Thursday, 31 July 2008

Access to Madeleine's investigation files – Details and rules

Two layers from Mr. Pinto de Abreu office started to analyse the files, in the Court of Portimão, this morning. The McCann lawyers requested the Public Prosecutor Office (PPO) to reserve the access to the files (meaning the papers) only for lawyers and arguidos, during a certain period of time. I could not confirm exactly that period of time, some sources said it will be around one month. It makes sense, because you can't have 8 or 10 lawyers, more 30 or 40 journalists poring over the same paper files, at the same time.

Anyway, journalists can request copies of all the files, before that period of time ends. They just need to go to Portimão and file a written request, with a DVD enclosed, to the PPO. They will have a DVD copy in a few days. Requests from journalists will be processed from Monday, August 4, and it's expected that it takes between 2 to 3 days to get the copy. After the above referred period of time, journalists will also have access to the paper files.

No access will be given to what seems to be a small part of the files. Several lawyers I talked with, told me it's normal that personal data from people that has been investigated and ruled out of any relation with the case, is kept confidential.

There will be no full access to Madeleine's investigation files

Some informations” in the investigation files, concerning Madeleine McCann disappearance, will remain under secrecy law, the Public Prosecutor's Office (Procuradoria-Geral da República) confirmed today. A request to keep some specific information confidential was made and the judge in charge of the case, Mr. Pedro Frias, accepted the request and declared those informations to remain under secrecy law, a spokeswoman from Procuradoria-Geral da República confirmed. Those “informations are not considered evidence”, the spokeswoman added. It was not possible to know who has made the request.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

UK government agency, blogs and Clarence Mitchell

Financial Times
By Carlos Grande
Published: August 15 2007

UK government agency to monitor blogs

The COI, the UK government’s communications agency, is working on a way to monitor what people say about policy on blogs and internet forums for the media briefings it sends to ministers. A project by the COI’s Media Monitoring Unit is considering how to add blogs to its regular summaries of government coverage in mainstream press or television (...)
Mark Sweney
Tuesday September 18 2007

A veteran of major stories

Mr Mitchell announced today that he was stepping down from his role as director of the Media Monitoring Unit at the government's Central Office of Information to help the "innocent victims of a heinous crime". The unit, which is responsible for providing 24-hour coverage and in-depth news briefings for press officers, policy officials, special advisers and ministers across all government departments, is based in the Cabinet Office in Whitehall.

Mr Mitchell joined the unit in April last year but this summer found himself in Portugal - at the request of the Foreign Office - advising the McCanns for around a month until the end of June. While in Portugal he was reportedly behind the McCanns' visit to the Pope and their tour of Spain, Germany and Morocco.

Upon his return he went back to his former role; just last month he was pushing a new initiative at the MMU looking at an online monitoring product to track public debates from blogs.

The reasons why Murat was named 'arguido'

A lot of people has been asking why Murat was named “arguido”. An “Editorial Note”, on Portuguese weekly “Expresso” (July 12, 2008 edition) even referred that “Robert Murat was named 'arguido', and remains on that situation since 13 months because of... nothing. Because of absolutely nothing!”

But there is a good number of reasons for that, referred in Mr. Amaral's book, facts and information that are in the investigation files. Some of those reasons and results of the investigation, resumed from the book:

  • On May 11, Amaral himself walked the path in the same direction where Jane Tanner said she saw a man carrying a child, on the night of May 3

  • He saw Murat's home and Murat going out, with his mother and asked a police officer who he was. The officer said he knew him and he was translating to police

  • Back in the crisis room, more information was available (Lorraine' suspicions, a lot of curiosity about the investigation, from Murat, and so on)

  • Profilers from CEOP start to “work” on Murat's profile, his home was put under close and sophisticated electronic surveillance

  • Jane Tanner was placed inside a surveillance van from police (windows that allow to look outside, from the van, without being seen), the van was parked in a strategic position, near the A5 apartment, and PJ investigators took Murat with them, making exactly the same walk the man carrying a child has made, according to Jane Tanner

  • Jane Tanner looked at Murat walking and told police she was sure he was the same man, she recognized the way he walked, with no doubt

  • Sunday, May 12, Murat rented a car and drove a lot of miles, most of it on secondary roads, not paved

  • Investigators believed he detected that he was under surveillance, so asked for a search warrant on Sunday, May 13, at night. May 14, 7:20 am, they start to search Murat's home, with a search warrant from the Criminal Court Judge. Nothing was found to incriminate Murat

  • Same day, at 10:00 am, they begin to question Murat. He was named arguido, refused a lawyer and cooperated fully, answering all questions, even if he had the legal right to remain silent. He was nervous, but his answers were clear and direct to the point.

