- Written by Paul Rees
The disclosure that British police helped their Portuguese counterparts “develop the evidence” against Kate and Gerry McCann at the time they were made ‘arguidos’ (suspects) in 2007 comes as no great surprise,
.............but it raises new concerns about the role and objectives of WikiLeaks.
The comments were contained in a diplomatic cable marked “confidential” sent by Al Hoffman the US Ambassador to Lisbon, two weeks after the Portuguese police named the McCanns as formal suspects. WikiLeaks has recently made the cable available to the UK’s Guardian and other newspapers.
In the final analysis, the leaked cable adds little to the gargantuan fund of factual information, speculation, fantasies and hogwash that have piled up since Madeleine went missing on 7 May 2007. Even so, it sheds a touch of insight into shared police findings.
In a transmission dated 21 September 2007, Ambassador Hoffman said he had spoken about the McCann case in a meeting with his British counterpart, Alex Ellis. Hoffman wrote: “Madeleine McCann's disappearance in the south of Portugal in May 2007 has generated international media attention with controversy surrounding the Portuguese-led police investigation and the actions of Madeleine's parents.
"Without delving into the details of the case, Ellis admitted that the British police had developed the current evidence against the McCann parents, and he stressed that authorities from both countries were working co-operatively."
In one of two cables mentioning the McCanns, Ambassador Hoffman quoted Ambassador Ellis as saying "that the media frenzy was to be expected and was acceptable as long as government officials keep their comments behind closed doors".
The cables did not specify what evidence British police had gathered, or whether UK investigators were involved in the decision to name the McCanns as formal suspects. At the time, it was the Portuguese police who took all the stick in the British press for making the McCanns arguidos.
The Guardian reported yesterday: “The comments attributed to the ambassador appear to contradict the widespread perception at the time that Portuguese investigators were the driving force behind the treatment of the McCanns as suspects in the case.”
Said the Daily Mail : “The comments suggest British police had a far greater role in the investigation of the McCanns than has previously been thought.” ...read more