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Sunday, May 01, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 05/01/16 at 08:32 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsN America contextReporting, media, moviesMedia newsMovies on case
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Monday, April 25, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the processes:

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

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

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

Several officers raised their hands.

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

“She is morbidly obese,” said another.

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

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

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

Also successful elsewhere:

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

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

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

For cops it’s a natural.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/25/16 at 11:52 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedPolice and CSIThe wider contextsN America contextItalian system
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Monday, March 07, 2016

Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



A classy restaurant in an Italian prison which inmates in training fully run

1. The Knox Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

Three years ago Amanda Knox devoted 200 pages of her book to an extended horror story about her stay in prison.

Knox provided zero proof. Knox has never published her charges in Italian in Italy, so the rebuttals by those Knox maligned are not (yet) in.

But almost immediately English-language corrections and rebuttals started to flow.  See also all these rebuttals here.

Knox was contradicted by her own lawyers who had visited her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by the US Embassy in Rome which monitored her often and heard no complaints. She was contradicted by Rocco Girlanda, an Italian Member of Parliament, who checked her conditions over 20 times (and then wrote a loving book) and reported no complaints. Her own parents reported no complaints.

Even so, one year ago, Knox reissued her notoriously dishonest book. It had been added-to, but not even one of the malicious claims was withdrawn.

Our main poster Chimera highlighted the lies throughout the entire book (over 400) and Posts #3 to #9 here are devoted to Knox’s prison lies.

2. The Real Picture Of Italian Prison Conditions

The Italian prison system was historically always very humane - bathrooms and sometimes kitchens attached to cells; TV in all cells; walk-around rights during the day; numerous group activities such as concerts and games; hair-dressing for women and even massage; and skills training for inmates in an occupation of their choice (Guede and Sollecito both completed degrees).

Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

For years, Italy has struggled with its prison system, as well as how to balance punishment with rehabilitation. Overcrowding had become such a problem that in January 2013 the European Court of Human Rights ordered the country to fix the system. [Actually the ECHR cannot “order” anything, and anyway the building program was already well under way.]

Italian lawmakers responded with more alternative measures for minor crimes. In 2014, Italy also repealed harsh drug sentencing laws enacted during the 1990s, similar to the “three strikes” laws in the United States. In 2014, Italy began releasing 10,000 inmates (of roughly 60,000) who had been convicted of minor offenses.

But the issue of how best to rehabilitate offenders — and lower the recidivism rate — remained difficult. Italy has long allowed inmates in medium-security prisons to move around the facilities during the day.

“The main problem has been that they do little during the day, which doesn’t help them at the present, nor for their future outside prisons,” said Alessio Scandurra, who works for Antigone, a nonprofit group focused on the rights of detainees.

The Bollate prison was at the vanguard of experimentation even before opening the restaurant. Under the director, Massimo Parisi, the prison offers an array of programs. Companies have work programs on prison grounds. Volunteers teach theater and painting. Carpentry skills are taught in workshops equipped with power drills and saws. Inmates maintain a stable of horses in the prison yard.

There is also an initiative involving a carefully vetted group of 200 inmates who are allowed to leave each day for jobs with an outside firm. Inmates travel without supervision on public transportation; they must check in upon arrival at work, and at other points during the day.

Mr. Parisi said only one inmate had failed to return at the appointed time, and he showed up a few days later.

The Times reporter follows this with what has to be a global first - a topnotch restaurant run by inmates right inside one jail.




Posted on 03/07/16 at 05:11 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, March 03, 2016

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

Posted by Chimera



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

Son of Sam Anti Bloodmoney Laws

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

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

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

BC’s Robert Pickton Serial Killer Case

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

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

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

[0:07] Undercover - No.  No shit.

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

[0:26] Pickton - DNA

[0:28] Undercover - Fuck

[0:30] Pickton - Yeah

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

[0:44] Pickton - They got DNA

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

[0:56] Pickton - Oh really?

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

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

[1:15] Undercover - Who?

[1:16] Pickton - Me

[1:17] Undercover - No. huh?

[1:34] Pickton - A rendering plant.

[1:36] Undercover - Hey?

[1:36] Pickton - A rendering plant.

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

[1:44] Pickton - Mmm hmmm

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

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

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

Robert Picton’s Attempt At A Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Partial Timeline

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

    December 2006: Jury selection takes place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Present State Of The Case

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

Posted on 03/03/16 at 01:06 AM by Chimera. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, February 26, 2016

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

Posted by Chimera


Overview

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

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

Some Gotti/Gravano history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gambino family highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpts From the Video

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

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

3:25 (Gravano)  Here I am

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

3:36 (Gravano)  I think I am.

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

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

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

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

3:59 (Sawyer)  Double crosser?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6:49 (Gravano) 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

18:09 (Sawyer)  You were excited?

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

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

18:40 (Sawyer)  You were a player?

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

No comment needed.

Other parallels with our pair

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


A Final Thought:

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

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

Posted on 02/26/16 at 09:17 PM by Chimera. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any suggestions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 02/23/16 at 08:24 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, January 09, 2016

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Wisconsin Case Now In Dispute

1. The Netflix Report

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

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

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

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

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

2. Reaction Of US Media

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

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

So a wave of fact-checking is going on.

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

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

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

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

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

2. Parallels To Reporting Of The “Knox Case”

The parallels to the Perugia case are in fact immense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted on 01/09/16 at 01:52 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, January 07, 2016

A Stretch Inside Not Only Protects Society: For Perps It May Be Best Shot At Coming Right

Posted by Peter Quennell

Video 1: Very good analysis by psychologist Dr Drew Pinsky on Tuesday 5 January 2016


As we posted Ethan Couch killed four and maimed a fifth for life while drunk-driving in Texas two years ago.

He is now in a Mexico City lockup for illegal immigrants seeking to avoid extradition to the US where he has violated his highly controversial probation. Many or most think this was a travesty for the families of the victims. The judge retired early. Justice was not seen to be done.

Now he is reported to have run up a $1000 tab at a Mexican strip club which his mother paid. That $1000 apparently went in part toward drinks. He had skipped out of the US mid-December because he was videoed at a party with drinks.

Sources say Ethan Couch and his mother Tonya went to a strip club called Harem in Puerto Vallarta on the night of Dec. 23. According to club employees, the pair had drinks before Tonya Couch left the club. Ethan stayed at the club and employees told ABC News that he went off to a VIP room with two women who worked at Harem. Hotel and club employees said Couch was extremely drunk.

Few if any other criminal psychologists ever came out in support of Couch’s defense’s psychologist who convinced the judge two years ago that the affluence of the family was somehow a primary cause.

In the past few days there have been various psychology panels on cable TV discussing the case. Articles too.

From them Ethan Couch did not exactly get a lot of love. A term inside to remove him from his family and choke off his dependencies is what the psychologists incline towards, as Dr Drew in the top video highly recommends.

Video 2: Dr Drew two years ago (this video was previously at the top)

Posted on 01/07/16 at 08:12 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesThe psychologyOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contextsN America contextItalian system
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Thursday, December 31, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





Why American judges can envy Italian judges part deux.

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

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

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

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

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

In December 2013 she veered sharply in the other direction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck with that one.

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

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

And it seems Ms Boyd is not returning phone calls.


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





Posted on 12/31/15 at 12:02 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Capturing Collective Memories: Of Broadway Dance And Of Family Life

Posted by Peter Quennell

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Season’s cheer!

Posted on 12/25/15 at 06:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

One Of The Many Pluses That Amanda Knox’s Paid Defamers Would Prefer That Americans Don’t Know About

Posted by Peter Quennell





We have often mentioned these major justice-system pluses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12/08/15 at 12:51 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Hoaxes Italy & the caseItalian justice hoaxThe wider contextsEurope contextN America contextItalian system
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Monday, April 06, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Damage From False Media Reports

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

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

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

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

2. The Rolling Stone Article Report

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

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

There seems no question now that it was not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Relevance To Meredith’s Case?

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/06/15 at 04:59 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsN America contextReporting, media, moviesV bad reporting
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





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

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

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

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

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

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s different now….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

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

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

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Posted on 03/28/15 at 11:01 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryThe wider contextsPerugia contextItalian contextN America contextItalian system
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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

Posted by Ergon

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

ThIs morning’s report noted an increasing flow of anonymous claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This question, who is the State Department source (Burleigh calls him ‘American diplomat’), came up in my previous post.

  • Former US Ambassador David Thorne?

  • Some low level employee at State or Justice?

  • Completely made up by Anne Bremner and co?

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

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

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

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

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

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






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

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

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

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

Naseer,

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

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

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

James Moninger

Here is my reply:

Hi, James,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naseer Ahmad

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Kington Rome

March 23 2015

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

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

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


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

Posted on 03/24/15 at 03:04 AM by Ergon. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other main hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamMore of the sameOther legal processesExtradition issuesThe wider contextsN America context
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Thursday, March 05, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





Hard to believe that the Knox PR is guided by a professional - good ones know to just shade the truth.

Again and again in sharp contrast the Knox PR tries to go 180 degrees the other way. Down is up. Black is white. Instead of making one or two mistakes, it makes hundreds - and then lets them stand. Again and again, talking point are shot down - but in Marriott’s zombieland they never stay dead. 

Now the Knox PR is pinning its hopes on an ill-conceived Change.org petition posted here This is just part of what Karen Pruitt and other creators get wrong.

1) There was no corruption at any point except that of the Hellmann court for which there is proof which Italy and the US have probably shared already.

2) There was no abuse of the pair, ever, and no paper trail by either the two defenses or the US Embassy vital to the credibility of this claim. In fact the defenses have invariably inclined the other way, thinking this is a foolish way to go.

3) There was no abusive interrogation of Knox on 5-6 Nov - in fact there was no interrogation at all. In great detail what happened was described at trial. Knox had insisted on being there and she merely listed some other possible perps - all of which the cops checked out. Then she herself said and wrote way too much, when she was told she had been dropped in it by RS. The cops rather hoped she’d shut up.

4) Knox herself shrugged off the need for a lawyer on that night after her statements came pouring out - even after Dr Mignini had read her her rights - as multiple witnesses testified. Knox still cant explain why she claimed she headed out alone on the night, leaving Sollecito behind.

5) RS and AK had six opportunities between November 2007 and January 2009 to get themselves freed or moved to house arrest. They failed each time. In one of those it was Cassation which turned them down. Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli and Cassation listed a ton of evidence against them and believed if sprung on house arrest they could cause harm.

6) The claims about Guede in that petition are totally upside down. He didnt go gunning for them - in reality they went gunning for him!! Everybody could see that in mid 2008 as this report shows.

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

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

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

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

7. Guede did not testify at the 2009 trial, he just sat there mute and then went away. In sharp contrast the RS and AK teams introduced witnesses trying to do maximum harm to him.

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

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

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

Neither Guede nor his lawyers were in court to cross-examine or repudiate any of those witnesses; and the prosecution took zero role - asked zero questions - so it was ONLY the RS and AK defenses and not Guede who had an unfair edge here.

8) Cassation did not say in ending Guede’s process that it must have been RS and AK along with Guede at the crime. The closed sessions at trial in 2009 showed conclusively to the judges that there had been three, which is why the defenses (not the prosecution) put Alessi and Aviello on the stand. Cassation simply agreed with this.

9) This was not a one man crime by a rapist or burglar, it was provably a 15-minute torture and humiliation pack attack fueled by rage. Knox’s trial and appeal courts both concluded that she plunged in the knife and RS and Guede have shown strong signs of not having not been pre-warned and remaining sore ever since.

10) As usual with the PR a huge amount about the case and RS and AK is simply left out. Here is a comment first posted on another thread which explains how this lies-of-omission approach works (or doesnt work).

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

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

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

And they really should tell the blundering Marriott to get lost.

