, 27 July 2007

"Enfants Kidnapés": Antonio Toscano "not credible"

A Portuguese CID sources quoted by the blog SOS Madeleine considers that “Antonio Toscano just wants to promote himself” and the information he delivered to Police, on June 27, “has no relation with Madeleine's abduction”. Toscano's information, according to the same source, “were not useful to the investigation”. Another French blog, dedicated to kidnapped children – "Enfants Kidnappés" – published a warning about Mr. Antonio Toscano, with a large picture of the “investigative journalist” and the words “Non credible” (“Not credible”) stamped over the image. The blog considers that “Mr. Toscano didn't hesitated in using the tragedy that strucked McCann family to promote himself. Because of this, “Enfants Kidnappés” decided to stop publishing any reference about Mr. Toscano.”

Monday, 16 July 2007

“El Mundo”, July 12, 2007: Toscano and Portuguese CID are colaborating in Madeleine's abduction investigation

I have already a copy of “El Mundo” story published on July 12. Once again, thank you to all of those who helped me (I received several copies of the story). “El Francés is Bernard Alapetite” is the title and the journalist who wrote it, Virginia Lopez (“El Mundo” correspondent in Lisbon) is the same that has made the first interview where Antonio Toscano said that he knew the identity of Madeleine’s kidnapper. There is a small headline: “The suspect kidnapper of Madeleine McCann defends himself in a ‘blog’ to help find the British child”.

"El Francés’ name is Bernard Alapetite, who was arrested in June 1997 at La Baule, in the French Atlantic coast, as the head of a network of distribution of videos with child porno”, writes Virginia Lopez.

After the operation ADO 71, when around 300 persons were accused, Alapetite was sentenced to three years in jail, continues the story. “Now, at a web page named ‘SOS Madeleine McCann’, Alapetite – a French movie producer with connections to the extreme-right and homosexual circles – defends himself saying that he has not kidnapped Maddie, the British child that vanished from a tourist resort at Praia da Luz, in Portuguese Algarve, on May 3. The author of the blog, written in French, guarantees that he talked with Bernard Alapetite and that he told him he was in France in the days after the child disappeared. To prove it, he told that he has voted for the French Presidential elections on May 6”, says the story signed by Virginia Lopez.

“These declarations were published after the freelance journalist Antonio Toscano told to ‘El Mundo’ that the probable kidnapper of Madeleine was ‘El Francés’, a French national with a paedophile record and several jail sentences. Toscano never said that it was him (Bernard Alapetite). However, what is curious is that Bernard Alapetite admitted to be the person referred and choose to defend himself through a blog that, apparently, has as purpose to help find Madeleine.” – writes the “El Mundo” correspondent in Lisbon.

“I didn’t know anything about him (B. Alapetite), for months, in the places he used to be. I never said he was ‘el francés’, but when he defends himself (from the accusations) it seems that he is throwing stones against his own roof (1)”, said Toscano, who yesterday went back to Algarve, to keep colaborating with the Portuguese Criminal Police, which hasn’t put aside his lead, as the Portuguese state news agency wrote”, says Virginia Lopez.

One day after the journalist was at Praia da Luz, for the first time, on June 27, the Spanish Police arrested a couple, at Sotogrande, because of their presumed relation with the kidnapping (of Madeleine). They are the Italian Danilo Chenello, 61 years old, and the Portuguese Aurora Vaz Pereira, 54 years. Both have been in jail for aggression to their own daughter and her boyfriend for more than ten years”, according to “El Mundo” story.

International Press said that they were arrested for trying to extort money to the McCann couple, giving false information concerning the whereabouts of their daughter, in order to get the four million euros of reward. However, Chenello – who had an arrest warrant from French authorities because of ‘criminal association’ – could have a more direct connection with Madeleine kidnapping because, according to Toscano, he had a home at Niza where ‘El Francés’ use to go frequently”, writes the Spanish journalist.

“At Sotogrande, the scientific police collected samples of DNA from a small bed. Chenello is still in jail, while the Portuguese (woman) was freed after a police audition. The criminal instruction judge has declared the investigation to be covered by the law secrecy, a decision that raises the suspicion that it was not only a presumed extortion crime”, says “El Mundo”.

