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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Perugia Police Chief During 2008 Investigation Rises To Head Of National Anti-Mafia Department

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Video commentary and interview in Italian]


Arturo de Felice has served more than 30 years in various police jurisdictions. Now he becomes head of the anti-mafia department in Rome.

He was in charge at the Perugia questura up to August of 2008 when the crime was being jointly investigated with experts from Rome.

Arturo de Felice made the anouncement to the media and a nervous Perugia on the day after interrogators caused Knox’s and Sollecito’s alibis to separate.  He announced to the media that Sollecito had admitted lying and Knox had admitted to being at the scene - with Patrick Lumumba, though, not with Guede.

He indicated that police were surprised at how quickly Knox crumbled, and this surprise was confirmed by interrogators themselves and an interpreter at the trial in 2009. From the 7 November Daily Telegraph.

The police said today that Knox’s confession could be the key to solving the case.

Mr De Felice said: “She crumbled. She confessed. There were holes in her alibi. Her mobile phone records were crucial.”

He said Knox’s claims that she was elsewhere had been demonstrated to be false. The police found text messages on her phone from Lumumba, fixing a meeting between them at 8.35pm on the night Miss Kercher died.

The police also said that Sollecito had cracked, and admitted he had lied. Tomorrow morning, all three will appear before a judge to have their arrests confirmed before they are formally charged with non-premeditated murder and participation in an act of sexual violence.

Of course, it was not an especially helpful crumbling by Amanda Knox. Lumumba was released after a lot of time and effort was wasted when a palm print at the scene was identified as that of Rudy Guede.

However in her two written confessions Knox was pretty nasty toward Patrick. Then she let him languish in prison for several weeks. And as Fly By Night posted on the PMF forum last year, Knox had admitted to crimes, if not to murder.

1. She provided the access for a murderer to enter the cottage.

2. She heard thuds and a scream, and imagined what was happening.

3. In her drunken stupor, she failed to come to Meredith’s aid both during and after the murder.

4. She actively covered up the murder by failing to report it or otherwise detail her actions for 4 full 24 hour days following the murder.

In December Knox was interviewed by Mr Mignini in the presence of her attorney and was asked her why she had implicated Patrick. She refused to answer.

At trial she raised no objections to any testimony from those present at the interrogation that she spontaneously fingered Patrick, and she admitted under interrogation that it was her idea.

Mr De Felice comes from Calabria in the deep south (where Dr Galati also comes from) and has headed many mafia investigations in his career. This is dangerous work and those who do it tend to be widely admired in Italy.

Posted on 11/25/12 at 10:46 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSIThe wider contextsItalian context
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What New York And Venice (Surprise Surprise) Suddenly Find They Have In Common

Posted by Peter Quennell


1) New York










Plus more images down below in Comments.


2) Venice










Plus more images down below in Comments.

Posted on 11/20/12 at 10:25 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The wider contextsItalian context
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her

Posted by brmull





One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.

Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.

This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”

Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.





Tom Wright apparently had to kick in at least $50,000 for initial fund of the endowment, and he hopes that others will feel impelled to contribute as well.

For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.

Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.

According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.





Let’s pause right there.

Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.

“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.

“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?

Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.

Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.

A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.



;Above: school president Dr Kent Hickey]


Is there ANY solid reason in the public record why Knox is deserving of this singular honor?

Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.

Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.

He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.”  Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.

And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.



[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]


One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:

It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.

In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.

Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.





An angered alum of Seattle Prep offered this opinion to the reporter from Seattle Met:

I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.

Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.

I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.

This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.

It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.

It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.






Posted on 11/16/12 at 10:16 PM by brmullClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Amazingly, Wrong Facts And Defamations Of Italian Officialdom Show NO Sign Of Being Reigned In

Posted by devorah





It is very hard in the Perugia case for us to figure out who is driving the defense and PR bus.

