Category: The wider contexts

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?!?!


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Why Smart Feminists Much Prefer To Keep Amanda Knox At Arms Length

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Smart Feminist Selene Nelson, quoted below

1. First Choice For Trophy Victim?

Who does Martha Grace Duncan for example see as the victim here?

Clearly not Meredith. Clearly not Meredith’s family. Clearly not Patrick, whose business Knox wrecked.

Clearly not the inconvenient Sollecito or Guede who she almost forgets to mention - although Italians almost universally blame Knox for conning that hapless pair into the attack, wielding the fatal blow, and wrecking their lives as a result.

Martha Duncan as we already know has read none at all of the vast trove of court documents.

So she will presumably be surprised that Sollecito made this statement in writing to Supervising Magistrate Matteini, just 48 hours after their arrest.

I never want to see Amanda again. Above all, it is her fault we are here.

In really weird contrast Martha Duncan comes across as besotted, even blinded by Knox. She works overtime to identify herself with her little darling.

Clearly it is KNOX and ONLY Knox that Martha Duncan sees as the victim here. Wow does Duncan go the extra mile for her.

2. Join The Line Martha Duncan

This is not the first time that a faux feminist has performed contortions with the truth to make this case all about Me-Me-Me & Amanda Knox versus All Those Mean Men.

Nina Burleigh went the same way. See this post among others.

So did Judy Bachrach. See for example this post.

So did Linda Marie Basile. See this post rebutted in full below here.

So did Jan Goodwin. See this post.

So did Amy Jenkins. See this post.

So did Katie Crouch. See this post.

So did many of the suspiciously clinging Amanda Knox groupies - though some woke up and took off on her. Remember Maddy Paxton? Long gone.

Who does the best work at taking these faux feminists down a peg?

No surprise here. Invariably other women. So many women simply dont trust Knox or like her. Rather more women than men dislike her in our experience and say so.

For example among others media favorites like Nancy Grace and Wendy Murphy and Ann Coulter were scathing about Knox and the groupies on TV shows. Almost all the most objective reporters have been women. We’ve depended on them a lot.

Here are two who were pretty scathing in correcting the opportunists and dupes.

3. Selene Nelson Decries Faux Feminism

Huffington Post

Why Feminists Owe Amanda Knox Nothing

26/06/2014 14:42 BST | Updated 25/08/2014 10:59 BST

By Selene Nelson

In May the Huffington Post published an article titled Where Are All The Feminists? Why Amanda Knox’s Story Is About More Than Murder. Lisa Marie Basile begins her piece: “Amanda Knox is innocent of murder,” before going on to suggest that Knox was targeted only because she was “sexually active and good looking”. The reason Basile cares? Because she is “a human and a feminist.”

I am also a human and a feminist. I too believe that Knox suffered inexcusably sexist treatment by the media. I also happen to believe that she is unequivocally guilty. As someone who has followed this case for many years, I take offence to the misinformation that riddles Basile’s article. Where, Basile wonders as she laments Knox’s fate, are all the feminists?

We’re right here, Lisa. Basile’s implication - that those convinced of Knox’s guilt do so because of gender prejudice - is laughable. Not only does it demonstrate astonishing ignorance of the facts of this case, but Basile’s entire article is suggestive of the role her own prejudice plays in forming her opinion of guilt or innocence.

Basile is correct that the issue of sexism towards Knox should be addressed. Continually portrayed as a sexual object by the media, the fact that Knox deigned to enjoy casual sex was held up as an indication of her deviancy, and when the press discovered that she kept a vibrator in full view in the bathroom, you could almost hear the collective intake of breath.

The media’s unwavering determination to paint Kercher and Knox as Madonna/Whore figures is also troubling. While Knox has been portrayed as manipulative and sadistic, Kercher has become virginal, passive, saint-like. This is unsettling. Would Kercher’s death be any less tragic had she shared Knox’s penchant for casual sex? Does a woman’s sexuality make her guilty? Does her presumed virginity redeem her? Kercher was an innocent victim, regardless of her sexuality; she does not need to be canonised for this murder case to be any more tragic than it already is.