  • PJ discovered phone calls on May 3, around 11:30 pm, between Murat, Malinka and Murat's girlfriend (she was in Lagos, according to the antenna signals, Murat and Malinka at Praia da Luz)

  • They say they were talking about the web site Malinka built to Murat and Michaele real estate business, or just “don't remember” (no indication about who said what, exactly)

  • Information from British police, based on statements from a Murat's childhood friend: Murat, as an adolescent, was a pervert, attempted to have sex with a dog and a cat, then killed both of them with cruelty; the same source said he would have attempted to rape a cousin, when he was 16

  • British profilers concluded Murat had 90 % of possibilities of being responsible for the kidnap of Madeleine's

  • Suddenly”, on May 16, some of the McCann friends remembered they saw Murat near apartment A5, on the night of May 3, after Madeleine disappeared, either before or after GNR arrived (GNR arrived from Lagos between 11:10/11:15 pm, they received the first call only at 10:46 pm)

  • Rachel Mampilly, Fiona Payne and Russel O'Brien made statements to police, saying they saw Murat immediately after Madeleine's disappearance, near apartment A5

  • On July 11, 2007, there was a confrontation, in the presence of PJ investigators – a legal action, within a crime investigation, whenever there are contradictory statements (“acareação”, in Portuguese). The McCann friends insisted they saw him, Murat repeated he was at home, with his mother

  • Later, GNR officers, staff from Ocean Club and local residents who helped in the search immediately after Kate raised the alarm, when questioned by police, all denied to have seen Murat, on that night (staff from Ocean Club and local residents knew him very well, since long time, some of the GNR officers also)

Mark Harrison report: The turning point at Praia da Luz

Resume and excerpts from Mr. Amaral's book, “The Truth of the Lie”:

On July, Mark Harrison (1) arrived at Praia da Luz.

He started working immediately, always accompanied by PJ investigators and police officers from Leicester and Scotland Yard. All necessary resources were made available, and he had total access to institutions and experts on several areas, and access to all confidential information related with the investigation” (page.154)

After an week of intensive work, Mark presented a report with the conclusions of his analysis to the investigation coordinators and the news, in spite of being expected, weren't good. In fact, that report admitted one of the worst scenarios for the investigators: the possibility that Madeleine could be dead, and her body hidden in an area near Praia da Luz” (page 155)

His (Mark Harrison) understanding was that it was the moment to consider new searches, taking into account the possibility that the child was dead and (her body) hidden nearby” (page 155)

(...) the expert (Mark Harrison) suggested that, in order to follow this new line of inquiry, and on this particular case, specialized dogs should be used, specifically an EVRD (2) with advanced training to detect dead victims' cadaver scent and a CSI (3) dog, able to detect human blood” (pages 156/157)

Concerning the places to search, Mark suggested that investigators should concentrate in the apartment where the family has been, and also in the other Ocean Club apartments, where stayed the group of friends that were on holidays with the (McCann) family (...)” (Page 157)

Mark Harrison also suggested:

  • new and deeper searches” to Murat's home;

  • forensic searches” to Murat and his friends' cars and to the McCann couple car, with the EVRD and CSI dogs;

Based in the report from the British experts, a plan for the new searches was prepared” (page 157)

(1) Mark Harrison, National Search Adviser, NPIA, and National Crime & Operations Faculty (NCOF) Special Adviser is also the National Search Adviser in relation to Homicide, missing persons and mass fatality disasters for the Police service within the United Kingdom. Working for the National Centre of Policing Excellence he has 20 years Police service. He provides case consultancy services to all UK Police Agencies and in addition where requested overseas consultancy for example USA FBI, US Army, Australia, Middle East and South America.

His particular focus is on complex serial or multiple cases where human remains are being sought within a large geographic area. He specialises in harnessing a multi discipline approach of police, military, academic and commercial experts to enable conjunctive reconnaissance to determine a specific area to search. He has authored best practice guidance for the British Police service on searching for missing persons and victims. He has developed scenario based search models and the use of behavioural profiling to assist in successful search strategies.

(2) EVRD: Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog

(3) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Monday, 28 July 2008

Forums under attack, blogs will be next (II)

Informal contacts” have been made, by some McCann advisers, with companies that own web hosting businesses, in order to raise awareness for the risks of being liable to legal action, due to what they consider the amount of slanderous and defamatory messages being posted at specific public forums. Contacts with other companies may follow, as the McCann legal team is analysing what could be the best way of dealing with individual bloggers.

Their first “target” are those blogs that have reproduced and posted links to documents that were leaked from the investigation files (the PJ final report) and those which translate to English, with regularity, news from the Portuguese Press. Also in the list are blogs with direct quotes, from English translations of the book of Gonçalo Amaral, “The Truth of the Lie”.

A more “direct approach” is on the table, but it depends from the lawyer's decision concerning the analysis of the contents of the book of Mr. Amaral. If they consider that they may have reasons to sue the author, the strategy will be similar to what they did with Daily Express Group and British Media: to select a few “high-profile cases”, in the Web, and try to neutralize those bloggers, using the threat of an expensive and long libel suit.

Data collection and new detectives

Since more than eight months, organized groups have been “working” in the net, collecting data from sites where McCann's critics use to post. Some of those groups do it openly, while others have a "job" that requires a more low-profile. After the Daily Express case, the McCann campaign diverted more resources to fight the critics on the Web.

Clarence Mitchell even confirmed an “upgrade” on the technical equipment at the disposal of the McCann "private search", when he told BBC, on July 1, that the McCanns had already their own "very sophisticated intelligence gathering operation.”

Just before that, the Sunday Star, in its printed edition, on June 29, wrote that “the privately funded probe into Maddie's disappearance from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007 has become 'wider and much more sophisticated' according to sources.”

Among the equipment acquired there is a very advanced system that allows to have the calling number always identified, when anyone calls the McCann or their private detective's phone numbers.

The Telegraph reported, on July 2, that the McCann hired a new team of British detectives: “Details about the new team, and what they are being paid, are being kept under wraps.” The new team has elements working abroad, but “they don't want to be identified for operational reasons (...) Any active leads it is felt the police have not followed up properly or left open-ended, they would move on”, according to The Telegraph.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Amaral's interview with Jornal de Notícias: PJ "too soft" on the McCann

Gonçalo Amaral admits that investigators were “too soft” on the McCann and says that “in the book 'Maddie – The Truth of the Lie' he hasn't told everything he knows. A second book is not out of question.” - interview of Gonçalo Amaral on today's edition of Jornal de Notícias.

