by Jennifer Leighfield, Editorial Manager
I HAVE just finished reading the book by Gonçalo Amaral, the former chief of Portugal’s Judicial Police, who was taken off the McCann case. Some time back it was reported that the McCann family had sued Amaral and the publisher. Both responded they would be more than happy to face them in court.
The book, which has not yet been officially translated into English, is well-written, and in less than 200 pages, describes the investigation, without revealing anything that could jeopardize the case. Although there isn’t much that hasn’t been reported in the press, it is interesting to hear it directly from someone so deeply involved. His suspicions, which he presents as nothing more than that, of the McCann’s involvement in their daughter’s disappearance, are not surprising when we read of the evidence he is faced with, and there must be so much more he cannot speak of.
But what is his background? Amaral studied criminology, psychology, psychiatry, sociology and law, but what interests him most, he claims, is studying people. He is a devout Catholic, and has three daughters; the youngest Maddie’s age. While in charge of the investigation, he paid little attention to criticism against him, and went about his job with the professionalism he has been praised for since he joined the police force in the 1980s. His main preoccupation was the fact that requests for help from the British police were being either ignored or intercepted at a very high level, so that little information about the McCanns or their friends was available to the Portuguese.
During his career, it seems cases involving little girls have surrounded him, so much so that there have been rumours that he belongs to a supposed group of police who kidnap children to sell them to paedophile networks for extra income. From the outset, Amaral was wary of the McCanns, especially as he is convinced that when a family creates a media circus around the disappearance of a child, they usually know more than they let on. As he told his men, in 90 per cent of disappearances the parents are involved, in most of the remaining cases, relatives and close friends, and in a very small number, total strangers. He was worried. If Maddie had been taken, her parents had signed her death sentence.
Publishing her photo would mean that if a network of paedophiles did have her, they would not risk trying to sell her and would probably get rid of her. He has had experience in this type of case. On September 12, 2004, a nine-year-old girl named Joana Cipriano was reported missing from a small village in Portugal and the whole of Portugal went to look for her. Amaral was in charge of the case, and concluded in a report that Joana had caught her mother and uncle having sex and, afraid she would tell, they killed her, cut her body in pieces and hid it.
Her remains were never found, but her mother and uncle were sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, Amaral was in the press then, accused by Joana’s mother of beating a confession out of her. After she was sentenced, she failed to identify her alleged attackers and withdrew the complaint. Amaral believes that if Maddie really is dead, her body will not be found either. When asked if he thought Kate McCann was responsible for her death, he responded, “I don’t know if she’s guilty or innocent, but I wouldn’t like to have her as my mother.”
source: Euro Weekly News
Critic on the above article
The article written by Jennifer Leighfield at first glance seems to flatter Gonçalo Amaral, however it has so many incorrect and unsubstantiated rumours that one has to wonder where did the journalist got her informations? As matter of fact one has even to question if the author of this article intends to subliminally produce the idea that Gonçalo Amaral is somewhat connected to a paedophile ring of corrupted cops: "(...)so much so that there have been rumours that he belongs to a supposed group of police who kidnap children to sell them to paedophile networks for extra income", a serious allegation for a professional journalist to make since is based on malicious gossip, as the author herself states in the 3 arguidos forum "I am not spreading rumours about Amaral, but there are many websites (...) who speak of a group of officers belonging to the Portuguese police who actually collaborate with paedophile groups and 'help' the girls to disappear".
From here on we understand that Jennifer decided to use a bit of a creative license to write the article.
Jennifer writes for example, "During his career, it seems cases involving little girls have surrounded him" - as far as we know Gonçalo Amaral was the Judiciary Police Coordinator of two cases of missing children: the Joana Cipriano Case and the Madeleine McCann case; in his career Gonçalo Amaral has dealt mainly with drug related crimes, homicides, and other crimes who belong specifically to the sphere of expertise of the Judiciary Police.
While reading the rest of the article it was uncanny the similitudes we could find with an article written by Aníbal Malvar, a journalist from the Spanish El Mundo Newspaper who in 28 April 2008 was debunked and exposed in this blog as a plagiarizer, who tried to pass off excerpts of a fictional book as a real interview he had made to some Judiciary Police officers, including a "creative statement" given by Gonçalo Amaral - this was followed in the next days by some Portuguese and British media, it even got a mention by Arcadi Espada, El Mundo journalist, University professor of Journalism, and blogger at El Mundo Por Dentro, a blog which criticizes the El Mundo newspaper. Paulo Santos, the lawyer who represented Gonçalo Amaral at the time said ''Those statements are a complete lie. Gonçalo Amaral never told the journalist anything. They seem to be citations that were collected from the book about Maddie, which was written by former PJ inspector Paulo Cristóvão".
An example of the evident pasting by Jennifer is this sentence "I don’t know if she’s guilty or innocent, but I wouldn’t like to have her as my mother" attributed to Gonçalo Amaral [in the original article by Anibal in Spanish "Yo no sé si es culpable o inocente, pero no me gustaría que fuera mi madre"] which was later on refuted as being a complete fabrication by the Spanish journalist.
So, now that we know where Jennifer pasted her article from and what her sources are it's time to consider this Portuguese proverb - Not everything that glitters is gold!