Tuesday, 30 October 2007

PJ detectives prepare for final steps of the investigation

Paulo Rebelo called a meeting with all the detective's team working in Madeleine's case for today, October 30. Criminal coordinator Gonçalo Amaral, previously in charge of the investigation, was asked to participate in the meeting. The last days have been very busy for Paulo Rebelo and his team of around twenty detectives working in the case. Recently, a new witness has been in Portugal and went to PJ headquarters in Portimão. This witness, an Irish teenager, saw Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins talking, near the apartment from where Madeleine vanished, in the night of May 3, but she is also sure that there was no man carrying a child or Jane Tanner around, at that time.

Paulo Rebelo decided to call a special meeting to make a general analysis of the conclusions of the investigation, until now, after a careful review of all evidence collected, including the results of the samples already sent by Forensic Science Service. Yesterday, October 29, a team of detectives headed by Paulo Rebelo went to apartment 5A, at ocean Club, to check with detail some aspects of those conclusions. After almost four hours inside the apartment, the other detectives left to Portimão, while Paulo Rebelo went to the small square near the church with another PJ investigator. Before calling the meeting, Paulo Rebelo had a long talk with the national director of Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro.

News in the Portuguese Press referred that Portuguese police was still waiting, last week, for the list of phone calls made from Praia da Luz, using mobile phones from UK networks. A request has been made to Police in the UK to allow Portuguese police to check the calls with the list of guests and other people staying at Praia da Luz, since the McCann arrived there, on April 28.

This meeting follows also the first public indications that the Portuguese Government is getting more uncomfortable with the violent attacks directed against the Portuguese police and the Judicial system. Mr. Santana Carlos, the Portuguese Ambassador in London, criticise the attitude of British Media, in a interview with The Times, and referred that there are “many more cases of abductions (in UK) than Portugal, and nobody talks about that, but this (Madeleine) case has come up very, very high in the news.”

Also last week, the McCann revealed, for the first time, they have hired a Spanish detectives private company, Metodo 3, to help find Madeleine. The company, according to Antena 3, was hired in August, before the McCann were named as formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter. The company set up a hotline and issued a sketch of an alleged abductor, seen by one of the friends of the McCann, Jane Tanner, less than 30 minutes Kate McCann found Madeleine was missing.

Just a few days after the hotline was set up, Marita Fernandez, the general-manager of Metodo 3, told Spanish Media that witnesses calling the line have confirmed Madeleine McCann was alive and in Morocco. Metodo 3 told newspapers they had also found another kidnapped child, an American blonde girl, in the mountains of Rif. But a source from “Sureté Nacionale”, the Moroccan intelligence services, denied this information and told us they didn't have any information about the American girl or Madeleine McCann sightings.

The law that regulates privates detectives work, in Spain, demands that any information related to a crime must be immediately forwarded to Police. A PJ investigator considered “very strange” that a positive identification of Madeleine, as the one referred by Metodo 3, could be made available to the Media, instead of remaining absolutely confidential: “This could be a death sentence, if the child was in the hands of a paedophile network, what those Spanish detectives say it's also a possibility...”

Moroccan authorities expelled a British citizen, recently, after he offered large amounts of money in exchange of specific statements about a blonde girl, to several staff members from a gas station in Marrakesh – the same city were Interpol will have its 76 General Assembly, between 5 and 8 of November.

Duarte Levy (Marrakesh) and Paulo Reis (Lisbon)

Version Française

Monday, 29 October 2007

Police back to Ocean Club apartment

A team of Polícia Judiciaria detectives, headed by Paulo Rebelo, went today, October 29, to the apartment from where Madeleine vanished, on May 3. The team – five men and a woman – left the building around 6.00pm. Paulo Rebelo refused to talk to the journalists and went to the area near the church, after leaving the apartment, accompanied by one of the detectives, while the others left Praia da Luz.

Kidnapped American girl found in Morocco

Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives company hired by the McCann to look for Madeleine, found a kidnapped American girl in the Morocco mountains, according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper quoted a source from Metodo 3 who told that detectives looking for Madeleine in the Rif mountains “found a blonde girl who had been kidnapped by a Moroccan family.” According to the same source, “Interpol is investigating the discovery of the blonde girl living in the Rif mountains — the area where they are searching for Madeleine.”

Metodo 3 confirms: Madeline is alive and in Morocco

Marita Fernandez, manager of Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives company hired by the McCann to help find Madeleine, told today to Antena 3 that “it's absolutely sure that Madeleine is alive. (People) Saw the spot in her eye. If it was seen, Madeleine is nor dead.” Metodo 3 also confirmed they have “clues” that can solve the case. Francisco Marco, Metodo 3's director-general, gave more specific details, including the alleged location of Madeleine, in Morocco, where she was spotted with a 60 years-old-woman.

Metodo 3 or Murder Ltd ?

The Spanish detectives agency hired by the McCann told newspapers they received three calls with specific details about sightings of Madeleine in Morocco. Francisco Marco, Metodo 3's director-general, gave more specific details, including the alleged location of Madeleine, in Morocco, where she was spotted with a 60 years-old-woman: "My own feeling is that this woman is some sort of carer who is working on behalf of other people. We can't be certain it's Madeleine but several unconnected people have told our informers of the same girl with the same woman. The only difference is that she has slightly shorter hair than Madeleine had when she disappeared. Everything else matches. They've been seen over a wide area but always within the confines of the Rif mountains."