Bernard Alapetite is referred on Spanish court documents from April 2002, when several young people connected him with children sexual abuse and child porno, which would have took place at night sessions, in the Bar España, at Benicarló. Carlos Fabra, at the time President of the Provincial Government of Castellón and a former president of Milán, Giuseppe Farina, were mentioned in this case”, writes Virginia Lopez.

(1) - I presume this is a version of a popular say, in Portugal and it seems also in Spain: "Don't throw stones up in the air when your roof is made of glass"

Saturday, 14 July 2007

"El Mundo" story about a blog that "defends Madeleine kidnapper" - Help from anybody living in Spain?

It seems that “El Mundo” has published a story (July 12) about a blog that “defends Madeleine’s kidnapper” and refers “Gazeta Digital”. That story is available only to subscribers. I really need to know what they wrote and if it was about me and my blog. And I am very curious about that, as “El Mundo” was the newspaper that first published an interview with Antonio Toscano, the “investigative journalist” who Portuguese CID national director called a non-credible source of information, in what concerns Madeleine McCann abduction, after Polícia Judiciária questioned him as a witness, at his own request.

Toscano’s interview with “SOS Madeleine”: “Bernard Alapetite should be questioned by Portuguese and Spanish CID”

After delivering some documents to Portuguese CID officers at Police headquarters in Portimão and spending almost 15 minutes in the bathroom, the Spanish “investigative journalist” Antonio Toscano went out and told the Press that those documents contained new elements to reinforce his theory that Madeleine McCann is alive and well, with people that is part of the “logistics” of a person known in European paedophile circles as “El Francés”.

Antonio Toscano was interviewed by “SOS Madeleine”, a French blog, and said that he “never identified ‘El Francés’ as Bernard Alapetite", an adult movies producer who was sentenced, in 2000, to three years in jail for selling copies of pornographic movies with children, bought at an Eastern European country. Anyway, Antonio Toscano thinks that Bernard Alapetite “should be questioned by Portuguese and Spanish criminal Police about Madeleine McCann abduction”.

The Spanish “investigative journalist” said also that Mr. Bernard Alapetite is protected, in France, by people in high-ranking positions, who are his “clients”. The “important documents” Toscano gave to Portuguese CID have information about a paedophile ring, based at “Bar España”, in Benicarló, Castellón, a small city North of Valencia, Spain. Those documents, as Toscano told to the blog “SOS Madeleine”, connect the person he refers as “El Francés” to rape and sexual abuse of children - an accusation made in 1997 by a Toscano's friend, Reinaldo Colás Navarro, who identified "El Francés" as Bernard Alapetite. Spanish criminal police investigated the case and considered the accusations as groundless.

Antonio Toscano has been claiming, since June 8, when he was interviewed by Virginia Lopez, a journalist from the Spanish daily “El Mundo”, that he knows the identity of the kidnapper of Madeleine. In several contacts with Clarence Mitchell, the previous spokesman for McCann family, and Portuguese CID, Toscano always refused to give a precise identification of the alleged kidnapper. Two weeks ago, he went to Portugal, after asking to Portuguese CID to be heard, as a witness, in the crime investigation of Madeleine’s abduction.

After the hearing, the national head of Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro, told journalists that the information given by Toscano wasn’t considered credible by Portuguese Police

Friday, 13 July 2007

Antonio Toscano “talked” again with Portuguese CID (in the police headquarters bathroom…)

The Spanish “investigative journalist” Antonio Toscano went to Portuguese CID headquarters in Portimão, last Wednesday, and spent less than five minutes in contact with CID officers. Toscano had contacted Polícia Judiciária, asking to be heard again, as a witness, in the crime investigation of Madeleine’s abduction, as he had more information and “important documents” to deliver to Police. Portuguese CID agreed only to receive those “documents”, Gazeta Digital was told, as the information that Toscano had given before, was not considered as credible.

After delivering the documents, Antonio Toscano asked to go to the bathroom and stayed there for almost 15 minutes, before going out and facing the journalists. Than, he told the Press he had given to PJ “documents that are evidence of the connection of a man, known in the paedophile circles as ‘El Francés’, to Madeleine’s abduction”.

