Duarte Levy..

Freelance journalist

Madeleine McCann on the twitter network

imagem1Since 2007, Madeleine McCann is on Twitter, a social network tool that enables the user to announce to his network “what he is doing”, giving him the possibility of sending and receiving updates by Internet, instant messaging or digital messaging.
Created in the United States in 2006, this network has today several million followers in the world, amongst them Maddy (http://twitter.com/Maddy_).
Even if the page of this virtual Madeleine does not make it possible to directly identify the person or the people who hide behind it, the Internet link which it is connected to leads to the site set up by the parents of the little British girl, registered in the name of “Madeleine’s Fund Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited”.
The initiative of having created a Twitter page for Maddie still has a morbid aspect, because its last update comprises a single sentence supposedly coming from the real young girl: “I like Morocco”.
Twitter updates are known in English as “tweets”, with the characteristic of being short, with a maximum length of 140 characters, which allows the updating of one’s Twitter in a short and spontaneous way.

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But how many Madeleine McCann exist on twitter? There is another one here: http://twitter.com/MadeleineMcCann

Duarte Levy

P.S. – Like millions of people in the world, I’m also on Twitter at the following address: http://twitter.com/DuarteLevy.

(Français ICI)

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Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Twitter, , , , , ,

The many “casualties” of the Maddie case

imagem111bThe investigation into Maddie’s disappearance, apart from the enormous worldwide media exposure, was marked by a relevant number of casualties among the diplomats and policemen who participated or touched this sensitive case.

In Portugal, after the exit of Gonçalo Amaral, who was removed from the Maddie case investigation by request from the British authorities, the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) also lost then national director, Alípio Ribeiro, as well as several other inspector.

Guilhermino Encarnação, a joint national director, responsible for the Directory of Faro at the moment when Madeleine McCann disappeared, may be the next confirmed casualty in this case. The man who became known in the investigation for having prevented Gonçalo Amaral from carrying out the interrogation of Kate McCann at a moment when she was, according to several inspectors who were present on location, “ready to talk”, has been on long-term leave due to health issues and is not returning to active anymore.

Despite the former director’s health issues, an internal source at the PJ in the Algarve advances that Guilhermino Encarnação only went on leave after the statements from a Spanish former private detective, who revealed the existence of a “mole” inside the PJ, who allegedly, and for months, provided information to Método 3, the agency that worked for the McCanns.

According to the statements from the former Método 3 operating officer, which were further confirmed by a PJ source, the “mole” wasn’t the PJ director in Faro, but rather a person who was close to him and under his protection.

On the British side, some diplomats and policemen also fell, including the ambassador and the consul in Portugal, respectively John Buck and Bill Henderson.

Ambassador John Buck was replaced on the 10th of September 2007, the day following the constitution of Kate and Gerry McCann as arguidos. One month earlier, in August of the same year, the consul in the Algarve, Bill Henderson, had resigned, fully abandoning the diplomatic career. His substitute, Celia Edwards, would not stay in Portugal for a long time, either.

The Foreign Office also lost Sheree Dodd and Clarence Mitchell, the former becoming the head of communications for the English parliament, and the latter, becoming the McCann couple’s official spokesman, while maintaining, for some time, a “privileged relationship” with the British government.

Duarte Levy

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Portugal, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Update – Sara Sofia is 3 years old and was abducted by her mother more than one month ago

sarasofia2Portimão (Portugal)

According to the latest information from the Judicial Police (PJ), Sara Sofia, aged three, was abducted by her mother, Paula Lopes, supposedly accompanied by two individuals of German nationality.
The group includes another woman and three more children.
At least three people of the group, aged 38 to 62, were previously made arguidos in a breach of trust and falsification case for an estimated amount of 57,600 euros. The three adults were to present themselves regularly at the GNR of Lagoa.
Sara Sofia had left Faro’s Refúgio Aboim Ascensão on 19th December, after the Court in Portimão had given exclusive custody to her father, Manuel Santos, who, on  1st January, entrusted the child to her mother with whom she was to spend the day. After 48 hours without news, Manuel Santos lodged a complaint with the Judicial Police and remains desperate, as, according to him, the child would be in danger in company of the group.
On her escape, the mother of Sara also took her three other children with her: two nine year old twins and a 13 year old girl.
Despite the fact that the Sara Sofia Lopes dos Santos case is a case of parental abduction, it is handled by the Judicial Police (PJ) with the same seriousness as for any other disappearance and the Spanish authorities have been informed.
According to the information from the PJ’s Criminal Investigation Department (DIC) in Portimão, since the couple split in 2007, Sara’s parents have been in conflict concerning the exercise of parental rights over the child, who had been officially entrusted to her father in December last year.
Manuel Santos accuses the mother of having abandoned the child. Sara’s mother and her relatives tell a different version, accusing the father of abusing the child, a fact that was never proven.
Although Sara’s abduction took place on the 1st January 2009, it was not until now that the information was placed on the Judicial Police’s internet site (www.policiajudiciaria.pt), where a recent photograph of the child can be seen.
According to information that has now been publicised by the PJ’s CID in Portimão – the same that was responsible for the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann  –  the last time that Sara Sofia was seen, she was wearing a pink Nike track suit and pink sneakers.
The little girl, of Portuguese nationality, has brown eyes and brown hair, and a red mark on her back as a distinguishing feature.
According to a PJ source in Portimão, there is no connection whatsoever between the disappearance of Sara Sofia and the Madeleine McCann case, yet the investigators fear that their work may be harmed by the intervention of English media, as the fact that both children are of the same age and disappeared from the same relatively close geographical area “will certainly be used to re-launch the media focus on the Maddie case and to concentrate attention on the Algarve, thus diverting suspicions from the McCann couple”.

