Saturday, 8 September 2007

The circus has come to town



(THE SUN ONLINE, by OLIVER HARVEY, Chief Feature Writer, September 08, 2007)


The apparently innocent curiosity of several British citizens, residents in Algarve, that have been detected, during the last months, at Praia da Luz and Portimão, is being closely monitored by Portuguese authorities. On two specific occasions, people with similar profiles were seen, at places and near situations that were later referred by all British Press and had a great impact in public opinion, helping to reinforce the negative image of the Portuguese Police and its investigation in the Madeleine case.

This close monitoring of movements around the main points where the investigation is going on has started few weeks after Madeleine's disappearance. It seems that the activity, in the field and until now, is restricted to the gathering of all information available. A lot of that information has resurfaced with all the indications of having been packed and feed, either to the British or Portuguese Press, on specific dates and situations, in order to achieve a result that is clearly part of a wider strategy.

Most of these activities have been conducted by retired British citizens, some of the long time residents in Portugal. Other group was “recruited” among the already large locally born British community. These collaborators have an important skill, which is the capacity of speaking the local language, but their lack of experience means a higher risk and they have been used just in low-level operations.

A police case

Portuguese authorities want to keep the situation where they consider it should be: a police case, that they don't want to be taken to a different level. However, the amount of resources – both financial and human - that were put in place has worried Portuguese authorities, who have some difficulty in understanding the reason why a police case is being targeted with so much intensity.

The fact that several reports, prepared by the first team of British Police that have been acting as liaison officers, were classified and the access to those reports quickly restricted to a small group of high ranking British Police officers, was one of the first tips that raised the attention of Portuguese authorities.

Since last weekend, strategy changed and most field operations were called off. The main target, at this moment, is the credibility of the Portuguese forensic services that collected the samples analysed in Birmingham. As the results came from one of the most prestigious British laboratories, the only possibility to reduce its impact is to question the conditions and techniques used to collect them.

Next steps

Yesterday, that strategy was visible – may be too much visible, to achieve good results – in the British TV, with two former policemen telling viewers in UK, among other things, that Portuguese forensic experts either don't use special clothes, when working on a crime scene, or just use the same clothes in different crimes scenes, contaminating the samples. Also, doubts were raised about the use of proper equipment, like refrigerators, to keep the samples in good conditions until they were sent to Forensic Science Services.

One of those experts even admitted as possible that Portuguese police may have “put” the evidence to incriminate innocent people, in order to avoid the embarrassment of a unsuccessful investigation. This argument was also used by several other sources, quoted by many British newspapers.

The idea of an attempt to frame innocent people is being prepared since several weeks. The first step was taken when selected information about Joana Cipriano's case was made available to all British Media. For the next days, the instructions are to concentrate all resources in raising the doubts about how the samples were collected. Expecting that details of the statements of the “arguidos” will be public, soon, in the Portuguese Press, the operational plan includes a second (already in action) and third phases: a forcing on the idea that innocent people is being framed and a clear comparison with Joana Cipriano's case.

The lethal weapon, to be used when conditions are proper, is a “secret”: a large, well organized and professionally manipulated amount of information about the Casa Pia case. Organizers believe this data will be very efficient in the difficult task of convincing British public opinion that incompetence, corruption and complicity, also on high levels of the Portuguese society, are the explanation for what happened to Gerry and Kate McCann.

Paulo Reis and Duarte Levy
  • “NOW WE’RE FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES”
  • POLICE "IS RUNNING OUT OF BUDGET AND WANT TO END INVESTIGATION"
  • ARREST "MAY BE IMINENT"


