Chapter 29: Fake News





UNTRUTH

When a normal person does it, it is called a Lie
When a child does it, it is called a Fib
When a person does it in court, it is called Perjury
When a politician does it, it is called Spin
When a journalist does it, it is called Fake News

But is there a difference ?

And why do we not like a Lie, teach a child to forgo a Fib, punish Perjury, but suck up Spin, and just shrug our shoulders and give up on Fake News ?

WIKI gives a reasonable definition of Fake news. [1]
Fake news is a neologism often used to refer to fabricated news. This type of news, found in traditional news, or  fake news websites, has no basis in fact, but is presented as being factually accurate.

Claire Wardle of First Draft News identifies seven types of fake news
  1. satire or parody ("no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool")
  2. false connection ("when headlines, visuals or captions don't support the content")
  3. misleading content ("misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual")
  4. false context ("when genuine content is shared with false contextual information")
  5. imposter content ("when genuine sources are impersonated" with false, made-up sources)
  6. manipulated content ("when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive", as with a "doctored" photo)
  7. fabricated content ("new content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm”)
Those who have followed the Madeleine McCann case quickly became hypersensitive to the stream of Fake news and indeed outright lies put out by Team McCann through the compliant media. It quickly became clear, for example, that anything said by the spokesman Clarence Mitchell was likely to be the reverse of the objective and verifiable truth. Lists of his falsehoods have circulated for years.

And although at 11 years after the event, the stream of invented sightings has diminished, and the attention seems to have turned in a different direction, there remains a body of unconditional supporters of the McCanns who will hear nothing said against them, and who refuse to address issues raised by the available evidence.

Recently, and right on cue, the main offenders published two stories. The first about the impending decision of the ECHR in the case brought by the McCanns against the State of Portugal. The second about various aspects of the “Fund” and the six-monthly application for further funding for Operation Grange to continue.

Both appeared in the tabloid press, and were copied freely between and among them.
Both were so riddled with mistakes, falsehoods and downright lies that they are hardly worthy of comment, except to observe that the clear intention of both was somehow to present the McCanns as permanent victims of a cruel and inhuman system.

I append the references to both articles, and will confine myself to short extracts.

Daily Mail, online. [2]
Kate and Gerry McCann are returning to court to fight against the ex-detective who claimed they were responsible for Madeleine's death. No they are not. The ECHR does not take evidence from individuals, it considers documents and Legal arguments.

If they lose the case the pair will be forced to pay Goncalo Amaral £750,000, after he made a bid to sue them for compensation. No they will not. And no he did not.

The couple will face Amaral in the European Court, as public money which was funding the search for Madeleine is about to dry up. No they will not. The case is McCanns v Portugal, They have to show that Portuguese law and its Constitution is contrary to Human Rights. Their case against Dr Amaral was lost a long time ago. And in any event none of the parties ‘go’ anywhere.

A hearing is expected this year after Amaral decided to sue the McCanns when their libel case was overturned.  No he did not.

The Sun, online [3]
The McCanns are embroiled in a row with Goncalo Amaral. No they are not. They took him to court, won at First Instance and then lost on Appeal and on final Appeal to the Supreme Court. That part of the case is finished, over, terminated, ‘res judicata’.

The legal action is aimed at overturning a Portuguese Supreme Court ruling that detective Goncalo Amaral — who wrote a book about the case claiming Madeleine died in Portugal and her parents covered it up — did not defame the McCanns. No it isn’t. It is about something else entirely.

If the couple lose the European Court of Human Rights case they face having to pay Amaral £430,000 in damages, plus costs, which could wipe out most of the remaining money. No they won’t. They do not have to pay Dr Amaral anything in Damages. He was the respondent in the original action. They sued HIM. And lost. So they have to pay full costs of all the actions.

As we see, if we ignore the inevitable padding in the articles, the only attempts at presentation of ‘facts’ are simply inaccurate, or wrong. Given that the authors have all the resources of their own legal departments and researchers, proof readers and sub-editors, these examples of False News can be classed as downright lies.

And furthermore, lies told with a specific intent, which makes them more sinister.

The manipulation of the public’s credulity by the Press may however be coming to a close.
The internet allows people to do their own ‘research’, and to cross check the facts against many other sources.
But the traditional dead-tree press continue to blunder on in the way they always have, secure in the delusion that they will be believed.