Posted on 03/05/15 at 02:24 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRudy GuedeThe wider contextsN America contextKnox-Mellas teamKnox interrog hoaxKnox book hoaxes
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Monday, March 02, 2015

Laments: Short Scripts With Inspiration From The Usual Suspects

Posted by Grahame Rhodes




1. Lament At A Dimly Lit Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda: .....”But Iʼll be in jail!!”

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

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

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

2. Lament Of The Invisible Security Guard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Lament Of A The Invisible Ex-Judge

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

Could it be?

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

Was it possible that he had been wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Lament Of An Invisible Store Salesman

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

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

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

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

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

Guilty as charged.

5. Lament Of A Daddy Wishing there Were More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 03/02/15 at 07:27 AM by Grahame Rhodes. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoRudy GuedeThe wider contextsN America contextKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamMichael Heavey
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Paul Ciolino And Meredith’s Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That inspired this extended rebuttal by Kermit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The $40 Million Lawsuit Against Ciolino And Protess

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

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

Here are the lawsuit’s opening paragraphs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciolino told Simon that he was a police officer;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And all broadcast by your local CBS station. 

Posted on 02/26/15 at 12:35 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contextsN America contextReporting, media, moviesMedia newsV bad reportingKnox-Mellas teamMore of the same
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Sunday, January 04, 2015

That Supposed Tsunami Of Leaks That Supposedly Hurt The Alleged Perps: Who REALLY Leaked?

Posted by Peter Quennell



Curt Knox spins the day in court; prosecutors are forbidden to correct him or explain “their side”

1. How The Supposed Leaks Began

On 6 November 2007 investigators into Meredith’s death thought they had caught a big break.

That was when Knox herself snapped and claimed to be an eyewitness to Meredith’s killing on the night. From 1:30 am to about noon on 6 November Knox repeated that claim and staged her huge fright of Patrick Lumumba again and again. She proved hard to shut up though police did gently try.

Three times in those ten or so hours Knox herself insisted on writing her claims down, including a claim that she did go out alone. She was repeatedly warned she should have a lawyer present first but pressed on.

False claims to have witnessed a murder are rare, but not entirely unknown - there can be fame and big bucks in it, played right.

But in Knox’s case this did not seem to apply - she snapped explosively under no pressure except that just placed upon her by Sollecito who had claimed she made him lie and she had gone out alone from Sollecito’s on the night Meredith died.

And she had to some extent implicated herself - she said she saw a crime she did not report.

On 8 November supervising magistrate Claudia Matteini reviewed police and psychology reports and what Knox and Sollecito had claimed (including Sollecito’s writing that he never wanted to see Knox again).

Judge Matteini declared them both to be bad news. She ordered them to remain locked up. Judge Ricciarelli confirmed that that was all correct.

In coming months Knox was given repeated opportunities to clear herself, to put the evil genie back in the bottle, but she failed every time. In April 2008 Cassation ruled there was plenty of prima facie evidence, and that Judge Matteini had done the right thing.

Knox herself inspired these events of 6 to 8 November. They are what caused the voracious UK media and relatively mild Italian media to get their paid snoops to Perugia fast.

All of them were lobbying to get an edge. Investigators had some difficulty performing their tasks because they were getting so many calls and being crowded in the streets.

2. Did The Police Or Prosecution Ever Leak?

The Italian rules are quite clear. Unlike the US, cases for and against the accused must be fought only in court, and when the prosecutor or judge speaks, it will mostly be in a document that has been cleared.

How many proven examples do you think there are of police and prosecutors slipping reporters leaks and tips and inside tracks to advance their case?

In fact NONE. Not one.

Among the frustrations we picked up from the excellent Italian-speaking reporters who were actually there was how under Italian rules there was so little that police and prosecutors were allowed to share.

In the UK it is also a bit like this. But in contrast in the US there would typically be daily press conferences and prosecutors (85% of them are elected in the US) appearing on the cable-news crime shows like that of Nancy Grace.

And Dr Mignini himself famously never leaks. The few things he ever says are on the record and they always prove accurate, low-key, and very fair. From 2007 right up to today he continues to maintain that Knox had no advance intention to kill. A softer line than some of the judges settled upon.

3. Did The Defenses And Families Leak?

Sure. This case must have broken all records for defense-biased leaks. Finding themselves in a vacuum of police and prosecution information and pushback, the Knox PR grew to an angry and often abusive and dishonest roar.

The sharp-elbowed Knox-Mellas presence was constantly “available” in Perugia and Burleigh and Dempsey among others got totally taken in. Ann Bremner and Judge Heavey and Paul Ciolino became more and more shrill. Heavey wrote to the president of the Italian Republic on his official letterhead. Senator Cantwell issued many unfounded claims. 

And through 2008 and 2009 one can spot increasing leaks from each defense team, often to try to advantage their client against the other two. We were offered some of those leaks, among others “the truth” about the autopsy and “the knife”.

The Perugia Shock blog by PR shill Francesco Sfarzo (now on trial in Florence for making things up, and wanted by police in the US) came to be a main conduit for defense lies and misleading information, possibly some from a disgruntled cop. 

Here is one easily proven leak from the Knox defense that was intended to hurt the police and prosecution in the case.

But putting police so overtly on the spot was a dangerous game. More often each perp and their defense team took whacks at the other two as a Rome lawyer showed here and we showed here.  In the past few posts we have been showing how many things about Rudy Guede were made up (more to come).

4. Making Things Up For Profit And Fame

In 2007 and 2008 various unsavory characters surfaced in Perugia, to try to win fame and make a buck. This quote is from our post directly below.

Christian Tramontano, who had claimed someone threatened him in his house in the dark with a knife who looked like a shot of Guede in the papers two months later, was not even called, perhaps because at a hearing in October 2008 Judge Micheli denounced him as having made things up.

Tramontano is right now a jobless bouncer, as the mafia was found to have some involvement in his club. Judge Micheli scathingly repudiated his tale as his story did not ring true - he made no police report about it at the time.

But worse, he looked like one of quite a few around Perugia (and later in the US) who were seeking global fame and big bucks from the media for “inside knowledge” and claimed close connections to one or other of the alleged perps.

Despite this Tremontano’s self-serving claims are repeated as gospel by the PR shills all over the place. Those claims appear as gospel in every one of their books.

This is from Tom Kington of the Guardian in a report posted 27 September 2008:

The trial in Italy of Rudy Guede, one of the three suspects accused of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was thrown into disarray yesterday when a judge stopped proceedings after learning that one of the main character witnesses had allegedly tried to sell his story to Italian television.

Abuker Barro, known as Momi, a Somalian acquaintance of Guede, was due in court in Perugia yesterday to repeat claims made to investigators that he had seen Guede rifling through women’s handbags in clubs in Perugia and making aggressive advances to women when drunk.

But the judge, Paolo Micheli, blocked him from completing his testimony after lawyers for Guede showed a video of Barro meeting journalists to allegedly negotiate payment of €2,000 (£1,588) for revealing his testimony on Italian television. Micheli will ask magistrates to decide whether Barro should be prosecuted for abusing his role as a witness, which could exclude his testimony.

The incident, described by Guede’s lawyer, Walter Biscotti, as ‘an assault by the media’, follows a series of leaks to the press of evidence and even jail diaries by suspects during the investigation into the brutal slaying of Kercher, 21… [bold added]

Few real reporters were unethical or incompetent enough to accept and report biased and unconfirmed claims like Tramontano’s or Barro’s. But you can find those false claims hyped pervasively throughout the pro-Knox books as if they were gospel.

Among others Dempsey’s, Burleigh’s, Moore’s, Preston’s, Hendry’s, Waterbury’s, and Fischer’s books come to mind.

Posted on 01/04/15 at 08:30 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsThe defensesThe wider contextsItalian contextN America contextReporting, media, moviesMedia newsKnox-Mellas teamSollecito team
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Friday, December 19, 2014

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

1. Lessons From Australia

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

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

Reporting from NBC:

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

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

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

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

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


2. The Relevance Of This To Knox

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

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

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

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

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

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

She really was the housemate from hell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do we REALLY want to find out?















Thursday, October 30, 2014

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/30/14 at 09:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextN America contextItalian justice hoaxFlorence MOF hoaxItalian system
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Now Raffaele Sollecito As Well As Amanda Knox Is Using A PayPal Link To Encourage Donations

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Sollecito And Knox Paypal Accounts

Please check out the images at bottom here. As of today Knox’s PayPal account still exists.

At the same time Sollecito has created a new one as GoFundMe dropped his solicitation page. PayPal and their own Italian lawyers are likely to regard these two accounts as hot potatoes when the following implications are shared with them.

Imperiled Bank Accounts

Each PayPal account will point behind the PayPal scenes to a bank account, which as this example among many others describes can be seized by American and Italian authorities.

The Government wants the seized properties to be handed over to the authorities, and claims it’s permitted under U.S. law. This includes the bank account that was used by Megaupload for PayPal payouts. The account, described as “DSB 0320,” had a balance of roughly $4.7 million (36 million Hong Kong Dollars) at the time of the seizure, but processed more than $160 million over the years.

“Records indicate that from August 2007 through January 2012 there were 1,403 deposits into the DBS 0320 account totaling HKD 1,260,508,432.01 from a PayPal account. These funds represent proceeds of crime and property involved in money laundering as more fully set out herein,” the complaint reads.

PayPal refused to channel payments to the hacker organization Wikileaks and 14 members of the hacker group Anonymous who attempted denials of service attacks (DOS) against PayPal were charged and pleaded guilty.

Strong evidence that law enforcement will work hard to help prevent the use of PayPal for activities it considers illegal. 

How It Gets Worse For Them

Knox is already a convicted felon for life for calunnia with no further appeal possible. Under PayPal’s terms of service that by itself seems sufficient grounds to bounce her. From Paypal’s rules for Donate buttons:

Note: This button is intended for fundraising. If you are not raising money for a cause, please choose another option. Nonprofits must verify their status to withdraw donations they receive. Users that are not verified nonprofits must demonstrate how their donations will be used, once they raise more than $10,000.

Neither have publicly specified in even the least detail who will get what and why out of the funds raised by this Donate button intended for good causes (think charities).

How It Gets Worser For Them

The pitches on the Knox and Sollecito websites are essentially the same as in their two books which are both riddled with demonstrably false accusations, for which Sollecito has already been charged and for which Knox will also in due course be charged.

The charges against Sollecito are a mixture of calunnia and diffamazione, which are explained at the bottom here, and the charges against Knox are expected to be the same.

In effect then this is seemingly not only Knox and Sollecito attempting to profit from crimes, but attempting to profit from crimes based on highly fraudulent accounts of those crimes for one component of which (as pointed out above) Knox has already served three years in prison.

How It Gets Even Worser For Them

“Defense Fund” implies the money being raised is all going to their Italian lawyers. If the lawyers accept such payments as fees that could become a problem for them.

The same thing applies if any of the money raised goes to David Marriott, Ted Simon and Robert Barnett. It is now radioactive. They will presumably know this - know that they cannot profit from proceeds which are illegal under Son of Sam laws and obtained on fraudulent pretenses.

And In Fact Even Worser For Them

If Cassation dismisses the final appeal of Knox and Sollecito (for which the grounds seem very flimsy) they will each be liable for the millions in damages which Judge Massei imposed as modified by Judge Nencini.

Donations legally labeled bloodmoney cannot under any circumstances be used to pay damages. Knox and Sollecito would have to generate new funds to pay the damages awards by legal earnings or by voluntary or forced selling off of any assets.

The Bottom-Line Liabilities Here

The financial liabilities Knox and Sollecito are presently incurring for themselves include (1) payment of all fees for legal and PR help in the US and Italy; (2) the clawing back of all bloodmoney profits from their crimes; (3) the payments of millions in damages as assessed by Judges Massei and Nencini; and (4) further fines and damages that are expected to result from their two books.

Under the post below Popper posted this partial calculation for Knox; the forfeit of bloodmoney and possible future damage awards are additional.

Massei gave (and Nencini confirmed) provisional damage to father and mother of Meredith of Euro 1 million each, to brothers and sister Euro 800,000 each, to PL Euro 50,000 and to the owner of the flat Euro 10,000.

