Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Damage That Is Now Flowing From A Needlessly Hard-Line PR Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Andrea Vogt’s extraordinary report in today’s online Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Added: Also, in case it scrolls away, this valuable take is copied here.

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

The unredacted Seattle Police Department report, obtained by seattlepi.com, names a primary suspect and quotes the woman as saying that that the suspect “is engaging in tactics meant to intimidate,” along with “the tacit consent” of Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas. The report names Mellas, but he is not a suspect.

According to the report, the tactics include “veiled threats” and attempts to disable a Web site dedicated to the criminal case in Perugia, Italy.

The development marks an escalation in a ferocious “blog war” that has been brewing for more than a year as Knox faced a murder charge, then went on trial. The blog war has recently become particularly vicious and personal in Knox’s hometown of Seattle.

The battle in the blogosphere has divided the online community into two factions: those who question Knox’s innocence, and those who do not. In Italy, the media have dubbed them “innocentisti and colpevolisti,” or “the innocents and the guilties.”

Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are currently standing trial in Perugia for the slaying of Meredith Kercher. Kercher, a college student from England, was studying in Italy, as was Knox, a University of Washington student. The two shared an apartment.

Seattle police Sgt. Mark Worstman has confirmed that an investigation into cyber-harassment is still open and cautioned those who are concerned for their security to consider avoiding online debates and community forums where aggressive behavior is being allowed.

When seattlepi.com interviewed him, Mellas denied any involvement and said he is not connected to and does not know the person named in the complaint. In fact, he said he and his family also have been harassed online.

“I have not approved or disapproved because I don’t have any part to play in it,” said Mellas, who is a computer-network manager at Bellevue-based real estate development company.

“There’s a bunch of idiots on both sides of this whole silly blogworld. It has degenerated beyond belief, and frankly an article that is going to highlight this is only going to make it worse. But I don’t really care, because I don’t pay attention to it,” Mellas said.

Seattlepi.com is not naming the suspect because he has not been charged with any crime. He did not respond to seattlepi.com efforts to reach him by phone or by the e-mail addresses listed in the police report.

West Seattle resident and professional translator Peggy Ganong, who moderates the discussion site Perugia Murder File under the online name “Skeptical Bystander,” complained to police two months ago, saying she was being harassed for her involvement and for comments she has posted on sites that question Knox’s innocence.

“I am supposed to somehow get behind the home team. It is as simple as that,” said Ganong, who lives just a few blocks from the Mellas and Knox families. “But I had ongoing doubts, I continued to express that opinion, and that’s when I became a target. But the fact that it has spilled over into real life, well there’s something scary and terribly wrong about it.” The sites that question Knox’s innocence and defend court proceedings in Perugia are Perugia Murder File, a discussion board co-moderated by Ganong, and True Justice for Meredith Kercher, founded last September by New Jersey financier Peter Quennell.

“The True Justice site was created because Kercher had become so intensely forgotten, as the huge and well-funded effort gathered speed to paint Knox as the ‘real’ victim,” Quennell said. Quennell said more than 20,000 people have visited his site.

A number of individual bloggers also write about the case. There are two main blogs in defense of Knox. One is Italian Woman at the Table, a seattlepi.com reader blog by Seattle freelance writer Candace Dempsey. Dempsey’s blog was initially about cooking but added true crime to its menu as the debate picked up steam.

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo” (a stage name, real name Sforza).

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

“Sometimes I briefly let my guard down, but I try to cancel when the comments are offensive or if people request it,” he told seattlepi.com.

While Italian Woman at the Table and Perugia Murder File require registration to post, Perugia Shock allows anonymous postings. There, people who leave anonymous comments have launched threats and accusations that cut both ways. A number of women associated with this case have been attacked online, not only for their opinions, but also for real or imagined physical traits.

Ganong and Seattle trial lawyer Anne Bremner have been targeted with a particular zeal, although Bremner said the positive feedback she has received has far outweighed the catty remarks. Ganong chalks it up to the fact that they are both outspoken, albeit on different levels. Bremner has appeared regularly on national television as a legal analyst for high-profile cases such as Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Mary Letourneau. On this case, she has been a vocal supporter of Knox, posted a letter on Perugia Shock and often represents the ad hoc Friends of Amanda group in media appearances.

