Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Mark Harrison and Amaral's Twisted Version of Events

One of the oft quoted internet forum myths surrounding the abduction Of Madeleine is the allegation that Mark Harrison, of Leicestershire police, advised the PJ to proceed on the assumption that Madeleine died in the apartment, and to concentrate on the idea of parental involvement, or words to that effect.  The source of this internet folklore seems to originate in another part of Amaral’s book, so let us study the original report and compare it to Amaral’s version.

For anyone who wants to read exactly what Harrison's report said, and see the pdfs of the pages, they are here: http://www.mccannfiles.com/id293.html

Here are transcribed the most important parts:

This report considers solely the possibility that MM has been murdered and her body is concealed within the previously searched areas. Other scenarios and possibilities may on request be considered and be subject of a further report.

..has now begun to consider further opportunities to re search locations in order to address the possibility that she has been murdered and concealed nearby. This would be a proportionate and appropriate response given the elapsed time since her disappearance and previous experience in similar cases. 

To make that clearer, this report was put together on the request of the PJ, so as to give them some help in understanding where, what and who they could possibly be looking for.  Points to note are that this was NOT, as is often claimed, an original suggestion of LP, offered gratuitously to the PJ, but put together BY the LP on request FROM the PJ.  That is a very vital point to keep in mind.  Secondly, it was by no means the only possible scenario, as is made clear here,

Other scenarios and possibilities may on request be considered and be subject of a further report.

What should also be born in mind is that nowhere does it hint of the idea that Madeleine died in the apartment, or that the parents may be involved.

Once Amaral writes his book, this is the twisted mockery he makes of Harrison's role, remit and report:

Chapter 16

His (Harrison's) work consists of defining new strategies for research. He gets to work immediately, supported by the Portuguese PJ and the investigators from Leicester and Scotland Yard. On his arrival, we place at his disposal details of the case, as well as all our material and human resources. Harrison reads up on the statements and interviews from the principal witnesses – including, of course, those of the parents and friends -, all the analyses, simulations, hypotheses and cross-checking already carried out. He carries out a reconnaissance on the ground, by helicopter and then on foot. He paces the streets and the access roads to Vila da Luz and compares them to the diagrams created in the course of the investigation. Nothing is left to chance: measurement and timing of possible routes between buildings, apartments and restaurants; analyses, with the help of the best specialists, of weather, geological and maritime factors in relation to the investigation; consultation with the best forensic anthropologist in the country, who indicates for us what would be the actual state of the body in the hypothesis of death occurring on May 3rd; study of the region’s natural carrion predators. All the research already conducted by hundreds of people – GNR, civil defence, firemen and other volunteers – is re-examined in detail and re-analysed.

After a week of intense work, Harrison presents the results of his study to my coordinating group. Even if we were expecting it, his conclusions confirm our worst fears. The most plausible scenario is the following: there is no doubt that Madeleine is dead, and her body is hidden somewhere in the area around Praia da Luz.

He praises the quality of the work carried out by the Portuguese authorities in trying to find the little girl alive. According to him, the time has come to redirect the searches in order to find, this time, a body hidden in the surrounding area.


Amaral suggests that Harrison is ONLY presenting one possibility, to the exclusion of all others, that Madeleine is dead, and hidden nearby.  Did he misunderstand what Harrison told him at that meeting, at which he presented the report we can read at the link above? Or is he just happy to twist the story to make it fit his narrative, as we have seen so many times before?

To reiterate, Harrison SAID '...address the possibility that she has been murdered
and concealed nearby. This would be a proportionate and appropriate
response given the elapsed time since her disappearance and previous
experience in similar cases'

and Amaral HEARD 'The most plausible scenario is the following: there
is no doubt that Madeleine is dead'

As an example of how he works, it's very revealing.

As for the notion that Harrison suggests that Madeleine died in the apartment, or that the parents are involved, well that is just forum embroidery, as even Amaral does not suggest that at this point.

By SV. 

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Lifting the Lid on Suspicion Without Foundation

One holidaying friend of the McCanns (whom I shan’t name) is the subject of scurrilous on-line innuendo and also the subject of statements made in the files. The allegations are serious enough; the evidence in support of them almost non-existent.

The power base of paedophiles is, of course, secrecy. Their secrecy is frequently blown. Were that not true, paedophiles would never be brought to book. But seldom, if ever, is the secrecy of a paedophile blown by (almost always!) him freely divulging in public what is personal, sordid and likely to land him in prison for a long time if known. Paedophiles are generally a bit more guarded than that.

In the light of what I’ve already said, try to imagine a man with sordid secrets sat at a table eating a meal with his wife, the parents of a small child of their own, and another couple, also, with small children of their own, and casually divulging those sordid secrets. You can’t? Neither can I, but that’s what the allegations against this man demand that we believe if we are to think them true. Another question: if you had heard (or witnessed) such damning revelations, would you have a crystal-clear recollection of what had occurred and report it immediately, or keep it to yourself and do nothing, until some, unrelated, event two years later? I suspect few of us would fall into the latter category.

Two years before the Praia da Luz holiday, this man and his wife and children with Dr Katrina and Aural Gasper, and Kate and Gerry, took a holiday in Majorca. While they were all sat at a table eating a meal, the Gaspar couple observed the man perform certain actions. If there was conversation accompanying these actions, Mrs Gaspar has vague and half-remembered recollections of what might have been said, while her husband has none. A point on which they are both agreed is that there was no discussion between them about what was observed. Neither was anything reported.

