Category: Other legal processes

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Good Balanced Debate On A Controversial Case, No Too-Frequent Victim Stance For Accused

Posted by The Machine


Above, the trailer for the crime debate program discussed here

I have previously written a post about the Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee case and Sarah Koenig’s biased and one-sided Serial podcasts.

She presented the case primarily from the defence’s perspecitve. She didn’t interview the prosecutor or any of the police officers involved in this case, but instead relied heavily on Adnan Syed as well as relying on his chief advocate in the media Rabia Chaudry and Asia McClain, who claims she is an alibi witness.

To be fair to Sarah Koenig she also interviewed Jay Wilds who was the key witness for the prosecution. However, her bias towards Adnan Syed is clearly evident in the number of people she spoke to who think he is innocent compared to those who think he is guilty.

In the post, I also expressed the hope that the mainstream media would provide balanced and factually accurate reports on the case - which is something they didn’t do when covering the Meredith Kercher case.

Predictably, most of the media coverage of the case hasn’t been balanced. The narrative of an innocent person being convicted of a crime they didn’t commit is more sensational and melodramatic than that of someone being rightfully convicted and American public relations takes advantage of this to the hilt. .

Rabia Chaudry has written a number of advocacy pieces in the media for The Guardian and Time (both of which were also riddled with Knox PR shills) in which she presents the defence’s claims as if they are established facts.

She brushes any inconvenient facts under the carpet. For example that an FBI expert claims the mobile phone evidence that places Adnan Syed in Leakin Park on the day Hae Min Lee disappeared is reliable.

Rabia Chaudry is also one of the contributors to the Undisclosed podcasts which are even more biased and one-sided than Serial - which is no mean feat. Adnan Syed’s supporters unquestiongly believe whatever Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson or Colin Miller tell them.

Incidentally, Susan Simpson believes Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent and the DNA evidece was “staged”. She also resorts to ridiculous conspiracy theories in the Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee case by claiming the police coached Jay Wilds by tapping.

So it was refreshing to see no-nonsense former prosecutor Nancy Grace discussing the Adnan Syed/Hae Mine Lee case with legal commentator Dan Abrams on the new series GRACE v ABRAMS in a programme that allowed both sides to present their opinions and let the audience make up their own minds.

Sarah Koenig, The Guardian and Time please take note. It should go without saying there are two sides to every story and your job to inform the public about the facts of murder cases - not persuade people that convicted killers are innocent.


Monday, February 05, 2018

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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







Friday, January 26, 2018

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. Amanda Knox

Read here for the warnings Roanoke College management received.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Elizabeth Smart

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

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

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

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

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

3. Bottom Line

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

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


Friday, October 20, 2017

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

Posted by Cardiol MD



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

1. The Minefield Knox Inhabits

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Examples Of Potential Threats

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

1. Rudy Guede

2. Raffaele Sollecito

3. Knox’s mother: Edda Mellas

4. Knox’s father: Curt Knox

5. Knox’s step-father: Chris Mellas

6. Knox’s younger sister: Deanna

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

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

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

10. Raffaele Sollecito’s Father: Francesco Sollecito

11. Raffaele Sollecito’s Sister: Vanessa Sollecito

12. Raffaele Sollecito’s Lawyer: Luca Maori

13. Chris Robinson?

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

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

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

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

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

3. Scott Petersen Is Sold Out

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

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

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

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

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

4. Why Did She Speak Out?

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

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

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

3. Scott upgraded his porn channel later that day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* indicates “plausibly relevant to Meredith’s case.

Tick tick tick…


Friday, March 31, 2017

Italian Police Again Work Hard On A Murder Where Victim And Main Suspect (Her Husband) Are Foreign

Posted by Peter Quennell



This case is getting a lot of coverage in Italy, Ireland and the UK.

Mrs Belling and her family boarded a cruise ship February 9 at the cruise port west of Rome, and seem to have been in Italy itself for only a few hours. Several days later, after a scene with her husband, she disappeared off the ship.

This wasn’t reported, and the family continued their meals in the dining room.

Then the German-born husband was arrested before he could return to Ireland. He remains locked up in Rome and can be held for a year to check if there is a case against him. 

Now a body in a suitcase has washed up. A “suitcase murder” in her case now seems to be ruled out though as Barbie Nadeau explains.

The short-lived label “suitcase murder” notion has resonated in the New York area. The reason being that an attractive and successful local woman, Melanie McGuire, who had her share of fans during trial, was found guilty of chopping up her husband, essentially for being a bore, and stuffing his remains in suitcases.

They then washed up in Chesapeake Bay about 1/2 a day south. She was found guilty and despite a strenuous defense and an appeal she is inside for life without parole. There are a number of long-form reports on YouTube, and this is perhaps the most-watched.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sollecito Thinks He Can Win Again At The Supreme Court? Think Twice, Eyes Much Sharper Now

Posted by James Raper




1. Sollecito’s Tough Road Ahead

He who comes to court for compensation must come with clean hands.

Dr Maresca’s comment quoted below is relevant and fully justified. It is not to be overlooked that in addition to the lies and suspicious behaviour we have a “definitive” (joke) judgement that also says that Knox and probably Sollecito were present in the cottage at the time of the murder.

Even if Sollecito was not then he had good cause to believe that Knox was, yet before and after his police statement he did everything he could to obfuscate the fact and mislead investigators and prosecutors, all the while trying to dig himself out of a hole.

That adds up to a number of additional criminal offences he has committed but for which he has escaped sanction.  In addition who can doubt that at the very least he had a part in, or knowledge of, the burglary staging (not criticized by the 5th Chambers), and the subsequent removal of blood traces (the evidence for which which the 5th Chamber basically ignored).

‘Doubts Remain about Sollecito’s Acquittal by Maresca’

(ANSA) - PERUGIA, Feb. 12 - The lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, commented on the decision of the Tuscan capital judges to reject the claim for unjust detention by the young man from Puglia.

“The Court of Appeal of Florence confirms the uncertainty related to the acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox will remain in the history of Italian justice for all the unresolved doubts that it leaves”.

According to the lawyer “It confirms the statements and behavior of the young pair as a justification for custody and reminds us of the fact that the Supreme Court has placed them still in the house of the crime, so it really does seem that this absolution was to be refused at all costs.”


2. Knox & Sollecito Actions In The Week Prior To Arrest:

This is a repeat of my post of almost exactly three years ago which reveals an incriminating behavior pattern for sure.

A very strong case for guilt has been made at trial and endorsed at the first-level appeal…

The focus of this post… is upon the described behaviours of Knox and Sollecito, from the very beginning for a full week.

How The Behavior Speaks To Guilt

The early pointer of the staged break-in aside this behaviour gave investigators an insight into the pair’s possible involvement back on Day One: Behavioral pointers have continued on a par with corroborated developments in the case.

It has even continued, incredibly, since their release from prison. For me it is the thread that runs through this case having as much to do with the overall picture of culpability as the other elements .

This behaviour - to include what they have to say for themselves - is a catalogue of the inappropriate, of the implausible, of inconsistencies and contradictions, of evasions and obfuscations, to be gleaned from the accounts of Knox and Sollecito themselves and highlighted in the accounts of other witnesses. It is also to be gleaned from phone and computer records.

Taken together it is a formidable body of evidence which goes to character and culpability. It cannot be attributed to a railroading job, the machinations of a corrupt and evil prosecutor or character assassination by the media. It is also implausible if not impossible to explain it as being due to naivety, confusion or some quirkiness of character.

It amounts to the pair of them concocting stories, telling lies and misleading investigators and the general public.

Physical Evidence Array Is Already Substantial

There are numerous items of evidence which are building blocks in the prosecution case and with which we are all familiar.

    1. The staged break-in via Filomena’s window with pointers to this outside, on the windows and shutters, and throughout the bedroom.

    2. The evident partial clean up proved by footprint trails with footprints missing and what was behind the locked door.

    3. Amanda Knox’s lamp on the floor behind Meredith’s locked door which she only conceded was her own at trial, under pressure.

    4. Knox’s dried and congealed blood on the tap in the small bathroom that Amanda Knox and Meredith shared.

    5. The bloody footprint on the mat in that bathroom definitively attributed to Sollecito rather than Guede

    6.  The mixed DNA of Knox and Meredith Kercher found in blood in the basin, the bidet and on the box of Q tips in that bathroom

    7. Two luminol enhanced mixed traces containing DNA belonging to Knox and Meredith Kercher, one in the corridor and the other in Filomena’s room

    8. Two luminol enhanced footprints of Knox in the corridor and one of Sollecito immediately outside Meredith’s room.

    9. The knife taken from Sollecito’s apartment with Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade and Knox’s DNA on the handle and on the blade

    10. Meredith Kercher’s bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA on a hook and contamination possibilities definitively ruled out.
Behaviors In The First Week Of November 2007

I don’t want to make this an unduly long post. Accordingly I am going to concentrate on the period up to that famous police interrogation analysed just below. As to that critical period I will be selective but it should be enough.


The Lady With The Mop?

The story (in Knox’s e-mail) that she had visited the cottage to collect a mop, have a shower and get a change of clothing, earlier on the morning of the 2nd November, but did not notice that Filomena’s window had been broken and her room trashed is just that - a made up story. It is entirely implausible and the account unreliable for a number of reasons including-

    (a) it is hard to believe that she did not notice the hard to miss fact that the shutters to Filomena’s window were (as they were found) open - this would have alerted her to the likelihood that Filomena was back home which she would, of course, have checked out of curiosity if nothing else given that she found no one home.

    (b) her claim that Filomena’s door was shut is contradicted by Sollecito who wrote (prison diary) that when he later entered the cottage with Knox   Filomena’s door was wide open.

    (c) it is hard to believe that she took a shower without noticing until after her shower (as she claimed) that there was blood on the bathroom mat, including a bloody footprint. In fact she didn’t even claim to notice that it was a footprint despite the fact that it was obviously so.

    (d) it is hard to believe that having found the front door wide open and having found blood, and having opted for a shower and to blow dry her hair, she never got round to checking for any sign of Meredith’s presence. Any one else would have tried her door to check whether or not she was home.

