1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Maddie: in Portugal, an invisible inclination?

by Paulo Sargento*

(...) “As recently as this week, I heard former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral referring to the McCann couple as assassins of their own daughter – the theory that he defended during the investigations that he conducted and later published in a book. During two years, Dr Amaral had every means, all the time and conditions to prove his extremely serious thesis, or to discover what had happened to Maddie and whether she was alive or dead. He failed to do so, and after all the investigation’s deadlines ran out, it was closed without any conclusions, due to a lack of indicia of anything at all. But, undisturbed, the gentleman carries on, accusing the parents themselves of having killed their daughter and saying that he failed to prove it due to “political pressures”. Is this the kind of ‘justice’ that the Freeport investigators are preparing to reserve for José Sócrates, as well?” (…)

Miguel Sousa Tavares, in ‘Expresso’, 11.04.2009

First, I must state that I foster a certain sympathy for Miguel Sousa Tavares. I consider him to be an exemplary citizen, a Man with a spinal column and without any need to be politically correct, with opinions and filiations that are publicly known and assumed. But it is also due to this assumed sympathy that I must state that I failed to comprehend the paragraph that I transcribed above, which is part of an opinion article that is titled “How to fry a PM on a low flame?”

To me, that paragraph seems ill adjusted to the title and to the issue that it approaches, and Miguel Sousa Tavares is a writer and a columnist who is organised in his speech. I must also state that I don’t believe that José Sócrates received anything whatsoever in the Freeport case. What I fail to understand is what José Sócrates, the Freeport Case, the Maddie Case and Dr Gonçalo Amaral have in common. I also missed my opportunity to find out where Miguel Sousa Tavares heard “former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral referring to the McCann couple as assassins of their own daughter” and “undisturbed, the gentleman carries on, accusing the parents themselves of having killed their daughter and saying that he failed to prove it due to «political pressures»”. Despite reiterating my sympathy for Miguel Sousa Tavares, Columnist, Writer and Jurist, I must confess that it seems to me that he fell prey to an overly easy temptation: to embark on the Maddie case to defend the Prime Minister, blaming the Polícia Judiciária, in the person of Gonçalo Amaral. If journalist Fernanda Câncio had done so, I would find it wrong, but acceptable. That Miguel Sousa Tavares does it, without any kind of explanation, except for the one that he mentions when he questions “Is this the kind of ‘justice’ that the Freeport investigators are preparing to reserve for José Sócrates, as well?”, seems completely unacceptable and devoid of purpose to me. The use of fallacies that are well known to rhetoric and argumentation must be pondered, to avoid confusing excellence with vulgarity.

But unfortunately, there is more.

“Something strange is going on when one accuses the parents of a missing child of a heinous crime, without any evidence”

Paulo Pedroso, in a statement to SIC Notícias during the PS [Socialist Party] Congress

What does Dr Paulo Pedroso mean, with such a statement?

I confess that contrary to the sympathy that I confessed feeling for Miguel Sousa Tavares, Dr Paulo Pedroso does not arouse either sympathy nor antipathy in me. The fact that he is situated in a political quadrant that lies close to the one that I identify myself with, may be tainting my perception of the person in a benign manner. But similarly to what I said about Miguel Sousa Tavares, I failed to comprehend Dr Paulo Pedroso’s affirmation, within the statement that he was making for SIC Notícias at the time. Is it possible that he was riding one media-exposed case in order to counter balance another media-exposed case? It was hard for me to believe, back them, but today I feel compelled to accept that it may have been the case, judging from his statement when he launched his candidacy for the City Hall of Almada, where he anticipated that “no defamation will stop us” (SIC online, April 10). Thus Dr Paulo Pedroso has just proved to us that attack is the best defence, even if by proxy, warning us that the eventual usage of the Casa Pia Case does not scare him. But what does the Casa Pia case have to do with the Maddie case, and other media-exposed cases? As far as we know, Dr Paulo Pedroso has not been tried within the Casa Pia case, and has even been indemnified over the “defamation” that he says he suffered. Then, why is he pulling supposedly past waters into the matter, mixing them with others that, as we stated in a previous post, are too muddy to wash anything at all?

I would like to close this post with another equally incomprehensible situation.

José Manuel Barradas, the Director of daily newspaper “O Público”, stated during a ‘news review’ at SIC, at around the time when the Maddie case was archived, that he agreed with the McCann couple in their refusal to carry out the reconstitution that had been requested by the Polícia Judiciária, arguing that, after one year, it would be natural for people to find it difficult to reconstitute the events in a precise manner, thus potentially falling into contradictions, sustaining that if it were him, José Manuel Fernandes, he wouldn’t do it either.

The editorial line that has been followed by “Público” concerning the Maddie case speaks for itself, and therefore I’ll refrain from any comments. But if José Manuel Fernandes knows what a reconstitution is, will he now accept the one that Gerry McCann says he performed, two years later? Or will he be just as critic?

Invisible inclinations or mere coincidences?

See you in a bit!

source: Câmara de Comuns blog, 13.04.2009

* Forensic psychologist, university professor, author, commentator and blogger


  1. It is high time Dr Amaral sued a few people.

  2. Please Mr. Tavares, were did you hear G.Amaral state black on white, that the McCanns KILLED Madeleine? I only heard and read that he believes she died of an accident while the parents were out and that it was covered-up!
    Get your facts right before making such serious accusations!



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