Wednesday, May 09, 2012

An Associate Of Knox PR Heavy David Marriot Has Been Bullying Meredith’s Father Online

Posted by Glinda The Good

Yet another example of Curt Knox’s abusive public relations campaign at work.

We have long heard that the PR run for Curt Knox by David Marriott in Seattle controls all the pro-Knox anti-Italy message everywhere. David Marriott unwisely claimed this, in fact, right after Amanda Knox returned to Seattle. See here.

The PR is said to abuse reporters who dont go along, reward those that do, and fan out nasty commenters around the web to post selling points under various false names. It presumably does that to make the movement look spontaneous and big. An expanding but questionable technique which goes by the name astroturfing.

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem.

The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.

Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

The Knox PR astroturfing operation now has Meredith’s father John Kercher and his fine new book in its crosshairs, and for some days it has been raining contemptuous abuse. .

Officialdom in Perugia and Rome and the Italian Supreme Court all seem to know that the Knox-Mellases KNEW Amanda Knox was involved in the crime against Meredith almost as soon as they arrived in Perugia, and that they have been trying to cover that up ever since.

The PR scheme had already swung into operation by then, but the Knox-Mellases made the fateful choice to stick with it regardless, instead of maybe more wisely switching off the PR and turning to a good American lawyer to spread the word instead. Curt Knox recently claimed, before Amanda’s “innocent” persona started to implode, that using PR was one of the best choices he ever made. 

This image above is of Seth Chandler, the managing director of Axolotl AB, a public relations firm linked to David Marriott’s which does the usual advertising, copy doctoring, social media campaigning, and so on. The image was captured online before it was hurriedly disappeared.

Seth appears to be the same chap caught red-handed the other day propagating the all-too-familiar FOA selling points while sliming the family of Meredith, who is the real victim here. Under an article on Worldcrunch which reported the imminent release of John Kercher’s book “Meredith” Seth Chandler was observed repeatedly posting that John Kercher (and others there trying to explain the truth) should simply STFU..

With only a couple of exceptions, real names of identifiable people are not used by the PR.  We’ve seen them, we’ve read them, but this appears to be only the second time (after “Bruce Fisher of New York”) that one of the anonymous PR operatives/contractors has been exposed for what and where he is. Perhaps we might expect a few more.

For four years in the US and the UK, with big money at stake, the operatives have bashed Italy, the Italian justice system, Italian culture, and the Italian law enforcement agencies involved in the case. The operatives have slimed the Scientific Police, the prosecutor Mr Mignini, the prosecutor Ms Comodi, the British press, the Italian press, the Kerchers’ lawyer Mr Maresca, and all the prosecution witnesses.  In various postings they have accused many of these people of crimes, an imprisonable felony in the US.

They have bashed the lay judges in the court because they wear their tricolour sashes routinely as a badge of office. They have claimed that this is an anti-American display. They have decried the Italian courtroom because behind the lead judge a crucifix hangs there.

The operatives have thrown mud at anyone they perceive as dangerously surfacing any hard truth about the case. Respected journalists have received exceptional abuse. Any perceived enemy not so much of Amanda Knox herself as the defense narrative of the murder and the legal processes can expect to get roughed up.

So it’s quite a game-changer when Seth Chandler, or “Seth C” as he now wants to be known, the managing director of Axolotl PR, is apparently caught red-handed telling John Kercher to STFU.  Seth Chandler has claimed as he tried to wriggle off the hook that “no one paid” him to say STFU, and that anyway PRs would never say such a thing. Really? But the abuse was right there in his name.

Seth Chandler also works for Electrolux. Its competitors are are Dyson, and LG. I wouldn’t imagine that he employs the same tactics for firms, though I haven’t yet checked his Amazon customer reviews.

Shame on Seth Chandler - and on Curt Knox, whose vile temper reverberates throughout this case and some increasingly believe sent Amanda Knox over the top.


Interesting story, indeed!

Once upon a time (that is truly long time ago) I used to consider Swedish companies (including her people) most decent, open, frank and honest.

I can guess how he has climbed the ladder of success in real life. You can change your colours, but not your attitude!

Nice to know the language the PR people speak. His next promotion is due soon. He will be of course rewarded for the “great job” done online!

“Illusion is the first of all pleasures”—Oscar Wilde

Posted by chami on 05/09/12 at 07:01 AM | #

No doubt Chandler is acting in the interests of the PR campaign, but how do we know he’s an operative? I’ve actually seen this guy on another non-case related blog I read. Had no idea he was such a Knox groupie.

