Monday, 17 January 2011
I have followed this case almost since the day Madeleine was abducted. Over the past three and a half years I have learnt a lot. About forensics, about DNA, about the various police procedures in many different countries. I have learned a lot about Madeleine, Kate and Gerry. And I have learned a lot about a former chief of the PJ, Goncalo Amaral. Spread out over this period of time, each piece I learned was, in it’s own way, either unsavoury, shocking or alarming, but spread out over a long period of time the total effect of each piece individually has been diluted. But now, since we have started putting all this information we have collectively gathered about Amaral together in one place, and seeing it all together in this way it is now very disconcerting indeed. But there is something I still don’t understand.
We have shown you examples of his blatant lies and distortions of the facts, using clear and irrefutable quotes from his own book, and compared them with the actual files. We have shown how he is deeply in debt, leaving himself open to bribery and blackmail. Shown eye witness accounts of his driving while under the influence of alcohol, sometimes with his little daughter on board. Given details of how he framed an innocent woman for the alleged death of her own daughter, and further, given details that he was convicted of covering up her torture, a torture that was acknowledged by his trial judge. We have even provided documented evidence of his threats to kill his own wife.
None of this is new. All of it is available elsewhere on the net, spread around on various blogs and forums. And all of it is true, beyond any doubt, backed up with solid, incontrovertible evidence. But here’s the strangest thing of all, the thing I struggle to comprehend. Despite all of this; the debt, the drink driving, the murderous threats, there are STILL those who actually look UP to this man, fete him, admire him, call him the ‘Brilliant detective.’ They even send him Birthday greetings and Christmas wishes, hoping he has a happy new year. It is beyond any realms of possibility that they are unaware of the facts we are presenting, And THAT is what I struggle to understand. Why? Who else do they consider a suitable role model? Nikolai Chauchesku? Pol Pot? Perhaps they consider Harold Shipman a ‘Brilliant doctor,’ or that Hanging Judge Jeffries was just a good man doing a difficult job?
Obviously we can explain the actions of a few of the anti-Madeleines; Joana Morais, and another blogger known only as Claudia79 are Portuguese nationals who are known close associates of Amaral’s. Both run blogs of their own, dedicated to Amaral, Claudia’s being called ‘Proud of the PJ.’ Both have been caught out, time without number, blatantly lying to protect Amaral. These two, being as close to Amaral as they are, are perhaps at the least motivated by some odd sense of loyalty, though it is far more likely that they are being paid, either by Amaral himself or someone within the PJ ranks who still supports him. And of course, given the violent nature of the man and those close to him we cannot discount the possibility that they may have even been forcibly coerced into giving him so much internet support, but we will probably never know the full truth behind these two.
But what of those in this country who offer up such unconditional support? What is it that brings them to the Amaral side of the fight? Well, in my opinion I believe that personal intelligence plays a significant part. I have often said that the intellectual level of most anti-Madeleines is considerably lower than most of us who support her and her parents. It may sound like a cheap insult but it does have a very strong foundation in fact. You only have to go on some of their forums, and read what they say and the way they say it to come away with the same impression. Gullible and naive, they follow any lead, any salacious tittle-tattle without question, believing every word no matter how unlikely or downright impossible. Never once questioning or asking for proof, the slightest imaginings of their forum friends soon becomes accepted as facts, and are spread rapidly across the internet with unbelievable speed. It is said that a lie can run around the world before the truth gets it’s shoes on, and nowhere is that more true than among the anti-Madeleines.
However, a certain lack of cerebral skills only excuses some of the aforementioned internet posters. Most, but not all. Take one Tony Bennett for instance. A failed and disgraced ex-solicitor, always hitching his wagon to any high profile cause that he thinks will carry him to the public eminence he craves. A known attention seeker and oft publicly proven habitual liar, he has been called many things, but it would be wrong to dismiss him as stupid. He studied law, has dallied with politics and has represented several victims of crime in their cases in court. No, he may be foolish but he is not stupid, but even Bennett, for all of this, seems to worship the very ground Amaral walks on. He has conducted a campaign called ‘Goncalo Amaral Awareness Day’ trying, and for the most part, failing, to raise public interest in the man. He has even, believe it or not, attempted to get a British public holiday in his honour! This, despite the fact we don’t even have a public holiday in honour of our own patron saint! Bennett must know of Amaral’s background, he has been made aware of it often enough, but he too dismisses it, or chooses to simply ignore it. Why? Bennett's desire for fame is well documented but surely to build a campaign of self-aggrandisement on such a poor foundation is obviously doomed to fail, isn’t it? One thing that is a separate enigma to me about Bennett though, is his continual adherence to a ludicrous and frankly preposterous notion that Madeleine may have been dead for a period of time before the alarm was raised, perhaps for as long as two days. Considering Bennett’s slavish devotion to this man, and the hanging on every word, it must be noted that even Amaral himself does not ascribe to this fanciful and impossible scenario, as there are far to many witnesses to seeing a live and well Madeleine up to the time shortly before her abduction. Perhaps Amaral’s disciple is playing a game instead, and rather than what seems to be devotion, perhaps he has his eyes on the throne, maybe only using Amaral for his own ends, as he has done to so many others before?
