Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Series Terrible reporting

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Italian Reporting Of Prolonged Knox/Cocaine-Dealer Connection; Media Digging

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. How Drug Use Was Addressed At Trial

The story of Knox’s drug use clearly has legs. But whoever is driving it, the trial prosecution is not - they are simply sitting back and watching.

Police and prosecutors have never driven the perception that Knox and Sollecito were stoned on the night when they attacked Meredith. Judge Micheli wasnt keen on this possible “out” and besides they have never had a reason to.

It was in fact the defenses who drove the drug-use argument. Knox admitted to police on 5-6 November 2007 to marijuana use, and so did Sollecito. He already had a minor record of cocaine possession. Both tried to use the argument at trial that they were indeed stoned. But that was only to explain major discrepancies in their statements, not to say that drugs helped to fuel the attack on Meredith.

The defenses had an opportunity with Judge Matteini, the guiding magistrate from late 2007 though to Judge Micheli’s arraignment in October 2008, to try to seek lesser charges due to impaired capacities. But either they did not want to, or they were prevented by the families from doing so.

At trial in 2009 the prosecution remarked that the two were suspected to have been using cocaine (the symptoms seem to us pretty obvious) but the defence simply shrugged at this and did not contend it.

Judge Massei never mentions amphetamines. Two defense experts were brought in to try to convince the Massei court that the admitted drug use had fogged their clients’ brains. Judge Massei simply recorded this doubtful claim in his sentencing report. He gave the perps no breaks based on this reasoning.

]page 393] On the effects of drugs of the type used by Amanda and by Raffaele, such as hashish and marijuana, [we] heard the testimony of Professor Taglialatela who, while underlining the great subjective variability (page 211, hearing of 17 July 2009) specified that the use of such substances has a negative influence on the cognitive capacity and causes alterations of perception (pages 201 and 207) and of the capacity to comprehend a situation (page 218).

In his turn, Professor Cingolani, who together with Professor Umani Ronchi and Professor Aprile, had also dealt with the toxicological aspect (see witness report lodged on 15 April 2008, pages 26 and following), responding to the question he had been asked as to whether the use of drugs lowers inhibitions replied: ‚That is beyond doubt‛ (page 163 hearing of 19 September 2009), while correlating that effect to the habits of the person [on] taking the drugs. Raffaele Sollecito’s friends had furthermore stated that such substances had an effect of relaxation and stupor.

2. New Reporting On Knox/Drug-Dealer Connection

Below is the new Giallo report on a connection between Knox and drug-dealers kindly translated by our main poster Jools. Note that the main drug dealer Frederico Martini (who is “F” below) and others were convicted back in 2011 and the connection to Knox was reported then in the Italian press, though not in the UK and US press.

The main new fact here is that Giallo has the dealers’ names. Giallo makes clear it obtained the names legitimately from open police records, not from the prosecutors back at trial.  Dr Mignini merely takes note of the names which Giallo itself provided and he doubted that Knox would now become truth-prone.

Clamorous [Sensational/Scoop]

The American woman already convicted to 28 years for the murder of her friend Meredith.

A NEW LEAD, LINKED TO DRUGS, PUTS AMANDA KNOX IN TROUBLE

The woman was hanging around a circle of hashish and cocaine traffickers. One of them had intimate relation with her. Another, a dangerous criminal offender, had attempted to kill his brother with a knife. Are they implicated?

“During the course of the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher we have confirmed that a person whose initial is F. would occasionally supply drugs to Amanda Knox, as well as having a relationship with her supposedly of a sexual nature.” So begins an [official note] annotation of the Flying Squad police in Perugia dated January 19, 2008, two and half months after the terrible murder of the young British student Meredith Kercher. An annotation that could open a new, worst-case scenario on the Perugia murder and on one of its most talked-about protagonists, Amanda Knox, besides making it possible to convince the USA to send her back to Italy for a new trial.

But why is this annotation so important? And who is this mysterious F. that is now entering the scene? Let’s see. When Amanda came to our country to study, in September 2007, did not yet know Raffaele Sollecito, the guy from Giovinazzo who will be accused together with her and Rudy Guede, a thief and drug dealer, of the murder of Meredith. But she soon started to hang around characters implicated in a drug ring for university students in Perugia. A particularly disturbing entourage of whose members included dangerous multi-convicted felons. The first one is precisely F. We will not disclose his full name or F’s last name, for reasons of discretion, but GIALLO knows them.

In 2007, F. is a student of psychology from Rome, much older than Amanda. The two meet on a Milano-Florence train and decide to visit the city together in the evening, Knox having gotten rid of [her sister] she and F. smoke a joint together. “My first smoke in Italy,” says the same Amanda on MySpace, a social network site that was popular seven years ago. The two end the Florentine evening in his hotel room. Photo evidence of this new friendship was formerly on Myspace, because Amanda publishes a photo of F., half naked. An aunt commented: “Do not date strange Italian guys.”

Once she settled in Perugia, Amanda continues to have contact with F. His number is in Amanda’s phone book, and they both frequently called each other, before and after the murder.

F., also appears in a “list” of Italian guys she slept with which was compiled by Amanda on one of her big school notebooks and also in her autobiographical book Waiting to be heard. In the book Amanda talks about F. but changes his name and calls him Cristiano. Maybe to protect their privacy, maybe to obfuscate opinions. She writes of him: “I promised my friends that I would not end up sleeping with the first guy that comes by, but F. was a change of plans.” Further adding that in Italy smoking joints is simply normal, “like eating a plate of pasta.”

On the other hand Amanda spends a lot of money in the several months she’s in Perugia. In September, she draws out $ 2,452 from her bank account, that’s 1,691 euros. How did she spend it? No one has ever investigated this, and she does not explain it. She says she used the cash for living [expenses], but considering that the rent she had to pay was only 300 euros, and that twice a week she worked as a waitress in the bar of Patrick Lumumba, Le Chic, putting more cash in her pocket, the [living] expenses seem really excessive.

What does Amanda do with all that money? For sure she does not buy only hashish, which is not so expensive. Was she, then, using cocaine? The [police] annotation makes you think of it. And this could explain both the state of alteration of the girl on the night of the murder as well as a possible motive. Amanda that evening returned home to get some money to pay for the drugs, and she encountered Meredith? The girls had a fight, as Rudy Guede says in his reconstruction of that night, why, did Amanda steal Meredith’s money? Was Amanda on her own, or maybe she made sure she was accompanied by Rudy or other drug dealing friends?

No one has ever investigated this, or Amanda’s dangerous acquaintances. So dangerous that the same F., in 2011, was arrested. To be precise that started from the analysis of Amanda’s mobile phone, police investigators found that in fact F. and two of his close friends, Luciano and Lorenzo, were part of a major drug ring: all three ended up on trial for selling cocaine.

On January 14, 2011 they were all sentenced. The court judges established that Luciano was the one that supplied the other two: He was to serve two years and eight months in prison.

But let’s read the rest of the police annotation because what this reveals is really disturbing: “F. is contacted by phone by the presumable clients placing an “order” with him of the quantity of drugs they want to buy and in turn he contacts various Maghrebi characters ordering. It is also established that F. associates with multiple-convicted offenders of very serious crimes in the matter of drugs, and with persons such as A. Luciano, with whom he maintains frequent contacts aimed at drug trafficking.”

And precisely in this way Luciano, linked to F., a friend of Amanda, has a terrible past. The cops wrote this about him: “The above-cited Luciano on the 28/7/2006 was arrested by the carabinieri in Foligno because he was responsible for the murder attempt of his brother, who gave him 16 stab wounds inflicted with a kitchen knife.”

Luciano, therefore, who sells drugs in Perugia and provides supply to F., with whom he is often in touch, is an unsuccessful killer. Only a year before the murder in Perugia, under the influence of drugs, he tried to kill his brother during an argument over money and drug dealing. Luciano, out of his head that evening, grabbed the knife with which he was slicing a melon in the kitchen and stabbed his brother’s body 16 times.

A scene not so different from what the judges think happened in Meredith’s house, and even from what was described by the same Amanda on the 5 November 2007 when, at the end of a night of contradictions and anguish, confessed giving culpability of the murder to Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar Le Chic, who later proved to be unconnected with the facts of the case. Amanda said: “Patrick and Meredith went to Meredith’s room, while I think that I stayed in the kitchen. I heard screams and was scared, I covered my ears.”

Where were, F. and Luciano the night of the murder? And who was there that night, instead of Patrick? Questions still unanswered. What seems likely, however, is that Amanda was not with Raffaele, who was at his home on his computer. The judiciary may now decide to open a new file on her. Will the USA grant extradition?

Here is the translation of Dr Mignini’s interview with Giallo translated by Kristeva.

Luciano [Giuliano] Mignini, the judge leading the investigation, talks “Amanda knows how to lie very well: she seems sincere and credible ...”

[GM] The magistrate has directed all investigations: it is she [Judge Matteini] who had Amanda, Raffaele, Patrick Lumumba and Rudy Guede arrested.

[GM] “In the Supreme Court of Cassation new revelations don’t count” Giuliano Mignini, deputy prosecutor of the Attorney General Office of Perugia and public prosecutor of the first trial for the murder of Meredith [Kercher], goes straight to the point.

Mr. Mignini, pending the Supreme Court, Raffaele Sollecito seems to have distanced himself from Amanda Knox. He claims he is not certain that the American girl has spent the whole night with Sollecito ...

[GM] “All this is irrelevant. In Court of Cassation only questions of laws can be raised. They do not take into account the new elements of reconstruction of the facts. Trials are based on the acts of the proceeding. Sustaining now a different reconstruction of what happened is a question of merit that does not in any way interest cassation.”

Amanda has repeatedly argued that her version of the facts had been affected by heavy pressures from the prosecutor’s office.

[GM] “Nothing could be more false. The process of investigation and trial proceeding of Kercher’s murder has had from the beginning an unprecedented media pressure, which has confused some ideas in public opinion. The trial should take place with the guarantee of an adversarial process, with equality of prosecution and defense. When one steps out of these parameters one ends up with a trial through the media. In this scenario, the foreign press, especially the American one, not taking into account our legal system, has given its input. They created a discourse that sounds a bit like this:she is one our fellow citizens and therefore she must be innocent. “

And if today even Amanda was to change her version?

[GM] “I would be astonished. She had plenty of occasions to tell her truth”

What was your impression of Amanda?

[GM] Amanda is very intelligent. She cleverly tried to divert suspects from her, as in the case of the staged burglary, a huge lie. Amanda is shrewd like when she accused Patrick Lumumba. On that occasion she appeared credible, she was crying. She looked as if terrified. I believe she’s a very theatrical girl and in a certain way even anti conformist: while everyone was crying and were worried, she was doing cartwheels.

What was her relationship with Meredith?

[GM] “Amanda did not like to be contradicted and had a conflictual relationship with Meredith. There were constant arguments regarding Amanda’s behaviour that Meredith could not tolerate. She believed that Amanda stole her money.”

And what type was Sollecito?

[GM] Raffaele is an enigmatic character. He is a shy young man who was subjected to Amanda’s strong personality. He was very attracted to Knox who in the meantime did not disdain the company of other acquaintances.

About acquaintances, Amanda knew some drug dealers. Could they have had a role in the murder?

[GM] “I cannot answer this” But then writes down their names.

[By] Gian Pietro Fiore

3. Our Comments On The Giallo Report

As observed above, for Italians most of this is actually not new news. The new news is that Giallo now has all the dealers’ names, from the open records of the police.

Giallo’s mention of a possible new trial is presumably connected to this drug-dealing, as the trial for Meredith’s murder and Knox’s and Sollecito’s failed appeal have both concluded, and only Cassation’s endorsement of the verdict is awaited.

Giallo’s references to Guede as a drug dealer and thief are both unproven. He had no criminal record prior to final conviction by Cassation. He was never a police source, and got zero breaks, ever. He was unknown to Dr Mignini until some days after Meredith was attacked and forensics identified him.

4. UK and US Media Get Key Fact Wrong

The UK’s Daily Mail has wrongly claimed that Italy’s Giallo magazine had reported as follows: “Italian prosecutor from Amanda Knox trial gave newspaper list of drug-dealer names associated with American student”.

In their headlines the US’s National Enquirer and Radar Online make the same wrong claim, though they quote enough from Giallo to show how that magazine really re-surfaced the report.

So for now UK and US media get that key fact wrong.  This surely wont be the end of it though. The story finally has legs of its own, and clearly the media in all three countries have a willingness to pursue it more.

In the interview also posted on Giallo Dr Mignini doubted that even now Knox will tell the truth - in fact it is hard to see what she can say. We will wait and see.

5. Ground Report Also Gets It Wrong

This shrill report from “Grace Moore” about Guede and Dr Mignini in Ground Report is both seriously wrong on the facts and defamatory - she should try saying that sort of thing about any American prosecutor.  “Grace Moore” should find out what the roles of Judge Matteini and Prosecutor Comodi were, and why after a malicious prosecution against him Prosecutor Mignini is riding high on Italian TV - and pouring cold water on satanic claims about any crimes.

Paul and Rachel Sterne, the father and daughter owners of Ground Report which carries well over 100 similarly inflammatory posts, could in theory be charged by both Italian and American prosecutors, as they are an eager party to bloodmoney (a felony), harrassment of the victim’s family (a felony) and obstruction of justice under Italian law for poisoning opinion out of court (another felony).

They need to clean up their site and make some amends.   


Click to enlarge


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Hard To Believe Anti-Italy Website Owner Rachel Sterne Haot Works For A Prominent Italian-American

Posted by Peter Quennell



New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, brother of CNN’s Chris Cuomo, with the President of the US

Haot “Secretly” Owns Inflammatory Ground Report

The shadowy founder and owner of the bitterly anti-Italian Ground Report “citizen journalism” website works for one of the most prominent Italian-Americans in the United States.

He is Andrew Cuomo, the very pro-Italy governor of the State of New York. Brother of Chris Cuomo who in his CNN TV persona has twice interviewed Amanda Knox, each time seemingly unconvinced and underwhelmed.

In contrast, for Rachel Sterne Haot it has been a case of rabid pedal-to-the-floor Knoxiana and rabid anti-Italian demonizing for the past few years to boost her anemic readership and to try to make a buck. Other website owners with better judgment had previously kicked off these dangerous crazies.

See very typical examples of false accusations of serious crimes by Italian officials here and here and here and here and here. If any media request this help, we can provide links or captures for 150+ more.

Pro-justice pro-Italy pro-Meredith points of view have been remorselessly edited out for nearly four years. Protests of defamation have been repeatedly brushed off with the claim that “a lawyer” who is never named says the defamation is just fine.

This new post below on Ground Report was by the (of course) anonymous “Jay Rap” and represents his sixth inflammatory and highly defamatory post in just three weeks. 

Later in the Interrogation Hoax series, when we have finished laying out what really happened, we’ll take apart all such misleading and defamatory posts. May note be taken of them in Albany and Italy.

The Rudy Guede Hoax

Here’s a quick rebuttal of Jay Rap’s untethered rant about Rudy Guede, who will be the subject of a second hoax series soon. Prior to the attack on Meredith, police had no knowledge or written record of either Rudy Guede or Patrick.

Dr Mignini had never even heard of Guede till analysis days after the murder of his handprint surfaced who he was (Knox didn’t name Guede but carefully pointed at him, as this series of transcripts shows).

Guede did not ever work for the police. Guede did not ever get even one break in this case.

Milan police released him after he was found staying overnight in a Milan pre-school only because he had no prior record, not because anyone in Perugia told them to. In 2009 Guede offered to testify against RS and AK at trial in exchange for a break. HE WAS TURNED DOWN. No breaks at all.

“Knox Was Intentionally Framed By Italian Police”

Rachel Sterne Haot may wish to note that Jay Rap’s made-up accusations here go away beyond what already cost Amanda Knox three years. Everything shown here in bold (and more) is untrue. All of Jay Rap’s histrionic posts are pure fiction. 

If you are following our Interrogation Hoax series, you will see immediately how wildly wrong this all is. If not, scroll down to “2. How Knox helped police with recap/summary”

Following up on the Italian police motive, this series will explore the positive indications that the Italian police intentionally framed Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Here we review the pre-planned illegal interrogations of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. This is a summary of a review here (link).

Again, the motivation for framing Knox and Sollecito is to deflect attention away from Rudy Guede in the killing of Meredith Kercher, so as to conceal the culpability of the Perugian authorities and Giuliano Mignini for having protected and thus enabled Guede to murder Meredith Kercher. In short, self preservation. (For a review of the Police motive for framing Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher, please see this previous article (link), or a summary of that article here (link).

The first indication of intentional framing by the Italian police, is the text book characteristics of the intensive and regimented pre-plamnned program of interrogations that were conducted by the police, resulting in falsely incriminating statements from the defendants.

