Category: N America context

Monday, February 05, 2018

Another Of Many “They Really DID Do It” Cases Where Suspicions Only Grow

Posted by Peter Quennell

Several dozen new videos like these have gone online in this year alone.







Friday, January 26, 2018

Contrasting The Dishonest, Demonizing Knox With The Real Victim And Victim Advocate Elizabeth Smart

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. Amanda Knox

Read here for the warnings Roanoke College management received.

We are told none of that was ever shared. College management did their students no favors at all by lying by omission about Knox.

College management KNEW that Knox lies on an epic scale and has no real respect for truth. They KNEW the case against Knox was actually one of exceptional strength. They KNEW Knox is a felon for life for framing an innocent man and that she rightly served three years.

They KNEW Knox in Perugia had been heavily on drugs. They KNEW she was not an exchange student and was a growing nuisance to those around. They KNEW that Knox demonizes Italy and its fine, fair justice system and staff, and that she encourages bigotry and dangerous hate.

They KNEW the Supreme Court’s final verdict was provably bent and the Ndrangheta played some role.

Wrongly demonizing police and courts, and wrongly demonizing foreigners, are very dangerous games which if absorbed as lifetime lessons will cause serious psychological and social disarray.

WHY were fee-paying Roanoke students never provided by management with this reality check?

2. Elizabeth Smart

The only other American in victim mode so prominently making herself available for speakers gigs is the REAL victim Elizabeth Smart.

She is the Mormon girl abducted from her Salt Lake City home when she was 14 by a fundamentalist pair.  Although some do believe she may have been kidnapped willingly to get out of a suffocatingly regimented home, she has won just about everybody over, because she is so cool, frank, funny, self-effacing, and genuinely nice.

And because she has chosen a really noble cause, instead of a divisive one.

To general admiration, she is trying to slow child kidnappings and kidnapping-deaths, which are at epidemic levels not least in Utah where the polygamists want second, third and fourth wives and are in the habit of helping themselves.

She has systematized her advice - a number of pointers for kidnap victims to help them come out alive, and a number of pointers for parents, police and political leaders which end up in law and handbooks and training and are filling a real void. She unquestionably is saving lives.

3. Bottom Line

In contrast, what is Knox’s cause? Fanning bigotry and trashing Italy and Italian justice through extensive lies? Mischaracterizing why she is a convicted felon who served three years and nefariously escaped much worse? Demonizing hundreds while seeking to make herself a saint?

So. To best meet their students’ lifetime needs, out of these two, who was it Roanoke College management chooses to expose them to? Really? Amanda Knox?!?!


Friday, October 20, 2017

Given The Semi-Public Tensions, Could Someone Close To Knox Blow Her Cover At Last?

Posted by Cardiol MD



By request, image of victim Laci (center) with husband and his half-sister

1. The Minefield Knox Inhabits

Amanda Knox is not exactly surrounded wall-to-wall with friends. There were family tensions going way back which even Knox mentioned in her book.

Since returning to the US her reaching out to those who supported her 2007-11 has been selective and cursory at best.

There have been frequent differences and jealousies among the bandwagon of opportunists which exploded into view when Frank Sforza laid a trail of violence among supporters in the United States.

Her whole family took a financial hit. Many at her high-school didnt appreciate her putting that school under a cloud. When she was first arrested, only a few among her circle at the University of Washington spoke for her.

Unnamed others at her school and university talked about Knox frequently acting wild and being on drugs, and how to them her involvement in a death caused minimal surprise. 

She defamed many in Italy and was the direct cause of her drug dealer ending up in prison. In her paid presentations and TV appearances she continues to defame and actively tries to inflict hurt.

2. Examples Of Potential Threats

Here is a partial list of those who know enough of the truth to sell Knox out in their own name or secretly by proxy - we have already had several nibbles.

1. Rudy Guede

2. Raffaele Sollecito

3. Knox’s mother: Edda Mellas

4. Knox’s father: Curt Knox

5. Knox’s step-father: Chris Mellas

6. Knox’s younger sister: Deanna

7. Knox’s best friend in Seattle: Madison Paxton

8. Knox’s two step-sisters: Ashley Knox and Delaney Knox

9. Knox’s lawyers: Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga

10. Raffaele Sollecito’s Father: Francesco Sollecito

11. Raffaele Sollecito’s Sister: Vanessa Sollecito

12. Raffaele Sollecito’s Lawyer: Luca Maori

13. Chris Robinson?

Could any of those turn? Probably not, but all those and quite a few other people close to Amanda Knox do know she is guilty in the killing of Meredith Kercher.

It may seem to some of them that Knox and Sollecito may have intended “only” to “teach-her-a-lesson” violently torturing and humiliating Meredith using knives.

And that the stabbing-to-death occurred “only” after Meredith screamed, when Knox and Sollecito impulsively silenced Meredith by driving in their knives.

They may open up to a halfway point seeking sympathy which they think is better than seeing Knox live under a black cloud of suspicion all her life.

Or the incessant stalking of Meredith’s family led by the Mellases may come to seem too much. Or they may simply dislike Knox and her family for their callousness and greed. Who knows?

3. Scott Petersen Is Sold Out

Main poster Giustizia explained the case and the many parallels in this post here.

Now see this book Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty by his half-sister Anne Bird.

Scott’s natural father is Lee Peterson. Anne Bird’s natural father is apparently unlisted, but is not Lee Peterson.

Anne Bird is now the adoptive daughter of Jerri and Tom Grady. Anne Bird did not meet Scott until June 1997, when Anne was 32 and Scott was 24. (Born: July 8, 1965, age 52, San Diego County, California, CA).

In summary: Spouse: Tim Bird (m. 1998). Parents: Jackie Peterson. Books: Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty. Siblings: Scott Peterson born October 24, 1972)

4. Why Did She Speak Out?

The list provided by Anne Bird of her “reasons” is very subjective, and does not coincide with those of the Peterson Jury.

1. On our last day at Disneyland, when Ryan went missing and everyone panicked, Scott stayed on his cell in his own world. Total disconnect. *

2. While at Tommy’s christening on January 12, 2003, Scott sat and held Tommy entire time and looked uncomfortable. Rector seemed to get bad feeling about Scott, like he knew something or wasn’t buying it.

3. Scott upgraded his porn channel later that day.

4. In interviews with Gloria Gomez and Diane Sawyer, Scott said Laci knew about Amber. No way she knew he was having an affair! No way she would have put up with it.*

5. On Ryan’s third birthday, Scott stayed with us. He had just returned from his P.O. box in Modesto and had hate mail with him. There was a praying mantis on one, and another had a birthday cake picture with three candles and it said “Happy Birthday Ryan.” This made me scared, and I do not know where it came from or how anyone else would know about Ryan’s birthday. Also, there was a letter””the one he thought was from the Rocha family””that was definitely a death threat. He seemed to be able to joke about it.

6. Scott partying, celebrating while Laci is missing. A lot of “carrying on” the entire time I was with him.*

7. When he was at our house and the news came on, he watched and asked if he should get rid of his goatee. Did not seem to recognize how serious it was that he was a “person of interest.”

8. Flirting with our babysitter. Made “flirtinis.” Babysitter felt uncomfortable and left.

9. Jackie and Lee telling me that if asked about babysitter incident, I should just deny it or “not recall” it, suggesting to me that they didn’t want anybody opening that can of worms.

10. The girl he got pregnant in Arizona””was this the reason he left college? The girl had an abortion; then Scott came home.

11. Scott often arrived in different cars. Was he switching cars to avoid being followed?

12. Scott borrowing the shovel up at Lake Arrowhead. He said, “I have a shovel I borrowed that I need to return.”Is it possible he buried something?*

13. Scott did not have money, according to Jackie. Yet he purchased items from REI and North Face outlets while here.

14. Appeared uninterested in search for Laci. I brought up several ideas/ leads (from the news), but he had no direction/ interest in them. I asked if there was anywhere anyone should be looking and brought out map of Modesto. He pointed to Mape’s Ranch (?) like he was very annoyed with me. “Maybe there,” he said.*

15. I saw the table setting from the People magazine photograph and it looks like Scott set the table for Christmas Eve dinner. I have set a table with Laci at a Latham family reunion, and she sets the table correctly. The Christmas “crackers” are a finishing touch””not the only thing you put on a table. There is also no tablecloth and it looks absolutely not up to Laci’s high standards of table setting (something she excelled at).*

16. When I asked about his (new) hair color he said that it was bleached in the swimming pool up in Mammoth when he was there skiing.

17. Scott used alias””Cal, short for California, a name he said that he and Laci originally chose for Conner(IC-insert: on Dec 24th, 2002 Conner was 227 days post-conception, or in his 33rd post-conceptual week, and 53 days or nearly 8 weeks pre-EDD. Therefore he satisfied the SCOTUS requirement for Personhood.) “”to look at apartments for rent so that he didn’t have to give his name. But that wasn’t the name I heard (they wanted).

18. He left our house two to three times to go to Modesto to clean the pool and mow the lawn. He said he did not want the neighbors seeing the pool turning green. Did anyone check the pool for any evidence?

19. Chilling story about the overgrown cemetery in Mendocino. Made up? Possibly. On verge of confessing? Looked like it.

20. Two [of Scott’s] cousins said he was investigated in connection with the disappearance of Kristin Smart, the girl from SLO (missing since 1996).

21. Cousins said somebody must have been helping Scott flee if there was all the stuff in the back of the car.

22. Scott tried to get help removing GPS device from truck. Very annoyed to be tracked at all.

23. Despite what Jackie [The natural mother of Anne and Scott who had given Anne away for adoption soon after Anne’s birth] said on television about Scott and Laci’s “perfect marriage,” on three separate occasions (before Laci disappeared) she told me Scott and Laci were having problems.*

24. Scott claimed he’d had a delusion of speaking into the mirror at their house with Laci. He said this after I told him I had seen Sharon Rocha on the news saying she saw Laci on their couch. [Such visions] are apparently brought on by “extreme grief” or “extreme guilt.”

25. Scott told me that he had another affair before Amber Frey, someone in SLO, and did not give a time when that one occurred. Also, had slept with someone (or two?) on an airplane flight. On that flight he said he “took turns” between two airplane bathrooms. I have no idea when this occurred and did not ask any other details.

26. In L.A., gay relatives took Scott barhopping, went to a gay bar. Scott said he was bummed that no one hit on him.

27. Every time there was a search in the bay, Scott’s voice and reaction was more heightened, and he would say things like “They are wasting their time when they could be out looking for her,” “Time would be better spent looking for her somewhere else.” He was louder and more emotional when they were looking in the bay. *

28. Drinks at the Ballast. At the bar, Scott pulled Mexican pesos from his pocket. When [Gordo] asked if he was going to Mexico sometime soon, Scott didn’t respond. *

29. Dinner at the SD Yacht Club with some of my friends. At 9: 00 P.M. I told Scott that we had to get going, and he said that it was ridiculous””” Who cares?” I called home and said we would be late; kept getting “Who cares?” attitude from Scott, and finally said we had to leave about 10: 30 or 11: 00 P.M.

30. I was the first to call and let him know they found a body of a woman in the bay. He said “They’ll find out it’s not Laci, and they will keep looking for her.” *

31. When I said they’d found the body of a baby the day before, he said “What?!”¦ That’s terrible. Who would do such a thing?!” Seemed very disturbed and voice was loud and emotional again. *

32. On April 17, 2003 Scott stayed at my parents’ house in San Diego. When I asked him why he didn’t go to the Lake Arrowhead house he said his car spun out. I don’t believe he ever went there. I think he went straight to my parents’ because he thought the police knew about the Lake Arrowhead house. *

33. On last prison visit to Redwood, Scott waited till end of visit and said: “You know I didn’t kill my wife.” Couldn’t look me in the eye, then checked for my reaction.*

* indicates “plausibly relevant to Meredith’s case.

Tick tick tick…


Thursday, August 25, 2016

The West Memphis Three: Another Instance Where A Strong Pro-Guilt Case Is Being Garbled For Profit

Posted by The Machine



Above: Still under a cloud: Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols

1. Overview of the series

In my last post on how media hype can badly tangle crime cases, I examined Sarah Koenig’s biased coverage of the Adnan Syed case for the Serial podcasts and her flawed approach to assessing the evidence against him.

In this post, I will analyse a critically acclaimed documentary about another alleged miscarriage of justice: West of Memphis and associated media hype.

The Peter Jackson documentary claims three men known as the West Memphis Three (the WM3) were wrongly convicted as child killers and points the finger at another man.

2. West Memphis 3 background

In May 1993, three eight-year-old boys - Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore - were found dead in a ditch in West Memphis in the US state of Arkansas. There is a crimescene video at the bottom here.

They had been stripped and bound. Steve Branch and Michael Moore had drowned and Christopher Byers had bled to death after his genitals had been mutilated and partially removed.

Three teenagers - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley - were arrested following a tip that Echols had been seen covered in mud the evening the boys disappeared and Misskelley gave a confession.

The WM3 were convicted of murder in 1994 (see the judge and courthouse below) and sent to prison.

However, they were freed in August 2011 after taking an Alford plea. This is a deal which allowed them to maintain their innocence while agreeing prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them.



Above: the three 8-year-old victims

3. The media campaigns

There have been high-profile campaigns to free the WM3 and cast doubt on their convictions. HBO Television made three films about the case: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2 Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. CBS News produced a documentary about the case entitled A Cry for Innocence.

A number of celebrities and musicians supported the WM3, including Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, James Hetfield from Metallica, Henry Rollins, actor Johnny Depp, Natalie Mains from The Dixie Chicks, and film director Peter Jackson.  Do any of these celebrities put forward a compelling case for innocence?

In a word - no.

Johnny Depp and Henry Rollins basically say they could relate to Damian Echols.

“I immediately related to Damien and what he went through growing up. He comes from a small town from Arkansas. I come from a relatively small town in Kentucky. I can remember being kind of looked upon as a freak or, you know, different because I didn’t dress like everybody else. So I can empathize with being judged by how you look as opposed to who you are.” (Johnny Depp, A Cry for Innocence, CBS News).

“Damien liked to hang out alone and wrote he was depressed. Hello! He liked to listen to weird music. Check! He was a wise ass in the face of law enforcement. Are you kidding? It could have been me.” (Henry Rollins, West of Memphis)

.

After reading some of the comments in the media about the WM3 case, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Damien Echols was only a suspect because he wore black, listened to Metallica and read Stephen King books.

This comment by Guardian journalist Emma John is a typical comment by the supporters of the WM3

“At their subsequent trial, evidence introduced by the prosecution included the fact that Echols wore Metallica T-shirts and read Stephen King novels”

Several documentaries angled to exonerate the three have been widely promoted on HBO and Netflix including this one.



Above: one of the documentaries

Emma John and countless other journalists, as well as the producers of Paradise Lost and West of Memphis, completely ignore Echols’ startling mental health records - Exhibit 500 - that show he was a seriously disturbed and violent individual.

He was sent to a mental health hospital on three separate occasions. He threatened a number of people with violence and on occasion attacked others. For example, he threatened to kill his parents and to eat his father alive and he admitted trying to “claw the eyes of out” of a student. According to a report, Echols sucked the blood from the wound of one of the boys in Arkansas Juvenile Detention Center.

Damien Echols’ lawyers presented his mental health records as evidence in the sentencing phase of his trial, presumably to convince the jury he was mentally ill and not fully responsible for his actions, in order to spare him from the death penalty.

4. The West of Memphis production


West of Memphis
is available to watch on the streaming for-pay movie site Netflix. Netflix flatly states that the West Memphis Three are innocent.

“They spent 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit—and the real killer is still out there.”

There’s no legal basis for such an unequivocal claim. The WM3 accepted the court’s judgement of guilt. They were not acquitted by a jury or exonerated by the Supreme Court of the United States.

West of Memphis doesn’t provide any credible exculpatory evidence to support Netflix’s categorial assertion that the WM3 are innocent. No-one should expect this to be the case because if there had been any exculpatory evidence, it would have been presented in court.

A couple of the prosecution’s witnesses recanted their testimony, but that doesn’t mean the entire case against the WM3 collapses. In the Perugia case Judge Massei didn’t find two of the prosecution’s witnesses to be credible, but he and the other judges still found Knox and Sollecito guilty of Meredith Kercher’s murder. 

The Telegraph and Empire gave West of Memphis five stars out of five. The Guardian gave it four stars. Does the documentary deserve such high ratings from these mainstream media organisations?


If you compare West of Memphis to Andrea Vogt’s documentary about the Meredith Kercher case is Amanda Knox Guilty? (which is the gold standard for true crime documentaries because it’s balanced and factually accurate) you have to conclude that it’s light years away from being anywhere near as good as Andrea Vogt’s documentary.

The producers haven’t made a balanced and objective documentary that lets the audience make up their own minds. As with all documentaries about people who have been convicted of murders they allegedly didn’t commit, the cherrypicked story is told primarily from the defence point of view.

This isn’t surprising - Damian Echols and his wife were two of the producers.

I strongly suspect this is also the reason why most of the evidence that led to the convictions of the WM3 is completely ignored. When I found this out, I felt that the producers had been sly and dishonest. Their commitment is clearly to the WM3 - and not the truth. 

If you want to have an informed opinion on the WM3 and to understand why they were convicted, you need to read the official court documents and witness statements, and then consider all the pieces of evidence as a whole.

When you research the case for yourself, you will discover that Damian Echols didn’t become a suspect because he wore black, was different, and a bit of an outsider.

When he was questioned in connection with the murder of the three boys, he failed a polygraph test.

A ten question polygraph test was formulated and three polygraph charts were conducted. The test contained the following relevant questions:

Q.#3. At any time wednesday or wednesday night, were you in robin hood hills? “No”

Q.#5. Were you present when those boys were killed? “No”

Q.#7. Did you kill any of those three boys? “No”

Q.#9. Do you know who killed those three boys? “No”

Q.#10.do you suspect anyone of having killed those three boys? “No”

It is the opinion of this polygraph examiner that this subject recorded significant responses indicative of deception when he answered the above listed relevant questions in the manner noted.

Conclusion: deception indicated.

By reading the official court documents, you will also discover that Echols knew specific details about the crime.

“Detective Bryn Ridge testified that Echols said he understood the victims had been mutilated, with one being cut up more than the others, and that they had drowned. Ridge testified that when Echols made the statement, the fact that Christopher Byers had been mutilated more than the other two victims was not known by the public. The jury could have reasonably concluded that Echols would not have known this fact unless he were involved in some manner.

“Echols took the witness stand, and his testimony contained additional evidence of guilt. When asked about his statement that one victim was mutilated more than the others, he said he learned the fact from newspaper accounts. His attorney showed him the newspaper articles about the murders. On cross-examination, Echols admitted that the articles did not mention one victim being mutilated more than the others, and he admitted that he did not read such a fact in a newspaper.”

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas)



Above: Judge (now State Senator) David Burnett

The police obtained further corroboration that Damian Echols had been involved in the murder of Steve Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers when his friend Jessie Misskelley told them that he, Echols and Jason Baldwin had attacked and killed the boys.

“On June 3, or almost one month after the murders, Detective Mike Allen asked Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr., about the murders. Misskelley was not a suspect at the time, but Echols was, and it was thought that Misskelley might give some valuable information about Echols. Detective Allen had been told all three engaged in cult-like activities. Misskelley made two statements to the detective that implicated Echols and Baldwin, as well as himself. The statements can be found in Misskelley v. State, 323 Ark. 449, 459-61, 915 S.W.2d 702, 707-08 (1996).”

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas).

It should be noted that Jessie Misskelley repeatedly claimed that he, Echols and Baldwin had killed the boys before and after he was convicted. On one occasion, he confessed despite being warned not to by his lawyer.

This should trouble anyone who believes the WM3 are innocent because Misskelley wasn’t threatened or promised any deal by the investigators.

He may have a low IQ, but he wasn’t hallucinating when he made these confessions. In short, they were voluntary statements made over a significant period of time - from 3 June 1993 to 17 February 1994.

Furthermore, Misskelley also knew specific details about the crime. He told the police that Christopher Byers had been castrated in an interview on 3 June 1993.

RIDGES: Cutting him in the face. Alright, another boy was cut I understand.  Where was he cut at?

JESSIE: At the bottom

RIDGE: On his bottom? Was he faced down and he was cutting on him, or

JESSIE: He was

GITCHELL: Now you’re talking about bottom, do you mean right here?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: In his groin area?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: Okay

RIDGE: Do you know what his penis is?

JESSIE: Yeah, that’s where he was cut at.

RIDGE: That’s where he was cut.

GITCHELL: Which boy was that?

JESSIE: That one right there.

GITCHELL: You’re talking about the Byers boy again?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: Okay

RIDGE: Are you sure that he was the one that was cut?

JESSIE: That’s the one that I seen them cutting on.

RIDGE: Alright, you know what a penis is?

JESSIE: Yeah

RIDGE: Alright, is that where he was cutting?

JESSIE: That’s where I seen them going down at, and he was on his back. I seen them going down right there real close to his penis and stuff and I saw some blood and that’s when I took off.

Jessie Misskelley’s claim that Christopher Byers was castrated was corroborated by the autopsy report.

“The skin of the penis, scrotal sac and testes were missing. There was a large gaping defect measuring 2 3/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch. The shaft of the penis was present and measured 2 inches in length. The gaping defect was surrounded by multiple and extensive irregular punctate gouging type injuries measuring from 1/8 inch to 3/4 inch and had a depth of penetration of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.”

In West of Memphis, it’s claimed that turtles might be responsible for the missing genitals. I found this theory to be fanciful to say the least.

According to the medical examiner, Chris Byers bled to death because his genitals had been mutilated and partially removed. I believe Jessie Miskelley that this happened before he was thrown into the ditch.



Above: the courthouse about 100 miles north of West Memphis

In the same interview, Jessie Misskelley told the police officers that one of the boys was cut in his face.

RIDGE: Okay, now when this is going on, when this is taking place, you saw somebody with a knife. Who had a knife?

JESSIE: Jason

RIDGE: Jason had a knife, what did he cut with the knife. What did you see him cut or who did you see him cut?

JESSIE: I saw him cut one of the little boys

RIDGE: Alright, where did he cut him at?

JESSIE: He was cutting him in the face.

Prosecutor John Fogleman highlighted the fact that Jessie Misskelley knew facts that nobody else knew in his closing argument. He pointed out that Misskelley knew one of the boys had been cut in the fact and that this specific detail wasn’t mentioned in any of the newspapers.

Nothing in there [the newspapers] about a boy being cut in the face. Said they were beat up real bad, but nothing, nothing in there about somebody being cut in the face. He [Jessie Misskelley] says, “Yes, one of them was cut in the face.”

Jessie Misskelley also claimed that Damian Echols grabbed one of the boys by the ear and that the ear was discoloured as a result.

MISSKELLEY: He [Damian Echols] grabbed one of’m by the ear, I don’t know which one, he grabbed on of’m by the ear trying to pull his ear off or something. He grabbed’m pretty tight. It turned kind of red.

This was also corroborated by the autopsy report for Chris Byers. According to the report, he suffered injuries to his right ear:

“Head Injuries:

The right ear was abraded and contused. The inferior aspect of the right ear showed multiple linear abrasions measuring 1/2 inch to 1 1/4 inch.”

When you find out the three boys were stripped and two of them had injuries to their genitals, it’s natural to assume there must have been a sexual motive. Jessie Misskelley told the police that Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin sexually assaulted two of the boys.

JESSIE: Then they [Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin] tied them up, tied their hands up, they started screwing them and stuff, cutting them and stuff, and I saw it and turned around and looked, and then I took off running, I went home, then they called me and asked me, how come I didn’t stay, I told them, I just couldn’t.

John Fogleman also drew the jury’s attention to the fact that Jessie Misskelley knew that two of the boys had been sexually assaulted - something that was also corroborated by the autopsy reports. Chris Byers and Steve Branch had injuries to their genitals.

Finally, in talking about the boys being sexually abused, Inspector Gitchell says, “So they both did it to all three of the boys?” Jessie: “Just them two as far as I know.”



Above: bridge west from Memphis; crime scene is just one mile ahead

According to Lisa Sakevicius - a criminalist from the state lab - the three victims were tied with three different knots.

Her testimony would seem to rule out that the three boys were killed by a single attacker and indicate there were three attackers.

Jessie Misskelley didn’t just confess to the police. According to his friend Buddy Lucas, Misskelley also confessed to him.

Lucas - so we sit there, sit there, and I said, he said man me jason and damien we went walking last night in the town of west memphis, I said why didn’t you all come by and get me? we will we uh, we were in a hurry and everything go up there and come back home. I said alright I understand (inaudible) now since I found out I’m kinda glad he didn’t come by and get me

Ridge - okay, what did he tell you he do?

Lucas - we…. he told me that uh, that he got in a fight, that’s what he told me at first

Ridge - okay

Lucas - I said damien and jason they helped you? He said um-yea and everything so I said well did you all hurt anybody? And he said yea, I didn’t think it was those 8 year old kids or anything, so I turn around and come to found out that jason he was with jason and damien when they sacrificed them little kids. I was come and tell you all

Ridge - he tells you he’s in some trouble?

Lucas - uh-huh

Ridge - and what did he tell you he was in trouble over?

Lucas - that he really, he said um, we hurt, uh…. uh we hurt a couple of boys, that jason and damien killed

Ridge - okay

Lucas - couple, I said was you involved? He said yea, I said what did you do? I finally got it talked out of him what did he do, he said I hit uh, a couple in the back of the head

Ridge - okay, and

Lucas - and everything to keep them from running and everything

Ridge - and that’s what he told you?

Lucas - yes sir

Two witnesses claimed that Damian Echols admitted he had killing the three boys.

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.”

The testimony of these two independent witnesses was direct evidence of the statement by Echols. These witnesses were cross-examined by Echols counsel, and it was the jury’s province to weigh their credibility.

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas).




5. Alternative perp Terry Hobbs

The producers of West of Memphis make a case for Terry Hobbs - the stepfather of Steve Branch - being the killer and that his friend David Jacoby was a possible accomplice. However, Hamish McKenzie points out in an article for The Atlantic that the filmmakers are guilty of hypocrisy.

“But the rave reviews miss a dangerous hypocrisy at the heart of the film, which was paid for and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, and directed by Amy Berg. In their quest to clear the names of the “West Memphis Three”“”Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. who were teenagers when they were convicted for the 1993 killings””the filmmakers decide that they have found the actual murderer: Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the murdered boys. And in publicly making the case against him, they perpetrate a similar sort of injustice to the one they originally set out to correct: relying on questionable evidence to prosecute in the court of public opinion.”

The producers of West of Memphis point the finger at Hobbs because he has a history of domestic violence, he gave inconistent alibis and they think two hairs found at the crime scene implicate him and his friend Jacoby. However, Thomas Fedor, one of the defence experts, called the hairs weak evidence.

“The two hairs that I know about ““ the one that could have in fact come from Mr. Hobbs and the one that could have in fact come from David Jacoby ““ constitute what I call weak evidence. Because there are other people it could have come from and there isn’t any way to really prove our selection of possible sources for that hair.

I don’t think ““ my personal opinion ““ I don’t think that that hair evidence would be enough to convict Mr. Hobbs or Mr. Jacoby or anyone that would be in a similar situation because it’s simply not strong enough.

The percentages I gave of people who could be the source of those hairs are 1.5% of the population in the respect to one hair and 7% in respect to the other hair. That’s not particularly strong evidence and especially in the context of what most people are accustomed to with DNA testing.” (Thomas Fedor, Forensic Serologist).


