Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Saul Kassin Framed Many Fine Italian Justice Officials - And Then Played Victim When Corrected

Posted by Cardiol MD



Do Williams College President Dr Falk and head of psychology Dr Fein know that Kassin is a hot potato?

A Common Phenomenon

We take note of a common “they can’t take what they dish out” phenomenon among the Sollecito & Knox supporters.

If you show unequivocally that their FACTS are wrong and that they have illegally framed (in English) good Italian officials, they melt down with numerous shrill claims that the meanies ridiculed them - because their mission and the two perps they champion are so moral and so divine.

Doug Preston, Nina Burleigh, Greg Hampikian, Steve Moore, Doug Bremner and others have all exhibited this victimhood phenomenon. Doug Preston even wrote an entire book-long wail about his victimhood.

Foolishly perverse behavior. No police or prosecutors anywhere ever appreciate being framed. In the US it is rare indeed. In Italy a single official complaint can spark a prosecutor’s investigation, and probable felony charges against any or all of them for obstruction of justice. 

The Saul Kassin case surely has to be the worst of all cases, because his huge slam at Italy, with dozens of wrong facts and false accusations, was delivered as a keynote address at a John Jay College of Justice conference, to dozens of top justice officials from around the world - and to this day he perpetuates this massive academic fraud.

Presumably roughly 100% of that global audience, ignorant of the real story (a probable serious new felony by Knox), believe Knox was tortured by Italians into some kind of forced confession. 

A Historical Synopsis Of Kassin’s Role

Saul Kassin, an academic psychologist, established himself as an acknowledged authority-figure on the subject of prosecutor-induced false confession, describing a profile of such confessors.

Prosecutor-induced false confession is, of course, a real phenomenon, which has existed throughout recorded history, notoriously exemplified in modern history at the Moscow Show-Trials of the 1930’s.

Years ago supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (FOA), claiming that the pair were wrongly convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, alleged that their “wrongful” conviction was based on a prosecutor-induced false confession, among some other things.

FOA concocted a false description of the events surrounding the interrogation, using as many as 50 barefaced falsehoods to create a match to the characteristics of false-confessors described by Kassin.

This creation in turn resulted in the exposure of the numerous falsehoods and deceptions, in the course of which Kassin’s work was also criticised. Offended by such criticism, Kassin wrote a paper defending his work, but sustaining the multiple falsehoods and deceptions created by the FOA.

On April 30th 2012 The American Psychologist [AP] published an Advanced Online Paper titled “Why Confessions Trump Innocence” authored by Saul Kassin (final version here) see in which he “described” the case of Amanda Knox, an American college student who had been convicted of murder in Italy, arguing that Knox was not guilty, and had been induced by prosecutorial-oppression into making a False-Confession.

In June 2012 Kassin presented his misleading keynote address to the John Jay College global conference (see page 31 of the program). Soon after he made TV and radio appearances.

In September 2012 the American Psychologist journal published Kassin’s paper in print-form (AP Vol.67 (6) Sept. 2012, 431-445). When it did so, the paper was newly accompanied by Corrections and Updates, in which Kassin states that minor (sic) corrections “should be made in the description of the Amanda Knox case.” They are not minor in their effect on the meaning of his text.

The first change substitutes for one misleading false statement, a more clearly worded false statement; changes 4. and 5. modify the allegation that Guede had raped Meredith, and that Guede’s DNA had been found in sperm at the crime scene.  Not only are Kassin’s changes by no means “minor”, they are only a few of the many changes needed to acknowledge the true facts. They amply confirm the depth of Kassin’s fall into self-deception.

And in a ludicrously surreal development, Amanda Knox’s 2013 book Waiting to be Heard at great length parotted Kassin’s wrong claims about her wrong claims, the same ones for which she may face new charges.

The Pro-justice Community Takes Exception

TJMK and the two PMF forums and other pro-justice, pro-victim and pro-Italy websites have long explained in Posts and Comments that the Kassin paper containing the 50 or more false or deceptive statements is so contrary to the actual facts as to be sheer obfuscation.

The first TJMK reference to False Confession was a comment by Faustus on Jan. 13th 2009. The first TJMK post questioning Saul Kassin was written by the Machine and published on 10 July 2012.

Since then TJMK has published more than a dozen articles focusing on the false facts and false accusations in Kassin’s presentations, with scores of comments expanding the corrections further. This rebuttal and this one were particularly key.

Aspects of Saul Kassin’s Background

Saul Kassin is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Recently, he was listed as in a “phased retirement” as Massachusetts Professor of Psychology from Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut.

Kassin’s Resume’ also reveals that he was once very aware of the phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophecy, and very scornful of people to whom he attributed-it.

In 2004, C.U.P. published a book entitled “The Detection of Deception in Forensic Contexts”, defining ‘forensic context’ as any context in which legal questions are raised. Kassin was the author of chapter 8, entitled “True or False: ‘I’d know a false confession if I saw one’.”, in which Kassin repeats the well-known fact that Oppression-Induced False Confession is a real phenomenon, ridiculing other professionals with the quote ’ I’d know a false confession if I saw one’.

Then he describes his own recipe for ‘knowing one’, providing a profile ideal for use by Knox, and FOA, after Meredith’s murder in 2007.

Kassin’s ridicule relies upon what he, himself, describes variously as ‘self-fulfilling prophecy, interpersonal expectancy effect, and behavioral confirmation’. He provides the reader with 6 references to the phenomenon, the first 2 focusing on Pygmalion, as the classic exemplar of seeing what you want to see.

[Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory. His statue was so realistic that he fell in love with it. Making offerings at the altar of Aphrodite, he quietly wished for a bride who would be “the living likeness of my ivory girl”. When he returned home, he kissed his ivory statue and found that its lips felt warm. He kissed it again, touched its breasts with his hand and found that the ivory had lost its hardness. Aphrodite had granted Pygmalion’s wish.  Shaw used this story as the subtext for his play ‘Pygmalion’, the musical version of which is ‘My Fair Lady’.]

Kassin’ s Resume’ also records that he served as a U.S. Supreme Court Judicial Fellow, working at the Federal Judicial Center .... Dr. Kassin is past president of Division 41 of APA (aka the American Psychology-Law Society).
.
Given these items from Dr.Kassin’s impressive resume’ a reader would expect Dr. Kassin to be professionally knowledgeable in the law relevant to his specialty; Kassin definitely OUGHT to be that knowledgeable.

In “Why Confessions Trump Innocence” readers are directed by Kassin to Dempsey, 2010, and Burleigh, 2011, noting “personal communications with Amanda Knox, Madison Paxton, and Nina Burleigh”. Consistent with Kassin seeing what he wants to see, his paper contains phrases such as “the case of Amanda Knox and others who are wrongfully convicted”. Kassin’s own self-deception seemingly promotes receptivity to deception by others.
 
In January the Nencini Appeal Court in Florence declared Knox and Sollecito to be Guilty-Beyond-Reasonable-Doubt. All that remains is the Supreme Court’s expected firm endorsement.

As we await the Nencini Motivazione report, the senior Florence prosecutor Dr Giuliano Giambartolomei has recently announced his findings that many claims in Sollecito’s “Honor Bound”are spurious and justify new charges being brought against Sollecito.

Shadow-writer Andrew Gumbel, who recently published a self-incriminatory rant in The Guardian, has also been named, so now seems a great time to refresh TJMK’s reader’s awareness of Kassin’s arguments. Kassin’s arguments were apparently communicated to Hellmann/Zanetti by Knox’s lawyers, and Kassin himself may be liable under Italian Law.

How Saul Kassin Now Plays The Victim

Here are some quotes from an article by the duped Scott Sleek excusing Kassin’s serial framings and obfuscations in “Why Confessions Trump Innocence”:

“…He noted [now begin Kassin’s obfuscations:] that Knox had been immediately identified as a suspect and presumed guilty, confessed after three days of denials and interrogations, and did not have any attorney present when undergoing questioning.”

TJMK readers know very well that the above précis is an outright falsehood. That is not what took place.

In his defence Kassin also claimed: “I used it as an example, not realizing the depth of a couple of Amanda Knox hate groups that track professionals who support Amanda Knox.”

WHAT mere example? Actually Kassin placed his framing and wrong facts front and center, again and again and again. WHAT professionals support Knox? And the real professionals posting and reading here handily exceed Kassin’s pay-grade.

Kassin also claimed that the hate emails he received, and the blog posts criticizing him, didn’t focus on the science itself, but on his motives for analyzing Knox’s case. In essence, the attacks were personal, he stated.

Kassin also claimed that some of the messages he received felt threatening, and included statements such as: “We know where you work” and that a few bloggers wrote posts lambasting Kassin’s integrity, in one case even calling him a “shill”.

Really? TJMK is as opposed as Kassin to hate-mail. We can correct wrong facts and serial defaming right here. But we also believe that Kassin’s adoption of Knox’s, Sollecito’s, Paxton’s, Dempsey’s, Burleigh’s, and other FOA&S’s falsehoods, deceptions, and serial framings of Italian officials was far more improper, biased, and compromising of his own integrity.

The attempt to do real damage begins and ends with Kassin.  And far from not focusing on Kassin’s “science” his TJMK critics have focused sharply on the falsehoods Kassin has used to support his self-fulfilling prophecies. Click on links to past posts above.

The historical trap Kassin has fallen into is that of “Experimenter Expectancy”, or seeing what you want to see [c.f. Chapter 6, pp107-108 Betrayers Of The Truth, OUP, 1982, By Broad & Wade]:

“Expectancy leads to self-deception, and self-deception leads to the propensity to be deceived by others.”

Having fallen into the very trap Kassin himself had described in great detail in 2004, and recited in his Resume’, a legal background that ought to inform him that he was entering a potential legal minefield, Kassin proceeded, in writing, to satisfy the common-law definition of Defamation-Malice [making false statements, knowing them to be false, or made so recklessly as to amount to willful disregard for the truth].

Under Italian law, if any of those he framed complains, Kassin may be chargeable with a felony.  Kassin’s MO does entail defaming the conduct of Italian Police, and Prosecutors. He has adopted many falsehoods. There is good reason to bring his integrity into question.

His best course now would be to publicly withdraw all the many versions of his false claims. And, finally, apologize to all those he framed and the real victim’s circle,

[Everything in this post applies equally to the ludicrously inaccurate claims of ex FBI “mindhunter” John Douglas in his books and lobbying at the State Department.]


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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

Posted by Machiavelli



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

The sheer depth and width of the hard evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Visual analysis of the bathroom-mat footprint

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

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

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


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




2 . The bathmat print and the surrounding area




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




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





5. The bathmat print, photo with enhanced contrast.





The photo above was modified by highly enhancing contrast.



6 . Enhanced contrast helps to spot some features





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

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

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

7. The bathmat, with enhanced contrast





The contrasted image is showing the presence of other stains

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


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





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

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

 

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





The photography above was modified

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

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

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

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

We consider this manually drawn outline as good for comparison.     


10 . The complete hand-drawn outline





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





Observe the small red ‘dots’ in the picture above

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

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

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

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

12 . An image in electronically modified colours





Distribution and intensity of the colouration

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

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



13 . The bathmat has a spiral-shaped relief decoration





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

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

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

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

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

14. The “negative area”





15. Mat decoration in relief and the toe mark







Observe above one single, unitary stain

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

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

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

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

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





Observe shape, curvature and size

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


17. Rudy Guede’s sample print





Take note of this image

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

18 . Raffaele Sollecito’s sample print





Take note of this image

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

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








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






21. Bringing all photographs down to the same scale





An accurate exercise of scaling was done

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

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

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

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

22. The hand drawn outline is shown again here





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





The array of compatibilities with Sollecito

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

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

 

24 . The same outline overlapped on Guede’s footprint





Compare with Guede’s - matched scale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 . Other features:





Curvatures of plantar arch are very different

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

26. The outline curvature generates different angles





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

27 . Plantar arch curvature angle differs between Sollecito and Guede




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

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

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





The “cleft” on the left side

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

29 . Table of metric comparison (by SomeAlibi)





SomeAlibi’s post of a year ago

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


Friday, April 11, 2014

Why “Buyer Beware” Re Amanda Knox Could Be A Very Good Idea For The Innocence Project

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. Innocence Project Conference

The annual national conference of Barry Sheck’s Innocence Project is to take place on Friday and Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

Dozens of American who claim they were unfairly treated by the American justice system will share their stories and give pointers for measures that paid off for them.

We tend to believe them. We have long highlighted that in terms of fairness and carefulness the American system and Italian system are poles apart.

At this conference Amanda Knox will try to get the Project’s support.

However. Knox may be the least useful convicted perp on the planet for the Innocence Project to get behind or learn anything from.

  • First, the Italian system is not remotely as she and her colleague Sollecito describe it. It is in fact a system the United States is starting to emulate. If widely adopted the Innocence Project would have a very light load and most of those at the conference would not even have had cause to be there.

  • Second, the case against Knox and Sollecito is an overwhelming one with far more and far stronger evidence points than UK and US courts normally require for conviction. The 2011 appeal was automatic; in the US and UK grounds for allowing an appeal would have been considered lacking. (The Supreme Court ordered the 2013 appeal.)

  • Third, the Knox-Mellases have run a despicable multi-million-dollar PR campaign. That has proved not only ineffectual but massively damaging to many good people, and a source of tension between two countries. The blood money Knox and Sollecito have achieved from their dishonest books and endless money-grubbing create a new world record for illegally profiting from a crime.

  • Fourth, a drooling and irresponsible academic who represents the Innocence Project in Idaho, who may be beholden to the mafias, and who criminally inserted himself into the appeal process in Italy, claims to be beating the drum for Knox at the conference.

Barry Scheck and REAL victims everywhere would really be best served by taking these wise precautions

(1) kicking the foolish grandstanding mafia tool Greg Hampikian out of the Innocence Project,

(2) learning things from the very impressive Italian system, which could help many REAL victims,

(3) deny Knox yet another forum to frame Italians, mislead Americans, and make even more illegal blood-money .

For Barry Scheck and genuine justice and REAL victims everywhere, distancing themselves from Knox would be the smart outcome.  Let her stick to autographing this in the lobby.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sollecito Takes On A New Lawyer To Help Him Work His Way Past The Minefield That Is His Book

Posted by Peter Quennell



Raffaele Sollecito retained Alfredo Brizioli after he burned his trial lawyers in his book


Both Sollecito’s book and Knox’s book seem to have the primary purpose of poisoning public opinion against the courts.