It should first be said, that no confession taken under any circumstance whatsoever, can overcome the overwhelming physical evidence that the murder of Meredith Kercher was committed only by Rudy Guede. The lack of any physical trace of anyone else in the tiny blood soaked room where Meredith was killed, renders it a scientific impossibility that anyone but Rudy Guede, and he alone, killed Meredith Kercher. There is no evidence of a ‘staged break-in’, that claim is simply a distraction from this basic and obvious truth. Having said that, let’s discuss the interrogation.

It is undisputed that in the five days from the discovery of the Kercher murder, to the arrest 5 days later, Amanda Knox was subjected to 43 hours of questioning by the Italian police. The last overnight session went from 10:30pm to 6am the next morning. We need look no further than Steve Moore’s analysis in his contribution to the book; “The Forgotten Killer; Rudy Guede and the Murder of Meredith Kercher”, to understand this process and objectives.

One of the most striking elements of Moore’s narrative, is the extraordinary degree of consistency between the program of interrogation applied against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito by the Italian police, and that described in a declassified FBI manual discussing techniques for “brain washing” used by the communists in North Korea.

Moore, quoting the FBI the manual; “Deprivation of sleep results in more intense psychological debilitation than does any other method of engendering fatigue. The communists (North Koreans) vary their methods. “Conveyor belt” interrogation that last 50-60 hours will make almost any individual compromise, but there is danger that this will kill the victim. It is safer to conduct interrogations of 8-10 hours at night while forcing the prisoner to remain awake during the day. Additional interruptions in the remaining 2-3 hours of allotted sleep quickly reduce the most resilient individual.”

At 43 hours over 5 days, the Italian police interrogation of Amanda Knox is perfectly consistent with the formal brain washing techniques favored by the North Korean communist totalitarian regime. It is a clear violation of human rights in any civilized country operating under any recognizable rule of law.

Moore also draws special emphasis on the last day of the interrogation, the overnight session. Remarking on the number of detectives, he writes; “The fact that there were twelve detectives in the police station overnight is an indictment in and of itself. If you are going to have twelve detectives available all night for an interrogation, you need to let them know well in advance. You need to schedule them, to change their days off, etc. You need to pay them overtime. In the real world, twelve detectives all night is something that has to be signed-off on by higher ups. What does that tell us? It tells us the interrogation was planned well in advance and intentionally overnight.” (emphasis Moore).

That this process was pre-planned, is also suggested in Amanda Knox’s own account in her book, “Waiting To Be Heard”. When speaking with Rita Ficarra, whom Knox describes as ‘her main interrogator’ and has identified as the officer who twice struck her during the last crucial session, Knox had asked if she could leave Perugia to stay with her Aunt in Germany, and Ficarra’s response; “You can’t leave Perugia. You’re an important part of the investigation”. When Knox inquired how long she would be needed, Ficarra’s reply; We don’t know- maybe months”. When Knox responded that she was planning to go home for Christmas. Ficarra’s response; “We’ll decide if you can do that. We’ll have to hear what the magistrate says when he calls in three days”. This conversation occurred on the morning of November 3rd, the day after the crime was discovered. The decision to specifically target and frame Amanda Knox, was likely made no later than on the evening of November 2nd, 2007, the same evening of the day the crime was discovered.

Regarding the last overnight interrogation, Moore continues; “The reason they interrogated Amanda all night was to break her. Not to get the truth, not to get answers, not to make Perugia safer, but to break her so that she would say what they wanted her to say.”

Reflecting on the overall process, Moore adds; “Amanda Knox was interrogated for eight hours. Overnight. She was denied food and water. She was denied the use of a bathroom. In a police station. In a foreign country. In a foreign language. By a dozen different officers. Without being allowed a lawyer.”

Moore continuing; “The inquisition Amanda Knox endured in Perugia was no more legally or morally defensible than the Salem Witch Trials. No rational person should believe that the results of what she went through are reliable evidence. If you gave me the same amount of time with Knox’s prosecutor (Mignini), I could have made him confess to the crime.”

Moore’s contribution and the book itself are well worth the read for anyone wanting to understand the injustice of the case against Knox and Sollecito, but let’s turn lastly to Moore’s comments on why an interrogation stops.

Moore; “There are two reasons an interrogator stops an interrogation: 1. He/she gets what he/she wants, or 2. He/she gives up. If the interrogator gives up, there is no written statement by the suspect. Therefore if the interrogation ends with a signed statement, you know the interrogator got what he/she wanted and can easily determine what that was. And what did Amanda say that satisfied her inquisitors? ‘I confusedly remember seeing Patrick come out of Meredith’s room.’ So what did they want? They wanted to implicate Patrick Lumumba.

Moore explains; “Amanda did not bring up the name of Patrick Lumumba. The police did. And they repeatedly told her to ‘imagine’ Patrick and herself being at the cottage that night. Amanda did not give in to the brainwashing. But the police achieved enough with her to obtain a statement that let them do what they had intended to do all along: arrest Patrick Lumumbra”

As has been said, the motive of the Italian police and Mignini was to defect attention away from Rudy Guede, but in any event, to absolutely deny that Rudy Guede acted alone. For that to be the case, the break-in had to be staged, because otherwise, its just Rudy all by himself breaking in, and killing Meredith Kercher.

But by embroiling multiple people in the crime, the police could if not keep Rudy out of the crime entirely, they could at least minimize his role. If Patrick Lumumba had remained as a defendant, no doubt all the judges would have put the knife in his hands. But since Rudy Guede could not be kept out of the picture, it became necessary for someone else to play a more dominant and leading role.

And of course such a person had to be someone capable of manipulating others, and who better for that role – in the mind of Mignini, than a seductive manipulative woman. So in the fantasy world of the Italian prosecutors, judges, police, and an unfortunately significant segment of the populations of Italy and the UK, the knife that killed Meredith Kercher ended up being placed in Amanda’s tiny hands, in their fantastic false imaginings.

Of all the lies that have been invented and repeated in this case, among the worst is that of those who misuse the confused statements that were extracted through psychological torture, as evidence of deception on the part of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Solecito. It is the exact equivalent of blaming a rape victim for the consequences of a violent sexual assault. This lie is repeated by major news outlets, unscrupulous or careless reporters, and has become part of the lexicon of the case. It’s both tragic and profoundly unfair.

The cruelest and most criminal hypocrisy of Mignini, the Italian police and judiciary, is to blame Knox for the confused statements induced through these abusive coercive means. The Italian police charging Amanda Knox with Calumnia, after forcing her to name Lumumba as part of their process and their own objective, must surely be a violation of human rights that all civilized countries and people must deplore.

When Knox herself testified to the ordeal she was put through at trial in her own defense, she was further charged with calumnia against the police, a charge which the prosecution itself would be allowed to investigate, an obvious conflict of interest. In Italy, defending oneself against fraudulent charges by the prosecutor, is apparently a criminal act.

The criminal, brutal, illegal, and supposedly unrecorded interrogation by the Italian police should shock the conscience of the civilized world. Yet this criminal conduct by the Italian police must again be concealed by blaming the victim. Charging Knox with calumnia for being tortured into naming Lumumba, is the arrogance of unrepentant criminals. And it is a marvel to behold how pliant and cooperative the Italian, UK and international media have been in simply passing along the prosecution’s malicious self-serving slanders.

It may be the Italian authorities simply no longer have the ability to recognize the wrongfulness of their own behavior.

Knox’s final conviction for calumnia by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation is being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, where we must all hope this shameful miscarriage of justice will finally be corrected.

The last word is perhaps best left to Moore: “How could this happen? It is either inexperience combined with poor training or corruption – or both. I have had rookie FBI agents come out to the field and conduct vastly superior investigations to what happened in Perugia in this case. I do not think the Italian system is inferior. In fact, if I thought so, I would not be criticizing those detectives in this manner.”

Significantly, Moore concludes; “Every country has prosecutors and investigators who make mistakes. Every country experiences the shame of corruption. No country should be judged on whether these things exist; it should be judged on how it deals with them.”

When Patrick Lumumba was released, and Rudy Guede was brought back from Germany, Rudy was substituted in for Patrick in the prosecution’s case. But now the role of chief instigator would pass from Patrick, and be applied to Amanda Knox. Because from the perspective of the Perugians authorities, Mignini, the Italian police, and the Italian judiciary, Rudy Gude could not have acted alone (which is why the break-in must have been staged), or at worst, Rudy must have been a lesser player in this crime which was as has been stated, was by necessity a group effort in the prosecution’s theory – for otherwise, the Italians themselves are responsible for Meredith Kercher’s death.

Other commenters have said that the police erred by not changing their theory of accusation, when they slotted in Guede for Lumumba, that they suffered from ‘target fixation’ or other innocent mistakes. I disagree. There never was an ‘accusatory theory’ in the sense of one supported by evidence. The police objective of minimizing Guede’s role, and therefore their own culpability in the murder of Meredith Kercher, was intentional, premeditated, and ultimately unaffected by Guede’s formal emergence as a culprit. The Italian police objectives remained unchanged; under no circumstances, could Rudy Guede be found to have acted alone, because otherwise, Kercher’s killing was the fault of the Italians.

There has never been an investigation in the usual sense of the word. It has been an exercise from the beginning of intentionally framing two innocent people for crimes they had nothing to do with, to deflect attention and criticism away from Mignini and the Perugian authorities – and there is a clear conflict of interest in allowing the Perugians and the Italian judiciary, to investigate themselves.

And so, the frame-up proceeded accordingly.

With Amanda’s and Raffaelle’s coerced statements in hand, now all that was necessary for Mignini and the Perugians, was to fabricate the evidence, and build their ‘case’.



Below: the eager host to the dangerous Knox crazies Rachel Sterne Haot

Posted on 06/04/14 at 11:12 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamNews media & moviesTerrible reportingMedia newsThe wider contextsN America context
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Incriminating Bathroom Evidence: Visual Analysis shows the Footprint IS Sollecito’s

Posted by Machiavelli



[Please click on each image for a larger and more high-resolution version]

The sheer depth and width of the hard evidence

The defenses really don’t want you to know this: in both width and depth, the full panoply of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito is absolutely overwhelming.

As we remarked in our post below there are far more and far stronger evidence points than UK and US courts normally require for conviction. But only the trial panel of judges observed anything like their full array.

The 2010 Massei Trial Report (which the Nencini Appeal court validated this past January) is a SUMMARY of what was presented to the judges in the courtroom.  Those presentations in court were in turn something of a SUMMARY of the hard evidence buried in all the evidence files and the minds of witnesses.

Italian media SUMMARISED for Italians what was to be seen in the courtroom and to be read in the Massei Report. They were barely able to do even summaries for the 1/4 of all the trial hearings that were not open to the media or the public. 

UK and US media for the most part didn’t even bother to provide comprehensive summaries (the very fine on-the-spot reportings of Andrea Vogt, Barbie Nadeau and Ann Wise were the main exceptions).

So in effect people in the UK and US attempting to follow the story didnt for the most part receive even a summary of a summary of a summary!

Not one US or UK newspaper or TV network translated the Micheli Report, or the vital Massei Report, or the Supreme Court appeal, or the Supreme Court outcome - only the (mostly professional) translators on PMF dot Org did all that translation.

This post is another example of how far down - beyond even Massei - it’s possible to drill into the evidence, and see it still hold up.

Some past posts on TJMK drilled down to similar depths, on the knives, on the DNA, on the mixed-blood traces, on the phone-events, on the motives and psychologies, and so on. All that evidence too all held up.




Visual analysis of the bathroom-mat footprint

This post mainly consists of high-resolution pictures and measurements. Presented like this, the pictures and measurements largely speak for themselves, and show the real strength of the bathroom-mat footprint evidence.

You will see that as SomeAlibi previously concluded using other methods, this footprint was quite undeniably Sollecito’s.  It bears no similarity at all to Rudy Guede’s.

Please click on all images for larger versions in scalable PDF format


1 .  [Below] the bathmat and the print, with measurement reference




2 . The bathmat print and the surrounding area




3 . The bathmat print (photo from Polizia Scientifica).




4 . The bathmat print, with vertical and horizontal sizes, from Rinaldi’s report





5. The bathmat print, photo with enhanced contrast.





The photo above was modified by highly enhancing contrast.



6 . Enhanced contrast helps to spot some features





Contrast may help to highlight especially some parts of the print outline.

For example the area on the left labeled as “important area” in the picture (which was “forgotten” in the notorious photo elaborations disseminated by the ‘Friends of Amanda’ group), shows the actual left outline of the ‘big toe’ of the bathmat print.

The toe includes the area indicated in this picture (here the picture is shown again in its original colours).

7. The bathmat, with enhanced contrast





The contrasted image is showing the presence of other stains

There are other stains on the carpet (about another 10, factually situated in one half of the mat area), and also there shows a second diluted footprint (apparently from a foot of smaller size).


8. The selection of a set of red colour shades, outlined by an automatic outline generator





Shows the shape and the possible ‘outline’ of the stain

Reference measurements indicate the width of the ‘big toe’ in millimetres.

 

9 . A hand drawing of the outline (detail).





The photography above was modified

The modifications are: +28% contrast, -8% luminosity, + 20% colour saturation, from the original.

An outline has been drawn manually on the photoshop image, trying to be as faithful as possible to the actual stain.

You can notice that, apart from some minor ‘disputable’ very faint areas (such as the area between the toe and the metatarsus) there are only minimal differences between an automatically generated outline and a manually drawn one.

The shapes of the ‘big toe’ are extremely similar in both contours (images 8 and 9), in fact all meaningful features are basically identical.

We consider this manually drawn outline as good for comparison.     


10 . The complete hand-drawn outline





11 . Minor detail: small dots separated from the main stain





Observe the small red ‘dots’ in the picture above

Although we can’t draw any conclusion about their possible significance, we note the existence of these very small ‘spots’ of a faint red colour shade, separated from the big stain.

They are detected by the computer generated outline above, and that we also see as distinguishable with the naked eye thus we considered them in drawing manually the outline.

We don’t draw any conclusion about them; but because of their sensitive position (they may suggest a ‘small toe’ mark) we take note of them.

The green arrows in the picture point out their position (green circles).

12 . An image in electronically modified colours





Distribution and intensity of the colouration

As a part of the preliminary study of the stain, we also produced this image above where the computer assigned an artificial colour to an array of shades of ‘red’, thus allowing to further isolate the stain from the background for further assessments about its shape.

This picture shows the distribution and intensity of the colouration. (note: the existence of some above mentioned tiny marks is recorded by this technique too)



13 . The bathmat has a spiral-shaped relief decoration





The footprint’s toe obviously balancing on top of the relief decoration. 

We think the outline of the ‘toe’ mark of the bloody footprint is affected by the shape of the decoration, in particular the missing part of the toe on the right side, which is remarkably coincident with the margin of the decoration. 

So that on that side there is a striking correspondence between the outline of the ‘negative area’ – the fabric surface around the spiral, which is lower – and the big toe’s outline

This indicates that the outline of that mark on that side was affected by the decoration margin, thus the print there has a ‘missing part’. So the ‘crooked’ bloody area in fact follows the margin of a larger toe.

Because of such coincidence, we can logically assume that the actual shape of the big toe mark appears to be part of a big toe, with larger surface which left its print only partly because part of its surface did not have contact with the fabric, in correspondence of the ‘negative area’. 

14. The “negative area”





15. Mat decoration in relief and the toe mark







Observe above one single, unitary stain

The remarkable coincidence between the outlines of the decoration in relief and of the toe mark is shown in the picture above.

The rough contour of the print obtained through a smooth curve highlights the shape of the big toe.

Part of the relief decoration outline coincides with the toe mark outline, which shows, highlights and explains how all parts of the red toe mark, that you can see left of the relief decoration, they all belong to one single, unitary stain. 

Thus we can deduce that the “missing” area on the right of the toe is determined by the decoration, and coincides with the negative area.

16. Picture (by Kermit) showing a rough shape of the stain





Observe shape, curvature and size

This drawing by Kermit above highlights the rough shape, curvature of left margin and overall size of the big toe.


17. Rudy Guede’s sample print





Take note of this image

A copy of this picture together with one of Sollecito’s print at the same scale will be used for comparisons. 

18 . Raffaele Sollecito’s sample print





Take note of this image

A copy of this picture together with one of Guede’s print at the same scale will be used for comparisons.

19. Part of Rudy Guede’s sample print with Rinaldi’s reference measurements








20. Part of Sollecito’s sample print, with Rinaldi’s reference measurements:






21. Bringing all photographs down to the same scale





An accurate exercise of scaling was done

This was based on Rinaldi’s referenced pictures. Each one of the Rinaldi’s sample pictures has multiple measurements on several points of reference which allow a high precision determination of their scale and sizes, and thus comparison at the same scale.