6. Some conclusions

Concluding the WM3 are innocent on the basis of watching West of Memphis would be like concluding Amanda Knox is innocent after reading Waiting to Be Heard. The documentary is clearly biased and one-sided.

The producers did not address most of the evidence that led to the convictions of the WM3 let alone refute it. This is not surprising when you consider the fact that Damian Echols is one of the producers.

The defence lawyers assessed the evidence and recommended that their clients accept a court judgement of guilt. Surely if there was no credible evidence against the WM3 they would have opted for a new trial. If they had been found not guilty, they would have been able to sue the state for millions of dollars.

The supposedly exculpatory evidence was that some DNA was recovered from the crime scene was not attributable to any of the victims or the WM3. Since it is not known to whom that DNA belongs, one cannot say what that person’s role, if any, was and whether the evidence would help the defendants.




Above: from freeway, crime scene is by a creek within trees in left background

7. Valuable Sources

Click: ‘West Memphis Three’ freed after 18 years in prison

Click: Damien Echols: Statements and Polygraph Reports (May 9-10, 1993)

Click: Supreme Court of Arkansas

Click: Closing Argument of John Fogleman

Click: Damien Echols - mental health records - Exhibit 500

Click: Peter Jackson’s West of Memphis: the tale of three wronged men

Click: Damien Echols: how I survived death row

Click: West Memphis Three Facts

Click: The Unsettling Recklessness of Peter Jackson’s ‘West of Memphis’

Click: Misskelley v. State

Click: Statement of Jessie L. Misskelley, Jr. (June 3, 1993 at 2:44 P.M.)

Click: Statement of Jessie Misskelley, Jr. February 17, 1994

Click: Autopsy report for Steven Branch

Click: Autopsy report for Chris Byers

Click: Autopsy report for Michael Moore

Click: Lisa Sakevicius’s testimony

Click: A Skeptic’s Guide To The West Memphis Three Documentaries

Click: Is Amanda Knox Guilty?


[Below: The crime scene about 1 mile west of Memphis - warning, images of the murdered boys are included]


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

Posted by Peter Quennell





One reason so many still follow Meredith’s case is because justice has not yet been SEEN to be done.

Maybe 9 out of 10 Italians think this.

Over the years the Italian justice system has become immensely tilted against prosecutors and victims at trial. Right now it is one of the toughest - or if you like, most lenient - anywhere in the world.

Read for example Nicki and Commissario Montalbano for two among our numerous posts on this. 

We have still not seen even ONE American lawyer claim that after the first trial in 2009 which found RS and AK guilty that there were strong grounds for an appeal.

In the US, back in 2009, full prison terms would have been begun.

And in fact virtually nothing at the 2009 trial was challenged in the appeal. But the defenses subversively organized to get Civil Judge Hellmann instead of Criminal Judge Chiari to preside, and in 2011 a farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Then there was a THIRD jury trial, in 2013-14, which (as so often in Italy) threw out the not guilty outcome of the previous appeal trial.

And finally, in 2015, due to more subversive defense machinations with a little mafia help, the final Supreme Court appeal was assigned to the FIFTH Chambers, for the first murder appeal that Chambers has ever heard.

A second farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Say what you like about the American system, there is not remotely any parallel in its judicial history to all of that.  Quite the opposite in fact. We have had various posts pointing to an increasingly hard line in the US.

This is one not necessarily sought or appreciated by prosecutors or judges, who usually like trials and want to see juries of peers call the final shots.

It is actually being imposed by Federal and State politicians, many of whom were prosecutors themselves. Bizarre jury outcomes as at the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials contributed somewhat to this trend.

One result is a trend the exact opposite of Italy’s - the increasing elimination of juries and even of trials altogether. The New York Times explains.

The criminal trial ended more than two and a half years ago, but Judge Jesse M. Furman can still vividly recall the case. It stands out, not because of the defendant or the subject matter, but because of its rarity: In his four-plus years on the bench in Federal District Court in Manhattan, it was his only criminal jury trial…

The Southern District held only 50 criminal jury trials last year, the lowest since 2004, according to data provided by the court. The pace remains slow this year.

In 2005, records show, there were more than double the number of trials: 106. And decades ago, legal experts said, the numbers were much higher.

“It’s hugely disappointing,” said Judge Jed S. Rakoff, a 20-year veteran of the Manhattan federal bench. “A trial is the one place where the system really gets tested. Everything else is done behind closed doors.”

Legal experts attribute the decline primarily to the advent of the congressional sentencing guidelines and the increased use of mandatory minimum sentences, which transferred power to prosecutors, and discouraged defendants from going to trial, where, if convicted, they might face harsher sentences.

In 1997, according to federal courts data nationwide, 3,200 of 63,000 federal defendants were convicted in jury trials; in 2015, there were only 1,650 jury convictions, out of 81,000 defendants.

Former Judge John Gleeson, who in March stepped down from the federal bench in Brooklyn to enter private practice, noted in a 2013 court opinion that 81 percent of federal convictions in 1980 were the product of guilty pleas; in one recent year, the figure was 97 percent.

Judge Gleeson wrote that because most pleas are negotiated before a prosecutor prepares a case for trial, the “thin presentation” of evidence needed for indictment “is hardly ever subjected to closer scrutiny by prosecutors, defense counsel, judges or juries.”

“The entire system loses an edge,” he added, “and I have no doubt that the quality of justice in our courthouses has suffered as a result.”

The article lists a number of resulting ill effects. Will the Knox apologists be up in arms? Dont hold your breath.


Monday, June 20, 2016

How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System

Posted by Peter Quennell



American prosecutor & jury - puzzle now over what system will make them share all evidence


Look around you.

The things you do to make a living. The running of your house and your garden. The education and general development of your children. The restaurants and metro railways and bus services. The police and military and football teams - and grand opera!

All are purposeful systems.

Purposeful systems have created all we have ever built on this planet - all wealth, all structures, all machines, all culture.  Typically any educated adult has within them at least 200 significant systems AKA their skill-set: cooking a meal, riding a bicycle, driving a car, using a computer, playing basketball.

You probably dont have a manual for each of them but each time you exercise a skill you probably follow the same hard-learned steps each time you want the benefit obtained previously.

One of the world’s great problems now - starkly seen in the British argument over its future in Europe, and in slow growth in the Arab world (the world’s slowest), and in China’s economy slowing and in anyone without a college degree likely to be worse off going forward - is that we are locked into whole huge arrays of these systems at various levels (family, corporate, city, country, region) that are archaic and mostly quite wrong for our needs going forward.

And few are sure which of all of them add any real value. We are flying blind on a mammoth scale.

With regard to the US as the main economic locomotive, in the 90s two very significant things happened. The East Asia economies really rocketed - because they adopted good systems pioneered by Japan, which itself had started out with many invented in America.

And for a while at least, many Americans really began to “see” systems, and corporations started a huge push toward quality control. You can see one outcome in today’s automobile ads - cars largely sell on their reliability. Their drive systems and safety systems are what sells cars now.

Latest thinking which we often touch on here is that tweaking of any systems anywhere has a short half-life, and after that the only way to get any better is to totally replace them.  Go down the road and start over. Jump to the next level through complete reinvention.

After WWII Germany and Japan and Italy of necessity all did that and for most of the time since they really benefited.

But right now, most systems in most countries are archaic and nobody - at least no political leader or candidate - seems to be able to arrive at the vision and technique vital to jumping to the next level. That in fact should really be done mostly bottom-up, with national politicians playing quite a minor role.

“Path dependencies” like the myriad systems of the common market, many very old now, are today at least as deadly to our long-term future as any aliens from other planets.

Italy is working to try to update its justice system right now and we will report on that shortly. At least in theory, it has one of the easiest tasks in the world, because post WWII its legal system was redesigned from the ground up. It had already junked bad aspects, some going back centuries.

Italy already has some of the world’s smartest juries - jury service is compulsory, so smart people cannot dodge them. And the system already has some other very positive things going for it.

Mainly what is needed is some weeding. And such reforms are made easier in Italy because (1) judges and prosecutors all follow career paths and so they are not politically competing with one another;  and (2) there is the Council of Magistrates (CSM) which can be very progressive in the reforms it pushes at its level.

Overarching reform in the United States is way way more difficult because power is so diffused in the political system and the political system is so vast, and so split by ideologies, and there is no CSM.

Here is an editorial in the New York Times about curbing the massive damage being done by over-zealous prosecutors - something already taken care of in the Italian system, despite the busload of idiots claiming otherwise.

And here is a blog post calling the New York Times editorial a convoluted crackpot of a column and saying the Times should get real. At least in that way, reform aint ever going to happen.

Hop on a plane, guys. Go to Italy, and learn something.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

“Guilt” Crime Drama 13 June On US Cable TV Features An Abrasive Self-Absorbed Troublemaker

Posted by Peter Quennell

Reminiscent of? You got it. Here’s one synopsis.

“Guilt” is a soapy drama about a young American woman in London who becomes the prime suspect in the savage murder of her roommate.

As the investigation unfolds, viewers will question whether she’s a naïve, young girl whose poor decisions are being magnified under the ruthless glare of the British tabloids, or whether she’s a sociopath who brutally murdered her friend.

Even her sister, who comes to London to defend her, will question how well she knows her little sister as more and more ugly truths come out.

This mystery will twist through all layers of London society ““ from a posh but depraved sex club, all the way up to the Royal Family itself.

Knox did soar high for a short while. But her self-absorbed manner on TV was never helpful to her. And now she has been hung out to dry by an angry Guede, an angry Sollecito, and even a disbelieving Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court (see the next post by Chimera).


Monday, April 25, 2016

Another Effective Innovation By New York Police Is Being Duplicated By Others

Posted by Peter Quennell



Police horses, up to a dozen stroked and photographed each evening in the Times Square area


In national US news any innovation of the New York police gets a lot of coverage.

Those crowd-calming police horses seen nightly in the Times Square area go way back, and their presence was never reduced back when some other cities did so - often to their later regret.

There is endemic pressure (especially after 9/11) to keep the city as safe as possible.

From that sustained effort at systems improvement, other American police forces, some very besieged at the moment, attempt to learn something.

New York police both themselves innovate and also adopt good ideas from elsewhere - not least from the brave, popular and effective police forces of Italy.

We posted in January 2013 on New York’s adoption of an Italian approach to policing.

One approach which seems a natural for Italy with all of its art is proving successful in New York now.

Described in the NY Times today is this ongoing exercise in staring at artworks. The point being to sharpen the perceptions of investigators, and to put them all on the same page objectively.

To teach people how to notice details they might otherwise miss, Amy E. Herman, an expert in visual perception, likes to take them to museums and get them to look at the art. Recently she escorted a group of New York City police officers to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and asked them to describe some of the things they saw.

They did their best. “This seems to be a painting of some males with horses,” one officer said of Rosa Bonheur’s mid-19th-century work “The Horse Fair,” a scene of semi-chaos as horses are driven to market. He tried to abide by Ms. Herman’s admonishment to avoid words like “obviously.” “It appears to be daytime, and the horses appear to be traveling from left to right.”

Another pair of officers tackled Picasso’s 1905 “At the Lapin Agile,” which depicts a wilted-looking couple sitting at a French bar after what might have been a long night out. “They appear to have had an altercation,” one observed. The other said, “The male and female look like they’re together, but the male looks like he’ll be sleeping on the couch.”

The officers asked that their names not be used because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. They said that they did not know much about art “” their jobs allow little opportunity for recreational museumgoing “” and Ms. Herman said she preferred it that way.

“I’ve had people say, “˜I hate art,’ and I say, “˜That’s not relevant,’” she said. “This is not a class about Pollock versus Picasso. I’m not teaching you about art today; I’m using art as a new set of data, to help you clear the slate and use the skills you use on the job. My goal when you walk out the door is that you’re thinking differently about the job.”

A painting has many functions. It’s a cultural artifact, an aesthetic object, an insight into a time and a place, a piece of commerce. To Ms. Herman, it’s also an invaluable repository of visual detail that can help shed light on, say, how to approach a murder scene. “It’s extremely evocative and perfect for critical inquiry,” she said in an interview. “What am I seeing here? How do I attach a narrative to it?”

One of the processes:

Before unleashing the officers in the galleries, she talked to them in a classroom in the Met’s basement. She put up a slide of “Mrs. John Winthrop,” a 1773 portrait by John Singleton Copley. The painting, showing a woman sitting at a table holding little pieces of fruit, is considered a masterpiece of fine detail “” the intricacy of the lace trim on the lady’s gown, the rich decorations on her hat. But there’s a detail that’s so obvious, or maybe so seemingly irrelevant, that most people fail to mention it in their description.

“Everyone sees that this is a woman with fruit, and 80 percent miss the mahogany table,” she said. (They also miss the woman’s reflection in the veneer.)

Ms. Herman also displayed a pair of slides featuring reclining nudes: Goya’s “The Nude Maja” (1797-1800) and Lucian Freud’s 1995 “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” who is very fat. Ms. Herman asked the group to compare the pictures. “Most cops, when I ask this question, say it shows someone before and after marriage,” she said.

Several officers raised their hands.

“Uh, the woman at the bottom is more generously proportioned,” one said.

“She is morbidly obese,” said another.

“Right!” Ms. Herman said. “Don’t make poor word choices. Think about every word in your communication.”

Ms. Herman, who has a new book out, “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life,” came to her vocation in a roundabout way. She worked first as a lawyer, did not like it, took a job in the development office at the Brooklyn Museum and then moved to the Frick Collection. Earning a master’s degree in art history at night at Hunter College, she eventually became head of the Frick’s education department.

There, inspired by a program in which Yale medical students studied works of art to better observe their patients, she helped devise a similar program for the Frick. Eventually she moved beyond medicine. She has been offering the courses full time as her own business since 2011; her clients include federal and local law enforcement agencies across the country, as well as medical students and business executives.

Also successful elsewhere:

Steve Dye, chief of police at the Grand Prairie Police Department in Texas, brought in Ms. Herman recently to talk to a group of officers from the region. He said her presentation was invaluable in showing the officers how to better observe and document their findings accurately and free from bias.

“Some of the works of art she showed us, we wouldn’t notice the finer details,” he said. “And we’re supposed to be professional observers.”

When forced to deconstruct paintings in group settings, people from different professions tend to respond differently.

For cops it’s a natural.

“The law enforcement community is much more forthcoming,” Ms. Herman said. “Cops will outtalk you every time. Doctors and medical students are much more inhibited. They don’t want to be wrong, and they never want to show that they are ignorant about anything.”

The New York Police Department is one of Ms. Herman’s most important clients. She tailors her presentations to her audiences, and they are on the regular training curriculum at the detective bureau and the training bureau at the Police Academy; other divisions use her services from time to time. In general, her program is voluntary rather than mandatory.

“Amy reminds officers to explore outside the box,” said Police Officer Heather Totoro, who added that the program helped officers in training because of its “uniqueness and power.”

“She taps into officers’ unique sixth sense, teaching them to tell her what they see, not what they think.”

Law enforcement officials tend to view the works through the lens of the job: Who has done what to whom? Where is the perp?

“Sometimes they’ll say, “˜We have an E.D.P. here’ “” an emotionally disturbed person,” Ms. Herman said. Once she showed some officers El Greco’s “The Purification of the Temple,” which depicts Jesus expelling the traders and money-changers amid turmoil and mayhem.

“One cop said, “˜I’d collar the guy in pink’” “” that would be Jesus “” “˜“because it’s clear that he’s causing all the trouble.’”

Among the works she finds most interesting as a learning tool is Vermeer’s exquisitely ambiguous “Mistress and Maid,” a 1666-7 portrait of a lady seated at a table, handing over (or being handed) a mysterious piece of paper. “There are so many different narratives,” she said. “The analysts come away asking more questions than answers “” “˜Who’s asking the question? Who’s doing the talking? Who’s listening?’ The cops will say, “˜It’s a servant asking for the day off.’”

She also likes “House of Fire,” a 1981 painting by James Rosenquist that has three absurdist parts: an upside-down bag of groceries, a bucket under a window shade, and a group of aggressively thrusting lipsticks. “It’s really conducive to good dialogue,” she said. “How many times do officers have to make order out of chaos? So many times in our work we come across things that don’t have a coherent narrative.”

The officers in the class seemed impressed, both by Ms. Herman and by their grand surroundings.

One officer said that she had learned “how to sit down with colleagues and deal with the fact that you can perceive things so differently from each other.” It was her first trip to the Met, or indeed to any art museum.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It’s very Thomas Crown-ish, isn’t it?”

Below: the Vermeer painting referred to, in the Frick Museum in New York


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Serial Killer Robert Pickton Tries To Cash In - Why Son-of-Sam Laws Should Be Enacted Worldwide

Posted by Chimera



Possibly not all of the victims of serial killer Robert Pickton, publicity hound

Son of Sam Anti Bloodmoney Laws

We explained here why laws against blood money are called Son of Sam laws in the US.

Attempts by murderers to persuade gullible publics by way of east access to tone-deaf publishers and TV is becoming an unwelcome phenomenon worldwide and maybe luring others into crime. 

Lawmakers worldwide are being prompted to set this right. There is currently no Son-of-Sam Law in the Canadian Province of British Columbia. Vancouver is the largest city in BC.

BC’s Robert Pickton Serial Killer Case

This is a Vancouver case now in the national Canadian news.

The transcription below is a jailhouse conversation between Robert Pickton, who stood accused of murder, and an undercover police officer.

[0:04] Pickton - They got me.  They got me on this one.

[0:07] Undercover - No.  No shit.

[0:18] Undercover - Fuck, what have they got? Fuck, there’s old carcasses.  So, what have they got, you know what I’m saying?

[0:26] Pickton - DNA

[0:28] Undercover - Fuck

[0:30] Pickton - Yeah

[0:32] Undercover - Come on buddy.  Fuck, that’s nothing.  They can’t finalize it though if you fucking got ... if you’ve fucking got a missing person.  It’s pretty hard to collect DNA on that

[0:44] Pickton - They got DNA

[0:45] Undercover - Fucking guy does it right.  I find the best way to dispose of something is fucking take it to the ocean

[0:56] Pickton - Oh really?

[0:58] Undercover - Oh, fuck, you know what the fucking ocean does to things?  There ain’t much left.

[1:14] Pickton - I did better than that.

[1:15] Undercover - Who?

[1:16] Pickton - Me

[1:17] Undercover - No. huh?

[1:34] Pickton - A rendering plant.

[1:36] Undercover - Hey?

[1:36] Pickton - A rendering plant.

[1:36] Undercover - Ha ha.  No shit.  That’s gotta be fucking pretty good, hey?

[1:44] Pickton - Mmm hmmm

[1:45] Undercover - There can’t be much fucking left?

[1:52] Pickton - Oh no, only I was kinda sloppy at the end, getting too sloppy.

Now, however, Pickton decides he doesn’t want to be just another inmate serving life.  He wants some fame, money and extra publicity as well.

Robert Picton’s Attempt At A Book

With this brazen act Robert Pickton joins the ranks of other sickos who commit murder and then cash in

    (1) O.J. Simpson was paid $600,000 for Pablo Fenjves and Dominick Dunn to write his book ‘’[If] I did it’‘.

    (2) Raffaele Sollecito was paid $950,000 for Andrew Gumbel to write his book ‘‘Honor Bound’’

    (3) Salvatore (Sammy) Gravano was paid $1.5 million for Peter Maas to write his book ‘‘Underboss’’

    (4) Amanda Knox was ostensibly paid $3.8 million (possible world record) for “Waiting to be Heard’‘

Pickton, who is serving 6 life sentences at the Kent Institution in British Columbia was apparently sending his work out piece by piece to Michael Chilldres out in California.  (Author’s Note: it is not clear if “Chilldres” is an alias).

Chilldres claims he only typed out the manuscript, and did not write it, and that it was being done for a friend.

The guards have long been aware of this, according to the Union.  But now that publishing is a reality, it is becoming clear that no effort was made to actually stop it.

    *** Side Note ***  Robert Pickton’s book, titled ‘‘Pickton: In his Own Words’’ was being sold by Barnes and Noble, who also helped Knox sell her (memoir) ‘‘Waiting to be Heard’‘.

    *** Side Note *** Pickton supposedly wrote his own manuscript, unlike creative writing graduate Knox.

    *** Side Note *** Pickton actually waited until his appeals were exhausted before writing a book (or having someone else do it).


A Partial Timeline

The numerous cruel murders took place more than a decade ago.

    December 2006: Jury selection takes place.

    December 2007: Pickton was convicted on 6 counts of 2nd degree murder (not 1st degree) and sentenced to 6 life sentences.

    February 2008: The B.C. Attorney General makes the controversial decision ‘‘not’’ to try Pickton for the additional 20 murders, if his current 6 convictions survive appeal

    June 2009: The BC Court of Appeals rejects 2-1 Pickton’s appeal for a new trial, saying the errors in jury instructions were not enough to overturn the conviction.

    July 2010: The Supreme Court of Canada rejects 9-0 Pickton’s appeal for a new trial.

    August 2010: BC confirms that to save time, money and hardship, the other 20 murder victims will not result in additional charges.

To clear up the confusion, the police and prosecutors actually had evidence that Pickton committed 26 murders, although he was suspected in many more. 

The Crown (Prosecution), chose to only prosecute the 6 strongest cases, leaving the other 20 in limbo.

The Crown argued that there wasn’t much of a difference between 6 life sentences and 26, and the time and expense had to be considered.

While this is true, it left a bad taste for the families of those victims.  Justice wasn’t being pursued literally because of convenience. 

Present State Of The Case

The Attorney General, Premier, and victims right’s groups are working to ensure not only that this book gets pulled, but that Pickton cannot profit from it. Some more:


Friday, February 26, 2016

Surprising Similarities Between Sammy The Bull Gravano And The Ex-Perps In Meredith’s Case

Posted by Chimera


Overview

This piece is about Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, an admitted serial killer.

He had a career in the mafia, and was the underboss and hitman for the notorious mob boss John Gotti.  Although his is a case about organized crime, there are many similarities between Gotti v Gravano, and Knox v Sollecito v Guede.

Some Gotti/Gravano history

John Gotti was a captain in the Gambino crime family (named after Carlo Gambino), based in New York, NY.  A serious problem emerged for him when several members of his ‘‘crew’’ were indicted for drug dealing.

These indictments included his younger brother, Gene Gotti, and Angelo Ruggiero, a childhood friend.  The policy within the crime family for many years had been ‘‘deal-and-die’‘.

The upper leadership of the mob had figured that drug dealing was too high profile a crime, and that the extra police attention was not worth it.  True, this was extremely hypocritical, as the bosses collected their cut of all income, knowing that a large portion of those proceeds came directly from drugs.

The drug indictments suddenly meant that John Gotti was in danger.

Though not personally implicated, he thought he might also be killed on the assumption that he approved of the alleged dealing.  He decided to strike first, to save his own neck by having then boss Paul Castellano ‘‘rubbed out’‘.  Gotti solicited the help of Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, who was known as a prolific killer.

Paul Castellano had inducted Gravano into the mob in 1978.  However, Gravano had no qualms about killing his ‘‘friend’’ since Gotti offered him even more: a promotion to ‘‘capo’’ or to ‘‘captain’‘.

Gravano helped Gotti set up the hit for December 16, 1985.  With Castellano (and driver Tommy Billoti who was at the time underboss) dead, the family was temporarily leaderless.  Gotti got himself voted in, and took over the Gambino family.

Castellano wasn’t the only ‘‘friend’’ that Gravano murdered, or would later murder.  Gravano murdered Robert di Bernardo—a business partner, Louie Molito—a childhood friend, and others.  He then took over any assets that they had.  Some ‘‘friend’‘.

For the next several years, Gotti deliberately put himself into the spotlight.  He managed to win 3 criminal trials, and seemed untouchable.  However, in 1990, his mouth got him into trouble, and the FBI recorded Gotti implicating himself and other Gambino associates on murder and other crimes.

Gotti also made many nasty insults towards Gravano, now his underboss.

Gotti, Gravano, and Frank LeCasio (then the 3rd in command) were arrested December 11, 1990.  All were held without bail.  When Gravano finally heard the tapes of what Gotti had been saying about him, he turned and became a ‘‘mob rat’‘.  Gotti and LeCasio were convicted of murder, racketeering and other crimes, and received life without parole. 

Gravano, however got a deal that would put Karla Homolka to shame: 5 years for 19 murders.  True, he could have served 20 for racketeering, but the judge cut it far below that.

For the complete interview, please see the YouTube video at the top here. This was shot in the 1990’s and converted to digital, so the quality is not that great.  Here are a few more for background.  The third one, the movie ‘‘Gotti’’ is fairly accurate, though off on some points.


Gambino family highlights

(1) Albert Anastasia (underboss to Vincent Magino) made his ‘‘friend’’ disappear.  Anastasia then took over.

(2) Carlo Gambino (underboss to Albert Anastasia) had his ‘‘friend’’ shot in a barbershop.  Gambino then took over.

(3) Carlo Gambino made sure the ‘‘best qualified person’’ took over when he had a heart attack.  He hand picked his brother-in-law Paul Castellano to succeed him.

(4) Paul Castellano’s underboss, Neil Delacroce, died of cancer.  Castellano hand picked his buddy, Tommy Bilotti, to become new underboss.

(5) John Gotti and Salvatore (Sammy) Gravano, had their ‘‘friend’’ Paul Castellano shot dead in public.  Gotti took over.

(6) While in prison, John Gotti made sure the best qualified person succeeded him as boss.  He hand picked his son, John Jr.

So…. murder and nepotism seem to be how the top spots get filled in the mafia.

Excerpts From the Video

2:55 (Gravano)  You can relate me to a soldier in Vietnam who killed hundreds of people.  I was a soldier of Cosa Nostra.  I am a hitman.

No. You are just a slimeball who kills for money.

3:25 (Gravano)  Here I am

3:30 (Sawyer)  They have said that you are the single most important witness ever to testify against the mob.

3:36 (Gravano)  I think I am.

3:39 (Sawyer)  So there’s a word you use, for people who turn ...

3:42 (Gravano)  Who cooperate.  You trying to goat me into the word?  Rat?  Is that the word?

3:51 (Sawyer)  That’s the word.  So are you a rat?

3:53 Gravano)  I look at it as ‘‘I was betrayed.  I betrayed him.’‘

3:59 (Sawyer)  Double crosser?

4:01 (Gravano) Loud sigh ... master double-crosser.  John’s a double-crosser.  I’m a master double-crosser.  We played chess, and he lost.

Gravano had in the past sneered at the idea of people testifying.  However, when it is his turn, he dismisses it as a game.

4:30 (Gravano)  Power has a way, where you can believe for a while that you can walk on water.  And I think this is what happened to him.

And people who can walk away from 19 murders?  What are they thinking?

5:25 (Sawyer)  Were you Gotti’s friend?

5:30 (Gravano)  His pit bull.  And his friend.

5:42 (Sawyer)  What was the reason, the real reason you cooperated?  Or was it just to save your skin?

5:48 (Gravano)  I was just tired of the mob, and tired of fighting.  It was a door out of the mob.  You know I watched the David Karresch incident, and I would say to myself: ‘‘how could these people get so brainwashed?  Are they crazy?  Are they nuts?’’ And then I look at myself in the mirror and I say ‘‘brainwashed?’’  Here I am on orders, killing people left and right.  And I’m calling them brainwashed.

6:18 (Sawyer)  There was a book written about you that you said you had a characteristic of committing murder with the non-chalence of someone pulling open the tab on a can of beer.  That was about all that it phased you, or about all it took.

6:30 (Gravano)  As far as being a hitman goes, I was actually good at it.

6:36 (Sawyer)  Because you were fast, and lethal?