That’s the sum total of the ‘case’ against the man to whom I refer.

Yet in Mrs Gaspar’s statement there is a startling contradiction and a revelation that surely comes as a surprise given the nature of her suspicions. As indicated earlier, Mrs Gaspar says that she didn’t discuss what they saw. Her statement is without qualification and therefore (presumably) includes her husband who, in his statement, also says that they did not discuss the joint observation. The revelation is that this man assisted in the bathing of the children, including the Gaspars’ own daughter. Mrs Gaspar says that she gave a firm directive to her husband to keep a wary open when this man was bathing the children. Quite how she would have issued this directive having not discussed anything with her husband is a mystery. A further mystery is that, given her evident suspicions, she was willing to countenance him bathing, particularly their own daughter, at all. Mr Gaspar is much less suspicious in his assessment. While he felt the gestures they both witnessed to be inappropriate, he emphasizes that he trusted the man throughout the holiday, that he was popular with the children and (this observation apart) that his conduct aroused no suspicions in him whatever. He makes no reference to bathing, nor to this apparent directive from his wife. He also says that he and his wife continued to socialize with the man and his wife after the holiday.

What Amaral makes of these observations in his book is profoundly disturbing. In his rendering, he focuses exclusively (and inaccurately) on the statement of Mrs Gaspar, but describes it as a joint statement (which it isn’t). He says that Mrs Gaspar forbade this man to go anywhere near his daughter, which you, perhaps, might expect in the light of what she did say, but as I’ve indicated, she didn’t!

There is also some dispute about when the statements, made to Leicestershire police by the couple, were handed on to the Portuguese police. They were made about a fortnight after Madeleine went missing, but according to Amaral, were not passed on to the Portuguese police until after he had been dismissed from the case in October 2007. The actual date the statement was received is not recorded in the files, so we must take Amaral’s word.

Most alarmingly, Amaral says that these statements were very important and key to the progress of the investigation. He believes that the investigation was compromised by the apparent ‘failure’ to pass these statements on sooner. He even says that this man’s behaviour towards the children was ‘questionable’, an assertion not even Mrs Gaspar made.

You may have noted that throughout, I have deliberately avoided using the word incident. That is for the excellent reason that there wasn’t one. There was an observation. Actually, there were two, quite different, observations. If there were to be an investigation, the investigation would be carried out by the police force of the country where the observations were made – Majorca. But nothing was ever reported to the police force of Majorca.

At no point was there a question mark over this man’s behaviour in Praia da Luz on that fateful holiday. So how does Amaral believe that the investigation was hindered by these statements not being forwarded earlier?

We should be told.

By Honestbroker. 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Second Hand Goncalo

Goncalo’s account of the arrival of the UK liaison officers and their ‘dismissal’ by Kate

From two different translations of Amaral’s book, The Truth of the Lie, I have found on the net:

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.

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.

Alternative translation: 

After Madeleine's disappearance, the first English police officer whom we welcome to the Portimao Department of Criminal Investigation, on May 5th, is Glen Power, liaison officer to Portugal. The brief of this police official attached to his country's embassy is to facilitate communication between police forces.

Two days later, English colleagues begin to arrive. The main idea was for the English police to place at our disposal two specialists in family supervision and support to be the link between the Portuguese investigators and the McCanns. The National Directorate of the PJ had authorised the arrival of these police officers in the context of international collaboration. Bob Small, an officer from the Leicestershire police, and one of his colleagues meet us to take stock of the situation and evaluate the needs of the investigation before making contact with the couple.

We insist on knowing what our English counterparts have come to Portugal to do. I assign one of my investigators to follow the English superintendent like a shadow and to keep me informed about his actions. I want to be informed of everything he learns, the names of the people he meets and the places he goes to.

Then the two police officers arrive who are assigned to psychological support and communication with the family. 

On May 14th, Kate Healy is indignant about the attitude of the liaison officer, who asks her where her daughter is. Neither she nor her husband accepts anyone doubting their word. The officer will be sent packing - and his colleague too - a week after his arrival. 

Curiously, the English do not consider it expedient to disclose the incident and the PJ are not informed. Myself, I only learn of it indirectly. Finally, a solution is found quickly: the two men are replaced by a Portuguese man who speaks fluent English.

(This man I believe is Ricardo Paiva)

Ok, those are the two most common versions and they don’t differ very much.

My first question is – what was Bob Small? A liaison officer for the family or something more? Amaral seems vague about it. He confuses the liaison officers with others, and jumps about so much it’s hard to nail down who is supposed to be liaison officer and who isn’t.

However, from the files we learn: there are six people who give statements under the rogatories as having been liaison officers for the McCanns:

Eleanor Johnson
Caroline Burrows
Stephen Markley
Jim McGarvey
Neil Holden
Michael Graham

Only two of these, Markley and McGarvey, give a date for their arrival in PDL and they both speak of talking to the McCanns on May 5th!! This doesn’t seem to tie in at all with Goncalo’s timeline of their arrival.

He also admits he heard about the two that were ‘dismissed’ second hand. He also claims that the two who were supposedly sent packing were replaced by one Portuguese person who speaks very good English.

As Ricardo Paiva is referred to elsewhere as a liaison officer I can only think it is him, and indeed it is commonly assumed to be.