    (e) from her appearance at the cottage that morning it is hard to believe that she took a shower at all (let alone blow dried her hair) and the cops remarked that she reeked of body odour.

    (f)  less problematic but nevertheless still somewhat surprising is that as she is drying her hair she makes a fuss over shit (left by Guede) in the toilet,  describes herself as being “uncomfortable” about it but does not flush it away before grabbing the mop and leaving.



The Two Stayed At Home?

The story that Knox and Sollecito had spent the previous night (the night of Meredith’s murder) indoors, critically from 9 pm onwards, that both had slept and that Knox had been the first to rise at about 10.30 am the next morning is implausible and uncorroborated, not only because this alibi is directly contradicted by the testimony of Curatolo and Quintavalle, and Sollecito’s statement to the police that Knox had gone out and not returned until about 1 am, but also in view of the following facts.

    (a) Curatolo claimed to have first seen the Knox and Sollecito in Piazza Grimana shortly after 9.30 pm but Knox claimed in her trial testimony that she and Raffaele had cooked and eaten a meal between 9.30 and 10 pm.
    GCM:  Can you say what time this was?

    AK:  umm, around, umm, we ate around 9.30 or 10, and then after we had eaten, and he was washing the dishes, well, as I said, I don’t look at the clock much, but it was around 10. And”¦he”¦umm”¦well, he was washing the dishes and, umm, the water was coming out and he was very bummed,  displeased, he told me he had just had that thing repaired. He was annoyed that it had broken again. So”¦umm

    LG:  Yes, so you talked a bit. Then what did you do?

    AK:  Then we smoked a joint together”¦”¦we made love”¦..then we fell asleep.

    Unfortunately Sollecito’s father himself torpedoed this dodge by telling the court that when he phoned his son at 8.42 pm Sollecito had told him that there had been a water leak while he was washing the dishes. Taking into account Knox’s testimony that they had eaten before the dish washing, this places the meal and dish washing before that call.

    (b) Sollecito told the police that at about 11 pm he had received a call from his father on his land line. Not only is that not confirmed by his father but there is no log of such a call.

    (c) There is no log of a call to his mobile at that time either though his father had sent a text message at that time but which Sollecito did not receive until 6. 03 am the following morning. We know that he had received it at that time because that is the time at which it is logged in the phone records.  Sollecito had just turned his phone on and clearly the phone had been off when the text message was sent.

    (d) There is no record of any phone activity for either of them from after the 8.42 pm call to, in Sollecito’s case, receipt of that text message at 6.03 am,  and in Knox’s case her call to Meredith’s English phone at 12.07 pm the next day.

    A further word about this Point (d) here as Knox has released her phone records on her web site. In her case it has to be said that this is not so unusual. Up until the 30th October there is no regular pattern of late or early morning phone activity.

    It is interesting to note, however, that as of the 30th October there is a spate of texts and calls between her and a young Greek known to us as Spiros.  Communication between them had in fact been going on since the beginning of October but there are 5 texts in the afternoon of the 30th, two telephone calls in the afternoon and a call at 11.38 pm on Halloween.

    In the early hours of the following morning there are a couple of calls between the two. In fact we know that the two met up together for Halloween as Knox was at a loose end.  Meredith had shrugged her off and Raffaele was attending a friend’s graduation dinner out of town.

    Sollecito is different as his father was in the habit of calling at all hours just to find out what his son was doing and, as we know, he had called late only to find that his son’s phone was switched off.

    In the case of Knox she admitted in any event that her phone had been switched off, “to save the battery”.

    (e) There is no record of any activity on Sollecito’s computer after 9.15 pm and until 5.32 am the following morning when music was played for half an hour.  This contradicts the claim that Sollecito had smoked pot and interacted with his computer until midnight and that they had both slept until late the following morning.

    (f) The fact that the next morning, outside the cottage, both Knox and Sollecito looked utterly exhausted. This belies the alibi that they had spent a quiet night indoors and had only risen late that morning.

The Fake Call To Knox’s Mum in Seattle?

Knox falsely claims in her book that having had her shower she called her mother on her way back to Sollecito’s apartment as she was beginning to have concerns as to what she had seen at the cottage. Her mother tells her to raise her concerns with Raffaele and the other flatmates and Knox says that she then immediately called Filomena. Filomena tells her to get hold of Meredith by phone which she tries to do by calling Meredith’s English phone first, then her Italian one.

    (a) How does this correlate to the contents of her e-mail of the 11/04/07?

    (b) How does this correlate to Knox’s phone records?

    (c) There is no mention of a call to her mother at all in the e-mail. This from her e-mail -
    “”¦.and I returned to Raffaele’s place. After we had used the mop to clean up the kitchen I told Raffaele about what I had seen in the house over breakfast.  The strange blood in the bathroom, the door wide open, the shit in the toilet.  He suggested I call one of my roommates, so I called Filomena”¦”¦”¦..
    Filomena seemed really worried so I told her I’d call Meredith and then call her back. I called both of Meredith’s phones the English one first and last and the Italian one in between. The first time I called the English phone it rang and then sounded as if there was disturbance, but no one answered. I then called the Italian phone and it just kept ringing, no answer. I called the English phone again and this time an English voice told me the phone was out of service.”

    (d) the phone records are as follows for 2 November 2007:

    Ist call of the day @  12.07.12 (to Meredith’s English phone)  - 16 seconds

    2nd call   @  12.08.44 (to Filomena)  -  68 seconds

    3rd call   @ 12.11.02 (to Meredith’s Italian phone)  -  3 seconds

    4th call @ 12.11.54 (to Meredith’s English phone)  - 4 seconds

    8th call   @  12..47.23 (first call to her mother) - 88 seconds

    (e) The discrepancies are numerous, see these examples:

    1. The first call to her mother was not just after leaving the cottage but 40 minutes after the call to Filomena, and the call to Filomena had been placed after she had returned to Raffaele’s place and after they had used the mop and had breakfast. In fact, say about an hour after she left the cottage.

    2.  The first call to Meredith’s English phone was placed before the call to Filomena, and not after as Knox would have it in her e-mail. A minute before,  but Knox did not mention this to Filomena, as confirmed by the e-mail and Filomena’s testimony.

    3. The first call to Meredith’s English phone disappears entirely in Knox’s book.

    4.  The call to the Italian phone did not just keep ringing. The connection was for 3 seconds and this was followed by a connection to the English phone for 4 seconds.

    5.  The English phone was not switched off or out of service. Mrs Lana’s daughter had found it. She said that she would not have done so but for it ringing (the 12.07 call for 16 seconds?). She picked it up and took it into the house where it rang again (the 12.11 call - 4 seconds?). A name appeared on the screen as it rang : “Amanda”.

    6.  The 3 and 4 second calls are highly suspicious. The Italian phone was undoubtedly in the possession of the postal police. According to Massei it’s answering service was activated, accounting for the log. Clearly Knox did not even bother to leave a message for Meredith as it would take longer than 3 seconds just to listen to the answering service. This is not the behaviour of someone genuinely concerned about another.

My Observations:

1.  In her e-mail, and repeated in her trial testimony, Knox says that she woke up around 10.30 am, grabbed a few things and walked the 5 minutes back to the cottage. If the first call to her mother was about an hour after she left the cottage (see before), then she left the cottage at about 11.47 am, which means that she spent over an hour there. Either that or she spent more (a lot more)  than 20 minutes at Raffaele’s place before calling Filomena. The latter would be more likely as it is difficult to conceive that she spent over an hour at the cottage. She didn’t have the heating on when she was there. Either way there is a period of about an hour and a half between when she might have tried to contact Meredith or raise the alarm and actually doing so.

2.  That we are right to be incredulous about this is borne out by the false claim in Knox”˜s book. That false claim is significant and can only be because Knox is aware of the problem and feels she needs to add some support to her implausible story of the mop/shower visit and to conceal the real reasons for the inactivity and delay connected with it.

3. That it is incredible is even belatedly acknowledged by Sollecito’s feeble but revealing attempt to distance himself from Knox in a CNN interview on the 28 Feb this year. “Certainly I asked her questions” he said. “Why did you take a shower? Why did you spend so much time there?”

4.  That she makes that false claim and has constantly stonewalled and/or misplaced the 16 second call to Meredith’s English phone is indicative of her guilty knowledge. Her guilty knowledge with respect to the 16 second call was that it was made to ascertain whether or not the phones had been located before she called Filomena, and hence for her it was not (incredulous though this is without such explanation) a pertinent fact for her to bring up with Filomena.


The Real Call To Knox’s Mum In Seattle?

As to the 12.47 call to her mother itself (4.47 am Seattle time and prior to the discovery of Meredith”˜s body) Knox not only did not mention that in her e-mail but in her trial testimony she steadfastly declined to recall that it had occurred.

She clearly did not want, or could not be trusted, to discuss why the call had occurred and what had transpired in conversation with her mother before the discovery of Meredith’s body.

Not only was the timing of the 12.47 call inconvenient to her mother but I found it interesting to note from Knox’s phone records (covering 2nd Oct - 3rd November) that mother and daughter do not appear to have called or texted each other once up until that 12.47 call.

It would appear then that in so far as they remained in direct communication with each other for that period it must have been by e-mail. One can therefore imagine that her mother was very surprised to receive that call.

It is also very difficult to accept that Knox could not recall a phone call she was not in the habit of making. (On the other hand the same records show that it was not at all unusual for Knox and Meredith to communicate with other on Meredith’s English phone.)


Sollecito’s Call From His Dad?

At the cottage, and prior to the above call, Sollecito received a call from his father at 12.40 am. Do we know what they discussed? It would in any event have been after the discovery of Filomena’s broken window and (allegedly) Sollecito’s (rather feeble) attempt to beak down Meredith’s door.

Did the responsible adult advise his son to do the obvious and call the police? One would think so, but then why was there a 10 minute delay before he called his sister in the Carabinieri at 12.50 am? Indeed, why call his sister at all? Filomena had also urged Knox to call the police when she called at 12.35.The delay might be explained by the unexpected arrival of the postal police and if this was the case then it was before Sollecito called the 112 emergency services.


The Claims Of Finding Meredith’s Body?