To this it must be added more for the legal costs in Appeal and Cassazione, so a total a bit short of Euro 5 million, about 6 million dollars.

VAT and CPA must be paid on all the above sums, so more than that, we probably go over USD 6 million

Together with the forfeit of bloodmoney and possible future damages imposed, this adds up to around the $10 million estimated in this post. Sollecito’s burden would be less, somewhat more than half of that. 

Explanation Of Calunnia And Diffamazione

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone’s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.


Click for larger image





Posted on 09/14/14 at 03:20 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedRaff SollecitoThe wider contextsN America contextSollecito teamSollecito book hoaxesItalian justice hoaxNo-evidence hoax
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Legal Nightmare For Knox: How Tough American Laws Could Wind Back Blood-Money Profits & Spendings

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




The 40-Plus State Son-of-Sam Laws

David Berkowitz or Son-of-Sam as he called himself during his killing spree is a convicted American serial killer. Watch a documentary at bottom here.

In New York State (where Knox’s publisher is) and Washington State (where Knox herself is) and about 40 other American states Son-of-Sam has a much-exercised and now rarely-challenged law named after him.

After early challenges and some revisions, many of those State Son-of-Sam laws continue to be strengthened and almost all are enforced regularly. From Wikipedia:

A Son of Sam law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers… Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims…

In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime—if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.


Son-of-Sam Laws In The News

The Son-of-Sam laws are in the American news almost daily. See these for example:

  • Here is an article about the admitted killer Jodi Arias who could have otherwise been in line to profit from a movie showing her killing of her former lover Travis Alexander from her point-of-view.

  • Here is an article about the former university football coach and male rapist Jerry Sandusky who may be writing a book to benefit himself and his family.

  • Here is an article about OJ Simpson, the former footballer and convicted killer of his wife and one other, who is essentially in prison now for trying to circumvent a Son-of-Sam law mandating payments to the families of his victims.


How Son-of-Sam Laws Work

Here from the Criminal Lawyers website is a generic description of how such State laws work.

Each state’s law is different, but here some of the things you may see in any particular Son of Sam law:

What’s covered?  Practically just about anything a criminal defendant might gain or profit from his crime. Some state laws generally define “profit from crime.” For example, a law may state it’s “any property obtained through or income generated from the commission of a crime.” Other states are very specific and may, for example, state “profit of crime” is money or other property with value a defendant may receive for a book, movie, television show, play or newspaper article about the defendant and his crimes.

Who’s covered? In some states, only the criminal defendant is covered. In other states, members of his family are covered, too. They may be related by blood or by “affinity” or kinship, such as a spouse or father-in-law. The idea is to make sure a family member doesn’t get the money and hold it for the defendant.

Payment. Most states require the person paying the defendant - the book publisher, movie producer, etc. - to pay the money directly to a court or special state agency, like the state’s Crime Victims Assistance agency. The money is held in a special account for the crime’s victims.

Getting the money to the victims. In most states, once money is deposited, the court or the state agency in charge of the money notifies victims the money is available. In other states, the person or company paying the defendant must notify victims. Either way, victims are usually notified by ads or “legal notices” in local newspapers where the crime was committed. It’s also possible the names of specific victims may be found in the court records connected to the case, and those victims may get personal notification, such as by mail.


Ten Grave Weaknesses In Knox’s Position

Under these 40-plus Son-of-Sam state laws Amanda Knox and her agents appear to be in an extremely weak legal position. Here are 10 reasons.

    1) Knox was confirmed convicted without further recourse by the Italian Supreme Court of calunnia (against Patrick Lumumba) in March 2013 and she was also provisionally confirmed guilty of murder and other crimes when her appeal before the Florence Appeal Court failed six months ago.

    2) That final false-accusation conviction occurred prior to Knox’s book Waiting To Be Heard being released. The British and Italian arms of the publishers, HarperCollins, refused to release the book in the UK and Italy, citing major legal liabilities. The New York based HarperCollins publishers and therefore Knox herself knew that there were very serious legal questions.

    3) Amanda Knox was represented by Washington DC lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett who touted the book to various publishers for a claimed $4 million. If Robert Barnett was misled as to the truth of the book, Knox may find herself kicked under the bus by him.  If he was not misled, he too is entangled.

    4) Knox’s book (available globally via Amazon Kindle) includes many serious misstatements on (among other things) the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony conviction and sentence.

    5) Knox also misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony defamation conviction in (a) an arrogant email to Judge Nencini at the Florence appeal and (b) an arrogant press release after the judge’s sentencing report was released.

    6) Knox appears to have misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her conviction in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. She also uses those false claims for her continued refusal to pay damages to Patrick.

    7) Large numbers of opportunists appear to have directly profited. While we don’t know for sure, it seems Knox blood-money may have been used (a) to pay off her parents’ legal debts; (b) to pay her Italian and American lawyers; (b) to pay David Marriott’s public relations outfit; (d) to pay travel to Seattle and other expenses for some of her wackiest supporters, Sforza and Fischer included. Fees for abusive work by many in online support of Knox are rumored

    8) We have repeatedly been told that any media request for access to Sollecito or Knox results in a greedy hand being stretched out. Any media who paid anything to Knox or her family (CNN? ABC? CBS? The Guardian? Oggi?) for access since 2007 could be seriously vulnerable.

    9) Knox will face a new trial in Italy in due course for numerous new felony accusations in the book, including a very serious false charge against Dr Mignini. Also she and her followers are widely on record as disrespecting and harrassing the real victim and her ailing family.

    10) And a mandatory Son-of-Sam Law investigation by State Attorney Generals can be triggered in over 40 American states via a simple report from a citizen. The Italian Government could also trigger such a criminal investigation.

And Amanda Knox still has her greedy paw out for contributions. See her highly misleading website. Tread warily, folks. Up to 40-plus investigators could come calling at your door…

Early Death To Any Political Support

American politicians almost all favor the Son-of-Sam Laws. The thought of a convicted killer profiting is something almost 100% of American voters wont tolerate. Anything that encourages crimes and the flouting of laws is a really big American no-no.

And if Knox is trying to assemble any bought-and-paid-for political support to resist extradition, such political support will dissipate in a heartbeat when Son-of-Sam again rears his head.

Not a very nice slippery slope for Knox. On multiple counts she looks like a sure-fire loser.


Friday, February 21, 2014

The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities

Posted by TomM



[Rome airport; exceedingly rare for those convicted of Italian crimes not to be sent back via here]


The reporting on this case has, with few exceptions, been poor.

Recent reporting on whether the US would extradite Amanda Knox continues that tradition, ranging from assertions that “sources” within the State Department say they would never extradite her, to claims that the risk of extradition is real, but that the Secretary of State has the discretion to refuse to extradite.

If the Secretary of State actually has this discretion, it must be grounded in the law.

That means it must be found in the Constitution, or in an act of Congress, or in a treaty—all of which constitute the “law of the land”.  Beyond authorizing the President to make treaties, with the consent of two thirds of the Senate, the Constitution sheds no further light.

The only act of Congress dealing with extradition of US citizens is Title 18, United States Code, section 3196; a bit of background first.

There is no uniform US extradition treaty.  Each treaty is separately negotiated with the other sovereign nation.  Historically, many of the treaties entered into by the US contained clauses providing that neither country was obligated to extradite its own citizens.

Notwithstanding this, the US had extradited US nationals on the basis of discretion to extradite even though extradition was not required by the language of the treaty.  But in 1936 the US Supreme Court held that if the treaty does not “obligate” the requested party to extradite its own citizens, the Secretary of State does not have the discretion to deliver the person sought to the requesting country.  [Valentine v. United States ex rel. Neidecker 299 U.S. 8]

In 1990, Congress passed 18 U.S.C § 3196, captioned “Extradition of United States citizens:”

“If the applicable treaty or convention does not obligate the United States to extradite its citizens to a foreign country, the Secretary of State may, nevertheless, order the surrender to that country of a United States citizen whose extradition has been requested by that country if the other requirements of that treaty or convention are met.”

That is the full extent of Congressional action on extradition of US citizens; there is no Congressional grant of discretion to the Secretary of State to decline extradition in the face of a treaty obligation.

Some US extradition treaties contain clauses that give the requested country the discretion not to extradite its own citizens; perhaps that is where the idea that the Secretary of State has discretion not to extradite Knox comes from.

Here, for example, is a clause from the US-Sweden treaty:

“There is no obligation upon the requested State to grant extradition of a person who is a national of the requested State, but the executive authority of the requested State shall, subject to the appropriate laws of that State, have the power to surrender a national of that State if, in its discretion, it be deemed proper to do so.”

The treaty with Italy is short (ten pages) and written in plain language.  The treaty has commences with Article I, captioned “Obligation to Extradite”:

“The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.”

The cover letter of the Secretary of State to then-President Reagan explains:  “Article I obligates each State to extradite to the other, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty, any persons charged with or convicted…”. (emphasis added)

There are mandatory grounds for refusal, such as political or military acts, double jeopardy (if the person sought has already been tried by the requested State for the same offense), or if the prosecution or penalty is time-barred in the requesting State.

There is just one discretionary ground: if the country requested is also prosecuting the person sought for the same act.

Article 4 provides:

“A Requested Party shall not decline to extradite a person because such a person is a national of the Requested Party.”

Thus, any discretion to deny extradition implied by 18 USC 3196 has no application to requests made under this treaty.  Further, although some appellate cases have treated some issues regarding extradition of nationals differently, they fairly firmly hold to the difference in the meaning of mandatory words like “shall” and “obligate” on the one hand, and discretionary or permissive words like “may”.

Comments to the effect that the US has declined extradition to Italy in the past are superficial and uninformed.

The first illustration such commentators cite is that of the Air Force pilot who severed a ski lift cable, causing multiple deaths.  That was not an extraditable offense under the treaty because of double jeopardy; the pilot had been court martialed.  Although his acquittal enraged Italians, the pilot had already been tried by the US, and thus his case fell under the mandatory ground to denial of extradition specified in the treaty.

The other example mentioned is that of the CIA operatives who were prosecuted in absentia for the abduction of Abu Omar in Milan.  The Italian Minister of Justice refused, during both the Berlusconi and Prodi administrations, requests of the Milan court to commence extradition proceedings.  In Italy, the courts and the government are independent, and the courts lack power to compel government to make a request for extradition.

Even if the Italian government had made an extradition request, there is at least a colorable argument to be made that this was in the nature of a military act in the US war on terror, thus constituting a mandatory ground of refusal.

Thus, if Italy requests the extradition of Amanda Knox, the US lacks legal authority to decline to deliver her to Italian authorities.  If the US government wants to avoid extraditing her, it will have to rely on diplomacy rather than law.  In other words, it will need to convince the Italian government not to make an extradition request in the first place.



Friday, December 06, 2013

After 6 Years Heavey Is Still Heedless Of His Errors Pointed Out Again & Again & Again

Posted by pat az




Overview of this post

This post corrects an error-filled letter to President Obama and the Congress dated 16 May 2011.

First, note that Michael Heavey has a considerable record of interventions that seriously mislead. Often corrected, he gravitates no closer to the truth.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2008

During this year Heavey (then still a judge, though one who was merely elected - nothing compared to the rigorous process Italian judges must go through) sent three erroneous open letters (posted on the web and widely copied) to senior justice officials in Italy about the case.

TJMK posted on the errors in December 2008.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2009

By way of interviews in the media, Heavey continued his campaign. He has claimed that his motives really are noble: in effect, Knox could have been his own daughter, though his daughter has distanced herself from this campaign.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2010

One of the 2008 letters to Italy was sent on official judicial letterhead, as if he was speaking for the State of Washington. In 2010 the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined Heavey although it was only for an illegal use of the official letterhead, not for wrong claims.

The initial announcement was posted on here. The details of the charges were posted on here. The disciplinary penalty was posted on here.

Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2011

In April 2011, one month prior to his misleading letter,  Heavey was a droning presence on a panel before an audience of 35 at Seattle University. His familiar talking points were again repeated.

It is cross-posted from my own website here.  Links to previous posts about Heavey on TJMK for the period 2008 to 2011 appear at the bottom of this post.

The 16 May 2011 letter to President & Congress

On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (now retired) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case. 

This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site under a search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was ”Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.”

The new Heavey letter was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.” The address given is his house address.






The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case.

Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have.

However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.

This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).

These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time.  This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.

Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waterrbury.






Judge Heavey had been admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge. 

The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.

The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of the by-now admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to President Obama and Congress

False brutal interrogation claims

The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation [...]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”

However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner!

A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories.

Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start until at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement (after being warned by Dr Mignini to say nothing further without a lawyer) at 5:45 am.

Here is Amanda Knox:

“Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” -Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007

“I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM [...]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake… ”  -Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard

To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.

False no-lawyer claim

Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”

Knox was not a suspect and the interview was merely a recap/summary session with someone who might have information as the defenses themselves agreed. Knox herself twice declined a lawyer before insisting on writing three statements out.

Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:

“And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” -

Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)

Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.

False no-recording claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”

However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was not a suspect, and this was not a suspect interview. She merely eagerly listed seven names. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:

“It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. ”

-Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007

False no-interpreter claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”

Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:

From Court documents

“…assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.

“….assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 5:45 AM statement.

And from Amanda Knox:

November 2nd: “…they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.”  -Waiting to be Heard

November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” -Trial Testimony

November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” -Waiting to be heard

False vengeful prosecutor claim

Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini:

“[...] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory [...] under investigation for abuse of office [...] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of Italy[...]“

Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with:

”Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

The trumped-up charges against Prosecutor Mignini pursued by a rogue prosecutor ad rogue judge in Florence were overturned by the Florence appeal court and sacthingly roasted by the Supreme Court. Dr Mignini (now Deputy Attorney General for Umbria) was under no pressure at all. See this post here.

False satanic myth claim

Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.”

The ONLY source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito who made it up. Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself:

“these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

False US Embassy claim

Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website.

This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief   Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.







The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox.  The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:

  * Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
  * Participation in sexual assault
  * Simulated robbery
  * Slander
  * Possession of weapons
  * Aggravated theft.

Posted on 12/06/13 at 11:48 PM by pat az. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceThe wider contextsN America contextMichael HeaveyMore of the sameKnox alibis hoaxKnox interrog hoaxLead prosecutor hoaxGuede good guy hoaxItalian system
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

Extradition: a hardball game.

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

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

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

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

The US/Italy Robert Lady case

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case

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

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

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

A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.

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

The US/Italy Raoul Weil case

Finfacts reported on this case last month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The US/Russia gangsters case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case

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

Posted on 11/20/13 at 06:14 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Other legal processesOthers ItalianOthers elsewhereExtradition issuesThe wider contextsN America context
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Prospects In Favor Of A Possible Fugitive Amanda Knox Take Yet Another Hit

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and at bottom: Panama, where the fugitive Robert Lady was setting himself up to be untouchable]


The former CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady is on the lam from Italian law.

He is now a worldwide fugitive - with fewer governments stepping forward with offers for him than for the other famous fugitive Edward Snowden. We posted briefly on the case here and here and two weeks ago Barbie Nadeau posted a good update here.

Robert Lady was the leader of the team that kidnapped the supposed Egyptian radical Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. Then he escorted Abu Omar to Egypt and he was apparently present for some months while Abu Omar was tortured.

The Milan court put online in English this 210-page summary of the case against Robert Lady and another 18 Americans who were involved. Amazing reading. What absolute buffoons. In total 25 Americans and 9 Italians were accused, though not all were put on trial, and as Barbie Nadeau explains, all of the others received Italian leniency.

Robert Lady didnt, though, and after he was convicted in absentia in Milan he took off out of the United States for central America. The CIA might have continued to help him there, though there were signs that the State Department and Rome Embassy, who have many other important dealings with Italy, were pretty ticked.

One CIA operative even sued State for diplomatic immunity (none of them were granted it).

When it became known that Robert Lady was living in Panama (a country without an extradition treaty with Italy) and close to citizenship, Italy through Interpol issued a worldwide arrest warrant, and requested that Panama round him up.

A few days ago, Robert Lady sought to move to the next country, Costa Rica, and was briefly detained.

What happened next is very murky. But it seems that Robert Lady was headed for the US by air, with possible help from some arm of the federal government - and then he just suddenly disappeared.

Last week, the Panamanians picked him up. It was the real world equivalent of a magician’s trick. He was nowhere, then suddenly in custody and in the news, and then—poof again!—he wasn’t. Just 24 hours after the retired CIA official found himself under lock and key, he was flown out of Panama, evidently under the protection of Washington, and in mid-air, heading back to the United States, vanished a second time.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on July 19th, “It’s my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States.” So there he was, possibly in mid-air heading for the homeland and, as far as we know, as far as reporting goes, nothing more. Consider it the CIA version of a miracle. Instead of landing, he just evaporated….

Having vanished in mid-air, he has managed so far not to reappear anywhere in the US press. What followed was no further news, editorial silence, and utter indifference to an act of protection that might otherwise have seemed to define illegality on an international level.

There was no talk in the media, in Congress, or anywhere else about the US handing over a convicted criminal to Italy, just about how the Russians must return a man [Snowden] Washington considers a criminal to justice.

Nevertheless, a thorn in the flesh of American-Italian relations has been disappeared, suggesting that the pro-friends-with-Italy State Department line is dominant. Having lost everything , the former US officlal Robert Lady is now a world-wide fugitive and further US help if any is likely to be very furtive.

Confessed druggie and convicted felon Amanda Knox, a private citizen, can hardly expect any more official deference.


Posted on 07/31/13 at 01:14 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+The wider contextsN America contextExtradition issuesAmanda Knox
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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Amanda Knox Book: Could Her Book Legally Entangle These Four?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Image above: Curt Knox, Ted Simon, Robert Barnett, and David Marriott]


It seems probably that in every legal system on Earth, enabling or encouraging or inciting a crime may itself be a crime.

Could Amanda Knox’s forthcoming book be considered a crime, or more precisely a series of crimes? We wait to see what it says, but for starters its mere existence flouts Italian law. From our 22 April post:

Italy’s justice system so favors DEFENDANTS that it is perhaps the most pro-defendant system in the world. In fact many Italians feel its leniency has gone way too far. That is why there are these automatic appeals and why Knox could talk freely in court and have no cross-examination of her claims.

At the same time, officers of the Italian justice system are sheltered by huge powers hardly even needing to be invoked. The reason the law is so strong in this dimension is in part because a favored mafia tactic is to do what Sollecito and Preston and Burleigh have done in their books: slime the officers of the court.

Get that? Knox can talk her head off in court (as she did for two full days and many “spontaneous” interventions at the trial and annulled appeal) but because of a torrid history of false allegations against Italian courts, especially by the mafia and accused politicians, Italian law forbids her to do so outside in ways that misrepresent the evidence and impugn any officers of the legal system, prosecutors and prison staff counted in.

Sollecito’s book published six months ago made four kinds of mistake: (1) publishing for blood money while still accused; (2) including many false claims which contradict his own case at trial and will almost certainly contradict claims Knox makes; (3) defaming numerous officers of the court in freely accusing them of crimes - falsely, as his own dad admits; and (4) maligning the entire Italian justice system, the most popular and trusted institution in Italy with heavy protections at its disposal when it wants.

The criminal investigation into Sollecito’s book is under the wing of the same chief prosecutor in Florence who will oversee the re-run of the murder appeal. His investigation target is expected to be broad, and will certainly include the shadow writer and publisher and Sollecito’s own legal help. At the max, because Sollecito has impugned anti-mafia prosecutors and judges, he might face close to ten years.

PLUS the mitigating circumstances Massei allowed which brought his sentence down by five years will likely be disallowed by the Florence appeal court, adding five more years if the new appeal concludes guilt.

It seems an open secret in Perugia that Knox’s lawyers there have long shrugged off the US campaign and acted locally as if it really isnt there. They may or may not have attempted to forestall the book, though by now they certainly know it will make things far worse for Knox.

Sollecito’s lawyers have even more reason to know this as they are already under the gun, and they are probably sitting back and watching the trainwreck with ever-growing glee. 

Going forward, the prosecution is in a very sound and dominating position.

The evidence is very, very strong.  The Massei Trial Report is still unscathed. The Galati Appeal and the late-March Supreme Court decision absolutely destroyed the Hellmann appeal, and heavily implied that it had been bent. And the prosecutor who has been so unfairly maligned in the US has zero legal problems of his own, after Cassation nailed a rogue prosecutor for pursuing him and put his Narducci investigation back on track, and he was promoted and is set to be the Region of Umbria’s number one prosecutor very soon.

In contrast even without the albatross of the book Knox’s position was very weak.

She has already served three years for criminally lying to protect herself, and that sentence is subject to no further appeal. (Talk of taking it to the European Court is a joke.) Nobody in Italy will trust her word after that. As the post below this one shows, dozens of witnesses will speak up against any false claims. Who will testify on her behalf?

Also Knox seems intent on skipping the appeal, which is itself a contempt of court. And Sollecito, who has said he will be present, showed strong tendencies in his book to sell her short. If her book and her ABC interview are not roundly chastized on Italian TV as Sollecito’s was late last year, it will be a surprise. And complaints are already on their way to Florence - a prison guard she impugns in the book who earlier she herself had said meant no harm is moving forward. 

Curt Knox, Ted Simon, Robert Barnett, and David Marriott may end up in the crosshairs of the anticipated investigation for enabling or encouraging or inciting the book. And if Knox is handed extra years because of their zero due diligence, she may have a malpractice case against Simon and Barnett.

We hope their fingers are crossed.

Posted on 04/29/13 at 05:52 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe defensesThe wider contextsN America contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamKnox interrog hoaxKnox book hoaxesLead prosecutor hoax
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Powerpoints #19: Placing The Noisy Claimant Doug Preston In The Hot Seat

Posted by Kermit





This is the first in a new Powerpoint series. Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

This curious incident instigated this series:

A week or two ago I received an unexpected email from Douglas Preston, co-author with Mario Spezi of The Monster of Florence (Spezi also wrote an Italian version that seems to conflict at points with the English version) and a heated champion of the attempt to free Amanda Knox, who is stlll accused pending Supreme Court appeal of the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

Preston explained that he wanted to write a “piece” about the “Knox case” and that he would like to do a 10 question email interview with me.  I got the hunch that Preston and Spezi are going to be active over the next few months in the media as their cause is increasingly thrown in disarray. Along with, I presume, their possible movie based on the Monster of Florence book.

I was surprised that Preston said he would “quote you accurately, honestly, and in context, and represent your views respectfully and accurately”. 

Hmmm. We all have in our memory Preston accusing me (see his comment April 28 2011 at 6:57 pm) of “distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact. Kermit’s open letter contains many out and out lies”.

He also claimed, erroneously, that I hide behind a “screen of false IP addresses and various other hacker tricks” (what, has Preston tried to hack me?) and that I had “demonstrated a long history of falsehood and dishonesty” (I have?!).

Given that past experience, would you trust Preston? Silly me, I’m ready to give anyone another chance.

In return I proposed that the interview be two-way, and that we each proceed question by question on the issues that we wanted to clarify for us to publish in due course. I included a first question on seeming significant errors and mistruths in the “Afterword” or epilogue chapter of his and Spezi’s Monster of Florence book.

Very disappointingly, he didnt respond in kind. Nothing useful came back. He concluded “as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.

Should Preston really call himself a journalist or an opinion maker, or a lobbyist?  Why can’t people just respect the Italian legal process, which right now is not (and never was) firmly in the hands of Prosecutor Mignini, Preston’s perceived nemesis?