6:39 (Gravano)  And loyal.  If I was on your case, I dropped everything.

6:45 (Sawyer)  Look at this list.  There are ... how many?

6:49 (Gravano) 19

6:51 (Sawyer)  Serial killers don’t have 19.

6:53 (Gravano)  We’re worse than they are.

Okay, which is it?  You turned on Gotti because it was a chess game?  Or you did it because you were tired of the mob and the games?  It can’t be both.

7:00 (Gravano)  We only kill ourselves.  What are you worried about?  The public seems to like what we do.  Look at John Gotti.  If I have 19, forget about what he has.  When he wanted a hit, he wanted it done yesterday.  He would sent me to supervise it, or to control it, make sure the job got done.  And I obviously did.  When you’re the boss, and you’re giving orders, you’re credited with all of it, even if you’re not on the street.

Gravano is pulling the ‘‘John was even worse’’ card here.  And he seems somewhat proud of what he has done.  Sicko.

17:55 (Gravano)  I remember something that surprised me is that I had no remorse at all.  None.  I didn’t feel sorry for him in the least.  I felt power.  I felt like my adrenaline in my body was completely out of control.

18:09 (Sawyer)  You were excited?

18:13 (Gravano)  I guess it’s like an animal going after its prey.

18:35 (Gravano)  Everything changed.  .... At a club, oh, no Sammy, you don’t have to wait in line.  You can come right in.

18:40 (Sawyer)  You were a player?

18:45 (Gravano)  I was out of the minor leagues.  I was in the major leagues.

No comment needed.

Other parallels with our pair

  • Gravano is of Italian-American descent.
  • Knox is American.
  • Sollecito is Italian.


  • Gravano was paid $1.5 million for ‘‘his’’ book called Underboss.
  • Knox was paid $3.8 million for ‘‘her’’ book called Waiting to be Heard.
  • Sollecito was paid $950,000 for ‘‘his’’ book, called Honor Bound


  • Gravano tried to ‘‘cash in’’ on his murders by admitting what he had done.
  • Knox/Sollecito tried to ‘‘cash in’’ on Meredith’s murder


  • ’‘Gravano’s’’ book was really written by Peter Maas.
  • ’‘Knox’s’’ book was really written by Linda Kuhlman.
  • ’‘Sollecito’s’’ book was really written by Andrew Gumbel.


  • The families of Gravano’s victims are outraged he is cashing in on the notoriety of his crimes.
  • The Kercher family is outraged AK/RS are cashing in on the notoriety of their crimes.


  • Gravano got an interview from Diane Sawyer.
  • Knox’s first (of many) interviews was with Diane Sawyer.
  • Sollecito’s first (of several) interviews was with Katie Couric.


  • Gambino boss John Gotti was referred to as ‘‘John Gotti’‘.
  • Sammy Gravano was referred to as ‘‘John Gotti’s Hitman’‘.
  • Amanda Knox is referred to as ‘‘Amanda Knox’‘
  • Raffaele Sollecito is referred to as ‘‘Amanda Knox’s Italian Ex-Boyfriend’‘


  • Gravano has no problems airing personal details about his ‘‘friend’’ John.
  • Knox has no problems airing personal details about her ‘‘friend’’ Meredith.


  • Gravano criticizes Gotti’s public lifestyle, then after his deal becomes a media whore.
  • Knox claims she wants to live in peace, but becomes a media whore to sway public opinion, and sell ‘‘her’’ book.
  • Sollecito claims he was just dragged into Knox’s case, but becomes a media whore for the same reasons as Knox.


  • Gravano blames Gotti for destroying the Gambino family, even though he was the one who testified at trial.
  • Knox seems to blame Meredith for her own death, even though she stuck the knife in (well, she had it coming).


  • Gravano (at least he claims) to have rigged Gotti’s racketeering trial to ensure an acquittal (or at worst a hung jury)
  • Knox’s and Sollecito’s case was rigged by Hellmann/Zanetti and Marsca/Bruno to ensure an acquittal.


  • Gravano was psychologically evaluated before leaving prison, and the results were disturbing.
  • Knox and Sollecito were psychologically evaluated in prison, and the results were disturbing.


  • Gravano smeared other mob associates for getting involved with drug trafficking.
  • Knox smeared others (especially in her book) for drug use.


  • Gravano’s drug smears were hypocritical as he was later brought to justice for drug trafficking.
  • Knox’s drug smears were hypocritical, as she was into drugs, and slept with a dealer (Federico Martini) for drugs.


  • Gravano’s most depraved act (outside of murder), was marrying a woman whose brother he had killed (Nick Scibetta).
  • Knox’s most depraved act (outside of murder), was continuing her sex-for-drugs deal even after Meredith’s death.
  • Sollecito’s most depraved act (outside of murder), was his various bride shopping efforts to avoid extradition.


  • Warning signs?  Gravano murdered his business ‘‘friends’‘, so betraying Gotti was no real surprise.
  • Warning signs?  Knox staged a break in, wrote rape stories, and threw rocks at cars, so violence in her home was no real surprise.
  • Warning signs?  Sollecito had supposedly attacked a classmate with scissors, so stabbing someone was no real surprise.


  • Collateral damage?  Gravano was prepared to kill innocent bystanders during the December 16, 1985 hit on boss Paul Castellano.
  • Collateral damage?  Knox framed an innocent person (Lumumba), and tried to pin it all on accomplice Rudy Guede.
  • Collateral damage?  Sollecito helped to pin it all on Guede, and cost his sister Vanessa her career with the Carabinieri.


A Final Thought:

Knox liked the Beatles.  Here is ‘‘Working Class Hero’’ by John Lennon.

.... There’s room at the top
They’re telling you still
.... But first you must learn how to
Smile as you kill
.... If you want to be like all
The folks on the ‘Hill


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why The Peaking Of Rage And Early Deaths Of Middle-Aged Lower-Prospects Whites In The US?

Posted by Peter Quennell



Recently a study was published showing that middle-aged less-successful whites in the US are dying off unusually fast.

Approximately this same group may be behind the “radical” candidatures for president of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. No question but that those supporters have a serious unmet need.

It may also be behind a lot of the rage we encounter on the web.

In the New York Times this “reference group theory” hypothesis by Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist, has just appeared. Excerpts from a longer whole:

Why are whites overdosing or drinking themselves to death at higher rates than African-Americans and Hispanics in similar circumstances? Some observers have suggested that higher rates of chronic opioid prescriptions could be involved, along with whites’ greater pessimism about their finances.

Yet I’d like to propose a different answer: what social scientists call reference group theory. The term “reference group” was pioneered by the social psychologist Herbert H. Hyman in 1942, and the theory was developed by the Columbia sociologist Robert K. Merton in the 1950s. It tells us that to comprehend how people think and behave, it’s important to understand the standards to which they compare themselves.

How is your life going? For most of us, the answer to that question means comparing our lives to the lives our parents were able to lead. As children and adolescents, we closely observed our parents. They were our first reference group.

And here is one solution to the death-rate conundrum: It’s likely that many non-college-educated whites are comparing themselves to a generation that had more opportunities than they have, whereas many blacks and Hispanics are comparing themselves to a generation that had fewer opportunities….

In the fourth quarter of 2015, the median weekly earnings of white men aged 25 to 54 were $950, well above the same figure for black men ($703) and Hispanic men ($701). But for some whites “” perhaps the ones who account for the increasing death rate “” that may be beside the point.

Their main reference group is their parents’ generation, and by that standard they have little to look forward to and a lot to lament.

In a comment on a previous thread our frequent poster Grahame Rhodes described a syndrome among ex-military looking for a cause, and asked if we have any ideas.

Strange thing about the civilian mind set concerning Military personnel who have been involved in the actual horrors of warfare. Most civilians are squeamish about the necessity of eradicating an enemy by killing them. They deny the horrors of warfare by pretending that it does not exist, and yet civilians pay for the training and the arming of military personnel to keep them safe. Of course after soldiers are no longer members of any military organization they are generally ignored and even vilified for having taken part in saving any form of saving democracy.

Recently I was at a reunion quite close to Seattle, and sitting at a table among a group of perhaps thirty or so old soldiers the closes one asked me.
“What do you see?”
I said “I see a lot of old soldiers.”
The answer I got was as follows.
“Ah yes but I see far more than that. See him over there? He’s a weapons tech, or perhaps him, he used to teach unarmed combat, or those two who have served in several hot spots the world over.
There is a wealth of knowledge here from medics to drivers etc: But there is something far more important. Everybody you see, all highly trained in warfare and subversive operations are bored out of their mind. They need something to do.”

I said that was very true and very interesting. The point being that when old soldiers are put out to pasture all that training goes to waste. That is a shame and something should be done about it.

Any suggestions?

My own suggestion for what it’s worth was this.

Great story. I know many or most ex-military have a tough time. Here’s an idea that I think might provide them with a viable way forward.

You’d think from what comes out of Hollywood that all our great problems can only be solved by some perverse lone-wolf superhero maverick essentially working against great resistance and with no team or one that is very small.

In fact that is not at all how most real progress works. The two things that create all good change are (1) group-group-group and (2) “seeing” systems and how to adjust them or build new ones afresh.

Really huge and significant processes can be made to come alive, which would fit well with most purely military missions. The kind of thing totally lacking after Bush’s wonderful war in Iraq,

A massive lack throughout the world of people skilled and organized according to these two principles is the root cause of global growth slowing down. There is shockingly little of it going on though US corporations and some others are doing more than they did.

Ex military are already at least 50% down the road in each of them.

They have learned dozens of systems, including the personal skills part, and they are very used to doing things in groups.

“Civilianizing” those abilities could have them playing key roles in exciting processes in communities and corporations and so on that need to upgrade.

Do you know of any book or training that says anything like this? If not I sense a need. As to what to read first, I’d suggest this book as a “compulsory read”.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Innovators-Dilemma-Revolutionary-Business/dp/0062060244


Saturday, January 09, 2016

How A Major Media Controversy In The US Augurs Well For The Imminent Reframing Of The “Knox Case”

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1. The Wisconsin Case Now In Dispute

1. The Netflix Report

In mid December a pay-per-view documentary about a murder case in Wisconsin was put online.

Millions of people in the US and elsewhere have paid up and watched the 10-hour Netflix report. Convinced that they are experts now on the whole case, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions to the President and the State Governor requesting that the convicted Steve Avery be released.

Some viewers have even taken to berating and threatening the investigators and the prosecution both online and in telephone messages and texts.

Their take seems to be of the investigators and the prosecution corruptly making many, many things up during the investigation and trial. Their supposed motive was to cover their tails in a previous case where Steve Avery was indeed wrongly convicted, for which they could now face court and loss of jobs.

Furthermore some reports claimed that a juror had said the jury felt intimidated and were never convinced of guilt.

2. Reaction Of US Media

A growing wave of reports and articles have been aired and published online in effect saying most of the hardest evidence was left out.

The lead prosecutor has been quoted as saying “90 percent of the evidence” against Avery and a relative convicted as an accomplice was not even mentioned in the report.

So a wave of fact-checking is going on.

Even though it is still early days here and here are Time Magazine. Here is the Los Angeles Times. Here is the New York Times. Here is On Milwaukee’s website. Here is the International Business Times.

Several TV documentaries contradicting the Netflix report are reportedly already in the works. See the reports here and here and also here.

And the juror has now denied that the jury was intimidated and did not do an honest job. So far, all the jurors seem to be standing by their verdict, in the face of a lot of heat.

Oh and on those petitions which Netflix stirred? President Obama’s spokesman has said it is not a Federal case so he will not intervene, and the Governor of Wisconsin has said he will not intervene either, as the state has good justice systems in place.

So they will ignore opinion that was deliberately muddled for commercial ends, and instead leave matters to the courts.

2. Parallels To Reporting Of The “Knox Case”

The parallels to the Perugia case are in fact immense.

The prosecution case in 2009 was extremely persuasive and the entire jury (panel of judges) voted for guilt. They sat through the very tough and convincing 1/4 of the trial that was held behind closed doors.

A majority of Italians still believe that Amanda Knox led a cruel pack attack on Meredith and (to Guede’s and Sollecito’s seeming considerable shock) landed the fatal stab in Meredith’s neck.  They watched Knox on the stand for two days, in fact doing herself great harm.

In contrast, almost the entire American media followed the Netflix route.

Main media have struggled to report the trial for language and local-staff reasons, and the Associated Press carried by 2000 media outlets actively misled. Main media presented almost no reporting of the very painstaking judicial checking by ten judges that preceded the case ever going to court.

Main media have still not translated not even one major document (the Wiki and two PMFs and TJMK have translated hundreds of documents now and are still not done) and have left hundreds of evidence points unaddressed.

Main media have also misreported the overturning of the Hellmann outcome and the Nencini appeal. They have especially misrepresented the supposed complete Marasca-Bruno reversal for the Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court.

As lawyers for Dr Mignini and three of our main posters (James Raper, Machiavelli and Catnip) have shown, in fact the Fifth Chambers (a) should not even have had the case; (b) broke two laws, (c) misinterpreted a few elements of the evidence, (d) left literally hundreds of evidence points out, (e) went against strongly established Italian legal precedents, and (f) even ridiculed plain hard science.

And even so, they still placed Knox right at the scene of the attack at the time, and Sollecito probably so. Accessories before or after the crime. Felons in their view in fact.

So here’s a prediction on what Americans will see in the media soon on this case.

The widespread media reaction against Netflix will be reflected in a major correction in the main media against the serious under-reporting and misreporting of the Perugia case.

We have some idea of what is already in the works. Stay tuned.

 


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Worldwide In 20th Century, Maybe Half Of All Murders May Be Attributed In Part To Lead Poisoning

Posted by Peter Quennell





That lead damages brains has been known for many years. That it causes murders is more recently accepted. 

The first graph below shows when the US began to move from leaded gasoline to unleaded gasoline in the mid 70s. Lead was removed altogether around 1990.

Some but not all countries followed a similar pattern.

The effects, though diminishing, are going to be with us for a long time. Maybe to mid-century? The pioneer researcher economist Nick Nevin wrote this about the murder-rate/lead correlation:

Lead exposure trends affect homicide trends with a 21-year time lag, reflecting the impact of early-childhood neurodevelopmental damage when those children reach the peak ages of homicide offending.

That suggests that anyone alive today over 25 may have had significant exposure. Roughly half the world’s population, some 3.5 billion.

Very few of those committed murders, but of those that did the research findings reflected in the second graph below suggest that half might have been lead-affected and there remain among us millions of time-bombs. This is from a recent BBC report:

Dr Bernard Gesch says the data now suggests that lead could account for as much as 90% of the changing crime rate during the 20th Century across all of the world.

Numerous cases like this one now use lead poisoning as a defense.  It doesnt seem a get-out-of-jail-free card, but for some obviously mentally impaired it is proving helpful.







Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How American Judges Can Be Made To Feel The Heat Over Controversial Verdicts

Posted by Peter Quennell





Why American judges can envy Italian judges part deux.

As we surely all know now, most Italian judges advance along a career path. Only a few are politically appointed and none are elected.  All of the time their rulings are under minute scrutiny and (as we have seen with Judges Hellmann, Marasca and Bruno) the powerful Council of Magistrates can stop their advancement in a heartbeat if any of those rulings look suspect.

American judges are mostly elected with little training requirements or qualifications testing. If they seem to have stepped out of line some of them can face political hearings and discipline boards (as Judge Heavey did) but not all do.

But the worse reaction many fear more is the media and the public turning upon them, made vastly more possible because of the Internet and happening time and time again these days. 

The American judge now much in the news - and not in a good way - is Jean Boyd of Texas.

In March 2012 Jean Boyd, then a Juvenile Court judge, sentenced a 14-year-old black boy to 10 years for killing a smaller boy with one powerful punch.  She was criticised for being way too harsh then.

In December 2013 she veered sharply in the other direction.

She sentenced a now notorious teenager to mere probation and rehabilitation after he had killed four people and maimed a fifth for life when drunk-driving. The psychological defense she bought into was that his family was so rich that he grew up without the right parenting.

This was apparently a unique defense and one that has never been attempted for poorer people. Judge Boyd was widely criticised for being way too light then.

The two cases dropped out of the news for a while.

But now the notorious white teenager Ethan Couch is all over the news again. A few weeks ago he was caught on video drinking - which could lead to his serving time in prison - and a couple of weeks ago he disappeared along with his mother.

Considering that he has not yet even been charged with a transgression of his probation, the size and cost of the manhunt was extraordinary. Somehow the US Federal Marshall Service pinpointed his phone in a Mexican apartment, and the Mexican police arrested him along with his mother and locked them up.

Today he is being held in an Mexican prison with his mother. It is just reported that they are fighting extradition.

Good luck with that one.

Judge Boyd actually retired a year ago in face of a petition demanding she be fired. She was given some credit by the local newspaper.

But her verdict never convinced an angry public or the families of the four dead and one maimed victims, and both he and his irresponsible mother also now seem headed for prison.

And it seems Ms Boyd is not returning phone calls.


Below: Tonya Couch and Ethan Couch at the trial in 2013






Friday, December 25, 2015

Capturing Collective Memories: Of Broadway Dance And Of Family Life

Posted by Peter Quennell

The only YouTube so far,  with costumes & lighting & orchestra the dances really take off


There’s an astonishing Broadway show on in NYC now.

If you are part of the million visitors in NYC at any one time (absurd, right?) it’s at the Joyce Theater, tkts are only $45 if you can get them, its a sponsored run. Its called American Dance Machine. Some 18 Broadway dancers and a fine orchestra onstage at the back.

The promotional video above gives a hint but for-real it is a terrific jolt. Its only a brief season because the dancers are some of the best and are in great demand. A couple are from the several ballet companies here.

The purpose is to capture and show again many dance routines and several songs from Broadway musicals that are mostly gone, some long gone, and wont be back again, and show just how good they were. Maybe every year there will be another brief season like this.

How did they put this together? There was an audience panel of the creators and some dancers after the show one night and they explained. They had to hunt round and find choreographers and dancers who had memories of the routines and find videos of the routines at the Arts library at Lincoln Center. The collective memory is mostly still there but its elusive and spread around and it will fade.

So. To the real point of this post, Does anyone have a family blog? The reason for having one is really the same. Collective memory, in this case of the family, while memories going back awhile are still around. Put down the family history as you know it and get some others in on it and pass it down.

It might make those who follow want to write online in a more empowering and permanent way than social media, which scrolls away fast and can have limited satisfaction and real-results effects. Best of the family videos and photos can go there.

Some 20-40-60 years hence those who come next are going to value that body of family history so much. They may not know you but they will know about you and what you did and felt and feel they are part of a great team going forward.

Season’s cheer!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

“Spotlight” Movie About Fine Example Of Investigative Journalism Is Oscar Best-Picture Favorite

Posted by Peter Quennell





Hollywood has rewarded movies about investigations many times over the years.

Maybe not such a bad thing when media are under such internet and political pressure - and too often prone now to propagating dishonest PR and misleading their audiences, as we have seen.

“Spotlight” portrays an investigation by a Boston Globe newspaper team in 2001 and 2002 into myriad sexual abuses by priests in that very catholic city.

This was the first-ever such investigation into the sexual abuses. It started very small - less than 10 priests were initially suspected - and ran into roadblocks and was nearly shut down several times.

it eventually cascaded into the exposure of hundreds of priests in the US and many more worldwide. Numbers of victims are unknown but worldwide are numbered at minimum in the hundreds of thousands.

The pace of the film is phenomenal. There is jolt after jolt as the reporters - most of whom are themselves catholic or lapsed-catholic and take some heat - in repeated disbelief find the numbers of priests and victims growing and growing.

Pope Francis himself is reported as in favor of investigations continuing.  The various support groups representing the numerous “survivors” have welcomed the film.

Some American priests have raised some objections. They dont seem to fault the movie for honesty though.

Prophet’s Prey is a similarly gripping and unflinching movie, about children abused by fundamentalists. It is a documentary, and may be nominated for an Oscar in that category.


Monday, December 07, 2015

Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else

Posted by Peter Quennell





We have often mentioned these major justice-system pluses:

(1) That Italy has one of the industrialized world’s lowest crime rates and that US cities have been observing its model.

(2) That it has a very prominent and much admired police presence, and a small and much admired court and penal system.

Now Thomas Williams is reporting this third big plus from Rome in Breitbart Business News

A leading military analyst is citing Italy as a model of counterterrorism done right, pointing out that despite many factors going against it, Islamic terrorists have failed to kill a single person on Italian soil.

In the most recent issue of Nikkei Asian Review, Romanian born political scientist and military analyst Edward N. Luttwak lays out a persuasive theory explaining how Italy has been so successful in thwarting Islamic terror attempts. In a word: Italy is not afraid to deport those it considers to be a threat to national security.

In his essay titled “Doing Counterterrorism Right,” Luttwak contrasts Italy with France and Belgium, noting that although Italy is much more vulnerable than they are, it has been far more effective at stopping would-be terrorists before they strike.

So where France has been “caught by surprise again and again by terrorist attacks with many lives lost” and in Belgium “terrorists have been coming and going for years, buying military weapons with remarkable ease,” Italy has remained unscathed.

It would seem that Italy doesn’t have much going for it. It has porous borders and a Muslim population that exceeds 2 million and has played an active role in military expeditions in Islamic territories. Moreover, the Vatican is the “most iconic target in Europe,” and tops the list of objectives of the Islamic State, Luttwak observes. And yet, “nobody has been killed by Muslim terrorists in Italy.”

Italian counterterrorism has been on full alert since 9/11, Luttwak says, and its combined forces “have detected and interrupted hundreds of terrorist plots large and small, at every stage from mere verbal scheming to fully ready actions.”

So where terrorists have successfully attacked in Madrid, London, Paris, Toulouse, Copenhagen, Brussels and elsewhere, in Italy they have been foiled time after time.

Luttwak suggests that Italy’s success is all a question of method, based on the insight that the only thing that can be done to stop potential terrorists is to follow those who are suspected to be truly dangerous around the clock so that they can be arrested or killed at a moment’s notice. Since the numbers of probable suspects can be astronomical, Luttwak says, their numbers must be effectively reduced if this strategy is to bear fruit. And this is exactly what Italy has done.

State intelligence agencies throughout Europe monitor suspects, filling out reports and keeping files, but they often fail to take the action needed. The Italians, however, immediately conduct an interrogation on credible suspects, and many are sent home or arrested, if their situation merits it. Italy currently has more than 180 radical imams in prison, Luttwak notes.

Employing this method, Italian authorities are able to keep numbers of suspected potential terrorists within a reasonable range and thus are able to monitor them effectively.

Earlier this month, Franco Roberti, the head of Italy’s anti-mafia and counterterrorism task force, said he intended to protect citizens from the danger of terrorism “by adopting all the preventive measures necessary,” and noted that “we must be prepared to give up some of our personal freedoms, in particular in the area of communication.”

The fact that the Italians lump together anti-mafia operations with counterterrorism is also telling. Unlike other European states, with the exception perhaps of the UK, Italy has a long history fighting serious organized crime within its borders, coming from the different branches of the Italian mafia working in various parts of the peninsula.

The Italian interior ministry has reportedly also increased its “targeted expulsions” of persons considered to be a risk to national security. So far this year, 55 individuals have been deported and the ministry has said the numbers will only grow.

According to Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, intelligence and counterterrorism units are reevaluating information gathered in recent months on some 56,000 people, scouring case files to see whether anything could have been overlooked.

Given Italy’s impressive counterterrorism track record, it may be about time for other European nations to sit up and take note.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wide Concern In US At A Killer Groupie Who Helped Dangerous Killers To Escape

Posted by Peter Quennell



We have occasionally dwelled upon what drives killer groupies. The phenomenon is widespread and it has been around a long time.

A desperation for money and new jobs and status. Perversions, chips on shoulders, previous brushes with the law - that last driver actually accounts for about half.

Sheer besottedness is one quite common cause. Some people really do love dangerous jerks. 

Now a killer groupie is responsible for a huge and expensive manhunt, and for hundreds of thousands 250 miles north of New York City and up into Canada locking their doors and buying guns.

They fear an attack, even death, from two dangerous killers on the loose.

The sole cause of their breaking out of a secure prison which had seen no prior breakouts in 150 years is a killer groupie, a woman married with children employed on the prison staff, who supplied them with power tools to cut their way out. and who was to drive the getway car.

Joyce Mitchell has been arrested and charged with a felony and may face eight years inside. [She was sentenced to 7 years, in Sept 2015.]

As she failed to turn up on the night - maybe cold feet, maybe a medical emergency as she seems to claim - the two killers are believed still to be close. Bloodhounds picked up a scent in marshes near the prison only a couple of days ago.

Nice going, Joyce, do call Amanda Knox. Oh, but wait…


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Why Italy Doesnt Look For Guidance On Justice System From Foreign Smartasses

Posted by Peter Quennell





Italy is following closely the sad disarray currently obvious in the American system

Read our numerous posts setting right for example the false claims of Michael Heavey and Steve Moore.  And then read this post and this post and this post and these new stories on US justice. And then answer the question below.

Michael Schwanke: Koch behind push to overhaul criminal justice system

Each year it’s estimated the United States spends almost a $100 billion on prisons. According to Mark Holden, Senior VP at Koch Industries, that’s three to four times what the country spends on education.

Holden and Charles Koch authored a letter titled “The Overcriminalization of America” and now are behind a nationwide push to overhaul the criminal justice system.

The letter points to the many federal laws created over the years. “Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. Over time, this has translated into more than 4,500 federal criminal laws spread across 27,000 pages of the United States federal code.”

“We all agree that our system isn’t working. Whether you’re a conservative, evangelical, social liberal, progressive, or libertarian there’s something for you. I don’t think there will be a lot of negative reaction to it,” says Holden speaking to Eyewitness News after addressing the downtown Rotary.

Holden says the U.S. accounts for about five percent of the world’s population, but holds 20 percent of the prison population. Most are non-violent offenders. Holden says one in three people in the U.S. has a criminal record which leads to poverty and joblessness.

Cara Tabachnick: Poll: Young Americans have “little confidence” in justice system

Nearly half of American young adults lack confidence in the nation’s justice system or don’t trust their local police to do the right thing, though that perception is deeply divided by race, according to a national poll of 18- to 29-year-olds released by Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

African-American youth had the deepest distrust of the nation’s criminal justice institutions, with 79 percent of those polled expressing little to no trust in their local police department to do the “right” thing.

Hispanic youth weren’t far behind, with 62 percent of those polled expressing little or no trust in their local police force. In stark contrast, just 31 percent of the white youth polled expressed little or no trust.

More than 3,000 people were polled by the Harvard Institute of Politics between March 18-April 1, on questions of criminal justice and other issues, including politics, climate change and terrorism.

Over all, there was an even split on the U.S. judicial system’s ability to “fairly judge people without bias for race and ethnicity.” About 49 percent of those polled said they have little to no confidence that the justice system can operate without bias.

Jason Fyk: Baltimore’s Criminal Justice System Is Corrupt, I Know Because I Was Imprisoned there

n 2011, I was arrested by Baltimore City Police on charges of conspiracy to commit first degree attempted murder.

You might be asking yourself, “Why? What did he do?” I took a cell phone video of a small drunken scuffle in a downtown Baltimore parking garage. I was not a participant in the fight, nor was I an instigator. Despite what the facts of the situation presented, a personal family relationship with one of the so-called “victims” took precedence over the law. What started as a typical two-sided misdemeanor became a one-sided fight for freedom. I spent 50 days in the Baltimore City Detention Center facing two life sentences, and a host of other charges mounting to well over 200 years in prison, all for simply taking a video.

