Monday, January 21, 2013

An Overview From Italy #2: Current Perceptions In Italy, Justice Perverters Fail, Mignini Vindicated

Posted by Machiavelli

My previous report on the bad news remorselessly building here for the defense was on the Procura Generale appeal to the Supreme Court.

One year ago ““ between the end of December 2011 and beginning of January 2012 ““ there were only rare idle comments in the Italian press about the Meredith Kercher case, more or less sarcastically noting the “suspicious” circumstances of the Appeal trial.  I recall how a mention of the topic was dropped into the last number of “ll Venerd씝 of 2011.

“Il Venerdì di Repubblica” is the weekly magazine issued together with the newspaper “La Repubblica” (thus probably the most read magazine in Italy).

The cover theme of that week was provincialism ““ or better “the provincials” - the adjective used to assemble a sample of seven little cities (Cuneo, Voghera, Rimini, Jesi, Perugia, Benevento, Partinico), picked from different regions, and taken as examples on the theme, that is stories of “local colour”;  what goes on in small “provincial places”.  A few characters and stories are brought in to depict the local life of each place, and the voices of local authors adds something about the places.

The article about Perugia (at pages 62-68) was by Luca Cardinalini. In that number of Il Venerdì, having stories of “local colour” as weekly theme, there were shades of ironic tones for each city, often through the voice of local intellectuals. As Perugia is described, the Meredith trial is quickly recalled among its local stories; the reader can’t miss how this is viewed as in connection with another most remarkable feature of the city, that is Masonry.

According to Luca Cardinalini and Enrico Vaime, Masonry is called a “Specialty” of Perugia, like chocolate. Local author Enrico Vaime intends to convey the people’s perception about shady powers existing in the city, about a local environment saturated by plots and informal powers, as something behind recent strange judicial decisions such as the Hellmann verdict and the apparent dropping of the Narducci case.  The widespread belief of Perugians that the Public Minister (prosecutor) is the righteous one shines through the words of Enrico Vaime.

Also notice how racism appears to be another key perception about the verdict. Quality media press in Italy has a typical style of understatement.  This comment hints that it seems obvious that the Appeal was a racist verdict - and it was “expected” that they would find a way to blame the black one and the outcast. 

Some of Perugian “provincialism” seems to include a very narrow localism of Perugian identity: a person from Orvieto is reported to be called “a foreigner” ; but this is because the cultural viewpoint is based on the assumption of a personal knowledge of all people.  In among this, there is Vaime’s knowledge about how rooted Masonic tradition and power is in the city, in a scenario of “brotherhoods” and “tribes” (the article includes a photo of the most known “Masonic” monument in Perugia: the gryphon or griffen ““ the emblem of Perugia ““ grabbing a toppled Pope’s Tiara in a sign of rebellion). 

The report by Vaime is objectively correct : the concentration of members of Masonic lodges in Perugia is the highest in the world, about 5 times the national average of Italy (which is anyway very high). 

In Vaime’s wording decent people in Perugia are ‘Christians’ or ‘Communists’ ““ these are the names he uses to address the main categories he sees as “good” people, two transparent moral systems.  He devolves skepticism toward the less transparent allegiances, the murky and informal connections to powers. 

I believe these perceptions from one year ago, in this colorful article about Perugia, should be most interesting to the readers of this site.

The first part of the article on Perugia is not that interesting - it speaks mostly about a local character named Ivano Massetti, nicknamed “Savonarola of Umbrian football”,  the director (“boss”) of a local TV network and leading showman of his own soccer talk show. I skipped this first part with depictions of local folks, and get to the point at p.66 where the Kercher case is first mentioned. 

This is my translation of the article from this point:

[”¦](p.66 line 17):

As Enrico Vaime ““ a 100% Perugian, a writer, and among many other things fiercly provincial ““ already knows: “Only in Perugia do you hear people saying “actually Tizio [random guy] was not a native from Colombella, but from Piccione”, which is three times further”. And when his grandfathers (farther of his father) bearing the same name Enrico Vaime, moved his formal place of residence [to Perugia] from Spello, on the official documents they wrote “emigrated to Perugia and married to a foreigner from Orvieto”.

The roots are extremely deep. “Still today” Vaime says “when I say to my family “we go back home”, I mean here, in Perugia, where I have not owned a house for decades. And I still call the roads and shops with the names they had when I was a child, even if now the owners are foreigners, from Shangai or, as I say, from Terni”.

Vaime is cross with the bad reporters who described Perugia, in the Meredith murder case, as a capital of corruption and vice: “An invasion of charlatan journalists who, as they believed they were visiting a remote and lost province, they painted it as a sort of Chicago on the Trasimeno Lake”.

[The fact] that no Perugian was involved in that sad story, to them that was an irrelevant detail. And the trial ended just the way many Perugians expected: a black guy first wrongly put in jail, another black one convicted, the two white, good-looking, wealthy and well defended young people, free.

So it was that the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini became a target. He’s a Perugian whom the Perugians know as the dominus of the other judicial case ““ this also is, yes, entirely local ““ about which everybody talks and knows, but always in a low voice: the death of doctor Francesco Narducci,  the one suspected of having ties to the crimes of the Monster of Florence. From the judicial point of view that was - by half ““ just another hole-in-the-water [a failure] for which some critics have hastily put the blame on some alleged lunacy of the public minister.

But”¦  however”¦ meanwhile, this [Naducci] corpse-swap was indeed found to have been for sure, a kind of unique case in the criminal history of the country. And, for what concerns the recent acquittals of those characters involved in this death, well, after almost a year and a half we are still waiting for the verdict motivations. All of the suspects were esteemed high-class professionals. That’s a perfect mix of strange deaths, sex, lead-astray investigations, and Masonry; this is in the city with the highest number of Masonic lodges in Italy.

