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.