I’ve seen the corruption firsthand. I’ve seen how a law enforcement agent’s personal agenda can destroy a life. I’ve seen how charges are ramped up in order to make a lesser charge stick. I’ve seen detainees entering jail with worse injuries than the participants in the fight I captured on video, all at the hands of police. I’ve also seen the corruption that resides in BCDC on my 50-day tour of the jail.

The conditions at this facility were sub-human, in some cases. Ignoring the mice, cockroaches and decaying conditions, basic necessities of life were severely lacking. The food was nearly inedible and, in some cases, hazardous. For example, the drink flavoring had a poisonous emblem on it, eggs were often brown and rotten when served, and during my stay we even lost water for four days, which meant toilets and sinks did not work. All we had was a cooler jug that was brought in to drink from. Showers were so hot (not adjustable) you could not stand in the water. I saw a detainee drop on the floor, having a seizure from withdrawal, because drugs are not administered for close to a week after arrival. My experience in jail was that of an educated observant, and what I saw was appalling. The list goes on and on.

So Italy or the USA - which country would you pick to do a crime in? Do Heavey or Moore tell you this? How many times have Heavey and Moore found justice lacking in the US? Apparently no times at all. One-note bashing of Italian justice is all that they do.


Monday, April 06, 2015

Columbia University Journalism School Blasts Fabricated Story - But What Of Hundreds In Our Case?

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Damage From False Media Reports

Once a false meme is put out there it can do immense harm and be almost impossible to turn around.

Public relations houses try to propagate memes, and if they are false that is sleazy and unethical but usually does not contravene criminal law.

But serious media spreading such memes have a very strong moral mandate and at times a legal mandate to check, double-check, and check again.

Often the real damage extends way beyond immediate victims and witnesses and families and friends. It can chill and distort right across law enforcement and the justice system and deeply affect paranoia-prone minds.

2. The Rolling Stone Article Report

What was misreported in the fortnightly Rolling Stone is described chronologically today by Rolling Stone itself here.

Essentially, an experienced reporter with a valid story did not go the extra mile to check if her highly inflammatory flagship claim was true.

There seems no question now that it was not.

The first report that the story did not smell right was posted by a respected reporter here. A week later, the Washington Post reported serious discrepancies here and here.

A few days later Rolling Stone itself cautiously began to ‘fess up. The story was indeed untrue. Neither the reporter nor the editor had checked, double-checked, and checked again.

Its owner Jann Renner contracted with the Columbia University Graduate Journalism School to publish an in-depth report.  The supposed victim was increasingly contradicted by her own friends and shown to have changed stories a lot. On 23 March local police reported that their investigation turned up no sign of a crime.

Yesterday the journalism school published their conclusions on “What Went Wrong” and they will make available and summarise the full version of their report on April 8th.

Damage has rippled on and on not least to women who have a huge interest in being taken seriously when they have a complaint.

The University of Virgina is in full damage control mode (that campus is about one hour’s drive southwest of Washington). Who could now be charged or sued is discussed here in the Washington Post. Many reputations have come out looking worse.

3. Relevance To Meredith’s Case?

On 27 June 2011 (right in the middle of the Hellmann appeal) Rolling Stone published one of the least accurate and most damaging and defamatory of literally hundreds of inaccurate reports.

Nathaniel Rich reported only in English, of course, from safely across the Atlantic, and there was zero due diligence by the editor at Rolling Stone (the same editor as today). His false claims were very widely quoted elsewhere. See here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

Rolling Stone inflamed public opinion through false claims.  It added to the perception that an extradition battle could drop two governments in the soup. That may have impacted the Supreme Court.

Yes, this case of mass misreporting seems every bit as bad.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Meredith’s goal in life was to help people, and she had thought of making a career in the European institutions in Brussels.

So much of human organization is messy and very hard to make better. She would have found that.  But somehow, often in a terrifying lurch, systems do sometimes tend to get better.

These better systems between them benefiting millions may all be attributed to Meredith. More than 99% of humanity can achieve in a lifetime.

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

This is a repeat of our post of 9 April 2010 - there has been a mayor-change, but the broad safety and economic trends continue.

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

A year ago when Mr Boccali ran for office (video above) it was in the context of a city-wide desire for prosperity, public safety, support for the police and the court system, the enhancement of Perugia’s reputation, and the clamping down on drug dealing and student excesses.

A mood that very much flowed from the shock of Meredith’s passing. A sense that certain things had gone too far.

Since then, Mr Boccali has been in the Italian national news almost daily, and he is coming to be seen as the kind of political leader Italy could really use in a turbulent future.

He is in the news again right now, because there was a riot in the main piazza of the old city by some drunks late last saturday night.

In part inspired and encouraged by good town leadership, Perugia’s economy is now one of the more thriving city economies in Italy. Perugia’s median IQ is extremely high (Perugia is probably one of the smartest cities in Europe) and a lot of very advanced research goes on there.

Perugia’s town administration does many caring things, such as the special city council meeting for Sonia Marra.

And seemingly attracted by all of this, people are moving to Perugia in droves - its population is increasing at double the national growth rate.

So. Meet the new Perugia. Meredith’s own qualities, writ large.

Since that post Perugia and the university have recognised Meredith by way of a scholarship and a one-day seminar.

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

Italian justice has a systemic problem, it has been made to tilt hard toward defendants over the years. That problem was described here and here and touched on in many other posts.

Polls have show that though Italians admire and trust their justice system and especially the brave people within it (over 100 have died fighting mafia) a majority would like some rebalancing toward victims and families.

Justice reforms are now on the national agenda. What happened in Rome yesterday to deny Meredith justice is stirring Italy and seems certain to impact them.’

Court days to flow continuously? Some backing off from automatic appeals? No juries at the second level? Prosecutors and judges to be allowed to speak out more? Maybe in lieu of some of those onerous sentencing reports? Limits to defendants talking without cross-examination in the courtroom?

These are not extreme, they are mainstream in the common-law system, and they would speed Italy’s up, make it fairer, and cost less (a lot less!).

***

All incredibly worthwhile. For one so young, in death Meredith may come to help millions for the better.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So Is James Moninger The One Moonlighting As Anonymous Spokesman For Dept Of State?

Posted by Ergon

Above: the unfavorable context which persuades Sec of State John Kerry to stick most carefully to the rules

1. Overview

This is the second of two posts on the real source of an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official State Department claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards.

My first post noted an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards.

Also there is a certain sameness in all of the news reports of secret State Department agreements and assurances alleged to save Amanda Knox from extradition. This is a very typical one.

Paul Thompson in The UK Express for Sunday 22 March 2015 2015

US officials: Amanda Knox will never go back to Italian jail

AMANDA KNOX will never be extradited from America, even if an Italian court this week upholds her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, according to US sources.

“Lawyers for Knox, 28, are confident she will remain free even if Italy asks for her to be sent back to resume a 28-year jail sentence.

US State Department sources say the uncertainty of the case against Knox means they will not agree to any extradition request.

Knox also has a huge amount of public sympathy in the US where she is seen as a victim of a miscarriage of justice by a foreign court.

A source at the State Department said: “There is a feeling that the whole case is flawed and that a US citizen should not have to go to jail because of that. If there is an extradition request from Italy it will be denied.”


2. My Hunt For “Anonymous Source” Begins

The question of who is the State Department source (Burleigh calls him “˜American diplomat’) was highlighted in my previous post.

  • Former US Ambassador David Thorne?

  • Some low level employee at State or Justice?

  • Completely made up by Anne Bremner and co?

So I reached out to my sources and this is what they told me informally for general background.

They considered it extremely unlikely that Ambassador Thorne or any one in Rome would pass on such assurances to Anne Bremner or even the likes of Nina Burleigh. While they could not confirm whether high level talks had taken place they did point out that John Kerry, as Secretary of State would respond differently now than when he was in the Senate and pointed to his statement “he would do his duty”.

And Italy had a new government and foreign secretary, so the latest news reports seemed entirely made up. State and Justice had been following the case quite closely and they were not going to risk offense to Italy for this case. Not to say they hadn’t been nervous when Knox went back to the US and got such heavy hitters in the media go to bat for her, but, also duly noted that public support for her was really paper thin.

This left either a made up story or some low level civil servant speaking out of turn with personal opinions “¦ we know that The FOA lie, but also, they sometimes seize on a wisp of rumour, or some “˜source’ whose importance they tend to exaggerate.

We know about retired Justice Department lawyer J. Michael Scadron who’s been saying State and DOJ would never allow extradition. There’s even a photo of him at the Vashon Island gathering, in all his fan boy glory.

But then another person showed up on my radar. Take a look.






I’m so tired of debating with the kooks, but when some members asked me to help them out on a closed Facebook Page (275 members)  Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito Roundtable which was run and overrun by FOA I joined to help out.

It turned out one of the admins was a State Department employee called James Moninger who is indeed, a “˜diplomat’, working in some role for State in Hawaii. Consular, maybe.

His Facebook friends are the entirety of the FOA it would seem (see some below), and he is an active member and admin of several other pro Knox groups. Quite the fan boy too, it seems.

He hemmed and hawed about my inclusion but within the course of a few hours I was bounced out of the group twice.  He wrote to me:

Naseer,

“I am writing to confirm that I removed you from the Amanda Knox Roundtable group. This was my decision, and I have advised the other administrators accordingly.

Earlier in the day I received a plea from one of the group members who claimed that you have harassed her in the past and contacted her employer. I have no opinions on this issue, but as site owner I am unwilling to take on a potentially significant liability.

Please don’t feel that this action was in any way predicated on the opinions you expressed in the forum.”

James Moninger

Here is my reply:

Hi, James,

“It’s your group and you’re welcome to do as you wish. That you didn’t give a chance to respond to the (false) allegation is par for the course and no loss for me. As you know, I have far bigger platforms to present my views; it was YOUR group that invited me to participate in the first place.

I already know the source of that slander from other forums and will respond appropriately.

You should also know I’d contacted the State Department previously concerning the Daily Mail and Express articles that “sources in the State Department” have said “Amanda Knox will never be extradited to Italy”.

Imagine my surprise to see you are the owner of this pro-Knox debate site, and membership in several others, which you have every right to. However, since your bio says you are a State Dept. employee, and your rather lengthy list of friends and followers have been actively advocating that Knox would never be extradited, with all sorts of references to internal department sources it is my responsibility to ask for comment:

1. Have you in any way told them the State Department would deny an extradition request?

2. Have you advised the Amanda Knox campaign in any way how to lobby the State Department or how it would respond to an extradition request?

3. Please explain the following comment on the Amanda Knox blog on February 7, 2014 at 20:38.

“Concerns about this case would more appropriately be directed to the US Department of State; not to Congress. There is little or nothing the legislative branch of the government can do to affect treaties that are already in place. (Senate hearings, etc. are not the way the federal process works.) Using profanity with senior members of Congress can never be helpful.

I am hopeful that the State Department is watching this case carefully and is prepared to choose the correct path, whatever that may eventually entail, to protect a US citizen from any further violations of human and legal rights.”

Are you, as a State Department employee, stating that Amanda Knox’s human and legal rights were violated? In a G7 country? Would you like to retract it?

I will be writing my story in 48 hours or so. Please reply at your earliest”.

Naseer Ahmad

He never replied, and it’s been a while though he did agree with someone else who called us “haters” ?

Conclusion: I will end with this. PMF/TJMK member Odysseus wrote to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, expressing his concerns. He got a reply from the North America Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

“If the Italian authorities were to make an extradition request to the US Government, we would expect that it would be considered in accordance with US laws.”

Funny sort of a coincidence, but. I sent a list of questions three days ago to the Kerchers through an intermediary. Q. 4 was “Will they call for extradition Amanda Knox if she’s convicted?”

I know they haven’t received it yet, but, in The Sunday Times the Kercher family say Knox must be extradited

Tom Kington Rome

March 23 2015

“Amanda Knox must be extradited from the US if her conviction for murdering Meredith Kercher is upheld by Italy’s supreme court this week, the family of the British student have urged.”

“Meredith’s family hope that the sentence is upheld and the law is carried out to its fullest extent,” said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing the family. “If that means extradition for Knox, that’s what they want.”

As always, we are with them on this. Knox needs to serve her time. Zero mistake has been proved - except for hers.


Below: some of the self-important James Moninger’s “friends” on Facebook


Monday, March 23, 2015

Did The State Department Offer Assurances To Knox She Never Would Be Extradited?

Posted by Ergon



US Sec of State Kerry (discussing Snowden) really needs extraditions to work

1. Overview

This is the first of two posts on the real source of an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official State Department claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards

2. The Current Italy/US Extradition Treaty

As repeatedly explained here by posting lawyers the Italy/US treaty is deliberately written to exclude any politics.

If either nation has arrived at a guilty verdict of someone currently in the other nation by following its own laws, then the other nation deliberately has no legal option but to extradite them to serve their term.

So far neither nation has ever refused to do what the treaty says and so far politics has never intervened. That helps both nations in pursuing other extradition cases around the world.

3. Claims By An Anonymous Source

“Will Amanda Knox Be Dragged Back to Italy in Murder Case?” This was by Nina Burleigh in a cover story in Newsweek on March 19, 2015 quoting an anonymous source.

A State Department source tells Newsweek that diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied: “I don’t think either Italy or the U.S. wants a major burr under our saddle in terms of relationships between our countries, and this would be that, if the Italians pushed it.” If they do, the source adds, there “is not any way” the U.S. will arrest Knox, nor will it have her declared a fugitive.

The elected Italian government in Rome is separate from the judiciary, and traditionally the two branches do not have warm relations. “I know the Italian government was rolling its eyes” over the prospect of the case reaching this phase, the State Department source says, adding that Rome faces “a real political problem” if the judiciary requests extradition. The American diplomat predicts the Italian court won’t ask to extradite.

It seems that ever since Amanda Knox was wrongfully acquitted by the Hellmann appeals court of Perugia in 2011 we have been inundated with unsourced reports that “the United States would never extradite Amanda Knox.

Going back several years to the Daily Mail, Guardian, The Express and various American media, they all seemed to be reading from the same script:

  • She hadn’t received a fair trial.

  • American public opinion would “˜never allow her to be sent back”.

  • The Secretary of State would quietly prevail upon his counterpart in Italy to not request extradition.

And, as the final appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito came up to the last stretch it seemed that these same hacks were repeating the same talking points, even though much has changed since 2011.

These were the basic points, reported over and over in the main stream media till it almost seemed like a guarantee. So I have been looking for the last three years to verify the truth of that. And, who made that promise, if any were made? These were the basic parameters of my search, and I had to tune out the background noise of “˜double jeopardy” and “˜dueling extradition experts”.

Then I had to look for the “˜unnamed source” quoted in all the news reports.

These possibilities came up: 

  • WA US Senator Maria Cantwell spoke to her colleague Sen. John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who spoke to his brother in law David Thorne, the former US Ambassador to Rome, who passed on a quiet message to the Italian Foreign minister. But would they ever speak on or off the record to reporters or like it very much if it was going to be bruited about?

  • Mid-level Friends Of Amanda Knox like Anne Bremner and Judge Heavey had received vague assurances from Senator Cantwell; somehow extrapolated as iron clad guarantee that Knox would never be extradited, never mind there has not been any precedent I can find that would apply to a similar case like this.

  • Someone in the Department of Justice and/ or State is feeding them shite.

  • The FOA are making it all up. That last was my favourite, given that they are led around by people like Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and J. Michael Scadron.


4. My Search For The Truth

This has been an interesting journey, and as always, things seem to just come together at the last moment. It has helped that I have been watching diplomatic activity up-close all my life.

My father was in the Pakistani Foreign Service stationed in London, so, shortly after I was born, lived in the UK from age 0-3, then with the Pakistan Embassy in Tokyo from age 3-8. We were a cosmopolitan group of embassy brats going to St. Mary’s International School.

My friends were American, Iranian, Turk, Indian, East German, Canadian, New Zealand, points all over. Their parents were all diplomats and I made lifelong friends. My father could have received a posting as assistant to the ambassador to Washington D.C. after that but fate prevailed as he’d been stationed out 8 years and had to be rotated back to Pakistan.

Since that time I kept in touch with my friends and also developed this passion for International Relations and Geopolitics. Traveling to the US and other countries but also meeting over the internet, made many more friends at various levels of the State Department. Saw the changes there as respected career diplomats got replaced by interest groups and major donors to political parties. Such only went to choice postings, of course, but not second or third world countries, so I had many interesting discussions with them over the years.

The Wikileaks cables were a revelation as Embassy intercepts showed the thousand different ways diplomacy led to but also tried to prevent, war. I’d been reading them ever since they first came out so started searching for links to secret discussions with Amb. Thorne. Couldn’t find anything except what already was reported, so reporter Andrea Vogt’s FOI request find was a goldmine:

NEWLY RELEASED EMBASSY CABLES SHED LIGHT ON STATE DEPT HANDLING OF AMANDA KNOX CASE

By Andrea Vogt

FEBRUARY 13 “Newly released state department documents show the U.S. Embassy in Rome declared the Amanda Knox matter “Case Closed” in a cable to Washington just days after the American’s clamorous 2011 acquittal.  The memo reveals wishful thinking on the part of some U.S. diplomats, who were only too eager to see the thorny case come to a clean close.”

In Update March 23, 2015 posted today, Andrea Vogt says this:

In a 2011 Italian embassy cable released as part of several Freedom of Information Act requests I’ve filed on this case (first published Oct 11, 2011) [US] diplomats in Italy mistakenly thought Knox’s acquittal in 2011 would bring to a close this complex and divisive international case. Italy’s Court of Cassation would prove them wrong, overturning her Perugia acquittal and ordering a second appeal in a different venue (Florence) which ended last year with a guilty verdict.

So is a political fix being attempted or already in? See my Part Two Conclusion to be posted next.


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ten Of The Ways In Which The FOA Petition That The State Department Accepted Is Dishonest

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. Post Overview

It is hard to believe that the Knox PR is guided by a professional - good PR operatives know to just shade the truth.

Again and again in sharp contrast the Knox PR tries to go 180 degrees the other way. Down is up. Black is white. “Don’t believe your lying eyes” stuff.

Instead of making one or two mistakes, it makes hundreds - and then lets them stand when challenged. Many amount simply to childish tantrums.

In Italy all the lawyers (on both sides), and all the judges, and all the media, simply ignore them.

This is made easy enough, as they are usually pushed out only in English in relative safety across the Atlantic.

This is a great example.

2. The ChangeOrg Petition by The Knox PR

The guilt of the pair was confirmed by the Nencini appeal court in Florence six weeks ago. What was particularly telling was the stark two-day presentation of the massive evidence by Prosecutor Crini.

It caused Sollecito to miss the second day and then head off “secretly” to the Dominican Republic to seek help there. 

It also caused this shrill and inaccurate petition in which, tellingly, none of the defense lawyers played any part - possibly as they have been highly critical of previous scaremongering.

The petition consists mostly of blustery innuendo. No supporting facts are pointed to. It is inaccurate on the judicial sequence, on official motives throughout, and on Italian law. It omits the prosecution case which took Prosecutor Crini two days to present.

In the shrill tone and false claims it resembles the Knox email to Judge Nencini ten weeks previously, and numerous attempts by Knox apologists Heavey & Bremner and Italian MP Rocco Girlanda to influence top leaders (all failures).

Any Italian court would take this to be an attempt to throw an ongoing legal process through dishonest means, a mafia technique, which is a felony (vilipendio) in Italy.

These are some of the major errors. 

1) Unspecified claim of corruption by Italian state

Neither defense team ever claimed this. There was demonstrably no official corruption at any point, and no obvious reason for it. The entire legal process was closely supervised by a series of judges including Supreme Court justices and fully documented.

There IS public proof of corruption (the Hellmann appeal court was subverted) but that was effected by the defense teams.

2) Unspecified claim of abuse of RS and AK

Neither defense team ever claimed this. Both were treated extremely well. Knox conceded that at trial. There was no abuse of the pair, ever, and significantly no paper trail of complaints by either the two defenses or the US Embassy monitoring the process.

In fact the defenses have almost invariably inclined the other way, stating that claims of abuse by the PR are a foolish way to go. In 2008 they publicly requested that Knox stop lying.

3) Claim of abusive interrogation of Knox

Neither defense team ever claimed this. There was no abusive interrogation of Knox on 5-6 Nov - in fact, there was no interrogation at all. In great detail what happened was described at trial.

Knox had insisted on being there, and when asked she agreed to list possible perps, all of whom the cops extensively checked out. She herself incessantly offered explanations on the night (all part-true and part-false) when she was told Sollecito did not support her latest alibi.

She herself insisted on putting them in writing. The investigators tried hard on the night to calm her as she herself confirmed at trial.

4) Legal representation denied

Neither defense team ever claimed this. Knox was repeatedly told she should have a lawyer present when she explosively “confessed” on 5-6 November 2007. Knox herself shrugged off the need for a lawyer on that night as her statements came pouring out - even after Dr Mignini had read her her rights - as multiple witnesses testified.

Knox still cant explain why she twice claimed she headed out alone on the night, leaving Sollecito behind. Or why she lied about Dr Mignini abusively questioning her at her first session finishing at 1:45 am when in fact he was home in bed.

5) The pair held unfairly before trial

Neither defense team ever claimed this. RS and AK had SIX opportunities between November 2007 and January 2009 to get themselves freed or moved to house arrest. They failed each time and all courts gave detailed reasoning. In one of those it was the Court of Cassation which turned them down. Each often blamed the other.

The supervising magistrate Judge Matteini documented an extensive list of evidence against them and ruled that if allowed house arrest they could flee or cause harm to witnesses. This was not based on a single fact as claimed.

6) Guede’s process unfair to them

Neither defense team ever claimed this. The claims about Guede in that petition are upside down. He did not target the pair in 2008 - in reality they went gunning for him and sustained that right through trial on a daily basis to the final appeals.

This was public knowledge in mid 2008 as this UK report shows.

Claims have been made of a pact between Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24. It is alleged their lawyers have agreed to work together to blame the murder on Rudy Guede, 21, a part-time gardener from the Ivory Coast and the third accused.

Now, Guede’s lawyers are threatening to call for a separate trial for him alone - well away from the legal teams of the other two whom they fear could prejudice his case.

It is a pact, says Guede’s lawyer Walter Biscotti, that can be traced back to July when Sollecito sent Knox a bouquet of yellow flowers on her 21st birthday which both celebrated in prison.

‘There is a clear desire to make Rudy the guilty party, and it’s clear they will try anything,’ Biscotti said.

Added: In July 2013 lawyer James Raper put up this post: Did Guede’s Separate Trial REALLY Impact Negatively On RS And AK?

7) Guede fingered the pair

Neither defense team ever claimed this. Guede did not testify at the 2009 trial, he just sat there mute and then went away. In sharp contrast, the RS and AK teams introduced witness after witness attempting to do maximum harm to him long before his own legal process was concluded. For example: 

    (a) The witness who said Guede was in his apartment; but he had not even reported that to the cops, and Judge Micheli concluded he was a publicity hound at best.

    (b) The two lawyers who said someone broke into their office; but even they hinted it was really a work-related hit as legal documents had been gone though and some probably copied and removed in a car by several persons.

    (c) The head of the pre-school in Milan; but she could not even call Guede’s presence a break-in, because he must have been given a key to get in.

    (d) Both defenses labeled him a drifter, drug dealer, woman-molester and habitual thief. No proofs for any of these charges was presented.

This was highly unfair to Rudy Guede. His own legal process was far from over. Neither he nor his lawyers were even in court to cross-examine or repudiate any of those witnesses. The prosecution took zero role - merely observed, and asked zero questions - so in reality it was the RS and AK defenses and not Guede who had an unfair edge here.

8) Courts wrongly tied them with Guede

Neither defense team ever claimed this. The closed sessions at trial in 2009 showed conclusively to the judges that there had been THREE attackers which the defenses simply had to agree to.

The Sollecito defense put Alessi and Aviello on the stand. Bizarrely, the mafioso Aviello pointed AWAY from Guede; he claimed two others had done it; then he claimed the Sollecito defense team had offered payment.

Cassation did not say in ending Guede’s process that it must have been RS and AK along with Guede at the crime. It left who they were open.  Cassation simply agreed that there were three

9) Guede did the crimes by himself

Neither defense team ever claimed this, for the reason explained directly above: too much evidence. This was not a one man crime by a rapist or burglar (a burglar at 8:00 in the evening, with cars around and some tenants probably at home in the house?). It was provably a 15-minute torture and humiliation pack-attack, fueled by rage, drugs,  and quite probably jealousy.

Knox’s trial and appeal courts both concluded that she plunged in the knife. Sollecito and Guede have shown strong signs of not having not been pre-warned, and remaining sore and resentful of Knox ever since.

10) Omitted is enormous factual evidence

As usual with the PR a huge amount about the case and RS and AK is simply left out. Here is a comment from another thread attacking CBS which explains how this lies-of-omission approach works (or doesn’t work) and the same omissions apply to the petition.

If you watch the numerous CBS videos or read the numerous attacks on Italy on their site, do you spot a trend? CBS 48 Hours is prone to leaving an awful lot out.

Where is CBS’s translation of even one major document? Where is evidence of knowledge of even one court transcript? Where is the real reason the appeals were allowed? Where are the six opportunities RS and AK were given before trial to prove they had no role? Where are the bad times the defense had in 2009? What about the lengthy trial sessions behind closed doors? Where are the numerous conflicting alibis?  Where are the numerous whacks at one another by RS and AK? Where is AK’s disastrous stint on the stand? Where is any mention of the dealer Knox screwed for drugs? Where is the current trial of RS for his book? Where is the trial of Oggi for Knox’s book? Where is the Knox interrogation hoax? Where is the Carabineri lab nailing the “science” of C&V? Where is the known corruption of the Hellmann court? Where is the downfall of defense witnesses Alessi and Aviello? Where is the Guede/lone-wolf hoax?  Where is the downward spiral of Frank Sforza now on trial in Italy and wanted by US and Canadian police? Where is any fair remark about the Italian system or its staff? Where is the long overdue expose of the Preston hoaxes? Why are Spetzi’s many losses in court not there? Where is the truth about the Narducci 22? Where is Dr Mignini’s total rebound and promotion after Cassation sharply repudiated a rogue prosecutor and judge in Florence?  Why does CBS feel such a need to defame so many Italians in English from so far? Where is any mention of the PR’s corrupting very big bucks?

We have no problem seeing the foolish petition remain up - but in their own best interests Knox herself and Sollecito himself should want the incriminating thing taken down. It will merely further annoy the courts.

And they really should tell the blundering Marriott and his online thugs to get lost.


Monday, March 02, 2015

Laments: Short Scripts With Inspiration From The Usual Suspects

Posted by Grahame Rhodes




1. Lament At A Dimly Lit Table

Amanda: “Iʼm worried Michael, just because I have sex with Frederico Martini they can use it to convictorize me and then I will be transported back.”.

Michael slightly drunk…..”No worries Amanda. You donʼt know the law and I do (hic) Did you bring the money by the way plus another bottle of wine? and anyway, what do you mean by convictorize?”

Amanda: .....”Well I donʼt know. Bruce said I would be exterior-ronerated or something but Iʼve never heard of that position. I wonder if that includes being tied up? He also said when he phoned me in the middle of the night that I would have to be evacuated. That does sound exciting too, Iʼve never done that one either. Of course this was after he apologized for knocking me up so late.”

Michael: .....”Listen Amanda, the law in any case is made up of facts. Iʼm a judge and Iʼm in control of all the facts hand me the bottle….........(he takes a long swig)

Amanda: .... But they will send me to jail….... Here give the bottle back.