Vaime sighs: “Masonry is something alien from me, but I have many friends who are in it. In Perugia it works as a compensation chamber for various powers, but also as an effort for the surge of the spirit to many decent people. Masters, masons and “33”, but all of them decent Perugians”.  Masonry is considered a local specialty, just like the bruschetta or the Etruscan arch.

“One day you find out that that mediocre employee of your acquaintance, or the one who performed an incredible career in the public administration or in politics, is a “˜son of Horus’. Then you either laugh, or you slap yourself on the forehead just like saying to yourself “Wow! [how could I ] think about it!”. “That travet* [*a generic mediocre opportunist employee], too” 

Vaime says “to me it is a strange Perugian, with little interest for the Egyptian god compared to his covet for entering inner circles of a certain world. Their internal motivation is “I want to see how the lords sit at the table”. But in there [Masonry], you see, there are also good Christians and good Communists; as has always happened in this province, which has the art of living together in its genes”.

[”¦. ]

This month ““ Jan 2013 ““ the Italian press returned to the topic of the case again in a few brief articles. This time it was because of Sollecito’s book.

After Maurizio Molinari’s report from New York on the book in September, and the busting by Bruno Vespa on Porta a Porta of Francesco Sollecito, who ended up openly contradicting his own son’s statements, another hint appeared in the local press about what is cooking up backstage. 

This article in Perugia Today has a neutral take, but the same understatement and kind of vagueness as it anticipates that something very likely will happen.

What I find most delightful is the quotation marks in the title around the word “author” ““ journalist Nicola Bossi doesn’t believe for a moment that Sollecito actually wrote the book: 

Meredith Case: “author” Sollecito at risk of criminal lawsuit

The recounts about an alleged negotiation in order to pin the main charges on Amanda Knox, and unproven violence by the Perugia Police are under target. Mignini is considering criminal lawsuit.

Written by Nicola Bossi ““ Jan 4. 2013  

The Meredith case is not closed, and this despite books and movies almost tend to drop it after the acquittal in second instance of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - who were convicted in first degree for the murder of the English girl that took place in Via della Pergola.

On upcoming March the 25th the Court of Cassation of Rome will have to decide on the request for a re-opening the trial, submitted by the Procura with the authorization of Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

In the environment of the magistrates there is confidence about a [guilty] verdict that many ““ in Italy and in the USA - have heavily attempted to discredit. But from the same environments around them, they talk about a greatly serene Mignini making assessments about the next strategic moves, following the attacks directed against him ““ and against those in Law Enforcement who cooperated with him ““ contained in the book by Raffaele Sollecito.

An upcoming criminal defamation lawsuit is becoming more and more likely every day, especially about some particular paragraphs. The material published by Sollecito has already resulted in discussions and clamor above all about claimed negotiations [with the prosecution]  aiming to shift the blame onto Amanda alone, to be rewarded with his immediate release.

But there are also accusations against the Police about violence during his interrogations. “If you dare get up and walk, I beat you up in a bloody pulp and I kill you. I leave you in a pool of blood”. This is what you read in the book “˜Honour Bound’ issued in the US, as what Sollecito attributes to the Perugian officers.

“They wanted me to lie so they could frame Amanda”: this is the premise of the claimed negotiations claimed to indirectly involve Mignini too, which he always denied. Allegedly this would have been enough to get [Sollecito] out from prison soon, leaving the American woman in trouble.

So, these are grave accusations which Mignini apparently does not intend to let go unpunished. The criminal lawsuit is likely to be filed earlier than the date of Cassazione [25 March].


Another small piece of news is this article below published in Leonardo and written by Valentina Cervelli: 

It seems basically a “commented” version of the Perugia Today article. Cervelli adds a few polite lines on her own thoughts in this piece, published on the Bbooks page of Leonardo,it; this is my translation:

Is Raffaele Sollecito going be sued soon for “Honor Bound”?

By Valentina Cervelli -  6. Jan 2013

Are there troubles in sight for Raffaele Sollecito? His “Honour Bound” book is going well in the United States in terms of sales, but here in Italy it might be soon result for him in a lawsuit for defamation by the Law Enforcement forces and by the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

As we know already, in Honor Bound ““ My journey to hell with Amanda Knox and return Raffaele Sollecito has reconstructed the whole judiciary story from his point of view, telling in his autobiography what [he says] is his own truth.

On March 25 Cassation in Rome will decide on the [prosecution] request for the re-opening of the trial submitted by the Procura authorized by Giuliano Mignini, after the acquittal in the second instance of the two main accused, Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

The young woman has returned back to her country and we bet it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get her back in our country even in case of retrial after Cassation and a possible conviction. But lets leave aside this possible dispute and lets focus on the book. In Raffaele’s book Mignini is iimplicated because he reportedly comes out discredited. In the material published by Sollecito in his book he even talks about alleged negotiations in order to blame Knox alone, obtaining in reward a quick release.

And what about the allegations of Police violence during interrogations? Of course we don’t get into the merits, but it seems obvious that parties that may be considered offended would tend to launch a counter-attack to defend their dignity and their work. At the moment no lawsuit has been submitted. But with much probability that will be done before the decision of Cassazione.

By now we can only wait for the publishing of the book in our country, in order to assess with our minds what Raffaele Sollcito has written and the “hot” material published in his made-in-the-US autobiography.

