Saturday, 7 July 2012

Old memories die hard


On 2007 I got a tip from a British journalist (one of the few journalists from UK that had and still has a good relationship with me). It was a quite interesting tip: people connected with people connected with people related with the McCann Team got in touch with a few PJ inspectors, asking them if they were interested in helping as “informal consultants” in the search for Madeleine. Something quite normal, I believe. But sometimes I’m a little bit naïf…

Two weeks after that, a top ranking PJ inspector (not part of the team investigating Maddie Case) told me about a rather strange episode: a PJ inspector got in touch with some his colleagues working in the investigation in Algarve and asked a few specific questions about the case.

His colleagues were not exactly comfortable, because PJ inspectors have a very important and quite clear rule about that kind of questions. Breaking it is a crime, according to the Portuguese Penal Code: if a PJ inspector talks about or reveals anything about an ongoing investigation to somebody that is not part of the police and Public Prosecutor’s Office team in charge of it, they violate the “segredo de Justiça” (“Secrecy of Justice”). PJ inspectors never ask a colleague questions about an open investigation, if they are not part of the team (if they are, they can ask any question…)

For a couple of months, I tried to find something more about that, but never got any further detail, not even a single clue about who could be that PJ inspector. I decided to file it in my notes and keep it open for the future. Than, I remembered two of my preferred books from John le Carré: “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “The Honourable Schoolboy”. In this last book, some of the most interesting action happens in Hong Kong, including the Foreign Correspondents Club, a place that I know.

I put a mention, in my notes, about that PJ inspector with an “excessive” curiosity, under the subject: “Geraldo”. “Gerald” is the code name of the Russian mole that George Smiley hunts, in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. In “The Honourable Schoolboy”, George Smiley is the temporary Chief of the "Circus", cleaning the London house after the arrest of the Soviet mole who was one of the top “Circus” leaders and also, as always, seeking clues to the trail of Karla, his KGB personal nemesis. This search takes him to Hong Kong and that’s where The Honourable Schoolboy” starts.

As a journalist, I’m not searching for any personal nemesis and I am not hunting anybody equivalent to Karla (and, of course I’m not John le Carré…) But I will keep my eyes open to any detail that can help me find “Geraldo”.