However, as shameful as the prejudiced handling of the “Foxy Knoxy” persona was, it has no bearing on the evidence against her. The vast majority of people who believe Knox is guilty do not figure her sexuality into their reasoning. Her sex life has zero bearing on my belief of her guilt, nor, I doubt, the opinion of the 20+ judges who have found her guilty. Her two convictions have nothing to do with vibrators, Satanism, cartwheels or kisses, but the mountain of evidence against her. Evidence Basile simply ignores.

To claim, “There is no credible evidence” against Knox is absurd. It is actually ludicrous. Basile dismisses 10,000 pages of it as neither credible nor realistic without even acknowledging it, imparting a string of passionate pro-Knox statements that are criminally unsubstantiated.

What Basile misses is the point that were Knox unattractive, let alone a minority or male, she would have a fraction of the support she has. People want to explain the evidence away, or ignore it completely as Basile does, precisely because they don’t want to think a nice pretty white girl could commit a crime like this. Basile has conveniently neglected the fact that Knox’s femininity and attractiveness have helped her far more than hindered her, because in order to believe Amanda Knox, you have to overlook the following:

Her DNA mixed with Kercher’s blood in five spots; Knox’s fresh blood, and Kercher’s blood, smeared in the bathroom; Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra; Knox’s DNA on the handle of the murder weapon, Kercher’s on the blade; the footprints matching the bare feet of Knox that contain her DNA mixed with Kercher’s; the staged crime scene with glass on TOP of the clothes and a near impossible window entry point; Knox’s false accusation of her employer; her total lack of alibi and multiple lies; the phone and computer records that prove dishonesty; her utterly implausible account of the morning after the murder; the frantic call she made to her mother in the middle of the night that she “forgets” making; her email home; the witness testimony; the fact Knox knew multiple details about the murder she couldn’t possibly have known; the evidence suggesting Kercher’s body was moved and the scene staged hours after her death when Rudy Guede, the third person convicted of the murder, was long gone.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence but is just an indication of how embarrassing these “no evidence” claims are. Blind ignorance of the subtleties of this case seems to have spread across a great deal of America like some kind of mental epidemic. What has prompted this trust of Knox, so entirely out of place considering she is a convicted liar and slanderer? Even the 2011 appeal that acquitted her (and was subsequently thrown out by the Supreme Court for being inaccurate, illogical and biased) increased her sentence in this respect. The urge to believe the Italian courts have now twice convicted two young people without evidence is shocking and reeks of xenophobia.

Basile then tries to defend Knox’s “false confession”: “We should remember that Knox was interrogated for many hours without food or water [and] slapped and screamed at in Italian,” she writes sympathetically. What nonsense. It is a fact that Knox’s interview was at most two hours long; minimal research would have told Basile that the torturous, lengthy interrogation story was utterly fabricated. So fabricated that her parents face criminal defamation charges for claiming otherwise.

More importantly, this wasn’t a false confession now was it; it was the flagrant false accusation of an innocent man. As soon as Knox learned of Sollecito’s alibi withdrawal for her (another fact conveniently ignored by her supporters and Basile), out came the finger of blame, the same finger she kept pointed at her employer for over two weeks while he languished in jail. Two weeks. This was not a “false confession” blurted out on impulse: Knox let an innocent man suffer for a fortnight.

Basile gives free pass after free pass to Knox, justifying her lies, excusing her behaviour, dismissing the evidence. Why? Why is Knox’s word enough?

She may argue this: “There was no hair, fibre, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Amanda Knox in the room where Meredith Kercher was killed,” as her attorney stated. “That tells you unassailably that she is innocent.”

Sounds compelling. That is until you realise that applying that logic to all the evidence, rather than just that which incriminates Knox, presents quite the conundrum:

“There was no hair, fibre, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Rudy Guede in the blood-stained bathroom where there is the blood and DNA of Knox. That tells you unassailably that Guede did not do the crime alone.”

Or this:

“There was no hair, fibre, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, of Knox in the bedroom where she slept…That tells you unassailably that Knox never even lived in the cottage.”