But he cannot possibly have replaced the UK officers’ liaison role, given that their aim was to act as a conduit between the forces and the McCanns and to offer ‘psychological support’. The very idea that Paiva can have done this is ridiculous.

The more I look at what GA has written the more I am convinced that:

1) Amaral was actually vague about what was going on. He’s confused about the role of different people and quite simply makes mistakes in his narrative.

2) There is no independent verification for the idea that Kate sent officers packing. Not even from those officers’ own statements.

3) The dates he gives for the arrival of the first liaison officers are simply wrong.

4) Paiva cannot have taken over as liaison officer in place of UK bodies, but Amaral may have taken an opportunity to insert him into the McCanns milieu in order to get information while posing as a sympathetic face; he then made up a story about how it came about in order to cover the fact he had done it.

I do think we need to account for the number of LOs listed in the Rogatories, as above. Presumably two people at any one time would have been sufficient, and this is what the two governments agreed. Seeing six might give the impression that he is right and that two were dismissed – however it’s very unlikely that the same two people would stay out there from May to September. Over four months is a long while for those living away from their families. I think they will have been periodically changed, or rotated.

In any eventuality NONE of them have a word to say about the McCanns causing them concerns over their culpability, in fact the two that give dates do so in order to report that Kate had volunteered that Madeleine had previously cried during the night. They do not to me sound at all hostile, and yet these are the two we KNOW were there from the beginning. If they were there on the 5th then it seems very likely to me that they are the original pair of LOs. And if they are the original pair, then they should also be the ones who were ‘dismissed’ no??

So we are left with an Amaral who admits he had all this second hand, who thinks that Paiva replaced English officers as psychological support (patently absurd), who cannot back up his second-hand allegations with anything resembling fact, and who admits, astonishingly, to having wasted one of his investigators on tailing British cops who had been sent over to help!

By Preciousramotswe

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Agenda and Strategy

What is very wrong here about Amaral writing his book and Bennett placing himself in the storm it creates, is that any democratic legal system would not allow its police force the capability to promote propaganda to force it's opinion of a given case upon the public after the prosecutor has given a legal conclusion and that case is not closed, just shelved. If that were to happen, what sort of justice system would that be? A failed institution, which in no way reflects democratic institutional justice. A broken legal system. For Amaral to make his voice heard, he had to resign from the force. He confirms in the introduction to his book that the force regulations would prevent him from speaking out. That would be resign to avoid breaking the judicial secrecy laws?. But does being outside the force make him any less guilty of breaking the institutional regulations? This is a point worthy of further investigation.

So, Amaral removed himself from the democratic system to allow himself to use propaganda in an attempt to force justice upon the McCanns. Justice by public trial, where his opinion is the prosecution and his book compounded by his network of support, the evidence.

That is not the conduct of a respectful law enforcement officer. To think himself above the institutional process of justice and to assume the right to bypass it. That is the most profound evidence of someone who is used to police power in the sense of the old school fascist system.

Amaral is empowered by his network of support, which from the start installed itself on websites questioning the McCanns, installed themselves on a blog supposedly as the voice of Portuguese journalism, installed themselves on every public viewable media site on the internet.

For this organised group of propaganda, the internet is the most powerful tool.

Why all such organisation to slate the McCanns? Amaral reveals the answer in his book. He has a profound lack of respect for the institution, the democratic institution. Perhaps the McCanns are expendable fodder that elevates his publicity. Perhaps this is fascist mischief throwing a spanner in the works of Portuguese democracy. No wonder a mischief maker in this country with National Front links has got on board. Right wing groups DO have a network across Europe, there to undermine democracy with the power of the internet.

I could be wrong of course, but the tools of right wing propaganda are definitely being used in this case. Misinformation, government involvement, CEOP involvement, inviting conspiracy loons to swell numbers in support, inviting those obsessed with neglect to swell numbers with the constant pressure on media to expose that misinformation as a balance.

The agenda is not confirmable.

The strategy IS.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Reflections on that Express Article

Here, we are really picking up where we left off with Amaral’s success in overturning the injunction on his book – but with an unexpected twist.   The first part of the script was predictable enough.  This egotist who tried to con us into the belief that he brow-beat Stuart Prior into phoning the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham and hectoring them on the subject of the Portuguese police’s powers of arrest came off the ropes brimming with bull and bravado.  He would sue the McCanns for loss of earnings from the unjust imposition of the injunction and, yes, the book would roll off the production-lines once more and be sold, including in Britain.
On the first point, all earnings from the book have remained in a frozen bank account and if – only if – Amaral wins the forthcoming libel trial, will be released to him.  On the second point, there is one way, alone, that he will get booksellers to take his book, in Britain, or arguably, anywhere else in the world, and that is if he revises and rewrites it to strip the present text of all libelous content.  Amaral is not stupid and must understand that.

Perhaps that is the background to the unexpected twist – this interview he gave to The Sunday Express.  For two, obvious reasons, we can dismiss suggestions that The Sunday Express faked the interview.  This paper, like all its sister papers from The Express stable, has been sued by the McCanns and the editor risks going to prison if he steps out of line with a story about the McCanns again.  So the paper will have been very careful to verify both the interview and the content of the story as accurate.   The second reason is, simply, that if the paper had made this up  Amaral would, already, have issued a swift and widely reported denial.  No such denial has been issued.

