Series Paul Ciolino

Friday, December 29, 2017

Why Did The Mainstream Media Enable A Takeover By The Conspiracy Nuts?

Posted by The Machine



How Seattle is misinformed. Exoneration? Riiiight….

Rampant Conspiracies

This condemnation is written in light of the ever-growing wave of translated transcripts.

They show how extremely good the investigation and case at trial really were. And how extremely wrong were too much of the press. Why did mainstream media organisations allow so many conspiracy nuts to spout their unsubstantiated and ridiculously far-fetched claims?

Mainstream media organisations have known for a while that the general public has an insatiable appetite for documentaries about allegedly innocent people who have been convicted of murders they didn’t commit.

A cursory glance at the selection of true crime documentaries on Netflix provides evidence of the appeal of this specific genre. Amanda Knox, West of Memphis and Making of a Murderer are all hugely popular.

The Serial podcast about the Adnan Syed/Hae Mine Lee case is one the most downloaded podcast of all time. Sarah Koenig presented the case from the defence’s perspective and concluded there isn’t enough evidence to convict Adnan Syed of Hae Min Lee’s murder. 

The juries in the respective cases above listened to the prosecution and defence present their cases in court.

They weighed the testimonies of the experts and witnesses for both sides and they were all convinced that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Damian Echols, Jesse Misskelley and Jason Baldwin and Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and Adnan Syed were all involved in exceptionally brutal murders.

There is damning evidence against all the people mentioned above. But many journalists don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story.

Among The Worst

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

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

It was recognised as far back as 1999 in the legal profession that journalists have an inclination to slant their reports in favour of the defendants.

P. Cassell, “The guilty and the ‘innocent’: An examination of alleged cases of wrongful conviction from false confessions”, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 1999:

...academic research on miscarriages should not rely on media descriptions of the evidence against defendants. Journalists will all too often slant their reports in the direction of discovering “news” by finding that an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted.

The default position of mainstream media organisations in the US was that Amanda Knox is innocent despite the fact that the vast majority of journalists who covered the case weren’t in a position to know this - they hadn’t regularly attended the court hearings or read a single page of any of the official court reports.

The news organizations in Seattle was so partisan in their support of Amanda Knox that they were effectively just mouthpieces for the PR firm of David Marriott that was hired by Curt Knox to influence a credulous and naive local audience who felt duty-bound to support the hometown girl.

Lawyer Anne Bremner couldn’t resist the temptation to use the case to promote herself in the media. Judge Michael Heavey was recruited so he could use his position as a judge to sway the public.

The vast majority of people in Seattle were kept completely ignorant of the basic facts of the case by all their newspapers and all their TV news, so they were not in a position to realize that both Bremner and Heavey got basic facts wrong.

Many American journalists who reported on the case hold the ridiculous belief that the US legal system is the only competent and just one in the world, and that no US citizen charged by a foreign court with any crime can possibly be guilty of it or ever receive a fair trial.

The claim that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by corrupt officials in a foreign country by her supporters was manna from heaven for mainstream media organizations in America.

It was a sensational story that was guaranteed to enrage and entertain a gullible American public in equal measure.

It’s not possible to ascertain precisely who originated the story that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by a corrupt legal system.

But it almost certainly came from someone within or very close to Amanda Knox’s family. Jan Goodwin was one of the first journalists to make the claim after interviewing Edda Mellas for Marie Claire in 2008.

Studying abroad should have been a grand adventure. Instead, Amanda Knox has spent a year in jail, accused by a corrupt legal system of murdering her roommate.

Goodwin didn’t offer any evidence to substantiate her claim that the Italy legal system is corrupt, presumably the word of Edda Mellas was good enough for her.

It transpired that the word of Edda Mellas and ex-husband Curt and Amanda Knox’s supporters was good enough for the vast majority of journalists who covered the case on both sides of Atlantic.

They unquestiongly accepted everything they heard without bothering to do any fact-checking whatsoever. Time and again not a single investigator or court official in Perugia was interviewed.

This explains the reason why so many articles about the case are riddled with factual errors and well-known PR lies.

Other media organisations wanted to get in on the act and claim there was dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

CBS News allowed a couple of zany conspiracy nuts to spout their nonsense without providing any evidence to support their wild-eyed claims. Here’s Paul Ciolino again:

This is a lynching ... this is a lynching that is happening in modern day Europe right now and it’s happening to an American girl who has no business being charged with anything. (Paul Ciolino, CBS News.)

Here is Peter van Sant.

We have concluded that Amanda Knox is being railroaded… I promise you’re going to want to send the 82nd Airborne Division over to Italy to get this girl out of jail. (Peter Van Sant, CBS News.)

The reporting was invariably tinged with xenophobic sentiments. Italy was portrayed as some backward Third World country whose police force was comically incompetent. Here’s CBS’s Doug Longhini.

But in the case of Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murder in Italy last December, the Via Tuscolana apparently failed to separate fantasy from truth. Too many Italian investigators rivaled Fellini as they interpreted, and reinterpreted facts, to suit their own, surrealistic script.” (Doug Longhini, CBS News).

WHERE in all the transcripts is that proved?  Doug Longhini’s pompous and pseudo-intellectual comments are meaningless and lack any substance, although he was no doubt very pleased himself for his “clever” reference to Fellini.

Ironically Longhini was unable to separate fantasy from truth when he produced the error-ridden American Girl, Italian Nightmare for CBS News. The documentary includes the familiar PR lies about satanic rituals, the 14-hour interrogation sessions, and Knox not knowing Rudy Guede.

Lawyer John Q Kelly seemingly forgot the Latin maxim “semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit” - “he who asserts must prove” - when he claimed that Knox and Sollecito were being railroaded and evidence against them had been manipulated.

My thoughts, Larry, it’s probably the most egregious international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It’s just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.

“There’s been injustice here. There’s been injustice in other countries but this is just beyond the pale. The manipulation of evidence; the most unfavorable inferences drawn from the most common of circumstances and conduct was just a gross injustice here.”

(John Q Kelly, CNN).

Judy Bachrach was also allowed to claim there was a conspiracy to Amanda Knox on CNN.

Everyone knew from the beginning that the prosecutor had it in for Amanda Knox, that the charges are pretty much trumped up…

From the beginning this was carefully choreographed, they wanted to find her guilty, they’ve kept her in jail for two years even before trial and they did find her guilty. This is the way Italian justice is done. If you’re accused, you’re guilty.

There isn’t an ounce of hard evidence against her and all of Italy should be ashamed actually.” (Judy Bachrach, CNN).

Arguably the craziest conspiracy nut - and the competition is fierce - is the former FBI agent Steve Moore in early retirement.

Steve Moore claimed the Perugian police, Guilano Mignini, Dr Patrizia Stefanoni, Edgardo Giobbi the head of the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome, Judge Massei, and the Italian Supreme Court were all part of a dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox.

Moore claimed the following on his blog.

For this to happen, though, pompous prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, forensic perjurer Patrizia Stefanoni, and mind-reading detective Edgardo Giobbi (and others), must be prosecuted for their corruption. The judge who rubber stamped the lies in the first trial, Massei, must be also called to the bar of justice-or back to law school.

In a discussion with lawyer Paul Callan on CNN Moore actually claimed the Supreme Court was involved in the conspiracy.