Correio da Manhã: “Kate’s secrets: Staged walks”

"Kate and Gerry McCann have controlled the media reporting their daughter’s disappearance. In order not to be criticised by the British Press, Madeleine McCann’s parents have offered photo-ops, some of them during their usual morning walks – which were apparently routine but that turned out to be prearranged, as Kate’s personal notes (*) reveal.” - Correio da Manhã, Sunday, July 27, 2008

(*) Correio da Manhã has published before stories where it refers personal notes from Kate McCann, apprehended by PJ, that are in the investigation files

Forums under attack, blogs will be next (I)

The 3 Arguidos” is a forum to debate the Madeleine McCann case. It was set up after The Mirror banned from its forum any discussion about the case. Until now, “3A” has been an open forum. It means that everybody could read the posts, without being a registered member. From now on, the content of part of the forum will be “closed” to non-registered members. To read the post, you must be a member. The moderators of 3A posted this, today:


Due to the change in circumstances with regards to the McCann case, we have held a meeting and we are closing the following forums down to registered members only. These forums are Madeleine McCann - The Way Ahead - Madeleine's voice Forum, The Reference Forum, Justice for Maddy Forum and the Translations Forum. All other forums will be open to viewing for guests. We have also decided to delete all zero posters. Please could all those that join make at least one post otherwise your account will be deemed as inactive and will be deleted.”

This will be done over the course of today and all members will now have to log in to view or post on the3arguidos Maddy related forums.”

Thank you for your co-operation in this matter and welcome to all new members.”

Friday, 25 July 2008

Haven for paedophiles: It's not only Portugal, also Spain...

A British couple living in Torrevieja, Spain, “have been forced to prevent their children from playing outside their homes, after a local man was caught masturbating in front of them.” The man was apprehend by Bryan Dawson, a British who relocated to Playa los Locos, Torrevieja, five years ago. The Guardia Civil (Spanish Police) was called and arrested the man. But the following day, when the man was in court, the Judge “did not recognize the case as a sexual offence, passing a ruling of ‘Public Disorder,’ and releasing the defendant”, according to Round Town News.

The parents were devastated by the decision, and now it is not the offender but the children who have been denied their freedom, as they can no longer play outside safely”, the on-line paper wrote. Bryan Dawson said “that the Guardia Civil acted swiftly and efficiently, heightening feelings of disbelief and betrayal when the man was released by the Judge on the same terms that would apply had he spat in the street.” Her partner, Carla Mansbride, “referred to the case of Madeleine McCann in the Algarve and other children who have disappeared from Spanish turf, exclaiming, 'It is terrifying to imagine how far this man will be allowed to go before the law will do anything to punish him."

After Madeleine McCann disappeared from Algarve, British Media published stories about the lack of control and the lenient punishment, from Portuguese authorities, concerning sexual offenders. Daily Mail even had a story about “Why Portugal is a haven for paedophiles - the disturbing backcloth to the Madeleine case.” Well, it seems that it's not only Portugal, the Spanish also may have a problem with Judges and sexual offenders. But what is curious is British newspapers reporting that British paedophiles are allowed to travel to Portugal and Portuguese police is not informed of that. Exporting a problem?

CM news: “McCann's detectives suspects of attempted murder” (III)

Private investigators hired by the McCann are being investigated by the Polícia Judiciária department of Faro for suspected extortion and attempted murder, according to Correio da Manhã. The case involves a former inmate who was paid by detectives from Método 3 to give informations that he allegedly obtained, while in jail, from João Cipriano, the uncle of Joana Cipriano.

The crime inquiry is related with events from several months ago, when detectives from Metodo 3 paid an undisclosed amount of money to the former inmate, who claimed to have important information about Joana and Madeleine McCann. The source of this information was João Cipriano, the uncle of Joana, jailed for 16 years, like his sister, Joana's mother, for the murder of the child, whose body never appeared.

When both men where on jail, João Cipriano allegedly told the other man he had recent pictures of Joana, who disappeared four years ago, from a small village also in Algarve. But he never gave Metodo 3 detectives any pictures or the details concerning Madeleine McCann.

Later, the former inmate complained to PJ, accusing the detectives of harassment and alleged murder attempt, claiming the private investigators tried to run over him with a car.

After Madeleine disappeared, many reports from British Media connected the two cases, sometimes quoting relatives from Cipriano family, or former police experts like Mark William-Thomas, who told Sky News that “the answer to the case may lie in the disappearance of an eight-year-old Portuguese girl in 2004. ” The Sun interviewed Leonor Cipriano's husband who said he was “worried Kate will be framed for a crime she did not commit, the way it happened to my wife.”

Goncalo Amaral was also in charge of the investigation and has been accused of concealing evidence that the mother Joana Cipriano, was beaten by PJ officers, to make her confess the crime. British newspapers were quick to compare both situations, and the Daily Mail even wrote that Amaral was “set to face trial for torturing the mother of another missing girl.”

This is not the first time detectives from Metodo 3 have troubles with police. On February, Antonio J.R. was arrested and accused of being implicated in the theft of 400 kg of cocaine, when he was inspector in Barcelona's police force. Another Metodo 3 detective has paid witnesses in Morocco, in exchange of statements from them saying they have seen Madeleine McCann in that country.