So what of the story?  It is claimed that  footage of a CCTV camera from the Estra da Luz Hotel, almost certain to have contained video image of a man seen carrying a child on the night, had been wiped before officers, on Amaral’s instructions, had recovered the footage.  A certain area of waste ground had been thoroughly searched by officers.  And, most startlingly of all, a gate of a disused (on May 3rd 2007, as now) villa had been open on the night.  This villa is on the route known to have been taken by the man seen by the Irish Smith family. 

The point has been verified, including by those with a DVD of the case files, that none of this information, apart from the Smith family sighting, is in released material.  That needn’t mean that it isn’t in what the Portuguese term the process as not everything in the process has been publicly released.  Indeed, even the McCanns have not seen everything.   But let’s assume that this information is in the process.  That would mean that in the writing of his book as it now stands Amaral, too, concealed information known to him at the time so that he could present a biased and misleading account pointing to the apparent culpability of the McCanns.  Remember that part of Amaral’s reasoning for his belief that Gerry concealed Madeleine’s body on the beach was that, as not a local man, he would have no local knowledge, and therefore the beach was the obvious place for him to hide a body.  Now, with this apparent revelation about the empty villa, he is invoking local knowledge and ruling out Gerry as the man the Smiths saw.  That analysis, if it’s true, lays Amaral bare as having produced a book, not only libelous and error-ridden, but also written with malicious intent. 
The other alternative is that this material isn’t in the process.  In that case, either the paperwork got lost, or Amaral is making it up as he goes along.  I can’t think of any other viable explanations, and of the options cited, the only one that seems remotely plausible to me is that the diligences are in the process, but just yet to surface.  Of course Almeida, as author of the interim report, if he was aware of this other information, must have been complicit, too. 

The first point is that Amaral’s initial book would be, not only a calumny even worse than first thought against the McCanns, but a scandal, not of Amaral’s making, that the McCanns have, to date, never been given this most vital piece of information.  Why not?  And why would Amaral, now, come out with this amended version that sets straight the record about the investigation on his watch?    All I can think is that all the senior PJ officers (including and especially Amaral) presiding over the case in late August and early September, when the Keela and Eddie/Martin Grime road show hit town were just bowled over and mesmerized.  Any sense of objectivity that had existed before was lost upon the sight of these canines in action.  So certain, more fruitful, developments and lines of enquiry, such as the disused villa, that might, more productively, have been pursued, were simply sidelined because (as Amaral and his fellow senior officers believed) the dogs had cracked the case.  Indeed, in one of his interviews, Amaral refers to the dog indications as ‘evidence’, ‘proving’ what had been suspected all along, that Kate and Gerry were guilty and had conducted a cover-up of their daughter’s death. 

Since then, everything has unraveled, which takes me back to my first two paragraphs.  Amaral knows that the cover is about to be blown on his own partial and distorted interpretation of events and there’s nothing he can do about it.  The libel trial will finally blow the lid.  So Amaral is cutting his losses and re-writing his book (it seems he has a Spanish publisher lined up) in a format that will be acceptable, even to retail outlets in Britain.  But if all the new effort amounts to is a tale of missed opportunity with CCTV footage, a disused villa with an open gate (that might have been used by a passing tramp!) but no other clues; and otherwise , a catalogue of other, fruitless, leads, then while the book will be non-libellous and saleable, it won’t exactly capture the collective imagination the way the first book did.  The first book, for its many-fold flaws of a badly and outright libelously told story, contained that one explosive ingredient everyone wanted to see – the McCannsdunit.  Its successor won’t.  And of course, the massive u-turn will lose the author still more credibility.  Therefore, even if very different from the online version people can now read free, it’s unlikely to sell, at least in great numbers.

Meanwhile, the McCanns will be left to rue yet more missed opportunities and failure, not just of Amaral, but of others, to pass on to them vital leads that just might have unlocked the mystery of what really happened to their loved and cherished daughter.  No doubt the McCanns, even now, would cheerfully give Amaral a mansion to live in for the rest of his life and a million euros, in exchange for that greatest prize of all – the return of Madeleine, safe and well, to make their family complete.  For them, nothing else really matters.  Nor should it.  Two giants, swimming in a sea and against a current of mediocrity duplicity and mean-minded, petty nastiness and vindictive power-struggles. 

By Honestbroker 

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The death of Forensics, Madeleine and hope. The dog’s don’t lie.

With a wealth of information that had been gathered, the investigation was lacking in evidence that would weight that information to make sense and invite the investigators to explore a possible answer as to where Madeleine had gone, armed with proof to justify concentrating on one thesis which would lead to finding the child.  The information needed direction, from proof, to construct a thesis that did not contradict all the information despite there being discrepancies as expected in any complex case. Sightings relying on memory and the pressures of remembering exactly an image that was not so important until the news of its significance. Why the dogs alerted, why in a vehicle hired weeks after Madeleine vanished and why in 5A.

The most considered opinions of what might have happened to Madeleine would be that she simply walked out of her apartment to a fate unknown. No crime. No body has been found in local searches and Madeleine is only known to wake up and get into Kate and Gerry’s bed at night. Some time before the holiday, Kate and Gerry had begun a star chart for Madeleine staying in her own bed. The chart was full of stars. By the time of the holiday, it was rare for Madeleine to wander into their bed. This theory was discounted in the final report.