Increasingly they seem to be using a desperate form of self-justification to add an air of authority as in “I have been reporting on this case for 10 years and I can say . . . .” or “I was first on the scene . . . ” with the phrase “. . and therefore know more than you do” implied

One notable example is the free newspaper circulating in southern Spain - ”The Olive Press”.
The proprietor, who was once a decent investigative journalist, wrote the obligatory 10 year anniversary article, which also appears on the on-line version. [4]

In the article he repeats the following “Facts”.

“When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help.
The only reporter on the scene till late that evening – apart from Sky News reporter Kate Burley, who happened to be on holiday there – I spent time grilling neighbours,”

Note: In the initial piece he referred to a KATE Burley, but he amended that to ‘Kay Burley’ after the Comments Section pointed out his mistake. But he has failed to amend the name to that of the journalist who WAS there. Ms Burley was in the UK at the time. Timed and dated video evidence of this fact exists and was pointed out to the author. The identify of the reporter who was there is known, and has been pointed out, but despite this, he has done nothing to correct his potentially serious allegation.

And then he introduces a very familiar “Straw Man” fallacious argument.
“These are just some of the reasons why I am convinced the McCanns did not kill their daughter.”
(This is also technically an Argumentum ad lapidem, a statement made forcibly, but without any relevant facts adduced, or a species of Proof by Repeated Assertion. The ‘facts’ he does adduce are entirely irrelevant to his conclusion, including as they do the number of people in the group, their professional status, and the fact that he personally cannot see how ‘it’ could have been achieved.)

He recounts one of the more egregious leads for which he was responsible
“. . . I inadvertently found myself interviewing a former nightclub bouncer in Huelva, who claimed he knew who snatched Maddie.
A huge Angolan chap, he told me she had been taken on order and was now, most l likely, in America.
We double checked his credentials, ran it past Maddie’s family and published a carefully worded and, I believe, sensitive piece, which then of course got picked up by the Sun to be splashed on its front page. Not so sensitively.” [5]

And he finishes with a nice journalistic oratorical flourish
“I doubt the case will ever be solved, but I am certain the parents were not involved.
And nor, should I add, was I.“

[ I think “And nor, I should add, was I”, is stylistically better; the personal pronouns separated slightly more for balance, but the iambic-anapestic-iambic is satisfying]

So how much of this is objectively true, how much is “Spin”, how much “Fake News”, and how much deliberate lying.

It is difficult to know where to start, but his criticism of The Sun is as good a place as any.

The facts are that he was writing exclusively for The SUN and other papers for many months. Even though he had his own newspaper which was in its early stages of development, he did not publish a single article about the case there until September or October. Some articles in the Sun appeared under his name alone, others jointly with Lazzeri, some with Emily Nash, some with others.

The Sun make no pretence that he is on their team. [6]
MOMENT HOL MUM'S WORLD FELL TO PIECES
Sun team: John Scott, Guy Patrick, Antonella Lazzeri, Alastair Taylor, John Coles, Gary O'Shea, Emma Cox, David Goodwin, Tom Worden, Jon Clarke and Doug Seeburg.

Which begs an important question.
Why did he ask me to refrain from making the link between him and News International in his Comments columns all those years ago ? I have refrained, but now, 11 years on, I feel able to reveal this apparently insignificant fact.

But let us go back, once again right to the beginning. Keep our eye on the squirrel.
He tells us he walked into the apartment, and spoke to the McCanns, and then spent time “grilling neighbours”.
He does NOT tell us and never has told us, about the state of the apartment, of the windows, of the shutters, of the curtains, or of the doors.
He does NOT tell us about the conversation he had with the McCanns, about their physical or emotional state, nor the story they told.
He does not tell us if he re-traced the walk from the Tapas bar to the apartment, or paced it out, or timed it, or indeed of anything he actually did.

Since he was there (and there is no reason to suspect that he was not) he will have seen that the shutters were NOT damaged in any way. He will - must - have observed this by mid-day.

But he clearly did not relay this first-hand information back to his employers. For several days many media outlets in the UK, both in print and television news, were repeating the totally false and frankly mendacious claim that the shutters had been forced or broken, jemmied or smashed.

Why did he not ?

It was left to John Hill, the manager of the Ocean Club to make that statement. Strangely, after his announcement he was quietly sidelined by the media and never again asked to comment. Not one reporter, investigative or otherwise, has published an in-depth interview with him about what he saw and what he found. Not one.

Why not ?

The question that springs up is not Why were they all doing this ?, but rather WHO was controlling this information flow, to ensure that the LIE about the shutters was repeated sufficiently often and for sufficiently long to enter the mendacious narrative ?

