Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Deborah Orr: Independent.com

Deborah Orr: A singular horror, a media frenzy and some disturbing facts about missing children
It is shocking that four babies have gone missing in Britain without us even being aware of their names
Published: 09 May 2007
Outpourings of empathy with Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter, Madeleine, went missing from her bedroom at a resort in Portugal last Thursday, have appeared all over the press in the past few days. No doubt they are perfectly sincere. But they are also entirely unnecessary. They are what news organisations want when they have a big story on their hands that is not "moving".

These commentaries add nothing to anyone's understanding of what has happened, or to anyone's sense of what might happen differently in future, because they do not educate, inform or entertain - except, perhaps, the dissociated or the ghoulish among us. They exploit the interest of readers in a way that can only chime with their own worst fears and insecurities, and augment their own distress or panic. This can, and does, lead in the most extreme instances to red-top hysteria and vigilante action. Both of these hinder the debate about paedophilia and what to do about it, rather than help it.

Even without such unfortunate consequences, as is the case with most people simply touched by the suffering of other people, indulging in too many thoughts of "what if..." is a sort of perverse anti-luxury, because despite the almost inconceivable ill-fortune of the McCann family, and despite widespread declarations that one knows just how they are feeling, or more honestly, cannot begin to imagine it, there is next to no likelihood, statistically, of quite such a calamity ever befalling anybody else.

The McCanns will be dealing with the fallout of this singular horror that has been visited upon them for years to come. It may seem right to slide for hours or days into their tragedy, but it is a kind of self-indulgence.

It is usually female writers who are requested to write commentaries about "human interest stories", and it is already apparent, since I'm writing this now, that The Independent and its editors feel in no way divorced from this process. In Britain, certainly, the voracious need of the media for new information has been a huge factor in the manner in which the police "handle" such cases. During the Soham investigation, it was policy to offer some new piece of information to the mass of waiting reporters every day, in order somehow to take advantage of the huge coverage in investigating the possible whereabouts of the girls.

The Portuguese police have not been conducting their investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance in this way. During the Soham inquiry, the police maintained pretty much until Ian Huntley's arrest that they had every reason to believe that Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were still alive.

Chief inspector Oligeario Sousa, who is leading the Portuguese investigation, has no such strategy. Not only has he pointed out bluntly that he is not "a magician" and therefore cannot possibly know whether this child is alive or dead, he has also made no secret of the fact that when a small child has been missing for more than 48 hours it is time to fear the worst. He says Madeleine is likely to have been abducted for "sexual reasons", which is more candid than we are used to.

There is media disgruntlement at the paucity of information from the police, and their failure to issue a description of Madeleine's clothing or to reveal an artist's impression of a possible suspect. There is a lack of clarity about salient facts such as whether the apartment that Madeleine and her siblings were in was locked, or whether the windows were open. There was a failure to act quickly to set up checkpoints at the border with Spain, so that Madeleine could have been removed from the country with ease. British police sources even claim that the forensic integrity of the crime scene was compromised, making it impossible to get fingerprints.

The Portugese investigation certainly seems pretty shambolic, and it is only right that questions be asked. Kate and Gerry McCann, understandably, are reported to be very frustrated by the attitude of the Portuguese police. It was at their insistence that a televised appeal by them to the putative abductor was made, and one can understand why. Such appeals are a staple of UK investigations, even though their practical use is sometimes, very evidently, absolutely zero. Televised appeals are something we have come to expect distraught family members to do, and at times we have even been treated to the tears of actorly murderers. But we continueto believe they are A Good Thing nonetheless.

Most worryingly, the woman who runs Innocence In Danger, an organisation specialising in the protection of abducted and trafficked children first set up under the auspices of Unesco, says she was unable to set up a Portuguese office because "corruption and indifference hampers the country's investigation of paedophiles and child traffickers". Portugal would do well to look closely at such an allegation, because it would certainly not be the first nation to learn that it was being far too cavalier about this matter. In Britain today, some judges appear unable to grasp the profundity of the violation paedophilia entails.