If it's truth, it raises a few interesting questions about how Metodo 3 works:

1 – This kind of information is supposed to be confidential, in order to not alert the kidnappers. Why did Metodo 3 gave that information to newspapers?
2 – Was the police in Morocco informed, through the Spanish police, as the Law in Spain requests, whenever a private detective has information related to a crime?
3 – Is Metodo 3 aware that making public this information endangers the life of a kidnapped child?

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Spanish detectives: A Portuguese paedophile kidnapped Maddie

Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives company hired two months ago by the McCann says that a Portuguese paedophile kidnapped Madeleine and took her to Morocco. Metodo 3, according to Daily Mail, is sending detectives to Portugal, to follow leads that say there was an insider in Ocean Club who helped in the kidnap. Private investigations of a crime, in Portugal, are illegal and people doing can be accused of trying to pervert the course of justice and jailed. The Times reports that three phone calls to the hotline the McCann set up in Spain, managed by Metodo 3, had details about Madeleine sightings in Morocco, accompanied my a middle-class Moroccan woman aged about 60.

Professor Carolyn Hamilton: What the McCann did was wrong

Leaving a child aged 3 and twins aged 18 months in a locked room, on a complex holiday abroad, checking on them every half hour “is not desirable but parents have to balance the demands of life and will probably have to consider such issues regularly (...) Leaving them for a short while, asleep, in a locked room with regular checks is acceptable. Leaving them for two hours, or with unlocked doors, is not”, according to Carolyn Hamilton, Director of the Children's Legal Centre, an expert for the United Nations in the field of juvenile justice and a member of the UK Advisory Board for the UK Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Most calls to McCann hotline report Madeleine's sightings in Morocco

The hotline set up by the McCann, in Spain, received 275 calls until 8.00pm of yesterday, October 25, according to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. Most calls were from British citizens that have been on holidays in Morocco and gave information about alleged sightings of Madeleine in that North-African country.

After the McCann were named as formal suspects, British Press identified at least seven new witnesses, most of them British citizens, claiming not only that they saw Madeleine in Morocco, but also that they contacted Portuguese police and had no answer of just faced a refusal to accept that information. Portuguese Police requested Interpol help to investigate the background and personal connections of those alleged witnesses and, after that, there were no more references about those witnesses in the British Press.

Sources from Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives agency hired by the McCann to managed the hotline, told La Vanguardia that “Portuguese police has give up the idea that Madeleine died in a accidente” where the parents were involved and now “they think, (like Metodo 3 detectives) that Madeleine was kidnapped.” The head of Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro, told another Spanish newspaper, a few days ago, that the strongest line of inquiry was the one that considered Madeleine was dead.

The Portuguese Justice Minister, Mr. Alberto Costa, who is in Spain to participate in a European meeting, told journalists that new initiatives have been launched, in the investigation and said that he trusts the capacity of Policia Judiciária to solve the case.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

One more witness contradicts Jane Tanner statement

A teenager, who was with her family at Ocean Club, saw Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins talking, the night Madeleine disappeared – but she didn't saw Jane Tanner or a man carrying a child. The girl wasn't in the list of guests, as their presence at Ocean Club wasn't registered with the management. Father and daughter have been in Portugal, recently, to help Policia Judiciaria in the reconstruction of what happened the night of May 3 and to give a formal statement to Police, according to a source close to the case.

Speaking to SOS Madeleine, the Irish teenager confirmed she saw Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins talking, for a few minutes, near the McCann apartment: “There was only the father of the little girl talking to another man.”

The teenager went out for a cigarette, around the same time Jane Tanner said she saw a man carrying a child. She only mentioned what she saw to her family latter, because she had also to confess the reason why she was there. Since the beginning, Police had some doubts about Jane Tanner statement, as Jeremy Wilkins, a tennis partner of Madeleine's father, told them he only saw Gerry McCann near the apartment.

Jane Tanner description of the man she allegedly saw was used to draw a sketch that the McCann released, yesterday, October 25. But Jane Tanner was initially quoted, in the British Media, as saying that the man was walking to the church. Later, British newspapers referred she said the man was walking in the opposite direction, to Robert Murat's house.

Jeremy Wilkins told the Press he was walking his eight-month son when he met Gerry McCann, who was checking his children. The TV producer said he didn't saw a man carrying a child and he also didn't saw Jane Tanner: "It was a very narrow path and I think it would have been almost impossible for anyone to walk by without me noticing.”

After a few weeks claiming they couldn't talk to the Media because of Portuguese secrecy laws, the McCann accepted to be interviewd by Antena 3, a Spanish TV channel. Gerry McCann praised the Portuguese Police but, at the same time, the usual “family friends” were quoted by the British Media in another attack to the credibility of Portuguese police, who hasn't recorded the statements given by Madeleine parents. This is denied by a PJ source, who told that “all formal questionings of the McCann were recorded, but no recording was made from the informal meetings with them.”

Statements given to Police, in the Portuguese legal system, are only used in the investigation and even confessions are not valued by courts, as only statements made during trial are considered evidence.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

Thursday, 25 October 2007

British citizen expelled from Morocco

The Moroccan authorities expelled a British citizen, a few days ago, after he contacted staff from a gas station near the city of Marrakesh. A source from “Sureté Nacionale”, Moroccan security and intelligence services confirmed that the British citizen offered a large amount of money to several employees, in exchange for specific statements about a sighting concerning a blonde girl. British embassy in Morocco, contacted by SOS Madeleine, refused to comment. The possibility of having private detectives working in their country was referred, by the same source, as “an offence and a violation of national sovereignty”.

A source from PJ also told SOS Madeleine that “any person who undertakes a private investigation about a crime, in Portugal, is committing a crime - perverting the course of Justice – and will be arrested.” The McCann hired a private Spanish company, Metodo 3, to set up a hotline for people having information about Madeleine.

