Friday, December 20, 2019

Crack Italian Law Enforcement Gain Ground On New Kind Of Mafia

Posted by Peter Quennell

1. The Context

One could argue that Italy is both blessed and cursed by its geographical location.

Blessed, because it has a wonderful and extraordinarily long coastline, which allowed for the Roman Empire, allows for many amazing towns and villages, allows for a lot of fresh seafood, and allows for a lot of tourism from the Vitamin-D-deprived countries to the north of it. 

Cursed, because the south of Italy, which a couple of thousand years ago sat right on main trade routes and became enormously rich, fell into deep poverty as both the trade routes and the climate changed. Hence the origin of the mafias.

And cursed again, because it is so close to the desperate populations of north Africa, which makes Italy by the far the main point of entry for migrants to Europe trying to escape tribal frictions and their own descent into deep poverty.

2. The Development

In the past 20 years Italy has had major anti-mafia successes. The Sicilian Cosa Nostra is largely history, and the Calabrian Ndrangheta and Neapolitan Comorrah have been leaned on to the extent that their only expansions have been away from Italy.

And so crime-rates remain lower in Italy than in many European countries, and much lower than in the United States.

The video and this article depict the first big sweep against the recently-arrived Nigerian mafia.

This is typically Italy’s way against organized crime. Seem to be paying no attention (this was the mode in Perugia against the Ndrangheta). But then all of a sudden - pow - busloads of perps are on their way to courts and prison. 

Stay tuned. Such first mass arrests usually lead to other mass arrests. Although not here yet, for sure there will be a tipping point.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/20/19 at 11:37 AM in


It’s tough for me to hear about this. I was based in Nigeria with the UN, first in the north on the edge of the Sahara, and then in Lagos by the ocean there.

Contrary to the image Nigeria was a ton of fun. Very smart people and they adopt to development ideas in the blink of an eye. Ultra-colorful in the south, as they are all along the southern coast of the west.

“Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country, followed by Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, with 190 million people…”

Hmmmm. The 2018 “Black Panther” movie really sold Africa short. Patronising film. “Though most of Black Panther is set in a fictional African country, very little of the film was filmed on the continent…”

Some of the scenery is as vivid as any in the world. And the moonlit nights!! I did a lot of scuba, many shores espec of East Africa are very good for that.

Jeez do I sometimes miss the place. Seasons greetings, everyone. Where have you been?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/23/19 at 03:35 PM | #

We’ve been commemorating the season and Meredith’s birthday (it’s on the 28th) in recent years with videos of exceptional women musicians. Email any suggestion?

This post below was not in that series, but maybe should have been? It’s the video I for one have watched again the most times. Prodigious. Read the back-story below; pretty amazing.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/24/19 at 12:12 PM | #

This technically remarkable YouTube on worldwide pop singer sales has been seeing a million hits a week since 2 November.

Re the women, you can see only Barbra Streisand for the first several years; then zero women; then Madonna, soon rising right to the top; then more and more doing so, with four making it in 2019. Lately Taylor Swift and Rihanna seem to do bestest.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/24/19 at 12:37 PM | #

AK was on Dr. Phil show today, Christmas Eve 2019.  I was grabbing a burger after dashing around doing final Christmas shopping. Dr. Phil had Knox and Jason Flom, an innocence activist, on his show.

Knox was cheerleading for Rodney Reed, the rapist and murderer on Texas death row whose case has generated about 3 million signatures to beg for a new trial. Dr. Phil says he has been following Reed’s case and seems to be on Reed’s side.

Knox put on her usual fakery in face and word. Dr. Phil gave her a welcome hug as she walked onto the stage with chairs. She wore a blue long-sleeved blouse, pants and her hair very long, good makeup for cameras and red fingernail polish, which is important as she waves her hands. She kept that to a minimum only because time was divided between her and Flom and Dr. Phil flashing up photos of related cases, and pix of Perugia events.

She looked broken and sad, very near tears, as she first arrived on stage. I think it’s all for the sake of her new cause, Rodney Reed. She was on Dr. Phil to promote the Reed case. Soon she was questioned about her own wrongful imprisonment.

She hammered sorrowfully about her interrogation, said it was “53 hours over 5 days.” Said she was hit, screamed at, said “they isolate you” then they tell you the only way out (is to confess, implied).

She said her interrogation was the scariest experience of her life, truly terrifying.

Alert: She said something new, or new to me: she said her frightening interrogation was much worse than receiving the guilty verdict!!!?

Does that sound like the normal reaction of an innocent person?

