Headsup: Will Gladwell perpetuate hoax at heart of new book Monday in Los Angeles interview with Brit Marling? We'd appreciate someone warning her, also Larry Wilmore, and help them avoid legal liabilities.

Category: Italian context

Thursday, December 07, 2017

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Smart Feminist Selene Nelson, quoted below

1. First Choice For Trophy Victim?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Join The Line Martha Duncan

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

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

So did Judy Bachrach. See for example this post.

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

So did Jan Goodwin. See this post.

So did Amy Jenkins. See this post.

So did Katie Crouch. See this post.

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

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

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

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

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

3. Selene Nelson Decries Faux Feminism

Huffington Post

Why Feminists Owe Amanda Knox Nothing

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

By Selene Nelson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or this:

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

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

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


4.Law Expert Nicki In Milan Decries Faux Feminism

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

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

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

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5. TJMK Poster Hopeful Decries Faux Feminism

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

First posted 5 June 2014.

1. Late Joiner Of The Dwindling Knox Parade

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

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

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

2. An Attack With Indisputable Sex Aspects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Morphing Into A New Knox Persona

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

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

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

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

4. There Was No Witch Hunt Or Inquisition

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

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

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

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

5. Why Respect The Virtues Of Sexual Purity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is selfish to the community.

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

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

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

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

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

6. Precisely WHO Are Today’s Feminists?

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

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

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

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

  • Liberal feminism

  • Radical feminism

  • Conservative feminism

  • Ecofeminists

  • Separatist feminism

  • Materialist feminism

  • Socialist feminism

  • Marxist feminism

  • Anarcha-feminists

  • Feminist punk movement

  • Feminism as a social construction

  • Lipstick feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there’s third wave feminism.

7. Feminism In The Case Of Meredith’s Murder

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

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

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

Knox is a very misguided cause for smart feminists.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




Pro-Guilt Trends

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

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

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

Smoking Guns

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

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

Media Shortfalls

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

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

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

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

Inflection Point

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

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


Sunday, August 06, 2017

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

 

 


Monday, May 22, 2017

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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


Sunday, December 11, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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


Thursday, December 08, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, December 04, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

 


Monday, November 21, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep watching! 


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

Maybe 9 out of 10 Italians think this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, August 06, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





What a real shocker for cycling-mad Italy..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, June 30, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dramatic stuff. A tragic pity Meredith misses all this.



Monday, June 20, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


Look around you.

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

All are purposeful systems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, March 13, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Only In Italy? A Complete Orchestra - Of Women Playing Harps

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Complexity squared….

The venues are not given, but one looks like the La Scala Opera House in Milan, completely sold out. Actually, there are a few such orchestras elsewhere in Europe and in the US; in Italy they are thick on the ground.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Beyond The Italian And UK Media Reports That Knox Was Found Not Guilty Of Calunnia II

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Knox with Rita Ficarra who Knox accused of hitting her.


UK media are reporting that the case was about slander, in effect a civil case by those who consider themselves damaged.

But in fact this was calunnia, which is more serious, a false accusation of a crime to a justice official, in this case the claim Knox made on the stand that she was forced to finger Patrick.

We are told this is key context which the UK reporting leaves out. 

    1. The original complaint was made (the rules required it) by those who were accused before the 2009 trial ended with a verdict of Knox’s guilt.

    2. Preceding Knox on the stand had been all of those she accused. So to court-watchers in Italy her testimony was not a convincing show.

    3. Knox was thereafter found guilty for essentially the same crime, with a sentence set at three years by Judge Hellmann and endorsed by the Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court.

In effect, justice had been served for the false claims. Italian justice officials still have a big shot at worse claims in Knox’s book.

Under the Statute Of Limitations, as the book was added-to and re-issued in 2015, that opportunity exists for another five years.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Buon Anno 2016! Bay Of Naples Has A Fireworks Show Like… Not Your Normal Town

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Last year the fireworks of Meredith’s home town received a lot of praise - she was born not far from that giant wheel.


Monday, December 07, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





We have often mentioned these major justice-system pluses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, May 09, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

Michael Schwanke: Koch behind push to overhaul criminal justice system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, March 28, 2015

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





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

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

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

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

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

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s different now….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

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

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

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

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

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

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

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

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

***

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


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Meet The New President Of The Republic Of Italy; Dr Mignini Was Also One Candidate Named

Posted by Peter Quennell





Constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella (image above) has been elected the new President of the Republic of Italy.

He follows President Giorgio Napolitano (shown below voting) who recently decided to step down. He becomes the ultimate head of the Italian justice system in addition to other functions.

He was the firm favorite of the party of Prime Minister Renzi so his winning the final vote by more than 2/3 of the 1,009 parliamentarians and regional officials eligible to vote (see images of voting below) was not surprising.

Dr Mignini’s name was also placed in the first round of the balloting, seen as a form of honor for him for his fine career work and especially his admired success in bringing the Monster Of Florence case to a conclusion with strong evidence pointing to Narducci as the killer - and strong evidence pointing to Spezi and Preston as having tried to pull off a despicable self-serving hoax.

The AFP reports this about the career of President Mattarella.

The president-elect is little known among the general public but is a respected figure in political circles after a 25-year parliamentary career and several stints as minister in governments of the left and right.

He entered politics after his elder brother, who was president of the region of Sicily, was murdered by the Mafia in 1980.

Renzi’s backing for Mattarella was interpreted as the end of the temporary alliance the premier had forged with his disgraced forerunner [Berlusconi] in order to drive labour market and electoral reforms through parliament.

Mattarella is seen as an “anti-Berlusconi” figure, having switched sides from the political right to the left in the 1990s, partly because of his distaste for the media tycoon, who still heads the opposition Forza Italia party despite a tax fraud conviction.

Berlusconi was reported to be feeling “betrayed” by Renzi.

He had ordered his party to cast blank ballots in the vote, but 35 members out of 142 present for voting ignored his orders, signalling a rift within Forza Italia.

“The PD had to show it was the backbone of the system and it did,” Ezio Mauro, editor-in-chief of Italian paper La Repubblica. “For Berlusconi it is certainly a major blow.”

The Forza Italia leader was believed to be hoping for a sympathetic figure to be installed as president to increase his chances of winning a pardon over his criminal conviction which would allow him to return to parliament.

With regard to Dr Mignini, the Italian Constitution says that any citizen above the age of 50 may be elected President of the Republic no matter if he is a candidate or not: there are no official candidates under the Constitution, and he/she may accept or refuse if elected.

Reportedly the vote for Dr Mignini was cast by Elector Andrea Lignani Marchesani the influential political leader of Umbria. He had declared that he wanted to devote an inscription vote to Prosecutor General Mignini to honor “his honesty, his independence and his standing up to intimidation from meddlesome forces”.

This mainly refers to Dr Mignini’s unyielding pushing ahead on the Narducci case, but he is also widely admired for refusing to be intimidated by the pro-Knox and pro-Sollecity forces. He is not active in politics.

Former President Napolitano actually had a role in Meredith’s case, in that he chose to ignore a petition by some pro-Berlusconi parliamentarians to investigate the Perugia prosecutors for their roles.

If the case crosses his desk President Mattarella can be expected to take the same pro-justice line.












Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Dangers Of Not Extraditing Convicted Felons Labeled An Explosive Threat To Other People

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above: Sydney moslems leaving wreaths- for the non-moslems killed

1. Lessons From Australia

It looks like several Australian judges may have wrecked their careers for allowing Man Haron Monis to be at large even though police said he should be denied bail.

Man Haron Monis was the former Iranian who took 17 hostages in downtown Sydney and caused the death of two others and himself. Coming to light is how many times previously the Australian justice system had treated him with kid gloves for major crimes.

Reporting from NBC:

Iran tried to extradite the gunman behind Sydney’s deadly hostage crisis years ago, Tehran’s top cop said, amid questions over how the self-styled cleric had found his way to Australia but not onto a watch list…

Monis grew up in Iran as Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. In 1996, he established a travel agency, but took his clients’ money and fled, Iran’s police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, told the country’s official IRNA news agency Tuesday.

Australia accepted him as a refugee around that time. The police chief said Iran tried to have Monis extradited from Australia in 2000, but that it didn’t happen because Iran and Australia don’t have an extradition agreement.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wanted to know how Monis had been granted permanent residency and why he had been receiving welfare benefits for years, despite being able-bodied “if not necessarily of sound mind.”

Monis had a gun licence, a rarity in Australia - and he walked free after being charged for writing letters of hate to families of dead Australian soldiers, and for having a hand in the killing of his wife.


2. The Relevance Of This To Knox

Regardless of extradition treaty situations, countries almost universally extradite convicted murderers. They dont want dangerous people to have another chance to cause deadly havoc in their own midst.

Knox is already a felon for life. If Knox is confirmed guilty of murder next March she will be a DANGEROUS felon for life.

The Italian-US extradition treaty gives a US judge no wiggle room other than to check if the paperwork is in order and then send her on her way.

But another bent judge could again throw a spanner in the works.

How dangerous is Knox?  Our psychologists generally think that, untreated,  she is not good news. Not a latent serial killer, or one who sits around and plots, but one who could again explosively hit back when she imagines or exaggerates slights.

More than anyone in Perugia, Meredith tried to get along with Knox. But Knox showed no sign of a learning curve. The very heavy drug use went on, the sleeping with a drug dealer went on, the dirtiness and laziness around the house went on, and the noisy sex episodes with strangers through paper-thin walls went on.

She really was the housemate from hell.

For a month or two after Meredith died, Knox was highly erratic about her role in that death, and showed an extreme eagerness to talk with the prosecution which resulted in the long session with Dr Mignini on 17 Dec.

In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.

In her book, Knox describes how the family and lawyers worked hard on Knox to destroy all elements of trust. By the summer of 2008 she was in a mood of full-blown paranoid mistrust, and all chances of a lesser charge were gone.

At trial in 2009 Knox was daffy and uncomprehending, making irrelevant interventions and really shooting herself in the foot when she took the stand. Raffaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba, almost the last two in Perugia to still give her the time of day, both said she was very odd.

Knox was mentally tested in Capanne Prison and apparently scored high on the psychopathic chart. The four courts hardest on Knox all knew this - the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court, Cassation, and the Nencini court - which was a major reason why Cassation did not allow bail in April 2008.

Assuming she killed once, in what was an exceptionally barbaric attack, Knox may or may not kill again. She is certainly inciting or condoning a massive amount of dangerous hate toward Meredith’s family and toward the Italian officials of the court.

One unhinged attack has already occured - that of the disturbed Michele Moore against Dr Mignini in the Perugia court - and the British resident David Anderson has screamed at meetings and runs an incessant campaign to stir up hate. Court officials have received messages of hate, and there is a small mountain of false and dangerous accusations against them on the web.

Left untreated and unpunished, a convicted but not extradited Knox would be a killer walking loose on American streets and could continue to condone or incite violence for the rest of her life.

If Knox killed and remains loose, could she kill again or cause others to kill? Any extradition judge needs to ask as the Australian judges did not:

Do we REALLY want to find out?















