Thursday, May 12, 2011

Is Joel Simon Of CPJ Now In Hiding - And Pushing The Naive Nina Ognianova Out To Take The Hits?

Posted by Kermit

[Above: Nina Ognianova adds to CPJ’s abusive and unsubstantiated witchhunt of Giuliano Mignini]

“Frank Sfarzo” was running a low-traffic, low-impact blog which has long consisted of vague unsourced innuendo plus extensive defamation in the comments area

Every REAL reporter we have ever asked has said that in their eyes “Frank’s” site is a joke. His real name is Sforza. There are strong signs that Sforza is a paid flunky for the Knox PR campaign, and he is supported for blowing smoked and HIDING the grim and unmistakable truth.

Now, right at the mid-point between my Open Letter #2 to Joel Simon below and my posting of VOLUMINOUS evidence of his false claims to come, this misguided further attack on Miignini appears. 

Unsubstantiated passages here are in bold.

New York, May 11, 2011—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Florence and Perugia authorities to drop the trumped-up defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock...

Sfarzo (real name Sforza) told CPJ that he received an email from Google, which hosts the site, last night informing him that a court order has been issued for the “preventive closure” of his blog dedicated to the Kercher case.

It was from the court order, Sforza told CPJ, that he learned that Perugia Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini—who has a long-standing record of anti-press actions—has filed a lawsuit against Perugia Shock for “defamation, carried out by means of a website.”

The court order, which stemmed from Mignini’s claim, was issued on February 23 by Florentine Judge Paola Belsino. Mignini is the lead prosecutor on the Kercher case.

[ CPJ’s Nina Ognianova says] “This is hardly the first time Mignini has resorted to the law to silence his critics. It’s a heavy-handed tactic that is bound to have a chilling effect on journalists in Italy.”

CPJ has documented a history of official harassment, physical attack, and fabricated legal prosecution against Sforza.

Journalist Sabina Castelfranco of CBS in Rome (CBS is the most baised against the prosecution) has said: “Certainly it does appear that he is being vindictive, however maybe he did have a case to sue Frank Sforza for defamation.”

The MyNorthwest website describes the Perugian blogger as accusing “Mignini of having ties to drug dealers.” That is one pretty serious charge.

So. Some more hard questions for Nina Ognianova.

  • On what basis can Ognianova call the charges “trumped up” if Ognianova as we suspect doesn’t even know what those charges are for? What will Ognianova say if they are genuine, serious, and provable?
  • Does Ognianova understand what exactly are other charges against the Perugian blogger relating to a visit by police to his home last autumn? And what relation those other charges may have with the removal of his blog?
  • Did Ognianova ever LOOK at the content of Frank’s blog and see the often-hallucinatory junk that regularly appeared there? Does Ognianova have any clue about the true state of reporting on Meredith’s case?
  • Does Ognianova have any clue about the harrasment of real reporters, who have tried in face of REAL harrassment to report objectively and impartially from Italy and Seattle on the case?
  • How does Ognianova associate Giuliano Mignini with the FLORENCE legal authorities? Does she know he is NOT now the lead prosecutor and is only tangentially involved with the appeal?
  • Has Ognianova seen the three-month-old court order for “Frank” to take the website down? Has Ognianova seen Google’s note to “Frank” about taking his (free) blogger account down? Are they both for-real?
  • Does Ognianova approve of the drug dealing accusations of this blogger who wants to be considered a freelance reporter even though his blog was simply the European outlet of the pro Amanda Knox campaign?
  • Does Ognianova consider accusing Mignini of having drug dealing ties simply represent part of the free speech reporting on the Meredith Kercher case? Does she approve of the huge abuse directed at him?
  • Does Ognianova know that throughout there was a co-prosecutor? Does Ognianova know that the case passed through the hands of nearly two dozen judges - and, already, the Supreme Court?
  • Does Ognianova know of the rather brilliant assembly and presentation of the case by the two prosecutors? Does Ognianova know of the weak and lackluster defense component and their true desperation right now?

And where is the oversight over Simon’s and Ognianova’s runaway train here,  by the (All-American) Board of Directors of the CPJ?

Posted by Kermit on 05/12/11 at 03:15 AM in The wider contextsFrancesco SforzaMore hoaxers


It’s sad to see the current state of American media. The state of decrepitude it finds itself in is not so much because of the internet but because the quality has gone DOWN.

It has to please its corporate masters, declining profits prevent in depth quality reporting, and without the constant spectacle of war, natural disasters and gory murders/kidnapping, who cares any more?

So I wondered why CPJ was putting its reputation on the line, then got the answer from the list of contributors:

Every major media company, including CNN, Time Warner and ABC News.

I call this Natalee Holloway Syndrome: Americans are to be fed a constant diet of Your Daughters Are In Peril Abroad.

Worked quite well for CNN (smirk)

Posted by Ergon on 05/12/11 at 04:57 AM | #

I don’t expect a honest answer to Kermit’s raised questions. After the last article from the Committee to Protect Journalists it is clear, they have an agenda and are biased against the Italian prosecutor Guiliano Mignini who in my point of view diligently carried out his job in the Meredith Kercher case.