Michael: .... “Of course you will be extradited, but consider what this will mean Amanda. You will be famous and your family will be very wealthy including the Moores and the Fischers not to mention all the TV promotions and the commercials that tell what kind of soap you use in Capanne. Do you still wash by the way?........Here! (He takes another long swig) Did you bring another bottle?”

Amanda: .....”But Iʼll be in jail!!”

Michael:.... Ah yes but think of how wonderful your life will be in Capanne and how much money you will make for everyone including me. There will be books written about you. There will even be a reality TV series. Have you ever heard of ʻJoan of Ark?ʼ

Amanda: ..... Oh yes sheʼs a hooker that lives two floors below me.

Michael:.... Now that would be the crowning glory to your life. The hooker with the heart of gold. HEY!!! Put down that knife.”

2. Lament Of The Invisible Security Guard

Steve sat behind his desk watching his phone in the hope it would ring. It was cramped in his office which was a converted broom closet and he always had to climb over the two packing cases that passed for his desk

He covered his ears in a vain attempt to block out the screaming. Yes! His wife was trying to sing again. Finally the noise stopped and so he poured himself a water glass full of gin and took another pill.

He looked at all the photos on the wall of which he was very proud, after all they had taken a lot of his time and effort to produce. There was the one with his arms around Dick Chaney and George W, or the other photo of him and Marilyn Monroe which he had signed “To Steve with all my love Marilyn”

The photo over the door though was his pride and joy which was the picture of him being awarded the star of bravery by Queen Elizabeth. Ah thank God for photoshop. He stared at the phone again willing it to ring, willing it to be Amanda so he could save her from the evil Mignini and his Chinese Pirates. He was obsessed with crime and with Amanda as well.

Also he had told anybody who would listen that he knew the real identity of Jack the Ripper. It was that rancid milk deliveryman who called on his wife every day whenever he was out.

That thought reminded him to get rid of all the frozen yogurt and multitude diary products the deliveryman always left behind. It had puzzled him as well because his wife was on a lactose free diet.

The phone still did not ring so he looked at his prize possession which was a photoshopped picture of himself on the rear deck of the presidential limo consoling Jackie Kennedy after the assassination.

Next to it the photo of him shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. Ah so much history. He took another pill and washed it down with gin. Suddenly the thought striking him, he picked up the phone and started dialing the British Secret Service because of his true identity, that of James Bond Moore secret agent, only he couldnʼt remember the number so he put the phone back and waited again for Amanda to contact him but she never did.

Worst of all his wife had started screaming again. Not only that but he was out of pills. Douglas?

3. Lament Of A The Invisible Ex-Judge

The retired Judge’s mind was in a turmoil encased in a quandary which had was been once owned by Ringo Star.

Could it be?

He was faced with a dilemma made out of brown paper and string.

Was it possible that he had been wrong?

The ugly prospect of Amanda’s guilt stared him in the face.

He stared back trying to decide if a coat of paint would improve it but to no avail since the avail had dandruff. His mind was tossed on the horns of a dilemma that had been given to him by the famous KKK Grand Dragon David Duke.

Could he have been wrong he asked himself for the upseenth time?

He wished that he was still a judge on the bench in Camp Courageous.

People were scared of him then because he ruled his court with an iron fist, then with a wooden foot, then with a piece of string. Bailiffs were scared of his tongue lashings which he kept in a box in his desk.

He had even written a white paper on it and submitted it the judges weekly news but it had been rejected. Undeterred he had resubmitted it as a brown paper then finally an all leather one with an index made of string part three.

He emitted a long sigh, actually it was several short ones but the space between them was so short you couldnʼt tell the difference. He shook his head releasing a large colony of dust mites. Screaming they fell to the ground.

There was no avoiding it. He decided, since he had surrounded himself with questions made out of modeling clay, questions which had only one answer. It was obvious that Knox was guilty as charged.

He shook his head once more and asked a passing stranger if he had any money for a cup of coffee. With nothing else to do he sat there in the ʻslough of despondʼ and the rain wondering what the nemesis Mignini who had never heard of him was doing.

4. Lament Of An Invisible Store Salesman

Bruce Fischer was obsessed with Amanda Knox and considered her to be a fur—-fatale. He was furious for being unable to fur—-millierize himself with her fur—-brile ways and her fur—-natic need to fur—-mulate her actions.

He coughed up another fur—-ball and fur—-rowed his brow thinking about the fur—ar that Knox had caused. He thought about his fur—fathers and fur—bished himself with another drink.

How could she have been so fur—-brained as to fur—-nicate with all those fur—eners in particular the drug dealer Fur—-nando Martini when he himself “International fur—-rier to the Stars.” was available.

For this he was fur—-ious at her having wasted her fur—tiellity when he could have done it for her. But if she comes around, he thought, then I will fur—-give her.

So…....... In a fur—-y and with a fur—lourish he unfur—-led the flag while looking fur—tive . The flag which fur—-ther fur—-nished the message which had caused the fur to fly.

Guilty as charged.

5. Lament Of A Daddy Wishing there Were More

Curt felt a twinge of conscious just below his left knee but ignored it and poured himself a glass of single malt Scotch and lit a cigar.

He lamented only that the gravy train was puffing slower these days.

Still, he had been very clever having separated so much money from his daughter Amandaʼs fortune, or in this case misfortune. He livened up..

It had been such a busy time and once more, he was amazed at how easy it had been to put all the liberated money in his secret Cayman Island account.

Thank God for the stupidity of others such as the unsuspecting Chris who unwittingly had become the equivalent of his stooge. Gabby Hayes to his Roy Rodgers or Costello to Abbot or Stan Laurel to his Oliver Hardy.

He was amazed too that Edda had been fooled so easily considering his lifelong track record of never paying for anything without a fight.

He thought about the future and did an impression of Monty Burns on the Simpsons by saying, “Excellent. ” It was indeed wonderful since he knew Amanda would be extradited thereby guaranteeing all the extra money he would make from TV interviews, commercials or even a reality show.

As for his daughter, he could care less since for so many years she had been a drain on his finances plus an embarrassment.

Now of course she was a gold mine and with any luck he could keep this going for years. Ah yes! The future looked bright indeed. Now, if only I could find some more idiots such as Bruce and Steve who, thankfully, always did what his lunatic ex-wife told him to do.

He smiled once more. A smile that was just the same as his convicted daughters. A smile identical to those who have a dark secret. He laughed out loud and poured himself another drink and relit his cigar.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paul Ciolino Hit With A $40 Million Suit For Real Railroad Job From Hell

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Paul Ciolino And Meredith’s Case

Investigator Paul Ciolino provides expertise for the CBS Network’s 48 Hours crime unit.

The staffing of that unit are all obsessively supportive of Amanda Knox and all unquestioningly channel the PR. Despite claims such as “16 months of investigation” they seem to have never settled down to do reality checks or due diligence of their own.

They include the talking head Peter Van Sant (from Seattle), producers Doug Longhini, Sara Ely Hulse, and Joe Halderman (fired for attempted blackmail) and the serial fabricator Doug Preston who with major CBS help has perpetrated various damaging hoaxes

In late 2008 Paul Ciolino helped to get the Perugia reporting by CBS off to a very unpromising start.

As Kermit showed Ciolino made a huge mistake in a gotcha attempt upon witness Nara Capezzali.

She had reported to the police that she heard footsteps on gravel by the house and directly below her window on the top deck of the parking facility and then clanging footsteps on the steel stairs a few yards to her right. She also reported seeing several figures on the run.

She would not talk with Ciolino, who got the locations very wrong and also ignored altogether what Madame Nara saw. His replication of the footsteps was by runners down on the bitumin street, which is about three times as far away as Madame Nara heard some steps, with a surface nothing like the gravel drive by the house. Then Ciolino reported that he couldnt hear anything. Hardly a surprise.

In 2009 Ciolino was the main speaker at the infamous Knox fundraiser at Salty’s in West Seattle. His presentation was shrill even by their standards. He was apparently the first ever to describe the case as a “railroad job from hell”.

That inspired this extended rebuttal by Kermit.

Included in Ciolino’s presentation at Salty’s was an angry demonizing rant about Dr Mignini’s sanity. This rant was widely reported, not least in Italy.

In Perugia Knox’s own legal team protested the PR thrust. The BBC interviewed Dr Mignini and in a report on their website concluded the precise opposite to Ciolino’s claim.

In April 2009 CBS 48 Hours with biased takes by Ciolino and Preston aired American Girl, Italian Nightmare, the most misleading major US TV report as of that point, and Peter Van Sant aired his own misleading take.

Later still in 2009 CBS 48 Hours Producer Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail. Halderman had to resign after pleading guilty and is long gone.

In 2011 CBS 48 Hours aired the so-called untold story of Knox. CBS 48 Hours also aired numerous other short segments (you can find them on YouTube) simply regurgitating the tales by Knox and her PR gang whole, absent any checking of facts.

CBS attempt no balance, nobody with a deep knowledge of the case ever appears. No Italians are ever interviewed. PR shills repetitively appear without being introduced as such. Almost all hard facts are simply left out; the lies by omission are huge.

CBS has done zero translation of major documents, or even reported on them in summary when released. Peter Van Sant and Doug Longhini have posted several dozen of the nastiest and least truthful analyses of the case on the CBS website. A really huge effort, simply channeling the PR.

Although quieter now, Paul Ciolino didnt quite dry up on the case. After the Nencini appeal in Florence he was quoted as saying:

Amanda is a political football, and not so much a murder suspect….They know she didn’t do it. Anyone with half a brain knows she and Raffaele weren’t involved in this thing. This is about national pride, about showing who’s boss in Italy. They are sending the message that, ‘You cannot bigfoot us. You can’t outspend us. We’re going to show you who runs this country and it’s not some little American twit from Seattle.

Italy really awoke to the Knox PR and the biased reporting of CBS etc only late in 2011 in conjunction with the highly evident hijacking of the Hellmann appeal and moreso in 2012 with the defamatory Sollecito book.

2. The $40 Million Lawsuit Against Ciolino And Protess

The news video above and this Chicago Sun-Times report explain the main thrust of the $40 million lawsuit which Ciolino along with Northwestern University’s journalism school and a former professor now faces.

Prosecutors in 2014 in releasing an innocent man after 15 years in prison blamed that group for false evidence and a false confession and for letting the real murderer walk free. Here thanks to our main poster Jools is the lawsuit document itself, an amazing read if you need more proof of how sleazy Amanda Knox’s help can be.

Here are the lawsuit’s opening paragraphs.

1. In 1999, Plaintiff Alstory Simon was wrongfully incarcerated for a double-murder he did not commit. Arrested at the age of 48, Simon spent more than 15 years in prison before he was ultimately exonerated on October 30, 2014.

2. The horrific injustice that befell Simon occurred when Defendants, Northwestern University Professor David Protess, Northwestern University private investigator Paul Ciolino, and attorney Jack Rimland, conspired to frame Simon for the murders in order to secure the release of the real killer, Anthony Porter.

3. As part of a Northwestern University Investigative Journalism class he taught in 1998, Protess instructed his students to investigate Porter’s case and develop evidence of Porter’s innocence, rather than to search for the truth. During that investigation, Northwestern, through its employees and/or agents Protess and Ciolino, intentionally manufactured false witness statements against Simon and then used the fabricated evidence, along with terrifying threats and other illegal and deceitful tactics, to coerce a knowingly false confession from Simon.

CBS is mentioned half a dozen times. It helped in the framing with nationally broadcast segments. In paragraph 85 we are told CBS got an exclusive. What a real surprise THAT is…  The lawsuit document paints Ciolino’s behavior as dishonest and ruthless and possibly criminal as well.

Protess, Ciolino and Northwestern Medill students repeatedly attempted to get the eyewitness to change his testimony, with Protess offering him $250,000 and 20% in “upfront” money for his rights in a book and movie deal;

Protess also told the eyewitness that he could have sex with either of two Northwestern Medill students if he would change his testimony.

Quoted in the lawsuit is this about Ciolino. It is actually written by Protess.

On March 15, Charles McCraney’s appearance was anxiously awaited at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kankakee, Illinois. Paul Ciolino’s hair was slicked back. The private investigator wore a sharkskin suit and white-on-white shirt with gold cuff links, his tie secured by an ornate pin. Sitting opposite him were David Protess and Rene Brown, dressed down for the occasion…  Protess introduced himself [to McCraney] and then Brown. “˜And this is Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood producer I was telling you about,’ said Protess as Ciolino extended his hand….

In paragraph 94 Ciolino’s alleged threatening of Simon into a confession is described as follows. .

Ciolino and a fellow private investigator “bull rushed” (in the words of Ciolino) Simon in his home with their guns drawn; 

Ciolino told Simon that he was a police officer;

Ciolino showed Simon a videotape of a man, who is now known to be an actor, falsely claiming that he saw Simon commit the murders;

Ciolino threatened Simon that they could do things the “easy way or the hard way” and mentioned that he would hate to see Simon have an accident;

Ciolino showed Simon what Ciolino described as a “devastating” five minute CBS-TV broadcast of Protess and Inez claiming Simon committed the murders;

Ciolino falsely told Simon that he was facing the death penalty and that the Chicago police were on their way to Simon’s house to arrest him;

Ciolino told Simon he could avoid the death penalty by providing a statement that he shot the victims in self defense but that Simon had to act quickly because Ciolino could no longer help him once the police arrived;

Ciolino promised Simon that he would be provided a free lawyer if he agreed to give a statement;

Ciolino promised Simon that Protess would ensure he received a short prison sentence if he agreed to give a statement;

Ciolino promised Simon would receive large sums of money from book and movie deals about the case if he agreed to give a statement.

Believing he had no other viable option, and acting under extreme duress and the influence of narcotics, Simon was knowingly and intentionally coerced into providing a false statement implicating himself in the murders.

It is this supposedly forced confession that above all cost Simon 15 years.

There is so much more. This may be a very tough lawsuit for Ciolino to beat as well as a career-killer. Northwestern University is no friend of Ciolino and may choose to go hard against him.

They do have a favorable track record.  The students of the journalism school had for years been questionably used by Protess’s arm of Barry Sheck’s Innocence Project to gather defense evidence slanted to getting supposed innocent prisoners released.

Protess was fired for this by the university several years ago as hangers-on tried to defend him.

The Innocence Project again… This is all too reminiscent of Greg Hampikian in Boise, Idaho, who corrupted Hellmann’s DNA consultants to try to frame people, and misrepresented hard evidence to try to allow guilty people to walk free.

And all broadcast by your local CBS station.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Journalist Andrea Vogt Highlights Non-Damning Nature Of Rome Embassy Cables About Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell



Ambassador to Italy David Thorne with Secretary of State John Kerry

1. US Freedom Of Official Information And Politics

Since 1967 the US Federal Government has had to provide certain official information to requesting citizens and organizations.

Most of those are watchdog groups and reporters. The relevant rules are quite elaborate, and can be read here and here.

About half of all information requested is handed over fully, about 3/8 is handed over with excisions and withholdings, and about 1/8 is not handed over at all, with summary reasons for the refusal. This can then be appealed or alternately brought to the attention of someone in Congress.

If a powerful congressman or committee staffer picks up the ball then the information can flow quite magically.

If the information can embarrass the presidential administration the other party can gleefully extract the information, if necessary with the issuing of a subpoena. The news media will usually pick this up and run with it, especially if a Congressional committee decides to ask questions or hold hearings.

We reckon that our readership and the case-watchers in general extend right across the political spectrum from left to right. No easy trick and we have always been quite pleased with this. It is usually impossible to tell what the political position of any poster or emailer is.

Same with the US media. Fox News cable news is generally thought to be right-wing and MSNBC left-wing and CNN tries to make it in the middle. But all three have had left-wingers and right-wingers on their shows supporting either Italy and justice or the anti-justice anti-Italy misinformation Knox campaign.

In other words support by Americans for Italian justice or for giving Knox a pass has had nothing to do with party lines. But that could change some.

Right now the presidential administration is on its back foot, as the other party controls both the houses of Congress. The Secretary of State and the Ambassador in Rome both work for the administration, and can be called to account by that Congress.

Knox happens to live in a city and state which largely goes along with the presidential party and administration. Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell are in the presidential party as is Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle.

Senator Cantwell is STILL the only influential politician who has taken a public stance anti-Italy; nobody from the opposite party ever has.

In 2009 Cantwell was sharply rebuffed and her facts corrected by the State Department and CNN’s legal analyst and even by some pro-justice Seattle voters..

In October 2013 Cantwell flashed in and out of a bizarre misinformation panel perhaps embarrassed to be associated with it.

Bottom line? The presidential administration and party does not seem in a strong position to refuse to hand over any documents, or without very strong reason to take a pro-Knox anti-Italy position.

We are not guaranteeing that this case will become a political football. But it could. If it does, the Knox gang will have only weak political allies (if any) and what the Rome Embassy reported to the State Department 2007-2015 is really going to matter.

How does all this relate to what Andrea Vogt has recently encountered?

2. Andrea Vogt And The Cables From The Rome Embassy

Andrea Vogt in effect holds a giant lever. She has long pursued her right as an American journalist to surface what the consular officers in the Rome Embassy who watchdogged the 2009 trial and 2011 and 2013 appeals and Knox’s stint in prison had been reporting back to the State Department in Washington.

Releases of copies of cables in 2010 showed “no cause for concern” over Knox’s treatment and copies of cables in 2011 showed likewise.

There was zero official paper trail helpful to a Knox fight against extradition. That was despite a very nasty effort by Knox forces to lean on the Embassy and the State Department by complaining directly to President Obama.

Now Andrea Vogt is reporting on the Freelance Desk in “Update Feb 13 2015” on her experience with a new batch of cables.

Oddities to our eyes are that (1) in this batch, some requested cables were not released; and (2) a cable in October 2011 at the end of the Hellmann appeal wrongly declared “case closed”.

Passages of special interest have been highlighted here by us.

Many may view the cables as just routine bureaucracy, which in large part they are, but I believe they are important documents to add to the public record for two reasons.

First, they show insight into how American citizens in trouble abroad are supported (or not, depending on your viewpoint) by their government.

Second, they contribute transparently to the established written government record, clarifying diplomatic aspects of the case that until now have remained hidden while the saga played out solely in Italian courtrooms and the media.

The results of this second batch of FOIA requests were of particular importance due to the grave accusations being launched against the Italian police and members of its judiciary by members of Knox’s family, supporters and public relations team during the period of her incarceration.

The question at hand: was Amanda Knox abused, mistreated or robbed of a fair trail in Italy? How closely was the state department monitoring the case and what did embassy officials do, or not do, as it evolved?

The answer, first revealed in this first batch of embassy cables released to me in 2012 and dating back from 2007-2009, is that embassy and state department personnel actively monitored the case and provided aid from the very first days after her arrest. Other state and federal documents that I published back in 2010 ... show how Washington State’s congressional delegation, namely Sen. Maria Cantwell, was also involved.

This second batch of FOIA-requested embassy cables was released to me in late 2014 in response to another more extensive FOIA request made in 2012 (a two-year lag time is not unusual for broad requests)...

In brief, these new cables shows that the trend of close state department monitoring of the case was constant, with consular involvement up until the day (Oct 11, 2011) that the U.S. Ambassador Thorne in Rome sent a cable to the secretary of state in Washington D.C., officially declaring the matter “case closed.”

The communications are noteworthy because they bust a number of media myths about Amanda Knox’s release and immediate departure from Italy after her release in 2011, namely that the U.S. embassy did not receive her in the hours immediately post release for consular services, as she was traveling on a valid U.S. passport.

The other interesting point is that though the case was far from over in Italy,  once Amanda Knox was off Italian soil, it no longer considered the case to be of interest. “With the verdict of Oct. 3 overturning Amanda Knox’s prior conviction, her immediate release from prison and her subsequent departure from Italy today, Post considers this case closed. THORNE.”

For American citizens abroad, it is a welcome reminder that the embassy works on citizens’ behalf, as are the four documents released with excisions that show Knox was regularly visited by consular officials every six weeks and brought reading materials.

It is worth noting that the only persons to publicly report to have regularly visited Knox in prison to bring her reading materials were those associated with the Fondazione Italia USA, namely Italian parliamentarian Rocco Girlanda and Corrado Maria Daclon, the two men also present with her in the car that drove Knox out of prison the night she was acquitted.

Coincidence or are these the consular visits the cables refer to?

As soon as Knox was out of the country, the embassy declared “case closed,” perhaps not expecting that her trials would continue. Those who have followed the case know that the acquittal that prompted her release was later annulled in its entirety by Italy’s Supreme Court, which called for a second appeal trial to be held in a separate venue: Florence….

For the British and Italian authorities, and family members of Meredith Kercher who have patiently waited out the Italian legal system, perhaps the “case closed” cable jumped the gun. Once an American citizen is out of the country where he or she is in trouble, what duty does the embassy have to keep following legal developments that involve an American not physically in the country?

Did the embassy re-open the case later once the Supreme Court quashed the acquittal or is it “out of sight, out of mind,” and once an American in trouble abroad is no longer abroad, the embassy in that country can effectively wash its hands of the matter? Is it still considered “Case Closed”?

As the possibility of an extradition process hangs in the balance with the upcoming March 25 supreme court decision, the documents may provide some additional material for legal scholars to consider.

As the State Department letter points out, there are still 11 documents that fall under the umbrella of my initial FOIA request that have not been released that require further coordination.

Based on the content of my 2012 request, I believe these may be documents relating to then Sen. John Kerry and the U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations, of which he was chairman from 2009-2013 [ed note: and Senator Cantwell was a committee member] and to which specific FOIA requests were made, and for which I have not yet received response.

I have scanned and uploaded the 2-page FOIA response and 5 released cables (Oct 2011, June 2011, March 2011, November 2010, September 2010) below…

Andrea Vogt included images of those six seemingly mundane documents she received below the report, praises the Embassy and State, and voices no suspicions.

Amazingly, not one other American reporter has pursued this obvious angle. Still, in a political fuss, all those many others described in Part 1 above could also choose to do so.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Unsavory Company Knox Would Be Foolish To Aspire To: 160 Americans On The Run From Interpol

Posted by Peter Quennell





Meet eight American women on the run from arrest worldwide.

They are all the subjects of Interpol Red Notices. Right now Interpol has 322 active Red Notices, some 160 of them for Americans, of which 51 are women.

If they have not yet been to trial, they are considered innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. At the same time many have cash rewards on their heads and private citizens are warned not to apprehend them.

None of those eight women above are charged with murder or already found guilty of murder - their alleged crimes include kidnapping, drug-smuggling, fraud and insider trading.

Red Notices are sometimes issued for killers, but they very rarely prove necessary. Regardless of the status of mutual extradition treaties, countries who find they are harboring killers tend to regard them as hot potatoes, and most usually simply arrest them.

Some on the list of 322 may be dead, and many will be living close to poverty. We posted here previously on Interpol and here previously on how the ex CIA chief in Italy Robert Lady was forced out of Panama by an impending arrest for a Red Notice.

Robert Lady has lost everything. Seems better to face the music, and end the doubletalk.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Dangers Of Not Extraditing Convicted Felons Labeled An Explosive Threat To Other People

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above: Sydney moslems leaving wreaths- for the non-moslems killed

1. Lessons From Australia

It looks like several Australian judges may have wrecked their careers for allowing Man Haron Monis to be at large even though police said he should be denied bail.

Man Haron Monis was the former Iranian who took 17 hostages in downtown Sydney and caused the death of two others and himself. Coming to light is how many times previously the Australian justice system had treated him with kid gloves for major crimes.

Reporting from NBC:

Iran tried to extradite the gunman behind Sydney’s deadly hostage crisis years ago, Tehran’s top cop said, amid questions over how the self-styled cleric had found his way to Australia but not onto a watch list…

Monis grew up in Iran as Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. In 1996, he established a travel agency, but took his clients’ money and fled, Iran’s police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, told the country’s official IRNA news agency Tuesday.

Australia accepted him as a refugee around that time. The police chief said Iran tried to have Monis extradited from Australia in 2000, but that it didn’t happen because Iran and Australia don’t have an extradition agreement.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wanted to know how Monis had been granted permanent residency and why he had been receiving welfare benefits for years, despite being able-bodied “if not necessarily of sound mind.”

Monis had a gun licence, a rarity in Australia - and he walked free after being charged for writing letters of hate to families of dead Australian soldiers, and for having a hand in the killing of his wife.


2. The Relevance Of This To Knox

Regardless of extradition treaty situations, countries almost universally extradite convicted murderers. They dont want dangerous people to have another chance to cause deadly havoc in their own midst.

Knox is already a felon for life. If Knox is confirmed guilty of murder next March she will be a DANGEROUS felon for life.

The Italian-US extradition treaty gives a US judge no wiggle room other than to check if the paperwork is in order and then send her on her way.

But another bent judge could again throw a spanner in the works.

How dangerous is Knox?  Our psychologists generally think that, untreated,  she is not good news. Not a latent serial killer, or one who sits around and plots, but one who could again explosively hit back when she imagines or exaggerates slights.

More than anyone in Perugia, Meredith tried to get along with Knox. But Knox showed no sign of a learning curve. The very heavy drug use went on, the sleeping with a drug dealer went on, the dirtiness and laziness around the house went on, and the noisy sex episodes with strangers through paper-thin walls went on.

She really was the housemate from hell.

For a month or two after Meredith died, Knox was highly erratic about her role in that death, and showed an extreme eagerness to talk with the prosecution which resulted in the long session with Dr Mignini on 17 Dec.

In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.

In her book, Knox describes how the family and lawyers worked hard on Knox to destroy all elements of trust. By the summer of 2008 she was in a mood of full-blown paranoid mistrust, and all chances of a lesser charge were gone.

At trial in 2009 Knox was daffy and uncomprehending, making irrelevant interventions and really shooting herself in the foot when she took the stand. Raffaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba, almost the last two in Perugia to still give her the time of day, both said she was very odd.

Knox was mentally tested in Capanne Prison and apparently scored high on the psychopathic chart. The four courts hardest on Knox all knew this - the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court, Cassation, and the Nencini court - which was a major reason why Cassation did not allow bail in April 2008.

Assuming she killed once, in what was an exceptionally barbaric attack, Knox may or may not kill again. She is certainly inciting or condoning a massive amount of dangerous hate toward Meredith’s family and toward the Italian officials of the court.

One unhinged attack has already occured - that of the disturbed Michele Moore against Dr Mignini in the Perugia court - and the British resident David Anderson has screamed at meetings and runs an incessant campaign to stir up hate. Court officials have received messages of hate, and there is a small mountain of false and dangerous accusations against them on the web.

Left untreated and unpunished, a convicted but not extradited Knox would be a killer walking loose on American streets and could continue to condone or incite violence for the rest of her life.

If Knox killed and remains loose, could she kill again or cause others to kill? Any extradition judge needs to ask as the Australian judges did not:

Do we REALLY want to find out?















Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

Posted by Peter Quennell



See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000.

Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

Sitting judges and prospective judges themselves usually dont like this fundraising, because they have to take time off to raise these funds,  and pressures from donors - including bad-boy donors and in some cases defense lawyers seeking a break - can become extreme.

We have posted previously on enlightened American lawyers favoring main aspects of the Italian kind of system and on American cities now doing the same. Now we see many American judges and public-interest groups inclining the same way.

Why all judges in Italy are impartial and well-trained in the extreme (like all prosecutors) and dont have to keep their paws outstretched is that they are in a merit-based system where only their performance and not their politics counts.

We described how Italian justice system officials have to jump hurdle after hurdle in getting their cases advanced. A very demanding process in which only the best succeed.