Neither Knox nor Sollecito saw into Meredith’s room when the door was broken down and her body discovered on the floor under a quilt. Yet in the immediate aftermath it is as if they have wanted others to believe that it was they who discovered her body and in the bragging about this there have been disclosures, not only as to what they should not have been aware but also suggestive of disturbed personalities. This behaviour was remarkable for all the wrong reasons.

    (a)  Luca Altieri”˜s testimony makes it clear that Knox and Sollecito had heard about Meredith”˜s cut throat directly from him during the car ride to the police station.

    However her bizarre and grotesque allusion in the early moments of the investigation to the body being found stuffed into the closet (wardrobe) is not just factually incorrect (it was lying to the side of the closet) but bears correlation to the later forensic findings based on blood splatter in front of and on the closet door, that Meredith had been thrust up against the closet after having been stabbed in the throat.

    (b)  The behaviour of Knox and Sollecito at the police station is documented in the testimony of Meredith’s English girlfriends and of the police. Whilst it is true that people react to grief in different ways it is difficult to ascribe grief to Knox’s behaviour. Emotionally she was cold towards Meredith’s friends and occasionally went out of her way to upset them with barbed and callous remarks.

    The fact that Knox was not observed to cry and wanted to talk about what had happened is not of itself indicative of anything but remarks like “What the fuck do you think, she bled to death” and her kissing and canoodling with Raffaele (including them making smacking noises with their lips when they blew kisses to each other) in front of the others was not normal.

    Rather chilling in retrospect was a scene between the pair of them when Knox found the word “minaccia” ( in english - threat) amusing and made a play of it with Sollecito in front of witnesses.

    (c) Grief is in any event reserved for friends and relations, or people one much admires. The evidence is that the initial short friendship between the two had cooled to the extent that Meredith was studiously, if politely, avoiding being around Knox. For the narcissistic and attention seeking american girl this would have been difficult to ignore and may well have offended her.

    (d)  The next day Sollecito was willingly collared by a reporter from the Sunday Mirror and told her about the horror of finding the body.
    “Yes I knew her. I found her body.”

    “It is something I never hope to see again,” he said. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t take it all in.”

    “My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”

    Sollecito went on to tell the reporter that “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends. The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

About the only thing that is true here is that he knew Meredith.


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.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Florence Courts Resent Mangling Of RS/AK Appeal By Cassation Now Have Ominous Ways To Re-Visit

Posted by Peter Quennell



Highrise Florence courts are just visible at left background


The Marasca/Bruno verdict setting RS and AK free has taken some hard knocks within the Italian legal community.

It is not lost on anyone that Sollecito defense lawyer Bongiorno was given special favors, including being allowed to argue unchallenged before the Fifth Chambers for some hours beyond the legal limit.

Or that the Fifth Chambers should never ever have received the appeal.

Or that the drafter, Bruno, was suffering seriously ill health at the time, and delivered a report which is largely legal nonsense.

Here Machiavelli and Catnip and most exhaustively James Raper explained many of Marasca’s and Bruno’s absurdities.

But the Florence courts are not done yet. They are still processing cases involving Knox, Sollecito, Sfarzo (a stage name, real name Sforza) and Aviello. They still sit on this potential bombshell of a case against Sollecito lawyer Maori, which explains how the Fifth Chambers acted illegally.

Other cases are also possible, and two involving Knox are still continuing in Bergamo.

Now Rudy Guede’s team of lawyers in Rome and Viterbo prison have filed an appeal against his own conviction. It is filed with the courts in Florence.

The team notes that judgments against Guede up to and including the Supreme Court’s First Chambers concluded that he had acted against Meredith only in collusion with others and not in isolation.

This could reopen the Marasca/Bruno outcome which argued that he DID act alone or at least not with RS and AK though there is massive evidence to the contrary. That judgment while final in the normal course of things cannot stand under Italian law if illegalities were entered into.

With more and more documentation being read widely, the case against Knox and Sollecito acting in collusion with Guede is coming to look as strong as it did throughout their trial in 2009.

That is the quite possible Florence outcome.

It is one that Guede might accept fairly calmly, as his fury at Sollecito is quite palpable, and he wants nothing more than to nail his fellow attacker.


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]


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Artificially Controversial Adnan Syed Case Adds To Tilt Against Victims Worldwide

Posted by The Machine



Victim Hae Min Lee; bottom, podcaster Sarah Koenig basking in celebrity

1. The Media Overview

Doug Preston, John Douglas, Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer are by no means the only crackpots in America perpetrating innocence fraud.

Their main distinction was to perpetrate it in English against a victim and a police and court system of other countries, using ignorance and smears and a largely complicit American media to trample hard truths in the case.

But innocence fraud is still a tiny industry in Italy as compared with the godzilla it is becoming in America - often with politically vulnerable judges and usually with naive do-gooders in compliance. 

2. The Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee serial podcast

Much of the public seems to have developed an insatiable appetite for documentaries about people who have been convicted of murders they allegedly didn’t commit. Faux TV documentaries title American Girl, Italian Nightmare, Paradise Lost, West of Memphis, and Making of a Murderer, have all been watched by millions of people.

Podcasts are another way of reaching them. Wikipedia defines a podcast as “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.”

High school student Hae Min Lee was the victim in this 1999 Baltimore murder case and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted in 2000 of her murder and is serving a life sentence plus 30 years. 

The serial podcast about the Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee case has been downloaded over 80 million times now. According to Apple, it’s the fastest podcast to reach five million downloads and streams in the history of iTunes.

In the light of public sentiment inflamed by it a retrial has been ordered, a ruling which Maryland’s attorney general will now seek to overturn.

Why was this serial podcast so popular?

Natasha Vargas-Cooper and Ken Silverstein made the following observation about the success of Serial in an article about the case for The Intercept:

“The reality is that “˜Serial’ only worked if it could demonstrate that there were serious doubts about the fairness of Syed’s trial and conviction. If he were guilty, there was no story. The storytelling device was to amplify claims that favored Syed’s defense and contrast that with a watered-down version of the state’s case”

TV producers and podcast makers know full well that an innocent person being railroaded by corrupt or incompetent cops is a far more melodramatic story than a run-of-the-mill domestic violence murder.

Paul Ciolino admitted in a question and answer session about the Meredith Kercher case at Seattle University that CBS News didn’t care whether someone was innocent. The only thing they care about is the story.

“I work for CBS News. I want to tell you one thing about CBS. We don’t care if you did it. We don’t care if you’re innocent. We like a story. We want to do a story. That’s all we care about.”

CBS News produced one of the most biased and factually inaccurate documentaries about the Meredith Kercher case “American Girl, Italian Nightmare”.

The CBS documentary is an archetypal example of innocence fraud. The story is told primarily from the defence point of view, incriminating pieces of evidence are ignored and the programme contains a number of significant factual errors.

3. Faults by podcast creator Sarah Koenig

The Serial is another example of innocence fraud. Sarah Koenig, the executive producer and host of Serial, tries to be partial and objective, but fails miserably.

Instead of maintaining a professional distance from Adnan Syed, she becomes emotionally attached to him, and it’s clear she desperately wants to believe he’s innocent.

She can barely hide her disappointment when she finds out things that show Syed in a bad light. Her comments that Syed doesn’t seem like a killer are just crass. She comes across as an unwordly academic who has been sheltered from the real world in her ivory tower. 

She says she doesn’t buy the motive put forward by the prosecution i.e. Adnan Syed couldn’t deal with being dumped by Hae Min Lee and it erupted in violence.

In reality, people kill other people for the most banal and trivial reasons. She doesn’t seem to understand that there are seven billion on the planet and not everyone shares her logic and morals. There have been a number of high-profile murder cases where seemingly normal people have committed horrific and senseless murders with little or no motive.

And motive is not a required element in any common law jurisdiction.

She adopts a piecemeal cherrypicking approach to the evidence and analyses each piece of evidence in isolation from the other pieces of evidence. If there’s an alternative innocent explanation not matter how far-fetched it is, she wrongly assumes it nullifies that particular piece of evidence.

It’s no surprise she concludes there isn’t enough evidence to convict Adnan Syed of murder: “It’s not enough, to me, to send anyone to prison for life.”

She doesn’t understand the concept and application of the “beyond a reasonable doubt standard” and that all the pieces of evidence have to be considered wholly, not separately - by a jury actually present to size up all witnesses.

According to the Supreme Court of the United States in Victor. Nebraska (92-8894), 511 U.S. 1 (1994):

“...absolute or mathematical certainty is not required.”

“You may be convinced of the truth of a fact beyond a”¨reasonable doubt and yet be fully aware that possibly you may be mistaken.”

You put all the pieces of evidence together to see whether a picture of guilt emerges.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v. The Queen, [1977] 2 SCR 748:

“It may be, and such is often the case, that the facts proven by the Crown, examined separately have not a very strong probative value; but all the facts put in evidence have to be considered each one in relation to the whole, and it is all of them taken together, that may constitute a proper basis for a conviction.”






4. Main facts of the case against Adnan Syed

The key pieces of evidence in the case were the testimony of his friend Jay Wilds and the mobile phone records which destroyed Adnan Syed’s initial alibi that he was at the mosque on the evening of 13 January 1999 - the day Hae Min Lee disappeared- and corroborated Wilds’ claims that he and Adnan were in Leakin Park that evening.

This is significant because Hae Min Lee’s body was found in Leakin Park. There’s no question that Jay Wilds had inside knowledge about the murder - he led the police to Hae Min Lee’s car. He confessed to being an accessory to murder after the fact.

On 13 January 1999, Hae Min Lee was supposed to pick up her cousin from the Campfield Early Learning Center after school and take her home. She must have been abducted by her killer whilst on the way to the kindergarten.

This means the window of opportunity for her killer to abduct her was extremely narrow. It takes approximately 11 minutes to drive the 3.8 miles from Woodlawn High School to the kindergarten. 

Jay Wilds told the police that Adnan Syed’s plan was to get a lift with Hae Min Lee. Becky and Krista, who were friends with Hae and Syed, claim they heard him asking Hae for a lift on 13 January 1999. Scott Adcock, a police officer, testified that Syed had told him he had asked Hae for a lift that day.