Paul Callan: “And now … and they (the Perugian police) got the Supreme Court of Italy involved in this conspiracy? You know, that’s like saying that … [Steve Moore interrupts]”

Steve Moore: “Yes, they do. Yes, they do. You are being naive. You don’t understand the Italian system. You don’t understand it. You are defending something you don’t understand.”

Barbie Nadeau reported Moore’s claim that evidence was manipulated for The Daily Beast.

The evidence that was presented in trial was flawed, it was manipulated.

Steve Moore has never provided any evidence to support his wild-eyed hysterical claims there was a huge conspiracy involving a prosecutor, different police departments, Judge Massei and judges at the Italian Supreme Court to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

It’s no wonder TV legal analyst Paul Callan was smiling, desperately trying not to burst out laughing, when he discussed the case with Moore on CNN.

Moore provided irrefutable proof in the short time he was on CNN that he is ignorant of the basic facts of the case, and that he hasn’t read any of the official court reports. He falsely claimed “the DNA that they said was Raffaele’s was actually a woman’s DNA.”

No expert claimed this at the trial.

Sollecito’s DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. David Balding, a professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was “very strong”.

Moore told Erin Burnett: “The second trial proved with independent experts that the DNA that they claim was the victim’s was not on the knife.”

A number of forensic experts - Dr Stefanoni, Dr Biondo, Professor Novelli, Professor Torricelli, and Luciano Garofano - have all confirmed that sample 36B which was extracted from the blade of the knife WAS Meredith’s DNA. The independent experts did not carry out a test on this sample. 

In England there were deranged conspiracy nuts claiming Amanda Knox was framed too.

Amy Jenkins bizarrely claimed in The Independent that Knox and Sollecito were the victims of a miscarriage of justice because Knox was a young woman, the Italians didn’t like the fact Knox snogged her boyfriend and someone needed to save face or something.

The truth is, Amanda Knox’s great crime was to be a young woman – but mainly it was to be a young woman who didn’t know how to behave. She was 20 years old, she was suffering from shock, and she was in a foreign country. She was interrogated with no lawyer and no translator present. She made a phony confession.

Clearly no saint, she wasn’t a Madonna either. That’ll make her a whore then. She snogged her boyfriend; she was slightly provocative on Facebook; she turned an inappropriate cartwheel. In a Catholic country, it’s clearly not such a leap to go from there to stabbing your room-mate in the neck during a violent sexual assault – because that’s the leap the prosecution made.

To save face, Knox and her poor boyfriend had to be somehow levered into the frame. As the whole juggernaut of injustice chugged on it became harder and harder for the six lay judges who acted as a jury to destroy a case that had been constructed over two years by prosecutors who were their close working colleagues.” (Amy Jenkins, The Independent).

Conclusion: READ THE DOCUMENTS

More and more the translated documents prove that all of them have been wrong. The conspiracy theorists predictably haven’t provided one iota of evidence that there was ever any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

I suspect the producers at mainstream media organisations like CBS News and CNN knew there never was any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox all along, but they didn’t get care because they wanted a sensational story. 

Too many people within the media perversely see murder as entertainment. Rather than providing balanced and factually accurate coverage of murder cases they want to outrage and entertain the masses with melodramatic stories of conspiracies involving corrupt prosecutors and cops who want to frame innocent people for murders they didn’t commit instead.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the popularity of Making of a Murderer on Netflix. It filled a vacuum after Knox and Sollecito were acquitted in 2015.

I have no doubts that journalists from mainstream media organisations are currently looking for the next alleged case of someone being framed or railroaded for a murder they didn’t commit.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Artificially Controversial Adnan Syed Case Adds To Tilt Against Victims Worldwide

Posted by The Machine



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

1. The Media Overview

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

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

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

2. The Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee serial podcast

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

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

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

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

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

Why was this serial podcast so popular?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Faults by podcast creator Sarah Koenig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…absolute or mathematical certainty is not required.”

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

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

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

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






4. Main facts of the case against Adnan Syed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




5. Doubts Sarah Koenig tries to raise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Some Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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

7. The reactions of Hae Min Lee’s family

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

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

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

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




Some Of The Main Sources

One: Serial Season One

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

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

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

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

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

Seven: Syed Of ‘Serial’ Podcast Given Retrial

Eight: Serial Podcast Locations

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

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

 

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Paul Ciolino And Meredith’s Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That inspired this extended rebuttal by Kermit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The $40 Million Lawsuit Against Ciolino And Protess

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

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

Here are the lawsuit’s opening paragraphs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciolino told Simon that he was a police officer;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And all broadcast by your local CBS station. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mignini And Giuttari Win Final Round In Spurious 2010 Conviction By Rogue Prosecutor And Judge

Posted by Peter Quennell




Poison pill sown in 2006

The entire edifice of the Knox PR campaign was always built on a foundation of sand. 

Years ago, the wannabe real-crime-reporter Doug Preston was shaken to the core when Dr Mignini and others figured out with the help of court-authorized wire-taps that he and Mario Spezi were planting evidence and using fake IDs to frame someone they had wrongly concluded was the “real” murderer in the Monster of Florence case.

In uncalled-for retaliation (he got off very lightly and could have faced a prison term) Preston went back to the US and, safe there, wrote a nasty and largely fictional book. He repeatedly claims it was really the cops and specifically Dr Mignini not Preston & Spezi who were dumb and blundering in not sufficiently investigating and charging the “real” murderer.

Fast-forward to 2008

Almost nobody in Italy supports Preston’s and Spezi’s “solution” to the MOF crime which they seemed to hope would bring them big bucks and whole new careers. That solution is widely regarded as a joke and there is voluminous evidence against it.

Nevertheless, Preston’s MOF book is published in the US, demonizing Mignini in great detail.

Knox PR aide David Marriot and his media pet poodles and online thugs, including the wild-eyed Paul Ciolino of CBS and the bizarro Frank Sforza of Perugia, were all over the notion that it was Mignini and not Preston & Spezi who had done something seriously wrong. 

The mafia always has an interest in taking Italian justice down a peg, and opportunities were increasingly seen here. The mafia’s various useful idiots in the US (John Douglas, Saul Kassin, Dempsey, Burleigh, Steve Moore, Michele Moore, Heavey, Fischer, Doug Bremner, Hampikian, Halkidis, and some others) who have plagued a correct understanding of the MOF and Perugia cases all helpfully all piled on.

Fast-forward to January 2010

Dr Mignini and the former head of Florence detectives Michele Giuttari were convicted in Florence on spurious grounds. See our posts back then by Commissario Montalbano and TomM.

The purpose of the Florentine investigation against Mignini and Giuttari was obviously a pretext, a ploy aimed at blocking the seemingly very threatening Narducci arm of the MOF investigation. In fact it was a pretext for the rogue Florence prosecutor seizing the Narducci case file back from Dr Mignini in Perugia and burying it out of sight.

Nevertheless,  the demonization of Mignini became even more shrill, multiplied globally by the gullible Joel Simon of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists in foolishly protecting the proven liar Frank Sforza who is now facing THREE trials.,

Fast-forward to November 2011

The Florence appeal court reverses the 2010 convictions because the case was brought by the SAME rogue Florence prosecutor who was caught on tape meddling in the Narducci investigation and who was one of those (there were others) trying to slow it down or destroy it. 