Aside from the inaccuracies throughout, what grates most about Basile’s piece is the title, the suggestion that feminists have failed Knox. What total short-sightedness; what utter blindness to the sensitivities of this case. Feminists owe Knox nothing and to suggest we do is ignorant and insulting. She had a hard time in the press, yes, but frankly it’s not the point. I too have been angered by what the media too often chooses to focus on, but for entirely opposing reasoning: it allows her supporters to deflect the actual issue. It allows them to gloss over the unequivocally incriminating evidence that Amanda Knox either murdered Meredith Kercher herself or, at the very least, played a devastating part.

Her “Foxy Knoxy” status is an irrelevance. No one has “failed” her. She has failed herself, and she fails the Kercher family each and every day she protests her innocence. There is only one female victim here - Meredith Kercher - and how dare Basile allow Knox’s PR spin, and her own wilful ignorance, to conceal that.


4.Law Expert Nicki In Milan Decries Faux Feminism

14 June 2009. Posting from Milan where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle”¦ The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
 
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way “, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.


5. TJMK Poster Hopeful Decries Faux Feminism

Explaining Why Smart Feminists Have Rightly Been Extremely Wary Of Amanda Knox

First posted 5 June 2014.

1. Late Joiner Of The Dwindling Knox Parade

A week ago in the Huffington Post Lisa Marie Basile asked why feminists are not storming the barricades for Knox.

The gullible Lisa Marie Basile had obviously swallowed whole Knox’s avid self-promotion and serial demonizing to create a muddled article at best, confused about feminism, poorly researched on the case, nasty to good Italians who are in no easy position to defend themselves, and hugely disrespectful to the real victim. 

I want to explain what real feminists are seeing that the faux feminist Lisa Marie Basile has managed to miss. Above all feminism means justice to women, and the many women who post on and support sites like TJMK are upholding justice, for the only woman who counts in this case.

2. An Attack With Indisputable Sex Aspects

Remember, Meredith is the innocent woman who was slain by an undeniably jealous and unhinged fellow female who used two males as her henchmen. No Italian court disagrees with that, and Italian courts (except when hijacked as with Hellmann) are extremely careful. .

The victim was left partly nude and in a staged position on the floor to suggest to whoever found the body that it was a sexual attack. Has Ms. Basile forgotten this actually was a sex crime for which all three were charged and sentenced? This surely opened the door for examination of the sexual behavior of the former suspects.

There was no “gendered expectation” among Italians investigating this crime, only a ” truth expectation.”

Articles like “We Are All Amanda Knox” which Basile mentioned try to normalize and even exult in Amanda’s behavior as a wild woman, but she is not at all the norm there.

Raffaele had led a more restrained sexual lifestyle, actually more typical of a coy young woman than a randy man. Raffaele, in keeping perhaps with the church doctrines in which he had been reared, had not taken any sexual partners except possibly for one, other than in his extensive fantasy life.

Guede’s sex act on Meredith was never in question, as he left behind his DNA to prove he had no boundaries. His nuisance behavior hitting on girls in nightclubs in Perugia was fully discussed, and he got no breaks from anyone on any front.

Knox herself bragged about her liberation ethics and fast work with men. Nobody else turned her into a “filthy, sex-obsessed slut” but herself. The media mostly rather neutrally reported the facts, and even when her track record of casual sex became clearly documented, it was never made a focal point of the trial at all.

What was focused on was Knox’s alibi, her lies that her boss had killed her “friend” and her phone records. Knox was under the microscope for her DNA being found mixed with Meredith’s blood in five locations of the cottage.

Knox was not questioned in court about how many boyfriends she had, or her one-night stands. She was never ever questioned about her sex partners or asked to list them, simply about what males had visited the house who might have had an interest in Meredith.

Again, this after all was staged to look like a sex crime, and had signs of sexual activity on the body. The Italians were hardly rushing off on detours for false reasons of prurient interests.

3. Morphing Into A New Knox Persona

For several years starting in Seattle Knox had adopted a dangerous and very irresponsible lifestyle, which she first bragged about but has tried to back away from since she left Italy. She pretends now to have a monogamous relationship with James Terrano.

