Friday, December 03, 2010

The Toxic Pro-Knox PR Campaign And Media Circus That John Kercher So Rightly Complained About

Posted by Hammerite

The following is a personal observation on the state of play of the Seattle driven PR campaign and resultant Media involvement in the first appeal stage of dear Meredith’s murder trial.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were unanimously convicted of involvement in her barbaric torture and murder by the Court in Perugia in December 2009.

As far as I am aware nether the Court of Assisi or the Kercher family (or their agents) are actively engaged in presenting any PR information whatsoever on the part of the ongoing trial process to any media outlets anywhere.

On the other hand, we know for a fact that the Knox/Mellas faction have engaged in and continue to use the services of a national brand public relations firm to “put their spin “ of events into the public arena.

Their areas of focus have primarily been the USA electronic and print media with secondary efforts attempted with the UK media.

What the USA and UK public are witnessing in the present media output therefore is the culmination of the intense and bought (paid for if you like) “reporting” solely on behalf of and in the interest of Amanda Knox (they are not bothered for now to include that waste of media space Raffaele).

The USA and UK media have little to zero interest in this case as a newsworthy story and consequently will not get off their seats to report on it. It was a seven day wonder that dragged on too long and now no longer sells newspapers.

They will however accept handouts in the present form of biased and prejudiced propaganda press releases from the Knox/Mellas camp and print it as “reporting”. It fills column inches and can be “tarted up” to a degree of sensationalism for occasional use and increased circulation.

The PR campaign would have us believe that the AK/RS appeals submissions have debunked the existing evidence and discredited the witnesses.

This of course is what they are paid to say even when it is not the case. It may have an agreeable ring to it for the accused supporters but holds little sway with the eight person judicial adjudicating panel comprising two professional Judges and six lay volunteers..

It is the job of the defence legal team to say that they have turned a corner in terms of exonerating their clients. However turning a corner is not such a big deal when you are right bang in the middle of a maze.

The sheer volume of evidence that exists and the undeniable interconnections that links it all to AK & RS constitutes that maze; someone should remind their supporters that you can turn many corners in a maze and still not get out.

It must be remembered that holding this appeal is an automatic function under the Italian Judicial system.

The PR campaign would (wrongfully) have its audience believe that this appeal is happening as a result of faults in the prosecution case uncovered during the first trial; because this is the practice in the USA and UK where an appeal would only be granted if there were discernible strong grounds and on merit.

The spin is capitalising on the (wrongful) perception by the media and the public in the USA and UK that there must be strong grounds for an appeal.

This is not the case here. It is an automatic appeal.

The prosecution case was solid and the conviction was unanimous in the first trial. Nothing has changed. The prosecution case is still the same and the outcome is therefore likely to be the same.

Make no mistake; the Judges involved in the appeal process are not fickle or weak-minded individuals that are easily swayed by media spin, insults or bullying attempts. Neither are they bought or in the pocket of the Knox/Mellas PR apparatus.

It is likely they are unaware of much or indeed any of the “spin” that is being generated by the Knox/Mellas faction in the media outlets in the USA and UK.

Most likely they have real lives to get on with themselves and see (rightfully) this appeal trial as simply another task they will perform correctly out of hundreds of others they come across in the course of their career; it is no more or no less important than every other case they have or will work on.

This is likely the same scenario that the Judges in the initial trial undertook when they carried out their duty in a fair and honest fashion.

They came to a unanimous decision based entirely on the evidence presented to them that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were guilty of compliance in the murder of dear Meredith. The same can be stated for every Professional judge that sat on every AK&RS court appearance since dear Meredith’s murder.

Just because a blog or PR fed news outlet in the USA or the UK proclaims that the tide is turning in favour of the accused doesn’t mean that the Judges in Italy are even aware that there is a tide there in the first place at all; not to mention even considering that it is turning.

These Judges by their very nature are genuine and conscientious people.

They will not favour PR fed media coverage and disregard the evidence presented before them in court. And they certainly are not in anyone’s pockets. They will do their duty in the same upright manner and with the same exemplary scruples as was carried out by the Judges in the first trial.