Fast-forward to January 2013

The Supreme Court scathingly endorses that reversal.  The attempt from within the Florentine court to de-legitimize the Narducci arm of the MOF investigation was from now on definitively at a dead end.

The investigations and trials of those who had for mysterious reasons been hampering the Narducci investigation were also put back on track by Cassation. Most threatened is Doug Preston’s mate Mario Spezi. He seems headed for a prison sentence for sure, leaving Preston (a major meddler in Meredith’s case) also legally very exposed..

Fast forward to April 2013

Dr Mignini is promoted, gaining very high marks in a competitive process. From this point on he will handle only appeals, and when Dr Galati retires (expected soon) Dr Mignini is expected to be the #1 prosecutor of the Region of Umbria.

Fast forward to summer 2013

The Turin prosecution office finally obtains the investigation file on Mignini and Giuttari from Florence as the Florence appeal judge and Cassation had instructed.

The investigation file should have been sent in November 2011 for action leading to full closure on the substance, but the Florence prosecutors illegally sat on it, presumably fearful of what could happen to him.

The Turin prosecution office had little interest in re-opening what seemed a dead-end and frivolous case. If this was what Mignini and Giuttari had wanted, the charges could have been dropped, but without any court finding of “not guilty”.

However, Dr Giuttari and Dr Mignini explained that they wanted a court finding of “not guilty” on the merits of the case. They WANTED the Turin court to read the evidence and to make a final ruling.

Fast forward to today

The Turin court did meet. Andrea Vogt posted this report.

For those keeping track of the various “sideshows” in the Amanda Knox case, a Turin court Wednesday definitively acquitted Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini of three charges against him in connection to his investigations into the Monster of Florence case.  The court shelved another three charges because the statute of limitations had expired. One abuse of office charge involving the wiretapping of a La Stampa journalist will be heard in court on March 18, but its statute of limitations appears to expire just days before, so it is unclear if the case will go forward. None of the matters relate directly to the Amanda Knox case, but they were often referenced by the prosecutor’s detractors.


And what next

The Italian justice system protects its senior judges and prosecutors from criminal defamations intended to obstruct justice with some powerful measures. They were originally intended to keep the mafia in its place as defamation of police, prosecutors and judges is one of its mainstays.

All of the false claims about Dr Mignini are still out there. Preston’s book is still on sale. So is Burleigh’s, Dempsey’s, Fischer’s, and John Douglas’s. Joel Simon’s seriously wrong claims are still online. Not one has recanted or wound back.

Knox and Sollecito each repeated the baseless claims at length in their books, and even embellished them. Michael Heavey parrots them to the State Department. They are the main crutch of Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michele Moore, Doug Bremner, and so on.

However, the required pushback by Florence prosecutors and others has begun, and with today’s ruling will accelerate. Frank Sforza is already on trial for calunnia and the Italian justice system is quietly zeroing in on many others, all the book publishers included.

On March 14 the magazine Oggi which published many of Amanda Knox’s baseless claims in Italian must appear in court in Bergamo. Knox and Sollecito themselves may find a heap of new legal troubles after the appeal verdict is announced on 30 January.

*****

Numerous posts by Kermit and Yummi still need to be linked to.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How Knox-Mellas PR Eagerly Propagated His False Claims

Posted by Ergon



[Frank Sfarzo, thinking of better days past…]

This post is also available here in Italian. It would be appreciated if the attention of Italian media could be drawn to that page.

My previous posts

Parts One and Two of this series on the increasingly erratic Francesco Sforza (called here Frank Sfarzo, his pseudonym) are here and here.

Summary of conclusions of investigation

1) The Knox/Mellas PR campaign, the Friends Of Amanda, and the activities of online commenters like Bruce Fischer and Frank Sfarzo are one and the same, coordinated to subvert the course of justice in the trial of Amanda Knox.

There is evidence of coordination of stories planted in various media, manipulation of Wikipedia, moneys paid to Frank Sfarzo; they post on his forums, he posts on theirs, and attempts to profit from the murder of Meredith Kercher.

2) The mercenary trickster Frank, who has other agendas and is flexible on the idea of guilt or innocence of the accused, inflames her gullible supporters with stories of ‘rotten’ Italian justice, and, by demonizing the prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, makes them unlikely to ever reasonably look at the concrete evidence of guilt presented in court and confirmed in several trials so far. 

3) A series of lies sourced by him and the campaign then makes it into Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s books, and from there into the media, which, thinking they have been confirmed by various sources, repeat them endlessly in an attempt to sway public opinion, without doing any fact checking of their own.



(Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, co-authors, The Monster Of Florence, first set attack on legal system in process.]

Introduction to Part Three

As someone who has long been fascinated by politics and the use of PR in political campaigns, it was interesting to see similar tactics used by the campaign that sprung up around the group known as the Friends Of Amanda Knox, or, FOA.

The group, formed to battle inflammatory descriptions of Knox and counter the negative media reports about ‘Foxy Knoxy’ “ was soon indulging in pretty inflammatory rhetoric themselves, mostly through the internet.

Many trial watchers, who were used to the normal progression of murder cases, were shocked to see the virulent online campaign become the story, and translate into a wholesale attack on a foreign country’s judicial system, and an attack on one prosecutor, Dr Giuliano Mignini, and the police force of the city in which the murder took place, Perugia, Italy.

These attacks soon got picked up and repeated by a hostile media, often without the simplest fact checking, but more to do with feeding the public with an endless titillation effect of sex and violence.

Analyzing this wall of noise became an interesting pursuit for many of us. Was there truth to the allegation that these were two ‘innocent kids’ railroaded by a rogue prosecutor with an obsession with Satanism and sex, and was there widespread public support for them, or, just the semblance of it?



[Edda and Chris Mellas. Only picture of them at an FOA event, which Frank Sfarzo claims “they have no connection with”.]


And how and when did Frank Sfarzo become such a big part of the picture? Make no mistake, he was central to the PR effort, as “the only Italian reporter to attend every trial date for the two accused” and apparently a victim of “a prosecutor with an enemies list” who sent police goons to kill him (Frank Sfarzo) which only served as back story for quasi-journalists, to play out their own prejudices and excuse two people already convicted of murder.

This series of articles on the activities of Frank Sfarzo and the FOA was based on the simple philosophical equation: if some should set themselves up as watchers and experts of a murder trial conducted in a foreign language, in a country thousands of miles away, and create reams of ‘expert’ opinion that never was to be tested in court, well, who would watch the watchers?

And how important was Frank Sfarzo, as the only Italian in the mix, to give them credibility by simple parroting and agreeing with their conclusions? Who was Frank Sfarzo, anyway? (For that, see parts One and Two)

Who are the “Friends Of Amanda”?

And how did they come across Frank Sfarzo?

The FOA was originally a “group of parents whose children went to Seattle Prep School with Amanda Knox” included Tom Wright, a filmmaker, Jim Lovering, a marketing specialist, David Marriott, of the PR firm, Gogerty Marriott, and King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, with attorney and CNN legal specialist Anne Bremner as their spokesman.

Seattle Resident and New York Times columnist Tim Egan fired off a series of xenophobic posts, which portrayed the 1st instance trial as an exercise in anti-Americanism. A sentiment regrettably echoed by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell.