Gonçalo Amaral refused proposal from British newspaper

A British newspaper offered Gonçalo Amaral a large amount of money to have the exclusive for the publication of extracts from his book, the former PJ investigator revealed yesterday, at a Press Conference, just before the launching of “The Truth of the Lie”. One of the four British journalists that were at the Press Conference, asked Mr. Amaral what were his feelings about “people that accused him of profiting from the tragedy of a child.”

Mr. Amaral answered saying that “there is an English newspaper that I believe is represented here, but I will not mention the name, that not long ago, has made a high priced offer for the exclusive rights to publish extracts of the book, before its launching – an offer I refused.” The former PJ investigator also said that “in life, money isn't everything, dignity and honour are also very important.”

Clarence Mitchell: Why Método 3 was hired

The Sunday Times, February 10, 2008


Spanish detective agency was hired was because of Portugal’s 'language and cultural connection' with Spain. 'If we’d had big-booted Brits or, God forbid, Americans, we’d have had doors slammed in our face, and it’s quite likely we could have been charged with hindering the investigation, as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation,' (Clarence) Mitchell explains. 'But because it’s Metodo 3, [Alipio] Ribeiro [national director of Portugal’s Policia Judiciara] is turning a blind eye'. Portuguese police are reported to dismiss M-3 as 'small fry”.


CM news: “McCann's detectives suspects of attempted murder” (II)

Private investigators hired by the McCann are being investigated by the Polícia Judiciária department of Faro for suspected extortion and attempted murder, according to Correio da Manhã. The case involves a former inmate who was paid by detectives from Método 3 to give informations that he allegedly obtained, while in jail, from João Cipriano, the uncle of Joana Cipriano.

McCann's detectives suspects of attempted murder (I)

Correio da Manhã front page news:
“McCann's detectives suspects of attempted murder”

Thursday, 24 July 2008

A resumed version of Amaral's book

Those who want to have a good view about the contents of the book “The Truth of the Lie”, from Gonçalo Amaral, take a look at this link. It´s a text in English, with 7,348 words, divided in 83 items. A superb work of Cláudia.

“The Truth of the Lie” - Madeleine's daily routine (*)

From April 29, the second day of holidays, Madeleine and the twins followed a precise routine. In the morning, around nine o'clock, after breakfast, she is taken to the crèche in the building where the main reception is located. Amelie and Sean go to another crèche, for younger children, near the “Tapas” restaurant. Gerry and Kate spend the morning playing tennis of jogging in the beach.

Around 12h30, Gerry and Kate pick up the three kids, for lunch, and after, take them back to the crèche, where they stay, from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Sometimes, the children had diner with the nannies, near “Tapas”.

At night, another “relaxing ritual” starts, between 7:30 and 8:30 pm: after putting the kids in bed, Gerry and Kate take a bath and sit down, having a glass of New Zealand wine. Then, they go for the “Tapas”, leaving the children asleep in the apartment, to meet the friends. Diner starts around 8:30 pm and finishes around 11:00 pm.

On Tuesday, May 1, a small change in the routine: after lunch, around 1:30 pm, the McCann take their children to the beach, but weather changes and they only stay there for 20 minutes. Before going back to the crèche, it seems she had an ice-cream at a beach bar. At 3:30, nannies take all the children from both crèches to the beach, again, where they stay until 4:30 pm.

That night, on the “Tapas” reservations book, one of the employees reserved a table for the McCann and friends and wrote also a note, referring that some of those clients went out, a few times, during diner, to check on their kids that were left at the apartments.

That was the same night when Madeleine cried for one hour and 15 minutes, calling for his father. She only stopped when they came back from the restaurant.

Wednesday morning Madeleine asks her parents why didn't they came to help her, the night before, while she was crying. On that afternoon, Madeleine goes back to the beach, with the nannies, between 3:30 and 4:30. The night routine is unchanged.

Thursday, May 3, it's Gerry who takes Madeleine to the crèche, at 9:10 am. She goes again to the beach, between 10:30 and 11:00 am. At 12:45, it's Kate who goes to the crèche, to take Madeleine for lunch. She's back at 2:50 pm and it's also Kate who, after jogging in the beach, brings the three children back to the apartment, at 5:30 pm.

(*) Summary of pages 32 to 35

“The Truth of the Lie” - The British police officers (*)

The first British police officer to come to PJ headquarters in Portimão, on Saturday, May 5, was Glen Power, liaison officer for the British Police, assigned to the British Embassy in Lisbon. Amaral knew him very well and since long time, they worked together in many high profile cases, related to organized crime. Glen told Amaral that he was “too busy”, so he couldn't stay there, Leicestershire police would send a team.

Two days after, British police officers start to arrive. Bob Small, Leicester head of CID came with a colleague. Amaral put one of his inspectors “close” to Bob Small, because, as he wrote, “in Portugal, it's still the dog that wags the tail”. After that, another two police officers arrived – family liaison officers, to give psychological support to the family and to work as a “link” between the family and PJ.

But more and more British officers keep coming. PJ gave them a room, next to their own “crisis room” and the British called it “Task Portugal”. Experts in communications, special surveillance teams, profilers, specialist in information analysis, there are “all kind of specialized British police officers.” They had access to all information related to the investigation, participated in every meeting and took part in the decision process, as the investigation developed.

On May 14, the McCann “dismissed” the two family liaison officers, after Kate was “shocked and frustrated” because they asked her where was her daughter. They were in PdL for less than a week. British police told nothing to PJ, officially, concerning this incident, but Amaral knew it and one of the PJ investigators, who spoke fluent English, was assigned to be the communication “link” with the parents.