“I am not a public personality,” Ganong said, “but I do somehow represent the other side—this whole other class of people in Seattle who are not on the bandwagon and are not buying the ‘railroad job from hell”’ argument that Knox is being wrongly prosecuted. Ganong told seattlepi.com that it wasn’t just months of targeted, rude remarks that pushed her to file the report. She finally went to police after posters published her husband’s first and last name, the approximate location of their home, information about their family life, as well as shopping and personal habits, much of which had been gleaned from public-records searches, Facebook and other online portals.

Before filing the report, she repeatedly requested that the profane comments and posting of personal information stop. Her exasperated husband, a Seattle accountant, even met Mellas for a beer in a Seattle tavern to talk face-to-face about various messages that had been posted.

But Mellas said he had no control over the blogosphere and actually had much bigger things to worry about.

“I told him I have nothing to do with it. I said proceed with whatever it is you are doing, find out who it is and at that point you’ll know I am not doing anything, and it is not coming from my network either, as far as I know,” said Mellas, who helps manage a network with more than 400 computer users. “Granted, I don’t sit around all day and audit all the network traffic.”

“Those people are not going to get the answer until they get the authorities involved and get some logged ISPs and find out where it is really coming from. I hope that when they do that they make that known.”

It is not the first time Mellas’ name has surfaced in a blogging controversy, however.

Before Perugia Murder File existed in its current form, it was moderated as a message board called The True Crime Weblog Message Board by one of the nation’s foremost true crime bloggers, Steve Huff. Huff now blogs professionally for the Village Voice Media’s True Crime Report. At one point the posts became so aggressive that Huff decided to do something he rarely does—post the IP address of the person commenting. The IP traced to a block of IP addresses managed by Mellas, and Huff took him to task publicly, claiming he had written or authorized the comments himself. Mellas, however, says that his work as a network manager overseeing an IP gateway means several hundred people are using computers (and IP addresses) that are linked to his name. He said someone could easily be impersonating him, pretending he or she is associated with him or writing messages without his knowledge, since several hundred people could access the Internet using the block of IP addresses he manages. An Internet Protocol address is an identifying number assigned to computers participating in an internet network.

Huff said one of the intimidating private messages accusing him of slander was sent to him via the contact form by “Mr. Anonymous,” who claimed to own the e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The contact form captured the IP address of the sender and was traced to a block of Internet Protocol addresses managed by Mellas, Huff said. While the message could have from anyone within his large network, Huff said he believes it was sent or approved by Mellas.

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

According to Ganong, the threats online and to her own personal inbox are originating from the same Hotmail and Gmail addresses.

Another Seattle area couple, Kathleen and Randy Jackson, are also considering filing police reports. Both post under aliases on the Perugia Murder File site and have been criticized for attending a recent fund-raiser for Knox. Jackson, who said she is a former victim of sexual assault, said she went to the event because she felt Kercher’s memory was being overlooked in the effort to raise money for Knox.

“It had been announced everywhere as this high-profile fund-raiser, so I wanted to go where this big news was happening and show a different side of Seattle, because I grew up there, and I was embarrassed,” Kathleen Jackson said.

But after the couple did an interview on a local Seattle television station covering the event, the negative attention grew fiercer, but oddly, just toward Kathleen, who posts on Perugia Murder File as “Professor Snape.” Randy, an educational technology professional at the University of Washington who posts as “Fly By Night,” is just as active on the forum. “Both Kathleen and I talked to the reporter, but only she’s been called out,” Randy Jackson said. “These individuals seem to more frequently target women.”

Kathleen Jackson said using an anonymous online identity allowed her to express her strong views on the case. But when other anonymous posters began speculating about where she lived and worked, she began having second thoughts.

“Now that they want to find out who we are and tell the whole world, well, why do they want to do that?” she said. “I think they are trying to intimidate us to stop posting.” Supporters of Knox also have been targeted. Participants at Italian Woman at the Table spar, but controversial comments are often resolved briskly with Dempsey’s delete key. Until she began requiring commenters to register, she says, she received chilling death threats from anonymous posters certain of Knox’s guilt. Posters have inaccurately described her credentials, said Dempsey, and “outed” personal information about her family.

After seeking advice from local police, she implemented behind-the-scenes safety measures, but has not filed a formal report. Dempsey warned that those who blog using their real name should expect to have their privacy violated on the “no-rules Internet.” “Anybody who writes about a murder case will attract angry posters who are sure they know who did it,” she said.