FORENSIC EVIDENCE
If the McCanns' hire car is vital evidence why are they still driving it? - (9/09/2007)
Madeleine: 'Fatal flaw' over test that found DNA in parents' hire car - (9/09/2007)
Questions of forensics: why the McCanns have been made formal suspects - (9/09/2007)
DNA gaps cloud Madeleine hunt - (9/09/2007)
A powerful tool - but not infallible - (9/09/2007)
Madeleine: DNA find is 'not a complete match' - (9/09/2007)
The vanishing, the mystery, and the accusations - (9/09/2007)
FORESNIC EVIDENCE 'A BLUFF' - (9/09/2007)
Scapegoats? McCanns reject 'compelling' new police evidence - (9/09/2007)
If the McCanns' hire car is vital evidence why are they still DRIVING IT? - (8/09/2007)
'No proof Maddie is dead' - (9/09/2007)
BRITISH EXPERT QUESTIONS SNNIFER DOGS FINDINGS - (9/09/2007)
BRITISH FORENSIC EXPERTS SAY SAMPLES MAY HAVE CONTAMINATED - (9/09/2007)
Sniffer dogs: The crucial scent lasts for no longer than a month - (9/09/2007)

PARENTS FRAMED, VICTMS OF POLICE
McCANN HAVE NOT RULLED OUT THAT “OFFICIALS ARE TRYING TO 'FRAME' THEM” - (9/09/2007)
'Portuguese police framed my wife' - (9/09/2007)
'These cops framed my wife' - (8/09/2007)
We’re being framed: McCanns - (9/09/2007)
Madeleine: Are Portuguese media smears a police tactic to break the McCanns? - (8/09/2007)
Maddie's parents under siege after being made suspects - (9/09/2007)
Stop judging the McCanns - (9/09/2007)
Kate and Gerry McCann must have learned more lessons than most ofus do on a lifetime - (8/09/2007)
The notion that even accidentally they killed her is repulsive’ - (9/09/2007)
'Gerry was confident, Kate was uneasy . . . ' - (9/09/2007)
Tragic chain of events with a sting in the tale - (9/09/2007)
I know how Kate feels - it happened to me when my daughter vanished - (8/09/2007)
Friends and family anger - (7/09/2007)
Kate McCann 'fears she will be charged today' as police push for confession - (8/09/2007)
Deal of blood, threat and tears - (9/09/2007)
Shocked response from friends and family - (9/09/2007)
Kate McCann: The claims and case for defence - (9/09/2007)
Kate's shocked family and friends: This is a set-up - (8/09/2007)
Madeleine's father blasts suggestions of wife's involvement - (8/09/2007)
The allegations facing the McCanns - (9/09/2007)

PORTUGUESE POLICE INCOMPETENCE
Uncle brands Portuguese police probe as 'crazy' but insists thaT - (9/09/2007)
PARENTS WILL REMAIN STRONG - (9/09/2007)
Victims of the rumour mill? - (9/09/2007)
MCCANN DETECTIVE CHARGED - (8/09/2007)
Beyond belief - (8/09/2007)
The hunt for information - (9/09/2007)
The three crucial hours before the alarm was raised that Madeleine was missing - (8/09/2007)
Being suddenly under suspicion will reinforce the feeling of being persecuted and victimised - (8/09/2007)

BRITISH GOVERNMENT
BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE “FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS” TO HELP THE McCANNs - (9/09/2007)

COMING HOME OR STAYING IN PORTUGAL?
McCANN CANCEL HOMECOMING - (9/09/2007)
Parents of Madeleine McCann to Stay in Portugal after being named suspects - (8/09/2007)
Missing British girl's parents leaving Portugal, spokeswoman says - (8/09/2007)
McCanns Flying Home In Next Few Hours - (9/09/2007)
MADELEINE: PARENTS FLY BACK TO BRITAIN - (9/09/2007)

DOUBTS, QUESTIONS & DETAILS
UK NEWS: Madeline McCann family spokesperson lied to press? - (9/09/2007)
Why aren't the McCanns more keen for their friends to speak out on their behalf? - (8/09/2007)
Lib Dem hopeful behind McCanns' campaign - (8/09/2007)
McCanns prepare for their day in court - (9/09/2007)
BRIT POLICE WATCH AND LISTEN FROM THE ROOM NEXT DOOR - (9/09/2007)
PLEASE DON'T TAKE TWINS! - (9/09/2007)
The Maddie affair: From sympathy to suspicion - (9/09/2007)
We all so want to admire Kate McCann - (8/09/2007)