A large amount of information came from Leicestershire police. On May 15, Inspector Ricardo Paiva goes to Leicester. But most of that information was “hundreds of daily reports” coming from all over the world, including many psychics messages.

On June 12, Leicestershire's assistant chief constable Chris Eyre and CID head Bob Small went to Faro, for a meeting with Amaral, Luís Neves (head of Serious and Organized Crime Department of PJ, also assigned to the investigation) and Guilhermo Encarnação, the regional PJ director for all Algarve. The idea was to evaluate the level of cooperation between the two police forces

We had the feeling that the kidnapping theory was the 'politically correct one', even if other lines of inquiry were still on the table”, Amaral wrote, concerning the results of that meeting. As time went on, we realized that not everybody in Leicestershire police knew how the investigation was developing”

(*) Summary of pages 94 to 98

“The Truth of the Lie” - The body-finder (*)

At the beginning of June, Kate started to talk with investigators about information she had received, from several psychics and clairvoyants, concerning the location of her daughter's body. On June 28, the McCann couple told PJ investigators, during one the regular meetings they held, it was their intention to bring Danie Krugel,the South-African alleged body-finder and his mysterious “machine” to Praia da Luz. They asked for the PJ agreement and requested police support to the work Mr. Krugel was supposed to do, at Praia da Luz. Mr. Amaral wrote: “The couple clearly admitted, now, the death of the child, unlike what they had been saying in public (...)”

The “mixed” investigative team (Portuguese and British police officers) was astonished with the “news”, transmitted by the McCann, about those technological developments in “body-finding”. Kate and Gerry refused to given up. Using a TV program about Krugel, they insisted. The team agreed and Krugel came to Praia da Luz.

He took his “machine” to the highest points, North and West of Praia da Luz, put an hair of Madeleine in the machine, defined two lines and pointed to an area around 300 meters large, starting in the sea line and going through the valley near the beach. “The body of Madeleine is in this area”, he said, according to Mr. Amaral. That area had been searched, already, but Police went there, once again. Nothing was found and Mr. Krugel left Praia da Luz.

(*) Summary of pages 144 to 146

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Coming soon...

English version of Amaral book is being negotiated

Guerra e Paz”, the publisher of Gonçalo Amaral book, is negotiating with other publishers, to have an English version, according to a spokeswoman from the company. Questioned about the comments from Clarence Mitchell, concerning the content of the book and the possibility that the McCann could file a libel suit against the author and publisher, the same source said that “the company's position about those subjects will be made public, soon.” The book, “A Verdade da Mentira” (The Truth of the Lie) will be launched tomorrow afternoon, in Lisbon, in the restaurant of a shopping-mall, “El Corte Inglés”. The Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, the leading newspaper in Portugal, with an average circulation of 117 thousand copies, will have the book for sale, with its daily edition, tomorrow morning.

Pre-publication of Amaral's book on Correio da Manhã (III)

DNA profiles, Forensic Science Service and inconclusive results

In the first days of September, Superintendent Stuart Prior, from Leicestershire Constabulary, went to Portimão, taking with him “a first preliminary report” from the results of the analysis of two samples collected at Praia da Luz, obtained with the help of South Yorkshire Police dogs Eddie and Keela, to discuss with PJ investigators how the investigation was developing. During the meeting, Stuart Prior “revealed that he was disappointed with the results of the analysis”, made at Forensic Science Service, in Birmingham, writes Mr. Amaral, according to Correio da Manhã. The Portuguese team of investigators also read the report and they didn't agree with the conclusions of Stuart Prior.

Concerning the first sample, found in the apartment's floor, the report showed “an incomplete DNA profile” with “low quality DNA traces from more than one person. But all DNA components identified coincided with the corresponding components from Madeleine's DNA profile.” The two samples, analysed at FSS, were “blood traces”, according to Mr. Amaral, “because the CSI dog is trained to detect only that body fluid”, a fact that he says is confirmed on a report prepared by “experts Mark Harrison and Martin Grime”, both British police officers assigned to go to Praia da Luz with Eddie and Keela.

After an explanation about the components from Madeleine's DNA profile, the conclusion was that 15 of the19 alleles of Madeleine's DNA profile were found in the analysis to the second sample of blood, took from the boot of the McCann rented car. “According to FSS experts, those 15 (alleles) were not enough to come to the conclusion, with a high degree of reliability, that it was Madeleine's DNA profile, even because the Low Copy Number (technique) found 37 components in that sample.”

Mr. Amaral refers also that the existence of 37 components was justified, in the FSS report, with the fact that, at least, DNA from three different persons “had contributed to that result” and emphasizes what he considers a “bizarre precaution” from the scientist that prepared the report: he explained that “in most DNA profiles of the laboratory experts, the components of Madeleine's DNA profile are also found.” He regrets that “in spite of having found 15 components of Madeleine's DNA profile” in the sample taken from the rented car, “results (of the analysis) were considered not conclusive.”

Pre-publication of Amaral's book on Correio da Manhã (II)

Madeleine died in the apartment”

Correio da Manhã starts today the pre-publication of excerpts from the book of Gonçalo Amaral (“The truth of the lie”) and publishes also an interview with the author (not yet on-line, at this moment). Those excerpts refer to a statement from a witness – identified as K.G., married with S.G, who contacted British police, on May 16, 2007, thirteen days after Madeleine's disappearance, to report what is described in the book as incidents that raised “serious doubts about the behaviour of David Payne concerning children.”