The serious charges Sollecito and Knox will probably face for those books are of three kinds: (1) the contempt-of-court misrepresentation of the Italian justice system itself; (2) the obstruction-of-justice twisting of the evidence in the case; and (3) the claims of crimes committed by numerous career police and prosecution officials.

If false, in effect a gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.

At the eighth session of the Florence appeal court back in January, Giulia Bongiorno engaged in a day-long summation which was peculiar, to say the least.

Like Sollecito and Knox in their books, Giulia Bongiorno seemed to be attempting to put the justice system and investigation and prosecution in the dock.

If false, another gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.

Bongiorno’s rant didnt seem to help Sollecito in undermining any of the hard evidence in the case, and it left the judges visibly unmoved. But it was notable how closely it resembled the rants on the justice system and its officials by Sollecito himself in his book. See the examples in the post below.

There are some complex later passages in Sollecito’s book and some recurring themes that we will analyse which would seem impossible for Sollecito to write about in such detail without the extensive help of a lawyer who was in the court.

Who precisely was that?

Reports from Italy now state that Alfredo Brizioli, not Giulia Bongiorno, will be the lawyer the Sollecitos choose to respond to the investigating prosecutor’s report on the book. Perhaps Mr Brizioli (who right now is himself on trial for obstruction of justice in another case) can try to negotiate a way for his client to spread the blame before the charges are set in stone.

The Sollecitos seem weak. Alfredo Brizioli seems weak. Giulia Bongiorno seems weak. And Knox also seems weak - if Sollecito is ever going to back away from Knox (perhaps to try to claim the final murderous stab of Meredith was solely Knox’s crazed idea) there is just this one last chance.

We in no way favor Sollecito getting off lightly without recanting. We do want to point to the potential fireworks a smart prosecution has engineered that might help achieve this.

Although there was a sort of bidding war for both books, not every publisher, having seen what was to be in them, was eager to join in. Some did sit on the sidelines. 

Withdrawing the two books ASAP might be the smart move. The mood in the book industry in New York, where both publishers have their HQ’s, seems to be that that move could be the wisest.




Monday, April 07, 2014

Italy Pushes Back On Dirty Tricks And Frame-Ups: Examples Of What Sollecito Must Defend In Court

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Florence prosecutor Gianbartolomei will announce charges later this month]

Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna, Yummi and Kermit.


Sollecito’s blood-money book gets published

Sollecito’s hapless book Honor Bound was released in English on 18 September 2012.

Within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.

Bruno Vespa, the persistent host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show (for the equivalent of which American TV cries out) forced Sollecito’s father in national prime-time to admit that at the core of the book was a huge lie.

Other claims about the case and the officials were shown to be wrong too.

Smarter people than Sollecito’s help in the US (Andrew Gumbel and Sharlene Martin, later John Q Kelly, and Simon & Schuster) might have put the brakes on until they got the truth straight and a revised version out.

But no, a media blitz was all ready to roar. The blood-money couldn’t wait.

Huge numbers of professional book reviews and Amazon reader reviews swallowed Sollecito’s claims in the book whole. The nastiness toward Italy and its justice system and officials was ratcheted onto a whole new plane.

Needless to say, official Italy did take note

For the legal reasons explained in this key post an investigation by the Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office was mandated to begin.

In that same post it was warned that for the period the investigation would require, it would be taken below the radar, so that the Sollecito defense team would have no way to respond through dishonest PR or legal dirty tricks.

A not-unsurprising result of that stealth move was that in the meantime, in the last year, very full of themselves and feeling no constraint, Sollecito and his team went hog-wild in adding more crazy claims.  And still more.

Now the investigation is complete

Now Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued his announcement of the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is at present confidential except to the defenses.

As Yummi reports, from this point on, the defense has 20 days to say something, such as to request that Sollecito be interrogated or allowed to declare or explain something.

Then the prosecution will file charges against Sollecito and Gumbel, and possibly Sharlene Martin and Simon & Schuster, their careless publishers in New York.

Which precise false claims Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has made the target of his report we do not know. But this is a target-rich environment, that is for sure:

Consider for starters these 20 false claims which, believe it or not, all appear in the first seven pages of the book.

1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously and refused his release.

3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperience and pliable judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially bright or funny or pretty?  That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.

Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.

Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.

Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.

There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.

Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.

11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.

Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.

13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system is seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.

15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.

16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.


As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.

On our further postings

Akk of this above analyzes only the first seven pages, out of a book which has several hundred pages. We will post one or two times more during April. Later in the book, there is a lot of venomous sneering addressed at Dr Mignini, although his performance at trial was excellent - and he is now for Perugia’s region (Umbria) the Deputy Prosecutor General.

In Italy Dr Mignini is now and then on national TV along with Michele Giuttari, who pursued the main Monster of Florence theory - not the crackpot theory Preston and Spezi attempted to use to frame someone. At impugning him,  Sollecito and Gumbel have failed miserably, and for that are now in the crosshairs of the system.

*******

Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna and Kermit.


[Kermit’s take on Katie Couric, one of several smart TV hosts who suspected a giant con]

Posted on 04/07/14 at 11:43 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, April 04, 2014

The Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office Announces That Sollecito Will Face More Court Action

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Breaking news from Main Poster Yummi

Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued a notice about the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is confidential for the defenses.

From this point the defense has 20 days to say something, like to request that the defendant (Sollecito) is interrogated or has anything to declare, or to submit any documents if they want to.

Then, once the 20 days are expired, the prosecution will file charges.

Since the charges will include almost certainly, beyond aggravated defamation, also contempt of the Judicial organs, the prosecution may send a notice to the Ministry of Justice too.

Since they are victims of contempt they may appoint a plaintiff.

The senior Florence prosecutor Dr Giuliano Giambartolomei was assigned to investigate the claims in Sollecito’s “Honor Bound”.

Today he announces that his findings indicate that many claims are spurious and justify new charges being brought against Sollecito. Shadow-writer Andrew Gumbel, who recently published this self-incriminatory rant has also been named.

When the charges are filed several or some others who have been assiduously “helping” Sollecito (mostly for big bucks) such as book-agent Sharlene Martin might find themselves named also  

So Sollecito for sure and Knox most probably will be confronting the often-contradictory claims in their books, and saying whether they accept or reject each of them, which should put other book-writers who made false claims on the spot and maybe wind the whole FOA effort down.

We will be making our separate page on Sollecito’s various false claims live again. Main posters have posted a large number of corrections to Sollcito’s claims in the book. We have been putting them in correct page-order.

Miriam has kindly contributed this translation of today’s report in Il Messagero. Dr Giambartolomei only hints to the reporter what will be in his report which will quote all the passages in full for which Sollecito will have to account. 

Raffaele Sollecito Insults The PM And A New Trial Starts

As always everything [possible] is presumed and as always, in the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher, everything [possible] can be overturned at every verdict.

Even in the associated trials, such as the one for defamation (against PM Mignini) and contempt (against the police) for which Raffaele Sollecito, found guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with his ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox, is being investigated along with the British journalist-author (now in absentia) Andrew Paul Gumbel.

Defamation, because many parts of the book “Honor Bound”, of which both are authors, contains for the prosecution various ignominious remarks.

More than simple phrases, entire chapters (allegedly) of the book are written in what is technically called “conclusione delle indagini” and requires the matter to be brought to justice, and therefore to trial.

[The book] starts by summarizing the main evidence (that was then proved to be wrong by the facts) against Sollecito.

The two being investigated write: ” the main proof that Mignini had to bring to the preliminary hearing were my Nikes… and he did everything possible to render them more incriminating…”

Then again “the police had only the pictures of my shoes (not those of the print) and in some way they came to the conclusion that my Nikes were the same brand, model and size as the shoeprints on the floor of Meredith’s apartment. There was no doubt about this”

Then the facts demonstrated that the shoe prints where of Rudy Guede, the third person condemned for the murder of the British student, and could not be those of Sollecito, because of the size.

Therefore this touches on the management of the trial on the part of Mignini. Sollecito-Gumbel write: “one of the reasons that our hearings were so distant one from the other was that Mignini was fighting his own separate legal battle for abuse of investigated activity.”

This connection goes to the case of the death of the Perugian Doctor Franceco Narducci, connected to the Monster of Florence case which Mignini had investigated.

Sollectito sustains: (defended in this case by Alfredo Brizioli) “I think our case, among other things, was a big diversion to keep the media’s attention away from the legal battle Mignini was having in Florence, and to give him the victory in a high profile case he so desperately needed to restore his reputation.”

The young Pugliese continues: “…..just as he did in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every instrument at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. The avalanches of legal action by part of Mignini had an inevitable icy effect , especially on the Italian press and this played a clear role in turning the public opinion against us.”

The charges against Sollecito and Gumbel are those of having sustained that it was Mignini’s idea to seek to obstruct the investigation as is from the beginning, it was a studied act to bend the investigation and turn the trial to his side.” 

This is a clear accusation in the eyes of the prosecutor Giuliano Giambartolomei: “His approach (Mignini’s), Sollecito is saying, was particularly vindictive…. This is enough for Sollecito to face charges of defamation.”

Important to note that Dr Giambartolomei does NOT explain here precisely what will be in his report. That will have to quote all the passages in full for which Sollecito may have to account. Then he or whatever prosecutor charges Sollecito will go to another depth.

With our analysis of the book and knowledge of Italian law we can probably pick many or most of the false claims made which impugn officals or the Italian system.

More posts coming. Stay tuned.

Posted on 04/04/14 at 05:36 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


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

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

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

UNESCO

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

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

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

Senegal

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

Sarajevo

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

Peru

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

2004 Tsunami

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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





Posted on 04/03/14 at 08:04 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

With Radioactive Knox Campaign Not On Agenda,  US & Italian Leaders Give Each Other Big Boosts

Posted by Peter Quennell





Prime Minister Renzi needs all the support he can get for his economic-recovery program, President Obama the same for the Ukraine.

Here’s a Rome-based blog our main poster Yummi pointed out, which describes in detail chronologically how the productive four days went.

And Mr Obama went out of his way to give Mr Renzi a lot of praise as Reuters described

Renzi, Italy’s youngest ever prime minister, has set a testing agenda of economic and constitutional reforms to help the eurozone’s third-largest economy recover from its longest recession since World War Two.

“I want to say that I’ve just been impressed by the energy and vision that Matteo’s bringing to his position,” Obama said during an hour-long joint news conference in Rome.

“There’s a seriousness and ambition of ideas, and I think the spirit and the energy of the Italian people has the opportunity to be unleashed in a way that will be good for Italy, but it will also be good for Europe,” he said.

“So it’s wonderful to see this new generation of leadership coming to the fore.”

The comments were a welcome boost to Renzi, who took over leadership of Italy’s cross-party ruling coalition after a party coup last month, pledging to push forward more aggressively on reforms than his predecessor Enrico Letta.

Not a single mention by any official or any media outlet of the radioactive Knox campaign. NOT ONE. Ask any justice official in either capital city, and the responses now are ““Knox who?” and “She should go quietly and serve her time”.

She’s old news. Let’s move on.







Posted on 04/01/14 at 09:48 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Silicon Valley Lawyer Richard Dwyer Mulls Knox Fingering Patrick, Also Dewani Killing Wife

Posted by Peter Quennell





Richard Dwyer is known as a very, very smart Silicon Valley lawyer. He is a Stanford Law School graduate. Using Skype he has posted a lot of astute video analysis online.

Below Mr Dwyer comments with cold precision and a significant depth of detail on the matter of Amanda Knox framing Patrick (15 minutes) which he sees as in itself all an America court could need to find for guilt.

In the second video below he comments on the strong case that South African justice has against Shrien Dewani for killing his wife (50 minutes) to which several posts of ours immediately below refer..


Posted on 03/28/14 at 10:32 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Jaw-Dropping BBC Bias Toward Murder Suspect Doesnt Stop UK Extraditing Him For Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

Below: Anni Hindocha and Shrien Dewani; there are more images in the post below this one




1. Introduction

The British citizen Shrien Dewani is to be extradited to South African in a few days, to face trial in the death of his wife Anni.

This is another case with many similarities to Meredith’s: for example where money, arrogance, bigotry, dishonest PR and corrupted media are on one side, and where the careful courts and the more diligent of the public are on another.

Dawani does have his supporters, and some are making vicious accusations about Anni’s family and racist remarks about South African police (“incompetent and corrupt”) without any proof, not least on the FOA sites. 

Where this case maybe goes even beyond Meredith’s is in the extent and precision with which some of the reporting, especially two reports by the BBC, has been taken apart and revealed to have been corrupted.

The analysis of the BBC reports occupies an entire new website, which is linked-to in Part 9 below.

2. Facts of lives prior

The victim, Anni Hindocha, was born in central Sweden in March 1982. She would now be 32. In 1972 the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin had expelled 90,000 Asians from Uganda, and Sweden had kindly taken her family in.

Anni graduated in engineering and joined the Swedish telephone giant Ericsson in Stockholm right after. 

The family of her future husband, Shrien Dewani, moved to Bristol in the west of England from Kenya some years earlier. Dawani’s millionaire father built up a clinics and resthomes group. Along with his brother, Dawani was educated at Bristol Grammar and at Oxford University.

He worked briefly as an accountant in London, and then joined PSP Healthcare, the family firm, which soon made him too a millionaire.

Anni visited her cousin in the UK, met Dawani through mutual friends, met frequently in London and Stockholm, and were married (ceremonially but not yet legally) at a resort outside Mumbai (Bombay) on 29 October 2010.

Two weeks later, on 13 November, Anni was dead.

3. Prosecution murder scenario

Anni and Shrien made a honeymoon trip to South Africa and first spent four days at the Kruger national game park. Then they returned to Cape Town.

Dawani claimed that their hired car was hijacked by two perps in an eastern suburb, Gugulethu township, on the way back from an evening trip to a beach restaurant further east.

Then for no obvious reason he was dumped out of the moving hired car 11 miles away, unharmed, and unwarned about identifying who the hijackers were.

The next morning, Anni was found dead in the back of the car another two miles beyond that. She might have been molested; she had been shot once in the neck.

The families left South Africa with Anni’s body on the 17th. Her body was cremated in London and her ashes scattered on the lake by the town where she was born.

The hired-car driver and two others were promptly arrested and another was arrested later on. Mngeni, one alleged hijacker, was arrested on 16th November. Another, Qwabe, was arrested on the 18th, and the driver, Tongo, on the 20th.

4. Three arrests so case closed?

Things still looked very fishy though.

For example Dewani had given 3 different accounts of how he was ejected from the hijacked car. The car was not stolen or burnt. Dawani was unharmed, rare in hijackings, even though he saw the faces of the two.

