Daily Archives: September 16, 2007

Pilot who flew 2 of the planes used on 9/11 condemns official story


Capt. Russ Wittenberg:

“For a guy to just jump into the cockpit and fly like an ace is impossible….The government story they handed us about 9/11 is total B.S.”

Wittenberg convincingly argued there was absolutely no possibility that Flight 77 could have ‘descended 7,000 feet in two minutes, all the while performing a steep 270 degree banked turn before crashing into the Pentagon’s first floor wall.’

Former Air Force fighter pilot Russ Wittenberg, who flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam, sat in the cockpit for Pan Am and United for over 30 years, and previously flew two of the actual airplanes that were allegedly hijacked on 9/11 (United Airlines Flight 175 & 93), does not believe the government’s official 9/11 conspiracy theory…

“I flew the two actual aircraft which were involved in 9/11… Fight number 175 and Flight 93, the 757 that allegedly went down in Shanksville and Flight 175 is the aircraft that’s alleged to have hit the South Tower. I don’t believe it’s possible for… a so-called terrorist to train on a 172, then jump in a cockpit of a 757-767 class cockpit, and vertical navigate the aircraft, lateral navigate the aircraft, and fly the airplane at speeds exceeding it’s design limit speed by well over 100 knots, make high-speed high-banked turns,.. pulling probably 5, 6, 7 G’s… I couldn’t do it and I’m absolutely positive they couldn’t do it.”

. . .


Senior Military, Intelligence, and Government Officials Question 9/11 Commission Report

Greenspan admits Iraq was all about oil, as deaths put at 1.2 million


“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it’s gonna happen? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

– George W. Bush’s mother Barbara on ABC/Good Morning America, March 18, 2003

Observer | Sep 16, 2007

by Peter Beaumont and Joanna Walters

The man once regarded as the world’s most powerful banker has bluntly declared that the Iraq war was ‘largely’ about oil.

Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1987 and retired last year after serving four presidents, Alan Greenspan has been the leading Republican economist for a generation and his utterings instantly moved world markets.

In his long-awaited memoir – out tomorrow in the US – Greenspan, 81, who served as chairman of the US Federal Reserve for almost two decades, writes: ‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’

In The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, he is also crystal clear on his opinion of his last two bosses, harshly criticising George W Bush for ‘abandoning fiscal constraint’ and praising Bill Clinton’s anti-deficit policies during the Nineties as ‘an act of political courage’. He also speaks of Clinton’s sharp and ‘curious’ mind, and ‘old-fashioned’ caution about the dangers of debt.

Greenspan’s damning comments about the war come as a survey of Iraqis, which was released last week, claims that up to 1.2 million people may have died because of the conflict in Iraq – lending weight to a 2006 survey in the Lancet that reported similarly high levels.

More than one million deaths were already being suggested by anti-war campaigners, but such high counts have consistently been rejected by US and UK officials. The estimates, extrapolated from a sample of 1,461 adults around the country, were collected by a British polling agency, ORB, which asked a random selection of Iraqis how many people living in their household had died as a result of the violence rather than from natural causes.

Previous estimates gave a range between 390,000 and 940,000, the most prominent of which – collected by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and reported in the Lancet in October 2006 – suggested 654,965 deaths.

Although the household survey was carried out by a polling organisation, rather than researchers, it has again raised the spectre that the 2003 invasion has caused a far more substantial death toll than officially acknowledged.

The ORB survey follows an earlier report by the organisation which suggested that one in four Iraqi adults had lost a family member to violence. The latest survey suggests that in Baghdad that number is as high as one in two. If true, these latest figures would suggest the death toll in Iraq now exceeds that of the Rwandan genocide in which about 800,000 died.

The Lancet survey was criticised by some experts and by George Bush and British officials. In private, however, the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific adviser Sir Roy Anderson described it as ‘close to best practice’.

Lies, beatings, secret trials: the dark side of police handling Madeleine case

I feel responsible to keep speaking my mind about the McCann case since I have posted so many articles on it and have made numerous comments about it, all in speculation based of the data that was available.