It’s the same with their careers. They have to jump hurdle after hurdle in exams and peer assessment to advance from level to level - to make it as high for example as this revered prosecutor here.

Do such serial defamers of the Italian system as Doug Preston and Steve Moore and ex-judge Michael Heavey bother to tell you this about the Italian system? Probably not. They have never been truthful about it before.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Now Raffaele Sollecito As Well As Amanda Knox Is Using A PayPal Link To Encourage Donations

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Sollecito And Knox Paypal Accounts

Please check out the images at bottom here. As of today Knox’s PayPal account still exists.

At the same time Sollecito has created a new one as GoFundMe dropped his solicitation page. PayPal and their own Italian lawyers are likely to regard these two accounts as hot potatoes when the following implications are shared with them.

Imperiled Bank Accounts

Each PayPal account will point behind the PayPal scenes to a bank account, which as this example among many others describes can be seized by American and Italian authorities.

The Government wants the seized properties to be handed over to the authorities, and claims it’s permitted under U.S. law. This includes the bank account that was used by Megaupload for PayPal payouts. The account, described as “DSB 0320,” had a balance of roughly $4.7 million (36 million Hong Kong Dollars) at the time of the seizure, but processed more than $160 million over the years.

“Records indicate that from August 2007 through January 2012 there were 1,403 deposits into the DBS 0320 account totaling HKD 1,260,508,432.01 from a PayPal account. These funds represent proceeds of crime and property involved in money laundering as more fully set out herein,” the complaint reads.

PayPal refused to channel payments to the hacker organization Wikileaks and 14 members of the hacker group Anonymous who attempted denials of service attacks (DOS) against PayPal were charged and pleaded guilty.

Strong evidence that law enforcement will work hard to help prevent the use of PayPal for activities it considers illegal. 

How It Gets Worse For Them

Knox is already a convicted felon for life for calunnia with no further appeal possible. Under PayPal’s terms of service that by itself seems sufficient grounds to bounce her. From Paypal’s rules for Donate buttons:

Note: This button is intended for fundraising. If you are not raising money for a cause, please choose another option. Nonprofits must verify their status to withdraw donations they receive. Users that are not verified nonprofits must demonstrate how their donations will be used, once they raise more than $10,000.

Neither have publicly specified in even the least detail who will get what and why out of the funds raised by this Donate button intended for good causes (think charities).

How It Gets Worser For Them

The pitches on the Knox and Sollecito websites are essentially the same as in their two books which are both riddled with demonstrably false accusations, for which Sollecito has already been charged and for which Knox will also in due course be charged.

The charges against Sollecito are a mixture of calunnia and diffamazione, which are explained at the bottom here, and the charges against Knox are expected to be the same.

In effect then this is seemingly not only Knox and Sollecito attempting to profit from crimes, but attempting to profit from crimes based on highly fraudulent accounts of those crimes for one component of which (as pointed out above) Knox has already served three years in prison.

How It Gets Even Worser For Them

“Defense Fund” implies the money being raised is all going to their Italian lawyers. If the lawyers accept such payments as fees that could become a problem for them.

The same thing applies if any of the money raised goes to David Marriott, Ted Simon and Robert Barnett. It is now radioactive. They will presumably know this - know that they cannot profit from proceeds which are illegal under Son of Sam laws and obtained on fraudulent pretenses.

And In Fact Even Worser For Them

If Cassation dismisses the final appeal of Knox and Sollecito (for which the grounds seem very flimsy) they will each be liable for the millions in damages which Judge Massei imposed as modified by Judge Nencini.

Donations legally labeled bloodmoney cannot under any circumstances be used to pay damages. Knox and Sollecito would have to generate new funds to pay the damages awards by legal earnings or by voluntary or forced selling off of any assets.

The Bottom-Line Liabilities Here

The financial liabilities Knox and Sollecito are presently incurring for themselves include (1) payment of all fees for legal and PR help in the US and Italy; (2) the clawing back of all bloodmoney profits from their crimes; (3) the payments of millions in damages as assessed by Judges Massei and Nencini; and (4) further fines and damages that are expected to result from their two books.

Under the post below Popper posted this partial calculation for Knox; the forfeit of bloodmoney and possible future damage awards are additional.

Massei gave (and Nencini confirmed) provisional damage to father and mother of Meredith of Euro 1 million each, to brothers and sister Euro 800,000 each, to PL Euro 50,000 and to the owner of the flat Euro 10,000.

To this it must be added more for the legal costs in Appeal and Cassazione, so a total a bit short of Euro 5 million, about 6 million dollars.

VAT and CPA must be paid on all the above sums, so more than that, we probably go over USD 6 million

Together with the forfeit of bloodmoney and possible future damages imposed, this adds up to around the $10 million estimated in this post. Sollecito’s burden would be less, somewhat more than half of that. 

Explanation Of Calunnia And Diffamazione

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone’s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.


Click for larger image






Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Legal Problem For Knox: How Tough American Laws Could Wind Back Blood-Money Profits & Spendings

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




The 40-Plus State Son-of-Sam Laws

David Berkowitz or Son-of-Sam as he called himself during his killing spree is a convicted American serial killer. Watch a documentary at bottom here.

In New York State (where Knox’s publisher is) and Washington State (where Knox herself is) and about 40 other American states Son-of-Sam has a much-exercised and now rarely-challenged law named after him.

After early challenges and some revisions, many of those State Son-of-Sam laws continue to be strengthened and almost all are enforced regularly. From Wikipedia:

A Son of Sam law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers… Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims…

In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime””if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.


Son-of-Sam Laws In The News

The Son-of-Sam laws are in the American news almost daily. See these for example:

  • Here is an article about the admitted killer Jodi Arias who could have otherwise been in line to profit from a movie showing her killing of her former lover Travis Alexander from her point-of-view.

  • Here is an article about the former university football coach and male rapist Jerry Sandusky who may be writing a book to benefit himself and his family.

  • Here is an article about OJ Simpson, the former footballer and convicted killer of his wife and one other, who is essentially in prison now for trying to circumvent a Son-of-Sam law mandating payments to the families of his victims.


How Son-of-Sam Laws Work

Here from the Criminal Lawyers website is a generic description of how such State laws work.

Each state’s law is different, but here some of the things you may see in any particular Son of Sam law:

What’s covered?  Practically just about anything a criminal defendant might gain or profit from his crime. Some state laws generally define “profit from crime.” For example, a law may state it’s “any property obtained through or income generated from the commission of a crime.” Other states are very specific and may, for example, state “profit of crime” is money or other property with value a defendant may receive for a book, movie, television show, play or newspaper article about the defendant and his crimes.

Who’s covered? In some states, only the criminal defendant is covered. In other states, members of his family are covered, too. They may be related by blood or by “affinity” or kinship, such as a spouse or father-in-law. The idea is to make sure a family member doesn’t get the money and hold it for the defendant.

Payment. Most states require the person paying the defendant - the book publisher, movie producer, etc. - to pay the money directly to a court or special state agency, like the state’s Crime Victims Assistance agency. The money is held in a special account for the crime’s victims.

Getting the money to the victims. In most states, once money is deposited, the court or the state agency in charge of the money notifies victims the money is available. In other states, the person or company paying the defendant must notify victims. Either way, victims are usually notified by ads or “legal notices” in local newspapers where the crime was committed. It’s also possible the names of specific victims may be found in the court records connected to the case, and those victims may get personal notification, such as by mail.


Ten Grave Weaknesses In Knox’s Position

Under these 40-plus Son-of-Sam state laws Amanda Knox and her agents appear to be in an extremely weak legal position. Here are 10 reasons.

    1) Knox was confirmed convicted without further recourse by the Italian Supreme Court of calunnia (against Patrick Lumumba) in March 2013 and she was also provisionally confirmed guilty of murder and other crimes when her appeal before the Florence Appeal Court failed six months ago.

    2) That final false-accusation conviction occurred prior to Knox’s book Waiting To Be Heard being released. The British and Italian arms of the publishers, HarperCollins, refused to release the book in the UK and Italy, citing major legal liabilities. The New York based HarperCollins publishers and therefore Knox herself knew that there were very serious legal questions.

    3) Amanda Knox was represented by Washington DC lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett who touted the book to various publishers for a claimed $4 million. If Robert Barnett was misled as to the truth of the book, Knox may find herself kicked under the bus by him.  If he was not misled, he too is entangled.

    4) Knox’s book (available globally via Amazon Kindle) includes many serious misstatements on (among other things) the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony conviction and sentence.

    5) Knox also misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony defamation conviction in (a) an arrogant email to Judge Nencini at the Florence appeal and (b) an arrogant press release after the judge’s sentencing report was released.

    6) Knox appears to have misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her conviction in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. She also uses those false claims for her continued refusal to pay damages to Patrick.

    7) Large numbers of opportunists appear to have directly profited. While we don’t know for sure, it seems Knox blood-money may have been used (a) to pay off her parents’ legal debts; (b) to pay her Italian and American lawyers; (b) to pay David Marriott’s public relations outfit; (d) to pay travel to Seattle and other expenses for some of her wackiest supporters, Sforza and Fischer included. Fees for abusive work by many in online support of Knox are rumored

    8) We have repeatedly been told that any media request for access to Sollecito or Knox results in a greedy hand being stretched out. Any media who paid anything to Knox or her family (CNN? ABC? CBS? The Guardian? Oggi?) for access since 2007 could be seriously vulnerable.

    9) Knox will face a new trial in Italy in due course for numerous new felony accusations in the book, including a very serious false charge against Dr Mignini. Also she and her followers are widely on record as disrespecting and harrassing the real victim and her ailing family.

    10) And a mandatory Son-of-Sam Law investigation by State Attorney Generals can be triggered in over 40 American states via a simple report from a citizen. The Italian Government could also trigger such a criminal investigation.

And Amanda Knox still has her greedy paw out for contributions. See her highly misleading website. Tread warily, folks. Up to 40-plus investigators could come calling at your door…

Early Death To Any Political Support

American politicians almost all favor the Son-of-Sam Laws. The thought of a convicted killer profiting is something almost 100% of American voters wont tolerate. Anything that encourages crimes and the flouting of laws is a really big American no-no.

And if Knox is trying to assemble any bought-and-paid-for political support to resist extradition, such political support will dissipate in a heartbeat when Son-of-Sam again rears his head.

Not a very nice slippery slope for Knox. On multiple counts she looks like a sure-fire loser.


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Hard To Believe Anti-Italy Website Owner Rachel Sterne Haot Works For A Prominent Italian-American

Posted by Peter Quennell



New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, brother of CNN’s Chris Cuomo, with the President of the US

Haot “Secretly” Owns Inflammatory Ground Report

The shadowy founder and owner of the bitterly anti-Italian Ground Report “citizen journalism” website works for one of the most prominent Italian-Americans in the United States.

He is Andrew Cuomo, the very pro-Italy governor of the State of New York. Brother of Chris Cuomo who in his CNN TV persona has twice interviewed Amanda Knox, each time seemingly unconvinced and underwhelmed.

In contrast, for Rachel Sterne Haot it has been a case of rabid pedal-to-the-floor Knoxiana and rabid anti-Italian demonizing for the past few years to boost her anemic readership and to try to make a buck. Other website owners with better judgment had previously kicked off these dangerous crazies.

See very typical examples of false accusations of serious crimes by Italian officials here and here and here and here and here. If any media request this help, we can provide links or captures for 150+ more.

Pro-justice pro-Italy pro-Meredith points of view have been remorselessly edited out for nearly four years. Protests of defamation have been repeatedly brushed off with the claim that “a lawyer” who is never named says the defamation is just fine.

This new post below on Ground Report was by the (of course) anonymous “Jay Rap” and represents his sixth inflammatory and highly defamatory post in just three weeks. 

Later in the Interrogation Hoax series, when we have finished laying out what really happened, we’ll take apart all such misleading and defamatory posts. May note be taken of them in Albany and Italy.

The Rudy Guede Hoax

Here’s a quick rebuttal of Jay Rap’s untethered rant about Rudy Guede, who will be the subject of a second hoax series soon. Prior to the attack on Meredith, police had no knowledge or written record of either Rudy Guede or Patrick.

Dr Mignini had never even heard of Guede till analysis days after the murder of his handprint surfaced who he was (Knox didn’t name Guede but carefully pointed at him, as this series of transcripts shows).

Guede did not ever work for the police. Guede did not ever get even one break in this case.

Milan police released him after he was found staying overnight in a Milan pre-school only because he had no prior record, not because anyone in Perugia told them to. In 2009 Guede offered to testify against RS and AK at trial in exchange for a break. HE WAS TURNED DOWN. No breaks at all.

“Knox Was Intentionally Framed By Italian Police”

Rachel Sterne Haot may wish to note that Jay Rap’s made-up accusations here go away beyond what already cost Amanda Knox three years. Everything shown here in bold (and more) is untrue. All of Jay Rap’s histrionic posts are pure fiction. 

If you are following our Interrogation Hoax series, you will see immediately how wildly wrong this all is. If not, scroll down to “2. How Knox helped police with recap/summary”

Following up on the Italian police motive, this series will explore the positive indications that the Italian police intentionally framed Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Here we review the pre-planned illegal interrogations of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. This is a summary of a review here (link).

Again, the motivation for framing Knox and Sollecito is to deflect attention away from Rudy Guede in the killing of Meredith Kercher, so as to conceal the culpability of the Perugian authorities and Giuliano Mignini for having protected and thus enabled Guede to murder Meredith Kercher. In short, self preservation. (For a review of the Police motive for framing Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher, please see this previous article (link), or a summary of that article here (link).

The first indication of intentional framing by the Italian police, is the text book characteristics of the intensive and regimented pre-plamnned program of interrogations that were conducted by the police, resulting in falsely incriminating statements from the defendants.

It should first be said, that no confession taken under any circumstance whatsoever, can overcome the overwhelming physical evidence that the murder of Meredith Kercher was committed only by Rudy Guede. The lack of any physical trace of anyone else in the tiny blood soaked room where Meredith was killed, renders it a scientific impossibility that anyone but Rudy Guede, and he alone, killed Meredith Kercher. There is no evidence of a “˜staged break-in’, that claim is simply a distraction from this basic and obvious truth. Having said that, let’s discuss the interrogation.

It is undisputed that in the five days from the discovery of the Kercher murder, to the arrest 5 days later, Amanda Knox was subjected to 43 hours of questioning by the Italian police. The last overnight session went from 10:30pm to 6am the next morning. We need look no further than Steve Moore’s analysis in his contribution to the book; “The Forgotten Killer; Rudy Guede and the Murder of Meredith Kercher”, to understand this process and objectives.

One of the most striking elements of Moore’s narrative, is the extraordinary degree of consistency between the program of interrogation applied against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito by the Italian police, and that described in a declassified FBI manual discussing techniques for “brain washing” used by the communists in North Korea.

Moore, quoting the FBI the manual; “Deprivation of sleep results in more intense psychological debilitation than does any other method of engendering fatigue. The communists (North Koreans) vary their methods. “Conveyor belt” interrogation that last 50-60 hours will make almost any individual compromise, but there is danger that this will kill the victim. It is safer to conduct interrogations of 8-10 hours at night while forcing the prisoner to remain awake during the day. Additional interruptions in the remaining 2-3 hours of allotted sleep quickly reduce the most resilient individual.”

At 43 hours over 5 days, the Italian police interrogation of Amanda Knox is perfectly consistent with the formal brain washing techniques favored by the North Korean communist totalitarian regime. It is a clear violation of human rights in any civilized country operating under any recognizable rule of law.

Moore also draws special emphasis on the last day of the interrogation, the overnight session. Remarking on the number of detectives, he writes; “The fact that there were twelve detectives in the police station overnight is an indictment in and of itself. If you are going to have twelve detectives available all night for an interrogation, you need to let them know well in advance. You need to schedule them, to change their days off, etc. You need to pay them overtime. In the real world, twelve detectives all night is something that has to be signed-off on by higher ups. What does that tell us? It tells us the interrogation was planned well in advance and intentionally overnight.” (emphasis Moore).

That this process was pre-planned, is also suggested in Amanda Knox’s own account in her book, “Waiting To Be Heard”. When speaking with Rita Ficarra, whom Knox describes as “˜her main interrogator’ and has identified as the officer who twice struck her during the last crucial session, Knox had asked if she could leave Perugia to stay with her Aunt in Germany, and Ficarra’s response; “You can’t leave Perugia. You’re an important part of the investigation”. When Knox inquired how long she would be needed, Ficarra’s reply; We don’t know- maybe months”. When Knox responded that she was planning to go home for Christmas. Ficarra’s response; “We’ll decide if you can do that. We’ll have to hear what the magistrate says when he calls in three days”. This conversation occurred on the morning of November 3rd, the day after the crime was discovered. The decision to specifically target and frame Amanda Knox, was likely made no later than on the evening of November 2nd, 2007, the same evening of the day the crime was discovered.

Regarding the last overnight interrogation, Moore continues; “The reason they interrogated Amanda all night was to break her. Not to get the truth, not to get answers, not to make Perugia safer, but to break her so that she would say what they wanted her to say.”

Reflecting on the overall process, Moore adds; “Amanda Knox was interrogated for eight hours. Overnight. She was denied food and water. She was denied the use of a bathroom. In a police station. In a foreign country. In a foreign language. By a dozen different officers. Without being allowed a lawyer.”

Moore continuing; “The inquisition Amanda Knox endured in Perugia was no more legally or morally defensible than the Salem Witch Trials. No rational person should believe that the results of what she went through are reliable evidence. If you gave me the same amount of time with Knox’s prosecutor (Mignini), I could have made him confess to the crime.”

Moore’s contribution and the book itself are well worth the read for anyone wanting to understand the injustice of the case against Knox and Sollecito, but let’s turn lastly to Moore’s comments on why an interrogation stops.

Moore; “There are two reasons an interrogator stops an interrogation: 1. He/she gets what he/she wants, or 2. He/she gives up. If the interrogator gives up, there is no written statement by the suspect. Therefore if the interrogation ends with a signed statement, you know the interrogator got what he/she wanted and can easily determine what that was. And what did Amanda say that satisfied her inquisitors? “˜I confusedly remember seeing Patrick come out of Meredith’s room.’ So what did they want? They wanted to implicate Patrick Lumumba.”

Moore explains; “Amanda did not bring up the name of Patrick Lumumba. The police did. And they repeatedly told her to “˜imagine’ Patrick and herself being at the cottage that night. Amanda did not give in to the brainwashing. But the police achieved enough with her to obtain a statement that let them do what they had intended to do all along: arrest Patrick Lumumbra”

As has been said, the motive of the Italian police and Mignini was to defect attention away from Rudy Guede, but in any event, to absolutely deny that Rudy Guede acted alone. For that to be the case, the break-in had to be staged, because otherwise, its just Rudy all by himself breaking in, and killing Meredith Kercher.

But by embroiling multiple people in the crime, the police could if not keep Rudy out of the crime entirely, they could at least minimize his role. If Patrick Lumumba had remained as a defendant, no doubt all the judges would have put the knife in his hands. But since Rudy Guede could not be kept out of the picture, it became necessary for someone else to play a more dominant and leading role.

And of course such a person had to be someone capable of manipulating others, and who better for that role ““ in the mind of Mignini, than a seductive manipulative woman. So in the fantasy world of the Italian prosecutors, judges, police, and an unfortunately significant segment of the populations of Italy and the UK, the knife that killed Meredith Kercher ended up being placed in Amanda’s tiny hands, in their fantastic false imaginings.

Of all the lies that have been invented and repeated in this case, among the worst is that of those who misuse the confused statements that were extracted through psychological torture, as evidence of deception on the part of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Solecito. It is the exact equivalent of blaming a rape victim for the consequences of a violent sexual assault. This lie is repeated by major news outlets, unscrupulous or careless reporters, and has become part of the lexicon of the case. It’s both tragic and profoundly unfair.

The cruelest and most criminal hypocrisy of Mignini, the Italian police and judiciary, is to blame Knox for the confused statements induced through these abusive coercive means. The Italian police charging Amanda Knox with Calumnia, after forcing her to name Lumumba as part of their process and their own objective, must surely be a violation of human rights that all civilized countries and people must deplore.

When Knox herself testified to the ordeal she was put through at trial in her own defense, she was further charged with calumnia against the police, a charge which the prosecution itself would be allowed to investigate, an obvious conflict of interest. In Italy, defending oneself against fraudulent charges by the prosecutor, is apparently a criminal act.

The criminal, brutal, illegal, and supposedly unrecorded interrogation by the Italian police should shock the conscience of the civilized world. Yet this criminal conduct by the Italian police must again be concealed by blaming the victim. Charging Knox with calumnia for being tortured into naming Lumumba, is the arrogance of unrepentant criminals. And it is a marvel to behold how pliant and cooperative the Italian, UK and international media have been in simply passing along the prosecution’s malicious self-serving slanders.

It may be the Italian authorities simply no longer have the ability to recognize the wrongfulness of their own behavior.

Knox’s final conviction for calumnia by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation is being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, where we must all hope this shameful miscarriage of justice will finally be corrected.

The last word is perhaps best left to Moore: “How could this happen? It is either inexperience combined with poor training or corruption ““ or both. I have had rookie FBI agents come out to the field and conduct vastly superior investigations to what happened in Perugia in this case. I do not think the Italian system is inferior. In fact, if I thought so, I would not be criticizing those detectives in this manner.”

Significantly, Moore concludes; “Every country has prosecutors and investigators who make mistakes. Every country experiences the shame of corruption. No country should be judged on whether these things exist; it should be judged on how it deals with them.”

When Patrick Lumumba was released, and Rudy Guede was brought back from Germany, Rudy was substituted in for Patrick in the prosecution’s case. But now the role of chief instigator would pass from Patrick, and be applied to Amanda Knox. Because from the perspective of the Perugians authorities, Mignini, the Italian police, and the Italian judiciary, Rudy Gude could not have acted alone (which is why the break-in must have been staged), or at worst, Rudy must have been a lesser player in this crime which was as has been stated, was by necessity a group effort in the prosecution’s theory ““ for otherwise, the Italians themselves are responsible for Meredith Kercher’s death.

Other commenters have said that the police erred by not changing their theory of accusation, when they slotted in Guede for Lumumba, that they suffered from “˜target fixation’ or other innocent mistakes. I disagree. There never was an “˜accusatory theory’ in the sense of one supported by evidence. The police objective of minimizing Guede’s role, and therefore their own culpability in the murder of Meredith Kercher, was intentional, premeditated, and ultimately unaffected by Guede’s formal emergence as a culprit. The Italian police objectives remained unchanged; under no circumstances, could Rudy Guede be found to have acted alone, because otherwise, Kercher’s killing was the fault of the Italians.

There has never been an investigation in the usual sense of the word. It has been an exercise from the beginning of intentionally framing two innocent people for crimes they had nothing to do with, to deflect attention and criticism away from Mignini and the Perugian authorities ““ and there is a clear conflict of interest in allowing the Perugians and the Italian judiciary, to investigate themselves.

And so, the frame-up proceeded accordingly.

With Amanda’s and Raffaelle’s coerced statements in hand, now all that was necessary for Mignini and the Perugians, was to fabricate the evidence, and build their “˜case’.



Below: the eager host to the dangerous Knox crazies Rachel Sterne Haot


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

With Radioactive Knox Campaign Not On Agenda,  US & Italian Leaders Give Each Other Big Boosts

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi needs all the support he can get for his economic-recovery program, President Obama the same for the Ukraine.

Here’s a Rome-based blog our main poster Yummi pointed out, which describes in detail chronologically how the productive four days went.

And Mr Obama went out of his way to give Mr Renzi a lot of praise as Reuters described

Renzi, Italy’s youngest ever prime minister, has set a testing agenda of economic and constitutional reforms to help the eurozone’s third-largest economy recover from its longest recession since World War Two.

“I want to say that I’ve just been impressed by the energy and vision that Matteo’s bringing to his position,” Obama said during an hour-long joint news conference in Rome.

“There’s a seriousness and ambition of ideas, and I think the spirit and the energy of the Italian people has the opportunity to be unleashed in a way that will be good for Italy, but it will also be good for Europe,” he said.

“So it’s wonderful to see this new generation of leadership coming to the fore.”

The comments were a welcome boost to Renzi, who took over leadership of Italy’s cross-party ruling coalition after a party coup last month, pledging to push forward more aggressively on reforms than his predecessor Enrico Letta.

Not a single mention by any official or any media outlet of the radioactive Knox campaign. NOT ONE. Ask any justice official in either capital city, and the responses now are ““Knox who?” and “She should go quietly and serve her time”.

She’s old news. Let’s move on.








Friday, February 21, 2014

The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities

Posted by TomM



[Rome airport; exceedingly rare for those convicted of Italian crimes not to be sent back via here]


The reporting on this case has, with few exceptions, been poor.

Recent reporting on whether the US would extradite Amanda Knox continues that tradition, ranging from assertions that “sources” within the State Department say they would never extradite her, to claims that the risk of extradition is real, but that the Secretary of State has the discretion to refuse to extradite.

If the Secretary of State actually has this discretion, it must be grounded in the law.

That means it must be found in the Constitution, or in an act of Congress, or in a treaty—all of which constitute the “law of the land”.  Beyond authorizing the President to make treaties, with the consent of two thirds of the Senate, the Constitution sheds no further light.

The only act of Congress dealing with extradition of US citizens is Title 18, United States Code, section 3196; a bit of background first.

There is no uniform US extradition treaty.  Each treaty is separately negotiated with the other sovereign nation.  Historically, many of the treaties entered into by the US contained clauses providing that neither country was obligated to extradite its own citizens.

Notwithstanding this, the US had extradited US nationals on the basis of discretion to extradite even though extradition was not required by the language of the treaty.  But in 1936 the US Supreme Court held that if the treaty does not “obligate” the requested party to extradite its own citizens, the Secretary of State does not have the discretion to deliver the person sought to the requesting country.  [Valentine v. United States ex rel. Neidecker 299 U.S. 8]

In 1990, Congress passed 18 U.S.C § 3196, captioned “Extradition of United States citizens:”

“If the applicable treaty or convention does not obligate the United States to extradite its citizens to a foreign country, the Secretary of State may, nevertheless, order the surrender to that country of a United States citizen whose extradition has been requested by that country if the other requirements of that treaty or convention are met.”

That is the full extent of Congressional action on extradition of US citizens; there is no Congressional grant of discretion to the Secretary of State to decline extradition in the face of a treaty obligation.

Some US extradition treaties contain clauses that give the requested country the discretion not to extradite its own citizens; perhaps that is where the idea that the Secretary of State has discretion not to extradite Knox comes from.

Here, for example, is a clause from the US-Sweden treaty:

“There is no obligation upon the requested State to grant extradition of a person who is a national of the requested State, but the executive authority of the requested State shall, subject to the appropriate laws of that State, have the power to surrender a national of that State if, in its discretion, it be deemed proper to do so.”

The treaty with Italy is short (ten pages) and written in plain language.  The treaty has commences with Article I, captioned “Obligation to Extradite”:

“The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.”

The cover letter of the Secretary of State to then-President Reagan explains:  “Article I obligates each State to extradite to the other, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty, any persons charged with or convicted”¦”. (emphasis added)

There are mandatory grounds for refusal, such as political or military acts, double jeopardy (if the person sought has already been tried by the requested State for the same offense), or if the prosecution or penalty is time-barred in the requesting State.

There is just one discretionary ground: if the country requested is also prosecuting the person sought for the same act.

Article 4 provides:

“A Requested Party shall not decline to extradite a person because such a person is a national of the Requested Party.”