In order to further increase scaling precision, the scale was calculated previously and separately for each comparative measurement in the three photos; this was done multiple times for each measurement and the average was picked in order to reduce error as for statistical measurement method.

The resulting final error in the scale is extremely small, far below a threshold of significance that could affect comparison (which was set arbitrarily at 1%, but it’s probably significantly higher, while the actual error is much lower).

In other words, the scale error that may affect your screen pictures will be definitely smaller than any possible perceivable (either significant or tolerated) difference that would be noticed or that may affect the attribution of the stain, when this is compared to the sample.     

22. The hand drawn outline is shown again here





23 . The outline (matched scale) overlapped on Sollecito’s sample footprint





The array of compatibilities with Sollecito

The bathmat stain does not seem to have major incompatibilities with Sollecito’s print; it shows rather an array of compatibilities that can be perceived visually.

One interesting feature is the shape, size and position of a ‘big toe’, that appears as a remarkable coincidence; the toe also has a kind of cleft (see 28 below) on the curvature of its left margin. Another outstanding coincidence is the curvature of the plantar arch on the left.   

 

24 . The same outline overlapped on Guede’s footprint





Compare with Guede’s - matched scale.

If you look at the overlapping of the stain outline (see pic 22.) with the sample of Guede’s print (see pics 17. 19.), you may notice 7 major differences, showing a failure of compatibility. Those differences are indicated by numbers (1-7) in the picture .

Each one indicates an area of major difference between the outline of the bathmat stain and the outline of Guede’s sample print. Those measurement differences are remarkably larger than those that can be detected on the overlapping with Sollecito’s sample print.

On the other hand, the compatibility between Sollecito’s print and some very peculiar aspects of the bathmat print (such as a 30mm wide and short toe) were absolutely remarkable.   

The differences between the bathmat stain and Guede’s print are :

1) Toe mark of stain is significantly SHORTER than the big toe in Guede’s sample print (a difference of about 7 millimetres). Some people may want to attempt an objection, by suggesting that such a difference may be just a consequence of the position chosen for the overlapping, that maybe the bathmat print was just positioned too low in the picture, the problem may be solved by shifting it up about 7 millimeters so as to make the tip of the bathmat toe ‘coincide’ with the tip of Guede’s print toe.

However, such objection wouldn’t work; it’s a wrong argument. In fact the only possibly correct position for overlapping the bathmat stain outline is determined by the left curvature of the ball of feet and plantar arch (the area of the picture near number 6), which is by the way the most clearly outlined part of the bathmat stain. If you shift the bathmat stain upwards, the outline will miss the match with the curvature of the left margin of the ball of the feet. You will notice that the plantar arch in this area is already very incompatible with Guede’s plantar arch. It tends to become even more incompatible the more you shift the bathmat stain outline towards the toe.

The problem has no solution, since the more you shift the stain outline upwards (in the direction of the toe) in an attempt to make it look more ‘compatible’ with the length of Guede’s toe (or with an upper margin) the more it will become incompatible with the plantar arch. In order to limit the incompatibility of the plantar arch, and in order to keep an overlapping of at least the left margin of the ball of the feet, you need to place it as shown in the picture, this is the position of ‘maximum’ compatibility between the bathmat stain and Guede’s print. Conclusion: the bathmat toe is too short.     

2) Toe mark of stain is TOO WIDE (30 mm). It is much wider (30 mm) than Guede’s toe.  The number 2. indicates the protruding mark at the upper right, the mark which Giulia Bongiorno desperately insisted on calling a “second toe” mark. In fact, not only would the mark miss completely any hypothetical Guede’s ‘second toe’ in any possible position of the print; also you may notice (highlighted by pics 8. and 9.) how it is not a “mark” itself, but actually it just part of the same area which is entirely continuous in shape and coloration with the rest of the toe mark, and - the most remarkable feature - its right outline is coincident with the outline of the spiral-shaped relief decoration, so that you can reasonably conclude that it is determined by that (the missing area at the lower right of the ‘big toe’ is determined by the existence of the “negative area” of the bathmat decoration).

Conclusion: the bathmat stain has a wider toe mark, however one likes to call it (“big toe”, or “big toe + second toe”) that fails to match any possible part of Guede’s print. The bathmat print is clearly different and incompatible with Guede’s print. It simply cannot be overlapped to any part of Guede’s sample print. Such area is a very significant difference that points outright to incompatibility between the stain and Guede’s print.

3) The toe mark is larger also in the area located at the lower portion of the toe. The toe of the bathmat print in fact has a ‘right margin’ which actually has some additional small marks, small drops protruding towards the right, like droplets maybe produced by the wet cotton fibres of the part in relief which protrude towards the right. This tends to suggest the toe area of the stain may in fact be considered wider: the object that produced it was definitely wider than 22mm, in this area of the toe as well. So also a look at this area confirms that the bathmat stain is wider than 22-23 mm (more towards 30 mm) not just when measured at the upper corner (number 2.) but also at its “lower” parts; here, the small marks caused by the liquid suggest that a larger surface has squeezed liquid from some fabric threads leaving some trace also on the lower area.

4) Bigger incompatibility of Guede on the metatarsus front outline. This area is the front outline of metatarsus: the stain is almost 1cm shorter than Guede’s metatarsus. This happens when you chose the overlapping so as to make the left outline and plantar arch (6.) of metatarsus coincide, as in the picture. Sollecito’s sample print also shows some difference from the stain in this area (pic. 23.) but the difference between the stain and Sollecito’s print is significantly smaller than what you can see in Guede’s print.   

5) There are NO SMALL TOES in the bathmat stain. Small toes are completely absent from the bathmat stain (while the tiny blood marks around the stain don’t coincide with their expected position if it was Guede’s print). Such lack of small toes is a peculiarity of the bathmat print. This is a remarkable difference from Guede’s print, and at the same time, a considerable analogy with Sollecito’s print. In fact one outstanding feature of Guede’s print is the evidence that Guede places a big load of weight on his small toes while instead Sollecito has a posture with a weight distribution with the contrary tendency, and obviously he almost does not touch the ground with his small toes.

Thus, Guede’s small toes are all very well pressed on the ground and thus, we can reasonably infer they are somehow naturally likely to get wet if he steps on any wet surface, and anyway they should get wet for sure if the foot is immersed in water or washed (the foot that left the bathmat print must have been immersed in bloody water). The murderer supposedly washed his foot then stepped on the bathmat. In order to attribute the print to Guede we should assume that Guede “forgot” to touch the carpet with his small toes (while instead he puts a lot of weight on them) or that he managed to not rinse them.

6) The outline of the stain has a PLANTAR ARCH that COINCIDES, by curvature and angle, with the plantar arch in Sollecito’s print, while instead it is very different from the plantar arch of Guede’s print. 

7) The stain is larger than Guede’s print metatarsus as visible in the right area of the stain. The difference is rather significant, almost half a centimetre, that is bigger than the difference with Sollecito’s print which instead coincides for a trait. This difference cannot be “solved” in any way since, even if one wanted to claim that the scale is wrong and that the stain should be sized down, this would make the toe, already too short (as in 1.) become even shorter.

If instead the toe length is adjusted the metatarsus becomes even less compatible with Guede. We recall that Massei found that Guede’s feet had a print overall more slender than Sollecito’s. 

25 . Other features:





Curvatures of plantar arch are very different

The plantar arch curvature, highlighted in two different drawings (the second highlights also the upper outline “hunches”);  the plantar arches in the two sample prints of Sollecito and Guede are shown below. The curvatures of plantar arch are very different.

26. The outline curvature generates different angles





Sollecito’s and Guede’s plantar arch curvatures have very different angles. Also the left outline of metatarsus maintains a different curvature. Sollecito’s outline has an angle (see outline tangent) intersecting the toe (the metatarsus has a “bunion”); in Guede’s print there is basically no intersection, the outline and the toe form almost a straight line.

27 . Plantar arch curvature angle differs between Sollecito and Guede




If you consider the vertical axis of the sample footprint, and its orthogonal line, you may notice how the plantar arch curvatures of the two prints accomplish different angles: the two angles are VERY different, not just three or four degrees.

The (too) narrow angle of Sollecito’s plantar arch probably has a relation with the protruding outline and angle seen in pic 26., and seems related to a hallux valgus (which Guede does not have). 

28 . The “cleft” on the left side of the stain





The “cleft” on the left side

This has a correspondence with one sample print, not so with the other.

29 . Table of metric comparison (by SomeAlibi)





SomeAlibi’s post of a year ago

Comparison of measurements and analysis of correspondence degree of bathmat print, with both Guede’s and Sollecito’s sample prints. 


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Sleazy Magazine Trick To Sell More Copies Results In Angry Reaction In Germany

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Cover of German magazine Aktuelle; the banner headline translates as “Awake!”] 


As we have seen, bad reporting can cause real harm. Here is an encouraging example of other media hammering the originator of a hurtful, tacky reeport.

The German Grand Prix driver Michael Schumacher, the winningest of all time, is a huge hero in Germany, and known and liked throughout the world. He amassed a fortune close to $1 billion and had started many projects with his money to make a difference to many peoples’ lives.

The 44-year-old retired driver who is currently fighting for his life in a Grenoble hospital following a skiing accident has long made large but low-key donations around the world.  Here are some examples from the NewsTalk site.

UNESCO

The former Ferrari driver is a Special Envoy for Education and Sport and donated €1.5 million to the organization.

In a 2002 interview with the organization he explained his dedication to funding projects: “I really want to help the ones people don’t know about. Nowadays, certain projects attract lots of donors. Then there are others you never hear about. Those are the ones I’m interested in.”

He also once told F1 magazine that: “It’s great if you can use your fame and the power your fame gives you to draw attention to things that really matter.”

Senegal

In 2002, Schumacher funded the construction of a school in a poor slum in Dakar, the capital of the West African state of Senegal.

Sarajevo

In 1997, Schumacher opened a clinic for child victims of the Balkans War. The clinic provides artificial limbs for amputees as well as psychological support.

Peru

In 2002, he funded the construction of a ‘Palace for the Poor’ in Lima, Peru which caters for homeless children and provides education, food and medical treatment for street children.

2004 Tsunami

Along with his two sons, Schumacher’s bodyguard lost his life in ihe 2004 Tsunami following the Indian Ocean earthquake. Schumi donated over €7 million in aid which meant that he gave more money than many individual countries, sports entities and organizations.  .

Schumacher has remained in a coma in a French hospital for three months since a ski accident which initially seemed minor led to bleeding in the area of his brain. This is a particularly difficult time because for some weeks doctors have been trying to wake him up.

There is an unprecedented number of ongoing tributes to Michael Schumacher by friends and fans around the world and all the Grand Prix cars at present are carrying a message of hope.

A majority of brain surgeons now feel his waking-up will be a long shot at best, but Schumacher’s very loyal wife Corinna is having a $10 million medical facility built in a hurry at his estate several miles north of Geneva, Switzerland, on the west side of the lake. [Though widely reported his manager has just denied this.]

What has caused the outrage in Germany is the banner headline on the cover of a women’s magazine saying “Awake” implying that Schumacher himself has woken up. From the Eurosport site:

Outraged Michael Schumacher supporters have bombarded a magazine with furious complaints after a front page showed the F1 legend smiling with a horribly misleading headline - ‘AWAKE!’.

The magazine’s content, which was actually full of stories about other people who had woken from comas has infuriated Schumacher fans, who saw the smiling photo of the star cuddling wife Corinna as “abysmal”, “tasteless” and “insulting”....

Dr Gerd Hartmann, a regular reader, wrote in the comments section of popular news portal News.de: “Such magazines are simply terrible, especially given that the chances of survival with this type of therapy are abysmal.

“Out of 10 patients 5 would never recover, 3 will be severely disabled and only 2 might recover.”

Another user, posting under the name SchumiFan, added: “I can’t believe they are cashing in on this tragedy - there should be a law against this type of shoddy, sensationalist and downright insulting journalism.”

Meanwhile, German media ethics expert Christian Schicha said: “This is a clear attempt to deceive the readers. It is an obvious attempt to make money out of a sick man.

“It is completely tasteless. It is ethically completely out of the question. “Die Aktuelle blatantly makes the impression through the headline that they know something new about the case. It is completely irresponsible.

“Schumacher’s family have suffered enough without this kind of story circulating.”

Another cruel media trick of the kind that hurts the victim’s family the worst.


[Below: Schumacher and his wife Corinna were legendary for being together at every possible moment ]





Posted on 04/03/14 at 08:04 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, January 02, 2014

“Popular Forensic Crime Writer Says AK Is Innocent” But Misconstrues Evidence Pointing To Guilt

Posted by FinnMacCool



That headline above is from a KOMONews report on Patricia Cornwell’s take on the case about seven weeks ago.

On her promotional tour for her latest novel (see the video above) Patricia Cornwell made the following comments about the pursuit of truth: “If you stumble upon a truth, I don’t know what case it is, maybe this is the old journalist in me, I feel I am obligated to say something about it…”

Many of us can sympathize with those words, particularly readers of a website devoted to securing justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered in 2007. Cornwell went on to make reference to this very case, bringing some of her own experience to bear as regards time of death:

One of the things that has frustrated me about [the Meredith Kercher case], they’ve made a great big deal about the victim’s stomach contents and how they placed the death at a certain time because her food had not really digested all that much.

It’s like, ‘Hello, when you go into flight or fight mode, your digestion either shuts down completely or at least it slows, because all the blood is going to your extremities so you can defend yourself or run.’ And if somebody is being assaulted, their digestion quits.

I’ve seen it in the morgue where somebody who ate 8-10 hours earlier - their food is exactly as they swallowed it.

Cornwell may be a talented writer, but she shows herself here to be a less than careful reader, because the point she makes here supports the prosecution case, and it undermines that of the defense.

It was of course the Knox/Sollecito defense teams who claimed that the victim’s stomach contents placed her death at an earlier time (to a point close to when their clients still had an alibi), while the prosecution successfully argued along the same lines as Patricia Cornwell, that stomach contents cannot be used to establish time of death with such precision.

Here is the way Knox herself describes the defense position in her memoir Waiting To Be Heard:

Meredith had been murdered by 10 P.M., based on her stomach contents, but the prosecutors invented a scenario in which Meredith was home alone between 9:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. According to their argument, the sphincter between the stomach and the small intestine tightens at the moment of trauma, and digestion temporarily stops. (WTBH: 222)

In other words, Patricia Cornwell’s expertise in this area leads her to agree with the prosecution’s argument, and undermines the case of the defense. Nevertheless, Cornwell claims to have followed the case closely, and to be of the opinion that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, with Rudy Guede the lone sexual predator.

The PR firm hired by Amanda Knox’s family (Gogarty-Marriott) will be pleased that such a high profile commentator has reached that conclusion, but they will also be hoping that people just read the headline quoted above, without looking too closely at the contradictory substance of Cornwell’s remarks.

Courts of law look at evidence; courts of public opinion listen to soundbites.

In the Meredith Kercher case, a succession of courts (with one annulled exception to date) have found, just as Patricia Cornwell’s experience suggests, that the bulk of the evidence in this case supports a guilty verdict for all three defendants.
 
Patricia Cornwell claims to care about truth and justice, and to support the rights of victims to have their stories told. It would be an honorable move on her part, then, to correct the impression given by her recent interview that her expertise supports the defense case rather than that of the prosecution. As Cornwell herself puts it:

The truth should never be hidden, particularly in heinous crimes. It’s never too late for it to come out even if we can’t prosecute anybody for it any more. We owe it to those who were brutalized, or assassinated, to tell the true story about what really happened.

She is of course far from the first expert to be misled by cherrypicked “facts”. See for example here.

Posted on 01/02/14 at 01:10 PM by FinnMacCoolClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, December 09, 2013

The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And His Disastrous Trip To The US And Canada

Posted by Ergon



[Frank Sforza riding high in his first days in the US]


Part II on Frank

My Part 1 post in this series is just below this post, and others will follow. Much of this first emerged on PMF dot Net. TJMK has posted about Frank in early days, and about the Seattle court.


Who is the real Frank Sfarzo?

Born July 04, 1963, in Rome, his real name is Francesco Sforza. This is confirmed by his passport data which I saw. He tried for years to hide it, and it is of public interest since, when arrested for assault, he again, deliberately misspelled his name. Like Bruce Fis(c)her, he tried to hide his many slanderous and libelous accusations on his blog behind the handle ‘Frank Sfarzo’.

The son of a doctor (like Raffaele Sollecito) he got a degree in philosophy from the University of Perugia (Candace Dempsey, Murder In Italy). Then his peripatetic lifestyle took him from Florence to Naples, a stint in the US, and work as a director of production in the troubled 2006 movie And Quiet Flows The Don.