Syed would later deny that he had asked Hae for a lift. Adnan Syed had lent Wilds his mobile phone and car that day. However, it should be pointed out that it wasn’t the first time that Syed had done this.

Kevin Urick, one of the prosecutors, acknowledged in his interview with The Intercept that the two key pieces of evidence - the mobile records and Jay Wilds’ testimony - are of weaker probative value when considered separately, but pointed out that when you put them together, they are strong pieces of evidence.

“Jay’s testimony by itself, would that have been proof beyond a reasonable doubt?” Urick asked rhetorically. “Probably not. Cellphone evidence by itself? Probably not.”

But, he said, when you put together cellphone records and Jay’s testimony, “they corroborate and feed off each other”“it’s a very strong evidentiary case.”

He also pointed out that the mobile phone records destroyed Adnan Syed’s alibi that he was at the mosque on the evening of 13 January 1999. From The Intercept:

“Yes. Early on in the Syed case, the defense sent us a disclosure of about eighty names stating that these were witnesses that were going to testify that Syed was at the mosque because it was Ramadan. He was praying all evening and that’s where he was [Intercept ed’s. note: We have corrected this in the introduction].

If they called those eighty witnesses, they would’ve obviously been testifying falsely, because the cellphone records in conjunction with all the evidence we gathered about the cellphone towers, who made the calls, who received them, place him everywhere but at the mosque.

The best defense an attorney can put on is the defense the client is telling them. But attorneys still are not supposed to put on fabricated evidence. And that would’ve been fabricated evidence. And I think once Gutierrez recognized that fact, she did not put it on.”

Adnan Syed chose not to testify at both his trials. If he had, Kevin Urick would have asked him a pertinent question.

“And my very last question would be, what is your explanation for why you either received or made a call from Leakin Park the evening that Hae Min Lee disappeared, the very park that her body was found in five weeks later?”

The mobile phone records also showed there was a call from his mobile phone to his friend Nisha’s landline at 3:32pm on the day Hae disappeared. This is significant because Jay Wilds didn’t know Nisha and Adnan Syed claims he didn’t have his phone at this time as Jay Wilds had it. The phone call lasted more than two minutes.

Sarah Koening speculates that the Nisha call could have been a “butt dial”.

Dana Chivvis, one of the “Serial” producers, puts the pieces of evidence together in episode 12 and seems to have serious reservations about Adnan Syed’s innocence.

“Adnan has always said it was his idea to loan Jay the car because he wanted to get Stefanie a birthday present right. So that’s pretty crappy luck that you loaned this guy who ends up pointing the finger at you for the murder that you loaned him your car and cell phone the day you ex-girlfriend goes missing. The next thing is that it seems pretty clear to me that Adnan asked Hae for a ride after school because we’ve got at least two of their friends saying they overheard him ask for a ride from Hae.

Adnan himself tells the cop that day he asked Hae for a ride. And In Jay’s first interview with the detectives, he says to them Adnan’s plan was to get in Hae’s car by telling her that his car was broken down and asking her for a ride. Then the next piece of bad luck is the Nisha call. I mean even if the Nisha call could potentially be a butt dial… in the realm of possibility maybe it was a butt dial, but what are the chances? Like that sucks for for you that your phone butt dialled the girl that only you know and would call on this day your ex-girlfriend goes missing that you happen to loan your car and phone out to the guy who ends up pointing the finger at you. That sucks.

And the last thing that I think really sucks for him if he’s innocent is that Jay’s story and the cell phone records match up from about 6 o’clock to about 8 o’clock which is when Jay is saying that you’re burying the body and that’s the time of day when you have no memory of where you were…But you Adnan you don’t really remember where you were that evening and that blank spot in your memory that’s the window of time when Jay’s story actually does seem to be corroborated by the cell phone records.”

It’s important to put the evidence that Dana Chivvis outlines into the wider context of Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee’s deteriorating relationship.

In November 1998, two months before Hae Min Lee was murdered, she wrote a break-up note to Syed telling him to move on, accept her decision to end their relationship, and to “hate me if you will.” On the back of the note Adnan Syed wrote: “I’m going to kill.”

Is it a coincidence that two months later that Hae Min Lee was killed?

Is it a coincidence that Adnan Syed can remember very little about this day even though it wasn’t an ordinary day because the police called him to tell that Hae was missing and asked him if he knew where she was?

Ann Brocklehurst wrote a blog article criticising Sarah Koenig for consistently minimising the warning signs of intimate partner violence and noted that she overlooked that fact that Hae had asked a teacher, Hope Schab, to help her hide from Syed.




5. Doubts Sarah Koenig tries to raise

Sarah Koenig seems to think that Asia McClain is a credible witness - she claims she saw Adan Syed in the library that afternoon. However, Kevin Urick points out why the judge in the post-conviction trial didn’t take her claim seriously.

“I think the judge in the post-conviction trial does a very good job of pointing out that in the letters to Syed, she is very vague and indifferent about what she’s doing. The difficulty comes from Syed. In all his statements about his whereabouts the day of the case he says that he was at the school from 2:15pm to 3:30pm.

He never once, in any statement, at any time, made any reference about being in the public library. His defense was that he was at the school from 2:30 to 3:30. So [Asia McClain’s] reporting seeing him at the public library contradicts what he says he was doing.”

Kevin Urick also stated that Asia McClain told him she was being put under a lot of pressure from Adnan Syed’s family.

“Asia contacted me before the post-conviction hearing, she got my number and called me and expressed to me a great deal of concern about whether or not she would have to testify at the post-conviction hearing. She told me she was under a lot of pressure from Adnan’s family and to get them off her back she wrote him a couple letters.

The implication was she was trying to appease them and she didn’t want to have to stick by it at that time. And I testified to that when I appeared in the post-conviction hearing.”

Sarah Koenig also seems to think that Jay Wilds’ testimony shouldn’t have been used to convict Adnan Syed because he gave conflicting accounts. Kevin Urick explained why these inconsistencies don’t discredit him as a witness.

“Like I said, people who are engaged in criminal activity, it’s like peeling an onion. The initial thing they say is, “˜I don’t know a thing about this.’ And then “˜Well, I sort of saw this.’ You get different stories as you go along. This is the real world. We don’t pick our witnesses, we have to put them on as they are. There were a lot of inconsistencies throughout Jay’s prior statements. Almost all of them involve what we would call collateral facts.

“A material fact is something directly related to the question of guilt or innocence. A material fact would have been, “˜I was with Adnan,’ and then you’ve got the cellphone corroborating that material fact. A collateral fact would be, We were at Joe’s Sub Shop,’ but then you find out actually they were at the auto repair store. That’s a collateral fact. It’s not necessarily material to the question of guilt or innocence. So, many of the material facts were corroborated through the cellphone records including being in Leakin Park.”

Sarah Koenig is not the only person who thinks Jay Wilds’ testimony shouldn’t have been used to convict Adnan Syed.

Civil lawyer Richard Dwyer says doesn’t believe Adnan Syed and thinks he might be guilty, but he states he shouldn’t have been convicted because Jay Wilds gave conflicting statements and the timeline wasn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

There seems to be a widespread misconception that the prosecution must be able to prove with absolute certainty each and every element of a second-by-second comprehensive timeline and that witness testimony must be discounted if there are any contradictions. 

The bottom line is the jury found Jay Wilds to be a credible witness and found Adnan Syed guilty of murder.

6. Some Conclusions

A biased and one-sided 12-part documentary presented by a partisan journalist doesn’t supercede a criminal trial where the jurors get to hear the defence and prosecution present their cases and watch witnesses being cross-examined in court.

Justice shouldn’t be a like a reality TV show where the public gets to decide whether someone convicted of murder should be allowed leave the big house. However, there’s no doubt that these types of documentaries do influence legal proceedings. A judge has recently ruled that Adnan Syed will be given another trial.

We can expect Adnan Syed’s supporters and a number of media organisations will try to influence the legal proceedings before and during the new trial. This couldn’t happen in the UK because of the sub judice rules which prevents the media from commenting on a case until a verdict is reached in order to prevent the jury from being swayed.

The Guardian recently published an article entitled “Adnan Syed is innocent. Now find Hae Min Lee’s real killer”, which was written by Adnan Syed’s chief advocate Rabia Chaudry. I hope the mainstream media provide balanced and factually accurate reports on the case - something they didn’t do when covering the Meredith Kercher case.

Journalists and the public should remember that a miscarriage of justices are not just cases where innocent people have been convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. They include cases where people have literally got away with murder. I can’t think of one documentary about such a case.

7. The reactions of Hae Min Lee’s family

Hae Min Lee’s family sat through the trials along with the juries and have no doubts that Adnan Syed killed her.

“It remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime, who destroyed our family, who refuses to accept responsibility, when so few are willing to speak up for Hae.”

Unlike Sarah Koenig or any of the 80 million people who downloaded the Serial podcasts, they actually attended every day of both trials, heard the arguments put forward from the defence and prosecution and saw the witnesses being cross-examined on the stand.

“unlike those who learn about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials ““ so many witnesses, so much evidence”.




Some Of The Main Sources

One: Serial Season One

Two: EXCLUSIVE: PROSECUTOR IN “˜SERIAL’ CASE GOES ON THE RECORD

Three: EXCLUSIVE: SERIAL PROSECUTOR DEFENDS GUILTY VERDICT IN ADNAN SYED CASE, PART II.

Four: Serial podcast rehabilitated a schoolgirl’s murderer, so where’s the feminist outrage?

Five: Serial case: victim’s family offers rare statement before hearing resumes

Six: Adnan Syed is innocent. Now find Hae Min Lee’s real killer

Seven: Syed Of ‘Serial’ Podcast Given Retrial

Eight: Serial Podcast Locations

Nine: “˜Serial’ takes the stand: How a podcast became a character in its own narrative

Ten: Serial Finale—Why I Don’t Believe Adnan Syed

 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Crime Of This Self Adulating Killer Is As Horrific As Self Adulating Knox’s Killing Of Meredith

Posted by Peter Quennell



When Knox is not salivating over her own sheer amazingness, she salivates over the sheer amazingness of other crimes and other criminals.