He took Anni to the streets of Gugulethu twice at night. He told one reporter it was Anni’s idea, then told another it was Tongo’s. He apologised to Anni’s father for not saving her life, even before, if innocent, he could have known she was already dead.

And so on and on.

From London Dawani hired a high-powered South African defense lawyer (who mysteriously withdrew) and a high-powered UK PR man who set to work moulding the mindset of the British public against the authorities in South Africa (he is now on trial himself for multiple indecent sexual assaults.)

5. Tongo fingers Dawani

On 7 December under a plea bargain (for which he received 18 years) the driver, Tongo, said he had arranged a fake hijacking and the murder at Dawani’s request for a promise of about $2,000.

Tongo went into some verifiable detail about meetings, phone calls, text messages, and cash withdrawals from a bank.

6. South Africa speaks

Dawani was arrested in Bristol, western England, on the night of 8 December 2010, by officers from the [London] Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit. From Wikipedia:

On the afternoon of 10 December, at a hearing at the High Court, Watson told Mr Justice Ouseley that CCTV footage from the Cape Grace hotel showed Dawani:

* Meeting Tongo twice in his taxi in the carpark of the Cape Grace on 12 November, the night before the killing, when Tongo claims Dawani asked him to hire a hitman to kill a woman. In later extradition papers submitted to the British courts, South African Police claimed that Preyan Dewani tried to obtain the video footage of the pair meeting.

* Having a series of meetings with Tongo inside the hotel, without his wife Anni, in the 24 hours before the killing.

* Handing Tongo a package of cash on 16 November, three days after the murder, having just previously been sitting beside his grieving father-in-law, Vinod Hindocha. Tongo is then seen entering the hotel toilets, where he counted the money.

The court granted him bail and he was electronically tagged and required to observe a curfew while he stayed at his family’s home in north Bristol.

7. The extradition fight

This wasnt really a legal fight. More a fight for the hearts and minds of the British people, so that they could maybe lean on the British courts to block extradition.

In the following many months the extradition process was repeatedly interrupted while Dawani’s mental health was very publicly and emotionally made an issue by the lawyers and PR for his defence.

On his behalf, a Member of Parliament attempted to intervene.

Finally, just three weeks ago, after all possible appeals had been turned down, a court ordered that Dawani be extradited to South Africa on 7 April, for a trial to start the next day. 

8. The BBC Panorama Reports

These misleading reports were aired in March 2012 and September 2013 and somewhat inflamed UK opinion while leading it far away from the truth.

Seemingly highly invested reporters for two BBC Panorama reports were given access to testimony and autopsy evidence that the police and defense but not the public would have.

In describing the two programs Wikipedia added this cautionary note.

This section may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. Please improve the article by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on the talk page.

9. The Panorama Reports repulsed

The Daily Mail and the Telegraph described the anger and anguish of Anni’s family at these unbalanced TV reports.

However, the real nuking of the two Panorama reports went live on a dedicated website, Panorama Busted, updated three months ago.

The analysis in this dossier shows how the Panorama programme makers used a catalogue of dirty tricks including misrepresentation of material facts, exclusion of relevant information, camera trickery and psychological skulduggery to try to fool the viewing public….

There is a scattering of snippets in the programme which appear to show some of the prosecution evidence against Shrien Dewani, but these form only a small segment and various trickery is deployed to belittle them.  The facts of the entire prosecution case against Dewani are not portrayed.

The findings of this dossier are truly shocking. The issues go beyond the sub-standard shoddy documentary which they tried to pass off as journalism undertaken in the public interest. The issues go much deeper.

The Panorama production team must now be investigated by the BBC and its supervisory bodies and, if found appropriate, the Metropolitan Police. The Culture Secretary is called upon to investigate why licence fee payers’ money appears to have been used to fund the PR campaign of a murder suspect.

10. Present conclusion

Sound at all familiar?

Please do read the whole rejection of the Panorama claims. In 24 parts, it is huge - quite an indictment of a prestigious media outlet lying to the British public about hard evidence in a foreign case, and leaving a great deal of it out.

As in Meredith’s case, under the rules for a fair trial, the prosecution may not rebut such false claims as these in the media, only in court.

Yes, to us, this is only all too familiar.

Posted on 03/24/14 at 01:39 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Some Images Relevant To The Murder Of Anni Hindocha And The Extradition Of Shrien Dewani

Posted by Peter Quennell

Please see the post above for the narrative. All images expand when clicked on.


[Image above: Anni Hindocha and Shrien Dewani before their ceremonial marriage]




[Image above: the ceremonial marriage in India; they were never legally married]




[Image above:the mother of Anni Hindocha who lives in central Sweden]




[Image above: the father of Anni Hindocha who lives in central Sweden]




[Image above: Stockholm HQ of telephone giant Ericcson, Anni’s employer]




[Image above: residential compound in north Bristol of the Dewani family]




[Image above: house in north Bristol where Shrien Dewani is under house arrest]




[Image above: Shrien Dewani with his father addressing the media]




[Image above: Shrien Dewani’s father and Shrien’s older brother]




[Image above: Shrien Dewani’s public relations manager addressing the media]




[Image above: downtown Cape Town where Anni and Shrien were in a hotel]




[Image above: Daily Mail recreation of the crime published December 2010]




[Image above: discovery of hijacked car and Anni’s body in Gugulethu township]




[Image above: car driver Nongo at his trial where he plea-bargained for his testimony]




[Image above: a memorial for Anni in her home town in central Sweden]




[Image above: her family scatters Anni’s ashes on the large lake near their home]
Posted on 03/24/14 at 01:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Italy’s 13th Foreign Oscar Winner Shows A Very Beautiful Side Of Rome

Posted by Peter Quennell



Since 1950 Italian films have won more Foreign Oscars than those from any other country.

And now this. The Great Beauty.  Said by some to be a La Dolce Vita for the 21st century and by others to be a Great Gatsby for Italy.

The movie was re-released on 14 March after a limited run late last year and is still playing in many art houses in Europe and the US. The Great Beauty has a 91% positive rating among the critics on Rotten Tomatoes and the reviews sure take off in many different directions.

The Los Angeles Times review started off thus:

As its name promises, “The Great Beauty” is drop-dead gorgeous, a film that is luxuriously, seductively, stunningly cinematic. But more than intoxicating imagery is on director Paolo Sorrentino’s mind, a lot more.

One of Italy’s most impressive contemporary filmmakers, Sorrentino has a superb sense of how to fill a wide screen and, working with his longtime cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, a wizard with camera movement, his visuals display the intoxicating richness of color 35-millimeter film in a way few contemporary ventures can match.

When Sorrentino says in the press notes that “a single shot, if well thought out and balanced, can enthrall and say more than ten pages of dialogue,” he’s as good as his word

Another small shot in the arm for Rome where everybody seems to be headed these days. Well done Rome and well done Italian film industry where movies mainly for adults are still happening.

Posted on 03/22/14 at 12:11 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Human Rights Group “Human Rights Watch” Gives An Approving Nod To Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Armando Spataro, the chief prosecutor in the 2009 trial in Milan; CIA operatives all absent]


Human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International keep an eye on the Italian courts, as they do the courts of most countries.

When it comes to Italy, they rarely have anything to complain about. Italy has a firm high-profile police presence but when the playing field is level the Italian courts are known to be very fair and prison rates are among the world’s lowest.

Nothing is seen to be broken..

The same applies to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which receives mind-numbing numbers of spurious appeals from Italy (an unfortunate circumstance for Knox) which repeatedly jump the gun (as Knox’s appeal did) before the Italian legal process is over.  But the ECHR only very rarely finds that Italian courts did anything wrong.

In an excellent report by the AP’s Colleen Barry (not our favorite reporter in Florence, but now we have hopes for her) the New York-based Human Rights Watch has just praised Italy for persevering against the CIA operatives who executed an example of extraordinary rendition - kidnapping for torture in a third country of suspected terrorists.

Cassation had just confirmed three of the guilty sentences among the 26 for American operatives earlier handed down:

“It is really a seminal case. It set a very important precedent that unfortunately has not been followed yet by any other countries,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We certainly hold it as an example how a national judiciary can in fact get to the bottom of an unlawful rendition.”

The Obama administration renounced the Bush administration’s practice of extraordinary rendition, and neither the CIA or State Department seems to have done very much to help the CIA officers who were being prosecuted.

Alessia Sorgato, who was one of four court-appointed defense lawyers, complained the U.S. government had not responded to requests for help to defend their clients.

None of the court-appointed lawyers had any contact with their clients. U.S. officials only granted two of the defendants permission to seek their own counsel, toward the end of the trial…

Leader Robert Seldon Lady did possibly get some minor official help to disappear recently within the United States, but has since spoken out against the CIA and State Department bitterly. So did other CIA operatives.

At the same time, the Italian government (think Ministry of Justice) has been fairly passive, and allowed the courts to increasingly confirm the convictions, except for several Italian ones (they were declared military as was one American).

These outcomes from Cassation may not result in former CIA operatives ending up in Italian prisons. But life for perps on the run can be made hell worldwide under an Interpol Red Notice. So civil rights groups are not unhappy.

Amanda Knox, learn something.


[Below: human rights groups in Italy kept up pressure]


Friday, March 14, 2014

On Saul Kassin: Our Letter To Dr Douglas Starr Who Wrote An Effusive Profile In The “New Yorker”

Posted by Peter Quennell





Dr Douglas Starr
Co-director of Science Journalism Program
Co-director, Center for Science & Medical Journalism
Professor of Journalism
College of Communication
Boston University


Dear Dr Starr

We would like to take issue with your article “The Interview: Do police interrogation techniques produce false confessions?” in the Dec 2013 New Yorker.

Specifically the effusive passages on the New York psychologist Saul Kassin. Dr Kassin was a hired gun in the annulled 2011 appeal of the Amanda Knox case in Italy. In our assessment he has widely conflated the defense’s (spurious) position he was paid for with an objective academic analysis.

Our posting community consists of professionals in legal and criminal-science fields, and we have quite detachedly uncovered over 50 false claims in Kassin’s widely-promoted papers and TV and conference appearances.  The presumed intent of those was to spark more paid court business and more academic advancement.

Amanda Knox was confirmed guilty for lying about her so-called confession a year ago by the Italian Supreme Court, and her sentence of three years was confirmed. This is the same “confession” Kassin builds huge castles upon, the false accusation which had placed an innocent man in jail for three weeks, during which time Knox never recanted.

So exactly what is left standing of Kassin’s position today is hard to discern. However, instead of exposing him and chastizing him, your New Yorker piece seems to have set out without due caution - no buyer-beware - to make your readers respect and associate with him.

This matter isnt over in Italy, because those many framed by Kassin are unhappy about baseless claims of illegal acts presented at a global John Jay College conference and many other forums and tv shows. Any one of those who feel impugned can trigger a felony investigation for poisoning American opinion in an attempted obstruction of Italian justice. Out of which, Kassin might find himself fighting charges incurring possible prison time.

If credible crime experts here in the United States such as yourself now come down in support of those falsely impugned in Italy, and in rejection of Kassin’s categoric false claims, it might assist to defuse a tense and ugly situation, and might keep Kassin’s legal troubles to a minimum. We dont speak on behalf of the officers framed in Italy but we might have some sway as we accept no payment from anyone and are widely trusted there. 

We would like to ask you to read these various posts explaining where Kassin went wrong, particularly the fourth one, and then decide what you might like to do. It would be good if this could include inserting an addendum into the New Yorker explaining that due caution should be observed toward Kassin’s claims.

If it would help I will need to be soon in Boston and could sit with you. I can also suggest several experts that you might like to consult with.

Kind regards

Peter Quennell
Editor True Justice
Biography

[Everything in this letter applies equally to the ludicrously inaccurate claims of ex FBI “mindhunter” John Douglas in his books and lobbying at the State Department.]


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Italy’s Anti-Mafia Winning Push In Co-operation With FBI Is Headed By Arturo De Felice, Who Was…

Posted by Peter Quennell



Dr Arturo De Felice (at center below) was formerly the head of Perugia’s police. He ran this show while the investigations into Meredith’s murder went on.

It was his police officers who conducted the witness interrogation about which Amanda Knox has told so many lies. Defenses tried to impugn police performance, but fell absolutely flat. Not one police action has ever been criticised by any judge.

Like Dr Giuliano Mignini and many others who performed so well, Arturo De Felice has been honored and promoted. He now heads an elite national organization in Rome much admired in Italy which works on a daily basis with the FBI.

He will be able to pull many strings if Knox tries to mount an extradition fight - especially one based on Knox’s endemic lies about the police. 

Here are several recent English-language reports of anti-mfia gains which name Dr Felice - the same highly successful police official who foolish amateurs like Michael Heavey and Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and Doug Bremner (none of whom speak Italian) have impugned. 

The huge joint FBI-Polizio operation described in the video at top and also here as resulting in many arrests in Italy and New York city is another feather in Dr De Felice’s cap.

Try telling Dr De Felice “No, you got it wrong, and we wont extradite.”



Posted on 03/13/14 at 11:51 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedPolice and CSIOther legal processesItalian unrelatedThe wider contextsItalian context
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Council Of Magistrates In Effect Shrugs At Judge Nencini Answering Loaded Question Of A Reporter

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Cassation judge Antonio Esposito who just faced down a similar complaint to the CSM]


The only ones pushing for the CSM committee hearing today and maybe another one at Cassation were Giulia Bongiorno and a few political friends.

Everybody knows she has once again lost very big and once again is snakily trying to demonize the court rather than gracefully moving on.

The final vote of the full CSM will be announced next week, but it seems a foregone conclusion. The Council will shrug and move on.

Judge Nencini explained himself well for one hour (with his wife, also a judge, present) and probably no magistrate on the Council would have acted so differently, given that the michievous reporter had been asking if the killing of Meredith happened simply because the three had nothing better to do.

Maybe some of the magistrates were thinking “So Bongiorno didnt put Sollecito on the stand? Hmmm, she KNOWS of his guilt only too well”. There is no mood among them to to see the defiant Sollecito who has slimed the system and slimed a much admired judge use a loophole to get himself off.

Jools explained the context of today’s hearing several weeks ago and translated one of the media reports for us today.

Knox, Sollecito judge unlikely to be disciplined by CSM

Inquiry over post-conviction press statements

Rome, March 11 - The Italian judiciary’s self-governing body, the CSM, is likely to drop an inquiry into a Florence judge who broke Italian legal convention by giving press interviews after convicting Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher in February, judicial sources said Tuesday.

In Italy, judges usually only talk about their verdicts via written explanations published at least a month after they are handed down. But Alessandro Nencini, the head of the panel that sentenced Sollecito to 25 years and American citizen Knox to 28 and a half years at the repeat of the appeals-level trial, gave three interviews to different newspapers that were published February 1.