When the Meredith Kercher case broke late in 2007, he was the first blogger, on his new site Perugia Shock, to write about the case. Moving back from Florence to Perugia, he managed a student flophouse, then he lived with his mother in a flat paid for through her pension check - his pattern for some time had been to live off the patronage of women.

These articles are based on a series of posts I wrote on PMF dot Net  - the SfarzoGate Papers. They are also based on interviews of many people who knew him personally - one common theme was how financially insecure he was, often to the point of stealing from their wallets/purses, and getting caught shoplifting from a local Coop store (September 06, 2010)



[Perugia Shock in 2008 stiil supportive of Meredith, sarcastic of Knox]


Insertion into the case

Despite receiving lots of moneys from US supporter networks for his local intelligence (I saw evidence that pointed to a leak from inside the Questura, for which the prosecutors began an investigation against him in January 2009) his big dream was a) to own property and b) write a book/movie about the case.

It was this that drove him into the arms of the Friends Of Amanda (see forthcoming Part III about their support for him and his blog Perugia Shock coming shortly) and to literally ‘turn on a dime’ in 2008 from being convinced of Amanda Knox’s guilt (he has always maintained Raffaele Sollecito’s relative innocence) to becoming, not just a pro-Amanda Knox blogger, but allying himself with the anti-Mignini forces in Perugia who wanted to impede his Monster Of Florence murder investigation.


The war upon Dr Mignini

The MOF series of ritualistic sex based murders took place in the Florence area in the 70’s, and it fell to the prosecutor Dr Giuliano Mignini, with ace criminal investigator Michele Giuttari, to carry on the work of earlier prosecutors. Much of the misreporting on the MOF case was sourced to Mario Spezi, who, allied with American writer Doug Preston, started a campaign of slander against Mignini from 2006 on that continues to this day.

My sources tell me that Frank knows Spezi quite well, and as well he is allied with the Berlusconi forces who wanted to carry out their attack on the Italian judiciary. But, seeing how Doug Preston supposedly got a movie deal with Tom Cruise’s company, then after that with George Clooney, to film The Monster Of Florence, he hoped to have a similar movie made about the Amanda Knox case, with him working on it of course.

Neither movie looks to be made now, which adds to much bitterness in some quarters.



[Knox in Seattle with Frank; she came to mistrust him]


The Perugia domestic dispute

Then, as tends to happen, the wheels came off the PR bus. Frank’s sisters, concerned about how he was taking advantage of his mother, tried to intervene, he became abusive, the police were called for the domestic dispute September 10, 2010; he went ballistic, and attacked them.

It was this incident, with the resulting assault charge he has managed to avoid so far, that he has spun into a web of lies about ‘Mignini’s persecution’ with the assistance of his muse, Candace Dempsey, author of Murder In Italy, the Friends Of Amanda Knox and Bruce Fischer, the co-owner with Sarah Snyder of the for profit Innocence-Anywhere (formerly Injustice In Perugia) website.



[The initial accomodation the Mellases hoped Frank would accept]


His begging for money

His sisters having whisked his mother off to their own home, he was without funds and about to lose his apartment. From a begging e-mail of Frank’s, Feb. 23, 2012: “They knew my sister was against me, the women in my family are unfortunately bad, you guys are saving me, I will always be grateful, I will be filing the complaint to have ‘Piggy’ and his gang tried, I will write the movie about this case, we will do great things together”.

He also claimed it was his sisters who were stealing the family funds, and that Mignini’s actions in the Meredith Kercher case were ‘criminal’ (which is the reason for the criminal defamation lawsuit he must now appear for in Florence).

Pleas for financial assistance ensued, along with hints he might be closing down his rejigged website and moving to the United States for “other journalistic projects”. He actually asked for 10,000 Euros through Bruce Fischer’s website!


His attempt to move to US

The reality was, Italy beginning to pall, and with the outstanding assault charge, he hoped to make a permanent move to the US, with the help (he thought) of his prominent American supporters.

Funds began to flow, and by my estimation he has received ‘donations’ in the tens of thousands of dollars. Which never, sadly, was enough. Just one Canadian supporter, who was abused by Frank after arrival, sent him 7000 dollars (confirmation posted by him on dot NET) in the form of 500 Euro monthly payments, plus his return air ticket.



[The Vashon Sportsmens Club where Frank & the FOA met]


Frank arrives in Seattle

The supporter gave the date of his arrival at Seattle Air Port July 20, 2012, along with fellow Knox supporter Dr. David Anderson, with whom he’d been staying in Perugia.

Frank managed to invite himself to the Mellas household, promising to reveal all about the investigation that would blow it wide open. He also claimed to have copies of the Amanda Knox ‘interrogation’ by the police and PM Mignini, which also, turned out to be a lie.



[The FOA publicity planning meeting inside the bar]

His first accomodation

Offered a bunk in Chris Mellas’s boat parked in his driveway, he threw a fit, and demanded to be housed in their home.

Where he ended up, staying with them for two months beginning July and including the Canadian interlude. Judge Michael Heavey who also had been sending regular monthly contributions (I am told around 300 Euros) escorted him around Washington State, then took him and Dr. Anderson to another of his pro-Knox anti-Mignini Rotary Club Club meetings on July 25, 2012.

The problem was that the Mellas clan and Bruce Fischer had already planned the big Vashon Island get together at the Vashon Sportsman’s Inn, Saturday July 28, 2012, to plan and coordinate the PR push for the shortly to be released books, and thank her supporters.

Therefore, not wanting to risk a blowup, they tried to placate him, while complaining to themselves about his behavior.

Knox stepdad Chris Mellas even told the Canadian supporter that Frank was a ‘difficult house guest’, this a week after he’d arrived (!) while Candace Dempsey, sitting next to them, nodded agreement.



[The FOA publicity group photo inside the bar. Some in hiding, we have other photos]


Frank Sforza and Amanda

Frank sat all day next to Amanda, who seems in her pictures to have a horrified fascination with Frank, who posed front and center for many group photos, and grandiosely boasted how he was going to ‘reveal all about the gang of criminals’.

The supporters, who numbered over 60, including Judge Heavey, Steve Moore, Tom Rochelle, Joe Bishop, and Bruce Fischer, all lapped it up. Later, when the infamous finger salute Group Photo was taken, it was with the instruction to “send a message to Mignini”. Shouts of “Pignini” rang out.

Frank was working very hard after that to find a way to stay in the US. He looked into obtaining a Green Card, but most of the female supporters were already married/not interested. Photos taken of him with them at the time show an adoring, rapturous group, though that changed after the stories came out.



[Frank points to Screech Rum bottle from “Bill Williams” in kind host’s house. He looks very angry]


Frank’s Canadian interludes:

His first visit over the border for a week, went well. His Canadian supporters, one of whom, “Bill Williams” (a Canadian reverend) posts thousands of Groupie posts, met him with a bottle of “Screech Rum”.

The second visit, though, was when it all began to unravel.

A Canadian border service agent intercepted Frank, and, not believing his story why he was visiting Canada, seized his passport, and ordered him to report back to the agency the next day, August 25, with his Canadian sureties, “Bill”, and “Peter”. He was allowed to stay over, but things began to unravel after that. (I saw the passport seizure document)

Frank became increasingly erratic. Not satisfied with the money already received from his host, “Peter”, he requested a ‘business loan’ of $25,000 to set up a beach bar. “Peter”, a successful retired businessman, was struck by Frank’s lack of business acumen, said the plan was unfeasible, and declined.

Frank Sfarzo, who had never held a long term job or owned property in his life, began to insult him, calling his $750,000 home a ‘barn’ and other personal insults. Yet all he did in the nearly a month he was there was watch soap operas all day long, plus work on his blog, which his supporters helped him edit.

In the end, when one of Frank’s tirades became too unbearable, his host, concerned for his safety, called the RCMP at 4:00 AM in the morning, who then escorted Frank, uttering threats of “suing” everybody,  to the border, and expelled him from Canada. He is now barred from entering the country. In turn, Frank accused his 71 yr. old host of sexually molesting him! The police didn’t believe him, of course.


Frank is back in Seattle

Frank returned to Seattle, where he was asked to leave the Mellas home after making a pass at Amanda Knox. Chris Mellas famously called him a “mooch” and an “exploiter”, and asked the Hawaiian supporter to delete Amanda’s personal information from Frank’s telephone, but everyone was too scared of him to do much else.

Frank then stayed a few days Edda Mellas’s sister, Janet Huff’s home (he calls her and her daughter a ‘bitch’) then various homes until he ended up in a rooming house owned by another supporter, at 2283 Viewmont Way W. Seattle, on a three month lease beginning October 01, 2012 at $525 a month (paid for by the FOA, Frank’s funds were running low)



[The hotel where Franks kind host paid his bill]


Frank’s Hawaiian adventure

Frank’s visitor’s permit running out, he accepted an invitation from another American supporter, then a long standing member of Bruce Fischer’s forum. He thought she was rich, she thought he was a misunderstood soul who corresponded with her regularly (she paid for a month’s rent, sent a ticket as well to Kona airport).

Frank arrived November 08, 2012, on a seven day ticket. He was due to return November 14, but his plans were to get married, and obtain a Green card.

Surprise. She wasn’t rich, wasn’t interested in marriage, and lived off the land in a little mountain community. He started the usual pattern of verbal abuse. They were peasants, she was a ‘loser’, etc. The people there were going to beat him up, she saved him from that. Even the dogs hated him.

Trying to salvage the trip, she took him to a hotel room (which she paid for) for the last day on the island. Frank started with the abuse again, struck her, she fled to the desk and called the police. She just wanted him removed and to catch his flight, he threatened to sue the police, they arrested him for assault. He claimed she threw luggage at him, but it was she who had the bruises to show to the police. She fled the room right after.

He was held overnight, released the next day and told to appear in court the next week on assault charges. Which he did, and she, just wanting to have him leave the island, declined to press charges, which can still be reinstated, should she chose to do so. Copies of all his arrest warrants and charges have already been published on PMF dot NET and PMF dot ORG.



[Seattle Municipal courthouse where Frank was supposed to attend trial December 31, 2012]


Denouement:

When the news of his arrest broke, there was shock all around at PR central and Bruce Fischer’s ORG. Bruce tried to cover it up, deleted his forum member’s allegations (I found and saved it in the hour it was up)

I expressed sympathy on PMF dot Net, she read it, contacted me, and the rest, as they say is history. Bruce tried to intimidate her by revealing her past sexual history, which Frank passed to him (so she posted it herself, she’s a victim of sexual assault, and decided she didn’t ever want to be a victim again)

Then when Peter, the Canadian host spoke up on her behalf, Bruce tried to pass it off as ‘just too much to drink on both sides’ and this caused an uproar in his own forum, as members, appalled, quit in droves. And some of them, contacted me.

Of course, Bruce, who likes to intimidate and abuse, (as former friend Steve Shay found out) allowed Knox ‘family friend’ Karen Pruett to reveal the accuser’s identity, even though we had obscured her name in our reporting.

Frank got into an argument with two men at the rooming house who called him out on his behavior, he sucker punched one from behind and bit another, a disabled person. He was arrested and charged with assault, held overnight, arraigned the next day, probable cause found, and he was told to appear in court December 31, 2012. Which he didn’t, having fled back to Italy.

Just like in Hawaii, he provided false ID and was charged as “Francesco Sforca” though we were able to locate the court records anyway. His supporters say he was stopped at the border from returning, but that is a lie. He was in Italy throughout that time, my sources tell me. Someone is out $2,500 bail money.



[Seattle airport where Frank took off from after arrest, never to return]


Postscript

Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, who travelled with and left behind files, photos and videos of a murdered girl in three different cities, should know that all his ‘property’ has been forwarded to the authorities to return to their rightful owner, whoever that might be. I do not know whether that forms or is part of an investigation into his activities, nor do I care.

(To be continued in Part III, Frank Sfarzo and the FOA, due sometime this weekend)


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Highly Misleading Associated Press Report By Colleen Barry Appears on 700 Media Websites

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



{Above: the AP headline. At bottom: the AP reporter, Colleen Barry; will she correct the report]


Read here what Colleen Barry of the Associated Press (image below) falsely claims.

How exactly does a second proven DNA trace of Amanda Knox on the knife prove that Meredith’s proven DNA on the knife wasn’t there?  The correct facts on the three DNA samples were posted here.

Nothing - nothing - that was said yesterday in court affected that. Two samples of Knox and one sample of Meredith on the knife are confirmed. All three are there.

In fact, Judge Nencini leaned hard on the bumbling Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova to make him stop. Dalla Vedova was repeatedly trying to trap the Carabinieri experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti into saying that Dr Stefanoni did something wrong in her test of Meredith’s DNA.  Judge Nencini had not even instructed the Carabinieri labs to look into that.

Dalla Vedova and Colleen Barry of the AP have apparently forgotten that defense observers were there at the Scientific Police labs test and testified that they saw Dr Stefanoni do nothing wrong. Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was indeed found on the blade of the knife..

Judge Nencini clearly believes that firm evidence of Meredith’s DNA is there in front of his court, and that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei got it right. Meredith’s DNA really was proven to be on the knife. He would not allow a clumsy red-herring argument from Dalla Vedova which lacked the slightest bit of proof.

Unlike Reuters, the Associated Press is not a public company. It issues no stock.

It is instead a co-operative jointly owned by about 1000 media groups, and its reports are carried on up to 1000 sites. It is financially not very well off, and many of its media owners are in the same boat. The AP and many of its owners are increasingly cutting corners to save a buck. Increasingly they are under-researching, failing to check, and so their viewers and their readers are ending up misled.

Does financial strain excuse the AP for hyperbole and seriously wrong claims, for reprinting of false public relations handouts and false lawyer claims as hard fact? As it has too often done before?

Would it not be better when facts are in doubt and justice on the line to not report at all?


{Below: Colleen Barry of AP Germany was the writer of the misleading piece]


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Very Appropriate Casting Of Doug Preston As The Fredo Corleone Wannabe

Posted by Kermit




Preston as Fredo

In the image above, from the first Godfather movie, Michael’s brother Fredo watches his father Don Corleone get into a Mafioso tussle.

Fredo, after fumbling, juggling, and dropping his revolver without firing a single shot, proves himself useless and incapable of achieving the basic objective of taking care of his kindred souls.

In the same manner, as Douglas Preston fumbles about protecting the interests of his “Family” (and taking care of his own income), he shows the public that the sci-fi writer can’t load his own pen with Truth - or even Believable Lies.

Whenever I see an article published by the sci-fi thriller novelist and pro-Amanda Knox “point-of-view journalist” (his own words) concerning either the murder of Meredith Kercher or the Monster of Florence case, I can’t avoid being reminded of “Fredo” the bumbling brother who lets his family down.

Whoever set Douglas Preston up for his histrionic defense of Amanda Knox, or his attacks against the personal and professional integrity of Deputy Prosecutor General Giuliano Mignini, or his defense of his hapless friend Mario Spezi’s curious “investigative” techniques in uncovering “dirt” on the decades old “Monster of Florence” case should have found a much better soldado than Preston.

Preston’s histrionic pamphlet

Douglas Preston has recently posted an article on The Slate website, promoting a pamphlet that in the end he had to self-publish through Kindle since no one else would publish it (he had told me at the end of last year in an unsolicited email that he was hoping The New Yorker or The Atlantic would print it as an article).

I seriously thought of writing this TJMK post as a self-published Kindle article that could be downloaded for 99 cents, but I refrained from doing so for two reasons:

    1) I wanted it to get more exposure than Preston’s nickel-and-diming effort has

    2) I will never want to earn any blood money off the backs of crime victims, even if it’s only the grand total of 99 cents from the Kindle copy my mother buys

Preston’s The Slate article and Pamphlet are basically an attempt to undermine the PMF and TJMK websites which have taken a pro-victim posture in the online discussion concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.

As such he stumbles and fumbles with the Truth in promoting his “Family” causes, with as much dexterity and morality as the low-grade Mafioso “Fredo” from The Godfather, unable to load his writer’s gun properly, in a comic show of futility.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #1: Tell Favorable, Out-of-Date news from the Past

Novelist Preston starts telling his unconvincing twisted half-truths before he even finishes the title and subtitle of The Slate promotional article:

Burn Her at the Stake - Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder. Why do so many people still hate her so much? (Source: The Slate)

That title has as much truth as Preston writing another self-promotional article today announcing to the world “I turned 21 years old” … it may be true that years ago in the past he was 21 years old, but that is hardly a current truth for readers.

While it may be the case that accused murderer Amanda Knox was acquitted of that charge in 2011, it is now an old truth, after the Supreme Court of Italy in March chastised the appeals verdict of Judge Hellman (now forcibly retired from the judiciary) and annulled that acquittal, putting her status back to the conclusion of her initial murder trial.

(Later in the article Preston makes a brief mention that she will be retried, barely associated with the headline message he sends to the world in the title to his article. Knox’s current situation is the polar opposite of being acquitted; rather, she is still fully charged with murdering Meredith.)