The accusations brought forward by the CPJ are simply ridiculous and not fact-based.

Posted by Nell on 05/12/11 at 05:28 AM | #

Maundy Gregory seems pretty naive about what drives Frank. Up to mid 2008 Frank was humanely pro Meredith and sensibly pro guilt. Then he turned on a dime and developed a noticeable lust for Knox. In 2009 he became all about money. In 2010 he became all about paranoid delusions of great schemes. His comments areas carried a steady stream of personal abuse.

Reporters dont respect him, and Alexa shows his readership was usually not even 1/4 of either PMF or TJMK. This is not a traveling circus. Real people got hurt here and STILL hurt and a very fine one died. Frank has been one of the worst hurters. I hope Maundy Gregory gets over his love affair soon.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/12/11 at 07:03 AM | #

Great post, Kermit.

I don’t think a US prosecutor would sit around and do nothing if he was accused of drug ties, being deranged, falsifying evidence and/or whatever crazy claims have been made via the media.

I just remember Curt Knox on the BBC loudly claiming AK’s “human rights” were violated and she was abused by law enforcement. Then there was F Sfarzo’s claim he was getting his windpipe crushed by police or whatever abuse he was claiming…then they feign surprise and indignation when they get a court order to back down or show up with evidence.

I do believe that one should be ready to support their inflammatory claims with solid evidence.

Posted by giustizia on 05/12/11 at 07:04 AM | #

Giustizia, you make an excellent point. No American prosecutor would tolerate what is thrown at Mignini almost daily. Suggests a good project for us would be to round up some stories of how American prosecutors and their critics do handle things.

I came to Meredith’s case via a comment on a blog about the only other crime case that really fascinated me with its unjustness: the framing by a prosecutor of the Duke lacrosse team. I remember on that blog that there was true astonishment that a prosecutor could know the charges were false but still pursue the case.

The CNN crime shows (Nancy Grace and Jane velez Mitchell) and those on MSNBC can be a bit rabid but they keep an audience because they always fight for the VICTIM and have have many DAs come on and talk.

There is not one case now in the US where a PR scheme is gunning for those whose rather thankless job it is to see justice is done and victims respected. It just isnt done.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/12/11 at 07:22 AM | #

Thank you Kermit for posting another list of questions for cpj, I won’t hold my breath for their response. I can’t understand why this organization would interject themselves into a local murder trial, when there are journalists such as Dorothy Parvaz who are in danger. Isn’t that their mission to safeguard real journalists? Oh and Giustizia your post was dead on….maybe in the US you can say whatever slander you make up and get away with it but some places they still have expectations that what comes out of your mouth about someone else had better be true.

Posted by friar fudd on 05/12/11 at 12:42 PM | #

Peter Quennell @ 12:22AM said: “No American prosecutor would tolerate what is thrown at Mignini almost daily. Suggests a good project for us would be to round up some stories of how American prosecutors and their critics do handle things.”

Hi Pete. I agree with you completely on this point.

This morning I found a few minutes to try a Google search (“prosecutor libel -mignini”). If you or any of the other readers do this as well, you will see that there is NO shortage of instances in the USA where public prosecutors have filed libel suits against individuals and/or institutions. A cursory glance will also reveal, however, that most of these attempts are unsuccessful. Nevertheless, it is simply nonsense for Knox supporters to claim that Mignini’s alleged “persecution” of “Frank” is some unprecedented abuse of power - even in the “good old USA” these things happen with some degree of regularity.

There are some occasional victories, as well, for the prosecutors. This webpage discusses a $950,000 preliminary judgment won by a Maryland prosecutor against a Boston newspaper in 2005 (the verdict was later overturned on appeal). An instance with an even closer parallel to the current Knox/“Frank”/Mignini debacle is this one in 2009, in which a Canadian prosecutor won a C$50,000 judgment against a blogger.

Posted by Fuji on 05/12/11 at 01:38 PM | #

I’ve been posting on Huffington Post about the case, and getting a lot of insight about the pathology of the Amanda groupies.

Can you imagine, they’ve taken to attacking Meredith Kercher’s dad?

Scroll down the comments, see my responses and the ones made to me, Ergon. It really is sickening.

The worst one, “CodyJoeBibby” was the Wikipedia editor who kept trying to push his edits, and seems to have developed an interesting pathology of his own.

Posted by Ergon on 05/12/11 at 05:37 PM | #

@Fuji - Thanks for the links about prosecutors suing for libel/slander - the Canadian one was most interesting and informative…

@Ergon - There seems to be a theme to this case, where the Knox groupies seem to top themselves with a new low. No one with an opposing view can escape their mudslinging. Anyone, even the victim’s father with his terrible loss and grief, is considered fair game for derogatory cracks and put downs by the Knox/Mellas clan and groupies. It is simply shameful.

Posted by giustizia on 05/13/11 at 07:13 AM | #

Make a comment


Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry It Looks Like Joel Simon And Nina Ognianova May Have Been Set Up In Their New Attack On Mignini

Or to previous entry Open Letter To Joel Simon Of CPJ: Not Even One Anti-Mignini Accusation Withstands Careful Testing