Sunday, 15 August 2010
In February this year, the McCanns were successful in persuading a Portuguese judge that their right to a 'good reputation,' was more important than Dr Gonçalo Amaral's right to freedom of speech, and the injunction banning Dr Amaral's book, "The Truth of The Lie," was upheld.
By the McCanns' own admission, they left three small children alone in an unlocked apartment in a foreign country, night after night, checking on them every 30 minutes, as though a couple of doctors had no idea that a child could choke in just a few minutes, meet with an accident in a strange apartment, or wander out of that unlocked door. We were told though that their daughter Madeleine, who disappeared into thin air on one of those alone nights, could not have wandered off, but we haven't yet been told why her parents were so sure of this.
Gerry and Kate McCann, as we know, have maintained a global media presence since Madeleine disappeared, apparently intent on finding the person or persons who abducted their daughter. No other thesis is acceptable to them: she is alive, she could not have wandered off, she has been abducted, but there is no evidence that she has come to harm.
A child who has been abducted by a stranger has not come to harm? I guess if you seriously think that three small children alone in an unlocked apartment cannot come to harm, then believing that a child taken from her bed by strangers has not come to harm might not be too much of a leap of faith. She would, of course, be able to walk into her old home and take up that, 'spare place,' at the dining table. Nae bother!
If either of you, Kate or Gerry McCann were my doctor, your reputation as health professionals would have suffered serious harm. I don't think I could trust a doctor who thought it was OK to go out wining and dining while their three small children were alone in an unlocked apartment and who also thought that abduction was not bad for a child's physical and emotional well-being.
Anyway, in search of upholding their good reputation, our fine doctors hired Carter-Ruck, who describe themselves as, 'the UK's pre-eminent media law practice.' In doing so, the McCanns are in a special kind of company! Carter-Ruck is the law firm that stopped General Augusto Pinochet's extradition to Spain to answer to charges of human rights violations. Carter-Ruck is also the firm that unsuccessfully tried to prevent the Guardian newspaper from publishing an MP's question in the House of Commons on the activities of the oil company Trafigura.
The latest well-publicised Carter-Ruck client is Nadhmi Auchi, whom Mark Kirk, US Republican, has linked to Democrat Senate candidate Alexi "the Mob Banker" Giannoulias. Warner Todd Huston of the blog Chicago Now has responded to Carter-Ruck's attempts to silence American bloggers on this issue:
And, before you Carter-Rucksters begin to start addressing another threatening email this time to me, don't bother. Your email will be ignored and THIS post will stay up. Just like the Illinois Review, THIS post is just reporting the news. If the allegations made against your client are false, that is YOUR problem. Not mine. You should take up your concerns with the Illinois GOP.
Still, don't get your hopes up. Unlike your foreign experience, in America libel is properly hard to prove. Here we do not cotton to libel tourism as they cater to in England. Basically I'm telling you attorneys and your client Nadhmi Auchi to pound sand.
Oh dear! They're not impressed by Carter-Ruck's reputation, are they?
The McCanns hired Carter-Ruck soon after their speedy exit from Portugal. Was that because of Carter-Ruck's experience as media lawyers, or because they had managed to successfully save Augusto Pinochet from extradition? Either way, why would two medical doctors, intent on protecting their good reputation, hire lawyers who had defended the likes of General Augusto Pinochet? You are not only judged by the company you keep Kate and Gerry, but by the help you hire!
Carter-Ruck have threatened various bloggers and The Madeleine Foundation (Read Carter-Ruck's letters under the 'Newsletters,' link on the Madeleine Foundation web site) and anyone else who dares to question the McCanns' version of events, that version being that Madeleine was abducted by a stranger. However, there does not appear to be any evidence of that abduction. According to Locard's Exchange Principle:
No matter how much someone tries to clean up a crime scene, something is generally left behind. It may not always be detected, or even be visible to the human eye, but it's almost impossible to take any kind of violent action without shedding something. This principle, called Locard’s Exchange Principle, has become one of the motivating factors in the development of forensic science.