Preston, the public wants you to start broadcasting the truth, the current, real truth, in messages that are for once free of highly misleading insinuations.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #2: Use Weak Statistics To Support Insinuations

Preston does a number of Google searches and becomes shocked, shocked that he gets hundreds of thousands of hits with combinations like “Amanda Knox” and “pervert”, or “Amanda Knox” and “slut”.

Preston knows full well, as do the readers of The Slate (and the handful of persons who have read the long version of The Slate article, paying 99 cents for the 10 minute read), that you always get hundreds of thousands or millions of Google hits for just about any Google search, however shocking the search terms may be.

Preston says “The extreme viciousness of the anti-Amanda commentariage is startling”.

Let’s do a fast test, and do the same Google searches that Preston did, replacing “Amanda Knox” with “Hillary Clinton”. Here are the results:


Here are two public figures: Knox on the left has been in the news for 6 years … she would probably be a forgotten figure, just another semi-anonymous American abroad with problems if it hadn’t been thanks to the expensive corporate PR campaign that her own family has waged. That PR campaign has propelled the number of overall appearances of her name, and has pushed Internet commenters of all types to opine on her.

Hillary Clinton on the right has been in the news for 3 decades or so, as reflected in the proportionally higher number of Google hits on her name. In spite of not being accused of sexual assault and murder, she still receives a relatively high number of sexual/sexist descriptors.

Knox is not in the news because she has worked on public health reform, or because she has been a Secretary of State, or because she lived in the White House with her husband. Knox is accused of sexual assault and murder. She is also a convicted felon, having served 3 years in an Italian prison (no further appeals) for falsely accusing her boss of murdering Meredith, in Knox’s presence.

Knox outdoes Hillary in percentage of hits for “bitch” and “slut”, but Hillary betters her for “pervert”. Who cares? In Internet, any public person can get Google hits for just about any descriptor, especially if you are accused of a sexual crime.

Let’s extend our test a moment, and do an additional Google search: “Douglas Preston” “slut” –“Knox”  . By eliminating references to “Knox” we eliminate any testing contamination from Amanda’s Perugia murder charges and the ensuing online discussion and reporting. Preston shouldn’t be surprised to learn that compared to Amanda Knox’s 380,000 “slut” hits, Preston has 73,400 of his own “slut” hits. Not bad. Of course, all of these results require analysis, which is exactly what Preston doesn’t provide in his pamphlet.

Here’s one of Preston’s “slut” Google returns, his own sci-fi novel texts:

“The town slut. She was in this cell just last month, wasn’t she, on a drunk and disorderly. Like mother, like daughter. Guess the apple never falls far from the tree. Or in your case, the shit never falls far from the asshole … the murderer might be local. Maybe a devil worshiper. You fit the bill, with that fucked-up purple hair and black eye makeup. Is that what you do at night? Go out and do mumbo-jumbo? … Bitch,’ Brad muttered … ‘no man would ever want to screw you, you freak.’” …  (Poor tormented Preston; that’s from his book Still Life with Crows that he curiously dedicated to Mario Spezi.)


Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #3:  Tell Contrasting Stories About Personal Suffering at the Hands of An Abusive Prosecutor

In an interview in The Atlantic in 2006, well before Meredith’s murder, Douglas Preston was asked about Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini:

Question: “Judge Giuliano Mignini, the public prosecutor who interrogated you, is another important player in the case. Was Mignini just doing his job? How much weight do you give to the idea that Mignini had it in for Spezi and you?”

Preston: “…. As for Mignini himself, I think he’s a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge. I don’t think that he’s a bad man …. I think he was doing his job the best he could. I think in many ways he was badly misled by Giuttari, the police officer who was running the investigation.”

Source: The Atlantic

At that point in time, the Bad Guy for Spezi and Preston had been and still was Police super-inspector Michele Giuttari. But that didn’t seem to sell. They needed something to spice up their tales about the Monster of Florence, which weren’t achieving whatever objective they may have set themselves. The breakthrough for Preston and Spezi came with Meredith’s murder. Preston today with his Pamphlet admits to being recruited early on by the pro-Amanda Knox movement just after Meredith’s murder:

A few days after Amanda Knox was arrested for murder, I got a call from a man named Tom Wright … a well-known filmmaker … (who) knew her family … (he) begged (Spezi and me) for help …. I felt like I had to become involved.” (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet on Kindle)



[Image above: Thomas Wright’s “famous” screenplay skills seem to rival only Preston’s writing skills that we’ve seen.]

Preston has never admitted this early recruitment contact before. In his Afterword to the English-language version of their tale The Monster of Florence, Preston writes about a different call that he got just after Meredith’s murder:

A few days after the crime, I got a call from Niccolò Capponi … ‘My dear Douglas … I bet you a bottle of ’97 Chianti Classico that before the week is out someone will connect this poor girl’s murder with Monster of Florence’”.

Capponi, whose relation with Spezi and Preston deserves its own tome, couldn’t have been more astute. The Friends of Amanda movement didn’t need anyone other than Douglas Preston to crow out to the world that Mignini wasn’t actually a benign, “sincere”, “honest” and “incorruptible judge”  (Preston’s own prior words up until then). Instead, Preston rewrote his own storyboard and retroactively turned the Mignini of early 2006 into one really nasty guy:

The police then picked me up on the streets of Florence and hauled me in before Mignini, where he interrogated me for hours, with no attorney or interpreter present. He demanded I confess to a string of crimes, including being an accessory to murder, and when I refused, he indicted me for perjury and obstruction of justice and suggested I leave the country.”  (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet, on Kindle)

Preston has changed his tune about how his Perugian questioning in 2006 was arranged. In his earlier book from five years ago he described a different ambience that pleasant day on his way to Perugia, with a notable absence of jackboots “hauling him in”, originally stating that it was actually a family-outing:

…. “The next day I drove to Perugia with Christine and our two children, passing the shores of Lake Trasimeno on the way. Perugia, a beautiful and ancient city, occupies an irregular rocky hill in the upper Tiber valley ... Christine planned to sightsee with the kids and have lunch while I was interrogated”. (Source: Preston and Spezi, The Monster of Florence)

Driving down to Perugia with your wife and family contrasts with being “hauled in” after being picked up in the streets of Florence, yet Preston, it seems, adapts the truth and insinuations to the required needs and circumstances.

By the way, Mr. Preston, what murder did Prosecutor Mignini accuse you of being an accessory to?  You keep repeating it, and we’re still waiting to hear. What murder?

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #4:  Use illogical deduction and dodgy Internet sources for your facts

Preston makes some amazing logic relationships in his pseudo-scholarly study of pro-victim Internet voices. When describing a book that the pro-Knox forces seem to find against their interests, Preston says:

“While the book included no footnotes or bibliography, it appears to have used information sourced from anonymous bloggers — identifiable as such because it was incorrect.”  (Source: Preston’s 99 cent pamphlet)

I don’t think that the reasonable public out there requires any analysis of this fatally flawed “if-then” logic. Preston-Fredo needs to go back to school, either to grade school to do basic maths, or to the Daisy Hill School of Influencing People and Spreading Convincing Propaganda.

This is an important lesson for Preston, who often relies on the daisy-chaining, circular, internal feeding of “facts” amongst pro-Knox promoters. Preston himself, like a post-modern journalistic alchemist, turns wishful opinion into “fact”, using as raw material the opinion posts of “Friends of Amanda” anonymous bloggers who use various identities.

Let’s take a look at three of the most active and factually flawed pro-Knox bloggers who people like Preston have helped turn into Knox-Urban-Legends, dragging along their pro-Knox fictions.

The photo below comes from a FOA-Fest last summer on Vashon Island where Amanda could thank all her limited number of close supporters for their help in springing her from prison. On the left is Bruce Fisher, or Bruce Fischer (depending on the day). One of his most hilarious affirmations which he vehemently defended until it was impossible to continue to do so, was that a box of Dixan detergent that he spotted in a photo of Sollecito’s sink would explain why Sollecito’s cutlery may have smelled of bleach … except that Dixan is clothes washing detergent!


The hilariousness of Fisher/Fischer’s Internet postings can also take on sinister results when passed on to the hands of either an inexperienced or ethically challenged journalist or a “point-of-view” journalist. Preston refers to a post by Fischer as if it were fact when he publishes in his 99 cent Kindle pamphlet that a prominent pro-victim blogger “had a restraining order placed against him” for a non-existent harassment of a ballet dancer.

Why doesn’t Preston also say that the web-site where this post was placed by Fisher/Fischer quickly removed it when it received the corresponding complaint? Why didn’t Preston ask Fisher for any proof of the “restraining order”? Why didn’t he cross check his facts/falsehoods?

Why should a best-selling sci-fi novelist stoop so low? Money? Anger? Envy?

Another of Preston’s anonymous or multi-alias bloggers whom he has quoted or protected is Francesco (“Frank”) Sfarzo / Sforca / Sforza. Take your pick of the last name as he has used them all in public documents.

“Frank’s” supposed beating at the hands of a squad of goon cops beholden to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was curiously covered by the Committee to Protect Journalists in prominent website posts and a public letter to the President of Italy, with no effort whatsoever to investigate the claims or speak with the local Italian authorities.

CPJ’s reputation remains tarnished as they refuse to this day to recognize their massive screw up. Shame on Joel Simon, director of the CPJ! Is there no governance in that organization?

Should a financial contributor to CPJ such as Preston also be permitted to be a figure in the anti-Italian judicial lobbying that CPJ has consciously or unconsciously ended up participating in?

Preston’s role in this laughable attempt to frame Mignini is only made all the more tragic by the fact that “Frank’s” arrest in Italy (which Mignini had nothing to do with) was related to a complaint of domestic violence.

He left Italy, and – staying at Amanda’s family home in Seattle for a couple of months, then travelling to Canada, Hawaii, then back to a shared residence in Seattle - racked up an impressive set of arrests and police interviews related to further domestic violence complaints during his travels.

He currently has an arrest warrant issued, and Preston has suddenly stopped talking about his and Spezi’s prized asset who was supposed to be the living demonstration of the Bad Mignini.


[Image above: Preston’s pet blogger “Frank” is not at all a victim of violence, but rather to the contrary, has an arrest warrant out to face charges for instigating it]

Amongst “Frank’s” contribution to the “point-of-view” journalism supporting Amanda Knox has been his visit to Piazza Grimana, the square near the cottage crime-scene, where “Frank” took a photo that supposedly demonstrated that Knox and Sollecito could not have monitored the entrance to the cottage from there on the night of the crime, since you can’t see the cottage gate according to “Frank”.


Any person who goes to Piazza Grimana in Perugia knows perfectly well that if you step just a couple of metres to the left, you have a perfect view of the cottage gate, barely hidden in “Frank’s” photo behind the corner of the house on the right.

Yet another case of the danger of Preston using pro-Knox bloggers and friends as sources of unreliable information is that of the G-Man, ex-FBI agent and ex-college security guy, Steve Moore.

In the sake of honesty, of the three pro-Knox bloggers referred to in this post (we could go on forever about the menagerie of Knox Internet personalities), Moore is the least anonymous, although it should be said that his “G-Man” aura he promotes is perhaps self-deprecating humour (think of an adult guy using a nickname like “GI Joe”).

G-Man has developed an elaborate tale of how he became interested in the case and began to study detailed documentation and images to come to the forensic conclusion in his living room that the Italian investigation into Meredith Kercher’s murder was flawed and that Amanda Knox was innocent. (Moore’s experience before he left the FBI as far as I’m aware is escorting suspects to court, sniper training, and flying helicopters … I don’t believe he has worked as a forensic specialist.)

Like in the case of Bruce Fisher/Fischer, there are semi-comical aspects to G-Man’s appearances on the Internet supporting Amanda Knox. This happens when you get someone who is not a forensics specialist looking at photos and making conclusions:


Unfortunately, Steve Moore was analyzing an image that was not “Amanda and Meredith’s sink”! This example of errors in G-Man’s contributions to FOA finding Amanda innocent is far from being the only one.

In Preston’s Pamphlet, he presents the anecdote of a pro-victim Internet commenter who made what Preston claims is a “threatening” comment concerning the quality of G-Man Steve Moore’s daughter’s song lyrics. In the light of honesty and telling all the truth, Preston should have stated that after Mom and Dad Moore, the next most prolific pro-Knox poster of the Moore family is their daughter, who has made posts on both pro-Knox and pro-victim sites, on Twitter and on Facebook, including posts with coarse language.

She seems to be an adult, but if she isn’t, then Mom and Dad Moore should start acting like better parents, being aware of their offspring’s internet activity, putting a filter on their home router and telling her to not make posts on sites that deal with a sexual assault and murder case. Nor should they allow their daughter to leave her own pages open for comments and or to post videos about the murder. And if their daughter is an adult, then Preston shouldn’t insinuate to his few readers otherwise.

By the way, the “threatening” post was a return of a phrase used by a pro-Knox poster that “Steve Moore plays for keeps” after a playful criticism of the quality of lyrics written by Miss Moore.

This is a lesson to Douglas Preston: any journalist, even that special lobbyist category of “point-of-view journalist” such as himself, is only as credible as his sources.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #5:  Claim That You Have Already Made Any Needed Explanations

Preston says in his Slate article: “Like a fool I waded into the (Internet) fray, defending Amanda and myself. I attacked my attackers and countered their criticisms.”

(Why does Preston have to “defend” Amanda? I thought he was now presenting himself as a journalist. Oh, I forgot, he wrote that he now considers himself a “point-of-view journalist” – his terminology - which sounds a lot like “lobbyist”.)

Actually, Preston has never countered any serious criticism. I ask readers to take a fast look at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ comment page concerning the CPJ’s fiasco accusing Prosecutor Mignini of directing a vicious, violent attack on “Frank” the blogger by a squad of rogue police beholden to the prosecutor.

Preston went wacko when he saw the Internet world laughing out loud at the CPJ’s allegations, and when he saw that the Internet provided different proofs to show that the now fugitive blogger was at best making up his story, or had other persons close to the action making it up for him.

Take a look at Preston’s emotional replies to CPJ readers’ comments.


[Image above: on the left we see CPJ’s director Joel Simon, who accused Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini of sending a police squad to beat up “Frank” the blogger (second from left). “Frank” is a family friend of the Knox-Mellas families, taking care of much of their logistics in Perugia, setting up photo shoots, etc. “Frank” stayed at the Mellas home (Chris Mellas, second from right) for a couple of months during his arrest-ridden trip out of Italy, when his domestic violence trial started up there. On the right, Preston, the glue that links “Frank” to the CPJ.]

On the web pages of CPJ, we see that not only does Preston not reply to the contradictions and lies that the Internet world points out in his words and actions, but he also puts conditions on doing so.

The best “countering” of criticism that Preston provides online is pretty pathetic. He says that the demonstrated errors in his and the CPJ’s texts “are distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact.”  Period. No explanations of why he says one thing in one place and something completely different in another. No transparency concerning his documented relationship with the CPJ. No honesty concerning the real, sad domestic violence case that “Frank” has had before him, brought on by his own family in Italy (in addition to his U.S.A. problems).

We’re still waiting for any real clarifications of Preston’s serious problems with the truth, the whole truth, the current truth and nothing but the truth.

I personally don’t need to see more verbiage from Preston, but I would have thought that he would be concerned about the public’s view of his credibility. It will probably help future “True Story” book sales if he were to clear up the confusion he causes about both the Monster of Florence case and aspects of the investigation and trials related to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #6:  Write Any Incorrect Gibberish That Doesn’t Get Error-Checked If You Think that Unknowledgeable People Will Swallow Your Errors

Preston once crowed concerning the quality of his texts:

Before publication, it was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.”  (Source: Preston on CPJ)

I once suggested to Preston that he ask his five error-checking lawyers for his money back, after the multiple mistakes and falsehoods of The Monster of Florence came to light and it became apparent that it should be reclassified to “Fiction”.

It seems that both Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox used the same error-checking lawyers in their memoirs, and that once again Preston and Spezi have employed them for their underwhelming, unknown tome in German Der Engel Mit Den Eisaugen (The Angel With Icy Eyes). No other market seems to have wanted to hear more from the Dynamic Duo of murder “point-of-view journalism”. As you can expect, their book about the murder of Meredith Kercher is not about the victim, but about the star, from their point of view, Amanda Knox.

I believe that never in the history of “True Story” lobbying, has a book taken so little time to rack up so many factual errors.