And WHO was paying for this mendacity ?

A Portuguese investigative journalist, (a real one) Paulo Reis, did some investigation of his own. Specifically he investigated the way in which ex-pat and British journalists were behaving, by going incognito into their midst. It is a fascinating or deeply worrying description, depending on your view of the role of the Media in modern society.

I quote a few short extracts. The entire article may be found in the references, [7] 
. . . I approached the crowd of onlookers, tried to be close to the British journalists, listening what they were talking about. As it happens with most British coming to Portugal (and don’t take me wrong, I don’t want to be offensive) they believe natives” could not understand English, so they talked. And talked a lot.

The comments of John Hill were published and broadcasted by the British Media only in the first couple of days after Maddie disappeared. Then, as people used to see in Soviet Union, something happened to Mr. John Hill: he just vanished from the newspapers pages and TV reports, like the rivals or supposed enemies of Stalin were erased from official pictures.

I collected a lot of information, during those three times I stayed “incognitoat Praia da Luz. I had the opportunity to find how the system set up by Alex Woolfall, from Bell Pottinger, worked, “managing” information released by PJ to the McCann couple and "feeding" it to be published and broadcasted (after some“adaptations”…) by British Media. 


So let us look again at the two main claims for Friday 4th May 2007.
“When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help.

There is no doubt about what he is saying. No doubt about the time, day, date or place. No doubt about the people. It is a straightforward and unequivocal statement of ‘fact’.

The PJ had taken photos of the scene during the night and early hours of the morning, and then, as is normal practice, sealed the scene, and left it under the control and supervision of the GNR. Their statements are clear, the practice is so normal as hardly to merit further consideration. [8]
Even Kate in her autobiography confirms this, though she puts a different interpretation on their presence [9]
              p.81 I couldn’t see anyone about by this time, except for a couple of GNR police cars in the road outside and a handful of officers hanging around. None of them appeared to be doing very much.
And at 9 am
             p.85. The GNR patrol was still in evidence, although again, there didn’t seem to be much sense of urgency

Around 10 am the McCanns were taken to Portimão to give statements. They did not return until 8.30 pm.

How can we be sure ?

Because the McCanns’ statements are timed and dated; the PJ officers’ statements covering the McCanns’ statements are timed and dated and confirm this; the Tapas 7 confirm it in their statements; AND Kate spells it out in great detail.
 
            p. 88 It was about 10am by the time a couple of PJ officers turned up. (One of them, in his thirties, tall and well built, I thought of for ages simply as John. I’m not sure he ever gave us his name, but later – much later – we found out that it was João Carlos.) They told us they had to take us and our friends to the police station in Portimão. We couldn’t all go at once as somebody needed to look after the children. After some discussion, it was agreed that Gerry and I, Jane, David and Matt would be interviewed first and the PJ would come back for the others later in the day. Fiona and Dianne took Sean and Amelie to their club along with the other children. While our world was falling apart, the best way of trying to keep theirs together seemed to be to stick with what they were used to.
Gerry and I travelled in one police car with the others following in a second vehicle. It was an awful journey. It took twenty, twenty-five minutes, but it felt much longer.

And then

            p. 92 We were completely unprepared for what we found when we drove back into Praia da Luz some time after 8.30pm.

Conclusion : - The McCanns were in Portimão, NOT in the apartment. And the apartment was sealed and under the control of the GNR until the arrival of the Forensic team.

The apartment was examined later that day in detail by Forensic scientists.

How do we know ?

Because it is normal practice; because their statements tell us what they did; because the list of things they did and the exhibits they collected is available for anyone to read; AND because Kate tells us in her autobiography that she watched the proceedings on the television in the police station in Portimão

            p. 86. A forensic team also arrived from Lisbon that Friday. Having moved out of apartment 5A, we weren’t aware of exactly when, but presumably it was some time in the morning.

Her use of the Perfect Participle “having moved out”, carries in English the clear indication that this was an action which had been completed, and the context tells us this happened some time before the morning.

But the Author tells us he walked into the apartment and spoke to the McCanns . . .
As someone once said . . .
And surely Brutus is an honourable man . . .”

He then says something very strange - for an investigative journalist.

And this may be the clue, the brain leak, the hidden confession . . .

He says
I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help.”

He does not say he asked them for details; that he quickly rehearsed the story with them; that he had a look at the window and the shutters - (which even while he was there were being described across the English speaking news media as smashed, broken, forced and jemmied); he does not say he did any of the things an investigative journalist might reasonably be supposed to have done.