The assumption made in standard cases is that the defendants are the clients, as it is their necks on the line, while the lawyers and any PR effort work at their command. In effect RS and AK would exercise all control, and courts would hold them responsible for what they did or should have controlled. 

In unusual contrast, here we have a situation where it seems like a bunch of clowns is driving the bus.

The hard facts of the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal and the legal strength of the prosecution team seem to be absolutely damning, while the two defendants and/or their surrogates are out there in high profile playing a childish “catch me if you can” game.

Read first TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on how formidable the Supreme Court appeal really is, and especially this one and this one.

Then read TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on Sollecito and the frenetic promotion of his bizarre book. And TJMK’s dissection (not yet complete) of its several hundred faults and 20-plus serious defamations.

Then Google the recent confused and nasty utterings on Knox’s and Sollecito’s behalf (very unwisely tacitly endorsed or unconstrained by either AK or RS) by Saul Kassin, Seth Chandler, Michael Heavey, Doug Preston, Michele Moore, David Anderson, Nigel Scott, and on and on.

Fortunately the media websites allowing anonymous drive-by hatchet jobs under their reporting seems to have dwindled sharply, and are now more or less confined to the hapless low-traffic Ground Report and occasionally the Huffington Post.

Perhaps in consequence, the nasty wildly inaccurate drive-by hatchet jobs in the book reviews on the Amazon website and their reader comments continue to mount up more than ever.

I want to use as an example of this trend the furious comments below this one-star book review of Raffaele Sollecito’s book on Amazon.

The many passages I have put in bold highlight the claims that we here and officialdom in Perugia have long KNOWN to be inaccurate and often defamatory.

This series of comments displays perfectly the nasty and bullying strategy, circular arguments, and wrong facts that the anonymous supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito still deploy, to ensure that their PR points get across and drown out alternative viewpoints.

The strategy of the Solllecito-Knox hit team here at work seems to be as follows:

    1. Numerous people register anonymously and review ONLY Sollecito’s book or ONLY books about the Meredith Kercher case. These people have no other online presence on Amazon and are obviously deeply immersed in the case as they review books only about it (a more sinister explanation is that these are mostly fake reviewers posting shill reviews under different aliases).

    2. They post numerous positive reviews about the slanted pro-defense books.

    3. They post numerous negative reviews about the objective pro-prosecution books. For example, John Kercher’s book about his murdered daughter has numerous 1- and 2-star reviews. They were written by individuals who reviewed ONLY books on this case and who gave 5-star reviews to pro-defense books.

    4. They respond to opposing viewpoints with hostile and intimidating taunts, threats, ridicule and name calling (in the Amazon thread I linked to above, you can see that those who deviate from the story that Knox and Sollecito are innocent and post alternative viewpoints have actually been called lunatics, idiots and perverts).

    5. They repeat known lies and mistruths as though they are facts, using the Knox team’s PR talking points. For example, “there is ZERO evidence in this case” and “there was absolutely NO DNA evidence linking Knox or Sollecito to the crime.”

    6. When someone responds with facts to the contrary and links to the evidence, they are bullied, called names, or derisively dismissed.

    7. Eventually, when trying to win the argument by logic alone fails, they may finally report their opposers to Amazon so that un unknowing Amazon blocks them from making further comments in the book reviews.

Is this working? I think not. Especlally in Italy but also in the US and UK, there is a growing pool out there that is no longer fooled.

On media sites below stories, the level of skepticism is generally very high these days. After all, the truth “got” to Katie Couric and the guests on Jane Velez Mitchell’s show, so Sollecito’s book at least got poor promotion.

Legal commenters and professional reporters like Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace, Barbie Nadeau and John Follain have all hinted or outright stated that Knox and Sollecito just might have blood on their hands.

Could that be why the campaign has turned to Amazon.com book reviews penned only by people with brand new screen names?

Knox and Sollecito’s supporters must be worried about the extremely strong appeal case the prosecution is moving forward with. Currently, the defense has NO lawyers publicly saying they were framed and NO good experts going public any more.