Knox would find much to salivate over in Pakistan, where hundreds of women are being brutally killed annually by relatives in honor killings - and some of those relatives get to be on TV gloating over their own sheer amazingness.

The strangulation of Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch 10 days ago by one of her six brothers initially inspired much praise for him among twisted “traditionalists” but this is being overtaken by shocked reactions worldwide and to an increasing extent in Pakistan.

Made more-so because the brother and the father have been claiming on TV they did the right thing.

The brother fled but is already captured and faces a probable death sentence. Pakistan’s government could now have to move much more strongly to stop all these honor killings.

There are already over 100 YouTubes, many in remembrance and protest, with combined views totaling several millions.

Below, an outraged commentary just posted, by Pakistani-Canadian Giana Sim. Terrific statement, Giana.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Carlo Dalla Vedova: Is ECHR Advised You Condoned Malicious Defamation By Knox Of Chief Prosecutor?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Carlo Dalla Vedova,

You are trying to make the ECHR believe that while Knox may have lied to the police it was only under immense illegal pressure.

Really?!  In effect your case is that Knox only lies and defames under extreme pressure?

Knox and her agent and her publishers all claim you okayed the Knox book Waiting To Be Heard before publication. If you had advised otherwise the book would never have been published.

Under our own analysis that book includes perhaps 600 lies and 100 defamations by Knox, written when she was under no pressure at all and seemingly simply intent on damaging people.

You provided the go-ahead for the book to be published in the 2013 hardcover and again, unrevised but with an addition, in the 2015 softcover. And those 600 and 100 are only the lies and defamations in the book. Knox is on record for numerous others.

Here is one of the most dangerous and destructive lies by Amanda Knox in that book.

As you know Dr Mignini was not even at the central police station when Amanda Knox was sitting with Rita Ficarra quite voluntarily building a list which you wrongly describe to the ECHR as an interrogation.

Days and days of trial testimony by all who actually were there on the night - which you and Knox both sat through - proved that Dr Mignini only saw Knox much later, to read her her rights and then be subjected to her beating his ear about Patrick.  Knox finished the written statement she insisted upon at 5:45 am.

Knox here is claiming in her book written under zero pressure that Dr Mignini conducted a highly illegal interrogation - in effect he committed crimes which could destroy his career and perhaps even put him in prison -when in fact he was at home in bed at the time.

This is the spurious Knox claim about Dr Mignini in English. An Italian translation is at the bottom.

[This is a partial description of Knox’s voluntary discussion with Rita Ficarra concluding 12:45 am. Dr Mignini was at home in bed at the time.]
Eventually they told me the pubblico ministero would be coming in.
I didn’t know this translated as prosecutor, or that this was the magistrate that Rita Ficarra had been referring to a few days earlier when she said they’d have to wait to see what he said, to see if I could go to Germany.
I thought the “public minister” was the mayor or someone in a similarly high “public” position in the town and that somehow he would help me.
They said, “You need to talk to the pubblico ministero about what you remember.”
I told them, “I don’t feel like this is remembering. I’m really confused right now.” I even told them, “I don’t remember this. I can imagine this happening, and I’m not sure if it’s a memory or if I’m making this up, but this is what’s coming to mind and I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
They said, “Your memories will come back. It’s the truth. Just wait and your memories will come back.”
The pubblico ministero came in.
Before he started questioning me, I said, “Look, I’m really confused, and I don’t know what I’m remembering, and it doesn’t seem right.”
One of the other police officers said, “We’ll work through it.”
Despite the emotional sieve I’d just been squeezed through, it occurred to me that I was a witness and this was official testimony, that maybe I should have a lawyer. “Do I need a lawyer?” I asked.
He said, “No, no, that will only make it worse. It will make it seem like you don’t want to help us.”
It was a much more solemn, official affair than my earlier questioning had been, though the pubblico ministero was asking me the same questions as before: “What happened? What did you see?”
I said, “I didn’t see anything.”
“What do you mean you didn’t see anything? When did you meet him?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Where did you meet him?”
“I think by the basketball court.” I had imagined the basketball court in Piazza Grimana, just across the street from the University for Foreigners.
“I have an image of the basketball court in Piazza Grimana near my house.”
“What was he wearing?”
“I don’t know.”
“Was he wearing a jacket?”
“I think so.”
“What color was it?”
“I think it was brown.”
“What did he do?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I’m confused!”
“Are you scared of him?”
“I guess.”
I felt as if I were almost in a trance. The pubblico ministero led me through the scenario, and I meekly agreed to his suggestions.
“This is what happened, right? You met him?”
“I guess so.”
“Where did you meet?”
“I don’t know. I guess at the basketball court.”
“You went to the house?”
“I guess so.”
“Was Meredith in the house?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Did Patrick go in there?”
“I don’t know, I guess so.”
“Where were you?”
“I don’t know. I guess in the kitchen.”
“Did you hear Meredith screaming?”
“I don’t know.”
“How could you not hear Meredith screaming?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I covered my ears. I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m just imagining this. I’m trying to remember, and you’re telling me I need to remember, but I don’t know. This doesn’t feel right.”
He said, “No, remember. Remember what happened.”
“I don’t know.”
At that moment, with the pubblico ministero raining questions down on me, I covered my ears so I could drown him out.
He said, “Did you hear her scream?”
I said, “I think so.”
My account was written up in Italian and he said, “This is what we wrote down. Sign it.”

And here is the same spurious Knox claim about Dr Mignini in Italian.

Alla fine mi dissero che sarebbe entrato il pubblico ministero.
Non sapevo che fosse l’accusa, o che fosse il magistrato a cui si riferiva Rita Ficarra qualche giorno prima, quando aveva detto che bisognava aspettare di sapere cosa avrebbe detto lui, per vedere se potevo andare in Germania. Pensavo che “pubblico ministero” fosse il sindaco o qualcuno che detenesse una carica politica simile in città  e che, in qulche modo, mi avrebbe aiutata.
Dissero, “Devi parlare col pubblico ministero di ciò che ricordi.”
Dissi loro, “Non credo che questo sia ricordare. Sono davvero confusa in questo momento.” Gli dissi perfino, “Non mi ricordo di tutto ciò. Riesco ad immaginarlo, ma non sono sicura se sia un ricordo o se lo stia solo immaginando, ma è quello che mi viene in mente e non so. Davvero non so.”
Dissero, “I tuoi ricordi torneranno. E’ la verità . Aspetta e ti ritornerà  la memoria.”
Entrò il pubblico ministero.
Prima che iniziasse a interrogarmi, dissi, “Guardi, sono davvero confuse, e non so cosa sto ricordando e non mi sembra giusto.”
Uno degli ufficiali di polizia disse, “Ci lavoreremo su.”
Nonostante il setaccio emotivo per il quale ero passata, realizzai che ero una testimone e che quella era una testimonianza ufficiale, che forse avrei dovuto avere un avvocato. “Ho bisogno di un avvocato?” chiesi.
Disse, “No, no, peggiorerebbe solo le cose. Sembrerebbe che tu non voglia aiutarci.”
Era una situazione molto più solenne e ufficiale dei miei precedenti interrogatori, benché il pubblico ministero mi stava facendo le stesse domande che mi avevano già  posto: “Cosa è successo? Cosa hai visto?”
Dissi, “Non ho visto niente.”
“Cosa intendi dire con non ho visto niente? Quando l’hai incontrato?”
“Non so,” dissi.
“Dove l’hai incontrato?”
“Al campo da basket, credo.” Avevo immaginato il campo da basket a Piazza Grimana, proprio al di là  della strada dall’ Università  per Stranieri.
“Ho un’immagine del campo da basket a Piazza Grimana, vicino casa mia.”
“Cosa indossava?”
“Non so.”
“Indossava una giacca?”
“Credo di si.”
“Di che colore era?”
“Credo che fosse marrone.”
“Cosa ha fatto?”
“Non lo so.”
“Cosa vuol dire che non lo sai?”
“Sono confusa!”
“Hai paura di lui?”
“Suppongo.”
Mi sembrava di essere quasi in trance. Il pubblico ministero mi guidò in uno scenario e io concordai docilmente con i suoi suggerimenti.
“E’ successo questo, giusto? Lo hai incontrato?”
“Suppongo di si.”
“Dove lo hai incontrato?”
“Non lo so. Al campo da basket, suppongo.”
“Siete andati a casa?”
“Credo di si.”
“Meredith era casa?”
“Non ricordo.”
“Patrick é entrato?”
“Non so, crdo di si.”
“Dove vi trovavate?”
“Non lo so. Nella cucina, suppongo.”
“Hai sentito Meredith urlare?”
“Non lo so.”
“Come potevi non sentire Meredith urlare?”
“Non lo so. Forse mi sono coperta le orecchie. Non lo so, non so se mi sto solo immaginando tutto. Sto cercando di ricordare e voi mi dite che devo ricordare, ma non lo so. Non mi sembra che sia la cosa giusta.”
Disse, “No, ricorda. Ricorda cosa é successo.”
“Non lo so.”
In quel momento, mentre il pubblico ministero mi tempestava di domande, mi coprii le orecchie, così da non sentirlo.
Disse, “L’hai sentita urlare?”
Dissi, “Credo di si.”
La mia dichiarazione era scritta in italiano e lui mi disse, “Questo é quello che abbiamo messo a verbale. Firmalo.”


Monday, May 23, 2016

Carlo Dalla Vedova, Is ECHR Made Aware Italian Law REQUIRES Lawyers To First File Local Complaints?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Carlo Dalla Vedova,

You are aware of this, right? It is not optional: if Italian clients credibly claim police abuse, their lawyers MUST lodge a complaint.

This is a serious requirement in Italian law, which looks to protect the client while heading off innuendo and frivolous appeals years down the road.  Under the principle of infedele patrocinio (betrayal of the interest of the client), if you really believed Knox’s varying claims that she was abused, it seems you’d have no choice but to lodge a formal complaint. 

Not only was no formal complaint that we know of ever filed by you, and so no investigation ever begun, summaries of your ECHR case by Cassazione and by ECHR itself make no mention of any process having been followed. They specifically ask you about this. 

