Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Kate and Gerry McCann – clarification on the news published based on Wikileaks’ referrals

Click here for source.

Gerry and Kate McCann sent a statement to the Portuguese media after Wikileaks published “news” last week about the investigation. Below is the statement:

“The speculations that have been published about our daughter’s disappearance as referred to on WikiLeaks forces us to take the following position:
WikiLeaks website has published a summary of an alleged telegram exchanged between USA and UK Ambassadors. This summary does not contain any new or relevant facts that will lead us to the discovery of what happened to our daughter.
If the mentioned telegram does exist, its content only tells that the British Police developed in September 2007 (we believe that to be the date of the correspondence exchange) information regarding our responsibility in the disappearance of our daughter.
We recall that on that date the team coordinated by Gonçalo Amaral was still investigating the case, having produced a report incriminating both of us. That report was not supported by evidences that validated his allegations so due to the absence of any incriminating evidence about us, the case was filed after eight months of further investigation.
Presumably, if any correspondence summarized by WikiLeaks does exist, it is based on the circumstances that arose in the investigation at that time since we do not know that there has been any further investigation besides the one that we all know about – and in the process there isn’t any information to the contrary.
Once again, the ex-inspector Gonçalo Amaral has seized the opening given by the Portuguese media for his thesis, producing deeply hurtful insinuations and citing the investigations’ defects. Defects in the investigation that he coordinated and which didn’t achieve any useful results for our daughter.
These speculations are periodically brought to public opinion by that former employee of the PJ, accompanied by threats to reopen the case on his own initiative.
When he claims publicly that he knows what is still to be done on the investigation and if “what is still to be done” is the investigation of facts, documents, data or real and concrete information that lead to Madeleine’s whereabouts, discovery or even the reason for her disappearance, he has the obligation to present it for the procedure to reopen the investigation, in which we are most interested.
We are aware that Madeleine’s disappearance is an inexhaustible source of enrichment to Gonçalo Amaral by means of false accusations, deeply offensive and harmful to the investigation itself, so we appeal to journalists’ critical sense to sort out what is journalistic information and what is speculation, surgically oriented, to obtain easy profits.

15th December 2010

Kate and Gerry McCann”

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The forthcoming libel trial: Is Amaral playing Russian Roulette?

By Honestbroker.

Not necessarily. But Amaral’s options in defending the action are strictly limited. One crazy and bizarre idea floated is that an on-line site which bears Gerry’s name, gerrymccannsblog, might actually be something to do with the McCanns. The site itself carries a disclaimer making plain that isn’t true. So what else? Unequivocal statements in the text are hedged with prefaces of equivocation, which might be cited as turning what is written into ‘opinion’ and thus saving it from being libelous. If Amaral is relying on this, then, as someone (we are told) himself legally trained, he should know better.

A statement such as: Gerry probably hid Madeleine’s body on the beach mixes opinion with (at least assertion) of fact, and unless the person who made that statement can prove that Gerry hid Madeleine’s body on the beach (no one can!) the statement is libelous.

There is a defence of opinion in libel. But the legal definition of ‘opinion’ is widely misunderstood. In law, a statement stripped of testable fact is opinion. Straight insult would be ‘opinion’. No court could objectively test the extent of a person’s ‘idiocy’, so to call someone an ‘idiot’ would be opinion, not libel. Prefaces such as ‘in my opinion’ or ‘I think that’ do not turn libelous statements into non-libelous ones.

In the wake of these wikileak releases, Amaral has taken to discussing publicly the Gaspar statements, and their subject, a man I shall continue not to name. Amaral appears to think that the Gaspar statements are an example of the way in which the British police ‘developed’ the case.

Could Amaral be insinuating that he will introduce such considerations into the libel trial? On the face of it, he would be insane to try. True that the most effective defence to a charge of libel is ‘justification’ (the assertion that what you say is true and therefore cannot be libelous). But in Britain certainly, probably in Portugal too, it is also the most dangerous because, if a judge finds that a statement thus defended is, indeed, libelous, he will punish the defendant all the more severely for compounding the libel.

Let’s be clear. What the Gaspars said was not libelous because they never shared it with anyone other than Leicestershire police. But if they had published what they shared, to a newspaper, or even on an internet messageboard or blog, it assuredly would have been libelous – and all those, including and especially, Goncalo Amaral – who have published or salaciously interpreted Mrs Gaspar’s statement in particular, are guilty of libel. Of course, Amaral has put his thoughts into a book, sold in several countries of Europe.

I have brushed on the point in an earlier piece, but will expand here. Amaral described the Gaspars’ (individual) statements as ‘joint’. I don’t think he should be allowed to get away with pleading mere incompetence or ignorance, here. As, formerly, a senior inspector and coordinator of the Portuguese police force (the PJ) Amaral will know that the standard practice of the PJ is to take individual statements. Each statement taken before the McCanns were declared arguidos was individual. The McCanns’ arguido interviews were taken individually. Martin Smith and his son, Peter, and daughter, Aoife, were all interviewed individually about the sighting of the man they saw. The UK police, like the Portuguese, take individual statements. Indeed, I dare say that police forces around the world take individual statements. The point is crucial because Mrs Gaspar’s statement and her husband’s could scarcely be more different. While hers casts this man in a very pejorative light, his, in parts, could almost be a favourable character-reference.

But while Mrs Gaspar’s statement is largely conjectural and, on details of times, places and what was said, vague, speculative and indistinct, Amaral says this in his book:

It is all the more surprising that [name deleted], who had planned the trip to Majorca - of whom it was known that his behaviour towards the children was, to say the least, questionable...