So over on the anti-Madeleine blogs they compose their lies, their unsubstantial theories about paedophilia, abuse and unwanted children. They concoct ever more twisted and vile scenarios of how poor little Madeleine may have died, but not until they have salivated over how she suffered unspeakable acts. They twist and distort what facts there are about the case. They send messages of support to Raymond Hewlett, a man convicted of raping an eight year old girl, who may in fact have had information valuable to the search for Madeleine, while comparing Kate and Gerry to Fred and Rosemary West. On Twitter they compare Kate to Myra Hindley, claiming Hindley is a better human being because she never tried to make money out of what she did. Remember, Hindley held down a ten year old girl while her lover hacked off the helpless child’s fingers, one after another, all the time scoffing at her pitiful cries for her mother. They invent fictitious criminal records for Gerry, Kate and their friends and laugh uproariously at photo-shopped pictures of Gerry performing a sex act on Madeleine’s favourite toy. And beneath it all, underpinning all of this is the adulation, nay hero worship, of a man who oversaw the torture of an innocent woman, and saw to it that she was incarcerated with a conviction few in Portugal have faith in.
No, I just can’t get my head around this.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
The following is a press article from the well respected Portuguese newspaper, EXPRESSO. The translation is a little clunky but the message, I think, is loud and clear. They have no time for Amaral's clearly flawed and discredited theories, and draw paralells to his previously botched handling of the Cipriano case, one which has resulted in an innocent woman being framed for a crime few in Portugal believes she committed.
It needs little more in the way of explanation from me, so here it is, in full.
When Maddie case began, I wrote that would be the biggest and most decisive test done on the ability of the Judicial Police. This was not a view difficult to subscribe: From the beginning, right from the first day, it was realized that the case would reach an impact far beyond what we are used and a media coverage that quickly spillover boundaries. He demanded that, in light of a different spotlight, PJ was able to demonstrate competence and savoir-faire, on how they would manage the investigation.
Well. Reportedly, next Monday, the attorney general's office will announce that the case be closed without any finding and following the report of the PJ in the police acknowledge that they are in the same point they was like in the first days, more than one year: no opportunity to present any consistent version of the disappearance of Maddie. Even accepting that, as Pinto Monteiro, there has always been and there will be unsolved cases in the field of criminal investigation, an investigation of a crime that has just filed for lack of clues and will always be a defeat for the police. But in this case, the loss is much greater, because the proportional investment - in men, media, money, time and cooperation of all - that there is no memory whatsoever between us.
The PJ, take turns to give it, fails because, first of the objectives which was to demonstrate its expertise, unlocking the case. I admit that would not be easy, but failed and soon began to fail from the beginning, when they didn´t tried to isolate the crime scene, ensuring the preservation of all possible clues. Since the early days, I got the impression that the PJ had no thoughtful strategy, before or during, to handle a similar case: accepted random searches at the whim of volunteerism GNR or popular, it took an eternity to investigate possible leaks raptor abroad by sea or land, accepted the first volunteer interpreter who came to him (Robert Murat, later turned into the accused), and only much later and with the collaboration of the British Forensic Science, that it started to worry with some work with the old and effective style Sherlock Holmes. But it was too late.
The worst, however, came later. Unable to find Madeleine or her body, with no clue about possible kidnappers and some data about the abduction, PJ decided to invest everything in a thesis of its own and without any support that enabled them: that they were the parents themselves who were involved in the disappearance of Maddie. The same officers who had investigated the disappearance of Joana, also in the Algarve, and had concluded that that was her mother, Leonor Cipriano, who killed her daughter and hid the body, advanced to the Maddie case with the ease of those who thought that history is repeated. That should immediately have alerted the national leadership of the PJ, not being able to ignore that never found the body of Joanna nor conclusive evidence that the mother killed her - except the 'confession' of her own, ripped at the premises of the PJ in Faro , late at night, with no judge or lawyer present, and in circumstances that interrogators who tore the confession are now being at court for the crime of aggression. Can not for reasons to view, support the theory that the McCanns had sold the child or arranged this kidnapping, not daring to suggest that they would have simply murdered, suggested a milder case, they would have beaten their daughter, both or only one, causing her accidental death. Then, faced with the drama, they would, by common consent, the disappearance of Maddie's corpse and found it missing and abducted by strangers.