The hotline number has replaced the police phone numbers in the official page of FindMadeleine campaign. But according to Spanish Law and the specific regulations concerning private detective's activity, any information received concerning a crime must be immediately forwarded to police.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Portuguese Police not informed by the McCann about the hotline in Spain

The detectives company hired by the McCann to set up a hotline for information about Madeleine is specialized in corporate fraud, off-shore investigations, patent and trademark protection. Owned by the Fernandez family, Metodo 3 works “only for companies”, according to an interview from Francisco Marco Fernadez, assistant general-manager: “Even if in the 80's it wasn't common (for detectives companies) to work only for other companies, once the detective work was most in the private field (family, infidelity, etc) we decided that our target was, clearly, the business area. And there is where we have been, since then.”

Clarence Mitchell, the former Media Monitoring Unit director and spokesman for the McCann, said that the hot line was set up with “the full backing” of Portuguese Police, according to the Daily Mail, and also from Spanish Police, according to Fox News. But Spanish Police says that they don't have any position – either in favour or against – the setting up of this hotline. “Madeleine's disappearance took place in Portugal and, until now, Spanish authorities only acted following requests from Portuguese Police”, a source from Spanish Police, in Madrid, told us. Polícia Judiciária wasn't informed previously about it and, a PJ source told us that they knew about the hotline “but not through the McCann.”

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Lord John Stevens, another former police chief joining the circus

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, believes in the innocence of the McCann. On a opinion column in “News of the World”, he claims he has always based his conclusions on “hard evidence”, during his 30 years as a police detective. Then, he says he is making his judgement about the McCann based in what he read on newspapers: “Again, I don't say this from believing in the McCanns' innocence or their guilt. I simply don't know either way. But from the evidence I have read I don't think they did it. Unless the Portuguese police have something else, it doesn't make sense. The couple don't fit the profile and their opportunity was limited.”

Lord Stevens doesn't even know what evidence Portuguese police has. Anyway, he is so sure they are innocent that he doesn't feel the need of the same “hard evidence” he claims he always needed, in his police career.

Lord John Stevens wrote that “the possible murder scene was treated as a glorified meeting-room to organise a search for a missing child, instead of the potential treasure trove of clues it actually was. To any experienced British detective, it is incomprehensible.” He forgets to mention that Kate McCann realised Madeleine has vanished around 10.00pm but the McCann only called police almost 50 minutes after that. Why does Lord Stevens ignores this detail? Because it allows him to attack Portuguese police?

Lord Stevens wrote that “the police investigation that started so disastrously has turned to farce. Every apparent stream of evidence has been either missed, fatally compromised or is simply ludicrous.” What a pity, Lord Stevens, that a man with a distinguished career like yours accepts a so prominent role in a farce that starts to look like a circus.

Lord Stevens, chairman of Quest Ltd – Corporate Intelligence & Risk Mitigation
Lord Stevens, Gordon Brown's adviser on international security issues
Lord Stevens: "Maddie's parents are innocent"

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Run, Gordon, run...

On September 8, we wrote a story – “The circus has came to town” - explaining the strategy to be followed in order to convince British public opinion that Gerry and Kate McCann were framed by Portuguese police. In the same story, we alerted for the interference of other kind of “organizations”, already in action, in Portugal: “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.”

This part of a wider strategy – the so-called “field operations” - was latter confirmed when the McCann revealed they hired Control Risk Group in May. Details of that strategy were given to us by sources in London that, due to their position, know what is going on and – most important of all – why. But they don't agree with what they consider a Government “sponsored” interference on a police case, with no other purpose than protect the interests of a specific group.

Other sources, in the British Media, also gave us details about how that strategy would develop: undermining the credibility of Portuguese Police, attacking one of the leading detectives using the Joana Cipriano's case and, as a final blow, the Casa Pia 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.”

Why UK is a haven for paedophiles

Until now, results have been mixed, for the powerful group of supporters behind the McCann couple. Public opinion, in UK, isn't exactly on the McCann side. Questions are starting to be asked about the level of involvement of the British Government, following Mr. Gordon Brown strange attitude of making public, last week, that he would include a police case in the agenda of his meeting with the Portuguese Prime-Minister, during a European Union summit.

Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral was removed from the investigation, but his replacement wasn't who the McCann supporters expected. Yesterday, Daily Mail, a newspaper that has been spearheading the campaign against Portugal and Portuguese police, was given the “green light” to use the above referred “lethal weapon”.

The story - “Why Portugal is a haven for paedophiles - the disturbing backcloth to the Madeleine case” - is a poor job of manipulation of information about the Casa Pia case. It uses fake information, like putting Paulo Rebelo, who replaced Gonçalo Amaral in Madelein's case – as the man who “oversaw Operation Predator - raids on more than 70 suspected paedophiles, whose computers were searched last week for images of Madeleine or other evidence of criminal sexual acts.”

In other classical manoeuvre of manipulation, it refers that, in Casa Pia Case, “Paulo Pedroso, a government minister, was arrested and quizzed about 15 cases of child sexual abuse.” But Daily Mail forgets to mention that the case against Paulo Pedroso was dismissed, for lack of evidence. The newspaper also forgets to mention that investigation of Casa Pia is finished and the trial has been going on, since more that one year, due to the number of defendants and the fact that there are more than 500 witnesses to be called.

The Daily Mail story accuses a all country and it's population of allowing “paedophile networks” - that “have become endemic in Portugal” - to roam freely and considers that “the culture in which such a serious child abuse network was allowed to operate is the same culture that pervades the whole of Portugal.”