Monday, November 24, 2014

Italian Media Spotlighting The Perversion Of Killer Groupies Of Alleged Murderer Of 38 Patients

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. Alleged Nurse-Killer Attracting Deviant Males

Convicted killers and alleged killers facing trial often attract deviant support with sexual undertones.

Why the case of Nurse Daniela Poggiali, arrested a month ago in north Italy, is capturing so much attention is not only the seeming extent of her crimes - some 38 patients in her care died mysteriously - or her bizarre selfies exulting over one dead patent.

It is also the astonishing volume and and rabid lust of the fanmail now arriving at the place where she is awaiting trial, and the increasing numbers of Italian killer groupies emerging online and jostling to head her parade, Italian Knox groupies such as Luca Cheli maybe among them.

Here is a UK report and a translated Italian-media report will follow.

Italian nurse who took photos of herself with patients she had murdered is flooded with fan mail in prison ““ including marriage proposals

An Italian nurse who took photos of herself with dead patients she had murdered is being flooded with fan letters from male admirers, including some containing marriage proposals.

Daniela Poggiali, 42, from the town of Lugo, in the Emilia-Romagna Region of central Italy, was arrested after police investigating the mysterious death of a 78-year-old patient stumbled upon 38 other unexplained deaths on her shifts.

Rosa Calderoni, 78, was admitted with a routine illness but died after being injected with high levels of potassium - the compound used in lethal injection executions in the U.S.

Nurse Daniela Poggiali from Lugo, in central Italy, has been sent fan mail and wedding proposals while she awaits trial in relation to 38 unexplained deaths on her shifts

Further investigations revealed that over a three month period, 38 out of 86 patients under Poggiali’s care at the Umberto I hospital in Lugo had all died mysteriously.

Now awaiting trial at a prison in Forli, a city in central Italy, Poggiali is being inundated with fan mail from admirers calling her ‘good looking’.  A prison spokesman said: ‘Over the last few weeks since she was placed here there has been a steady stream of letters from males.

‘Most of them say how pretty and good looking they think she is, and one or two have even contained proposals of marriage.’ Prison officials said Poggiali has received a steady stream of letters from men calling her ‘good looking’

According to investigators the nurse had found the dead patients ‘annoying’ or that they had ‘pushy relatives’. During their investigations they discovered pictures of Poggiali grinning alongside the dead bodies.

The lead magistrate investigating the case, Alessandro Mancini said: ‘We believe she is sound of mind, but simply took satisfaction, and real pleasure in killing.

‘The photos reveal an unbearable cruelty that I have not seen in 30 years on the job.’

A spokesman from the hospital where she worked said: ‘She always came across as being a very cold person. ‘But she also used her charms to flirt with male doctors if she thought she could get favours from them.’

Poggiali has denied killing any patients and says she is being framed by jealous colleagues.


2. Killer-Groupies Get More Media & Research Attention

The growing fear in justice circles is that killer groupies are helping to elevate murder rates.

They are certainly elevating anger levels, and making potential killers feel competitive and jealous of the media coverage of others. They are damaging professional careers and sparking death threats, making law-abiding people more distrustful, making police-work and convictions more difficult, and distracting hard-pressed politicians and populations from looming world-wide problems.

All of which comes at a high cost and puts all of us in a great deal more danger. So the spotlight upon killer groupies is intensifying. Here is one media report.

A look inside the bizarre world of serial killer groupies

If you type the phrase “serial killer addresses” into an Internet search engine, you’ll get some disturbing results.

A number of websites list the prison addresses of convicted killers, and police investigators told FOX 12 there are plenty of people “” serial killer groupies “” writing to convicted serial killers.

Portland police homicide detective Jim Lawrence said he once investigated a Portland man who corresponded with two convicted serial murderers.

Lawrence showed FOX 12 some of the correspondence, including a letter he said the Portland man wrote to serial killer Douglas Daniel Clark.

Clark and a partner were known as “Sunset Strip Killers.”

The pair were convicted for a series of killings in Los Angeles. The letter to Clark included an illustration of a hand with the phrase,  “Who knows what these hands will do, what they’ll do 20 years from now.” 

“He really seemed to put a kind of hero worship behind this serial killer, and it was a kind of morbid fascination,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence also showed FOX 12 violent artwork the man received from serial killer Ottis Toole, convicted of killing six people in Florida in the 1980s. Police believe Toole also killed 6-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981. The sketch depicts a decapitated head.

Criminal psychologist Dr. Frank Colistro said serial killers often radiate a perverse charisma that groupies find attractive.

“A lot of them get caught up in the drama that’s associated with these people forever,” Colistro explained.

And the list is long for love behind bars, for killers who’ve been married in prison.

I-5 killer Randy Woodfield, who was convicted for murder and attempted murder and suspected in dozens of other crimes in the early 1980s, has been hitched twice at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Scott Peterson all have had loyal female followers.

“The Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, convicted of 13 brutal murders in California in the 1980s, had groupies who called themselves, “˜the women in black,’ who attended his trial.

“You do get a lot of inadequate, insecure women,” Colistro said. “In a sense, they’re the perfect boyfriend, the perfect husband. In a sense, you can do a relationship light, so to speak.”

Then there are groupies who want to befriend the notorious. Lawrence said some write to convicted killers for profit, to potentially sell the letters online. He said others have a bizarre admiration for the killers.

Lawrence said he interviewed the Portland man who wrote the detailed, expletive-filled letters after out-of-state police discovered the man’s relationship with killer Ottis Toole.

“So they contacted us and I had a little chat with him,” he said.

He said it turned out the man was trying to get letters and artwork from Toole to sell online.

Colistro, however, said there are some people hoping to become copycats.

“They’ll study the M-O of the offender and they’ll start to duplicate it,” he said.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Prime Minister Renzi’s Justice Reforms: One System-Change Need Strongly Suggested By Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi might be able to push some justice reforms through the Rome parliament.

After all, it was not his pals that were being plagued with investigations and charges, it was ex-PM Berlusconi’s, and business is leaning on him.

Those reforms being talked about (of a system which most Italians rightly feel proud of) seem to mostly involve economic efficiency. But it would be popular if a more-pro-victim tilt is also promoted.

The only slight pro-victim tilt at present is the presence of a lawyer representing the victim at trial. Dr Maresca in fact is representing Meredith not her family, but this small tilt toward fairness drives the Knox crazies like Bruce Fischer even crazier. It also promotes the (illegal under the laws of all countries) stalking and harassment of Meredith’s family.

A more-pro-victim tilt polls well in Italy. A clear majority of the population would like to see it. This post was about one of the fearless campaigners, a popular TV presenter who has written to us with thanks for siding with her.

Surely introducing a hurdle to all those automatic appeals (unique to Italy) that so clog the court agendas and eat up judges’ time would be a good idea.

Surely a really good idea, one which all of those tied up by the case in Italy and also many elsewhere would side with, is: No fast-track trial and automatically reduced sentence like Guede’s without a REAL confession and repentance.

Our poster Popper explained (again) in comments here on 21 October what the law on fast-track trials is for the moment, and why Guede got no special breaks from anyone except the Italian system itself for not talking.

[A deal with Guede? All such deals are illegal.] Not only illegal, impossible I would say, as not envisaged by the code for serious crimes, ie not practically possible, there are no exceptions ... in addition 1. a prosecutor cannot promise or decide anything in that system (even if it was a small crime for which plea bargain is possible, judge or court decides and can say no)  2. Mignini was not the PM responsible of the Guede appeal as the groupies should know if they had read the primary documents they publish on their, for the rest, useless website 3. Mignini got a life sentence for RG (decreased to 30 years for fast track discount) I do not believe he appealed this verdict, obviously.

So as we said many times (I repeat for newcomers and for the benefit of people in good faith, FoA in bad faith know already) Guede got this reduction as the life sentence (with fast track discount 30 years, this is an automatic formula) became 24 years given the judges of appeal gave generic mitigations equivalent to aggravations, exactly as in the first instance and appeal trials of Amanda and Raffaele.  Once this factor is introduced, the base penalty for murder becomes 24 years (like Amanda and Raffaele) but there is, for Guede, the automatic reduction of 1/3 for the choice of the abbreviated trial.  Result is 16 years of prison.

Amanda and Raffaele got from 24 to 28.5 and 25 for their other crimes in continuation, theft phones, simulation, transportation of a weapon, calumny to Lumumba (only Knox).

Many might live more easily with the idea of Guede getting his sentence pared down to only 16 years in prison, if only he had been made to fess up properly about what happened and make a real bid to express sorrow and remorse to Meredith’s family.

But his sticking point even now which the current law allows is that Meredith INVITED him in for sex and he was only a bystander to her murder.

Wail at his callous obtuseness all you like, but he has only gone where the system itself points him. 

Judge Massei had tried to punish him additionally by reversing Judge Micheli on primary blame and placing primary blame for the fatal attack on Guede.

But that weird stretch didnt hurt him, his eventual sentence was unaffected, and it caused enormous problems down the road when Judge Hellmann was enabled to go even further and roll back the guilt of RS and AK entirely.

This is a problem Judge Nencini then had to set about correcting, which never would have even existed had Guede been forced in 2008 to fully confess and repent, in exchange for his fast-track trial and reduced sentence.

If the Italian system had forced Guede’s confession in 2008 as his part of the deal, how radically different would have been the history of this protracted process. And how radically different would have been the lives and peace of mind of Meredith’s family, left suffering now both financially and in health terms.

It wasn’t meant to be, but in this respect Italy’s is a cruel system. Please, Prime Minister Renzi, correct it. Call it the Meredith Amendment.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

Posted by Peter Quennell



See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000.

Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

Sitting judges and prospective judges themselves usually dont like this fundraising, because they have to take time off to raise these funds,  and pressures from donors - including bad-boy donors and in some cases defense lawyers seeking a break - can become extreme.

We have posted previously on enlightened American lawyers favoring main aspects of the Italian kind of system and on American cities now doing the same. Now we see many American judges and public-interest groups inclining the same way.

Why all judges in Italy are impartial and well-trained in the extreme (like all prosecutors) and dont have to keep their paws outstretched is that they are in a merit-based system where only their performance and not their politics counts.

We described how Italian justice system officials have to jump hurdle after hurdle in getting their cases advanced. A very demanding process in which only the best succeed.

It’s the same with their careers. They have to jump hurdle after hurdle in exams and peer assessment to advance from level to level - to make it as high for example as this revered prosecutor here.

Do such serial defamers of the Italian system as Doug Preston and Steve Moore and ex-judge Michael Heavey bother to tell you this about the Italian system? Probably not. They have never been truthful about it before.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Italian Prime Minister Renzi Will Push Measures To Speed Up Justice

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





In a move popular not least among those who are part of it Mr Renzi announces moves to speed up Italian justice.

Italian justice and those who work in it are widely trusted and respected in Italy. But a very humane system designed post WWII to give those accused a level of rights unique in the world has been even further tilted over the years by politicians passing laws to aid political and business colleagues in legal trouble.

Because there are now strong economic pressures, reforms may have a slim chance of parliamentary approval. In particular convicted perps’ automatic right to two levels of appeal for most crimes could be pared back more in line with the US and UK where a judge must decide if there are any real appeal grounds.

Italian and US and UK lawyers among others have posted here on Italian justice about 40 times in the past six years. If you don’t have time for the full 40 these posts with some American comparisons provide good coverage of the key basics.

1. Click here “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!” How Italian Justice REALLY Works

2. Click here Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

3. Click here Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

4. Click here Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time

5. Click here Italian Parliament Is Now Moving On A Bill To Speed Up Many Trials And Appeals

6. Click here A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

7. Click here Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

8. Click here Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Against US’s Non-Professional Jury System

9. Click here The Terrible Weight On The Victim’s Family Because The Italian System Is So Very, Very Pro Defendant

10. Click here Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

11. Click here Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System

12. Click here The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Overkill Of Knox/Marriott PR Causes Sollecito-Camp Reaction And Seeming Hurt To Knox Herself

Posted by Peter Quennell



Seattle, generally such a huge plus in the world, embarrased by the river of slime

Act 1. Hubris Of The Knox Public Relations Described

A long report on Marriott’s PR appeared late in 2011 after Knox was provisionally released.

David Marriott never visited Amanda Knox during her four years in an Italian prison.  He met her this month, when she stepped off a plane in Seattle.

Yet for Knox and her family, Marriott was as important a player in her ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.

“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father.

The article goes on to describe how family and friends were pushed into the limelight and specific big TV networks targeted.  It talks about great financial opportunities for Knox.

Marriott himself demonstrates no understanding of the case - in fact. he sounds proud of his ignorance and his reflexively anti-Italy stance. To a smarter Curt Knox those might have been red flags.

Act 2: Brutal Overkill Of A Flailing Campaign Described

In October 2013 our main poster Media Watcher laid the blame for the slow-moving Knox media cooling at David Marriott’s door.

Now The Examiner is only one of many preparing to take another retaliatory whack.

Public relations is perfectly understandable for celebrities, politicians, or executives, but murder suspects too? At first this aggressive proliferation of pro-Knox articles, tweets and commentary were justified as a defense against the European media’s negative portrayal of her. However, as time wore on, the overpowering presence of Knox’s media campaign has reached outlandish proportions.

Nowadays no blogger is safe to write a factual article about the Meredith Kercher Murder Case without contemptuous comments filling up their Disqus community. Patient webmasters at CNN.com must brace themselves for the onslaught of tens of thousands of interjections cluttering up each and every news article concerning the Meredith Kercher cum Amanda Knox murder case. Mob mentality seems to have taken over Knox’s PR initiative. Knox’s advocates have gone so far as to aim their crosshairs on the victim’s family.

The article, very well researched so far as it goes (it omits the third act below) goes on to describe how Sollecito’s camp has had to open a PR front to unchain Sollecito from Knox. 

Act 3: How Knox Herself Is Losing Big Described

Know your enemy. Dont go about attacking the king unless you can kill him dead. Italy’s Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote about it in The Prince:

If one is striking out at an opponent, one should make sure that the fatal blow is struck, successfully ending the confrontation. Machiavelli wrote that “the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.”

Wise words for Marriott and Curt Knox. They have remained steadfastly ignorant of the enemy. The attack has clearly failed. Wall-to-wall Italy now has the upper hand. And the PR is a millstone around Knox’s neck.

Here are seven of the ways the Knox-Marriott campaign has fallen short and has actually done real harm.

    1) The real case for conviction remains rock-solid with many times the number of evidence points that a US or UK court would require for guilt.

    2) No paper trail helpful to Knox exists between the American Embassy and the State Department, and the extradition agreement is precise and firm. 

    3)  Knox’s bedrock claim, that she was pressured into a false accusation, not only cost her three years for calunnia but will cost her a defamation trial.

    4) The defamatory Knox book that was the windfall David Marriott so jubilantly talks about is turning into an albatross around Knox’s neck.

    5) The bloodmoney windfall will not remain Knox’s to keep, under Italian and American laws, and even Marriott’s fees could be at risk.

    6) The PR is being unresponsive to ANY damaging claims, such as Knox’s attempted framing of Mignini, and its output is increasingly surreal junk.

    7) The PR is making the Sollecito camp hostile, Italian media too; at the same time, since the failed appeal, the US media have chilled.

And so we see the slow death of a campaign built on xenophobia, racism, personal abuse, zero understanding of the details of the case, and zero understanding of the real Italy and its law.

Italy is actually rather a sucker for confession and penitence. Against a famously impervious justice system, the hard line was a terrible, terrible mistake.

Coming soon? “Firing him was one of the smartest things we ever did” says Curt Knox.


Below: From the Examiner, David Marriott and Seattle TV reporter Linda Byron


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Spitting In the Wind: Sollecito News Conference Backfires On Him AND Knox - What The Media Missed

Posted by SomeAlibi



Raffaele looks for divine inspiration? Precious little showing at press conference on Tuesday

What on earth were they thinking?

At Tuesday morning’s press conference Raffaele Sollecito’s team did at least two completely inexplicable things.

Firstly, they scored a spectacular own-goal on the facts surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher, which has been missed by the press.

Secondly, they did it all for no legal benefit.

In the run up to the press conference it was widely trailed that Sollecito would throw Amanda under the bus by removing her alibi - that she spent the whole of the night of the 1st of November with him at his apartment. After the press conference, it was widely reported he’d done that very thing.

Wrong. Very wrong. In fact, Team Sollecito did the opposite and put a position forward entirely consistent with how the prosecution says Knox, Sollecito and Guede all come together.

Speaking in tongues

There are only a few grains of sand left in the hourglass before Cassation and confirmation of the sentence, which will see Sollecito return to jail until he is well into his forties. You would have thought that it would be “absurd” for him to do anything other than speak clearly and unequivocally.

But that is precisely what didn’t happen…

Sollecito and lead counsel Giulia Bongiorno performed a bizarre tip-toe dance, avoiding saying anything clear or direct. Instead, they made points by reference and allusion, with an unhealthy assortment of metaphorical nods, winks, heavy coughs and adjustments of the lapels at key points.

Did Raffaele say that Amanda left his apartment in the early evening? No. As Bongiorno tortuously phrased it: “Raffaele takes note of the fact the court of appeal found there was something of a lie over Amanda’s whereabouts”¦ of the fact the court [says] she was not with him in the early evening”.

Takes note? What on earth was that all about? Well, the sentence mangling was because at the final Cassation hearing next year, no fresh facts can be heard. The only arguments that can be heard are on failure of due process or failure of logic and reasoning as pmf.org Italian legal expert Popper explains extremely clearly here:

I think we should clarify a number of points after discussions of past few days:

1) Corte di Cassazione does not hear evidence and can only discuss the possible invalidation of a sentence or part of it ref the points appealed, not other points. Corte di Cassazione does not hear defendants or private parties. In public hearings only a specific category of lawyers (Cassazionisti) can speak before them

2) Corte di Cassazione therefore cannot take into account evidence now given spontaneously by the defendant RS directed against AK (eg open door of Filomena) as in Court he has never accepted cross-interrogation of AK’s lawyers, except if on some points RS’ lawyers appealed in writing for manifest illogicality of reasoning but what he says now cannot be used. Keep in mind Cassazione cannot discuss the merit of the judgement of Nencini and Massei, only invalidate it if this judgement and reasoning were based on clearly illogical arguments or neglected key evidence

3) Only if Cassazione invalidated Nencini and remanded to a further appeal a possible renovation of “istruttoria” (evidence discussion) may take place. Otherwise all RS has to say now, even if he confesses she did it and he only helped clean [unlikely IMHO], cannot be taken into account by Corte di Cassazione and would have to be the possible argument for a “revisione del giudicato” (a case in which, after a final judgement, a convicted person claims there is a clear error and brings solid evidence to prove it, it is quite rare only in case of obvious errors. Procedure can be easily denied and IMHO will be denied if he said he just helped clean as Courts have already considered that scenario and rejected it)

4) any discussion on cocaine was not taken into account to convict (even if true, no evidence they sniffed that night) and will not be taken into account by Corte di Cassazione, in theory will not be taken into account for extradition hearing in US Court as this only verifies there is a conviction and treaty respected. PR is another matter, but I think it is not correct to say that would be added to extradition request and may change legal course. Same goes for garage video.

5) The press conference of RS was useless, the panel of Corte di Cassazione judges has not even been appointed and, while not illegal, it is completely unusual for a defendant to hold a PC talking about an appeal (RS is not a public figure or administrator). What counts is the appeal document that we have read. The “great” point that AK does not talk about RS in memoriale is too stupid for me to discuss it here. We must conclude this was only publicity for Bongiorno, she knows she is likely to lose and wishes to make it seem it is a close call. She has minimal chances, approximating 0%.

6) RS has very low chances to succeed, and LG for AK even less, as Corte di Cassazione explained well what they wanted and Nencini gave it to them. Court presided by AN explained who the people concurring with RG in the murder are and gave clear logical explanation for such conclusion. Also, Nencini confirmed first instance, a trial that was perfectly valid for Cassazione after first appeal was invalidated.

There have been cases of a double iteration at Cassazione eg in very complex terrorism trials, evidence was scarce mostly based on witnesses who wanted to sidetrack other investigations. Here, as Alan Dershowitz said [he does not know much about case but this and a few other points he got absolutely right] all pieces of evidence point exactly in the same direction creating a good case [AD does not know it is overwhelming; maybe he did not read all docs].

One other thing AD said, most FOA and JREF and IIP tend to forget: Court is the judge, not them, Court has the responsibility to evaluate all evidence and issue a judgement that, as long as explained logically and legally in writing [something a US jury would not be required to do] using all available elements, will stand and be final after Cassazione.


So, Team Sollecito needed to phrase all of their “points” as things already said by the Appeal Court, which are now facts in law unless overturned due to failure of logic etc.

From there they must then try and make insinuations about these “˜facts’, all the while dressing it up as if it were procedurally in accordance with the pre-Cassation phase. Even though “¦ and here one should be allowed a Pepto Bismol given all the twisting and turning”¦ as Popper explains, it will have no effect on the outcome whatsoever.

In the real world, it was quite clear that what Sollecito was actually saying was, “Yes, she did go out in the early part of the evening, even though I’m not personally saying it, those are the Court’s words.”

He left a massive hanging dot dot dot in place of: “˜Hey everyone - Amanda went off and performed the murder with Guede, not me! No, I haven’t stated the time of her return, because it’s not me talking, it’s the court, but she was out, so figure it out for yourselves”¦’




Not with him in the early evening, which is not the night, we are told, that begins around 11:00 pm

The light at the end of the tunnel has steam billowing underneath it

Here, Team Sollecito run into a horrendous brick-wall of facts which lays Raffaele and Knox out cold. It’s not hard to work it through, but the world’s weary press are too fatigued by this case to even do some simple “if-then” calculations and draw the appropriate conclusion.

So, let’s do it for them here”¦

  • Team Sollecito are saying Knox went out before she sent her SMS reply to boss Patrick Lumumba at 8.35pm. This is in accordance with the case for the prosecution from day dot. They now agree, as the prosecution have always said, that Knox is out of Sollecito’s flat sometime before 8.35pm. (In fact, we know it’s by at least 8.17pm because this is when she received Lumumba’s text to say that she didn’t need to go into work).

  • Team Sollecito then pause and wink to let you do the math(s). If the murder occurred circa 9.30pm by their estimate (which it didn’t, but let’s go with this for a second) and you don’t know when she returned to Sollecito’s for the night, then he couldn’t have done it, because he was at home, but she could.

Here, the Press stop and report Amanda is under the bus. Thank heavens for that, not a stain on Raffaele’s Warren Beatty white suit and can we all go home now?

Wrong. In fact, it’s a horrendous own-goal, which ricochets in hard off the testimony of both independent witness Jovana Popovic and Raffaele’s own father Francesco.

  • At 8.40pm, Popovic arrives at the front door of Raffaele’s apartment and testifies that Amanda Knox opens the front door. It has been suggested that Popovic’s self-estimated timing of 8.40pm is wrong, but this rings very hollow indeed. Popovic had done the walk from her late class ending at 8.20pm many times, and knew it took 20 minutes because she lived on the same road ““ Corso Garibaldi ““ as Raffaele himself.  Both Massei and Nencini agreed with this too. Ouch.

  • So Knox, who was out previously, is already back, at least 50 minutes before even the putative time of murder put by the defence and a couple of hours plus before the real time.

  • In fact, Raffaele’s father Francesco testified to the Massei court that he was certain that Amanda was with his son when he spoke to him at 8.52pm that night. And this was not contested by the defence. Double ouch.

So, even if Knox went out in the early evening, she is objectively shown to have been back at the apartment well before 9pm. And, if that is the case, both Knox and Sollecito are 100% back in the frame. And this is even before they are also seen by a third person who corroborates that they were together that night ““ Antonio Curatolo. Triple ouch.

Confirming how three became company

Worse yet, Knox has argued for 7 years that she never left the apartment. If Sollecito now “says” she did, but we know objectively that she is back at least by 8.40pm, it supports the prosecution case.

This was that Knox left for work and walked to near the cottage, in the area of the basketball court at Piazza Grimana, around where she received the text from Patrick saying not to come to work.

This is the exact time that Rudy Guede was having a kebab, only a couple of hundred yards away. This provides the opportunity for Knox and Guede to have seen each other. Knox, suddenly at a loose end, makes a plan, which involves asking for Guede’s help.

What might that help be? Well, the resurfacing story of Knox’s link with a cocaine dealer chimes nicely with the idea that Knox asked Rudy either to supply her or help her get some sort of drugs and that they arranged to meet back up once he had secured them.

Knox then returns to Raffaele’s to fetch him, is seen by Popovic and her presence acknowledged at 8.52pm by Papa Sollecito and son, before they both head out to connect with Guede back at Piazza Grimana. (Remember, this is where Knox “saw” Patrick Lumumba, when she tried to frame him).

Guede, as was his wont, managed to get himself invited back to the cottage, perhaps for a shared line. This is consistent with Knox’s prison piece “The Story of Marie Pace”, where there are at least two++ men present in a kitchen in a “party” type atmosphere taking drugs which ends up with a hospitalised victim.

It’s only one theory and there are others. However, what Team Sollecito managed to do this week was to confirm that Knox left the flat. Objective facts and witness testimony tell us the time by which she had returned.

And, in that round trip lies the entire timing, location and mechanism for how Guede became involved, which otherwise makes little sense. Now all confirmed by Team Sollecito…




One of Raffaele Sollecito’s telling grimaces when Amanda Knox’s name is mentioned

What silence gets you

So what was the point? Face-saving for Raffaele? Hoping to key up populist support? Fat chance in Italy, where the case has been properly reported.

An opportunity to allude to a “truth” (the best one he can think of for now ““ other truths are available) and say that he and his family believe Knox is innocent? Pull the other one Raffaele!

It is quite clear that several members of the Sollecito clan think that Knox absolutely is guilty and their Raffaele is still too “honourable” to tell the truth. He merely aided the clean-up perhaps. Well in that case, why hasn’t he said exactly when she came back? Was it 11pm? 1am? Was it at 5am when the music starts playing. Why won’t he or you say?

Or”¦ was it face-saving for Bongiorno, as she faces defeat and seeks to protect her valued public persona?  Well, as much as I’ve tried, I have no idea what they thought they were doing.

And to be honest with you, I honestly don’t think they were entirely sure, nor did they think through the consequences of the brick wall objectivity of Popovic + Papa Sollecito.

In the meantime, a family sits in Surrey listening and watching the weasel words and once again is insulted by this “honourable” all-in-white character who knows what “Amanda Marie Knox” did that night, but simply will not say.

Which of course he could choose to do at any moment, court proceedings or not, the way us normal human beings do it: not making allusion, not tipping a wink, but speaking the truth.

But he hasn’t and I suspect he won’t, even though it actually would now be the only thing that could mitigate the length of his inevitable prison term.

And for his acts and that silence he still won’t break - and at least here it is possible to finally speak with certainty - I believe he deserves every one of those 25 years.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sneak Preview Of Giulia Bongiorno Making Silk Purse Out Of Sow’s Ear At RS Media Nonevent This Week

Posted by Peter Quennell

What is the Sollecito lawyer and politician Giulia Bongiorno most famous in Italy for?

Well it sure aint her grasp of the finer points of Italian law. Or her ability to win in court without over-the-top PR and peculiar tricks. Or her accuracy on those pesky facts of the case. Or her foolish tongue before a very key judge.

Most of all, what Bongiorno IS known in Italy for is being shrill, bullying, and high-key - most especially when yet another of her hapless clients is going down, or when she is on the political stump.

Watch this spot-on satirical impersonation by the terrific Italian impersonator Dario Ballantini which was aired nationally on Italian TV and made a lot of Italians laugh. You can hear the audience there.

It doesnt need a grasp of the Italian language to amuse long-suffering Bongiorno skeptics seeing her taken down a peg. Meredith, the name of the victim here: does Bongiorno even know that? If the victim’s suffering family was Italian and regularly on Italian TV would Italy tolerate her callous, cruel act?

Here is an Italian woman one really can admire.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

With Radioactive Knox Campaign Not On Agenda,  US & Italian Leaders Give Each Other Big Boosts

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi needs all the support he can get for his economic-recovery program, President Obama the same for the Ukraine.

Here’s a Rome-based blog our main poster Yummi pointed out, which describes in detail chronologically how the productive four days went.

And Mr Obama went out of his way to give Mr Renzi a lot of praise as Reuters described

Renzi, Italy’s youngest ever prime minister, has set a testing agenda of economic and constitutional reforms to help the eurozone’s third-largest economy recover from its longest recession since World War Two.

“I want to say that I’ve just been impressed by the energy and vision that Matteo’s bringing to his position,” Obama said during an hour-long joint news conference in Rome.

“There’s a seriousness and ambition of ideas, and I think the spirit and the energy of the Italian people has the opportunity to be unleashed in a way that will be good for Italy, but it will also be good for Europe,” he said.

“So it’s wonderful to see this new generation of leadership coming to the fore.”

The comments were a welcome boost to Renzi, who took over leadership of Italy’s cross-party ruling coalition after a party coup last month, pledging to push forward more aggressively on reforms than his predecessor Enrico Letta.

Not a single mention by any official or any media outlet of the radioactive Knox campaign. NOT ONE. Ask any justice official in either capital city, and the responses now are ““Knox who?” and “She should go quietly and serve her time”.

She’s old news. Let’s move on.








Saturday, March 22, 2014

Italy’s 13th Foreign Oscar Winner Shows A Very Beautiful Side Of Rome

Posted by Peter Quennell



Since 1950 Italian films have won more Foreign Oscars than those from any other country.

And now this. The Great Beauty.  Said by some to be a La Dolce Vita for the 21st century and by others to be a Great Gatsby for Italy.

The movie was re-released on 14 March after a limited run late last year and is still playing in many art houses in Europe and the US. The Great Beauty has a 91% positive rating among the critics on Rotten Tomatoes and the reviews sure take off in many different directions.

The Los Angeles Times review started off thus:

As its name promises, “The Great Beauty” is drop-dead gorgeous, a film that is luxuriously, seductively, stunningly cinematic. But more than intoxicating imagery is on director Paolo Sorrentino’s mind, a lot more.

One of Italy’s most impressive contemporary filmmakers, Sorrentino has a superb sense of how to fill a wide screen and, working with his longtime cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, a wizard with camera movement, his visuals display the intoxicating richness of color 35-millimeter film in a way few contemporary ventures can match.

When Sorrentino says in the press notes that “a single shot, if well thought out and balanced, can enthrall and say more than ten pages of dialogue,” he’s as good as his word

Another small shot in the arm for Rome where everybody seems to be headed these days. Well done Rome and well done Italian film industry where movies mainly for adults are still happening.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Human Rights Group “Human Rights Watch” Gives An Approving Nod To Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Armando Spataro, the chief prosecutor in the 2009 trial in Milan; CIA operatives all absent]


Human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International keep an eye on the Italian courts, as they do the courts of most countries.

When it comes to Italy, they rarely have anything to complain about. Italy has a firm high-profile police presence but when the playing field is level the Italian courts are known to be very fair and prison rates are among the world’s lowest.

Nothing is seen to be broken..

The same applies to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which receives mind-numbing numbers of spurious appeals from Italy (an unfortunate circumstance for Knox) which repeatedly jump the gun (as Knox’s appeal did) before the Italian legal process is over.  But the ECHR only very rarely finds that Italian courts did anything wrong.

In an excellent report by the AP’s Colleen Barry (not our favorite reporter in Florence, but now we have hopes for her) the New York-based Human Rights Watch has just praised Italy for persevering against the CIA operatives who executed an example of extraordinary rendition - kidnapping for torture in a third country of suspected terrorists.

Cassation had just confirmed three of the guilty sentences among the 26 for American operatives earlier handed down:

“It is really a seminal case. It set a very important precedent that unfortunately has not been followed yet by any other countries,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We certainly hold it as an example how a national judiciary can in fact get to the bottom of an unlawful rendition.”

The Obama administration renounced the Bush administration’s practice of extraordinary rendition, and neither the CIA or State Department seems to have done very much to help the CIA officers who were being prosecuted.

Alessia Sorgato, who was one of four court-appointed defense lawyers, complained the U.S. government had not responded to requests for help to defend their clients.

None of the court-appointed lawyers had any contact with their clients. U.S. officials only granted two of the defendants permission to seek their own counsel, toward the end of the trial…

Leader Robert Seldon Lady did possibly get some minor official help to disappear recently within the United States, but has since spoken out against the CIA and State Department bitterly. So did other CIA operatives.

At the same time, the Italian government (think Ministry of Justice) has been fairly passive, and allowed the courts to increasingly confirm the convictions, except for several Italian ones (they were declared military as was one American).

These outcomes from Cassation may not result in former CIA operatives ending up in Italian prisons. But life for perps on the run can be made hell worldwide under an Interpol Red Notice. So civil rights groups are not unhappy.

Amanda Knox, learn something.


[Below: human rights groups in Italy kept up pressure]


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Italy’s Anti-Mafia Winning Push In Co-operation With FBI Is Headed By Arturo De Felice, Who Was”¦

Posted by Peter Quennell



Dr Arturo De Felice (at center below) was formerly the head of Perugia’s police. He ran this show while the investigations into Meredith’s murder went on.

It was his police officers who conducted the witness interrogation about which Amanda Knox has told so many lies. Defenses tried to impugn police performance, but fell absolutely flat. Not one police action has ever been criticised by any judge.

Like Dr Giuliano Mignini and many others who performed so well, Arturo De Felice has been honored and promoted. He now heads an elite national organization in Rome much admired in Italy which works on a daily basis with the FBI.

He will be able to pull many strings if Knox tries to mount an extradition fight - especially one based on Knox’s endemic lies about the police. 

Here are several recent English-language reports of anti-mfia gains which name Dr Felice - the same highly successful police official who foolish amateurs like Michael Heavey and Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and Doug Bremner (none of whom speak Italian) have impugned. 

The huge joint FBI-Polizio operation described in the video at top and also here as resulting in many arrests in Italy and New York city is another feather in Dr De Felice’s cap.

Try telling Dr De Felice “No, you got it wrong, and we wont extradite.”




Monday, February 24, 2014

Power Shift In Italy Very Unfavorable To Anyone So Stupid As To Thumb Their Noses At Italian Justice

Posted by Peter Quennell




Meet 39-year-old Matteo Renzi

Mr Renzi was sworn in by the President of the Italian Republic on Saturday as the new Prime Minister of Italy. As a top German newssite remarks, he is looking like a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Mr Renzi is colorful and dynamic and very popular, and may become one of the most effective leaders in recent Italian history and a major player on the world stage. Mr Renzi comes from FLORENCE where he was the popular and effective mayor.

Unlike the Berlusconi faction in parliament (which once included Giulia Bongiorno) Mr Renzi is a big friend of law and order, police, and justice. In the image at bottom you can see him opening the huge Palace of Justice in Florence with all the top officers of the court who just organized the appeal.

This is very bad news for Sollecito and Knox and their foolish gangs, as Mr Renzi will be very unlikely to look kindly on that same Florence court - and any court in Italy including, especially, Cassation - being flouted by convicted perps and made to look weak.

If the new Minister of Justice sends an extradition request to his desk, you can bet that he’ll send it on to the United States. And the US, very keen to stay on good terms with Italy as one of its 2-3 most reliable allies, will exhibit little if any resistance to the extradition of Knox.

More bad news for Sollecito and Knox

The sardonic Italian media is paying very close attention to the ongoing game of each of them pushing the other closer to the flames, and the almost-certain prospect of the two of them and Rudy Guede explosively flying apart.

The Italian media is picking up on signs that Sollecito has become highly resentful at his on-again off-again rejection by Knox, especially as many or most in Italy believe it was Knox who wielded the big knife that killed Meredith to which the other two had maybe not signed on in advance.

There are additional pressures headed down the pike. First, Rudy Guede will be given brief study leaves soon, and under Italy’s new “clear the over-crowded prisons (somewhat)” law Guede could even soon see himself released and free to talk.

Plus the investigators examining the criminal defamation of the justice system and officers of the court by Knox and Sollecito in their exceptionally foolish books are believed very close to announcing that a case against them has been made.

Sollecito’s father on national TV has already admitted that Raffaele lied about a deal to get him off, and this on Knox seems an open & shut case. Knox and Sollecito might face additional sentences of 3 to 7 years if they keep provoking a hard line.

Here are two articles translated by Miriam which summarise (not perfectly in our terms but good enough) the signs of the growing divide and the evidence that will see Knox and Sollecito back in prison.

Vitadamamma

Amanda Knox Will Return to Italy and Go to Jail, as Will Raffaele Sollecito, While Rudy Guede Will Be Freed

This scenario is not only plausible, but seems to be the natural outcome of the last sentencing of the Mez case. Few believe that the Corte di Cassazione could overturn, again, the verdict of the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Florence.

So Amanda Knox will return to Italy and go to jail.  For Amanda Knox, “her extradition is quite possible” Christopher Blakesely say without equivocation. He is one of the main experts on such penal proceeding in the United States.

The day after the verdict of the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Florence, Giovanna Botteri, the RAI correspondent in the USA, reported something similar, underlining that Amanda rushed to CNN to cry all her tears didnt help.

Knox uses even the social networks to scream again her innocence, but the law says something different.

Even Italian popular opinion seems not in Amanda’s favor : Perugia,  through the social networks, has literally screamed its disagreement and displeasure against Amanda (read: L’Urlo di Perugia: a Facebook page against Knox:  from the people of Perugia)....

Rudy is at the moment the only one sentenced in jail…. How does Rudy reconstruct that night?  Rudy swears to having consensual sex with Mez.

After the intimate relation Guede went to the bathroom and from there he heard her scream, rushing to her room he found her in a pool of blood, and tried to help her. Realizing that Meredith was dead, in shock he ran away.

On the plausibility of this reconstruction, the judges had numerous doubts, to the point of finding Guede guilty and sentencing him.

This reconstruction, according to his lawyers, explains not only the biological traces of Rudy all over the crime scene but also his flight.

How does Amanda reconstruct that night?

Amanda continues to sustain that she did not wield the knife that killed Mez, that she heard her scream while she was in the kitchen and that she covered her ears like a scared child.

The “whys” are many and heavy.  Why did Amanda accused Patrick Lumumba, incarcerated for 14 days while innocent, due to her ignominious accusations? Why on the knife used for the murder are there traces of Mez and Amanda?

Knox DNA was on the handle of the knife that killed Meredith: only because she used it to cut potatoes? The alibi of the potato has always been used by Knox and her lawyers, but it is plausible?

And Raffaele Sollecito?

One of the most decisive evidence against Sollecito in the first trial was the bloody foot print on the bathroom math. In the appeal process that footprint was challenged, it was said that it could be not Sollecito’s and was ascribed to Guede with benefit of doubt .

Now it seems certain that Rudy was wearing shoes ,as is demonstrated by other prints at the scene of the crime, thus the bloody footprint goes back to being ascribed to Sollecito.

Why is Rudy Guede in jail while Amanda and Raffaele are on the loose?

After the verdict of the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Florence the appeal to the Cassazione,  was announced, while waiting for the Cassazione, the guilty Raffaele Sollecito had to hand over his passport in order to make it impossible for him to leave Italy.

Right after the sentence Sollecito was stopped in Udine about 60km from the Italy/Austrian border and about 40km from the Slovenian border.

Before the verdict of Corte D’Assise d’Appello of Florence Sollecito was a free man, and therefore legally in possession of a passport and the right to cross the border.

Sollecito, instead of waiting for the verdict in the court room, around 12 o’clock that day left with his new girlfriend and arrived in Udine [in north-east Ital]..

Around night time during a snow storm the two of them took refuge in an hotel , and the owner recognizing Sollecito by name, alerted the police that promptly arrived in order to confiscate Sollecito’s passport as decided by the Court.

Sollecito told the media that he had no intention of fleeing the Country.

One can ask what Sollecito was doing in Udine then, a few hours after his guilty verdict. To excuse Sollecito one can perhaps say that the young man was overpowered by anguish and fear, in fact up to today

Sollecito had never seemed to want to evade justice, instead he was usually in the Courtroom.

Amanda in contrast was not sanctioned with any precautionary measures.  She arrived in America as a free citizen after the not guilty verdict.

Now,  if and when the Cassazione confirms the verdict of the last proceeding, America needs to extradite Amanda and remit her in the hands of the Italian Justice… 

America is tied to Italy by sanction accords by name of international laws, thus if the Cassazione upholds the guilty verdict, Amanda must return to Italy. Nothing makes one think that America could oppose an extradition.

Rudy Guede is the only guilty one in jail at the moment.  His detention was confirmed after a fast track trial, decided by his layers, and his detention was 16 years in jail. (with time off for the fast track trial)

Not many know that while the doors of the prison may soon open for Amanda and Raffaele,, for Rudy instead “freedom” may be close by.

Thanks to the new decree passed last December by the Parliament, Rudy could leave the prison where he is detained. Guede is one of 3 thousand detainees who could benefit from the “empty the prisons” decree.

 

Menti Informatiche

Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are close to a break up after the sentencing..

Raffaele wrote Amanda a letter saying: “Amanda I am tired. I don’t want to be punished, neither do I want to continue to give justifications for matters that concern you and not me”.

Amanda says “I understand him but: I want to say that Raffaele is not my slave and I am not his oppressor. Raffaele has many reasons to be resentful, but not with me.”

The bond between the two, accused of the homicide of Meredith Kercher, is cracking. A bond that lasted from that horrible night of November1st 2007, when in a house in Perugia, via della Pergola, their English friend was savagely killed.

Looking at a concrete possibility that the Judges of the Cassazione will confirm the sentencing which condemned Amanda and Raffaele to 28 years of jail for her and 26 for him, the two ex-lovers are starting to distance themselves from each other.

Amanda took a picture of herself holding a sign that read “we are innocent” so as to underline a common faith, from which Raffaele can’t dissociate. Not anymore.

Raffaele after six years may be starting to understand that being Amanda’s “fiancé” did not help him at all. He said this to Giulio, in an interview a few months ago, and now in an interview to CNN:

In the Judges head I must be guilty because I was Amanda’s boy-friend. It does not make any sense for me. According to the Judges because in some way I supported Amanda, I must be implicated. According to me this is aberrant. My standing has not been just ignored, but completely forgotten. In all the proceedings I was not part of them unless for the scientific investigations.

For many, many hearings the topic was my DNA, but nobody said nothing of the reason why I was accused of the homicide except the fact that I was Amanda’s boy-friend and because I was with her very often and spent many nights with her, I had to be in some way connected with the homicide.

Is Raffaele’s defense thinking of ditching the girl? Is Raffaele ready to tell the truth of what happened that night? Now Raffaele is in Bari, and is thinking over what happened to him. He reveals:

I discussed with my friends and family the possibility of going abroad a year ago, but I cannot accept the fact of leaving all the people who are dear to me for a theory. I had no motive to hurt Meredith Kercher.

Now I have no light in my future. They took away my passport and I.D. card, and I do not know if I can realize my dreams, or anything I want to do. I do not accept that my future is destroyed.

Too often, though, Amanda and Raffaele forget to mention that Meredith’s life really was destroyed.

Against Amanda and Raffaele there are scientific evidence, bloody footprints on the floor, DNA on the bra clasp and knife, and the many contradictions in their alibis.

From the beginning their behavior caused the carabinieri to be suspicious of them.

Without forgetting the spontaneous confession of Amanda of being in the house while her friend was being murdered. “I have a vision of being in the kitchen, covering my ears while they kill her.” She even gave the name of the killer Patrick Lumumba, her boss, who was then discovered to be innocent.

The attempt to divert the investigation, pointing the finger against an innocent man, is evidence of the quilt of Amanda.

Even Raffaele changed versions more than once. In one of the interrogations he said Amanda was not with him that night and arrived at his apartment in the early hours of the morning. He then said he smoked too much marijuana and could not recall what happened that night.

In the meantime Rudy Guede, 27 years old, condemned to 16 years for the murder of Meredith Kercher, with others, writes:

Now that my verdict is definite, for too long the judicial reasoning have been subjected to a continuous and willful manipulation and alteration of the data of the proceedings…  I would like to point out that I do not accept being labeled as a homeless man,  drifter, and a thief; when instead I had a splendid family and precious and clean friendships in Perugia.

Amanda Knox’s defense team wants to pass him off as a habitual thief. Rudy adds: ” “Meredith’s house was turned upside down, someone simulated a break in. I was not condemned for this simulated break-in.”

If it was not Rudy, then who?



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Italy The Faux Self Pity Of Knox And Sollecito Is Increasingly Becoming A National Joke

Posted by Peter Quennell



Meet Amanda Knox the Perugian Chipmunk version.

Knox’s Facebook page is also being satirised and ridiculed (one message there reads “Perugia Hates You”.) Some may actually believe the rumor that Knox is shopping herself around for salacious movies.

Sollecito being nabbed at the Austrian border because of a quick tip to the police also inspired sarcastic humor in Italy, and several journalists have come up with questions to challenge Sollecito when he gets on the stand, as he so desperately wants or says he does.

We expect some more Italian satire (and maybe not only Italian) and will report on that as well, as this long-needed and much-deserved hit-back against dishonest pandering to media audiences could prove an important trend.

If satire proves the way to stop RS and AK babbling lies daily about the case and Italian justice via every craven media outlet, then well done Italy!! Nothing else seems to work to shut the two up, although their false claims and smears could constitute obstruction of justice.

If Knox and Sollecito want to avoid being spoofed, they have two very easy ways to do so: (1) shut up and avoid the media, or (2) stick to telling the truth.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

How Many Extraditions Do The US And Italy Refuse? Approximately Zero, When It’s To Each Other

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Ex-fugitive Florian Homm above and below in front of his palatial Mallorca Spain home]


The State Department and FBI collaborate more closely with their Italian counterparts than with almost any others in the world.

Italy is a very loyal political ally to the US and has helped out a lot diplomatically and militarily around the world. The FBI and their Italian counterparts in Rome have officers permanently embedded from one another and there are dozens of transactions going on all the time..

Extraditions both ways take place without fuss at the rate of a few a year, which the State Department and Justice Department are not inclined to fight. A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court in Rome declined the final appeal of fugitive swindler Florian Homm and sent him on his way to the US.

Homm had many millions to pay top lawyers to fight his extradition case. But he still lost.

The only extradition requests from Italy the US doesnt fulfill are the CIA kidnaping in Milan and Air Force Dolomites case.

It is the CIA and Pentagon overtly or clandestinely exercising special military privileges that is the cause of the two standoffs. NOT the Department of State, which has made clear it is not too thrilled.

Contrary to broad confusion in the US (fed by biased stories from Colleen Barry of the Associated Press) the Florence appeal is not a second or third trial of Knox.

It is a FIRST appeal, actually filed by Sollecito and Knox, on the same lines as any American first appeal, after the previous Hellmann appeal was furtively bent, and then scathingly annulled.  Knox has been in provisionally guilty status since late in 2009.

So double jeopardy absolutely does not apply.

The one REAL difference between this appeal and any American appeal, which seems over Colleen Barry’s head, is that this appeal request was automatically allowed. Any American appeal judge (except Heavey, who serially gets the hard facts wrong) would have thrown the flimsy appeal grounds out.

It may take up to a year, if Amanda Knox chooses to waste more big bucks on lawyer fees -  their batting record for that is pretty dismal so far, though, and a confirmed-guilty verdict in Florence next week might be only the start of more legal strife. False claims in her book will soon see her back in court.

But it seems 100% likely that Italy will “get their man”. To a rapidly increasing number of Americans, Italy’s gain would also be the US’s gain.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Interpol HQ is now in Central France, a new HQ is planned for outside Paris soon.

Extradition: a hardball game.

This is the latest of many posts which include this legal take explaining the gloomy prospects for Sollecito and Knox if their final conviction comes down. 

Complete refusals of extradition by any countries other than Russia and China seem increasingly rare, as that can cause a rebound effect and economic retaliation in response. The United States very rarely refuses to extradite.

If anything, the US is stepping up the pace of its extradition cases - both ways. The US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests, and transporting suspected perps back and forth.

These are some of the high-profile extradition cases in today’s news:

The US/Italy Robert Lady case

The twists and turns in the story of the fugitive from Italian justice and former CIA chief in Milan Robert Lady were last posted on here. He scampered out of Central America back to the United States mid-2013.

But now official Washington seems to be giving Mr Lady a very hard time which may have him voluntarily headed to Italy to seek a break.

When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he’s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is “getting pretty desperate.” His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition””one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration””set in train events that soured America’s relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents.

Saying “I’m fed up with all this,” Mr. Lady has some extraordinary steps in mind to change his fate. His actions and outspokenness are going to add to the discomfiture of his former bosses at Langley over this messy episode from the early days after 9/11.

If the muddle-headed Knox and Sollecito enablers can find any solace in that, good luck. Mr Lady was a top government employee, who claims he was doing only what he was told. 

The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case

Believe it or not the former director of the Bank of Brazil has fled to Italy to ensure a fair trial.

Sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, Pizzolato announced in a letter that he fled to have, according to him, a new trial in Italy “removed from politics and electoral motives” and in “a court not subject to the impositions of the media”.

Brazil might ask Interpol for a “red notice” which is the highest form of international arrest warrant and often has the same wanted result as formal extradition.

A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.

In fact so tough is life on the lam under a red notice that perps often simply cave before too long, and head back to defend themselves or pay their dues without any court moves or official transport required.

The US/Italy Raoul Weil case

Finfacts reported on this case last month.

Raoul Weil, a former UBS wealth management chief, was arrested last weekend in Italy and faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of aiding and abetting tax evaders.

Weil left Switzerland’s biggest bank in 2009 after he was declared a fugitive from US justice by ignoring a criminal indictment issued in 2008. UBS was forced to pay a $780m fine in 2009 after admitting to actively assisting US tax evaders to break US law.

Several Swiss bankers and lawyers have since been indicted in the US for their alleged role in helping wealthy US citizens hide their assets from the tax authorities.

Weil is one of the most high-profile of the accused as a then head of UBS’s wealth management and he is now a temporary resident of an Italian prison, likely fearing a longer spell in a US one.

A Florida court indictment charged Weil with having a prominent role in aiding UBS’s US clients to hide around $20bn in undeclared assets between 2002 and 2007.

He however has strongly denied the allegation but would not risk defending himself in a US court.

Italy is giving Mr Weil a pretty hard time and accedes to all American extradition requests except where the death sentence might be involved.

The US/Russia gangsters case

The US is trying hard to get some Russian gangsters (okay, alleged gangsters) extradited from countries around the world  and Russia is resisting this “extraterritorial application of America law”.

U.S. organized crime experts say Russian criminals working overseas often have connections within the Russian government, and that the Russian government’s defense of them is designed to keep those links from emerging in public light….

In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

On Aug. 1, the Dominican Republic extradited 24-year-old Aleksandr Panin to stand trial in federal court in Atlanta on charges related to cyberscams using SpyEye malware, which enables the theft of online banking information. Panin is accused of stealing $5 million from U.S. banks.

In mid-August, Lithuania extradited an alleged arms dealer, Dmitry Ustinov, to stand trial in the United States for allegedly negotiating to sell restricted night-vision goggles. He faces a 20-year sentence.

Another Russian, Dmitry Belorossov, was arrested at the Barcelona airport Aug. 17 upon triggering an Interpol fraud alert. Belorossov’s extradition to stand trial in the United States is pending.

When U.S. prosecutors seized Liberty Reserve in late May, they said the company had laundered “more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds.” Liberty Reserve allowed clients anonymity and offered them a digital currency, known as an LR, to facilitate payments for criminal activity.


The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case

Banker Javier Martin-Artajo now in Spain is refusing to be extradited to the United states - because the crime he is accused of took place in England. Good luck with that one. JP Morgan Chase Bank has just paid a huge fine in the US so THEY accept the crime took place there.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Amanda Knox Dithering Over Court Appearance For Appeal Going Over Very Negatively In Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: the outspoken political leader of the region of Umbria Lignani Marchesani warns Amanda Knox]


Amanda Knox has her name on a book that maliciously slimes everybody she ever encountered in Italy. Then she repeatedly goes on TV whining about how people dont like or trust her.

Guess what? Italians are seeing those same wild accusations as being one self-created reason why Knox seems to lack the guts to head for the appeal court. She would be put face-to-face with many of those that she slimed. How embarrasing.

The other reason of course has applied since 2009: Italians believe she really did lead a very cruel murder pack, killed someone vastly more gifted and worthwhile than herself, and now is lying to the American public in the hope that they will insist their government ignores any arrest warrant for Knox from Italy.

She sure has a real knack of making things worse for herself. No-shows are very rare in Italy and they are seen as not only very cowardly but a sure sign of the person’s guilt. Our main poster Jools translated this tart threat from the leader of Umbria’s regional government which is posted on the regional assembly website.

MEREDITH KERCHER MURDER: “IF AMANDA KNOX DOES NOT COME BACK TO FACE THE NEW TRIAL, PERUGIA SHOULD REVOKE THE SISTER CITIES-TWINNING- WITH SEATTLE”.

The chief regional councillor Andrea Lignani Marchesani (Fd’I) seeks to revoke the twinning of Perugia with Seattle, if Amanda Knox does not return to Italy to stand trial for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher.

“Headlines were not needed nor a crystal ball to forcast that Miss Amanda Knox would carefully refrain from returning to Italy to face the new appeal process. The annulment of the judgment at the Supreme Court shows how the references to international pressures were not unfounded and a clear abdication of our sovereignty for the sake of interests that have nothing to do with justice.

“No need to emphasize once more how the city of Perugia, the Umbria [region] and the University have damage to their image and finances from this tragic event, without forgetting the human aspects and family of the victim.”

Andrea Lignani Marchesani calls to revoke the twinning between the cities of Perugia and Seattle, birthplace of the American woman on trial in Italy.  According to Lignani, “The city of Seattle, linked in a sister cities twinning for twenty years with Perugia, lost no time during the time Amanda was in custody to criticize our capital city, either by revoking of the naming of a park [in honor] of the city of the Griffon or by petitions tending to the withdrawal of the twinning itself.

“Perugia has no need for undesirable relationships and should, in this situation where a wound of its recent history is being reopened, should proceed to counter offensive.

If Amanda, as is almost certain, does not show up at the trial and does not face the verdict of the Italian justice system, Perugia must withdraw it’s twinning with Seattle. Court judgments are meant to be respected and must be executed, this is what is repeated every day, and this must also apply to the Seattle citizen Amanda Knox.”

As explained in the post below, the Italian court has many ways of applying its own powerful pressure. It could for example put Knox’s entire defaming entourage on trial, including her own dad, and see them all labeled as felons worldwide.

More on this in our next post, about Frank Sforza, which explains all the grief his own meltdown in court could rain down.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meredith’s Perugia #12: A Colorful Event Right Now That Meredith Might Have Loved

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





The flowering of the sunflowers. Il girasoli.

They are flowering right now all around Perugia, and especially to the west in Tuscany.

If you are not pre-warned and happen suddenly on one of these fields, you can drive right off the road, the visual impact is so great!

Meredith missed ever seeing this beautiful sight, sad to say. But many of the foreign students from the university towns do go out to see.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Florence Palace Of Justice Where Sollecito And Knox Are Expected To Be Seen In Court Soon

Posted by Peter Quennell



This is a video of a recent light show. The soundtrack leaves something to be desired, but the huge new courthouse looks amazing at night.

We posted previously here on the new Palazzio di Giustizia, which is one of Europe’s largest and most modern. It only came into full operation this year.

It is reported today in UK newspapers that Knox and Sollecito have just been having a meeting in the vicinity of New York, maybe to sort out a common narrative once and for all. Our betting is that each will appear in the Florence court, not least to keep a close eye on the other and to attempt to warm the judges to themselves.

However, their nasty and dishonest books have not made things any easier for them, and have led to a lot of negative reaction in Italy where they have been discussed on TV. It is easy to spot where in many places the two texts conflict, and also where (as demonstrated in the two post below) they also contradict many accepted well-documented facts of the case.

Both books are being considered as substantial new evidence, and the prosecution will ask the appeal court if they can be included in.

Both books are also being investigated, by the chief prosecutors in Florence and Bergamo for separate new felony charges, as they appear to constitute substantial lllegal attempts along with the internet vilification posted by the likes of Preston, Fischer and the Moores, to inflame and mislead public opinion during an ongoing legal process.

The writers have also sought to undermine the officers of the court, by accusing them of serious crimes, again as illustrated in the two posts directly below. Many Italians and Americans with “relevant information” could be called to testify for the prosecution or the defenses. They will probably be asked to explain their own inflammatory campaigns and may face charges of their own. Again, Preston, Fischer and the Moores seem to have painted targets on their backs. 

Results of both investigations, together with any new charges against Sollecito, Knox, and their entourages, should be made public well before the new appeal of Meredith’s case gets under way.

If the two are indicted on new charges for the books, as expected, that will mean more to explain, more to try to harmonize upon, more goodwill lost, and more legal bills.

If their Italian lawyers recklessly promoted these daft projects, as texts in the books themselves suggest, the lawyers could all face both contempt of court charges and malpractice suits from their clients.

Nice work….


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Seeds Of Betrayal: In Interview Knox Reveals To Italy Her Considerable Irritation With Sollecito

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





For some odd reason, Amanda Knox has decided she is not loved enough in Italy.

Could it be because she is widely seen to have lied her way through trial, came across as loud, self-absorbed and callous in her 2009 testimony and court interventions, served three years for framing her her kindly employer, was reported as being just as grubby and tin-eared and sharp-elbowed as ever in prison, slimed Italy though her cohorts in much of the English-language media after her 2011 release, and has now written an illegal blood-money book which once again slams a benign Italy?

In particular it slams the justice system, one of the most popular and trusted institutions in Italy, and its officers of the court, with more proven lies and contradictions with past testimony being unearthed daily. 

Apparently in Knox’s mind it was all really Guede’s and Sollecito’s faults.

It was they who tarnished her image. Here in an interview in the current Oggi (which appears just as in contempt of court as last week’s Oggi article now the subject of a criminal investigation) she sets Italians straight.

Translation here was by our main poster Miriam, who is herself in Italy - and in disgust.

AMANDA KNOX: ITALIANS; WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE ME?

Amanda Knox answers the phone with a bright voice and no signs of fatigue. Strange. She is a veteran of a promotional tour that would have knocked-out a bison. Her book “Waiting to be heard” is selling like mad [it is?] but it will not be published in Italy: our publishers have a - sound - suspect that it would set off a number of complaints for defamation, and they have decided to not publish it.

“I’m sorry” she says. “The Italians believe that I am full of hate for them, but if they had the opportunity to read my book they would discover that there is not a trace of anger in it. It hurts that so many believe that I am guilty, that I wrote the book out of arrogance, for money. It is not true.” Says Knox venting her frustration.

Following the Cassazione’s decision on March 26 to redo the appeal process - which had absolved Amanda and Rafaele Sollecito - the British publishers also pulled back.

“They asked me if I wanted to postpone the book launch. But it is my turn to talk now, and I do not intend to alter my story just because somebody threatens to sue me.” Amanda is nothing if not pugnacious.  “Compared to how I was before I came to Perugia, I am quieter, even timid. My family is disappointed: the sunny happy Amanda no longer exists.”

Your personality - the way you reacted to Meredith’s death - caused you many problems at the time.

“People involved in a tragedy can react in many different ways, and your behavior can be manipulated to reinforce the idea that you are the one who is guilty.”

What are you referring to?

“To the infamous images taken outside of the small villa on the day Meredith’s lifeless body was found. Those images were cut and obsessively repeated, so as to only show Raffaele and me kissing.” The message was clear: “their friend is dead and all those two think about is kissing.”

What were you feeling at that moment?

“I hadn’t understood what had happened; I had not accepted the fact that Meredith had died in such a terrible way. I felt lost and sad. I was desperately trying to understand. Raffaele kissed me to console me: since I did not speak Italian yet, there was a linguistic barrier between us that prevented us from giving each other verbal support. And then, to re-enforce the strangeness of my behavior, there was the contrast of the cries of my roommate Filomena Romanelli. She is Italian, she had understood. She had seen Meredith’s room, the body, the blood. Not me: I was in total confusion.”

In the book, Honor Bound, Sollecito writes that your behavior that day was “embarassing”

“I don’t think he was embarrassed . I can understand that he would find me “clingy”. I depended on him completely; I was absolutely clingy. However, he knew how they were looking at us, while I hadn’t considered at all how people might have judged us. I was simply reacting in my lost and disoriented way.”

One of the PMs believes that Guede didn’t act alone. Could he have had an accomplice?

“I can only base my opinion on what the prosecution brought to court.”

And?

“They found another person’s DNA in Meredith’s room, a person that has never been identified. A smaller amount of DNA than Rudy’s. There is Guede’s bloody handprint on the wall, his footprint, his DNA on Meredith’s body. This evidence leads me to believe he acted alone.”

John Kercher, Meredith’s dad, maintains that his daughter had studied karate as a child, and that she would have fought to survive. He believes one man would not have been able to subdue her.

“Of course Meredith fought, but what could she have done against an armed man? Rudy is athletic, and is not small. Mez was minute, she maybe weighed 54 kgs, what good could have Karate done her? Even a man if faced against the likes of Guede, armed with a knife, would not have stood a chance.”

How do you explain Rudy’s calm countenance during the trial? Before being arrested he had told a friend - Giacomo Benedetti - on Skye that you and Raffaele had nothing to do with the murder. After being arrested he started accusing you.

“Yes, it is a strange coincidence. I do not know if he changed his story based on his own ideas or those of his lawyers or the prosecution. I only know that after his story changed, the PM began calling him “poor Rudy” to demonstrate how fragile he was, and consequently how easily manipulated by me.”

When and why did you break up with Raffaele?

“When he “broke” my alibi (during a police questioning, Raffaele claimed to not remember if Amanda had left the house the night of the murder, editor’s note.) It was a shock for me.”

“A shock that combined with the fact that we did not communicate for a long time while in prison erased my feelings for him. In prison I had to focus on survival and put love aside.”

Back in Seattle, James Terrano became your boyfriend.

“We had been together in university. While I was in prison, we wrote a lot, but just as friends. When I came back home, we began looking at each other differently.”

Do you live with James?

“No. At first, I lived with a friend (Madison Paxton, who had moved to Perugia to be closer to her, editor’s note) now I live alone. James is often at my place, we’re very close, but we don’t live together.”

Did you see a psychiatrist to get over your prison experience?

“Only once, I started crying and never went back. I talk with my friends and with my family; I don’t need an “external consultant.” Writing the book was extremely helpful; I freed myself of all my anger and my wounds.”

What will you do now?

“I took a break from university to write my book; I’m going to go back and would like to graduate next year. I would also like to write other books, if I can afford do. My financial future is very uncertain.”

But everyone says the advance on the book was fantastic.

“I’ll just say that I still have not been able to meet my first goal: repay my family for all expenses incurred in defending and staying close to me.” (One and a half million dollars, editor’s note)

People have also mentioned a movie.
..
“I’ve heard the same. I don’t know how being on the set would be; perhaps not as terrible as I imagine.”

Is there anything you regret?

“Yes. I regret not having immediately contacted Meredith’s family, of not having expressed my feelings and sorrow to them. At the beginning, perhaps, it would have been possible. It hurts to know that John Kercher believes I’m guilty, and that this belief is based on faulty information. I had hoped that once absolved, the Kerchers would have believed me. But that didn’t happen.

Maybe the new trial will draw out the truth

“That is up to Rudy, but I doubt he will do it.”

In May 2014, Rudy could receive the first permit allowing him to enjoy a few days out of prison.

“That’s crazy. It’s simply insane for them to let a guilty man loose because they refuse to admit they were wrong about me.”



Yes Rudy! What about that? Why did Knox’s own lawyers and the Supreme Court accept that overwhelming evidence proved three people did it?

And why did you say she did it? And why do her own parents believe she did it? How did you accomplish those tricks? Amanda says: speak up.












Saturday, April 06, 2013

Giuliano Mignini Promotion Places Him First In Line For Prosecutor General of The Region Of Umbria

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Giuliano Mignini at left at Lake Trasimeno where Dr Narducci’s body believed bound was recovered]


Umbria of course is the Region for which Perugia is the capital and the current Prosecutor General is Dr Galati who will soon retire.

The post that the popular Dr Mignini was promoted into on his high-scoring merit this past week is one of three deputy prosecutor general posts. The promotion was delayed because of the rogue prosecution against him which Cassation annulled, but he is the most senior and most high-scoring of the three so he should succeed Dr Galati.

We will post the full story (it is a long and impressive one) after our series of posts on the Cassation outcome is done. The story includes an almost unprecedented THREE Cassation wins in just the past several months.

  • One obviously was Dr Mignini’s role in the overturn of the Knox-Sollecito appeal and confirmation of Knox’s felony conviction. His main role was to have presented an error-free case at trial in 2009 resulting in the solid grounding of the Massei Report just praised by the Supreme Court.

  • One was the final termination of the spurious prosecution against Dr Mignini and Dr Michele Giuttari in Florence by a rogue prosecutor who was desperate to cover his tail after he was (legally) caught on tape incriminating himself.

  • One was the Cassation decision to permit the reopening of the MOF-related Narducci case and to confirm that investigations and prosecutions against nearly two dozen who had been seemingly obstructing justice may proceed.

Congratulations to a fearless and effective prosecutor. We will update his full story here soon.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Oil Tanker Incident: Things Between Italy And India Become… Complicated

Posted by Peter Quennell





India and Italy have long been close allies but an incident a year ago perversely reverberates on.

We posted on it here and here with some excellent commentary from our Indian posters Sara and Chami.

Italy maintained that the shooting of two fishermen who the soldiers above had wrongly assumed were pirates happened in international waters, and the oil-tanker company offered to pay substantial damages to the grieving families, which they appeared at one point to have accepted.

But though the tanker was long gone from the port of Kochi, the soldiers remained under house arrest, and in the state of Kerala there remained a disposition to put them on trial though the central government told Kerala they had no jurisdiction. On the say-so of the Italian Ambassador in New Delhi that they would return, the soldiers were recently allowed to return to Italy.

Now it seems Italy doesnt want to send them back. In quick retaliation, the Indian mission to Rome may be in the process of being diplomatically downgraded, the Italian Ambassador to India is being prevented from leaving India, and the Indian Express sees a sardonic side to all of this. 

To complicate the lives of the diplomats, Sri Lanka has arrested 53 Indian fishermen which it said were illegally fishing in its territorial waters, and is still holding 19 of them captive. And Italy is seeking to have a number of CIA operatives returned to Italy to stand trial there for kidnapping.

One bit of genuine good news is that piracy is at a five year low. Phew. Thanks for that one.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Subject To Appeal, Ex PM Silvio Berlusconi Is Sentenced In Milan To One Year For Corruption

Posted by Peter Quennell





The New York Times reports on this, the first outcome out of three corruption cases..

The story is in line with many previous posts here on the popularity and the efficient and unbending nature of Italian law enforcement. This is a system that has had to contend with a string of corrupt politicians and three mafias, and is slowly but surely winning the wars against all of them.

Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister and dominant political figure in Italy, was convicted and sentenced on Thursday to one year in prison for his role in the publication of a wiretapped conversation in a newspaper his family owns.

The verdict, handed down in a Milan court, was the second conviction for Mr. Berlusconi, the leader of Italy’s main center-right political party, in the past five months. It promises to weaken his position further as negotiations begin later this month to form a governing coalition, after inconclusive national elections late last month in which his party, People of Liberty, ran a close second behind the Democratic Party.

After Thursday’s conviction, “it will be difficult for Mr. Berlusconi to have an institutional role in the next government, either in the Senate or in any other Italian institution “” he’s out of the game,” said Sergio Fabbrini, director of the school of government at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome. “But in the Italian public opinion, there won’t be any difference,” he added. “The country is already divided between those who think he is a criminal and those who think he’s a victim. It’s been that way for 15 years.”


FBI Reporting Close Co-operation With Italy In Arresting And Soon Extraditing A Fugitive Swindler

Posted by Peter Quennell





A new FBI report in the news.

It is still more confirmation in line with many previous posts here that US and Italian crime-fighters respect one another and work closely together - and don’t turn a hair at requests for extradition.

The fugitive fund manager Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm could face 25 years in prison. The FBI explains what he is accused of: 

Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm, a German hedge fund manager who was on the run for more than five years, has been arrested in Italy on federal fraud charges that accuse him of orchestrating a market manipulation scheme designed to artificially improve the performance of his funds, a fraud that led to at least $200 million in losses to investors around the world….

Homm was the founder and chief investment officer of Absolute Capital Management Holdings Limited, a Cayman Islands-based investment advisor that managed nine hedge funds from 2004 until September 2007. The criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Homm directed the hedge funds to buy billions of shares of thinly traded, United States-based “penny stocks.” Homm caused many of the purchases of penny stocks to be made through Hunter World Markets Inc., a broker-dealer in Los Angeles that Homm co-owned. Homm also allegedly obtained shares of the penny stock companies through various businesses he controlled.

And the FBI credits the role in arresting Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm of the Italian authorities.

Homm, 53, was arrested at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday (local time). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday, March 6, after filing a criminal complaint that charges Homm with four felony charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud. Homm was arrested by Italian authorities after the United States submitted a request for a provisional arrest with officials in Rome.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Homework For Curt Knox/Marriott/FOA: How Leaning On Italian Judiciary Can Seriously Misfire

Posted by Peter Quennell




Update: Nicolo Pollari won at the Supreme Court level and walks free. On close examination this seems fair. He was forbidden by secrecy rules at trial to explain his role and put on a defense. It seems his role might have been very minor or none at all if he was kept out of the loop. Italy has ignored a negative opinion on this from the ECHR.

Nicolo Pollari (above) has just been sentenced to ten years and Marco Mancini to nine.

Mr Pollari was the supreme head of Italy’s intelligence agencies - its top spy - and Mr Mancinin was one of his deputies. They were sentenced by a court in Milan.  They were found to be complicit in an act now illegal both in Italy and now the US.

Under the George Bush and Berlusconi regimes, an Egyptian called Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr was kidnapped by the CIA in Italy and dispatched to be tortured elsewhere. Revealed not to be a terrorist, he was later released.

Some 26 Americans, mostly CIA, were previously sentenced in Milan for the same crime in absentia. Italian warrants for their arrest are out and those warrants could be submitted to Interpol to be applied worldwide.

These were the outcomes DESPITE elements of the US and Italian governments putting up a tremendous rearguard fight. To their credit the US State Department and Rome Embassy dont seem to have been proactive in this (State was even sued for not providing one CIA operative with diplomatic cover) but bets are they would have hit a wall if they had. .

In an amazing new behind-the-scenes expose of the sordid history of the political strong-arming in The Guardian, in which he praises Italian justice a lot, Glenn Greenwald includes this:

This prosecution was possible in the first instance only because a single Italian magistrate, Armando Spataro, insisted on pursuing it despite all sorts of attacks against him.

This 2009 Der Spiegel article reports that, as a result of his pursuit of the case, “his communications were monitored, the Italian intelligence service placed him under observation and there were even investigations into whether he had betrayed state secrets.

The government tried again and again to silence him. But the magistrates ignored those repressive efforts, eventually even seizing [chief CIA operative] Robert Lady’s retirement villa in Italy to cover court costs.

Numerous cables show Italian officials, especially Berlusconi himself, attacking the Italian magistrates and assuring the US that Italian courts would eventually stop them.

One 2005 US cable celebrates that Minister of Justice Roberto Castelli “took the unusual step of publicly criticizing a member of Italy’s highly independent magistracy” over this case, specifically that he “called Armando Spataro a “militant’. meaning a communist”...

That public denunciation of the magistrate happened, recounted the US cable, after he “presented Castelli with requests for the provisional arrest in contemplation of extradition for 22 Americans involved in the alleged rendition of Egyptian Imam Abu Omar from Milan.”

Does this sound at all familiar?! There seem to be good lessons here for Curt Knox, David Marriott and the FOA.

Italian justice may take its sweet time (deliberately so, because of the Post World War II constitution) but all important cases are an opera in three acts - and no perp should think he or she is home free (and start writing books) at the end of Act II.

And prosecutors should never ever be leaned on because they invariably push back and most have the firm support of powerful colleagues - not the hapless Judge Hellmann, though, who the Council of Magistrates has made quite sure is gone.

Note that under Italian law criminal defamation suits by officialdom can be brought in Italy even if the serial slimers are across the Atlantic and believe distance or a helpful government is on their side.

The first of the suits against Sollecito for the multiple defamation in his book could be filed any day now, and Andrew Gumbel and Simon & Schuster executives might find targets on their own backs.

Roll on, the Amanda Knox interview and book!  We’ll see if anyone by then grew a brain.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

Posted by Peter Quennell





New York City.

The main characteristics of the Italian system are (1) a large and visible national and local police presence, (2) a low crime rate even by European standards, and even more-so by American standards, and (3) a very low rate of incarceration that is only 1/6 that of the US.

Pretty well the exact opposite of what you’d suppose if you read only Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito and Bruce Fischer and Saul Kassin and Steve Moore and of course Mario Spezi. Read only them, and one might be excused for thinking Italy’s is a huge, horrible system the Italian population desperately needs them to save it from.

Get a life!

An extremely misconceived campaign if the real purpose (we do wonder) is to do anything helpful for in particular Amanda Knox. The average Italian in the street likes and respects and is proud of their system. Polls repeatedly show that the institutions of that system are the most trusted and respected in Italy.

The general mood is probably toward a bit less concern about all perps and a lot more concern about all victims.  But essentially the system is liked for what it is. Conspiracy theories don’t fly.

New York is now the safest big city in America. It is following a route that is not only almost identical to Italy’s - it is being watched and emulated elsewhere across the US. All of John Tierney’s important report in last Friday’s New York Times is worth a read, for this could represent a huge sea-change.

These are the openings paras. 

Now that the United States has the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration, many criminologists are contemplating another strategy. What if America reverted to the penal policies of the 1980s? What if the prison population shrank drastically? What if money now spent guarding cellblocks was instead used for policing the streets?

In short, what would happen if the rest of the country followed New York City’s example?

As the American prison population has doubled in the past two decades, the city has been a remarkable exception to the trend: the number of its residents in prison has shrunk. Its incarceration rate, once high by national standards, has plunged well below the United States average and has hit another new low, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced recently. And crime in the city has fallen by more than 75 percent, almost twice as much as in the rest of the country.

Whatever has made New York the safest big city in America, that feat has certainly not been accomplished by locking up more criminals.

“The precise causes of New York’s crime decline will be debated by social scientists until the Sun hits the Earth,” said Michael Jacobson, a criminologist who ran the city’s Correction and Probation Departments during the 1990s and is now the president of the Vera Institute of Justice, a criminal justice research group. “But the 50,000-foot story from New York is that you can drive down crime while decreasing your jail and prison population “” and save a huge amount of money in the process.”

New York’s singular success has attracted attention across the country from public officials whose budgets have been strained by the prison boom. The 2.3 million people behind bars in America, a fifth of the world’s prisoners, cost taxpayers more than $75 billion a year. The strict penal policies were intended to reduce crime, but they have led to a historic, if largely unrecognized, shift in priorities away from policing.

“The United States today is the only country I know of that spends more on prisons than police,” said Lawrence W. Sherman, an American criminologist on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Cambridge University in Britain. “In England and Wales, the spending on police is twice as high as on corrections. In Australia it’s more than three times higher. In Japan it’s seven times higher. Only in the United States is it lower, and only in our recent history.”


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Barbie Nadeau Reports On A Mystery Disappearance That Is Now Gripping Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell





This MAY be a kidnapping. It concerns Italian fashion house head Vittorio Missoni.

Missoni and several others took off for a short flight from a Caribbean island to Venzuela where he was to board a plane to Italy. One main problem is that so far in clear though very deep water there is absolutely no sign of any wreckage.

Usually in light aircraft crashes in water a few things remain on the surface or soon float to the top. How Barbie Nadeau describes the second main problem.

But more disturbing is a series of cellphone anomalies. On Jan. 6, according to Italian wire service ANSA, more than 48 hours after the plane disappeared, the cellphone belonging to fellow passenger Guido Foresti sent a message to Foresti’s son indicating that the phone was back in range after being out of that zone since earlier that day. Calls made later to both Foresti and his wife’s number indicated that the phones were off.

A day later, calls to Foresti’s wife’s phone rang 10 times before automatically transferring through to the phone’s answering service, indicating that her phone was also momentarily on or back in cell-tower range. According to several Italian newspapers, a list of calls registered by the local Venezuelan telephone carrier the Italians’ phones were roaming through showed that both the Foresti phones made a series of calls at noon on Jan. 4, several hours after the plane disappeared.

The search continues. As with so many Italian fashion houses (see image at bottom) there is an elegant store in Manhattan.




















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