He told them he would do everything he could to HELP.
What part of an investigative journalist’s role is it to HELP the principal suspects in a case ?

But was that in fact his brief ? Has he just told the truth ?
Has he inadvertently revealed the link between News International and Team McCann ?
And does his admission that with the Angolan bouncer story he “ran it past Maddie’s family”. also give the game away ?

* * * * * * *
So in the space of one short piece of parrot-cage, cat-litter, free-paper ’journalism’ we have

Four classical fallacies. (Straw man, Argumentum ad hominem (abusive), Argumentum ad Lapidem and Proof by Repeated Assertion)
One demonstrably false story about a named person placed at the locus delicti - potentially a very serious allegation
Two further demonstrably false stories about his visit to the scene and about his speaking to the principle players in the Missing Person enquiry
One long story of extremely dubious content clearly designed to be repeated in the English gutter press.

But not much else.

The author had had 10 years to do the research, to cross check, to compare and contrast, to read the statements of the principal parties and others, to write out time lines, to think about alternative scenarios, and so on.

Instead of which he tells us he does “not believe the McCanns killed their daughter” !

Where then to place this ?
 
Can we say he is LYING ?
Tricky, for if he genuinely believes his own fantasy after 10 years then that is a species of delusion, and he is not culpable in the usual sense.

Can we say it is a FIB?
Not really. He is a self-professed investigative journalist who years ago did some good and perspicacious work. He is no longer a silly child.

Can we say it is PERJURY ?
Certainly not. He has never sworn or even averred or insisted that what he has said is the truth. (He is a journalist, and like Government spokesmen, they do not give evidence under oath). He has however said it, and written it in permanent and electronic form, and clearly expects it to be taken at face value and believed.

Can we say it is SPIN ?
We could, but that is normally reserved for politicians and their spokes-people. In any event this is not slight distortion of background truth. This is blatant invention.

Can we say it is FAKE NEWS ?
More difficult. We might have to delve into the intention behind writing the piece. It seems to fit three of Claire Wardle’s categories, but doesn’t sit easily there.

Or do we think it fits into another category ? That of a long and detailed conspiracy to deceive, in which the Author may be merely a innocent pawn, himself deceived into churning out nonsense stories for money without perhaps understanding the “Bigger Picture”, or understanding how so many small players were being manipulated, nor why or by whom.

I do not know.
I do not know why he wrote what he did, nor why he used the manner or tone in which he wrote it.
Nor do I know why having been given documentary proof of several glaring errors, he did not correct the article, or take it down.

These are indeed strange times.
Over the years we have grown to despise, revile and reject anything written by Lazzeri, or Kandohla, or said by Mitchell.

But his tragedy is this -

His credibility and personal veracity have been damaged
His credibility as a journalist is seriously damaged
His credibility as an investigative journalist was lost long ago
The credibility of his newspaper has gone
He can no longer rely on anyone’s believing anything written by him, either before or since.

In mitigation we can suggest that he is an old fashioned wordsmith, trained in a pre-internet age, and believing that by putting his words on paper and on-line they somehow acquire ‘gravitas’. The reality is different.
He is not alone. Team McCann had clearly also not seen it coming, and had not realised that so much of the documentary evidence would be released into the public domain, or subject to the detailed scrutiny it has had over the past decade.

We no longer live in the Age of Credulity and Gullibility
Journalists may not like it, but we no longer do.

And behind all this is the fear that we may all be being manipulated by the Press, under the control of an Orwellian MiniTrue
 Let us hope it is more Lewis Carrol. (Alice Through the Looking Glass)
Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said, 'one can't believe impossible things.’
'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.


As someone else once more trenchantly remarked -
“You are entitled to your own opinion
You are NOT entitled to your own set of facts.”

REFS:





This is the Sun article in question.
Madeleine McCann is in America – and I know who took her
From EMILY NASH and JON CLARKE in Huelva, Spain
18th February 2011, 12:00 am Updated: 4th April 2016, 8:00 pm

AN INVESTIGATOR has told cops Madeleine McCann was taken to the US — and he has named two key suspects.
Marcelino Italiano, 36, said she had been snatched by an Algarve-based
paedophile ring.
Angolan-born Italiano said the gang of influential and dangerous perverts had
hunted children in the Algarve before smuggling them out of Portugal.
And he told how he had to flee for his life when his investigations threatened
to unmask them. . . .