I have to admit, I was giving the Portuguese Police the benefit of the doubt in believing their case against the McCanns could have merit, but after reading this article, I am forced to reconsider. I know police corruption is rampant around the world, but I needed more evidence about the Policia Judiciaria to change my mind or make me at least consider the possibility that the McCanns have been deliberately framed. Nobody was giving it to me until I spotted this article.

Like everybody else, all I had to go on was witness reports, the McCann’s testimony, the investigation leaks, on British police dog findings and the DNA forensic returns from British labs. Putting these together, it was not hard to believe the theory that the McCanns accidentally killed their child and tried to cover it up. I never came out and claimed to know this for a fact, but according to all these reports, it seemed to be the most likely scenario. It certainly seemed more likely than the suggestion that the PJ would deliberately frame the McCanns, but after reading this well-researched article by David Rose, I am pursuaded to believe it very possible that the McCanns are indeed being framed.

This is a very bizarre case by any standards and just keeps getting weirder all the time. The field is wide open as far as I am concerned. Anything could be true or any combination of strange and criminal coincidences could have come together in Maddy’s disappearance. What I mean to say is that I just do not know what happened, who is guilty or innocent and neither does anyone else, except for the McCanns themselves, and maybe the police.

Be that as it may, I have to say a picture is worth a thousand words. Just have a look at the photo of Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral and tell me if he looks like an honest cop to you. There is something about him that makes me feel he is the opposite of that. Then look at the second photo of Leonor Cipriano. Does it look like she fell down a flight of stairs to you? Or does it look like she was punched in the face? To me, it looks like she was beat up. It is possible to sustain injuries like that from a fall or from a car accident, but it seems to me that you don’t get two neat black eyes with abrasions on the cheekbones like that unless it is from getting punched with a fist. If she was indeed tortured into confessing to murder, then we do have a very different picture of the Policia Judiciaria and their case against the McCanns don’t we?

Lastly, I have to say, this is more about what happened to Maddy than anything else, and it should remain the central issue. When I look at her sweet face in the photos, I can’t help asking, “What happened to you little Maddy?”

I wish she could tell us.


Note: I never wanted to go there, but this is looking like it could have something to do with past elite pedophile activity in Portugal. If the police feel so pressured to frame people for child disappearances, there could be something much more sinister behind it. Is it due merely to pressure from media attention or from powerful politicians above? It seems to me that it would require more than public pressure to make them go to such great lengths to frame someone.


Portugal’s elite linked to paedophile ring

Stay tuned for updates…

. . .

Three of Amaral’s senior PJ colleagues have been made suspects for the torture of the missing girl’s mother, Leonor Cipriano, who has been convicted of killing her daughter Joana, aged eight, and jailed for 16 years.

As for Amaral, the claim against him is “omisado de denuncia” – that he tried to hide the evidence of the alleged torture or, in other words, attempted a cover-up. He is said to deny it strenuously.

Daily Mail | Sep 15, 2007


According to his friends, Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral of the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria, co-leader of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from the Mark Warner Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, is a dedicated and capable detective, determined to do whatever it takes to find her – or those responsible for murdering her.

As a foreign reporter in Portugal, it is difficult to form a view. Thanks to the country’s stringent judicial secrecy laws, Amaral is officially forbidden from talking to the media.


SUSPECT: Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, who is leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann, is to be questioned over the torture of Leonor Cipriano

I confronted the sweaty, corpulent figure in an ill-fitting jacket twice last Friday: the first time at 10am, as he sat slurping coffee and cakes at the Kalahary cafe in Portimao with his colleague, Chief Inspector Guillermino Encarnacao; the second just before 3pm, when the two men made their way from a restaurant to a waiting black Mercedes, in which they were driven 400 yards to meet officials at the courthouse.

The reaction was the same both times: “No speak! No speak!” was all Amaral would say, making a swatting motion as though batting away an insect.

