Gonçalo Amaral on Wikileaks release regarding the McCann Affair
exchange between the now demissionary UK ambassador Alexander Ellis and the US ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. who also served in Portugal at the time of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
broadcast by SIC Notícias on 14.12.2010
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
Pedro Mourinho (P.M.) - Gonçalo Amaral, former inspector of the Judiciary Police, and author of the book "The Truth of the Lie" on the Maddie Case is with us, live, on the Midnight News. A very good evening to you Dr. Gonçalo Amaral.
Gonçalo Amaral (G.A.) - Good evening.
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.
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.
P.M. - As someone that knows the process, as an inspector involved in the investigation, coordinator of the investigation, don't you know what evidence, specifically, the British ambassador was referring to?
G.A. - He could only be referring to the evidence and indicia that are on the process. I'm not seeing any other, if there is other evidence, it would be strange for the British police to not have revealed them at the time.
P.M. - The reference made in the last hours, Dr. Gonçalo Amaral, was in particular the evidence that had been obtained by the dogs brought from the UK, that were able to find cadaver scent in the McCann's car, could that be the evidence?
G.A. - There are several indications. The information that are on the process results in other evidence, and, therefore there is a set of evidences that are on the process, and that is probably what is being referred to. It is unfortunate that the process is archived, but, perhaps this note might enable to reopen the inquest and the resumption of the investigation until the truth is established, the material truth, the complete truth, for Justice to be made.
P.M. - How was the relationship between the British and Portuguese police forces? Was it a good relationship, or, as the British media sustained for a certain period of time, during the summer of 2007, was it a tense one and of great rivalry?
G.A. - No, it was an excellent relation, of cooperation, we often had lunch and dinner together, we had various meetings, so there was already friendship between colleagues. It was people who were involved in an investigation, there wasn't any tension as it was stated.
P.M. - Would it have been possible to go further, in gathering evidence, after what took place in September 20071, or not?
G.A. - As I said before, the investigation is an investigation that is interrupted, an investigation that needs to be concluded. I believe that it is possible to make progress, if it wasn't for lack of political will; now with political will, based on this note - which is only a note as you said, but remains an important note nevertheless between two ambassadors, from one ambassador to the US State Department, that must have the weight that it has. Hopefully now, it will also be disclosed those photos, those satellite images that we believe to be in the possession of the US authorities, that we, the Portuguese police mentioned first, and also requested, a request that was denied to us.
P.M. - In your understanding, what could those satellite images reveal?
G.A. - They can reveal who was the person that carried the child on that night on its way to the beach. According to an Irish couple statement, with an alleged 80% certainty, it was Gerald McCann himself. That could be the confirmation of that Irish couple's statement.
P.M. - And those images exist?
G.A. - We believe that, yes. In fact, the McCann couple themselves, said, a few months ago, that they also searched for them; that they don't exist, someone else later stated that they don't exist. It's possible that the site who has divulged the cable might also be able to release those images. That would be interesting.
P.M. - In your opinion, if they exist, why weren't they yet revealed?
G.A. - Well, probably because they are a secret of state somewhere... In fact, the whole investigation was a state secret in England. I remind you that there is documentation in that sense, referring that it is a state secret. We do not understand why it is considered as a state secret. In question is the disappearance, and the likely death of a child, and we still fail to understand why is that considered as state secrecy.
P.M. - You have spoken before on the «political will», do you consider that there was a connivance of the British government with the McCann couple, knowing that the London authorities, and at least we now have that certainty, were indeed aware of the evidence uncovered by the police of their own country. What I want to ask you, in your opinion, in the scope of this document, is, if we can understand a little bit better the manner in which the McCanns left the country?
G.A. - I apologize for stating the obvious, but they have left the country by airplane. And they were well received back in England. What we became increasingly aware was the political influence, of the intervention of the British prime minister at the time, Gordon Brown, of the conversations that he allegedly had we our own prime minister, in October, at the Lisbon Summit - if they indeed spoke on the subject or not, we weren't there to listen, some say they did others say they didn't; but a fact remains, and this was the result: there was a point that the British police officers working on the case had to sign a document as if they belonged to the secret services, requesting their confidentiality so they wouldn't speak about the case. Definitely something strange, not usual under other circumstances. Thus, from then on, and with other elements, that would be too lengthy for us to be here now detailing - remains no doubt that a political intervention, practically, archived the case.
P.M. - Of the British and of the Portuguese government?
G.A. - The case went to the Portuguese General Attorney's Office, who published a statement saying that they had not find any indicia in the process...something that we find very strange. I recall that on the decision made by the Appellate Court, on October 19, of this year, which lifted the banning of the book that I've authored, 'Maddie, The Truth of The Lie', suggests that with the indicia that exists in the process, the opinion of the Public Ministry to archive the case could be another if the prosecutors were different - that means that something exists there [on the process]. I have no doubts that the magistrates, the appellate judges have read the process.
P.M. - Do you believe that this document, this note now revealed by WikiLeaks, can indeed change something as to the process? You have already said during this interview that you hoped for that to happen, but do you truly believe that that it will take place?
G.A. - This matter has evolved, step by step, we cannot use this document as a flag, the knowledge of this note as a victory - let's put it in this way, it does not mean an immediate reopening of the case. However, I do believe that we are walking towards that goal, that finally the reconstitution of the facts may take place with the couple and with their friends, if they so wish, and if they are willing to return to Portugal.
P.M. - You spoke of «victory», do you believe that this will change the perception that people have about the Maddie case?
G.A. - The perception that I have, as far as the perception of people go, is that the Judiciary Police has worked, the Judiciary Police was able to reach some conclusions, important conclusions. That the process needs to go on, the investigation has to continue, and, as we have previously spoken here today, the process was archived for political reasons - that is the perception that people have.
P.M. - Gonçalo Amaral, former inspector of the Judiciary Police, author of the book 'Maddie, The Truth of The Lie' about the Madeleine McCann case, live, on this Midnight news edition, after tonight, when another confidential document was released by WikiLeaks. It's the only document that makes a reference to the Maddie case - an exchange between the British and North-American ambassadors in Lisbon, where the British ambassador has confirmed that the British government had the knowledge of the evidence that would incriminate Madeleine McCann's parents. Meanwhile, the McCann's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, fully depreciated this revelation; contacted tonight by the News agency Lusa, he said that the cable "is something from the past, an historical document, more than three years old" and that, he added, "therefore has no actuality".
Notes: 1 McCann couple judicial status changed to arguidos, that is, official suspects, two days later they fled back to the UK.