The thesis was, in itself, truly unbelievable. A couple of foreign citizens who never came to Portugal on holiday, in a small village with intense movement of people and tourists, would, during a dinner with seven friends in a restaurant for all to see, arranged a way to go to the room where their daughter slept with brothers, take her body to give her disappearance and return to dinner as if nothing had happened. All this done over a period of half an hour to an hour, without anyone's notice and with such success that they neither knew the terrain and its surroundings, able to elude the search of hundreds of popular and GNR, made days within a radius of wire fifty miles. You had to believe this nonsense, and yet researchers believed and national leadership of the PJ, it seems, too.
And then followed what PJ is a specialist, every time it cannot unravel a media case: start blowing information and opinions to the press, suggesting that knows very well what happened, but that strong obstacles (in this case, diplomatic ), to prevent yet to be able to say. Men's PJ hand in the press - journalists, former policemen and other 'experts' - then began to feed the dirty campaign against the McCanns, that was very strange that she would not cry, the couple had sexually immoral habits, which friends were all suspicious, she had complained that Maddie was a difficult child, etc.. and such. Prepared the ground, it was then the final blow: the constitution of the McCanns as suspects - which, for the bulk of public opinion, national or international, only meant that the Portuguese police had the suspects as the death and concealment of a corpse of the daughter.
Then, also as usual, began searching for evidence to support the thesis - the opposite of any serious investigation. The McCanns and the friends were being interrogated for hours, hoping that one of them is 'sagging' with what the investigators wanted to hear. As The Times wrote, to their astonishment, the Portuguese police still clinging to research methods that are essentially self-incrimination by taking the suspects, or through wiretapping or the confession, both spontaneous or not, of themselves. As explained by an 'expert' in RTP, when the suspects are not available to continue to be asked “ad nauseam”, the Police has no 'investigative means. " And so, when the McCanns are all gone home, tired of being there and always on hand to see the police obtain incriminating only concerned with them as murderers of their own daughter, instead of seeking their captors, the PJ did not know what to do. The old and lazy methods had not resulted and there were others who knew her. More than a year later, will lift up the infamous suspicion about a couple who had the misfortune of losing her daughter in Portugal and about an Englishman who had the misfortune of being neighbor to the village and have raised suspicions of a journalist. Archive itself.
No, do not archive. There has to be responsible and they can not hide behind books designed to further extend the slander and violence against innocents. And there has to be responsible among journalists and editors who have been given lightly to adhere to and publicize an argument that the police sold them and served them to sell more newspapers. No, do not archive. Enough of filings.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
In October 2009, after the McCanns filed a libel suit against Amaral, the Portuguese authorities took a much closer look at his finances, with a view to freezing any assets in lieu of any potential payout. What they discovered came as something of a surprise to many of us on the Madeleine supporters side of the internet. Amaral was in debt. DEEPLY in debt in fact, to the tune of half a million Euros. This is how the news broke, in the Portuguese press, Expresso, one of the most respected of their newspapers.
JUSTICE TAKES JAGUAR FROM GONÇALO AMARAL.
Court keeps with Jaguar of Gonçalo Amaral. Copyright and share of the former inspector of PJ at the company he created were also arrested. The Civil Court of Lisbon, who, this week ordered the arrest of the copyright of the book of Gonçalo Amaral, about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a also the documentary which follow it, considers that the member company created by the former coordinator of PJ cannot produce, and remove the proceeds to him personally for the sales of books and videos. Therefore, following the claim from the McCann family, decided through a trial process, arrested also the share of Amaral in the company, a third of his salary as a manager and even the jaguar he drives - but that belongs to the firm. The car, with a displacement of 2700 cc and with a price of around 70 thousand euros new, was purchased in May and registered in the name of the society Gonçalo Amaral Ltd, with a social capital of 5000 euros. The company, created in November last year, offers consultancy, studies and analysis in the field of criminal investigation and is specialized in the dissemination, promotion and communication of technical work. The notifications to the publishers who published the book "Maddie - the truth of lies" - followed at the beginning of last week to several European countries: Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Spain and France. The publisher Guerra & Paz "War & Peace" (which published the book in Portugal), (owner of Correio da Manhã, where Amaral has a weekly columnist), the Valentim de Carvalho and TVI were also notified of the arrest of the copyright are due to the former coordinator of PJ until a final decision on the ongoing process. Contacted by the Expresso newspaper, Gonçalo Amaral declined to make any comment on the decision of the Civil Court, referring to its position to a press release issued on Wednesday. In that document, Amaral "fears to get prevented to defend his reasons in court and admits constraints related to his own defense". Kate and Gerry McCann, who were considered "arguidos" during the process of investigation, and their three minor children. S***, A***** and Madeleine, are the applicants of the ongoing process in court. They require to the former inspector, a compensation of 1.2 million euros by defamation, due to claims "continued and blatant" about the investigation of their case in 2007. However, according to the assessment made by the Court, the assets of Amaral does not offer sufficient guarantees for the payment in case of conviction.