Mr. Amaral says that until he was in charge of the investigation, British police didn't send the report of that witness to Polícia Judiciária. The PJ Criminal Coordinator was removed from the investigation on October 2, 20007. Mr. Amaral believes that the report only reached Portuguese police “at the end of October” last year.

Other situation explained in detail, in the excerpts published by Correio da Manhã, is the confusion around the results of the analysis to the blood samples collected at the apartment from where Madeleine disappeared and in the boot of the car the McCann rented, more than 20 days after their daughter went missing. According to Mr. Amaral, a specially trained dog (from the South Yorkshire Police force, Keela) has detected traces of blood in the floor of the apartment, behind a sofa, and also in the car's boot. The former PJ investigator mentions a report by British police officers Mark Harrison and Martin Grime, which was one of the reports used to support PJ's decisions in the investigation, that stated clearly the dog only reacted to the presence of samples of human blood.

Pre-publication of Amaral's book on Correio da Manhã (I)

Front page tittle: “McCann faked kidnapping”

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The usual idiots

John O'Connor, a former commander of Scotland Yard's flying squad, said: 'If I were Clarence Mitchell, I'd try to put pressure on Jack Straw (the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor) to ask for a review of the case by British police. It's about time for transparency; there's been too much done in secret.'

What's next? Send the Home Fleet and Royal Marines to occupy Algarve and allow Scotland Yard to search again Praia da Luz and the surrounding areas? Transfer suspect natives, whose faces are similar to the famous sketch produced by a FBI trained artist, to concentration camps, as your country did to women and children suspected of supporting the Boers guerrillas fighters? Probably, you also would like that we, humble, short and dark-skinned people, use some kind of distinctive symbol – after you send in the troops – like a yellow sardine, in an armband, as Nature also makes mistakes and there are some blonde hair, blue-eyed Portuguese.

You are a perfect idiot, Mr. John O'Connor. And it seems that there is a lot of people like you, with the same arrogance of those that considers themselves members of a superior race, brought to Earth to serve as an example of what is being civilized. Now, I understand the IRA had good reasons to do what they have done and I even look at Mr Mugabe with a certain sympathy.

PS – Are you the same former Scotland Yard Commander John O'Connor, who has been “working with the Portuguese authorities investigating Madeleine’s disappearance”, as The Online Resident wrote, or was that just a cover up for your real assignment, “enquiring into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal” for TV?

Monday, 21 July 2008

No evidence of crime committed by the "arguidos"

The case was shelved “because no evidence was found that any of the 'arguidos' have committed a crime”, according to PGR statement.

McCann "arguidos" status lifted

Madeleine case shelved - Lusa News Agency

Madeleine: PGR arquiva processo - oficial (Lusa News Agency)

According to Lusa News Agency, the Public Prosecutor's Office decided to shelve the Madeleine McCann case.

PGR statement released this afternoon

The Portuguese Public Prosecutor's Office (“Procuradoria Geral da República”) will release an official statement about the Madeleine McCann case today, at 4:00 pm.

Friday, 18 July 2008

They didn't signed

Eight of the 78 British European Parliament members didn't signed the “written declaration” appealing for the set up of a Amber alert system in all 27 EU countries. The McCann lobby was not so successful among Portuguese MEPs: 10 of the 24 Portuguese MEPs didn't signed. The support those 14 MEPs gave to the McCann, who joined the initiative, with the backing of McMillan-Scot, was criticised inside their own political parties, who are afraid that Portuguese electors may react with some hostility, due to the violent campaign against Portuguese police and Judicial system, that McCann supporters have launched.

The eight British outsiders, who refused to help the McCann campaign, were Thomas Wise, John Whittaker, Michael Henry Nattrass, Ashley Mote, Roger Knapman, Timothy Kirkhope, Daniel Hannan et Godfrey Bloom. The 14 Portuguese supporters of the Rothley couple were Paulo Casaca (PS), Maria da Assunção Esteves (PSD), Edite Estrela (PS), Emanuel Jardim Fernandes (PS), Ilda Figueiredo (PCP-PEV), Ana Maria Gomes (PS), Pedro Guerreiro (PCP), Joel Hasse Ferreira (PS), Jamila Madeira (PS), João de Deus Pinheiro (PSD), Luis Queiró (CDS), José Ribeiro e Castro (CDS), Manuel António dos Santos (PS) e José Albino Silva Peneda (PSD).

On January 2008, before the McCann inspired “written declaration” appeared, McMillan-Scot admitted that the question of an alert system for missing children was a responsibility for each of the EU Sate members. Those remarks were done when the European parliament voted a resolution that already had a specific strategy for dealing with this problem, including an alert system and a hotline number, to allow a more quick reaction from police forces of the 27 EU countries.

A question that still needs an answer is why McMillan-Scot lobbied so strongly for a “written declaration”, a non-legally biding document, when the EU had already in place a strategy for improving the cooperation among police forces, in cases of missing children.

(to be continued)

Duarte Levy & Paulo Reis

Version Française

Next: "Gonçalo Amaral and his book" & "FSS: The results"

“Maddie – A Verdade da Mentira”

Thursday, July 24, the formal launching of the book “Maddie – A Verdade da Mentira”, by Gonçalo Amaral, will take place at El Corte Inglés, in Lisbon. Marques Vidal, a former PJ National Director, will introduce the book.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Decision about Madeleine's case on Monday

The head of the Public Prosecutor's Office, Mr. Pinto Monteiro, told journalists that the Maddie case will have a “solution” on Monday. Mr. Pinto Monteiro asked the two Public Prosecutors in charge of the investigation of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann to take a decision before the end of this month. The decision will be available to be public, in a statement to be published in the Public Prosecutor's Office site.