By the way; one thing Valentina Cervelli might get wrong is the purported good sales of Sollecito-Gumbel’s book.

The site is reliable as quick indicator of a product’s success;  the price of a new copy of “Honor Bond” on is now $ 3.51 (last week it was 3.76; the cover price is $ 24). It suggests sales are not quite as expected.  The drop speed is significant if you consider that the book has been out for only four months.

[Above: the Florence Palace of Justice]

While many honest magistrates seem to be working in Florence, there is still some strange behavior by one or two people in the Florence prosecution office.

Iin particular by the chief prosecutor there were some unexplainable decisions.  As people reading this site know, Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari were convicted (of some of the charges) in the first degree trial in Florence. 

The motivations document was disconcerting because: besides the proof of their innocence on the main charge, what was described as the evidence on the remaining charge constituted extremely weak and vague arguments for what was claimed about Giuttari, while they were totally non-existent about Mignini. 

In the second instance appeal as we know the court completely crushed the trial case.

The case against them collapsed not because of a technicality, as the FOAs falsely claimed. In the figment of their imagination the Knox supporters erroneously thought that the Florence court had an “option” to overturn the case, to find Mignini and Giuttari innocent, but that they instead decided to pass the judgment on to some other tribunal.

The pro-Knox believers are probably also ready to believe blindfolded that there was some kind of evidence against Mignini.

The Knox believers are wrong. What in fact happened in Florence is something almost unique in a judge’s career. The first remarkable event was the decision by the Florence court of nullifying the first degree verdict. They did not simply overturn the verdict (neither change, or “reform” it as we say) since an overturning would imply acceptance that a previous verdict actually existed and was legitimate.

The cancellation was in fact an in limine act about the validity , which does not require an assessment about it correctness. The court went way beyond. In fact they nullified the whole trial, not only the previous one in terms of judgment, but also the preliminary hearing, and the indictment; and even the request of indictment. 

It is a legal outcome not comparable to a simple change or overturning because it is a ruling that the whole proceeding was illegitimate from the very roots. The investigation itself of Mignini and Giuttari was declared illegitimate. 

If elements were found for the opening of an investigation, the prosecutor would be entitled to carry on their duties, though the investigators should be from another territory.  This is important because the Florence court found evidence that people from the same office were involved in cases against Giuttari and Mignini, both as offended parties and as prosecutors. 

Because of a basic conflict of interest, the local prosecutors were incompatible and the Procura of Florence had no jurisdiction. Not even Genoa would be compatible.

Florentine prosecutors therefore had no right to bring cases against Mignini and Giuttari. The investigation files now must now be sent to the competent jurisdiction ““ where they should have been sent from the beginning ““ which is Turin; there other legitimate prosecutors will decide if and how there is anything to investigate about, and if there are any charges to bring against anyone.  The Florentine trials should have never taken place. The court ordered that the legitimate investigators are the Procura of Turin. 

In addition, they also ruled that the court of Florence would be an incompetent jurisdiction in any further possible case that stems from that investigation: since the competent prosecution is Turin, in case elements for the indictment of anyone for any charge are found, in the future, everything should go to a court in Turin ““ this, only if there will be any charge to bring to court . 

This decision in Florence was a total debacle for the Florence prosecutors.  It is in fact “politically” much worse than an overturning of a verdict. It is not just a like a different conclusion on the merit, it is the decision to take away even the investigation from them, a kind of implicit censure of their work as highly illegitimate.

But at this point in the procedings, something even worse and even more strange happened.  The Procura of Florence did something even more unusual, in fact unprecedented as far as I know. 

Apparently the Florence prosecutors are not happy at all to pass the investigation file on to Turin. For some reason they seem instead to want to do unnecessary and irrelevant hard work instead.  The Florentine prosecutors impugned the decision and revisited this at the Supreme Court against the Florentine judges.

This step is almost unheard of because the decision of the Florence appeal court is of a type that manifestly cannot be impugned at the Supreme Court. The recourse is obviously going to be declared inadmissible. If that submission was done by a private citizen, they would get a heavy fine for that.

Here it is a power in the Florence judiciary branch making this inadmissible move; for unknown reasons. 

I’d like to know the real motive behind the latest Florence move, the only effect of which can be a waste of time (and money), a delay, of at least one or maybe two more years, which only makes the failure of the whole proceeding against Mignini and Giuttari more likely due to lapse on an expiration terms.

I say “I’d like to know” but in fact one motivation stands out as obvious:  the whole proceeding against Giuttari and Mignini, from the first bringing of the charges at the lower courts, appeared as having a wasting of time among its purposes. 

One practical effect - maybe a practical purpose - of pushing the charges against Mignini, was taking the file about the Monster of Florence case links with the Narducci case away from Perugia. By this move, the Florentine prosecutors managed to factually put their hands on the Narducci-MoF file and remove it from the investigating powers in Perugia.

Another effect of this was delay. Now this latest move looks as if its purpose were to delay, as much as possible, the transfer of the legal documents to Turin.   

What is the ultimate event that, by all this, they seem to be seeking to delay?  I can’t know for sure, I can only guess; in fact, I have only one answer, which also stands out as something obvious for those who know a bit of the backstage: 

Giuliano Mignini is not an ordinary magistrate, he belongs to the Anti-Mafia Territorial Division of Umbria, and recently was selected for a further promotion by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.

In fact what is delayed is the advancing of Mignini’s career:  in fact he has been already promoted to a directive function; but, by the rules, his taking the post was frozen while awaiting the outcome and conclusion of the Florentine prosecution. 