The house of Olhão which he bought together with his wife in 2002, with a loan from the BIC, but it is only registered in his wife´s name - was arrested in 2005 due to a debt of around 130 thousand euros. A year later, the National Treasury recorded the seize of a house as a guarantee of payment of 16900 euros. Finally, two years ago, was the BES (to whom now BIC belongs) to go forward with a executive action against Amaral and his wife, for the recovery of more than 300 thousand euros - new seized.
The book "Maddie- the truth of lies" was launched in July 2008 and, until the end of September, has 12 editions - in other words - 120 thousand books. However, in September, also, by Court decision, the book´s sales had already been banned. Gonçalo Amaral retired from PJ in July last year, after 26 years of service. At the time, he said he went out to have "full freedom of expression", after having been sacked, months before the investigation of the disappearance of the British child, due to statements made to the media. Currently, Amaral receives a pension for early retirement of 2039 euros. The inquiry was shelved in July 2008, without being cleared any responsability of the parents of the British child of three years old who disappeared at May three of 2007, at Praia da Luz. The couple McCann was cleared, and the "arguido status" removed.
The translation is a little hard to follow, so I will endeavour to encapsulate. The crucial part of the report is in bold in the text above. Back in 2002, FIVE YEARS before the McCanns made their ill fated trip to Portugal, even, in fact, before Madeleine was born, Amaral and his wife bought a new house. Though it was bought jointly, as stated, the house was registered only in his wife’s name. This house was bought on the strength of a loan. But within a space of three years Amaral had ALREADY notched up a debt of 130,000 Euros, (£110,100) for defaulting on this loan. Then, the following year, the Portuguese National Treasury put in a seizure on the house as a guarantee for the non-payment of tax to the tune of 16,900 Euros, (£14,313.) Finally, to cap it all, the main company holding the loan company that loaned the Amarals their funds to buy the house demanded repayment of a debt of more then 300,000 Euros, (Over £254,000) That, my friends, amounts to a staggering total of 446,000 Euros, or over £380,000. And ALL of it from a time before Amaral had ever even heard of the name McCann.
Numerous questions spring to mind. Why, if the house was bought jointly, was it only registered on his wife’s name? Was any background check into his credit history carried out? How did he run up such a massive debt so quickly? If he wasn’t paying his mortgage what WAS he spending his money on? Was he already being blackmailed by someone, to keep him quiet, about something as yet unknown? That last IS a fair question, though we must stress we are not alleging anything by it. What surprises us most though, is that, when the royalties from his book began to roll in, he seems to have made no effort to pay off these debts. Why?
Being in debt is nothing new, nor that unusual. Many business men acquire debts, through various reasons. But a senior police chief HAS to be more circumspect, more judicious, because he is in a public office, and MUST be seen to be squeaky clean and above board. By running up these debts he has put himself in a damn stupid position, leaving himself open to accusations of, and even actual bribery and or blackmail.
This is not a good look for a man in his position.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
I imagine there cannot be too many people reading this blog who haven’t at some point in their lives seen the 1957 classic film, ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai.’ Based on a true story, and starring the late Alec Guinness, it tells of a group of British POW’s forced by their Japanese captors to construct a bridge over the forenamed river as part of the infamous Burma-Siam railway, nicknamed the ‘Railway of Death.’ A fierce personality struggle formed the backdrop of the film, with Guinness’ character refusing, even under threat of death, to follow the camp commandant’s orders that the officers will work alongside the men, as it was contrary to the Geneva convention. During the film one prisoner, an American, escapes and makes it back to Allied lines, and freedom. He is singularly unimpressed when he is press ganged into leading a team of commandos back to the bridge and help them destroy it! Via a series of dramatic scenes, both within the camp and the commando’s journey, the film reaches its explosive climax as a dying Guinness falls onto the demolition plunger, setting of the charges and destroying the bridge and the train travelling over it.
As I mentioned, the film is supposedly based on a true incident. But how close is this movie to historical fact? Well, there certainly was a Burma-Siam railway, constructed by slave labour and POW’s. During its construction 13,000 allied POW’s and as many as 100,000 civilians died, due to disease, starvation and torture by the Japanese. But the spectacular destruction of the bridge at the end of the film? Far from being blown to smithereens by the heroic commandos, the bridge not only survived the war, but is still in use to this day! The truth is that when asked why he deviated from history, the film’s director, David Lean said that he did not believe the paying audience would sit through his film without the ‘Payoff’ of seeing the cinematic spectacle of the bridge coming down in a welter of flying timbers and flame! In short, he used what is known as ‘Artistic licence’ or, what in layman’s terms we would call, ‘Sexing it up.’
