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McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

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McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  Annabel on Sat 10 Mar - 12:15

http://algarvedailynews.com/features/world-affairs/4111-mccann-cables-spark-more-wikileaks-worries



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.”

In the past, British and Portuguese newspapers have widely reported that the British authorities had substantial involvement in the investigation. For example, a British sniffer dog was said to have picked up the scent of a dead body in the Praia da Luz apartment used by the holidaying McCann family. The Forensic Science Service in the UK analysed material sent to Britain by Portuguese police but British scientists warned that DNA tests on a sample from a hire car used by the McCanns were inconclusive.

Responding yesterday to the latest leak, a spokesman for the McCanns brushed it off as “an entirely historic note”. He said that Kate and Gerry had their arguido status lifted “with the Portuguese authorities making it perfectly clear that there was absolutely no evidence to implicate them in Madeleine's disappearance.”

The couple's lawyer in Portugal, Rogério Alves, said nothing new had emerged to justify re-opening the investigation.

An official response yesterday from the British Embassy did not mention the McCanns. The Embassy statement said: “We condemn any unauthorised release of classified information, just as we condemn leaks of classified material in the UK. They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and may put lives at risk. We have a very strong relationship with the US Government. That will continue.”

Almost everyone will agree with a remark by Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva. “There is one thing that surprises me,” he said. “How can a country like the United States have a security system that is ultimately so fragile that it allows confidential and secret telegrams from ambassadors in all parts of the world to become accessible in this way? That for me is the big surprise.”

Meanwhile, what is taxing many minds is not the mass of diverse diplomatic material so far revealed by WikiLeaks, but WikiLeaks itself and how far this new form of journalism is prepared to go. Disclosures about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and remarks made by and about various world leaders are one thing, but here was WikiLeaks revealing information about a private conversation about a confidential police investigation into a highly sensitive case about a missing child.

Is this sort of thing right or wrong? Is it morally good or bad?

Can we expect WikiLeaks, their imitators or successors, to move from archived diplomatic cables to current criminal dossiers, personal health reports or other intimate records about ordinary citizens? Where will it end? Will anything at all remain off-limits in future?

The Institute for Global Ethics, an independent organisation with offices in the US, Canada and the UK, contends in an article just published that by pitting truth against honesty, WikiLeaks yanks us between two of the most powerful moral propositions within any democracy.

“On one hand stands our devotion to transparency and the free flow of truth; on the other lies our pledge of allegiance to issues of privacy and confidentiality. Taken to extremes, both propositions can run us off the rails.”

Tyrants and anarchists thrive in extreme situations but so far we’re not operating at extremes, writes Dr Rushworth Kidder, founder of the Institute. “WikiLeaks isn’t creating wholesale anarchy, and Western democracies aren’t being run by tyrants. In fact, we’re still in the moral middle range, where a genuine ethical case can be made for both transparency and secrecy.”

But WikiLeaks raises other “right-versus-right” dilemmas such as individuals versus community, short term versus long term and justice versus mercy, says Dr Kidder.“Which of these moral arguments should prevail?
Which is right? Searching for answers, we trip over two competing trends. One reminds us that public distrust in government is at historically high levels. That’s fertile ground for WikiLeaks’ seeds to take root. The other reminds us that our most effective weapon against terrorism (which is also on the rise) is the clandestine gathering and analysis of intelligence. That’s ample reason for public revulsion against WikiLeaks.”

Annabel
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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  Bebootje on Sat 10 Mar - 14:42

Hi Annabel
As we all know the dogs were flown in on advice of the British. I tend to believe that a lot of British investigators were sick to the stomach that the investigation was frustrated by orders from "above".

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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  tanszi on Sat 10 Mar - 15:02

just a thought, if the McCs knew that the British police were the driving force behind the investigations and them being suspects would they have pushed so hard for a "review of the sightings". jimo.