As a result, Nencini was accused of being biased. One of the most controversial aspects is that in one of the interviews, Nencini seemed to suggest that the fact Sollecito had not allowed himself to be cross-examined had damaged his chances of getting off.

The judge told a CSM commission Wednesday that he did not give interviews, but rather spoke in passing to reporters at the courthouse. He also denied saying the murder was the result of ‘‘kid’s play’’ gone wrong, or expressing an opinion on Sollecito’s defense strategy.

The hearing transcript will be available within a week, when the CSM commission will make its opinion official. The consensus seems to be that Nencini’s statements to the press may have been ill-timed, but not enough to justify a transfer, judicial sources said.  Nencini is still not out of the woods, pending the result of justice ministry and Cassation Court inquiries that could lead to disciplinary action against him.

Posted on 03/11/14 at 08:38 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesThe judiciaryAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Sollecito team
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Friday, March 07, 2014

Obstruction Of Justice? How The Guardian Poisons Public Opinion Against The Italian Courts

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Alan Rusbridger has been the overall Guardian editor throughout the whole period described]

1. How the Guardian got itself on a roll

The Guardian has a daily UK print run of around 180,000 which places it 12th among Britain’s 13 national newspapers. (Last is The Independent, which may soon fold.) The Murdoch-owned Sun has a print run more than 10 times the Guardian’s. The Daily Mail’s print run is 9 times, the Mirror’s is five times, and the Times’s is two times.

Seemingly stuck at the back, the Guardian has worked hard to get a lot of people to beat a path to its website, especially Americans, and to become addicted to it. Website readers now run neck-and-neck with its hardcopy readers. Its website comes second in readers among UK newspapers after the Daily Mail, thanks largely to those Americans, and that jumps the overall readership of the Guardian from 12th to 5th place in the United Kingdom.

In another attempt to boost circulation, the Guardian has become triumphally missionary. It is doing a lot more than the old-fashioned reporting which most other UK newspapers stick to. The Guardian assisted Julian Assange’s Wikileaks to publish a number of secret documents “borrowed” from governments, although it has since turned on him and has been attacking him and Wikileaks ever since.

The Guardian also spearheaded the media investigation into the phone-hacking by Robert Murdoch’s News Of The World which led to that newspaper’s demise and the ongoing parliamentary and police investigations into other phone hacking by other Murdoch media vehicles.

2. The Guardian’s substantial pro-Knox campaign

The Guardian’s campaign against Italian justice on behalf of Amanda Knox is another triumphalist campaign, but this one often takes it very far away from the truth, and almost certainly outside Italian law. Less obviously a campaign at first glance, but undeniably one in progress when one connects up the dots as we shall do. 

The resources the Guardian allocates to it are quite astonishing. Since 2007 the Guardian newspaper and website have been averaging several long reports, videos, opinion pieces or brief mentions every day for a grand total according to Google’s site-search application of over fifty thousand separate items.

Well over a dozen reporters have their names over stories and opinion pieces, and some have filed reports from London, Seattle and Italy that now number in the dozens and dozens.  At least three of the Knox PR shills (Nina Burleigh, Doug Preston and Andrew Gumbel) have managed to have over-the-top opinion pieces published in the Guardian,  with no explanation at all of their vested interests and family links. 

Only the volume of the Daily Mail’s coverage of the case comes anywhere near the Guardian’s - and the Daily Mail coverage shows little sign of being a consistent campaign. The Mail publishes pro-Knox and anti-Knox trivia and gossip and photos with equal enthusiasm, and attracts frequent irritation from the pro-Knox forces.

In sharp contrast to these two UK newspapers, the top American newspapers and websites have averaged at most one-fifth the number of items since 2007 and, with the possible exception of CNN, none of them seem nearly as fixated upon the Knox cause as the Guardian is.

From late 2007 to around mid-trial in 2009 the Guardian was about as even-handed and tentative in its coverage as the Times was. Then bias suddenly moved into overdrive. These headlines below are representative of the Guardian’s coverage from mid-2009 to the present day.

3. Notice the typical pro-Knox headline bias here

  • 2009 “Amanda will get out eventually” exclusive interview with mother Edda Mellas | Hattenstone

  • 2009 The friends back home intent on telling the ‘real Amanda Knox’ story | Paul Harris

  • 2009 Police beat me, Amanda Knox tells jury as she takes her turn in the witness box | Kington

  • 2009 Cold comfort in jail as Amanda Knox begins 26-year sentence | Kington

  • 2010 Unanswered questions over Amanda Knox’s conviction | Deborah Orr

  • 2011 Amanda Knox ‘crucified’ for crime she did not commit, lawyer tells court | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox begs judges to ‘do justice’ in emotional final plea | Hooper + Kington

  • 2011 Confident and optimistic, Amanda Knox waits to hear the final verdict | Kington

  • 2011 Amanda Knox was a ‘faithful woman in love’ says defence lawyer | Hooper

  • 2011 Yes, Amanda Knox is guilty. Guilty of being sexually active and female | Carole Cadwalladr

  • 2011 Amanda Knox ‘could make millions from TV and press deals’ | Lisa O’Carroll

  • 2013 My penpal Amanda Knox and me | Simon Hattenstone

  • 2013 Amanda Knox: I went to jail naive and came out an introspective woman | Esther Adley

  • 2013 Amanda Knox: what happened to me could have happened to anyone | Shiv Malik

  • 2013 Read all about Amanda Knox – except in neurotic Britain | Nick Cohen

  • 2014 Amanda Knox will not return to Italy to serve sentence, say parents | Lizzy Davies

  • 2014 Amanda Knox: ‘They’ll have to pull me back kicking and screaming to prison’ | Hattenstone

  • 2014 Amanda Knox: I feel stranded and trapped since new guilty verdict | Hattenstone

  • 2014 Amanda Knox vows to fight Meredith Kercher murder conviction ‘to the end’ | Hooper etc


4. Notice the typical anti-Italy headline bias here

  • 2009 Amanda Knox case is typical of Italy’s inconclusive justice | Tobias Jones

  • 2009 Call for solitary confinement of pair accused of killing Meredith Kercher | Kington

  • 2009 Cold comfort in jail as Amanda Knox begins 26-year sentence | Kington

  • 2010 Amanda Knox appeal: ‘Italians are embarrassed by this case’ | Preston

  • 2010 Unanswered questions over Amanda Knox’s conviction | Deborah Orr

  • 2011 Amanda Knox: victim of Italian code which puts saving face before justice | Preston

  • 2011 Amanda Knox is a witch? Sorry, are we living in 1486? | Joan Smith

  • 2011 Amanda Knox trial was flawed at every turn, says appeal judge | Kington

  • 2011 Amanda Knox: police under fire over botched investigation | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox’s lawyers hit back at police and prosecutors | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox ‘is lucky Italy doesn’t have death penalty’ | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox case is typical of Italy’s inconclusive justice | Tobias Jones

  • 2011 Amanda Knox: what next after 1,450 days of wrongful imprisonment? | Hooper

  • 2013 Amanda Knox’s retrial puts Italian justice in the dock | Joan Smith

  • 2013 Knife key to Amanda Knox trial had no trace of Meredith Kercher’s blood | Lizzie Davies

  • 2014 Knox and Sollecito case delivers harsh verdict on Italian justice | Andrew Gumbel


5. Meredith’s friends demand extreme bias be ended

This unprecedented objection to the Editor of the Guardian which had been signed by over 100 of Meredith’s friends was published on Tuesday 4 February.

The Guardian’s repeated casting of the Meredith Kercher murder trial as a gross miscarriage of justice for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is disturbing (Reports, 1-4 February). Undoubtedly, the case is complex and shrouded in ambiguity and uncertainty. However, there are at least three points which are certain.

1) During the pre-trial, trial proper, and retrial, different judges and juries have, after close and prolonged examination of all the evidence, concluded there is enough evidence against the defendants to find them guilty of the murder charge against them.

2) The appeal in which the defendants were acquitted was overturned after the supreme court found it to have “multiple shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies” and that the “evidence against [the defendants] had been underestimated”.

3) At the same time as she was originally found guilty of murder, Amanda Knox was also found guilty of slander and subsequently sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for having accused an innocent man of the crime. Although acquitted of murder on appeal, the slander charge was upheld.

At the time of the acquittal, Ms Knox had spent four years in jail, ie she effectively served the slander sentence while on remand. Therefore, she has not in fact served any time in prison for a crime she did not commit (although the same could not be said for Mr Sollecito if the final outcome of the legal process were to find him not guilty).

Assertions such as those made by Andrew Gumbel (himself a co-author of Sollecito’s autobiography) that Knox and Sollecito have been reconvicted “without a shred of evidence to substantiate the verdict” are untrue and undermine the gravity of the case, as does a one-sided interview with Ms Knox during which the evidence against her is barely addressed.

Only those in the courtroom are in possession of the full facts; it is only they who should make pronouncements on what the outcome should or should not be. Until then, the best course of action would be to wait for the (admittedly, grindingly slow) Italian legal process to come to its conclusion.

Guardian staffer Chris Elliot (image below) offered only a whiny and dishonest response. Our next post will start with that in identifying the Guardian’s many illegalities.


Posted on 03/07/14 at 04:39 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxers: media groupsUK Guardian
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Monday, March 03, 2014

As Knox & Sollecito Try To Separate Themselves, Each Is Digging The Other In Deeper

Posted by willsavive




1. Sollecito Blabs Yet Again

One of an increasingly long list of “gotchas” for the prosecution, flowing from their tendencies to talk way, way too much. 

In a recent exclusive interview on an Italian TV news broadcast, Sollecito said he has several “unanswered questions” for his former girlfriend, Amanda Knox.

“You all know that the focus was only through Amanda to her behavior, to her peculiar behaviour, but whatever it is, I’m not guilty for it. “Why do they convict me? Why do put me on the corner and say that I’m guilty just because in their minds I have to be guilty because I was her boyfriend. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

This adds yet another waiver to the many different explanations Sollecito provided over the years about the same details.

In their “official” story, in the part that remained consistent, Knox and Sollecito both claimed that Knox left his flat the morning after Kercher’s murder and returned home, where she noticed the door left wide open and witnessed blood spots in the bathroom.

Knox claimed that she found it odd and just assumed that one of her roommates was menstruating and left blood behind. She proceeded to take a shower and returned to Sollecito’s flat and ate breakfast.

2. Telling Narrative Change

“Certainly I asked her questions,” Sollecito explained in his latest interview. “Why did she take a shower? Why did she spend so much time there?” When asked what responses he had for these question Sollecito replied, “I don’t have answers.”

In the interview, Sollecito said Knox left his apartment to take a shower, then returned hours later looking “very agitated.”

Yet, in an interview with Kate Mansey on 4 November 2007 just two days after the murder, and two days prior to arrest, Sollecito said:

But when she went into the bathroom she saw spots of blood all over the bath and sink. That’s when she started getting really afraid and ran back to my place because she didn’t want to go into the house alone.


3. RS Differs Sharply From Knox

This is a far cry from what Knox said in her email also dated 4 November 2007 to friends and family, Knox wrote:

I returned to raffael’s place. after we had used the mop to clean up the kitchen i told raffael about what i had seen in the house over breakfast. the strange blood in the bathroom, the door wide open, the shit left in the toilet. he suggested i call one of my roommates, so I called filomena.” (6th paragraph).

The discrepancies between Knox’s version and Sollecito’s version is strikingly different.

  • Raffele claims Knox was visibly distraught when she returned and that this was the focus of discussion (i.e. being the first thing they discussed).

  • Knox claims that she did not even bring up the bizarre circumstances back at her apartment until “after” they finished mopping the kitchen floor.


4. My Analysis Of The Above

In his latest statement, Sollecito is clearly trying to distance himself from Knox, believing that there is far more evidence against her than against him. But:


  • Sollecito forgets to mention the bloody barefoot prints at Knox’s apartment, found to be in Kercher’s blood attributed to him.

  • Also the knife found in his apartment that scientists say was the murder weapon.

  • Also his DNA found on Meredith Kercher’s bra that was found in her room, even though Sollecito claims that he was never ever in that room.

  • Also his own strange behavior, which includes providing a false alibi (saying he and Knox were at a party with a friend on the night of the murder).

Also several conflicting other versions.

But what’s there to question if you [Raffaele] were with Knox the whole day and night of Meredith Kercher’s murder?

It appears as though Sollecito is alluding to the notion that he knows something far more than he is saying; yet, he is being very careful with his words—only providing us with a hint of this.

His latest statement is a clear attempt to distance himself from Knox.

5. Sollecito Freaks Out On Twitter


Sollecito appeared on Twitter recently, for what he claimed was to answer questions and clear his name.

He was very outspoken of his innocence and had no problem in his witty, sarcastic responses to those who questioned his innocence.

However, when I asked him about the Mansey interview he denied claiming that he was with Knox at a friend’s party on the night of the murder [huh?!].

Sollecito disappeared for a couple of days, came back to Twitter writing only in Italian, and ceased responding to any more questions.

Is it possible that Sollecito will turn on Knox altogether at some point when the pressure mounts over the next year? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…



Cross-posted from Savive’s Corner


Thursday, February 27, 2014

What We Might Read Into Sollecito Lawyer Giulia Bongiornos Final Arguments To The Appeal Judges

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)




Under the table & over the top

The picture of a serene-looking Giulia Bongiorno waving a couple of knives in court on 9 January may be visual inspiration to this reflection about what we can understand from the structure and content of her closing arguments.

A very peculiar feature of her arguments was the desperate opening, suggesting to put the investigation – and the whole justice proceedings – on trial.

The introductive topic of her speech is a quote from a book by Alessandro Satta, a narrative description of the riotous irruption of the mob inside the Revolutionary Tribunal hearing room on Sep. 2. 1792, the defendants are the some of the King’s Swiss guards.

The passage by Satta describes the “horrendous” vision of a hord of sanculots slowly gathering outside the court, Bongiorno compares that to the angry mob in Perugia after the first appeal verdict.

But if you read the same text by Satta a little further, a few lines beyond the snippet Bongiorno was reading, the narration goes on describing how sanculots manage to enter the courtroom, in a force of hundreds ready to lynch the defendants, but they are suddenly halted by an authoritative order of the Judge, and they unexpectedly obey.

Just after that, Satta drops in an explanatory quote from the book Le Tribunal révolutionnaire  (by historian Lenotre) saying: “the people understood that these highly educated individuals in black robes would have gone on with the action started by the hords, and they would accomplish it more perfectly”.

