Friday, 27 July 2012

A “mysterious” Press Release with false information about missing children in Portugal

Mr Paul Rees, Editor of told me that the story about a scheme to find missing children in Portugal was just a Press Release, sent by a company, not a story wrote by any journalist from his news site.

My apologies for my comments directed to the journalist who I thought wrote it . Anyway, a basic thing in journalism is to do a clear reference every time a story mentions a Press Release content, identifying it's origin/author. 

Only four news sites, all English language sites from British expatriates living in Algarve published the Press release: “”, “”, “jornal algarve 123” and “Algarve Newswatch” (and I trust Google about this....)

In three of those four news sites (not in, at the end of the Press Release, theres is a phrase: “For further information, please email “”. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Another fake story about missing children in Portugal

A rapid response system has been launched this week, designed to trace children who get lost or go missing in Portugal. Based on Android smartphone and Apple iPhone technology, the scheme has been rolled out in Portugal with a view to expanding it throughout Europe and beyond (…) There are more than one and three-quarter million children aged 14 or under in Portugal. The number soars when visitors arrive on holiday. Even though Portugal is generally a safe country for children, thousands go missing each year. The great majority are found but a significant number are not. Unfortunately, the figures are vague and incomplete.” 
in (Portugal - Scheme to find missing children is launched - 18 July 2012 - 19:57)

To find the parents of “lost” foreign children is a task Portuguese Police is used to perform daily (dozens of times...) in Algarve, during the summer. A “holiday state of mind”, crowded beaches and restaurants, cheap beer, a relaxing mood (Algarve is a safe place, Portuguese people friendly) are the main reasons for this phenomenon. Few of those cases make headlines in newspapers. Children and parents are reunited quickly, not only because Portuguese Police in Algarve has experience and specific procedures for theses kind of cases, but also because Portuguese people acts immediately, whenever the see a child that seems to be lost or looking for her parents. Most “lost” children in Algarve (many times because their parents just had a couple more of beers that they should, got "distracted" and did not pay enough attention to the whereabouts of their children.....) are from British nationality.

The "Algarve Daily News" journalist who wrote this story either is a ignorant or has manipulated the information about missing children in Portugal, when he wrote "Even though Portugal is generally a safe country for children, thousands go missing each year. The great majority are found but a significant number are not. Unfortunately, the figures are vague and incomplete." - THIS IS FALSE!!! There are 8 MISSING CHILDREN IN PORTUGAL, FROM 1994 UNTIL NOW.

PJ investigates an average of two disappearances of children every day, mostly teenagers running away from home. Every year an average of 750 disappearances are reported, most of them teenager girls, between 14 and 17 years. The cases usually are solved in around five days.” - in “Diário de Notícias”, may 21 2008

The story published by is a piece of shit, concerning facts about missing children in Portugal. Since 1994 there are 8 MISSING CHILDREN CASES STILL OPEN. is lying, when they write that “(...) in Portugal (..) thousands [of children] go missing each year” - only an average of 750 CASES OF MISSING UNDERAGED PERSONS ARE REPORTED TO PJ, every year. The is lying again, when they write that “a significant number [of those missing children] are not [found]. For the last 18 YEARS, 8 CHILDREN missing in Portugal (including Madeleine McCann) have not been found. All the others were found. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

Lord John Stevens and Maddie's Case: a show of ignorance or manipulation of information?

I'm not yet sure if this opinion of Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief (at the time, also chairman of "Quest Ltd – Corporate Intelligence & Risk Mitigation" and Gordon Brown's adviser on international security issues) about Madeleine McCann disappearance was just the result of simple and plain ignorance or if it was a manipulation of information.

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, wrote on October 2007 that “the entire apartment and its environs should have been totally sealed off and barred to anyone but specially-trained police and forensic scientists who would have checked every millimetre of it for evidence. It wasn’t. Police don’t call the time after a crime, particularly one against children, the Golden Hour for nothing. In fact, I always insist it’s a Golden Day — the time when forensic evidence is most fresh and easy to detect, when memories are most sharp, when lies and alibis are most vulnerable.”

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, ignored that police was called only 50 minutes after Kate McCann found that Maddie disappeared? And during those 50 minutes, all the McCann friends, staff members and the manager of Ocean Resort, more than a dozen of other guests, went inside the apartment, several times, trying to find what happened and offering help to search for Madeleine? Just a detail: Police arrived 12/15 minutes after the call was received – it's the time they needed to drive from the GNR police station, near Portimão, to Praia da Luz.

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, ignored that, when police arrived, the McCann and their friends were all inside the apartment and they already “had a meeting where they agreed on certain rules that sustained the version that they accompanied continuously the children, while they dined”? A manuscript, consisting of two possible and diferent timetables, with different members of Tapa's Seven checking the children, is annexed in the PJ files.

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, wrote: “And 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.”