That is Amaral’s accusation and his alone. His purpose is surely plain. He wants to sully the name of this man by fraudulently misrepresenting individual statements as ‘joint’. That is beneath contempt.

So will Amaral play Russian Roulette by introducing libel to a libel trial? On the face of it, you might think not, and we must hope he doesn’t. But closer analysis needn’t rule out the prospect that he will try. As Vee has expertly dissected in an earlier piece, Amaral is deep in debt. The McCanns can seize the proceeds from the sale of the book frozen in the bank account and assets such as the Jaguar car, which can be converted to cash. All those are for the taking and assured after the McCanns (as they will!) have won the libel trial. But you can’t take from a person what he hasn’t got. The judges will have no flexibility to punish him any harder than to award the McCanns the proceeds and assets of Amaral’s ill-gotten gains from the book and the video. So Amaral might well view it that, with nothing to lose that is not already lost in a ‘cause’ (the libel trial) the McCanns are sure to win, the vendetta he began against the McCanns from roughly the time he ignored the wiser counsel of Stuart Prior that the forensic evidence in the case was not incriminating, and continued with his book and interviews insinuating that the McCanns were responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance and for orchestrating a cover-up, is worth continuing, right up to the point of the libel trial itself.

The other hope is that if Amaral tries to pull such a stunt, the judges will rule the ‘evidence’ inadmissible.

But Amaral is a scheming, calculating, vindictive and vengeful man who, seemingly, will stop at nothing to get back at those who challenge or confront him, even over something as essential and vital as a missing little girl whose best chances of being found alive he might, actually, have squandered.

In defence of his ‘honour’, Amaral will descend to any extreme to hit back at anyone he considers (however erroneously) to have besmirched it.

By Honestbroker.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Message from the Official Campaign.

By Official Find Madeleine Campaign on Friday, December 17, 2010 at 8:27pm
(With my own highlighting added.)

This month marks our fourth Christmas without Madeleine. We hope with all our hearts that wherever she is, she is safe and well and whoever may be with her is treating her with the love and respect she so deserves.

We would like to thank all our supporters for 'staying at our side' in spite of the injustices that we continue to be subjected to. Madeleine is the person who suffers most from all of this injustice. It is this fact alone which causes us the most distress. It is absolutely heart-breaking.

The Wikileaks 'news' this week has led to the repetition of many unfounded allegations and smears both in the UK and in Portugal in particular. This has been seized on as an opportunity by those who wish to compound our suffering and hamper our efforts, including the very person who was entrusted with finding our daughter. Those who could help Madeleine but choose to do nothing are also complicit in this injustice. Without the love and help from so many good people around the world we would not be able to find the strength to continue the fight to find our daughter.

Thank you to all those who have signed our petition calling on the UK and Portuguese Governments to conduct an independent review of Madeleine's case. The petition is still on-going. If you haven't signed and would like to further the search for Madeleine, please sign our on-line petition or sign a paper petition form. The latter can be downloaded from the website and distributed to shops, post-offices etc. and returned to us.

Along with our family, we would like to thank everyone who has sent us Christmas cards, letters, donations and gifts at this difficult time of year. It is impossible to find enough positive words to describe such kindness or the hugely important and heart-warming effect it has on us. Without any doubt, it helps us immensely and we are incredibly grateful.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a very happy, healthy and positive 2011. Please remember to spare a thought and a prayer for all the children who will not be with their families this Christmas.

Thank you.

Kate and Gerry

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Gasper statements, an addendum

Concern has been expressed about certain observations I made about Mrs. Gasper’s statement in particular in my last piece on this subject. I’ve thought deeply about those observations and I concede they have merit.

The Gaspars made their statements in good faith and they believed, and should have been right to believe, they were made in confidence, to Leicestershire police. They surely never imagined the statements would escape the confines of UK or Portuguese police. But events they were powerless to stop ensued and now those statements are on the net. The argument runs that, therefore, it is not fair to critically analyze what they said and of course it isn’t. But closed barn doors and bolted horses; the internet is now awash with salacious interpretation of Mrs. Gaspar’s statement in particular.

Two things are certain. As I hope I made clear in my first piece, neither Gaspar made any direct allegations. And even if, for reasons they have no cause to reproach themselves for at all, they now regret it, they were wholly justified in confiding what they did. I’d go further. If a third witness had made credible direct allegations, the Gaspar statements, conceivably, might have added weight to the statements of this third witness. But of course there is no third witness. And I think it fair to speculate that the Gaspars themselves would have recoiled in horror from Amaral’s suggestion that an alleged delay by Leicestershire police (whether or not there was such a delay) in passing on their statements might have compromised the investigation. It’s clear that the Gaspars only ever intended what they shared to be background information, not a catalyst for direct action.

In raising the the questions I did in my first piece my intention was not, particularly, to challenge Mrs Gaspar. There might very well be good answers to my points not reflecting at all pejoratively on Mrs Gaspar. My intention was to confront the purveyors of those salacious thoughts, to make them realize how misguided, fallacious and erroneous their opinions are. There is, after all, the reputation of the man who is the subject of this online speculation to consider as well. It has been traduced and the Gaspars are blameless for that.

Perhaps my hope is a forlorn one. But I hope not.
Mrs. Gaspar was an honourable witness.

By Honestbroker.