Prosecutor Mignini is de facto already functioning as a prominent Magistrate in Perugia and considered as such; but formally he has not been given the directive power.  Several people ““ among them Spezi and a number of his journalist friends, but possibly also other much more important people too ““ are likely not at all eager to see Mignini awarded further power.

About the latest endeavor by Raffaele Sollecito, who became liable for criminal defamation by writing false allegations about Mignini and others in his book, I expect - as logically unavoidable ““ that several powers and subjects will basically have no option but taking legal against him.

There will be a strategic necessity to doing this in order to prevent extradition issues in the future, but also, above all, on principle, because Sollecito made false claims about public institutions that needt to have their names cleared.  Considering the kind of allegations against the judiciary as an institution, and considering that Mignini is a judge of the Anti-Mafia Division, this is the kind of lawsuit that I see as likely to be submitted on a national level, in Rome. 

If that is the case, it would not be the only strange thing that the courts of Rome will deal with.

It seems like there is a kind of “curse”  on proceedings related to the Narducci case. All sections of the Supreme Court which have been asked seem to have attempted to declare themselves “˜incompetent’ about re-opening the cases related to the Perugian doctor. The Cassazione is a huge office with a hundred judges working there, but maybe not so many of them are eager to deal with this case.

This could be only a coincidence. It only brings up to my mind, through a free association of thoughts, a more generic question ““ a personal question of mine ““ that is whether the words “Masonry” and “Politics” have an echo in Roman corridors too.


Finally I want to add another significant piece of Italian news. 

The news a week ago was that the Procura of Florence is investigating a possible corruption/mafia plot involving construction enterprises and politicians that revolves around the building of a new high speed railway in Florence.

Some 31 people are being investigated and among them is the former governor of Umbria. A huge drilling machine ““ nicknamed the “Mona Lisa” ““ used to dig subway tunnels in Florence was sequestrated by the Procura. 

In the last couple of years Perugia’s prosecution office had a main role in fighting political corruption, but it seems that the Florence Anti-Mafia division is also active, just as it was in the times when the prosecutor Vigna worked with them.

Vigna was the one who first evolved the “secret sect” scenario in the Monster of Florence case, raising unexpected problems among the Procura staff.


Hello Yummi,

Your post is absolutely fascinating, and should be required reading for anyone interested in either the Monster of Florence case or that of Meredith’s murder.

I would especially urge the pro-Knox supporters who repeat their simple mantra about the Evil Mignini, to please read and acknowledge the facts you present.

From Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston (who have often spoken about Mignini in harsh and untrue terms) down to the last FOA foot soldier, they have to understand that at this point in time, absolutely no one will believe that if Knox was arrested, investigated and put to trial (and turned into a criminal in the process) it is all due to a mercurial, satan-obsessed prosecutor.

It would simply be due to the evidence and indications of guilt that Knox - together with Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede - left in their wake on November 1 and 2, 2007.

Thanks Yummi for your insight and explanations of the labyrinth of traps, delays and red herrings that a fine professional like Prosecutor Mignini has had to delicately tread, and at the same time continue working with his head up.

Posted by Kermit on 01/21/13 at 09:40 PM | #

In Perugia a bizarre group dynamic is thought to have come into play when Meredith was attacked in the room. The notion is that those who would never, never commit a violent crime on their own sometimes feel “safe” and “pressured” by the group to act as crazy as each other.

Masons are found all over the world and although their traditions are quirky, to say the least, they are often as mild as the Rotary Club. But here there are increasing signs that the same kind of group dynamic by insiders took over to commit and hide real crimes, and so began the demonization prior to Meredith’s death that was then spread - wilfully or unwilfully - outside of Italy by the Knox-Sollecito carpetbaggers.

Cassation may or may not be tempted into again opening up the Narducci case, but we saw a recent example of a special prosecutor being appointed in Rome to look into charges that masonic influences might be at work in the army barracks where the now-convicted wife murderer Salvatore Parolisi was based.

Pity that Doug Preston was a fool or duped - he should have captured these cases from the prosecution side as he did in his fiction, instead of propagating nasty pro-crook theories against a very admirable justice force. No doubt he too will have his day in court.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/21/13 at 11:01 PM | #

Thanks Kermit. Your article on the Sfarzo affair was also extremely interesting and informative.

For some reason, Florentine intrigues seem to carry a peculiar fascination to foreigners, while to me – and Italians in general – they appear only stinky and familiar. The “labyrinth” is indeed a rotting over-complex tangle but it has been there decades in open sight and people just know all names and connections in the murky waters, things that just everybody knew about like Berlusconi’s mega-orgy parties.
The labyrinth I was describing has not finished yet.  There are events and connections which I didn’t put in the article, because it would have been too long.  For example just starting from today, Jan 21: today in a courtroom in Florence, a preliminary hearing takes place at which Mario Spezi was certainly present.

It is the preliminary hearing of a big trial for sexual abuses (on minors)  with several accused; the main defendant is a man named Rodolfo Fiesoli. The sexual abuses took place (allegedly for decades) in a protected community for minors named “Il Forteto”.

This community received money from the government of Tuscany for the rehabilitation of minors, and was used by the judiciary who send them minors: some parts of the local judiciary were considered “friendly” (or protective) with them (in a way that a bit may resemble how the BBC was friendly and protective to Jimmy Savile).

One feature of the trial is that, among the main witnesses against Fiesoli & Co, there is a man – Mr. Rizzuto – who was also involved as a witness in the Narducci case; and Mario Spezi, he is also related, as a journalist, for being the author of exceptionally critical reports attacking Rizzuto and in favor of Fiesoli & Co.