That is exactly what happened to Huff, who decided it wasn’t an online community he wanted to court. “I’ve been a little shocked—but not that shocked—all along at the way the Knox/Kercher case has broken down to something more akin to a pitched political argument than a debate about a terrible, violent crime and the possible guilt of one of the accused,” Huff told seattlepi.com in an e-mail. He’s been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “pro-active efforts” to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “some innocent pixie college girl.” “There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,” Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

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

A number of individual bloggers also write about the case. There are two main blogs in defense of Knox. One is Italian Woman at the Table, a seattlepi.com reader blog by Seattle freelance writer Candace Dempsey. Dempsey’s blog was initially about cooking but added true crime to its menu as the debate picked up steam.

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.”

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

“Sometimes I briefly let my guard down, but I try to cancel when the comments are offensive or if people request it,” he told seattlepi.com.

While Italian Woman at the Table and Perugia Murder File require registration to post, Perugia Shock allows anonymous postings. There, people who leave anonymous comments have launched threats and accusations that cut both ways. A number of women associated with this case have been attacked online, not only for their opinions, but also for real or imagined physical traits.

Ganong and Seattle trial lawyer Anne Bremner have been targeted with a particular zeal, although Bremner said the positive feedback she has received has far outweighed the catty remarks. Ganong chalks it up to the fact that they are both outspoken, albeit on different levels. Bremner has appeared regularly on national television as a legal analyst for high-profile cases such as Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Mary Letourneau. On this case, she has been a vocal supporter of Knox, posted a letter on Perugia Shock and often represents the ad hoc Friends of Amanda group in media appearances.

“I am not a public personality,” Ganong said, “but I do somehow represent the other side—this whole other class of people in Seattle who are not on the bandwagon and are not buying the ‘railroad job from hell”’ argument that Knox is being wrongly prosecuted. Ganong told seattlepi.com that it wasn’t just months of targeted, rude remarks that pushed her to file the report. She finally went to police after posters published her husband’s first and last name, the approximate location of their home, information about their family life, as well as shopping and personal habits, much of which had been gleaned from public-records searches, Facebook and other online portals.

Before filing the report, she repeatedly requested that the profane comments and posting of personal information stop. Her exasperated husband, a Seattle accountant, even met Mellas for a beer in a Seattle tavern to talk face-to-face about various messages that had been posted.

But Mellas said he had no control over the blogosphere and actually had much bigger things to worry about.

“I told him I have nothing to do with it. I said proceed with whatever it is you are doing, find out who it is and at that point you’ll know I am not doing anything, and it is not coming from my network either, as far as I know,” said Mellas, who helps manage a network with more than 400 computer users. “Granted, I don’t sit around all day and audit all the network traffic.”

“Those people are not going to get the answer until they get the authorities involved and get some logged ISPs and find out where it is really coming from. I hope that when they do that they make that known.”

It is not the first time Mellas’ name has surfaced in a blogging controversy, however.

Before Perugia Murder File existed in its current form, it was moderated as a message board called The True Crime Weblog Message Board by one of the nation’s foremost true crime bloggers, Steve Huff. Huff now blogs professionally for the Village Voice Media’s True Crime Report. At one point the posts became so aggressive that Huff decided to do something he rarely does—post the IP address of the person commenting. The IP traced to a block of IP addresses managed by Mellas, and Huff took him to task publicly, claiming he had written or authorized the comments himself. Mellas, however, says that his work as a network manager overseeing an IP gateway means several hundred people are using computers (and IP addresses) that are linked to his name. He said someone could easily be impersonating him, pretending he or she is associated with him or writing messages without his knowledge, since several hundred people could access the Internet using the block of IP addresses he manages. An Internet Protocol address is an identifying number assigned to computers participating in an internet network.

Huff said one of the intimidating private messages accusing him of slander was sent to him via the contact form by “Mr. Anonymous,” who claimed to own the e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The contact form captured the IP address of the sender and was traced to a block of Internet Protocol addresses managed by Mellas, Huff said. While the message could have from anyone within his large network, Huff said he believes it was sent or approved by Mellas.

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

According to Ganong, the threats online and to her own personal inbox are originating from the same Hotmail and Gmail addresses.