Addendum by Vee8

I wish to add a thought of my own here. My opinion of Honestbroker’s first piece on the Gaspar statements was that it was perfectly clear and straightforward. He made valid points that, a.) Amaral had clearly lied in his book about what was said in the statements, and that b.) the statements themselves had been distorted and twisted until they were used to besmirch the reputations of several people unjustly.

That Honestbroker feels the need to clarify himself, and point out in clear and unequivocal terms that he did not intend to add to any stress or anxiety felt by Mrs. Gaspar in particular shows he is truly a man of great honesty and integrity. If only those that warp and distort the facts of this case to suit their own agenda had a fraction of this integrity perhaps we would not have had to start this blog in the first place.

By Vee8

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Wiki Man

Amaral and his organised supporters awaited the recent Wikileaks with gleeful anticipation in that new evidence would be revealed to confirm Goncalo being exonerated for alleged incompetence and perhaps provide support for his conspiracy theory that the case was snuffed out by institutional interference and not for the simple fact that there is no proof to indicate a suspect or crime.

The leaked communication from Britain's ambassador to Portugal, Alexander Wykeham Ellis, reportedly made claim to his American counterpart on September 21, 2007 - two weeks after Portuguese police named Gerry and Kate McCann as "arguidos", or formal suspects, in the case.

That claim is, British police helped to "develop evidence" against Madeleine McCann's parents as they were investigated by Portuguese police as formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter, the US ambassador to Portugal was told by his British counterpart in September 2007.

Ok, lets examine this. Two weeks after the couple were made arguidos, Amaral’s team had gathered evidence with the co-operation of the UK police. We all know that Amaral claimed they helped in his book. The pivotal point of the use of that evidence is when the forensic results came through confirming the information is not positive material proof.

A spokesman for the McCanns responded:

"This is an entirely historic note that is more than three years old. Subsequently, Kate and Gerry had their arguido status lifted, with the Portuguese authorities making it perfectly clear that there was absolutely no evidence to implicate them in Madeleine's disappearance whatsoever.

"To this day, they continue to work tirelessly on the search for their daughter, co-operating when appropriate with both the Portuguese and British authorities."

The above comment being a true interpretation of the leaks, as anyone with common sense will understand.

Yet, the leaks are being used as a stepping stone of publicity for the conspiracy theorist. Amaral was quick to take an interview regarding the Wikileaks. A few interesting points become illuminated.

Amaral is quick to point out that the leaks tell us nothing new regarding what is already in the public domain, the process reflected in the case files. But he wasted no time to twist the information to suggest there is possibly hidden evidence and that possibly being withheld from his team by the British police.

From Pedro Mourinho (P.M.) - SIC Notícias Anchor (Portuguese 24/7 News Channel)
Gonçalo Amaral (G.A.) - the former Judiciary Police inspector, coordinator of the Madeleine McCann investigation until October, 2007

P.M. - Is there any novelty for you in the documents now released by Wikileaks?

G.A. - No, in reality the only news is the document disclosure itself, since as for the evidence, the indicia, they are on the process. The cooperation and collaboration with the English police is public knowledge, and is on the process. The results are there, therefore there isn't anything new.

Then he inferred that there might be some hidden evidence and the British police should confirm it.

P.M. - So, for you it isn't news that it was the British police that found the evidence that have, would have incriminated Madeleine's parents?

G.A. - No, I didn't say that. It's not news as regarding to the evidence, now as to the proofs held by the British police I don't know what are they referencing to. There was a cooperation and collaboration, the evidence and indicia are in the process thus...I don't know, someone should say what the evidence are, perhaps someone from the British police should say it. All the same, it was a cooperation between the British and Portuguese police that has arrived to the proofs that are in the process.

Not only does Goncalo infer that there might be evidence which the British police had gathered, independently of the PJ. Which in itself is a subtle accusation that the UK police were on a separate mission, part of the alleged conspiracy perhaps? But Goncalo also states that it was cooperation between the UK and PJ police that had arrived at the proofs in the investigation. I understand his use of the word ‘proofs' as being evidence. This is interesting as Amaral writes in his book that the English police backed off at the time when the FSS results came through. It is clear to anyone with any sense that they backed off with the forensic confirmation that the ‘proofs’ were not positive and therefore the evidence was no longer valid.

Goncalo forgets, or ignores, the investigation changed at that point forensics confirmed no positive back up. There is no material proof of death. The Wikileak is a snapshot of what was occurring before that pivotal point in the case. Goncalo prefers to think that his truth is being covered up by conspiracy rather than his truth was proved redundant.

So where are we now with Goncalo? Following his publicity about the CCTV camera, near a disused villa in the Estrela da Luz resort hotel, having being wiped, with the suggestion evidence of the man seen carrying Madeleine by Martin Smiths family was wiped with it. Amaral now suggests the Wikileaks are yet to reveal satellite pictures of that very man as well. There is no evidence that those pictures exist. But Amaral will ensure that they now exist in the minds of his gullible supporters, just like the missing CCTV pictures and the positive evidence of death have been installed in the mindset of those who would prefer Madeleine be dead, through their prejudice, than to keep hope alive for her.

What is more profound is that Amaral states in his book that the English police backed off from the investigation after the point where his 'proof' was undermined and ignores that statement he made in his interview about the Wikileaks, to proclaim that the British police cooperated to arrive at his proof!!.

Misinformation?, a lie? Spin? waxing his conspiracy theory?, Definitely not the truth!


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Martin Smith – Amaral’s Trump Card? Or Joker in the Pack?