But Amaral’s official silence is not the only difference between him and his counterparts in Britain.

In the UK, it is unlikely he would be leading the McCann inquiry at all.

Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry may never be charged with anything, despite their present status as arguidos, or official suspects, and by the end of last week, apparently well-placed sources were admitting that any case against them is circumstantial and weak.


A MOTHER’S AGONY: Leonor Cipriano in 2004 with a poster of her missing daughter Joana.

Amaral, however, is in a similar position. He, too, is an arguido, facing possible trial on a serious criminal charge arising from a murder case brought to court in 2004, the last occasion a little girl vanished in the Algarve.

The Mail on Sunday can today reveal new details of this case, the subject of a draconian judicial order that has stopped most sources who know about the case from talking to the Portuguese Press.

According to the order, documents about the case have been restricted to a handful of officials, while the next stage of the process – a hearing at which Amaral and four fellow officers may be asked formal questions – will be conducted in secret.

It is believed that this is set for next month.

Three of Amaral’s senior PJ colleagues have been made suspects for the torture of the missing girl’s mother, Leonor Cipriano, who has been convicted of killing her daughter Joana, aged eight, and jailed for 16 years.

As for Amaral, the claim against him is “omisado de denuncia” – that he tried to hide the evidence of the alleged torture or, in other words, attempted a cover-up. He is said to deny it strenuously.


Leonor bruised and battered after her ‘confession’ to Portuguese police. She is now in prison, convicted of Joana’s murder

In internet blogs and newspaper columns, Amaral’s supporters have claimed that the Cipriano case is built on lies – a vicious smear against a decent detective trying to do his job.

It has, they say, “no connection” to the Madeleine McCann inquiry.

Experienced lawyers in Portimao, the town 12 miles from Praia da Luz where Amaral is PJ chief, disagree.

The case against the detectives began as a complaint lodged by Cipriano’s lawyer, they pointed out, but has now been adopted by the public prosecutor.

“In order to bring formal charges, the public prosecutor has to believe there is a strong case,” said Oliveira Trindad, who has practised law in the area for more than ten years.

“That means that after assessing all the evidence, he thinks that if the case goes to trial, a conviction is more likely than not.”

That decision is likely to be made well before the McCann case is closed.

There are, to be sure, many differences between Leonor Cipriano and Kate McCann.

But there are also similarities, starting with the fact that although the bodies of their daughters have not been found, Amaral and his PJ colleagues have long been convinced that both girls are dead.

No one would suggest that in the course of the marathon interrogations that preceded their departure from Portugal last weekend, Kate or Gerry McCann were the victims of physical violence.

But at times it seemed they were also being subjected to torment, albeit of a different, psychological kind.

It, too, say Portimao’s criminal defence lawyers, may have been inspired by PJ officers desperate to achieve the end they sought with Cipriano – a confession.

It isn’t hard to locate the source of some of the McCanns’ current difficulties: Hugo Beaty’s bar.

There, amid the burnt orange concrete of the Estrela apartment complex, a five-minute walk from the Ocean Club, most of the seats along the shady terrace and more inside will be taken all day by reporters with laptops, authors of a daily verbal torrent that has come to seem unstoppable.

After Kate and Gerry’s abrupt return to Leicestershire last Sunday, almost nothing happened in the McCann case last week.

The only verified fact is that after considering a ten-volume PJ dossier about Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3, Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias, a junior judge in Portimao, decided to grant certain requests made by the prosecutor, Joao Cunha de Magalhaes.

Every news outlet covering the story – a waterfront that now extends across the whole of Europe to the major American TV networks and even, unbelievably, a paper in war-torn Somalia – has stated that these requests were for warrants to seize items including Kate McCann’s private diary, Gerry’s computer and (though this seems slightly less certain) Madeleine’s beloved cuddle cat.

There is, however, nothing approaching official confirmation of these claims.