Another Seattle area couple, Kathleen and Randy Jackson, are also considering filing police reports. Both post under aliases on the Perugia Murder File site and have been criticized for attending a recent fund-raiser for Knox. Jackson, who said she is a former victim of sexual assault, said she went to the event because she felt Kercher’s memory was being overlooked in the effort to raise money for Knox.

“It had been announced everywhere as this high-profile fund-raiser, so I wanted to go where this big news was happening and show a different side of Seattle, because I grew up there, and I was embarrassed,” Kathleen Jackson said.

But after the couple did an interview on a local Seattle television station covering the event, the negative attention grew fiercer, but oddly, just toward Kathleen, who posts on Perugia Murder File as “Professor Snape.” Randy, an educational technology professional at the University of Washington who posts as “Fly By Night,” is just as active on the forum. “Both Kathleen and I talked to the reporter, but only she’s been called out,” Randy Jackson said. “These individuals seem to more frequently target women.”

Kathleen Jackson said using an anonymous online identity allowed her to express her strong views on the case. But when other anonymous posters began speculating about where she lived and worked, she began having second thoughts.

“Now that they want to find out who we are and tell the whole world, well, why do they want to do that?” she said. “I think they are trying to intimidate us to stop posting.” Supporters of Knox also have been targeted. Participants at Italian Woman at the Table spar, but controversial comments are often resolved briskly with Dempsey’s delete key. Until she began requiring commenters to register, she says, she received chilling death threats from anonymous posters certain of Knox’s guilt. Posters have inaccurately described her credentials, said Dempsey, and “outed” personal information about her family.

After seeking advice from local police, she implemented behind-the-scenes safety measures, but has not filed a formal report. Dempsey warned that those who blog using their real name should expect to have their privacy violated on the “no-rules Internet.” “Anybody who writes about a murder case will attract angry posters who are sure they know who did it,” she said.

That is exactly what happened to Huff, who decided it wasn’t an online community he wanted to court. “I’ve been a little shocked—but not that shocked—all along at the way the Knox/Kercher case has broken down to something more akin to a pitched political argument than a debate about a terrible, violent crime and the possible guilt of one of the accused,” Huff told seattlepi.com in an e-mail. He’s been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “pro-active efforts” to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “some innocent pixie college girl.” “There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,” Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

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




Comments

I think it took a lot of guts to tackle this story. The misogynistic undertow to this aspect of the case, which Andrea Vogt mentions in her article, has been constant and vicious. I can understand why Chris Mellas and “Frank Sfarzo” might hope to keep it under the radar.

It is important to note that most of the harassment and all of the disrespect for the victim Meredith Kercher and her family have been posted on the Perugia Shock blog. “Frank Sfarzo” told Vogt he is being financed by an American firm. Does this American firm know or care to what ends its money is being put?

Steve Huff, with whom I co-administered the earlier iteration of the current Perugia Murder File board, is not exaggerating about the level of ugliness and aggression that this case has spawned online. And I understand why he ultimately opted out of the fray.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 05/28/09 at 05:22 PM | #

Andrea Vogt in her piece and Skep in the comment above mention women as being the main targets of the “defense” commentariat. Lately Perugia-Shock has really seethed with ridicule of women in the comments.

This has to be one of the dumbest PR campaigns ever set in motion on the planet, to be resulting now in THAT effect.

From our emails, it is obvious that there are large numbers of women case-followers who harbor the feeling “there but for the grace of god goes myself or my daughter”. We suspect they are in the clear majority.

Hopefully Andrea Vogt’s weighty piece might now help to take the heat off those, especially in Seattle, and most especially women, who care deeply about Meredith and have wanted true justice above all for her.

Mellas’s sanctimonious remarks have raised a few eyebrows - he has the reputation for being one of the worst slashers and burners in the online commentary on this sad affair, and we have literally dozens of examples.

And I’m mentioned by name, so two points. I do live in Jersey, across from Manhattan, but I’m more of a development economist and EM investor than a financier.

And this is a group blog rather than my blog, which we all set up to contend with an imbalance in the American commentary. The many other posters here have created the real depth and gravitas, hit back very effectively, and shown their real caring for Meredith.