 We come back to this from the El Mundo interview:

This is what we were investigating when I was dismissed from the case. I want to recall that there is an Irish man who claimed to have seen Gerry McCann with a girl in his arms, on his way towards the beach that same night. That testimony has been hidden. The dogs specialised in finding traces of blood and odour of cadaver, found both on the wall of the apartment and in the boot of the car that the McCanns rented 23 days later.

The testimony wasn't hidden and is in the files. That and the other testimonies bear close scrutiny.  On the night of May 3rd, remembered with some precision as at around 2200 because certain members of their large party had to catch an early flight back to Ireland the following morning, as they were returning to their apartments, they spotted a man, carrying a child described as wearing light coloured  (Mr Smith), or pink (his daughter Aoife) pyjamas.  The three agreed, with varying degrees of conviction, that the child could have been Madeleine.

After the party's return to Ireland, when news of Madeleine’s disappearance had broken, the Smiths recalled that sighting and three of their party, Mr Smith, Aoife his daughter and Mr Smith's son, Peter, returned to Portugal to give statements to the Portuguese police.

A key point to note, here, is that at the point of their return, Robert Murat , a personal friend of Mr Smith’s, had already been declared an arguido, and Mr Smith was very keen to exonerate Murat.  But at this stage, no one (including Mr Smith) identified the man they saw as Gerry.  Mr Smith noted the unusual negative about the man (not disputed by the other two, but neither commented on) that he was not wearing glasses.  Robert Murat is blind in one eye and does wear glasses.  Mr Smith otherwise states explicitly that the man was not Robert Murat.

An important detail from Mr Smith’s testimony is this: 

He adds that he did not hold the child in a comfortable position, suggesting [the carrying] not being habitual.

It was nearly 4 months later, after Kate and Gerry had been made arguidos, that Martin Smith would have his apparent Damascus moment of wondering whether the man he saw conceivably could have been Gerry.  Here are the details of a statement he made to the Irish Gardia police:

Detective Branch
County Lough

Re – Investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

I took an additional statement from Mr Smith as requested. His wife does not want to make another statement. I showed him the video clip and he stated that it was not the clip that alerted him but the BBC news at 10 PM on 9th September 2007.

He has been contacted by numerous tabloid press looking for stories. He has been contacted by Mr Brian Kennedy who is supporting the McCann family to take part in a photo fit exercise. He has given no stories or helped in any photo fits. He sent a solicitor's letter to six papers in relation material that was printed that was misquoted. The Evening Herald paid his solicitor's fees and all papers printed an apology. His photograph appeared in another tabloid paper and this matter is being pursued at the moment.

I do not believe that Martin Smith is courting the press and my view his is a genuine person. He is known locally and is a very decent person.

Forwarded please


Liam Hogan

I hereby declare that this statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make it knowing that if it is tendered in evidence I will be liable to prosecution if i state in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.

I would like to state that the statement I made on 26th May 2007 in Portugal is correct. The description of the individual that I saw on 3rd May 2007 carrying a child is as follows. He was average build, 5 foot 10' in height, brown hair cut short, aged 40 years approximately. Wearing beige trousers and darkish top maybe a jacket or blazer. He had a full head of hair with a tight cut. This individual was alone. I saw Gerard McCann (sic) going down the plane stairs carrying one of his children on 9th September 2007 BBC news at 10 PM, I have been shown the video clip by Sergeant Hogan which I recognise. A clip I have seen before on the Internet. In relation to the video clips of Gerard McCann and the person I saw on 3rd May 2007 when I saw the BBC news at 10 PM on 9th September 2007 something struck me that it could have been the same person. It was the way Gerard McCann turned his head down which was similar to what the individual did on 3rd May 2007 when we met him. It may have been the way he was carrying the child either. I would be 60-80% sure that it was Gerard McCann that I met that night carrying a child. I am basing that on his mannerism in the way he carried the child off the plane. After seeing the BBC news at 10 PM, footage on the 9th September 2007 I contacted Leicestershire police with this information. During that time I spoke to all my family members who were with me on the night of 3rd May 2007 about this and the only one who felt the same way as me was my wife. She had seen the video clip of Gerard McCann walking down the stairs of the plane earlier that day. We did not discuss this until some days later. This statement has been read over to me and is correct.

There are two things to note, here.  The first is that, whatever that something was that made Mr Smith think the man he saw in Praia da Luz was Gerry, it presumably included the detail  that Mr Smith didn’t think Gerry was carrying his son off the aeroplane in a particularly natural or familiar way, just as he observed about the man he saw carrying the girl in Praia da Luz in the statement he gave to the Portuguese police.

The second is that, while Mr Smith's wife also felt the man might have been Gerry (but declined to make a statement) his children did not share their father's conviction. 

In the final PJ report, written just before the case was archived, Joao Carlos says this:

Further on this issue, the testimony of MARTIN SMITH was considered, pages 1606 and following, reporting the sighting of an individual carrying a child, in one of the streets that lead to the beach. It was said that the child could be MADELEINE McCANN, although it was never peremptorily stated. Some time later, the witness alleged that, by its stance, the individual who carried the child could be GERALD McCANN, which was concluded when he saw him descending the stairs from an airplane, pages 2871, 3991 and following and 4135 and following. It was established that at the time that was being mentioned, GERALD McCANN was sitting at the table, in the Tapas Restaurant.

Carlos does not expand on the reasons for that finding in his report, but enough is known for us to infer with reasonable certainty.

