Dupe Watch: Professional Hoax Exposer Benjamin Radford Himself Gets Seriously Duped
Posted by Peter Quennell
1. Who Is Benjamin Radford?
Benjamin Radford is the deputy editor of the popular Skeptical Inquirer which has very active Twitter and Facebook presences.
In normal cool-minded mode, he is an effective and useful exposer of hoaxers and dupes and a good entertainer. He himself has seemed fairly impervious to hoaxes. From his website here are his career highlights.
Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written over a thousand articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and media literacy.
He is author of six books [including]: Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking; and Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us; and The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes…
Just our kind of guy, right? In this case, so badly needed. Such a huge opportunity for him. And yet…
2. Radford Swallows The Interrogation Hoax
A dozen deliberate PR-inspired hoaxes (there are also others) to the advantage of Knox and Sollecito are taken apart on TJMk under this right-column heading.
Radford would seem to have very fertile territory there. But instead, Radford himself becomes the latest dupe of the Knox Interogation Hoax.
Instead of actually doing any checking, Radford simply quotes one of Knox’s numerous dishonest and easily disprovable accounts which have already cost her three years in prison and the prospect of more court action ahead for her.
This false statement appeared yesterday in an article by Radford on the Discovery Channel website titled NYC Murder Trial: The Problem With Confessions
The Amanda Knox Confession
False confessions can, of course, have serious consequences for the person who wrongly confesses, but can also pose a real threat to innocent people. That’s what happened in the case of Amanda Knox, the American woman arrested for the 2007 murder of student Meredith Kercher in Italy.
After an extended interrogation Knox confessed to police that she was there during the time of the murder. She implicated not only herself but also Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar she worked at, saying she was present when Lumumba murdered Kercher and could hear her screams. Lumumba, however, was cleared weeks later when a university professor came forward to report that he was with Lumumba in his bar at the time of the murder.
Knox later claimed that her confession had been false and coerced: “In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly…. it was under this pressure and after many hours of confusion that my mind came up with these answers.”
Based in part on that confession, Knox was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Appeals and retrials lasted years, and last month the Italian Supreme Court overturned the previous guilty verdicts, effectively ending the case.
Confessions don’t need to be beaten or tortured out of a person; sometimes they can come after hours of psychological pressure and exhaustion. When someone is put under sustained pressure, they may tell their interrogator whatever they want to hear to make it stop, whether truthful or not.
There was no “hours of psychological pressure and exhaustion”. Nor was there any confession - only a false accusation. In fact (see below) there was not even an interrogation.
And the Supreme Court did not overturn all previous guilty verdicts. That court had no power to overturn the guilty sentence and the three years Knox served for lying about the interrogation, and for falsely blaming Lumumba.
3. Hard Realities Of The Interrogation Hoax
Based on numerous court transcripts (see Part 4 below) this is a TRUTHFUL account of what happened at Perugia’s central police station on 5-6 November 2007.
This sequence led into her arrest and eventually to her three years in prison for calunnia, a sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court - a well-known fact which the avid researcher Benjamin Radford appears to have ignored, misunderstood, or been unaware of.
Prior to the night of 5 November Knox, Sollecito and many others had sat voluntarily with police officers to help them to build a complete picture. None were suspects and none were put through interrogation.
Knox’s claimed hours associated with this questioning included a lot of time spent waiting around - in Knox’s and Sollecito’s cases the hours mounted because they were conspicuoslu eager to be there.
Senior Inspector Rita Ficarra testified that she arrived back at the police station late on 5 November, and finds her way blocked by a cartwheeling Knox.
She rebukes Knox, who testily responds that she is tired of the investigation. Rita Ficarra tells Knox to go home and get some sleep. Knox refuses.
Shortly after, Ficarra suggests to Knox that if she really wants to help, she could add to the list of possible perps - men who Meredith knew and who might have visited the house.
As the defenses acknowledge during their cross-examinations of key investigators present on the night, this was merely a recap/summary, a simple checking of facts with someone who might be helpful which could have been done on a street corner. It was not a witness or suspect interrogation.
Knox eagerly agrees. So they begin on the list.
This goes slowly because of language problems, until an interpreter, Anna Donnino, arrives. In total Knox and four others (three of them women) are present. Knox builds a list of seven people and adds maps and phone numbers (in evidence) in a calm proceeding. These were the names: Peter Svizzero, Patrick, Ardak, Juve, Spiros, Shaki and “a South African [Guede]” who played basketball near the house.
At several points in the evening Knox is provided with refreshments. No voices are ever raised, no bathroom breaks are refused. A number of efforts are made to help Knox to keep calm.
Inspector Napoleoni and a couple of colleagues are seeking facts from Sollecito in a separate wing. Shown conflicts between what he has said and what his phone records show, Sollecito backtracks and declares that Knox made him lie. Knox is gently asked about this, and nobody reports any reaction. Knox defense lawyers in cross examination do not go there at all.
Suddenly, to the considerable surprise of all present, Knox has a yelling, head-clutching conniption (the first of several that night) when they observe a text she had denied sending, saying she would see that person later. Knox explains that it was Patrick, along with a torrent of accusations.
Warned she should not do so without a lawyer, Knox insists on a recorded statement which says she headed out to meet Patrick that night after he texted and she accuses Patrick of killing Meredith.
Knox is put on hold, given more refreshments, and made comfortable on some chairs so she might try to get some sleep.
A second session ending at 5:45 is intended as merely a reading of Knox’s legal rights, with Dr Mignini presiding. No questions are asked.
Having just been warned she should not do so without a lawyer present, Knox insists on a second recorded statement which also says she went out to meet Patrick that night and also accuses Patrick of killing Meredith.
Just before noon, now under arrest and about to be taken to Capanne Prison, a third statement this time in English, and seemingly gleefully hands it to Rita Ficcara. She yet again accuses Patrick but also ponts some suspicion toward Sollecito.
Knox’s lawyers never substantially challenge this version, leave standing that she insisted on all three statements, and they dont pursue any claims that she was pressed.
In July Knox herself tried to challenge the scenario but was disbelieved and for the calunnia framing of Patrick Lumumba Judge Massei sentenced her to a year more than Sollecito, later amended by Judge Hellmann to three years served.
4. Trial Transcripts And Other Evidence Against Knox
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Session
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #2: Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #3: More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #4: More Hard Realities Fron Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #5: Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #6: This The Wedge That Breaks AK And RS Apart? Plus Zugarini On Stand
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #7: Further Testimony Of Key Witness Zugarini To Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #8: Testimony Of Interpreter Anna Donnino On Events Night Of 5 November
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #9: Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #10: The Guiding Magistrate’s Reasoning Three Days After 5-6 November
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #11: ChallengeTo Readers: Spot The Two Landmines For Lawyers & Knox?
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #12: Why Prosecution And Defenses Never Believed Knox’s Version
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #13: Proof Released That In 5-6 Nov Session Knox Worked On Names List
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #14: Dr Mignini’s Knowledge Of Knox “Interrogation” Explained To Media
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #15: The Third Major Pre-Trial Hurdle Which Amanda Knox Failed
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #16: The Fourth Major Pre-Trial Hurdle Which Amanda Knox Failed
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #17: Sollecito April 2008 Before Supreme Court Again Coldsholdered Knox
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #18: Wiki Now Has Sollecito Statement 6 Nov 2007 In Full
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