Following the same line, similar accusations could be made against UK, using the Waterhouse case: “The Waterhouse Report into the wide scale abuse that took place in residential homes in Wales was released in February 2000. It spoke of systematic abuse, a climate of violence and a culture of secrecy that existed for more than two decades. But for most people involved in the welfare of the young, the report did not go nearly far enough. It confined itself to what went on in particular children's homes in Wales over a confined period. It did not look at the plight of children in residential homes and in foster families all over the UK. It did not question the whole structure of care.” The results of Operation Ore could also allow anyone to classify UK as a haven for paedophiles, where the sex offenders registration couldn’t stop child abusers to find new jobs on schools...

The fact that the story from Daily Mail is so badly “build” shows how desperate McCann supporters are, as they don't see any evidence that PJ is willing to drop the main line of inquiry, which considers the parents as formal suspects in the disappearance of Madeleine.

Police cooperation

Also curious is the fact that Mr. Gordon Brown decided to mention a specific detail we was willing to raise, with Portuguese Prime-Minister: the cooperation between Portuguese and British Police in Madeleine's investigation. There has been several small incidents, since the first British police liaison team came to Algarve. The decision of Portuguese police to stop regular meetings with the McCann couple was taken after detectives realized that Kate and Gerry had previous knowledge of the subjects to be raised during those meetings. Such a knowledge would be possible only if information given by PJ to their British counterparts was being made available to the McCann.

Portuguese police made clear they knew that at least one of the British officers from the liaison team had contacts - with people close to the McCann – that were not considered proper, for someone in that position. The level of cooperation from Leicestershire police is another detail that has raised some questions from Polícia Judiciária and took Mr. Paulo Rebelo to make a direct contact with Scotland Yard.

The McCann legal team has made contacts, in Portugal, to hire a PR company, as they understood that a close contact with Portuguese Media was fundamental, at this stage. But there is no tradition, in Portugal, of Public Relations companies acting in the criminal area and at least one of the leading Portuguese PR companies refused an offer for a contract. Other contacts were more successful, when several former Portuguese policemen were asked, by the McCann team, to help them have a close look at how the investigation was developing.

Opposite versions

The Portuguese Prime-Minister Press Office denied that the question of Madeleine's investigation was ever referred, during a meeting with Gordon Brown. “The only subjects raised during the meeting between Gordon Brown and José Sócrates were related to the EU summit. All the rest is pure speculation”, according to the same source. A spokesman for Mr. Gordon Brown denied this and told British Media that “Mr Brown said he and Jose Socrates had a ''brief discussion'' about Madeleine during an EU summit in Lisbon. The spokesman said: ''They agreed what matters was that there should be the closest possible co-operation between the Portuguese and British police.''

The fact that both Prime-Ministers Press Offices couldn't find a common version about Madeleine's case is a clear evidence of the deep differences in the way they look at it. Mr. José Sócrates has made clear, before, that this is “just a police case” and not a political one.” In a interview with the Spanish daily “El País”, the Portuguese Prime-Minister launched a staunch attack against members of British Government, saying that “(Portuguese) Police did the best they could do find the child” and remembered that “it's a duty of all politicians not to contribute to boost a 'soap opera script.” It seems that Mr. Gordon Brown has another opinion.

Duarte Levy (Londres) and Paulo Reis (Lisbon)

Version Française

Thursday, 18 October 2007

British "experts": Child abusers in Portugal are "often left free"

According to a group of former British policemen and experts, quoted by “ThisIsLondon”, in Portugal “when children are found to have been abused, the victim is taken into care, while the abuser is often left free.” The group of “experts”, lead by Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, found also that “Portugal has many more paedophiles than it cares to admit.” Unfortunately, the group of “experts” didn't produced any evidence to support this conclusion.

The same group of “experts” also found that Portugal has “an odd attitude towards under age sex. Under Portuguese law, the age of consent (between couples of the same age) is 13.” Strange, as the law in Portugal defines 14 years as the age for sexual relations, with mutual consent, if both partners are under 18. But if one of the partners is over 18 years old, that is considered a crime. Odd, also is the fact the minimum age for sexual relations with mutual consent, in Spain, is 13 years. I wonder if these group of “experts” knows that Portugal and Spain are two different (and sovereign) countries.

And age of consent in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Italy is also 14 years...

Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson: Portuguese Police is incompetent...

As it was expected, the main conclusion of the team headed by Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson is that Portuguese Police had not the capacity to handle “such a big job.” The conclusion was reached in only three days at Praia da Luz, without any access to the crime scene or to most witnesses, and no access to Police files, as The Telegraph invented.

The “inescapable conclusion” was that Portuguese police was “totally ill-equipped for the job”, in the words of Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, the SIXTH former high ranking British policemen to come forward with strong criticism of the investigation lead by Polícia Judiciária, in close cooperation with British police.

Like the others before him, Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson forget to mention that most crucial evidence was collected with the help of a British Police special team that came to Portugal at the end of July. They brought two of the best – and unique... - sniffers dogs in the world, Eddie and Keela, from South Yorkshire Police. The samples collected were also analysed by the best British laboratory, the Forensic Science Service.

It seems that all of those former policemen need to refresh their memory. Getting old is like a naufrage, General Charles de Gaule used to say...

A list of the most visible former British Police officers, specialized in trashing Portuguese police:

Former CID detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who is also the owner and 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”.

Mike Hames, the ex-commander who set up Scotland Yard's paedophilia unit, author of ‘The Dirty Squad’ and also a media consultant on child abuse, paedophilia, murder and high profile abduction cases,

Dai Davies, a senior associate of Kingfell Global Crisis, Director and Lead Consultant of Selectamark Consultancy, responsible for the security of the Royal family and palaces, for more than 15 years.