Yet, in some respects, the Portuguese way of dealing with child disappearance does not seem so very different from our own. The Child Rescue Alert system was launched here nationally only last year, and is based on the Amber Alert system that runs in the US. Essentially, the system relies on the media being told at the earliest stage, to encourage the public to act as the "eyes and ears of the police". At a local level, at least, this appears to have been done in Portugal, as people were out searching for Madeleine very quickly. Then there are the statistics. The Council of Europe recommends that its members should run a national missing persons' bureau, and in Portugal, with a population of 10 million, the police list seven people who went missing as children, according to The Daily Telegraph, including one two-year-old who was abducted from home.

In Britain, in the past five years, 44 children have been listed as missing and unaccounted for, with 11 having disappeared when five or younger, and four under 12 months old. Our population is six times that of Portugal, and it is not possible to say whether the figures are collated in ways that make them compatible. But it is still shocking to know that four babies have gone missing in Britain in the past couple of years without us even being aware of their names.

One final word on the unfortunate consequences of media feeding frenzies, which is to call attention to some of the pitfalls of a lack of restraint in emoting and opining on personal loss. Jon Gaunt wrote in The Sun yesterday that the McCanns had brought their troubles on themselves. We should "include children in meals out," he says, "It's called family life." Suddenly all that feminine tit-beating seems very decent indeed.

4 comments:

Sue said...

Sounds great to me

Paulo Reis said...

SOME BRITISH PRESS OPINION & COMMENTS ABOUT PORTUGUESE POLICE (ADN PEOPLE…)
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The Telegraph
“Gerry and Kate McCann had every reason to trust […] that the Portuguese police would do everything to help bring her back to safety. Yet with the best will in the world, it is becoming obvious that this has not happened. Even if one factors in cultural differences and the inexplicable burden of the Portuguese secrecy of justice law, which prohibits even the parents of the missing being given details of evidence collected, it is clear that the police operation has been flawed and flat-footed from the start.[…] At a belated and chaotic press conference on Monday, the police were, if anything, belligerent instead of supportive, with an uncomfortable whisper of southern Mediterranean machismo sweeping through their statements and body language. "We are not magicians," said Olegario Sousa, the officer leading the investigation. No, senhor, but perhaps you are clowns instead.” [….]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/05/09/do0904.xml
May 9, 2007
[…] And here comes Dep Supt Alan Ladley, the man who caught Sarah Payne’s killer, Roy Whiting. Ladley says that “basic coppering” might have found Madeleine’s abductor by now. […] Madeline McCann is missing and we are led to believe it would have been better for mum and dad and Madeleine McCann had she been taken in Britain, preferably on Ladley’s patch. […]
http://www.anorak.co.uk/news/tabloids/173197.html

May 7, 2007
“[..] Experts have put together an artist's impression of a "suspect" but have not publicly revealed details. It is believed however, that the image shows only the rear view of a man - the back of his head and hair more than the features.[…]
http://icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk/southlondonpress/national/tm_headline=maddy-kidnapper--may-be-british-&method=full&objectid=19059947&siteid=106484-name_page.html
Daily Mail
Revealed: The police e-fit of Madeleine's abductor that's 'nothing more than an egg with a side parting'
“This bizarre sketch [image published] captures why the police investigation into the abduction of Madeleine McCann has been so savagely condemned. […] Simon Russell […]said the sketch was so simple it was easy for him to recreate, and it is Mr Russell's drawing that is used here. He described it as looking like "an egg with a side parting".
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=453724&in_page_id=1770
The Telegraph
"[…] Staff at hotels, restaurants and bars in Praia da Luz where the McCanns are staying, and nearby towns, have been shown at least six different sketches of suspects. One depicted a white, tanned man aged between 30 and 35, with dark medium length floppy hair. Others have shown a bald suspect, the back of a man's head and the silhouette of a man. Simon Russell, […] was visited by officers who showed him a computer-generated image which looked like "an egg with hair". The picture had been created by the Judiciary Police, who are leading the investigation, four days previously.. […] May 10 – 2007
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/10/wmaddy110.xml