Shouldn’t a person be enraged at a guilty verdict when one is truly innocent? despite the interrogation being hard, too. But wouldn’t the final verdict of GUILTY be an absolute outrage?

Jason Flom was seated by Knox. He has sprung more than 40 persons from prison, supposedly wrongfully convicted. He recently visited Death Row inmate Rob Will. There’s a site called

Dr. Phil turned to Knox and said, “there was no evidence against you”.

Dr. Phil cast doubt on the bra clasp DNA. Knox said the clasp had lain on the floor for 46 days, implying contamination.

Knox hammered away about the “semen on the pillow beneath Meredith’s body” that they refused to test, as if that test would have exculpated her and Raf.

Knox’s first words to Dr. Phil were, “Thank you for airing this story (about Rodney Reed).”

Knox said, “In Rodney Reed’s case, as in my case, they went after the wrong person.” She feigns indignation over poor innocent Reed’s 22 years of incarceration.

Dr. Phil commiserated with her feeling that the media had worked against her. He thinks the media is now working for Rodney Reed.

He visited Reed on Death Row and spoke to him across the glass partition by telephone. The celebrities, Kardashian, Oprah, Ree-Ree have gone to bat for Reed. Many have approached Texas governor Abbott for a full pardon. Texas high court did give Reed a stay of execution while they sort out this mess.

Jason Flom is also concerned about poor low IQ of 70 Brendan Dassey. He thinks Dassey was bullied into a confession. Knox agrees, she’s for any and all felons being escorted out of jail cells like herself, it seems.

Dr. Phil needs to stay out of legal matters he doesn’t understand, he’s better with psychology and social issues, not DNA and investigations.

Knox mentioned her True Crime podcast. She called Chris Robinson her “partner”, refusing to call him husband. I guess she’s still hoping for big money to roll in to fund the Feb. 2020 belated scam wedding.

Thank goodness Christmas carols were playing in the background of this surreal and absurdist show as I tried to eat. It was interrupted so often by flashback photos of Perugia, Meredith in several different poses, the cottage, Raffaele, the kiss and his yellow scarf, him in more recent interview when he distanced himself from Knox, and endless commercial breaks that it was hard to follow.

(I admit it was fun to see an ad for handsome Rob Lowe in a new drama called 9-1-1 Lone Star about firefighters coming in January 2020). This was on CBS.

I took a few notes, turned a negative into a positive by ordering a chocolate frosty. Knox just looks angry, nervous, more mature and much more confident in speaking her falsehoods but I think she is only alienating the public by these sham performances and masquerades.

Dr. Phil reached far and wide to suggest doubtful verdicts. He showed throwbacks of an old case of a foreign student at University of Virginia, I think named Gens Sorenson? who helped his rich girlfriend murder her parents. His father whisked him back to Europe, his father was a diplomat I think, but the battle has been going on for years to appeal against Gens’ guilty verdict. The daughter of the wealthy parents was definitely convicted.

It was nice to hear “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” playing in the background and tinkling Christmas bells to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” as I exited the freak show of Knox and Dr. Phil as I tossed away my hamburger and fries trash by the door.

Nice to return to the fresh air of truth outside, whew.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Posted by Hopeful on 12/24/19 at 04:28 PM | #

Merry Christmas to all truth seekers.

Hopeful, for the life of me I really can’t get my head around the fact that Knox is still getting away with spewing her lies.

Surely the Dr Phil programme have researchers. 

I can understand not researching a guest who is talking about mince pies. But they’re talking about and making judgements about murder cases.

Posted by DavidB on 12/25/19 at 04:53 AM | #

Had a nightmare Xmas Eve! Toothache all night. Feeling just slightly better this morning.

Hi Hopeful

Yes, and then there is the toothache that is Amanda Knox! So she looked broken, sad, and very near tears? In other words just like the last time she appeared with Dr Phil. This is the pre-set button she pushes on every TV appearance.

She can’t count either. She cannot have been interrogated over 5 days. The murder was not discovered until after midday on the 2nd Nov and she was not interviewed again after her last police statement at 5.45 am on the 6th. That’s under 4 days. So, by my calculation she was interrogated for over 13 hours each day, being hit, screamed at and threatened!

And that’s before one has to take into account that (even by her own admission) she and Sollecito were not troubled by the police on the 5th until late in the evening.

It is the sort of PR nonsense that any half hearted researcher could take her to task on.

For Knox the interrogation probably was more frightening than the guilty verdict. But why?

Because for the first time it occurred to her that the police could have something on her, that’s why.