The abduction theory is likely in that the criminal, or criminals, could perform their abduction without leaving much, if any, evidence. Abduction is a crime that would be completed before the fact of the crime was discovered. With the information available a theory is easily constructed. A planned abduction, reconnaissance of 5A noting the timing of checks applied by the family and friends. The time between the half hourly checks could easily have been utilized to enter the apartment, take the sleeping child, possibly drug her and away she is gone. The PJ considered this possibility but seemed to be of the opinion that Madeleine was taken through a window rather than through the door leading to the street. This was a major concern for them as it did not seem possible for an abductor to climb through a window with Madeleine. I have seen nothing in the files that show the PJ ever considered the window might have been opened to allow street lighting to illuminate the crime scene without switching internal lights on. Or the window could have been a vehicle of communication between the criminal inside 5A and an accomplice watching outside while the main door was the route of escape into the street at night and then simply gone in the time the child was noticed missing and the police could determine any action. A child could work out that possibility and it is a thesis that has been backed up by sightings.  It explains why the window was found open, why Jane saw the person carrying a child, around the time Madeleine had gone unbeknown to her. Abductors wearing gloves would explain the lack of fingerprints. A simple crime to execute with planning and timing.

Staying with the abduction theory. One must wonder, I certainly have, why Amaral made understanding this possibility as difficult as possible. Why insist on discounting this thesis on the basis of getting through a window which is too impractical as a route of escape. Why ignore the obvious? The door!! Why expect proof where none would be likely. Except by forensic analysis, perhaps.

The death and concealment theory, as explained by Goncalo in his book as what he strongly believes is the truth, is the other possibility considered. This theory would meet much more difficulty in my opinion to succeed. Madeleine would have died in the apartment, assumed by the investigators by accident, her death would have left much evidence which would have needed scrupulous cleaning, involved the friends as someone would have turned up to check on the children within half an hour, would have required hiding the body in a freezer to prevent decomposition. This storage would have been completely necessary to prevent the stench and physical evidence of a decomposing body. The body would have had to be stored away from the apartment to avoid detection from the inevitable police invasion expected after Amarals theory that an abduction theory was planned as fake to cover up the death.

OK, lets follow this train of thought. We now have a concealed body, transported and stored away from 5A in a locality unfamiliar except as a holiday resort. The information in the files up to now can be made sense of, to suggest a constructed fake abduction. All the information that would explain an actual abduction could be used to explain a fake abduction. But that now leaves the completion of successfully hiding the body extremely difficult as we all know the worlds media descended upon Praia da Luz and so did the Police. But Goncalo Amaral believes the body was transported from its place of storage weeks later in a vehicle hired by the McCanns to another place, yet to be found while the resort had become a media circus and under the spotlight of the whole world looking at and examining the family and watching their every move. 

So here we have the two main possibilities. The crime of abduction. An easily performed crime, pre planned low evidence due to the fundaments of the crime. Being successfully executed to completion before being detected, before the police were aware and before any media and police attention.

Then we have death and concealment. The death would have to be cloaked by cleaning and much planning would have to be completed to cover up such an elaborate plan  as concealing after cleaning, fabricating an abduction and confirming the support of each and every friend with them. Then they had to carry out that plan, find a hidden freezer, find a freezer in a location to hide the body or even perhaps  not use a freezer but somewhere very cold with the  assurance that a decomposing body would not be found. An extremely difficult, logistically and by sheer impossibility event to carry out successfully.

Yet the death thesis was the one being considered more possible simply because the abduction theory had a window too small to climb through and a lack of evidence. What is needed is proof!! Not likely to be found in an abduction unless the abductor was detected and Madeleine found by a conclusive sighting. But there could be proof of death. There would be DNA, blood, evidence of a cadaver in the apartment. There must be a science that could get proof of death and the confirmation of a death would discount the sheer difficulty of executing such a crime. After all we only need confirmation that Madeleine died in the apartment to get a likely conviction. Difficulty and  impossibility would not even be a factor if the death could be proved.

The scientific tool to provide proof is forensics. The detection of people in the apartment provided by DNA samples taken at the scene of the disappearance. This could be valuable to detect unknown people in the apartment confirmed or disproved by forensic analysis. Matched to confirmed known people and possibly matched DNA of known criminals. Then we have the Dogs, Extremely well trained and successful dogs that could detect blood and cadaver to be eliminated or confirmed by forensic analysis.

The forensic results of the DNA showed that the collected data was too confused to confirm an unknown person. The forensic results of the blood and cadaver was too confusing to confirm Madeleine was detected let alone a dead Madeleine. The forensic results could not confirm a death or the presence of Madeleine.

Yet I wonder as to why Amaral considers the results as confirmation of death. Could it be he did not understand that forensics might find no confirmation of a death? He uses the 15 markers found that were in Madeleines profile and also in several other peoples profiles as being specific to Madeleine and that was enough for his own interpretation of the forensics to confirm proof. He even suggests that LCN data is not strong enough for a forensic analysis and that leads him to believe that the forensic result is of little value but the dog alerts confirm death. That is not justice for the facts or respect for the recognised process of scientific analysis. It is for the forensic scientists to confirm what the dogs found. Not Amaral!!.