A PORTUGUESE JOURNALIST’s OPINION ABOUT SOME BRITISH PRESS:
In my own comments, at my web page [Gazeta Digital - http://gazetadigital.blogspot.com/] - Adolf I wrote that “Hitler didn’t managed to conquer Great Britain during the II World War, but some nazis took control over a few newspapers, until today” […] Accepting this story [“Police e-fit of Madeleine's abductor that’s nothing more than an egg with a side parting”] as truthful, genuine and authentic, and publishing it, shows how strong is the influence of Alfred Rosenberg [nazi’s main ideologue] ideas among journalists and editors of the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. Indeed, Portuguese police officer have been portrayed in the British media as members of a inferior race or “clowns” […]
Also, British journalists, reporting from Algarve, behave as if they were following a National Geographic expedition to study the not-so-long-ago-cannibal tribes in the deep jungles of New-Guinea.
Best Regards,
Paulo Reis
Journalist (Press Card nº 734)
pjcv.reis@gmail.com
URL: http://gazetadigital.blogspot.com/



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[Police e-fit of Madeleine's abductor is nothing more than an egg with a side parting]

that's 'nothing

Miguel Silva, it's far worse than that. Remember the Soham murders?

From Wikipedia: "Another complication was that two of the Cambridgeshire police officers involved with the families of the murdered girls had become Operation Ore suspects a month before the murders.

Antony Goodridge, one of the exhibits officers, later pleaded guilty to child pornography offences and was given a six-month sentence.

Detective Constable Brian Stevens, who had read a poem at the girls' memorial service, was cleared of charges of indecent assault and child pornography offences after the poor presentation of prosecution evidence by computer expert Brian Underhill caused the trial to be stopped. Stevens was later convicted of a charge of perverting the course of justice after it was proved that he had given a false alibi to clear himself of the charges, and was imprisoned for eight months. The Stevens case may have affected other Operation Ore inquiries.

Tom Lloyd announced his resignation in June 2005 following accusations that he had become extremely drunk at the Association of Chief Police Officers' annual conference and had pestered a senior female official."

That's British police for you.
Posted by Roger Jones on May 9, 2007 12:15 PM
Report this comment
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/05/09/do0904.xml&page=1#form

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Having An E-fit Over Madeleine McCann
May 9, 2007
And here comes Dep Supt Alan Ladley, the man who caught Sarah Payne’s killer, Roy Whiting. Ladley says that “basic coppering” might have found Madeleine’s abductor by now. […] Madeline McCann is missing and we are led to believe it would have been better for mum and dad and Madeleine McCann had she been taken in Britain, preferably on Ladley’s patch. But not in Soham. Not there.
http://www.anorak.co.uk/news/tabloids/173197.html


Times Online
Child kidnap figures highlight dangers
May 7, 2007
The youngster disppeared when her parents left her in bed while they went for dinner at a nearby restaurant last Thursday and […] Portuguese police have not been able to trace the kidnapper, or reunite Madeleine with her family. […] The little girl's great uncle, Brian Kennedy, said: "It took the police a long time to get things moving. The early stages could have been much quicker."
Maddy kidnapper 'may be British'
May 7, 2007
“[..] Experts have put together an artist's impression of a "suspect" but have not publicly revealed details. It is believed however, that the image shows only the rear view of a man - the back of his head and hair more than the features.[…]
Portuguese police unable to shed light on mystery of British child's disappearance
May 8, 2007
The sense of chaos surrounding the Portuguese police investigation into the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann deepened last night when, at a long-awaited police briefing, detectives were unable to offer any new information and said they were not even sure she had been kidnapped
Daily Mail:
Revealed: The police e-fit of Madeleine's abductor that's 'nothing more than an egg with a side parting'
“This bizarre sketch captures why the police investigation into the abduction of Madeleine McCann has been so savagely condemned. Officers have not released any photofit or artist's impression of the suspected abductor. But they have, apparently, shown a sketch like this to residents in Praia da Luz. This bizarre sketch captures why the police investigation into the abduction of Madeleine McCann has been so savagely condemned. Officers have not released any photofit or artist's impression of the suspected abductor. But they have, apparently, shown a sketch like this to residents in Praia da Luz. One of them was Simon Russell, 40, runs a video store and Internet cafe in the former fishing village. "I smiled when they showed it to me. What else could you do?" he said. He said the sketch was so simple it was easy for him to recreate, and it is Mr Russell's drawing that is used here. He described it as looking like "an egg with a side parting". The fact that such a virtually useless image is being used underlines claims that the Portuguese police are getting increasingly desperate. "They have got absolutely nothing and are following up lines of inquiry which are barely credible," said a British police source familiar with the inquiry.”