Ex-Flying Squad Commander John O’Connor is a former British Policeman

Desmond Thomas, former deputy head of Hampshire CID

New McCann's persecution theory: Fat Portuguese cop's wifes are to blame

According to Bel Mooney, from the Daily Mail, “Portuguese police suspected” of Kate McCann, since the beginning, because “their wives were telling them she looked too controlled, did not weep enough.” The “cultural difference” between Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, where “young mothers quickly come to look like overblown roses, their child-bearing settling comfortably around their hips” explains why “it's hard not to imagine Portuguese women murmuring to their husbands that this British woman is - yes - much too skinny.”

So, the wifes of Portuguese detectives “would be instinctively prejudiced against Kate for not looking like them, as well as because her self-control was alien to a culture which traditionally hangs its emotions out like washing on lines”, writes Bel Mooney. And a question that makes sense, for the Daily Mail columnist, is if the “Portuguese attitude insidiously affect the views of the wider world, tapping into innate expectation of how mothers are 'supposed' to be...”

This is Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels with a touch of Monty Python...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Second edition of David Canter book “Mapping Murder” to be published by Virgin Books in October

David Canter, Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, wrote his second opinion article about Madeleine McCann's disappearance, in The Times. The first was published in September 22. The second was published today, October 18. The second edition of his book, “Mapping Murder”, will be published by Virgin Books in October. It's interesting, to compare both articles...

Editor's Note: My mistake, David Canter published THREE opinion articles in The Times. This is the first, on May 8...

Editor's Note (II): My second mistake, David Canter published FOUR opinion articles in The Times. This is another one, on May 11...

Much more interesting, now, to compare the four articles...

Has Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson commited a crime?

“In the UK, the results of an independent investigation carried out by five criminal investigators who travelled to Portugal will be shown on Channel 4's”, wrote the Telegraph, on October 17. Nothing new, here. We had several former policemen - Dai Davies, Marrk-Williams Thomas, John O'Connor, among others - trashing completely Portuguese police. By coincidence, almost all of them work also for consultancy and Media companies.

Now, Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson and his team had full access to Portuguese Police files, according to the Telegraph. This is a crime. Only Policia Judiciária detectives directly connected to the investigation, the magistrate from the Public Prosecutor's Office and the judge from the Criminal Court can have access to those files. Nobody else can have access to Police files, in a case that is under investigation. Not even the lawyers of the formal suspects.

This a very good detail to give credibility to a new session of the preferred hobby of many former British Policemen: insulting their Portuguese colleagues, in order to present them as a bunch of drunken and incompetent policemen (and helping to give consistency to the idea that the McCann were framed by Portuguese Police...)

The only problem is that a crime has been committed. By Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, his team and the people who allowed them access to those files. As those files are in the hands of Polícia Judiciária and the magistrate from Public Prosecutor's Office, I am sure that, tomorrow, the head of Portuguese Public Prosecutor's Office will open a crime investigation, to find and prosecute those who committed the crime.

Of course, nothing of this will happen. A fairy tale is not exactly a reason for the head of Portuguese Public Prosecutor's Office wasting his time.

PJ request to Leicester Police: It's urgent to question again the McCann friends

Paulo Rebelo, the new man in charge of the PJ detective's team investigating Madeleine's disappearance send a letter to Leicester Police, making clear that it's necessary, for the investigation to move forward, to have the results of a new questioning of the McCann friends. Portuguese police asked, since more than one week, for some of the couples that were with the McCann, at Tapas Bar, to be subject to another police interrogation, with a new set of questions that were sent to Leicester, according to sources close to the case.

The results of that questioning are considered important to allow PJ to go further in the investigation, now that the analysis of the final – and official – report from Forensic Science Service is almost finished. Mr. Rebelo's team, with the help of forensic experts, spend the last days going through the many pages of the report – which doesn't include any samples related to a bloody footprint found at the McCann apartment, as some British newspapers referred, recently.

Another task that is almost finished, according to the same sources, is the review of other lines of inquiry. The “new searches” revealed by British Media (including police divers who already started to scour the Bravura reservoir, on October 15, according to Sky News) didn't take place. PJ experts have analysed the dossier, going through the many statements and evidence collected but, until now, there is no indication that those other lines of inquiry justify any new initiative, like searches in specific areas. Meanwhile, PJ has informed the Public Prosecutor's Office that the case may have new developments, soon, and specific requests can me made, at any moment, in the following days.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Clarence Mitchell's conference at Coventry University

“Madeleine McCann, The Perfect PR Campaign”

The former head of Media Monitoring Unit, Clarence Mitchell, “breaks his silence for the first time in a Coventry Conversation at Coventry University”, tomorrow, October 18th. According to the organizer of the conference, John Mair, “Clarence did a splendid job of getting the 'Missing Madeleine 'message to millions”.

Clarence Mitchell “was central to the McCann’s liaison with the world’s print and broadcast press and also organised, via the respective British Embassies, the McCann’s campaign visits to the Vatican, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and Rabat”, as the Press release from Coventry University refers.

Tomorrow, the spokesman of McCann family will explain how he managed to do that, after “having been seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to act as a media liaison officer for Gerry and Kate McCann”. At that time, Clarence Mitchell was still the head of Media Monitoring Unit, a department from the Government News Network, which is part of the “Central Office of Information” (COI). The COI Chief Executive reports to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A Nazi-inspired site willing to help “bring home Madeleine McCann”

Be “aware of the childish and cruel mentality” of Portuguese people

MadeleineMcCannCoUk”, registered on May 9 through Telivo, “aims to bring people together, gather information and bring home Madeleine McCann.” Pictures of Madeleine, news about the case, posters and messages of support to her parents are some of the topics of this page.