[Many well known FOA members are seen here with Frank Sfarzo]


Here is Frank Sfarzo, fully converted to Amandaism by January 19, 2009, and on board on his blog Perugia-Shock: “Friends for Amanda…. A different kind of marines”

Hate and contempt, people judging, people lynching, profiteers, and jackals. But there are as well a few nice stories around the Meredith Kercher case.

There’s Meredith’s family who have not had a word of hate for who ever stolen their daughter’s life. There’s a guy like Rudy—guilty of having killed Meredith or of just not having called the 118? never mind—who lives today in repentance, and had thoughts of sorrow for the angel that we lost.

There are Rudy’s lawyers, Walter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, able to fight with all their strength and not exactly for a fortune. There’s Rudy’s elementary teacher and her son who run to the court to testify for this unlucky guy.

There are people who go work into the jails, keeping inmates busy with any sort of activities. There are Amanda’s guards, first rough but who treat her now like a queen.



[Professor Chris Halkides, “the DNA Guy” who writes many misleading pieces on DNA evidence, with Amanda Knox and her friend Madison Paxton]


Frank Sfarzo, continuing:

There were already people in Seattle helping Amanda’s family. Now we have Anne Bremner and Amanda’s friends. They didn’t stay there just watching and complaining. They chosen to show to the world that the girl they know, the gentle and creative young woman who loves music, the outdoors and children can’t be a killer and today friendsofamanda.org, the website they built for the purpose, is ready.

“Amanda should never have been arrested,” said Anne Bremner, a Seattle attorney and TV legal analyst:

“She’s on trial because Italian officials made a series of serious investigative mistakes and didn’t realize it until they had already leveled false charges. They got themselves in so deep that they refuse to get out.

Private criminal investigator Paul Ciolino used stronger words in a CBS 48 Hours interview last year: “It’s a railroad job from hell.”

The Friends of Amanda is not associated in any way with Knox’s family or her legal defense team. It includes members from the U.S. legal and judicial systems, an internationally renowned criminal investigator, a best-selling author, and other professionals and friends who believe unequivocally in Knox’s innocence.

“Many of us are parents who would be grateful for the support of a similar group if our own child was locked up 6,000 miles away in a stranger-than-fiction nightmare,” Bremner said. “Our mission is to present the international public and the Italian justice system with the solid facts and evidence that irrefutably prove Amanda’s innocence, and bring her home.”

“The killer is serving his time,” said Bremner. “He acted alone. Neither Amanda nor Raffaele was at the scene at the time. Zero evidence connects them to this homicide. We are absolutely certain that neither of them had anything to do with Kercher’s tragic death.”

“Italian authorities and the international media have presented a lurid and utterly false image of Amanda, accompanied by fantastical references to sex games and occult rituals,” Bremner added. “Everyone who knows Amanda says these stories are beyond ludicrous.”

Not really “the marines” Amanda’s lawyer was joking about but a nice story of friendship and solidarity. “America as I like it.”



[There’s a picture of Meredith to the back here, along with her accused killers’. FOA and Knox revel in phony ‘tributes’ and ‘honor’ to Meredith, knowing it will pain the Kerchers]


Of course, as we now know, Sfarzo already had been receiving moneys from OGGI, from American networks, and, very likely, the Sollecito family.

I do not agree that he changed his mind about guilt at some point along the way.

It is my opinion, that, having known Mario Spezi from his time in Florence, he returned to Perugia to find ways to attack PM Mignini, and his primary goal was to attack his credibility and affect his Monster Of Perugia investigation through a full bore attack on his handling of the Meredith Kercher Murder case.

My opinion, as I say, but there simply is too much evidence of collusion with Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston, and financial inducements via Bruce Fischer’s gullible membership, as reported earlier.

The rest of his story, and the main point made, that the FOA had no connection with Amanda Knox’s family, (or Frank to the FOA) we know to be an outright lie, as FOA>Chris Mellas>Bruce Fischer. Note Sfarzo’s nearly two month stay with the Mellases.

Judge Heavey and others making regular donations amounting to tens of thousands of dollars to Frank Sfarzo and his never ending demands to them for more.



[Bruce Fischer, center, long chained to Sfarzo, now the toothless ‘attack dog’ of the FOA campaign]


The stories sourced from Frank about ‘Mignini’s Goons’ found its way into the CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalists, who never retracted their claim after finding out that Sfarzo lied to them, that he had assaulted police who were called by his sister when he attacked them for trying to take her away from his clutches. Maybe this had something to do with it: 

CPJ 2009 Donors

Douglas & Christine Preston

Julia Preston

Even his stories about not receiving any commissions from newspapers turned out to be a lie, he directed the RCS Group to send royalties for all the previous photos and stories to Seattle, and his pleas to send donations to another PayPal account (controlled by his aunt) were not because PayPal was creating problems for him, but because he was trying to avoid taxes. (I saw copies of his e-mails, and he was traveling with copies of his aunt’s ID).



[Frank with Judge Michael Heavey, shortly after his arrival in Seattle.]

Judge Michael Heavey

He is an interesting subject in himself, as one of the most fervid FOA.. Not having been very successful in his political ambitions, and admonished by the Judicial Ethics Council for his advocacy for Amanda Knox, he seemed to have some sort of emotional connection to the case, and maybe, like Bruce Fischer, wanted a springboard for his next venture, which now, grandly, is called Judges 4 Justice.

Here is our full investigation of him along with a video and transcript of his pro-Knox presentation repeated at numerous Rotary Club venues. He even took Frank Sfarzo and Dr. David Anderson to one in Yakima, WA on July 25, 2012.

At one of them (transcript) he repeats the claims of ‘corrupt and dishonest police’, ‘they planted evidence’, ‘kangaroo court’, ‘14 hour all night long interrogation’ canards. He also says elsewhere: “I used to think he (Mignini) was evil incarnate” and, shockingly, says:

The criminals are those who perpetuated a false accusation against two good young people. These police and prosecutors lied, cheated, and stole the innocence of two good young people. They are the criminals.

Why did the Supreme Court of Italy send this case back? Here is the answer

. In an effort to save face, the Italian Supreme Court joined the prosecution and the police of Perugia, and perpetuated these false accusations. The Italian Supreme Court has become criminals themselves. They continue the abuse of two good young people.

My prediction, this goes back for a third trial, there won’t be too much fanfare, and the verdict will be not guilty, insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The Supreme Court, the Court of Cassation, does this to save face, but in reality, in my opinion, they have disgraced themselves as jurists, they continue to disgrace their country. Is this justice? I think not.

Is Judge Heavey unhinged? You can decide here..



[Frank, the loony Dr. David Anderson, and Judge Heavey at the Yakima Rotary. Anderson still attacks the victim’s family]

Bruce Fischer

Now we all have Bruce Fischer’s M.O. of intimidation and bullying behavior down pat. He is not simply an advocate for Amanda Knox, he is Chris Mellas’s surrogate in the online wars.

His enemies list, his attempts to “out” any anonymous individual who got in his way of building an Innocence-Anywhere-for-hire advocacy group. He promised to apply for charitable status, but became for profit.

His ballistic threats to expose the leakers who came forward on Frank Sfarzo’s behavior showed how important Frank Sfarzo was to their cause, there was no level he would not sink to, this has all been reported previously, in Parts I and II. The relevance, also, of the SfarzoGate Papers is that it sank Bruce Fischer.