Like everything else about the case, the details of the prosecutor’s approach to the judge are covered, supposedly, by the judicial secrecy laws, under which the penalty – in theory – for making unauthorised disclosures is two years in prison.

Thus it is that like almost everything else being broadcast and published beyond Portugal’s borders about the hunt for Madeleine, the claim that the police want to read Kate’s diary has reached its audience via Hugo Beaty’s bar.

Every day there starts the same way shortly after it opens at 9am, with an informal briefing to the foreign Press by a locally resident British woman who normally makes a meagre living acting as an occasional interpreter – for the Policia Judiciaria.

Every morning, the woman – who asked me not to publish her name – goes through the Portuguese tabloids and translates their ever-more febrile articles.

Every afternoon, the foreigners – almost none of whom can speak more than the most basic Portuguese, nor claim a single, genuine source inside the police investigation – recycle the tales for consumers abroad.

By the end of last week, some of the assertions made by the Portuguese had become part of a settled consensus.

For example, it was reported from Berlin to Baltimore that the police had already made a photocopy of Kate’s diary – which, if true, would mean they had broken the law – and merely wanted to obtain the judge’s approval to use it as evidence.

The reason they are so keen on it, it was alleged, is that it suggests she found her children “hyperactive” and difficult to handle, while railing at her husband’s allegedly dilatory, hands-off approach.

The claims about the diary’s contents were first published on Thursday by Jose Manuel Ribeiro, crime correspondent for the Lisbon daily Diario de Noticias.

By chance I ran into him that same afternoon, outside the apartment where Madeleine disappeared.

I congratulated him on his scoop, but he shook his head, disconsolate. Already, he complained, it was turning to dust.

Ribeiro said he had been given the story by an impeccable inside source, but already officials in Lisbon were denying it, and the source himself could no longer assure him it was true.

“Why is bad information getting out to the public?” he asked. “Because we’re being given it.”

Somehow, however, the denials that had made Ribeiro so angry did not get through to the foreigners.

If the questionable leak had been planted for a purpose – to increase the pressure on the hapless McCanns – it may well have succeeded.

And, in the foreign public’s mind, the germinating notion that Kate might have killed her daughter because she could not handle her had been nurtured by a further dollop of manure.

A similar, apparently sanctioned but inaccurate leak had already gone around the world to still more devastating effect.

Early on Monday evening, TV channels began to report that British forensic scientists had made a “100 per cent” DNA match to Madeleine from “biological material” – said to be hair and “bodily fluids” – recovered from the Renault Scenic that the McCanns did not hire until 25 days after she vanished, suggesting that they had hidden her body on May 3 and moved it weeks after her death.

With no time for reporters to make checks before their deadlines, the story spread like foot and mouth to almost every British front page the next morning.

It was only in the ensuing days that it began, spectacularly, to unravel.

The match was not 100 per cent after all, it transpired, but 80 per cent or less – a level that, according to Professor Alec Jeffries, DNA matching’s inventor, might mean that the material had not come from Madeleine at all, but another member of her family.

Even if it had, other experts said, it would prove very little.

Among readers who followed the forensic details, the case against the McCanns had been seen to suffer damage.

But others were left with a clear impression – that the PJ now believed they had real evidence that the McCanns must have been responsible for Madeleine’s (still unconfirmed) death.

As for those who still harboured doubts, more rococo “revelations” were being published widely by the end of the week, such as the claim that having bundled Madeleine’s body into the car, the McCanns drove it to the marina in nearby Lagos.

There they are said to have hired a boat, swore its owner into their conspiracy, then sailed into the Atlantic, into which they tipped their child, weighted down with rocks.

Could such stories really be part of a conscious PJ strategy? Some lawyers around the Portimao courthouse believe that they could.

“Portuguese journalists aren’t just making this stuff up,” said Oliveira Trindad.

“They are getting it from the police, of course, and the justice officers, the people working for the prosecutors. It’s obvious that some information is coming from the PJ.”

Some of it, he added, appears to be accurate – so making it that much easier for the same sources to seed disinformation.