Toscano was with his friend Reinaldo Navarro Colás, chairman of “Associação de Protecção de Vítimas da Corrupção Sexual Infantil de Espanha “(*) who, in 1994, filled a complaint with “Polícia Criminal” (Spanish CID), accusing a man known as “El Francés”, who he identified as Bernard Alapetite, of being the head of a paedophile network based in a bar (“Bar España”) at Castellón, a small city 100 miles North of Valencia, Spain. Spanish CID investigation concluded that the accusations were totally groundless.

Reinaldo Navarro Colás appealed the decision and Spanish Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. In 2006, Reinaldo Colás was sentenced to one year and five months in jail, after making public accusations against a local politician, Carlos Fabras, calling him paedophile and child murderer at a public meeting, in Castellón.

(*) “Association for he Protection of Victims of Child Sexual Corruption of Spain” – We couldn’t find, until know, clear evidence of the activity of this association. Today, we requested to “Direcció General de Dret i d'Entitats Jurídiques”, a government body of “Generalitat de Catalunya” (Catalunya Autonomous Government”) information about the registration of this association, wich is required by law.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Martin Brunt comes alive (and Frankenstein Junior is with him...)

The scene I remember better from Frankenstein Junior (the title of the movie, in Portuguese) is when the ugly result of Dr. Fronkensteen (don’t' get it wrong, or you make him furious: it's Fronkensteen, not Frankenstein!) experiences and the blonde Inga discover love and passion and do what mankind has been doing for many years. Than, at the end, F. Junior lights two cigarettes and gives one of them to his recently found love.

But I'm afraid that not even a superb scientist like dr. Fronkensteen, with the help of his loyal Igor, would be able to produce a “Crime Expert” like Mr. Mark Williams-Thomas, a former police detective who has been at Praia da Luz, according to the report of Martin Brunt – the man who wrote that most news published by Portuguese Press about Madeleine's abduction are best described as "culhoes" (*).

I thought that, after leaving Praia da Luz, Mr Martin Brunt would like to forget this very unpleasant experience – a couple of weeks spend in a third world country, populated by a strange people, with traditions so peculiar like its secrecy law (exactly the same as in Holland). And I thought also that Mr Martin Brunt would be very happy to be working again with the talkative and loquacious British Police.

But Mr. Martin Brunt seems to have a case of hate-love with Portugal. He can't forget us. Mr. Martin, you can be sure we will never forget you. I and a couple of Portuguese journalists, prolific producers of “culhoes”, as you wrote).

So, Mr Martin Brunt, who is a good example of that pack of howling blood-thirsty British tabloid journalist, willing to kill, or let someone be killed, to have a story, comes alive. Science is a wonderful thing! He brings with him a ““Crime Expert”” that “calls for a case review”, in Madeleine's abduction. Mr. “Crime Expert” has been at Praia da Luz “in the days after Madeleine was abducted.”

How many days after that, Mr. Crime Expert? More than one, I'm sure, or Mr Martin would not use the word “days”. Two? Three? More than that? Hummm.... And why does Mr. Crime Expert calls for a review of the case? “He is critical of the way Portuguese police began their investigation”. Really? Well, you are not alone, Mr. Crime Expert. Thank to the inaccurate, baseless and culturally biased coverage made by most British Media, I'm sure around 55 million British citizens should think the same.

“My initial observation was that the crime scene was poorly preserved - there was no one securing the patio doors, which I would refer to as the point of entry.” - Mr “Crime Expert” told Martin Brunt.

Can I ask a couple of question? Madeleine's mother realized she was missing around 10:00. For almost one hour, dozens, may be more than one hundred people (friends of McCann's couple, other guests, resort staff, people passing by... ) come inside and out of the building and the apartment, through the same patio and entry door, searched in the surrounding area, before calling police, at the Lagos precinct, at 22h50 pm, May 3 2007. So, when a Police patrol arrived, 12/15 minutes after that, crime scene has been “polluted” by many dozens of persons. Alarm was raised to CID headquarters at Portimão and they took some time to arrive at the crime scene (Only CIS has staff everywhere and they can put a team at any crime scene in 25 seconds).

But, Mr. “Crime Expert”, would you be so kind to share with us the precise time when crime scene was secured? I'm sure you know it, because you said “there was no one securing the patio doors”. How many days after Madeleine did you see that? At what time?

“The inner cordon was very close to the apartment, within 30 yards. I would have put the inner cordon 100 yards away. There are limitations to that because there's a shop nearby and there are apartments so some of the cordon might be less than that. But it should have been at least 50 yards.”