Now Amanda manages to visit the television studios in a somber manner without cartwheels or doing splits and laughing. Amazing how serious she has become about her own tragedy while telling it to microphones for the world to hear after giggling about Meredith’s death and sticking her tongue out sitting on a male lap in the police station, making fun of it all when it wasn’t her death involved.

Amanda’s “offness” as Ms. Basile refers to it raised a red flag of disrespect for the victim, which was why it was significant.  Her lack of dramatic weeping outside of the cottage was never an issue.

Italians are very savvy. They are hardly the logic challenged numbskulls that Ms. Basile seems to fear they’ve been painted. Her hints that a godfearing Mignini is somehow inept shows her own bias to the godless and ruleless, the lawless and the stupid. I won’t even go into issues of spiritual faith, it is too divisive. Surely we can all agree with the mandate “Thou shalt not kill.”

4. There Was No Witch Hunt Or Inquisition

Sadly Ms. Basile has bought into Knox’s warren of lies about “forced confessions” (in actuality accusations of an innocent man!), and the cleanup that was somehow “impossible” and a “tortured five days of brutal interrogation”.

All have again and again been proven false and didnt stop her serving a three year sentence. Amanda Knox was challenged on her alibi, the presence of her blood at the scene, and her ownership of a key to the non-broken-into cottage.

She herself brought forward her alcohol and drug use, and blamed it for intoxication and lost memory for the night in question.

To rid herself of her most fundamental misconception about Amanda Knox, Lisa Marie Basile should read this series on the interrogation hoax which Knox still pushes and Basile gullibly swallowed.

5. Why Respect The Virtues Of Sexual Purity?

Modern Italian women are more fast, colorful, liberal and worldly than Americans may realize. They certainly dress a lot better. Naturally they try to live out their Catholic faith as best they can, even if we all fail to meet our highest ideals.

At the same time Italians tend to arrive at very close loving enduring families. How women prepare themselves is a very big component of this success - a success which Americans could use a lot more of. 

Here are some practical reasons why Italians value sexual responsibility, which have nothing to do with faith, religion, or patriarchy, but only the safety of innocent children.

Italians as all cultures do, prefer women who are cautious and circumspect with their sexuality, as a sign of the woman’s self-discipline, a natural caution toward males as a survival instinct which she will pass on to her offspring.

A female’s self-discipline in sexual matters is a hallmark of her personal self-respect and a sign she is able to envision her larger future as the wife of a dignified man.

Most such men hope to marry a woman clean of physical disease who also carries little emotional baggage from multiple sexual affairs and heartbreaks with multiple men.

The fewer of those encounters before marriage, the better chance the children she bears him will be in no doubt of their parentage.

This is supremely important to the man, who will be working to pass on his entire life’s work and heritage to the children he feels he has truly engendered and who carry his genes and his bloodline.

The children will more likely have a safe lifestyle of similar circumspect behavior and self-discipline inculcated by their mother who will be a large influence on their morals.

The mother’s reputation can add or detract from her children’s social position and can expand their opportunities as people of trustworthy background or its opposite.

There can be a safety aspect. A woman who has had a raunchy past may have unfinished business with various men who may possibly come back into the area, begin to harass, taunt, spread rumors, or even physically threaten and cause difficulty for a new husband’s family, suspicious that perhaps one of the offspring is his own.

In this day of twitter, instagram, Facebook, email, and YouTube, sordid rumors that were once easily squelched now become known worldwide on digital media.

It is simple logic that if a woman while in the heyday of her youth and good looks in the full bloom of health and optimism, could not make attachments or command loyalty and devotion despite going all the way to sleeping with a man, that this person somehow has her radar broken or uses poor judgment.

Perhaps she simply prefers the lust for pleasure over saving herself for marriage to the man who would one day do her the most good and with whom she would develop a lifetime relationship. At any rate, she may have a sex drive that overwhelms her judgment. It may motivate her even after marriage, to break the ties of marriage.

The husband of such a woman will also inherit her personal history and may grow to resent behaviors in her past that might tarnish his future and their children’s.

This is merely a common sense outlook on why it is smart to abstain from sexual intimacies with lots of strangers who have no ongoing goodwill toward the person whose body they use, nor any commitment to the offspring of such union financially or physically.

A woman’s body at any time could conceive despite using birth control.