Let us, for a moment, indulge the notion that the Smiths saw Gerry.  By Amaral’s thesis, Kate and Gerry were both complicit and acting jointly to conceal a ghastly accident and the ‘evidence’ (the body of their daughter).  As already noted, the time of the Smith sighting was 2200, almost exactly the same time as Kate’s alert at the Tapas restaurant.  Kate would have been insane to raise the alarm before Gerry had even got down to the beach.  Further, if Gerry was absent at the time of Kate’s alarm, an urgent and top priority would have been to track Gerry down and tell him what had happened.  That activity, including where Gerry was when found and who found him, would be extensively documented in the witness statements of key witnesses.  Simply, such commentary is non-existent.

And there is also at least one witness who gives a positive identification of Gerry in the vicinity of the Tapas restaurant at a time that (if accurate) would, indeed, rule out Gerry as the man the Smiths saw – Jeronimo Salcedas.  He was the subject of a rogatory interview.  The purpose of rogatory interviews was to clarify discrepancies or establish important points, so his testimony must have been regarded as significant.  It is worth noting that the times he gave in his statement to Portuguese police differed from the time given in his statement to Leicestershire police; also that UK police take verbatim statements while the Portuguese police summarise statements in reported speech.  Also, the Leicestershire police will have had a copy of Mr Salcedas’ statement to the Portuguese police.

Here is the relevant part of Mr Salcedas’ statement to Leicestershire police:

On the night Madeleine disappeared, everything appeared normal. I remember that when I took notice of the disappearance, I had been in the restaurant speaking with my two colleagues?Ze and Ricardo who were on break. I returned to the restaurant and noticed that the table of nine was empty with the exception of the older woman. I went over to the table and joked with her: ?They've left you alone?? She responded more of less with these words: ?No, they went to see if the little girl was there.? I responded that I hoped they would find her somewhere in the apartment. At saying this, I saw the man. Who I knew later to be Madeleines father, running to the pool and to the childrens play area in the Tapas zone as if looking for someone. It immediately hit me that after talking to the older woman, that the little girl had not been found. I offered to alert the workers at the Milenium Restaurant and the man agreed. He then left again running to continue searching. I believe that this was between 21H30 and 22H00 but do not remember with certainty. 

The time recorded in Mr Salcedas’ statement to Portuguese police is about an hour later.  But still, as I point out above, no discrepancy in time was noted by the interviewing officer.

These are probably the pointers that led the PJ to conclude that, at the time of the Smith sighting, Gerry was in the restaurant.
By Honestbroker.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Poirot, Holmes and Plagiarism

Dr Amaral is often, inaccurately, quoted as saying in an interview that he thought Gerry ‘buried’ Madeleine’s body on the beach. In fact the operative word was hidden, and when pressed by the interviewer on whether, by that, he meant buried, he replied, We do not know.

A - I do not believe that the parents killed her.

Q - So, what are we talking about?

A - About an accident. The child could have fallen from a sofa, could have had an accident with Calpol (a sleeping solution). We never had access to the girl’s medical history, so we don’t know whether she was healthy or not. We can only speculate. There are many very strange details.

Update - The rest of the Interview, thanks to Mercedes from Hasta que Se Sepa La Verdade (Until the Truth is Known)

Q - What do you think that could have happened that night?

A - Both the British and Portuguese police, and even the prosecutor, who has already changed his mind, thought the same. We talked about death by others, not murder. In the room blood and cadaver odour was found just below a window where a sofa was. The father was talking to a friend just outside that window for a while. The girl did not have a a heavy sleep, that's what the parents said. Perhaps she heard her father and climbed to the sofa bellow the window. But the parents, for the girl not to go out,moved it away from the wall. Madeleine could have fallen.

Q - The girl falls from the sofa, dies with the blow and the parents find her.

A - The mother. It is the mother who finds the girl dead.

Q - But I am trying to think out an idea. How can a mother who has just found her daughter dead on the floor decides to hide the corpse? And how do you hide the corpse of a girl of nearly four years old so that no one can find it?

A – This is what we were investigating when I was dismissed from the case. I want to recall that there is an Irish man who claimed to have seen Gerry McCann with a girl in his arms, on his way towards the beach that same night. That testimony has been hidden. The dogs specialized in finding traces of blood and odour of cadaver, found both in the wall of the apartment and in the boot of the car that the McCann rented 23 days later.

Q - Did Gerry McCann bury his dead daughter on the beach and then unearth and put her in the boot after 23 days later?
A - We do not know. The Irish [witness] that I have told you about saw Gerry on television with a child in his arms arriving in the UK and stated that it was the same image they had seen back in May in Portugal. That man spent two days without sleeping when he realized what he had found, but nobody has talked about them. And what one of the Irish has said is logical, a man with a child in his arms toward the beach.
 It’s worth tracing the origin of this thesis of Amaral’s. In his book, Amaral narrates that he is called away from a crucial meeting in the early hours of the morning by his distraught wife. She has found the corpse of their pet dog, with a head injury. His wife is scared and pleads with him to withdraw from the investigation, but he reassures her. Meanwhile, Amaral must dispose of the corpse, and attempts to dig a hole to bury it. He finds the ground hard to dig, and the inspiration hits him how much ‘easier’ it would be to dispose of a body by hiding, rather than burying, it. Thus was formed the hypothesis of what Gerry is supposed to have done with the body of Madeleine.