Coming a little more up to date, and another film, also supposedly based on a true story, and we look at U571, filmed in 2000. This time the subject is the WWII German enigma coding device. A fiendishly clever encrypting machine, it scrambled any message sent through it, and was completely unintelligible to anyone who tried to read it without another enigma machine and the corresponding code to decipher the message. It was paramount to the Allies success in the war to break this code, and the Allies received a huge stroke of good fortune when, in May 1941 the crew of HMS Bulldog damaged a German U-boat, forcing it to the surface. Despite knowing the crew had set scuttling charges, a boarding party scrambled aboard the U-boat, and managed to retrieve a working enigma device with the latest codebook. This resulted in the Allies being able to read all the German signals throughout the rest of the war, something which saved a huge amount of lives, and that the Germans never once suspected. U571 tells this story.
Except, well, it doesn’t! This movie, again supposedly based on a true story, was on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism, at least in this country, because it bore no relation whatsoever to the truth. Yes, within the plot there was an enigma device, and a German submarine was involved, but that, as far as historical context goes, was it! In THIS film, it was not the British, but the Americans who mounted a daring mission to deliberately capture an enigma device from a U-boat, the U571 of the title, that had sent a radio message, (Presumably NOT encrypted by their enigma!) saying they had been damaged and were attempting to rendezvous with a supply ship to make repairs. An American submarine, disguised as the U-571 was to try to sink the real German sub and try to bluff their way aboard the repair ship and capture an enigma. I won’t go into any further details of the plot, suffice to say that, despite their plans falling apart several times they eventually succeed in their mission. As a former member of the British armed forces and a keen amateur military historian I have long refused to watch this film on principle, such is my disgust at the flagrant disregard of the true role played by the heroic crew of HMS Bulldog, let alone the perverse way the director has blatantly rewritten history.
So what is my point? Simply this; that Amaral claims his book is based on the original files of the McCann case. In other words, based on a true incident. But, as we are seeing, time and again, not only does Amaral’s book diverge from the files in many key areas, there are times where it completely contradicts them! Is this ‘Artistic licence’ on Amaral’s part? Is he ‘Sexing up’ his book to make it more appealing to the reader? If so, what is it that he considers a suitable ‘Payoff?’ I fear that, in my opinion, it is nothing less than an unjust conviction.
What we are showing you is that when a book, film or for that matter a TV programme claims to be based on a true incident, we cannot take it for granted that this work will necessarily pursue the true facts, no matter how loosely. The difference between films that re-write war history and what Amaral has done is that this is the current anguish and torment of the McCanns that Amaral's re-writing of the Madeleine investigation is exacerbating, not historical events of some 65 years ago.
Amaral’s work is far more U571 than Bridge on the River Kwai.
And we all know the fate of most of the German U-boat crews.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
The following goes to furthering the question of whether Amaral makes for a reliable, or for that matter, even a truthful witness.
The following is an extract from a recent interview given by Amaral on Spanish TV.
PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY, we are using Amaral's OWN WORDS here.
There is news of a criminal complaint by Robert Murat against Jane Tanner, one of the friends of the McCanns. She was questioned at the time of the investigation?
That process exists, yes, I was even heard as a witness. Tanner was questioned in the Maddie process yes, as a witness. First she said she saw Murat at the scene, recognized him by the way he walked. And then she said other things, later on. Besides there was a diligence in which she said that yes, it was him, and there were later recognitions and a witness confrontation carried out between them, with Murat, in which they said it was him.
Who are they?
Those who I remember, besides Jane Tanner, were her husband and the wife of Oldfield. They faced a confrontation with Mr Murat.
And how would you evaluate her testimony [Jane Tanner]?
As I said, she, at first, said she saw him at the scene. Then she began to retract it, saying that, after all, she had recognized him through an Indentikit picture. For several months, she came to recognize a number of people, through Identikit pictures. This speaks for itself about the credibility of her statements. Yet in the investigation there is a moment, a confrontation between the people previously mentioned, who say that Murat was there at the time the alarm was raised. That, and other things, is what has motivated the libel suit that Murat has brought against Ms. Tanner.
The brilliant detective has now gone on public record as stating that Jane Tanner, one of the McCann’s friends, positively identified Robert Murat as a suspect in the investigation. But, is that true? It seems not. See the following press articles.
The woman who believes she saw Madeleine McCann being abducted revealed yesterday that she has never named Robert Murat to police as the man she saw.
Instead, Jane Tanner, 36, thinks he was “Mediterranean looking”.
Miss Tanner, one of the so- called Tapas Nine, says she remains “stricken with guilt” over failing to prevent the abduction.
”I felt I could have stopped this all from happening,” she said. “I think of that every day. I have to live with it for ever, that guilt is never going to go away.”