Murat takes to court three Portuguese newspapers and two TV channels

Robert Murat will take legal action against three Portuguese dailies - Correio da Manhã, Jornal de Notícias, 24 Horas - and two TV channels – RTP and TVI, according his lawyer, Mr. Pagarete. The first two daily newspapers will be prosecuted for defamation and invasion of privacy. These two cases are classified as crime cases and, if there is a trial and he wins, the editor and the journalist who wrote the story can be sentenced to prison (usually, a suspended sentence, with the jail time being replaced by a daily fine) and could also have to pay an indemnification.

24 Horas, RTP and TVI will be prosecuted only for damages to his reputation and loss of earnings, on what is referred as a civil case, a non-criminal lawsuit. Mr. Pagarete regretted the fact that he couldn't take a criminal action against 24 Horas because more then six months have passed, after the publication of the news that Robert Murat considers seriously harmed his reputation, and a criminal case should have been launched before the end of that period of time.

Mr Pagarete said that he is also preparing a case against the Portuguese State and against “some persons that made statements, as having witnessed things that are not truth”. Several witnesses told Police and, later, the British Media, that they saw Robert Murat near the McCann's apartment, at the Ocean Club, the night Madeleine McCann disappeared. Murat always said that he was at home, with his mother.

Friday, 11 July 2008

A good example of news manipulation or journalistic incompetence

Daily Post

Kinnock ‘child alert’ agreed

Jul 11 2008 by Tom Bodden

A CALL by a Welsh MEP for a Europe-wide ‘amber alert’ system for recovering thousands of missing children received overwhelming backing. Glenys Kinnock co-authored the written declarations – supported by the parents of missing Madeleine McCann – calling for emergency cooperation to find some of the 130,000 children who go missing across Europe every year. More than half of the European Parliament’s 732 MEPs have supported the proposals, which will oblige European governments to take action on key recommendations.”

What is wrong with this story:

The support of more than half of the 785 MEPs was for a “written declaration” which is just a declaration of intentions, and it's not legally-binding. This specific “written declaration”, as Rule 116 from EU Parliament clearly states, shall not go beyond the form of a declaration and shall not, in particular, contain any decision on matters for the adoption of which specific procedures and competences are laid down in the Rules of Procedure. Also, such a declaration shall, at the end of the part-session, be forwarded to the institutions named therein together with the names of the signatories. It shall be included in the minutes of the sitting at which it is announced. Publication in the minutes shall close the procedure. So, there was no formal agreement, meaning a Law being voted and passed in the European Parliament.

There was no proposals in the sense that MEPs have not presented any kind of formal proposal to the EU Parliament to discuss and vote any new law or changes in any existing law . This mentioned “written declaration” does not oblige European governments to take action on key recommendations” as Tom Bodden, from Daily Post, wrote. A “written declaration” does not oblige any Government to do whatever it refers in its contents.

EU report about hotline numbers to report missing children

"A year ago the Commission called for European 116 phone numbers to make it easier for parents and children to call for help," said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "So far only Hungary has taken all the necessary steps to get 116 services up and running. I applaud this example, but alarm bells should be ringing in the other 26 Member States. Under the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, signed by all EU Member States, the rights of the child must be protected. It is a pity that in many countries action doesn't seem to follow words when it comes to implementing numbers that can provide precious help to parents and children. The Commission has done its part of the job and hopes that it won't be necessary to start legal proceedings on a matter where there should be broad consensus."

Today's survey shows that more progress is needed to get 116 000 and 116111 services working across the EU:

116000 and 116111 numbers have been made publicly available in 24 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia) but not in Italy, Latvia or the UK. The deadlines for reserving these numbers were 30 August 2007 (116000) and 29 February 2008 (116111).

Most countries did little to inform potential service providers about the 116000 and 116111 numbers. This has delayed the take-up of these numbers by potential providers, mostly non-governmental organisations. Greater efforts – press releases, e-mails/letters to potential providers, meetings – were made in Finland, France (for 116000), Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.

Potential hotline providers have expressed interest in 116000 in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and the UK, while potential 116111 helpline providers have come forward in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and the UK. However, only seven Member States (Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands and Slovakia) have assigned 116000 to service providers while ten others (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Portugal, Sweden and Slovakia) have assigned 116111.

So far, only Hungary has reported that both 116000 and 116111 are operational. It is up to hotline and helpline providers to launch services once a Member State assigns them a number. These service providers must be able to adequately handle free of charge calls 24/7, nation-wide. The Commission closely follows implementation in the Member States.”

Madeleine's investigation: Public Prosecutors have three weeks to decide

The head of Public Prosecutor's Office, Mr. Pinto Monteiro, asked the Public Prosecutors in charge of Madeleine's case to decide within the next three weeks. Luís Verão, a District Prosecutor, and Magalhães e Menezes have received a report from PJ and are doing an “overall analysis to determine whether or not other action is necessary or whether the conditions are sufficient to rule that the investigation be closed and a final ruling made," according to an official statement from the head of Public Prosecutor's Office.

