Headsup: There are some clueless reports in main media about Dr Mignini meeting with Knox. It was really a smart move. Gives her a chance to come right, and pull back on the toxic book and paid talks. That right now might do her some good. This comment explains the carrot & stick.
Category: The psychology

Monday, January 06, 2014

Curious Parallels Between Scott Peterson And Amanda “I Am Not A Psychopath” Knox

Posted by giustizia



[Above: Laci Peterson and Meredith Kercher, the victims in the two cruel crimes]

1. The Violent Deaths Of Laci Peterson and Meredith Kercher

Laci Peterson was soon to give birth in California in December of 2002. On Christmas Eve, her husband Scott reported her missing. In April of the following year, her body and the body of her unborn son Connor were discovered in the San Francisco Bay.

Five years later, in Italy, on 2 November 2007, foreign study student Amanda Knox was at her rental home with her Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, when the postal police arrived early one morning to return some cell phones traced to her flatmates; the phones had been found dumped in a nearby garden.

Shortly after, the shocking discovery was made that her flat mate Meredith Kercher had been murdered.

2. Parallels Between Knox and Peterson In Their Personalities, Crimes And Court Cases

There is a number of striking parallels between the behaviors of Amanda Knox and Scott Peterson and their alleged crimes and convictions.

The horrific murders of two beautiful young women (one almost at the end of the full-term pregnancy of her first child) unleashed in each case a maelstrom of publicity rarely seen in search of the murderer.

When arrests were made, there also came the stunning revelation in each case that the accused was well-known to the victim ““ in Laci’s case, it was her husband, Scott Peterson; in Meredith’s case, it was her roommate, Amanda Knox.

Ultimately, three people were arrested for the murder of Meredith (as we know, the fourth person arrested, Patrick Lumumba, falsely accused by Knox as Meredith’s murderer, was released when his solid alibi was proven). Of the three people arrested for the murder of Meredith Kercher, evidence suggested to prosecutors that Amanda Knox was the instigator of the crime.

In each trial, the defendant presented a seemingly normal and middle-class appearance. Neither defendant had a significant history of violence or widely-obvious mental illness. Their families insist on their innocence.

Yet both were convicted of brutal murders (and both now fight their convictions on appeal).

Knox and Peterson were each described by casual acquaintances, neighbors and friends as nice, regular people.

Ann Bird, Peterson’s half-sister, described him as being “charismatic, charming, courteous, polite.”  On Dateline NBC television, a friend of Amanda Knox described her as being “generous, kind, genuine, optimistic, bubbly. Pretty much all the good words that you can find in a dictionary, she was.” 

But they proved superficial assessments that in fact really only scratched the surface.





3. Reckless Odd Behavior And Lies By Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox had been cited and she had received a fine (a sentence which could have been more severe) for disturbing the peace and throwing rocks at a party in Seattle shortly before her departure to Italy.

Knox abruptly and without clear reason dropped a much-sought-after internship in Berlin, Germany, before arriving in Italy.

She posted a vignette on Facebook about a sexual liaison she had with a stranger, a middle-aged man, while on a train in Italy.

Her roommate Meredith had become increasingly disenchanted with the American flatmate who brought home different men without warning. “So she’s [Meredith] waking up in the morning and there’s someone making tea. And it’s, who are you again?” commented Meredith’s friend Brittany Murphy on the subject of Meredith’s unease at the strangers Knox brought to their rented Italian home.

Richard Owen, the Italy correspondent of the London Times in Italy, who has written multiple stories on the case, stated that Knox brought home “people who Meredith Kercher distrusted. Didn’t like the look of. It got to the point where she actually confronted Amanda about this.”

And Amanda Knox’s behavior after the Meredith’s murdered body was found in their rental home was more than atypical for someone who had their flatmate killed in such a horrific fashion in such close proximity.

  • “As she put them on she swiveled her hips, pulled a face and said ‘hop la’ - I thought it was very unusual behavior and my suspicions against her were raised.” (Edgardo Giobbi, a police forensic scientist, testifying in court, describing Knox’s behavior just hours after the murder, after he handed Knox a pair of shoe-covers to prevent contaminating the evidence during a search of the house. Sky News, UK, May 30, 2009.)
  • “While I was [at the police station] I found Amanda’s behavior very strange. She had no emotion while everyone else was upset. I remember one thing that really upset me. [Meredith’s friend] Natalie said, ‘I hope she wasn’t in too much pain.’ Amanda said, ‘What do you think? She fucking bled to death.’ At that point no one had told us how Meredith died.”  (Robyn Butterworth, a friend of Kercher’s, testifying in court. London Evening Standard, Feb. 13, 2009.)
  • “Their behavior at the police station seemed to me really inappropriate ... They sat opposite each other, Amanda put her feet up on Raffaele’s legs and made faces at him. Everyone cried except Amanda and Raffaele. I never saw them crying. They were kissing each other.” (Amy Frost, a friend of Meredith’s and a student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia at the time, testifying in court. The Independent, London, Feb. 14, 2009.)
  • “My daughter was a Leeds student with Meredith in Perugia. They went out together on Halloween. When Amanda Knox was asked how she felt on 2 November, she said: “Shit happens”, which contrasts rather sharply with the contrived way she addressed the Italian court about “my friend Meredith”.  (Marc Rivalland, in a letter to the editor of the Observer commenting on the Knox case. The Guardian, UK, 12/13/2009.)
  • “They came into the shop at about 7 p.m. and were there for about 20 minutes. She bought a camisole and G-string. I heard her tell him that “˜Afterwards I’m going to take you home and put this on so we can have wild sex together.” (Store owner Carlo Maria Scotto di Rinaldi’s testimony in court about Knox and Sollecito’s behavior in his store, taped on closed-circuit TV.)
  • “Knox and Sollecito were seen laughing as they hold up various G-strings. In one still shot taken from the footage, Raffaele is standing behind Amanda with his hands on her hips and his groin pressed into her. It was the same day as the candle light vigil memorial for Meredith, a few days after her murder.” (Excerpt from the book Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau.)

Perhaps the most controversial claim in the Knox trial was Knox’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba as the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Lumumba was placed under arrest and jailed for two weeks, until his solid alibi set him free.

Knox, who said nothing to help him during the two weeks Lumumba was incarcerated, changed her story after he was freed. She then claimed she was coerced by the police into making confusing statements. Knox’s entourage have made charges of human rights violations and anti-Americanism against the Italian justice system, though to date the U.S. government has refused to become involved.

  • “He’s bad. He did it. He killed her”¦It was him, it was him, he was crazy, he killed her.” (Amanda Knox’s statements, according to police at the police station, accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher. The Daily Telegraph, UK, March 6, March 21, 2009)
  • “She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge. By the end, she hated me. But I don’t even think she’s evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn’t. She’s empty, dead inside. She’s the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don’t believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.” (Patrick Lumumba, bar owner in Perugia and Knox’s boss. Daily Mail, UK, November 25, 2007)


4. Reckless Odd Behavior And Lies By Scott Petersen

Scott Peterson had all the appearances of an upwardly mobile middle-class white-collar worker. He was a salesman with a pretty wife and a baby on the way, and they owned a nice home in Modesto, California.

His friends and family described him as charismatic and friendly. But under the surface was a lifestyle filled with lies and mistresses.

Scott Peterson had hooked up with a mistress, Amber Frey, in November of 2002, leaving his pregnant wife home alone during the holiday season to see Amber Frey, with excuses of business meetings.

Peterson told Amber Frey that he was a widow, and also that he was traveling in France when he was actually in California - two of many false claims Peterson made to her.

  • “I’m near the Eiffel Tower. The New Year’s celebration is unreal. The crowd is huge.”  (Scott Peterson, from a taped telephone conversation to his mistress Amber Frey, telling her he is in Paris, when he is really in Modesto, California, about to attend a candle-light vigil for his missing wife. Dateline, NBC, 1/4/2005)

Shortly after Laci Peterson was reported missing, that candle light vigil was held for Laci. It was on New Year’s Eve.

  • ”˜Three witnesses testified that Peterson’s behavior at the candle-light vigil seemed inappropriate for a worried husband. One woman said that he showed no emotion during the service and was grinning as he “socialized” with friends afterwards.’  (From The Murder of Laci Peterson, TrueTV.com)

The jurors were shown a photo of the grinning Peterson at the vigil at the trial as evidence. He called his mistress before and after the vigil ceremony, while Laci’s distraught family members tried to cope with the situation of their missing relative.

  • “Scott came in with a great big smile on his face, laughing, it was just another day in paradise for Scott, another day that he had to go through the motions,” said one juror, Mike Belmessieri. “Scott had no emotion on his face. Scott was being Scott.” (Juror of the Scott Peterson Trial, commenting on his unusually cool demeanor in court. New York Times, March 17. 2005)

Shades of Amanda…

  • “The cartwheels? This is Amanda just being Amanda. As her friends would say, it’s an Amanda thing.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Knox turning cartwheels at the police station. The Guardian, UK, June 27. 2009)
  • “I couldn’t help but think how cool and calm Amanda was. Meredith’s other friends were devastated and I was upset, but Amanda was as cool as anything and completely emotionless. Her eyes didn’t seem to show any sadness, and I remember wondering if she could have been involved.” (Giacomo Silenzi, Meredith’s Italian boyfriend who lived in the apartment downstairs from the murder. Metro.co.uk, November 18, 2007)


5. Parallels In Forensic Evidence

In both cases, there were no eye witnesses or “smoking gun.”

In Scott Peterson’s case, the ONLY piece of hard evidence was a single strand of Laci’s hair, found on pliers in Scott’s boat, which the defense charged as being contaminated evidence.

This and all rest of the evidence at his trial was circumstantial. Nobody witnessed any deed.

Both the circumstantial and forensic evidence in the Knox trial were more considerable. Key items of hard evidence included the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment that had Meredith’s DNA on the tip and Knox’s DNA on the handle, and it was accepted at trial as one of the murder weapons.

A bloody footprint, the size of Knox’s foot, was found on a pillow underneath Meredith’s body. Mixed DNA material of both Knox and Meredith were found in several spots in the house where the murder occurred.

6. Parallels In Strange Coincidences

Laci and Connor’s bodies were found in the water in the bay area of San Francisco. Scott Peterson happened to own a boat and liked to fish ““ in fact, he said he went fishing on Christmas Eve, the day Laci disappeared, at a location where later the bodies turned up only about 3 miles away.

Meredith was sexually molested, strangled, and ultimately killed by knife stabs. Raffaele Sollecito has a fascination with knives and he owns a large collection. Amanda Knox created and posted a fictitious story about a violent rape on the Internet.

Sollecito posted a photo of himself on the Internet swathed in bandages and holding a large meat cleaver and a jug of a chemical-looking liquid. Knox and Sollecito were the only ones at the house on the day when the police showed up and later discovered Meredith’s body.

The juries in both trials concluded that these factors were more than mere coincidences, and represented incriminating evidence of guilt of the crime.





7. Parallels In How The Families Supported Their Children

Not all convicted murderers have a history of mental disturbance or violence. If there were any red flags regarding Knox’s and Peterson’s behavior, one would not know it from the descriptions provided by their families:

  • ”˜Lee Peterson said his son never posed a discipline problem, did not rebel as a teenager and was a perfect baby. He was said even to lose golf games because he did not want to hurt the feelings of his opponents. ‘‘He woke up smiling and went to bed smiling.’’  (Scott Peterson’s father of his son, testifying to the jury after Scott’s guilty verdict but before sentencing.  New York Times, December 2, 2004)
  • “She was an incredible easy-going kid even from a baby. She was so mellow”¦She loved being read-to, she loved books. As she got a little older she always wanted to be outside - building camps, playing soccer. She never watched a lot of TV - she still doesn’t. She was an excellent student.” (Edda Mellas, commenting on Amanda Knox’s character the week of her guilty verdict. The Sun, UK, December 5, 2009)


8. Parallels In Family And Groupie Websites

Peterson and Knox’s families insist on their innocence. There are family and groupie websites for each convicted murderer. They each proclaim innocence for the guilty, make charges of police incompetence, and make requests for money for the defense cause and legal expenses:

  • “Scott Peterson Family Mission Statement: “˜This web-site is a combined effort of our family and our support system. We know Scott is innocent and that he has been unjustly convicted. Our pursuit of justice for Laci, Conner and Scott remains steadfast. We want to keep you informed as to the specifics of the case, the appeal, and related topics. We also want you to know how grateful we are for your prayers and support.’ (From: http://scottpetersonappeal.org/)
  • “Amanda Knox - A heartfelt thanks for your support. On behalf of Amanda and her family, we want to thank everyone who has contacted FOA to express their concern and to offer help in the wake of an unjust and unsupportable guilty verdict. We are developing a strategy to raise public awareness of this case and help bring about a reversal of the verdicts against both Amanda and Raffaele. Once it is in place, we will welcome all the help we can get, and we will be in touch with you.” (From http://www.friendsofamanda.org/home_eng.htmleartfelt)

Scott Peterson of course has never managed to get online. Amanda Knox of course runs a jubilant, taunting blog which trashes the memory of the victim and harasses her family - a first in global crime history and a foolish move given the current cold, remorseless rejection of her appeal.. Knox’s blog has a following among others also seemingly unable to succeed in normal ways.