The facts, if anyone is interested, are that Huelva is just over an hour’s drive from Faro along the coast into Spain. There is no border control as both countries are within the Schengen zone. The English expression “flee for his life” tends to imply something slightly more than this.

And if anyone cares to ‘double check his credentials’ they will discover very easily that Italiano lived and worked in Huelva, and had done so for some time, being named as one of the main players in the local basketball team. His height of 6’4” must have been of great benefit, as they were promoted in their first season. He also clearly made no attempt to hide his identity or whereabouts.

6 http://newsoutlines.blogspot.com/2007/05/shutters-had-been-jemmied-maddie-was_05.html
Shutters had been jemmied.. Maddie was gone
John Askill and Julie Moult in Praia da Luz, Portugal, and James Clench in London
5 May 2007
The Sun

MOMENT HOL MUM'S WORLD FELL TO PIECES

Sun team: John Scott, Guy Patrick, Antonella Lazzeri, Alastair Taylor, John Coles, Gary O'Shea, Emma Cox, David Goodwin, Tom Worden, Jon Clarke and Doug Seeburg.

7 https://gazetadigitalmadeleinecase.blogspot.com/search?q=undercover&max-results=20&by-date=true
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Why I went undercover to Praia da Luz

8 http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/VITOR_MARTINS.htm#p15p3862
After the site had been isolated, he proceeded to make an inspection, together with the inspection and photographic report carried out by Deputy Specialist Joao Barreiras.
* * *
He then states that upon leaving the apartment was locked, leaving the space preserved for the GNR elements that were stationed next to the apartment.

9 ‘madeleine’, Kate McCann, 2011, Bantam Press


APPENDIX

Ref 7
https://gazetadigitalmadeleinecase.blogspot.com/search?q=undercover&max-results=20&by-date=true

Paulo Reis, Thursday, 10 May 2018

Why I went undercover to Praia da Luz

In 2007, I wrote in my blog “Madeleine McCann Disappearance” that I went to Praia da Luz once. That is not truth. But this not exactly a lie. I went once, as a journalist. I was there three other times, acting not as a journalist, but playing the “role” of another “Portuguese native”, curious like all the other inhabitants of the small village about what was going on with Madeleine McCann’s police investigation.

Before going there, those three times, I took some precautions. I shaved my hair just like a skinhead (I had it medium to long-sized), cut my moustache and, to help the “disguise”, at the time I already had to use glasses. It’s amazing how much these little details can change your appearance. I didn’t want to be recognized by other colleagues, journalist that knew me before.

I had something in my favor. In 1986, I went to Macau and stayed there until 1997. Came back to Portugal, worked on a national weekly newspaper “O Independente”, between 1989 and 2004. I had editorial responsibilities, so spend most of my time in the office, not in the street, reporting and getting in touch with other journalists. Between 2004 and 2008, I worked as a freelance journalist.

Many of the colleagues that knew me before 1986 had a successful career and are, actually, working at top jobs, in newspapers, radios and TV. The actual editor of “Correio da Manhã”, the leading daily newspaper in Portugal, Octávio Ribeiro, around 1984/85, was just a young man, friend of a fiend of mine, also journalist and, at the time, I think he wasn’t planning a career in journalism. My good friend António Ribeiro Ferreira, who I know since 1981 as we started as journalists at the same time, in the same newspaper, was until recently editor of a daily newspaper, the “i”. Nuno Tiago Pinto, who was a trainee at “O Independente”, now is deputy-editor of “Sábado”, a weekly news magazine. They just stay in the office, don't go out for reporting.

PLAYING A GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE

While I was at Praia da Luz, I kept a closed eye on Portuguese journalists that were there, reporting. They had the natural tendency of bundling together, exchanging tips and information, so it was easy to spot them. During those three stays at Praia da Luz, I detected only two journalists that knew me: Rui Gustavo, from the weekly “Expresso” and Francisco Leong, a photographer from Agence France Press.

I was sleeping in a tent with capacity only for one person, at a camping park, a few miles from Praia da Luz and I always parked my Honda CB 500 far from the place where action was going on, near the Ocean Club resort. I approached the area carefully, trying to spot those two friends and, in case of a “positive identification”, I just change my path and went to a coffee-shop near by, waiting until they left the area.

When there was no risk to meet them, I approached the crowd of onlookers, tried to be close to the British journalists, listening what they were talking about. As it happens with most British coming to Portugal (and don’t take me wrong, I don’t want to be offensive) they believe “natives” could not understand English, so they talked. And talked a lot.