While their hotheaded surrogates are still out there (see above!) Knox is out of sight and Sollecito probably is too now. Also the Sollecito book is proving a considerable millstone around their own necks as it is so riddled with wrong facts and obvious calunnia.

Two of Sollecito’s key claims have already been denounced on Italian national TV by Sollecito’s own father and his lawyers. Objectively it looks like they are in a heap of trouble.

Please read the review linked to above to see some of Knox and Sollecito’s most strident supporters in action. Want to fight back? Respond back if you wish, write your own book reviews, and direct people to TJMK and PMF, and to the Massei Report and other factual sources of information. Tweeting would be especially helpful.

And do make sure that people remember that Meredith Kercher was the real victim in this case.

Posted on 11/13/12 at 09:10 PM by devorahClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamHeavey, BremnerMore hoaxersBruce FischerSteve MooreKnox BookSollecito Book
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Monday, November 05, 2012

Increasingly Being Voiced That, In A Turbulent World, People Like Meredith Are Really Very Precious

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





The heartwarming outpouring over Meredith on the fifth anniversary of her cruel death suggest that her mark on the world will last.

Not that this would have made any difference to our pursuit of justice for Meredith, but we have long known that she was a high achiever with outstanding accomplishments already, and that her eyes were set on the European institutions in Brussels.

Meredith really hit the ground running in Perugia. She had dreamed of it for a long time.

She bonded immediately with her two nice Italian flaltmates, who were both working in town, and soon with the neighbors downstairs. Within days she had an “instant crowd’ of the girls from Leeds and other UK universities.

She liked the house, liked the clubs, liked walking Perugia, liked the culture and the fun festivals in Perugia. Her first encounters with her new boyfriend downstairs, an Italian musician, were said to be shy and sweet.

And she was focused and already working her tail off. She had won a well-funded Erasmus grant and although she wanted to work a little, she had no worries about money.

She arrived with an excellent command of Italian after two years of hard study at the European Studies school in Leeds, and at the Università per Stranieri she was clearly going to excel.

She was also studying politics and economics at the main university, which was very close, and she seemed set to go very far. her eyes were already on the powerful international bodies in Brussels.

Judge Massei’s report is a brilliant piece of work by an amazing legal talent (Judge Massei is the top judge in Perugia and Umbria) and one gets the sense that he hit such a high plane as he was writing it as a tribute to Meredith. She deserved this, nothing less.

His report is now making many people say to themselves “how could this have happened?”  And also, what might have been…

We first received an in-depth portrait of Meredith in the excellent Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson with Luciano Garofano. These paragraphs below are from our longer excerpt in 2010. 

When Meredith turned seven years old in 1992, Britain was in the grip of a recession. Croydon, however, still remained an unusually busy suburb of London. The town was a hectic meld of mini-skyscrapers, retail parks and giant housing estates, the rumble of the London A roads and M25 motorway never far away in the background.

Meredith was a busy, active child from an early age. She .went to ballet, liked reading, and was generally known for her all-round vitality. When she took up karate, unlike many kids, she stuck to it. By her early teens, she had attained her third belt.

Meredith inherited her father’s flair for the written word. At school she wrote poetry and her fiction compositions were highly thought of. But mostly, Meredith was known for her bubbly personality, and her sense of humour - she had an imaginative sense of the ridiculous, according to her family.

Meredith may have been educated at a £10,000-a-year private school but she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her mother and father sacrificed almost all of their income and savings to give their youngest daughter, as well as her older siblings, the best education they could get…

Arline put her social life on hold. John chose to work instead of taking annual leave. His haymaking years iri Fleet Street were dedicated solely to putting his kids through school and university. He did well to keep the whole show on the road on a single freelancer’s wage, not only paying his own expenses in Croydon but also contributing to the upkeep of Arline and the kids at the old home a few miles south in Coulsdon.