The ECHR quotes in full a letter to you from Amanda Knox dated 9 November 2007 claiming at length that police abuse explained why she was “confused” at the so-called “interrogation” of 5-6 November 2007.

But the ECHR seems to have not been made aware that you never passed this letter on to any prosecutor or any judge.  In fact, you provide it as evidence only now. Why was this not made clear?

And even more daunting for your appeal, your legal colleague Luciano Ghirga at Rudy Guede’s trial late in 2008 specifically said this - in effect, the exact opposite of your current claim.

“There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.”

Now the ECHR in its first response to your submission is asking some questions of fact. It has addressed this first question to you.

1. Has the applicant exhausted the domestic remedies available to her to complain about the violation of Article 3 of the Convention, concerning the slaps (scappellotti) allegedly suffered, and under Articles 6 §§ 1 and 3 a), c) and e) and 8 of the Convention?

It appears that no, Knox the applicant never did initiate the formal process to seek a remedy through Italian law. The point is one that ends the ECHR appeal process all by itself if the answer is no.

    (1) because of the obvious status of inadmissibility of the application under the ECHR rules (no domestic remedy was first attempted),

    (2) because of its damaging probative value for assessing the credibility of the version of facts provided by the applicant.

You will of course know of the legal provisions under Italian law about which the ECHR may not yet be aware:

    (1) the crimes of beating (cp 581), or physical violence or threat (cp. 610-612) require the victim to file a complaint in order to allow prosecution of the charge, otherwise investigation cannot be initiated;

    (2) the Ethics Code of lawyers requires a defence attorney to file a charge if he/she collects a claim by a client under detention, and to properly inform the client about the necessity to file a complaint;

    (3) if a lawyer is informed by a client under detention that the same client suffered violence or offence by authorities, and does not take proper legal steps, the lawyer would commit the extremely serious criminal offence of infedele patrocinio (betrayal of the interest of client) besides breaching the Ethics Code;

    (4) a defence attorney is also required to object any irregularity of breach of the code that could be suffered by the client, namely, in any particular case, if the applicant’s current claims had been made at the time, the lawyers should have denounced the breach of Procedure Code claiming that a prosecution interrogation had taken place (thus, that would mean breaching the Procedure code that prevents prosecution from questioning a suspect prior to his/her appearance before a judge)

So, in summary, no formal complaint ever seems to have been filed allowing local investigations to begin. And the failure to initiate the procedure for domestic remedy by the applicant on this claim could be a crime under Italian law if Knox had insisted on it.

And it would seem to render the request inadmissible on this point. It also undermines any possible credibility of the claim itself. Regardless of whoever dropped the ball here, lawyer or client, it does not bode well.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

On April 26 Possible Sentences For Oggi For Publishing Defamations By Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell



Umberto Brindani, editor of Oggi, and Giangavino Sulas, veteran crime reporter

Outcome: OGGI caved, as it really had no defense (other than that Knox had extensively lied), and this was settled out of court.

This is still highly worth a read as it lists Knox’s false claims in Part 2 and all our rebuttals in Part 3.

OGGI seems to have steered clear of the case since. Smart move.

1. New Court Development In Italy

The Italian mafias have used three main weapons against the judiciary: bribes, slanders, and blowing them up.

As a result judges and prosecutors are protected in various ways. One is to make it a felony crime to maliciously defame them to try to throw trials off-course.

We are 1/3 of the way through Chimera’s elucidation of the 100 or so criminal felonies in Knox’s book, and the other two posts will follow next.

The first of what could be numerous trials of those who published them and repeated them is now approaching its climax.

This is the trial of Umberto Brindani, the editor of the weekly magazine Oggi, and Giangavino Sulas, a veteran crime reporter on his staff.

They have put up what amounts to zero defense, and on tuesday the chief prosecutor requested the judge to impose prison sentences of six years. Even if those sentences are minimised under Italian rules and no time will be served, each will still have a criminal record for life.

A guilty verdict bodes badly for Amanda Knox and her book agent Bob Barnett, her publishers, her lawyers, and her fellow-travelers, who could then all be easy targets for Italian prosecutors in future trials. 

The foolish and uncomprehending Joel Simon of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, who knows nothing about WHY Italian prosecutors are protected from criminal defamations, could also find himself in the crosshairs. 

Here below, from our posts of 12 May 2013, are Oggi’s paraphrasings of Knox’s claims (translation by Catnip) and our own rebuttals of those same claims.

2. Knox’s Defamatory Claims In Oggi

Amanda Knox: The American girl’s sensational story

Chilling. No other adjectives come to mind after having read Waiting to be Heard, finally released in the United States. An extremely detailed and very serious charge against the police and magistrates who conducted the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Immediately after the crime, Amanda recounts, and for entire days and nights, they had interrogated the American girl and placed her under pressure to make her confess to a non-existent truth, without officially investigating her, denying her the assistance of a lawyer, telling her lies, even prohibiting her from going to the bathroom and giving her smacks so as to make her sign a confession clearly extorted with something similar to torture.

And now the situation is very simple. There are only two choices: either Amanda is writing lies, and as a consequence the police officers and magistrates are going to have to sue her for defamation; or else she is telling the truth, and so they are going to have to go, not without being sanctioned by the CSM [the magistrates’ governing body] and the top brass of the Police. The third possibility, which is to pretend that nothing has happened, would be shameful for the credibility of our judicial system.

Amanda Knox has written her Waiting to be Heard memoir with the sense of revulsion and of relief of someone who has escaped by a hair’s breadth from a legal disaster, but has got her sums wrong. Cassation has decided that the [appeal] proceedings have to be redone and the hearings should be (re)commencing in October before the Florence Court of Appeal.

In a USA Today interview, Ms Knox has not excluded the possibility of “returning to Italy to face this battle too”, but it would be a suicidal decision: it’s likely that the appeal will result in a conviction, and the Seattle girl will end up in the black hole from which she has already spent 1,427 days.

In this way Waiting to be Heard risks being the “film” on which Amanda’s last words are recorded about the Mystery of Perugia, her definitive version.

We have read a review copy. And we were dumbfounded. Waiting to be Heard is a diary that has the frenetic pace of a thriller, written in a dry prose (behind the scenes is the hand of Linda Kulman, a journalist at the Huffington Post), even “promoted” by Michiko Kakutani, long-time literary critic at the New York Times.

The most interesting part does not concern the Raffaele Sollecito love story (which Amanda reduces it to puppy love: “With the feeling, in hindsight, I knew that he… that we were still immature, more in love with love than with each other”), and whoever goes looking for salacious details about the three Italian boys Amanda had casual sex with, one night stands, will be frustrated (Ms Knox describes those enounters with the nonchalance of an entomologist disappointed with his experiments: “We undressed, we had sex, I got dressed again with a sense of emptiness”).

There are no scoops about the night of the murder and even the many vicissitudes endured during the 34,248 hours spent in Capanne prison ““ the [claimed] sexual molestations suffered under two guards, the unexpected kiss planted by a bisexual cellmate, the threats made by another two prisoners ““ remain on the backdrop, like colourful notations.

Because what is striking and upsetting, in the book, is the minute descriptions, based on her own diaries, on the case documents and on a prodigious memory, of how Ms Knox had been incriminated (or “nailed”).

COME IN KAFKA. A Kafkian account in which the extraordinary naivety of Amanda (the word naïve, ingénue, is the one which recurs most often in the 457 pages of the book) mixes with the strepitous wickedness of the investigators decided on “following a cold and irrational trail because they had nothing better in hand”.

Devour the first 14 chapters and ask yourself: is it possible that the Police and Italian justice work with such incompetence, ferocity, and disdain for the truth? You place yourself in her situation and you scare yourself: If it happened to me? You’re in two minds: is it a likely accusation, or a squalid calumny, the version of Amanda?

Because in reading it you discover that in the four days following the discovery of Meredith Kercher’s body (on 2 November 2007), Amanda was interrogated continuously, and without the least of procedural guarantees [=due process].

She changes status from witness to suspect without being aware of it.” No one had told me my rights, no one had told me that I could remain silent”, she writes. When she asked if she had the right to a lawyer, the Public Prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, had responded like this: “No, no, that will only worsen things: it would mean that you don’t want to help us”. Thus, the Public Prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini.

For a long period of time, Ms Knox, who at the time spoke and understood hardly any Italian at all, mistook him for the Mayor of Perugia, come to the police station to help her.

Then, with the passage of time and of the pages, the assessment changes: Mignini is a prosecutor “with a bizarre past”, investigated for abuse of office (he was convicted at first instance, but Cassation annulled the verdict on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction: the case will be held in Torino ““ ndr) and with the hunger to fabricate “strange stories to solve his cases”.

Mignini “is a madman who considers his career more important than my liberty or the truth about the killing of Meredith”. On the phone, the Perugian prosecutor reacts with aplomb: “First I will read the book and then I will consider it. Certainly, if it really calls me “˜mad’ or worse, I think I will file suit”.

BEING IN PRISON IS LIKE CAMPING Amanda goes looking. When the officers mysteriously bring her along to the crime scene inspection of the apartment below the one in which she and Meredith were living in, Ms Knox put on the shoe protectors and the white forensics gloves and called out Ta-dah! spreading her arms “as if I was at the start of a musical: I wanted to appear helpful”.

When they dragged her in handcuffs into Capanne Prison, she believed what the Police would have told her, and that was they would hide her for a couple of days to protect her (from the true killer, one presumes) and for unspecified bureaucratic reasons. “In my head I was camping: “˜This won’t last more than a week in the mountains’, I told myself,” writes Amanda.

They take her money off her, and her credit cards, licence and passport, and she draws strength from repeating to herself that “surely they’re not going to give me a uniform, seeing that I’m a special case and that I’ll be here for only a little while”.

But it’s the account of the notorious interrogation that takes the breath away. Around ten in the evening on her last day of freedom, Ms Knox accompanies Raffaele to the police station (he was called in, also without a lawyer, by the Police) and is thrown into a nightmare which she populates with many faces: there is Officer Rita Ficcara, who gives her two cuffs on the head (“To help you remember,” she would say); there’s another officer who advises her: “If you don’t help us, you’ll end up in prison for 30 years”; Mignini arrives and advises her not to call a lawyer; super-policewoman Monica Napoleoni dives in and bluffs: “Sollecito has dropped your alibi: he says that on the night of the murder you had left his apartment and that you had told him to lie to “˜cover you’”.