Another Portimao lawyer, who asked not to be named, claimed the PJ was fighting a “propaganda war” with the McCanns.

“It is the fault of the British Press,” he said.

“They were the ones who started saying, ‘You’re no good, you’re no good.’

“If you say a lie like that many times, so many people believe it. You cannot blame the PJ for wanting to hit back.”

But there might be another reason.

“Some people think journalists pay their PJ sources,” the second lawyer said, citing a case where an officer from Lisbon is facing criminal charges after being caught red-handed copying secret documents about a fraud case, allegedly for private profit.

“But they also have an interest in the case and its coverage.”

With the forensic evidence apparently confused and contradictory, “it seems the main goal of the PJ now is to get a confession. It’s like in the films, ‘Aha, we have a confession, let’s take them to court.’

“It’s normal to want a confession when they don’t have much else.”

Intense interrogation of the McCanns has so far failed. But perhaps, the lawyer implied, using the media might be another way of applying the third degree.

“I want to believe that the Portuguese police do everything the right way,” said Joao Grade, the lawyer for Leonor Cipriano.

“But sometimes, if they really think someone is guilty, as they did with Leonor, they may find other ways to get what they want. It’s only human.

“When they believe someone has killed a child, it’s normal that they will apply pressure.

“In the McCann case, it seems that the police have what they consider half-proofs.

“But it’s not airtight, it doesn’t interlock, so maybe they need more.”

As he spoke, I found myself recalling British miscarriages of justice: cases such as the Birmingham Six, wrongly convicted of IRA pub bombings that killed 21, where the police, under tremendous pressure to “get a result”, built dishonest but convincing prosecutions based around confessions.

Could the same thing be happening to the McCanns? The pressure on the police is certainly intense.

The loss of a child evokes horror everywhere. On the Algarve, however, the need to solve the case – and, perhaps, not to leave the fear that Madeleine was killed or abducted by an unknown paedophile – has other roots as well.

“The Algarve is a family destination, and situations like this are not agreeable to anyone,” said Elderico Viegas, the regional tourism authority president.

“Our reputation for safety is one of our most important values – especially with the British, who make up our biggest market.”

And Algarve tourism, worth about £2.8billion a year and growing rapidly, is, Viegas said, the single biggest component of the entire Portuguese economy.

The police had, he added, mishandled the media, giving rise to damaging speculation.

“But for me, the details are not important. What’s important is the economy. I was born and brought up here and I can’t remember the last time a tourist was murdered.” So far, he added, visitor numbers this year are up.

Central to many British miscarriages of justice was a shared, deeply ingrained belief among police and prosecutors that their suspects “had” to be guilty.

With the Birmingham Six, it was founded on botched forensic tests that “told” investigators that the men had been handling the explosive nitroglycerine – false positives that arose because they had been playing with cards coated in the harmless chemical nitrocellulose.

In Praia da Luz, there are signs of a similar mindset at work, derived from equally tendentious “evidence”.

For example, said a local source who knows several of the PJ inquiry team, from an early stage detectives laid great weight on Kate McCann’s apparent composure when she appeared in public.

One of the strangest aspects of Portuguese coverage of the case has been frequent recourse to media psychologists, who have made all manner of deductions about her personality and state of mind by “analysing” her TV image, claiming that the absence of tears and presence of carefully applied make-up indicates a “cold”, “manipulative” or even “psychopathic” personality.

In other words, someone capable of reacting instantly to the death of her daughter, whether deliberate or accidental, by deciding that she had to hide the body and conceal what had happened, and able to persuade her husband and perhaps other “accomplices” to go along with her plot.

Disturbingly, said the local source, such analysis has not been confined to the media.

“Pretty early on, they had forensic psychologists in, studying hours of video footage, drawing extremely unfavourable conclusions about Kate’s personality,” she said.

“You could say she’s been damned by her stiff upper lip.”

There have been reported claims that Kate McCann had “confessed” to killing Madeleine to a local Catholic priest.