[Below: a recent class at Meredith’s K-12 girls’ school in south London] 

Italians learned more about Meredith when one of her Perugiia friends, Samantha Rodenhurst, spoke on camera about their brief but affecting acquaintance in the Italian-TV report summarized here.

In 2010 and 2011 in British newspapers, Meredith’s father John wrote of Meredith here and here and here and finally in a long-awaited long-form book version here (US) and here (UK) and here (Italy).

Now in 2012 Meredith’s sister Stephanie (see the post below) and several more of Meredith’s friends have opened up to share the Meredith that they knew. This is from Monique Rivelland who was with Meredith at university both in Perugia and in Leeds.

[On arrival in Perugia] I set myself the task of learning to cook Italian dishes and once I had perfected the art of a good risotto I invited the girls over for dinner.

We sat around our table by the wooden shutters drinking local red wines, feeling wonderfully grown up.

We probed Meredith about an Italian boy she had started dating from the apartment below hers.

She was behaving coyly but she was the first of any of us to find romance, so we were intrigued.

The next week it was Halloween and two friends held a party.

I went as a black cat with an Afro and bow tie and we laughed all evening — mostly at the food, which was disastrous.

The risotto looked more like rice pudding and Meredith was giggling as she held out a tray of burnt witch-shaped biscuits she had made.

That was the last time I saw her.

Monique writes of Meredith’s friends attending her funeral, and of the journey Monique has been making in the five years since, which seems to us similar to what some other friends of Meredith’s say they too have been through.

We know that Meredith, who was awarded a posthumous degree from the University of Leeds in 2009, accepted for her by Stephanie, was a lover of schools and learning.

She helped tutor her friends at the Old Palace School of John Whitgift in Croydon. Their motto is The end crowns the work.  She encouraged the other students by her serious example but she also helped push them with their homework and tests, and volunteered from a generous heart. Both her south London school and Leeds University have offered commemorative services in past years.

The city of Perugia has on several occasions offered tributes to Meredith in ways that sound like Perugia wants to adopt Mez and make her an official Italian citizen, or a beloved unofficial citizen. The energetic and compassionate mayor Wladimiro Boccali and the city council now go further with a two-month fellowship with full travel and accomodation to be offered annually to British students for a language course at Meredith’s language school. 

“I think Meredith should be considered one of us” Mr Boccali said.

[Below: click for a view of the complete notice of the Meredith fellowship Perugia offers]

And a commemoration mass for Meredith was held in Perugia Cathedral last Thursday. As Andrea Vogt reports:

The archbishop of Perugia Gualtiero Bassetti said Kercher will never be forgotten in the small hilltop city of Umbria calling her murder “a wound in the conscience of the religious and civic community which has not yet healed.” Bassetti said Kercher will “be in my prayers” for the Nov. 1 ” Day of the Dead,” which is marked in connection with Italy’s Nov. 2 “All Saints Day” honoring the deceased. He urged Perugians to pray for her as well.

Perugia’s prayers for Meredith are a reminder for all those who followed the divisive case – no matter who they thought was guilty or innocent -  to pause for a moment to reflect on the promising, well-liked young woman who died so tragically and prematurely five years ago today, in a city still haunted by her memory.

And may the fine principles that Meredith passionately stood for continue to be so passionately espoused.


[Below: the interior of the cathdral of Perugia where a mass was offered last thursday]

Posted on 11/05/12 at 09:00 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
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Suggested Memorial Videos From Followers Of Meredith And Her Case In Several Countries In Europe

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Gocce Di Memoria by Giorgia

A song for someone much missed. In English Drops of Memory also known as Le Mie Stanze Vuote or My Empty Rooms


Canzone Per Un’Amica by Francesco Guccini


You’ll Never Walk Alone by André Rieu and soloists


Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess by pianist Elena Kuschnerova


Hallelujah Lyrics by Kate Voegele


And Perugia in the mist - posted several times in the past

Posted on 11/05/12 at 12:25 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
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Friday, November 02, 2012