9. Parallels In The Verdicts Jurors Delivered: Guilty As Charged

The jurors in each trial fitted together all the pieces of the puzzle: timelines, witness testimony, cell-phone records, forensic evidence, lack of solid alibis, incriminating lies, and odd behavior of the defendants.

They each concluded after lengthy deliberation that the defendants were guilty of murder.

10. And The NON-Parallels In How The US Media Has Reported Both Cases

Of these two cases, not many people have questioned the jury’s decision in the Scott Peterson trial. He has been sentenced to death via lethal injection, and he is currently incarcerated in San Quentin prison in California.

There are no repeated media interviews of Peterson’s mother in tears, insisting on his innocence and his release from prison. There are no angry declarations from Peterson family that the police, prosecution and legal system abused, railroaded and framed Scott Peterson.

If such media coverage were to exist, it would be widely considered in the US to be extremely upsetting and insulting to Laci’s parents and family and to the memory of the victims Laci and Connor.

Peterson’s media coverage, thankfully, has dissipated. He still pursues an appeals process, possibly to be heard next year by the California Supreme Court.

Amanda Knox’s story plays out very differently. After her arrest, her family hired a public relations team that puts forth a determined effort to change Knox’s image of wild child and murderer and to keep her in the news.

They obviously do not consider their repeated loud public outcries for release of their daughter distressing to Meredith’s parents and family, and they don’t perceive their actions as being disrespectful to the victim, Meredith.

Or of course, as many people suspect, perhaps Knox’s relatives do realize it but they simply don’t care.

11. Parallels In Future Legal Prospects

Imprisoned in Italy, Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. She is now appealing that verdict and sentence for the second time after the first appeal was corrupted. In 2012 Scott Petersen’s lawyers filed the automatic appeal against his death sentence to which he is entitled by California law. He may end up serving life.

Knox’s prospects seemed considerably brighter than Peterson’s when the now-annulled Hellmann appeal of 2011 set her free. Now under the worst scenario she loses her new appeal and may end up serving life.





12. Epilogue ““ Master Manipulators

It is curious that the fervent supporters of Amanda Knox do not crusade for the release of Scott Peterson as well. After all, he was convicted on LESS direct evidence, and also in the midst of a maelstrom of publicity. CNN.com had called the Peterson prosecution case so weak and “unimpressive” that they speculated that he could end up with a “Not Guilty” verdict.

But with the exception of his own family, no one has picked up beating the drum to overturn the jury’s conviction of Peterson. Perhaps it is because Peterson doesn’t fit well the damsel in distress role? More likely, it is because the American public trusted the jury’s assessment of the evidence and trial, as they and the American media usually do, and they feel that the jury delivered a just verdict, and justice to Laci and Connor Peterson.

How is it possible that two “regular” people like Knox and Peterson ended up in jail for horrendous murders? Below is a condensed version from an AP article about the type of personality attributed to Scott Peterson:

It is interesting to note that life transitions are tremendous stresses to a psychopath. Psychopaths also wear “false faces” and are master manipulators. They are the ultimate con artists and they are able to fool even those closest to them.

Peterson’s closest friends “never suspected there was a monster inside Scott’s psyche.
Motive still a question in Peterson case
By the Associated Press
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP)””Of all the questions surrounding the Laci Peterson murder case, the one that seemed to be running through practically everyone’s mind was this: If Scott Peterson was so unhappy in his marriage, why didn’t he just get a divorce?

Experts on the criminal mind say the answer may lie in what lurked beneath Scott Peterson’s charming veneer “”a psychopathic personality.

“When you say you’re going to get a divorce, everyone knows that it’s a long, tedious process. The psychopath wants the short-term solution,” said San Diego forensic psychologist Reid Meloy.

Peterson, 32, was convicted earlier this month of murdering his eight-months-pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying, and the jury decided he deserves the death penalty.

Criminal psychologists say Peterson appeared to be a master manipulator who lacked the capacity to feel remorse or consider consequences “”some of the same psychopathic characteristics exhibited by serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.

Psychopaths “tend to con people very well and they wear false faces,” said former FBI profiler Robert Ressler. “They tend to be able to fool everyone from their families to their friends to society, schools, their community.”

At Peterson’s trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a callous liar who continued to carry on an extramarital affair even as police searched for his wife. They said he killed her to escape marriage and impending fatherhood for the freewheeling single life.

Whether Laci’s pregnancy was the catalyst for Peterson’s plan may never be known. But experts said pregnancy can lead to seismic changes within a relationship.

Pregnancy “represents commitment, fatherhood, another dependent, a lifelong bond ... and all of those things are strongly despised by the psychopath,” Meloy said”¦ pregnancy represents a life transition, and there are stresses around that transition.”

Peterson’s case was made all the more perplexing by the lack of signs that the couple’s marriage was in trouble. Although Peterson had cheated on Laci at least three times, according to defense attorney Mark Geragos, he appeared to family and friends to be a doting husband and father-to-be after Laci became pregnant.

Those closest to the couple said they never suspected there was a monster inside.

Heather Richardson, the maid of honor at the Petersons’ wedding, is still hoping for a plausible explanation to emerge. Perhaps, she said, Peterson suffers from a disorder that has yet to be revealed.

“It would be at least comforting. Then I would realize that the person I knew and loved dearly was there. He was that person and the other person, too,” Richardson said. “So at least part of him was not a lie.”

Here is Amanda Knox in her own words talking about masks “” while taking the stand for the final time at her trial in Italy (CNN, Dec. 3, 2009): “They say that I am calm. I am not calm ... I fear to lose myself, to have the mask of the assassin forced upon me.”


This is an update of my post of 24 July 2010


Thursday, December 05, 2013

With Sollecito’s First Plea For Mitigation Seen As A Flop, His Behavior Seems Extremely Suspect

Posted by Peter Quennell



Sollecito headed for Dominican Republic, but stopped pending court okay

1. Post Overview

A week ago Prosecutor Crini had begun a two-day summary of the state’s case so stark and implacable that it had two effects on Sollecito.

He stayed in his hotel on the second day; and he then took off like a rabbit for some destination initially unknown and repeatedly lied-about by his father (see Part 3 below).

One of his lawyers (accidentally?) broke the secret. Sollecito had flown to the Dominican Republic. Where he just happens to have some really unsavory relatives. 

2. High Drama In The Nencini Court

Sollecito has not ever taken the witness stand.

And given the minefield his foolish book and media claims amount to, don’t hold your breath expecting otherwise soon. However, last month Sollecito did use the Italian accuseds’ privilege of making an impromptu plea to the judges.

He was not under oath and not subject to cross-examination by the prosecutors. He did not address the copious evidence, and was seen as attempting to humanize himself to perhaps get some years knocked off a final sentence.

As always, Knox forces were left confused, thinking he had somehow helped both of them. But Sollecito repeatedly drew attention to his being an Italian and in effect to Knox and Guede not being Italians, thus once again separating himself from Knox on lines Barbie Nadeau also described here..

Our main poster Yummi was in the court and reported in part as follows:

One of the woman judges kept staring elsewhere and almost never watched Sollecito all the time he was talking. Sollecito’s speech itself was actually not that exciting. It was so overt that he was focused on portraying himself as a person who is so good and cannot hurt anyone, not the bad guy described in the media.  The real and only topic of Sollecito’s statement was himself, who he is, his “true” personality, he begged them to look at what a good and suffering a boy he is…

And believe me, Sollecito was just whiny. For a big part of his speech he was just putting distance between who he is today and the person he was when he was 20 years old. He talked about the impossibility of finding a job (the job he would like to have in a corporation, obviously, not just any job) and wanted the judge to project to his condition from that of young Italians who can’t hope to see a future.

Then 10 days ago the skilled senior prosecutor Dr Alessandro Crini fired back, and effectively demolished Sollecito’s premature statement. As we reported, Dr Crini took nearly two days to do that.

Sollecito was again in court on the first day, but was seemingly unable to face Dr Crini’s onslaught on the second day. He remained holed up at his hotel.

Although Dr Crini settled on a lowest-common-denominator motive - a Lord of the Flies flare-up which had escalated into mob violence and the fatal stab to Meredith - his recounting of the evidence and associated behavior of the pack was comprehensive and very hard. Translated from Cronaca:

Meredith was treated “as if she was an animal.” In this way Dr Crini defined the dynamics of the murder of Meredith Kercher during his indictment.

According to Dr Crini, the attack escalated to the point where the attackers felt they “needed to get rid of a girl they had abused”. While Rudy Guede sexually abused Meredith Kercher, supine on the floor of her room, Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, according to the reconstruction, were at each side of the body of the victim.

“The mouth and neck of the victim were contained in a fierce way to avoid Meredith going berserk and screaming, and when Meredith did in fact manage to scream, she received the final fierce stab to the throat.” Two knives were used in the crime at the house in Via della Pergola on the night between 1 and 2 November 2007”...

Dr Crini referring to the bra clasp of the victim, said that “the presence of the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito is quite certain” and explained at length why there was no “possibility of contamination”.

Amanda Knox was at the scene of the crime, according to the identification made “‹”‹by the scientific police in Meredith’s room of an imprint of a shoe (female size 36-38 according to the results of the analysis)... On the pillowcase, the center of gravity of this bloody history, were found a palmprint of Rudy Guede and this print of the shoe.”




3. High Drama Right After End Of Court

Dr Francesco Sollecito was reported as being shocked by the unrelenting tone of the indictment. However, Sollecito’s plight is not nearly as bad as the ever-stubborn Amanda Knox’s.

Knox has already served three years and was fined heavily for obstruction of justice. She could face another year for that if it is found to have been aggravating. And as the post below mentions, she could face as many as three more charges for aggravating obstruction of justice. 

Sollecito in contrast has respected the court by actually showing up, and, unlike Knox, has lately shown restraint in accusing his accusers.

However, the day after Dr Crini ‘s startlingly powerful summary of the case against him, it looked like Sollecito was hastily taking off out of Italy for somewhere. 

La Nazione reported that police at Florence Airport had held back a fully loaded Air France flight to Paris while they checked with the prosecution that he was indeed allowed to leave the country.  La Nazione said the prosecutors have some concern that he might skip and not come back, but he did voluntarily come back previously from the Dominican Republic, and his family has always ensured some presence in court.

But next TGCom24 reported that Sollecito’s father had claimed that Sollecito had already gone home to Bisceglie, although he is a free citizen still in possession of a passport and can travel anywhere if he wishes.

But then TGCom24 reported that he had indeed flown to Paris, but had turned around and come straight back again, to stay with family friends.  And that on 8 December he will sit his final exams in computer science at the University of Verona.

However, soon after that La Nazione reported that Sollecito’s father had been contradicted by his lawyers, and his erratic son had slipped through his fingers and flown “for his work” back to the Dominican Republic. Translation by Jools:

1 December 2013 ““ SCOOP. Denials, lies, game by the defenders. But in the end it’s up to the lawyer Luca Maori to admit: “Raffaele Sollecito returned to Santo Domingo, as anticipated on Friday by La Nazione”

He embarked from Florence’s Peretola Airport and made a stop-over in Paris, from where he then flew to the Caribbean island where he spent the last few months that preceded the start of the new appeals process. “But there is nothing strange - minimizes the lawyer - Raffaele went back to pick up the things he left there, will be back in ten days for the final exams and to await the judgment. With anxiety, but self-assured.”

No escape, just a normal “work” trip. Permissible, since there is no measure that prevents the accused to leave Italy. But the departure of Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with former girlfriend Amanda Knox (already sheltered in the U.S.) caused some sneering. And even the agents of the Border Police, when they saw him in front of the [departure] gate, made a phone call to the Procura to be sure whether the journey in the midst of the appeal process was really “normal.”

IN FACT. Sollecito ‘s father, in an understandable effort to defend his already too overexposed son, slipped on the so-called banana peel, placing the young man within a few hours in various locations, but never in the true destination across the ocean: in Verona, preparing for the final exam in computer science in regard to the thesis, or in Paris, but just for a flash-stay from which he was back the day after. At Christmas, maintained the father, Raffaele will return from abroad. Maybe for the last break before the final rush of the Mark II process, which, according to calculations by the Assize Court of Appeal, could be concluded on January 15.

Meanwhile, the hearing on 16 December is for the remaining civil parties, then double date for the defence, (December 17 and January 9) and hearing on the 10 dedicated to counter-argument. With Sollecito in the courtroom, assures the lawyer.

Nothing strange?! Doctor Sollecito lying repeatedly, instead of explaining to the media where Raffaele went, and why he went there, and why it was a huge secret, was VERY strange.

It should have official minds very seriously wondering why. WHAT did Raffaele have to do so secretly in the Dominican Republic - where his notorious mafia relatives from Montreal occupy a town there?



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Numerous Psychologists Now Observe Knox Skeptically

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding


Links to both ITV interviews kindly provided by Clander of PMF:  Daybreak Seattle interview and Daybreak London interview.

Please see the key past posts here and here and also here for some context.

Amanda Knox appeared in an English TV interview on the early morning of Monday September 23rd.