But she admitted: “I simply don’t know if I could identify again the man I saw that night. I’ve never pointed the finger at Robert Murat because I simply don’t know if it was him or not.
”I would say the man I saw was more local, or Mediterranean looking, rather than British. He had dark, almost black, long hair and had swarthy skin.
Three friends who were staying with the parents of Madeleine McCann when their daughter was abducted are being re interviewed by Portuguese police this morning.
Rachael Oldfield, Russell O’Brien and Fiona Payne flew from Britain to give further statements about the night Madeleine disappeared 69 days ago.
They are being questioned ay the local headquarters of the Polícia Judiciária in Portimao about the chronology of events on the night and details of people seen at the resort where they were staying.
They were in a group having dinner with Kate and Gerry McCann at a tapas restaurant at the time their daughter was snatched from her bed in the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz on May 3.
And the clincher, here is a photograph, above, of the three friends at the time of this face to face meeting.
Rachael Oldfield, Russell O’Brien and Fiona Payne. NOT, as Amaral falsely claimed in his statement above, Jane Tanner.
What are we to make of this? Well, one thing is perfectly clear, and that is that Jane Tanner did NOT identify Robert Murat, and was most definatly NOT at this face to face meeting, contrary to what Amaral said. In addition, a British Ex-pat Portuguese associate has looked into the public registration of forthcoming cases, and thus far has found no official record of any upcoming case, libel or otherwise, mentioning either Murat or Tanner. So, was the ‘Brilliant’ detective simply mistaken? Or was he, for reasons known only to himself, lying? There is a growing suspicion, though admittedly no proof as yet among the ‘McCann believers’ that, due to the timing of the release of this news, Mr Murat was put up to this libel case by Amaral, perhaps to gain some sort of revenge against the McCann’s, or more likely to deflect attention away from his loosing of the recent book injunction case. Either way, we now suggest that Amaral’s character as any kind of credible witness is now shredded beyond repair. I doubt Mr Murat reads this blog, but if he does can I suggest, with all honesty, if he IS considering it, he drop this ill concieved libel case and have nothing more to do with Amaral. No good will come of it, just as nothing good will come as a result of associating with this Goncalo.
Friday, 3 December 2010
It would be outright dishonest to pretend he doesn’t have one. Even the most ignoble and base of causes is seldom pursued alone. And causes don’t come much more base than the persecution of a distraught couple whose lives have been already torn asunder by the loss of a loved and treasured child whose fate they have no clue of. Some of Amaral’s followers and adherents are actually worse than him. At least, to Amaral’s (comparative) credit, he has always accepted that Kate and Gerry could not have behaved in a relaxed and normal way throughout the majority of the evening May 3rd knowing that something dreadful had happened to Madeleine, and has always rejected more extreme theories about what might have happened to her and about the McCanns’ alleged involvement in those events. The same is not true of all his followers, however.
In this piece, I shall introduce the casual reader to three of these followers, all linked, that gives something of an insight into the murky ‘other-world’ of the anti-McCann cause. There are many others, of course, some much better known. Few have anything to commend them in the cause of shedding light and truth on the mystery of what happened to Madeleine.
First on the roll-call is Joana Morais, left, a Portuguese national and film maker with good English, who writes a regular (English language) blog, wherein she has been caught out, many times, deliberatly mis-translating items from the Portuguese press, or from official sources, in order to skew the views of her readers against the McCanns. She is a staunch supporter of Goncalo Amaral, who has interviewed him and counts him as a personal friend. Second is ‘Textusa’ (obviously an assumed name). I don’t know much about Textusa, not even his or her sex, but there are only two things we need to know. On the computer screen, s/he has indulged wild and perverse distortions in flights of fancy (non evidence-based) about what might have happened to Madeleine, centred on paedophilia, and featuring the McCanns or their friends. And Textusa has been a guest writer on Joana Moraises’ blog.
Third is Duarte Levy, not to be confused or connected with his namesake (actually not his namesake) Isabel, the McCanns’ redoubtable and excellent Portuguese lawyer. Duarte Levy’s real name, apparently, is Nuno Miguel Duarte. But we’ll stick with the name he is most commonly known by on-line, Levy.
Levy is a freelance Belgian journalist who had a brief romantic liaison with Morais. But more of that later.
In the triple causes of supporting Amaral, tormenting Madeleine’s parents and feathering his own nest, Levy has systematically abused and corrupted the honorouable profession and calling of journalism he disgraces. Among other shameful shams, he put about a story of supposedly explosive revelation that would tear the case apart and ‘prove’ the guilt of the McCanns of 24 photographs he claimed to have in his possession. The ‘photographs’, simply, only ever existed in Levy’s imagination.
Levy has been exposed twice. The first time was by the national newspaper The Sunday People, to whom Levy tried to ‘sell’ the (non-existent) ’24 photographs’.