But it was in his using of a very few volunteers to create the impression of widespread support that he undid himself. He even patently allowed the use of sock puppet accounts to out people, and to attack PM Giuliano Mignini.

And it was in his use of sock puppets to write articles for Wikipedia, and control the Meredith Kercher, Giuliano Mignini, and Candace Dempsey entries, that he exposed himself, and even, inadvertently, showed collusion with FBI agent Steve Moore.

Here is our investigation, in part on his methods.

But where Bruce really out-did himself was where FOA friends wrote numerous articles on the poorly editorially controlled (plus active collusion with the editors) Ground Report to write numerous libels about their favorite target, Dr Giuliano Mignini. (I also once got the ‘special treatment’. No biggie, I knew when I got involved this would happen, and this cause is worth it.)

Here is one comment written by an anonymous commenter “JLS1950” to another, “Heisenberg”:

JLS1950 > Heisenberg −

Sounds to me like Mignini seeks to protect the real traffickers from “competition”. I wonder if that might help shed some light on his connections to Guede…”

And who do you think was the source for this? Frank Sfarzo.

Note: “JLS 1950” is Joe Starr, a Seattle resident who was identified as being Chris Mellas’s best friend, and whose syntax, repeated libels and foul language for the last six years in various forums marks him as being one single awful person, regardless of how many ID’s he appropriates.



[Joel Simon of the now discredited CPJ, which did not fact check Frank’s allegations, then refused to retract after it turned out he lied.]

Example of major false Sfarzo allegation

this is Frank Sfarzo on Perugia Shock:

“MIGNINI WAS THERE AND THE INTERROGATION WAS VIDEO RECORDED” January 31, 2012

“I gave the order, to bring them both in together” –Giobbi revealed at the trial. “So, as soon as the room was ready, with the camera set up and everything, she was called in”

“I was in a room together with the prosecutor Mignini” –Giobbi adds– “We were watching the interrogation, so to study her reactions”.

“So, Giobbi reveals that Mignini was present! He is responsible, then, for everything that happened that night.”

But in the court transcript Dr Giobbi says nothing of the kind. The only other observer was Dr Profazio, the head of the Flying Squad. Dr Mignini was at home in bed.

And in his testimony there was zero mention of any camera. There was no recording. They were merely puzzling over Sollecito’s and Knox’s behavior.

So here’s a legal quiz.

After an investigation into a certain Perugian Blogger’s Blog is concluded, and someone wades through three years of slanderous shite, they find posts that accuse an officer of the court of consorting with drug traffickers, and protecting them, and lying about whether Amanda Knox’s interrogation was recorded, amongst many other false allegations.

In short, if he accuses said officer of the court of committing crimes.

Is that worthy of being sued for defamation, or is it not?

Steve Moore

Shortly after ex-FBI agent became convinced by his wife to look at the case in 2010, he started running illegal background checks on prominent commenters for guilt, as he admitted on his blog. His presentations on the case were uniformly, laughably, unprofessional.

There are more than a dozen posts on TJMK debunking him.

Chris and Edda Mellas

Not only do they organize and coordinate the FOA and Bruce Fischer wings of the Amandic Party, they have made it very clear that they approve and support their activities 100%.

And then they threw a party for the troops, but hid when the infamous group photo was taken, to hide their involvement. Luckily (see image of them above) we do have a picture of them there.

I blame them for their lack of respect and thinly disguised hostility towards the Kercher family, and for allowing their surrogates to attack the Kerchers as being motivated by “greed” when it was the Massei court that awarded the damages! The people who made such comments on their behalf were at that party, and they know that! The Kerchers, with their grace and perseverance, are the polar opposites of the classless Mellases.



(David Marriott, of the Marriott PR firm, who quickly lost control of the campaign as the FOA got into attack mode.)

Frank Sfarzo, again

This is before he realized it might be better to keep his mouth shut and disappear for a while:

“Damn, I’ve heard that pmfrs are slandering me seriously through one of their members, a certain “Tamale”, a certain ”Ergon and various other anonimous (sic, I am not anonymous) slanderers (people so ashamed of themselves that they don’t even have the courage of appearing with their own name and face).  Good for my lawsuit. Hey, I didn’t know I was in jail… Thank you “Michael”, hope you got valuable properties…”

No, I’m not ‘anonimous’. My photo and name’s been published on IIP since 2011, and when Sfarzo ran in to me at Cassazione in Rome on the afternoon of March 25, he couldn’t even make eye contact. He spent the whole day texting away (maybe he took a picture of me with his Blackberry? smile. Then the last I saw of him was on the Porto Umberto I bridge that night at 10:00 PM, driving away in his little Smart Car, hunched down and still texting at the stop light.

On December 16, the lawyers for the Kercher family presented their arguments, in the Appeals court of Florence. They were there, as they had been since the beginning of the trial in Perugia, to speak for the real victim, Meredith Kercher, above all.

Then on December 17, the lawyers for Amanda Knox presented their case, which amounted to more than a rehash of false arguments. It was livened only by an e-mail from Knox, to which as the judge said, if she wants to defend herself, she can present herself in court.

Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers will present their arguments January 09, and then the prosecution rebuttal January 10. From now on, nothing the few remaining FOA does will make any difference to the verdict, due January 15 approx.

The end

Who knew when I first commented on the case in 2010 where it would lead me? Yes, the case brought together all sorts of people, but in the end, it was the nastiest PR campaign I have ever observed. Amanda Knox, Chris Mellas, Frank Sfarzo, Douglas Preston, Michael Heavey, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore all seemed to revel in this dirty fight.

One day, they may look back and ask “Was it worth it? Did it help the cases at all? The Monster Of Florence, Knox/Sollecito, against Mignini?” But somehow, I feel they are, and always will be, singularly unaware.



(Outside Cassazione, Aula No. 1, Rome, waiting for the court to return. 8:30 PM, Mar. 25, 2013. This is when the wheels fell off the PR bus.)

Acknowledgement

Much of the background is based on research on the principals conducted and reported in the pages of the PMF dot net forum,, the PMF dot org forum,, and TJMK here..

I want to mention Nell and guermantes, Kermit and James Raper, The Machine, jools, Mr. and Mrs. Fly By Night, Yummi, Peter Quennell, and brmull (who sadly is no longer commenting on the case), and many more. The rest, too many to list here, but gratefully acknowledged.

And also I was fortunate to be entrusted with information from many confidential sources about Frank Sfarzo, and to obtain more when I went to Rome to attend the hearing at Cassazione March 25-26, when the Italian Supreme Court accepted the appeal of the Umbrian prosecutor general Dr. Galati and annulled the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

This was a collaborative effort, and my thanks to all of you.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

How Did The Knox-Mellases Engineer Their PR And Legal Shortfall? David Marriott Analysed

Posted by Media Watcher



David Marriott in Kermit’s Powerpoint Real Railroad to Hell with paid sleuth Paul Ciolino


‘In 2011, David Marriott was a proud and happy man. 

His client, Amanda Knox, was home, and he was basking in the media attention for having successfully engineered, many people thought, a full and outright acquittal.  So he started to give interviews,  bragging on about his prowess in creating a narrative about someone he’d never met, and imagining himself as a character on the silver screen.