It seems like Bongiorno opened her speech with an implicit depiction of the judges and magistrates of Perugia as kind of Jacobin extremists whose task is to “legitimize” the vindictive fury of a pitchforks mob.

The quote she read did not include Satta’s conclusive lines, so that the consequent thought about the judges’ role remained unexpressed and in the background.




(Photo by Machiavelli_Aki)


A side note about Bongiorno’s arguments: in fact I had the feeling that allusion to implicit subtexts was something that belonged to her speech as a method or a style, it marked the whole of her arguments. You may recall Wittgenstein’s dictum “This work consists of two part, what is written in it, and what is not written in it. The latter is the most important part.”

Such a motto might be apt to address the major feature of Bongiorno’s defensive argument, insofar as she conveyed that something that “couldn’t be talked about openly” was there and that was probably a main argument.




(photo by Ansa)


At first, as I said, she went through a brief emotional recollection of her moments while in Perugia surrounded by a raging mob, and then she unfolded the rest of her introductive section.

The purpose of this bit of revolutionary narrative first juxtaposing the Perugian citizens to Sanculots and the judges to Jacobins, and then, immediately following, a series of accessory arguments all encompassed by an introductive function, all this was clearly intended to set a framework thesis meant to work as a basis for the structure of the whole defensive arguments.

It is in fact a peculiar structure, apparently entirely resting upon one, single elaborate premise.

The thesis she places at the foundation of the entire defensive argumentation is the following: the trial as a whole, as much as its outcome, had been somehow determined and “tainted” from the beginning by events which occurred within a very short framework of time, in the very early days of the investigation, the weeks around the time of the suspects’ arrests.

Bongiorno suggested that only this “short period” – the early days of November 2007 - is what matters and the only topic worth of a defence analysis; since this was the time frame within which - according to Bongiorno - everything was decided, this was the time when some “errors” in the investigation occurred, before the point when a veil of prejudice and hatred fell upon people’s hearts and minds like kind of black curtain, preventing from that moment on any fair or rational judgement. 

Aggressive Digressions

After the quoting of Satta’s speech, she develops her introduction for a while, branching out into some political-sociological speculations (such as that authorities chose the crime scenario that was most reassuring for the population) as well as some political-anthropological consideration (like the theory that free spirited women are seen as suspicious as a consequence of women empowerment movements). 




(Palace of Justice of Florence – photo by FrederickStudio)


A speech opening as did Bongiorno’s, that is, relying on a set of over-the-top considerations, and apparently so much depending upon one extreme premise, unavoidably conveys a perception of weakness, which is at risk to be transferred to the rest of the argumentation.

Thus, it would be a logical question to ask ourselves: why did Bongiorno chose such a setting and introduction, with several risky, over-shooting arguments?

A perception that the argument was unconvincing was palpable among the public as she was unfolding her theories about Perugian police opting for “political” scenarios and about sexy and free women seen as suspicious because of the women’s political movement.

Scepticism emerged even more openly when she described a scene with Amanda Knox releasing her false accusations while speaking under the hypnotic influence of interpreter Anna Donnino - whom she called “psychic” – which triggered some stifled laughs among the public.

Then her long introduction dealt with the unfolding of a rhetorical structure set around the concept of “half”.

I use the word “ rhetoric” in a most technical, non-derogatory sense, to mean the setting of a clear order and concepts designed to be easily remembered, anchored to multiple implicit suggestions, so as to remain impressed in the mind of listeners what is distinctive of the style of Giulia Bongiorno.

Introducing to ‘Halves’

In the previous trial instances she didn’t miss the opportunity to borrow characters such as Jessica Rabbit, Amelie and the Venus in a Fur. I thought she would mention at least a few characters of Disney or the Harry Potter saga this time too, and I was not disappointed as she met expectations on this matter (she did mention Harry Potter, the Eskimo kiss ‘Unca-Nunca’, the Bunga Bunga,  the Aladdin Lamp and 9½ Weeks). 

She entered the topical part of the introductive section saying ‘basta’ to always focusing on Amanda’s personality alone, while considering Raffaele just Knox’s other “half”, he is not half a character, he should not be seen as reflexion of Knox.

The curse of being “half” chases him also, meaning there are only “half pieces of evidence” against him.  And this is the rhetoric structure envigorating the arguments after the introduction, the concept of “half” .






Only half pieces of evidence, almost a half admission, or the clear suggestion that there is maybe one “other half” of something (of culprits?) somewhere else, something not to be said, something that is not here.

The concept of “half” recurs and somehow pervades her defence, we should say something more about later on because she picked it up also in the subsequent hours of speech. 

Some videos from the Florence trial available may still be available at the Sky site.

Primordial Fossils

Only after recollecting all these things in the ‘aggressive digressions’ over the introductive part, she goes on with a ponderous section which is the main part of her argumentation.

It’s a topic directly stemming from the introductive themes and premises, in the sense that this main part focuses on and blows up events of the first four days of investigation. It zeroes on few small details of the investigation history, the previous introductive part functionally working to justify the choice and to limit the argumentation to these topics.   

Something the listener would notice from this first and main part of the arguments, as everyone well understands, is that these arguments are arranged in a peculiar type of architecture. A choice that makes crystal clear the actual state of the defence’s options.   

The defence strategy is to focus attention on the supposed flaws in evidence collection at the beginning of the investigation, and not on the evidence set itself.

Bongiorno’s arguments do not map out the evidence set array. They do not devolve an effort of analysis in proportion to the actual weight of the of pieces of evidence.

The bulk of her speech in fact can be summarized as a criticism of some historical happenings – what she sees as such – which allegedly occurred within a very small time frame. She devoted hours to attacking the beginning of the investigation, early errors such as that the shoe print that had been wrongly attributed to Sollecito on a first assessment.

It appears this attack against the early procedures of the investigation was really considered to be the most effective weapon the defence had left.

The ‘topics’ Bongiorno addressed in this attack as ‘main points’ of evidence against Sollecito, are only three: the wrongly attribute shoeprint, Sollecito’s side-tracking the investigation, and ‘the knife’ (a topic which gets picked up again later, with a long discussion focused on the blade length). 

In the same ‘knife’ topic she included DNA discussion, in a connected digression she dealt with the bra claps, called all the scientific evidence collection ‘the mother of mistakes’ and offered again the known criticism of Stefanoni’s alleged “suspect-centred”.

Later in her speech, she dealt with the other evidence topics, parroted the ‘principles’ expressed in the Conti & Vecchiotti report, offered the known arguments about the bathmat print, etc.

But the bulk of her defence hinged around those ‘mistakes’ in the early investigation phase, this was the actual core of her argumentation, while the other pieces of evidence were dealt with summarily, I had the impression they were almost treated as accessories.

It was clear above all that the defence was not battling the structure of the evidence actually existing today, they were battling a minuscule part of it, or better they were battling something else, something which is not directly the evidence, but rather some historical foundations of the accusation building.

Basically what Bongiorno conveyed is, the fighting terrain was the ‘investigators’ errors’, their ‘excesses’. That is, they were not actively contending Raffaele’s innocence any more.

The implicit content was rather obvious to the listener: a direct claim of Sollecito’s innocence had been already abandoned, that territory was left beyond the lines and the defensive front had been drawn back.

The topic now was not innocence, but rather how the accusation had been unfair and excessive.






At her opening, the quote of Satta was a device to draw attention to the events at the “origin”, so as to prepare listeners for the fact that defence arguments will be focused on what happened during the moments before the “black curtain” came down.

Hence the a long introduction starting from an image of the fury of a mob of sanculots, a narrative on this theme: people were willing to convict the defendants immediately and judges were legitimizing people’s violence.

She oriented the discussion towards the topic of early prejudice and excesses, so to justify the fact that she will talk about the early phases rather than the evidence set, and then she introduced the leit-motiv of the “half”.

This means, rather than disputing the pieces of evidence, Bongiorno wanted to set a “trial of the investigation”, she zeroed on just a few details actually not having much relevance in the actual evidence set.

She talked at length about elements that are kind of fossils – like when she went on discussing about the number of circles in the sole of Guede’s shoeprint – putting the alleged “errors” in the course of the investigation on trial, and her speech at times sounded as if it was a lecture about dinosaurs, recalling curious things now extinct. 

The explicit function of her introduction was to justify her setting aside the evidence set, downplaying it by framing it into a historical moment, maintaining that it was collected and interpreted when investigators were already beyond the “black curtain” of bias, therefore tainted by prejudice, while judges were like sycophants before an angry mob.

The purpose behind the Black Curtain

The implicit, most important function of the introduction was accomplished via the concept of “half” and all the subliminal suggestions attached. 

We should ask ourselves: is it reasonable to believe Bongiorno was so naïve to expect that the court may accept a theory about a dismissal of evidence in limine?

The answer is no. Bongiorno knew perfectly well that her preliminary criticism of the investigation would not lead to a dismissal of the evidence. 

Bongiorno also knew that the series of preliminary arguments she would offer would be considered ineffective by judges. Such as that the knife DNA should be seen as unreliable preliminarily, that Stefanoni’s work lacked “transparency”, that Vecchiotti and Conti’s “method” should be taken at face value (Bongiorno knows C&V’s intellectual honesty was called manifestly questionable by the Supreme Court ), that this and that allele in the bra clasp DNA should not be considered because, etc.

She also knows that this court will not allow pieces of evidence to be considered separately from each other in a parcelled out way, and that imperfection of single pieces themselves do not work as a logical argument.  Even less could she dismiss the evidence based on political and anthropological theories.

From the fact that she was setting afoot on a trial of the investigation instead of battling the evidence,  the rational listener infers that she is well aware of the weakness of her position, since it implies that the evidence set as the battleground would be indefensible. She needs to search for another terrain of attack, a different structure, as the only possible move.

But there is also another implication. She does need to engage and draw attention to areas where she could “win” something, but this also means that her intent was to “soften” the accusation, to work it out at the flanks rather than face it frontally; to reduce the size of some fundamentals, the “excess” of the accusation.

In other words, to shorten the sentence. And if possible, to separate Sollecito’s position from that of Amanda Knox, albeit within the boundaries of her client’s plea.






Her strategy of attack had a reason, that was to try to soften the accusatory attitude against Sollecito. Besides being risky (may sound extremely unconvincing) the strategy was also loaded with implicit meanings.

What was most stunning to me – as it was a recurrent topic through her whole speech – was   the concept of “half”. She picked up this introductive theme several times, such as while speaking about the medical findings explaining that only “half” the length of the blade would be used, if a knife so large as Sollecito’s kitchen knife was used, saying that, in this event, this would mean the perpetrator did not intend to kill and killing was the effect of “mistake”, an involuntary movement. 

The importance of the length of the big blade and its “half” was emphasized by a waving of knifes, in a quite impressive theatrical performance: “Either the big wound was made by a smaller knife”  that was held by “someone else” or the knife was “plunged only by half” showing there was no intent to kill.

All this is to be coupled with the fact that, as said above, she devoted a main portion of her 6-hour speech to discussing things that are fossils, elements not existing any more.

She dealt later with other pieces of evidence too, though in a way that seemed somehow marginal, and she did not deal with some of them at all - the inconsistencies in Knox’s account, for example, were left completely out.

She was not that kind with Knox’s written memorials either, calling them “farneticanti”  (waffling, raving).

I noted her complaining about Raffaele being “halved”, as his character is portrayed as depending on Amanda’s and thus seen as equally guilty insofar he was Amanda’s half – and this effect is somehow transferred to pieces of evidence.

Bongiorno’s rhetoric emphasizes that Sollecito was accused on “half” pieces of evidence (you perceive that the metaphorical repeating of “half” implies that evidence actually exists,  “by half”, and at the same time this complaint about being seen as “half” of something is a subliminal suggestion that the defendants should be considered separately, and their charges as well, thus maybe their responsibilities if considered separately may be different;  and when it comes to discussing how the murderer used only half of the blade, the subliminal suggestion is bring down the charge by half, involuntary event/manslaughter versus voluntary murder). 

The Mark of Infamy

Giulia Bongiorno picked on the investigators and acted as if she was putting the investigation on trial not because she thought that this would lkead to the defendants being found innocent, but exactly for the opposite reason, because she expected them to be found guilty.

Insults against Prosecutor General Crini, against witnesses and and gratuitous accusations are a risky path but they are also an overt attempt to “soften” the investigation scenario, rather than fight it frontally.

She had no hope to make her client look innocent, her only hope was to soften the strength of the accusation, to make him look less guilty, not so bad as the investigators saw him.

She pursued this in two ways, by suggesting that he should not be seen as the “half” of another perp but rather his responsibility should be considered separately, only that evidence which proves directly against him (Bongiorno repeatedly pointed out that Knox did not utter his name in her interrogation and statement), his actual responsibility might be much lesser than the charge for which he is accused.

The other arm of the defence’s pincer move, the second way to try diminish the accusation, was to portray the investigators in bad light. The ‘excess’ of accusation was to lay blame on investigators for their bias and errors.

Bongiorno’s attack against the investigation might be intended to achieve a psychological effect due to comparative process.

If you consider how the police are responsible for ‘excesses’ and disputable behaviours, you may think the investigators have been prone to gross mistakes that lead to exaggerating Sollecito’s implication, thus the accusation should be not be taken at face value and should be corrected. Maybe the correct assessment of evidence proves he not as much implicated as they had thought.






This seemed to be Sollecito’s own defence strategy, albeit implicit, since Bongiorno must restrain her action within the boundaries of her client’s plea. 

In order to follow her strategy, however, Giulia Bongiorno decided to take a few steps which must be pointed out as particularly reprehensible and infamous.

I was surprised and stunned by those action because they qualify the character of Giulia Bongiorno as far worse than I thought, I really did not expect her to stoop so low. 
 
The infamous part of Bongiorno’s speech is her gratuitous name calling and defamatory attack against Anna Donnino, her attempt to smear her professional reputation and the rude insult in calling her a ‘psychic’. 
 
In real life Anna Donnino is a very respected professional, she has been working for the Questura on tasks of interpreter and language mediator (not as a ‘translator’).

She is also an intelligent person, she is precise and expresses herself with the utmost clarity as her lucid testimony shows.

She is known not only for having unquestionable professional ethics, but also she has an excellent reputation as a person; she is honest and humane and known by everybody for her extremely reassuring, protective temperament, and for her expertise and excellent performance of working with people.

She would help immigrants in difficulty to express themselves and understand their rights and was priceless helping the police to obtain precise information in their investigations.

As an expert in chuchotage and linguistic mediation from two foreign languages, the professional quality of her work is excellent. Her training and work is of interpreter and language mediator although sometimes shee is given translating tasks such as the translation of recordings and wiretappings.