She spoke from Seattle to a detached ITV reporter in Seattle and a tough Daybreak anchor in London - tough. though she badly lacked second questions in follow-up. The interview was, by all accounts, fair, and also duly respectful towards Meredith’s family, who are in England.

But the girl or woman who is Amanda Knox we observed was neither calm nor happy.

There was not one authentic smile, and not a moment when the light came into her eyes. Her hair and make-up looked good - her presentation had been considered. But her skin was not well. As most women know, the skin, especially on the face, reveals your inner health, your inner peace.

As a psychologist, one is trained to distinguish ‘signs’, if you like, or indicators that illustrate the most crucial factors about the state of mind. One is taught to look beyond presentation and image, and too, beyond the actual words delivered, to hear what is actually being said - from the inner self or true self. Some people might prefer to use the term ‘the soul’.

What I heard in this interview is a person struggling and deeply disturbed and unhappy. I saw someone genuinely very afraid with strong feelings of hopelessness. Anger, defiance, and combativeness also showed.

But, newly, there were also signs of weariness with the self-elected fight. I believe Amanda is intelligent enough to realize that the weight and strength of the factual, combined evidence is stacked against her. Knowing this, as I believe she does, can only put her in an anguished state.

At times, one could plainly observe that a pre-rehearsed ‘PR’ line was being delivered. Amanda was being ‘a good girl’, and doing what she had been told.  Examples seem to be especially where she says such things as, “I am innocent”, “my innocence has been proven”, ‘...this case is not complicated..”

Since, by applying a little elemental logic, most of these statements can be shown to be untrue, they unfortunately sounded somewhat like mantras being delivered. Rather more that these were the things AK would LIKE to believe are true. As if perhaps, if she closes her eyes often enough and wishes hard enough, they might become true…and her nightmare would now be over.

But, alas, childish unreality cannot last. We live in a world where we are required to become adults, and to act responsibly as adults.

At junctions in the interview, where some of the more penetrating questions were asked involving human relations, an ‘inner adult’ Amanda could be seen trying to emerge. One point was where she was asked about what she would do if found finally guilty.

A burgeoning sense of realism could be detected in her reply. She knows herself in this respect: she would find it unbearable to try and live as a fugitive in the free world, labeled as a murderer and a slanderer. She actually said so, with strength of feeling. It is people’s hatred of her that she can’t bear, and it is that she is protesting about so much. And indeed it must be hard to bear.

The interviewer, Lorraine, spoke at length about the Kercher family, asking AK what she would like to say to them. When Amanda replied, also at length, she said,

“... I would like them to give me a chance…”

This sounded authentic to me, I felt she meant it. However, she added to this, sounding almost like an addendum, that she wanted them to believe she could be innocent. This latter phrase, added in a different voice and intonation, didn’t ring true to my ears.

I believe that what is truly in her heart is that she longs, beyond all measure, for the Kercher family not to totally hate her. (She gives the impression that she believes they do or could hate her). She seems to truly not to be able to bear the thought of being hated, and even more unbearable, the thought that by her behaviour (as a ‘kid’) perhaps, just maybe, she might deserve that hate.

This would seem to be the source of her anguish, and also behind many other of her statements in this interview.

There would be a way through for her - a third way. This would be to start telling the truth, the whole truth, now. It is never too late to speak the truth, and it is never too early, either. The truth endures. This is a fact of history.

It would indeed take enormous courage for Amanda to take this step. It would be immensely difficult for her because of the PR campaign. But if she could begin to answer the outstanding unresolved questions, factually and honestly (unembroidered and not exaggerated),  - she would, I believe, begin to heal her life, if this is genuinely what she wants.

She might be surprised at how much forgiveness there might be if she were to find the courage within herself to take this huge step. She quoted her priest/mentor from the Italian jail, when he advised her about how, at challenging times, we can find unknown resources and strength within ourselves that maybe we didn’t know we had.

She has a choice, and she could choose to do it. Making wise choices is what adults do.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Questions For Knox: Ten Hard Questions That Knox Should Be Asked Monday On ITV’s Daybreak

Posted by The Machine





Amanda Knox will be interviewed for the first time in Britain on ITV’s Daybreak programme tomorrow.

No interviewer should unquestioningly accept everything Knox says as the gospel truth. Remember Knox served three years in prison and is labeled a convicted felon for life for malicious lying.

So let’s hope tomorrow’s interview is not yet another whiny mis-statement of the core facts, and not yet more sliming of Italian officials, of which we have just seen so many.

There are many questions on this site which Knox has never ever answered. Some arise from the evidence and some from her dishonest book.

See especially the tough questions here and here and here and here.  With luck the Daybreak hosts will ask Knox all of these tough questions below.

1. Multiple false alibis

You and Raffaele Sollecito gave completely different accounts of where you were, who you were with and what you were doing on the night of the murder. Neither of you have credible alibis despite three attempts each. Sollecito told Kate Mansey from The Sunday Mirror that you and him were at a party.

He told the police that you and him were at his apartment. He then told them that he was home alone and that you weren’t at his apartment from around 9.00pm to about 1.00am. You first told the police that you were at Sollecito’s apartment. After you were informed that he was no longer providing you with an alibi, you repeatedly claimed that you went to the cottage with Diya Lumumba.

You changed your story yet again and claimed that you were at Sollecito’s apartment, but he might have gone out. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified.

Extract of Sollecito’s witness statement.

“I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think.

Question 1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly tell the police and others a pack of lies?

2. False accusation

You falsely claimed that Diya Lumumba killed Meredith in two witness statements and you repeated the false accusation in your handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. You served three years in prison for this felony and your appeal to the Supreme Court was denied.

Question 2. Why did you repeatedly accuse Diya Lumumba of murder when you knew full well that he was completely innocent and why didn’t you or your mother retract your accusation when he was in prison?

3. The Double DNA Knife

According to a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor, Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian - Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade of a knife from Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen.

He falsely claimed in his prison diary that he had accidentally pricked Meredith’s hand whilst cooking. Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory.

Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

Question 3. How do you think Meredith’s DNA got onto the blade of the kitchen knife?

4. The bra clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s on the exact part of Meredith bra clasp that was bent out of shape during the attack on her.  His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it.

Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result. David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, recently analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was strong.

Question 4. How do you think Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp?

5. The bloody footprint on the bathmat

According to two imprint experts - Rinaldi and Boemi - the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house which indicates that he didn’t go into the bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

See our past posts on this here and here.

Question 5. Who do you think left the bloody footprint on the bathmat?

6. Mixed samples of Amanda Knox’s DNA or blood and Meredith Kercher’s blood

According to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of your DNA or blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even your lawyers conceded that your blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

Question 6. Why were you bleeding on the night of the murder and is it a coincidence that only your DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood?

7. The Luminol Enhanced Footprints

Bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol at the cottage. Three of them are compatible with your foot size and one of them is compatible with Raffaele Sollecito’s foot size.

Question 7. What do you think the Luminol was reacting to - Meredith’s blood or some other substance?

8. The staged break-in

There is absolutely no evidence that anyone stood outside Filomena’s window and climbed up the vertical wall on the night of the murder. There were no marks from soil, grass or rubber soles on the wall. The earth of the evening of 1 November 2007 was very wet, so if anybody had climbed the wall, they would have left some marks on it.

The glass on the window sill and on the floor show no signs of being touched after the window was broken, which would have been the case if the intruder had gained entry through the window.

There was not a single biological trace on any of the shards of glass. It would have been very likely that an intruder balancing on the window sill would have suffered some kind of injury or cut because of the shards of glass.

If the window had been broken from the outside, there would have been shards of glass outside, but there wasn’t even one.

Judge Massei and the panel of judges at the Italian Supreme Court specifically mentioned the shards of glass on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been tossed onto the floor in her room and regarded it as proof that the break-in was staged.

Question 8. Who do you think staged the break-in at the cottage?

9. Knowledge of the crime

Umbria Procurator General Galati’s pointed out in his appeal that you knew specific details of the crime that you could have only known if you had been present when Meredith was killed.

According to multiple witnesses at the police station, you said you were the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. But you weren’t in a position to have seen anything at all when the door was kicked in.

In your witness statement you described Meredith’s scream. Other witnesses have corroborated your claim that there was a loud scream.

Question 9. How did you know so many precise details of the crime?

10. Shower and the “bathmat shuffle”

The Scientific Police found 13 traces of blood in the bathroom that Meredith and you shared. Prosecutor Mignini and Filomena have both expressed their surprise that you showered in a blood-spattered bathroom.

Filomena told Mignini during cross-examination:  “I thought it was odd that she’d had a shower when there was blood all over the place.”

You told Mignini that you used the bathmat to shuffle to your room.

Question 10. Why did you shower in a bathroom that was splattered with blood, and did you notice the visible bloody footprint on the bathmat when you used it to shuffle to your room? And why so soon after did the police notice that you were stinking?

Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones the ITV Daybreak hosts who should confront Amanda Knox


Friday, May 31, 2013

Knox Book - What The Newly Published Writings Reveal To Professional Eyes (2)

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding




The New Writings

It is good to have an opportunity to see the letters from Amanda to her social worker, Maurizio. The writing style is very different from her book which seems more abrasive, more ‘jazzed up’, pointed, in comparison - presumably the influence of the ghost writer.

What is immediately and conspicuously obvious is that the letters make no mention of ill-treatment - a contrario in many ways. The recipient of the letters is someone whose support she needs, as is Don Saulo.

She goes out of her way to speak to them with endearment, even flirtation, to show gratitude, to build trust, or to appear to build trust. This is a person whose need to be liked and supported is paramount. One has the feeling, therefore, that she is presenting herself in the best possible light.

This includes being ‘good’ and saying things as they are. And they are: ‘OK’, ‘fine’, ‘bene’, ‘well enough’, ‘happy to remain’ (in Perugia) etc.

There has been much speculation about the psychology of Amanda Knox. I am glad to say that this site has deferred, by and large, from assigning labels to her. It is not for nothing that the official court psychological profiles of 2008 have not been disclosed. To begin with, a full analysis is not possible without personal encounter. And then there is the question about the value of such labels at all, especially with new research advancing all the time.

However, one can talk about observable patterns of behaviour, for example narcissistic behaviour. There are a number of established, well-researched traits in narcissistic behaviour which are worth discussing here.

Observable Behaviors

I believe the following characteristics have been observable and continue to manifest in the letters just published.  These are :

    1) Immaturity, of a degree which indicates some arrested emotional development. And connected to this, an emotional neediness and dependence. This usually manifests as insecurity where it becomes important that everyone has to like, admire, and feel affection for them - most especially those who they need to ‘look out for them’, be their support system etc. A secure personality has a healthy ego which can quietly use reasonable judgement, and only needs to be assertive where occasion demands. An insecure person has a weak and fragile ego, contrary to the appearance they try and give, which can be loud, over-confident and assertive, or proud etc.

    2) An inability to deal with shame, or admit guilt. This also connects with (in Jungian terminology) an inability to ‘own the shadow’, and admit one can and does sometimes make mistakes. The cultivation of a false sense of self or identity follows; an image projected of the ‘angelic’,‘innocent’ - always sunny and light, and, ‘special’  (cf : ‘here comes the sun’ as a mantra). Of course, a PR campaign can proliferate this advertising of the false image, and this is precisely how ‘celebrities’ make use of this process.

    3) Self-esteem which in reality is rather low - together with compensatory behaviour which includes constantly needing attention, praise and to be recognised as perhaps clever, cultured, athletic, attractive…in short, ‘superior.’

    4) Manipulation. This is connected to the lack of true empowerment, and therefore the attempt (which can seem desperate) to ‘get’ power through having power and control over others. Flirtation, seduction (and obsession with erotica) can show this manipulative tendency. Control, in this case self-control, is a prerequisite for manipulating a situation. A person’s unnatural focusing around staying in control will often belie an agenda of manipulation. A secure mind and ego can afford to allow spontaneity - an insecure one cannot.

    5) Anger management can be an issue; also a ‘show of rage’ - melodramatic - can be used as a manipulative tool. (Tantrum…as in two year old). One could write a paper just on this anger aspect alone.

    6) Feeling too different, and needing badly to be accepted by others. Rejection is unbearable. And, of course, people do reject them, even if it is just in the sense of being put off by their loudness etc, as above. Thus the problems escalate inside.

    7) Lying. In severe narcissism lying is pathological. If a child is not taught why telling the truth matters - if their childish lies are humoured and not challenged by the parent, this sets up enormous trouble in the adaptation to the adult world. Again, one could write a great deal about pathological lying, - it is a topic in itself…suffice to say, here, that AK stands as a convicted felon for lying.

There is some interesting new research (Professor Raine) that has established a 22% difference in a specific brain layer, in people who are able to glibly lie. These people also have enhanced verbal faculties. Some people lie just because that’s what they do, (when they don’t actually ‘need’ to). It’s a modus operandi, - usually used as a tool to get what they want.

All of these characteristics above, added together, will give a person who is first, foremost and last, concerned with their own image, their persona - how the world sees them. Hence ‘Narcissus’, gazing at his own reflection, and mistaking it for reality.  So much mental energy is orientated towards weaving together their ideal image of themselves in everything they do: ‘What people think of me’.