I wonder why he devalued the possibility of abduction so easily when it was a relatively simple crime to commit and perfectly made sense of information recorded in the files. Instead choosing to follow the thesis of an infinitely more difficult possibility which needed, by his own earlier determination, the requirement of conclusive proof provided by forensics analysis. The analysis which he de valued and reconsidered as not necessary all of a sudden, after the analysis came through. Replaced by his personal escalation of the dogs alerts to interprete the confirmation and proof status, interpreting the forensic factor of which even Grime, the dog handler insists is necessary, by insisting 15 markers belong to Madeleine, that they are specific to Madeleine. That is just not true!! The information recorded in the files could be used to make sense of death as much as it could be used to make sense of abduction. But in this scenario a very negative view of the McCanns had to be insinuated as well to justify further the Amaral thesis. Everything had to be shown to suggest the McCanns had a motive. Not only has he chosen the most difficult crime to execute and difficult to reasonably suggest a motive for, out of the valid possibilities without forensic confirmation. He even ignored Stuart Priors growing nervousness at accepting the forensic results being conclusive. Amaral wondered why Stuart became nervous and seemed to think the British police involved were backing off the death thesis for a reason other than the obvious. That there was no conclusive proof. 

Amaral ended up criticising the British police which resulted in his expulsion from the case. Still pushing death without proof as if he must not be proved wrong. Perhaps his belief that the media criticised his competence, made him obsessed at wanting to be right as he usually is by one method or another. Maybe he just relied upon the dogs being confirmed as having found Madeleine and death as a high possibility and could not accept that they don’t automatically prove death. He could not contemplate going over the investigation again, if no proof of death or Madeleine could be concluded, knowing he would not have anything to tie it up and give closure, give him success, give him credibility when abduction would be probably, from experience worldwide, a protracted and cold case to investigate.

Goncalo is a man used to getting a result. Even if convincing everyone that forensics can be ignored, for personal interpretation, if the Dogs alert and he can show the McCanns in a bad light. He could not convince the prosecutor and he cannot convince those seeking righteous justice for Madeleine, that proof which could end hope of finding a missing child alive is just not good enough if the forensic analysis interpretation is then interpreted by Amaral without regard for the truth or the actual fact and that fact then ignored completely.

Not only does Goncalo Amaral sell the death of Madeleine. He sells the death of forensics related to CSI dogs, the death of justice within the case of a missing child, the death of the good name of the innocent parents and the death of hope that Madeleine could be found alive.

There is more than one victim created in Amaral’s investigation. There is more than one question as to why he is so determined without proof to follow one theory. His only defence is that dogs can't tell lies.

They cannot tell the truth either. This is why they must be used as a part of a team which must include forensic scientists.

Sign the petition here. Madeleine McCann Case Review

Related Link Questions arising from the investigation

Related Link Motive, means, opportunity, and indicative character history


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

That El Mundo Interview – Why did Amaral Lie?

Here are the exchanges at issue:

Q – It was said that Kate was very cold. But I've seen her cry.

A - So did I. She is not cold. There was a moment, in a meeting with them, when we set out the sofa theory [that Madeleine fell off it and died]. Kate puts her head down, looking distant, and, after a few seconds, she looked up again as if nothing had happened. She looked like she was escaping from the role that she was interpreting.

Q - When you raised the hypothesis that the girl might have died after falling off the sofa, did Kate McCann answer?

A - She did not answer, she just dropped her head for a moment, as if she was about to faint. She had an emotional collapse that lasted just a moment.

Now, here is what Amaral himself has to say about imposition of the arguido status in chapter 19 of his book:


In Portugal, the criminal process is comprised of three phases: the investigation, the instruction and the trial. Under the direction and control of the Public Minister, the investigation is led by the criminal police, who enjoy total practical and tactical independence. The police officers may make a declaration of arguido status as they think fit. This status confers on a suspect a set of rights and responsibilities. One of the fundamental principles of our code of criminal procedure is that of non-self-incrimination: it is illegal for information given by a witness to later be used against him and to implicate him in a crime. The right of silence, therefore, allows him to avoid giving incriminating details. But the status heaps opprobrium on those who become arguido, in spite of the principle of presumption of innocence. 

The BBC helpfully interviewed a Portuguese lawyer on the Arguido process, and here is what he had to say: 

 How is arguido status given and what does it mean?
Under Portuguese law either the police or a person being questioned can request that they be formally named as a suspect, a process called arguido.
Artur Rego, a Portuguese lawyer, told BBC News: "Arguido is the person who has been accused of being the perpetrator.
"This is just an accusation made exactly at the end of the investigation."
A person can ask for arguido status if they feel the line of questioning is implying that they are a suspect. This gives them more rights than a witness would have.

What rights does an arguido have?
Arguido status gives a range of legal protections, such as the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer during questioning.
Mr Rego said: "Sometimes when they [the police] suspect someone, they call that person in as a witness.
"They don't constitute him as arguido and they extract as much information from him as they can, because as a witness he cannot refuse to collaborate with the police.
"Now the moment he is constituted as arguido, as the defendant, then he can not only refuse to answer questions because they can incriminate him, but also he has the right to be accompanied in the questionings by his own solicitor."
Once someone is an arguido they can be arrested, but only if there is sufficient evidence.

What action can the courts take against an arguido?
The police can use their powers to bring the suspect before a judge to ask for restrictions to be imposed on their movements.
If they do, they could be banned from leaving their house or the area, or held in custody while the case continues.
In this case, the suspect is not subject to a judge's order, but has signed an identity and residence statement.
It prevents the person moving house or leaving the country. If they stay anywhere other than their given place of residence for more than five days they have to notify police.

The key point from both these descriptions is that there are not the same protections for informal witnesses (as the McCanns were before being made arguidos) as for Arguidos. Informal witnesses must answer all questions put to them and have no right to ask for a lawyer. But the balance is that neither can informal witnesses be asked leading or incriminating questions.