Respostas

The blunders of British media covering the case of Madeleine McCann
by Paulo Reis
Some of the British media is giving an image of the Portuguese police - and of the Portuguese people - as a lost Neanderthal tribe that survived the Stone Age and is still living in a remote corner of Europe, with its primitive traditions and culture. Other British journalists, reporting from Algarve, behave as if they were following a National Geographic expedition to study the not-so-long-ago-cannibal tribes in the deep jungles of New-Guinea.

BLUNDER THREE: Border officials were not alerted until 12 hours after the snatch, meaning the kidnapper could have fled to Spain - only an hour's drive away from the holiday complex at Praia da Luz on the Algarve.
BLUNDER FOUR: Coastal patrols had to wait 14 hours to be told of last Thursday's snatch.


BLUNDER NINE: Police have still not identified any suspects, despite having the e-fit of a man with long hair which they showed only to locals. One restaurant worker said his wife saw a man fitting the description hanging around suspiciously outside their bar just 100 metres from the resort.

++++++++++++

Fryday’s edition of Diário de Notícias quotes several unidentified staff members of the resort where McCann family has been, saying that Madeleine parents "never left the table to check their kids, while they were dinning". Also, they requested the baby-sitter services during the day, but refused it during the night, even if baby sitting services were included in the holyday package they bought, writes the newspaper. "My sons are find like that", is a comment that the newspaper says would have been made by one of the Madeleine parents to a staff member.

Also according to Diário de Notícias, yesterday Madeleine parents "were subjected to police interrogation" at the CID regional headquarter.

“Even if chief-inspector of PJ Olegário Sousa has emphasised, at a Press conference, that McCann couple was questioned again ‘because it was necessary to clarify the investigation, but they were not suspects at all’, it seems strange a so long police interrogation”.

The newspaper also emphasises that PJ is now “concentrating in questioning actual and former employees of the resort and the possibility that some of them may be connected to the disappearance of the child is becoming more plausible.”

http://dn.sapo.pt/2007/05/11/sociedade/pais_e_funcionarios_aldeamento_suspe.html

+++
Adolf Hitler didn’t managed to conquer Great Britain during the II World War, but some nazis took control over a few newspapers, until today...
by Paulo Reis
Like in the UK, in Portugal police officers need to be physically and mentally fit. To be a candidate to a CID officer job in Portugal, people must have a university degree [35% of new recruits are chosen among those that have a Law degree] and they go through very demanding physical and medical tests [and I know it very well, because my younger sister tried it, but she wasn’t admitted]. New recruits follow a one-year training course, at a special school [Instituto Superior de Polícia Judiciária e Estudos Criminais], and after that they have one more year as trainees.
To admit that a high ranking CID officer, in charge of a investigation so important like the abduction of Madeleine, could approve a “sketch” like the one you published and send a team to the field, to show that “sketch” to some potential witnesses, asking if they could “recognize” the person on that “sketch”, is to admit that Portuguese CID (“Polícia Judiciária”) has a lot of seriously mentally handicapped people in it’s ranks, even in the highest positions. Accepting this story as truthful, genuine and authentic, and publishing it, shows how strong is the influence of Alfred Rosenberg ideas among journalists and editors of the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. Indeed, Portuguese police officer have been portrayed in the British media as members of a inferior race or “clowns” – as Mrs Jan Moir, from The Telegraph, wrote.
Thursday, at lunch time, Madeleine parents went to the regional headquarter of CID police, in Algarve. The mother went back to the hotel at 11:00 pm. The father was there until 03:00 am – 13 hours, at all. Large part of that time was used to give Mr Gerald McCann and his wife a detailed briefing of the investigation Portuguese police has been conducting. Some of that time I believe was used to call the attention of Mr and Mrs McCann to the necessity of telling ALL THE THRUTH to police investigators, as staff members of the resort told police that Madeleine parents didn’t check not even once if their kids were well, while they were dinning, according to today’s edition of Diário de Notícias. Let me remind you that Madeleine parents told to police and to the Press that they have been checking the kids, left alone in their room, every 15/30 minutes. The fact is that a large part of the British media is giving an image of the Portuguese police - and of the Portuguese people - as a lost Neanderthal tribe that survived the Stone Age and is still living in a remote corner of Europe, with its primitive traditions and culture. Some British journalists, reporting from Algarve, behave as if they were following a National Geographic expedition to study the not-so-long-ago-cannibal tribes in the deep jungles of New-Guinea. But you, journalists and editors of Daily Mail and The Telegraph, went a little further and showed your deep appreciation of the author of “Der Mythus des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts" [The Myth of the XX Century].
http://gazetadigital.blogspot.com/