In each normal sex act she takes the risk of facing the horrendous consequences of pregnancy without emotional support, finances, and then she faces 15 to 20 years of her life required to raise the child while trying to introduce him to various father figures who may never feel the natural bond to the child that a married father would.

Talk to single moms anywhere, their path is no piece of cake.  To choose this hard path by one’s own lack of self-discipline and lack of insight is a foolish act. Society is left buying the diapers and formula and helping the exhausted young mother survive her day job and come home to night feedings.

In other words, all the hard duties of childcare are foisted upon those who didn’t ask for them, who may be tired from raising their own legitimate offspring, a hard enough job with two parents committed and working on the children’s behalf.

Social services are stretched hard enough when emergencies, accidents, death or desertion of the male parent leave women and children stranded and abandoned in financial straits.

To jump over this cliff by choice or lack of foresight is foolish of a woman who knows a child needs two devoted parents. It’s self-absorbed, pleasure loving behavior with refusal to delay gratification.

It is selfish to the community.

Governments have to chase down these fathers for non-support of their own children.

Taxpayers and others who had no joy of the sex act or the union however brief it was, are forced for decades by welfare agencies (and basic compassion) to fork out child support dollars for strangers, rather than see the infant starve.

The child of these hasty and ill-fated unions already may face for a lifetime the hardship of feeling unwanted by his father. He or she may suffer embarrassment at his mom’s unwise youthful choices that were predicated on her lack of logic or poor self-control and willful betrayal of her children’s best future for one of difficulty and poverty.

Where is the love? It was love for self, not others.

An aside: Thank goodness God in heaven does love us all, no matter what our parents made a mess of. All can be resolved in peace and love, but the path of natural life will be much tougher and more limited when the child will not learn problem solving skills from two parents of the opposite sex nor have the benefit of the greater security. “Two are better than one, for they have more reward for their labor.”

6. Precisely WHO Are Today’s Feminists?

There are many forms of feminism. Oddly Ms. Basile is determined to argue for the imparting of partiality and favoritism to a woman who has been found to have killed another woman using two males as proxies. Ms. Basile’s biased view is based on Amanda Knox being wrongfully condemned because Basile thinks she is attractive and sexually free.

But this never happened. There was hard proof against her in DNA in three rooms and a corridor in the house and on a knife handle and upper blade..

Where are all the feminists? Those who have their facts right are allowing justice to take its course, that’s where. Justice is blind, and does not favor the pretty over the ugly or the rich over the poor. Yet all these things may be factors in the cause of any crime.

There are as many flavors of feminist as there are ideologies in the world. Consider this list.

  • Liberal feminism

  • Radical feminism

  • Conservative feminism

  • Ecofeminists

  • Separatist feminism

  • Materialist feminism

  • Socialist feminism

  • Marxist feminism

  • Anarcha-feminists

  • Feminist punk movement

  • Feminism as a social construction

  • Lipstick feminism

There are dozens and dozens.  There are Christian feminists (I am one). All are equal before God, Mary is the mother of the Church, she was allowed to usher in the Savior of mankind. God uses women to restore what women through Eve lost.

Look at Meredith’s heel being exposed under the duvet. (see Genesis 3:15 prophecy from God that the seed of the woman would crush Satan’s head, but Satan would bruise his heel.)

Meredith was even worried she’d packed no socks when she first came to Perugia, and she told friends she hoped her dad would bring some, revealing concern about uncovered feet. .

There are the early feminist suffragettes who worked for women’s right to vote and birth control.  The second wave campaigned for legal and social and political equality for women. Equal work for equal pay. The second wave feminists declared, “The personal is political”.

The second wave in about 30 years splintered off into various feminist camps divided on the issues of pornography *is it exploitative of women or a celebration of sexuality?, male equality versus misandry, homosexuality, the racial issues of women of color, the cultural (some Islamic, some Jewish, some WASP, etc.) women in developed countries versus poverty stricken nations.

Feminism is not a monolithic entity. Arguments abound whether we’re now living in a postfeminist society, whether gender equality has been achieved.

Then there’s third wave feminism.