Note that Amaral describes this exchange with Kate as a meeting, not an interrogation, nor even an interview. Note, also, that Amaral says Kate did not reply. On two grounds, then, we can rule out that this was before the McCanns were made arguidos. As an informal witness Kate would not have been allowed to refuse to reply. And to an informal witness, the PJ would have been prohibited by law from putting such a leading or incriminating question.

As arguida, we all know about the famous 48 questions Kate refused to answer. A question about ‘the sofa theory’ wasn’t one. Was there a 49th?

The further point is that Amaral seems to describe something that would surely, only, be noticed from personal and first-hand observation of actually being present. Amaral never personally and directly interviewed the McCanns.

So why did Amaral lie?


By Honestbroker



Frozen Cadaver Remains?

In an interview to Correia da Manha in July 2008, Amaral said this in reply to a question about how he believed Madeleine’s remains were preserved in the period between Madeleine’s disappearance and the McCanns hiring a car some 3 weeks later:

"The cadaver was frozen"

Correio da Manhã - What do you think happened to the body?

Gonçalo Amaral – Everything indicated that the body, after having been at a certain location, was moved into another location by car, twenty something days later. With the residues that were found inside the car, the little girl had to have been transported inside it.

How can you state that?

Due to the type of fluid, we policemen, experts, say that the cadaver was frozen or preserved in the cold and when placed into the car boot, with the heat at that time [of the year], part of the ice melted. On a curb, for example, something fell from the trunk's right side, above the wheel. It may be said that this is speculation, but it's the only way to explain what happened there.

There are a couple of reasons to raise an eyebrow, here. The first is that this harks back to the ill-starred Cipriano case where, again, a little girl was reported missing, on that occasion, by her mother and uncle, and the case ended in the conviction of the woman Leonor and her brother Joao for the murder of the little girl, whose body was never found. In that case, it was found as ‘proved’ that the body of the little girl, Joana, had been stored in a freezer. Extraordinarily, even though Portugal has a perfectly good forensic laboratory, neither the refrigerator nor other items that might have yielded useful forensic results were ever forensically examined in that case.

In the case of Madeleine’s disappearance, forensic laboratories of both Britain and Portugal were used, Britain’s much more extensively, and if forensic evidence of a frozen cadaver were present, one might have expected John Lowe, at the British Forensic Service, who wrote the full and final FSS report of forensic analysis of materials delivered to their forensic laboratories, to have noticed. But scrutinise his report as I have, I can find no reference.

Amaral is right about one thing though. For his extraordinary theory of how the McCanns are supposed to have performed this stunt of disposing of Madeleine’s remains to be true, some sort of preservation of a body in refrigerator must have been involved. But which fridge? At least he had the answer to that question sorted in the Cipriano case. He tells us he was still working on it at the point in the Madeleine investigation when he was peremptorily removed. The sense of deja vu, here, is troubling ...

By Honestbroker.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Eddie the Infallible?

It is widely put about, certainly in on-line circles, that in all the cases Eddie has ever been involved in, he has never made a mistake or given a false reading. I confess that I thought Amaral had repeated that claim in his book, but having looked for the reference in what I thought were the relevant chapters, I can’t now find it. One thing is for sure. The Dog’s handler, Martin Grime, has never claimed that, but has said something rather different which has been corrupted by others to ‘Eddie has never been wrong’. In fact, what Grime said was that in over 200 missions, Eddie has never once alerted to ‘road kill’ (ie the cadaver scent of a dead, wild, animal) and never once alerted to any meat product. Particularly given that Eddie was trained, in part, on swine cadaver scent and that Grime also says Eddie can’t tell the difference between it and human cadaver scent, the second point is, perhaps, a surprise. But we’ll let that go.

Other points made by Grime about Eddie don’t seem to reconcile themselves easily or readily. In part of an answer to a question put to him during his rogatory interview, Grime said this, about both dogs, Keela and Eddie:
They only give an alert when they are 'positive' that the target of the odour is present and immediately accessible. If they had any doubts they would not give an alert. EVRD [Eddie] gives an alert by means of a vocal bark.

The search of the clothing was actually carried out twice. From the first search, in the villa the McCanns rented after vacating apartment 5a this, remarkable, comment was made:
Following the search effected at Rua das Flores, 27, during which certain items were seized, this present inspection was performed, in a place appropriated for its purpose, attempting to identify particular pieces of clothing possibly indicated by the dogs, namely Eddy [that] indicates cadaver odours and kela [that] indicates blood odours.

Possibly indicated? Grime has already told us that Eddie is always certain. Either he indicates or he doesn’t. Amaral says in his book that the villa was not regarded as clean enough for the search that was conducted in the villa. Yet, in Grime’s profile of cases where Eddie was successfully deployed is one of one Attracta Harron, where Eddie detected a death scent from the burnt-out wreckage of a vehicle:


A missing person, last seen returning from church, on foot, in N. Ireland.
A missing person search did not reveal her whereabouts.
The search of a suspect's 'totally burnt out vehicle' by forensic scientists did not reveal any evidence.
A 'one minute' search by the EVRD identified a position in the rear passenger footwell where the dog alerted to the presence of human material.

A sample was taken and when analysed revealed the victim's DNA.
The enquiry then concentrated its efforts on the suspect and the EVRD located the body of the woman in a river bank deposition site.