Among Those Videos Suggested To Be Added To Our Memorial Videos Page

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Sov Gott (Sleep Well, in Swedish) by the American singer Jewel

Posted on 11/02/12 at 11:03 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Requiem That The Choir Of Meredith’s School, Old Palace School, Sang For Her

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

The Gregorian chant In Paradisum. This is the version by the English boys’ choral group The Choirboys which is many people’s favorite

Posted on 11/01/12 at 10:37 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer England
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Invitation To Nominate Musical Videos On The Fifth Anniversary Of Meredith’s Passing

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Above: the Kristian Leontiou musical video “Some Say” featuring Meredith which we first posted 40 months ago,

The first of November is the fifth anniversary. Nominations of any new videos for our Memorial Videos page would be welcome, perhaps with a few words to her family explaining why Meredith’s memory still moves you.

Posted on 10/31/12 at 06:52 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memory
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

UK Cosmpolitan Magazine Rightly Names Stephanie Kercher As A Woman Of The Year

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





We posted Stephanie’s Open Letter about herself and Meredith back in November 2011.

This much deserved award is widely reported in the UK. Good interview by Rosie Mullender in Cosmopolitan and she indicates that another longer one is to come.

When we met near our offices, I was nervous – Meredith’s death would obviously be a devastating subject to talk about, and I wasn’t sure how Stephanie would deal with being asked about what happened.

But as soon as I met her, I relaxed. Stephanie is warm, open and friendly, and her face lights up every time she talks about her sister. As she told me all the wonderful things she remembered about Meredith – her smile, her laugh, the way she’d help anyone with anything – she couldn’t help laughing herself.

And good photos and another report in the Daily Mail.

Celebrating the ‘resilience and strength’ she has shown in supporting her family, the 29-year-old will receive the Ultimate Editor’s Choice accolade at the event, which celebrates the year’s most inspirational figures.

Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court said: ‘Since the death of her sister, Meredith, five years ago, Stephanie remains an inspiring figure of strength and support…

‘Most impressive of all is her single-minded desire to ensure her sister isn’t forgotten and to make sure her personality shines through any projects she undertakes…

‘A devoted daughter and sister who has shown extraordinary courage and love in the most difficult circumstances, Stephanie is fully deserving of her award and we are delighted to celebrate with her tonight.’

Stephanie will receive her award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday evening, with the likes of Jessica Ennis, Kimberley Walsh and Alesha Dixon also set to be in attendance.

[Below: Stephanie Kercher leaves Perugia Dec 2009 after trial when family was relieved to think it was all over]

[Below;Stephanie at the press conference before the disputed Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict]

Posted on 10/30/12 at 09:17 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryThe officially involvedVictims familyNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Powerpoints #20: On Contradictions, Here Preston Contradicts Preston

Posted by Kermit



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Posted on 10/25/12 at 04:11 PM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Click Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Click Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Click That Widely Watched LA7 TV Interview With Giuliano Mignini

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

    Click Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

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

Posted by Kermit





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

This curious incident instigated this series:

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

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

I was surprised that Preston said he would “quote you accurately, honestly, and in context, and represent your views respectfully and accurately”. 

Hmmm. We all have in our memory Preston accusing me (see his comment April 28 2011 at 6:57 pm) of “distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact. Kermit’s open letter contains many out and out lies”.

He also claimed, erroneously, that I hide behind a “screen of false IP addresses and various other hacker tricks” (what, has Preston tried to hack me?) and that I had “demonstrated a long history of falsehood and dishonesty” (I have?!).

Given that past experience, would you trust Preston? Silly me, I’m ready to give anyone another chance.

In return I proposed that the interview be two-way, and that we each proceed question by question on the issues that we wanted to clarify for us to publish in due course. I included a first question on seeming significant errors and mistruths in the “Afterword” or epilogue chapter of his and Spezi’s Monster of Florence book.