Since Amaral doesn’t acknowledge it, we must assume that his inspiration owes nothing to the proper detective work of Mark Harrison. Unlike Amaral, Harrison never hypothesised that Madeleine had been hidden on the beach, by Gerry or anyone else.. Indeed, he didn’t even hypothesise that Madeleine had been hidden on the beach. But, working to the brief given to him by the Portuguese detectives coordinating the search (Amaral himself!) he explored the possibility that Madeleine might have been buried on the beach. He did this by taking a shovel and attempting to dig holes in several places. His conclusion (documented in the files) was that such a method of disposal was not feasible. However, he noted that on one of the areas of the beach where there are large, free-standing rocks with vegetation growing on them (sic) it would be possible to secrete the body of a small child.

Here is the relevant extract from the Harrison report:

Sub Surface Burial on P D Luz Beach

For Body Disposal Purposes The Beach Can Be Separated And
Discussed Into 6 Areas.

Figure 2.The boulders in the rock falls are too large
to man handle. Vegetative growth suggests rock
falls have been in situ for some time. The low energy
wave action would not move any of the boulders. It
is possible a small child could be secreted amongst
the rocks in natural voids.

Figure 3.The cliff edge at the base of the beach is at
an angle that inhibits soil removal. The shale re fills
any hole dug and is unsuitable to achieve a burial.

Figure4.At the base of the cliff are wave cuts where
the bedrock has been eroded by wave action. Here
sand can be easily dug but after a few centimetres
the digger reaches the bed rock, preventing a
successful burial.

Figure 5.The beach cusps or berms are mounds of
sand made by wind action. These cusps form at the
limit of the tides reach and would only be recovered
in storm conditions. Digging on the cusps is easy but to achieve as
more than a few centimetres depth is very difficult to
the fine sand granules refill the hole

Figure 6.The dark sand in this image shows the
intertidal area. Here digging and burial could
possibly be achieved although it would be through a
mixture of grave1 and water. However any burial
would be quickly exposed by wave action and
ultimately taken into the sea.

It’s clear that Amaral has taken the abstract musings of Harrison, formed from proper detective work, combined them with melodrama and corrupted them into an apparent ‘finding’: all of which brings us neatly to Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. In a stinging rebuke of Amaral’s work, the Portuguese prosecutors made the following remarks, taken from an article in The Telegraph::

"The investigators are well aware that their work is not exempt from imperfections," the prosecutors said.

"They worked with an enormous margin of error and they achieved very little in terms of conclusive results, especially with regards to the fate of the unfortunate child."

They went on to say that the disappearance of Madeleine was not a plot from a book, but a serious crime.

"This is not, unfortunately, a police story, a crime fit for the investigative mind of a Sherlock Holmes or a Hercule Poirot, guided by the illusion that the forces of law and justice always restore order."

The prosecutors said despite the huge manhunt and inquiry, little had been achieved.

"No element of proof whatsoever was found which allows us to form any lucid, sensible, serious and honest conclusion about the circumstances (of Madeleine's disappearance).

"Including, and most dramatically, establishing whether she is alive or dead, which seems more probable."
Mr Magalhaes defended the McCanns' decision to leave their children alone in the apartment on the night Madeleine vanished.

Thing is this. In Poirot or Holmes novels, the detecives’ hypotheses are set against the backcloth of skilfully woven narratives, with all manner of decoys and non-sequiturs expertly seen through by our hero, which leads inexorably to the conclusion that the right culprit was identified and brought to book. We come away from such novels with a satisfied feeling that justice has been done, wrong has been righted and the guilty have been nailed. And of course, we can’t be mistaken, because the whole episode is the work and imagination of the author; no real people involved at all and no incidents.

Somehow, the same feeling is not quite captured in the detective work of Goncalo Amaral.

By Honestbroker

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Delusions of Grandeur and Paranoia

I’d like to explore the section of Amaral’s book, ‘An Investigation Destined for the Archives’.

In this chapter Goncalo talks about the investigation deliberately being steered for closure after he left the police force. He claims that the British police shared the view that his hypothesis of Madeleine having died in the apartment should be considered. Then he remarks that the British police suddenly stepped back from that hypothesis and gave up on following that line of investigation without any practical justification.

Goncalo, to me, seems to be burying his head in the sand about the factual, material reasons why the British police backed off from the thesis of Madeleine dying in apartment 5A. He avoids the common sense explanaition why they stopped following the direction that Goncalo has hung his hat on. That explanaition being that the forensic results undermined the thesis of a death and concealment, therefore undermining Gancalo's theory.

Remarkably, Goncalo goes on to justify their reasons for pulling back as part of a bigger, conspired, picture. He states that he wondered how the McCann’s had access to information that had not been made public, he suggests that he believes there had been inside investigative information being passed on to the McCann’s, a conspiracy?  This is after all what his book is about. The lie he refers to clearly interpreted as sourced from the institution, involving the McCann’s and the British police. Blaming his forces own Director of Police for the final death of the case.

“The closing of the case certainly serves someone’s interest”
Says Goncalo. Those who believe in the abduction thesis, he wonders?, those who perpetuate the lie to move away from material truth?, he ponders. The truth he refers to being his own thesis which was undermined, not by conspiracy, but by material facts.

Not only does it seem that Goncalo is in denial about the simple truth of that matter, he has convinced himself that Madeleine is dead. That she died in the apartment and was concealed by her parents.

“I think of that little girl who was not yet four years old and who was denied the right to live”

What in God’s name makes an inspector believe his own thesis as fact when the evidence was in front of him to guide his opinion towards the truth?

What would make that inspector assume anyone who did not agree with him was part of some conspiracy to cover up his own truth?

The final paragraph in this chapter gives an indication.

“It is time for the story to be told by the one who was responsible for its operational coordination and who lived it intensely in the company of men and women who constitute the elite of the police judiciara”.