But as with so many stories, the declaration of victory was premature, and in this case, already bittersweet. 

The bittersweet came with the Appellate Decision that overturned the conviction for murder while declaring Marriott’s client a liar, guilty of Calunnia for falsely fingering an innocent man.  The case was clearly more complicated than many casual observers, seduced by PR spin, realized.

Observing Marriott’s chest beating from two years ago is now a little like watching someone take a victory lap in a World Series game after just the fourth inning.

The Premature Nature of his victory lap would start to become apparent only months later with the Prosecution’s strongly argued appeal.  It would become much more clear to a broader set of people with the Supreme Court decision that embraced the arguments of the Prosecutor, while setting aside the Appellate Court verdict except for the conviction for Calunnia, which was affirmed.

Meanwhile, his client had moved forward with a book deal.  In delivering the book, she would make many claims that could easily be disproven, and would further strengthen the prosecution’s hand.

In years to come, it’s likely someone will study the Marriott intervention in this case with the kind of fascination people often have for “experts” who got it utterly, completely wrong. 

All along, the “Amanda as victim” narrative was in many ways, the worst story for Amanda’s advocates to embrace.  The Italian Justice system doesn’t view her as a victim.  They view her as someone who was originally seen as a witness, and who became a defendant only after she implicated herself and the evidence started to accumulate. 

In telling the story of Amanda’s supposed innocence, the PR spinsters and her own stateside attorney, Ted Simon, completely overreached.  How many people saw Simon say time after time in media interviews, “There is NO evidence.”

Meanwhile the PR strategy fired up people who WERE paying attention and who saw how badly the media narrative differed from the realities of the case.  As an example, much as the defense and spinsters tried to say the “crime scene” consisted of only the room where Meredith’s body was found, advocates for the victim’s family knew the crime scene also consisted of all of the areas where evidence of the crime was covered up.  They also knew, as the prosecution did, how many pieces of evidence, including cell phone records and DNA evidence, directly implicated Amanda Knox.

In many ways, this site, and the contributions people made to providing English translations of ongoing testimony and all of the official court documents, happened because of hubris on the part of people who thought that telling a story that was so at odds with the essential truth of the case would ultimately win Amanda Knox’s freedom.

The ultimate irony, of course, is that the reason so many English speakers, including media, can now read the trial record and court documents for themselves is because a flawed PR strategy fired up a group of people who were willing to dive in, find out what was actually happening, and share what they were finding with the rest of the world.

So David Marriott, thank you.  It’s likely that by the time this case is complete (and there’s still a long way to go), you will have served an important role in helping people who care about justice to understand why Amanda Knox now stands convicted of Calunnia, and why she ultimately is being held to account for the murder of Meredith Kercher. 

And hopefully, the tale of your involvement and overreach will serve as a reminder to other defendants in other cases that engineering blatantly false and misleading media coverage about a criminal case is not likely to be a winning strategy.


[Below; Curt Knox and Chris Mellas paid for and guided their toxic PR manager David Marriott]

Posted on 10/02/13 at 09:05 PM by Media WatcherClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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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 04, 2011

Today An Obsessional Group Rant About “No Evidence” By A Stacked Panel At Seattle University?!

Posted by Peter Quennell


Seattle University is a small Jesuit college just this side of Seattle’s downtown.

Today at 4:00 pm in the Pigott Auditorium, in what seems to us a seriously dopey and un-academic exercise, some of the most obsessed of the conspiracy theorists will assemble to peddle their illusions.

Two of the panelists, Paul Ciolino and Steve Moore, have been exhaustively debunked on TJMK in the past, and sooner or later we will probably turn our attention to debunking the other two: Mark Waterbury, and Candace Dempsey.

Our posts on the hotheaded faux detective Paul Ciolino are here, here, and here, and our posts on the hotheaded faux FBI murder investigator Steve Moore are here, here, here, and here.

The other two panelists, Mark Waterbury and Candace Dempsey, have authored slow-selling books which studiously ignore 95 percent of the evidence and mis-state the other 5 percent. Tom Wright of the Friends of Amanda Knox group will be presiding.

Would you like to attend, well-equipped with some questions? Ask these questions and these questions and these questions. Around 400 in all. Any reports would be appreciated.

Below: Seattle University President Father Steve Sundborg. Does he know what his film department is getting up to?


Posted on 04/04/11 at 12:48 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamHeavey, BremnerPaul CiolinoMore hoaxersThe wider contextsSeattle contextSteve Moore
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

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

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

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

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


Friday, October 23, 2009

Producer Of CBS Reports On The Case “Crazy, Desperate, Stupid, And/Or Unscrupulous” ?

Posted by The Machine



[click for larger image] 

Meet Joe Halderman. A CBS producer in New York. He now stands accused of blackmail.

None of the four US networks that have attempted coverage of Meredith’s case has a good record for impartial reporting, or anything remotely like a firm grasp of the prosecution evidence as actually presented.

Not one of them seems to be aware of the very careful pre-trial process or the very damning Micheli report. 

Nevertheless, the overall records of NBC, ABC and CNN seem to show some slight attempt at balance.

NBC produced two extremely good Dateline documentaries, which still represent the standard to beat. ABC has a reporter in the court in Perugia, Ann Wise, who we often quote on TJMK because her reporting is generally impartial and good.

And although CNN aired the one-sided Larry King Show last week, and the wild-eyed Jane Velez Mitchel panel discussion (now disappeared from YouTube) in which the lunatics appeared to be running the asylum, CNN did have some good reporting in the early days of the case, and we hear they will attempt to report better.

CBS undeniably is the worst of the worst. CBS has repeatedly spread bias and misinformation and slimed Italian professionals and witnesses, and for that matter Italy itself, throughout the past two years.

Here is our post on one disaster of a CBS report. And here,  here,  here,  and here are our posts on another.

Joe Halderman of CBS (above) co-produced both of them.

Several weeks ago, Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail for apparently attempting to stiff CBS comedy host David Letterman for two million dollars.

Mr Halderman, a producer for the real-life crime show 48 Hours, entered his plea as he appeared in court in Manhattan on a charge of attempted grand larceny.

Speaking earlier, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said that the offence, if proven, was punishable by a prison term of five to 15 years. “Our concern here is extortion and that’s what we’re focusing on,” he said.

Mr Halderman was arrested following an undercover police “sting” operation at a New York hotel, during which he was allegedly recorded setting out his blackmail demands to Letterman’s lawyer.

Now it is being reported in New York that Joe Halderman’s story is taking a really bizarre turn.

One of the last 48 Hours stories that CBS Newsman and accused David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman worked on - airing just one month before he allegedly launched his plot to extort the late-night host - involved a ransom scheme…

It’s a run-of-the-mill true-crime tale of murder and deception, but it features one detail that seems strange in retrospect: The sister of one of the victims, who never got her brother’s remains from the Philippines after his murder, at one point received creepy anonymous e-mails from someone claiming to have her brother’s ashes, and offering to sell them to her….

The strange thing is, in the story Halderman reported, the ransom scheme goes haywire: The man behind the e-mail ends up attracting attention to himself and gets arrested for Rios’ murder….

We came across the weird synchronicity between Halderman’s day job and his after-hours scheming while going through his old 48 Hours segments and looking for signs that they may have been produced by someone crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to engage in blackmail.

