Monday, 11 June 2018

How the angle of a pedophile ring was introduced in Maddie's case and amplified by British Media

The pedophile angle was introduced by the McCann couple in the case of Maddie’s disappearance, in their first comments about what could have happened to Madeleine. Kate McCann mentioned it, again, in her book, published in 2011. She “wrote of her fear that her daughter was kidnapped by a pedophile (...) She accused Portuguese police of covering up a series of child abuse cases before Maddy vanished”, according to “The Mirror”. In the first hours after she found Madeleine was missing, she thought immediately about that possibility: “When she was first stolen, pedophiles were all we could think about, and it ate away at us”, she said, on a interview with the “Daily Mail”.

I will give a hint about something I will have, with more detail, on my book, “The McCann’s War”. During my several stays (“undercovered”) at Praia da Luz, I managed to found how “Team McCann”, a very small group of experts (brought to Praia da Luz by Alex Wollfall, from Bell Pottinger) and the Press advisers of the parents of Madeleine, “feed” information to British journalists. I had a Honda CB 500, at the time, so I had some mobility and I was able to track the movements of a few British journalists.

Some of them, usually, stay at the terrace of a coffee-shop near supermarket Batista, close to Ocean Cub, in the afternoon. At night, they entertained themselves, until quite late, as I witnessed, mainly at a seaside bar and a disco, so they slept part of the morning. In the afternoon, they spend their time at the terrace having a couple of beers, surfing the net with their laptops and talking on their mobile phones. At the end of the afternoon, most of them drove out. I followed a few, several times, at a safe distance, taking precautions not to be detected, in my motorcycle.

In my book, I will explain, I detail, how “McCann Team” made possible that British journalists, one week after they arrived at Praia da Luz, the first time they went to Portugal, for most of them, were able to wrote stories quoting “Portuguese police sources”, when they had none, at all.  It was through that “system” that the pedophile angle and other topics were amplified in stories published by almost all British newspapers.

Alex Wolfall reading a Press Statement to journalists, at Praia da Luz
Talking about British Press, in my 37 years of working as a journalist, I read thousands and thousands of stories from British newspapers and news magazines, but not only since Madeleine’s case. Before that, I already had the habit to buy with regularity, a couple of English language newspapers, British and American, following the advice of a old and experienced colleague, when I started to work as a journalist, in 1981. He even told me that, if I was short of money, to try to buy at least “The Economist”, which he considered the best news magazine in the world.

Before I started to read British Press with regularity, my idea about British Media came from a story my late father told me. When he was a young sergeant, drafted to the Portuguese Army (1943), in the middle of II World War, censorship was very strict and strong, in the Portuguese Media, due to the sympathy of Salazar’s dictatorship for Mussolini, Franco and Hitler regimes. Late at nigh, in the headquarter of Infantry Regiment Nº5, in Oporto city, my father and a few trusted friends went to a barrack, far from the main dormitory and turn on a small radio, listening to Portuguese language broadcast of BBC, on short wave. “When BBC ‘talks’, the world listens, because they tell the truth”, was a phrase my late father said, when he told me this story.

So, let’s say I still have some mixed feelings about British Media. I read many good stories, investigative stories, in British newspapers, along the years. I also read the most unbelievable, fabricated and manipulated stories, made only to sell newspapers.

Looking at Maddie’s case coverage through the lens of UK journalists, over the past eleven years is precisely the subject of my book, “The McCann’s War”. I have made a first selection of around 120 stories published on British Press, ranging from the comic to the absurd, from the most chocking to the clearest evidence of “strange forces” working behind the scenes and I chose a few dozen to be published.

John Redwood second version of the text about Madeleine McCann case. Unfortunately, I didn’t' make a "screenshot" of the first version...
This is a good example (and also a preview of a story that will be in my book) that I referred on a post in my blog, on September 18, 2017. John Redwood, a MP conservative, on September 10th, published a post in his blog, “John Redwood's Diary” (the link at my blog, in this post, goes to a blank page, Redwood’s blog has this news Internet address). Any search in the new blog about McCann, Maddie or Madeleine, has no results. 

The tittle of the post from September 18, 2017, was: "The McCanns - plenty of theories, little evidence”.  He asked a couple of questions, like these: “Can they (the McCann) clear away any doubt over whether entry was forced into the holiday home? Were there no screams or disturbances as the little girl was taken? Did no-one see her at any point as she was carried away? How did the abductor timed the removal, given the fact that parents and friends were returning to keep an eye or ear open for the children?”

I was surprised, because it was the first time I saw a British politician to ask these uncomfortable questions addressed to Maddie's parents, so I kept the blog open in a separate window of my browser, and checked it, almost every half-hour. I had a feeling something will happen, soon. And it did. After around five hours, the blog just vanished and, a couple of hours later, it appeared again. The initial text was deleted and replaced by another one. In the new text, John Redwood changed the initial paragraphs and replaced them with this words:

"It is not usually wise to venture into questions of individual guilt or innocence. These are properly matters for the courts, not for politicians. I do so briefly today because I have never seen so much speculation and so many press stories, created by the spin doctors of the parents and by mysterious sources for the Portuguese authorities, when there is so little fact behind it all."
“The Portuguese side, after four months, seem to have decided that the little girl is dead and the parents were involved in the death. To prove this it would be helpful to have a body, and an autopsy which shows how she died (...) It demonstrates little police competence that this most closely watched couple was able according to sources to keep the body from police attention immediately after the disappearance, and then to move the body many days later."

After, he reproduced part of the initial text, but with a different conclusion: “This is a heart rending story. The two sides seemed determined to damage each other. The truth remains a casualty. Maybe the McCann should employ a private detective rather than a spin doctor, to find evidence of the abduction they are sure happened and the trail to her present whereabouts. In the meantime with so few facts it is difficult to say what happened, apart from understanding the grief that the loss of Madeleine is causing.”

May be somebody phoned Mr. John Redwood and “explained” him that his initial “approach” to Maddie’s case was not the best one for the future of his political career


The paperback edition of "A Guerra dos McCann" was postponed. There is no new date yet, due to the Covid-19 crisis