Posted by brmull on 05/09/12 at 10:38 AM | #

The talking points are becoming so lame. Here’s yet another weak and poorly timed FOAK report claiming prosecutorial misconduct by Mr Mignini without any actual evidence or legal foundation.

It never hurts to get a few facts straight. He didint go looking for this case, he had a senior co-prosecutor all along, and he did not ever make stuff up.

“This information led prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini,  to present a fantasy of a group sex game gone wrong to the public. He made these bold claims long before any of the forensic evidence had been tested.”

Actually all three were convicted of a sex crime, and there was a lot more to the proof than the forensic evidence. Read Judge Micheli and Judge Massei. Meredith’s body had been arranged to try to make people believe that it was a sex crime.

Time for a Plan B? Stop sliming Italy and its officialdom which are real losers, understand who Dr Galati really is, get to grips with the caution of the Italian justice system, and stop putting words in Mr Mignini’s mouth.

And have at least one good lawyer step forward and try to respond to this.

And invite Amanda Knox to step forward. Why isn’t she all over TV?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/09/12 at 01:17 PM | #

If I recall correctly, one of the Judges (or is it one of the juries?) claimed in a news report that the “real truth could be different”- soon after the Hellman verdict.

There was no elaboration, but does it really need any elaboration? We understand and appreciate simple and plain speaking.

Smoke and fog can only do this much.

This line is intentionally left blank

Posted by chami on 05/09/12 at 04:16 PM | #

Hi Chami

Yes that was Judge Hellman who said that. His delivery in reading the verdict was to say the least rather odd, and his remarks the next day equivocating, and his sentencing report a few weeks later quite a mess.

His heart seemed in it - passionate for sure - but the logic is a decided stretch. So was the scope - illegally so as Dr Galati has termed it in his appeal.

It’s rare to see a chief prosecutor in Italy be as scathing as Dr Galati both in how he wrote and announced that appeal. The FOA insofar as I read them seem in denial now and not coming up with anything that in Italy will stop this remorseless appeal.

The phrase “sex crime gone wrong” which still seems their flagship talking point (see my comment above) really has no traction at all.

A “sex crime gone wrong” was not precisely the words used by Mignini, and he was in effect giving the defenses a break. They could have argued based on that for manslaughter or mitigating circumstances, and taken the route of a short-form trial, and had their clients out quite soon.

It was Judge Micheli in October 2008 who first took a hard line when he (1) said the murder was intentional (2) concluded Amanda Knox probably wielded the knife (2) decided AK and RS should be tried for first degree murder and (4) handed Rudy Guede 30 years.

Judge Massei at trial in 2009 also took a harder line and he handed RS and AK 25 and 27 years. Essentially both judges overruled Mignini and substituted for his suggestions on a motive (not actually required in court) a CRUELER motive, with deliberate murderous intent in each case.

Italians know this and consider Mignini to be fair (Perugians consider themselves lucky to have them to try to keep their city safe) but right now the FOA seem off in some other space.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/09/12 at 05:30 PM | #

Quite frankly, I would be surprised if either Electrolux, Dyson or LuckyGoldstar (LG I am guessing) is aware of their employee’s extra-curricular activities. Thoughts on putting them in the “know”??  Certainly people have lost their positions for much less than this—and as Project Manager—I’m reading that as “paid consultant” he needs to be above reproach when fronting for any company! Thoughts?

Posted by mojo on 05/09/12 at 07:06 PM | #

A very interesting and informative post Glinda, thank you for posting.  What a horrible and tangled web they weave..

As you say the astroturfing is widespread, one only has to look at Chelsea Hoffman’s blog at this very moment to see them in all their glory.

Strangely they all deny that they are FOA and it has been out there for sometime now - they claim the PR drive is a ‘myth’ and doesn’t exist.

This despite the Goggerty Marriot corporate website describing Knox like a flagship client and explaining how and why they took on her case!

I would like to know why they all wont go home now, Knox has been released so why the need for the continuing FOA/PR company astroturfing and smear campaigning?

Are they now worried about…  something?!

Posted by Black Dog on 05/09/12 at 07:33 PM | #

Seth Chandler linkedIn profile:

Calls himself ‘Seth C the copy doctor’, might have changed his name but can’t hide the tags, idiot.