Not only; the phone records from which an anonymous (?) person reported the discovery of at least two of the double murders of the MoF (in 1984 and 1985) were made from two telephone cabins, from those same telephone cabins the phone call immediately following – like a minute later or so – was a call to “Il Forteto”.

Analogies and links between Narducci, Spezi, the MoF, the Florentine judiciary, Masonry, are not the only threads in the labyrinth . Even if you pick up the name of the judge who convicted Mignini and Giuttari, Judge Maradei, you’ll discover how he recently fell into a state of disgrace (meanwhile you may know that - partly thanks to the Supreme Council of Magistrates - Hellmann is not a judge and not a magistrate any more).

Now this judge, Maradei, has been “exposed” having pernicious links – business and politics, at the level of Tuscany government – with a person who was a defendant in a trial for a crime similar to corruption, where Maradei himself was the judge (you may guess the outcome of the trial).  So, Maradei fell too.

Posted by Yummi on 01/21/13 at 11:41 PM | #

The wolves and sheep of the FOA have chained themselves to an equally unsavory crowd.  Since Hellmann and Zanetti twisted things (and got bumped) it’s been strictly a losing situation, for all of them.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/13 at 12:28 AM | #

Yummi, you said: “One feature of the trial is that, among the main witnesses against Fiesoli & Co, there is a man – Mr. Rizzuto – who was also involved as a witness in the Narducci case; and Mario Spezi, he is also related, as a journalist, for being the author of exceptionally critical reports attacking Rizzuto and in favor of Fiesoli & Co.”

What I don’t understand (or perhaps I should better say: what I am afraid I am starting to understand) is that Spezi and Preston, in spite of making it look like they “investigated” the MoF killings (decades later) for 4 or 5 years, only really stopped writing other books and having other business dealings, and started using other persons’ MoF theories (like that 14 year old Antonio Vinci performed the second shooting with the Beretta pistol) only when Spezi’s friend the pharmacist from San Casciano was implicated in the murky world of the relations that at that point were thought to be associated with the MoF.

Spezi suddenly pulled out all the stops to demonstrate that “someone else”, a lone-wolf, was behind the MoF killings. Preston offered his tag along services to the endeavour.

I don’t know if the Narducci case is intertwined with the MoF case. But my opinion is certainly that Spezi’s sudden hyperactive, frenetic and vocal activity to divert attention from the Narducci investigation was a bit obvious.

((in any case, it’s a shame that as a supposed pair of investigative journalists, Spezi and Preston could not bring it upon themselves to openly give credit in their English language “The Monster of Florence” to Magdalen Nabb, the person who years ago told Spezi of the facts that the unknowing reader of their book assumes is their own theory and hard work))

Posted by Kermit on 01/22/13 at 04:22 AM | #

Yeah! Big trouble is headed Sollecito´s way ! Finally!
On a different note : I had a fall today not far from the French department where I work as a translator and had to be taken to the university hospital by ambulance .I know I am always mentioning my bad health.I am sorry but I can´t help it.

Posted by aethelred23 on 01/22/13 at 06:35 AM | #

Very interesting post, Yummi (as usual, if I may say so). 

This may be an odd judgment, but I think that the mafia trials did a lot of good for Italy’s justice system, in that they led to transparency being taken seriously. I would call the masonic culture “byzantine” and it’s something I understand quite well, although I’ve encountered it in other forms.  Something like that requires transparency at the highest levels if anything is to be done right.

I can’t say I’m not worried about the Supreme Court decision, but here’s to hoping that justice will be done.  Between Frank’s insane antics and recent rantings, and Raffaele’s bizarre Q & A, I am growing more and more disgusted with their whole set-up.  I just can’t stop thinking about the extraordinary bad luck Meredith had to be in the same place as those people.

PS: Aethelred, I hope you feel better soon.  It’s not good to hear that you’ve been having health problems.

Posted by Vivianna on 01/22/13 at 01:35 PM | #

When the anti-Sollecito lawsuits Yummi describes are filed (they might include one from Guede’s lawyers, read Cardiol’s posts on Guede) the complaints will be public documents so the Italian media and we will be able to post on precisely what claims in the Sollecito book are considered defamatory.

Judging by the Porta a Porta show with Francesco Sollecito when Sollecito’s book came out 4 months ago and public reaction back then, Italian media and public opinion look set to be pretty sympathetic to those who were the targets of Sollecito’s unwise claims.

On the anti-Sollecito lawsuits, in each case Simon & Schuster the publishers will be automatically named as a defendant. Dont expect an Italian edition of Sollecito’s book any time soon. The suits will be against the American edition.

A Florence judge has insisted that a suit be filed against Frank Sforza on behalf of Mr Mignini. Fischer & co might be very well advised to stop supporting Sforza as he is surely going down and Fischer is highly vulnerable too. Amazingly, the FOA on their festering closed board still seem utterly oblivious. The owners of Ground Report are vulnerable.

Michele Giuttari (who is a very successful novelist, more at his peak than Prestron who is really fading) already has won a suit against Spezi, another trial is about to begin, and some more are expected. Preston becomes increasingly vulnerable.

How does this leave the Knoxes, Mellases and Sollecitos? Not in good positions. Judges at Cassation will know what is in the suits and so what their campaign has been saying about Italy, the Justice system, and Italian officialdom. To that they have no record of taking kindly.