As we seem set to be subjected once again to seeing Preston and/or Spezi regularly sharing their rancid opinion of Prosecutor Mignini and Italians officials on the case with the public, I decided to get out in front, with this series pre-emptively checking their versions of the “truths”.

The Monster of Florence book is labeled (see above) a “True Story”, and while it does include historical facts related to the MoF murders in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,  the two authors also personally intrude themselves into events.

This series should help the public to decide how seriously (if at all) they should accept Preston’s and Spezi’s opinions expressed in their media appearances where they interject themselves into Meredith Kercher’s murder case.

And to see if any of Preston’s self-described “point-of-view journalism” truths he shares with Spezi really stand up.

Please check back to TJMK every few days as we pose new questions to Preston and his co-author Spezi.

Posted on 10/22/12 at 12:23 AM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Overviews PowerpointCrime hypothesesThe wider contextsItalian contextN America contextReporting, media, moviesV bad reportingFlorence MOF hoax
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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

CIA v. State Department: A Significant Development For The Perugia Case?

Posted by Peter Quennell





As expected the Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld kidnapping convictions against 23 CIA operatives.

The landmark case dates to Feb. 17, 2003, when Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a radical Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar [image below}, walked out of his Milan apartment in broad daylight and vanished.

talian authorities used cellphone records made at the time and location of the abduction to determine that CIA officers snatched Abu Omar, drove him to nearby Aviano Air Base and flew him to Egypt. According to Italian court documents,

Abu Omar was beaten and subjected to electric shock in a Cairo prison. He was later freed.

The significant development for Meredith’s case is that the State Department had refused to organize diplomatic immunity with Italy for any of the 23. 

Now at least one of them, Sabrina De Sousa (image at top with her lawyer), is suing the State Department for not having stood by her in retroactively organizing that diplomatic immunity.

All 23 could now be the subject of requests for extradition to Italy to serve out their six-year sentences, and if the US Justice Department refuses to comply they could be the subjects of worldwide arrest warrants via Interpol.

That could mean the end of their operational usefulness in the CIA and conceivably prevent any of them ever traveling outside the US again in their lifetimes.

Why have the CIA and the State Department seriously parted company here? Well, their mandates are almost polar opposites.

The State Department and its Embassies and the very considerable American presence throughout the United Nations tries hard to get along with friendly nations, and Italy is probably one of its top half-dozen friends.

The CIA on the other hand is charged with using fair means and foul to fight back against terrorism worldwide, and sometimes its practices contravene the best interests of diplomacy and the local law.

Here the CIA is coming out the clear loser and State is sweetly sitting on its hands and not upsetting Italy in any way.

Cables released so far by the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that State and the Rome Embassy really didnt ever lift a finger to subvert Italian justice on behalf of Amanda Knox.

Here’s betting more of the same - no action by State - as the Cassation appeal comes alive. And no standing in the way of an extradition request for Knox if Cassation decides Judge Masssei got the trial right.




Sunday, June 12, 2011

FOA’s Michael Heavey Sends A Pretentious Dishonest Letter To President Obama Copied To Congress

Posted by Peter Quennell


Elected Washington State county court judge Michael Heavey was recently reprimanded for sending a misleading letter on official letterhead.

Oddly, he seems to have done it again.  Click above to read the Open Letter from Michael Heavey to President Obama copied to members of Congress on what looks like official letterhead.

The Open Letter was dated 15 May but, unusually for an Open Letter, took some time to come to light. So far, we are seeing no official response. 

Perhaps not surprising. Any quick call to the Italy Desk of Secretary of State Clinton’s State Department will reveal that not one of the claims made is on solid ground and several very, very widely already shot down in flames.

In our usual helpful way, we too will shortly write an Open Letter to President Obama, with a copy to the State Department and the Congress (where a lot of people especially Italian-Americans already think the Knox campaign is a real crock) explaining precisely how each claim made by Mr Heavey is wrong.

For example in quick summary, the consular office found nothing out of order, zero interrogation of Knox as a suspect ever took place without a lawyer, Mr Mignini never came up with any bizarre theories not already out there and anyway Judge Micheli and Judge Massei settled on theories of their own, and Mr Mignini merely recommended to Doug Preston (who was foolishly attempting to mislead him) to go get a good lawyer who speaks Italian. Not to run squealing back to Maine. 

Previous posts on Mr Heavey’s many hapless and ineffective insertions of himself into the case can be read here.


Posted on 06/12/11 at 03:42 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015The wider contextsItalian contextN America contextExtradition issuesKnox-Mellas teamMichael Heavey
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Andrea Vogt Obtains New Rome Embassy Cables From State, Still Showing Zero Concern About Knox

Posted by True North


The State Department released seven cables a year ago. Click above for details of the further release.

They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These now provide a complete overview. The new cables are as bland and routine and unconcerned about Amanda Knox as ever.

There was no smoking gun among them, as the Knox PR campaign had so very much hoped for. The State Department will never move on this case based on how Italy handled it.

Remarkably, the increasingly bitter loser “Bruce Fisher” actually draws attention to the Knox PR campaign’s big disappointing loss with these bland new cables showing Italy has handled the case just fine in the Embassy’s eyes.

The poster of the first seven cables, History Buff, had hoped they would show the Rome Embassy was really concerned about Amanda Knox’s trial and sentence. No such luck. He seems to have hidden those cables now.

We still have them here

Posted on 05/19/11 at 05:30 AM by True North. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe wider contextsN America contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Monday, May 02, 2011

Could One Good Outcome Of This Sad Case Be That Italy Sees Less Foreign Student Druggies?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: the city of Florence north of Perugia where there have been several drug-driven murders]

Chicago’s Loyola University has just done a survey of American students to see if Amanda Knox’s experience in Italy could be offputting.

Quite a few respondents said that it could. Anti-Italianism does have some traction. 

But if you look closely at the poll, it didn’t ask all of the right questions. The availability and effect of drugs was not included as a factor that might attract students to Italy.

American student buzz had long been that if you want to seriously party in your study year in Europe, Italy was an easy and safe place for drugs, and Perugia especially so.

But then Amanda Knox was widely reported as admitting to drugs on the night that Meredith died. And there have been other recent high-profile murders in Italy, also involving Americans on drugs.

Take a look at this and this.

One direct result is that there has been some high-profile tightening up on drugs lately in Italian universities.

The message has been beamed at American students that you can now get into serious trouble if you mess with drugs - and you may get no sympathy at the American Embassy.

Precisely as the Italians intended, this could be turning a proportion of prospective students off.

Posted on 05/02/11 at 08:08 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsItalian contextN America context
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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]

Posted on 04/26/11 at 07:00 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsN America contextReporting, media, moviesV bad reportingKnox-Mellas teamFrancesco SforzaMore of the sameFlorence MOF hoax
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remarks Mocking Japan Win Disapproval In The American Media

Posted by Peter Quennell


Most Americans are eager global travelers (or would be if they could afford it) and large numbers live through choice in foreign countries.

But there are some for who certain foreign countries seem to give problems. Italy has been given a vey hard time over Meredith’s case, both by some journalists we previously thought reputable and by some anonymous commenters online.

Typically they depict an Italy that none of us here recognise, and as we periodically try to show through our videos, images and reports there is a reason why in the eyes of most of the rest of the world it is rightly seen as a gentle, cultured, beautiful country.

Japan is another country toward which a few media stars and a few online commenters have felt safe in presuming there’s an open season for unkind remarks. But not, it seems, any more.

Dozens of media sites are today reporting negatively on such remarks.  Best not to repost the unpleasant remarks right here. But click on the image above for some examples, and the reactions they are now engendering. 

The reader comments below that report are good. The decent broad middle steps in.

Posted on 03/16/11 at 07:23 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Strange Story Of Congressional Knox Supporter Apparently Becoming Over Aggressive

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Portland, largest city in Oregon, David Wu’s constituency; Mount Hood at back there]

A few months ago Oregon Congressman David Wu wrote a mean and inaccurate letter on Knox’s behalf

Now his own Congressional staffers are having to restrain him from becoming too over-the-top on other matters.

Their concern had been spiking for weeks in tandem with the Oregon Democrat’s increasingly unpredictable performance on the campaign trail and in private. He was loud and sometimes angry, some of them told The Oregonian. He said kooky things to staff and—more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching—around potential voters and donors.

Earlier and gentler efforts had failed, so the tight-knit group of high-level staff took other steps, including quiet inquiries about the availability of beds in hospitals in Portland and Washington, D.C., multiple sources familiar with the effort told The Oregonian.

Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu’s psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.

“This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW,” wrote Lisa Grove, a senior and long-serving campaign pollster, in an e-mail to colleagues that day. “No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else.”

Wu, however, remained defiant, sources said. He left the meeting and said he was going to a movie.

Unfortunate case. What a surprise.

Posted on 03/08/11 at 07:24 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thoughts On Meredith’s Tragic Case And Its Significance In The Bigger Scheme Of Things

Posted by Saskia van der Elst


As one of the regular commentators on this forum once pointed out, the question we all are trying to answer regarding the pointless murder of the talented and beautiful Meredith Kercher in Perugia is: What is it, that keeps on drawing us to this case?

We all have our own reasons. According to me, a murder case seldom has so much in common with an old school murder mystery, or ¨whodunnit¨. A victim that you instantly sympathize with, several suspects, each with their own particular background, ethnic origin and possible motives, a tragic event taking place on the day of the Death, a charismatic prosecutor, who himself is the center of some controversy, and all of this set in the stunningly beautiful medieval hilltop town of Perugia, with its two universities, its relatively small population and its many temporary residents, studying and partying in the small town center.

All are ingredients for a captivating story: a small universe, that can easily be explained to an outsider and once you heard the beginning of the story, you crave more. More information, more depth, more color. For those that have a normal, healthy brain, there comes a point in any murder mystery where you are convinced of the guilt of one or more of the characters in the story and as you near the end of the story, there might be an unexpected twist, but you can rest assured that you will find out who did it.

Of course, in real life stories don´t follow formulas, most of the time they don´t have a definitive ending and in the case of the murder of Meredith, the book is not closed. The three perpetrators of the crime have been convicted to a total of 67 years in jail between the three of them, but all three maintain their innocence. We all know that three cannot keep a secret, so it is a matter of time until one of them reveals more about the exact events that took place on the 2nd of November in 2007.

Each of the three perpetrators will go through a process of maturing in prison. Once they feel they have paid a significant price for their crime, they may realize the graveness of they crime and realize that they made bad decisions in their past. Not until that moment, they can find redemption and may feel the need to let the world know that they have changed as a person. All three perpetrators were immature in their own way when they committed their crime, so it might take a while for them to mature enough to be able to face reality.

Rudy might be the first one to reach that point, since he is more or less an orphan, with no controlling relatives, friends and others with vested interests in the lies that have masked the truth. Nobody will lose face if he decides to confess his participation in the crime. The same thing, but to a lesser degree,  is true for Raffaele. Since he never even cared about clarifying all inconsistencies in his stories, he implicitly has already admitted his involvement. He too, doesn´t affect many people if he opens up and gets clean. The only close relatives he has are his father and sister and they have not publicly expressed a strong believe in his innocence.

Amanda is in a much more difficult position, because of the amount of people that was mobilized to defend her. By now she has been the income generator for quite some people and although nobody envies her parents, they have a clear mission, that keeps them occupied and that gives their lives meaning. The moment Amanda would confess her involvement, the parents would be forced to exchange the “free my innocent daughter” banner for one that reads “I raised a murderess that is serving two and a half decades in a foreign prison”.

On top of the above, the process of coming clean might be a slow one, because all three suffer from uncertainty about how the other two are doing. That uncertainty might cause postponing the advance, until they are forced to speak up, because one of the others did so first.

The result for those that are following the case is that we know we don´t have all information yet and for us to fill in all the blanks and be able to understand what exactly has happened to Meredith we need that information. Until we have it, we cannot accept the story as is as it leaves us unsatisfied. Of course we are talking about a true story here and not about a work of fiction, but for the rational part of our minds that doesn´t make a difference.