So, Mr “Crime Expert”, let me see if I understood what you said: The inner cordon was very close, it should be at 100 yards, but there are limitations to that so it “should have been at last 50 yards”...

“That's because whoever has taken Madeleine has been into the apartment and has gained access via the roads leading to the apartment and directly outside it. There could be a whole load of possible pieces of evidence that could be obtained from that area, such as DNA from various objects or tyre tracks.

Tyre tracks from an asphalted road that goes to the only supermarket in the Praia da Luz, as other shops are simple “mama and papas hops”? I have no doubt you were at Praia da Luz, as you say. But you should have taken a few pictures, to remember the area. There was no possibility – as you admit – to close this road.

“Having been there for a few days it became clear that there was no process of stopping and questioning people who are living in the area or visiting it (…) The significance of this is that there are people who may hold vital clues that have seen someone acting suspiciously or may have seen something suspicious.

This is an almost obscene lie, Mr. “Crime Expert”. Several British journalists wrote that, in the morning of May 4, CID officers were knocking at the doors of Ocean Club apartments, questioning guests, and so on. Why do you say that Portuguese CID failed to do a basic thing, when a crime is commited?

“There's a supermarket that is the only one in the village and it's a place that the offender or offenders could have gone into and bought some drinks or food (…) They should have been stopping and speaking to everyone who went into that supermarket. I went in there every day and I never saw a police officer asking any questions.

Sorry, Mr. “Crime Expert”, how many days have passed after Madeleine’s abduction when you were at Batista Supermarket? How do you know that police hasn’t questioned employees and clients of that supermarket?

“Unfortunately for the police, although the supermarket has CCTV, it was broken two weeks prior to the offence. Otherwise that might have held vital evidence (…) CCTV has played such a prominent part in police investigations in the UK. The streets around Praia Da Luz don't have CCTV cameras unfortunately.”

Right, Mr. “Crime Expert”. Do you have an ID Card? No, of course! ID Cards are considered a violation of citizen’s fundamental rights, in UK. I have an ID Card, just like my wife and my two sons. The 10 million inhabitants of Portugal have ID Cards. But our law is very strict about CCTV cameras in public places. We consider that a violation of one of our fundamental rights, the right to privacy. So, CCTV cameras in Portugal are allowed only at private properties (lie a supermarket or a gas station) and in public places where they are needed for security reasons – like in both bridges over river Tejo, in Lisbon, and in some highways.

“I didn't see any house-to-house inquiries being done which is vital because, again, they are the people living and staying in these apartments. They become the eyes and ears of police in a major investigation and can hold a vital piece of the jigsaw.”

Another obscene lie. May be you didn’t saw it because you were at Praia da Luz five or six days after Madeleine was abducted and that job has been already done. But if you read what Mark Oliver wrote for the Guardian, and what Mr. John Hill, manager of Ocean Club, told to the Press, you will realize that what you say is complety false. The reason why you say that, is a mistery, for me. Are you a compulsive liar? Or are you just a “Portuguese bashing” expert, instead of a “Crime Expert”?

“There was also no appeal. When you make comparisons to the British police, the media strategy is an integral part of any major investigation.”

Listen, Mr. “Crime Expert”, why don’t you try to get some information, before saying things so absurd? There was no need for a public appeal because child abduction are so rare in Portugal, that all Portuguese newspapers and magazines had Madeleine’s face in the front page, for weeks. TV news bulletins opened with the news of her disappearance, for almost two weeks.

“The laws in Portugal are very different to Britain's - the police conduct their investigations in secrecy and provide very little information as to the inquiries they are making.”

Sorry, Mr. “Crime Expert”, but this is sheer stupidity! I never heard British Police talk about details of the investigation of “Soham Murders”! British Police conducts their investigation in secrecy and they provide very little information about ongoing crime investigations. Give me an example that what I am saying isn’t truth!

“But at this stage it will be important for them to take stock and even ask for an external review. They need to take experts from outside the investigation, possibly from Britain or America, to undertake the review (…) This isn't about apportioning blame or criticism in relation to the investigation. It's about looking at possible lines of inquiry with a fresh pair of eyes.