The Questura of Perugia used to hire ‘language mediators’ at the time. You don’t know what a language mediator is? See a university course for a degree in Language Mediation.

The Questuras of some bigger cities also have ‘cultural mediators’ in addition. They are mother-tongue trained to deal with African or Chinese immigrants (one of the many young people having their internship as cultural mediator in a Questura is shown here.

To me, this defamatory attack against Donnino was most disturbing. By doing this Bongiorno came across as surprisingly mean, I’d say what she did was really infamous.

Indeed this was not the only virulent attack, it came after insults to the city of Perugia as she was comparing its citizens to a mob of blood-thirsty fanatics.

This attack too is also particularly vicious, since it exploits, inflames and is subtly synergic with the tones of lies and prejudices disseminated by a perfidious propaganda strategy.

But at a certain point, Bongiorno focused the defamation against one person. As she unfolded a narrative about Anna Donnino acting as a ‘psychic’ who managed to hypnotize, to gaslight Knox to the point of inducing a state of trance in which she mistook a dream for reality, some people couldn’t help laughing in the courtroom.

But even if we consider the surreal and comical rather than the convincing effect, the defamatory intent stands out as reprehensible and humanly vicious.

This is because, as I said above, these particular insults were directed against a person distinguishable for her being a most decent, honest and trustworthy character, and also – a further reason – because of the recent events for which this person experienced personal suffering: Anna Donnino, a mother of teenagers, has been struck with cancer, and has undergone surgery.

She is under treatment but still currently remains in very bad health. 

The attack against Anna Donnino is an action that rebounds as an ugly stain on the reputation of those who launched it.  A young man from Perugia created a Facebook group to express a the citizens’ “hate”  for those who lead a defamatory campaign of lies against the city. He collected over two thousand likes within three days.

Some of the comments were about Bongiorno’s insults against the city and against respected citizens, pointing out her outrageous hypocrisy since Giulia Bongiorno poses as a campaigner for the respect and dignity of women.




(a StripBit comment by a poster on a Facebook group)


Criticism of Giulia Bongriorno pointing out her hypocrisy is actually not a novelty, it has appeared long since in the press and on the internet.

But it’s hard to understand how someone like her, promoting   an image of herself as an advocate for women and for correctness and respect in language and culture, could take such a an egregiously visible false step, come out with such stupid stereotypical rants, only for what looks like an awkward and useless cause. 

Conclusion

A note for the record: we may recall Bongiorno has also attacked the Perugian police officers, citing the recording of some of their phone conversations in which they say bad words about the Sollecito family.

We can understand her outrage (at least we could, if only she were not the hypocrite she is) but at the same time we can’t fail to notice that she “forgot”  to mention another half of the phone call recordings.

Specifically those where the members of the Sollecito family were speaking about the police officers;  and the kind of language they were using, while attempting to plot ‘under the table’ help from some politician.

Expressing their intent to ‘scorch’ officers and ‘destroy’ magistrates, and one person even suggested that if he met Monica Napoleoni on the road, he would kill her by ‘running over her with the car’ then flee without telling anything, pretending that nothing happened.

Never mind.






After these last sparkles and the knife waving Bongiorno’s performance was over. In the following day’s hearing it was Maori’s turn. As a really last resort, he was taking on the task of disputing evidence in a more “traditional” way, objecting to points of evidence.

Possibly this revealed even more the extreme weakness of the defensive argument (a commenter called it ‘pathetic’).  I did not listen to his argument myself,  I only notice that he did not get much space neither in the press nor in the pro-Knox commenting sites; this might be a clue of how unconvincing he might have been.

One thing that however I could learn about it, is about the feeling, the perception that Maori pointed out even more the separation between the two positions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. 

A hint about this comes in the words of a journalist who was questioning Alessandro Nencini in the lounge immediately after the verdict: the journalist pointed out how Sollecito defence “tried to split the positions of the two accused”.






This mild attempt of a separation was the last act by the defence. As for Raffaele Sollecito himself, we were left with his rather different claim, his book where he described himself as sticking to a ‘honour bound’.

He reportedly bragged about this also with his ex-girlfriend Kelsey Kay, who described him as feeling very entitled because of his loyalty to Amanda Knox and believing she owes him a vital a favour; but Knox won’t even respond to his messages.

Then, we had his final admission in an interview that his friendship with Amanda Knox has ‘deteriorated’, because apparently Knox in practice no longer supports him as before. 

If his defence advisors understood that they needed to somehow ‘separate’  his position from Knox’s at any cost, despite his plea, to suggest he may be implicated but just ‘less’ guilty, we may only agree with them on this. It would also be convenient for him to confess even if he shared the same degree of guilt of Knox.

Sadly, instead he still felt compelled to offer further lies and changing stories such as‘I noticed no blood on the bathmat’ when questioned by Kate Couric; he offered again a story of pricking Meredith’s hand while cooking together at the cottage.






Other murderers, who committed even more heinous crimes, have recovered and rehabilitated themselves after time spent in prison; even some of those deemed among the worst serial killers managed to do this by expressing remorse – for example the rather psychopathic ‘Ludwig’ (Furlan & Abel) killers.

Sure after the years he will spend in jail for the gang-like crime he is found guilty of,  there would be a possibility for a ‘casual murderer’ such as he is to be perceived as rehabilitated.  But to see him as ‘less guilty’ or as ‘rehabilitated’ would be impossible as long as he remains silent or denies.   







Posted on 02/27/14 at 09:24 PM by Machiavelli (Yummi)Click here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Raff SollecitoSollecito team
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Claims By Perpetrators & Their PR That THEY Are Victims Get Equal Pushback

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Florence prosecutor Giambartolomei will soon confront many false claims ]


To the considerable pain of victims and their loved ones, Italy’s has become one of the most pro-defendant justice and penal systems in the world.

That doesn’t mean that it has become a complete pussycat. Push it, and it usually pushes back harder in its search for the truth. And the quality Italian media goes along. 

Time and again the ill-conceived short-term PR and legal tactics for Knox and Sollecito based on a hurricane of lies have left them in terms of the ultimate end-game worse off than they were before.

Judge Matteini and Judge Micheli (the judges in 2008) both took firm lines with the copious evidence and the psychological tests of AK and RS in front of them.

Both judges took a line as firm as the prosecution (as firm as the “evil Mignini”) in concluding that there was a drug-fueled hazing escalating to murder with sexual aspects (however short the timescale of the intent).

[Ed note: See comment by Yummi below which explains the above a little differently. PQ.]

Though his panel of judges voted unanimously for guilt, Judge Massei in 2009 did take a somewhat less firm line in the sentences, after observing one daffy defendant and one very nervous defendant sitting in front of him for nearly a year. Judge Massei for no especially convincing reason

(1) pinned the initiating of the attack on Rudy Guede (really?!) and

(2) handed Knox and Sollecito (and thus Guede) quite a break with his supposed “mitigating circumstances” (the duvet over Meredith’s body) resulting in 20 years lopped off their combined sentences.

Both the defenses and the PR were weak and largely futile in that year. But come 2010 the dirty tricks moved into overdrive.

Cassation reverted to the firmer line in January 2011 when it ruled on Guede’s final appeal: Guede was a party to the murder, but copious evidence proved he did not act alone. 

The Hellmann appeal court and DNA consultancy and verdict of 2011 were corrupted (counter-measures are still quietly playing out) which fully explains its startling soft line.

Thereafter the Italian courts observed the illegal blood-money binge with the essentially fictional books of Sollecito and Knox, and two years of them each claiming to ill-prepared interviewers “we’re the real victims” on TV.

Cassation observed all of this, annulled the corrupted Hellmann court verdict, and issued instructions in June 2013 to the Florence appeal court to ensure that the firm line should be maintained. Unsurprisingly, we have seen a firm line from the chief prosecutor (Crini) and a seeming firm line from the lead judge (Nencini) in recent weeks.

In the rest of this year Italy will see at minimum these events where the court’s firm line will go on and the babbling and unhelpful legal and PR tactics may finally dry up.

    1) RS and AK continuing to babble for a while on TV as they each dig the other one deeper. Sollecito has just said that his saliva or sneezing may explain why his DNA was on the clasp of the bra.

    2) The sentencing report of Judge Nencini is due at the latest on 30 April and he seems likely to give space to rebuttals of any bizarre new claims made by Knox and Sollecito before 30 April like the one just above. 

    3)  The obstruction of justice trials of witness Luciano Aviello and incessant meddlers Mario Spezi and Frank Sforza will continue, probably though into 2015. Each of those trials could result in others (like Spezi ally Doug Preston and Sforza allies Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore) being declared at minimum persons of interest if not actually charged.

    4) Florence prosecutor Giambartolomei Firenze (image above) may soon be announcing which passages in Sollecito’s book Honor Bound criminally defame Italian officials or deliberately miscontrue hard facts in evidence in an illegal attempt to to poison public opinion against the court.

    5) Similarly soon after on Amanda Knox’s book with the surreal title Waiting To Be Heard (and on Knox articles and interviews in Oggi) by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo. 

    6) Cassation’s First Chambers should be the one to handle Knox’s and Sollecito’s final appeal. They handle murder cases and they issued the guidance to Florence in 2010.

    7) If so, they should take note of such revelations by way of Judge Nencini’s and Prosecutor Crini’s reports; and this next autumn or winter may finally declare a firm “confirmed guilty” final-appeal outcome and invite Knox to come back.

And when prosecutor Giambartolomei Firenze announces which claims are radiocative, hopefully a major hush will come over Heavey, Fischer, Bremner and Moore. 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Power Shift In Italy Very Unfavorable To Anyone So Stupid As To Thumb Their Noses At Italian Justice

Posted by Peter Quennell




Meet 39-year-old Matteo Renzi

Mr Renzi was sworn in by the President of the Italian Republic on Saturday as the new Prime Minister of Italy. As a top German newssite remarks, he is looking like a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Mr Renzi is colorful and dynamic and very popular, and may become one of the most effective leaders in recent Italian history and a major player on the world stage. Mr Renzi comes from FLORENCE where he was the popular and effective mayor.

Unlike the Berlusconi faction in parliament (which once included Giulia Bongiorno) Mr Renzi is a big friend of law and order, police, and justice. In the image at bottom you can see him opening the huge Palace of Justice in Florence with all the top officers of the court who just organized the appeal.

This is very bad news for Sollecito and Knox and their foolish gangs, as Mr Renzi will be very unlikely to look kindly on that same Florence court - and any court in Italy including, especially, Cassation - being flouted by convicted perps and made to look weak.

If the new Minister of Justice sends an extradition request to his desk, you can bet that he’ll send it on to the United States. And the US, very keen to stay on good terms with Italy as one of its 2-3 most reliable allies, will exhibit little if any resistance to the extradition of Knox.

More bad news for Sollecito and Knox

The sardonic Italian media is paying very close attention to the ongoing game of each of them pushing the other closer to the flames, and the almost-certain prospect of the two of them and Rudy Guede explosively flying apart.

The Italian media is picking up on signs that Sollecito has become highly resentful at his on-again off-again rejection by Knox, especially as many or most in Italy believe it was Knox who wielded the big knife that killed Meredith to which the other two had maybe not signed on in advance.

There are additional pressures headed down the pike. First, Rudy Guede will be given brief study leaves soon, and under Italy’s new “clear the over-crowded prisons (somewhat)” law Guede could even soon see himself released and free to talk.

Plus the investigators examining the criminal defamation of the justice system and officers of the court by Knox and Sollecito in their exceptionally foolish books are believed very close to announcing that a case against them has been made.

Sollecito’s father on national TV has already admitted that Raffaele lied about a deal to get him off, and this on Knox seems an open & shut case. Knox and Sollecito might face additional sentences of 3 to 7 years if they keep provoking a hard line.

Here are two articles translated by Miriam which summarise (not perfectly in our terms but good enough) the signs of the growing divide and the evidence that will see Knox and Sollecito back in prison.

Vitadamamma

Amanda Knox Will Return to Italy and Go to Jail, as Will Raffaele Sollecito, While Rudy Guede Will Be Freed

This scenario is not only plausible, but seems to be the natural outcome of the last sentencing of the Mez case. Few believe that the Corte di Cassazione could overturn, again, the verdict of the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Florence.

So Amanda Knox will return to Italy and go to jail.  For Amanda Knox, “her extradition is quite possible” Christopher Blakesely say without equivocation. He is one of the main experts on such penal proceeding in the United States.

The day after the verdict of the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Florence, Giovanna Botteri, the RAI correspondent in the USA, reported something similar, underlining that Amanda rushed to CNN to cry all her tears didnt help.

Knox uses even the social networks to scream again her innocence, but the law says something different.

Even Italian popular opinion seems not in Amanda’s favor : Perugia,  through the social networks, has literally screamed its disagreement and displeasure against Amanda (read: L’Urlo di Perugia: a Facebook page against Knox:  from the people of Perugia)....

Rudy is at the moment the only one sentenced in jail…. How does Rudy reconstruct that night?  Rudy swears to having consensual sex with Mez.

After the intimate relation Guede went to the bathroom and from there he heard her scream, rushing to her room he found her in a pool of blood, and tried to help her. Realizing that Meredith was dead, in shock he ran away.

On the plausibility of this reconstruction, the judges had numerous doubts, to the point of finding Guede guilty and sentencing him.

This reconstruction, according to his lawyers, explains not only the biological traces of Rudy all over the crime scene but also his flight.

How does Amanda reconstruct that night?

Amanda continues to sustain that she did not wield the knife that killed Mez, that she heard her scream while she was in the kitchen and that she covered her ears like a scared child.

The “whys” are many and heavy.  Why did Amanda accused Patrick Lumumba, incarcerated for 14 days while innocent, due to her ignominious accusations? Why on the knife used for the murder are there traces of Mez and Amanda?

Knox DNA was on the handle of the knife that killed Meredith: only because she used it to cut potatoes? The alibi of the potato has always been used by Knox and her lawyers, but it is plausible?

And Raffaele Sollecito?

One of the most decisive evidence against Sollecito in the first trial was the bloody foot print on the bathroom math. In the appeal process that footprint was challenged, it was said that it could be not Sollecito’s and was ascribed to Guede with benefit of doubt .

Now it seems certain that Rudy was wearing shoes ,as is demonstrated by other prints at the scene of the crime, thus the bloody footprint goes back to being ascribed to Sollecito.

Why is Rudy Guede in jail while Amanda and Raffaele are on the loose?