The site has also one of the most despicable, racist and offensive remarks against Portuguese people, classified as a people with a “childish and cruel mentality.” The alleged owner of the site, who describes himself as “Graeme (in his 20s) who lives in England, UK (...) has a Btec Nat Diploma in ICT (...) has worked for a top UK retailer and is now working in England, UK for a top financial company”, under the headline “Something For You To Think About”, sends a message of hate against Portuguese people:

"The following was sent in the form of a message book entry:"

"I also want to let you know of my rather insignificant (compared to yours) experience with the Portuguese police. Whilst on holiday in Portugal myself and my husband who is disabled, decided to visit a certain location. Having walked for a couple of miles in the blistering heat without finding our destination we were relieved to come across a police station at a crossroads. They gave us directions and they sent us on our way.”

“We again walked another couple of miles before giving up and turning back. When we passed the police station on our return there were several officer outside smoking, they pointed at us and all started laughing, they had obviously sent us in the wrong direction on purpose. The rest of the world should be made aware of the childish and cruel mentality of these people."

A question to the owner of this page: What do you suggest as a “solution” for a people that has a so “cruel mentality” like the Portuguese people? Gas chambers, I presume...

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Former British Police Chief (and TV Reporter...) “investigating” at Praia da Luz

Daily Star reports that “a British team led by Chief Supt Chris Stevenson, 56, who snared Soham child killer Ian Huntley, is also investigating in Portugal.” It seems that they are not investigating, but working as reporters for a TV Channel, as the Daily Star wrote: “Their work will go out on Channel 4’s Dispatches on Thursday, October 18.” A list of other former british policemen that helped to destroy the reputation of Portuguese Police can be found here.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Computer-animated video shows crucial hours before Madeleine's disappearance


A team headed by two university professors has created a computer-animated video with the movements of the Tapas group, during the crucial hours, on May 3, before Kate McCann found Madeleine was missing. The two experts, Paulo Sargento and Paulo Gamito, based their study on time lines and statements from witnesses published by The Times, BBC and the Portuguese newspapers Público and Sol.

Paulo Sargento told TV channel SIC that after the McCann arrived at the restaurant, almost every 5 minutes there was somebody leaving the table, at Tapas Bar, going out to the apartments or coming from that direction – 7 persons went out 14 times in a period of two hours.

The criminal expert considered the possibility of a kidnap as “not consistent” with so many regular checkings. “It will be very difficult, there was a very short period of time” available for a kidnapper to act, without being spotted, he said. The team is now working on another virtual scenario: a walk from Ocean Club to the church.

Paulo Rebelo is the new man in charge of Madeleine's case

A national deputy-director of Polícia Judiciária was appointed to replace Gonçalo Amaral in the investigation of Madeleine's disappearance. Paulo Rebelo has a career in the investigation of drug trafficking, but was also in charge the “Mea-Culpa case”, 10 years ago, where 13 persons died in an arson. He was also in charge of a recent investigation about a leak of information from the “Freeport case”, when documents from a corruption investigation were sent to the Press and published the day before the last Parliament elections in Portugal. Those documents allegedly showed a connection between the case and the leader of Socialist Party, José Sócrates, now Prime-Minister. A PJ inspector was accused and later sentenced to eight months in prison (suspended sentence) for making copies of confidential documents and giving it to journalists.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Leicestershire police: Portuguese police are "a bunch off incompetents"

"Portuguese cops were told to sort it out," a police source told the Sunday Mirror, as the “shambolic investigation lay in tatters”, according to Grant Hodgson, the journalist that “last week exposed the long, boozy lunch breaks taken by Gonçalo Amaral”. "It's not good enough when the man who was supposed to be running the world's biggest police inquiry was taking huge lunch breaks," wrote the newspaper, quoting a non-identified police source.

“Leicestershire Police - the McCanns' local force - the Home Office and Foreign Office were all believed to have been involved in the talks. The Sunday Mirror can also reveal how DNA evidence collected by officers in Praia da Luz is being considered "fatally flawed" and "useless", says the Mirror.

A Leicestershire police source said: 'There is a huge sense of embarrassment about the whole thing. Questions are now being asked along the lines of, 'Why have we been supporting such a bunch off incompetents?', is the question being asked by Leicestershire Police, according to Grant Hodgson and the Mirror.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Gonçalo Amaral was in Huelva the day he was fired

The Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral was in the city of Huelva, Spain, when he received a phone call telling him that he was out of the investigation of Madeleine's case. Amaral was removed on October 2, his birthday, and is now in Police headquarters of Faro. He was appointed head of two local PJ departments in charge of fighting drug trafficking and organized crime in Algarve.

McCann could be questioned by British Police next week

Formal requests asking the British Police to question again the McCann were already signed by the Public Prosecutor's Office and translated to English, last week, according to Diário de Notícias. Pinto de Abreu, one of the Portuguese lawyers of the McCann, told the newspaper he knew nothing about that. Diário de Notícias wrote also that the McCann questioning could take place next week.

Friday, 5 October 2007

British Police liaison officer: “I have arrested people for less than that...”

A British Police liaison officer at Praia da Luz, informed about the fact that the McCann were named formal suspects, said that he already arrested people in situations with less evidence as Portuguese Police had, at that moment, according to the Portuguese daily Público. Since the first hour, writes the newspaper, British Police has been informed and cooperated in every step of the investigation. Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral was removed from the investigation after he allegedly accused British Police of investigating “only what the McCann couple wishes and is convenient for them”.