Then, too, the illusion of this constructed image has to be maintained. Therefore anything that contradicts it has to be denied.  *Amanda the Innocent* - this is the image that, in this case, has been projected and maintained.

Notice that it is the perpetuating of the Image that matters - the actual point of whether she is - in fact and evidence,- innocent or guilty takes low precedence compared to the task of getting people to believe in the image of her being innocent. AK actually says so herself (in the way she often reveals herself) : “people thought I was.. ( a murderer) whether I am or not.” She couldn’t bear people to believe such an image of herself - whether she was or not, she didn’t want people to think it

It is what people think or believe about them that matters most to the image-creating narcissist. They cannot bear to be found faulty - they must be admired.

The Six Published Letters

Here are some points of interest that stood out in the published letters in the post below. (I expect others can be observed, and found also in the recent interviews, etc.) :


Letter dated April 3rd 2008.

This is the only letter of this group that contains a grumbling complaint. Firstly, she mentions the police thinking badly about her. It is striking yet again that what bothers her is how people think of her. She also repeats, as often, ‘I do understand that I have to be in control’. See point 4) above.

Then a passage that contains a couple of enigmatic statements :

“...Above all when they don’t know the truth?

It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation. I understand the motivation, but I do not agree. “Sweet” or not it is a “TORTURE”. I am being tortured and it is not right…...

Sorry. As I said I do suffer a lot in prison. Generally I am scared, alone, with no hope, sad, and tired, even if I am innocent.”

This rewards some analysis. ..“Above all when they don’t know the truth?”

No one can know the full truth, precisely because AK herself (and Sollecito) have declined, from the start, to give a full and comprehensive - let alone consistent - account of the tragic evening. So it is very illogical to then complain that the authorities are acting thus because they don’t know the truth…

“It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation”. These two clauses seem to be non sequiturs to me. I do not see what they mean. It is dark innuendo that she ‘doesn’t agree with.’ That is all we are told. Then :

“TORTURE”

If I was being gravely mistreated, with due cause for complaint, I would detail the wrong-doing as simply and clearly as possible, so it could be addressed. This does not. How is one to know whether the ‘torture’ (her inverted commas) is really frustration and annoyance at the way things have turned out? It also is expressed in a self-dramatising way.

...“even if I am innocent”. I really did read this as an ‘add-on’ - for safe measure, in case anyone significant were to read it. The word ‘even’ is out of context. It is another example of ‘distancing’, too.


Letter dated April 28th 2008 :

Don Saulo is ‘a true friend and a very good man’. At this point in time AK needs Don Saulo very much. He also, probably, offers her a role model of a positive animus (Jung again), in contrast to the other menfolk in her life, he is a man with forgiveness and without anger. Obviously, later on, she no longer needs him.

In a rare moment of veracity, AK says, “I am ignorant, unfortunately”. She also wants someone to give her explanations (for the meaning of the literature) - this indicates a passive intellect, possibly without the desire to grasp an understanding for oneself. She would rather be given the meaning, as a soundbite, almost. Then one can impress, with the knowing. Somewhat as tourists ‘get the knowledge’. I suggest, having lived in Rome, that some Americans are perhaps prone to this.


Letter November 26 2009 :

This is notable as, first, a copious expression of gratitude for being liked, and given support, and in continuation, as a definite plea for this support (and, she hopes, affection) to be ongoing.


Letter dated August 10th 2010 :

AK is first flirtatious over Maurizio’s marriage. Is she being risqué ? It seems typical of her to introduce a sexual nuance where in reality it is not appropriate.

Next, we have one of her cultural detours. She gives a (for her) fairly detailed reaction to a book by Umberto Eco, a writer of some standing. She mentions not just once, but twice that the writing is ‘meticulously built’. This obviously is something that makes the most impression upon her. Of all the stylistic and imaginative innovation, and colour, that there is in Umberto Eco’s writing, I find it most curious that this is what impresses her.


Letter April 20th 2010 :

AK is very happy to be credited as a translator : this will help her be seen in a favourable light, something high on her agenda. To be fair, credit where credit is due, (although one knows nothing of the details of the translation).

Next we have another passage of gratitude.

Then a description of how she is happy ‘playing…out in the sun’. This is immediately followed with ‘I have made a new friend’ - all important to her, and makes all the difference, - if she is liked, accepted, and preferably admired too.


Letter undated :

Here, AK says ‘I feel fine’, followed again, immediately, by a description of her new cell mate who likes her, helps her, and shares as a friend, both manicure and music. This being liked and accepted obviously gives her security, and she doesn’t want to move : ’ I am happy to remain in Perugia…’

Conclusion

These Knox letters describe a real prison situation that is at odds with the seemingly fictional Knox book. She may have been at some inner peace there. Outside, it is hard work.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Demonizations By Knox: Knox Lacks Hard Proof; Sparks Widespread Anger & Contempt

Posted by Miriam



[Header of the Giallo article; the rest off it is at bottom; click for a larger image]

1. The Fake Knox In Her Demonizing Book

Amanda Knox may have felt she was “waiting to be heard” in America but here in Italy we have heard her many times, and we feel we know her pretty well.

Her book and interviews don’t sound like her at all. They sound like nasty legal stunts and nasty PR at work. It is easy to disprove her disparagement of officials and her friends here, and an investigation by the Chief Prosecutor in Bergamo is already under way.

So the big question for us here is not angrily “Who are these appalling police, prosecutor and prison officials, and why did they do these terrible thing?” but sadly “Why was she compelled to invent all this stuff?” and “Why is she so scared to come back?”

2. The Amanda Knox That We In Italy Know

I have translated six of her letters from prison just published in the crime magazine Giallo plus the introduction and the graphologist’s analysis. This is more like the Amanda Knox we know, not the invented one in the book.

1. The Giallo magazine’s Introductory framing of Knox’s letter below

Amanda: “Here In Prison Things Are Okay”

So writes Knox to a friend while she was a prisoner in Perugia. [The true crime magazine] Giallo publishes her letters, and then has them commented on by a graphologist and a psychologist

The letters you see published on these pages are from Amanda Knox, the young American accused, along with her ex boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, of the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher, that took place in Perugia the 1st of Nov. 2007.

Knox, 26 years old, was acquitted in appeal, but now Cassazione has decided that the appeal must be redone. While waiting for this complicated judicial process to restart, Amanda lives in Seattle, and is traveling around America to launch her new book Waiting to be Heard for which she was paid several million euro by her publisher.

To the American television interviewers, the young American woman has said she is scared of coming back to Italy, because our prisons are terrible places, where she was threatened, molested sexually, and humiliated.

Well, in the letters that Giallo publishes in an exclusive, Amanda writes to a social worker, Maurizio, who helped her, and she seems neither desperate or scared, she has friends and cellmates with which to share many interests, From reading to music, up to manicures. There is a priest, Don Saulo, with which she talks, and confesses, and helps her in her moments of discouragement.

Sure, she suffers from the distance from her family, her loneliness and her imprisonment, but she can see her parents and speak with them frequently, and this notably relieves her suffering.

2. Six letters from Knox to the social worker Maurizio 2008-2010

April 3 2008

Dear Maurizio,

Thank you very much for that letter that for me is very interesting. I was thinking: “Why am I here?”, “why can’t I be with my mother?”, ” Yes the police can think badly about me, and meanwhile I do understand that I have to be in control, not run away from the situation, but why prison? I am 20 years old, never committed a crime, it is senseless. How can they say that I have to stay in prison like the people that can be a danger to others? Above all when they don’t know the truth?

It really is a torture and now I understand the motivation. I understand the motivation, but I do not agree. “Sweet” or not it is a “TORTURE”. I am being tortured and it is not right…...

Sorry. As I said I do suffer a lot in prison. Generally I am scared, alone, with no hope, sad, and tired, even if I am innocent.

Thank you for the article. It is interesting to know how people that do not undergo this torture as I and hundreds others think. To tell you the truth, I can’t understand how some judges can sleep at night, when they very well know that it can be a grave mistake. ah… mamma mia….

Come on! It is O.K. here. I am studying a lot and have started reading Italian Poetry.

Another thing that I like a lot is the song “A te” by Jovanotti. “perché tu sei…semplicemente sei….sostanza dei giorni miei…sostanza dei giorni miei…. (lyric of the song n.d.r.). Have you heard it? According to me it is a live song. It is true. Simple and strong. I like it a lot.

How are you? Do you like the change of weather? I spend more time outside reading a book and singing (I am still alone when I go outside). I am sun tanning but I’m still white white!

Hope you are OK. Love, Amanda

P.S. Let it be! Here comes the sun!  I know that I am not alone, even when I am alone

April 28 2008

Dear Maurizo,

Thanks again for your thoughts and your gifts.

I really like the T-shirts and the book of art. Beautiful! Mamma mia the talent of the artists always surprises me! Thanks. But you know, you do not have to buy me anything. I am happy just to hear from you.

Really, [Priest] Don Saulo speaks to me so much about God’s gifts, especially about the strength to overcome the difficult moments, of which there are so many. He bought me a book on philosophy entitled “Umanesimo Integrale” and we speak often of my thoughts and my questions. He is a true friend and a very good man.

It’s true, I must start to read a bit of classic Italian texts. Maybe there are some books in the library for me….......Who can explain to me about “Divina Commedia”? I know it exists and that it is famous, but more than that I am ignorant, unfortunately.

Now my father is here with me, but he has to return to the United States, next week. In his place the husband of my mother, will come. I am happy, because from him I receive a lot of strength. He is like that.

Today I go to the gym course (in a bit) and I have a home telephone call. My first telephone call was last week and I was so excited. The voices of the people I love are really a gift. I trembled a bit after those so little ten minutes.

Now, I must go to the course to sweat a bit. 😊 I hope you are very well. Thanks again for your words.You are very kind.

A hug, Amanda 😊

P.S. Let it be! Here comes the sun! I know I am not alone, even when I’m alone.

November 26 2009

Caro Maurizio,

Ciao, my friend. How are you? It’s from forever that I write you. I imagine that you must have basketball in your head, since it is the season’s sport. I send best wishes to your nephews, who play it. I am terrible at basket. I have very small hands, therefore I can’t control the ball.

I would like to thank you for meeting with my family. Chris told me nice things about your encounter, he was impressed by your generosity. I know that it is always nice and unique, every time that somebody comes toward you and they like you, just like that. Therefore, thank you, for having welcomed him, me and my dear ones.

Nearly, nearly there. O mamma mia, one has to remain strong in these days. I am always hoping so much, even if, in my stomach I feel sick, anxious. More than anything, the closer it gets, the more I have to reinforce my patience against the fatigue and frustration.  But I will make it.

A lot of my family will come tomorrow to be in court. There will be my father, my mother, my stepmother and my aunt. My three sisters will be here on Dec. 2. I hope so much to be able to go home with them, finally, this time. I see it in “my third eye” the vision of being on the plane between my mother and my sister. Maybe, I am thinking to much about it.

Anyway, I hope you are well. I must go to sleep early tonight, to be ready for tomorrow.

Thank you for your continued support.

Your friend, Amanda 😊

Here comes the sun! Let it be! I know that I am not alone even when I am alone,

Happy Thanksgiving!

April 20 2010

MAURIZIO

Hi! How are you? I’m happy that I made you happy with the full translation. For me it was a satisfying job, so I thank you too for the chance that you gave me. I don’t think it will be a bad thing put up my name as a translator. OK it is fine for me and yes if you like it, you can even put my second name Marie,

Thank you very much for the towels, to be truthful I really needed them. They are beautiful. I gave one of my pillow cases to the other inmate so we have twin pillows. She thanks you too and sends her best wishes.

Seems like that the weather is finally changing. With great pleasure I was able to wear a skirt in these days. Now people are out and we play volleyball together under the sun. I made friends with a new 19 years old girl: she is an athlete too. Every day we walk or play with the ball together,

Next Friday my mother, father and stepfather will be here for a visit. Mi mother and father are here for a short time to be interviewed on TV at “Quarto Grado” and then will come here. Can’t wait to see them, I miss them with all my heart.

Well, hope that you are fine. Thank you again for everything and salute you with all my affection

Hi your friend, Amanda

I know that I am not alone even when I am alone

August, 30 2010

Dearest Maurizio

Hi dear, how are you? Do you know that yesterday I was taking with D…. about you, only because you are a very special person in this world, for all that you do for others. She told me that you got married. Congratulations! Now I have to tell to my grandmother and break her heart! 😊 Just joking!

I am well enough here. I thank you again for the shorts and shirt that you send me. They were perfect as always. Thanks and I hope that you didn’t lighten your wallet too much. I am kind of disappointed that you spend your money on me, you are too generous. I am always the same here.

Just finished reading a book by Umberto Eco book that I liked a lot. In Italian should be ” L’isola del giorno prima”, I read it in English “The island of the day before”; maybe the “island of yesterday”? Anyway, I was favorably moved by Eco’s organization in this novel in order to communicate so many ideas on science, philosophy, ethic, imagination, literature. It was a book very rich on thoughts, and colpi di scena during it’s path.