The second time was by Levy’s erstwhile lover, Joana Morais. In a hard-hitting article branding him a ‘swindler and pathological liar’ she makes reference to aliases created by him to promote his own work, to documents he claimed to have which would shed light on the case, to ‘inerviews’ that never happened and much else besides, all counter-productive in the endless quest to seek truth and justice for a missing little girl. She also makes reference to something else – the little matter of Morais setting up for Levy a phone line so that he could have internet access and she paying for it on the understanding that he would pay her back so much a month. Morais never saw a cent of over 1000 euros she was owed.
Meanwhile, in the quest for truth and justice for Madeleine, Morais remains (so far as I am aware) on good terms with Textusa, who would have us believe that the the McCanns and their friends are ‘swingers’, that at the heart of Madleine’s disappearance lies some sort of sexual liaison between Kate and one of the McCanns’ friends; that, well, much more besides we needin’t sully this text with details of.
It seems that, among certain antis (I don’t say all) qualities of honour, integrity and probity are observed, just so long as you don’t fleece thine brother (or sister) in the cause of persecution and harassment of 1000 euros for a telephone bill someone else has paid on your behalf. The attitude is concisely expressed by a British adage: ‘honour among thieves’.
Contrast that with the common action of the McCanns’ friends upon being awarded substantial libel damages from actions against British newspapers. As one, each donated every last penny to the ‘Find Madeleine’ fund.
I confess to an error in this piece which has been excised from the original article. I suggested certain differences between offerings of the Jane Tanner statement on different sites that in fact weren’t there. Obviously the easiest way to have compared the two statements would have been to run off hard copies, but my printer is unserviceable and I had to switch between the two sites reading on screen – difficult for a statement of that length – and I accept that aligned the relevant sections wrong.
As the article (as amended) makes plain, Levy is a fraud and it is also true that he got hold of copies of some of the rogatory interviews, including Jane Tanner’s. On closer inspection I note that his name is actually associated with the statements on both sites. We must just hope that he hasn’t tampered with the rogatory interviews as well.
Posted by ModNrodder at 10:51
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Goncalo Amaral. Loving husband, devoted father, dedicated policeman. The image the anti-Madeleines are always pushing. But is it all true? Well we know he is a long way from being a dedicated cop, far from being honest, hardworking or diligant. That much has already been proven beyond any doubt. But what of Amaral the family man? Is everything rosy in the Amaral household?
As we know, earlier in 2009 Amaral stood trial for, and was convicted of his involvment in the torture of Leonor Cipriano, mother of a missing eight year old girl, Joana. During this trial, it was alleged that Amaral’s wife, Sofia, left him, and the family home, and lodged a formal complaint with the police for drunken abuse, beating her up and making death threats against her.
Amaral, in court and under oath, strenuously denied this, and in addition his wife withdrew the allegations, and further, denied ever making the formal complaint in the first place. There were suspicions that Sofia had received some sort of threat, in order for her to withdraw her original complaint, so as to weaken the prosecution’s case on behalf of Ms Cipriano against Amaral, but at that time there seemed to be little hard evidence that Sofia did indeed ever make the accusation.
The arguments rumbled on back and forth, on the forums and blogs, did she or didn’t she, until, sensationally, Leonor’s solicitor, Mr Correia, made public some copies of documents that he had received himself, and which he produced in court. We have copies of these documents, with full permission to use them here.
Now we must stress in the clearest possible terms that, though we consider Mr Correia a highly reputable source, we ourselves can in no way guarantee the authenticity of these documents, and so cannot make any hard and fast assumptions as to what they mean. However, if they are genuine, then the first document appears to be the original letter of complaint from Sofia Amaral, wherein she alleges Amaral, in a drunken rage, threatened to kill her. It also seems to accuse him of driving police cars while under the influence of alcohol, (Something other witnesses can verify, see the article from the Daily Mirror, where Mr Amaral is seen to consume considerable amounts of wine and beer during his two to three hour lunch breaks, before driving off, sometimes to pick his daughter up from school.)
This first document is reproduced below, with an English translation beneath.
Alexandra Sofia de Sousa Manjua Leal
Dr. Guilhermino Encarnação
Faro's Director of the Judiciary Police
As you know I'm the wife of the Coordinator of Criminal Investigation Gonçalo Amaral, with whom I have a daughter minor of age, with 4 years old, named Inês Sofia. You know also that Inês Sofia is living temporarily with her father.
By the present way I want to expose to you:
1. As agreed with my husband, Inês Sofia should spend Christmas with me, since last Thursday, day 20th. In that day, I contacted Gonçalo by mobile phone, and I was informed that Inês was with him, in trip to Coimbra and would only return on the following day;
2. On Friday 21st, I called again my husband, around lunch time. He informed me they were still on trip and at soon he arrive to Faro he will give me Inês. I waited until 8 PM without any news and Gonçalo never answered my phone calls. I then decided to go to a pub where I encountered Gonçalo and other colleagues of him consuming alcoholic beverages, asking him by Inês Sofia, he answered, visible drunken, that “she was resting” and that he will give me the child the following day. Then he departed, driving an Audi car from the police.