Very disappointingly, he didnt respond in kind. Nothing useful came back. He concluded “as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.

Should Preston really call himself a journalist or an opinion maker, or a lobbyist?  Why can’t people just respect the Italian legal process, which right now is not (and never was) firmly in the hands of Prosecutor Mignini, Preston’s perceived nemesis?

As we seem set to be subjected once again to seeing Preston and/or Spezi regularly sharing their rancid opinion of Prosecutor Mignini and Italians officials on the case with the public, I decided to get out in front, with this series pre-emptively checking their versions of the “truths”.

The Monster of Florence book is labeled (see above) a “True Story”, and while it does include historical facts related to the MoF murders in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,  the two authors also personally intrude themselves into events.

This series should help the public to decide how seriously (if at all) they should accept Preston’s and Spezi’s opinions expressed in their media appearances where they interject themselves into Meredith Kercher’s murder case.

And to see if any of Preston’s self-described “point-of-view journalism” truths he shares with Spezi really stand up.

Please check back to TJMK every few days as we pose new questions to Preston and his co-author Spezi.

Posted on 10/21/12 at 05:23 PM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Overviews PowerpointCrime hypothesesNews media & moviesTerrible reportingThe wider contextsItalian contextN America context10 Mignini MOF hoax
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Exploding Nightmare For Lawyers Of The Defense: Torrent of “Mistakes” In Sollecito’s Hapless Book

Posted by Sara





More and more and more wrong facts and libels are being turned up in Sollecito’s pathetic book, both by us here and by an irritated officialdom in Rome and Perugia.

Amanda Knox is rumored to perhaps be mentally unstable and figuratively locked in the attic in Seattle. Now Sollecito seems to have been disappeared back in Italy for his own good as well.

Sollecito’s own lawyers (who have in the past threatened to walk) and his own family have already thrown him to the wolves on Italian TV over just one highly libelous claim and there are an estimated two dozen more still to surface.

Not really a good idea to write a shrill “I’m the real victim here” book unchaperoned, when you have the smug mentality of a 12-year-old. The facts strongly against you. A very bright prosecutor. And a ghost writer whose slobbering over a laughably fictional Sollecito suggests he has a something of a boy-crush.

Raffaele Sollecito has made many stupid claims in his book, but perhaps none is so obvious and more idiotic than his claims about the “lost” emails.

What is it with this guy and the emails? He seems to think (or perhaps, thinks that the readers are stupid enough to believe) that if a computer or a hard drive is destroyed, all the emails in it are lost as well. Come on already, surely they taught him the mechanisms of email in his computer classes.

Look at his statements regarding emails. In chapter 2 (Love and Death) of his book, he describes the morning after the murder -

I’d been up several times in the night—listening to music, answering e-mail, making love—and wanted only to go back to sleep

Right, so he got up many times in the night to answer e-mails. You’d think that this would be his biggest alibi for the night of the murder, right? No, wrong. Raffaele could not prove his alibi because, in his own words -

I did not yet know that the Polizia Postale—supposedly experts in handling technology issues—had seized two of my computers along with Amanda’s and Meredith’s and somehow wrecked three of the four hard disks while trying to decipher them. The bottom line was that the damaged disks were now deemed unreadable. That left just my MacBook Pro to provide an alibi for the night of the murder.

But modern emails DON"T EVEN RESIDE on local hard drives unless one DELIBERATELY downloads them. And even if one does (and hardly anyone ever does) there rarely is reason to completely delete the original, and here there seems about zero reason to do that.

And even if the original IS deleted Facebook and email services have shown under legal pressure that they maintain complete backups going back many months. No way Sollecito’s supposed emails on the night could have been made to simply no longer exist.

Again, when he talks about Amanda and Meredith’s friendship, he says -

If either Meredith’s or Amanda’s computer had survived the police examination, there might have been photographs, emails, and other evidence to point to a more meaningful interaction

Here we go with the elusive emails again. Will someone explain the point of email to this guy? What difference would the local computers surviving or not surviving make to any emails residing on his host’s servers?