I like Umberto Eco because he meticulously builds the story that he wants to tell. Of all he writes, nothing is taken for granted and this is remarkable, he has a fantastic mind to dig deep while following a long track. I saw a Sean Connery movie based on a book of his “Il nome della Rosa?” It was fantastic. Always meticulously built, deep and fascinating.

Seems like that the newspapers know before us when the appeal proceeding will take place. We still have not been officially notified, but my lawyers told me that it should start Nov. 24th; that in the USA is Thanksgiving Day. Hope that it is a good omen even if there is a lot in my life for which I should be grateful: to be alive, having the family that I have etc…

[Undated letter]

Dearest Maurizio,

I am happy to hear from you again. I use now the paper you sent me to answer you.  Sorry to make you wait.  My mother has returned to the United States nearly a week ago, and my father returns to Italy tomorrow, to see me Tuesday.

I am happy to remain in Perugia. I do not want to restart everything in another place.  Also I? (blurred) have heard that the prisons in Rome are harsher than here. Who knows?

I only know that at least I know some of the prison officers fairly well, after all this time. I would be sorry to leave Don Saulo. I feel fine in my new cell. I changed it so I could be with a girl my own age. We joke, cook, we do manicures. Further, she does a manicure for me, because I do not know how to do one. We listen to music a lot because she has a radio.

Thank you for all you do for me. The paper, your words of confidence, your prayers. To Don Saulo I will send your greetings. Do you write often to him too?  I hope all is very well with you. I send you a big hug. Ciao! Thank you!

Amanda Knox 😊

Let it be, Let it be! Here comes the sun! (drawing of a sun)

3. Comments by educational psychologist and graphologist Evi Crotti

Looking at the Amanda Knox letters it is evident right away how organized and precise she is: she has a perfect handwriting, elegant and without smudges. We try to interpret it with the help of the graphologist and educational psychologist Evi Crotti.

She explains: Her perfect, organized handwriting, without margins and few spaces indicates that we have before us a girl that is decisive, strong, who wants to dominate, and knows she can succeed in life. She puts herself In the center and leaves no place for others. Amanda displays a way of writing that is typically northamerican, in small print, called script.

The handwriting, elegant, big and curved, reveals an extroverted personality, and with a notable sense of taste. Her language is fluid and polished, and the accuracy with which she writes, tells us that this young girl has a need to maximize and nurse her image, to the point of becoming narcissistic: after her signature she draws herself with a smiling face.

Amanda leaves no space between the lines: this signifies an element of interior loneliness, which she attempts to compensate at any cost with approaches of verbal intrusiveness. This tells us that that her strong narcissistic behavior can escape control and lead her to present unstable behaviors. The fact instead that her handwriting is always in horizontal lines, without blurs, gives testimony to her practical intelligence and her strong tenaciousness,  that allow her to reach her goals.

Also, the handwriting is rigid and this signifies that she knows how to use words with care and determination. Evi Crotti underlines that the handwriting is static: It is a sign of a behavior that is very seductive. Attention, the need to be attractive at all costs can make her lose sight of the objectivity of judgment , taking her to a subjective vision of circumstance reality.

Conclusion:  Amanda seems to be in a continuous search of approval and acceptance from those who live around her. Her egocentricity, maybe pushed unto the point of a bogus personality, demonstrates that this girl possess a highly emotional immaturity that doesn’t allows her to love in an unselfish way. The handwriting slightly slanted to the left indicates a contradiction between the need to be liked and the reactive refusal toward a feminine figure: for her, probably every woman represents a rival.





















Saturday, May 04, 2013

Knox Book - What The Newly Published Writings Reveal To Professional Eyes (1)

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding





Amateurism run amoke is what the unprecedented and unwise Knox extravaganza is starting to look like. 

Several TJMK posts below this one have already suggested that the book was rushed into print with very little fact-checking, with no restraint on damaging false accusations,  and with no strategic legal considerations.

The same thing seems to have happened with the TV appearances.

Knox had a year and a quarter under wraps to prepare herself and yet her many exaggerated and over-emotional TV claims contradict many things SHE HERSELF has said previously.

She seems to have been rehearsed by handlers with little or no grasp of the extensive fact record.

And where has all this amateurism left her? Open to slow erosion of her credibility by an increasing number of commentators while considerably upping her peril in Italy.

Because many of her claims falsely accuse officers of the court, she could be further indicted for contempt of court, and she could see the five years which was lopped off her sentence by Judge Massei for “mitigating circumstances” reinstated.

Those of us with psychology credentials may not have all been expecting the same thing from Knox when she finally surfaced. But none of us expected to be confronted so forcefully with a classic case of a personality in turmoil.

My first impression after getting through to the end of the book was that it shows such serious disturbance psychologically, so much being revealed in her own words.

It wouldn’t be possible to classify AK as clinically insane, the niceties of this being so precise - but an abnormal mind is clearly illustrated. So clear that it is actually sad - that she has been allowed and encouraged to do this.

The ghost writing, or/and her own expression is also painful to read in terms of quality of writing. These are the main points that have emerged for me, from a psychological perspective, after reading:

AK’s grip on reality (even without drugs) is tragically lacking. It seems that she doesn’t know what a ‘fact’ is. Every fact and event is seen through a lens of her own feeling or emotion - logical connection being absent - together with how she believes it is best to make it appear.

‘Her “best truth” is this over and over again. She doesn’t even understand that this is considered by normal minds to be lying. She doesn’t seem to have a concept of lying.

  • “their version of reality was taking over”... Does reality only come in versions?

  • “something didn’t feel right. it seemed made up”.  Does she not know?

AK continually refers to herself as “different”. She is, but not for the curious or trivial things she believes. She is also obsessively concerned to be seen and classified as a “good person”. This comes up over and over.

“I didnt want them to think I was a bad person”. Note, not: “I didn’t want to BE a bad person” but always “how will people think of me”. This is a continual theme. “I couldn’t believe anyone could think that of me”.

It does show a dissociative and non-integrated personality, with both deep roots and serious implications.  There are also indications that she is unable to ‘read’ people’s faces /expressions with any accuracy. (Emotion recognition).

A more sinister and disturbing facet to her personality connected to the above, which comes through in every chapter, is the automatic disparagement of anyone who displeases her (which of course happens frequently - whenever, in fact, someone has a different version to ‘her best truth’).

Someone is then ‘useless’, ‘betraying me’, ‘stupid’, etc etc. These words are all said matter-of-factly…. as if they really are facts.  Here are some more of these words, peppered within the text:

  • ‘Repellant, self-serving’, ‘hostile’, ‘insincere’, ‘abandoned (me)’, ‘uninterested’, ‘aggressive’, ‘spiteful’, ‘curt’, ‘disdainful’

  • ‘Old perv…lecherous’, ‘glared cruelly’, ‘idiotic’, ‘insidious’, ‘controlling’, ‘condescending’, ‘mean’, ‘hateful’, ‘ruthless’....

Note that it is not that AK finds these people to be these things, in her opinion- it is that they ARE these things.

The sub-text is: I am a good person, and they, having displeased or disagreed with me, are ‘bad’. Thus the mechanism for strong, unrestrained projection is at work.

Example: “The police couldn’t bear to admit they were wrong.”  Could she, though?

Her projections are so blatant, that I quake for her lack of self-awareness. I used to read literature as a window into self-awareness, insight, philosophical depths, and questions of morality.

Sadly this book is about as far from offering these as one could go. A PR machine missile is not a ‘book’ in the sense I used to know.

AK reveals a very strong inner anger, the control of which is difficult, and which it would seem she is frightened of, and frightened of revealing.

She would also seem to be based in a passive aggressive stance, which gives rise to a side seen as nice and even gentle. These two sides seem badly split.

This would be in keeping with the Envy hypothesis (I refer to Melanie Klein’s ‘Envy and Gratitude’). There are a few definite examples of the consuming anger which Amanda herself describes graphically.

She continually justifies it, also. Sometimes, of course, anger may be justified (‘just anger’) but as described here it is nearer to a rage or a tantrum when things aren’t going according to how she wants them to.

This speaks of manipulation, which would be part of the same profile, and is essentially destructive and spoiling, as well as something that wells up with a will of its own.

She often exposes her state of mind in certain phrases, without realising the implications of what she is saying. This is why I think the whole thing is so sad, as she has been used (seemingly mainly for money) in this foolish venture.

For example: “In that instant I snapped.” when the detective said “you know who killed Meredith.” It wasn’t the pressure/abuse from the police that made her snap, it was being confronted with the truth.

NOT her ‘best truth,’ but one that was simply unbearable to hear.  There are many other examples, littered throughout the book, of some of her inner chaos:

  • “This is my own fault. I caused the confusion”

  • “I wanted to disappear.  I didn’t want to be me anymore”.

  • “I didn’t know if I was allowed to keep my thoughts private…”

  • “Like a roller coaster ride….can’t get off. This is all my own fault”
  • .
  • ” I was furious for putting myself in this situation”.

  • Rafaelle - “He didn’t look at me. I wondered if he hated me”.  (Why should he?)

  • “We want justice. But against who? We all want to know, but we all don’t.”

There are many others.  Amanda Knox said she loved Italy and I believe her. With adjustment she could have been a lot happier there than she perhaps ever was in Seattle. Now she is in the position of demonizing Italy and its good people there, and in the worst possible way.

Italy was in fact very kind to Amanda Knox, and her treatment there was on the right lines to give her hope of enduring stability. What a pity that dirty PR and legal tricks and money grubbing may have pushed that out of sight forever.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Should The Knox Defense Point The Finger At An Angry Daddy?

Posted by Our Main Posters




1. State Of Judicial Process

Given a level playing field (a big if) it seems for now that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are almost certainly going down for the final count.

There is not the slightest sign that their defense lawyers know how to contend with the Supreme Court appeal filed by Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati. One may have already walked (Maori) and the fact that the others don’t respond publicly to the Galati filing speaks volumes to Italian lawyers.

If the first appeal (called in Italy the second level) is rerun in whole or in part, Sollecito and Knox could see Judge Massei’s “mitigating factors” annulled and find themselves each facing 30 years inside or even life.

The whole thrust of Sollecito’s ill-timed book (subtitle “how to shoot oneself in both feet”) is that he deserves to serve less time than Amanda Knox (who he “nobly saved”) and preferably to serve no time at all.

2. Sliding Scales Of Discussions

Many bright people follow the case. We have many lawyers and crime experts and even judges read here. Many took a long time to settle on a “guilt” point of view and approached it very professionally (reflected in many of the posts written by professionals here). This is contrary to the klutzy, amateurish FOA campaign and their inaccurate rants about “haters”.

There are various great sliding scales or continuums in considering all aspects of this case. A lot of what we talk about on PMF and TJMK is where, precisely, we should all come down on each of these various scales at the end of the day. Especially of course how the judges in Rome and Perugia should calibrate them.

Via Dr Galati’s appeal and especially Sollecito’s book, we now have a new one. If reconvicted, should Sollecito and Knox serve equal time? Or should one or other serve more? Let us approach this by considering first some of the most-discussed of the sliding scales.

1) Was Knox a good friend of Meredith or increasingly a pariah?

Many here incline strongly to pariah.

Knox has an obvious tin ear and sharp elbows, was doing little study in Perugia, was making life hell for all her flatmates, was bringing noisy threatening lowlife men home (the other three virtually never brought men home), was disturbing Meredith’s studies, was hitting on patrons in Patrick’s bar, and was definitely into drugs to the extent that she might already have become an addict.

2) Pre-meditated murder or a hazing or spontaneous spiral initiated by Guede?

At least some here incline to the view espoused by some psychologists that Knox and Sollecito were probably both at minimum fantasizing violence, Knox against Meredith, and Sollecito long-term generically.

Knox had become threatened by Meredith in several different ways: Meredith was prettier, was much funnier, had won the best available boy, was brighter, had a tougher study regime, was more directed and ambitious, and had left Knox in the dust on all fronts. Hints that Meredith was about to get Knox’s job at Patrick’s bar could have been the last straw.

To most here, Knox has always seemed the initiator and the leader in the rage against Meredith, and the other two were possibly drawn in by group dynamics.

Judge Micheli certainly believed this. Judge Massei might have done, and his pointing at Guede (espoused in spades by Hellmann and Zanetti) and Massei’s “mitigating factors” both seemed “humane” stretches to give them a few years off - stretches which Chief Prosecutor Galati in his appeal and the Supreme Court in their finding on Guede have already both rejected.

3) Isolated crime/unique family or does American society incline this way?

Statistics show that society here in the US is separated out between super-rich and the other 99% more than at any time in the past 80 years and although productivity has been going up amazingly, all fruits of growth have gone to those super-rich. Many of them have a mindset that basically tells them they made it on their own, and government roles in their success and that of their creative hard-working employees dont matter a damn.

The situation and the anger in the US has been worsening, and absence of true growth for most people also have European and Japanese societies in disarray

In the US one can see heightened levels of anger in the losers of the Superbowl, in the renewed buying of guns, in conspiracy theories on the Internet, in the success of the very thought-provoking Hunger Games books and movie (small people against rich and a captured, cruel over-militarized government), in politics (of course!), and in the vitriolic flames on the IMDB movie forums now against the front-runner movies and actors for the Oscars.