After the verdict of the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Florence the appeal to the Cassazione,  was announced, while waiting for the Cassazione, the guilty Raffaele Sollecito had to hand over his passport in order to make it impossible for him to leave Italy.

Right after the sentence Sollecito was stopped in Udine about 60km from the Italy/Austrian border and about 40km from the Slovenian border.

Before the verdict of Corte D’Assise d’Appello of Florence Sollecito was a free man, and therefore legally in possession of a passport and the right to cross the border.

Sollecito, instead of waiting for the verdict in the court room, around 12 o’clock that day left with his new girlfriend and arrived in Udine [in north-east Ital]..

Around night time during a snow storm the two of them took refuge in an hotel , and the owner recognizing Sollecito by name, alerted the police that promptly arrived in order to confiscate Sollecito’s passport as decided by the Court.

Sollecito told the media that he had no intention of fleeing the Country.

One can ask what Sollecito was doing in Udine then, a few hours after his guilty verdict. To excuse Sollecito one can perhaps say that the young man was overpowered by anguish and fear, in fact up to today

Sollecito had never seemed to want to evade justice, instead he was usually in the Courtroom.

Amanda in contrast was not sanctioned with any precautionary measures.  She arrived in America as a free citizen after the not guilty verdict.

Now,  if and when the Cassazione confirms the verdict of the last proceeding, America needs to extradite Amanda and remit her in the hands of the Italian Justice… 

America is tied to Italy by sanction accords by name of international laws, thus if the Cassazione upholds the guilty verdict, Amanda must return to Italy. Nothing makes one think that America could oppose an extradition.

Rudy Guede is the only guilty one in jail at the moment.  His detention was confirmed after a fast track trial, decided by his layers, and his detention was 16 years in jail. (with time off for the fast track trial)

Not many know that while the doors of the prison may soon open for Amanda and Raffaele,, for Rudy instead “freedom” may be close by.

Thanks to the new decree passed last December by the Parliament, Rudy could leave the prison where he is detained. Guede is one of 3 thousand detainees who could benefit from the “empty the prisons” decree.

 

Menti Informatiche

Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are close to a break up after the sentencing..

Raffaele wrote Amanda a letter saying: “Amanda I am tired. I don’t want to be punished, neither do I want to continue to give justifications for matters that concern you and not me”.

Amanda says “I understand him but: I want to say that Raffaele is not my slave and I am not his oppressor. Raffaele has many reasons to be resentful, but not with me.”

The bond between the two, accused of the homicide of Meredith Kercher, is cracking. A bond that lasted from that horrible night of November1st 2007, when in a house in Perugia, via della Pergola, their English friend was savagely killed.

Looking at a concrete possibility that the Judges of the Cassazione will confirm the sentencing which condemned Amanda and Raffaele to 28 years of jail for her and 26 for him, the two ex-lovers are starting to distance themselves from each other.

Amanda took a picture of herself holding a sign that read “we are innocent” so as to underline a common faith, from which Raffaele can’t dissociate. Not anymore.

Raffaele after six years may be starting to understand that being Amanda’s “fiancé” did not help him at all. He said this to Giulio, in an interview a few months ago, and now in an interview to CNN:

In the Judges head I must be guilty because I was Amanda’s boy-friend. It does not make any sense for me. According to the Judges because in some way I supported Amanda, I must be implicated. According to me this is aberrant. My standing has not been just ignored, but completely forgotten. In all the proceedings I was not part of them unless for the scientific investigations.

For many, many hearings the topic was my DNA, but nobody said nothing of the reason why I was accused of the homicide except the fact that I was Amanda’s boy-friend and because I was with her very often and spent many nights with her, I had to be in some way connected with the homicide.

Is Raffaele’s defense thinking of ditching the girl? Is Raffaele ready to tell the truth of what happened that night? Now Raffaele is in Bari, and is thinking over what happened to him. He reveals:

I discussed with my friends and family the possibility of going abroad a year ago, but I cannot accept the fact of leaving all the people who are dear to me for a theory. I had no motive to hurt Meredith Kercher.

Now I have no light in my future. They took away my passport and I.D. card, and I do not know if I can realize my dreams, or anything I want to do. I do not accept that my future is destroyed.

Too often, though, Amanda and Raffaele forget to mention that Meredith’s life really was destroyed.

Against Amanda and Raffaele there are scientific evidence, bloody footprints on the floor, DNA on the bra clasp and knife, and the many contradictions in their alibis.

From the beginning their behavior caused the carabinieri to be suspicious of them.

Without forgetting the spontaneous confession of Amanda of being in the house while her friend was being murdered. “I have a vision of being in the kitchen, covering my ears while they kill her.” She even gave the name of the killer Patrick Lumumba, her boss, who was then discovered to be innocent.

The attempt to divert the investigation, pointing the finger against an innocent man, is evidence of the quilt of Amanda.

Even Raffaele changed versions more than once. In one of the interrogations he said Amanda was not with him that night and arrived at his apartment in the early hours of the morning. He then said he smoked too much marijuana and could not recall what happened that night.

In the meantime Rudy Guede, 27 years old, condemned to 16 years for the murder of Meredith Kercher, with others, writes:

Now that my verdict is definite, for too long the judicial reasoning have been subjected to a continuous and willful manipulation and alteration of the data of the proceedings…  I would like to point out that I do not accept being labeled as a homeless man,  drifter, and a thief; when instead I had a splendid family and precious and clean friendships in Perugia.

Amanda Knox’s defense team wants to pass him off as a habitual thief. Rudy adds: “ “Meredith’s house was turned upside down, someone simulated a break in. I was not condemned for this simulated break-in.”

If it was not Rudy, then who?


Posted on 02/24/14 at 08:31 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Appeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+News media & moviesThe wider contextsItalian contextRaff SollecitoSollecito teamSollecito Book
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Friday, February 21, 2014

The US Lacks Legal Authority To Decline To Deliver A Guilty Knox To Italian Authorities

Posted by TomM



[Rome airport; exceedingly rare for those convicted of Italian crimes not to be sent back via here]


The reporting on this case has, with few exceptions, been poor.

Recent reporting on whether the US would extradite Amanda Knox continues that tradition, ranging from assertions that “sources” within the State Department say they would never extradite her, to claims that the risk of extradition is real, but that the Secretary of State has the discretion to refuse to extradite.

If the Secretary of State actually has this discretion, it must be grounded in the law.

That means it must be found in the Constitution, or in an act of Congress, or in a treaty—all of which constitute the “law of the land”.  Beyond authorizing the President to make treaties, with the consent of two thirds of the Senate, the Constitution sheds no further light.

The only act of Congress dealing with extradition of US citizens is Title 18, United States Code, section 3196; a bit of background first.

There is no uniform US extradition treaty.  Each treaty is separately negotiated with the other sovereign nation.  Historically, many of the treaties entered into by the US contained clauses providing that neither country was obligated to extradite its own citizens.

Notwithstanding this, the US had extradited US nationals on the basis of discretion to extradite even though extradition was not required by the language of the treaty.  But in 1936 the US Supreme Court held that if the treaty does not “obligate” the requested party to extradite its own citizens, the Secretary of State does not have the discretion to deliver the person sought to the requesting country.  [Valentine v. United States ex rel. Neidecker 299 U.S. 8]

In 1990, Congress passed 18 U.S.C § 3196, captioned “Extradition of United States citizens:”

“If the applicable treaty or convention does not obligate the United States to extradite its citizens to a foreign country, the Secretary of State may, nevertheless, order the surrender to that country of a United States citizen whose extradition has been requested by that country if the other requirements of that treaty or convention are met.”

That is the full extent of Congressional action on extradition of US citizens; there is no Congressional grant of discretion to the Secretary of State to decline extradition in the face of a treaty obligation.

Some US extradition treaties contain clauses that give the requested country the discretion not to extradite its own citizens; perhaps that is where the idea that the Secretary of State has discretion not to extradite Knox comes from.

Here, for example, is a clause from the US-Sweden treaty:

“There is no obligation upon the requested State to grant extradition of a person who is a national of the requested State, but the executive authority of the requested State shall, subject to the appropriate laws of that State, have the power to surrender a national of that State if, in its discretion, it be deemed proper to do so.”

The treaty with Italy is short (ten pages) and written in plain language.  The treaty has commences with Article I, captioned “Obligation to Extradite”:

“The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.”

The cover letter of the Secretary of State to then-President Reagan explains:  “Article I obligates each State to extradite to the other, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty, any persons charged with or convicted…”. (emphasis added)

There are mandatory grounds for refusal, such as political or military acts, double jeopardy (if the person sought has already been tried by the requested State for the same offense), or if the prosecution or penalty is time-barred in the requesting State.

There is just one discretionary ground: if the country requested is also prosecuting the person sought for the same act.

Article 4 provides:

“A Requested Party shall not decline to extradite a person because such a person is a national of the Requested Party.”

Thus, any discretion to deny extradition implied by 18 USC 3196 has no application to requests made under this treaty.  Further, although some appellate cases have treated some issues regarding extradition of nationals differently, they fairly firmly hold to the difference in the meaning of mandatory words like “shall” and “obligate” on the one hand, and discretionary or permissive words like “may”.

Comments to the effect that the US has declined extradition to Italy in the past are superficial and uninformed.

The first illustration such commentators cite is that of the Air Force pilot who severed a ski lift cable, causing multiple deaths.  That was not an extraditable offense under the treaty because of double jeopardy; the pilot had been court martialed.  Although his acquittal enraged Italians, the pilot had already been tried by the US, and thus his case fell under the mandatory ground to denial of extradition specified in the treaty.

The other example mentioned is that of the CIA operatives who were prosecuted in absentia for the abduction of Abu Omar in Milan.  The Italian Minister of Justice refused, during both the Berlusconi and Prodi administrations, requests of the Milan court to commence extradition proceedings.  In Italy, the courts and the government are independent, and the courts lack power to compel government to make a request for extradition.

Even if the Italian government had made an extradition request, there is at least a colorable argument to be made that this was in the nature of a military act in the US war on terror, thus constituting a mandatory ground of refusal.

Thus, if Italy requests the extradition of Amanda Knox, the US lacks legal authority to decline to deliver her to Italian authorities.  If the US government wants to avoid extraditing her, it will have to rely on diplomacy rather than law.  In other words, it will need to convince the Italian government not to make an extradition request in the first place.


Posted on 02/21/14 at 09:38 AM by TomMClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Justice systemsItalian systemUS etc systemsDefendants in courtAmanda KnoxOther legal processesExtradition issuesThe wider contextsN America context
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our First Reviews Of The Painstaking BBC-3 Report First Aired In The UK On 17 February

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Review by SomeAlibi

Watching “Is Amanda Knox Guilty” was a funny thing. I suspect for people following the case closely, on either side, it was a sobering experience. Not because it changed perspectives, but simply to see how quickly one hour passed and the necessary trade offs that had to be made to fit within that schedule. The opportunity cost was a level of detail to which in-depth followers have become accustomed.

Just one example: Sollecito and Knox’s partial alibi that they were checking their emails on the night of November 1st was explained as being challenged by two broken computers. Perhaps, (although unlikely to be the material issue) but where was the much more salient fact that their ISP records showed that was conclusively untrue? Where was the challenge: if you say you’re checking emails to establish part of your alibi against a murder and it is shown to be absolutely untrue, what does that suggest…?

There were many other “clinchers” that had to be let go in the name of brevity. But it wasn’t that sort of documentary - it was neither a case for the prosecution or a case for the defence: it put the main suggestions at the level of detail that was possible and it allowed both sides to speak to the points at that level of detail.

I find it interesting that there has been such a howl of bias from those supporting Knox and Sollecito. Objectively there’s no good ground for it: the documentary allowed both sides forward in equal measure and no pro-justice watcher would celebrate it as a pro-conviction piece.

The arguments were balanced, the video, audio and picture quality eye-opening. For those on the other side, their markedly different reaction appears to be that the documentary has broken the taboo that The Evidence Shall Not be Told. The idea that there is an easy-to-consume piece that puts forth the case and defence equally is seen as a disaster.

The campaign for Knox continues to be obsessed, beyond all things, with trying but now failing to make sure the public doesn’t know the basis of the case. For a long time they hoped to drown out the multitude of terribly inconvenient truths within it by screaming “no evidence”. ‘Is Amanda Knox Guilty’ put the lie to that conclusively, but fairly, and now many hundreds of thousands, perhaps soon to be millions will ask themselves why those supporting Knox and Sollecito have had to adopt this tactic at all.

If they really are innocent, why has the case against them been so comprehensively white-washed in the US?

The conclusion, is rather simple and I saw it encapsulated on a large television screen last night with the repeated clips of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito outside the cottage kissing and “comforting” each other: there for a fraction of a second, shown several times, is Amanda Knox, unable to stop herself glancing at the camera filming her and stealing her gaze away again very quickly pretending she hasn’t.

It’s a look that says everything: furtive, pretending it didn’t happen, immediately covering up in a way that poses a stark proposition: why on earth would you do that if you had nothing to hide?  And like so much of the multiple collapsing alibis and non-working answers and the desperately dishonest fingers-in-the-ear “no-evidence” pretence of those supporting her, is a proposition that can withstand no scrutiny.

Review by SeekingUnderstanding

What a relief to watch a very clear and unbiased narrative. The quality of the visual information was top rate - seeing so much original footage, and presented as it was in a logical time sequence.

Even though I was already familiar with the evidence, including the photographic material, I found it very helpful to see it all presented in this way. I appreciated, too, hearing and seeing the excerpts in original Italian (along with English translations). It added even more authenticity.

I hope that, at long last, this will have helped some - or hopefully many- people to see that the two ‘camps’ in this case do not divide into AK supporters and AK ‘haters’. There are the FoA and their followers ...and there are the others who seek the objective truth and justice.

If hate has been generated in some quarters, then the Knox (and Sollecito) camps need to look to themselves and their own behaviour. This programme was important in the tone it set.

I actually found it to be quite lenient towards the defence on a number of counts.

There were several instances where the defence point of view could have been strongly countered by known and established facts, but, bending over in fairness, these were left unanswered.

Here are just four instances :

1) In the discussion around the blood and DNA left in the bathroom - Dr. Gino’s assertion that ‘the blood/DNA ‘could have come from anywhere’ might have been countered with AK’s own declaration that the bathroom was previously clean. Dr. Gino also suggested a very improbable scenario of ‘it could be saliva’ (on the bidet?). Cassation emphatically said that it must be shown HOW any suggested contamination could have occurred.

2) There was a missed opportunity in discussing the knife presumed to be the murder weapon to mention Sollecito’s lame, unreal excuse of ‘Meredith pricked her hand’ etc.