Based on the case presented in the first trial and now to be re-presented in the appeal (and once you remove the PR hype) there is every reason to believe the convictions of AK&RS will stand. This is how I see this second trial going.

Rest in Peace dear Meredith.


By Storm Roberts (Innai)


You make an excellent point, one that so often seems to be overlooked in this 24/7 365, all wired and interconnected world of ours:

This crime was committed in Italy, and therefore the trial is being conducted under Italian Law.  Italian Law is different to the laws in the UK and both of these are different from the laws of the USA.  It really is such a simple concept, but it does need pointing out.

I’d also like to pick up on your point about the Italian Judges - they are professional members of the judiciary - presiding over trials is what they do for a living, and they work hard to analyse the evidence before the court and, with the lay-judges, come to a conclusion based upon that evidence.

The Italian Judges have to produce a document explaining their decision (e.g. the Micheli and Massei Reports). The transparency this gives to the judicial process is second to none.  Not only do the Judges do their duty, their report, which will be publically available, is a clear demonstration of such.

Thank you for highlighting these, and other, important points.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 12/03/10 at 06:39 PM | #

Looking at this photo I wonder if Amanda was crying out for her parents to get closer - subconsciously of course - was she trying to cause trouble to bring her parents together??

Posted by Giselle on 12/03/10 at 07:44 PM | #

@giselle - it would not be a surprise that Knox plays her parents like others who are skilled in manipulation. Add the unbalanced personality, and you have a toxic mess for all that come in contact with her. It seems from recent photos that perhaps Knox is finally realizing the gravity of the situation and that she can not spin her manipulations on Italian law and juries.

Why did Knox, twice, finger her innocent boss Lumumba? Why can’t she remember the events of that evening, and Sollecito can not even recall if she was with him the night of the murder? There is more than enough solid DNA evidence that places them at the scene of the crime. Their claims of innocence are a farce. When their ace-in-the-hole evidence of their appeal trial is heresay from a toddler-killing jailbird, it doesn’t take rocket science to guess the outcome. Guilty. Again.

Posted by giustizia on 12/03/10 at 08:05 PM | #

Excellent post Hammerite!

So what do you think the PR approach is supposed to accomplish if not to get their daughter out of jail?

My ideas are:

1. To try to create some political pressure and have some sort of intervention take place?

2. To make money?

My answers:

1. It won’t work.

2. That’s disgusting

I hope the klan are reading this!

Posted by bedelia on 12/03/10 at 08:54 PM | #

@Giustizia yes - the gravity of the situation has finally hit her. Guilty or otherwise no one can deny that she thrived in the all the attention she was receiving during the trial and her family doting over her and flying back and forward to see her and sending her gifts and gathering for calls etc. I am guessing all of this has started to fade out (human nature) and the walls of prison are coming in closer on her. Its not “fun” anymore!

Posted by Giselle on 12/03/10 at 09:48 PM | #

This sensible post has been long overdue. An injection of reality. Some americans do not realise this but the italian justice system is not the product of some tin pot dictator from a third world country. It is the product of centuries of tradition and, as in most of europe and the anglo saxon world, italians cherish the independence and professionalism of it’s judiciary.

PR battles may rage but the courts simply get on with their work. Furthermore in no way is this a politically sensitive case and in any event the american government has rightly made it clear that it will not bring any pressure to bear.

I doubt if the Knox clan truly expect a different verdict on the evidence. They may just about be hoping for some modest victory somewhere but I have no doubt that they will remain disappointed.

My only concern is that at some future date and as a sop to the americans Amanda may be sent back to the USA to serve the rest of her sentence there. We can all fear what that might mean. The Knox PR campaign would again go in to overdrive.

I am interested in the “automatic appeal”. This is presumably only for serious offences. It does seem an incredible waste of court time for any judiciary given the burden of work they are all under but, of course, in this case one would expect A and R to find a reason for appeal anyway.