Yet, the person who allegedly abducted Madeleine McCann, whom Gerry McCann felt may have been hiding in the apartment when he checked on the children at around 9.05pm, left absolutely nothing of himself, not even glove prints. The shutters had not been damaged and the only prints on them were Kate McCann's and from their position, it appeared that she had been trying to manually lift the shutters from the inside.
Now, back to the hired help! There was Metodo 3, Spanish detective agency that had no previous experience if searching for missing children. According to SOS Madeleine McCann in February 2009, Metodo 3 agency was under investigation for money laundering. In July 2008, SOS Madeleine McCann reported that Metodo 3 was under investigation for attempted murder: a former cell-mate of João Cipriano, uncle and convicted murderer of Joana Cipriano, had allegedly offered information to Metodo 3, but after receiving payment, had failed to deliver and his life had been threatened as a consequence.
Is that the kind of hired help that enhances the reputation of our good doctors?
Then there was Kevin Halligen whose company Oakley International, was paid £300,000 in 2008 to look for their daughter.
A 48-year-old man wanted by the FBI who allegedly defrauded people across the world, including the Madeleine McCann fund, was arrested last night at a hotel in Oxford.
Friday, 13 August 2010
NBC Chicago August 11th 2010
Has the rhetoric in the Illinois Senate campaign sunk to libelous levels?
Nadhmi Auchi, the human peg with which Mark Kirk tied oppenent Alexi Giannoulias to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has sicced his lawyers on the North Shore Congressman. Kirk accused the Iraqi-born businessman and Broadway Bank client of handling the personal accounts of Saddam Hussein and selling him Italian warships in the 1980s.
Auchi’s attorneys, Carter-Ruck, responded with a seething letter objecting to the “serious and false accusations that you made about our client at the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs on 8 August 2010.”
According to the letter, “it is wholly untrue that Mr. Auchi was ‘a banker to Saddam Hussein or involved in ‘arms deals to Saddam Hussein.’ Mr. Auchi had absolutely no ties or links to Saddam Hussein … Saddam Hussein was in fact responsible for murdering one of Mr. Auchi’s brothers. Mr. Auchi was imprisoned, beaten and tortured by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Mr. Auchi left Iraq in 1980 and did not return until after the U.S.-led invasion and the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime.”
The letter charges that the newspaper articles that formed the basis of Kirk’s accusation came from the British newspaper The Observer. Auchi took legal action against the paper, forcing the paper to admit the articles contained “significant inaccuracies,” and removing them from their website. Carter-Ruck is demanding that Kirk “withdraw the false allegations and … apologize to our client.”
Kirk seems inclined to do nothing of the sort. In fact, a Kirk aide linked to the letter in an e-mail to supporters, and wrote of Auchi, “Maybe he’ll even threaten to sue us for mentioning his well-documented criminal past.” Just so you know that Kirk isn't intimidated by a litigious British billionaire.
Kirk's campaign also provided Ward Room with a link to an Observer article insinuating that Auchi supplied warships to Saddam Hussein's Navy. (See Note)
The aide's e-mail also mentioned that Auchi had been convicted of fraud by a French court for receiving illegal commissions in an oil scandal, and has been banned by the State Department from entering the United States. Auchi did not dispute those allegations, only the characterization of his relationship with Saddam Hussein.
“The reporting of the New York Times and the Observer of London concerning Mr. Auchi, a convicted felon who is barred from entering the United States, speaks for itself," Kirk spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement. "The very fact that Broadway Bank has a long track record of loaning money to thugs, criminals and mobsters like Auchi and Rezko should tell voters everything they need to know about Alexi Giannoulias, his judgment and whether he is suited to represent them in the United States Senate.”