Curt Knox, Edda Mellas, and Amanda Knox still face suits for criminal defamation. They could have used sympathetic public opinion, but that will probably dissipate now. Their legal bills will go back up and the hoped-for cash-cow of Amandas book is in jeoprday

Will any of the defense lawyers walk, or jump their fees? Dont bet against it.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/13 at 03:00 PM | #

I don’t think Hellmann-Zanetti were motivated by Masonry or a desire to see how lords sit at a table.  They summoned Curatolo into court to simply to mock him for his lifestyle.  Guede was by no means the only recipient of their crude and unprofessional behaviour.  Everyone who dared to produce evidence or provide testimony against Knox and Sollecito was either mistreated or ignored.

Groupies with no possible connection to Masonry have provided the following gems:

“Rudy Guede was an unemployed man with no obvious means of support, linked by multiple reliable reports to crimes involving second-storey break-ins by means of a hurled rock, known to carry a knife while committing his crimes…”


“Amanda Knox was by all pre-trial accounts an entirely normal and well-liked person with no signs of violent, anti-social behaviour, as was Raffaele Sollecito….”

(Both sourced from JREF poster Kevin_Lowe at )

In my world this is called a prejudicial judgement based on selected information.  He did nothing that Hellmann and Zanetti didn’t also do.  That approach is echoed across the board by those who cannot bring themselves to believe that a nice middle-class woman is also a killer.

Posted by Stilicho on 01/22/13 at 10:19 PM | #

Hi Stilicho.

While I agree with you re Kevin Lowe, what are you referring to? My own mention of masons was more about “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” than elite attitudes. Do they have them? I dont know. I dont think its said here that either Hellmann or Zanetti are masons, though we are told they are. It was more about the initiating of the demonization of Mignini and suggestions he was being made to back off by an old boys club.

Yummi sets out some pointers for that quite well up to what happened after Mignini’s Florence case and I know there is more. Hellmann and Zanetti are both gone now, of course, Hellmann edged out ignominiously, and Zanetti in a dead-end job at the small court in Terni, so any needed “correction” seems to have already happened. Perhaps Doug Preston can give some insights into all this as he seems to have leaped into it with such gusto. What exactly drives him to push his false claims of satanic obsessions?

Part of a Kermit Powerpoint (wait for it to load) which neatly frames this open question. 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/13 at 11:49 PM | #


Bear in mind that the tag on the container - aka “Masonry”, “Roman Catholic Church”, “Jesuits College” etc. - doesn’t mean anything. It makes no difference what the name of the official big association is.

The incubator of cover up was masonry in the Kercher case, it was a distinguished religious college the Sonia Marra case, it was the Catholic Church and local mafia in the Elisa Claps case, it involved military officers in the Serena Mollicone case.

These institutions in Italy are big but closed environments that function as screen, the rotten parts are smaller groups. They use the brotherhood, the incubator.

If you think Masonry is uninvolved - well, depending on how you use the word “involved” we may even agree - but you should also notice details, like for example who Claudio Pratillo Hellmann is.

The family name “Hellmann” is very rare in Italy; it exists ans an italian surname though. I was born in Padua, however I had nothing to do with that city. But I know that there is an important Hellmann family. In fact, there is only one Hellmann family, which is better known as Ranier-Hellmann. This is the family which founded the Grande Oriente d’Italiam, the biggest italian masonry (Ranier and Hellmann are respectively the first and second husband of Lady Ranier, last years of 18th century and first years of 19th).

I am not talking of just any masons: it is the first masonic family in Italy, it’s the members zero, the founders of GOI.

Hellmann is born in Padova. He cannot be anyone else. He cannot be unrelated to masonry. He cannot be unknown to masonry. It’s impossible.

But besides this, Hellmann is also a known person. He has a peculiar fame. He used to be almost a pariah. Perugians will tell you what they think, what their “esteem” for Hellmann is like.

Posted by Yummi on 01/23/13 at 02:16 AM | #

$3.51 for “used” toilet paper. $3.52 for new, those poor trees.

Posted by Urbanist on 01/23/13 at 02:13 PM | #

“A peculiar fame….almost a pariah.” ?

I suppose we should be careful about casting aspersions re specific individuals and yet I am dying to know more.

I wonder whether he had developed something of a persecution complex. If so I can see how he would have both warmed to the lovebirds and not been fit for purpose.

He was very careful to stress that he followed his conscience. Why was it necessary for him to stress this? Conscience? I wonder how that worked for him when writing/endorsing the Appeal Court’s Motivations.

Could we not gather together all we have on the H&Z axis. Is there not supposed to be some social connection with one or other of C&V?

Interesting post and comments as ever Yummi.

Posted by James Raper on 01/23/13 at 03:00 PM | #

“These institutions in Italy are big but closed environments that function as screen, the rotten parts are smaller groups. They use the brotherhood, the incubator.”

Is it not universal? This is the system we have decided for ourselves. There is nothing special about Italy.

In some sense, <u>I do understand H&Z</u>. We have seen many true copies. After all, we are all human, right?

But the thing that worries me most is the role of the scientists: here there and everywhere. For example, C&V. Perhaps I am expecting a higher standard from them (ah, fraternity!) - oh, well.

Perhaps Italians on the board can shed some light. I am curious.

Posted by chami on 01/23/13 at 05:51 PM | #

I am no lawyer but local laws and local culture always take precedence. So it is only fair that RS should be judged by his own people in his own country- no one knows him better. They are the best people to deliver “unbiased” judgement.

Same about dear old Frankie.

Posted by chami on 01/23/13 at 06:06 PM | #

Hi Chami.

Yeah I’d say the more rotten kind of old boy’s networks if I can call them that do exist in more than one place! They can be troublesome to development, as you know, and the proper functioning of governments as such. Especially if they mess with the justice system as here.