7. Feminism In The Case Of Meredith’s Murder

The truth of whether a person committed a crime rises above all of these feminist ideologies. All of them. It is not a traditional role problem, it is a problem of no respect for Meredith’s particular life.

If she had been male, the bullies would not have dared.

So it was her femaleness that made her a target. Ironically her vulnerability was caused by another female’s envy and anger management issues and extremely irresponsible lifestyle.

Knox is a very misguided cause for smart feminists.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Netflixhoax 28 Omitted - The Case Against RS & AK Is Actually Getting Stronger Still

Posted by Peter Quennell




Pro-Guilt Trends

See the pointilist painting above? It consists entirely of dots. The more dots, the more it makes sense.

Justice can take its sweet time. But the global trend is for it to win out in the end. There is actually a huge industry that does what we do. Continue to harden cases dot by dot.

Primarily for that reason, opinion polls and surveys taken of the attitudes to specific crimes show that over time most of those attitudes trend toward guilt. Even Netflix can’t buck that.

Smoking Guns

This case is like that. Take a look at our new page. Created at popular request. The stark facts in any one of those posts is pretty well impossible to innocently explain away.

Eight of those 12 posts appeared - could only appear - in the past three years. New documents and new translation continue to arrive. The enormous Case Wiki and PMF and TJMK add more depth all the time. 

Media Shortfalls

This goes on despite almost no help from US and UK media, who between them barely ever translated a single word. There was some fine reporting (see next posts). But major happenings in the case often got no reporting at all.

The blatant corruption of the Hellman appeal? No report. Sollecito’s telling second trip to the Dominican Republic? No report. Guede pointing more and more strongly at the pair? No report. Knox inevitably facing charges for the defamations in her book? No report. Her 400 lies there plus many more? No report.

The final vexatious outcome from the Supreme Court, which put Knox with blood on her hands right at the scene of the crime (the whole house)? No report. Sollecito’s two losses in court this year over his damages-award claim and his book? No report.

Bad books (think of PR shills Dempsey, Burleigh, Fischer, Heavey, Preston, Douglas, and Moore - as well as Sollecito and Knox) don’t stand the test of time. They are now really easy to shoot down. In contrast strong well-documented legal takes like James Raper’s book quietly move in. The BBC airs the best report done so far.

Inflection Point

Italians are strongly pro-guilt. Especially toward Knox, widely seen as the enraged and jealous prime mover and the killer of Meredith who wielded the final stab in the attack.

So we are pretty confident that the US and UK will see an inflection point in 2018. Just sayin’ Netflix.


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…


Sunday, August 06, 2017

Meredith’s Perugia #38: Popular Beaches In Italy’s Deep South She Will Never See

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Monday, May 22, 2017

See Taormina In Sicily, Host Town For The G7 Summit This Next Weekend

Posted by Peter Quennell

This was of course the G8 group prior to Mr Putin being disinvited. Sorry about that Vlad. Mr Trump is being welcomed, sort of, though security is intense and satires in the media ever moreso. Sorry about that Don. Mr Obama is also in Italy, cycling around somewhere further north, with what seems like zero security detail.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/22 at 10:54 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextComments here (5)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Interim Prime Minister, Which Points to Renzi Back On Top Soon & Bad News For RS & Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell



Why is this maybe not the worst outcome for Meredith’s case? 

Well Mr Renzi has had more than enough of fake news which perverted both this case and his referendum. 

President Obama and the faction in the US State Department hornswoggled by the Knox PR will be gone by the end of January. A President Trump already ticked off by Knox’s ingratitude will be in charge.

And Rome politics suggests neither Mr Gentiloni nor Mr Renzi would want to place any further roadblocks in front of popular legal initiatives such as this.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Fake News Provably Propagated By The “No” Parties Making Questionable The Referendum Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell



PM Renzi is reported as being in a fighting-back mood.

A main reason is that alarmist fake news has hit Italy on the Internet big-time and he claims it may have tilted the final count and perhaps even caused the “Yes” faction to lose.

The main purveyor of alarmist fake news on the Internet might have been the Five Star Movement which runs a number of sites. See the NY Times report here.

Fake news on the Internet plagued the US election, and it may even have tilted the result. Russia is conclusively pointed to as a main propagator, if not the only one.