Minor quibbles though, and this reporting in the Seattle PI is so timely now and so important.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/28/09 at 06:05 PM | #

In the Seattle PI article, Andrea Vogt writes that Amanda Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, denies any involvement in efforts to harass or stifle individuals who speak out in contradiction of his beliefs.  Mellas claims he is in no way connected to and does not know the person named in Skeptical Bystander’s police complaint.  In fact, Mellas casts off those who post their opinions online regarding his step-daughter’s ongoing trial for murder trial as, “a bunch of idiots in a silly blogworld” and attempts to rise above it all by saying he doesn’t really care and that he doesn’t pay attention to any of it.

But the record reveals something entirely different. I was online at Steve Huff’s The True Crime Weblog in early February, 2008 when Mr. Mellas first injected himself into the ongoing online conversation. He started out by describing the message board as something that never failed to give him with a good laugh.  But then Mellas went on to describe how angry he gets with people who are opposed to his cause of proclaiming the complete innocence of Amanda Knox.  He stated that his purpose for posting to Steve’s board, a board devoted to finding truth and justice for Meredith Kercher, was to prove to everyone that “Amanda is not the one you should be looking at.”

Mr. Mellas clearly introduced himself to the message board as a man with an agenda and placed himself above everyone else as someone who held all the answers.  This is a remarkably provocative way to enter any ongoing discussion on any topic. So, if Mr. Mellas regrets that things somehow degenerated beyond belief, as he seems to indicate in the PI article, then he ought to stand up and take some personal responsibility for having drawn the battle lines. And, regardless of who was involved or how it came to be that things “degenerated”, Mr. Mellas might have said that harassment of any kind is not promoted or tolerated by the Knox family and their supporters.

But I didn’t see anything like that in Vogt’s PI article.  And what I did see was something that could even be interpreted as a veiled threat when Mellas states, “frankly an article that is going to highlight this is only going to make it worse.”  Actually, my hope and strong belief is that exactly the opposite will occur.  Meredith Kercher deserves far more.

Posted by Fly By Night on 05/28/09 at 08:28 PM | #

Bravo! Andrea Vogt.

What kind of respectful behaviour towards women or men really can you expect from an aggressive chauvinist like Chris Mellas? None at all!

This man proudly refers to his own wife and her daughters as shit heads. Obviously his wife never objected to this ‘term of endearment’ therefore that would encourage him to be more aggressive and rude, especially to those who he sees as not defending what he considers should be a must for everyone, his wife’s daughter should not be hold accountable in any shape or form regardless of whether she is responsible or not for Meredith’s murder! 
He was just as threatening and aggressive to Frank Sfarzo when he started his blog.

His Goofy friend, the one obsessed with butts and trashing women, he/she has got a lot of personal issues resulting in the misogynistic language he/she uses. He/she couldn’t give a toss about Amanda Knox even less about Raffaele Sollecito; he/she uses the blogs to vent out his/her frustrated confused existence.

These people they never had any manners mix that with a lot of personal issues and for sure they are not going to developed them now, when their intention is to stop by harassing and insulting those who have an opposed view of the case to theirs. 
Cowards!

Hard to believe that any reputable PR agency would consent to harrasment and intimidation.

Posted by Jools on 05/28/09 at 10:53 PM | #

And all of this, has been from Mellas supporters in the name of Amanda Knox. I say Mellas supporters, because it certainly hasn’t been for Amanda’s benefit, but rather the need of certain individuals to vent…and support a team.

I am one of those that believes Amanda Knox has some serious questions to answer, as raised by the evidence and police investigations thus far and the proper place for that is in court, a trial, which is taking place right now. I am not decided on guilt or innocence, but there is certainly enough to justify a trial. I want see Amanda afforded every opportunity to answer those questions, in a court of law and I don’t care what the verdict is, as long as it is a just one.

But, as members of the public, any such trial is also in ‘our’ name, for we are society. This is why trials are open and not behind closed doors. We are therefore free to discuss them, form our opinions, ideas and express them if we wish in a respectful and law abiding manner.

To go out of ones way to intimidate people into silence, as Mellas and his supporters have, is not only an offence against the public, but also against a Amanda herself who deserves a just verdict untainted by the underhanded behaviours of her own family and supporters, over which she has no control.

Despite the unacceptable abuse levelled at those that would discuss this case honourably and freely, my full sympathies are actually with Amanda, as she is the true victim of her family and supposed supporters.