Indeed it was, Lord John Steven. But police wasn't there yet, and those who treated a “possible murder scene (...) as a glorified meeting-room to organise a search for a missing child” were the parents of Madeleine McCann and the so-called Tapa's Seven.

When the GNR arrived, 12/15 minutes after a call was made (and recorded, just like in any UK police station) the crime scene was totally spoiled. So, Lord John Steven, why do you blame Portuguese police? You didn't know these details, when you made these comments? Do you have the habit of making comments about any crime case, without the most basic knowledge of fundamental details? It does not seem to me a very professional attitude, coming from a former Metropolitan Police chief...

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, wrote that he was “bewildered by reports leaked by the Portuguese police that tiny traces [of human fluids of a dead body] have been found in the vehicle (…) None of the so-called forensic finds being boasted of in Portugal sound either likely, admissible or even possible to me.” But, Lord Steven, you knew, when you made those comments, that it was a British forensic team that searched and found those tiny traces? That those samples were analysed at the Forensic Science Service (FSS), in UK? So, Lord John Steven, why do you blame Portuguese police?

Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, wrote that “Evidence from cadaver dogs, for instance, could not be used to bring about a conviction here [in UK]. Generally they are regarded as being at best 80 per cent reliable. 80 per cent? Not bad, Lord Stevens...

It's a pity that South Yorkshire police “killed” springer spaniel Keela public profile, after she was used in the McCann Case. First, Keela (and also Eddie) was “Britain's most amazing police dog”, “UK's No1 Sherlock Bones” who earned “more than South Yorkshire's top cop Med Hughes.”

As The Sun wrote, on August 3rd 2007, Keela “sense of smell is so keen she can sniff out blood on clothes after they have been washed repeatedly in biological powder. She can pick out microscopic amounts of blood even on weapons that have been scrubbed clean. And she is able to lead detectives to minuscule pieces of other evidence.”

Keela could be described as ‘top dog’ in her field of expertise. The trained Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) dog has skills like no other and it has left forces worldwide hankering after an insight into her special training”, according to South Yorkshire police. May be this was the reasons why Gerry and Kate McCann asked for the use of those sniffer dogs to seek fresh clues in the search for Madeleine.

But on August 17th 2007, The Telegraph made a front page with a different perspective: “Evidence obtained by South Yorkshire Police sniffers dogs [in Maddie's investigation] 'no more reliable than 'the flip of a coin"

Another UK newspaper, The Sun (what a coincidence...) on September 5th 2008 went further: The Sun: 'It's crazy to rely on animals' “EXPERTS say sniffer dogs can play a vital role in fighting crime - but warn it is "madness" to rely on their findings. The animals are used to lead police to evidence, but do not provide evidence themselves. One expert told The Sun: "The dogs can identify traces of blood, but it's crazy to draw major conclusions just from what they find. "Any evidence they find should be used as a starting point. It's madness just to rely on the findings of the sniffer dogs."

So, Lord John Stevens, former Metropolitan Police chief, five years ago you wrote something that it's either a monumental show of ignorance or a shameless manipulation of information. I wonder if you still have the same opinion...

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Mr. Stephen Birch told Portuguese authorities about his “discovery”?

Did Mr. Stephen Birch made any formal contact with the Portuguese Public Prosecutor’ Office, the Judiciary institution that directs any crime investigation (PJ is under the authority of PPPO) or with "Polícia Judiciária", to inform any of those institutions about his findings?
As far as I know, neither the Portuguese Public Prosecutor’s Office of PJ received any formal contact from Mr. Stephen Birch, with evidence of his discovery.
As it happens in any country ruled by Law, in Portugal only the Portuguese Public Prosecutor’s Office and "Polícia Judiciária" have legal power to take specific actions about a crime investigation. But they only can do that after they receive (or find) evidence about a crime...

Monday, 9 July 2012

What it Mr. Birch "Find Maddie Operation" took place in UK?

May I ask a question? Let's suppose I go to London, I phone the Daily Star, they interview me and I say: "I am an expert in finding buried bodies and for the last five years I investigated the case of Xxxx, a British child that vanished in 2007. I found that she was killed and her body is buried in the garden of the private residence of Mr. John Doe. Just dig it, and you will find the body".

A murder is a crime and police (either Scotland Yard or PJ) has legal powers and a duty to act whenever they heard, read or find any new piece of evidence about a crime that has been committed years ago. What is expected that Scotland Yard will do, after they read the news about my "discovery"in the Daily Star?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Portuguese-South African joint "operation"

António Teixeira and Stephen Birch

When I read this headline of “Correio da Manhã” (“Let us dig the site’ - South African businessman challenges Robert Murat”) my first thought was that Mr. Stephen Birch is mentally challenged, as people say in USA.

There is no legal system in any country of the world where a citizen must prove that he is innocent, just because other citizen accuses him of something. First, the proper authorities must collect enough (and solid) evidence to accuse him, than take him to court and give him the right to challenge the evidence.