But the Rev Hubbard Haynes, the Anglican vicar who lives in Praia da Luz and got closer to the McCanns than anyone during their months in Portugal, refuted them with controlled fury.

A young, passionate Canadian, who took up his post a week after Madeleine’s disappearance, he said: “When I mention Maddie, Gerry and Kate in my own prayers, I find myself weeping.

“I have gone out into the fields and looked in the hedgerows, begging God for some sign that will help us find her, and I have wept because He has not given it to us yet.

“All I can say is that my tears are as nothing to the tears I have seen shed by Kate and Gerry.

“They may not have cried for the cameras, but to say they do not weep in private is facile and offensive.

“The man and woman I have known for the past four months are a couple whose lives have become unbearably empty because their little girl was missing.

“I do not recognise those people in recent media reports, and I find the idea that they had anything to do with her disappearance just inconceivable.

“There is great evil in this world, and someone has taken this child.”

Other aspects of the emerging mindset against the McCanns seemed equally questionable.

Several Portuguese lawyers and journalists, along with a uniformed police officer from the National Republican Guard I spoke to outside the Ocean Club apartment, told me solemnly not only that the McCanns and their friends were “swingers” who had taken their holiday together to indulge in group sex (an assertion made repeatedly by the Portuguese Press), but that “everyone knows” that its tolerance of orgies is the Mark Warner Ocean Club resort’s main selling point.

One afternoon I decided to test this proposition, approaching two holiday reps there, dressed in their red Mark Warner sweatshirts. “Er, is this a good place for swingers, then?” I asked.

They looked at me in total bafflement. “Swingers?” one replied.

“Look around you, sir. Most of our guests are retired, or families with children.”

Another assertion published several times last week is that, on the night that Madeleine disappeared, the McCanns phoned Sky TV before contacting the police – another claim echoed by the uniformed cop.

Outside the Portimao courthouse, I asked Sky’s reporter Ashish Joshi if he thought this might be true.

He rolled his eyes wearily. “It’s just nonsense,” he said.

“The first anyone at Sky knew about Maddy was when the story appeared on the Press Association wire.

“I was asked about this just yesterday by a Portuguese reporter. I told him it was crap. And this morning, his paper printed it.”

I passed this on to the Republican Guard officer, but he was unmoved.

His unit, he said, had handled the case in its early stages, and from the start he and his colleagues had been convinced there was something fishy about the McCanns.

“My partner was there on the night of May 3,” he said, “and I can tell you, that apartment was full of people, Kate was screaming – and yet her twins didn’t wake up.

“How do you explain that? They must have been drugged. Nobody on the force believed their story about a kidnap for a moment.

“That little girl is dead, for sure. Soon you will see the truth.”

Why the need for such bizarre allegations? The answer, I believe, is that there is a massive hole at the heart of the emerging PJ theory.

When Madeleine disappeared the McCanns did not have a car.

The Ocean Club is in the middle of a busy resort, and the notion that somehow the McCanns found a way to conceal her without transport, and then went to dinner with their friends as if nothing were amiss is beyond credibility.

One Portuguese journalist suggested to me that they might have hidden her on a scrubby headland a few minutes’ walk away.

But as I found when I attempted to go for a run there, at night it is inhabited by feral dogs, whose barking would have made the digging of some putative shallow grave impossible.

The PJ enjoys a high reputation in Portugal.

“They are ranked among the top five police forces in the world,” attorney Trindad said, albeit admitting he did not know the source of this curious international ranking.

Most PJ officers are graduates, and would-be entrants face severe competition, with a battery of psychometric, physical and academic tests before they can even be considered for the PJ training school.

The force’s Press office likes to compare the PJ to the American FBI: “We are an elite,” spokeswoman Ana Mouro said.

But beneath the veneer, as the case of Leonor Cipriano suggests, the reality can look less impressive.

“She is nothing like Kate McCann,” her lawyer Joao Grade said.