Kirk seems to be daring Auchi to sue him for libel. Does Kirk really want to get into another battle over who’s telling the truth? If Auchi does sue, it won’t be the first time Kirk has been accused of playing fast and loose with the facts, but it will be the first time he’s hauled into court for it.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Kirk again harped on a nearly $23 million loan recently reported by the Chicago Sun-Times that went to a development company with ties to convicted Illinois political insider Tony Rezko and Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born billionaire who was embroiled in a fraud scandal of his own.http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/656aafdb7b7e4d81a6520033ee802853/IL--Illinois_Senate/
Auchi was convicted of receiving illegal commissions as part of France's giant Elf-Aquitaine oil scandal that sent top executives to jail. In 2003, Auchi got a suspended sentence and was fined. He has denied any role in the scandal.
Now, here is the Carter-Ruck letter:
Carter Ruck August 10 Letter
Carter-Ruck is acting on behalf of a man who was convicted of fraud in 2003 by a French court.
A controversial Iraqi-British billionaire who funds one of the UK's most strongly anti-Zionist websites organised a banquet in honour of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and a fundraiser for Susan Kramer, the party's candidate in the high-profile seat of Richmond Park.And what about Mr Auchi's former business associates?
Nadhmi Auchi, 73, was convicted of fraud in the giant French Elf-Aquitaine oil company trial in 2003 and given a suspended sentence, although he is seeking to appeal the verdict.
"Tony Rezko's Billionaire Buddy."
On a spring day in 2004, Nadhmi Auchi, one of the world's richest men, flew in to Midway Airport on a private jet. Met by a welcoming party that included Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (there at the request of the Blagojevich administration) and businessman Tony Rezko, Auchi was brought to a downtown hotel where he was the guest of honor at a reception hosted by Blagojevich.
The Iraqi-born billionaire -- who lives in London -- had come to Chicago on business. He would go on to invest nearly $170 million in a prime piece of vacant land in the South Loop -- 62 acres along the Chicago River that Rezko wanted to develop.
Now, Auchi is surfacing in Rezko's corruption case, set to go to trial Monday. Auchi is mentioned by prosecutors in the court filing that got Rezko's bail revoked and landed him in jail.
Rezko was indicted in October 2006 in a scheme to shake down firms seeking state pension business to enrich himself and Blagojevich's campaign fund. He got $3.5 million from Auchi's company in April 2007 but never told a judge about it, raising concerns that Rezko, a native of Syria, might flee the country.
Auchi wasn't accused of wrongdoing regarding Rezko. But he had faced legal troubles in Europe, prosecutors noted, having been "convicted several years ago in France on fraud charges" and sentenced to 15 months in prison, "but the sentence was suspended as long as Auchi committed no new crimes."
They raised the possibility that, even though Auchi's Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding has taken control of the valuable South Loop property from Rezko, Auchi might be barred from entering the United States. "In November 2005, after Auchi was unable to enter the United States, Rezko directly appealed to the State Department to permit Auchi to enter the United States and, it appears, asked certain Illinois government officials to do the same," prosecutors wrote.
So how was Auchi not allowed in the United States in November 2005 but able to come here in 2004 -- despite his criminal conviction in France in 2003?
Auchi's London-based lawyer, Alasdair Pepper, wouldn't answer that. State Department and Homeland Security officials said they couldn't comment.
So, now I turn to the controversial Wikileaks site for their:
"Debunking The Carter-Ruck Defence of British-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi."
It's a very long entry on the Wikileaks site. So, I shall just copy significant parts of it and ask you to read the article in its entirety on the web site. This article seems to totally debunk Carter-Ruck's claim that Nadhmi Auchi was not associated in any way with Sadam Hussein.
- “A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser (dual US-Syrian citizen Tony Rezko) just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses. The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr. Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.” -- The Times of London February 26, 2008
The Auchi-Rezko-Obama connection came to public attention with federal marshals pounding on the door of Tony Rezko’s Wilmette Chicago mansion in the early morning of January 28, 2008. They hauled Rezko to jail after his bail was revoked for concealing a $3.5 million Auchi loan from the court. The Times outlines the story in two sentences. It should be of tremendous interest to the American public and the world.