[Image above: Preston and Spezi are sure bets for winning The Novelists’ Error Marathon, especially given the finish line they’ve set for themselves. (By the way, I will state the obvious here, that this satirical image is the only photo that has been “photoshopped” in this TJMK post)]

In the Forward to their limited market book, Preston kicks off the marathon, asserting first of all that Perugia is surrounded by … the hills of Tuscany (“In der schoenen alten Stadt Perugia, umgeben von del Huegeln der Toskana”). Where’s a smiley when you need one? To all readers of this post, I ask you that we keep the secret, and let Preston and Spezi figure out by themselves what’s wrong with their statement. I guess the Duo were in a hurry to get the book to market.

Slightly further down the same first page, Preston falsely asserts that the Prosecutor Office (“Staatanwaltschaft”), understood to be Mignini, called a triumphant press conference where “case closed” was victoriously declared to the microphones of the Press.

Of course, neither Mignini nor any other prosecutor held such a press conference, nor was he present at any other press conferences at that time. My only explanation for this error by Preston is that he is so obsessed to assign just any supposed bad behavior to Mignini that he sees visions of the prosecutor doing wrong and turns those visions into “True Story” words.

The problem with that explanation of “visions” is that it is how Amanda Knox justified her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba for murdering Meredith, and that false accusation got her three years in the Capanne Prison Spa.

Just another 4 lines below that, Preston claims that within those immediate days after the arrests, Prosecutor Mignini put forward a scenario of Satanic sexual rites for describing the human dynamics on the night of the crime (“das eine amerikanische Studentin namens Amanda Knox mit zwei anderen Personen in den Mord verwickelt sei, den die Staatsanwalt als eine Art sexuelles-satanisches Ritual unter Drogeneinfluss bezeichnete”).

Again, Preston got confused. Or, maybe he wrote exactly what he was wanting to write, even if it was wrong.

Let’s not leave Mario Spezi out of the Novelists’ Error Marathon. Spezi tries to keep up with Preston in the home stretch, in Chapter 1: when emphasizing how isolated he feels that Perugia is from the outside world, he describes Umbria as “the only Italian region that does not border with the sea”. Spezi must have had a football scholarship at school, because it seems that he forgot about Lombardia, Piemonte, Val d’Aosta and Trentino & South Tirol. These regions account for about a quarter of Italy’s population and include large cities such as Milan and Turin.

We’ve barely started looking at their Icy Eyes book, but we’ll leave a more exhaustive review for the future.

Maybe Preston and Spezi hope that the few German readers of the book (who may have received their copies as free review copies) won’t know or care. It’s possible that they won’t even finish the book.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #7:  Apply Your Own Words to Others in Order to Distract from the Central Issue

Preston claims in The Slate article about pro-victim Internet posters: “Almost all the nasty comments about (Knox) follow a pattern. Even though she did nothing to them, they are all demanding her punishment.”

Personally, I don’t “demand Knox’s punishment”. Preston and the rest of FOA know that by now. What the pro-victim Internet posters want is for the Italian Justice system to be left to do its job, without any outside interference by a corporate, multimillion dollar public relations campaign, or – if we get to the point where Italy asks for Knox’s extradition – non-juridical or non-treaty political interventions to interrupt this normal administrative procedure.

Of course, those persons who are found guilty of sexually attacking and murdering Meredith should get the punishment that the Italian legal system foresees in such cases.

The pro-Knox camp has been outraged that Rudy Guede may be released from prison as early as 2014, insinuating that he has struck a deal to frame Knox. Any honest and informed opiner on this case would know that Rudy has only followed the well established legal and penitentiary procedures in Italy that apply to all convicts, and had Knox followed the fasttrack trial as he did, she also could have been looking at early freedom.

If the pro-Knox camp is so outraged that Guede may get free in 2014, I would suggest that they lobby that sentence reduction procedures be changed so that murder convicts serve their whole prison sentence. Somehow, I don’t think that the pro-Knox camp will undertake such lobbying.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #8:  Don’t be transparent or precise

Preston describes in his Pamphlet how in 2000 he moved to Italy with his family and soon after became fascinated with the Monster of Florence serial killings case and teamed up with journalist Mario Spezi to investigate the case and write a book.

“Giuliano Mignini did not like our investigation”, he states as the start of a series of supposed abuses they suffered at the hands of the prosecutor.

Maybe Preston should state that after moving to Italy in 2000, he didn’t meet Spezi until 2001, and up until 2004, over the course of three years, it seems he drank a lot of coffee with Spezi, drove to a couple of the decades old Monster crime sites in the country roads around Florence, spoke to the mother of one of the victims, kept a scrap book of what the real, active reporters on the case were doing … and not much more.

Only after almost four years following his arrival in Italy, does it seem that Preston’s active “investigation” suddenly started and kicked into high gear in January of 2004 when Spezi’s friend Francesco Calamandrei, the pharmacist of San Casciano, was drawn into the Monster of Florence investigation. Spezi woke up on the Monster case, did an interview with Calamandrei, and got it published in La Nazione within 24 hours on 23 January 2013. Without mentioning that he was a friend of Calamandrei.


It should be noted that the prosecutor who ordered this “wake-up call” for Spezi wasn’t Prosecutor Mignini from Perugia, but rather Prosecutor Paolo Canessa from Florence, the central prosecutor for the Monster of Florence case.


Preston’s rewriting of history and intertwining fiction and half-truths related to the Monster of Florence case and fiction and half-truths related to Meredith Kercher’s murder in Perugia has brought him time and time again to present Mignini as the key figure in the Monster of Florence case:

Mignini theorised that this satanic cult consisted of powerful people – noblemen, pharmacists, journalists and freemasons – who ordered the Monster killings because they needed female body parts to use as the blasphemous wafer in their black masses. Putting himself in charge of the investigation, Mignini became so obsessed that he crossed the line of legality, wiretapping journalists and conducting illegal investigations of newspapers. (Source: The Guardian)

(It should be said that Preston really should clean up his old message, and tell readers that any and all abuse of office accusations against Mignini were thrown out: he has neither been found, nor now even been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the Monster of Florence case - quite the opposite, the rogue Florentine prosecutor who initiated the cancelled proceedings against Mignini may have some questions to answer).

Again, Preston’s own words belie his transformation of Prosecutor Mignini. Remember that before Meredith’s murder, Preston’s Bad Guy with satanic theories wasn’t Mignini, but Police Inspector Michele Giuttari.

You can imagine that had Mignini not been the prosecutor of Meredith’s murder case, but Giuttari had been involved in the police investigation into Meredith’s murder, that Preston and Spezi could have saved their whole effort in demonizing Mignini, because they were already halfway there with Giuttari.


Why did Spezi and Preston suddenly get on the case and start sculpting their Monster of Florence tale in early 2004 following Calamandrei getting caught up in the police investigation? I would love to know.

Why did they apply a pre-existing Monster of Florence theory developed by English fiction writer Magdalen Nabb many years before?

Nabb was referred to as “Ethel”, a Belgian writer, in the Italian version of Spezi and Preston’s tale, while Nabb was still alive.  Preston simply eliminated Nabb completely by the time they translated and published the tale in English, after Nabb’s death. In an eerie and weird manner, some of the years-old Nabb-Spezi, Master-Apprentice conversations in the Italian version of MoF seem to be transformed into current Spezi-Preston Master-Apprentice conversations in the English version of their “True Story” tale, almost as if they took on her personality.

I guess they weren’t too worried about presenting as their own, current “investigation”, ideas and theories (correct or not) that had been floating around for a decade and developed by other – now unacknowledged - much better writers.


[Image above: In Preston’s and Spezi’s English language book The Monster of Perugia they morphed English author Magdalen Nabb’s Carabinieri contacts, as well as Nabb’s theories and conversations concerning the MoF into their own, with neither direct nor indirect recognition of Nabb’s existence, nor her work done nearly 10 years earlier. Maybe they felt that since she had passed away, the world wouldn’t notice their intellectual theft.]

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #9:  Use corporate media as a means to legitimize false claims

The CPJ’s false and unverified accusation against Mignini for supposedly sending a goon squad to beat up the Perugian blogger is exactly the sort of feed that the Friends of Amanda and the Gogerty&Marriott corporate PR campaigns needed. These groups repeated the invented injustice wherever they could within the ongoing campaign.

That’s where we find a link between the PR campaign and the “mainstream” American media and showmen. If you Google “Doug Longhini” and go to the CBS News site associated with him, you’re not quite sure at first glance if he’s an ethical traditional journalist, a “point-of-view” journalist, a CBS producer, or an external businessman. What is clear is that it seems that most of whatever it is that he does at CBS is dedicated to Amanda Knox and, in second place, in general the crime in Perugia.

However, when you start reading some of his articles or news reports, like the one below, you realize that he’s not a traditional journalist who checks his facts and tries to get all angles on a news story.


I used to be impressed with the effort that went into the 48 Hours type of investigative programs. Not any more. Describing “Frank” Sforca/Sforza/Sfarzo as an “independent journalist” when this pro-Knox blogger acted as the logistics manager for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, including organizing photo shoots for the daughters, stayed with the Knox-Mellas family a couple of months in Seattle, and was the beneficiary of ongoing funding from pro-Knox circles even after he was a no-show for his latest court session last December in Seattle, is stretching the definition of “independent”.

This Longhini article almost reads as if Douglas Preston had written it …  I would have hoped that Longhini might have made some reference to his sources for his description of “Frank” being handcuffed and beaten, or that Longhini would have looked into the true reports of “Frank” being arrested, not on orders of Mignini, but simply because he bit a police officer who was responding to a domestic violence complaint.

Doug Preston is no stranger to Longhini’s CBS 48 Hours pro-Knox shows, having appeared together with another shared acquaintance, a certain Paul Ciolino. Paul’s role in the Knox CBS shows was supposed to be the implacable investigator who knows the truth that the Italian authorities want to hide.

However, Ciolino’s on-screen antics for many viewers are in detriment to the argument he tries to make.

For example, what serious television detective in the world, not speaking the local language, would go calling at the door of unsuspecting murder witnesses at nighttime, vehemently exhorting them to reply to questions? Paul did:


Where does this leave the state of modern megamedia journalism in America? It has been transformed into entertainment, into a vaudeville show. The confirmation comes in Paul Ciolino’s own self-advertising:


The only thing missing is Liza Minnelli singing “Cabaret” in her black stockings.

Back in America, Preston’s friend Ciolino smears the good name of Signora Nara Capezzali, the elderly lady who he tried to interview under the cloak of darkness (if he really needed to interview her, couldn’t he have arranged to meet her through prior arrangement, during the daytime?):


After describing Prosecutor Mignini as a “convicted felon”, Paul Ciolino speaks of Signora Capezzali at the 1h42’47” mark of a Seattle University pro-Knox forum on 4 April 2011:  “The crazy woman (Capezzali) who had ... I don’t think she ... did she ever testify? They never did bring her in because she is crazy.”  (Source: Seattle University FOA panel video.)  Ciolino’s speech was notable if only for the almost complete absence of any truths.

In fact, yes, Signora Capezzali did testify in court in Knox’s and Sollecito’s murder trial, two years earlier in March 2009 (Source ABC News ).  It’s not necessary to add that in spite of Ciolino’s vaudeville show affirmations, witness Signora Capezzali is not crazy.

My Concluding Suggestions

1. To Joel Simon, the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Rather than doing false posts that are never retracted or corrected about benign regional Italian prosecutors in Italy, the CPJ should realize that there is a much, much greater, real and true threat to journalists and journalism due to the transformation of the profession in America into a concentration of commercial enterprises with links to lobbying groups, who use vaudeville-style “entertainers” to wake up murder witnesses in the dark of night and then publicly call them “crazy”.

Mr. Simon, really, it’s time for you to implement some governance in your organization. Here are some common sense suggestions that I humbly submit:

    1) Don’t allow your financial benefactors to be part of the cases that you take special interest in, except with independent review of your analysis and claims.

    2) If you’re a journalism organization, follow basic journalistic ethics by checking your facts and contrasting allegations, especially when you are making claims that seriously affect the reputations of persons.

    3) When you realize that you have made a terrible mistake and have falsely accused someone of sending a goon squad to beat up someone else, then be man enough to admit it and correct your false accusation. Start now and apologise to Prosecutor Mignini for the slanderous gift you made to Amanda Knox PR campaign.

    4) Take some time as a collective representative organization, to consider and reconsider whom you represent and why … are self-described “point-of-view journalists” (lobbyists) part of the body of professionals you wish to represent? Will they cause you a conflict of professional or moral interest at any point? Do you want these people giving money to your organization?


2. To Douglas Preston, an amateur crime fighter obviously out of his league.

My impression from what we’ve seen is that your attempts at playing in the big lobbying leagues have all ended up with pie in your face, or a “kick-me, I’m stupid” yellow Post-It on your back:

    1) As we have seen in this post, ethical, traditional journalism gives way in your recent The Slate post and Kindle 99 cent pamphlet, to obvious and ineffective pro-Knox lobbying. In my opinion, the propagandistic shots you’ve fired have neither been convincing nor contain real, true facts unfettered from insinuation and half-truths and falsehoods.I

    2) In prior TJMK posts, we’ve seen how you have told two completely different beginnings to your Monster of Florence tale, complete with quoting different persons at different times in different places. You have ended the story with a confusion of errors and falsehoods. See my posts on this here and here.

    3) It seems you’re famous in Italian judiciary circles for having lost control of your sphincter in your questioning in Perugia years ago. Is that one of the reasons you’re so mad at Prosecutor Mignini and say just about anything about him, regardless if the message to your readers is true?

    4) Like Fredo, you were always the last member of the gang to find out what was going on. Your supposed “5 year” investigation with Spezi into the Monster of Florence seems more like a rehash of old theories developed by others, done in a short period of time by Spezi only from 2004 onward (notwithstanding your scrapbook of other reporters’ work), who would inform you at the last minute of his larvae studies, his TV appearances, or of his “A-Team” investigative squad comprising an ex-con and an ex-cop, who you realized existed only when their months of work had finished.


Fumbling Fredo’s handlers in The Godfather realized the terrible damage he was doing to the Corleone Family’s interests. Is Preston damaging the true, long-term interests of Amanda Knox? 

What about his other interests, in the Monster of Florence case … is he truly aware of all of the interests in that case, beyond his own – repeatedly voiced – hope of seeing George Clooney play Preston?


Posted on 05/23/13 at 06:48 AM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers from 2007Preston & SpeziFrancesco SforzaPaul CiolinoMore hoaxersNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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Monday, April 01, 2013

One Final Word On Nina Burleigh In Response To Those Still Hoaxed By Her

Posted by The Machine





Actually Burleigh didnt get very much right.

Many of the pro-Burleigh commenters on the Time website and also many reviewers on Amazon dont seem to realise just how hard-and-fast Burleigh played with the facts.

I’ve dipped into the book and read various articles and they all stray far from the truth. Here is our review of one major aspect of the book explaining some of her extreme biases.

Poor grasp of Italian law. Poor understanding of the evidence. Terrible fact checking.  Emotions run wild. Zero grasp of the Italian language. They result in very inaccurate work. Lack of Italian is her Achilles heel.

Challenges scroll fast on the Timewebsite. So here below are ten quick examples for Burleigh readers to show how easily and often she screws things up.

1. She falsely claimed in her book The Fatal Gift of Beauty that Meredith Kercher was born on 28 December 1986 (The Fatal Gift of Beauty, Dramatis Personae).

According to the Massei report, her actual birthday is 28 December 1985 (p23).

2. She falsely claimed in her book that Rudy Guede was on 26 December 1983 (The Fatal Gift of Beauty, Dramatis Personae).

According to Rudy Guede’s sentencing report, he was born on 26 December 1986 (p2).

3. She falsely claimed that Rudy Guede’s DNA was inside Meredith’s purse (The Fatal Gift of Beauty, p14).

According to the Massei report, his DNA was found on Meredith’s purse (p43). The Micheli report specifies that his DNA was found on the zip.

4. She falsely claimed that Rudy Guede’s prints were on Meredith’s walls (The Fatal Gift of Beauty, p14).

The Scientific Police were unable to identify any fingerprints on Meredith’s walls. Guede was identified by a bloody palm print on a pillow case. (Micheli report, pages 10-11, The Massei report, p43, Rudy Guede’s sentencing report, p5).

5. She falsely claimed on the Sound Authors website that Mignini accused Knox of a satanic rite.

Mignini has never claimed Meredith was killed during a satanic rite. In fact, he has specifically denied ever claiming this.

In his letter to LInda Byron, he stated the following:  “On the “sacrificial rite” question, I have never said that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.

Mignini told Drew Griffin the following in an interview on CNN:  “I have never said that there might have been a satanic rite.”

6. She falsely claimed that Amanda Knox described a “vision” in her handwritten note to the police (The Fatal Gift of Beauty, XXIV Timeline).

Amanda Knox never claimed she had a “vision” in her handwritten note or any of her witness statements.

7. She falsely claimed in Time that there were only two elements of “material evidence” against Knox and Sollecito.

These were Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp and Meredith’s DNA on Sollecito’s kitchen knife.