Thus, any discretion to deny extradition implied by 18 USC 3196 has no application to requests made under this treaty.  Further, although some appellate cases have treated some issues regarding extradition of nationals differently, they fairly firmly hold to the difference in the meaning of mandatory words like “shall” and “obligate” on the one hand, and discretionary or permissive words like “may”.

Comments to the effect that the US has declined extradition to Italy in the past are superficial and uninformed.

The first illustration such commentators cite is that of the Air Force pilot who severed a ski lift cable, causing multiple deaths.  That was not an extraditable offense under the treaty because of double jeopardy; the pilot had been court martialed.  Although his acquittal enraged Italians, the pilot had already been tried by the US, and thus his case fell under the mandatory ground to denial of extradition specified in the treaty.

The other example mentioned is that of the CIA operatives who were prosecuted in absentia for the abduction of Abu Omar in Milan.  The Italian Minister of Justice refused, during both the Berlusconi and Prodi administrations, requests of the Milan court to commence extradition proceedings.  In Italy, the courts and the government are independent, and the courts lack power to compel government to make a request for extradition.

Even if the Italian government had made an extradition request, there is at least a colorable argument to be made that this was in the nature of a military act in the US war on terror, thus constituting a mandatory ground of refusal.

Thus, if Italy requests the extradition of Amanda Knox, the US lacks legal authority to decline to deliver her to Italian authorities.  If the US government wants to avoid extraditing her, it will have to rely on diplomacy rather than law.  In other words, it will need to convince the Italian government not to make an extradition request in the first place.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

How Many Extraditions Do The US And Italy Refuse? Approximately Zero, When It’s To Each Other

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Ex-fugitive Florian Homm above and below in front of his palatial Mallorca Spain home]


The State Department and FBI collaborate more closely with their Italian counterparts than with almost any others in the world.

Italy is a very loyal political ally to the US and has helped out a lot diplomatically and militarily around the world. The FBI and their Italian counterparts in Rome have officers permanently embedded from one another and there are dozens of transactions going on all the time..

Extraditions both ways take place without fuss at the rate of a few a year, which the State Department and Justice Department are not inclined to fight. A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court in Rome declined the final appeal of fugitive swindler Florian Homm and sent him on his way to the US.

Homm had many millions to pay top lawyers to fight his extradition case. But he still lost.

The only extradition requests from Italy the US doesnt fulfill are the CIA kidnaping in Milan and Air Force Dolomites case.

It is the CIA and Pentagon overtly or clandestinely exercising special military privileges that is the cause of the two standoffs. NOT the Department of State, which has made clear it is not too thrilled.

Contrary to broad confusion in the US (fed by biased stories from Colleen Barry of the Associated Press) the Florence appeal is not a second or third trial of Knox.

It is a FIRST appeal, actually filed by Sollecito and Knox, on the same lines as any American first appeal, after the previous Hellmann appeal was furtively bent, and then scathingly annulled.  Knox has been in provisionally guilty status since late in 2009.

So double jeopardy absolutely does not apply.

The one REAL difference between this appeal and any American appeal, which seems over Colleen Barry’s head, is that this appeal request was automatically allowed. Any American appeal judge (except Heavey, who serially gets the hard facts wrong) would have thrown the flimsy appeal grounds out.

It may take up to a year, if Amanda Knox chooses to waste more big bucks on lawyer fees -  their batting record for that is pretty dismal so far, though, and a confirmed-guilty verdict in Florence next week might be only the start of more legal strife. False claims in her book will soon see her back in court.

But it seems 100% likely that Italy will “get their man”. To a rapidly increasing number of Americans, Italy’s gain would also be the US’s gain.



Friday, December 06, 2013

After 6 Years Heavey Is Still Heedless Of His Errors Pointed Out Again & Again & Again

Posted by pat az




1. Overview of this post

Michael Heavey has a considerable record of interventions that seriously mislead.

He makes false claim after false claim after false claim. Often corrected, he heedlessly gravitates no closer to the truth.

This post corrects a misleading and dishonest letter from Heavey to President Obama copied to Congress of 16 May 2011.

1 Misleading interventions in 2008

During this year Heavey (then still a judge, though one who was merely elected - nothing compared to the rigorous process Italian judges must go through) sent three erroneous open letters (posted on the web and widely copied) to senior justice officials in Italy about the case.

TJMK posted on the errors in December 2008.

2 Misleading interventions in 2009

By way of interviews in the media, Heavey continued his campaign. He has claimed that his motives really are noble: in effect, Knox could have been his own daughter, though his daughter has distanced herself from this campaign.

3 Misleading interventions in 2010

One of the 2008 letters to Italy was sent on official judicial letterhead, as if he was speaking for the State of Washington. In 2010 the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined Heavey although it was only for an illegal use of the official letterhead, not for wrong claims.

The initial announcement was posted on here. The details of the charges were posted on here. The disciplinary penalty was posted on here.

4 Misleading interventions in 2011

In April 2011, one month prior to his misleading letter,  Heavey was a droning presence on a panel before an audience of 35 at Seattle University. His familiar talking points were again repeated.

It is cross-posted from my own website here.  Links to previous posts about Heavey on TJMK for the period 2008 to 2011 appear at the bottom of this post.

2. The 16 May 2011 letter to President & Congress

On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (now retired) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case. 

This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site under a search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was “Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.”

The new Heavey letter was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.” The address given is his house address.






The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case.

Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have.

However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.

This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).

These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time.  This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.

Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waterrbury.






Judge Heavey had been admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge. 

The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.

The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of the by-now admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to President Obama and Congress

1. False brutal interrogation claims

The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation [...]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”

However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner!

A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories.

Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start until at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement (after being warned by Dr Mignini to say nothing further without a lawyer) at 5:45 am.

Here is Amanda Knox:

“Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” -Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007

“I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM [...]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake”¦ “  -Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard

To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.

2. False no-lawyer claim

Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”

Knox was not a suspect and the interview was merely a recap/summary session with someone who might have information as the defenses themselves agreed. Knox herself twice declined a lawyer before insisting on writing three statements out.

Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:

“And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” -

Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)

Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.

3. False no-recording claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”

However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was not a suspect, and this was not a suspect interview. She merely eagerly listed seven names. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:

“It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. “

-Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007

4. False no-interpreter claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”

Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:

From Court documents

“...assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.

“....assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 5:45 AM statement.

And from Amanda Knox:

November 2nd: “”¦they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.”  -Waiting to be Heard

November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” -Trial Testimony

November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” -Waiting to be heard

5. False vengeful prosecutor claim

Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini:

“[...] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory [...] under investigation for abuse of office [...] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of Italy[...]”

Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with:

“Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

The trumped-up charges against Prosecutor Mignini pursued by a rogue prosecutor ad rogue judge in Florence were overturned by the Florence appeal court and sacthingly roasted by the Supreme Court. Dr Mignini (now Deputy Attorney General for Umbria) was under no pressure at all. See this post here.

6. False satanic myth claim

Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.”

The ONLY source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito who made it up. Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself:

“these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

7. False US Embassy claim

Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website.

This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief   Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.







The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox.  The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:

  * Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
  * Participation in sexual assault
  * Simulated robbery
  * Slander
  * Possession of weapons
  * Aggravated theft.

Over four years from late 2007 to late 2011 we estimate that the US taxpayer paid $400,000 for the Embassy’s monitoring of Knox.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Interpol HQ is now in Central France, a new HQ is planned for outside Paris soon.

Extradition: a hardball game.

This is the latest of many posts which include this legal take explaining the gloomy prospects for Sollecito and Knox if their final conviction comes down. 

Complete refusals of extradition by any countries other than Russia and China seem increasingly rare, as that can cause a rebound effect and economic retaliation in response. The United States very rarely refuses to extradite.

If anything, the US is stepping up the pace of its extradition cases - both ways. The US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests, and transporting suspected perps back and forth.

These are some of the high-profile extradition cases in today’s news:

The US/Italy Robert Lady case

The twists and turns in the story of the fugitive from Italian justice and former CIA chief in Milan Robert Lady were last posted on here. He scampered out of Central America back to the United States mid-2013.

But now official Washington seems to be giving Mr Lady a very hard time which may have him voluntarily headed to Italy to seek a break.

When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he’s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is “getting pretty desperate.” His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition””one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration””set in train events that soured America’s relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents.

Saying “I’m fed up with all this,” Mr. Lady has some extraordinary steps in mind to change his fate. His actions and outspokenness are going to add to the discomfiture of his former bosses at Langley over this messy episode from the early days after 9/11.

If the muddle-headed Knox and Sollecito enablers can find any solace in that, good luck. Mr Lady was a top government employee, who claims he was doing only what he was told. 

The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case

Believe it or not the former director of the Bank of Brazil has fled to Italy to ensure a fair trial.

Sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, Pizzolato announced in a letter that he fled to have, according to him, a new trial in Italy “removed from politics and electoral motives” and in “a court not subject to the impositions of the media”.

Brazil might ask Interpol for a “red notice” which is the highest form of international arrest warrant and often has the same wanted result as formal extradition.

A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.

In fact so tough is life on the lam under a red notice that perps often simply cave before too long, and head back to defend themselves or pay their dues without any court moves or official transport required.

The US/Italy Raoul Weil case

Finfacts reported on this case last month.

Raoul Weil, a former UBS wealth management chief, was arrested last weekend in Italy and faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of aiding and abetting tax evaders.

Weil left Switzerland’s biggest bank in 2009 after he was declared a fugitive from US justice by ignoring a criminal indictment issued in 2008. UBS was forced to pay a $780m fine in 2009 after admitting to actively assisting US tax evaders to break US law.

Several Swiss bankers and lawyers have since been indicted in the US for their alleged role in helping wealthy US citizens hide their assets from the tax authorities.

Weil is one of the most high-profile of the accused as a then head of UBS’s wealth management and he is now a temporary resident of an Italian prison, likely fearing a longer spell in a US one.

A Florida court indictment charged Weil with having a prominent role in aiding UBS’s US clients to hide around $20bn in undeclared assets between 2002 and 2007.

He however has strongly denied the allegation but would not risk defending himself in a US court.

Italy is giving Mr Weil a pretty hard time and accedes to all American extradition requests except where the death sentence might be involved.

The US/Russia gangsters case

The US is trying hard to get some Russian gangsters (okay, alleged gangsters) extradited from countries around the world  and Russia is resisting this “extraterritorial application of America law”.

U.S. organized crime experts say Russian criminals working overseas often have connections within the Russian government, and that the Russian government’s defense of them is designed to keep those links from emerging in public light….

In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

On Aug. 1, the Dominican Republic extradited 24-year-old Aleksandr Panin to stand trial in federal court in Atlanta on charges related to cyberscams using SpyEye malware, which enables the theft of online banking information. Panin is accused of stealing $5 million from U.S. banks.

In mid-August, Lithuania extradited an alleged arms dealer, Dmitry Ustinov, to stand trial in the United States for allegedly negotiating to sell restricted night-vision goggles. He faces a 20-year sentence.

Another Russian, Dmitry Belorossov, was arrested at the Barcelona airport Aug. 17 upon triggering an Interpol fraud alert. Belorossov’s extradition to stand trial in the United States is pending.

When U.S. prosecutors seized Liberty Reserve in late May, they said the company had laundered “more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds.” Liberty Reserve allowed clients anonymity and offered them a digital currency, known as an LR, to facilitate payments for criminal activity.


The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case

Banker Javier Martin-Artajo now in Spain is refusing to be extradited to the United states - because the crime he is accused of took place in England. Good luck with that one. JP Morgan Chase Bank has just paid a huge fine in the US so THEY accept the crime took place there.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Knox Apologists Attempt To Bend Congress; But Nobody Important Turns Up

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





From the left: Steve Moore, John Douglas, and Michael Heavey.

In a room for hire at the Congress they made presentations of their misleading takes on the case to a near-empty room.

Senator Cantwell was apparently there briefly but took off as soon as she could. No other elected leaders were seen to be there.

There was seemingly no media coverage except for a sole post by another Knox apologist on the Infamous Ground Report.

These are hardly the most impartial or for that matter truthful and accurate observers of the case.

Click through for our numerous takedowns of the hapless Steve Moore, and John Douglas, and Michael Heavey.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Prospects In Favor Of A Possible Fugitive Amanda Knox Take Yet Another Hit

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and at bottom: Panama, where the fugitive Robert Lady was setting himself up to be untouchable]


The former CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady is on the lam from Italian law.

He is now a worldwide fugitive - with fewer governments stepping forward with offers for him than for the other famous fugitive Edward Snowden. We posted briefly on the case here and here and two weeks ago Barbie Nadeau posted a good update here.

Robert Lady was the leader of the team that kidnapped the supposed Egyptian radical Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. Then he escorted Abu Omar to Egypt and he was apparently present for some months while Abu Omar was tortured.

The Milan court put online in English this 210-page summary of the case against Robert Lady and another 18 Americans who were involved. Amazing reading. What absolute buffoons. In total 25 Americans and 9 Italians were accused, though not all were put on trial, and as Barbie Nadeau explains, all of the others received Italian leniency.

Robert Lady didnt, though, and after he was convicted in absentia in Milan he took off out of the United States for central America. The CIA might have continued to help him there, though there were signs that the State Department and Rome Embassy, who have many other important dealings with Italy, were pretty ticked.

One CIA operative even sued State for diplomatic immunity (none of them were granted it).

When it became known that Robert Lady was living in Panama (a country without an extradition treaty with Italy) and close to citizenship, Italy through Interpol issued a worldwide arrest warrant, and requested that Panama round him up.

A few days ago, Robert Lady sought to move to the next country, Costa Rica, and was briefly detained.

What happened next is very murky. But it seems that Robert Lady was headed for the US by air, with possible help from some arm of the federal government - and then he just suddenly disappeared.

Last week, the Panamanians picked him up. It was the real world equivalent of a magician’s trick. He was nowhere, then suddenly in custody and in the news, and then””poof again!””he wasn’t. Just 24 hours after the retired CIA official found himself under lock and key, he was flown out of Panama, evidently under the protection of Washington, and in mid-air, heading back to the United States, vanished a second time.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on July 19th, “It’s my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States.” So there he was, possibly in mid-air heading for the homeland and, as far as we know, as far as reporting goes, nothing more. Consider it the CIA version of a miracle. Instead of landing, he just evaporated….

Having vanished in mid-air, he has managed so far not to reappear anywhere in the US press. What followed was no further news, editorial silence, and utter indifference to an act of protection that might otherwise have seemed to define illegality on an international level.

There was no talk in the media, in Congress, or anywhere else about the US handing over a convicted criminal to Italy, just about how the Russians must return a man [Snowden] Washington considers a criminal to justice.

Nevertheless, a thorn in the flesh of American-Italian relations has been disappeared, suggesting that the pro-friends-with-Italy State Department line is dominant. Having lost everything , the former US officlal Robert Lady is now a world-wide fugitive and further US help if any is likely to be very furtive.

Confessed druggie and convicted felon Amanda Knox, a private citizen, can hardly expect any more official deference.



Monday, April 29, 2013

The Amanda Knox Book: Could Her Book Legally Entangle These Four?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Image above: Curt Knox, Ted Simon, Robert Barnett, and David Marriott]


It seems probably that in every legal system on Earth, enabling or encouraging or inciting a crime may itself be a crime.

Could Amanda Knox’s forthcoming book be considered a crime, or more precisely a series of crimes? We wait to see what it says, but for starters its mere existence flouts Italian law. From our 22 April post:

Italy’s justice system so favors DEFENDANTS that it is perhaps the most pro-defendant system in the world. In fact many Italians feel its leniency has gone way too far. That is why there are these automatic appeals and why Knox could talk freely in court and have no cross-examination of her claims.

At the same time, officers of the Italian justice system are sheltered by huge powers hardly even needing to be invoked. The reason the law is so strong in this dimension is in part because a favored mafia tactic is to do what Sollecito and Preston and Burleigh have done in their books: slime the officers of the court.

Get that? Knox can talk her head off in court (as she did for two full days and many “spontaneous” interventions at the trial and annulled appeal) but because of a torrid history of false allegations against Italian courts, especially by the mafia and accused politicians, Italian law forbids her to do so outside in ways that misrepresent the evidence and impugn any officers of the legal system, prosecutors and prison staff counted in.

Sollecito’s book published six months ago made four kinds of mistake: (1) publishing for blood money while still accused; (2) including many false claims which contradict his own case at trial and will almost certainly contradict claims Knox makes; (3) defaming numerous officers of the court in freely accusing them of crimes - falsely, as his own dad admits; and (4) maligning the entire Italian justice system, the most popular and trusted institution in Italy with heavy protections at its disposal when it wants.

The criminal investigation into Sollecito’s book is under the wing of the same chief prosecutor in Florence who will oversee the re-run of the murder appeal. His investigation target is expected to be broad, and will certainly include the shadow writer and publisher and Sollecito’s own legal help. At the max, because Sollecito has impugned anti-mafia prosecutors and judges, he might face close to ten years.

PLUS the mitigating circumstances Massei allowed which brought his sentence down by five years will likely be disallowed by the Florence appeal court, adding five more years if the new appeal concludes guilt.

It seems an open secret in Perugia that Knox’s lawyers there have long shrugged off the US campaign and acted locally as if it really isnt there. They may or may not have attempted to forestall the book, though by now they certainly know it will make things far worse for Knox.

Sollecito’s lawyers have even more reason to know this as they are already under the gun, and they are probably sitting back and watching the trainwreck with ever-growing glee. 

Going forward, the prosecution is in a very sound and dominating position.

The evidence is very, very strong.  The Massei Trial Report is still unscathed. The Galati Appeal and the late-March Supreme Court decision absolutely destroyed the Hellmann appeal, and heavily implied that it had been bent. And the prosecutor who has been so unfairly maligned in the US has zero legal problems of his own, after Cassation nailed a rogue prosecutor for pursuing him and put his Narducci investigation back on track, and he was promoted and is set to be the Region of Umbria’s number one prosecutor very soon.

In contrast even without the albatross of the book Knox’s position was very weak.

She has already served three years for criminally lying to protect herself, and that sentence is subject to no further appeal. (Talk of taking it to the European Court is a joke.) Nobody in Italy will trust her word after that. As the post below this one shows, dozens of witnesses will speak up against any false claims. Who will testify on her behalf?

Also Knox seems intent on skipping the appeal, which is itself a contempt of court. And Sollecito, who has said he will be present, showed strong tendencies in his book to sell her short. If her book and her ABC interview are not roundly chastized on Italian TV as Sollecito’s was late last year, it will be a surprise. And complaints are already on their way to Florence - a prison guard she impugns in the book who earlier she herself had said meant no harm is moving forward. 

Curt Knox, Ted Simon, Robert Barnett, and David Marriott may end up in the crosshairs of the anticipated investigation for enabling or encouraging or inciting the book. And if Knox is handed extra years because of their zero due diligence, she may have a malpractice case against Simon and Barnett.

We hope their fingers are crossed.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Demonizations By Knox: Book Claims About Prison Traumas Contradicted By Many Solid Sources

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above and at bottom: an animated Amanda Knox in red t-shirt at a prison rock concert]

1. Knox Claims: Hell-hole Of Sin And Debauchery

That opening remark of a preview by the National Enquirer of Amanda Knox’s forthcoming book has been widely parroted in other American media reports.

Putting out new claims in the book like that is apparently considered to be worth the huge risk of extra years behind bars for contempt of court described in the post below this one.

Still, the US edition was sanitized after the annullment by the Supreme Court of the Hellmann appeal, and the UK publication of the book was canceled altogether.

So what are these remaining shock-horror claims? We intend to post commentary on them all.

Several concern Knox’s time in Capanne Prison where, it should be remembered, she actually served a three year sentence for lying. This was a sentence recently ratified by the Supreme Court, for criminal lying about the involvement of Patrick Lumumba in Merediths murder.

Main prison claim 1: sex advances by staff

One of the prison claims made public names a now-retired senior prison guard who Knox now claims asked her for sex. Actually this is hardly new news. Knox made the claim but in a far weaker form in 2011.

Then as CBS reported she had in fact concluded the guard was not even serious about sex. He was seeking to understand her.

Investigative journalist and CBS News Consultant Bob Graham, reading from Amanda’s letter to him: “”˜He was fixated on the topic of sex, with whom I’d done it, how I liked it, if I would like to do it with him. When I realized that he really wanted to talk to me about sex I would try to change the subject.’”

Correspondent Peter Van Sant: “What does this letter say to you about what she’s been going through?”

Graham: “It says in a time when she was clearly traumatized by the events of the death, the murder of her flatmate, that there she was, an innocent abroad, because she was innocent, she is innocent”¦ and here she was being pressured, further pressured in a prison system, a system that at least she should have had some degree of safety.”

Graham, reading Amanda’s letter: “I realize that he was testing me to see if I reacted badly, to understand me personally. He wanted to get a reaction or some information from me. I did not get the seriousness of the situation.’”

Knox’s claim seems to have left Italians contemptuous. “Yet more lies.” Here is a commentary on Knox’s claim of sexual harrassment in Il Giornale.

AMANDA: “THE WARDER WANTED TO HAVE SEX WITH ME”.

Nino Materi - Monday 15/04/2013 - 15:38.

And in the end do you want to see that we will have even have to compensate Amanda Knox for the “psycho-sexual” abuse suffered in prison in Perugia? By now we have become used to everything in the ugly story of the murder of poor Meredith Kercher.

But you really need a strong stomach to get used to the idea that the girl from Seattle should even be earning millions of dollars with true-story book (“true” in a manner of saying) which rummages in the trash of the Perugia thriller. A literary destiny which associates Amanda with the other key character at the crime scene: that Raffaele Sollecito author of a another true-story book (once again “true” in a manner of saying). Sollecito’s memoir is entitled Honour Bound: my Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox, while Amanda’s “best-seller” is called Waiting to be Heard.

Pages in which Amanda ““ among other things ““ tries to make herself out to be an ingenuous, modest creature actually “molested” by the sexually implicit sayings of a supposedly dirty-minded prison warden. Amanda writes, or the ghost writer does, “The screw would ask me with whom I had had sex, he wanted to know how many boyfriends I had and whether I wanted to go to bed with him.” The period referred to is when the American student was in the Perugia prison following the first stage sentence for the crime of Meredith’s “friend”.

Then, on appeal, Knox (and Sollecito) were acquitted and now Cassation has ordered a new trial for them both. Meanwhile Amanda has gone back to Seattle (from where she will obviously never return to Italy) and she is enjoying the proceeds of her new career as a writer, not to speak of being a guest of agony TV, where between tears she tells how she was persecuted in our country. And the more she cries, the more the audience hits the roof and the more Amanda’s bank account grows. No talk of repaying her debt to Italian Justice…

In the 400 pages published by Harper Collins, the New York publishers which obtained the exclusive on the memoirs of Amanda after paying out about three million dollars, there is no lack of titillating details. A perfect location: the cells of Capanne Prison. Here Amanda tells about “continual requests from a prisoner to start a lesbian relationship with her”. In other pages she recalls how “she was informed of being HIV positive shortly after her arrival in gaol”.

Then the shock-revelation about a prison guard who is now retired. Knox accuses him of ” doing nothing but talk about sex with her from the day she arrived after her arrest”. In a message to a girlfriend, the girl from Seattle tells how the man in uniform accompanied her on every medical visit, twice a day, and in the evening how he would call her up to the third floor of the prison to an empty room to chat. “He was obsessed with sex, with whom I had done it, how I liked doing it, whether I wanted to do it with him,” she writes in the book. “I was so surprised and scandalised by all his provocations that sometimes I wondered whether I was not misunderstanding what he was telling me. When I realized that he wanted to talk about sex I tried to change the subject.”

The guard is now suing the girl for defamation after Amanda said that she had been abused during the questioning. In an interview with Bob Graham, an English journalist very close to the Knox family, the guard admitted talking about sex with Amanda, but claiming that she was the one who introduce the topic: “I talked to her a lot, but only to calm her down. I asked her how many boyfriends she had had, but it was always she had to start talking about sex.”

Anyone who wants to rummage in the garbage, buy the book by all means.

Main prison claim 2: malicious sex-partner humiliation

The second main claim against a prison official concerned the preliminary results of a routine HIV test required of all prisoners and a list of sex partners. The list of sex partners was reported in the media in 2008 as if the prosecutor and prison doctor had engineered the result and then leaked it to the public. 

What did we find when we looked closely into this?

Knox’s own diary made quite clear that she was the one who decided to create such a list, and the list in fact seems to have been leaked by Knox forces.

Back then, even Knox herself exonerates the doctor and prosecutor.

Main prison claim 3: Italian prison conditions are unbearable

Italian prison conditions and treatment, Knox claims, were so bad that they made her life miserable. She says that at times she became very despondent, and even claims to have imagined doing away with herself. 

However, Italian prison conditions except for occasional overcrowding are widely considered among the most humane, caring and rehabilitating in the world. Compared to US prison conditions, they are like night and day.

And this almost universal claim of every prisoner everywhere is contradicted by the media on which she and her family worked hard; by prison staff and official visitors, and even by the US Federal Government itself.

2. Flood Of Rebuttals By Family, Lawyers, Numerous Officials

(1) Contradicted by the extensive media reporting

Occasional despondency is not all uncommon among those paying their debt to society. And there is scads of reporting that Knox had adjusted well to prison.

Here is a report by ABC News after Knox was found guilty in 2009.

Knox said that she felt “horrendous” the night that the verdict was delivered. “She said the prison guards did come in to hold her and make her feel better. She said the other prisoners were good to her,” Thomas said.

The reporter said the prison is “extremely clean.” Knox’s cell, which she shares with another American who has been sentenced on drug charges, is small. “It had a little bathroom with a door, a bidet, a sink, a shower…. better than some of the things I’ve seen at summer camp or boarding school.”

The women inmates are allowed to go to a hairdresser once a week.

The prison is a new facility, just opened in 2005. The women’s ward has an infirmary, an entertainment room with a pool table and ping-pong table, and a library. There is also a small chapel. Outside there is a little playground for children with benches and toys because there are cells specifically for women with children. Currently there are two women in Capanne with children.

It was very widely reported over four years that Knox was given the opportunity to do all these many things rarely encountered in American prisons: Learn the guitar. Read a lot. Watch TV. Study foreign languages.

Do artwork (colored pictures of hands). Attend rock concerts where she was seen leaping up and down (images here). Attend classical concerts. Attend Christmas parties.

Knox even played a major part in the creation of a rock video with a rock group. Unfortunately for her, that video appeared to many to come close to a taunting murder confession.

And on various occasions Knox was quoted as saying prison guards were kind to her.

(2) Contradicted by Knox’s own mother

Knox’s mother Edda Mellas contradicts her on the experiences in Capanne. This was when Knox had been inside for two years.

They [the family] insist that she has tried to draw positives from her time inside, rather than wasting energy getting angry and resentful about the fate that has befallen her.

So it is we are told that she has whiled away the time by helping teach other inmates English and yoga and by learning to cook, to do needle-point and to play the classical guitar.

“˜She’s made it a time to learn, to learn about herself and the friends she has and the way the world works,’ says her mother. “˜She realises it’s not about her any more, she truly sees herself as one of the lucky ones in there.

“˜She sees women in there who have no support, or good lawyers, or even family, they have nothing.’

(3) Contradicted by the US Embassy and State Department

US Embassy staff regularly monitored Knox’s treatment both during trial and thereafter. She was given chances again and again to lodge complaints with an Embassy officer.

But as we posted here in June 2010 and here in May 2011 cables from the US Rome Embassy to the State Department in Washington DC released to reporter Andrea Vogt contained ZERO complaints.

This matters incredibly because it constitutes the official take of the US Federal Government.