Posted by Urbanist on 05/10/12 at 12:29 AM | #

Great post on the PR astroturfing, it’s not hard to see, especially when browsing the comments on various online news sites etc, these people are totally dispicable and recant the same old FOA BS. As for Seth C, he’s the one that needs to STFU, along with that piece of trash Curt.

Posted by Urbanist on 05/10/12 at 12:43 AM | #

One question, how does Berlosconi being out of power effect cessation. To me it would seem like Berlusconi who has obvious media ties would be the person who had power to make sure arrangements were made. Why, because the US media needs Amanda to be free else they won’t make a dime.

I for one never believed for a second she was railroaded as Steve Moore said because police usually railroad poor defenseless people like minorities, mentally ill or immigrants because these people won’t have resources to fight back.

I am sure the Italian police and prosecutors knew the risk of investigating Amanda and Raffaele from the start. One is the son of a Wealty Doctor, the other from the USA. I am sure before the decided to even press charges they had to make sure they had hard evidence because they would have known the US media would declare war on them.

Some FOAkers say that Mignini did it for politics like Mike Nifong which makes no sense, he is in his position for life and has no incentive to make up charges, not to mention hundreds of US students have studied in Perugia, I doubt anti Americanism. I for one am sick and tired of the Foakers claiming railroad job epsecially Steve Moore.

He claims he worked in counter terrorism which to me makes me think he has done some railroading of innocent people based on racism and xenophobia. As a native Brazilian who moved to Italy and now studying in the USA I know first hand what railroading is. I volunteer with immigration lawyers in Boston who give free legal council to immigrants.

These are the kind of people who are railroaded, people who no one cares about and can easily be blamed for a crime because of the general xenophobia in America. Not to mention the fact that an immigrant can be abused easily and they won’t have a million dollar pr campaign to back them much in the same way thousands of innocent minorities are railroaded because these people don’t have resources to protect them as well as lack of public support.

I am sick of these people using this excuse when I have had major issues in the us as someone here legally studying. I know people who have been railroaded by justice, I see it everyday and due to my own background I fear it could happen to me. Even in my native Brazil, which is a pretty corrupt place I could never imagine the police railroading American’s, most American’s who go down and party get away with so much for that reason. The police don’t want to get involved with American’s because its not worth the head ache of prosecuting them because as we saw with Amanda, American’s have a get out of jail free pass because they use their power to bully and undermine sovereign nations laws.

Amanda and Raffaele do not fit the general description of people railroaded, in fact I feel that the the Marriot campaign created this as a way to scare Americans and build up patriotism to blindly get behind their cause.

Now don’t get me started on the so called experts, I notice they all seem to have a tie to Washington State which makes me think they have been recruited to use their credentials to decieve people and to cherry pick bits and pieces of half truths to fit the idea that the DNA was faulty and the investigation was bad.

Posted by Severino518 on 05/10/12 at 01:10 AM | #

I have often wondered about the railroading theory myself. What makes apparently sane, normal people believe that AK and RS were railroaded without any reason at all? It is not as if the prosecutors would have been dumb enough to think that they can pin the blame on these two people to save themselves some work and go home instead. It is not like Italy and America are at loggerheads. It is not as if these two were poor defenseless immigrants. Why on earth would people believe they were railroaded? Whenever I have challenged FOAkers on it, all I have got are personal insults or some mumbles about power games and anti americanisms and Italians being judgemental abt AK due to her lifestyle and her being pretty. Surely no one in their right minds would believe that? All of Meredith’s friends led similar lifestyles, Italy is not in the stone age and most of Meredith’s friends are far prettier.

Now, after reading this article, I wonder if anyone apart from a handful of old jokers (whom we saw sitting in a hotel on the appeal judgement day) actually believes in her innocence. It might be that the same PR people are posting with duplicate ids to create the impression that many people believe in their innocence. Certainly that would seem like a better explanation than to think that so many people are so blind to the facts. Of course, if someone is being paid to do it, they wouldn’t really care about facts, would they?

Having said that, I still cannot get over the cruelty of people like Chandler who insult the Kerchers, PR or no PR. Aren’t they human and don’t they have a conscience? I often wonder what they would have done if it had happened to their sister or daughter - shrugged and said “oh well, maybe the accused got railroaded because she’s pretty, why bother, let’s move on” ?

Posted by Sara on 05/10/12 at 12:08 PM | #

Hi brmull

If they haven’t scrubbed it all, it may still be possible to follow the fb notifications and links from Seth Chandler to Raffa_Aries and other significant Knoxy players.

Posted by bucketoftea on 06/24/12 at 05:00 PM | #

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