But when I remember the preposterous remarks of Mr. António Teixeira, a former high ranking PJ inspector, siding with a lunatic and a mentally retarded person, I believe that the reasons for the “Birch Operation” to be launched now and with such a careful planning and a large amount of logistical and financial support can’t be explained only through the diagnostic of a psychiatrist. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Old memories die hard

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gods must be REALLY crazy!

“As we all know, when something falls from the sky, it can only have come from the Gods. Of course the Gods only send good and useful things. However this time, they made a mistake."

in The Gods Must Be Crazy” (Director: Jamie Uys)


'Madeleine McCann in Portugal grave' theory being examined by ...

Metro - 6 hours ago
Police are probing a claim made by South African property developer Stephen Birch that Madeleine McCann is buried close to where she was ...
Huffington Post UK

South African claims to have found Madeleine McCann's grave

Times LIVE - 9 hours ago
A South African man claims to have found the burial site of Madeleine McCann, a British child who went missing five years ago.


Madeleine McCann is in America – and I know who took her

AN INVESTIGATOR has told cops Madeleine McCann was taken to the US - and he has named two key suspects.


Marcelino Italiano, 36, said she had been snatched by an Algarve-based paedophile ring. The amateur sleuth added: “They can get away with anything.” Maddie vanished in Portugal in May 2007.”

“(…) The 6ft 4in nightclub bouncer said: “I know these people were involved and I have been told that Madeleine may now be in America. (…) Italiano, 36, said the ring was based in Faro and Albufeira, but had high-level contacts in Portugal’s judiciary and links to a legal practice in London (…) Italiano has handed a dossier of information he uncovered to police in Huelva, south west Spain (…) it includes the names of two prominent Portuguese businessmen and provided photographs of them at a birthday party in the Algarve.”

“Officers have passed the information to Portuguese cops while private investigators hired by the Find Madeleine Fund — set up by her parents Kate and Gerry — are also looking into the dramatic claims. (…)  Last night a lawyer acting on behalf of Italiano told The Sun her client had a “credible and believable story”. She added: “He told the police he believed Maddie was taken by the gang and he believes she may now be in the US.”

A spokesman for Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, said: “We are grateful for the information. “As with any information of this nature the man concerned has done the right thing by informing the Spanish authorities. Clearly it will be a matter for them and the private investigators currently searching for Madeleine to investigate further.

”Maddie was about to turn four when she disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. Bungling Portuguese police named her parents as suspects before clearing them. In 2008 detectives looked into suggestions that Maddie may have been taken “to order” by a child smuggling ring based in Belgium.
Scotland Yard intelligence officer John Shord sent Leicestershire police an email reporting: “Somebody connected to this group saw Maddie, took a photograph of her and sent it to Belgium. The purchaser agreed that the girl was suitable and Maddie was taken.” (…)

Sightings have been reported across Europe and North Africa and as far away as Canada, Tasmania and Dubai.”

Looking for a South African "body locator"

Dear Mr. Boet Troskie
Orange, Republic of South Africa:

Mr. Daniel Krugel, a South African citizen who played a interesting role in a case that reached mediatic global proportions - the Madeleine McCann disappearance from a touristic resort in Algarve, Portugal - has been introducing himself to dozens of British, American, Spanish and Portuguese newspapers as a "former police superintendent and current Director of Health and Safety at the Central University of Technology, Free State . 

I am a Portuguese freelance journalist, with 31 years of experience and I followed the Madeleine McCann case since the beginning, mainly through my blog "Madeleine McCann Disappearence". Can you please confirm if Mr. Daniel Krugel is (or has been)  Director of Health and Safety at the Central University of Technology, Free State ?

References to Mr. Daniel Krugel in the international Press

Danie Krugel

El superintendente retirado de la Policía sudafricana Daniel Krugel ha encontrado restos de ADN pertenecientes a Madeleine McCannen la playa de la localidad de Praia da Luz, según el diario británico «The Observer».

Sei onde está o corpo
Daniel Krugel, o detective sul-africano que em Julho procurou o rasto de Maddie na Praia da Luz – a convite dos pais e com autorização da polícia – diz saber onde está enterrado o corpo.

A former South African policeman, dubbed the Locator after reportedly using a secret scientific technique to find murder victims, will today ask police to dig up a section of beach in Praia da Luz where he believes Madeleine may be buried.

The sniffer dogs said to have picked up the scent of a corpse on Mrs McCann were only brought in after the couple gave the go ahead for retired South African police officer Daniel Krugel - dubbed the Locator - to conduct a search. He uses a secret scientific method to find murder victims by following their DNA trail with the help of global positioning satellites.


Looking forward to hear from you,

Paulo Reis

(July 7th 2012)

Journalist (Professional Card Nº 734/Portugal)
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