The PJ report is very detailed but has no conclusions or suggestions about what should be the next step, in this investigation, leaving all the responsibility of that decision with the Public Prosecutors. In the Portuguese legal system, any crime investigation is directed by a Public Prosecutor, to whom PJ investigators are subordinated and only the Public Prosecutor's Office has the legal authority to decide if the investigation should continue or not.

According to a high ranking investigator from PJ Faro Department, “the fact that no conclusions were made, in the report sent to the Public Prosecutors, is a way of emphasizing the responsibility of the Public Prosecutors, Judges and politicians in this case.” The same source said that “PJ never had a chance to do a 'quiet' investigation... There were interferences and pressure, particularly from British authorities and their representatives in Portugal.” British police officers who have been in Algarve, following the case, “also admitted the same kind of interferences”, the PJ investigator said.

Now, Public Prosecutors must have the courage to read, understand and analyse our report. It's for them to decide what will be done, next, and to show if there will be courage to confront the British”, concluded the PJ investigator.

McCann lawyers warning to Prosecutor Luís Verão

On October last year, McCann legal team was 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 Mr. Rogério Alves and Mr. Pinto de Abreu, (Mr. Rogério Alves was, at the time, President of Portuguese Bar and Mr. Pinto de Abreu was Chairman of the Human Rights Commission from the Portuguese Bar) “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'."

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

The “EU Madeleine Alert” backed and rejected

Brussels throws out McCann's appeal for European missing child alert system
EU unable to agree child alert system, boosts cooperation
McCanns win MEPs' backing for abduction alert system
The Scotsman:
McCanns win Euro child-alert system

Confused? It's easy to explain. A “written declaration”, drafted by a group of European Parliament Members, supporting an EU Amber alert system, got more than half of the 785 MEPs signatures. It means that the “written declaration” can be published and send to the institutions related and/or referred in the text. It's just a declaration of intentions, and it's not legally-binding. But it's a victory for the McCann lobby, from a political point of view.

However, the Justice Minister of the 27 EU countries, after a meeting in Cannes, France, rejected the idea of having an European Amber alert and, instead, agreed to cooperate more closely in the hunt for lost children. "We shouldn't send out a European alert when a child has been gone for just a few hours," said German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries. "The great majority of children return home after two or three days."

The Liverpool Echo has a completely different story:“Merseyside MEP Arlene McCarthy got backing from Brussels for a compulsory cross-continent alert system if children go missing (...) Mrs McCarthy's amendment, unanimously backed by the consumer protection committee in Brussels, will force all member states, including the UK, to allow their citizens to access the hotline (...) Police forces will also be told to share information and react quickly. That legally-binding decision must now be ratified by the European Commission. This Liverpool Echo' story is really a big confusion. I can't find an explanation for that confusion.

Just to remember, what is, exactly an EU “written declaration”:

Rule 116: Written declarations

1. Up to five Members may submit a written declaration of not more than 200 words on a matter falling within the sphere of activities of the European Union. Written declarations shall be printed in the official languages and distributed. They shall be included with the names of the signatories in a register. This register shall be public and shall be maintained outside the entrance to the Chamber during part-sessions and between part-sessions in an appropriate location to be determined by the College of Quaestors.

The contents of a written declaration shall not go beyond the form of a declaration and shall not, in particular, contain any decision on matters for the adoption of which specific procedures and competences are laid down in the Rules of Procedure.

2. Any Member may add his signature to a declaration included in the register.

3. Where a declaration is signed by the majority of Parliament's component Members, the President shall notify Parliament accordingly and publish the names of the signatories in the minutes.

4. Such a declaration shall, at the end of the part-session, be forwarded to the institutions named therein together with the names of the signatories. It shall be included in the minutes of the sitting at which it is announced. Publication in the minutes shall close the procedure.

5. A written declaration that has stood in the register for over three months and has not been signed by at least one half of the component Members of Parliament shall lapse.

Let's not forget that “the UK’s most senior officer responsible for missing children today (May 1) ruled out Kate and Gerry McCann’s plea to introduce an 'amber alert' system. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Bryan insisted that there was no need to emulate the US system of immediate information broadcasts once children have been reported missing (...) People need to realise we have got a version of amber alert in the UK - child rescue alert,' he said. 'That has been in place since 2003 in Sussex and it was rolled out nationally by 2006. We have only had to use it on three occasions.” - The Times, May 1, 2008

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

EU ministers reject “Madeleine Alert”

The set up of an European Amber Alert System was rejected, yesterday, by EU Justice Minister, during an informal meeting, in Cannes, France. "We shouldn't send out a European alert when a child has been gone for just a few hours," German Justice Minister told the Media. "The great majority of children return home after two or three days." However, the EU Justice Ministers agreed on the necessity of a closer cooperation between police forces and alert systems already used in EU countries.

For the MailOnline, “Brussels throws out McCann's appeal for European missing child alert system,” in this meeting. The announcement “was welcomed” by Kate and Gerry, who have been campaigning for an EU alert system to be adopted by all 27 countries: "This announcement is very encouraging as it underlines the fact that there is a Europe-wide desire for things to improve,” Mr. Clarence Mitchell, the family spokesman, told the MailOnline.

French Justice Minister Rachida Dati “urged her counterparts to adopt the system Paris uses, which she said has worked six times in six tries. When it comes to protecting children in Europe no resource should be spared," she said. "We absolutely must bring together everything that we have."

A "written declaration" to the European Parliament, signed by a group of EU Mps and backed by the McCann managed to collect, until today - the last day - 351 signatures, but it needed 393 in order sent it to the European Parliament to be voted, not to be automatically adopted, as the MailOnline wrote.