To be continued

Duarte Levy

Français

Filed under: Child Abduction, Portugal, Sara Sofia, , , , , ,

Portugal: Sara Sofia is 3 years old and was abducted by her mother over one month ago

Portuguese Child Abduction Alert System starts only in March and for now the information and communication means that are used by the authorities remain the same as before the Maddie case

sarasofia1Although the case is being handled by the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) with the same seriousness as a disappearance, Sara Sofia Lopes dos Santos, aged three, disappeared on the first day of 2009 within the frame of a parental abduction.

According to information from the PJ’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Portimão, Sara was abducted by her mother and has been taken abroad, probably into Spain, where the investigators try to locate her with the cooperation of the Spanish authorities.

According to the same source, since the couple split in 2007, Sara’s parents have been in conflict concerning the exercise of parental rights over the child, that had been officially entrusted to her father, who accuses the mother of abandoning the child. Sara’s mother and her relatives tell a different version, accusing the father of abusing the child, a fact that was never proved.

Although Sara’s abduction took place on the 1st of January 2009, it was not until now that the information was placed on the Polícia Judiciária’s internet site (www.policiajudiciaria.pt), where a recent photograph of the child can be seen.

According to information that was now publicised by the PJ’s CID in Portimão – the same that was responsible for the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann -, the last time that Sara Sofia was seen, she was wearing a pink Nike track suit and pink sneakers.

The little girl, of Portuguese nationality, has brown eyes and brown hair, and a red mark on her back as a distinguishing  feature.

According to a PJ source in Portimão, there is no connection whatsoever between the disappearance of Sara Sofia and the Madeleine McCann case, yet the investigators fear that their work may be harmed by the intervention of English media, as the fact that both children are of the same age and disappeared from the same relatively close geographical area “will certainly be used to re-launch the media focus on the Maddie case and to concentrate attentions on the Algarve, thus diverting suspicions from the McCann couple”.

English press associates disappearance of Sara with the Maddie case

The information about Sara Sofia’s disappearance would have gone completely unnoticed in England if it hadn’t been for the intervention of a source that is close to the British authorities and to the McCann couple, who, unofficially, alerted a few journalists while stressing the fact that the investigation is under the responsibility of the PJ’s CID in Portimão, the same one that investigated the Maddie case.

The information that was forwarded to the journalists doesn’t even contain a single line about the possibility of a parental abduction, and the focus rests on the fact that Sara Sofia is of the same age as Madeleine McCann and disappeared “mysteriously” in the Algarve, the same geographical region where the British child disappeared from in May 2007.

According to the information that was offered to the English journalists, the disappearance of Sara Sofia in Portugal’s Southern region is evidence of the possible existence of a predator, a fact that the Portuguese police had excluded in Madeleine’s case.

Portugal adopts French Alert System model

From March onwards, the disappearance of children in Portugal starts counting on an “Abduction Alert” system which, through messages every 15 minutes, publicise the case and request for information through various platforms, from local radios up to public transportation terminals.

The system that is to be adopted in our country follows the French model, named “Alerte Enlèvement”, which has proved its effectiveness in practice, on several occasions.

The Portuguese version that was studied by the Justice Ministry counts on the media to join the project, and to publicise a common alert message, that can be local, regional or national, during the first three hours after the child’s disappearance.

Just like in France, the decision to launch the alert will be taken by the Attorney General in conjunction with the PJ through a “Crisis Cabinet”, in the case of an abduction or sequestration, and not yet including cases of parental abduction or simple disappearance.

In November last year, the Justice Minister, Alberto Costa, had already assured that the “Abduction Alert” system would soon be available, nevertheless stressing that in order for the system to be able to function, the cooperation between the Public Ministry (PM) and the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) would have to improve.

Duarte Levy

Filed under: Child Abduction, Madeleine McCann, Portugal, Sara Sofia, , , , , , , , , ,

Maddie is a national security case

In England, Leicestershire police, replying to a request from a British journalist, under legislation that regulates free access to information, refused to explain whether or not the recourse to phone tapping and the interception of electronic mail within the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case was covered by a warrant.

According to journalist Jon Clements, the police, after delaying its reply for several months alleging the need to consult other “agencies”, replied that it had no obligation whatsoever to explain under which terms any surveillance means were used in the Maddie case, due to reasons of “national security”.

Leicestershire police, which is considered to be England’s 5th best municipal police, further explained to the journalist that it was equally dispensed from replying to him, because the requested explanation could be related to other “security entities”, which, according to the legislation that regulates free access to information, equals several secret service bodies, such as MI5, MI6, GCHG, SOCA or the Special Forces.

Satellite facing Morocco at the moment when Maddie disappeared

satelliteJournalist Jon Clements’ “adventure” is not unique, given the fact that in May 2007, only a few days after Maddie disappeared, a top official at the Polícia Judiciária’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Portimão asked his English colleagues, that had been sent to Praia da Luz, for access to images from the satellites that watch over the Algarve coast.

While the request itself could be seen as normal, as satellite imagery had helped the authorities in solving one or the other more complicated case in the past, the reply was surprising. According to the “experts” that had been sent into Portugal by the British government, at the time when Madeleine McCann was taken from apartment 5A at the Ocean Club, all the satellites were turned towards the coast of Morocco.

An unfortunate “coincidence” that would end up surprising the PJ men when, months later, they saw the same “experts” defending the theory of Madeleine’s abduction into Morocco, supported on the fantasist statements from a Spanish detective agency which, in a public  statement, even said it knew who had taken the little girl, why and when, promising that she would return home before Christmas.

Duarte Levy

Read the letter from Leicestershire Constabulary

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Portugal, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Confidence
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