Posted on 03/05/11 at 05:33 PM by Saskia van der Elst. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In The US Political Commutations Of Judicial Sentences Are Rarely Greeted With Public Approval

Posted by Peter Quennell

The idea that PM Berlusconi could insert himself into Meredith’s case - or for that matter Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton - has frankly always seemed rather ludicrous. .

In Italy there is not even any clear route for politicians to meddle with the legal processes. The Italian judiciary is one of the world’s most independent, as many politicians (not least Mr Berlusconi) have found out to their cost.

In the United States the president and many state governors have the power to award prisoners clemency and to reduce or fully commute their sentences. Rarely is this very popular, and sometimes it turns into a third rail.

We now have a good example in California. Arnold Schwarznegger left office as governor of California late in January, already under something of a cloud for a lackluster performance while in office.

Just before departing he approved various commutations including a reduction by half of the sentence of the son of a political colleague who had already pleaded guilty to a knife murder and had been awarded a not-very-tough sentence.

Now the outraged family of the murdered boy are running both a legal campaign and a political campaign to have this commutation reversed, and those campaigns are both gathering wide public traction.

Mr Schwarznegger is seeing no obvious gain out of this, and his legacy could be permanently tarnished. Shades of Senator Cantwell? She also has gone very very quiet.

Posted on 03/02/11 at 06:03 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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.


Posted on 02/10/11 at 09:45 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsSeattle contextN America contextKnox-Mellas teamMore of the same
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell


With the Pepperdine University and Washington University student newspapers consistently mis-reporting Meredith’s case, it is nice to see a Harvard publication getting it seriously right.

Alex Koenig writes a column for the Harvard Political Review. He is not commenting on the evidence of Meredith’s case as reflected for example on TJMK and in Massei. But he takes several deadly cracks at the arguments of the conspiracy theorists, which he doesn’t see reflecting the real world.

In 2008, 16,277 people were murdered in the United States. 1,176 of these murders were committed by women, of which about a third were confirmed to be white.

That means that in one year there were around 400 white female murderers on US soil— the majority of whom were convicted to no public outcry. What America needs to ask itself is: does the fact that Amanda Knox is a white sorority sister exonerate her from the murder she is alleged to have committed on foreign soil?

Knox is currently serving a 26-year sentence in Italian prison, in Perugia, for the murder of her then-roommate Meredith Kercher. Seemingly lost among the outrage towards the Italian justice system, the demands of US government intervention in her defense, and the constant assertions of Knox’s innocence is the possibility that, maybe this once, the trained professionals who investigated, tried, and convicted the 23 year old Knox got it right.

Without getting into the facts of the case, and conceding that people are wrongly convicted on a regular basis both in the United States and abroad, we must consider just how America’s treatment of this case reflects upon our society.

The fact of the matter is, those that immediately claim that Knox was wrongly accused and jailed by a corrupt justice system make two extremely arrogant assumptions that reveal perverse American exceptionalism. 

1) It is assumed that, as an American – an American woman no less – Knox is incapable of murder. This case differs, of course, from the 1,176 domestic murders committed by women because, well, who knows?

2) It is assumed that not only is the Italian justice system incapable of fulfilling its legal duties, but that the intentions of the court were swayed by anti-Americanism.

This is not merely an abstract sentiment, but was actually articulated by Senator Maria Cantwell (D) of my home state of Washington. Cantwell, whom I generally agree with ideologically, released a statement saying that she “had serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted the trial.” She went on to say that she would seek assistance from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Regarding the first problem, I take Knox’s assumed innocence in the public eye to be a representation of national pride. I am as proud to be American as the next guy; I understand all the benefits being American has afforded me and appreciate the sacrifices men and women make each day to ensure that these benefits remain for me and my countrymen.

But assume the superiority of the same countrymen when compared to other citizens of the world I do not. It is as if Knox’s co-citizenship has absolved all her sins in the American court of public opinion. This, by itself, is difficult to grasp but can be forgiven.

What’s harder to forgive is the assumption that Knox has been wronged by a corrupt system because she is American.

Having lived in Italy for a year, I would never accuse the Italian justice system of being exceedingly efficient or flawless. However, I wouldn’t accuse the US justice system of this either.

Anti-Americanism does exist in parts of the world, but the chances of it being present in this trial are low. Are the judges supposed to see the conviction of an innocent American college student as a way to deter American tourists from coming to Italy?

“Putting this girl away for 26 years seems to be an easy way to get rid of those annoying tourists with their stupid hotel rooms, airplane tickets and restaurant bills. Good riddance!”

It’s not as if Knox is accused of murdering an Italian either. Kercher was a Brit. Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, Knox’s alleged accomplices who are both serving similar sentences for the same charges, are both Italian, although Guede emigrated from the Ivory Coast when he was five.

No, I doubt that anti-Americanism was involved in this conviction. It seems, instead, to be nationalism on the side of Knox’s supporters. Amanda couldn’t have possibly been the one at fault, she’s one of us.

And maybe they’re right. I really don’t know. What I do know is that the anger and offense that the American public has taken in response to this trial obscures the real tragedy at hand, the violent death of a young woman.

It’s possible that Knox has wrongly had her future taken from her. It’s a fact that Kercher has. As the appeal process continues and the story gradually slips out of the consciousness of the average American, with the protest left to the truly passionate among us,

I want to remind us all of one thing: Italy’s murder rate is 1/3 that of America. Perhaps, without the actions of one American there’d be one less death in Italy’s tally. I’ll leave that judgment up to the only court that really matters in such a case, the court of law.

One small correction to what Alex Koenig wrote. Italy’s murder rate is actually 1/6th that of the United States. It is a very law-abiding country with a very low crime rate and a very small prison population - less than 1/20th that of the United States.

But Alex is certainly right in his conclusions.Neither the Micheli not Massei Sentencing Reports show ANY sign of extreme nationalism. 

Posted on 01/18/11 at 06:50 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Perugia Park Name Dropped, But Most Of Seattle Seems Now To Accept Knox’s Guilt And Moves On

Posted by Peter Quennell


Reports on the naming of this tiny park, now to be Summit Slope, appear in local Seattle media outlets here and here and here.

The xenophobic ugliness of the Knox-Mellas-Marriott campaign rolls on.

But many of the commenters from Seattle on the threads seem to find this slap at Perugia embarrassing and some even cowardly.  The previous parks commissioner who first blinked at the naming of Perugia Park made himself wildly unpopular over this and other decisions and was forced to resign.

The pro-justice-done trend of the Seattle readers’ comments, except for the regular fanatics that biased reporter Steve Shay attracts, confirms what we are hearing from all our Seattle posters and readers. Seattle is seeing Knox’s guilt and is moving on.

The Massei Report has been very widely read among those interested in Meredith’s case, and our posters and readers say they can go days or week between encounters with anyone who still sees a railroading. Commendably, that includes in West Seattle.

One witness in Meredith’s case, the guy in the park, Antonio Curatolo, is reported-on in a couple of the same stories to have been charged with drug dealing a very long time ago.

One of several positive aftermaths of the terrible crime against Meredith seems to have been a major clamping-down against drugs in Perugia, and even cold cases are being revived.

Our main poster Machine had this to say about Curatolo in a comment on the post directly under this one.

It’s completely misleading of some journalists to refer to Antonio Curatolo as a key witness, star witness or super witness. Knox and Sollecito weren’t convicted on the strength of his evidence. His testimony merely provided further confirmation that Knox and Sollecito’s alibis are false and helped establish Meredith’s time of death.

I find it astonishing that Curatolo is facing trial for drug dealing 8 years after these offences allegedly took place. If there was sufficient evidence against him at the time, surely he would have been charged and convicted of this crime years ago. I wonder if the police officers and prosecutor involved in Curatolo’s case informed the authorities in Perugia of his alleged criminal activities.

It will be interesting to see what evidence there is against him. Photographs of him talking to a drug addict in Piazza Grimana will prove nothing. Why was wasn’t he stopped and searched for drugs? It seems there is no actual evidence that he was ever in possession of heroin. It needs to be established whether Curatolo was specifically targetted by the police for drug dealing or whether he was photographed when the police were carrying out survelliance on all the people who frequented Piazza Grimana.

Presumably all the people who think Curatolo testimony should be discounted because of the allegations against him feel the same way about the convicted baby killer and convicted mobster who have been called as witnesses for the defence.

True. There is zero sign that Antonio Curatolo had anything to gain by making things up at the trial of Knox and Sollecito. His testimony stood up well, and he was unflustered in the face of the lackluster and uncertain defense cross-examination.

In strong contrast defense witnesses Alessi and Aviello are both in prison and hoping for breaks, are almost certainly potential perjurers, and may blink rather than taking the stand and face perjury charges and longer sentences

Worth noting that the defenses have NEVER produced a witness that actually undermined the real case, as opposed to simply raising bizarre hypotheticals.

Posted on 01/14/11 at 04:25 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, December 02, 2010

John Kercher: “Its Despicable That The Girl Jailed For Killing My Daughter Has Become a Celebrity”

Posted by Peter Quennell





Meredith’s father John passionately speaks out against the making of convicted killer Amanda Knox into a celebrity.

He is stridently critical of the utterly contemptible antics of Amanda Knox’s parents Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, and of the callous self-promotion of narcissistic limelight-seekers like Hayden Panettiere and Rocco Girlanda.

Enough is enough, he now says. His article appears in the Daily Mail.

It’s utterly despicable that the girl jailed for killing my daughter has become a celebrity

From Meredith Kercher’s father, a passionate attack on the cult of ‘Foxy Knoxy’

By John Kercher

Last week, I switched on my television to see the parents of the young woman convicted of ­taking my daughter’s life proclaiming her innocence. And, once again, I felt the pain and the anger and the raw grief resurface.

Amanda Knox was found guilty of ­killing my daughter Meredith at the house they shared in Italy three years ago. Yet since that act of horrific ­violence, Knox, it seems, has been accorded the status of a minor celebrity.

Sometimes it seems that there is no escape from her or her jaunty nickname, ‘Foxy Knoxy’ (doubly hurtful, for the way it trivialises the awfulness of her offence).

Cherished memories: John Kercher misses daughter Meredith every day

Last week, Knox’s parents were given star billing on the ITV breakfast show Daybreak, where they had free rein to profess their conviction that their daughter is not guilty.

Kurt Knox and his ex-wife Edda ­Mellas have never expressed their condolences to our family for our grievous loss. There has been no letter of sympathy; no word of regret. Instead, I have watched them repeatedly reiterate the mantra of their daughter’s innocence.

Alas, I fear there is more yet to come. Their TV appearance last week, trailed for two days as if it were some exclusive media coup, coincided with the resumption of Knox’s appeal against her conviction.

This appeal, like the initial court case, will drag on for months, while the dark tunnel between my family and our ­ability to grieve for Meredith in peace becomes ever longer.

If Knox doesn’t get the result she wants, our agony will be even more ­protracted: she may then take her case to Italy’s Supreme Court in Rome. Put simply, our ordeal could go on for years.

‘To many, Knox seems an unlikely killer. Yet to my family she is,  unequivocally, culpable’

Knox is one of three people convicted of killing my beautiful and talented daughter. It was a brutal murder. Meredith’s throat was slit, and she was stabbed to death.

Knox and her former boyfriend, ­Italian Raffaele Sollecito, are serving jail sentences of 26 and 25 years ­respectively for their heinous crime. A third person, drifter Rudy Guede, convicted with them, is also in prison.

Yet it is Knox who still exerts such a hold over the media. As a journalist myself, I know the reason why. Knox is young, attractive and female. To many, she seems an unlikely killer.

Yet to my family she is, unequivocally, culpable. As far as we are concerned, she has been ­convicted of taking our precious Meredith’s life in the most hideous and bloody way.