Although it is Knox who says that the police said they had “hard” evidence against her, even if true why would she not want to know what this was? She did not ask and the police apparently, did not elaborate. An innocent person would want to know what they were talking about if just to dispel the significance of the so called evidence. She did not ask because she feared they might well have something damaging on her. Only someone who had attempted to eliminate, retrieve or stage evidence would have had that concern.

Posted by James Raper on 12/25/19 at 07:48 AM | #

Hi David B;

Fair comment! Reflecting a widespread frustration now. It’s not really Knox we have been up against, it has been a media juggernaut of unwitting mafia poodles - though the wheels are already a bit loose.

We’ll mail out press releases on pro-Knox events like this in the blink of an eye when the overview arcs and the new-version Wiki are all done in a few weeks.

Our problem has been this. If you click on any right-column link you will get that arc of the bigger story, but “upside down” with the key original posts often very far down.

That is not reporter-friendly; they are hard-pressed guys. They need overviews of each area the “right way up”.

So there’ll be a couple of new TJMK pages with numerous brief “nutshell” overviews and some key links, rather like this (still in draft).

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/25/19 at 10:08 AM | #

A good idea to help new readers might be to stop talking about an “interrogation” even in jest, because it misleads those readers and sells TJMK short.

Many of us worked extremely hard on new document acquisition and new translations to get the details of Knox’s pre-arrest arc exactly right.

Knox was only ever interrogated precisely twice, both times by her own choice: on 17 Dec 2007 at Capanne, and on the witness stand in July 2009.

By no legal definition anywhere (let alone Italy’s precise one) was Knox INTERROGATED prior to those two at all. She was not even a witness, let alone a suspect, till she herself made herself one on 5-6 Nov.

Prior to that, she was in INTERVIEW sessions as were many others, in her case four times, and she accompanied Mignini on two visits back to the house. That was all.

The defense lawyers CONCEDED this above at trial. They never referred to any supposed interrogation or supposed suspect except once, and were corrected; they apologised. They understood that point just above - though they later lied to the European court.

She could walk out of the police station at any time, though she tended to hang around, and when she arrived late on 5 Nov she was actually advised to go home. 

We translated all 4 interview reports for 2-5 Nov and the 2 for the night of 5-6 Nov (all six of which Knox signed ON EVERY PAGE) and also Rita Ficarra’s report done later on 6 Nov.

Please read posts #12 and #19 to #21 here if you haven’t yet.

(It’s those posts above all that would have warned Dr Phil’s producers off.  This is the sort of thing the forthcoming press releases will be about.)

Please note also that Sollecito went through THE EXACT SAME ARC as Knox less those visits to her house.

There are records of all of his questionings too which he also signed on every page.

He knows that and has never claimed there were teams of interrogators hard at him for hour after hour. He broke BEFORE Knox because his phone records contradicted some claims.

Correctly understood it was SOLLECITO and not mythical interrogators who broke Knox - and even then she did not confess.

Sollecito pointed at her - and she pointed at her boss.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/25/19 at 10:28 AM | #

Amanda Knox’s fairytale about being physically and emotionally abused by bent cops during a terrifying all-night interrogation in a corrupt Third World Country is manna from heaven for the mainstream media organisations in America and it still being lapped up by countless gullible dupes who hold racist beliefs about foreign countries.

She always forgets to mention some important details about her questioning on 5 November 2007 i.e. she hadn’t been called to the police station that evening, she was told she didn’t have to be there, she was given camomile tea and brioches and her questioning was stopped at 1.45am. These details completely contradict her claims she was subjected to a coercive all-night interrogation and she was given nothing to eat or drink.

Knox is such a barefaced and brazen liar. In court, she claimed Mignini was to blame for her false and malicious allegation against Diya Lumumba. Carlo Pacelli pointed out that Mignini wasn’t even at the police when she made her first statement:

Amanda Knox: The declarations were taken against my will. And so, everything that I said, was said in confusion and under pressure, and, because they were suggested by the public minister [Giuliano Mignini].

Carlo Pacelli: Excuse me, but at 1:45, the pubblico ministero was not there, there was only the judicial police.

Judge Massei’s analysis of Amanda Knox’s mobile phone records for 1 and 2 November 2007 should be obligatory reading for every single journalist who has ever covered the case because they will come to the realisation that her accounts of where she was and what she doing on the evening of the murder and the following morning are clearly untrue and she is a compulsive liar who repeatedly told the police and others a pack of lies.

Robin Roberts holding Amanda Knox’s hand and Oprah Winfrey nodding sympathetically as Knox lied through her teeth about her alleged ordeal in Italy on ABC were pitiful sights. Meredith was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered and all the journalists who have covered the case owe it to her to get their facts straight. The vast majority of these journalists would fail journalism 101. They are not competent and professional enough to work for a school newspaper - let alone a mainstream media organisation.