And a crescendo of yelling and intimidations that lasts from 11 at night until 5.45 in the morning. Seven hours “produce” two confessions that, exactly because they are made without a defence lawyer, cannot be used in the proceedings, but forever after “stain” the image of the accused Knox: Amanda places herself at the scene of the crime and accuses Patrick Lumumba.

RAFFAELE CONFIRMS THE ACCUSATIONS An account of the horror is confirmed by Sollecito in his memoir, Honor Bound, Raffaele writes of having heard “the police yelling at Amanda and then the cries and sobs of my girl, who was yelling “˜Help!’ in Italian in the other room”, and of having being threatened in his turn (“If you try to get up and go, I’ll punch you till you’ll bleed and I’ll kill you. I’ll leave you in a pool of blood”, another officer had whispered to him).

Published lines which have passed right under the radar of the Perugian investigators: “No legal action [against the interrogators] has been notified to us,” Franco Sollecito, Raffaele’s dad, tell us. For having recounted the sourness of her interrogation in court, Amanda was investigated for calunnia: the trial will take place in Florence. This one, too, will be a circumstantial case: it’s the word of two young people against that of the public prosecutor and the police.

The recording of the interrogation would have unveiled which side the truth stands on. But it has gone missing.


3. Our Rebuttals Of Knox’s Claims

  • Knox was NOT interrogated for days and nights. She was put under no pressure in her brief witness interviews except possibly by Sollecito who had just called their latest alibi “a pack of lies”.

  • Knox WAS officially investigated in depth, after she surprisingly “confessed” and placed herself and Patrick at the scene. Prior to that she’d been interviewed less than various others, who each had one consistent alibi.

  • Knox herself pushed to make all three statements without a lawyer on the night of 5-6 November 2007 in which she claimed she went out from Sollecito’s house, met Patrick, and witnessed him killing Meredith.

  • Far from Knox being denied a lawyer, discussions were stopped before the first statement and not resumed, in the later hearing she was formally warned she needed one; she signed a confirmation of this in front of witnesses.

  • Prosecutor Mignini who Knox accuses of telling her a lawyer would hurt her prospects when she claims she asked for one was not even in the police station at that interview; he was at home.

  • She was not prohibited from going to the bathroom. At trial, she testified she was treated well and was frequently offered refreshments. Her lawyers confirmed this was so.

  • She was not given smacks by anyone. Over a dozen witnesses testified that she was treated well, broke into a conniption spontaneously, and thereafter was hard to stop talking.

  • There is no evidence whatsoever that Knox was subject to “something similar to torture” and as mentioned above only Sollecito applied any pressure, not any of the police.

  • There is nothing “suicidal” about returning to Italy to defend herself at the new appeal. Sollecito did. She risks an international arrest warrant and extradition if she doesn’t.

  • There is no proof except for her own claims of sexual molestations in prison; she is a known serial liar; and she stands out for an extreme willingness to talk and write about sex.

  • Many people have testified she was treated well in prison: her own lawyers, a member of parliament, and visitors from the US Embassy were among them; she herself wrote that it was okay.

  • She may have based her account on her diaries and “prodigious memory” but the obviously false accusation against the prosecutor suggests that much of the book was made up.

  • The investigators had a great deal of evidence against Knox in hand, not nothing, and they were not ever faulted for any action; they helped to put on a formidable case at trial in 2009.

  • “Police and Italian justice work with such incompetence, ferocity, and disdain for the truth” is contradicted by a very complete record prior to trial which was praised by the Supreme Court.

  • Mr Mignini has NO bizarre past at all. He is widely known to be careful and fair. He would not have been just promoted to first Deputy Prosecutor General of Umbria otherwise.

  • He was put on trial by a rogue prosecutor desperate to protect his own back from Mignini’s investigations; the Supreme Court has killed the trumped up case dead.

  • There was nothing “mysterious” about Knox being taken to the crime scene to see if any knives were gone, but her wailing panic when she saw the knives was really “mysterious”.

  • Knox never thought she was in prison for her own protection; she had signed an agreement at the 5:00 am interview confirming she did know why she was being held.

  • Monica Napoleoni did not “bluff” that Sollecito had just trashed their joint alibi; he actually did so, because his phone records incriminated him; he agreed to that in writing.

  • There was no crescendo of “yelling and intimidations that lasts from 11 at night until 5.45”. There were two relatively brief sessions. Knox did most of the talking, named seven possible perps, and drew maps.

  • There was zero legal requirement to record the recap/summary interview, no recording has “gone missing” and many officers present testified to a single “truth” about what happened.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Case Of Russell Williams: What a ‘‘Set-Up’’ Police Interview Really Looks Like

Posted by Chimera

Russell Williams’s “Compressed” Interview 2 Hours 40 Minutes Long

1. Post Overview

This contrast’s Knox’s claimed trick “interrogation” and “confession” with one known to be real.

Russell Williams, unbelievably, was a Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and the Commanding Officer at Trenton Air Force Base.

(From Wikipedia) From July 2009 to his arrest in February 2010, he commanded CFB Trenton, a hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad and the country’s largest and busiest military airbase. Williams was also a decorated military pilot who had flown Canadian Forces VIP aircraft for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and the Governor General and Prime Minister of Canada.


2. Williams First Association With Crimes

It is early February 2010. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating 4 incidents in a region of Southern Ontario, believing they are connected.  They are, 2 unsolved sexual assaults, the sexual assault and murder a military flight commander, Marie-France Comeau, and the January 28 disappearance of a woman named Jessica Lloyd.

While Lloyd’s disappearance was still ongoing, a witness came forward and reported seeing an SUV-type vehicle nearby.  Police follow up and find tire tracks in that location.  They then go about trying to match those tracks to a particular vehicle.  Roadchecks are set up along various roads.

Williams gets caught in the checkpoint, and the police notice that the tires on his Nissan Pathfinder are identical to those tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home.  Williams is let go, but under 24 hour surveillance at that point.

3. Narrative Of Williams Interview

It is Sunday, February 7, 2010. Williams is called into police headquarters to answer questions.  He arrives at 3pm, and stunningly, he is wearing the same boots he wore to Jessica Lloyd’s house.  Either moronic, or bold.

The interview starts off casually, though Williams is asked for evidence to prove he is not involved: DNA, fingerprints, and bootprints. 

Watch the video above, Williams is in shock when the topic of bootprints comes up.  At 6pm Det-Sergeant Smyth drops the bombshell:

(1) tire tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home are from his vehicle;

(2) those are his bootprints behind her house;

(3) the DNA is about to be matched;

(4) the homes are being searched, and the vehicle seized.

Williams realizes at this point that he has been tricked, that it was a setup all along.

Confession “To Spare His Wife”

Williams did come clean about 5 hours into the interrogation.  The reason: to spare his wife the added trauma and humiliation of the police tearing the homes apart.

He rationalized that if he simply told the police where to find evidence, they would take it and go.  At that point, it was about all he could do.

(from Wikipedia) On October 21, 2010, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences for first-degree murder, two 10-year sentences for other sexual assaults, two 10-year sentences for forcible confinement, and 82 one-year sentences for breaking and entering, all to be served concurrently.

Civil Courts Follow-up

Williams’ wife, Mary Harriman did take control of the couple’s multiple properties in Ontario.  She sought a divorce, which has dragged on for years, and did try to get the proceedings banned from publication.

The problem, according to the victims and the families is that this transfer from him to her amounts to FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE.

In plain English, the allegations are that Williams transferred everything to his wife in order to avoid having it seized by lawsuits.  Williams claimed he sold it (cheaply) to his wife since he was serving a life sentence and not likely to ever need it again.

Ms. Harriman is now also being forced to testify about the true nature of their marriage for civil matters.  The argument being advanced is that she either knew what was going on, and could not be that oblivious—in light of the shear volume of trophies Williams kept.

Wife of serial killer Russell Williams loses court battle

OPP detective used ‘Reid technique’ to get Russell Williams to confess

World’s Greatest Police Interrogator: Detective Jim Smyth

4. The Narrative Of Knox’s Interview

Knox showed up unexpectedly at the Questura the evening of November 5, 2007.  Sollecito had been called in—alone— to clear up inconsistencies in his stories.

Knox went anyway, and remained even when told to leave.  She was told by Inspector Ficarra that if she really wanted to help, she could put together a list of possible suspects who may have visited the house.  She agreed.

Sollecito, when shown proof in his phone records that contradicted his story, threw Knox under the bus.  He claimed that AK went out alone, he stayed inside and used the computer, and that Knox came back several hours later.  RS claims AK asked him to lie, and that he didn’t think of the inconsistencies at the time.

Knox, on the other hand, thought that RS had actually accused her of murder, not just pulled her alibi.  AK is shocked, and fakes a crying fit. 

She then responds by throwing—someone else completely—under the bus.  Not Sollecito.  Not Guede.

Of course once it turns out that PL is completely innocent, police and prosecutors don’t believe anything she says at this point.

The Knox Interrogation Hoax

#1 Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

#2 Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

#3 More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

#4 More Hard Realities From Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

#5 Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

#6 Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

#7 Full Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini To Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

#8 Testimony Of Interpreter Donnino And Central Police Officer Giobbi

#9 Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

5. Contrasts And Similarities

1-A The Williams case above is a clear instance of police luring in a suspect under the pretense of a ‘‘background interview’‘.  The Ontario Provincial Police spent days trying to put together a profile and work up a method of questioning such a suspect.  And it took Det. Sergeant Jim Smyth just 3 hours to get Williams to crack.

1-B Knox, on the other hand, showed up uninvited to the police station, most likely to keep RS on a short leash.  She not only wasn’t invited, but was told to leave.  She cracked when RS revoked her alibi.

2-A Williams says his main motivation in confessing was to spare his wife extra humiliation, and destruction to the houses.