He actually has the nerve to criticize the Polizia Postale’s technical competence after making a statement to the effect that he and Amanda could not retrieve their emails as the hard disks were damaged.

Whether the hard disks were destroyed or not, whether it was the Polizia Postale’s fault or not is hardly important here. Admittedly, Amanda is not a “technical genius” (After all, she does not know how to delete messages from her sent items).

But what is stopping this resident technical genius from simply accessing his email box from some other computer or iphone, and printing out a copy from his sent items? Why doesn’t he ask even one of the happy recipients of his emails - by the way, who were they? - to forward it back to him?

Did all of them delete his mails from their in boxes and trash too? Even if we defy all logic and accept that they did, what’s stopping at least one of them from coming forward and testifying that they received a mail from him that night? Did all of them get selective amnesia at the same time too?

Similarly, if any emails that proved the “close friendship” between Amanda and Meredith existed wouldn’t they still be retrievable from Amanda’s mailbox? She could have printed a copy any time. Did she go around deleting all of Meredith’s mails the minute they arrived as well as her own replies to them, and clearing her trash box and all her host’s backups as well, just to be doubly sure they can’t be retrieved?.

Ok, let’s say the emails were deleted. What about the photographs? If there had been any photographs that would establish their “close” friendship, wouldn’t they be there on the camera or phone from which they were taken? Or wouldn’t either Meredith or Amanda have sent them to someone or posted them on their Facebook?

How did EVERYTHING vanish without a trace? If neither of them ever sent the photos to anyone or posted them online anywhere, or even kept them on file, you really have to wonder what was the point of taking them at all.

No one is claiming that Amanda and Meredith were at loggerheads all the time, they might even have gotten along initially. Meredith was not a person who judged people harshly. By all accounts, she did try her best to get along with Amanda, trying to include her in outings and defending her when she got into trouble.

It was Amanda who pulled away saying she wanted to socialize only with Italians. But the fact is that there were clashes and there were differences between them.  Trying to make out that they were the best of friends by claiming the destruction of non-existent proofs is not only unbelievable but also utterly stupid.

Like our main poster Hopeful summarized it: this claimed computer genius has never in four years been able to prove he sent an email? Ridiculous.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sunk Ship: This Week’s Closed Hearings Required The Conversion Of This Theater

Posted by Peter Quennell





The international media presence at the hearings in Grosetto matches those at the end of the trial and the appeal in Perugia.

But despite the conversion into a court of the large Theater Moderno shown here, the media is not getting to observe the hearings first-hand. The judges decided that they all have to wait outside.

So many passengers and relatives of victims wanted to attend to look Captain Schettino in the eye that they occupy all of the several thousand seats.

This hearing is similar to the hearing presided over by Judge Micheli in October 2008 to decide whether to remand Knox and Sollecito for trial. We should know in a few days if Captain Schettino and several other officers and company officials will face trial for manslaughter and other crimes.

Perhaps the most shocking fact to emerge from the reports prepared for the hearings is that once the ship was gashed in the side it was almost instantly mechanically incapacitated. If a brisk headwind had not stopped the ship and pushed it around onto an underwater shelf, it might have sunk in minutes, perhaps with several thousand drowned.

The captain has just been fired. He in turn is strenuously trying to shift the blame for the disaster to his fellow crew, many of whom had weak English and no Italian, and also to the cruise company.

The cruise-line business has now recovered but, as with the Titanic, a lot is being learned around the world about ship construction, emergency ship management, and the relevant law.






















[Below: Captain Schettino, now fired by his company, arrives from Sorrento for the hearing]




[Below: Giulia Bongiorno reopresents some passenger and seeks a class action suit]




[Below: the ship now shows up on Google Earth. The rocks it hit are at lower left]

Posted on 10/18/12 at 05:17 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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