Russia’s satellites were all participants in UN development programs before the Iron Curtain name down and I worked in all the European ones.

There we would encounter (1) the government including the judiciary which was usually trying to do an okay job, (2) the party, which really was “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” on steroids, and (3) the universities where the anti-party types had gone to ground. 

It sure would be complicated getting the programs to work especially as we offered the chance of foreign travel (study tours, fellowships, etc) and every single person wanted those. (for the most part the right people got them; it varied a lot by country; poor Rumania was worst.)

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/13 at 06:26 PM | #

Hi again Chami

“So it is only fair that RS should be judged by his own people in his own country - no one knows him better”

Yeah absolutely so. The venomous PR campaign in the US and UK so long kept below the horizon in Italy finally HAS now leaked back into Italy, with the machismo on steroids shown by Sollecito and dear old Frankie.

The only other two in Italy to show such foolishness are Spezi who is slowly getting squashed like a bug and David Anderson who is locally regarded as unhinged. Knoxophile MP Rocco Girlanda ran into trouble of other kinds. 

The Italian system has no compunction about putting people outside the country on trial. It is doing that already with Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, and it did so for some officers of the US air force and the CIA.

We dont know if any here in the US or UK will be named in cases there in Italy in coming months. Could be. But Fischer & co seem to have disappeared into their festering closed forum and have lost all traction elsewhere.

Frank’s visit to Seattle where he stayed with the K-Ms till he was told to leave seems to have given them a real fright. They will know about the Sollecito suits from their unhappy lawyers, and may fear Amanda’s book is toast.

We do know that NY based Simon & Schuster which publishes in Italy (though not Sollecito’s book there) will be named in the Sollecito suits.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/13 at 06:37 PM | #

The Amazon price for Raffie’s book in the US is $17.16.

I don’t think it’s worth a cent, but I get tired of my comrades (mostly on PMF) misrepresenting book sales or placing too much importance on them.(Or drawing conclusions from sites that give inaccurate data of Amazon sales.)

I have no idea how well the book has sold (though I can see it didn’t top the NY Times lists) and I don’t care (in terms of rhetoric.) Regardless of the level of his book sales, he is and will always be a murderer.

Sorry for the rant, this is just a pet peeve of mine. LOL

Posted by Jeff Friend on 01/24/13 at 04:50 AM | #

Well, now it’s $3.01 in Europe.

Anyway his book sales will barely reach 5000 copies within one year. His book title is currently located in average between position 70,000 and 100,000, which means less than 200 copies per month overall.

Posted by Yummi on 01/24/13 at 04:06 PM | #

Hi Jeff.

Various sellers are offering it online for $3-4 (see them in the area where Yummi looked) and the piles of a dozen in many booksellers in my area have stayed around a dozen without replenishment. Any day now they’ll be on the remainders table for $3-4!

But I think we’d all agree that RS is in a hole regardless. If the book sells badly he loses. If it sells well it makes the suits all the more meaningful and he loses.

Although Curt Knox’s FOA seem to be fretting full time about the demise of Frank Sforza they really should devote more time to fretting about the demises of Sollecito, Spezi, and Girlanda. The FOA are being left with zero CYA sources in Italy.

Not to mention the new problems for the defense teams and the AK book. This is a slow but remorseless wall to wall meltdown.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/24/13 at 04:22 PM | #

Yummi includes shots of the Florence Palace of Justice.

As there is an unsavory aura over the original appointments of Hellmann and Zanetti and over their performance, which Cassation know about, any re-run of the appeal trial will probably be assigned to judges in the Florence courthouse.

Amanda Knox would be faced with a tough choice: attend or dont attend?

Under Italian law she might not be required to attend, but she would then have no possibilities of making “spontaneous” interventions, wearing widows garb, becoming tearful, or getting on the stand to ‘splain everything. She loses a number of advantages.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/24/13 at 04:32 PM | #

She’d better show up because, if she doesn’t but Sollecito does, there’ll be no opportunity for her to shut him up.  And he’s got a lot to tell, too.  His “Ask The Idiot” site (screenshot and posted to “In Their Own Words” at PMF) has him unsettled enough to first start getting snippy with the questions and now to require a registration process to participate.

He’s folded like a cheap suit although allowed to answer at his leisure (3 am Italian time isn’t unusual).  He also says he’s preparing himself for public speaking—perhaps at his own murder trial?

Posted by Stilicho on 01/25/13 at 01:30 AM | #

I did a search on and and neither is selling the hardcover version anymore.  Both have pre-orders available for the paperback version coming in April. has a lot of copies available from other sellers, starting at $3.01 for new and $2.92 for used.

Posted by Vivianna on 01/25/13 at 01:57 AM | #


Aha! I knew it. Machiavelli says that probably the entire nonsense suit against Mignini and Giuttari is a delaying tactic to block Mignini’s promotion at the Anti-Mafia division. That promotion is already in Mignini’s hands but the post is frozen until the spurious Florence suit is resolved.

One goal is to stall Mignini’s career, but it won’t work in the long run. Somebody seeks to keep Mignini from gaining any further power, whether it be persons embezzling money from the Mona Lisa drill project that was digging tunnels for the new high speed train in Florence or mafia corruption involved with that, which is being investigated by Florence.