Hmmm. Apparently Joe Halderman is crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to mislead a large segment of the American population about the real facts of Meredith’s murder.

Real crime seems a small step from there. 

Three others who Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau might also want to keep a close eye on are CBS junior producer Sara Ely Hulse, CBS reporter Peter Van Sant, and CBS consultant detective Paul Ciolino!

All have shown themselves extremely ignorant of the basic facts of the case.

Email exchanges with the obviously obsessively pro-Knox producer Sara Ely Hulse have suggested to us that, among many other key facts of the case, she was not aware of the following:

  • Amanda Knox had a criminal record in Seattle.
  • Amanda Knox had met Rudy Guede on a number of occasions.
  • Amanda Knox was not questioned for 14 hours without an interpreter.
  • A woman’s bloody shoeprint in Knox’s size was found on a pillow in Meredith’s room.

The seemingly extremely amateurish detective Paul Ciolino was responsible for conducting the farcical experiment in Perugia in the first CBS documentary linked-to above where he could not even get the STREET right before claiming this was a railroad job from hell.

And reporter Peter Van Sant channeled some of the worst libels about Prosecutor Mignini - baseless claims about satanic sects and so on - without even being able to spell Prosecutor Mignini’s name properly!

It seems to us very odd that both Sara Ely Hulse and Paul Ciolino appear to be members of the Free Amanda Knox Facebook group. Does CBS have any guidelines at all on ethical matters or standards of reporting?

On second thoughts…. Do we REALLY have to ask?



Above: CBS reporter Peter Van Sant who repeated online unfounded libelous smears about Prosecutor Mignini



Above: Junior CBS producer Sara Ely Hulse, an obsessed Knox fan who participated in CBS’s two fiascos.



Above: CBS consultant Paul Ciolino who ran a farcical test in Perugia and also slimed prosecutor and police



Above: Indecisive CBS producer Doug Longhini who with Joe Halderman produced CBS’s two fiascos

Posted on 10/23/09 at 12:51 PM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedHoaxers from 2007Paul CiolinoMore hoaxersHoaxers: media groupsCBS NetworkNews media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contexts
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Monday, April 13, 2009

CBS Report Sets New Record For Trashing Of Meredith, Xenophobia, Multi-Inaccuracies, Possible Libels

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: the CBS producer Doug Longhini]

Those who really know the case well were widely appalled at this vicious and highly misleading piece of propaganda.

A number of complaints have been registered. In the next several days, we’ll be analyzing the CBS report and the reaction at length.

Meanwhile, for those who did not see the CBS report and would like to, try clicking on the image above. It should just open and play.

And if it does not work for you, please tell us, or download and play this zipped version.

Posted on 04/13/09 at 03:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe prosecutorsHoaxers from 2007Paul CiolinoMore hoaxersNews media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contexts
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Is The Amanda Knox Defense Team Being Undermined?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger images]

Carlo Della Vedova (left) and Luciano Ghirga.

Two of the smartest defense lawyers in Italy.

They are widely regarded as supremely competent and as truly superb players within the Italian system. They have a long list of acquittals to their names.

And they are said to get along very well with Prosecutor Mignini and to respect his role in the process and him personally.

If there are any lawyers in Italy that Amanda Knox can look to for a really powerful defense that could get her off and out of there, it would seem to be the team she has now.

Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova have in the past voiced extreme irritation over past sliming from safely-distant Seattle of the Italian judges, the prosecutors, the police, and the evidence service.

They had essentially asked Seattle to pipe down.

We haven’t yet heard from them on the rabid new sliming of Prosecutor Mignini from Seattle. But lawyers following the case in New York and Italy seem stunned at the ferocity and pure foolishness of the attacks.

Several have remarked that they might walk right off a case if they were so undermined in their handling of a defense. And that they might file suit if they were the prosecutor.

Now Mr Mignini himself actually has filed suit. He has just filed a defamation complaint and Mr Ciolino and a small Seattle rag are those cited.

It seems to be a pretty popular move in Italy. We wonder why…






Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knox “Friends” Paul Ciolino & Co Smear Prosecutor Mignini As “An Out Of Control Maniac”

Posted by Peter Quennell





At the Salty’s hatefest in West Seattle, Paul Ciolino whipped up the crowd with a rant about Dr Mignini being “an out-of-control maniac”.

We see no proof. We check this whole point of view almost daily but we never, ever, ever get independent confirmation.  The BBC also checked it out and found zero proof of ANY of Ciolino’s wild-eyed claims.

We are repeatedly told that Mr Mignini is tough, fair, and effective, in an Italian system of justice where things are not particularly loaded on the side of the prosecution.

And that he has the reputation of being very, very caring of the victims and their families. The Kerchers have expressed their full confidence in him.

Also that Mr Mignini’s stepping-aside would probably make just about zero difference to the momentum of the case at this point.

There seems to be just too much suggestive evidence waiting to be explained, and a dozen careful judges have endorsed it as suggestive, and the strongly dominant mood in Italy seems to be one of: let us proceed.

Amanda Knox is of course very well represented by counsel. They have already shown irritation over attacks on the prosecutor.

Calling the prosecutor a maniac sure won’t be music to their ears. Is this whole PR campaign quite loopy, or what?!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Powerpoints #1: A Witness Trashed By Paul Ciolino For CBS In Fact Looks Very Credible

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

The CBS Network is right now at Number One in the American TV network audience wars.

CBS is one of the very best parts of the Viacom brand. It has come to be so liked, watched and respected in the US in part because it has long been dominant in the area of fine investigative reporting.

So why has CBS’s 48 Hours coverage of the Meredith Kercher case been so uniformly appalling? So biased, so emotional, so full of hyperbole and so FACTUALLY FLAT-OUT WRONG?

We frankly don’t know. But we continue our series examining past CBS reporting of the case, and revealing it for the almost consistent junk it has been.

[ADDED: CBS HAS REMOVED THE VIDEO, POSSIBLY BECAUSE IT MADE WILD CLAIMS AGAINST THE POLICE WHICH COULD SEE CBS IN COURT]


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jan Goodwin In MarieClaire Magazine Shows Extraordinary Bias

Posted by The Machine

[click for larger images]

I’ve just read perhaps the most shockingly biased article yet about the case.

It is by Jan Goodwin and appears in the magazine Marie Clare. Here’s the opening paragraph:

Studying abroad should have been a grand adventure. Instead, Amanda Knox has spent a year in jail, accused by a corrupt legal system of murdering her roommate.

For starters, the journalist makes the wild and unsubstantiated accusation that the Italian legal system is corrupt.

Amanda has been sitting in prison for a year now, while the Italian press dissects her past and her behavior, framing her as a sex-crazed ugly American who didn’t properly mourn the death of her roommate. Did she kill her, or is Amanda but the latest in a long line of women deemed guilty in the court of public opinion for acting in ways that subvert the script? Be it the U.K.’s Kate McCann or Australia’s Lindy Chamberlain, both of whom were judged harshly in the disappearances of their daughters, a woman’s demeanor and the way she grieves is sometimes her greatest crime.

Have the Italian press really spent a year dissecting Amanda’s past and her behaviour? I certainly haven’t seen one reference to Amanda being an “sex-crazed ugly American” in the Italian press and I’ve been reading the Italian articles for months.

Jan Goodwin seems very confused.