Indeed, Grime also says that in training, Eddie once identified a segment of pig meat that had been doused in petrol, then incinerated.

Yet, in Rua da Flores, Eddie, apparently, gave ambiguous signals that needed to be re-tested. When everything was taken up, transferred to a ‘municipal pavillion’ (gymnasium?) and laid out for Eddie to inspect afresh, he certainly barked. But the indication that he signalled specific items of clothing (two of Kate’s and one item of either of the twin’s) was not his trained reaction of a bark, but his untrained reaction of picking these items up in his mouth. That was not merely untrained, but also deleterious in that the job of a forensic team attending a crime scene is to identify items of potential forensic interest and pass them on to the forensic laboratories in a state as closely preserved as possible to the state they were in when first found. That that imperative was taken no less seriously at Praia da Luz, even though the search was 3 months after Madeleine disappeared, can be in no doubt. The procedure of lifting fixtures and fittings from apartment 5a was filmed so that the scientists at the FSS in Birmingham could have confidence that best practice was followed.

Of course, the one positive alert Eddie gave in the villa was, apparently (and recorded as definite), to the ‘cuddlecat’ toy. But here, too, there is ambiguity. As clearly seen on film, on his first encounter with the toy, he sniffed it, picked it up, played with it, did everything except bark. Then the toy was hidden in a cupboard and the dog barked. He was officially recorded as having reacted to the scent of the toy hidden in the cupboard. But why could he not detect that scent of which he is, apparently, so certain on his initial encounter with the toy?

The final mystery is why things Eddie was officially recorded as having detected were never sent to the forensic laboratory for testing. We know, about Cuddle Cat, that Grime recommended it be forwarded – and was clearly under the impression that it had been, because he said that he was not aware of any the results of any forensic tests on the toy. Yet close scrutiny of John Lowe’s report reveals no reference to any of these items Eddie, apparently, reacted to.

Why not?

This question, put to Martin Grime during his rogatory interview, is, perhaps indicative of Rebelo’s assessment of the dogs’ performance in PdL

"Can you confirm if the signal given regarding the stuffed toy corresponds to a concrete alert of detection of a cadaver, or a mere trick played by the dog''

[Grime]The dogs were not taught any 'tricks'. EVRD 'signalled' the toy, which at my request was retained by the Judicial Police for future forensic analysis. I have no knowledge of the results of any forensic analysis on the toy.

Grime also refers to the phenomenon of ‘cross-contamination’, whereby items with a scent will transfer that scent to other items they are in close contact with. All the items of clothing Eddie reacted to came from the same container, yet he only picked up 3.

Another fallacy worth laying to rest, one advanced in Amaral’s book, is that where Keela (who detects blood) and Eddie react together, the presence of a cadaver is signalled. Since both dogs react to the scent of human blood, competing explanations of blood or cadaver scent are offered where reactions coincide.

The reactions of the dogs is pretty much all those who insist Madeleine is dead and the McCanns know it have. It is paper thin.

By Honestbroker.

Amaral Concludes. If the laboratory results are positive, and only in that case, we will have our proof.

In his own book. Amaral gives the conditions he and his collegues set to determine proof. Lets examine the statements he has made before the forensics analysis.

Source, Truth of the Lie.

English and Portuguese police get together to analyse the results of Eddie and Keela's searches.

- What we can deduce at this stage is that only the McCanns are implicated. The dogs did not detect blood or cadaver odour other than with them.

- From now on we have the certainty that there was a body behind the sofa before being taken into the parents' bedroom.

- If the blood found behind the sofa is that of the little girl, we can assume that she died there.

- That could explain why the sofa was pushed up against the curtains.

- In Madeleine's bedroom and on her bed, there was no cadaver odour.

- On the other hand, the odour on the soft toy indicates that she was holding it when she died....

These conclusions do not, for the moment, constitute proof. If the laboratory results are positive, and only in that case, we will have our proof.

The final statement made by Amaral is the most profound and alarming!!

"These conclusions do not, for the moment, constitute proof. If the laboratory results are positive, and only in that case, we will have our proof "

The results were NOT positive and therefore you have NO proof Sr Amaral. By your own conditions you have no proof of death and that single statement you made yourself confirms that your thesis is undermined completely and you undermined it yourself!!

Forensic scientist, John Lowe of the FSS concluded the following regarding the results of what the dog's indicated.:

What we need to consider, as scientists, is whether the match is genuine and legitimate; because Madeline has deposited DNA as a result of being in the car or whether Madeline merely appears to match the result by chance. The individual components in Madeline's profile are not unique to her, it is the specific combination of 19 components that makes her profile unique above all others. Elements of Madeline's profile are also present within the the profiles of many of the scientists here in Birmingham, myself included. It's important to stress that 50% of Madeline's profile will be shared with each parent. It is not possible, in a mixture of more than two people, to determine or evaluate which specific DNA components pair with each other. Namely, we cannot separate the components out into 3 individual DNA profiles.

Therefore, we cannot answer the question: is the match genuine or is a chance match.

The same applies to any result that is quoted as being too complex for meaningful inclusion/interpretation

What questions will we never be able to answer with LCN DNA profiling?

When was the DNA deposited?
How was the DNA deposited?
What body fluid(s) does the DNA originate from?
Was a crime committed?

The laboratory results were not conclusive and therefore there is NO proof of death, let alone a match to Madeleine in the dogs alerts.