2-B Knox, on the other hand, threw a totally innocent person, Lumumba, to the wolves.  She also has no qualms about protracting the publicity, and milking her ‘‘celebrity’‘.

3-A Williams wore the same boots to the police station

3-B Sollecito brought his knife to the police station, and had similar shoes to Guede

4-A Williams was nailed by his bootprints

4-B Knox was cast under suspicion by a shoeprint, and bare footprints nailed both AK and RS

5-A Williams wife illegally profited by taking the property in order to stave off having it seized

5-B AK and RS illegally profited by having other people (Kuhlman and Gumbel) write blood money books for them.

6. Analysis Of Williams Interview

This excellent analysis is one hour long.

 

 


Saturday, March 05, 2016

Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell




The Italian Justice System

Any faithful adherents of this campaign know that, in two respects, Italy’s popular justice system is very unusual. 

First, crime-rates and especially murder-rates are low by European standards and very low by American standards and its incarceration rate is only 1/6 that of the United States. At the same time it still does suffer under the presence of several mafias and their fellow travelers and nefarious cousins the rogue masons and corrupt politicians.

Second, Italy’s justice system was set up post WWII to be exceptionally fair to defendants and in subsequent reforms even more-so, for example all appeals are automatic and “fairness” process steps can stretch on for years. And yet even so, the mafias and their fellow travelers and rogue masons and corrupt politicians bend the system even more now and then to their advantage.

The Knox-Sollecito-Guede case played out in these contexts and was unquestionably corrupted.

There has still been zero attempt to repudiate these accusations of law-breaking by Judges Marasca and Bruno of the Fifth Chambers of Cassation. Sollecito’s several visits to the Caribbean hideyhole of these relatives to try to pull strings is known about on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Italian justice system does not give up easily. Multi-prong law-enforcement and media investigations do continue into those angles and other angles. To our occasional frustration they mostly play out behind the scenes. But clearly the case will not be not fully over for some years yet.

International Votes Of Approval

If countries agree to extradite to other countries, that suggests a high degree of trust in justice at both ends. They are in effect voting confidence in each other’s justice systems.

Italy achieves an exceptionally high rate of extraditions in both directions and continues to sign more bilateral treaties.

It is clearly trusted almost worldwide as a destination where those charged will receive a fair shake. And it is very no-nonsense about sending back fleeing felons who try to go to ground there.

Had Amanda Knox’s final appeal not been corrupted, it is extremely unlikely that any a-political judge in the United States would have concluded Italian police and prosecutors had done a poor job and refused to extradite her. Right now she would be serving out her much-deserved time in a nice Italian prison.

The CIA Operatives Case (Resumed)

Now back in the news is the Abu Omar kidnapping case. Remember that one? We posted on it frequently. See our posts here and here and here and here.

Milan CIA Chief Robert Lady and over 20 other CIA agents and several Italian agents kidnapped Abu Omar - a suspected radical who actually had zero involvement in terrorism - and most received prison sentences, some later anulled but not all of them.

For murky reasons Italy’s Ministry of Justice never formally requested the United States to extradite the operatives.

But they did initiate both European and worldwide arrest warrants (red notices) which are close to being the equivalent - they create a kind of living hell, label fugitives as felons worldwide, and make all their foreign travel parlous.

The fugitive Milan chief Robert Lady quietly set himself up in Panama which then had no extradition treaty with Italy. Panama was about to hand him over anyway, but he skipped out on an American aircraft. He was last heard from somewhere in the US lamenting that he is flat-broke (Italy seized his planned retirement home, his main asset) and not in good health and was muttering about suing the CIA or the State Department.

The President of the Italian Republic - the head of the justice system - did agree last year to reduce his sentence from nine to seven years.

Operative Sabrina de Souza

Sabrina de Souza (who has joint US and Portuguese citizenship) was another CIA operative the Italians have long wanted.

You can see her image above and in this report where she too was muttering about a lawsuit against the US government.

Five months ago, Sabrina de Souza was nabbed in Portugal and the Portuguese justice system observed due process in examining the arrest and extradition warrants.

It now seems likely that Sabrina de Souza will become the first CIA operative in the case to serve time in an Italian prison.

The US is not intervening, even though she may spill the beans in a way that could be embarrassing (well, embarrassing for the GW Bush legacy).

Our Own Learning Experience

Note that this case is five years older than Meredith’s case - the crime was in 2003 and trial in 2009 - and yet the legal processes keep ticking.

And Knox faces known further trials, and may not be safe from a red notice during her lifetime.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

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

Posted by Chimera



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

Son of Sam Anti Bloodmoney Laws

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

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

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

BC’s Robert Pickton Serial Killer Case

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

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

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

[0:07] Undercover - No.  No shit.

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

[0:26] Pickton - DNA

[0:28] Undercover - Fuck

[0:30] Pickton - Yeah

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

[0:44] Pickton - They got DNA

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

[0:56] Pickton - Oh really?

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

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

[1:15] Undercover - Who?

[1:16] Pickton - Me

[1:17] Undercover - No. huh?

[1:34] Pickton - A rendering plant.

[1:36] Undercover - Hey?

[1:36] Pickton - A rendering plant.

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

[1:44] Pickton - Mmm hmmm

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

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

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

Robert Picton’s Attempt At A Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Partial Timeline

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

    December 2006: Jury selection takes place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Present State Of The Case

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

Posted by Chimera on 03/02 at 11:06 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Other legal processesThose elsewhereThe wider contextsN America contextComments here (4)

Friday, February 26, 2016

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

Posted by Chimera


Overview

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

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

Some Gotti/Gravano history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gambino family highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpts From the Video

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

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

3:25 (Gravano)  Here I am

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

3:36 (Gravano)  I think I am.

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

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

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

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

3:59 (Sawyer)  Double crosser?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6:49 (Gravano) 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

18:09 (Sawyer)  You were excited?

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

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

18:40 (Sawyer)  You were a player?

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

No comment needed.

Other parallels with our pair

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


A Final Thought:

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

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


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Italy Fights For Justice For A Murdered Student As The UK Government Never Did

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: a minute’s silence in the Italian parliament for Giulio Regeni an Italian student found slain in Cairo a few days ago.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in a village in northern Italy for the funeral of Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge PhD student found tortured and dead in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo last week.

Flags were flying at half-mast in Fiumicello, where villagers offered spare rooms and couches for the 28-year-old’s friends and family, as the diplomatic fallout from his death continued in Rome.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, warned Egypt that the health of the relationship between the two countries rested on the quality of the investigation into Regeni’s killing.

Compare with how the UK government reacted after Meredith died. Basically it looked the other way. Many in Italian justice were amazed at how totally disinterested the UK government was in the case in all the years since Meredith’s death.

The US government sprang into action to help Knox and to make sure she was treated right, though there was no proof the Italians would do anything but. They found her a Rome lawyer with good English (Carlos Dalla Vedova) and monitored all her court sessions and her four years in Capanne.

This came at a probable cost of over half a million dollars. And that is just the public support. Nobody ever said “the Federal budget cannot stand this”.

The extent of the British government in pushing justice for Meredith and her family? Exactly zero over the years.

Nothing was ever paid toward the legal costs or the very high travel costs of the Kercher family to be in court as the family finances ran into the ground. Nobody from the Foreign Office in London or the UK Embassy in Rome observed in court except in Florence, just the once.

Appalling pro-Knox Italy-bashing in the UK media based on highly inaccurate accounts was never tamped down - presumably because the Foreign Office was itself in the dark, and did not have a clue what was going on.

The ugly message this sent to the world?  If you are going to be a student in foreign trouble, be an American or Italian. Not a Brit.

However, years after four-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal, the UK government is spending heavily to right a possible wrong there.  Back in 2007 Meredith’s case and Madeleine’s case began just a few weeks apart.

Maybe to right a possible wrong in Italy, the UK government could do likewise here.



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Prime Minister Renzi’s Proposed Reforms Might Have Received A Strange Nudge

Posted by Peter Quennell





So the President of Iran and the Prime Minister of Italy sit in a museum in Rome and stare at… a horse.

You probably know by now that eight nude statues in a Rome museum, male and female, were boxed up on somebody’s orders when the President of Iran visited to discuss several multi-billion-dollar deals.

It was hard to see any relevance of the resultant fuss to our case at all, but the New York Times helps us out.

As a consequence of Boxgate, Italy has suffered ridicule. Nothing is worse than ridicule. Here it is merited. Not so much, I would argue, for Italy’s clumsy attempt at courtesy, for courtesy is important and has become an undervalued virtue. Reading the fall of the West into the concealment of a nude is going too far. Mistakes happen.

No, the ridicule is merited because the decision to hide the works of art was, it seems, made by nobody. In Rome, the buck stops nowhere.

The Capitoline Venus just boxed herself up one night because she was bored and took a few deities along with her.

The prime minister, Matteo Renzi, did not know. The foreign minister did not know. The culture minister called the decision “incomprehensible.” They were, they insist (perhaps too much), as surprised as anyone to find all those white cubes “” none, incidentally, provided by the prestigious White Cube gallery in London.

One account has it that a woman named Ilva Sapora who works at Palazzo Chigi, where Renzi’s office is located, made the decision after visiting the Capitoline with Iranian Embassy officials. “Nonsense,” Jas Gawronski, a former Italian member of the European Parliament, told me. The notion that a midlevel Chigi official in charge of ceremonial matters could have made the decision does seem far-fetched. Gawronski believes it is more likely to have been officials at the Farnesina, home to the Foreign Ministry.

One thing can be safely said: Nobody will ever know. I was a correspondent in Rome for some years in the 1980s. Periodically there would be developments in terrorist cases “” the Piazza Fontana bombing of 1969 or the Brescia bombing of 1974. Trials, verdicts, appeals followed one another. Facts grew murkier, not clearer. It would take decades to arrive at convictions that did not resolve doubts. Italy has never had much time for the notion that justice delayed is justice denied.

Renzi has wanted to break with this Italy of murky secrets, modernize it, bring stable government and install accountability.

So this incident in a blazing spotlight could even help to push the current reforms of the justice and governance systems along.

And the strongest reform proponents of all? To escape this hamster wheel, judges and prosecutors of Italy.


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