But there is more to this story than run-of-the mill political corruption. Nadhmi Auchi is alleged to have a long affiliation with Iraqi Baathism and Saddam Hussein—which his attorneys deny. How close were they? According to a 1960 US Embassy report, Auchi was convicted along with Saddam by an Iraqi court for his part in a failed 1959 assassination attempt against then-Iraqi Prime Minister Qassim. For his crime, Auchi earned a sentence of “three years rigorous imprisonment.”
The US Embassy report is an interesting counterpoint to Auchi’s September, 2004 interview with the London Times in which he claims, “I left the Ba’ath party in 1962 and was jailed in Iraq when the party came to power in 1963….” What does “was jailed” mean? For those unaware of the 1960 US Embassy report, Auchi’s claim implies he was jailed by the Baathists when they came to power. But it might also mean he was still in jail from the 1960 sentence.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
IOL Portugal Diario
7th August 2008
Translation from Portuguese by Astro
An anonymous phone call from a Portuguese woman alerts the authorities to the "abductor" Murat, one week before the Englishman was known around the world
The denunciation from a journalist, an anonymous phone call and Jane Tanner, the McCann couple's friend who saw a man carrying a child on the evening that Maddie disappeared, produced the first arguido in the investigation. Murat's over-helpful posture was one of the first indicia that turned him into a suspect. But what led to his anonymous incrimination, days before he was known around the world?
The Polícia Judiciária was first in suspecting Murat. On the 7th of May, they already possessed diverse information about his personal and professional life: what he did, his bank accounts, where and with whom he lived, among other details.
On the 8th, one week before the suspicions were made public and Murat was made an arguido, another log fed the fire. A female voice makes an anonymous phone call, in Portuguese, to the PJ and states that the abductor is closer than the police thinks. The inspector asked who she was referring to and the female voice explained: it is an individual who resides in Praia da Luz, from a British mother, fluent in Portuguese and in English, who walked around in the area to help the authorities.
The author of the anonymous phone call added that the abductor was called Robert, that he visited chats of a sexual type and that he managed to encrypt his emails.
Suspicious British journalist…
The suspicions about Murat are also raised by a British journalist. Three days after Maddie's disappearance, on the 6th of May, the reporter gets in touch with the English police, to share her suspicions about a man, who lived in the area and was excessively helpful.
Born British, he has been living in Portugal for a long time. The fluency of his Portuguese and his English soon rendered him useful to the Portuguese authorities, which were confronted with a case that involved British tourists. Furthermore, he had a daughter of Maddie's age, from whom he was separated, as the child lived in England with her mother.
The journalist remembered a case that had taken place in England, where the criminal had a similar attitude and even helped in the searches of his own victim.
Serving as a translator
Even after the suspicions were assumed, the Judiciária continued to use Murat's translation services in several questionings, to English employees of the Ocean Club resort, until the 9th of May. "In order to prevent the suspect from noticing something", they then justified.
It is only at a later date that Jane Tanner, a friend of Kate and Gerry, is confronted with the possibility that Murat is the individual that she saw carrying a child. Despite the fact that the physical description that Jane gave and Murat's look are not the same, the English tourist had no doubts in stating that he was almost certainly the man that she had seen.
It is worth reminding that after having been made an arguido, other members of the group that was on holidays with the McCanns asserted that they saw Robert Murat participating in the searches, on the night of the disappearance. A fact that was always denied by himself, who said that he had been at home with his mother. He only heard about the alleged abduction on Friday the 4th. The GNR itself confirmed to the PJ that it only remembered seeing the Englishman on the following morning.
But the English profilers also guaranteed that there was a 90% chance of Murat being the abductor. And as if that was not enough, an alleged childhood friend asserted that as a teenager, he revealed an inclination to have sex with animals.
A set of circumstances, a friendly behaviour, a suspicious sighting, an anonymous phone call and convenient testimonies turned Murat into the first arguido by Portuguese justice to be financially compensated by British newspapers, for becoming a suspect in a crime that nobody managed to prove to exist.
Without evidence to support that any crime was committed, the Public Ministry archived the Maddie process, on the 21st of July. Kate and Gerry, together with Robert Murat, saw their arguido status lifted.
This translation copied from The McCann Files
With thanks to Nigel Moore and Astro