We may not see this at major play here in the crime against Meredith, though, except in the over-competition sense, and the sense that Knox grew up in slight poverty (see below) and was burning through her savings with all the cocaine use (Perugia cops think it was cocaine)

4) Mental ill health in the perps and/or families or original evil?

Sollecito’s dad has long admitted that Raffaele is not normal, and he has struggled to keep him off drugs and focussed hard on his studies. His dad also admitted to all Italy that Sollecito included defamatory lies in his book.

An open and shut case? Seems so. Raffaele now looks “uncomplicatedly” psychopathic and the myriad wrong and nasty claims in his chest-beating book really hammer this take on him home.

That book seems to be his equivalent of Knox’s abrasive, uncaring two days on the stand in 2009 which so damaged her with the Massei jury.

Knox’s mental health seems more complicated. She was widely known to be “quirky” as a kid and then she became pretty wild in Seattle after she moved to live near the university. That certainly wouldn’t have helped.

Most recently, Knox seems to be sliding away into a bubble world without any possibility of admitting she needs treatment, which seems to explain her being kept well out of sight for a year now and not working or studying.

Generally the PROSECUTION in Perugia has been the side to suggest she is not mentally fully well (after the psychological tests in Capanne Prison in 2008) and the DEFENSE and FAMILY has been the side that shrugs this off and hasn’t made it any part of her defence.

Knox seems to have given off plenty of signs in the days after Meredith died that she was alternating between glee and horror. So she seemingly did know what she was doing on the night, and our guess is that it was she who pushed the knife in. In these circumstances the original verdict and sentence seem appropriate.

However!

5) Knox made herself what she was or did her family contribute?

Curt Knox’s seeming blind rage at Edda during their marriage and for years after are an open secret among some in Seattle. He apparently had one of the worst records in the entire US in not paying child support to Edda for Amanda and Deanna, and had again and again to be taken to Superior Court by Edda to be forced to make his monthly payments.

Here are two public records showing two instances of him being taken to Superior Court by Edda.

And we are told that Curt Knox was counseled by one or more judges to get himself some anger management therapy. Apparently he wasn’t formally required to take anger management therapy. He may have done so, though there seems no record that he ever did.

Okay. Not all kids growing up in such toxic family situations suffer, but some do, and a few end up with their hard wiring seriously messed up. Some even end up as drug-takers and murderers.

The classic example recently was the mass killer Anders Breivek in Norway, whose early childhood in a toxic family situation was not entirely unlike Knox’s. (In that case also, the prosecution thought maybe he was nuts, and the defense, successfully, argued otherwise.)

Italian lawyers tell us that it would be for the DEFENSE to bring this up in Perugia if it is a possible mitigating factor, and that it doesnt impinge on the prosecution’s case.

But how could they?

Curt Knox was apparently the one who shushed Amanda Knox at their first meeting in Capanne Prison, Curt Knox was apparently the one who misled her about the world-wide skepticisim against her (she didnt know about that until she came out of prison), and Curt Knox was apparently the one who drove the nasty PR bus - and most recently hosted all of the worst of the rabid PR nuts (including Sforza and Fischer) in Seattle.

Curt Knox has apparently consistently instructed the defense lawyers and PR honchos to keep the pedal to the floor, even though Chris Mellas once openly argued against that. Amanda Knox may have pushed the knife in, but Curt Knox for five years has not come clean about his own possible role in any mental condition.

Our present conclusion

Without a lot more information on Amanda Knox’s early days in her broken home in Seattle, and her current mental condition and condition back in 2007, it is pretty hard to calibrate this. It is not really possible to be precise about where she should be on any sliding scale of time deserved in prison if she is finally convicted.

It is really incumbent upon the defense counsel in Italy (their lawyers’ code of ethics requires this) to push hard for this information, and if they think it relevant to present it to court at any rerun of the appeal trial.

Amanda Knox herself should want this.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Hands Of Time Video With Screenplay By Amanda Knox - A Confessional Obsession?

Posted by Fly By Night & Thundering





Amanda Knox rarely, if ever, mentions her “˜close friend’, murder victim Meredith Kercher. Perhaps out of her self-proclaimed desire to “˜move on with her life’.

So the recent Hands of Time (H.O.T.) music video The Mistral Blows which was posted on YouTube with a screenplay attributed to the Seattle native is nothing if not astonishing.


Whilst there is some discussion as to whether Amanda Knox wrote the entire screenplay, or a section of it, or whether the screenplay was created through a merging of several versions, the screenplay is clearly attributed to her in the credits that appear on the video.

Crediting Amanda Knox with the screenplay is repeatedly emphasized by H.O.T. themselves who posted multiple Twitter entries:


And this screenplay does Amanda Knox and her claims of innocence in the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher no favours at all. 

Although provisionally “˜acquitted’ at the trial of second instance, Amanda Knox still stands accused of a capital crime, aspects of which she seems compelled to continue to portray in her various writings. 

The hapless band H.O.T. might be well-advised to disassociate themselves from this endeavour and drop the video like a hot potato.  The more-so as they have already burnt their fingers, tampering with the so-far elusive Brand Knox, finding themselves “˜forced to remove [clips of Knox dancing in Capanne] from the file, after a sudden, unexpected and “very strange” last-minute opposition from Amanda’s entourage.’

They state with a hint of bitterness:


The result?  A compromise.  The image of Knox dancing with carefree abandon in Capanne Prison (easily retrieved from other internet sites) remains, but is obliterated by a large “˜censored’ notice.


The reasons to attempt to disappear this video or, at the very least, any identifiable links with Knox, are abundantly clear to anyone having followed this dreadful case over the last four and a half years.

1) The video is riddled with allusions to the crime itself and features an easily-identifiable Amanda Knox as “˜heroine’ or “˜victim’ as she may now prefer to be seen and depending on how you look at it.

2) Any pre-book-release publicity will potentially devalue the carefully branded and preserved Amanda Knox product.

A cursory look at the video demonstrates the depraved audacity of the writer, a person who simultaneously insists she was found innocent of the crime of murder and of which she still stands accused.

The video features a Knox look-alike ““ recognizable by her clothing - in a prison-cum-house of horrors.


 

It opens with the heroine sitting down, colouring pictures in a prison cell.  Amanda Knox was reported to spend time colouring pictures of her hands whilst in prison.


 

From there she leaves the cell and embarks on a journey through a range of horrifying experiences, until she finally flees the house but not the prison to which she is eternally condemned.

As she runs through the house of horrors she encounters:

1) Ghost-like figures lurching out at her hinting at the night of Halloween before the murder and the ghouls and demons of the house of horrors both in which the crime took place and in which she is forever imprisoned.

2) A tall, faceless black-haired figure dressed in black carrying an umbrella resembling Meredith Kercher dressed as a vampire on her last night alive, the red belt reminiscent of the fake costume blood and the actual blood spilled the night of the murder.


 

3) A faceless butcher figure dressed in a blood-stained apron holding a knife, who hands her a maggot-infested apple, reminiscent of the photograph of co-accused Raffaele Sollecito as posted on his Facebook page.  The apple is suggestive of the poisoned apple offered by the witch to the innocent Snow White ““


 

4) Or a subliminal suggestion of Raffaele’s guilt in handing her the infested and poisonous apple “¦.. Remember: she claimed Raffaele may have pressed the murder knife with Meredith’s DNA into her hand whilst she was sleeping.


 

5) A figure tied to a chair covered in a red cloth hinting of the pools of blood and of Meredith unable to move to defend herself.  As she reaches out to lift the red cloth the bound figure screams, sending her running out down staircases and steps and out of the house.

In the same way, witness Nora Cappezzali heard Meredith’s desperate, blood-curdling scream, followed shortly afterwards by running footsteps out of the house of horrors and onto the steel staircase near her home.


 

The video ends with the Knox look-alike remaining in prison.  Both real and imagined.


 

H.O.T. suggest that the video and screenplay are a means of documenting the tale of the events in Perugia and, of course, Amanda Knox hopes to chronicle the nightmare in which she “˜innocently’ found herself.  In so doing, she inadvertently describes the crime and the images, sounds and memories that will seemingly not leave her alone.

Not only are there many references to the crime, but there seems as well a clear jealous obsession with Meredith, given the numerous references and comparisons to Kristian Leontiou’s video Some Say in which Meredith hauntingly starred.

The Knox look-alike emulates Meredith from the Some Say video both in her dress and appearance as well as in her actions.  She descends an old staircase, appears in doorways and through arches reminding us of the shots of Meredith and the church of the “˜Some Say’ video. 


   


 


 

Emulation is a form of envy.  Guilty or innocent, it seems Knox cannot exorcise her memories of the crime, and remains compelled to depict it in screenplays and short stories.  Knox is seemingly still jealous of Meredith which had proved her original undoing.  Here, in a bizarre reversal of reality, Meredith becomes the foreboding, frightening presence, whereas Knox is the shocked and terrified victim. 

At a time when a tough Galati appeal to the Supreme Court and a $4 million book deal are on the table, the memory of Meredith and the crime seem to haunt and obsess Amanda Knox who may reveal a deep-seated need to confess.  But while still accused, Amanda Knox cannot afford to engage in such obsessive, confessional activity.

Could this prove to be her final undoing?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pseudoinnocence: Is This Possibly The Predicament Of Amanda Knox?

Posted by Vivianna


In a dissertation titled Pseudoinnocence ““ An Invitation To Murder, Barbara Shore explores the phenomenon of “pseudoinnocence” in American culture as an inadequate response to the “conflagration of violence that encircles us today.” These are her introductory words:

“America is a country long haunted by its pseudoinnocence, by its blinding prolonged naivete. We are a culture that closes our eyes to all that is too painful to see, persuading ourselves that we have escaped, that we are neither interdependent nor vulnerable, or that we are victims.

We cannot come to terms with our own unwitting complicity in the destructiveness brought to ourselves or others. Capitalizing on such naivete, we fail to see how such “˜innocence that cannot include the demonic becomes evil’ (Rollo May 50).” (Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences Mar, 2001 Vol 61(9-A))

Ms. Shores’ words, although published six years before the murder of Meredith Kercher even took place, represent an eerily accurate description of Amanda Knox’s predicament, even reflecting some of the terminology employed in Attorney Carlo Pacelli’s exposition on September 26, during the closing portion of the first appeal trial.  As a reminder, Pacelli, who represents Patrick Lumumba in his civil suit against Knox, pointed out that Knox “has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side [she is] an impostor, she is a she-devil, satanic, diabolic, addicted to borderline behaviour.”

Although Pacelli’s words have been seen by some as too harsh, they carry a heavy implication mirrored in the above quote from Shore ““ that “innocence that cannot include the demonic becomes evil”; in other words, that if Knox cannot reconcile her two sides and seek atonement, she has no hope of redeeming herself as a human being.

I have argued before, in a comment posted here on the TJMK board, that Knox is not likely to make a confession in the near future due to the pressures exerted by her family’s innocence campaign. The innocence campaign is, in my opinion, just one of the factors which prevent Knox from admitting her direct involvement in the crime against Meredith Kercher.

The other factors may include her failure to reconcile the two parts of her persona (innocent, carefree, kind, compassionate young woman versus “diabolical” murderer) and perhaps a culturally-engrained inability to accept involvement in a destructive act. The discussion of these latter factors is perhaps best left to someone with formal training in psychology or sociology.  What I would like to enlarge upon is my conviction that there is a direct correlation between the strength of the innocence campaign and Knox’s unwillingness to admit guilt.

I would like to draw your attention to a conversation between Knox, her mother (Edda Mellas), and her father (Curt Knox) which took place in the early days of the investigation, when Amanda had already been detained.  This conversation will be well-known to those who have been consistently following this case as evidence that, in the early stages, Knox may have been inclined to give a confession.  I have chosen not to include it, but it is readily available on both TJMK and PMF. 

The reason why I believe this conversation to be so important is not only because it might contain the beginning of the confession, but also because it highlights the involvement of her family in defining her position.  I would argue that, had Knox been left to her own devices, she might have cracked in the early stages and given an accurate description of that night’s events, saving both herself, her family, the victim’s family, and anyone involved in the trial considerable grief, time, money, and effort.

At that particular point in time, she may not have been as psychologically divided and conflicted, and she may have had an easier time accepting her criminal side and perhaps moving on to experience positive changes.  It is, however, her parents’ firm belief in her innocence and in her inability to commit such a heinous crime that has consistently mired her in a difficult position.

As we well know, the Knox-Mellas family hired a PR firm, Gogerty-Mariott, to clean up Amanda’s image after unflattering stories started appearing in European tabloids.  The PR campaign has grown exponentially from a few stories about Amanda’s childhood, complete with baby pictures, to what I consider to be a falsification of public opinion. 

On the one hand, there is a concerted effort to offer inaccurate information about existing evidence (limiting the crime scene to Meredith’s room, stating that there is no evidence linking Amanda and Raffaele to the murder, pushing Rudy Guede as the “lone wolf” assassin, etc.), which is then fed to news outlets unwilling to do their own research and pushed upon the unsuspecting public via books, blogs, and forums. Then comes the even more insidious effort to falsify the public’s response to these stories, by hiring posters to write positive reviews for FOA books, post positive comments to inaccurate stories, and shout down any reasonable opposition.