Trump’s National Security Advisor and his son were tweeting a conspiracy theory that has just led to an unrepentant crackpot storming into a Washington restaurant and firing off a gun.

Almost every day a new violent incident is being reported as caused by fake news. Today another Internet-infected crackpot was indicted and she may face 20 years inside.

Did fake news actually begin with mainstream media? See the video at the top which argues that it did. Meredith’s case has been plagued by a massive volume of fake news in the main media over the past nine years. Netflix continues that trend.

In Perugia the fake news has led to a number of threats of violence and angry verbal rants, some by the Netflix team themselves.

In our next post, we’ll list some of the hundreds of writers of articles and books about Meredith’s case and TV talking heads who have propagated fake news.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/08 at 10:39 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (9)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Italians Inside And Outside Italy Are voting Today On PM Renzi’s Proposed Reforms.

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/04 at 10:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (15)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fast US Arrival Of Eataly The Remarkably Large Italian Marketplace With Multiple Places To Eat

Posted by Peter Quennell



New York city now has two of the huge Eataly food marketplaces, the first of which opened in Turin just a decade ago.

Each has multiple bars and numerous areas to buy or to eat Italian food.  Chicago already has one open (see the video below) and next Tuesday Boston will open one too.  Eatalys are already open in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well.

Each occupies the equivalent of a city block. One in New York is on 23rd Street by Madison Square Park, with a special elevator to a rooftop restaurant and the other is in a newly-occupied highrise tower at the World Trade Center which has great views - and thousands of financial types looking for lunch. 

It seems Atlanta and Toronto have joined the line.  And next year a 20-acre Eataly will open in Bologne.

If you are in any of these cities, do think to take a look. This is an exciting new scene with a lot of happy mingling going on, something the US could use a lot more of.

And happy mingling on Thursday, Thanksgiving for those in the US!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/21 at 09:32 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextComments here (4)

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Majority May Vote “No” In Referendum 4 December, Maybe Transforming Prospects In Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

 
The justice chunk of the huge package of reforms Italy is voting on 4 December probably appeal to pretty well everybody.

They address the awful slowness of the Italian courts and the repetitions of process steps to get it “just right” which too often result in just the opposite. They would tilt back a little toward the victim who too often gets “disappeared” just as Meredith did.

But they are chained to the parliamentary, economic and educational reforms, which PM Renzi cooked up with ex-PM Berlusconi. Maybe not such a smart idea.

They passed with only a bare majority in parliament, hence the referendum. Hence also Renzi’s promise to resign as Prime Minister if the electorate votes against them.

Those reforms are seen by young people in particular as amounting to a powergrab by the center-right and a move away from free college-level education (just when the US may be about to do the opposite).

PM Renzi may or may not have angled for the strange Fifth Chambers outcome in Meredith’s case. But he lost popularity for seeming bending to widely-suspected US arm-bending on this and some other issues even though he and President Obama seem to have not much in common.

If Renzi does go, we are told that prospects for a turnaround in Meredith’s case could become dramatically better. The politics would become right for this case to proceed.

Keep watching! 


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.


Saturday, August 06, 2016

Crash Ruins Prospect Of Olympic Gold For Italy’s Cycling Star the “Shark Of Messina”

Posted by Peter Quennell





What a real shocker for cycling-mad Italy..

You could watch world-class cycling for years, and maybe never see anything quite like this.

The men’s Olympic cycling road race is unusually long and grueling - six hours on average.

The American TV commenters were agreeing that the course, on the coast just south of Rio, was the most beautiful ever - and also the most dangerous.

Termed dangerous because there were three steep descents down one mountain, and then two more descents, even steeper, down another mountain with a ten-to-one gradient.

A main leader throughout, Vincenzo Nibali, is not for nothing called the Shark of Messina.

Just minutes before the race’s end a breakaway group of 3 cyclists, including Nibali, were heading down the final descent so fast that the motorbike with the camera could not keep up with them.

Breathtaking stuff. Normally you just never ever see that happen.  All 3 disappeared from sight, leaving just shots of an empty road descending sharply.