But according to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of Knox’s DNA or blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even Amanda Knox’s lawyers conceded that her blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood.

In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

According to the imprint experts, the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede.

Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway.

8. In the same article, she falsely claimed that the knife was picked at random.

Armando Finzi was the police officer who bagged the knife. He testified that he thought it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound on Meredith’s neck.

9. Another false claim from the article was that Rudy Guede left fingerprints at the crime scene.

He didnt. None at all. No prints were found of Guede.

10. In an article for the Columbia Chronicle  she falsely claimed that freedom of speech doesn’t exist in Italy.

Pretty bizarre. She should learn to read some Italian. They have as many freedoms as those in the US and UK. And the incarceration rate is 1/7 that of the US.

11.She falsely claimed in Time that the prosecutors painted Amanda Knox as an “angel-faced she-devil”.

It wasn’t prosecutors who painted who Amanda Knox as a “she-devil”, it was Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer who represents Diya Lumumba, at the trial in 2009.

Carlo Pacelli’s comments were widely reported by numerous good journalists who were present in the courtroom, so this would have been really easy to check. .

Barbie Nadeau describes the moment he referred to Knox as a she-devil in some detail in Angel Face:

“Who is the real Amanda Knox?” he asks, pounding his fist in the table. “Is she the one we see before us here, all angelic? Or is really a she-devil focused on sex, drugs, and alcohol, living life on the edge?”

“She is the luciferina-she devil.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 124).

Posted on 04/01/13 at 11:59 AM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamNina BurleighNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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About Sexual Pervert Bruce Fischer And Financial Fraud Elina Miettinen

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Sexual Pervert Fischer

Bruce Fischer caused wide amusement when he first revealed himself online slobbering ardently over Knox.

He was not by any means the only Knox-slobberer. Quite a few other men and even several women developed a bad attack of Killer Groupie Syndrome over Knox (actually, Knox 2.0, reconstructed by the PR as a virgin in widow’s weeds).

The Knox-Mellases also steered Steve Moore, Frank Sforza, and various others away. But for a while there, Bruce Fischer as “Bruce Fisher” pretty blatantly let his perversion hang out.

Fischer’s real name was hidden with great effort for more than two years by “Bruce Fisher” to allow him to slobber on over Knox, to not have his wife and her family realize, to defame others freely by their real names, and to scream “pervert” at many with no proof.

He is known to have posted under other names about the amazing “Bruce Fisher of New York” and his brilliance. We were told all to be in awe - though Fischer’s obviously dim grasp of the evidence was a major joke. 

Accidentally “Bruce Fisher” allowed his real identity to become known and he fled the pro-justice sites, thereafter to build his own nasty forum and to vent his bitterness upon the world. 

  • It was revealed that he had been a mere floor assistant at York Furriers, in a shopping mall 35 miles north-west of Chicago and was laid off.

  • It was revealed that his education is pretty basic and his professional skills relevant to elaborating on the Perugia investigation roughly nil.

  • It was revealed that from his schooldays he has been known even among his friends as a hothead with poor people skills and thinking skills.

  • It was revealed that he had declared personal bankruptcy twice and now possibly has done so a third time to try to escape big debts.

  • It was revealed that his house was repossessed for default on the mortgage and he was reduced to taking his family to live with his mother.

  • It was revealed that his sole income is from his wife’s well-off and unsuspecting family, and from what he panhandles from his naive group.

  • It was revealed that he had visited Seattle at least twice to try to make it with Knox and get some Mellas-Knox funding and was edged away.

  • It was revealed that he openly collaborated with the Italian mafia tool Frank Sforza in online and physical abuse and attempts to extort cash.

This is a man with real issues. He is notorious for rabid demonizing, even among his own people who have told us they think he goes too far. He lost some of his few supporters after he seriously misled them about the Frank Sforza assault cases.

Most of his hours and hours of online effort is put into trashing Italy and Italians. A true coward, he does that in English from 1/3 of the world away. 

2. Financial Fraud Elina Miettinen

As many have remarked, “Bruce Fisher” is notorious for rabid demonizing, even among his own people.

One of the main ways he has demonized, much of it under his false names. is to misrepresent the histories and credentials of those who stand for the truth - those invariably better qualified and more successful than Fischer himself.

Sure enough, the sexual pervert under one of his false names turned to smearing me, in conjunction with a financial fraud.

My wife and I have helped many in ballet over the years and all the other help went well. In this case a Russian dancer who walked off with $15,000 highly misrepresented a business relationship that was about to come right which would have set her up nicely for life and provide a success model for many others.

Did Fischer in turn misrepresent that? Judge for yourself.  In essence his meddling cost Miettinen a very possible $1 million or more.

Miettinen’s desperate situation

A few years ago three Swiss girls staying with us and I were at the stage door of the American Ballet Theater company in New York watching the dancers come out. They saw the Russian dancer Elina Miettinen emerge and tried to talk. She seemed so panic-stricken she could hardly stand up.

I wrote her a note later merely saying “Whats up”? She wrote back immediately that she had just been told she was laid off (as the ABT was close to broke) with no money and no visa to work in the US. She would not be able to pay rent or feed herself or, in fact, stay in the US.

Assistance we provided

We met and agreed that a promotional website could be her best bet. She would provide videos and stories and it would be hers to keep. I might use it as a model for others down the road. No money was talked about at the time.

Right after she went back to Helsinki where her parents lived and stayed for a month. We met after she came back and again she was almost paralysed with fear. After an hour she finally told me she had been unable to tell her family and friends she had been laid off and she was still broke. She had literally almost nothing on which to keep going. Could I help?

I immediately got her $500 out of an ATM and said sure I could consider helping her further subject to the website project which would be our way out. Her parents and seven in New York (my wife, the Swiss girls, her teacher, another dancer, and her roomie/best friend plus her own parents all knew all about this.

Business loans I advanced her eventually totaling $15,000 allowed her to (1) stay on in the United States, (2) pay her rent and keep rehearsing, (3) find two interim dance assignments, (4) become featured on a highly popular website, (5) activate interest in NBC in reporting her life story, and (7) eventually be available when the ABT’s finances came right at years end, when they could offer her a new contract.

She has never repaid any of the $15,000 back, despite numerous of promises to do so. To repeat: without the money we loaned her (for various work requirements all of which she skipped out of) Mietteinen would not even be in the US now.

She and I talked for many hours about the problems of dancer promotion. We decided to try a new “personalizing” website and we worked out a plan and a contract over several meetings for which we both kept copies in ring binders.

I didnt go looking for her in particular for this experimental dancer site, an intended model for many others, so she may not have been the best potential candidate of whom there were many others. A senior staff member of her former company wrote saying she was a poor choice as they did not see her going far in her career.

But she just came along and was desperate and interested and seemed to show promise, so I tried work with what she was.

Her initial promising start

When I first met her, she was hyper-anxious about almost everything, her future, her men (or lack of them), her dance and her looks included.

She was very cooperative for the first four months, attending our meetings 1-2 times a week, telling me her stories for the site, providing video and shots of herself, and meeting in San Francesco to accumulate more and apply for gigs.  We both worked on the design of the site which for its purpose looked cool and professional, and she suggested such ideas as bringing in her best friend and teacher on the project, and also a photographer back home. .

Her teacher, her room-mate and some others all saw us getting along just fine. They were willing to join the project so I had several separate meetings with the teacher and best friend to gather material on them too. I pressed her to consult her parents on the site and the contract and several weeks later she told me they said it should really be her site.

Her emerging troubled personality

She increasingly revealed a strange habit, of ranting on at agents and photographers and so on who she endlessly supposed wanted to rip her off. (Actually they did - she had never got paid for any modeling done.)

In direct response I made quite sure to involve my wife and four Swiss girls who were staying with us at the time. They had all seen her dancing and it was one of them that first pointed her out. For the record they were all smarter (they all have good college degrees now), taller and prettier than Mietttinen (they all dance and model). In Geneva I know all of their parents and we all get along really well.

Also she shared a number of personal concerns especially about boy friends and I tried to give her the best advice. We were good friends in a business sense, and there was nothing more as everybody involved in the project could see.

I email all my business partners about the rate I emailed her, and we set up a separate email account so she only needed to read when she wanted. The emails the Swiss girls send me and vice versa are no different in tone or subject. She was fully aware that at any time at a moment’s notice she could arrange something different or stop the emails or meetings or contract.

The agreed pioneering website

So within three months the website was created. She provided all the materials we posted and repeatedly promised many more, especially videos. As agreed in the business plan the website (“Exciting Arrivals”) was intended

(1)  to give Miettinen a shot at new ballet gigs and long term contracts and a ballet future, and also at promoting herself commercially as a model, and to be able to stay on in the US for which she had only a dance viza,

(2) to personalize her rather than to glamorize her, telling her stories which are in fact very interesting (she was born in deep poverty on the edge of the Arctic circle in the terrible economic era of Gorbachev);

(3) to be a pioneering model website to help many other dancers to promote themselves career-wise and financially also. The company and web property to that end would become hers and I keep the model and cover my costs only.

By the autumn of 2009 the website already showed we had got it right. It rose up to be briefly the most popular dancer website in the world. The story approach clearly worked. We already had offers on the horizon equivalent to maybe one million dollars factored forward.

Her breaking of contract

The only demands I was making were for video and shots and interviews for the site and for her to follow up on our leads. I thought she would give our project 3-4-5 months of work for that money, but it actually only added up to maybe two weeks.

Instead of following up our excellent leads with NBC TV (who may have profiled her life) and the Finnish Embassy (who may have sponsored her) she increased her classes (which was fine), danced several roles in the Staten Island Nutcracker (which was fine), and began to spend many days with photographers (not so fine, they paid her nothing, and we got nothing new for the site which was still only half complete.).

In November her ballet company, the ABT, found they could take her back on contract and even offered her a raise. We were with her teacher when she told us and her teacher didnt seem to think this was entirely for Miettinen’s best.

Teacher gives strong warning

Miettinen wanted the project to go on but her increasing narcissim and suspicion were evident. Her teacher at two separate meetings, and her room-mate at one, warned me she had an extraordinary knack for misunderstanding people and becoming paranoid and ranting on.

Her teacher was so unhappy at this attitude, which she saw at the start of every class, that she refused to say on the site that Miettinen would have a great future as a dancer.

Miettinen promises not to defraud

With $15,000 at stake, my wife and the Swiss girls who followed everything now began to suspect her. We found out that young Russians had been running a series of scams in Manhattan, acting desperate and getting hep and money, and then turning nasty and walking off.

She promised she was not part of a scam or planning to walk off. Right up to our last meeting in mid December, when we put the project on hold while she returned to work, she agreed the site should stay up. It remained way short of done, of course, and never ever became that model that so many dancers needed.

Miettinen walks off with $15,000

The deal between us, a generous one, was always that we would keep the site up as a model and work on it when we could, and take it down only if she paid me back half the money which would be around $7500 now. It was never agreed that she could simply have all the money and I would end up with nothing.

Final exchanges show relationship fine

There were a few emails and Facebook messages in 2010. She sounded okay and there was no evident problem. This exchange below is the one and only time Miettinen ever asked to have the website taken down. She hardly sounds in wild-eyed terror. It is dated 16 June 2010 exactly six months after we had last met.

1) My message to Miettinen

Subject: Ashton Ballets tonight

Tonight was absolutely amazing.  I liked the Birthday and Awakening and loved the Thais and the Dream. So did everybody around me. I just posted this on my Facebook + the ABT Facebook.

“American Ballet Theatre dancers LOVE Ashton! Tonight they could hardly stop grinning. DH and HC and GM did grin! Ashton presses them to absolute limits, theres NO WAY they could keep that up for one big ballet. Corps too was pressed way beyond normal. Plus we got to see half the principals and soloists.”

2) Miettinen’s response

Subject: Ashton Ballets tonight

“Good that you are enjoying our season and having fun in creating websites about abt! I think the website of me doesn’t make much sense anymore because I’m not working for it with you. Maybe it’s better for you to concentrate on the other sites. I’m sure people are more interested in reading about the whole company than just about one dancer.

Have fun with the sites and have a great summer.”

3) My response

[There is no copy. I wrote back on Facebook and Miettinen has deleted that message. Presumably because I reminded her of the deal. I gently repeated the purpose and pluses of the model site, and observed the site was still doing her and the company a lot of good. But if she wanted to pay 1/2 the money back as often agreed, then we could be done.]

Then there were just 1-2 quick messages between us in the next eight months, not about this. She did not ask again. The project was extremely promising for her and for others and I hoped she’d resume - it is very common for people experiencing rapid change and jealousy from others to sit it out on the side for a while.

Fischer prompts false accusation to police

And then, on the prompting of Fischer and Steve Moore, a NYPD detective phoned us in March 2011.  He was angry to find that he had been misled (as he has agreed with our lawyers) into thinking the site represented extortion and stalking.

He didnt know that Mietinen was in the US only because of our funding. He didnt know that we had a contract and business plan. He didnt know that she had provided all material for the site. He didnt know that she owed me half of $15,000. He didnt know that she is known to have a paranoid tendency to rant on.

Still, I took the site down, and decided to wait till Miettinen returned to Planet Earth. I am in no hurry. Will she, one day? Miettinen continues to owe us the $15,000 that we loaned her to allow her to stay on in the US and to get back on her feet and rebuild confidence.

The emails Fischer posted and misrepresented give no idea of what was really going on, what Miettienen was saying at our many meetings, or what others who observed were saying and in several cases warning about.

She has since joined in substantial harrassment online. She posts as “Jane”. Many people who know her only as “Jane” despise her. Many women who have read the emails have observed “what the hell?!”

Fischer misrepresents the project, and is unaware of the contract.  That Fischer is a disaster in his own business deals is no reason for him to damage others. Inciting false reports to the police is a crime, of course.

In essence Fischer’s meddling cost Miettinen a very possible $1 million or more, and legally we could easily take her down, though at a probable cost of leaving her jobless.

Posted on 04/01/13 at 06:20 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamNews media & moviesTerrible reportingBruce FischerElina Miettinen
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Friday, March 29, 2013

More On The Ill-Considered Campaign of Vilification By The Knox Adulator Nina Burleigh

Posted by Peter Quennell





REALLY not a good time for the Knox adulator Nina Burleigh to be entering into attack mode. Much better to be covering her tail.

One book is already being investigated by the chief prosecutor of Florence (the same one that will oversee the repeat appeal) for contempt of court in attempting to interfere with an ongoing legal process.

Sollecito and his team might face years in court and millions in awards - and Burleigh’s defamation-riddled The Fatal Gift Of Beauty which flatly accuses many Italian officials of crimes is already a candidate for a similar outcome. 

Good luck with that one. She could be paying out for years. Nina Burleigh now seems to me a tad delusional - making things up, not for the sake of lying for an advantage, but simply because her mind sorta works that way, and so she shoots herself in the foot.

Skeptical Bystander of PMF has already rebutted Burleigh’s claims against her, in this post immediately below. This was my own experience with Nina Burleigh.


Request for assistance from Nina Burleigh

Burleigh really didnt have any good cause to pick a fight with me as I have always treated her extremely well.  I met her personally only once - in August 2009 - but we emailed frequently though most of 2009.

The meeting grew out of this post.  I emailed the link to that post to Nina Burleigh via her blog;  and also to John Follain, who thanked me politely.

She emailed back that she was surprised to have landed the assignment, as she had no expertise in that area, but her publisher had recommended it. She said she could use any help. I said I would see if our contacts in Rome and Perugia could help her.

She moved to Perugia in the spring for a month or two and as she has no Italian some arrangement was made for an interpreter. She attended some of the court sessions. As agreed, I emailed various contacts asking if they might want to help her.

The reaction across the board however was no. 

Burleigh was being seen constantly in the Knox-Mellas entourage and was already regarded as a doubtful reporter at best, one who had already lost her cool.


Burleighs request for a meeting

She returned to New York, after Knox had been two days on the stand, to rustle up more money and take her family back with her. She emailed me for a meeting to share tips and information, and was hoping we might open a way to the Kerchers. (We never do.)

I asked her if she was neutral and independent, or working for the PR scheme. I would not have met with her if she hadn’t promised by return that her mingling with the Knox-Mellas crowd was for show, just an act, really she was secretly neutral.

Based on that guarantee, she and I met for an afternoon and evening at her summer place in the Delaware gorge two hours west of New York.

We had lunch in the village, when she presented me with a signed book, and then we moved to the kitchen of her house, a converted schoolhouse. Her children were playing in there so we moved upstairs to sit at a table in her bedroom.


Burleigh says Knox seemed psychopathic

I explained the case from the prosecution side and she seemed to do her best to follow along, busily generating notes. She VOLUNTEERED that she had concluded that Knox was a psychopath during Knox’s stint on the stand. She said the realization had kept her awake at nights some.