Here’s a nonsense poem about it:

Mona Lisa the Drill Digging Smile

I see a mole
In a hole
Digging for a bankroll.
Better than being
On the dole.”
My account’s off-shoal.
There’s a wolf
In every sheepfold,
No telling how much they stole,
But that’s their goal.
They don’t care about their soul
Just their tureen soup bowl.
Then Mignini’s SWAT
Was told,
He threw them in the hold.
Soon they rolled
Over on Mason brotherhood cold.
They trolled
The internet for gold.
Look where it got Sollecitold.
Sfarzo took a poll
Then took the new high speed train
To Singapold.
Rudy said, “SOLD!”
Mona Lisa painting
Once was stoled
Now she sits in the Louvre
Peaceful and bold,
Drawing in tourists
And geld by the truckload.

Mignini’s vigorous honesty would be at odds with that graft and corruption. Then there’s the second goal by a tiny group of Florence judges pressing charges against Mignini and Giuttari despite the Florence court that nullified the verdict against Mignini, and went further than that, as Machiavelli says, “ruling that the whole proceeding was illegitimate at the very roots” and crushed their case.

Yet they persist with new but hopeless motions. Is it perhaps their Friends’ goal to wrest the case files on Monster of Florence with its Narducci links from Perugia’s hands. I agree with you, Yummi, about the curse on Narducci case. Rome will yet see it all. Please forgive me if I’ve misconstrued your ideas.

Thanks to commenter about small viral groups who use large established organizations as incubators.

Posted by Hopeful on 01/30/13 at 11:54 PM | #

Yeah its going to be an epic poem when all the processes play out! Nice work.

Mignini is far from alone. He is respected in Perugia and has friends everywhere in Italy, not least in the Supreme Court and main law schools. The nasties ridicule his hunches, but theres hardly ever any smoke without fire.

The several Florence factions Yummi and you mention have all painted themselves into corners, and delaying actions is the best they can do.

We believe Mignini’s action against Sollecito will be filed in Rome or Florence within one week and will THAT set a lot of dominoes at risk.

We are convinced the Knox people stupidly helped Sollecito with the book. What the hell were they thinking - if they were doing any thinking at all?

Knox wont be sued because of Sollecitos book, but she is hung out to dry in the text - again and again he hints she could have done it - and her own book is placed at total risk.

Also those many slurs against Italy and Italian officialdom and even the Supreme Court will look TERRIBLE in Italy right before the appeal.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/31/13 at 08:27 AM | #

Thank you Yummi. Very interesting!

(1) I agree with your comment that Masonry in Perugia isn’t much different than some religious institutions in the U.S. To take just one fairly uncontroversial example, Barack Obama was unusually honest during the scandal involving his church in South Chicago that he didn’t go there for the sermons, he went there to network and many other prominent blacks did the same. It wasn’t that if you weren’t part of the church you couldn’t move ahead, but it certainly helped.

(2) Who can doubt that certain people would find it money well spent to pay Frank Sfarzo a few thousand euros to maintain a campaign against Mignini and the Perugia police.

Posted by brmull on 02/07/13 at 03:38 AM | #

Giuliano Mignini’s success in rolling back his persecutors and clearing his name seems to continue unabated.

Yummi will explain this better than I and correct any errors I might make but yesterday Mignini and Giuttari won very big at the Supreme Court.

Previously an appeal court in Florence had thrown out not only the trial JUDGEMENT against Mignini and Giuttari that FOA etc often rant about (“felon”, “criminal”, “abuse of power”), but even the INVESTIGATION was declared illegal because those doing it were the same as those testifying to harm - their own witnesses, in effect!!

Investigation of the case could have been resumed by impartial investigators in Turin, but the Florence parties decided illegally to try to keep the investigation going in Florence - in effect, put Mignini on ice and themselves safe from him.

The Supreme Court yesterday denied this possibility so the case is dead, dead, dead. Probably to the satisfaction of most judges and lawyers who followed the trumped up case in Italy. Giuttari and Mignini are both very popular there.

This is how Sollecito jumped the gun and mischaracterized Mignini in his book (from page 208). 

On January 22, 2010, Mignini was convicted on abuse-of-office charges and sentenced to sixteen months in prison, six more than even the prosecutor had requested. The judge in his case later wrote that Mignini and his codefendant, Michele Giuttari of the Florence police, had taken advantage of their positions to blackmail people and either order wiretaps or open investigations into their perceived enemies for reasons that had nothing to do with the business of criminal investigation. Mignini was upbraided for failing to accept any limits to his behavior, and for finding criminal intent “in the slightest hint of anything that might be susceptible to critical interpretation.” That certainly sounded familiar from our experience.

There remained, however, a crucial difference between Mignini the convicted criminal and Amanda and me. He was never placed in preventive custody. That meant, under the rules of Italian criminal procedure, he didn’t need to worry about jail time until his case had been heard all the way up the Corte di Cassazione, a process that would take years and supersede any dealings we would have with him.

In the meantime, the law recognized him as innocent until proven guilty; nothing and nobody could prevent him from continuing his duties as prosecutor, if he so chose. And he so chose. We were, after all, his passport to professional rehabilitation, and he showed no sign of letting up on us, even for an instant.

Long before the Sollecito book came out (plenty of time to get it right) the appeal had taken place. The writers, editors and publishers’ fact-checkers and lawyers could and should have known. So the passage is deliberately inaccurate and self-serving.

Sollecito fails to explain that Ak and Sollecito were kept in preventive custody in 2008 in part because their crime was way more serious than the trumped up charges against Mignini - and in part because psychological tests in Capanne suggested they might both be dangerous nuts.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/09/13 at 04:42 PM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry Reasonable Doubt In Italian Law: How Sollecito, Hellmann, And Zanetti Seriously Garbled It.

Or to previous entry Both Oscar Frontrunners For Best Movie Criticised For Highly Misleading Foreign Depictions