After lunch, I spend time at the terrace of supermarket Batista, very close to Ocean Park and the only place where you could buy all British newspapers. But I never bought a single one, always choose one or two Portuguese newspaper and spend a long time reading them. Many British journalists spend their free time in that sunny terrace. They had laptops, mobile connection to Internet, fresh beer and some snacks. They sat down in groups of three or four and, once again, they talked among them with the same lack of basic precautions, convinced that the few “natives” sitting there English illiterates.

At the end of the afternoon and after dinner time, I used to made a round up through a few bars were retired British expatriates met, for a couple of beers and a small chat. Late at night, I had the routine of going to the two only places that were open until dawn. There was a big disco, but I don’t remember the name, and a bar, I think it was known as the “Carlos Bar” – but I’m not absolutely sure.

There, I played the role of a joyful “native” who had a couple of beers more that he should, but always in a good and happy mood, choosing carefully my “targets” (groups of British journalists), making toasts with them, trying to make “contact”, and speaking in a rather primitive and basic English.

THE REASONS WHY I DID IT

Some people may question the ethics of this behaviour, from the point of view of the Deontological Code of Portuguese Journalists, “spying” on his own colleagues. May be this a matter for discussion and debate and there will be, of course different views. I did what I did because, since the beginning of this case, when I was in Lisbon, sleeping 5/6 hours and spending the remaining of the day (and night) zapping through Sky News, BBC, ITV, checking dozens of British website newspapers and online news sites, I had the feeling that there was something strange, in the way UK Media was reporting the case.

I remember one of the first details that called my attention: the alleged broken shutters, and the Press reports “quoting” that Gerry and Kate reportedly believed someone had ‘jemmied open’ the shutters to get into (Madeleine) her bedroom”.

A direct testimony of Kate McCann was more clear: at 10.00pm she checked the children and “she becomes alarmed when she reaches out to the children's bedroom door and it blows shut. Inside the room, the window is open and the shutter is up. The twins are sleeping but Madeleine's bed is empty.” More details came from Gerry McCann. He told Polícia Judiciária “that, when he was first alerted to the disappearance, he had lowered the shutter, then had gone outside and discovered that it could be raised only from the outside”. Against this, the police said the shutter could not be raised from the outside without being forced, but there was no sign of forced entry; they also said forcing the shutter open would have caused a lot of noise.

"Trish Cameron and Philomena McCann, Gerry’s sisters, Jill Renwick, a family friend and Jon Corner, Madeleine’s godparent were important key players in the McCann’s campaign of manipulation and distortion, since the early hours. Despite the clear and blunt denials of John Hill, the Ocean resort manager, Portuguese police and witnesses, they insisted that the shutters of apartment 5A were “jemmied” or “broken” and – small but interesting detail – the door, which had been locked, was open.”

The comments of John Hill were published and broadcasted by the British Media only in the first couple of days after Maddie disappeared. Than, as people was used to see in Soviet Union, something happened to Mr. John Hill: he just vanished from the newspapers pages and TV reports, like the rivals or supposed enemies of Stalin were erased from official pictures.

I collected a lot of information, during those three times I stayed “incognito” at Praia da Luz. I had the opportunity to find how the system set up by Alex Woolfall, from Bell Pottinger, worked, “managing” information released by PJ to the McCann couple and "feeding" it to be published and broadcasted (after some“adaptations”…) by British Media. It will be the subject, soon, of another detailed post in my blog.

I must tell one of the most curious stories of this case. Around September 2007, after the McCann were made “arguidos”, his British lawyers from Carter-Ruck asked for meetings with the editorial board of several UK Media organisations. One of the newspapers that got the request was a little bit uncomfortable, expecting something bad, from that meeting. So, minutes before, the team of lawyers from the newspaper came in and waited in another room, ready for a confrontation with Carter-Ruck lawyers, as they were expecting some kind of legal threat that could take them to court.

But the newspaper’s lawyers spend around 30 minutes waiting for nothing. All that the Carter-Ruck lawyers wanted to explain to the editorial board of that newspaper (and they did the same with other Media organizations) was that, according to the Portuguese Law, if there was no body found,the McCann never could be accused of nothing

That, is not truth. Recently, a group pf criminals kidnapped a Portuguese businessman, to demand a ransom. They killed him and dissolved his body in a tank with sulfuric acid, leaving no trace, not even a small piece that could be used for a DNA analysis. But they were arrested, went on trial and sentenced, because their phones were wiretapped and PJ collected other strong evidence, enough to convince the court send them to prison for 25 years.