3. On Saturday 22nd , and after many attempts, my husband finally answered the phone in the middle of the afternoon, and asked me to get Inês in home. I rushed to the residence, but nobody was there. After a while, Gonçalo appeared driving the same car, and again in a notorious state of drunkenness. Having asked him for Inês Sofia, he ordered me to go inside the house, where he insulted me and threatened me of death. I abandoned the place.
4.Today, Sunday 23rd, and after numerous attempts, Gonçalo never answered his phone and he is not at home.
Unfortunately, this situation is not a unique and isolated act, and you Sir well know about other times in the past where I've also asked for your help. Once more, I ask again for your help, in order to guarantee Inês Sofia integrity, and in order to localize her.
Alexandra Sofia de Sousa Manjua Leal
The next document is the daily log from Sofia's local police station, filled out to show the day’s activities. As you can see, it clearly shows in item 6 the receipt of the official complaint form from Sofia Amaral. Together with the first document, if these are genuine, then it proves that Sofia DID INDEED lodge a formal complaint of violence, and the report confirms that the police DID INDEED receive it. The log entry is reproduced below, followed by the English translation.
STAND BY TEAM REPORT
Sunday, 23rd of December 2007
1. STAND BY TEAM
1.1 C.i.C. Amável de Sousa
1.2 Team Leader: Salvado dos Santos, Inspector
1.3 Inspectors: Nuno Peixe
(Indicate name and category)
2. COMPOSITION CHANGES
2.1 ABSENCES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Nothing to record
Around 08:40 Inspector Paulo Silvestre and Adjoin-Specialist Henrique Vieira were called so that they make judiciary inspections to fires that took place in Olhão, having finished the task by 11:00.-----------
(list shifts, round inspections [don't know a better expression], keys, people and vehicle mouvements, flags, break downs, etc - whenever they are not tasks assured by other services)
. Stand by vehicle: 09-79-QM
. Shifts: 00:00 - 04:15 - Salvado Santos
04:15 - 08:30 - Nuno Peixe
4 ARGUIDOS' MOUVEMENTS
4.1 DETAINEES IN AND OUT
4.2 ARGUIDOS PERIODICAL PRESENTATIONS [show up]
5. PREVENTION UNITS
(mention effective service, called employees, reason, calling time, beginning and end)
- Inspectors: Carlos Minga (SRCB), Carlos Guerreiro (SICCP) and Paulo Silvestre.
-Technical [forensic???] police: Henrique Viera [probably Vieira]
(summary of received denounciations and communications and informations compiled by the services)
. Thirty kilograms of haxixe [cannabis, I believe] were handed by the Maritime Police of Olhão aprehended under NUIPC 81/07.6MAOLH, according to handing document, which were deposited in this Directory's vault.
A letter addressed to the Adjoin-National Director, lic Guilhermino da Encarnação was handed to this stand by team by Mrs. Alexandra Sofia de Sousa Manjua Leal.
(report of facts occurring during execution of outside dilligences)
. One prevention team went to Olhão where it made forensic inspections in several streets in the city where, in the morning [dawn] of the 23rd December, several fires erupted in garbage containers of which resulted fires in several vehicles parked in the vicinity.
Faro, 24th December 2007
So, what does this mean? Well, if these are genuine documents, this would show the character of the man, painting a picture of a violent, misogynistic, abusive alcoholic, prone to drinking heavily while on duty, driving police cars while under the influence of alcohol, and even endangering the life of his own daughter during his bouts of drink driving. Sofia has had her life threatened, and not, it seems, for the first time, and is clearly concerned for the safety of their daughter.
But, most importantly of all, they would go to prove that Amaral has lied under oath in a court of law.
This begs the question, what else is he prepared to lie about? What else is he covering up, and who for? The man’s incompetence, as far as the investigation goes, is already established beyond any reasonable doubt, but we have to ask the question, is he, in fact, corrupt? If he is indeed prepared to use torture in order to secure a conviction, even without any evidence, of an innocent woman, is he then capable of lying in the McCann case? Is he capable, willing even, to break his own countries so-called strict secrecy laws and spread slurs and lies about the parents, to discredit them in the eyes of the public, in order to secure yet another unjust conviction?
These documents are damning evidence, and if they are genuine, and we have no reason to suspect otherwise, then it must be said that Amaral was not fit to be in charge of the investigation into Madeleine’s abduction, and now, more than ever, the argument for a full and open public enquiry into this man and his handling of the case is indisputable.