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Tagged: / Posted: 8 August 2008

Yesterday, The Sun and The Daily Telegraph published "astonishing revelations" in the case of the missing Madeleine McCann. Both newpapers reveal the existence of an e-mail, sent by the Metropolitan Police to counterparts in the Portugese and Leicester police. Based on information from an anonymous caller, it claims that "a child abduction ring based in Belgium placed an order for a young girl", three days before the child's disappearance. Most Belgian newspapers report today about their British collaegues' "revelations". All point out that 1. we're talking about one e-mail - the only one on the subject - in a 30,000 pages long police dossier, 2. it is based on one anonymous phone call, 3. from a caller who presented no further hard evidence at all, 4. because, apparently, he too was passing on something he had heard said, 5. nevertheless, the lead was investigated by InterPol and Belgian police, and 6. nothing came out of this investigation. Ignoring all of this, The Daily Telegraph writes: "The astonishing revelation supports Kate and Gerry McCann's long-held theory that their eldest child may have been taken by a child smuggling ring." The e-mail "marks a significant development in the case of the missing girl." "It destroys the PJ's theory that the couple accidentally killed Madeleine and then tried to dispose of her body." "Only now," the paper concludes, "is a picture emerging of what may have happened." Note the 'may'. What The Sun has to say on the subject, is too wild to even mention. To support the theory, The Telegraph digs up the case of Marc Dutroux, which has made Belgium's international reputation as a safe haven and breeding ground for paedophile killers: "Belgium was at the centre of one of the most notorious paedophile investigations of recent years which saw Marc Dutroux jailed for life in 2004 after being convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering young girls. He was found guilty of kidnapping and raping six girls, killing two of them and causing the deaths of two others. The case surrounding Dutroux, 47, an unemployed electrician and a convicted paedophile, shocked Europe in the mid-1990s." All this is true. It is also the only case of this scale in Belgium. Why it is dug up time and again to support dodgy conspiracy theories, is a mystery. The Independent first ran the same story but ran another one yesterday underlining that the Belgian lead lacked credibility. Tom Naegels Journalist Belgium

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