When the TV camera DID catch up with them several minutes later it was only because of what you see in the video - two of the lead cyclists unstuck at a probable 60-plus mph.

The commentators had been saying a gold for Nibali seemed certain. Now he is not only out of the Olympics - he is being flown back to Italy for surgery.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/06 at 07:23 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextComments here (7)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi Might Ultimately Be The One To Push Justice Reforms Through

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi, previously a popular mayor of Florence, was elected on a promise to force justice and economic reforms through.

He is now being buffeted on two fronts: by Euro-skeptics and Euro-separatists, and by an invisible coalition of MPs and bad guys who really dont want those reforms to go through.

To fully understand why the justice reforms are bogged down this is a vital read though perhaps a bit harsh and in another post we will qualify it a bit.

In large part the problem is within Mr Renzi’s own Democratic Party in the Parliament which Mr Renzi is not deft at handling.

Mr Renzi’s party still leads in the polls, but the relatively new Five Star Movement is gaining fast. It stands for honesty in public life above all else.

Virginia Raggi of the populist, Euro-skeptic Five Star Movement was a relatively unknown lawyer just a few months ago.

In a landslide, she has just beaten Mr Renzi’s candidate for mayor of Rome. 

Mr Renzi, who has worked hard on Angela Merkel to get all possible EC breaks,  had previously announced a referendum of Italy in October to see if he can get the Italian electorate to force his reforms through.

He has said he would resign if the vote does not go his way.

If he fails and he does resign, an election could put Five Star in power, and Virginia Raggi could be a top leader in Parliament. (in Italy, wearing two hats is allowed; see Giulia Bongiorno as the classic case.)

In fact she could even end up as Prime Minister - which could result in female leadership in Germany (Merkel), England (May), the United States (Clinton) and Raggi in Italy.  Norway and Poland have female prime ministers too, and Scotland has one in effect.

Well over half a billion people of the western world. Women often manage in an effective inclusionary style, which is maybe what we could use more of right now.

Given the growing post-Brexit “monkeys-are-running-the-zoo” perception in other EC countries, more EC Exits soon dont seem in the cards.  Though they are very much for interactive democracy, Five Star is unlikely to stick Italy with a referendum on the EC any time soon.

But on those reforms Ms Raggi would not be encumbered with a partially-corrupt party she would have to fight. Her effecting of the reforms could have Italy riding high morally and economically in Europe and the world.

Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/30 at 12:10 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemThe wider contextsItalian contextComments here (19)

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


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Italy Excels At Innovation But Unfortunately The EC Hampers Most Good Execution

Posted by Peter Quennell

Italian production of Mazerati cars selling well in the United States - FIAT owns Chrysler


The previous post talked about innovations in the Italian prison system.

Given a free reign, Italians are in fact really, really good at making things better. Hardly anyone in the world can beat them and several of their industries are world-beating, in design areas especially.

Now here’s an article on some of PM Renzi’s reforms and why they are still awaiting execution.

Justice reforms are of course a part of it. We have observed some reforms already, but not yet the full package.

NO country in the world really does much better (see current American frustration) in the absence of a mastery and use of all of the growth knowhow now available which we quite often discuss here.

Mr Renzi is actually quite right (though the article seems to doubt it) that the EC, which always meant well, has become a vast and domineering slower of systems change.

He’s right. The EC really is his single biggest problem. Here are three hampering effects.

    1) The single currency handicaps all but the successful core and removes from all countries one of their two powerful levers for determining proper value, the ability to adjust currency exchange rates to maintain cost competitiveness.

    2) In face of this uphill slope and of EC-wide multinational pretensions, its impossible to set compelling and unfettered visions by way of wide popular participation at the national level and below.

    3) Any major system upgrade there (or anywhere) in absence of “value liberation” and a driving popular vision will become totally exhausting, and so reformers will only tackle change around the edges.

If you are thinking “erk!” you sure have that right.

So should Italy disengage from the EC, therefore? An Italian Brexit? It could be very much better off doing so. A total separation, not the half-baked one the British have been driven nuts by.

Set new goals with widespread popular participation and Italy could not only be off on a wild ride - it could show the world a much-needed model.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13 at 03:18 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextComments here (8)

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