Any journalist who covers high-profile murder cases should read the official court documents and fact-check all claims as a bare minimum.

Numerous mainstream media organisations in the US and the UK have published articles about the Rodney Reed case that present the story from the defence’s perspective. The journalists left out or are unaware of some crucial information i.e. Rodney Reed has raped numerous women, including a 12-year-old girl and a mentally disabled woman, and he lied repeatedly to the police.

Leaving out crucial information about convicted sex killers such as Rodney Reed in media articles has become the norm. Most of the articles about Brendan Dassey - who was convicted of the sexual assault and murder of Teresa Halbach - leave out some crucial facts i.e. he confessed to his mother and he knew specific details about the murder.

Amanda Knox publicly supports and advocates for the release of Rodney Reed and Brendan Dassey. This evil and vile psychopath couldn’t care less about the victims of these horrific murders or truth and justice. She’s a soulless fraud who is trying to present herself as an advocate for the wrongfully imprisoned.

It speaks volumes about Amanda Knox’s perverse nature that she he tried to frame an innocent man for rape and murder and she is now publicly supporting two fellow sadistic sex killers who also committed unspeakably evil crimes.

Posted by The Machine on 12/26/19 at 06:44 AM | #

Agreed. Knox supports Brendan Dassey who was convicted of murder, second degree rape, and abuse of a corpse when he and Steven Avery burned Teresa’s body. Knox supports the horrible Rodney Reed who has been a suspect in about five rapes (iirc) including a 12-year-old girl!!! Reed’s semen was present in her body, and in the poor mentally retarded woman.

There is a black guy on YouTube saying “Keep Rodney Reed on Death Row” because he realizes that Reed is a serial rapist.

Why in the world does Amanda Knox defend such monsters or cretins? Could it be she is similar to them?

The British? term “questioned as a person apprised of the facts” is what Knox underwent. Yet she ratchets this up to a torturous 5 days-long interrogation.

Knox loves to lie. She lied about her “interrogation” on Dr. Phil. She trumpets this lie of coerced “confession” everywhere.

But isn’t it funny how Lumumba when questioned and perhaps pressured by Perugian police didn’t start confessing at all to any crimes when he was questioned? He didn’t start panicking and making up things he saw in his head, saying he couldn’t remember where he was on the night, saying he wasn’t too clear on what was real and what was not real. He didn’t make half-truths to police hoping to withdraw them.

Why not?He had innocence on his side. He knew he had not killed anybody so he didn’t allow his innocence to be impugned despite hard questioning. And he probably had more fear of police than the brainless flakey Knox.

Funny how Lumumba didn’t start accusing some person he barely knew of doing the crime, or pointing fingers at others calling them killers, saying he was afraid of them, to divert police attention from himself. And he was held for about 12 days, no doubt terrified of his future and sweating it out behind bars, but unlike Knox he didn’t write notes that contradicted things he had told police earlier.

Nor did he send emails trying to talk himself out of the frame. Knox did. Knox caved and started blaming others immediately, despite as The Machine says she was almost forcing herself on the police by going to the police VOLUNTARILY right down to the police station or Questura. Even after police told her she could go home, she refused to go home. So they questioned her, and they called in an interpreter to help her.
While questioned she was given refreshments of food and drink. She had her boyfriend at the police station at the time, not in the same room but nearby, who was her alibi .
(Had she been innocent, that would have been a moral support.) 

I believe Reed will be executed as per Texas justice. The public outcry to save this fiend is a disgrace, and there is a lot of evidence against him in several official cases and open cases where he is a suspect in several rapes.

I hope Texas will do their duty and not bend to media wolfpack who care nothing for truth but for publicity and money. Knox runs with the pack, whoever the latest popular clickbait pack is, she latches onto them to elevate her own profile. She is fine with murderers, fine with rapists, after all she….you fill in the blanks.

Correction: the case of Jens Soering was mentioned by Dr. Phil. Soering confessed to the murders of Elizabeth Haysom’s wealthy parents. I misspelled his name as Sorenson.
Jefferson scholar Jens was a brainy nerd who fell under the spell of a Knox-like seductress at University of Virgina. Like Sollecito he was a tool. Miss Haysom used him to kill for her. Her aim was perhaps spite, psychological freedom but in the main for monetary gain.

In Harry Potter fashion, she was trying to throw a death spell on her parents from the safety of her fancy university, “willing them to die”. That didn’t work but then foolish young Soering fell for her wiles and tears. His father was a German diplomat. They were picked up by London police months later returning items to an M&S store in a money scam to survive on the lam.