Of course, this entire effort does not come cheaply, and rumors say that the PR campaign’s tab is around one million.  This is an enormous debt to place on the shoulders of a young woman who already needs to contend with the guilt of having committed an incomprehensible, heinous, violent crime.  While it is difficult to feel sympathy for any of Meredith’s killers, I find it impossible not to feel a certain amount of compassion for Amanda, who most likely never asked for this campaign to be initiated.  How could she admit her role in this crime when a million dollars has already been spent to trumpet her innocence?

In addition to the material aspects, there are social and psychological aspects to contend with.  While many of the FOA members are paid for their public appearances and statements (and may not harbor any personal opinions about the case), there seem to be individuals who are supporting Amanda’s innocence out of personal conviction.  Some of them may have even donated money to help her family.  How could she disappoint everyone who invested money and time into supporting her, from her own family to charitable strangers? How could she look them in the eye, after four years of lies and obfuscation, and admit that she was terrified of being punished, or incapable of seeing herself as a murderer?

Peter Quennell has suggested to me that this may be an example of “path dependence,” a concept used in both economics and social sciences to describe a scenario in which current actions and decisions are inexorably determined by past decisions. While my personal knowledge of path dependence is limited, I think that it is certainly applicable in this case and that it can be traced back to the prison conversation discussed before.  During the conversation, Amanda’s parents indirectly communicated to her that the course had been set ““ that the legal team would handle all questions and that she was not to communicate her thoughts without supervision; also that a confession would be unacceptable because she was undeniably innocent. 

As to why her family took this position, I think we can find the answer in the concept of pseudoinnocence ““ the inability to accept responsibility for and involvement in a terrible event, accompanied by a forced distancing from anything that could be considered troubling. 

It is not a coincidence that Amanda has been consistently portrayed as a victim of the supposedly corrupt, medieval Italian justice system, as someone who has been “railroaded” in a “third-world” country, as her supporters want us to believe. It is more comforting to become a victim than to accept responsibility and acknowledge that Amanda’s problems may have started at home, long before she was on a plane for Perugia. I believe that the innocence campaign is not only meant to exculpate Amanda, but to also exculpate her family from any perceived contributions to the formation of a murderer. 

As long as Amanda’s family continues to invest so much money and effort into supporting her innocence, and to maintain so much publicity around her case, I believe that any professional attempts to help Amanda admit her involvement will prove ineffective. This entire undertaking, combined with her own psychological dividedness and any cultural influences, is placing an enormous amount of unnecessary responsibility on Amanda and displacing a more appropriate type of responsibility. 

Amanda, at this point, should feel responsibility towards Meredith and Meredith’s family primarily.  While the murder itself cannot be reversed and no true solace offered, a confession would offer a certain amount of closure to those who knew and loved Meredith. Instead, Amanda’s sense of responsibility is being artificially redirected to not disappointing her own family and supporters, and to not betraying the trust they have placed in her innocence. Aside from being hurtful to the victim’s family, this situation is also damaging for Amanda herself, as it’s setting her on a path of continued “evil” rather than one of heal

Posted by Vivianna on 09/28/11 at 07:29 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+The psychologyAmanda KnoxComments here (63)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Book Explains The Unfruitful Emergence Of More And More Conspiracy Theories

Posted by Peter Quennell


Conspiracy theorists have dismally failed to come up with a plausible alternative theory of how Meredith died.

However, they do keep trying. So do the proponents of literally hundreds of other conspiracy theories, constituting vast amounts of effort probably better spent elsewhere - conspiracy theorists very rarely achieve very much, or do well economically, or rise to the top jobs.

The articles here and here look with skepticism on the 9/11 conspiracy theories which on the tenth anniversary of the twin towers coming down have been pushed hard by the various factions.

Now a new book “The Believing Brain” explains the mental makeup that disposes people to so eagerly believe the worst of our fellow man or our governments: One review in the Wall Street Journal..

In Mr. Shermer’s view, the brain is a belief engine, predisposed to see patterns where none exist and to attribute them to knowing agents rather than to chance””the better to make sense of the world. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief.

This is why, on the foundation of some tiny flaw in the evidence””the supposed lack of roof holes to admit poison-gas cans in one of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers for Holocaust deniers, the expectant faces on the grassy knoll for JFK plotters, the melting point of steel for 9/11 truthers””we go on to build a great edifice of mistaken conviction….

Mr. Shermer offers a handy guide for those who are confused. Conspiracy theories are usually bunk when they are too complex, require too many people to be involved, ratchet up from small events to grand effects, assign portentous meanings to innocuous events, express strong suspicion of either governments or companies, attribute too much power to individuals or generate no further evidence as time goes by.

The increasingly shrill posts appearing daily on the website Ground Report seem to mark pretty high against that list. Could the Evil Mignini have engineered even this?

Oops. Another conspiracy theory in play.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

An Overview Of Modern Thinking On The Criminal Mind

Posted by Ergon



[Above: an image of the influential researcher Dr Abram Hoffer]
l

Introduction:

The question of criminality has been much in the news lately, as wild gangs of youth rampaged through British cities, and wild gangs of feral financial speculators rampaged through the world’s economies.

As a scientist I wonder about the pathologies involved, and as a spiritual person I wonder about root causes.

So this is about where we are going as a society. Are we descending into criminality, and is the problem getting worse? I also wonder about the connection between criminality and mental illness.

In the course of trying to find a treatment for my own children’s Autism, I came to the following conclusion: conventional medical science has no clue about the causes or effective treatment of mental illness.

Therefore I had to range further into alternative medicine to find solutions, and serendipitously, I did. Yet, when my son’s autism reversal was confirmed by psychologists, no one seemed to want to know how. Neither the media, nor the conventional establishment.

Never mind. My findings were presented, for free, to various alternative medical doctors and clinics, reported in journals and books, and confirmed by them. The protocol has great possibilities in the treatment of other neurological illnesses. It is possible to reverse brain disease.

At my clinic in Toronto as well as other countries, I treated hundreds of young people with Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, and other psychological disorders, using holistic medical methods alone. Many of them went on to have normal lives; most improved significantly. And, when I have the time, I will write a book about this journey, and share it with everyone.

Which I already did in fact.  See here. But this is by way of background. I do not claim to have cures, or answers; I’m a searcher for knowledge, which I wish to share with others.

The question:

So: Is there such a thing as a criminal mind? This was a question much pondered as the new field of psychology came into being. In opposition to religious belief that crimes were caused by man’s original state of sin, and provoked by deadly sins like avarice and lust etc., it tried to define abnormal behaviour as a function of upbringing and environment.

It was only later as research into the nature of the brain emerged that new theories were formed; could neurological deficits explain criminal acts? Along with other suppositions of nurture and nature, addictions and abuse?

The answer:

According to these studies yes there is..

The release today of a study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) showing than 64 percent of local jail inmates, 56 percent of state prisoners and 45 percent of federal prisoners have symptoms of serious mental illnesses is an indictment of the nation’s mental health care system. It is both a scandal and a national tragedy.

The figures are worse than those generally believed in the past, in which estimates of the total number of inmates with mental illnesses have been approximately 20 percent. The study reveals that the problem is two to three times greater than anyone imagined. What is even more disturbing is the number of these inmates that have served prior sentences, committed violent offenses, or engaged in substance abuse.

This is not an ideological statement, nor is it an attempt to avoid the serious problem of crimes in society. We have to have a system of laws and justice, and we have to protect the innocent. But the present system of crime and punishment doesn’t work, either.

So, how do we measure the criminal mind? Could there possibly be genetic, neurological, behavioral or even, physiognomic markers? I was 10 years old when a gentleman took one look at certain bumps on my head and said I “was very perceptive; could look at a scene and see what others could not"Cool, and this was my introduction to phrenology.

This was where 18-19th century researchers sought to determine racial and emotional differences through the study of skull size, shape and protuberances. And yes, they did believe the criminal’s head was different than that of normal people. This later became the field of craniology and craniometry as scientists tried to avoid making unsavory determinations.

The scars left after World War II by these atrocious programmes of research meant that the study of human skull shape and size fell into disrepute. Human variation, the core subject of anthropology, was increasingly explored through genetics and other biological markers, and became functional and adaptive in orientation rather than a search for racial affinities.

In recent years, however, the introduction of new computer-based techniques of measurement, and the greatly enhanced power of statistical analysis, has meant that there has been a resurgence of interest in this subject, and, stripped of its non-Darwinian and racist past, the study of the human head remains a topic of major importance.

So now, scientists are using cranial measurements to determine mental illness as shown here:

Recently, Harvard researchers reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder. Now, University of Missouri researchers are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will enable them to develop a formula for earlier detection of the disorder…

When you compare the faces and head shapes of children with specific types of autism to other children, it is obvious there are variations. Currently, autism diagnosis is purely behavior based and doctors use tape measurements to check for facial and brain dissimilarities. We are developing a quantitative method that will accurately measure these differences and allow for earlier, more precise detection of specific types of the disorder,” said Ye Duan, assistant computer science professor in the MU College of Engineering.

Then you have “The Criminal Brain-Understanding Biological Theories of Crime”, by author Nicole Hahn Rafter, New York University Press (October 2008)

What is the relationship between criminality and biology? Nineteenth-century phrenologists insisted that criminality was innate, a trait inherent in the offender’s brain matter. While they were eventually repudiated as pseudo-scientists and self-deluded charlatans, today the pendulum has swung back.

Both criminologists and biologists have begun to speak of a tantalizing but disturbing possibility: that criminality may be inherited as a set of genetic deficits that place one at risk for theft, violence, and sexual deviance.

If that is so, we may soon confront proposals for genetically modifying “at risk” foetuses or doctoring up criminals so their brains operate like those of law-abiding citizens.

Wow. Now this really frightens me, to see scientists, once again, barking up the wrong genetic tree, but there you go any way.

Brain Injury as a factor in crime:

Alternative physician Dr. Russell L. Blaylock:  Vaccines, Depression and Neurodegeneration After Age 50

Previously, it was thought that major depression was secondary to a deficiency in certain neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly the monoamines, which include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. While alterations in these important mood-related neurotransmitters is found with major depression, growing evidence indicates that the primary culprit is low-grade, chronic brain inflammation.

In addition, we now know that inflammatory cytokines can lower serotonin significantly and for long periods by a number of different mechanisms.

I would agree with him there, since it has been my observation that mental illness is often accompanied by inflammatory disorders or auto-immune illness. I also believe the changes in vaccine schedules may have led to increased neurological deficits and genetic damage passed on to subsequent generations, but that is an argument for a separate article. I do not blame vaccines alone, as I will explain here.

There is research that shows criminal minds and behavior issues are often accompanied by brain damage.

Brain injury is a condition that involves microscopic damage to brain tissue that can only be seen in life through the lens of the patterns of the injured person’s life. Chris Henry, the former NFL wide receiver whose autopsy results confirmed he was living with brain damage, may have finally made that clear.

“Limbic Abnormalities in Affective Processing by Criminal Psychopaths as Revealed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging” by Kiehl, et al, (PDF)

Results: Compared with criminal nonpsychopaths and noncriminal control participants, criminal psychopaths showed significantly less affect-related activity in the amygdala/hippocampal formation, parahippocampal gyrus, ventral striatum, and in the anterior and posterior cingulate gyri. Psychopathic criminals also showed evidence of overactivation in the bilateral fronto-temporal cortex for processing affective stimuli

The brains of autistic individuals show similar defects:

The two research teams have noticed an intriguing abnormality in the brains of the small group of autistics they have examined: The cerebellum, a portion of the brain involved with muscle coordination and the regulation of incoming sensations, contains fewer neurons known as Purkinje cells. There are also preliminary indications that growth in parts of the limbic system, which oversees emotion and memory, is arrested while autistics are still in the womb

Likewise in schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

New research shows for the first time that both have a common genetic basis that leads people to develop one or other of the two illnesses..find that thousands of tiny genetic mutations ““ known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) ““ are operating in raising the risk of developing the illness.

“Early Signs of Psychopathy” argues that signs can show at an early age.

A twenty-five year study, published this month in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, demonstrates that, as early as the age of three, there are temperamental and physiological difference between those who show psychopathic tendencies as adults and those who don’t.

Not only do psychopaths lack emotions of conscience and empathy, but research has shown that these individuals consistently display certain aspects of temperament including a lack of fear, lack of inhibition and stimulus seeking behavior.

A lack of a hormone that affects empathy:

We’ve long accepted that hormones can make you amorous, aggressive, or erratic. But lately neuroscience has been abuzz with evidence that the hormone oxytocin—which also acts as a neuromodulator—can enhance at least one cognitive power: the ability to understand the gist of what others are thinking. In this week’s Mind Matters, Jennifer Bartz and Eric Hollander, two leading researchers in this area, review the many and surprising ways in which oxytocin seems to influence both our openness to others and our understanding of them.