And the sadness is, the nature of that death too often prevents us from celebrating her life. She has become ‘Meredith Kercher, ­murder victim’, not Meredith Kercher, our lovely, intellectually curious daughter.

So, today, I’d like to redress the balance and tell you about our irredeemable loss. About the ­Merdeith we knew and loved.

Our girl was 21 when she died; a bright, sweet-natured and engaging young woman. She had been studying for a degree in European Studies and Italian at Leeds ­University when she had opted to spend some time in the medieval Italian town of Perugia, at the ­university there, improving her knowledge of the Italian language and culture.

On November 1, the third anniversary of her death, I gathered with the rest of the family in the cold, grey cemetery where she is buried. One by one, we laid bright flowers on her grave and left messages. Mine said simply, ‘I miss you’.

Along with our own handwritten notes, there were dozens from Meredith’s friends.

They write as if she’s still with us, telling her about their new jobs, their boyfriends.
They remind her of all the wonderful times they had, of the shared laughter. And like us, they hope — really, they do — that Meredith might somehow know what they have written.

None of us, you see, wants to forget her for even one second. So she is here, among us, everywhere. She lives on in the public memorials, with trees planted in her ­honour at her old school and university, and in the private ones, too.

At her home in Surrey, where she lived with her mum during the university holidays, her room remains as it always was. It is not a shrine; but neither will it ever be disturbed.

‘All we want now is the peace to be able to celebrate her life. Is that so much to ask?’

Her clothes remain in the wardrobe, her posters on the wall. Study books are piled on the table, make-up arranged beside them. It is just as she left it — and sometimes I even convince myself that one day she will return to it.

I wait to hear the cheerful cadence of her laughter. Even now, the memory of it has the power to make me smile.

People also always remember Meredith’s kindness and caring nature. She never gave the impression of being studious, but she was. She worked quietly and assiduously for her degree. But she was generous too. Several friends commented that she would lend out her lecture notes to ­anyone who asked: to her, it was second nature.

But Meredith, of course, was not perfect. Punctuality was never one of her qualities.

The last time I saw her, during a weekend trip back to London, she breezed into the Italian restaurant where I was waiting for her a full hour late. Yet when I saw her, wreathed in that famous smile, my annoy­ance instantly evaporated.

The vision of her delightedly showing me the new boots she’d bought that day is one I continue to hold dear.

The next thing we knew, we were travelling to Italy to identify her body.

And then there was the ordeal of the court case, the details of which have been picked over too often to bear repeating here.
Glamorised: Actress Hayden Panettiere is playing Knox in a new film about the events of Meredith’s death

Glamorised: Actress Hayden Panettiere is playing Knox in a new film about the events of Meredith’s death

But still, the hurt wasn’t over. I’ll share one small example.

Two years after her death, we were told that we could finally take Meredith’s possessions home with us. I expected a large suitcase full of her belongings, which we could all cherish.

Instead, I was given a small, ­battered case. Her beloved clothes had all been taken for forensic tests. Not even her treasured ­possessions were sacrosanct.

Who knew?

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede received a total of 67 years in prison for Meredith Kercher’s murder

So we concentrate on the happy memories instead. Meredith was a Christmas baby, and as the festive season approaches, we hold in our hearts the memory of her 21st birthday, celebrated in a local Italian restaurant. None of us could have dreamed it would be her last.

Meredith meant so much to us all. Our lives have, of course, moved on, but not a minute passes when she is not in our thoughts. And the question that nags insistently at us is: ‘Why?’ Why was she taken from us prematurely and with such horrific brutality?

Like all grieving parents, we sometimes wonder what she would be doing now if she were still with us. She would have graduated with her degree from Leeds University in 2009. But, of course, we were never able to share her pride in reaching that milestone.

She was, however, awarded a posthumous degree, and her ­sister, Stephanie, collected it for her. Every student in the vast hall rose to their feet to applaud her that day. The standing ovation lasted a full minute, and my eyes brimmed with tears.

Sometimes, even now, I find it hard to believe she is not still with us. Her passing is easier to bear if I pretend she has just gone away for a while; that some day soon she will ring me — her voice ­bubbling with laughter and enthusiasm — to tell me about her ­latest adventure.

Meredith was the baby of the family, the beloved youngest child. Her mum, her siblings and I ­cherish every memory of her short life. It is her untimely and horrific death we would all prefer to obliterate from our minds.

All we want now is the peace to be able to celebrate her life. Is that so much to ask?

Posted on 12/02/10 at 07:24 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Anger Toward Hayden Panettiere For Arch-Callousness Toward Meredith’s Family

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Another with the symptoms of a charming psychopath, explaining how Meredith was killed?

Panettiere is reported as refusing to mention Meredith by name. In line with the standing orders of PR campaign, she seemingly wants to disappear Meredith. Make her a non-person.

The anger toward Panttiere among those who knew Meredith or closely identify with her, as we do, is growing stronger by the day. Now there is a scathing commentary by Jenny McCartney on The Daily Telegraph’s website

With depressing inevitability, the cameras began rolling last week on a TV movie about Amanda Knox, the young, blonde American convicted in Italy for her role in the killing of a 21-year-old fellow student, Meredith Kercher, in 2007.

Hayden Panettiere, a rising star, is playing Knox. The actress described herself as “flattered” to be awarded the role, blithely adding: “It’s a really great story and a very controversial one.”

Both the comment, and the film, strike me as being in disgustingly bad taste. For it is not, of course, “a really great story”, but an intensely sad and very recent criminal case, in which an intelligent and beautiful British student was murdered.

The Kercher family, who demonstrated considerable dignity through a long and heavily sensationalised trial, must now be subjected to the additional pain of knowing that the circumstances of Meredith’s death are already being converted into entertainment.

Even Knox’s Italian lawyer, who is presently appealing against her conviction, has strongly denounced any such “exploitation of the situation”.

The truth is that the film’s backers glimpsed a case in which both the murderers and the victim were young and attractive, and – in their eagerness for a salaciously brutal storyline – abandoned all other considerations.

I don’t suppose the film industry ever had much of a conscience: the difference now is the confident assumption that the public doesn’t, either.

Click the Daily Telegraph link to read also the well-informed and very critical comments by commenters Jo Jones and Mutley.

Posted on 10/31/10 at 03:15 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Conspiracy Theorists Follow A Well Known Pattern - They ALL End Up Out Of Steam And Ignored

Posted by Stilicho



[above: conspiracy theorists don’t want you to believe that is an aircraft]

Conspiracy Theories And Those That Surround Meredith’s Murder:

What do the Apollo moon landings, the JFK assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and Meredith Kercher’s murder all have in common? 

They have each attracted the vigorous cult-like attention of conspiracy theorists.  Despite the cold hard fact that in each case there has been ample documentation to support what might best be called the official story. 

We know from independent and highly credible and very respected sources that the Apollo missions were successful, that a lone gunman shot and killed the US president in Dallas, that a terrorist group was responsible for hijacking of four aircraft, that the World Trade Center complex was destroyed by the subsequent fires..

And that Knox, Sollecito and Guede attacked and killed Meredith in her rented room in Perugia on the first of November in 2007.

Among the dozens of similarities between the Meredith case conspiracy theorists and others, we will focus on those made most apparent by the words and actions of those advocating for Knox and (occasionally) Sollecito.

A Commonality: Lack Of Any Coherent Alternate Narrative:

The court was obliged to create a logical narrative supported by the evidence.  That narrative, briefly, states that Knox and Sollecito encountered Guede after they found they had no obligations that evening, consumed drugs that lowered their inhibitions, and entered Meredith’s room. 

What followed was a sexual assault upon the young British woman, the active participation of each of the three accused, Meredith’s attempts to scream for help, and the silencing of the victim by covering her mouth, throttling her and finally stabbing her in the throat.  The three assailants then departed after locking Meredith’s bedroom door. 

Her mobile phones and keys were taken by Knox and Sollecito to be discarded in a remote location. Once it was apparent that the authorities had not responded to Meredith’s screams, Knox and Sollecito returned to the cottage to stage a break-in and to obscure as much evidence of their presence as was possible.

Those advocating for Knox and Sollecito have never supplied a coherent narrative to refute the official story.

Similarly, 9/11 truthers have never been able to agree on much apart from their strident belief that the official story simply must be wrong.  Various hypotheses have been advanced and withdrawn in the face of objections by scientists, engineers, and even rival truther factions. 

There is a no-planer faction that argues there were no planes hijacked and that all the video and film evidence was created in a government production studio.  There is a controlled demolition faction that argues government agents secretly wired unknown explosive devices in one of the busiest office buildings in the world while nobody noticed.  There are others who believe the leaseholder of the site ordered the demolition because of concerns about asbestos replacement.

When asked how Guede gained entry to the cottage, conspiracy theorists promote three main theories without selecting the one they all agree upon. 

They argue that Guede entered through Filomena’s window OR that Meredith let him in the house herself OR that he entered by unknown means and was there before she returned home at roughly 21:00.

Because conspiracy theorists are not constrained by the requirement for a logical narrative they will pick any of the three available and contradictory claims.

A Commonality: An Aversion To Respecting Good Science:

The Apollo moon landing hoaxes have a lot in common with the advocacy sites proclaiming the innocence of Knox and Sollecito. 

Apart from the development of the atomic bomb, there has likely been no human technological achievement so intensively documented as the Apollo programme.

Among the many claims of the conspiracists is the position that late-Sixties technology and instrumentation was insufficient or too bulky to allow the moon landings to take place.  They compare the size and power of 21st century computing hardware and software with that of 1969 and make their conclusions based on a perceived inadequacy of the previous era’s equipment.

In Meredith’s case there are several advocacy sites that criticise the scientific police on exactly the same basis. 

The techniques employed by (mainly) Dr Stefanoni, in determining the presence of Meredith’s DNA on a knife found in Sollecito’s drawer, are attacked partly because the equipment had not been used this way before. 

Just to be sure of their position, however, they add confidently that she simply could have faked the results or kept her tweezers in a beaker of Meredith’s DNA accidentally left in the laboratory.  It matters little to the unscientific mind of the conspiracy theorist that Stefanoni’s techniques were fully documented and observed by an independent party as required by law.

A Commonality: Lack Of A Credible Alternate Suspect:

Wrongful convictions happen.  There are dozens of them documented on a site operated by The Innocence Project, an American advocacy group.  Its banner proudly proclaims that 258 convictions had been overturned. 

The foundation seizes upon several important facets of wrongful convictions including DNA evidence and improper defence counselling. In almost all the 258 cases there is another common feature:  a credible alternate suspect.

JFK conspiracy theorists have never been able to establish a credible alternate suspect - and neither have Knox/Sollecito advocates. 

The latter have not yet gone so far as to accuse the Mafia, Fidel Castro, the Teamsters Union, LBJ, Nixon, the CIA and a man carrying an umbrella in Dealey Plaza.  But their attempt to establish Guede as the sole perpetrator accomplishes the same thing. 

Just in case the ‘lone wolf’ doesn’t make any sense, they are not beyond implicating even Filomena, falsely claiming that it is only her word against that of Knox that Meredith did not normally lock her bedroom door.

There was only one attempt to identify an alternate suspect and that was made by Knox herself.  She told police investigators that Patrick, her boss, was the killer. 

She is one step ahead of those proclaiming her innocence; she knew better than they that without another explanation it is she and Sollecito who remained the prime suspects.  She also knows, more than her supporters, that naming Guede instead would invite reciprocation.

Conclusions About Conspiracy Theorists

As briefly illustrated above, the length and depth of those being falsely implicated by the mostly anonymous Knox/Sollecito conspiracy theorists, untethered by the 80,000 pound gorilla in the room, the Massei Report, now knows few bounds.

This has now reached such levels of absurdity that they are increasingly being laughed at or, for the most part, ignored.  Nobody - really nobody - in either the Italian or American governments is paying them even the slightest attention. 

Meredith’s case is showing to the clear-thinking and objective world that Italy has an enviable justice system, that it is very careful and very humane, and that its scientific and forensic techniques are among the vanguard in applied criminal research.