@James Raper: get well soon from toothache.  That’s total misery.

Happy Boxing Day.

Posted by Hopeful on 12/26/19 at 03:23 PM | #

Agreed, Machine nails it.

“Why in the world does Amanda Knox defend such monsters or cretins? Could it be she is similar to them?”

I believe all those cases just mentioned are being pushed by the Innocence Project?

Follow the money trail. We shouldn’t under-estimate the blood-money-machine that is the Innocence Project, on which we have posted an extended expose.

They dont just operate in the legal and science arenas. They also do emotion-building PR with a very compliant media.

David Marriott may have learned many of his nasty tricks from them.

Win any cases, sue the the taxpayers for $20 million for “false imprisonment”, and the ex-perp and the IP lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank. 

They vouched for Knox (in both the US and Italy) and pay her big-time for her annual appearances. Here she is returning the favor.

Mind you, we should also be pretty leery about any blanket endorsement of the notorious Texas justice system or of Reed’s guilt.

Reed may or may not have done a yards-long list of depravities, he has not yet been put on trial for them.

All the parties here look to be pretty unsavory.

And despite Oprah’s and Gladwell’s demonizing of Guede, our cause has good friends in the US African-American community.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/26/19 at 04:16 PM | #

There’s no statute of limitations on sexual assault and rape, so Rodney Reed could still be charged with and convicted of the rapes of a number of other women who claimed he raped and physically assaulted them.

He wasn’t prosecuted these rapes and physical assaults because he had already been found guilty of the rape and capital murder of Stacey Stites and sentenced to death.

The decision not to prosecute Rodney Reed for these rapes also meant his other victims weren’t subjected to the harrowing ordeal of having to testify in court and being cross-examined on the stand. It’s a traumatic experience for a grown woman let alone a 12-year-old child.

Sexual assault victim Frances Andrade committed suicide less than a week later after being grilled on the stand by Kate Blackwell QC and being called a ‘liar’ and ‘fantasist’.

Incidentally, Kate Blackwell defended Josh Molnar - the private schoolboy from a wealthy family who was acquitted of murder AND manslaughter despite admitting he had stabbed Yousef Makki through the heart with a knife during an argument. It defies belief that the jury believed his ludicrous claim it was an accident.

I don’t understand why juries and judges acquit defendants in high-profile murder cases where the evidence is overwhelming e.g. OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Oscar Pistorius and Josh Molnar.

There are are obviously a number of different reasons, but I think the juries and judges were aware of the intense publicity surrounding these respective cases and were adversely affected by the pressure to do the right thing and this made them ultra cautious. Perhaps they subconsciously believed the cases had to be proved beyond all doubt rather than a reasonable doubt.

I’m confident Rodney Reed would be convicted of multiple rapes, if these cases ever went to court because his semen was found in the vaginas and rectums of multiple rape victims, including a 12-year-old girl and a mentally disabled woman, and there are no plausible innocent explanations for this fact.

Despite the protestations of Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, the case against Rodney Reed is a slam dunk. One jury and 16 courts have all looked at the evidence and they’ve all come to the same conclusion i.e. Rodney Reed raped and murdered Stacey Stites.

Posted by The Machine on 12/27/19 at 07:52 AM | #

Hi Machine

Eloquent as always. Well done. But…

First, give due thought to the context. Part of our mission has always been to show that the US system is the one less effective despite the PR and media claims.

For every 100 Italy has locked up the US has seven hundred. We dont exactly have an epidemic of guilty perps on the loose.

Recidivism in Italy is through the floor, in the US it still remains through the roof, and the Innocence Project does zero to impact that.

Many needlessly die here because ex-prisoners are not reformed. Gee thanks, Innocence Project, big help…

As I live across the Hudson from Manhattan where I work, I was pleased that this below came about. It has made all of us a bit safer around here.

Maybe the two biggest learning experiences for me over the past decade in which we have tried to highlight what is effective justice have been these.

Okay, to Rodney Reed.

There’s a subtext to what is going on in the Rodney Reed case which I dont think is being reported overseas.

Many here dont like the death penalty and the 29 states that retain it in subtle ways pay a price. Incomes are on average lower and the folks on average dont live as long. Crime does not go down.

Many more of us dont like how the death penalty has been applied, with way too many mistakes made along the way. Texas is a big red flag. That some innocent people have been put to death, of that there is firm proof. That gives the unsavory Innocence Project an edge.

And so the national subtext is this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/27/19 at 10:54 AM | #

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