It will be front and center of State Department and Justice Department considerations when an arrest warrant for Knox is issued and extradition requested both of which could happen soon.

(4) Contradicted by Member of Parliament Rocco Girlanda

Mr Girlanda visited Amanda Knox in prison approximately 20 times for the specific purpose (or so he claimed) of checking her prison conditions. In fact that was the only way he could legally visit her, although oddly enough a book and a number of other pro-Knox actions emerged - even a complaint to the President about the Perugia prosecutors.

After Knox was released late in 2011 Mr Girlanda specifically praised the prison staff in this statement.

Perugia Prison Police The Example of Professionalism.

The PdL Party member of parliament Rocco Girlanda praises the officers of the Perugia prison.

“I’ve had the opportunity to describe to the Minister of Justice, Nitto Palma, the great professional behaviour shown by the Perugia Penitentiary Police with regards to the court case that saw Amanda Knox as protagonist, a behaviour that I had always observed during the course of my visits to the Capanne prison in the last two years.”  So says Rocco Girlanda, Umbrian deputy of the PdL, after the conclusion of the appeal trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

“In recent months I have had the opportunity to make dozens of visits to the prison, which also included some of the petitions presented by the senior management of the premises and my commitment in this regard, always finding, that starting from the director Bernardina Di Mario, continuing with the Penitentiary Police commander Fulvio Brillo, up to the entire personnel employed, the helpfulness, the courtesy and their professionalism which allows me to say that Perugia is a model structure on the national landscape, managed and directed in the best way and with a large dose of humanity on the part of the staff employed.”

(5) Contradicted by Knox’s own Italian lawyers

Knox’s lawyers Mr Dalla Vedova and Mr Ghirga visited her again and again during the 2009 trial and 2010 hiatus and 2011 appeal. Knox once again had dozens of opportunities to lodge complaints with them - lawyers who could have initiated Supreme Court action in response.

When Knox was released late in 2011 Mr Dalla Vedova and Mr Ghirga were interviewed by the TV station Umbria 24:

The lawyers: “she never complained about the prison”.

Amanda Knox “has never complained about the conduct/behavior of the prison police supervisor” and “she has never mentioned his name”: to say so are the defenders of the American woman, lawyers Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga, commenting on what was reported by the tabloid The Sun. “

Ghirga said: “In the diary Amanda never makes the name.”

Della vedova said: “We are grateful to the management staff of Capanne prison for their cooperation even given to the family’s requirements. Amanda has never reported violations against her.”

“She absolutely has received the correct treatment and the outmost solidarity, within compliance, especially in the prison’s female section.”

(6) Contradicted by prison guards and other inmates

Some assiduous and highly vredible reporters captured the view of a difficult, narcissistic, uncaring Amanda Knox which is very commonplace around Perugia. The real faults lie with Knox, in effect. This report is by one of them. 

Prison guard Angela Antonelli saw Knox every day for two years and says she became closer to her than most. Antonelli paints an intriguing portrait of her, saying she survived behind bars with an almost astonishing degree of self-possession, burying herself in writing letters, singing Beatles songs and playing a guitar.
But it did not, she says, endear the young American to her fellow inmates ““ who took to calling her the Ice Queen.
“˜She never once cried when I was there,’ recalled the warder, speaking at her cluttered home in the city. “˜I often spent the nights there and looked into her cell through the hole to check on her and the others.
“˜Other people ask for tranquillisers, cry, shout that they didn’t do it, that they’re in pain, that they can’t go on. “Why did this happen to me?” they shout.
“˜Many prisoners bang their heads against the walls or even sew up their mouths, scream, vomit, cut their wrists. But she showed no reaction.’
This impression of extraordinary self-confidence and steadfastness is supported by fascinating correspondence seen by The Mail on Sunday, including one particular letter.
In letters written to her former boyfriend and co-accused, Raffaele Sollecito, Knox shows something close to contempt for her accusers and the overwhelmingly hostile public opinion in Perugia.
In one, written a year after the murder, she writes: “˜The truth is in plain sight THEY HAVE NOTHING ““ only their twisted imaginations.’ There is no mention of life in jail, of other prisoners, or indeed of Meredith.
A number of Knox’s prison letters to Sollecito were intercepted by the authorities in an attempt to gain some clue about the events leading up to the murder in 2007. This one, shown to The Mail on Sunday by Antonelli, had been among them.
Amanda Knox was obsessed with The Beatles, constantly singing their songs in prison.
Her letters to former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, which were shown to The Mail on Sunday by warder Angela Antonelli, were peppered with references to their songs.
She signs off one letter: “˜Let It Be! Here Comes the Sun!’
Her diaries, too, were littered with references to the band, together with doodles of flowers and peace signs.
The song she credits with helping her through her four years in prison was Let It Be, the final Beatles single before Paul McCartney left the band.
It meant so much to her that, according to warder Angela Antonelli, she tore out a page from her notebook and wrote out the lyrics, in English and Italian, and gave it to Ms Antonelli as a gift.
Writing in a clear and careful hand, her letter to Sollecito concentrates on the injustice of the charges against the two of them, and on her hopes of freedom.
She also refers to a dream about being greeted by President Barack Obama on her return to America.
She writes: “˜I dreamed he welcomed me personally, shaking my hand, back to the States.’
In prison, Knox kept herself to herself, said Antonelli.
While the majority of prisoners were attempting to make some sort of communal life together, she declined to socialise, preferring the company of her daily journal.
“˜Other prisoners made cakes, biscuits, pizza and always shared with their cellmates. Amanda ate what the others made but never made anything herself,’ the warder said.
“˜Also in prison people borrow each other’s clothes but Amanda never shared her clothes nor accepted clothes. In my view, she behaved as though she were superior and looked down on the others.’
After finding herself alone in a foreign prison, Knox’s caution is perhaps understandable ““ particularly as, before her acquittal, vicious media coverage in Italy had branded her a “˜devil’ whose alleged part in the murder was fuelled by sex.
But whether it is understandable or not, Knox’s reticence appears to have troubled those around her.
Antonelli said: “˜She absolutely never spoke about that night with anyone. She would not talk about Meredith’s murder. Amanda never once spoke about Meredith and never spoke about Guede.’
Rudy Guede was a drifter from the Ivory Coast who, in a separate trial, was convicted of Ms Kercher’s murder and who remains in prison.
Antonelli added: “˜Even if Amanda didn’t kill Meredith, she hasn’t done anything to help people understand what happened that night.
“˜She thought only about her own survival. She’s impenetrable, you will never be able to understand what really happened that night. Amanda showed almost no emotions.
“˜The only time I ever saw her being nervous was when she was waiting for her mother to send her the second Harry Potter book.
“˜She was really quite anxious, saying, “When is my book coming.”
“˜She lived through her books, she transported herself away through her books like her hero Harry Potter.’
She was not vain however, and other inmates were surprised that she appeared to make little effort with her appearance.
“˜People thought she was very good looking but she never mentioned her looks,’ said Antonelli, who at 62 has now retired from the Italian prison service.
Antonelli said that although Knox deliberately isolated herself from both her fellow prisoners and the staff, she became closer to her than to most others at Capanne.
Knox even gave Antonelli presents, including a doily she had made and a hand-written transcript of the Beatles song Let It Be. She got attached to me because I’m a maternal sort of woman,’ she explained.
“˜She tried to become close but I distanced myself.
“˜Sometimes I felt she was like a vampire because of her strong personality ““ as if she was trying to suck emotion from me.
“˜She was very different to other 22-year-olds who were in the prison. She knows what she wants and is very determined. I’ve never seen a girl like her, especially as she was so young. It was as though she was constantly doing a job interview, showing the best side of herself.’
There is the same sense of determination in the letter from Knox to Sollecito, dated November 11, 2008, seen by The Mail on Sunday.
She refers to her current “˜extraordinarily difficult’ experience and the ups and downs of life. Good will come of the situation she finds herself in, she assures Sollecito, and she will be brave and patient.
She tells Sollecito that her accusers just cannot look at themselves properly and see that they are wrong.
Last month Italy’s Supreme Court ordered Knox and Sollecito to be re-tried ““ in the light of which her decision to publish Waiting To Be Heard, with its criticisms of Italian officialdom, might be seen as something of a risk.
That said, it seems unlikely that she will ever travel to Italy to face the court.
Antonelli is clear that Knox was “˜never physically abused’ at Cappane, but she also says that “˜one guy asked her how she liked to be pleased in bed’ ““ which could support Knox’s claims to have been subjected to inappropriate remarks.
The man accused has denied any allegations of harassment.
Curiously, when Knox’s prison diary was published in Italy in facsimile form it gave little hint of the hardship she describes in her new book.
She wrote compulsively in her cell, maintaining her journal four times a day. The handwritten pages, complete with doodles and scrawled Beatles lyrics, say such things as: “˜The prison staff are really nice. They check in to make sure I’m okay very often and are very gentle with me.
“˜I don’t like the police as much, though they were nice to me in the end, but only because I had named someone for them, when I was very scared and confused.’
The someone she referred to was an innocent man ““ Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba, whom she falsely accused of murdering Meredith.
She later insisted the accusation was a result of police intimidation.
In fact, her prison diary, describes her Italian jail as “˜pretty swell’, with a library, a television in her room, a bathroom and a reading lamp.
No one had beaten her up, she wrote, and one guard gave her a pep talk when she was crying in her cell.
Today, she is an innocent woman; but to those who were with her in Cappane, she remained an enigma until the moment when, amid turbulent scenes at the Perugia courthouse, she was acquitted.
“˜Even when she was released, she didn’t say goodbye to a single person in the prison,’ recalled Antonelli.
“˜In my opinion she showed no compassion or sensitivity to others. She just walked out.
‘Is that human?’









Saturday, March 09, 2013

FBI Reporting Close Co-operation With Italy In Arresting And Soon Extraditing A Fugitive Swindler

Posted by Peter Quennell





A new FBI report in the news.

It is still more confirmation in line with many previous posts here that US and Italian crime-fighters respect one another and work closely together - and don’t turn a hair at requests for extradition.

The fugitive fund manager Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm could face 25 years in prison. The FBI explains what he is accused of: 

Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm, a German hedge fund manager who was on the run for more than five years, has been arrested in Italy on federal fraud charges that accuse him of orchestrating a market manipulation scheme designed to artificially improve the performance of his funds, a fraud that led to at least $200 million in losses to investors around the world….

Homm was the founder and chief investment officer of Absolute Capital Management Holdings Limited, a Cayman Islands-based investment advisor that managed nine hedge funds from 2004 until September 2007. The criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Homm directed the hedge funds to buy billions of shares of thinly traded, United States-based “penny stocks.” Homm caused many of the purchases of penny stocks to be made through Hunter World Markets Inc., a broker-dealer in Los Angeles that Homm co-owned. Homm also allegedly obtained shares of the penny stock companies through various businesses he controlled.

And the FBI credits the role in arresting Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm of the Italian authorities.

Homm, 53, was arrested at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday (local time). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday, March 6, after filing a criminal complaint that charges Homm with four felony charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud. Homm was arrested by Italian authorities after the United States submitted a request for a provisional arrest with officials in Rome.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Homework For Curt Knox/Marriott/FOA: How Leaning On Italian Judiciary Can Seriously Misfire

Posted by Peter Quennell




Update: Nicolo Pollari won at the Supreme Court level and walks free. On close examination this seems fair. He was forbidden by secrecy rules at trial to explain his role and put on a defense. It seems his role might have been very minor or none at all if he was kept out of the loop. Italy has ignored a negative opinion on this from the ECHR.

Nicolo Pollari (above) has just been sentenced to ten years and Marco Mancini to nine.

Mr Pollari was the supreme head of Italy’s intelligence agencies - its top spy - and Mr Mancinin was one of his deputies. They were sentenced by a court in Milan.  They were found to be complicit in an act now illegal both in Italy and now the US.

Under the George Bush and Berlusconi regimes, an Egyptian called Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr was kidnapped by the CIA in Italy and dispatched to be tortured elsewhere. Revealed not to be a terrorist, he was later released.

Some 26 Americans, mostly CIA, were previously sentenced in Milan for the same crime in absentia. Italian warrants for their arrest are out and those warrants could be submitted to Interpol to be applied worldwide.

These were the outcomes DESPITE elements of the US and Italian governments putting up a tremendous rearguard fight. To their credit the US State Department and Rome Embassy dont seem to have been proactive in this (State was even sued for not providing one CIA operative with diplomatic cover) but bets are they would have hit a wall if they had. .

In an amazing new behind-the-scenes expose of the sordid history of the political strong-arming in The Guardian, in which he praises Italian justice a lot, Glenn Greenwald includes this:

This prosecution was possible in the first instance only because a single Italian magistrate, Armando Spataro, insisted on pursuing it despite all sorts of attacks against him.

This 2009 Der Spiegel article reports that, as a result of his pursuit of the case, “his communications were monitored, the Italian intelligence service placed him under observation and there were even investigations into whether he had betrayed state secrets.

The government tried again and again to silence him. But the magistrates ignored those repressive efforts, eventually even seizing [chief CIA operative] Robert Lady’s retirement villa in Italy to cover court costs.

Numerous cables show Italian officials, especially Berlusconi himself, attacking the Italian magistrates and assuring the US that Italian courts would eventually stop them.

One 2005 US cable celebrates that Minister of Justice Roberto Castelli “took the unusual step of publicly criticizing a member of Italy’s highly independent magistracy” over this case, specifically that he “called Armando Spataro a “militant’. meaning a communist”...

That public denunciation of the magistrate happened, recounted the US cable, after he “presented Castelli with requests for the provisional arrest in contemplation of extradition for 22 Americans involved in the alleged rendition of Egyptian Imam Abu Omar from Milan.”

Does this sound at all familiar?! There seem to be good lessons here for Curt Knox, David Marriott and the FOA.

Italian justice may take its sweet time (deliberately so, because of the Post World War II constitution) but all important cases are an opera in three acts - and no perp should think he or she is home free (and start writing books) at the end of Act II.

And prosecutors should never ever be leaned on because they invariably push back and most have the firm support of powerful colleagues - not the hapless Judge Hellmann, though, who the Council of Magistrates has made quite sure is gone.

Note that under Italian law criminal defamation suits by officialdom can be brought in Italy even if the serial slimers are across the Atlantic and believe distance or a helpful government is on their side.

The first of the suits against Sollecito for the multiple defamation in his book could be filed any day now, and Andrew Gumbel and Simon & Schuster executives might find targets on their own backs.

Roll on, the Amanda Knox interview and book!  We’ll see if anyone by then grew a brain.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

Posted by Peter Quennell





New York City.

The main characteristics of the Italian system are (1) a large and visible national and local police presence, (2) a low crime rate even by European standards, and even more-so by American standards, and (3) a very low rate of incarceration that is only 1/6 that of the US.

Pretty well the exact opposite of what you’d suppose if you read only Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito and Bruce Fischer and Saul Kassin and Steve Moore and of course Mario Spezi. Read only them, and one might be excused for thinking Italy’s is a huge, horrible system the Italian population desperately needs them to save it from.

Get a life!

An extremely misconceived campaign if the real purpose (we do wonder) is to do anything helpful for in particular Amanda Knox. The average Italian in the street likes and respects and is proud of their system. Polls repeatedly show that the institutions of that system are the most trusted and respected in Italy.

The general mood is probably toward a bit less concern about all perps and a lot more concern about all victims.  But essentially the system is liked for what it is. Conspiracy theories don’t fly.

New York is now the safest big city in America. It is following a route that is not only almost identical to Italy’s - it is being watched and emulated elsewhere across the US. All of John Tierney’s important report in last Friday’s New York Times is worth a read, for this could represent a huge sea-change.

These are the openings paras. 

Now that the United States has the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration, many criminologists are contemplating another strategy. What if America reverted to the penal policies of the 1980s? What if the prison population shrank drastically? What if money now spent guarding cellblocks was instead used for policing the streets?

In short, what would happen if the rest of the country followed New York City’s example?

As the American prison population has doubled in the past two decades, the city has been a remarkable exception to the trend: the number of its residents in prison has shrunk. Its incarceration rate, once high by national standards, has plunged well below the United States average and has hit another new low, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced recently. And crime in the city has fallen by more than 75 percent, almost twice as much as in the rest of the country.

Whatever has made New York the safest big city in America, that feat has certainly not been accomplished by locking up more criminals.

“The precise causes of New York’s crime decline will be debated by social scientists until the Sun hits the Earth,” said Michael Jacobson, a criminologist who ran the city’s Correction and Probation Departments during the 1990s and is now the president of the Vera Institute of Justice, a criminal justice research group. “But the 50,000-foot story from New York is that you can drive down crime while decreasing your jail and prison population “” and save a huge amount of money in the process.”

New York’s singular success has attracted attention across the country from public officials whose budgets have been strained by the prison boom. The 2.3 million people behind bars in America, a fifth of the world’s prisoners, cost taxpayers more than $75 billion a year. The strict penal policies were intended to reduce crime, but they have led to a historic, if largely unrecognized, shift in priorities away from policing.

“The United States today is the only country I know of that spends more on prisons than police,” said Lawrence W. Sherman, an American criminologist on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Cambridge University in Britain. “In England and Wales, the spending on police is twice as high as on corrections. In Australia it’s more than three times higher. In Japan it’s seven times higher. Only in the United States is it lower, and only in our recent history.”


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Powerpoints #19: Placing The Noisy Claimant Doug Preston In The Hot Seat

Posted by Kermit





This is the first in a new Powerpoint series. Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

This curious incident instigated this series:

A week or two ago I received an unexpected email from Douglas Preston, co-author with Mario Spezi of The Monster of Florence (Spezi also wrote an Italian version that seems to conflict at points with the English version) and a heated champion of the attempt to free Amanda Knox, who is stlll accused pending Supreme Court appeal of the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

Preston explained that he wanted to write a “piece” about the “Knox case” and that he would like to do a 10 question email interview with me.  I got the hunch that Preston and Spezi are going to be active over the next few months in the media as their cause is increasingly thrown in disarray. Along with, I presume, their possible movie based on the Monster of Florence book.

I was surprised that Preston said he would “quote you accurately, honestly, and in context, and represent your views respectfully and accurately”. 

Hmmm. We all have in our memory Preston accusing me (see his comment April 28 2011 at 6:57 pm) of “distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact. Kermit’s open letter contains many out and out lies”.

He also claimed, erroneously, that I hide behind a “screen of false IP addresses and various other hacker tricks” (what, has Preston tried to hack me?) and that I had “demonstrated a long history of falsehood and dishonesty” (I have?!).

Given that past experience, would you trust Preston? Silly me, I’m ready to give anyone another chance.

In return I proposed that the interview be two-way, and that we each proceed question by question on the issues that we wanted to clarify for us to publish in due course. I included a first question on seeming significant errors and mistruths in the “Afterword” or epilogue chapter of his and Spezi’s Monster of Florence book.

Very disappointingly, he didnt respond in kind. Nothing useful came back. He concluded “as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.

Should Preston really call himself a journalist or an opinion maker, or a lobbyist?  Why can’t people just respect the Italian legal process, which right now is not (and never was) firmly in the hands of Prosecutor Mignini, Preston’s perceived nemesis?

As we seem set to be subjected once again to seeing Preston and/or Spezi regularly sharing their rancid opinion of Prosecutor Mignini and Italians officials on the case with the public, I decided to get out in front, with this series pre-emptively checking their versions of the “truths”.

The Monster of Florence book is labeled (see above) a “True Story”, and while it does include historical facts related to the MoF murders in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,  the two authors also personally intrude themselves into events.

This series should help the public to decide how seriously (if at all) they should accept Preston’s and Spezi’s opinions expressed in their media appearances where they interject themselves into Meredith Kercher’s murder case.

And to see if any of Preston’s self-described “point-of-view journalism” truths he shares with Spezi really stand up.

Please check back to TJMK every few days as we pose new questions to Preston and his co-author Spezi.


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

CIA v. State Department: A Significant Development For The Perugia Case?

Posted by Peter Quennell





As expected the Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld kidnapping convictions against 23 CIA operatives.

The landmark case dates to Feb. 17, 2003, when Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a radical Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar [image below}, walked out of his Milan apartment in broad daylight and vanished.

talian authorities used cellphone records made at the time and location of the abduction to determine that CIA officers snatched Abu Omar, drove him to nearby Aviano Air Base and flew him to Egypt. According to Italian court documents,

Abu Omar was beaten and subjected to electric shock in a Cairo prison. He was later freed.

The significant development for Meredith’s case is that the State Department had refused to organize diplomatic immunity with Italy for any of the 23. 

Now at least one of them, Sabrina De Sousa (image at top with her lawyer), is suing the State Department for not having stood by her in retroactively organizing that diplomatic immunity.

All 23 could now be the subject of requests for extradition to Italy to serve out their six-year sentences, and if the US Justice Department refuses to comply they could be the subjects of worldwide arrest warrants via Interpol.

That could mean the end of their operational usefulness in the CIA and conceivably prevent any of them ever traveling outside the US again in their lifetimes.

Why have the CIA and the State Department seriously parted company here? Well, their mandates are almost polar opposites.

The State Department and its Embassies and the very considerable American presence throughout the United Nations tries hard to get along with friendly nations, and Italy is probably one of its top half-dozen friends.

The CIA on the other hand is charged with using fair means and foul to fight back against terrorism worldwide, and sometimes its practices contravene the best interests of diplomacy and the local law.

Here the CIA is coming out the clear loser and State is sweetly sitting on its hands and not upsetting Italy in any way.

Cables released so far by the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that State and the Rome Embassy really didnt ever lift a finger to subvert Italian justice on behalf of Amanda Knox.

Here’s betting more of the same - no action by State - as the Cassation appeal comes alive. And no standing in the way of an extradition request for Knox if Cassation decides Judge Masssei got the trial right.




Friday, April 20, 2012

Italy Handles Wrongful Death of An American With Usual Efficiency And Real Respect For The Victim

Posted by Peter Quennell





This story has had great play in Italy - there are dozens of video reports - but little play in the US and almost none elsewhere.

San Giovanni Valdarno is a small town one hour’s drive north of Perugia, about two-thirds of the way to Florence in Tuscany which is one of the most visited areas in Italy. Many foreigners have villas there.

Allison Owens. aged 23, from Columbus in Ohio, was a tour guide there. She was last seen alive on Sunday 2 October. Worried for her safety, her friends stirred up a manhunt of the area, which came to include over 100 police with dogs.

After three days of searching, her body was found in a pond on the other side of a crash barrier from a busy highway. She was wearing jogging clothes, and her IPod headphones were still around her head.

The autopsy on her body confirmed that she had been hit by a vehicle, and with lots of publicity the search was on for a hit-and-run driver.

Local resident Pietro Stefanoni turned himself in to the San Giovanni Valdarno police on 7 October after he had already had the damage to his Volvo repaired.

He claimed that he fell asleep at the wheel and only woke when his car side-swiped the crash barrier. He claimed that he went back to the same spot a day or two later to see if he had caused any damage, but did not see any.

Stefanoni did not report the accident. He claimed that it was only several days later that he heard on the news that the police were looking for a hit-and-run driver. Thereupon, in the company of the Florence lawyer Francesco Maresca, he went to the police and was arrested.

He requested the abbreviated fast-track trial procedure (which Rudy Guede also took advantage of in 2008) but which nevertheless resulted, for manslaughter, in a tough sentence: 39 months behind prison bars, and an interim award of nearly $400,000 payable to the Owens family.

The prosecutor had cast Stefanoni’s actions subsequent to his knowingly or unknowingly hitting Allison in a very bad light, and the judge appeared to have concluded that he handed himself in only when he became convinced he would be caught.

Not much is published about the life of Allison Owens, but she is very sunny in all her images. Her family and friends clearly loved her and miss her, and through very careless driving Pietro Stefanoni has made havoc of their world.

Her hard-hit family from Ohio were in court. Thankfully, the case was efficiently and sensitively handled by the Italian authorities, with great support from the Italian media and the public. 

Zero sign a pretty American was resented.



















Friday, April 13, 2012

In Close Parallel To Amanda Knox, Casey Anthony Faces Court Action For Falsely Fingering Another

Posted by Peter Quennell



Both recent images. Above the plaintiff Zenaida Gonzalez; below the defendant Casey Anthony


Amanda Knox provisionally got off on the main count (the murder of Meredith) but anyway was sentenced to three years (which she served) for fingering Patrick Lumumba.

Casey Anthony definitively got off on the main count (murdering her infant daughter Caylee, see previous posts) but anyway was sentenced to some time in prison for time-wasting and expensive misleading of the police officers.

She received no sentence for falsely fingering a nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, for making off with Caylee, and as she had never even met Zenaida Gonzalez it is unclear how she came up with Zenaida’s name.

The Orlando Sentinel reports an issue is whether or not Anthony identified Gonzalez specifically enough when she talked to her parents when they visited her in jail.

Anthony’s attorney said details offered by Anthony did not match Fernandez-Gonzalez and clearly showed Anthony wasn’t talking about her. Gonzalez’s attorneys say she still was damaged as the only person with that name interviewed by investigators.

Fernandez-Gonzalez had never met Anthony. Investigators believe Anthony may have seen the name on an apartment rental application.

During Anthony’s trial last year, her attorney Jose Baez said Anthony made up the story about the babysitter and that Caylee truly drowned in the family pool. Anthony was acquitted of murder and other serious charges.

Nevertheless, yesterday a judge in Orlando, Florida, ruled that Zenaida Gonzalez may sue Casey Anthony for defamation of character, and the case is scheduled for January 2013.

In Amanda Knox’s case she absolutely did know Patrick Lumumba, her kindly employer who gave her a job without a work permit, and she and her mother let him languish in prison for several weeks.

Pretty hard to look worse than Casey Anthony, but in her cruel act of framing Patrick, Amanda Knox certainly does.



Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Please click above for a chart we can all read.

Okay. According to this proportional comparison of prison populations, the US is about seven times as wicked as Italy.

We have often remarked that Italy’s crime rate is low, the three mafia families (Sicily, Calabria and Naples) are mostly fading, and the justice system is one of the most cautious - conviction rates are infuriatingly low for the suffering families of victims, but in a forgiving Catholic nation rates of incarceration are unlikely to jump any time soon.

The American incarceration rate in sharp contrast has for a decade led the rest of the world, and it increased every year for nearly 30 straight years from the arrival of President Reagan to the departure of President GW Bush. Its prison rate is ahead of Russia’s, with its mafias and corruption and poverty, and ahead of China’s, with its large population of political prisoners.

Finally, however, the American incarceration rate and execution rate are both now headed downward.

Factors that had been keeping incarceration rates high included the 1980s-1990s drug wars, the estimated 12-15 million illegals, the estimated several hundred million private guns, the law-and-order hard line of many politicians and the Supreme Court, the elections of many sheriffs and judges and district attorneys based mainly on a law-and-order hard line, the part-privatised for-profit prison system, and distinct racism (see graphs below) in who goes to prison and who doesn’t. 
 
Factors that are now pushing incarceration rates down include a major drop in all crime rates, the liberalization of US society as it gets richer, the pressure on government budgets, the easing of certain drug laws, the proofs from DNA that police do not always get the right perpetrator, Obama-administration investment in re-entry programs and more effective methods of parole and probation, and the continued push of humane people to radically change things for the better.

Executions were put on hold by the Supreme Court for some years. You can see from the last graph below that after that ended there was something of a surge in executions, but the numbers are sinking down again quite sharply (now at about 30 a year) and execution might be a thing of the past by 2020.

Wow! In matters of crime and punishment the United States is now starting to converge upon…  Italy!






Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >