Category: 20 No-PR hoax

Saturday, October 01, 2011

“Million Dollar Campaign” To Try To Influence The Jury Is Being Widely Reported To A Startled Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell





It looks like a perfect storm is flaring up in Italy for the hapless Knox PR campaign. Just about every media outlet in Italy seems to be running a variation of this report.

Next Monday will see delivered the verdict against the girl in prison since 2007 on charges of murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. The decision was confirmed today by a judge of the court in Perugia.

Meanwhile there transpires shocking news: The Amanda Knox clan has spent a million dollars to change her image and influence the jury.  This is one of the allegations made by the prosecutor during the summations of the appeal of Amanda Knox.

“Have you ever seen a defendant who takes on a large public relations firm?” asked the prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, which the people on the benches behind the lawyers deny. “Behind her was a communication campaign for a million dollars.”

The much touted executive jet waiting at the airport to whisk her home gets considerable mention in a very negative way, as does the fact that a freed Knox stands to make many millions.

Also much mentioned is that a freed Amanda Knox might never come back to Italy for the final appeal before the Supreme Court of Cassation which is due next year.  Cassation is the ONLY body in the Italian justice system that can finally declare whether Knox is guilty or innocent. The Hellman court, like the Massei court, can only in effect make recommendations.

Also reported is that Michelle Moore of the Knox entourage may well be charged for her bizarre verbal lunge at Mr Mignini during a break at court. The file on that case is being sent to Florence, where cases involving court officers in Perugia are handled, for a decision to be made.

And also reported is that Steve Moore, who seems to us to have the mother of all tin ears, is still ranting on about those clumsy Italians. Steve Moore so far as we know speaks no Italian and is now on his first trip to Italy in the context of this case. He has still not listed the evidence he claims he has reviewed (which of course is all in Italian) or released his real resume.

With the meme now increasingly hostile to the campaign, we’d be surprised if there is not more to come.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflecting On Andrea Vogt’s Fine Report “Knox: Innocent Abroad Or “˜Getting Away With Murder’?”

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





Cross posted from my personal blog. Please click the image above for Ms Vogt’s new piece.

In this intelligent and well-written piece, Andrea Vogt wonders aloud how Italians would react to an acquittal of the Seattle woman who was convicted in December 2009 of taking part in the killing of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. She notes that an acquittal would be cause for celebration in Seattle.

It would certainly be cause for celebration among those who have taken up the cause and believe in Knox’s innocence despite the compelling evidence of her involvement in this horrific crime. But the fact is, most people in Seattle are simply not that interested. And among those who are, the consensus is certainly not that an innocent abroad got railroaded.

If it seems so, it’s because the local media has dutifully followed the lead of the national media and adopted the “innocent abroad” narrative concocted by David Marriott, whose PR firm was hired to manage Knox’s image shortly after she was arrested. In Seattle, Meredith’s murder has been played as a human interest story in which only the local protagonists matter. Meredith was British; it is assumed that Seattleites could not possibly give a toss about her.

Hence, local coverage has favored news of fundraisers for the accused local woman and then for the convicted local woman. Questions from local journalists to her supporters (family) have ranged from “How is she holding up in prison?” to “How is she holding up in prison?” And since there is no guilter movement, local or otherwise, except in the minds of a few shrill locals, there has been no local coverage of the movement’s “activities”. How can a non-existent movement have activities?

I have met many people in West Seattle who quietly shake their heads in disbelief at Steve Shay’s coverage for the West Seattle Herald. Yesterday, someone who works at a local business said “you’re skeptical bystander” when she handed me back my credit card. She told me she was a long-time lurker who reads perugiamurderfile.org and TJMK every day for information about the case. There are many people like her in Seattle.

I found it amusing, though sad, to read the comments that follow Andrea Vogt’s thoughtful piece for the First Post. Naturally, loud vocal supporter “Mary H” (this is her online pseudonym, and hiding behind it may be one reason she is so loud on the internet) was quick to condemn Vogt for merely pointing out the obvious. Mary H (fake name) asked Andrea Vogt (real name) how she could sleep at night!

It ain’t that hard, Mary, when you have the courage of your convictions and when you stand by the facts rather than getting sidetracked by the cause.

The fact at hand is that many people—in Seattle, in Italy, and elsewhere—would come away from an eventual acquittal with the feeling that justice had not been done for Meredith Kercher and her family and that at least two of those responsible for her death had gotten away with it. Mary H and others may not like to hear this, but it is a fact. And no amount of shaming on the part of Mary H or anyone else is going to make a bit of difference.

Yesterday, a lawyer friend and I were musing about what would have happened had this case been tried in the US. Many Knox supporters have said, repeatedly, that it would never have gone to trial here. My lawyer friend agreed, but for a different reason than the one implicit in this view (i.e. that there is supposedly no evidence).  He said

I don’t think the case would have gone to trial in the US. First, they would not have had to stop questioning her when they did. They would have artfully gotten her to waive her Miranda rights. They would have told her they can’t help her unless tells her side of the story, been very sympathetic initially and built up her confidence that she could talk her way out of it. They would eventually hone in on the inconsistencies, and when she finally cracked there wouldn’t be a lawyer there to stop her. The death penalty would have been on the table, and her only sure way to avoid that would be to plead guilty in exchange for life.

He also thinks that this would not have been such a high-profile case had it happened in Seattle.

Let’s wait and see how this court weighs the two contested items in the overall scheme of things. As a poster on PMF (another lawyer) wrote last night, it all boils down to this: How many pieces of evidence… ‘consistent with, but not conclusive of’ guilt can stack up against someone before, as a matter of common sense, it is no longer reasonable to believe they are innocent?


Friday, May 13, 2011

CPJ Accusation #4 Against Italian Justice Officials: Mr Mignini Sues For Defamation Without Cause?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Four to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation 4:  “[CPJ] an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about local authorities’ harassment of journalists and media outlets “¦. CPJ is particularly troubled by the manifest intolerance to criticism displayed by Perugia Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who has filed or threatened to file criminal lawsuits against individual reporters, writers, and press outlets…. [Editor of]  the national weekly newsmagazine Oggi, received an official notification that Mignini had started legal action against him in response to an Oggi article…. the U.S. weekly newspaper West Seattle Herald”¦ published an article that “¦ contained a reference to unnamed legal experts who reportedly believed Mignini to be “mentally unstable.” “¦. swift reaction by Mignini “¦ (who) file a defamation claim against the West Seattle Herald…  Joe Cottonwood, another U.S. writer Mignini has threatened with a criminal defamation lawsuit ... the action stems from a “¦ comment (where) Cottonwood described Mignini as an “intellectually dishonest bully.”  (Source: CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders 19-04-2011 )  “What we are concerned about is that the press - domestic and international - is free to report and comment on the case without fear of reprisal.”  (Source: CPJ followup explanatory note 28-04-2011. )

First a clarification. Joel Simon presumably means the press should be free to report accurately and without unfounded libelous smears. Let’s hope that he doesn’t really maintain reporters’ rights to defame without basis, to provoke unhinged ranters on the web who channel hate against the Perugia officials and those who support them day-in and day-out.

Forensics Method for Test 4: Common sense and a little Google

Line of Investigation for Test 4: Let’s get this straight: here the CPJ is concerned that reporters and news media will not freely report or express opinions in the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. The CPJ believes that this is happening because of threats by Mr. Mignini.

I think that we should check to what extent the press actually feels threatened, and to what extent they are modifying their comportment due to Mr. Mignini’s supposed inappropriate actions which the CPJ considers go beyond what could be reasonably expected.

Test 4a, Step 1:

Google:  judge sues newspaper defamation (enter)

You get 1,750,000 results, so it’s clear that the fact that members of the judiciary sue the press is not something that Mr. Mignini invented. You probably see where I’m going, so I’ll save us the effort of doing a few additional seconds of Googling different combinations like:

  • Google: judge sues radio slander (enter)
  • Google: judge sues media defamation (enter)

And so on. You end up with many, many millions of Google responses.

Since I’m trying to limit the execution of this test to a matter of seconds, let me take one of the mundane examples from the first page of Google results: this spring, the Voice of Richmond, a small local newspaper in Richmond, Virginia, was sued for the second time in two years, by the judge and a lawyer in the first case.




Above:  A defamation suit by a member of the judiciary or any other citizen is the most normal thing in the world. Most examples ““ like this case involving the Voice of Richmond, which I selected simply because it was one of the first Google results ““ are related to questioning the appropriateness of courtroom procedures. 

Other defamation suits, like Mignini’s claims against the West Seattle Herald’s reporter Steve Shay’s article (“mentally unstable”) or Joe Cottonwood (“intellectually dishonest bully”) are not against incursions limited to question the procedures in a legal case , but against open and baseless personal attacks, as seen from the point of view of the victim.

Is the CPJ concerned about the defamation suit against the Voice of Richmond? Has it published a letter to political leaders and pasted it prominently on its site, claiming that the judge in Richmond should just sit back and take criticism of his courtroom procedures?

If the Voice of Richmond newspaper, instead of being critical of courtroom procedures in a potentially defamatory manner, had associated the judge’s good name with the expression “mentally unstable”, or if the paper had called him an “intellectually dishonest bully”, only then would the CPJ have jumped in to defend the Voice of Richmond’s right to do such name calling?

The conclusions to this test, I must say, are pretty obvious.

My point is that while most people will agree with CPJ that public officials should put up with criticism of their work, we all agree that personal smears (or what the alleged defamation victim and the public could see as a personal smear) certainly should give way to the right to defend one’s honour.

This should be the case not only in the thousands of cases documented in Google that the CPJ doesn’t seem to get worried about (which is good news), but also in the case of Mr. Mignini, whom someone in or very close to the CPJ seems to be especially nervous about (which is disturbing news).

Test 4b, Step 1:

With just the results of Test 4a, I could already proceed to update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations as regards the example of Mignini suing certain persons or news outlets for personal attacks against his honour.

However, let’s take a fast look at each of those persons or news outlets to see if there are any factors which could change in one direction or another our conclusion that it’s perfectly normal for a person in the judiciary to sue for defamation, in particular when the alleged defamation does not concern his professional activity but his personal characteristics.

Without further ado, let’s carry out another search.

Google: site:oggi.it “oggi.it” amanda knox OR edda OR chris OR mellas (enter)

Each reporter, newspaper and magazine out there has their own view on the personalities in the Meredith Kercher murder case. There are a couple of outlets, like OGGI magazine which for some unknown reason have taken a particular liking to the Knox Mellas family, resulting in the members of this family and their travails getting special coverage, as the Google results show (use the Google translator if need be).


[Above: The Knox-Mellas clan find one corner of ongoing support and sympathetic coverage in Italy in OGGI magazine.]

The fact that this magazine takes a particular view to Amanda Knox’s family is a question of how they want to focus their coverage of this case. Quite another thing are their insinuations about certain elements of the prosecution’s case.

For example, in recent weeks there seems to be an all out attack on the hearing capacity and the mental faculties of Signora Nara Capezzali, a neighbour who on the night of Meredith Kercher’s murder heard the running of multiple persons near the cottage, just after a piercing scream (the danger of this testimony for pro-Knox forces is that it points to more than one person being involved in the crime, including Amanda Knox).

Just for interest’s sake, to see how Amanda Knox friendly voices have latched onto this issue, do another fast Google search: “amanda knox” “nara capezzali” deaf OR crazy OR psychiatric (enter)

OGGI and reporter Giangavino Sulas participated in the attack on Signora Capezzali, and by extension on prosecutor Mignini’s case:

“The witnesses “¦ suffer from sufficiently serious problems of deafness, of physical and also mental health,  to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward (as in the case of Nara Capezzali).”  (Source:  Giangavino Sulas , OGGI Magazine, April 2011)

This test and the ones that follow are not meant to prove anything in particular as regards Mr. Mignini’s right to defend his honour (which we saw clearly in Test 4a).

However, these additional tests do put some perspective on those who decry Mignini as threatening (or whom CPJ has dug up as “victims” of Mignini ““ I’m not aware that either OGGI, Steve Shay or Joe Cottonwood were searching for the CPJ to ask it to put together its Letter to 21 World Leaders, not even a junior reporter from the diminutive West Seattle Herald could have been able to dream that up).

In addition, if what CPJ is concerned about is “that the press—domestic and international—is free to report and comment on the case without fear of reprisal”,  (Source: CPJ followup explanatory note 28-04-2011 ) it is more than evident by consulting recent reporting by OGGI and in particular by Giangavino Sulas, that that magazine and reporter are not holding back in examining and opining on all elements of the prosecution and conviction of the murderers (pending appeal) of Meredith Kercher.

Test 4c, Step 1:

Let’s go to a popular pro-victim discussion board concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher, such as TJMK or the Perugiamurderfile.org. Do a search for Steve Shay, and you will see references to examples on other sites which demonstrate how this reporter swims like a fish amongst pro-Knox social networking friends.


Above:  When West Seattle Herald reporter Steve Shay infiltrates Internet social groups to gather information for his next story, he sure does a good job of appearing to be like-minded with his fellow posters, in this case, the Friends of Amanda lobby Facebook group. 
(Source:  Facebook, image on Perugiamurderfile.org)

Steve Shay’s own social networking postings and his ongoing reporting in the West Seattle Herald demonstrate that Mignini’s potential lawsuit has not made him or his newspaper wither (my personal opinion is that he takes it as a sort of medal that he wears proudly on pro-Knox discussion boards and at FOA money making events).

The CPJ itself states explicitly that “in an email interview with CPJ, West Seattle Herald Editor Ken Robinson said “¦ that the paper does not fear repercussions from Mignini “¦. he and his newspaper were not perturbed by the prosecutor’s actions”.

So why all the fuss in the CPJ Letter to the World about reporters and newspapers holding back in having a go at the Meredith Kercher murder case? 

The CPJ itself shows that some reporters like Steve Shay can have their cake and eat it too.

Test 4d, Step 1:

I feel a little sorry for Joe Cottonwood, as he appears to have haplessly stepped into an international scene of attacks against Mr. Mignini. However, if the Italian law says that you can’t call someone an “intellectually dishonest bully”, then you should be careful.

Let’s do a fast test on Mr. Cottonwood.

Type Google: joe cottonwood (enter)

From the Google search results, you can take a look at Cottonwood’s own site, or see a summary of his activity in the Wikipedia page on him: “Joe Cottonwood is an American author of fiction and poetry for adults and children. He was born in 1947 and lives in La Honda, California.” (Source: Wikipedia )

Cottonwood not only doesn’t report on the Meredith Kercher murder case, he isn’t even a reporter, nor even calls himself a blogger or a freelancer or journalist.

You can hardly say that Mignini’s legal action to defend his personal honour will affect Cottonwood’s coverage of the case, which is what CPJ’s Letter to 21 World Leaders is all about as CPJ stated in its clarification commentary on its Open Letter..

The fact that Cottonwood is included in an international missive of a journalists’ sectorial association when that isn’t even his profession makes me think that CPJ (or whoever really prepared the Letter to the World) was scraping the barrel for examples.

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second for Google searches, a few minutes to enter and search discussion forums.

Tests 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d Step 2: Conclusions

If American judges can sue for defamation in situations which are less personally insulting than what Mr. Mignini has had to put up with, and this defamation in America doesn’t provoke CPJ’s intervention, then Mr. Mignini’s personal legal actions can’t be worth a Letter to 21 World Leaders.

In addition, simple observation of your examples of three defamation suits shows that it is not true that Mignini’s legal actions to defend his personal honour have affected news reporters’ coverage of the Amanda Knox case.

It is strange and worrying that the Committee to Protect Journalists for some reason wants to deny Mr. Mignini his constitutional right as an Italian and European citizen to not be the subject of abusive attacks.

Let’s do one final exercise: search Google for Mignini and various hate terms like “mentally unstable” and you could conclude that reporters and anonymous bloggers have made Giuliano Mignini into the second most hated man on the planet after Bin Laden - who now, of course, is dead.

Hate remarks against Mignini are now up in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. The BBC looked into just some of the shrill claims made by reporters whom Joel Simon wants to keep supporting in their anti-Mignini drive and actually found nothing there.

We’re moving along, and as usual, the best is yet to come. Let’s update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations with our latest findings. I fear that the CPJ is not doing well:

[below::The results of the fourth set of credibility tests of the anti-Mignini accusations gives us the feeling that the CPJ has no basis whatsoever for the accusations, nor does it have justification for sending a Letter to 21 World Leaders.]


CPJ Accusation #3 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was Anon Blogger Arrested On MIGNINI’S Orders?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Three to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

Accusation 3:  This anti-Mignini accusation is even more startling than numbers one and two.  The harassment reached its peak on September 28, 2010, when five officers of Squadra Mobile forcibly entered “Sfarzo’s” apartment. They did not produce a warrant or show their badges, “Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) told CPJ. Four of the five shoved Sforza to the ground, struck him, handcuffed him, and climbed on top of him, crushing his air supply “¦ etc. etc. etc. The officers refused Sforza’s requests to call his lawyer or his relatives, and put him in a cell for the night.” (Source: CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders )

Well, I’m still surprised that CPJ didn’t ask the Perugian blogger for his lawyer’s name, or for information about the hospital and the doctors who attended him.

I’m also surprised that CPJ didn’t ask both the blogger and the police headquarters about why the accused policemen (with or without a warrant) originally went to his home. It all sounds like a story that is extremely full of holes of information which should be filled (unless if you prefer not to fill them in).

I don’t know if the CPJ realized it, but with this accusation, the organisation has ratcheted up the grave accusations against Mignini. If up until now the anti-Mignini crowd’s accusations were limited to describing Mignini’s alleged bothersome provocations, the CPJ has now appeared on the anti-Mignini stage, and is claiming that he has opened a qualitatively higher level of menace: one of physical violence causing bodily harm. The only thing missing is for Mignini to be called a drug-dealer and a drifter.

Since the CPJ didn’t ask the blogger nor include in its Letter to the World why the police went to the blogger’s home, the CPJ’s insinuation is that Mignini’s goon squad simply went to the blogger’s home under that prosecutor’s orders, and with no justification.
I see no evidence that:

  • Mignini sent anyone anywhere that day,
  • the police weren’t there (if they were) on police business related to the Perugian blogger’s real-life persona,
  • the altercation with the blogger (if there was one) had something to do with Mignini,
  • the injuries suffered by the blogger were noticeable (if there were any),
  • the blogger’s neighbour was contacted the CPJ, as a first hand eye-witness.

The CPJ letter quotes the Perugian blogger:  “The next day, the officers brought Sfarzo (real name Sforza) before a local judge, who validated his arrest and indicted him on several articles of Italy’s penal code “¦. ‘The police can count on the complicity of judges,’ Sfarzo told CPJ”.

If Joel Simon of the CPJ ratcheted up the level of the attack on Mignini by claiming that physical bodily-damaging violence is now part of MIgnini’s media relations program, our astonishment is increased with the new and confusing element of the judges’ complicity. If Mignini is the ringleader, shouldn’t he be the one who has the complicity of the judges, instead of the national policemen, who up until now seem to be footsoldiers of Mignini?

You tell a tale in the Letter to 21 World leaders which is confusing. Please provide us with a believable link between Mignini, police officers and judges in this violence. Who’s the leader?

Well, we’re here to do a check on the third Anti-Mignini Accusation of the CPJ. There is no direct evidence of this strange supposed attack available for me to go on, so I think I’ll have to do a credibility check on the Perugian blogger’s words and photos in other situations where Mignini is present, such as regards the Meredith Kercher murder investigation.

Forensics Method for Test 3: Google, and reading up on the murder of Meredith Kercher

Line of Investigation for Test 3: Since the Perugian blogger’s blog is sometimes difficult to understand for me, due to English language expression issues, or due to his particular sense of humour, we need to contrast his credibility in a direct, visual and non-verbal manner.

Test 3, Step 1: 

Step 1a: Talk with someone familiar with the online discussion of this case. Ask about situations where the Perugian blogger has undermined his own credibility in a obvious, relevant and conscious way, comparing these situations to the credibility he needs to support his colourful description of a Mignini directed police commando which storms into the house of the blogger for no reason whatsoever other than to beat him up (a qualitative change from the other accusations that the blogger has made against Mignini, and which haven’t stood up to scrutiny) and make it look like the blogger attacked them, all in order to try him and send him to jail.

I’m not looking for situations of the typical silly comments which we may make at one time or another due to human foible, but where a direct, explicit decision or affirmation is made which undermines one’s overall credibility.

Today we’ll look for just one situation to analyse. However, I’m open to examine other such events or declarations, especially if the CPJ finally decides to start to do basic checking behind the details of its recent attack on Mr. Mignini. We can hopefully work together on this in the future.

Step 1b: Take the key elements of the above situations commented on where the Perugian blogger is involved, and follow the development of the discussion.

Google:  perugia shock via della Pergola from where raffaele amanda checking house (enter)

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: minutes/few hours

Analysis:

Let’s go back in time to the end of November and start of December of 2008. There was an open debate then on a pro-Knox cooking blog based in Seattle which has since become dedicated to the Amanda Knox case. At that point one of the many Internet forum debating issues concerning the crime committed against Meredith Kercher was whether it is possible from Piazza Grimana to see the gate of the cottage where Meredith lived together with Amanda Knox, her now convicted murderer (pending appeal), and two other Italian girls.

Piazza Grimana is a park/pedestrian square with a basketball court, carved into a downhill slope just outside of Perugia’s ancient Etruscan Arch. The prosecution maintained a theory that following the murderous act for which they have been convicted, Knox and Sollecito could have waited in the Piazza Grimana, looking towards the access ramp of the cottage to see who might arrive (perhaps, for example, emergency vehicles).

Obviously, the cooking blog curator didn’t manage to clear up this debate in her favour, but the Perugian blogger, who was already on excellent terms with pro-Knox forces “came to the rescue” on his blogspot pages with this image which seems to demonstrate that the view of the cottage access ramp from Piazza Grimana is blocked by the building on the right:


Above: The Perugian blogger provided momentary pressure release for the cooker, by posting this image with the accompanying text to emphasize that you can’t see the cottage gate from Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s alleged perch on the raised edge of the Piazza Grimana. The logic of the argument is that if neither you nor I can see the cottage gate (in that photo), then neither could Knox nor Sollecito, and therefore the prosecution theory was not applicable.

The Perugian blogger’s photo from Piazza Grimana was perfect for the requirements of the cooking blogger, and a grateful post soon went up on her site:


Above:  A pro-Knox Seattle food blogger with a personal blog on the Seattle PI site was relieved to have visual support for her theory that the view of the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana is “clear as mud”.  (Source:  Seattle PI amateur blog  Note:  this comment and other followup ones were cleansed ““ erased ““ a long time ago. )

The online blog discussion could have drifted on to other topics if it weren’t for the fact that many of us knew perfectly well that you can see the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana. Even a person not familiar with this case, upon examining the apparent proof provided by the Perugian blogger that the building on the right might negate the possibility of two murderers staking out the cottage entrance ramp, could come up with an effective answer :


Above: It’s just a jump to left, that’s all that is required to gain the line of vision needed to watch the access to the cottage. (Source: Rocky Horror Picture Show)


Above: Let’s try something extremely obvious that the Perugian blogger seems to have avoided in evaluating whether you can see the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana “¦ what will happen if we move a little to the left? 


Above: Luckily, the TJMK editor had been in Perugia and came back with an extensive collection of photos of the things he had seen, including the view of the cottage access ramp from Piazza Grimana.


Above:  Even Italian television was providing the view that Knox and Sollecito may have had from Piazza Grimana of the cottage gate. Why would the Perugian blogger and his pro-Knox lobby group associates want to deny this view from the English-language debate on the case?

If from just a couple of metres to the left you get a completely different story compared to the shadows to the right, and that makes plausible one element of a prosecution theory, I would have thought that a real freelance reporter would not avoid reporting on the obvious.

Test 3, Step 2: Conclusion

This test has been a credibility check. My opinion is that if the Perugian blogger applies the Jump-to-the-right book of extra-judicial lobby blogging, instead of the Jump-to-the-left book of journalistic reporting ““ to the detriment of the prosecution of a criminal case ““ then it is within the realm of reason that such a tendency toward misinformation / incomplete information about Mignini could also be applied by the blogger in describing to CPJ a Mignini-directed violent attack by rogue policemen loyal to Mignini and not their superiors, and who had no other reason to appear at the home of the real person behind the Perugian blogger’s screen-name other than to threaten him into not writing about a case that was already long out of the hands of said prosecutor.

Let’s update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations and see where things stand:

[below: The results of the third test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations only serve to worsen the state of the CPJ’s own credibility.]

Lets continue to the next.

 


CPJ Accusation #2 Against Italian Justice Officials : Did Court Officials Hassle The Anon Blogger?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Two to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation #2:  The CPJ letter makes a second accusation against Mr. Mignini concerning supposed (yet unsubstantiated) abuse that Mr. Mignini has organized against this blogger: “When the trial of Knox and Sollecito began that December, Squadra Mobile continued to harass him. They regularly tried to prevent him from entering the court; seized his cellphone and went through his contacts and text messages; mouthed insults at him from across the courtroom; and stared over his shoulder as he took notes. “This was done in the presence of the judge, the Carabinieri [the military police], and the court guards, but they would do nothing,” Sfarzo (real name Sforza) told CPJ.”  (Source: CPJ’s Letter to the World 19-04-2011)

Line of Investigation for Test 2: For many of these cases of supposed abuse and threats, the best source for contrasting the grave accusations which the CPJ heaps rather flippantly on Mr. Mr. Mignini, are the words and images that the supposed victims themselves post on Internet.

The Perugian blogger didn’t take photos or video of the entrance controls to the courthouse. I can imagine that in this day and age of terrorism and security controls, it would have been normal for the guards to have asked the blogger’s purpose in entering the courthouse, and if he said he was a member of the press (promoted to “local freelance reporter” by the CPJ), it would have been normal for them to expect him to produce a press pass, accreditation, media business card, or any other professional identification.

And if he didn’t have press identification and if he wasn’t a member of the families of the defendants, or there as a guest of the Kerchers or the prosecution, I can imagine that he would have had some difficulty initially getting access to the courtroom.

Anyway, let’s assume that the credibility of the first part of this accusation (being hassled when entering the courthouse) has the same level of credibility of the second half of this accusation (being insulted and spied on within the courtroom).

If you agree, let’s first of all take a fast look at the general news agency photos of the courtroom which you saw in my first letter a couple of weeks ago.  The test will be to contrast those photos with the blogger’s own photos from court sessions, in order to understand the possibility that such harassment occurred.




[At top and above: The Perugian courtroom where Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were tried, and where the CPJ claims that the Perugian blogger was yet a further victim of this trial.]

To the right of the upper photo, and at the back of the lower photo is the press pen, where members of the press are crammed in and must remain between a railing and a back wall.

In front of the press pen railing are the defendants’ family members and other authorized parties. 

In front of family members, guards separate the defendants and their legal teams from their families. (To the left of the legal defence teams are the prosecution and private plaintiffs.)

Opposite the prosecution and defence legal teams, facing them at the front, are the judge and the members of the judicial jury.

Test 2, Step 1:  Google:  site:blogspot.com perugia shock court (enter)

(Please note that even though the Perugian blogger’s site has been removed, you can still get photos and text through Google caches.)

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second

Analysis:

The pro-Amanda Knox lobbyist blogger’s blogspot lobby pages (or, if you prefer, the “local freelance reporter’s” news publishing page) are chock full of photos in the court sessions of the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
Let’s make a collage of them:


[Above: A jammed pack collage of photos from the Perugian blogger’s blogspot “freelance reporting” page:  http://perugia-shock.blogspot.com/  (I never knew that by having a blogspot page you became a freelance reporter. Neat.) Double click on the above image to see a larger resolution version. ]

I have indicated each individual photo with a letter. From my point of view, the Perugian blogger was where he should have been in all instances, which is behind the railing of the press pen, near the back wall of the courtroom. This is clearly the case in photos “B”, “C” and “D”, where you can actually see the railing which separates the press pen from the rest of the courtroom.

In the rest of the photos, especially when the zoom function is obviously in use, such as in photos “H”, “J” or ” K”, or simply by gauging perspective, such as in the case of photo “L”, it’s safe to say that the Perugian blogger in all cases was behind the railing of the press pen.

Let’s place on a sketch of the courtroom, the location from which the Perugian blogger took those photos in Amanda Knox court sessions he attended:


Now, if the blogger was in the press pen, any police officer who would have stepped into the crowded, fenced off area and wandered around behind the backs of the journalists, reporters, and blogger - especially making a noticeable attempt to look over shoulders - would have been noticed by the journalists in addition to the blogger who has accused Mignini of sending these spies out.

I realize that these photos may not represent all of the court sessions that the blogger attended.  The possibility exists that in some other session he wasn’t in the press pen, but sitting with the Knox-Mellas family, with whom he has a personal relationship, or in some other non-press location in the courtroom.

Since the CPJ calls the Perugian blogger a freelance reporter, I would assume that the CPJ would also situate the blogger in the press pen and assume that if he wasn’t attending as a member of the press but as a friend of some defendant, then he shouldn’t be afforded the protection of the CPJ (in any case, I doubt this scenario occurred).

As for the “mouthing of insults”, in general, everybody faces forward in the courtroom, except for the judge and the members of the judicial jury. Any police officer or carabinieri agent or prison/court guard present would have been mouthing to the whole press corps plus the blogger, not just him.


[Above: As we see from this photo, everyone in the courtroom faces forwards, except the judge and the jury “¦ and the Perugian blogger (I think that’s him there on the left looking backwards). Golly, maybe he was spied on over his shoulder after all.]

It requires a Friends of Amanda Leap of Faith to imagine the alleged spying happening without anyone else detecting it, other than the blogger.

I won’t comment on the possibility that Judges Micheli, Massei or Hellman condone or are accomplices to such behavior. I honestly think that the CPJ should think twice before it spreads so much conspiracy around, on the basis of a verbal statement by a blogger whose real name the CPJ didn’t even know when they spoke to him (you did speak to him, right? Or did someone else do the phone interview on your behalf?).

If the CPJ honestly thinks that this behavior occurred, since the presiding judge has responsibility for what goes on in the courtroom, why didn’t the CPJ Letter to the World accusing Mignini not make nominal reference to the judges who pull rank over Mignini and include them in this specific accusation?

Test 2, Step 2: Conclusion

Having seen in a more detailed way the layout of the courtroom and the normal positioning of the Perugian blogger, it is difficult to imagine how he may have been spied upon by policemen looking over his shoulder.

As for the mouthing of insults, as a rule, the guards face forwards and are located in front of the family members and other invited persons. For a guard to turn towards the Perugian blogger and mouth an insult, not only the other journalists would have seen it, but also the guests and probably lawyers as well.

If any insults were mouthed at the Perugian blogger during the course of the Amanda Knox trial, or the start of the subsequent appeal, it is difficult to believe that this could have occurred with only the presiding judge (in addition, of course, to the ringleader Mignini) realizing what was going on.

It’s time to go back to the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations and update it:

[Below: Click image for larger image.. The second test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations could only be passed if the person who formulated it took a giant Friends of Amanda Leap of Faith.]

Let’s continue to the next.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Committee To Protect Journalists Responds, But Provides No List Of Sources Or Interview Transcripts

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the response by Nina Ognianova. Comments are open below that CPJ post and both Kermit and Doug Preston have taken advantage, Kermit gracefully, Preston petulantly..

Nina Ognianova does not address Kermit’s contentions, though she did link to TJMK, and really responds only in broad generalties. She still leaves standing the smears of Giuliano Mignini and other Italian officials that the Committee to Protect Journalists chose to broadcast globally. 

We can find zero evidence that CPJ interviewed anyone in Perugia, except presumably for the strenuously anonymous blogger “Frank Sfarzo”  (real name Sforza) who the CPJ may actually realize now is not a real journalist and who posts mostly mischievous nonsense under an assumed name. 

Nina Ognianova does not explain why neither Mr Mignini not anyone in the police or judiciary were interviewed before the CPJ smeared Mr Mignini in an open letter sent to Italy’s President and a number of other notables worldwide.

There’s been good commenting starting about here about this already on PMF where some are warming to the idea of a public hearing in Perugia (“Frank Sfarzo” goes on trial early in May)

Maybe “Frank Sfarzo” and Doug Preston can be made to finally put up or shut up. This may not be the result the hornswoggled Joel Simon was intended to deliver..


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Open Letter To CPJ’s Joel Simon In New York: This Is The Fact Finding YOU Really Should Have Done #2

Posted by Kermit

Concerning CPJ’s letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on press freedom (#2)




[Above: Knox lawyer Luciano Ghirga stated on 21 October 2008: “Amanda wasn’t hit. There were pressures from the police, sure, but we never said she was hit.” Well into Amanda’s trial, and shortly after her stepfather’s arrival in Perugia, she unexpectedly stated in court that she had been hit by police during her questioning. Watch the whole video yes at the Perugian blogger’s site.]



From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Sfarzo (real name Sforza) was released pending a trial in May. He faces up to six years in prison if convicted. “˜The police can count on the complicity of judges,’ Sfarzo told CPJ”

Now I’m confused: I thought that it was Mignini who utilized and had the complicity of the national police in his nefarious actions against the Perugian blogger. Now it seems that the blogger (or CPJ) is saying that the national police manipulate the judiciary to advance some terrible agenda, with the complicity of judges. Please clarify, for the sake of sanity, is it Mignini or the national police who are the source of the harassment that the blogger suffers?



[Above: Now let me get this straight: Amanda Knox hearing and trial judges such as Paolo Micheli (left), Giancarlo Massei (centre), or Claudio Pratillo Hellman (right) are beholden to members of the national police? Where will the Evil Conspiracy stop?]


Although motive is not necessary to any crime, having one helps to understand a criminal action. This alleged harassment makes no sense. Mignini presented his investigation report three years ago.  A guilty conviction was obtained, and the defendants are now in appeals, with different judges and new legal processes.

The case has for some time been out of Mignini’s investigative hands and is following its natural progression through different courts, under the guidance of the corresponding judges.

In the case of the national police, they don’t have any particular relation with the blogger as regards the Meredith Kercher murder case. Quite another possibility is that he has some other legal problem. Have you asked the blogger if he has any other legal question open, under his real name?

One question: if the blogger had been abused by Mignini or the Italian national police between October 2008 and September 2010, why is it only now that noise is being made about it?

In order to check out the blogger’s emotional state in the time frame of the alleged police attack, I took a look at his blogspot page for posts and comments in that time period.

The blogger’s last post before the alleged attack was on 10 September 2010. This post generated 586 comments, mostly before, but also some following the supposed attack on 28 September 2010 including comments by the blogger himself.

His first post following the alleged police attack was just a couple of days later on 1 October 2010. He writes “The mini media circus around the Meredith Kercher case materialized again in Perugia, surprisingly, for a closed door hearing “¦. Luciano Ghirga described her as showing a shorter haircut and as being concerned “¦”

In the 361 comments which this post generated, including comments by the blogger, I didn’t detect any indication that he had been through a harrowing experience at the hands of police officers who in some yet-to-be-defined-manner are remotely controlled by the prosecutor Mignini.



[Above: Business as usual. It’s 1 October 2010, just 48 hours after the supposed brutal attack which required the blogger to receive medical attention in the hospital. Yet his recovery is swift, and his texts don’t reflect the suffering he has gone through.  (Image: Perugia Shock blog)]


From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Oggi editor Umberto Brindani also received two “notices of investigation” that year—dated July 24 and September 2—in relation to the magazine’s coverage of the Monster of Florence case, CPJ confirmed.”

If the CPJ was able to confirm a couple of notices of investigation against the well established national magazine Oggi, why didn’t the CPJ also try to confirm any of the alleged abuse against the vulnerable Perugian blogger who is the main point of the CPJ text? You indicate that you had direct contact with him.

For example, you could have asked the blogger to show you a copy of a complaint concerning the alleged attack by national policemen on 28 September 2010. Or the CPJ could have spoken with the hospital psychiatrist who supposedly examined the blogger following that alleged attack.

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Preston, Spezi’s co-author who suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006—and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment—told CPJ he was still afraid of going back. He has been unable to clarify his legal status in Italy. In the summer of 2008, Mignini told third parties that he would have Preston arrested if the writer returned, Preston writes in the Afterword to The Monster of Florence paperback edition, published in 2009.”

If Preston was “forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment” in February of 2006,  then why did Preston go to Italy with an NBC “Dateline” filming crew in October 2006, just months after leaving under an alleged “threat” by Mignini, and four months after his interview in The Atlantic where he called Mignini “a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge”.



[Above: Many people are led to believe that Preston hasn’t been to Italy since his hasty departure after meeting Mignini in early 2006. In fact, he has returned with Dateline NBC to tape a show on The Monster of Florence. (Photo credit: Original source. And an alternative link to same story.]

Barbie Nadeau, an excellent and recognized reporter for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, wrote in a well researched article on Preston that he “also says that Mignini ordered him to leave Italy. Mignini says that he never asked Preston to leave the country, but instead suggested that Preston didn’t understand Italian and that he should get a lawyer.”

If you do further Googling, you will see that it appears that the only person who says that Preston can never go back to Italy (in spite of having gone back to Italy) seems to be Preston himself.

What Preston says he hasn’t been able to clarify, Mignini has repeated in a number of articles in the Italian and English-speaking press.

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“We ask you to ensure that the politically motivated lawsuit against Perugia blogger Frank Sfarzo is immediately scrapped and that outside investigators are assigned to conduct an investigation into the September 28-29, 2010, abusive actions of Squadra Mobile officers against him.”

On what basis can you affirm that the alleged abuse suffered by the Perugian blogger is “politically motivated”? What link is there between the national police officers who allegedly committed said abuse and the prosecutor of the first trial against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito which ended almost a year prior to said abuse?

Who is this Perugian blogger, if he isn’t “Frank Sfarzo”?  Is he a journalist? Or in fact is he closely associated with “opinion-makers” for the Amanda Knox cause?

I have no interest in knowing the Perugian blogger’s real-life name, but I would hope that as part of its investigation, the CPJ would have ascertained whether the blogger’s real life persona may explain why the event of 28 September 2010 occurred (and what motivated the visit of the national police) better than linking it without any real proof to the prosecutor who so enraged Doug Preston (at least from the end of 2007 onwards, following Meredith Kercher’s murder and the intense media coverage of this sad event).

One of the most well known members of the Amanda Knox on-line lobby is an American, Jim Lovering. He appears on many websites where the case against Knox is discussed, sometimes posting in his own name and sometimes under the pseudonym “Charlie Wilkes” (a 19th century American naval explorer linked to Puget Sound).

It is telling that Lovering-Wilkes is cited as one of the two collaborators that the Perugian blogger works with on his site.



[Above: The Perugian blogger counts on Jim Lovering (also known on-line as “Charlie Wilkes”) as one of his two collaborators. Lovering is one of the most prominent figures in the “Friends of Amanda” pro-Knox activist group.]


If you do some basic Google research (“Jim Lovering” “Friends of Amanda”), you will find that Jim Lovering is the moderator of the “Friends of Amanda” website.

Here below is the Perugian blogger and Chris Mellas, presenting the Friends of Amanda website:



[Above: The Perugian blogger and Chris Mellas ““ Amanda Knox’s stepfather ““ presenting the Friends of Amanda website.]


Lovering/Wilkes has made himself famous in the pro and con discussion boards of this case for his anything-goes pro-Amanda stand.

This includes the manipulation with a Photoshop-type program of an image of a footprint of Rudy Gudy, found guilty together with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of Meredith Kercher’s murder.

The manipulation adjusted the size of the Guede print taken in prison to the dimensions of a footprint made in blood found on the bathmat of the cottage where Meredith was brutally murdered (the matching of the footprints would support the “lone-wolf” theory of the Knox defence, that only Rudy was involved of the group of three young people found guilty, and therefore that Amanda should go free).

A simple gauging of the size of the print seems to show that when Lovering/Wilkes resized it, the print ended up much smaller than what it should be.

For further information consult this presentation with the satirical title: “Mr. Marriott, I Shrank the Black Kid”. Or review the on-line discussion of the issue by Googling: Rudy Guede “hobbit foot”.

Although the Friends of Amanda Knox group declares on its webpage that “We are not affiliated with her family”, some of its most prominent members are close friends to the Knox-Mellas family, as they themselves publish on Internet sites such as Facebook.



[Above: In this Facebook posting from September, poster “Charlie Wilkes” (Knox activist Jim Lovering) writes of his photo: “At the table are (Washington State Judge) Mike Heavey, Mark (Waterbury) and Michelle (Moore, wife of ex-FBI / ex-university security man / screenwriter Steve Moore). Chris (Mellas) is seated at the table in the background. I’m not sure who he is talking to. Christina Hagge and Edda (Mellas ““ Amanda’s mother) are standing on the right “¦. It was a very enjoyable gathering”. (Photo credit: Facebook ““ Perugiamurderfile.org)]


Judge Michael Heavey of the Superior Court of the State of Washington is a neighbour of the Knox-Mellases and has been involved with lobbying efforts for the family from early on (he now seems to not be a formal activist of FOA, although informally ““ as we see in this photo ““ he continues to support the cause).

In August of 2008, he wrote a letter to the Italian judicial council that regulates the activity of the country’s judiciary, decrying:

“”¦.On June 16, 2008, Judge Giuliano Mignini, The Public Minister of Perugia, closed his investigation concerning the horrific murder of Meredith Kercher.

“¦. Since November 6, 2007, the conduct of the prosecutor, police and prison employees has been to supply false information to the press to inflame public opinion against Amanda Knox, Rafaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba.

“¦. the prosecutor’s office (Kermit: ie. Mignini’s), police and prison employees have made illegal and false statements to the press.

“¦. Amanda Knox’s lawyers have no knowledge of my request to the distinguished and honorable members of the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura.”


The English text and Italian original were published for a number of weeks in 2008 on Seattle celebrity lawyer Anne Bremner’s webpage. Bremner is another original member of the Friends of Amanda group.  Source: this webpage which has since been redesigned)
 

[Above: Heavey wrote a neither substantiated nor proven extra-judicial opinion of grave illegalities he ascribed to the investigators of the murder of Meredith Kercher, naming specifically the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini. His opinion was sent to Nicola Mancino, vice-president of the Italian Judicial Council, and four other persons, including Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Berlusconi.]


This unofficial, private lobbying done on Washington State Superior Court stationery didn’t go over well, as you can imagine, with the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which proceeded to charge Heavey:

“[Mr. Heavey is charged with] violating Canons 1, 2(A)and 2(B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct by writing letters on official court stationary to Nicola Mancino, Judge Claudia Matteini, and Giuliano Mignini (members of the Italian judicial system) on behalf of criminal defendant Amanda Knox; utilizing court staff to type those letters; and speaking publicly on several occasions about that same pending criminal case in an attempt to influence the proceeding.” (Source: Washington CJC)

The CJC’s investigation later concluded that Heavey had violated the judicial code by:

using his status as a judge to attempt to influence a criminal proceeding in another country, thereby exploiting his judicial office for the benefit of another.

“¦. Respondent agrees he will not retaliate against any person known or suspected to have cooperated with the Commission, or otherwise associated with this matter; that he will not repeat such conduct in the future; and that he will promptly read and familiarize himself with the Code of Judicial Conduct in its entirety.”(Source: Washington CJC)




[Above: In spite of his reprimand in 2010 from the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct for - amongst other things - “speaking publicly” about the Amanda Knox case, it seems that Judge Michael Heavey has found a way to make this sort of activity compatible with the sentence of the Commission, and he continues to appear on her behalf (on his own time?). Recently on 4 April 2011 he appeared at Seattle University with other speakers aligned with the Amanda Knox cause to present the case for her innocence.] (Source: Youtube video uploaded by West Seattle Herald)

 
What is curious is Heavey stating in his letter to the Italian authorities that he was doing this without the knowledge of Amanda Knox’s Italian lawyers.

She has two heavyweights as her main lawyers: Luciano Ghirga ““ a well”“known and experienced Perugian lawyer ““ and Carlo Dalla Vedova ““ also experienced, and suggested by the American Embassy in Rome. In addition, there are all the experts in a number of areas that these two lawyers have introduced to the case as it has proceeded.

They will know what’s best for Amanda, and if she or her family have any questions about the legal strategy, then they should change the team. It’s inconceivable of persons close to her family taking extra-judicial measures to “help” her when those measures aren’t vetted first by her legal team beforehand in order to decide if it really does help or hinder the cause.

But that does seem to be the case here.

Between actions like Heavey’s and the not-stop media onslaught with programs such as the CBS 48 Hours series produced by Doug Longhini (starring Private Investigator Paul Ciolino who travelled to Perugia and tried to get a witness to the crime to open her door at night to talk to him ““ he has recently called that witness “crazy” from the safe distance of a Seattle auditorium) which questioned the correctness of the investigation, there was so much noise coming from America that Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga actually had to go to prosecutor Mignini’s office and disassociate himself and Amanda’s defence from these opinion-making actions:

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova. These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

(Source: La Nazione 3 February 2009- Alternate translation link here.)

Why in the world would anyone participate in an extrajudicial strategy of attacking a legal process, unapproved by the defendants own lawyers? The first answer that comes to my mind is that the party involved doesn’t have much faith in being successful in the legitimate legal process.

Paul Ciolino, the Private Eye who went to Perugia for Doug Longhini’s 48 Hours, recently participated in a seminar in Seattle University dedicated to Amanda Knox (co-speakers included Friends of Amanda founder Tom Wright, ex-FBI / ex-university security officer / screenwriter Steve Moore, and “¦ State of Washington Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey).

Mr Ciolino, I believe, more or less sums up the extra-judicial strategy for dealing with Amanda’s predicament by stating:

“She’s not going to come out of there because the Italians are nice guys and they’re going to admit that they made a horrible mistake and that the prosecutor yes indeed he is crazy but ... she may come out, she’ll come out in a year or two, that’s my best guess, okay, but she’s going to come out because the State Department is going to get involved, it’s going to become political.”

(Source: At 1:48:23 in the Youtube video uploaded by the West Seattle Herald)

I’m not saying that the Perugian blogger is a member of the Friends of Amanda group (which in any case doesn’t seem to be a “card-carrying” type of association “¦ it’s more a question of who wants to be publicly associated with it. Judge Heavey was “publicly” with the group until he decided to not be publicly associated with it.)

But it would be hard for the blogger to deny that he’s very, very, very close to this influence/lobby group, what with blog bed fellows such as his blog’s main collaborator Jim Lovering - the Friends of Amanda Knox website moderator - and what appears to be a personal relationship with members of the Knox-Mellas family.

I honestly believe that the Committee to Protect Journalists does fine and commendable work protecting journalists, who risk so much all around the world trying to do their work and keep people informed through a free press.


[Above: Truly threatened journalists around the world benefit from the support and awareness activities of CPJ. Bravo. (Photo credit: Committee to Protect Journalists)]

However, I encourage the CPJ to do further research concerning the news and blog personalities surrounding the Meredith Kercher murder case, and the alleged injustices they may have suffered.

Particularly worrisome for the preservation of balanced reporting by independent journalists is the hiring by the Knox family of the Gogerty Marriott public relations firm. This contract has been so successful that this PR firm uses their Amanda Knox campaign as a case study on their website.

At Gogerty Marriott we apply campaign strategies, disciplines and tactics to public affairs problems to help our clients achieve their goals “¦. We consider every project individually and assemble a team to suit the client’s specific needs. We then develop and implement a plan; usually integrating a range of tactics such as earned and paid media, community outreach, ally development, and government relations among other ways of reaching important audiences.”  (Source:  Gogerty Marriott website.)

It is ever so important for the CPJ to protect journalists around the world who are struggling in dangerous situations to maintain their independent voice and to promote free press.

However, a PR campaign which uses “earned and paid media” could perhaps, be analysed further before sending alarmist communications to high-profile international authorities and potentially wasting the scarce resources of your organisation.


 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“It is unacceptable that journalists, bloggers, and writers on both sides of the Atlantic should censor themselves by staying away from subjects of public interest such as the Meredith Kercher murder case and the Monster of Florence killings because of Prosecutor Mignini’s inability to tolerate the scrutiny that comes with public office.”

If you read the thousands or tens of thousands of articles and blogposts written on the Meredith Kercher murder case, you will quickly find that few persons censor themselves or hold back in their comments, starting off with the Perugia blogger.

Please do go to the blogger’s site. Compare it to this True Justice for Meredith Kercher site, which has a different, victim oriented focus, or to any other of the many sites, and newspaper articles which have been dedicated to this case.

Each one has its angle which it has freely developed. You’ll see that the only censoring carried out is the prudent censoring of unsubstantiated libelous claims which once in a while must be done to guarantee the ongoing unhindered success of the sites.

A study of the Perugian blogger’s posts and his own comments (in addition to the people who comment on his site) doesn’t lend credence to the belief that his voice has been somehow repressed or threatened.

Let me wind up with the words of Andrea Vogt, an objective, bilingual reporter who has been providing great coverage on the Meredith Kercher case, writing about both things positive and negative for Amanda Knox:

“In real life, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is not at all as he’s been portrayed in the mainstream American media. He’s been vilified as a conspiracy theorist out to get anyone who dares criticize him. I’ve done it (in print and in person) and he’s been professional and dignified, even when he heartily disagreed.”

(Source: the New York Post.)

You can not imagine the abuse received by that reporter (and other valiant journalists who dare have an open opinion on the Knox-Sollecito-Guede trials) from certain pro-Knox sectors of the online world. In a separate story, this same reporter provides us with insight concerning threats pervading the discussion of this case:

“Police are investigating complaints from a Seattle woman who says she was intimidated and threatened online because of comments she made about the Amanda Knox case.

The unredacted Seattle Police Department report, obtained by seattlepi.com, names a primary suspect and quotes the woman as saying that that the suspect “˜is engaging in tactics meant to intimidate,’ along with “˜the tacit consent’ of Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas.
“¦. Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “˜Frank Sfarzo.’

While fans say his blog poses alternative theories rarely discussed in the mainstream media, critics say his minimalist moderation results in an out-of-control comment section where posters “out” those who wish to remain anonymous, track their ISP addresses to reveal their physical locations, pose as people they are not—someone posted as Meredith Kercher, the victim, once—and make threatening posts about each other, as well as about the major players in the case, including Knox, her family, journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.

“¦. A similar address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), which is cited in the police report, was also used to send two vulgar messages to a Newsweek reporter covering the case in Perugia. The message, sent from a Blackberry device, ended with the postscript, “˜You sound like you were abused as a child.’

“¦. (True Crime blogger Steve Huff) has been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “˜pro-active efforts’ to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “˜some innocent pixie college girl.’ “˜There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,’ Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

“˜It was so pervasive and distasteful to me that as a blogger and now as a journalist I’ve all but washed my hands of covering the case,’ Huff said.”

Read more on the Seattle PI website.

Now that surely is interesting. Maybe you should talk to longtime professionals like Steve Huff, and learn why the threatening environment of this case ““ specifically from the pro-Knox camp ““ made him decide not to continue covering it.

Contact independent, credentialed, widely read, knowledgeable, bilingual (English-Italian) journalists such as Andrea Vogt (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, New York Post and other publications) and Barbie Nadeau (Newsweek, The Daily Beast) who have been at most or all of the Amanda Knox trial sessions.

Read their work and you will see balance in the information provided, including both that which supports Amanda’s cause and that which is not favourable. Ask them about their take on the judicial and reporting scene in Perugia concerning this trial. Ask them about the threats or abuse they have received. Consider offering them protection if they request it (I have not contacted them on this, take it as a tip).

Beyond these two journalists in particular, you will be able to find more.

I think you will see that you will have to rectify your letter of last 19 April 2011, or at least comment that in the media circus surrounding this sad, sad case of a bright young English girl beloved by her family who was brutally murdered, there is more than meets the eye.

I will conclude by stating that:

  • In spite of collaborating on his website with Jim Lovering, one of the prominent leaders of the Friends of Amanda opinion-making lobby group, the Perugia blogger isn’t necessarily a member of that group, if the group actually has formal membership. I am in no position to state that (nor deny it). However, with Lovering/Wilkes by his side on his own blog, the Perugian blogger is very, very, very close to them.
  • nor is there evidence that the Perugia blogger is an element of the Gogerty Marriott pro-Knox PR campaign, a campaign which may use “tactics such as earned and paid media”.
  • However, in case that the Perugian blogger is an opinion-maker, or is simply caught up in an opinion-making framework, is he still to be protected by the CPJ? Can journalists ““ if the blogger claims to be a journalist ““ be lobbyists, or associated with lobbies and still benefit from the protection of the CPJ, if they actually are threatened? Would the CPJ protect FOA leader Jim Lovering / Charlie Wilkes who helps the Perugian blogger with his posts,  if Lovering/Wilkes claimed that Mignini had sent police to beat him up due to writings on the blogger’s Perugia Shock blog where Lovering/Wilkes is a collaborator?
  • of the examples you gave in the CPJ text concerning the supposed threats and abuse suffered by the Perugian blogger, the blogger’s own video of the event on 28 October 2008 seems to contradict your description of several national policemen approaching him and hitting him and pushing him (in front of Meredith Kercher’s family and preserved by the cameras of the press in the media scrum?). The example of national policemen looking over his notes in the press area at the back of the courtroom doesn’t seem to jive with the physical layout of the courtroom. The example of the Perugian blogger supposedly being beat up by policemen on 28 September 2010 may have happened (or it may have happened in another manner), but there is information lacking as to why these policemen showed up at the blogger’s door and which superior of theirs in the national police sent them. I see no link to Mr. Mignini there nor have you shown any. As far as motive is concerned, Mignini closed his investigation case file on the murder of Meredith Kercher three years ago. The case is out of his hands and now is at different levels of appeals in the courts. Why would he send a goon squad after the blogger?  (If anyone tells you that Mignini is an evil, satanic-obsessed, rogue prosecutor, then please tell them that they are mistaken, that role was assigned by a famous American writer years ago to an Italian policeman who the famous writer doesn’t talk about anymore.)
  • the insinuations that Mr. Mignini has some sort of private police force at his beck and call don’t fit in with the procedure-based workings of the relations between the Italian judiciary and the different police forces.

I would ask you that you reopen your investigation of this matter. I would exclude contact with persons who have a financial or any other interest in Mignini being painted in a specific light. And ““ as a good journalist ““ I would seek out “the other side” of this story.

I thank you for your time and attention. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or if I may be of assistance as you become more familiarized with this case.

Very sincerely,

Kermit

A Main Poster on TJMK (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

Copied to:

His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic
Angelino Alfano, Ministro della Giustizia
José Manuel Barroso, Presidente della Commissione Europea
Herman Van Rompuy, Presidente del Consiglio Europeo
Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Alto Rappresentante dell’EU per gli
Affari Esteri e la Politica di Sicurezza
Viviane Reding, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per Giustizia, Diritti
Fondamentali e Cittadinanza
Neelie Kroes, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per la Digital Agenda
Jerzy Buzek, Presidente del Parlamento Europeo
Heidi Hautala, Presidenza del Sottocomitato sui Diritti Umani del Parlamento Europeo
Jean-Marie Cavada, Presidenza dell’Intergruppo per i Media del Parlamento Europeo
Thomas Hammarberg, Commissario del Consiglio d’Europa per i Diritti Umani
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso l’EU
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Philip H. Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
John Kerry, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democratic Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambasciatore Italiano presso gli Stati Uniti
David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to Italy



[Above: Joel Simon of the CPJ, left, with “Frank Sfarzo”, Chris Mellas, and Doug Preston]


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Serious Felony Charge Of Deliberate HIV Leak Was In Fact A Knox Defense-Team Hoax

Posted by Michael



Above and below: images from the two misleading scenes

Movie Advances HIV & Sex Partners List Hoax

The Lifetime movie nicely depicted Meredith and Mignini, and was not tough on Knox, though it seemed to leave many viewers sensing the possibility of guilt.

However, there were some seriously wrong scenes in the Lifetime movie, and also in the following Lifetime documentary. Two advanced the HIV sex partners hoax.

In a first long and emotional scene, the film depicted Amanda Knox being told by the doctor at Capanne that in a routine test she tested positive for HIV. It implied the test was a form of pressure. It showed Knox being told she should write down a list of her previous partners.

In a second long and emotional scene, the film depicted a confrontation between an angry Amanda and the doctor when he told her she was all clear. And thereafter the sex partners list was leaked by the prosecution.

These implied criminal actions on the part of the Capanne Prison medical staff and the prosecutors, and may have aroused a lot of false sympathy for Amanda Knox.

Lifetime V Reality #1: Knox Had Herpes When She Was Tested

Lifetime simply depicted Amanda Knox being told by the doctor at Capanne that she tested positive for HIV. It implied the test was unusual. However:

(1) On her admittance to Capanne Prison, Knox was simply routinely tested for HIV and some other possible conditions as all prisoners are, for their own good.

(2) Knox had herpes at the time, visible on her lip in many photographs, which can lead to false positive results for HIV.

(3) When the first result came back the doctor told Amanda that the result of the test was probably a false positive. 

(4) Knox was told it might be a false positive reading straight away, and that she shouldn’t worry, and another test would be run.

Lifetime V Reality #2: Knox’s Prison Diary Confirms This Herself Creates Sex Partners List

Knox’s diary reads:

Last night before I went to bed I was taken down to see yet another doctor who I haven’t yet met before. He had my results from a test they took which says I’m positive for HIV.

First of all the guy told me not to worry, it could be a mistake, they’re going to take a second test next week….

Lifetime V Reality #3: Knox Herself Creates Sex Partners List

Lifetime claimed Amanda Knox was told to write down her list of partners by the doctor.

But in Amanda Knox’s own words, you can read how it went down: She chose herself to create the sex partners list. The doctor never instructed Amanda to write out that list. Her diary reads:

Thirdly, I don’t know where I could have got HIV from. Here is the list of people I’ve had sex with in

Italy

general:...

Lifetime V Reality #4: There Was No Angry Confrontation

The film depicts a yelling, pointing Knox who has to be restrained.

The doctor merely conveyed the news of a negative results and Knox cheerfully went off. He had no ill intent, she did not get angry, and no accusations were made.

Lifetime V Reality #5: The Prosecutors Never Leaked That List.

Lifetime implied that Knox’s diary with the list of partners was leaked by the prosecutors to the public.

We know this to be false. We know that it was instead Amanda Knox’s own lawyers that leaked the diary with the sex partners list (to journalists like Barbie Nadeau).

And that the family effort leaked it to people like Frank Sforza (who duly published Amanda’s diary page on the previous sexual partners), and Candace Dempsey, and even tried to leak it to us!

4. Lifetime V Reality: Knox Forces All Know HIV Story Is Untrue

Amanda’ Knoxs family know the truth of this, but have not yet come out and corrected a seriously wrong pervasive impression.

And Lifetime repeated the lie of the sex partners list, leading millions to believe the ILE deliberately terrified, tricked and humiliated Amanda Knox.

But they didn’t. Even Amanda Knox herself showed it was not so. 


Above and below: the first partly imaginary scene




Above and below: the first partly imaginary scene




Below: the second very misleading scene




Below: the second very misleading scene


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Report Of The Decay Of The Hard Pro-Knox Party Line In West Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Images by pq above and below: former storefront offices that were the headquarters of the West Seattle Herald]

The Seattle Salmon reports with some amusement on how the residents are increasingly speaking out.

They whisper at the local library branch, nod to each other in line at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, and even occasionally email their true feelings to each other.  What is this secret society?  It’s not the Masons, Scientologists or even the wily Northwestern Republicans.

No, this fearful group is West Seattleites who think Amanda Knox did it.  By “it,” they are referring to the 2007 murder in Italy of which she was convicted. Knox was raised in West Seattle and the community has rallied around her claim of innocence with a fervor that straddles the militant/cult divide.

But some in the community are not so sure and not so talkative about their doubt.  One resident who demanded anonymity told the Seattle Salmon, “It’s like a police state out here.  You have to go to the legal defense fundraisers ““ like six last year ““ or else you are ostracized at the Westcrest Off-leash area.”

Another said, “The groupthink is terrifying.  You step outside of it and you’re like the stupid Regular Seattleite who jaywalks through the all-way crosswalk at The Junction ““ you’re all alone and danger could come at you from any direction.  Plus they’d light your ass up on the West Seattle Blog. You’d have to move.”

Perhaps no surprises there. It has been a long time since pro-Steve-Shay comments on the West Seattle Herald have been in the majority. Yesterday he made this ludicrous claim.

Meredith’s father, John, who believes Knox is guilty and has a lawyer in the courtroom fighting to insure she and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito remain in jail.

These were the first two responses.

John Kercher’s lawyer is not ‘fighting’ anyone or anything. He has a legal duty to provide representation at the automatic appeal which Italy’s very liberal criminal justice system provides to all convicted criminals.

Your inflammatory, arrogant coverage of this legal process stinks. The US State Department doesn’t think there was anything wrong with the year-long legal process which convicted Knox and Sollecito of torture and murder, and neither do their victim’s family. Again, this doesn’t mean they are ‘fighting’, so grow up.

Mr. Shay atypically made only one glaring distortion in this article; The Kercher family lawyer is involved in the appeals process not to insure that Ms. Knox stay in jail, but rather to make sure the prosecution’s case is presented fairly and objectively, as was certainly done in the court’s verdict.

Not to make the lawyer sound one sided and intent on a path; there are way too many like Shay in the pro innocent Knox camp; this population has been known to lie and distort facts so as to exculpate their darling “West Seattle bred” Knox.

Nice work West Seattle.



Friday, December 03, 2010

The Toxic Pro-Knox PR Campaign And Media Circus That John Kercher So Rightly Complained About

Posted by Hammerite





The following is a personal observation on the state of play of the Seattle driven PR campaign and resultant Media involvement in the first appeal stage of dear Meredith’s murder trial.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were unanimously convicted of involvement in her barbaric torture and murder by the Court in Perugia in December 2009.

As far as I am aware nether the Court of Assisi or the Kercher family (or their agents) are actively engaged in presenting any PR information whatsoever on the part of the ongoing trial process to any media outlets anywhere.

On the other hand, we know for a fact that the Knox/Mellas faction have engaged in and continue to use the services of a national brand public relations firm to “put their spin “ of events into the public arena.

Their areas of focus have primarily been the USA electronic and print media with secondary efforts attempted with the UK media.

What the USA and UK public are witnessing in the present media output therefore is the culmination of the intense and bought (paid for if you like) “reporting” solely on behalf of and in the interest of Amanda Knox (they are not bothered for now to include that waste of media space Raffaele).

The USA and UK media have little to zero interest in this case as a newsworthy story and consequently will not get off their seats to report on it. It was a seven day wonder that dragged on too long and now no longer sells newspapers.

They will however accept handouts in the present form of biased and prejudiced propaganda press releases from the Knox/Mellas camp and print it as “reporting”. It fills column inches and can be “tarted up” to a degree of sensationalism for occasional use and increased circulation.

The PR campaign would have us believe that the AK/RS appeals submissions have debunked the existing evidence and discredited the witnesses.

This of course is what they are paid to say even when it is not the case. It may have an agreeable ring to it for the accused supporters but holds little sway with the eight person judicial adjudicating panel comprising two professional Judges and six lay volunteers..

It is the job of the defence legal team to say that they have turned a corner in terms of exonerating their clients. However turning a corner is not such a big deal when you are right bang in the middle of a maze.

The sheer volume of evidence that exists and the undeniable interconnections that links it all to AK & RS constitutes that maze; someone should remind their supporters that you can turn many corners in a maze and still not get out.

It must be remembered that holding this appeal is an automatic function under the Italian Judicial system.

The PR campaign would (wrongfully) have its audience believe that this appeal is happening as a result of faults in the prosecution case uncovered during the first trial; because this is the practice in the USA and UK where an appeal would only be granted if there were discernible strong grounds and on merit.

The spin is capitalising on the (wrongful) perception by the media and the public in the USA and UK that there must be strong grounds for an appeal.

This is not the case here. It is an automatic appeal.

The prosecution case was solid and the conviction was unanimous in the first trial. Nothing has changed. The prosecution case is still the same and the outcome is therefore likely to be the same.

Make no mistake; the Judges involved in the appeal process are not fickle or weak-minded individuals that are easily swayed by media spin, insults or bullying attempts. Neither are they bought or in the pocket of the Knox/Mellas PR apparatus.

It is likely they are unaware of much or indeed any of the “spin” that is being generated by the Knox/Mellas faction in the media outlets in the USA and UK.

Most likely they have real lives to get on with themselves and see (rightfully) this appeal trial as simply another task they will perform correctly out of hundreds of others they come across in the course of their career; it is no more or no less important than every other case they have or will work on.

This is likely the same scenario that the Judges in the initial trial undertook when they carried out their duty in a fair and honest fashion.

They came to a unanimous decision based entirely on the evidence presented to them that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were guilty of compliance in the murder of dear Meredith. The same can be stated for every Professional judge that sat on every AK&RS court appearance since dear Meredith’s murder.

Just because a blog or PR fed news outlet in the USA or the UK proclaims that the tide is turning in favour of the accused doesn’t mean that the Judges in Italy are even aware that there is a tide there in the first place at all; not to mention even considering that it is turning.

These Judges by their very nature are genuine and conscientious people.

They will not favour PR fed media coverage and disregard the evidence presented before them in court. And they certainly are not in anyone’s pockets. They will do their duty in the same upright manner and with the same exemplary scruples as was carried out by the Judges in the first trial.

Based on the case presented in the first trial and now to be re-presented in the appeal (and once you remove the PR hype) there is every reason to believe the convictions of AK&RS will stand. This is how I see this second trial going.

Rest in Peace dear Meredith.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Rocco Girlanda’s Very Criticised Book On Knox Is Discussed By A Panel In Rome

Posted by Clander



[left to right: Mangani, Girlanda, Gramaglia, Thomas, Esposito]

On Monday 14 February Yahoo News linked to this post but we suspect Yahoo actually referred to this post which is our many many question (never responded to) to the Amanda Knox apologist Italian MP Rocco Girlanda

Our previous posts on Italian MP Rocco Girlanda’s energetic involvement with Amanda Knox can be found here and here and here.

Rocco Girlanda’s Italian-American Foundation organized a panel discussion of his book “Take me with you - Talks with Amanda Knox in prison” which took place on Tuesday of last week at the Palazzo Marini

Beforehand I had lunch in a bookstore next to Palazzo Chigi. One hour later I realized I had read half of Girlanda’s book. It’s a really easy read. Too easy.

It’s all about “me, me, me and more me.”  Sound familiar?.

Girlanda promotes himself (and his foundation) so much in the book that at a certain point I was not sure if the book was even about Amanda Knox. Girlanda and Knox are using each other.

Less than 40 people in total were present at the discussion. Sitting next to Rocco Girlanda were Giampiero Gramaglia (moderator, not involved in the case); Patricia Thomas (Associated Press), Pina Esposito (SkyTG24) and Cristiana Mangani (Il Messaggero)

Sabina Castelfranco (CBS) could not make it.

The Massei Sentencing Report was never once mentioned and rather extraordinarily it remained unclear throughout whether anyone on the panel had actually read it.

Meredith was first mentioned by name a full 35 minutes from the start of the debate.

I got the impression that Girlanda had read the negative comments about him that have appeared on the Internet - it almost seemed as if he was quoting from some of the comments I had read. His statements were watered-down compared to the stuff I’d heard from him in the last few days.

For example, when Gramaglia asked Girlanda if he thought that Knox was innocent, Girlanda said that he “does not know” and that “thankfully, it is not up to him to decide” reading this from his book.

We’ll see if that’s really his position on the case in the next few weeks.

Not once did he mention in the discussion that he wrote the book/is involved in the case because he thinks that he (or his foundation) has a role in US-Italy relations.

He said he recently purchased 4 laptops. Three were for his eldest children. The fourth one was for AK and he had it delivered to her a while back.

He had met yet again with Amanda Knox just two days before (that must be added to the number of visits) and he gave her a copy of his book.

The panel discussion had opened with a few sentences from Girlanda in which he explained that he started following the case after Senator Cantwell made her “anti-Americanism” claims.

Patricia Thomas stated that those remarks were “ridiculous” and that “anyone who has been to Italy or knows Italy knows they are not true”. In her words, “Italians simply love Americans” (vabbè, mo’ non esageriamo). Her spoken Italian is really good.

Girlanda stated that he is interested in the state of the prisons in Umbria and that is why he went to visit Knox in prison (in his words, his “first visit to AK was the first time I had ever entered a prison”) and that the book was written “by chance” after his numerous encounters with her.

He stressed numerous times that, as an MP, he has the right to visit prisoners.

We were told at the meeting that one American journalist has visited Knox in prison: Patricia Thomas. She was present during Girlanda’s very first visit to Knox.

Patricia Thomas described the prison. She said it is a lot better than many summer camps she had been to when she was younger. The food is amazing and she could not believe that they even have bidets in the cells. She said that she took a lot of flack for writing about this a few months ago.

Girlanda said in response that the men’s section of the prison is not as nice since it is overcrowded. He made no mention of whom he visited in the men’s section, if anyone.

Ms Thomas said she could not believe that Knox’s mom and sister were taking pictures of each other inside the Court (“as if they were tourists inside the Sistine Chapel”) only a few hours before the verdict.

She spoke very highly of the Kerchers. In particular, she spoke of Merdith’s siblings at the press conference after the trial. She described them as “beautiful, well educated and articulate”.

Gramaglia asked the 3 journalists sitting next to him how they would have voted had they been on the jury panel:

Patricia Thomas, who really did not want to answer this question, and showed no familiarity with the Massei report, said that she would have acquitted Knox and Sollecito.

Pina Esposito said that, based on the evidence, Knox and Sollecito are guilty. She would have voted guilty.

Cristiana Mangani, who showed no familiarity with the Massei report, said that Rudy Guede alone killed Meredith and that “Knox and Sollecito are in prison based on NOTHING” (yes, she said “nothing”, NIENTE). So, of course, she would have acquitted.

Ms Thomas said that Knox was “terribly handled by the PR firm and the lawyers”.

She said that in her opinion the lawyer Mr Della Vedova was hired for “opportunistic reasons” and that Mr Ghirga was “like a father who could not control his exuberant kid”.

She said that “AK’s PR efforts” should have focused on Italy and not on the US and she added that “it’s a good thing that this book has come out a few weeks before the start of AK’s appeal”.

At this point, the moderator Mr Gramaglia asks if anyone had any questions.

There was an ANSA journalist sitting in the first row who was really anxious to ask a question after Patricia Thomas made her remark about the book coming out “a few weeks before the start of the appeal”.

First of all he responded to Ms Thomas by saying that her statement that “it is good that this book has come out a few weeks before the appeal” is an insult to the Appellate Court. The ANSA journalist explained to Ms Thomas that the book would have no effect whatsoever on the Court.

He then asked Girlanda how he responds to those who are accusing him of exploiting the case and of being just another “puppy” in Knox’s hands (and by the tone of his voice and how he asked the question, it seemed as if he was one of those making the accusations).

Girlanda replied by saying that the proceeds of the book were going to his foundation and that he would not be involved when the board decides how that money should be spent.

Regarding the puppy comment, Girlanda replied “they can think what they want”.

Suddenly, no more questions were being taken.

[below Associated Press reporter Patricia Thomas who said she would have founnd AK and RS not guilty]


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Could Movie Depicting The Real Knox And The Real Meredith Be A PR And Defense Disaster?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Already one movie is in the works. That one will be based on Barbie Nadeau’s excellent little book Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox

That British movie is likely to stay pretty close to the truth, Meredith as the real angel, and Amanda as at least in some degree the scary opposite. Barbie Nadeau seems to be in no doubt that Amanda was fairly convicted, but she also seems to think maybe there were factors going back to Amanda’s childhood (as did Paul Russell and Graham Johnson in Darkness Descending) that could have kinda set Amanda up, and could have been prevented by parents who cared.

Now we have this new made-for-TV movie (post below) by the Lifetime cable channel (with Oxygen, it has the largest ratio of women viewers) which for now at least is starring the popular actress Hayden Panettiere.

In 2003 the beautiful South African actress Charlize Theron (images above) who had previously played super-cool and super-sexy roles, played the Florida serial killer Aileen Wuomos in the movie Monster. If anything, Charlize Theron played Aileen Wuomos as more scary than she really was - and Charlize Theron won an Oscar for the portrayal.   

Kathy Bates, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman also did very well playing roles strongly against type, along with quite a few others. An actor’s dream, to pull this one off.

Could Lifetime and Hayden Panettiere now have in mind a movie rather like Monster? Playing Amanda Knox as she really seems to be - only more-so?

This has already struck the Knox and Sollecito defense teams as not only possible but a real danger. One that could influence her first appeal late this November, and help to sink her second appeal late in 2011.

From today’s Italian Libero News website.

Lawyers for Amanda Knox and Rafael Sollecito announce a battle with the script of a film for television on the personal life and trial of the two young adults convicted in the first degree for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Maria Del Grosso, a lawyer who works with the criminal lawyers Amanda Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova, reached by telephone by Adnkronos, called the idea “at least inappropriate…. you can not think about making a film when the case is judicially still open…. when you remove all this tension, we can work better on the appeals.”

The same opinion was expressed by Luca Maori, Sollecito Raffaele’s defender with Ms Giulia Bongiorno, who said to AGI “I am absolutely opposed to a movie when the appeal process, expected to be long, has not yet even started.”

“It is unthinkable” added Giulia Bongiorno “to make a film when there is still an open case uncrystallized in truth. If the movie comes out before the end of the process of appeals, we will ask for its seizure,” said the lawyer.

Well, Amanda Knox’s parents and their PR manager David Marriott did want to push Amanda Knox out into the hard limelight, too sanitized to ever successfully pass the giggle test in the long run.

Now they and Knox’s (and Sollecito’s) long-suffering Perugia lawyers may be facing the first of a series of swings the other way.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Newsweek Reports On Damage From Knox/Marriott Campaign To Knox Interests & US Image

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Barbie Nadeau’s new report.

Only Newsweek, the ABC News website, the Daily Beast, and Seattle PI among the American media have reporters in Italy telling us how it really is.

A pity. Perhaps the five main American TV networks and the press services and main newspapers like the New York Times should charter an aircraft, and go check out the major distaste that is now being expressed across all the Italian media, and among the Italian public generally to the nasty misinformed Knox campaign.

This campaign is now being waged by EIGHT conspiracy-theory websites and in a gullible mainstream media by sock-puppets like the increasingly hapless Steve Moore and Michael Scadron, whose Facebook friends seem to be all Knox family and other sock-puppets (he forgets to mention that). 

We have already reported one reaction to the ill-informed claims of Steve Moore, and our own posters and other contacts in Italy and our own daily reading of the Italian media suggest that Newsweek here is if anything downplaying the distaste being evoked.

Amanda Knox must surely cringe every time she hears that another vocal supporter in the United States has taken up her cause.

Knox does not ask for this kind of attention. Instead, prison guards and inmates say she bides her time behind bars studying and reading, careful not to say anything that would be held against her during her appeal, scheduled to begin later this fall. It will be heard by a new judge and jury who have not been protected from the firestorm around her case, so anything she says publicly could be construed as criticism against the system she is hoping will free her.

She has a job in the prison commissary, taking orders and delivering goods to prisoners in her wing. She is a “model prisoner,” according to Bernardina di Mario, director of Capanne. “She does nothing to stir things up. She just keeps to herself.”

The same can not be said for her supporters. Even the most banal headlines in the United States claiming miscarriages of justice and maltreatment of Knox are inevitably translated, along with snide comments defending the Italian system that impute to the American press a sense of American supremacy.

Since her arrest in November 2007 and conviction in December 2009, Knox supporters have repeatedly condemned everyone involved in the case who does not believe in wholeheartedly in her innocence. Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, ridiculed the ruling judge’s conviction reasoning as a “fictional novel” and a support group called Friends of Amanda regularly called the chief prosecutor “mentally unstable” throughout the trial.

In the wake of the verdict last December, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington (Knox’s home state) promised to get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extradite the young American home from Italy (Clinton has said she will not intervene), and Donald Trump has even boycotted Italy and its products.

“Amanda has become an affair of the state,” wrote La Repubblica months before the verdict. “Italy blames the American conspiracy.”

Newsweek tried checking out what investigations if any were done by Steve Moore (who, as the post below shows, still seems blissfully unaware of the minefield that is the Massei Report) and they came up with this. 

And most recently, retired FBI agent Steve Moore accused the Italians of “manipulating evidence to make Knox look guilty” based on an “independent investigation” he conducted using what he calls “raw materials.” When asked by NEWSWEEK, neither the Italian state forensic department, the coroner who conducted the autopsies on Kercher, nor the homicide squad in Perugia had been contacted by Moore for original reports and documents, calling into question just where Moore’s “raw materials” came from.

And Amanda Knox herself and her lawyers repeatedly undercut, contradict and distance themselves from the campaign.

Various times throughout her yearlong trial in 2009, the prosecutor and members of the jury told NEWSWEEK they were “offended” by American criticism of the case. At the time of her verdict last December, when many Americans were shouting about what they saw as an unfair conviction, Knox herself felt compelled to tell a member of Italian Parliament that she was actually treated fairly, in part to appease the Italians and, according to her lawyers who defended her comments, to protect herself. “I still have faith in the Italian justice system,” she told Walter Verini, a member of Italy’s center-left government. “My rights were respected.”

Despite the heavy criticism from abroad, Knox’s own Italian lawyers have never been part of the frenzy and have repeatedly had to distance themselves from most of the most vocal voices. “There has been a lot of criticism of this case in America, but it is important to remember that no one speaks for Amanda except her lawyers here in Italy,” says her Perugian lawyer, Luciano Ghirga. “The Americans do not represent her here in Perugia, nor does the constant criticism represent her own views.”

So. Over to you, Ted Simon and David Marriott, to try to apply the brakes on this runaway train.

And please insist that EVERYONE including Steve Moore (if we are to actually hear from him again) knows the Massei Report back-to-front before attempting any new spin.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Steve Moore Is Baffling Informed Case Observers On Both Sides Of The Atlantic

Posted by Peter Quennell





We posted a week ago querying claims first made by Steve Moore to Seattle investigative reporter Linda Byron.

Now everybody seems to be doing it.

Our own well-informed posters have been going through the various claims made to Linda Byron and reporters on the morning shows in the light of the Micheli and Massei Sentencing Reports. They have apparently not yet encountered even one Moore claim that can credibly be considered legitimate.

The lone wolf theory Steve Moore is trying retroactively to espouse was first ridiculed by our poster Kermit in his much-viewed Spiderman Powerpoints late in 2008.

And then it was methodically demolished early in 2009 by Judge Micheli, and again by Judge Massei in his own report released in Italian last March.

Our legal and law enforcement supporters in New York and Washington who have long followed Meredith’s case are also scratching their heads over Moore’s claims.

Why did he fail to master the Massei Report (which all of them have now read - and admire) before so vehemently going live?

Several also question the professional ethics and legal wisdom of accusing THE ITALIAN COUNTERPARTS TO THE FBI without hard proof of having fabricated evidence to prove his case. 

And in Italy, there have been several sarcastic rebuttals.

The latest comes from Walter Biscotti as reported by Ann Wise for ABC.

Mr Biscotti is the effective lead lawyer for Rudy Guede - who, it should be noted, ended up with a sentence of only 16 years for acting smart and somewhat penitent, while Sollecito and Knox may eventually face up to thirty.

After former FBI agent Steve Moore came forward in the United States last week, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and other U.S. shows to defend Knox’s innocence, Italian newspapers picked up on the interviews with banner headlines.

“Amanda, new accusations from the U.S.,” read the leading daily Corriere della Sera Saturday. “A former FBI agent, who carried out a private investigation, tells American TV: ‘Rudy Guede is the murderer and evidence was manipulated to make her [Knox] look guilty,’” according to the subtitle.

That was too much for Walter Biscotti, a lawyer representing Rudy Guede, the third person—along with Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito—convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.

An indignant Biscotti contacted ABC News in Rome today in response to the headlines.

First of all, he said, he wanted to speak in defense of the Italian judicial system.  “I think it is only right that I speak out in favor of the Italian justice system, of which I am a part,” Biscotti said, “and of the courts of Perugia in particular….

Biscotti took offense with statements made by Moore, a 25-year FBI veteran with international experience, implying that evidence was planted during the crime scene investigation.

“He said that investigators manipulated the evidence, an affirmation that would get you arrested in a minute, if you said it in Italy,” Biscotti told ABC News.

“It is a serious accusation against the Italian legal system and, as a man of the law, I cannot accept this,” Biscotti added…

Biscotti also took issue, as he has done repeatedly in the past three years, with attempts to put the blame for the murder solely on his client, Guede, whom, he says, he is defending pro bono.

He said lawyers for Knox and Sollecito told the media after every hearing in their year-long trial “there is no point holding this trial because these two are innocent, the only guilty person is Rudy,” and he criticized a list of U.S. legal experts who have spoken out about the case in the United States.

We know of not even ONE similarly qualified person who has READ the Massei Report and is not impressed and convinced by it.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Emmy Nomination For CBS Producer For Xenophobic And Wildly Inaccurate Reports On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell



Former CBS producer Joe Halderman is now in prison (see above) for a failed blackmail attempt. We posted on this here  and here.

Perhaps a worse crime was the ill-researched, highly biased, and ludicrously inaccurate reports on Meredith’s case he produced for CBS TV. We posted on those CBS reports here,  here,  here, and here, and most especially here with Kermit’s Powerpoint disection of the vesy first report.

Now, unbelievably, Mr Halderman has been nominated for an Emmy award for “the best continuing coverage of a news story”.

Right now there are over 100 stories on Google News about this Emmy nomination. NOT ONE remarks that the reporting was flatout wrong.  The CBS reporting was of course contradicted by the guilty verdict last December, and HIGHLY contradicted by the Massei sentencing report.

Way to go, Emmy nomination committee. You sure didn’t get THIS one right.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Commentary by The Most Widely-Read English-Language Website In Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Knox campaign seems to have divided out into three pieces, none of them seemingly at all effective.

The ludicrously shrill David Marriott campaign, the ludicrously shrill Anne Bremner/FOA campaign, and the adolescent internet rantings of the Knox groupies. All three seem to be painting themselves into a corner.

Meanwhile, Amanda Knox’s two lawyers in Italy seem to be going their own sweet way, quite impervious to the above, and it is clear that the Massei sentencing report has given them very much food for thought.

Italian-language reports as they have mostly done for two-plus years vary between strict neutrality and the occasional caustic comment on Knox or Sollecito.

Italy’s biggest English-language internet outlet, read by tens of thousands of residents and visitors who don’t speak very much Italian. has also adopted the same cool objective tone.

This is today’s thoughtful, well written commentary by Rome Journal contributor Rebecca. 

We had closely followed the first trial, in which Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of murdering her British flat mate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia.

This was one of the most dramatic and internationally observed Italian trials of this decade, and Italy as the scene of crime and trial had come under close scrutiny, and had been at the centre of a bizarre media frenzy covering the case.

Now, Amanda Knox is back in court. She faces slander charges against the police, who she claims hit her during the questioning a few days after the killing in November 2007. Italian police strongly denied that Knox was subjected to any physical abuse, which is supported by an external inquiry.

If Knox is found guilty of slander, she could face another six years in jail, on top of the 26 years she is currently serving.

Knox’s defense lawyers filed a motion to prevent the presiding judge, Claudia Matteini, from hearing Knox’s slander case because of her involvement in the preliminary hearings into the murder. A hearing today will take the final decision about whether Matteini is the appropriate judge to hear this case. The trial is likely to start on October 1….

What is particularly unnerving about this case is the sense that much of the testimony is contradictory: All three convicted of the murder deny their involvement, but cannot explain their inconsistent testimonies, and keep changing their account of what happened on the night of the murder.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, a journalist who has followed the case from the start and has always provided excellent coverage and analysis, asks ten questions that Amanda Knox has never answered, even though they could set her free. That she never addressed them, indicates that her involvement in the murder may have been substantial.

Whether the lies aim to conceal that the convicted did partake in the murder ““ which frankly didn’t work ““ or whether they intend to cover up something else, remains a mystery. Any hints regarding the truth in this matter, even if they come from a separate trial, will be of high interest.

What are your thoughts on the trial? Why do you think Amanda Knox keeps lying? If she is truly innocent, why not tell the truth?


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

La Stampa Headline Reads: “This Is The Way That Amanda Subjugated America”

Posted by Tiziano


There’s an excellent review in Italian of “Baby Face” by Glauco Maggi in Italay’s most influential paper, La Stampa. This is the translation.

The Accusation of an American Journalist: the Family Is Spreading Misinformation.

The dense wall of the believers in her innocence, which sprung up in the USA in defence of Amanda Knox, 20 years old, during the trial in Perugia for the murder of her English friend, Meredith Kercher, 22 years old, has been subjected to the first blow from the American side. 

In the book Angel Face (Angel Face, the true story of the student killer Amanda Knox), the journalist from Newsweek, Barbie Latza Nadeau, accuses the family of the girl, condemned to 26 years for the voluntary murder, of having created “an innocentista media machine” which has tried to cancel out the heavy body of clues which built up during the trial.

“They have simply chosen to ignore the facts which were coming to light in Italy”, writes Nadeau, who has been the Rome correspondent for Newsweek and other American newspapers since 1996, from the site of the Daily Beast to major television networks (CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN). 

The accusations of the journalist are based on her direct experience as a witness, in Italy, of the conduct of the American media.  According to Nadeau, access to sources close to Amanda depended on the feelings expressed by the correspondents: the family, essentially, cooperated only with the believers in Amanda’s innocence, to the extent of the payment of travel expenses in exchange for exclusive interviews. 

An example of the climate created by the Knox family is the affair of lawyer Joe Tacopina.  Having arrived in Perugia as a “legal expert” for the ABC TV channel, at first he played the role of an unofficial of the defender of the interests of the Knoxes.  However, when he confided to Nadeau that he could not declare himself to be 100% sure of Amanda’s innocence, having studied the trial documentation, he was excluded from the family circle, which from that moment curled up like a porcupine and actively operated so that their own version would be the only one to reach the USA.

From the moment of the arrest, Nadeau writes, “Amanda and Raffaele were a pushover for the sales of Italian newspapers and of the English tabloids.  The local press reported the gossip of the lawyers and the magistrates to liven up the crime story and very soon labelled Amanda as Angel Face, encouraging a morbid fascination. 

The British newspapers, ardent in the defence of the English victim’s honour, dug into the details which Amanda had inadvertently put on the Internet, starting from her name on MySpace, Foxy Knoxy.  Phone calls to teachers and friends in Seattle provided the description of a studious, intelligent and athletic young girl.  But the social networking sites told another story.”

Nadeau unveils the video on YouTube of Amanda drunk at a party, but she strikes the most serious blow to “good girl” when she adds: “Other appearances suggest a more enigmatic and a darker personality.  Baby Brother, a film which Amanda had put
on MySpace, is not totally disturbing but contains a rather irresponsible reference to rape.” 

The investigators took the stories which emerged about her past “as proof that she had at least daydreamed about it, that this was in her mind.  Add drugs and alcohol, was their reasoning, and not much was needed for these hidden thoughts would lead to action.  The picture was being formed of a shrew who was in thrall of dark impulses and the family struggled to control the storm.”  For those who did not accept the reconstructions of the Knoxes as pure gold there was ostracism: 

“The TV crews learnt to be careful in letting themselves be seen with people like me, the family would have cut them out of the circle.”


Friday, April 02, 2010

How The Strongarm Public Relations Resulted in Most Of The Media Getting It Wrong

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the full excerpt from Barbie Nadeau’s new book.

This is surely one of the worst cases of misreporting and malicious bias in all of media history. It’d be very nice (though don’t hold your breath!) if journalism schools and media owners examined the firestorm to stop it ever happening again.

Consider just the US hall of shame.

And please remember: this is the SAME media that turned a blind eye to the Micheli sentencing report on Guede, and appears to be trying hard to do the same (not one of them is translating it) to the Massei sentencing report on Knox and Sollecito.

Here is Barbie Nadeau describing how the sharp-elbowed Knox/Marriott public relations bombardment warped Americans’ take on the case.

Coverage of the crime began to diverge on the two sides of the Atlantic. From the vantage point of Perugia, it seemed as though the Knox family’s American supporters were simply choosing to ignore the facts that were coming to light in Italy….

The American press hung back, at first, objective and somewhat disbelieving that such a wholesome-seeming girl could have any connection to such a sordid foreign crime, and then, as the family stepped up its defense, increasingly divided between two camps that would become simply the innocentisti””those who believed she was blameless””and the colpevolisti, those who did not. In Perugia, these labels governed access…

Of the handful of American journalists in Perugia in late 2007 and early 2008, none got access to the Knox family without certain guarantees about positive coverage. Within months, the family decided to speak on the record primarily to the American TV networks, often in exchange for airfare and hotel bills. Most of the print press was shut out. And the TV producers learned to be very cautious about being seen with people like me, lest the Knox family should cut them off.

But as interest in the case grew, an odd assortment of American talking heads attached their reputations to Amanda’s innocence. An aggressive support group called Friends of Amanda formed in Seattle, headed by Anne Bremner, a media-savvy criminal lawyer who had cut her teeth as a tough prosecutor in Seattle’s King County Court…

Very quickly, [PR manager David] Marriott lost control of the situation. As he spoon-fed the Knox-approved message to American outlets that couldn’t afford to send correspondents to Italy, those of us on the ground in Perugia began passing his contradictory e-mails around as entertainment during the long days in the court.

[We reporters in Rome] began what would be a two-year battle against the Seattle message machine, incurring personal attacks and outright threats.

.

We rather like the Daily Beast book, for its splash of cold water on the media, and for its highly accurate accounting of the court proceedings and of the voluminous evidence the judges also describe in their report.

We also believe that although Meredith’s family did not participate, Barbie Nadeau has strong compassion for them, and a sense of real loss over Meredith.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Rome Panel On Meredith’s Case: Seems To Have Been Shallow, But Of No Comfort To Knox Apologists

Posted by Cesare Beccaria



[Above: IAF president Rocco Girlanda - a wannabe Italian David Marriott?]


The outrage that directly led to the creation of TJMK late in 2008 was the deliberate attempt to disappear Meredith and to replace her as the “real victim”.

Reversing that horrible trend and ensuring Meredith is revered, and at the end of the day granted her true justice, has always been our main mission. We have also worked to reverse the horrible sliming of Italy (a country Meredith loved and so looked forward to) and the officials and the trial process.

As far as we can see no English-language media have better explained the impressive Micheli Report and the impressive Italian system and the powerful evidence of guilt. Or for that matter lately shown Italy in such a positive light.

Ideally, if it had wanted to spread actual understanding, the Italian American Foundation Rome panel yesterday should have covered much of that same ground.

As far was we can see, it didn’t. And there seems to have been little mention of Meredith.

But at least the panelists seem to have come up with no new criticisms. Today Italy looks no worse, and Knox’s position looks no better. And the panel was inconclusive on what might have happened differently in the United States. (We reckon the outcome would have been identical but the sentences would have been Life.)

Andrea Vogt reports for the Seattle P-I on yesterday’s doings. Key excerpts below.

1) On the Italian American Foundation panel

The gathering was not so much an exercise in legal theorizing as one to smooth the hard feelings between Italy and the United States over the trial of one American college student. It’s a case that has spawned books, Websites and congressional involvement.

In fact, experts decided they couldn’t say what would have happened in an American trial.

“The only answer is, it is impossible to answer this question,” lawyer Anthony Sistilli told the audience, according to ANSA Italian wire services that covered the forum. “We do not want to retry the case. We want to help bridge the gap of understanding, which is our mission for this meeting.”...

“Trial outcomes are unpredictable. You really can’t guess what the outcome would be,” Arcabascio, who is co-director of the Florida Innocence Project, told the crowd. “But reasonable doubt is a standard of proof we use in both countries.”

Arcabascio also noted that sequestered juries are still used in the United States, but less and less common due to the high cost….

“No-one had any intention of bringing up criticisms,” said Rocco Girlanda, president of the U.S.-Italy Foundation told seattlepi.com. “Our scope was simply to compare the judicial systems and trial processes of Italy and the U.S.”

2) On Amanda Knox in prison

Girlanda ended the evening on a light note, saying that perhaps after the case’s expected appeal, the association would even have the chance to have a “special honored guest,” meaning Knox.

He also mentioned that the association is continuing to meet regularly with Knox in prison. Italy-USA Association officials said that prison authorities have called Knox’s behavior in Capanne “exemplary.”

Though she had requested work in the prison laundry, she has been given a less menial task with the prison commissary. Her job, according to foundation officials who meet with her, is to take orders from the various cellmates about what they want from the prison store. Inmates are able to buy items such as candy, cheese, soda or other small shopping items.

There are also some must-read paragraphs by Andrea Vogt on the very fishy commercial aspects of IAF president Rocco Girlanda’s role in the case. Is he seeking a PR contract?

Rocco Girlanda, who is also a parliamentarian and PR consultant, has been criticized before for raising false hopes for Knox apologists, and yesterday he did it again.

Andrea Vogt also reports on the state of Seattle-Perugia relations (with links to some Facebook pages), on the new books on the case, and on a new pro-Sollecito website, apparently created by a certain Chris Mellas.

What a surprise.

Low-traffic low-traction and generally highly inaccurate apologist websites, all with a nasty sneering tone, seem to be springing up like wildflowers these days.

************

Below: IAF president Rocco Girlanda at right with fellow parliamentarians outside Capanne Prison, after visiting Amanda Knox.



Thursday, March 04, 2010

La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano Reports On The Seattle End of The Case (2)

Posted by The 411



This below is a translation of this excellent report by La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano which was widely watched on Italian television.

Like the article below it also follows the typical mould of Italian reporting on Seattle - polite but seemingly doubting of the FOA claims about Amanda and the case.

AMANDA KNOX SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT: “In these days, I’ve reflected a lot about what I’ve wanted to say and what came into my mind. I wrote a question that maybe still puzzled a lot of people.”

ITALIAN ANNOUNCER VOICE-OVER: But it was the entire Meredith Kercher murder story that leaves many people puzzled in spite of the triple first-degree conviction of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox.

We went to Seattle to try to see if we could enter into the world of the American 20-something girl - angel for her family, devil according to the judges.”

The obligatory first stop is the office of David Marriott, spin doctor these past two years, who has handled media relations for the family. You can’t enter into the inner circle of the girl without passing by him first.

The first interviews are with the mother and father, separated [i.e., divorced] for 20 years.

CURT: “Amanda is a person who’s always been extremely real. As her parents, it wasn’t always pleasant to hear what was said. But, she wasn’t able to hide the truth. She’s someone who takes care of others, honest, as a study habit she has an intellectual approach to things.”

“With Raff, they met for the first time at a classical music concert. They went out for about a week, before Meredith was found dead. In such a brief period, you don’t transform a beginning relationship in to [the type of] scenario made up by the judges. You don’t go from zero to an orgy. It doesn’t happen in nature…. It’s not started out in an orgy manner.”

EDDA: “Amanda and Meredith were friends. She only said good things about her. They spent their time together, going to bookstores, or hanging out around town, reading and discussing books. Everyone will say that Amanda is a type of person who couldn’t hurt a fly. She couldn’t even do aggressive sports, because she doesn’t like violence. She’s affectionate with the elderly and children. She’s a kind human being.”

“The only direct contact we have now is 10 minutes every Saturday morning, in which we all try to tell her we love her and we all say “hi” quickly because there’s such little time. And then there are the letters. She’s written a lot of them to us, and we try to do the same.”

VOICE OVER: An important turning point for Amanda’s life was high school - attended at Seattle Prep, a Jesuit school attended by all the offspring of the upper middle class, which, later, would mobilize for The Cause.

We met Kris Johnson, her Literature teacher for two years, who let us see in the classroom where she taught, a letter, in very childish handwriting, that she sent from prison.

KRIS JOHNSON: “Amanda was an enthusiastic student who loved to learn..It really affected her. She sent me a lot of emails after class. She was simply excited by learning. She was fascinated by characters and people because she wanted to become a writer….as if she wanted to train for it, continuously.  It is not at all possible that the person I knew in class could even THINK of the things that the media has portrayed.”

VOICE OVER: Before coming to Italy, Amanda studied at Washington University and she lived near campus. There she met and became friends with Madison Paxton, the official friend, the only one Marriot lets journalists come close to.

MADISON: “One of the reasons that we became such good friends is that we had opposite views of life and people. She’s a very trusting person, while I’m not. In the end, we balanced out each other.”

“As for her man-eater reputation, when she came to college, she had less romantic experience than the average student. In high school, she hardly went out with anyone, and in college, she had a total of two boyfriends.”

VOICE OVER: Not all of Seattle, however, is so united in their outraged defense of their famous fellow citizen. Among the despised critics of the family is Peggy Ganong, a doctoral student in French at the University, who moderates the forum “Perugia Murder File” where information is gathered about leading stories on the case.

PEGGY: “One of the things that aroused my suspicions was that the family issued a press release the day after the arrest. I found it strange- and interesting. And then I discovered that a Public Relations firm was recruited to manage the Amanda image - a firm known to use techniques, I don’t want to say unethical, but let’s say unconventional,  in order to reach their objective.”

“I think that the incredibly one-sided coverage of the case in the American media is the result of this massive PR activity that cost more than a million dollars. What Marriott and the family have done was to say from the moment that the tabloids demonized Amanda, we’ve painted her as an angel. That’s why they’ve constructed an image of a typical American girl, which is probably just as false as the demonized image of her, which the tabloids have perpetuated.”

VOICE OVER: Ms. Ganong is not the only one to think that way, and to say it publicly. Among the skeptics, there’s Charles Mudede who’s in charge of the cultural pages of “The Stranger,’ a popular weekly newspaper…. We meet him at the Quarter Lounge, near his workplace.

CHARLES: “She didn’t grow up as the classic American girl. She played soccer, which isn’t a national sport here. In fact, it’s fairly non-traditional. And then, yoga, which speaks of a Far Eastern influence, rather than of praying.”

“You might expect from a classic American girl that she’d be very focused on the Christian side [of things]  “”she on the other hand did a mixture of different things, typical of the liberal cosmopolitan girls of Seattle.”

PEGGY: “The reason why many of our well-known local people have mobilized in her defense, organizing fund-raising dinners, putting together groups of people on her behalf all goes back to Seattle Prep.”

“People who pay $13,000 a year to send their children to high school so they can prepare them to go to the best colleges do not want to see the value of that investment go down, as a result of that type of scandal. Seattle Prep was the school where Judge Mike Heavey’s daughter went, [a girl] who was quite friendly with Amanda. As were the children of Tom Wright.  I believe worrying about saving the good name of the school is a good part of the [motivation behind the] ‘Innocentisti Movement’ in Seattle.

“Although it’s important that these influential people on her side have made a big splash, they don’t really represent the entire city.”

VOICE OVER: Anne Bremner, former prosecutor and current TV legal commentator is the spokeswoman for the Friends of Amanda, a site where counter-information regarding trial facts is continually updated.

ANNE: “An injustice in any part of the world is an injustice in all of the world.  I personally felt it was important to lend a hand, to expose the absolute lack of evidence. In other words, someone who has absolutely nothing to do with this horrendous crime. What has happened since the verdict? Nothing, except to increase the passion, that much more. We will never, ever abandon Amanda.”

SUBTITLES OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE - A REPORTER ASKS: “Today Senator Cantwell spoke of contaminated evidence”¦ of unsequestered jurors and a questionable prosecutor”¦ additionally, we’ve seen jurors wearing tri-colored sashes”¦ and there was anger in the Italian press and all this indicates that there hasn’t been a fair trial”¦and all of you in the State Department claim the opposite”¦”

VOICE OVER: In the meantime, they continue their tireless lobbying activity, recruiting the most varied of advocates. Senator Maria Cantwell has expressed such serious doubts about the judicial system, that Anti-Americanism contaminated the case, also making Hillary Clinton more aware of the case.

Fortunately, she [Hillary] was too busy dealing with Afghanistan and Iran to offer an opinion on the matter. [There are] even VIPs, like Donald Trump, who proposed a boycott of Italy, until the girl comes home.

SUBTITLE OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE: “Italy has its own justice system, different than our own.”

VOICEOVER: No one remembers one detail—that at least Italy doesn’t have the Death Penalty.

Nor does anyone seem to remember the many cases when America made great efforts to collaborate with Italian judges, including such times as [after] the Disaster of Cermes, and the [after] the killing of Agent Nicola Calferi by [American] soldier Mario Lozano.


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