++++++++++++++++++

The blunders of British media in the case of Madeleine McCann
Some of the British media is giving an image of the Portuguese police - and of the Portuguese people - as a lost Neanderthal tribe that survived the Stone Age and is still living in a remote corner of Europe, with its primitive traditions and culture. Other British journalists, reporting from Algarve, behave as if they were following a National Geographic expedition to study the not-so-long-ago-cannibal tribes in the deep jungles of New-Guinea.
Of course, they do it with the usual British refinement, putting a word here, a word there, an apparently simple question in the middle and, at the end, touching phrases like "Madeleine parents went to the Church to pray for her daughter and maybe, also for those trying to find her." Of course. With so much incompetence from the Portuguese police, only God and a miracle can take the investigation to a good end.

Let me remind that British police SPEND 13 DAYS SEARCHING FOR JESSICA CHAPMAM AND HOLLY WELLS AND THEY GOT NOTHING. Only after three members of the public found the bodies they were able to connect all the dots and arrest Ian Huntley, the Sohan Murder, on August 17. What a demonstration of incompetence, right?

One of the main points British journalists have been talking about is this “absurd” Portuguese law that forbidden police to give to the public details of ongoing investigations. It’s a law that exists in several other European countries – Holland has exactly the same law as we have. British media is talking about it as if it was something so primitive like executing convicted people by throwing them alive to a bonfire.

British police, as far as I know, has the same modus operandi as Portuguese police. I never saw details of an ongoing investigation, in UK, coming to the public knowledge through a press conference, before the case is closed and the suspects arrested. But British police has a couple of very good public relations officers that know how to entertain blood-thirsty tabloid journalists, willing to kill – or let someone be killed – to have a story that helps them to keep their jobs.

Let me quote Mrs Ros Taylor, journalist at Guardian Unlimited, editor of the subscription paper review, the Wrap: “[…]In Britain, certainly, the voracious need of the media for new information has been a huge factor in the manner in which the police 'handle' such cases. During the Soham investigation, it was policy to offer some new piece of information to the mass of waiting reporters every day, in order somehow to take advantage of the huge coverage in investigating the possible whereabouts of the girls. The Portuguese police have not been conducting their investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance in this way.” While the operation seems to have been flawed, she says, the value of appeals for a child's safe return is at best debatable.

I know that British police makes a lot of high-profile, TV-prime-time oriented public appeals, in cases similar to this. And I wonder why they do it. Do British citizens with important information concerning a crime need to be almost coerced in going to the police and sharing that information? They don’t do it by their own initiative? Or is it part of that “circus” British police need to set up, in order to placate a pack of howling journalists, throwing them some old bones to chew?

When this case is closed – with a happy ending, I hope, from the bottom of my heart, as a father of two boys - and details are revealed, we will know that a lot of Portuguese citizens went to the police, in the days following the abduction of Madeleine, with information they though useful. Without the “debatable” public appeals, as Mrs Ros Taylor wrote.

The Portuguese law that orders a total silence during a crime investigation also allows police to release details of an ongoing investigation in case there is a situation of risk or danger to the public and the society [an armed criminal on the run, after killing somebody, and willing to kill again, for example] or when the release of those details is considered essential to help save or protect the life of somebody that is in danger.

This is not a case where the second exception can be used – in my opinion. The abductor can be a cool-blooded man, a professional, working for an international organized crime network; a sexual pervert, a paedophile that has done something similar before; or a woman with psychological problems, not able to have children (in Portugal, we had two or three cases like this, recently).

