GAZETA DIGITAL

3.7.07

Is Mr. Ian Herbert, journalist from The Independent, suffering from “parrot's syndrome”?

There is a person – Ian Herbert - who considers himself a journalist and writes for The Independent, from London. He is so clever and knows so much about what he writes, that he managed to create something that doesn't exist: border posts between Portugal and Spain!

Mr Ian Herbert wrote on The Independent, on May 12: “The A22 motorway ­ which cuts across the Algarve ­ is 10 minutes away. At speed, the Spanish border is 90 minutes away. The border might have been sealed in time had the police been alarmed by the distress call from the Ocean Club. Instead, it took a desperate call to GMTV from a McCann family friend, Jill Renwick, to alert the British nation to the inaction.”

What you wrote, Mr. Ian Herbert, is fake, fraudulent and misleading. There are no border posts to be sealed, between European Union countries that signed, in 1995, the Schengen Agreement, which allows for the abolition of systematic border controls between those countries. How can you be so ignorant?

But Mr. Ian Herbert says that police was not alarmed by the distress call from the Ocean Club and “it took a desperate call to GMTV from a McCann family friend, Jill Renwick, to alert the British nation to the inaction.” That is a lie, Mr. Ian Herbert! And it is also fake, fraudulent and misleading. Are you lying or are you just repeating, like a parrot, something somebody told you, without checking it? Are you suffering from the same problem many other British journalists covering Madeleine's abduction have – what I call the “parrot's syndrome”?

Police precinct in Lagos was called only at 22.50pm, May 3 – almost one hour after Kate realized Madeleine had disappeared. They sent a patrol that arrived at Ocean Club 12/15 minutes later. I hope you can read this and explain to the few readers of Gazeta Digital that I'm wrong, when I admit the possibility that you were lying and that you were just acting like a parrot...

Mr Ian Herbert also talks about the fact that “CCTV cameras are few and far between here”. Let me tell you another thing that you don't know: CCTV cameras are so common in UK as ID cards are, in Portugal. And there more CCTV cameras in Portugal, than ID cards in UK. You don't have individual ID cards, in UK. It's a breach of your right to privacy and a risk for your freedom. UK government has been trying to introduce ID cards with no success at all.

In Portugal, every citizen, almost since he is born, has an ID card. We don't consider that it breaches any of our rights or freedom. But we consider that having CCTV cameras everywhere is against our right to privacy. So, Portuguese Law is very strict about putting CCTV cameras in public places. In private places, they need a permission from the authorities and there must be a clear signal saying that there is a CCTV camera and images of people going there are recorded. You see? You have learned something...

At the end of your story there is another misleading remark: “Friday 4 May: Police launch search, using sniffer dogs, and alert airports”. Police didn't started the search on May 4. They started it on May 3. Even before the morning of May 4, there were already sniffers dogs - local canine units from GNR - at Ocean Club. At 3.00am, May 4, several canine units left from Lisbon and arrived at Praia da Luz at dawn, to reinforce the units already searching for Madeleine. And they alerted airports and Border Police (a police that, nowadays works in airports and ports...)

At least, that's what Mr. John Hill, manager of Ocean Club said to your colleague Mark Oliver, from The Guardian. And Mr. John Hill was a privileged witness of everything that happened at Ocean Club, immediately after 10.00pm, May 3. So, are you telling the truth to The Independent readers? Because if you are, than Mark Oliver, Sandra Laville and Dale Fuchs, journalists from The Guardian, are lying. And Mr. John Hill, he is also lying.

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