Posted by James Raper on 12/04/10 at 12:59 PM | #

Hi Hammerite,

Thank you for writing such an insightful piece about the dishonest and obnoxious PR campaign.

It’s so obvious that all the innocenisti magazine and articles have been based almost exclusively on a PR press release provided by David Marriott. These articles contain the same telltale verbatim phrases which have clearly been lifted directly from the press release. For example, Rudy Guede is invariably described as a “drifter” and “drug dealer”.

All these pro-Amanda Knox articles are also riddled with the same factual errors: Amanda Knox was interrogated for 14 hours without an interpreter, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that Knox’s human rights were violated, the double DNA knife doesn’t match the wounds on Meredith’s body, there is no evidence of Knox at the crime scene and the press gave Knox the nickname “Foxy Knoxy”.

Most of the disinformation in these articles can be traced back to one source: Amanda Knox’s parents.

Posted by The Machine on 12/04/10 at 01:40 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)


My understanding is that all trials have the automatic appeals - See this link for a repost of Commissario Montalbano’s report on the Italian Appeals system.  (Note it is a repost, originally posted around the time of the first level verdict before the appeal documents were filed by the prosecution).

As for the possibility of Knox returning to the US to serve her sentence, now, I don’t know, I have never seen inside a US prison and I have only what I have seen in news reports and in the entertainment side of the media to go on, but in Italy prisoners wear their own clothes, they can study and learn a trade and even have laptop computers -  what I am trying to say is, if I were in a position of being able to chose to serve a sentence in the US or Italy, from my very limited knowledge of the two prison systems, I’d choose Italy…..even if it was far from home. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mr. Kercher’s article in the Mail.  Other than the fact that it truly gave an additional insight into the beautiful young woman behind the smile, it struck me that Mr. Kercher merely said (although not in these words) that Meredith’s family believed in the Italian judicial system.  He had no need to say more, they have done their job and will continue to do so - finding justice for Meredith.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 12/04/10 at 04:39 PM | #

Thank you, Hammerite, for your clear, well-considered, and much-needed!, assessment of the appeal process.

With the appeal, we are face to face, again, with the essential elements of the case: the interests of justice on behalf of a young woman who was murdered up against the campaign of the parents who represent the young woman who was accused, and now convicted, of the murder. Clearly, the modus operandi of the Knox/Mells PR campaign is to just keep saying it (whatever that is, true or not) until people believe it. I think the same applies to their internal m.o.: just keep saying Amanda is innocent, so we can believe it.

It seems to me there is only one reason why Edda Mellas would have wanted her daughter spirited out of Italy the moment she found out about Meredith’s murder: she knew or feared that Amanda was involved in or directly responsible for the murder.

It also seems to me there is only one reason why Edda and Curt did not immediately extend their condolences to the Kercher family—whether or not they are conscious of this as the reason: because they knew or feared that Amanda was involved in or directly responsible for the murder. That fact would immediately place them in an adversarily position of sorts with respect to the Kercher family. In other words, my daughter’s survival is in direct opposition to justice for your daughter.

Really, there is no other reason. If they really believed their daughter was innocent, they wouldn’t have held back from reaching out to the Kerchers. After all, Amanda was not arrested until December 6; the murder was discovered on December 2.

I watched video last night from an interview of Curt and Edda after Amanda’s final statement in court. Edda said that what most moved her to tears (which she amply demonstrated at that moment) was Amanda’s statement that her family’s support was keeping her alive every day. Everybody remembers that Amanda never said during her final statement that she was innocent of the murder—that she did not kill Meredith Kercher. She only said she was afraid of having the mask of a murderer foisted onto her. A telling difference.

So, instead of being moved by the fact of her daughter’s innocence, which she can’t really be, she is moved by the internal family drama, of the family rescuing their troubled, and in trouble, daughter.

Posted by wayra on 12/04/10 at 07:53 PM | #

Re: dates in my recent comment, of course I meant November 6 and November 2 2007.