If the abductor is an organized crime professional or a sexual pervert, he is on the run, trying to leave to country or hiding and waiting for a better opportunity to escape. Don't forget the possibility that, one hour after the child disappeared, she could be already in Spain. And there is not only one road from Aldeia da Luz to Spain. There is one main road and five or six secondary roads. But if she is still in Portugal, in both situations above referred, the abductor should be taking a fundamental precaution: hiding carefully the child, because her face is well known of every Portuguese (and easy to spot, as we are a dark-haired people and blonde children like Madeleine are very rare).

But he is not afraid of showing his face, or being seen by other people. Because he has been watching the news and he knows that police has no clue or tip about who he is, what colour is hair, how tall, if he is skinny or fat, long hair or bald. Let's suppose he sees, on TV, a photo of him, or a sketch that is so close that allows people to recognize him. He will act immediately.

He will do the first thing every criminal does, when he discovers police is on his trail, knows his identity, his name, his face, his last address: he will try to get rid of all evidence that can connect him to the crime. And the strongest evidence of the crime he committed, is having the little Madeleine with him. He could do it on two different ways. One, leaving the child, alive and well, near some place where somebody could find her quickly. I don’t want to mention the other possibility. But British police knows well this kind of possibility.

One last word about the list Daily Mirror published, concerning the ”Ten Blunders” Portuguese Police is responsible for, in this investigation. Police was slow to act, that’s a main idea. They were not called immediately, as Madeleine parents, friends and neighbours searched for her, during some time, in the surrounding area. When police arrived, they need to have some assurance that the child had been abducted. It’s a normal procedure, even for a “real” police, like the British.

“Child abductions and attempted abductions take place almost once a month in Cambridgeshire”, writes the Cambridge Evening News. I wonder if Cambridge police, once every month, cordons off main streets of access to the city and amass a huge force of officers, within one hour or two of receiving notice of a possible abduction.

Talking about amassing a huge force of officers let me tell you THAT AROUND 10% OF ALL PORTUGUESE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OFFICERS (Polícia Judiciária, in Portuguese) WERE SENT TO ALGARVE, in less than 48 hours after the abduction. British journalists don’t see police everywhere and they report that fact as an evidence of incompetence. CI officers don’t use uniforms. They work in plainclothes. Both the national police (Polícia de Segurança Pública, in charge of patrolling the cities) and the militarized police (Guarda Nacional Republicana, that has responsibility on rural areas) have special CI units in every major precinct. Those men are working together with the 200 CID officers sent to the crime scene.

I hope that, in spite of the lousy job some of the British journalists are doing, in Algarve, Madeleine can be with their parents, soon.

And I hope that, next time British journalists come to Portugal to report about something, they try to do some research, before. We, Portuguese, are no more living in caverns, or dressing with animal skins and hunting with arrows to have our daily meals. Next time, call some British expatriates living here and ask them those basic things that took you so long to discover, like the existence of a different legal framework in Portugal.

Call the editor of "The Resident", an English language newspaper from Algarve. (There are five other English language publications in Portugal, you can find adresses and contacts here) Talk with some Portuguese journalists. We can speak, we use computers (typewriters are a thing of the past..) we surf the Net and we even know how to send emails. Most of us, like me, have a good command of English, French and Spanish (I can also speak a little bit of Cantonese...)
Paulo Reis


PS – Forget to mention: our country is a member of the European Union…
--------------------------------------------------
Clueless: We reveal errors made by police in kidnap hunt for Maddy
The Daily Mirror
“THE family of kidnapped Maddy McCann last night told of their anger at Portuguese police over their blunders in the hunt for the child. Ten basic errors in the hours after the abduction could have given the kidnapper time to flee abroad and wrecked vital forensic evidence at the crime scene.”[…]
Misplaced trust led to Madeleine's betrayal
The Telegraph
by Jan Moir“
[...]
At a belated and chaotic press conference on Monday, the police were, if anything, belligerent instead of supportive, with an uncomfortable whisper of southern Mediterranean machismo sweeping through their statements and body language. "We are not magicians," said Olegario Sousa, the officer leading the investigation. No, senhor, but perhaps you are clowns instead.” [….]

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