Does the belief that one is elite, invite delusions of grandeur and paranoia, to turn opinion into fact? And turn denial into conspiracy?

Useful link: Conspiracy Theorists.

Monday, 6 December 2010

A reply to Dr Roberts, Pt 2.

A Reply to Dr Roberts
By Honestbroker.

Upon the appearance of Dr Roberts’ piece, entitled 'Pearl Harbour'
Vee and I independently produced our own responses. We discussed how best to present both pieces and felt that, while there is inevitable overlap, each offers something not present in the other and that the two combined represent a comprehensive rebuttal of Dr Roberts’ argument.

So here, for what they are worth, are my thoughts:

I had to look up “IPA”. I’m still not entirely sure, but the definition that seems closest, especially given the reference in Dr Roberts’ piece to promotional copy, is Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. The usual practice in academic writing is to write what initials mean in full on first use, then follow with the initials in brackets and use just initials thereafter. Dr Roberts has departed from that practice in his piece and left us guessing. Still, it’s true that a code of conduct governs advertising that demands it must be legal, decent, honest and truthful; equally true that severe penalties can be imposed where these requirements are breached. So I think my guess is a reasonable one.

This sentence from Dr Roberts’ piece is worthy of note:

I do not propose to cross swords with these people, who may hold whatever opinions they wish of Gonçalo Amaral. Suffice to say that the recent 'Inside Out' broadcast by the BBC offers ample evidence of divergence in this regard, and how 'strength of feeling' can come across with as much apparent authority as authority itself.

It isn’t explicitly stated what Dr Roberts defines as strength of opinion appearing as if authority and authority itself. But it is implied that examples in the first category are Simon Hare’s inside out programme and V’s piece. We must take it, then, that authority itself is the subject of Vee’s piece, Dr Amaral’s book? All of which brings us neatly back to this: legal, decent, honest and truthfull. If Dr Amaral’s book is, indeed, authority itself, it must be legal, decent, honest and truthful. But it isn’t! There is truth, interpretation of truth and factual accuracy (or inaccuracy!) How, then, can a book that is authority itself be so error ridden? How can it state, without there ever having been a body or an autopsy, that Madeleine was given an overdose of a drug that was not even on the market at the time of the McCanns’ holiday? When one senior British officer was given a brief by Portuguese officers coordinating and leading the investigation to write a report on a specific theme, how can it be said (as Amaral says) that his report ‘confirmed their worst fears’ (that Madeleine was dead and probably died in the apartment)? How can Amaral say that the cadaver dog reacted to the boot when the handler Martin Grime says he did not deploy the dog inside the car?

I’ve scarcely scratched the surface, but authority itself (Dr Amaral’s book) is decent, legal and truthfull? How, then does ‘authority itself’ differ from that which has the appearance of authority (Vee’s piece or Simon Hare’s programme about the Foundation)? Dr Roberts should tell us.

Dr Roberts does not dispute that, as a limited company, the Find Madeleine fund must be open and transparent, but argues that this does not reflect credit on the McCanns because transparency is a legal requirement. He omits that the McCanns entered voluntarily into an arrangement that would require them, legally, to be transparent. Why would they do that unless they wanted to be seen to be above board?

We needn’t be delayed by the sophistry of this argument

Leaving aside the vague 'reason to believe', we have Amaral ostensibly donating a mere 10% of his royalties to charitable causes, whereas the McCanns will donate all of their profits to the fund. But the fund, as we know, is not a charity. So the truth to be understood (rather than that portrayed) is: Amaral's charitable giving 10%. McCanns' charitable giving 0%.

If, indeed, Dr Amaral gave 10% of the proceeds from the sale of his book to charity, then he kept 90% for himself; while the McCanns have, personally, seen none of the money paid to the Find Madeleine fund. And contrary to what Dr Roberts argues, the McCanns targeting the proceeds from sale of the book and the pain caused to them by the book are not mutually exclusive. The book is the cause of their pain, and as recompense, they want the revenue generated from its sale.

Finally, Dr Roberts’ depiction by analogy of Amaral as the ‘Japanese’ is singularly unfortunate. During the war, the Japanese had a record of violation of the human rights of their prisoners of war that at least rivalled in unspeakable brutality that exhibited by the Nazis towards the Jews.

Dr Roberts is right about one thing, though. Just as the Japanese admiral predicted (correctly) that, with their strike on Pearl Harbour, the Japanese had “Stirred a slumbering giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve,” so Amaral’s success in overturning the book ban is likely to be short-lived.

by Honestbroker.

A reply to Dr Roberts, Pt 1.

By Vee8

A few days ago, as of this time of writing, it became known to the authors of this blog that a prominent contributer to one of the anti-Madeleine blogs, a poster by the name of Dr Martin Roberts, thought our own work here was worthy of comment. It is a long piece, and rather than copy it out in full here, we will provide our readers with a link.

The piece is entitled ‘Pearl Harbour’ and is a short scroll down the page. We would like to pass comments individually. Since it was my piece, ‘A Tale of Two Bookies’ that attracted the good doctor’s attention, I would like to respond first.

Well, my first thoughts are that I am genuinely and sincerely flattered! That my humble scribblings are considered well written enough to be thought of as somehow a professional PR exercise is, to me at least, high praise! But, Dr Roberts, I must I’m afraid, disapoint you. I am no professional writer. In fact, though I left school with five O-levels, they were science and technical based. I failed dismally my English language O-level, and never even botherd to take English Literature. No, I am but a simple grease monkey, a helecopter technician by trade. I have never met the McCanns, and have not been appointed, hired or paid by them in any way, though, naturally, the stock answer to that is ‘Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?!’ My interest in this case is simple. I saw, right at the beginning, lies, half truths and deliberate misinformation about the McCanns being spread around on the press websites. Something inside me bade me to enter this fray, like some sort of medieval knight in shining armour, or maybe one of the gallant few in 1940, turning back the black hordes of Hitler’s Luftwaffe. I’ve been stuck here ever since.