Diário de Notícias, the newspaper that published the remarks of Mr. Gonçalo Amaral, wrote that he made those references because of an email that was sent to Prince Charles web site, accusing a former maid of Ocean Club of being responsible for the kidnapping of Madeleine, as a revenge for being fired.

The email was sent from Spain and Portuguese Police was informed almost at the same time that British newspapers. British Police wasn't able to find the address from where the email has came. Sources from PJ told that the remarks of Mr. Gonçalo were not correctly reproduced, as he allegedly was referring to the large number of former British Policemen that are at Praia da Luz and have been criticising strongly the Portuguese Police investigation, in almost daily interviews with the British Media.

Leicester Mercury readers raise 57, 000 pounds to help the McCann

Last Wednesday, Kate and Gerry went to the Leicester Mercury to receive a cheque of 57,000 pounds, raised through the selling of green and yellow Madeleine bands. Asked how the money would be used, Gerry McCann said: "We're in the process of looking into which specific areas we need to use this fund.

"We are about to start a widespread campaign so I can assure you it will be put to very good use. We want to increase awareness, get back to basics if you like. Target specific areas with pictures and billboards and messages. We want to refocus the coverage."

Speaking about the night Madeleine disappeared, Gerry said that they had no plan to involve the Media, as they only found the Press coverage was huge when they returned from the Police station, on, on Fryday, and “found 150 reporters there”.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

McCann happy to fly back to Portugal to meet the man who replaces Gonçalo Amaral

“Madeleine McCann’s parents are happy to fly to Portugal to meet whoever replaces sacked Chief Inspector Gonçalo Amaral in the investigation into their daughter’s disappearance”, according to the Daily Express.

Friends of the couple also revealed last night that they “were anxious in case the wait for a replacement delayed the search for four-year-old Madeleine. If the new head of the investigation were to say he would like to meet them, they would do that, but it has not been discussed at the moment,” said a non-identified source quoted by Daily Express: “They hope that the Portuguese authorities will see that the position is filled as urgently as possible because there is still a need for Madeleine to be found.”

Leicester Police asked to question McCann's friends

Detectives in charge of Madeleine's case criticised, yesterday, Leicester Police, because of the delay in questioning several of the McCann friends. Portuguese authorities sent a formal request to Leicester, asking local police to question Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Diane Webster, David Payne and other members of the so called Tapas Group. The questioning is considered important for the investigation, following the last developments, after the final batch of analysis were sent to Portugal by Forensic Science Service.

PJ detectives against removal of Gonçalo Amaral


After the dismissal of Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral, the investigation of Madeleine's disappearance may loose another PJ detective. Tavares Almeida, one of the three leading detectives in charge of a group of around two dozen, is considering the possibility of asking for a leave without pay. Other detectives, including the third and last in the chain of command of this group, Luis Neves, could take the same decision. Luis Neves has already refused to replace Gonçalo Amaral. The team of Police detectives that has been in charge of Madeleine's investigation will hold an informal meeting today, following the decision from the Portuguese Government to remove Gonçalo Amaral.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

McCann lawyers warning to Prosecutor Luís Verão: “We advise you not to go any further...”

McCann legal team is carrying out a private investigation, “interviewing every witness they can find to the events of May”, according to the Daily Mail. “The lawyers will give their defence dossier directly to prosecutor Luis Bilro Verão. They hope that Mr Verão will compare their evidence alongside that gathered by the Algarve police, and throw out the case.”

A friend of the family, quoted by Daily Mail, said that the McCann legal team, which includes the President of Portuguese Bar, Mr. Rogério Alves and the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission from the Portuguese Bar, Mr. Pinto de Abreu, “will make a direct approach to the Portuguese prosecutor's office. They will say, 'This is what we have got. We advise you not to go any further'."

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Madeleine's case: Luis Neves will replace Gonçalo Amaral

The man that was the second-in-command of the investigation lead by Gonçalo Amaral, Criminal Coordinator Luis Neves, will replace him. The national director of PJ has considered the possibility of sending somebody from Lisbon, but he was warned of a “strong reaction” from the dozens of detectives involved in the investigation.
The dismissal of Gonçalo Amaral followed a day of contacts, between London and Lisbon, and the intervention of the Minister of Justice, Alberto Costa, was decisive. Speaking after a public ceremony, Mr. Alberto Costa said that relations between Portuguese and British police are “excellent”.

Criminal Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral criticised the British Police, today, because of an email that was sent to Prince Charles web site, accusing a former maid of Ocean Club of being responsible for the kidnapping of Madeleine, as a revenge for being fired.
The email was sent from Spain and Portuguese Police was informed almost at the same time that British newspapers. British Police wasn't able to find the address from where the email has came.
All employees and former employees of the Mark Warner resort were questioned and checked, in the days following Madeleine's disappearance, as PJ made public in May.

PJ national director's decision: Gonçalo Amaral is out from Madeleine's investigation

Alípio Ribeiro, national director of Polícia Judiciária, decided to remove the coordinator of Madeleine's investigation. The decision was taken today, after Mr. Gonçalo Amaral accused the British Police to investigate only what the McCann couple wishes and is convenient for them”.

Police asked Interpol to investigate witnesses that claim they saw Madeleine

Polícia Judiciária sent a formal request to Interpol, asking police from several countries (Spain, Malta, Belgium, UK and Morocco) to investigate a specific list of names. Those are names from people that claimed they saw Madeleine McCann, since August 11, when the PJ spokesman, Mr. Olegário de Sousa, told to BBC that Police had a new line of inquiry and that line admitted Madeleine McCann was dead.