And with no obvious way of obtaining special gains for themselves (or for that matter of hitting back against the anonymous attacks) the very fine police and investigators and prosecutors and judges and juries in Italy are doing the very best they can for Meredith.

Posted on 09/09/10 at 04:40 PM by Stilicho. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is The Campaign That Ranted Against Italy For So Long Now Fearing An Italian-American Backlash?

Posted by Peter Quennell


This bizarre Seattle PI blog post suggests that the Knox PR campaign may now fear a major Italian-American backlash.

Really?!

Not exactly surprising, after first stirring up so much anti-Italy hate - remember “third world country” and “keystone cops” and “kangaroo court” and “saving face” and “anti Americanism” and “tabloid journalism” and on and on?

Not to mention “evil Mignini” hoodwinking everyone in Italy all the way up to the Supreme Court with “satanic conspiracies” that work easily in a “catholic country” implying everyone there is too prudish or simply not very bright?

When did they ever say anything about Italy that was actually nice? Or restrain their forces from being over-the-top nasty, as with the venom the white knights STILL direct toward Mr Mignini?

Really GOOD PR people seek to merely shade the truth.

They don’t ever build a campaign around a really big lie, because when the really big lie comes down, it really comes crashing down and ALL is lost. A result worse than if there had been no campaign at all.

Proof?  Read the many hard, angry and incisive comments right under that blog post. And we know that Italian Americans now are showing some sure signs of having had more than enough.

Not exactly a PR man’s dream. 

Added: Important Breaking News

We all already know that the US State Department up to and including Hillary Clinton not only finds the Knox campaign ludicrous and very unhelpful -  they also regard it as xenophobic.

Now the chief of staff of an Italian-American member of the US Congress in Washington DC (not, obviously, David Wu’s chief of staff) has sent us this request.

He would like to get every possible example of the sliming of Italy and the Italian officials on Meredith’s case, including the sliming of Giuliano Mignini.

Please could our readers email or post here below any examples you may know of? We may create a new TJMK page just for them.

This may factor into political races in November, and there may be a political motion in the US Congress to stop this vile anti-Italy campaign dead.

 


Friday, July 30, 2010

Oregon’s David Wu: Another Opportunistic American Congressman That Takes An Anti-Italy Stance

Posted by Peter Quennell


Are there REALLY no Italian-Americans in Oregon’s Congressional District 1 (map below) which is Mr Wu’s political district? 

Would someone please ASK him?!

This undated take on the case by David Wu, a letter to a constituent, was posted a few days ago on the New York Daily News website.

We already know that the Italian justice system has been almost excruciatingly fair, that the evidence is massive and conclusive, and that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of the US federal government even raising this case with the Italian government.

Let alone using any actual political capital to try to spring Amanda Knox in face of what was a fair trial.

Nevertheless, complete with nasty attitude, errors, and illusory claims, Congressman Wu’s letter is being feverishly spread around by the adolescent Knox groupies. Together with the claim that somehow, therefore, Amanda Knox’s support is growing. 

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the fair treatment of Amanda Knox, an American student who was found guilty in an Italian court for killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, while studying abroad in Italy in 2007.

I appreciate knowing your thoughts on this important matter. In December 2009, Ms. Knox, a native of Seattle, was convicted by an Italian jury on charges of murder and sexual violence. During the trial, the prosecution claimed that Ms. Knox killed her roommate with the help of her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and an Italian drug-dealer named Rudy Guede. Ms. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

I was saddened by the verdict, and I agree that many facets of the prosecution’s case against Ms. Knox raise serious questions about her guilt.

In April 2009, Ms. Knox’s attorney, Ted Simon, stated before national media, “There’s brand new information presented as part of Amanda’s appeal by another person…that states for the first time that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not present or were not involved.”

Mr. Simon said that he is confident that new evidence in the 200-page appeal of her murder conviction will force Italian courts to take a hard look at the validity of her prison sentence.

Although the United States government’s ability to influence Italian criminal procedure is limited, I believe that Ms. Knox deserves a fair trial, especially in light of the defense’s new evidence.

I will be closely monitoring Ms. Knox’s appeal, and I will seize any opportunity to stand up for the values of fundamental justice and the rule of law. Thank you again for sharing your concerns with me.

As this tragic case plays out on the international stage, I will keep your views in mind.  If I may be be of additional assistance, please call my Oregon office at 503-326-2901 or 800-422-4003.

With warm regards, David Wu Member of Congress

Below: Congressional District 1 is David Wu’s home district

Posted on 07/30/10 at 03:41 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Similarities Between Amanda Knox And A Teenage American Drug Addict Just Murdered In Mexico

Posted by Peter Quennell




Pretty, popular 18-year old Elizabeth Mandala (half Mexican, half Italian) was from Sugar Land, a rich outer suburb west of Houston in Texas.

That Fox report above of her very violent death was broadcast three months ago, when Elizabeth Mandala was found beaten to death with two unnamed Mexicans in a very dangerous part of north Mexico.

It appears she was already very deeply into addictive drugs. To support her addiction, she had secretly worked as a stripper, and she was secretly seeking to become a “mule” or “coyote” to move drugs or illegal immigrants across the Mexico border into Texas.

Although very under-reported by an American media that wants to give her every possible break, Amanda Knox was a KNOWN drug user back in Seattle.

And around Perugia, the perception of people who encountered Knox and Sollecito is that she was close to becoming or was already a cocaine addict. The same with Sollecito. They are still both referred to as coke-heads.

Possessing and using drugs both in the US and in Italy is of course a crime. It often results in stiff sentences. Prior to Meredith’s death, Knox seems to have already broken the drug laws of two countries, and quite possibly of a third (Germany). 

And this possible drug addict was already down to her last $5,000 or so, and she may have already lost the waitress job which she desperately needed.

This could have been making her desperate and dangerous. Prosecutor Mignini and Judge Micheli both seemed to think it was she that stole Meredith’s rent money which went missing on the night of the murder.

Here now is a long and well-investigated report in last Wednesday’s Houston Press on the circumstances of Elizabeth Mandala’s death. It is well worth reading in full.

You can bet your bottom dollar this story was read in full by a million anxious Houston-area parents, who in turn leaned a little harder on their own little darlings to keep them as far as possible away from drugs.

Paul Knight’s report makes it very clear that EVEN IF THEY WANT TO and it seems they very rarely do, the US State Department and the US Embassies and the FBI will NOT get involved in foreign crimes involving Americans when drugs are one of the factors.

Along with the mountain of evidence, this would help explain the cool attitude toward Knox’s case of the American Embassy in Rome, of Hillary Clinton and the State Department in Washington, and increasingly of that muddled Senator, Maria Cantwell.

Edda Mellas, if you or Curt Knox knew Amanda was on drugs, common knowledge in her circle in Seattle, you REALLY should have stepped in and stopped her. Stopped her drug-use, stopped her going to Perugia and in effect stopped her from killing Merediith.

So. Why didn’t you?





Posted on 07/27/10 at 11:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedOther legal processesOthers elsewhereThe wider contextsN America contextThe psychologyAmanda Knox
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Amanda Knox’s Supporters’ Incredible Shrinking Island Now Shrinks Some More

Posted by True North


The American Embassy in Rome above, and the State Department in Washington below.

Ninety-nine percent of the reason why countries put embassies in other countries is because they really want to get along.

The US and Italy in fact do get along, extremely well, and there are thousands of transactions between the two countries every day. Thousands of Americans live in Italy, and millions of Americans are of Italian descent.

At the request of the US Administration, the Italian government recently put a large contingent of Italian troops in Afghanistan.

Under the US Freedom of Information Act,  any American citizen can request and usually obtain astonishing amounts of official documentation, far beyond what can usually be extracted from the bureaucracies in most other countries.

Occasionally this information has embarrassed the department concerned, or the party in power in the Congress or the White House. But usually the documents are innocuous and without drama. Conspiracies simply never show up.

The blogger History Punk on his website Historiographic Anarchy has posted some cables (pdf format) from Rome to Washington, which report periodically on the Rome Embassy’s monitoring of Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison and her trial and appeals in Perugia.

As we would expect, these cables are extremely mundane. They were sent by a middle-level official in the consular section of the Rome Embassy to the Italy desk in the State Department.

They report carefully on the careful Italian legal process, and they never remark on anything wrong. No charges or claims or complaints are relayed from Amanda Knox. There is no talk of any anti-Americanism. No instructions, questions or comments are cabled from Washington in return.

One cable was not released. It was marked confidential and the contents are unknown. Here’s a guess at its contents: “Please keep those xenophobic ranters on a chain - they are doing the American cause in Italy no good at all”. 

My first post here on TJMK and proud of it. This is a good fight I join.


Posted on 06/25/10 at 07:38 PM by True North. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+The wider contextsN America contextExtradition issuesAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Prominent Seattle Sock Puppet Michael Heavey Might Be About To Take A Fall

Posted by Peter Quennell




Michael Heavey was the Washington State judge who wrote several letters riddled with innuendo and wrong claims to judicial authorities in Italy in the second half of 2008.

These letters were ignored in Italy, and Michael Heavey soon piped down and disappeared. Then he wrote a further letter in August 2009 to the highest officials which was again riddled with innuendo and wrong claims.

Now he is back in the limelight for writing that second letter. In Seattle a complaint has been lodged, about the illegal use of his office to give a misleading aura to his letter.

1) This was our post at the end of 2008 when Judge Heavey first tried to interfere in the Italian judicial process on behalf of Amanda Knox. We pointed out just some of the things that Heavey had managed to get wrong.

2) This is the second open letter of August 2009 to the top officials in Italy (which was then ignored). .

3) This is the complaint lodged by the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct about his allegedly appearing to interfere “officially” which is a contravention of the oath of office, and so pretty serious.

4) This was the report on the complaint against Judge Heavey in the Seattle Times.

The Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct has filed a complaint against King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, alleging he violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct for his support of Amanda Knox, who was convicted of killing her British roommate in Italy.

The alleged violations include writing letters on official court stationery to Italian judicial system officials on behalf of Knox, utilizing King County court staff to type the letters, and speaking publicly on the case “in an attempt to influence the proceeding,” according to the commission.

Judges may not, under the Code of Judicial Conduct, lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others, the commission notes.

According to the commission, Heavey is required to file an answer with the commission within 21 days, unless the time is extended by the commission. Once the commission receives the judge’s response it will set up a public hearing on the allegations….

The 11-member commission is an independent agency created under the state Constitution to assure the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Members are appointed by the governor, judicial associations and the Washington State Bar Association.

This has to be rather chilling for other sock puppets, if any, considering whether they too should interfere. 

Posted on 06/09/10 at 12:06 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsSeattle contextN America contextKnox-Mellas teamMichael Heavey
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seattle Parks Commissioner Who Angered Perugia Resigns - Amid Plenty Of Anger In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell


So the controversial Seattle parks commissioner Tim Gallagher bites the dust.

He seems to have shot himself in, well, three feet.

  • He espoused a clearcut-and-rebuild policy (video above) when Seattelites are increasingly seeing the natural beauty of their city as a resource

  • He made an expensive trip to Australia to look at some parks just when Seattle’s park system is financially tanking - very likely because of his style of management.

  • He was very quick to blink and put a heavy-handed stop to the naming of a small city park “Perugia Park” when Seattle’s (very small) anti-Perugia faction howled.

Mr Gallagher’s last action was widely noted in Perugia (Seatle’s twin city), the Mayor of Perugia made an angry statement, and a Facebook-based movement was created, to lobby to end the twin-city arrangement.

Comments about his short reign as parks commissioner on the West Seattle Blog (scroll down) seem almost uniformly negative.

The Mayor and many others he irritated in Perugia might be pleased to take note…

Posted on 04/29/10 at 04:30 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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.”

Posted on 04/14/10 at 02:30 AM by Tiziano. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe wider contextsN America contextReporting, media, moviesMedia newsAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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