Now, back to your rather well written post, and it is clear you are not the usual anti-Madeleine, in as much as you come across as a far more inteligent type. However, you flatter to decieve. There are some gaping holes in your arguments, and I must take issue with you.

I am disinclined to read everything there also. That is my prerogative.

Indeed, you are free to read or discard anything you wish. But, as we make clear on our homepage, our intention is to challenge that which Amaral puts forward as the incontravertable truth, as is held by others on the net, not least of which is one Tony Bennett. We do this, not by using speculation or innuendo, as is often the case on the anti-Madeleine sites, but by using Amaral’s own words, from his book or from interviews, and comparing them with the files. The same files he claims to have based his book on. As the judge who reciently overturned Amaral’s book ban pointed out; it is in the public domain, he can hardly complain if the public then scrutinise his works, and take him to task for it.

Let's then take a closer look at some of the arguments advanced by Vee8.
"We have reason to believe that Amaral stated that a portion, (I think I remember reading the figure of 10%) of his profits will go to children's charities. A noble gesture, if true. The McCanns, on the other hand, make it very clear that ALL the profits from THEIR book will go to the fund that is financing the search for their missing daughter."

Leaving aside the vague 'reason to believe', we have Amaral ostensibly donating a mere 10% of his royalties to charitable causes, whereas the McCanns will donate all of their profits to the fund. But the fund, as we know, is not a charity. So the truth to be understood (rather than that portrayed) is: Amaral's charitable giving 10%. McCanns' charitable giving 0%.

Now then, where did I ever say the McCanns fund was a charity? My point was to compare intentions and integrety, not rewrite some sort of parable based on the widow’s mite. Amaral is perfectly entitled to do with his money as he wishes. But who, with any sort of concience, would happily profit from the suffering of a family, the suffering of which they themselves have contributed to? I would have thought that at the very least, he would have made some public gesture to a charitable concern, but, as I said, it’s his choice. The McCanns made it clear that they would not personally profit from their book, and despite all the scurrilous writings on various forums, so far not one shred of actual evidence has emerged to prove they have ‘Cashed in’ on Madeleine’s abduction in any way.

What this offers us, first and foremost, is confirmation that the metric underlying the McCanns' libel action against Gonçalo Amaral is his profits, not their suffering.

Quite wrong, and an obvious assumption based on the common anti-Madeleine notion that the McCanns are motivated by greed. They are claiming, perfectly reasonably, the profits from his libelous book, and not a penny more. Besides, you cannot take or win a libel case without proving suffering of some sort. Claiming they are motivated purely on his profits implies some sort of case to do with loss of earnings, something closer to copyright infringment, and not libel.

Let us also be completely, rather than partially transparent. The McCanns do not publish accounts in order to salve their consciences. The 'Fund' is a public limited company. As such it is legally obliged to publish its accounts

Quite right. But again you miss my point. The commonly held view by the anti-Madeleines is that the fund is a scam, a fraud. Not very wise, then, to publish the full account of every penny that comes and goes, is it? Agreed also that Amaral is under no such obligation, but if he DID make a promise to make a charitable donation, then why have we not heard of it? As I made clear, if he has, I have not heard of it yet.

What we have here is a McCann PR vehicle. Its establishment immediately post the appeal decision could be taken as an expression of the couple's fear that Amaral's book will indeed appear in the U.K. Why so?

Why so? Because they fear the damage it would do to their search. Simple as. As for the PR vehicle, well, as I said at the beginning, I am truly flattered.

It has previously been suggested elsewhere that Amaral could not, in any case, publish A Verdade da Mentira in the U.K., for fear of infringeing U.K. libel laws, any version to be put before an English speaking audience would be thoroughly vetted and edited to leave not so much as a hint of libel.

As it sits, there is no way it would be published in this country. But if it were edited to remove all the libelous connotations, what would it leave? The title on the front page and the ISBN number on the back? Not much else in between I would guess.

What Gonçalo Amaral, Fact of the Fiction represents is a pre-emptive strike against a moving target. Likewise, the best the McCanns can do in the face of an impending literary assault, is attempt somehow to discredit the author in advance.

And that, Dr Roberts, is exactly how I percieve your article about my piece. This blog is now being widely read. Very widely indeed. Not just by the Pro’s and the anti’s, who, lets face it, all together don’t amount to a total of a few hundred people, but by a large number of the wider public, a number growing at a rate that is surprising even we authors of the blog.

To finish,

I do not propose to cross swords with these people, who may hold whatever opinions they wish of Gonçalo Amaral.

It is very hard to separate emotions, opinions and facts when dealing with this case. People have their opinions of the McCanns, we have ours of Amaral. But though we sometimes let our emotions colour our opinions, what we are in fact doing with our blog is raise awareness of the clear and blatant contradictions between what Amaral says in his book and elsewhere, and what is actually written in the files. Many times they are at a distinct divergence, and our opinions cannot then alter the writen facts.

Amaral is not some sacred cow, a revered saint or an all knowing sage who is not to be questioned. He is a man, a human, with human failings. In their hour of need, when the McCanns called on him, he was found to be wanting.