She deserves HER trial without ‘their’ interference, their mucking things up for her…let her have it. Assassinating those they feel are her enemies doesn’t help her cause, it only gives her more problems and frankly, she has enough already.

Moreover, it steals focus from the person who is actually the real victim…Meredith Kercher. Meredith is not some mere inconvenience, she is not some obstacle or irritation. She is the beautiful life that was stolen most brutally. It is for Meredith this trial is taking place and it’s about time the stage was given to her.

Posted by Michael on 05/28/09 at 11:41 PM | #

This subject needed to be addressed and I agree, Andrea Vogt did a wonderful job of bringing the blog dissention into the public eye.

I also applaud the Seattle people who came forward and voiced their concerns.  I am also in Seattle and my name, Tara, has been trashed about on the pro-Knox blogs as well.  I am wary of these people who harass, so I wasn’t ready to go on the record. Hopefully, by Ms. Vogt bringing this deplorable internet behavior to light these people who have been “outed” can realize a more calm atmosphere when voicing their opinions about this controversial case.

Interesting to note that this article right now is the #1 most read article in the last hour, the #1 most read article in the last day, the #1 most printed article, and the #1 most emailed article today.  It’s obviously a very hot topic.

Bravo Andrea Vogt, Skeptical Bystander, Professor Snape and Fly By Night and of course, our host here, Peter Quennell!  You all are to be commended for your candor and honesty.

True Justice for Meredith Kercher.

Posted by Tara on 05/28/09 at 11:46 PM | #

Ciao,

Shocking reading about the harassment, and thanks to you all for keeping a high moral standard - for providing us with a decent public discussion of the case and making Merediths memory dignified.

Fiori

Posted by Fiori on 05/29/09 at 12:41 AM | #

Bravo Andrea Vogt for writing the plain truth about what I call a true persecution of people, who are just exercising their freedom of speech.

Or is this freedom only allowed to those who show abiding faith in the dogmatic belief that Knox simply cannot be guilty?

Posted by Nicki on 05/29/09 at 01:00 AM | #

Yes, kudos to Andrea Vogt for speaking out!

Mellas’s unscrupulous, irresponsible and unapologetically abusive behavior display for a vast public more than he could ever imagine: Amanda Knox, on trial for a vicious, violent crime against SOMEONE SHE LIVED WITH, was raised by and lived with this man.

Posted by wayra on 05/29/09 at 05:30 AM | #

Thank you Andrea Vogt for your continuing courageous journalism. Another fascinating report would be an expose on how a local PR firm executed on its contract for the Knox organization. The role of paid information packagers to beat down a victim’s voice.

Seattleite

Posted by jennifer on 05/29/09 at 05:53 AM | #

Colossal curses to the dark forces who have revealed yet another layer to their evil madness!

Denial du jour with a hint of arrogance.

Hey, look at me, Candace!! I can cook and clean up! 

It sure is nice to enjoy some humor here but all jokes aside it does take true grit to put yer head out on the FOAK’ers choppin’ block, doesn’t it?!

This has not been done for personal gain or glory because any recovered dignity is humbly and gladly given back to the victim it was robbed from - Meredith Kercher.

It is done because it is the truth you believe in and it is the right thing to do.

There are laws in place which we expect to protect us.

Why were the laws not able to protect Mez?

Perhaps it’s because the types of people who commit these horrid crimes happen to come from my own backyard. Perhaps not.

But based upon the exchanges I have seen and experienced these last 12 months from the Knox/Mellas circus I suspect it won’t be too long before we all learn the good old plain truth.

RIP Meredith Kercher.  Justice is coming.

Posted by Professor Snape on 05/29/09 at 08:44 AM | #

Andrea Vogt’s story sure has legs. The UPI news service has picked up the report and has offered it globally.

Right now 58 broadcast and print-media sites in the US, the UK and Italy are running the UPI version of the story, and the numbers are still growing.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/29/09 at 04:17 PM | #

Would love to see emails
from the Knox PR firm,Mellas,Van Sant,Ciolino,Preston,Bremner et al in
setting up Van Sant’s 48Hrs puppet show and related efforts to hide the
facts and diminish those whose only interest is fact finding.

Seattleite

Posted by jennifer on 05/31/09 at 06:36 AM | #


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Smileys



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