Mr. “Crime Expert”, this is pure racism! When British police does this second review, do they call foreign police forces to do it, or do they call other department of British Police?

(*) One the most obscene words in Portuguese language, meaning “testicles” (something I wouldn't say in the row seats reserved for the supporters of my football team – Sporting Clube of Portugal – because of a stolen penalty, as quite a lot of ladies and children go to see the matches…)

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

My opinion about Gerry and Kate McCann

I don’t believe, as a journalist, that the McCanns are, in any way, related with the abduction of Madeleine. I’ve been following this case, not only in the Web – I was also at Praia da Luz, for one week (May 17 to May 23). For the last two months, I also have followed the news on the Net very carefully and closely.

So, based on all the information I collected, either during my stay in Praia da Luz or in the Net, as a journalist, I CAN’T SEE THE SLIGHTEST EVIDENCE THAT GERRY AND KATE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH HER DAUGTHER DISAPEARENCE.


As a human being, a common man, father of two boys (one, 22 years old, the other 11) let me tell you this: I was at an arm’s distance from the McCanns, when they gave a Press Conference at Praia da Luz. I looked into the eyes of Kate McCann and I saw so much pain and suffering that I had to take a deep breath to control myself, to avoid tears coming to my eyes and not let emotion overcome me! I was schocked to see so much pain in her eyes and in her look! That's someting that only people that has kids can understand and feel!

Monday, 25 June 2007

Complaint filled with Ofcom, against Sky News


Sky News broadcasted a story and published it on its Web Site, at 13:31, Sunday, June 24 2007, with the tittle: “Child Trafficking 'Link' To Missing Girl”

In that story, we can read the following:

“The abduction of Madeleine McCann may be linked to a trafficking network that sees children put on the market for £7,000, detectives have said. Eastern European gangs are holding auctions in supermarket car-parks in Portugal and France. Officers in France have released details of the trade, as they believe it may be related to the four-year-old's disappearance, a Sky source said. In one case, the mother of a baby boy was arrested for attempting to sell her baby North of Lisbon (…)”

What really happened, in the case referred as “the mother of a baby boy that was arrested for attempting to sell her baby North of Lisbon has no relation at all with “Eastern European gangs (…) holding auctions (to sell children) in supermarket car-parks in Portugal (…)”, as described by Sky News.

Because of this lack of relation between reality and what Sky News broadcasted and published on its Web site, what happened in Sousel, a small city in Alentejo, can not have any connection “to a trafficking network that sees children put on the market for £7,000 (…)”. For the same reason, that episode also can not be related with Madeleine McCann abduction.

This is what happened, on May 26 and was subject of news, in Diário de Notícias (1), a Portuguese daily newspaper, and at least, another four Portuguese newspapers and a radio station (2), between May 26 and May 29:

1 - A couple of Romanian gypsies, currently living in Guimarães, North of Portugal, was accused, by local residents of Sousel, a small city in Alentejo, of trying to sell his three months old baby. They knocked at several doors, in Sousel, and asked the residents if they wanted to buy the baby. Cecília Guimarães, a woman of 34 years to whom the Romanian couple first offered the baby, told the mother to give the child to an institution, as “the baby was crying from hunger”. The mother refused and went away.

2 - Cecília Guimarães went immediately to Police and filled a report about the case. She told Diário de Notícias (1) that the mother didn't asked for a specific amount of money, she just wanted to sell the baby. Few minutes after, GNR (Portuguese rural police) detained the Romanian couple. The baby showed signals of being undernourished and dehydrated, so the local “Child Protection Commission” (a Government body with legal authority to act in any situation where a child is in danger) gave orders to GNR to send the baby to Paediatric Section of Portalegre Hospital, where she was recovering well, at May 28.

3 - The parents, 20 and 35 years old, were submitted to a court hearing in the same date. The court decided to send the baby to a Catholic institution, “Lar do Sagrado Coração de Maria”, and a final decision on her destiny will be made after further inquiries, as Diário de Notícias (3) wrote, on May 29

I believe that Sky News story is a serious breach of the principles stated in “Section 5” (Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions) of “The Ofcom Broadcasting Code”, as it is a MANIPULATION OF ONE SINGLE CASE, and ALMOST ALL THE FACTS, in what concerns to Portugal, ARE FAKE, MISLEADING AND DISTORTED.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Paulo Reis