“She is very poor, with maybe only three years of schooling, and her children have several fathers.

“She did not get to meet the Pope and she did not have the support of Sky and the BBC.

“But I tell you this: if Kate had been treated like Leonor, she would have done what Leonor did – ended by saying, ‘OK, OK, I’m guilty, and this is how I did it.'”

The special judicial order – imposed on top of the usual Portuguese secrecy – means not only that Grade is prevented from disclosing virtually anything about the Cipriano case, but that pre-trial hearings of the charges against the detectives, due as soon as next month, will be held in camera.

The Mail on Sunday has established crucial alleged details from other legal sources in Portimao.

After Joana disappeared in September 2004, Leonor was arrested by the PJ in Portimao on October 14 at 8am.

Held there and in the city of Faro without access to a lawyer, she was interrogated without sleep for 22 hours.

Then, after a two-hour respite, she was interrogated again until 7am on October 16.

By this time, as photos published by the Portuguese media make clear, her face was a mass of bruises.

According to Grade: “Not just her face but her whole body was black and blue.”

The police said she “tried to commit suicide” by throwing herself down stairs.

If the alleged torture was to force a confession, it succeeded – only for Leonor to withdraw it when she finally saw her lawyer the next day.

The supporters of the accused police have claimed that the officers must be innocent because Cipriano could not pick out her alleged attackers in an identity parade.

However, according to the sources in Portimao, this is because they are not alleged to have beaten her themselves, but to have brought in paid thugs.

In any event, she was convicted and sentenced to 21 years.

Last June, this was reduced on appeal to 16 – though one of the five appeal court judges issued a dissenting opinion, stating that he was convinced she had been assaulted in custody and was innocent.

If the criminal case against the PJ officers does lead to convictions, Grade said, she will appeal again. He has also lodged a case in the European Court of Human Rights.

Strangely enough, Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral is not the only link between the Cipriano and McCann cases. Another of the senior officers who is now an arguido is the recently retired Chief Inspector Paulo Pereira Cristovao.

He is one of the McCanns’ principal scourges – not as a detective, but in his new capacity as a columnist for Diario de Noticias, among the most active of Portuguese newspapers in its pursuit of stories about Madeleine derived from leaks.

“There is another link between the Cipriano and McCann cases,” a Portimao lawyer claimed.

“You know, it’s like if Manchester United lose a big game: next week the pressure they have to win is very big.

“The PJ are beginning to worry that now they might lose the Cipriano case.

“If that happens, they have to win with the McCanns.”

Of course, there is yet another connection.

If Leonor Cipriano did not kill Joana, the chances of discovering the truth – or indeed her body – are now remote.

And as the McCanns have stated repeatedly, if they are innocent, the enormous effort being poured into trying to blame them is effort diverted from the search for a missing four-year-old girl, and the person or persons who abducted her.

That is a thought so grim that it almost makes one wish that the mindset so evident around Praia da Luz had a real foundation.

My fear is that it has as much solidity as the sandcastles on the beach.

• David Rose has been investigating miscarriages of justice for 25 years and has written several books on the subject.

The most recent, Violation, about a serial murder case in America, was published by Harper Press in 2007.

. . .


‘Portuguese police framed my wife’
The husband of a woman jailed in Portugal for killing her child in a case with uncanny similarities to that of Madeleine McCann has spoken of his fear that Madeleine’s parents may be framed for their daughter’s murder. Leonor Cipriano, 36, is serving a 16-year jail sentence following the disappearance of her daughter, Joana, nine, in September 2004, just seven miles from where Madeleine McCann vanished. The investigating officer was Detective Goncalo Amaral, now leading the McCann inquiry. Yesterday, however, Leonor’s husband, Leandro Silva, reiterated claims that his wife had been beaten by Mr Amaral during interrogation. Mr Amaral and four other officers were charged over the allegations. Despite this, he has not been removed from the McCann case. I am worried Kate McCann will be framed, the way it happened to my wife,” Mr Silva said.