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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  mossman on Sat 10 Mar - 15:28

tanszi wrote:just a thought, if the McCs knew that the British police were the driving force behind the investigations and them being suspects would they have pushed so hard for a "review of the sightings". jimo.

tanszi, i really think their pushing for the review was all down to their obsession with their image and trying to protect it. i think it is also thanks to dr amaral and tony bennett that they pushed forward. it is the fact that they were so vocal and put in writing their thoughts about the mccanns . the books and literature are much more easily read and distributed than the comments made by internet nutters on chat forums. i really think this drove the mccanns nuts, they have true fear of not being leaders in their field and pillars of the community.

hard copy literature for distribution was the real threat to them. they have tried everything to stop this. take amaral and bennet and later brown out of the equation, what are you left with. people like us talking to each other. we can be dismissed as nutters in the sympathy searching, money making book launch interviews but the others are too strong.

they had to be seen to be fearless of any investigation. in truth they were not fearless, otherwise they would have demanded the case be re-opened. but your average good quality wrist band wearing sympathiser does not understand this. most of the kind hearted people who make donations to the fund do not realise there is a difference in having the case re-opened and the case being reviewed.

forget re-opening or reviewing, they would not even re-construct ! i saw a comment by somebody else who doubted the mccanns had tried that hard to have the review. they felt the timing of their letter and the go ahead from david cameron was such that the mccanns had written the letter having already heard on the grapevine it was going to happen. this, i thought, was a very interesting slant on the whole thing.

imo gerry took a gamble and it was one bet too many.

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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  tanszi on Sat 10 Mar - 15:37

Hiya Mossman, i was aware of the issue andthe potential damage the books could cause, i hadnt quite grasped how big the distribution might be in the Uk, hence all the gagging orders. I agree with you too about the request to Cameron, i think it was all put together before Rebeka Brooks liased with the McCanns about offering support in return for "the story", and they were told that the review was on they only had to do this or this. So they knew prior to the letter and press support what the outcome would be. Hence Ms May saying NO, and Cameron saying yes. jimo.

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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  cass on Sat 10 Mar - 15:39

mossman wrote:
tanszi wrote:just a thought, if the McCs knew that the British police were the driving force behind the investigations and them being suspects would they have pushed so hard for a "review of the sightings". jimo.

tanszi, i really think their pushing for the review was all down to their obsession with their image and trying to protect it. i think it is also thanks to dr amaral and tony bennett that they pushed forward. it is the fact that they were so vocal and put in writing their thoughts about the mccanns . the books and literature are much more easily read and distributed than the comments made by internet nutters on chat forums. i really think this drove the mccanns nuts, they have true fear of not being leaders in their field and pillars of the community.

hard copy literature for distribution was the real threat to them. they have tried everything to stop this. take amaral and bennet and later brown out of the equation, what are you left with. people like us talking to each other. we can be dismissed as nutters in the sympathy searching, money making book launch interviews but the others are too strong.

they had to be seen to be fearless of any investigation. in truth they were not fearless, otherwise they would have demanded the case be re-opened. but your average good quality wrist band wearing sympathiser does not understand this. most of the kind hearted people who make donations to the fund do not realise there is a difference in having the case re-opened and the case being reviewed.

forget re-opening or reviewing, they would not even re-construct ! i saw a comment by somebody else who doubted the mccanns had tried that hard to have the review. they felt the timing of their letter and the go ahead from david cameron was such that the mccanns had written the letter having already heard on the grapevine it was going to happen. this, i thought, was a very interesting slant on the whole thing.

imo gerry took a gamble and it was one bet too many.
i think before the sun rammed kates beeewk down our throuts for a full week the review - whatever was well under way . it isnt as if this book wasnt talked about for months and months . did anyone expect that the book and the sun wasnt going to report all the failings from uk police and the pj . the mcaccs have bleated on and on for 4 years how they were stitched up poor me on and on . then the sun quotes the mcanns in linking madeleine missing with d-c loosing his son yep below the belt are we suprised no . home goal on the mcanns part . do the uk public need to know that kate couldnt make love to gerry ewww no . even friends that are fence sitters are disgusted . the mcanns needed stopping and this is the start imo

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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

Post  Panda on Sat 10 Mar - 17:29

Thanks AnnaBel



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."

I remember this appearing in the News a while ago and don't set much store by it. I presume Hoffman means the LP maybe checking the McCanns background , a couple of Witness statements perhaps, but certainly not enough to charge them otherwise they would never have been allowed to
leave Portugal.



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Re: McCann cables spark more WikiLeaks worries

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