3) Anne Bremner stated ‘Amanda could not have turned overnight…into a murderer’. Attention could have been drawn to many things, both physical events (her predilection for cruel pranks, including a staged burglary in the US, and wild parties, etc), and also many psychological indicators that would have clearly shown how her behaviour has, in fact, demonstrated consistency.

4) In the discussion re the bra clasp, the delay partially being caused by the defence themselves was not mentioned. Also, detailed discussion re the one bare footprint on the bathmat was omitted.

Since there is, in fact, so much evidence, it must have been difficult to chose and balance what did go into the hour long programme. All in all, I feel Andrea Vogt and her team worked hard, and did very well to let the facts speak for themselves.

I hope it will lay a few fictions and myths to rest.






Review by Earthling

What is the “Amanda Knox trial” (really the Meredith Kercher murder trial) really about? Is it about an innocent 20-year-old pretty white girl being railroaded by the medieval Italian justice system?

Or is this actually a murder trial, about the fact that a beautiful, intelligent, ambitious young woman, innocently trying to improve her life by study abroad, was brutally murdered?

I believe it’s the latter, and the BBC3 production gives us one of the first truly balanced reports on this trial.

The filmmaker starts from the beginning, and takes us through the murder, investigation, and various trials and appeals up to the present day. Instead of the breathless “Perils of Penelope” tone (toward Amanda Knox) that most such previous “documentaries” have taken, this one takes a sober look at the actual evidence.

Did you realize that there are luminol-revealed bare footprints in Knox’s size in the apartment? Luminol reveals blood and a few other substances; but those substances can be ruled out because the test was done six weeks after the murder, by which time those substances would have dissipated.

Blood doesn’t dissipate. This documentary shows you those bloody footprints in all their creepy glory, something never shown on American TV before.

“Is Amanda Knox Guilty” also speaks of the actual DNA evidence in the cottage linking Knox to the murder, including five mixed-DNA spots (Knox and Kercher) that tested positive for blood. Both prosecution- and defense-oriented experts are allowed to comment on this evidence, and the viewer is allowed to make up his or her own mind.

My one criticism is that a lot of the evidence against Knox (witness statements, cell phone data, fake break-in) is skimmed over or not even mentioned. Also, because the documentary quotes Rudy Guede’s position at length without any contradictory narrative, it is confusing as to whether the filmmaker might have believed him.

In the end, the filmmaker says, he was convicted of participating in the group murder. However, a stronger statement against his “I’m entirely innocent” defense would have been good.

Other than these quibbles, this is the best documentary on the Meredith Kercher murder case that I have ever seen.

Review by ZiaK

I watched the BBC programme on the Meredith Kercher case hoping for a more balanced view of the case than has been presented in the English-speaking media to date.

The documentary does present some of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito - including the bloody footprints, the mixed blood/DNA traces in the bathroom and corridor, the bra clasp, the knife DNA evidence, the strange timings of phone calls to police, the unlikelihood of the “break-in” being anything other than staged - but omits to point out that none of the other flatmates’ DNA was found in the blood traces, so saying that “it’s because Meredith and Amanda shared a flat” is misleading.

Nor does it point out that, although the murder knife was found in Sollecito’s flat, none of HIS DNA was found on it: it had only Amanda’s and Meredith’s DNA.

The programme didn’t cover the cell-phone evidence, showing that neither Knox nor Sollecito were where they said they were, at the times that they claimed. The programme also repeated the “Friends of Amanda” PR soundbites, such as “there was no evidence of Amanda in the murder room” - whereas the fact that her footsteps tracked blood OUT of the room are actually evidence of her having been present IN the room before it was locked (i.e. at the time of the murder).

Furthermore, in my opinion, the narrator’s voice seemed to evince sympathy towards Amanda, rather than describing events with a passive or objective tone of voice.

As one of the translators who has participated in translating case documents (such as the judges’ reports describing why they came to their decisions), I am only too aware of the extent of evidence against Knox and Sollecito, and I would like to see knowledge of this evidence become more widespread throughout the English-speaking world.

The BBC programme is a step towards this, but in my mind, only a very small step. I hope the pace will pick up soon, and more objective and extensive knowledge of the true facts of this case will be made available to everyone so they can form a rational opinion of the case based on true understanding.






Review by Cynthia

I’ve just watched this, and it’s very good - with a huge amount of footage hitherto unseen (directed by Andrea Vogt).

For what it’s worth, I note the following points:

1) There’s no mention of Meredith’s friends who heard Amanda say ‘she fucking bled to death’ before the fact was known to anyone else. Perhaps they didn’t testify, being too distressed? If so, it’s a great pity, because it seems a veritable clincher that hasn’t been used at all.

2) The bra DNA arguments are quite extraordinary. If we can determine that we all have Neanderthal DNA (tho’ I know a lot of American fundamentalists don’t believe that mankind goes back more than 6,000 years!) I can’t for the life of me see why DNA would be unusable after a poxy delay of 12 days ...

3) The argument that the Luminol traces may indicate not barefoot treading in blood but in bleach seems absolutely unbelievable to anyone who does housework (like me!) Bleach is horrible stuff, and you really, really don’t want to be getting it on your bare skin. Even Amanda, with her vestigial domestic skills, would have noticed if she’d trodden in it.

4) Bremner says Amanda was an honor student. She wasn’t; she had funded herself (not that that’s discreditable). (Also, are honor students unable to write cursive script? The shots of her handwriting show that she can’t do joined-up writing. [Or thinking.] I don’t know whether the phrase exists in American English, but not doing joined-up writing is a term of great intellectual contempt in English.)

5) We saw Amanda’s ‘mask’ speech. This is really interesting - who would even think that masks were being put on them if they weren’t using them themselves?

6) The programme mentions the little-reported fact that another, smaller knife found at Sollecito’s also had Meredith’s DNA on it.

7) The film omits to mention Hellman’s lack of any experience in criminal trials.

8) Every shot of Amanda in the film has her talking about ‘me’ and ‘I’. She never, ever mentions Meredith - it’s all about HER suffering. She never even says ‘the murderer is out there - I wish you’d stop persecuting me and get them’.

Presumably this is because Guede is supposed to be the sole murderer - and nobody seems in the slightest bit worried that there’s no murder weapon with HIS DNA on it! (Yes, there are his turds - but that wasn’t what killed Meredith.)

9) FOA has used the fact that the recent jury took 12 hours to deliberate over the verdict as an indication that they couldn’t agree. But why not just that they were being extremely careful and re-examining everything?

10) Finally, just an observation: Maresca speaks the most beautiful Italian - you can hear every word calmly flowing past.

Review by Miriam

Much appreciated. Outside of the Porta a Porta transmissions on the case, the best I’ve seen.

I understand they had to give both sides, but I felt that the defense came out on the losing side. I thought it funny that it was implied that since they only tested for blood it could of been saliva.

I don’t believe even her supporters would argue that Knox was so quirky as to brush her teeth in the bidet! Or maybe she spit in the bidet, in which case Meredith would have had every reason to complain about her bathroom habits!

Now if only this or something like this would air in the U.S.






Review by Sara

This is actually one of the most objective and well-researched reports I have seen on the case and I am very happy that BBC has managed to be so unbiased.

It presents both sides of the story equally well and does an excellent job of countering the extremely silly “no evidence” argument that the FOAkers like to repeat at equal intervals.

Regardless of what one believes, I think the documentary will at least succeed in convincing most people that there is indeed sufficient evidence against the two of them, and Italy’s judicial system is not crazy to convict people without any evidence.

My favourite part was when the defense DNA expert (can’t recall her name) tried to explain away the mixed blood evidence by saying that one of them could have had a nose bleed, and the other could have cut her hand in the same place leading to mixed blood.

Come on already, what are we? Kindergartens making excuses for not handing in homework? What is the possibility that both of them would bleed in exactly the same places not once or twice but multiple times? I think anyone with a bit of sense can see that they are clutching at straws.

However, I was a bit disappointed that few things were missed out. For instance, the fact that Guede’s footprints led straight out of the house, the fact that Amanda’s lamp was found without any obvious reason in Meredith’s room, Amanda’s extremely odd midnight call to her mom that she conveniently “forgot”, her million showers despite her concern towards “water conservation” etc.

Sollecito’s multiple changing stories were not really elaborated upon (the story in which he went to a party, the one in which he checked emails, the one in which he pricked Meredith etc etc).

Also, inconsistencies between their accounts of various events could have been pointed out (Was Filomena’s door open or close? Did AK call Filomena from the cottage or from Sollecito’s house? etc).

Witness accounts were not given any screen space either. I think touching upon these would have made the documentary even more impressive.

That said, I understand that the team has done the best they would within the limited time they had, and everything just cannot be accommodated within one hour.

So, all in all, kudos to the team and BBC for a job well done.

Review by Odysseus

I though it was a very competent overview of the case. After so much pro-defendant spin in the MSM (no doubt engineered by the American defendant’s PR outfit), it was refreshing to have a sane, measured and rational presentation. The victim deserves no less.

Congratulations to BBC3 and to the programme makers. It’s good to know that the BBC of blessed memory hasn’t been entirely dumbed-down nor intimidated by “partial outside interests”, the latter being director Andrea Vogt’s own description of the forces intent on muddying the waters in this case.





Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Congratulations To The BBC For A Report Emphasizing The Sheer Extensiveness Of The Evidence

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[From the BBC report: Meredith the night before the cruel, deadly attack with her Halloween friends]


This is the painstaking and obviously expensive report by Andrea Vogt and Paul Russell with interviews in London, Seattle and Perugia.

It was aired by the BBC on 17 February. Considerable time is allocated to defense lawyers and experts and the Knox family and Ann Bremner of the FOA taking their best shots at explaining how Knox could maybe have not been involved.

Still, the sheer mass of the evidence remains as the 80,000 pound elephant in the room, lacking any hint of a realistic alternative explanation. Three people committed the horrific attack, including Rudy Guede and two others.

Only Knox and Sollecito remain pointed to by dozens of evidence points as those two others. Not one single evidence point indicates anyone else was involved. The Masssei trial court got it right as the Nencini appeal court just confirmed.

We will enquire if we can embed the hour-long video. But as it may be picked up by US and other foreign media outlets, we will start by simply summarizing it soon.  Assessents by those who have already seen it are welcomed.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hard Questions By Italian Journalist Giuseppe Castellini For Sollecito

Posted by Peter Quennell


[Above: Giuseppe Castellini of Giornale dell Umbria has long exposed the Knox/Sollecito lies]

1. Overview Of Italian Media Takes

The fast-growing satires of Knox and Sollecito in Italy described in our previous post are not just emerging in a vacuum. 

The many tough crime-show comperes and crime reporters in Italy have rarely let Knox or Sollecito get away with any of their lies. One example was when Bruno Vespa, the host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show, forced Francesco Sollecito to admit to Italy that his son lied extensively in Honor Bound. Another example is when Oggi published some of Knox’s lies and they were rapidly exposed. For seemingly endorsing Knox’s lies Oggi will face trial for obstruction of justice. 

There are countless other examples where Sollecito and Knox have been exposed as liars. The super-sharp editor of the Giornale dell Umbria, Giuseppe Castellini, has just published this challenge to Sollecito who had absurdly had claimed that nobody ever wanted to ask him any questions in court.

2. Giuseppe Castellini Questions RS

The translation is by Miriam. 

Murder of Meredith:  a few questions for Raffaele Sollecito

Raffaele Sollecito, found guilty and condemned to 25 years by the Appeals Court of Florence, for the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher (for the same crime Amanda Knox was also found guilty and Rudy Guede is already serving a definite sentence of 16 years) has stated that he was never questioned in court, because no one ever asked him.

For the record and in order to have a complete picture at, it should be remembered that during the investigation, Sollecito twice took advantage of his right to not respond to the questions of the PM Mignini.

So if it’s true that the prosecutors, in all the trials never asked to question him in court, neither did he ask to be, limiting himself to giving several times making spontaneous statements, without being cross examined.

However, this is not the real point. The fact is that Raffaele could not or did not want to respond to the questions of the investigators.

His version was always brought forth in detail by his lawyers, obviously, but that is not the same thing.

Important questions remain to which Raffaele did not answer directly during cross examination by the Prosecutors.  Let’s try to summarize some crucial unanswered ones. Who knows if Raffaele will ever decide to respond in detail right here on these pages even though – at the moment – it seems improbable. We address him directly, sure that he reads these pages.

1. The first time that you were questioned in Questura you said that the first of November 2007 (Meredith was murdered the night between the first and the second of November) after a walk through downtown Perugia (before that you and Amanda have been in the house in via della Pergola). You came home around 08.00pm while Amanda come back much later around 01.00am, you then changed your version saying that you had always been together.  Your first statement seem like a distancing from Amanda, in those hours nobody knows what she did, while the second one has a complete different flavor.  Why did you radically changed your version?

2. It’s proved by the findings (even if your lawyers contested it) that the computer in your house was activated for about half an hour from 05.32am till little after 06.00am of the second of November.  For the experts of the Police it was certainly a human interaction.  You, instead declare that you and Amanda were sleeping.  So who was it then that was using your PC at that hour? 

3. Your and Amanda’s cell phones were turned off at the same time around 08.40pm of the first of November and they were turned on, practically at the same time, a little after 06.00am of the second of November (at that time you received the “good night” sms sent from your father the night before).  How do you explain all this? 

4. You stated that you were not in the house in via della Pergola.  How it is possible that your DNA is on the bra clasp (17 loci that shows your genetic profile, and for the father of Italian genetics, Prof. Vescovi, that with the current processes are not only enough, but more than enough to match your DNA).  And why did luminol revealed a bare right foot print compatible with yours, in addition to the one on the bathmat in the small bathroom? (the size of the big toe, just to point out one thing, is just like yours, while Rudy’s is a lot smaller).

5. Why, if Rudy was the only assassin, in the corridor would he cancel only the bare foot prints, leaving in plain sight always his, but left with the shoe print of his left foot?  Doesn’t it come to mind that whoever cleaned up the prints thought to cancel theirs (specifically the ones ascribed to you and Amanda) leaving behind those recognizable as Rudy’s?

6. You and Amanda were seen by the homeless Antonio Curatolo late the night of the murder and Amanda was seen by the shopkeeper – that knew you well and already saw you with Amanda – enter in the shop at about 07.45am to buy something and go back toward piazza Grimana.  You and Amanda say that at that hour you were sleeping in your house. Is there something that can demonstrate this, that up to now has slipped away and that would give you the missing alibi?


3. Questions For RS Of Our Own

We have advanced plenty of questions for the evasive Sollecito of our own. Here are seven examples.


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