I didnt prompt her or make that up - how would I have possibly known? In fact until then I didnt even know she’d been in the court.

She did tell me this assignment would be a financial strain. None of her books had covered their costs. The publishers’ advance was a small one, Italy is expensive, and she joked that she might have to give up her Manhattan apartment.

Oddly, she managed to stay in Perugia for most of a year. Wonderful how those savings stretched out so.


Subsequent emailing between us

We kept in touch for a few months after she went back to Perugia with her family. She asked me for some more help in making contacts. Here below is an email exchange late in October - ten weeks after we had met.

This is also six week after she claims she questioned the bucket and mop claims on this site and concluded we had facts wrong and were not to be trusted (she never actually emailed a question, and we never did make the “bucket and mop” claim she invented). 

1 MY EMAIL 21 OCTOBER

>>    Long time no talk. I still owe you some stuff and my knowledge seems to grow daily. I just drove to Seattle, and had nearly a week getting in deeper there.
>>
>>    Are you staying on there in Italy until the whole thing is done?  The other publishers’ publicists have been emailing me, and we have talked several times.
>>
>>    I could be in London soon and if so in Perugia.
>>
>>    Pete

2. BURLEIGH REPLY 21 OCTOBER

>> Hey {Pete
>>
>> I’ll definitely be here for the verdict! Send me any stuff you want to share. I am still hoping to talk to the British friends at some point, but only if they want to, I don’t want to bother them.

>> cheers,
>> n

3. MY REPLY 21 OCTOBER

> Thanks Nina! How nice.
>
> How much do you actually have on Meredith? Its not just (I hope!) only all about La Knox? The friends might talk but I’d need assurances on this angle.
>
> And what is the title and the publish date now? We foresee now three okay books coming out in January with no firm date on John Kercher’s about Meredith.
>
> Pete

4. BURLEIGH REPLY 21 OCTOBER

> Meredith. Not much at all! Really just what’s been in the press and that’s not good because I want to bring her character into the story, who she was, what the world has lost. It is a big hole in my repoirting. Anything you can do would be so appreciated.

> As for date, its really dependent on when I get key interviews. I am more interested in getting the good, true story than beating quickie crime book competition in january.

> So grateful to you for keeping up with me, and it will be really nice to see you here.

> All best
> Nina



Rebutting claims in Burleighs Time attack

Actually it has never had a down day: the Knox-hating websites have been passing along innuendo and cherry-picked factoids for six years now.

What innuendo and cherrypicking? What hate? Let us see some examples. We deal in hard facts and key documents and Italian translations here. Dozens of reporters and lawyers read. And TJMK was created only four and a half years ago, in direct response to the hyper-aggressive PR scheme. 

The other acronym you will encounter is TJMK, which stands for “True Justice For Meredith Kercher”—the young British woman murdered in this case–and is run by a New Jersey-based Englishman who claims that at one time he consulted at the United Nations.

I dont claim that. I was on the permanent staff of UN development for over 20 years, and then I left to consult with governments on growth directly. Burleigh KNEW that by the way. An example of this supremely under-qualified womans’ attempts in her article at personal put-downs of others.

These sites host extremely active avatars, many proclaiming to be lawyers, forensic experts, criminologists, but who never reveal their true identities.

Anyone can tell at a glance that real names are used here where they can professionally tolerate personal put-downs like Nina Burleigh’s.  They ARE lawyers and experts, they state their experience, and nobody else questions this. They all have better qualifications than Burleigh’s.

In 2009, I sat down with TJMK founder Peter Quennell, who has always claimed he started the site to make sure that no one forgot the victim.

We sat down only at her pleading request. There was really little in it for me. And TJMK DID make sure Meredith is not forgotten. I didnt just claim that.

A stout, ruddy Englishman living in New Jersey, he had been holding out the carrot of introducing me to the elusive Kercher family.

I am not stout, ruddy or English, and I live looking across to Manhattan. What carrot? She hoped for contact with Meredith’s family, and I offered and promised nothing.

After a month in Italy doing reporting, however, I realized that some of the “facts” on Quennell’s website didn’t seem to be in the police record in Italy. I emailed him to ask where he had found out that Knox and Sollecito met police standing outside the murder house with a mop and bucket in hand. That damning incident was nowhere in the record, not even the prosecutor would confirm it, nor had Italy’s Polizia Scientifica ever tested such items, which would surely have offered up some useful DNA evidence, had they been used to clean blood.

So where is that famous email? This would be two months BEFORE the emails quoted above. Does she sound questioning or suspicious or rejecting in those?

Try searching “bucket” on this site and see what you find. Did we really make the bucket a big deal? There is ONE mention in a media report of someone’s evidence of a bucket having been at the door. All the other mentions are of the bucket in Sollecito’s flat.

Quennell then accused me by email of being on the Knox family payroll, informed me that his sources in Perugia had seen me consorting with Amanda’s mother (I had in fact met with her once, in a public place, by then) and eventually started writing about how he was going to “train his scope” on my apartment in Manhattan, and closing emails with “how are the kiddies?”

That joke email preceded all of those emails above. I didnt accuse Burleigh then of being on the Knox payroll. She is presumably thinking of the question I put to her months ago, before we ever met.

To which she had promised me she WAS neutral. Not just a PR shill.

Posted on 03/29/13 at 10:51 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamNina BurleighNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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What’s Nina Burleigh Got Against Women? A Bizarre Time Report Suggests Deep Problems In Her Psyche

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





We depart from our scheduled posting for a few hours to contend with a bizarre attack by Nina Burleigh. 

I get up quite early because my clients have a nine-hour head start on me.

Today I woke up to the usual flurry of work-related emails plus a message directing me to Nina Burleigh’s Time blog post devoted to the “haters” – i.e., the many people around the world who have expressed their support for the family of Meredith Kercher and who are convinced that Italy’s first instance court got things right when it convicted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their role in Meredith’s brutal murder.

Italy’s highest court has just overturned the acquittal and definitively upheld Knox’s conviction for the felony offense of falsely accusing an innocent man of murdering Meredith Kercher. In that false accusation, Knox placed herself at the scene of the crime. 

In her blog post, Burleigh once again misquotes an off-the-record conversation with me, though I set her straight the first time she did it and asked her to cease. She also wrongly asserts that I am a “housewife” and “former” translator.

For those who may have missed them the first time around, the two blog posts I wrote that got Nina Burleigh all riled up can be found at TJMK or at my personal blog (http://skepbystander.blogspot.com/), under 2011 posts.

First, a bit of background: Burleigh spent a lot of time in her book maligning two of the best reporters covering the case, one of whom, like Burleigh, wrote a book about it. Since I wrote my review of Burleigh’s book and then pointed out that the New York Times was critical of her advocacy masquerading as journalism, time has passed.

According to her online news site (thefreelancedesk.com), which focuses on current events in Italy, where she lives, Andrea Vogt has been working as a reporter for 20 years and writes for, among others, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Seattle Times and The BBC.

As for Barbie Latza Nadeau, in addition to her frequent reporting for Newsweek/The Daily Beast, she is also a regular contributor for CNN. Both are excellent journalists whose work speaks for itself.

But what’s up with Nina Burleigh? I honestly don’t know what she was thinking when she decided to belittle their accomplishments in print, not to mention her decision to misrepresent my own rather more modest ones. Is she just angry because she got this case so wrong? Is this a simple case of sour grapes from a sore loser?

It probably doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things. But I would caution anyone who talks to a reporter off-the-record to beware. I have talked to many reporters off-the-record, and they have all respected this agreement, except for Nina Burleigh. In addition to breaking a promise, she misrepresented what I said.

And now that she has had her public snit, may I suggest that the focus now shift from these petty personality clashes - between Knox’s fan base and anyone who doesn’t share their views - and onto the facts? I think the tone needs to change as well: facts are best discussed rationally, calmly and respectfully.

And for the record, I have nothing at all against women who choose to be homemakers.

In the final analysis, however, Nina Burleigh has done Meredith Kercher and the truth a huge favor by attacking her supporters as “haters” and, in doing so, giving our efforts a plug. It is too bad that she could not resist plugging Knox’s upcoming book as well, and thus proving the point made by the New York Times: that Ms. Burleigh has been treading what she must know - as a seasoned reporter - to be a very dangerous line, that which separates journalists and advocates

She seems to have lost her way and, instead of figuring out how to get back on track, has decided to lash out at those advocating for truth in reporting.

Posted on 03/29/13 at 02:08 PM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamNina BurleighNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Powerpoints #20: On Contradictions, Here Preston Contradicts Preston

Posted by Kermit



[James Frey, Stephen Glass and Clifford Irving; writers caught playing fast-and-loose with the truth]


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

In the first question that we posed to fiction thriller writer (and now, self-described “point-of-view journalist”, whatever that euphemism means) Douglas Preston a few days ago, we asked him about his and Spezi’s Afterword to their book The Monster of Florence.

It appears to be full of errors and insinuations in linking the MoF to the Meredith Kercher murder case. A book that is based on a “True Story” should not be found to be derelict in presenting errors or fiction as true fact, neither at its end, nor in its beginning, nor in any other point between.

In this, the second question that we pose to Preston (and Spezi, if he’s available for replies), we go to the start of the story, where Preston recalls how he met Spezi, in the smoky haze of a backroom of the Caffè Ricchi in the centre of Florence and first learned of the existence of the monster … or did he? 

The problem is that in equally emphatic terms, you can also hear Preston on an NBC Dateline documentary describe how a few months earlier (I calculate) than the Caffè Ricchi tête-a-tête, he describes hearing about the Monster of Florence for the first time from his neighbours in the town he lived in in Italy.

And this, in an interview with Stone Philips of NBC with a camera crew and their equipment on-site in Italy in front of his old rented house. At a time when Preston was already telling the rest of the world that he couldn’t return to Italy, banned by Mignini! In my opinion, things can’t get much more cynical than that.

The contrast between Preston’s two clear, explicit and totally mutually-exclusive descriptions of how he learned of the Monster of Florence may seem like a trivial point, but it really is not.

Every writer knows that the key factor at the start of a book is engaging and maintaining the reader’s interest so that it lasts to the very end. A fiction writer is free to use whatever mechanism he may need to make that engagement. However, authors who describe their tale as a “True Story” as do Preston and Spezi should realize that reader trust is – poof! – lost if you load the start of the True Story with something that isn’t so.

Recent history has seen a number of writers who push and cross the limit of the Truth and rush headstrong into Truthiness, Mistruth, or Lies, peddling stories that attract our interest and are human, daring .... yet end up being exposed as blends of truths and half-truths.  Together with insinuations and a lot of out and out fibs:

  • Clifford Irving went to jail for his unauthorised and totally false “autobiography” of Howard Hughes, see the Richard Gere movie poster below..
  • The New Republic magazine fired Stephen Glass after determining that at least 27 of 41 stories written by Glass for the magazine contained fabricated material.
  • James Frey’s publisher has had to reimburse those purchasers of “A Million Little Pieces” who bought it believing it true (it was commercialized as such).

Where will Spezi and Preston take us with The Monster of Florence? All it takes is for one reader to question: could this really have happened as they are making us think it happened? Why when I read the Italian version of the book do I understand something completely different? Why in Italy is Il Mostro considered the better, much more accurate book?

From there the truth in the story starts to unravel. As we already see in the Powerpoint presentations, the start and end of the English-langage MoF book don’t exactly encourage us to take any of its contents at face value.

Now that the Meredith Kercher murder case approaches its final appeal, it looks like Preston and Spezi are moving to develop some sort of MoF sequel that could be titled The Monster of Florence: The New Generation starring Amanda Knox and of course Preston and Spezi. And including fresh new “True Stories” by the pair. 

Personally, I feel that they could spare both us and Amanda’s cause their “truth” – Amanda and her legal team have more than enough to think about right now, with the Supreme Court appeal and the mess the Raffaele Sollecito book dams them in.

I believe that the shrillness of Preston’s and Spezi’s tales of “truth” will increase its pitch as we approach the March final appeal of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as suspects in the murder of Meredith (Knox has already been found guilty of one crime and has served her prison sentence for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith). 

This is going to be a very tough appeal – I urge readers to take a look at the English translation of Prosecutor Galati’s request for the appeal. It is surprising in its strength and balance. The Knox and Sollecito legal teams must be busy (will either defendant dare to be in Italy at that time?) and they know they are going to have a rough time of it in March.

How nice for all concerned if all the fictions now drop dead.



Posted on 10/25/12 at 04:11 PM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Overviews PowerpointCrime hypothesesNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contexts10 Mignini MOF hoax
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Doug Preston’s Wrong Claims In His MOF Afterword Were Often Contradicted In The Past

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Said to be Doug Preston’s nice workshop in coastal Maine where he apparently makes his stuff up]


This is our own “afterword” to Kermit’s Powerpoint post below on Preston’s Afterword in which Kermit quoted original sources to back up all his claims.

Our profuse quoting of original sources, including many translated ONLY by PMF and TJMK from the original Italian, is what gives PMF and this site such strength as points of reference used regularly by media on both sides of the Atlantic.

Preston doesn’t really seem to be able to provide references for his own work.

In his deeply anti-Italy MOF book, he offers no bibliography, no footnotes, no overview of key documents, few sourced quotes, and interview quotes that often seem stretched and maybe flat-out wrong (as with the one with Madame Bene in the Afterword, about the claimed non-investigation of the screaming drug addict in the square). 

In a rather self-congratulatory comment Preston posted on the CPJ website 18 months ago, he claimed this.

Before publication [The Monster of Florence] was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.

Really? Well, without sources to check, what exactly did all those lawyers do?  The Afterword claims were published only in English, so that very few Italians who do know Italy and the case ever got a chance to provide alternative points of view - a few did, though, and there are several sarcastic Italian reviews on Amazon. In Italy, the more credible Guittari version outsells it 10-to-1. 

Preston’s lurid and under-researched claims then of course went viral.

You can see his claims about Rudy Guede and the “14 hours” interrogation and the meanie Mignini and junk Italian reporting and the incompetent Italian justice system and anti-Italianism generally disseminated all over the web. Read things by Candace Dempsey and Nina Burleigh and Michael Heavey and Saul Kassin and Bruce Fischer and Nigel Scott and Joel Simon and you will see the Preston claims parroted there.

Even in Raffaele Sollecito’s book we are turning up some of the claims!

And yet literally dozens of correct statements of fact that contradict Preston’s MOF Afterword have been posted on PMF and TJMK and other sites and in various books over the past four years. These are just a few on the 14-page Afterword posted on this site alone.

1) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the incompetence of the Italian System.

    Click “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!”

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

    Click Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular.

    Click The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy.

    Click Italian Campaigner For Victims And Their Families Says The System Is Denying Them Justice.

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

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

    Click Why The Totality of Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Are Guilty Just As Charged.

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation


2) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the Knox “14 hours” interrogation

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #3 Raffele Sollecito’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #4 Amanda Knox’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click This Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy.

    Click Italy Shrugs: Why The Defendant’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop.

    Click Dr Galati: Note An Example Of How Curt Knox’s Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences.

    Click Dr Galati: Attacks On Prosecution By Curt Knox’s Hatchet Men Becoming Shriller, More Fictional #1


3) Contradicting Preston’s claims about Rudy Guede and his central role in the events

    Click Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory.

    Click A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window.

    Click Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene.

    Click Powerpoints #7: Forced Entry Via Filomena’s Window Fails The Giggle Test.

    Click Powerpoints #10: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right.

    Click Powerpoints #12: The Telling Case Of The Doctored Footprint

    Click The New 80,000 Pound Gorilla In The Room Introduced By The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation.


4) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the large knife and DNA in the house

    Click Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife.

    Click What We Believe Are The Hard Facts On The Double DNA Knife.

    Click Setting Out What We Know About The Mixed Blood Evidence Samples From The Massei Report.

    Click Conti-Vecchiotti DNA Review Is Weak, Tendentious, Cites Non-Existent Standards

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation


5) Contradicting Preston’s claims about an evil Mignini and satanic illusions

    Click BBC Interview: Mignini Comes Across As Fair, Decent, Funny, And Quite Sane.

    Click Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To A Factually Challenged Reporter

    Click New Mignini Interview Makes Doug Preston Look Increasingly Incompetent And Vindictive.

    Click What His Florence Conviction Means For Giuliano Mignini And The Case.

    Click That Widely Watched LA7 TV Interview With Giuliano Mignini

    Click Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s….

    Click Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected

    Click Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Overturned As Florence Court Had No Jurisdiction.

    Click Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax.

    Click A Ten Part Series Showing How Mignini Was Misrepresented By Preston, Sforza and CPJ.

    Click Powerpoints #13: We Now Examine The Compelling Evidence For The REAL Railroading From Hell

Sunday, October 21, 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 10/21/12 at 05:23 PM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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