Posted by wayra on 12/04/10 at 07:58 PM | #

p.s. for our non-native English speakers, “adversarily” is not a word—i meant to write “adversarial!”

Posted by wayra on 12/04/10 at 11:33 PM | #

“The Mask of the Assassin”. A phrase which still strikes me as odd, as I think it does others. Oddness seems to be something in which Amanda specialises. She said ” I am afraid of the mask of the assassin which is being forced to my face”. I presume, though I do not know, that she said this in italian. I do not know if there are any translation problems here but it is odd to english speakers because it sounds contrived, stilted and melodramatic. Certainly not spontaneous. Why does she not simply say ” I am afraid of being unjustly convicted and remembered as a murderess”?

Why “mask of the assassin?

The word “assassin”, as english speakers tend to use it, is a reference to someone who has engaged in the planned murder of a prominent public, usually political, figure. The term is used sparingly. The assassinations of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy etc. But also John Lennon.

“Assassin” appears to come from the word “Hashshashin”, a reference to the Ismaili Shia killers of a persian ruler who were promised paradise in heaven for carrying out his orders.Whether they used hashish is not known for certain but it is commonly thought that they did.The word “Hashshashin” was later corrupted by the Franks, who invaded Italy under their ruler Charlemaine, to “assassin”.

Italians will be familiar with their own history of political murder - the roman emperors, the Borgias, Machievelli, the vicious right and left wing struggles of recent years, and of course the ever present Mafiosi with their bitter and vicious inner group rivalries and struggle with the state.I think italians tend to use the term “assassination” a lot more - as a reference to any political murder, and they have had many, and in it’s broadest sense.

So I think Amanda was pitching in italian to an italian audience familiar with the term, but not with the context in which she used it. However even though Mignini was arguing premeditated murder by her I do not think that he or anyone else would have used that term in court. “Assassination” carries the connotation “political” and this essentially was a domestic murder. I think the use of the word by Amanda was a concealed jibe and provocation.

As to “mask” who is wearing the mask here? This may be an esoteric (in the know) joke rather than some reference to, say, the “Man in the Iron Mask”.

I am not suggesting that she has necessarily considered the implication of her choice of words: rather that she has more likely selected them at a subconscious level for their ironic effectiveness in the message she needs to send out.

I read “mask of the assassin” as follows _

“assassin” ( for the benefit of those judging her ) - Help! This is a political set up. I am just an innocent young girl trapped in this hideous conspiracy.

“mask” ( for the benefit of Raffaele alone ) - The conspiracy is ours, our secret. We are the ones hiding behind a mask. We are not afraid of them and are not being forced to do anything.

Where does she get this language from anyway? Is it from her studies? I guess it is far more likely that she has had a crash course on political violence theory from her knife collecting boyfriend and definitely odd lover Raffaele. We know the type : on the surface unassuming but underneath a raging fascist, deviant and macho self fantasist. Ian Brady. I can see Amanda being suddenly immersed in and seduced by his strange world. As a form of self empowerment. Myra Hindley.

On the esoteric level another thing interests me. I can not find the link now but there has been much discussion on PMF about the Notice found at the College of Foreign Students just a day or two after Meredith’s murder and before any arrest. Handwritten in capitals it is an advert for a tenant for Meredith’s room at the cottage. The number to ring for anyone interested is a sick joke as it is the date of Meredith’s death, a fact that can only have been available to the very few in the know at the time. The message is “Mission Achieved”. The handwriting looks like Amanda’s.

Handwriting comparison is not a science and this note can never be proven to have been written by Amanda but it is an interesting link to “the mask of the assassin”.

Posted by James Raper on 12/05/10 at 01:26 AM | #

Instead of spending the money on the failed PR campaign, AK’s family should have set up a fund to to pay for all the plane flight and hotel expenses they are going to accrue over the next 25 years visiting their daughter in prison halfway around the world. I wonder how long it will be before the majority of “supporters” cut off AK’s family from any money they have received as a result of their donations as they finally begin to accept the fact that AK is actually guilty as sin? Hopefully sooner than later. One can only imagine AK’s disappointment when her mother has to explain they cannot visit as often due to “money problems”. How sad. Well, not really. More like pathetic.