Amanda is sitting in jail, not because she has been found guilty in the court of public opinion for acting in ways that subvert the script, her demeanor or the ways she grieved, and Amanda showed no grief whatsoever over Meredith’s death, but because the evidence against her is overwhelming.

The judges at the Italian Supreme Court told Amanda: “The clues against you are serious.” The judge at the preliminary hearings in the case, Claudia Metteini, also noted that there were “serious clues of guilt”.

Jan Goodwin’s article goes onto to say:

On the morning of November 2, everything changed. As she remembers it, Amanda returned home from a night at Raffaele’s and found a few drops of blood in her bathroom and the door to Meredith’s bedroom locked.

Jan Goodwin should have researched her story more carefully. If she had seen the photograph of the blue bathmat in the bathroom, she would know that it wasn’t “a few drops of blood”, but actually a bloody footprint. It’s apparent that Jan Goodwin really knows very little about the case:

They broke into Meredith’s bedroom and discovered her lying in a pool of blood, half-naked, her windpipe crushed in an attempted strangulation and her throat partially slashed.

There were three knife wounds on Meredith’s neck. Two lesser wounds, but the final one was delivered with such brutal force, it left a huge, gaping hole in Meredith’s neck. There was nothing partial about it. Whoever inflicted the fatal wound wanted to kill Meredith.

Jan Goodwin’s article seems deliberately misleading to give the impression that there isn’t much evidence against Amanda and Raffaele:

Three days after the murder, the senior police investigator on the case sought out Amanda and Raffaele to question them. When he discovered them casually eating in a pizza restaurant, he grew suspicious. Soon after, they were arrested. “That was how it started,” says Paul Ciolino, an American forensic examiner who was the primary investigative adviser for the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate more than 215 prisoners jailed in the U.S.

No, the police were actually suspicious of Amanda and Raffaele because they both lied to the postal police from the very first time they spoke to them.

Example: they told the postal police they had phoned the police and were waiting for them. Raffaele admitted in his witness on 5 and 6 November they hadn’t actually phoned the police before the postal police turned up unexpectedly:

I tried to force the door but couldn’t, and at that point I decided to call my sister for advice because she is a Carabinieri officer. She told me to dial 112 (the Italian emergency number) but at that moment the postal police arrived.” He added: “In my former statement I told you a load of rubbish because I believed Amanda’s version of what happened and did not think about the inconsistencies.

CCTV footage shows the postal police arriving at the cottage at 12.35 on 2 November. Raffaele phoned the police at 12.51 and 12.54.

[Quoting Paul Ciolino again]  “I was stunned that this was why he suspected Amanda and her boyfriend were involved in the crime,” he says. “These two kids, never in trouble, classic middle-class college students — it’s ludicrous that they were implicated.”

Amanda Knox was arrested for hosting a party that got seriously out of hand with students high on drink and drugs and throwing rocks into the road, forcing cars to swerve.

The students then threw rocks at the windows of neighbours who had called the police. The situation was so bad that police reinforcements had to be called. Amanda was fined $269 (£135) at the Municipal Court after the incident - Crime No: 071830624.

Amanda’s friend Madison Paxton makes the following comment: “The papers have called her a drugged-up skank, and that’s just incredibly untrue. She respects her body; she doesn’t like to party too much.”

I think Amanda’s neighbours would wholeheartedly disagree that Amanda doesn’t like to party too much. Amanda herself made the claim that she had smoked so much cannabis she (conveniently) couldn’t remember much about what happened on the night of the murder. She doesn’t sound like somebody who doesn’t like to party too much.

In grade school, Amanda’s soccer teammates nicknamed her “Foxy Knoxy” because she would crouch down like a fox on the playing field. European tabloids picked up on the name, calling her “Foxy Knoxy: a sex-mad American party girl.

European newspapers, including the quality newspapers, called Amanda by the nickname she called herself. She would have known at the age of 20 that the word “foxy” has sexual connotations. Amanda made a conscious choice to use a nickname with sexual connotations. The newspapers were simply using the nickname that she used.

After her arrest, Amanda was detained by the police and interrogated for 14 hours.

Actually, Amanda was being questioned as a witness, and the claim that her interrogation lasted 14 hours has widely been demonstrated to be untrue.

I’m struggling to find a single correct fact in this next paragraph:

Since then, the police investigation has been chaotic and bumbling. Take the alleged murder weapon, a cooking knife that belonged to Raffaele. Amanda’s DNA was found on the handle — not surprising, since she used it for cooking — and officials said Meredith’s DNA had been found on the blade. But new DNA evidence released shows that after 183 attempts to match the material on the knife to Meredith’s DNA, there is only a 1 percent chance that it is hers, making it unlikely that the knife is, in fact, the murder weapon.

At a recent hearing, Renato Biondo, from the forensic police, said, “We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.” Paolo Micheli wanted independent confirmation that the forensic scientists had followed all the correct procedures and their findings were completely accurate. Renato Biondo provided this confirmation unequivocably.

The crime scene wasn’t “violated”. The possibility of Meredith’s bra clasp being contaminated was excluded by Patrizia Stefanoni, and she also confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade and Amanda’s DNA was on handle of the knife that was hidden in a shoe box at Raffaele’s apartment.

The defence lawyers were putting on brave faces, but that hearing proved a truly disastrous day for Amanda and Raffaele. Raffaele had been placed in Meredith’s room, removing her bra, and Amanda’s DNA was on the knife that was almost certainly used to kill Meredith.

A knife that had been intentionally cleaned. A knife that was placed on Meredith’s bed sheet and that left a bloody trace on it. A knife that matches the wound on Meredith’s neck.

The claim that there is only 1 percent chance of the DNA on the blade belonging to Meredith is not surprisingly not attributed to anybody, let alone an independent forensic expert.

The following statement is outrageous and deeply offensive to the victim herself:

There is also no indication that Meredith was subjected to sexual violence..

This is a claim that has been frequently made by Amanda’s Knox supporters.

To suggest that there was consensual sexual activity between Meredith and Rudy defies belief. Meredith did not consent to any of the unspeakable horrors that were inflicted upon her that night.

Jan Goodwin follows a well-rehearsed and overused script when outlining the case for Amanda’s “innocence”:

Miraculously, Amanda did finally get a break when the Italian supreme court tossed out the results of her interrogation this past spring on the grounds that she had not been provided with a lawyer or interpreter.

Miraculously?!

What Amanda Knox’s supporters invariably forget to mention is that one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage on the night of the murder was not “tossed” out by the Italian Supreme Court. Her letter to the police is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence. This incriminating letter was admitted as evidence.

Jan Goodwin should have written a balanced and objective article, not an anti-victim piece, and done some actual reading and research. She has instead written for MarieClaire what is essentially a free advertisement for the Free Amanda Knox Campaign.

She could have asked pertinent questions, such as why did Amanda deliberately and repeatedly lied to the police, or why did Amanda and Raffaele give not only conflicting witness statements, but also completely different accounts of where they were and what they were doing on the night of the murder.

But Jan Goodwin seemingly didn’t. And presumably MarieClaire’s editor paid her, regardless.

Posted on 10/23/08 at 09:00 AM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers from 2007Paul CiolinoMore hoaxersHoaxers: media groupsCBS NetworkInnocence ProjectNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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