Also included is the name of Mari Olli, the first witness to say that she saw Madeleine in Morocco, on May 9. Mari Olli, married with Ray Pollard, form Leicester, told British Police she saw Madeleine at a shop, near a gas station in Marrakesh. But Moroccan police seized the video from that shop and, while Mrs Olli appears in the images, there is no child among the clients, according to a source from the “Sureté Nacional”.

A flood of witnesses claiming they saw Madeleine in Morocco

Fatima Marzouki, 35, of Birmingham, said she saw a girl like Maddie in Agadir amid rumours she was being held in a caravan there by an Irish traveller named John. Her friend Helen McPherson, 60, thinks she saw Maddie being pushed in a buggy in Marrakesh.

Mrs Peart, from Castle Eden, near Hartlepool, says she was in Morocco with her stockbroker husband Jonathan. “I saw this Arabic woman in local dress and behind her was a very blonde little girl,” she said. “She was striking because the people in this part of the country are all very dark – bordering on black. “But this little girl was very blonde and I’d say she was around the right age.“She was following this woman down an alley way, then they disappeared from view.”

Hotelier James Valarino, 65, from Gibraltar, is certain he saw the missing four-year-old in the clutches of a European man at a market in Tangiers on August 8. The sighting has given fresh hope to her parents that their daughter could still be alive 150 days after she vanished.

Clara Torres, the Spanish woman that took the picture of a young girl being carried on the back of a woman, in a road in Morocco, told Spanish newspapers that she was at a bus, “driving at 60 km per hour” (...) “If it's not Madeleine, than it's her twin sister” she told Spanish Press.

The Daily Mail reveals the existence on one more witness – the third to come forward in the last days – that also saw Madeleine McCann in Morocco, in May. The non-identified woman is a Spanish citizen and she told Daily Mail that she was driving with her husband, in the city of Zaio, when she saw Madeleine McCann being “dragged” by a Muslim woman: “She said she told her husband to stop the car. I shouted 'Stop! It's Madeleine, the missing girl.' But by the time we pulled over and ran back to where she had crossed, they had both vanished."

The first reported sighting in Morocco was by Norwegian tourist Mari Pollard, who said she saw a girl who looked like Madeleine with a man at petrol station in Marrakesh on May 9. A British holidaymaker later reported seeing a youngster with a strong likeness on the same day outside the Ibis Hotel in Marrakesh, which is virtually opposite the garage. The third sighting came around three weeks later when a Spanish woman contacted Portuguese police to say she had seen someone she thought looked like the missing girl in Zaio, in the north of Morocco. She said she saw a "sad and scared" blonde girl being dragged across a street by a woman in a Muslim headscarf. She told how she and her husband were driving when the Muslim woman walked out into the road in front of them, "walking very fast and dragging a young blonde girl with her".

Duarte Levy (Marbella) and Paulo Reis (Madrid)

Version Française

Madeleine must have been drugged, says grandmother

The abductor of Madeleine McCann may have drugged her, to stop her crying, while she was taken from the apartment, Eileen McCann, mother of Gerry McCann told the British Press:"I believe whoever took her gave her a drug. There is no way they carried her out of there without her waking (...) If she was taken when she was sleeping by somebody she did not know, she would have screamed the place down."

Gonçalo Amaral: British police only folows leads that are 'convenient' to the McCann couple

Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, the detective of PJ that coordinates the investigation about Madeleine's disappearance, said that “British Police only investigates what the McCann couple whishes and is convenient for them”.
(to be continued)

McCann's lawyer confirms: Kate refused to answer when questioned by Police

Kate McCann refused to answer several questions, during Police interrogation at PJ headquarters, in Portimão, because she considered they were “provocative”, Mr. Pinto de Abreu told today to a Portuguese radio. Gerry McCann answered all questions, according to Mr. Pinto de Abreu. The Lawyer accused Portuguese Police of trying to find a “scapegoat” for a investigation that that has been a failure.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Seventh witness claims she saw Madeleine in Morocco

“I saw this Arabic woman in local dress and behind her was a very blonde little girl,” Samantha Peart told the Daily Express. “She was striking because the people in this part of the country are all very dark – bordering on black. “But this little girl was very blonde and I’d say she was around the right age. Mrs Peart, from Castle Eden, near Hartlepool, who was in Morocco on holidays with her husband Jonathan, saw the blonde girl on July 10, in the port town of Nador and reported it to Leicester Police but “she has heard nothing” since that time, according to the Daily Express.

Kate's first words: "They've taken her, they've taken her!"

(Click to enlarge)

The first eyewitness account of the frantic moments after Madeleine McCann disappeared” was revealed by the Daily Mail, on September 25: “Nanny Charlotte Pennington confirms that Kate McCann did scream: "They've taken her, they've taken her!" The mother's precise words have become a pivotal issue in the case, with Portuguese police questioning why she would automatically assume Maddie had been abducted.”

Kate's first words: “Madeleine’s gone, Madeleine’s gone!”

(Click to enlarge)

“The exact words Kate McCann yelled moments after Madeleine vanished were revealed for the first time” on September 20, according to The Sun: “A witness told how the frantic mum ran back to the Tapas bar where she had been dining with pals shouting: “Madeleine’s gone, Madeleine’s gone!” The account blows yet another hole in the crumbling police case against embattled Kate and husband Gerry. Portuguese cops claim she screamed: ‘They’ve taken her, they’ve taken her!’ Their version suggests Kate cunningly implied from the outset that the three-year-old had been abducted from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.”