Posted by Kazwell on 12/06/10 at 07:11 AM | #

@kazwell -

How true!  And you can bet that if there was any reason to think that Knox was innocent that Amnesty International would have stepped in to help her by now.  The fact that they haven’t, after three years, speaks for itself.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 12/06/10 at 01:24 PM | #

When I think back to when I took an interest in this case, one thing (apart from the obvious) stood out to me and that was the PR campaign waged by the convicted killers family.

On a personal level it didn’t seem right or fair to me.

As well as manipulating the media the PR people are manipulating the truth and also on another level perverting the course of justice. I cannot see it in any other way.

The Knox and Mellas families maintain that they initially employed the Marriot PR firm to set the record straight due to the negative press their daughter was recieving in what is now today a tired and old mantra.
She has been sentenced now and been in prison for nearly three years so why is the PR firm still employed and in full flow?
They are still being used because every now and again a newspaper refers to Knox as Foxy Knoxy?

I don’t believe a word of it.

The only reason this PR company is employed is for one reason only - to pervert the course of justice through public opinion; an opinion not related to the truth in any way. Perhaps we are seeing a phenomenom of modern times but in this case (and a victory for the strength of the law and true justice) a losing strategy.

Posted by Black Dog on 12/06/10 at 03:15 PM | #

Hi, James. I had made a reference to the Persian Origins of the assassin, and the employment of hashish to dull their consciences, in a comment last year.  We all know (because they made a point of telling us) that the lovebirds had smoked significant amounts of “hash’. I think, though, that ObKnoxious’ use of the purple-prosy “mask of the assassin” phrase more strongly reflects her theatre student days, and the persistence of her childlike magical thinking. She is not, even after 3 years of forced sobriety, ‘all there”. Her family encouraged her oddness. And, to quote her favorite band,
“And though she feels as if she’s in a play, she is, anyway.”
Denial is in her DNA; just look at EDNA… I mean, Edda.Edda believes in the Marriot campaign. Edda believes that they will win in the appeal. Edda believes that her daughter’s life is more important than Meredith’s death. Edda doesn’t give a flying fuck about the Kerchers, and neither does her daughter.

Posted by mimi on 12/08/10 at 04:03 AM | #

Hi Mimi. I did not see your previous reference. This site is so vast. I had thought I had gone over the top a bit. You rightly point out her childlike magical thinking. I would not be surprised if “the mask of the assassin” was something said by a character in the Harry Potter books. Perhaps next we will have a reference to The Prisoner of Azkaban!

Flippancy aside (if Amanda will let us) I think we may also be talking about arrested psychological development. Google this. Narcissism, secret codes, impulse control, authoritarian father figures and all that.

To carry the literary parallel a little further could it be that Amanda’s lawyers worry about a Hamlet syndrome if Amanda is cross examined. “The play is the thing within to catch the conscience of the king”.

Loved the Beatles quote.

Posted by James Raper on 12/08/10 at 11:44 AM | #

Hi Mimi,

Even better, google on “Narcissism - The Psychopathological Default ” by Dr Sam Vaknin.

Think Harry Potter.

Posted by James Raper on 12/08/10 at 03:44 PM | #

A personal note to James, but all here, of course,  are invited to drop by PMF: I recently posted some cartoon parodies of the case over there. On the Main Discussion thread XX on Nov. 19 is one of several Potter-inspired drawings, entitled, “mustn’t tell.jpg”. The title of the cartoon is “Horny Pothead and the Prisoner of AzKapanne”. Such a wealth of material to work with here!

I penned a letter to Mrs Mellas this week. I believe I showed considerable restraint, but I did put forward the suggestion that she find it in her heart to mention, when next in front of a camera or a mic, how horrible what happened to Meredith actually was, regardless of who she believes may or may not have caused such bloodshed and agony. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Posted by mimi on 12/10/10 at 10:52 PM | #
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