For inherently social creatures such as humans, the ability to identify the motives, intentions, goals, desires, beliefs and feelings of others is not a nicety but an essential skill. We must understand “where others are coming from” not only to pursue our individual goals but also to facilitate social harmony more generally. Specifically, we need to recognize that other people can have thoughts, beliefs, desires and feelings that differ from our own…

And it may be this that drives psychopathy, or the criminal mind.

Cleckley in Psychopathy: Two lengthy checklists of psychopathic, or anti-social personality disorder:

Cleckley’s original list of symptoms of a psychopath:

1. Considerable superficial charm and average or above average intelligence.
2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
3. Absence of anxiety or other “neurotic” symptoms considerable poise, calmness, and verbal facility.
4. Unreliability, disregard for obligations no sense of responsibility, in matters of little and great import.
5. Untruthfulness and insincerity
6. Antisocial behavior which is inadequately motivated and poorly planned, seeming to stem from an inexplicable impulsiveness.
7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
8. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience
9. Pathological egocentricity. Total self-centeredness incapacity for real love and attachment.
10. General poverty of deep and lasting emotions.
11. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.
12. Ingratitude for any special considerations, kindness, and trust.
13. Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking—vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.
14. No history of genuine suicide attempts.
15. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated sex life.
16. Failure to have a life plan and to live in any ordered way, unless it be one promoting self-defeat.

Hare in The Psychopathic Personality:

A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack “emotional intelligence”. They can be expert in manipulating others by playing to their emotions. There is a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories (i.e., how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may have felt and why).

The lack of emotional intelligence is the first good sign you may be dealing with a psychopath. A history of criminal behavior in which they do not seem to learn from their experience, but merely think about ways to not get caught is the second best sign.

The following is a list of items based on the research of Robert Hare, Ph.D. which is derived from the “The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, .1991, Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.” These are the most highly researched and recognized characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior”:

1. glibness/superficial charm
2. grandiose sense of self worth
3. need for stimulation/prone to boredom
4. pathological lying
5. conning/manipulative
6. lack of remorse or guilt
7. shallow emotional response
8. callous/lack of empathy
9. parasitic lifestyle
10. poor behavioral controls
11. promiscuous sexual behavior
12. early behavioral problems
13. lack of realistic long term goals
14. impulsivity
15. irresponsibility
16. failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
17. many short term relationships
18. juvenile delinquency
19. revocation of conditional release
20. criminal versatility

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Is it becoming a rare quality among young people? It certainly seems to be declining in society.

Emotional intelligence “is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (Mayer & Salovey, 1993: 433). According to Salovey & Mayer (1990), EI subsumes Gardner’s inter- and intrapersonal intelligences, and involves abilities that may be categorized into five domains:

Self-awareness: Observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it happens.

Managing emotions: Handling feelings so that they are appropriate; realizing what is behind a feeling; finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.

Motivating oneself: Channeling emotions in the service of a goal; emotional self control; delaying gratification and stifling impulses.

Empathy: Sensitivity to others’ feelings and concerns and taking their perspective; appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.

Handling relationships: Managing emotions in others; social competence and social skills.

And according to Goleman (1995: 160), “Emotional intelligence, the skills that help people harmonize, should become increasingly valued as a workplace asset in the years to come.”

The last words belong to the educators, of course.

Howard Gardner (July 11, 1943 - ) American Psychologist and Educator

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) proposes that intelligent behavior does not arise from a single unitary quality of the mind, as the g -based theories profiled on this Web site suggest, but rather that different kinds of intelligence are generated from separate metaphorical pools of mental energy.

Gardner derived this conceptualization of intelligence in part from his experiences working with members (of) extreme populations, in which certain cognitive abilities are preserved (often to a remarkable degree) even in the absence of other, very basic abilities. For example, some autistic savants display extraordinary musical or mathematical abilities despite severely impaired language development and social awareness. Likewise, individuals with localized brain damage often demonstrate severe deficits that are circumscribed to a single cognitive domain (Gardner, 1983/2003).

And Piaget, who inspired me many years ago: Jean Piaget (August 9, 1896-September 16, 1980) Swiss Biologist and Child Psychologist

Definition of Intelligence:  Intelligence is an adaptation”¦To say that intelligence is a particular instance of biological adaptation is thus to suppose that it is essentially an organization and that its function is to structure the universe just as the organism structures its immediate environment” (Piaget, 1963, pp. 3-4).

Intelligence is assimilation to the extent that it incorporates all the given data of experience within its framework”¦There can be no doubt either, that mental life is also accommodation to the environment. Assimilation can never be pure because by incorporating new elements into its earlier schemata the intelligence constantly modifies the latter in order to adjust them to new elements” (Piaget, 1963, p. 6-7) (Including, imo, ‘criminal intelligence’)

Major Contributions:

The Theory of Genetic Epistemology.  Piaget also believed that intellectual development occurs in four distinct stages.

The sensorimotor stage begins at birth, and lasts until the child is approximately two years old. At this stage, the child cannot form mental representations of objects that are outside his immediate view, so his intelligence develops through his motor interactions with his environment.

The preoperational stage typically lasts until the child is 6 or 7. According to Piaget, this is the stage where true “thought” emerges. Preoperational children are able to make mental representations of unseen objects, but they cannot use deductive reasoning.

The concrete operations stage follows, and lasts until the child is 11 or 12. Concrete operational children are able to use deductive reasoning, demonstrate conservation of number, and can differentiate their perspective from that of other people.

Formal operations is the final stage. Its most salient feature is the ability to think abstractly.

It is my opinion that emotional intelligence development also follows these four distinct phases. This is where nurture and nature come into play, and any trauma, abuse, neglect, that occurs during these phases can lead to an emotional stunting where the child is unable to progress to the next stage of development.

In the same way, a positive home and school environment can help children grow to be more harmonious members of society, once you adjust for any biological and neurological deficits. Early recognition and treatment is key…

Having worked as a volunteer in the public school system, I can tell you what teachers and educators have been telling me for years: the number of learning disabled and emotionally disturbed children is increasing exponentially..

Is it just me, or does it seem like the world has become an increasingly disharmonious place lately?

But the last word might well come from a book written by a Norwegian judge, Jens Jacob-Sander:  The Criminal Brain: A View from the Bench…  Exploring the Criminal Mind

What goes on in the minds of criminals? This question raises perennial philosophical issues about human behavior in general and criminal conduct in particular. Do criminals act the way they do because of how and what they think and feel? And, are these internal forces of thought and feeling caused by the states of their brains, which in turn are predetermined by biology, chemistry, and genetics? Is the problem, in short, what used to be called bad blood?

Or, are the thoughts, feelings, and actions of criminals caused by external factors such as parents, education, and other influences in the environment that mold and shape malleable brains, which, in turn, give rise to the criminal personality? In other words, is the real culprit for criminal behavior what used to be called society?

With the emergence of brain science over the past 50 years, including brain imaging technologies and the study of brain chemistry, perhaps we can return to these profound questions with new hope of making progress toward answers.

At the present time, although some scholars of brain science lean heavily toward a reductionistic biological determinism, others call attention to the plasticity of the brain and its capacity for change. Even if we cannot ever uncover a single satisfactory answer to how the criminal mind works, perhaps we can begin to diminish the devastation caused by criminal behavior.

An exploration of the criminal mind might yield insights, ideas, and innovative hypotheses worthy of serious consideration and further study. It might also provoke us to reconsider how we think about the questions we ask about the causes of criminal behavior. Instead of polarizing the discussion by pitting determinism (biological or social) against free will as mutually exclusive explanations of criminal conduct, we might discover that biological predispositions and habits of thought can be influenced by education, cognitive retraining, and behavior modification. Whatever our current state of knowledge, isn’t it worth our effort to try to formulate better theories and more effective forms of intervention?

That daunting task has been undertaken in a new e-book titled Exploring the Criminal Mind and subtitled Advances of Brainscience and Mental Procedures of the Criminal Personality: A Unified Brain-Mind Theory. The author and publisher, Jens-Jacob Sander, is a judge in the Norwegian Courts of Justice, located west of the city of Oslo. Judge Sander tells us in the foreword to his book that it grew out of his frustration with trying to understand the criminal mind while he was engaged in a major international fraud-hunt in 1989 that, although successful, was apparently hampered by the lack of adequate information and insights about criminal minds.

Perhaps we can return to these profound questions with new hope of making progress toward answers, indeed.

Posted by Ergon on 09/04/11 at 05:01 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Various hypothesesThe psychologyComments here (11)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thinking About Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox: What Might Have Been

Posted by Ergon





This is my post on my website Man From Atlan of June 26, 2011 cross-posted here at the invitation of TJMK.

Due to my Scorpionic nature, I think, I come across a great many criminal and legal cases that grab the public attention.

It seems, also, that I get involved in the case in one way or the other, and, a great number of coincidences seem to er, follow me. Psychologists call that the ‘I was there syndrome’ and that’s fine, it’s a form of mental illness, and you can decide if I have it, or not!

But I have spent a lifetime studying the fine line between Psychic Sensitivity and Schizophrenia, and what interests me here is not only how we identify with the crime and the individuals involved, but how these cases establish themselves in the public consciousness.

And yes, I want to write about the lives wasted, and what might have been.

Whenever a person dies, there is a break in the fabric of consciousness, and all of humanity is affected. Most people learn to ignore it; some, more sensitive, get consumed by it, but we are all affected by it at some level.

A murder case may be just one individual; the devastation of an earthquake or tsunami may affect hundreds of thousands. As for me, I am an observer, but also in a way, a catalyst.

Look, you know my spiritual claims. Forget that for a moment. What I do is warn people about the fateful consequences of the psychic and spiritual damage done to our souls (or psyche) and environment, and if you don’t listen, if you don’t change, then so be it. What will be, will be. But a part of me, having seen what would happen, mourns for what might have been.

One of my patients was a girl who had Rhett’s Syndrome, a severe form of Autism. She came to my clinic and the treatments really helped, yet it was the mother who also needed help. In the end, suffering from depression, she killed her child and tried to commit suicide.

A woman two streets down from us, suffering from post partum depression, killed her husband and stabbed her two children as well. My son used to play with their dog at the local park, but curiously, I never met them.

I worked on a mayoralty campaign. The candidate, a lovely soul, came second. At the farewell party I saw something dark around him. I told his partner that he needed help, and offered. It wasn’t heard because they were, I think, already caught up in their karma. A year later he jumped off a bridge and killed himself.

Then, going from the personal to the ‘famous’ cases, and the ‘coincidences’ and lessons thereof.

I wrote in “Michael Jackson, the Drowning Man” about how I helped a famous musician with his Parkinson’s Disease in 1994 but when I asked him to introduce me to Michael Jackson, he didn’t. I was too controversial. Pity, I could have helped him before he descended into his inappropriate behavior.

OJ Simpson was the first criminal case. I lived in Santa Monica almost equidistant between him and his ex-wife Nicole Brown. I had driven around the neighborhood enough times to know the story had some inconsistencies, but I believed he was guilty. I also accepted the jury’s verdict of Not Guilty, because the principle of reasonable doubt, in American law, had to be upheld.

There also was the fact I had closed my practice in Toronto and moved to Los Angeles just to help people there, arriving in 1993 in time for the Malibu Fires and Northridge Earthquake (written in “A Spiritual Journey To The United States”) and once I knew my work was done left for Texas. And a few months later, the murder, the White Bronco slowly driving down the freeway, the media circus and all of LA enjoying a mass catharsis.

After I left the US in 1995 I shifted my focus to Europe, though Canada remained my home base. I still looked back to the US with fondness, and sadness for what was yet to come.

I was in England in 2005 when the Terri Schiavo case gripped the nation. She was in a lengthy coma, with most of her brain destroyed. Her parents were fighting to keep her on life support, while her husband wanted to pull the plug and let her die.

I tried to stay uninvolved, even though I knew her spirit wanted to be free. I felt this was wrong, for parents to keep holding on to their child. So one day, when Chloe called me about the latest developments, I said enough was enough, and helped her spirit pass on. She died that evening. And shortly after I left England, there was the London Tube bombing. Coincidence, or catharsis?

Madeleine McCann, a little girl from the U.K., disappeared from her holiday bedroom in Portugal just a few days before her 4th birthday, in May of 2007. Her parents were dining some distance away with their friends and inexplicably had left the children unattended and the door to their villa unlocked. The investigators never found Madeleine. The conclusion, absent a body, was that she had been kidnapped. There were many false sightings after that, as people assumed she had been kidnapped by child traders.

This was two months before I went to the UK with my family on holiday. I was asked what I thought about Madeleine. Would she be found? I replied that she had died that first night, and the parents were involved in a cover up. The person who asked me that question then consulted a psychic, who of course said what everyone wanted to hear: Madeleine was alive.

Then further reports came out, and we found that special police dogs, trained to sniff for evidence of death, had indicated she had died inside the bedroom that very night. Nothing further came to light, as political interference corrupted the whole process, and police investigators were sacked for ‘unfairly blaming the parents’

Yet, there’s a website that does just that; you be the judge. See here and here and here.

This was another example of a case that would consume the public, as so many identified with the missing child, or the parents. And, as always, my presence seemed coincidental to a whole series of events. A few weeks before we arrived in Glasgow, bombers hit Glasgow airport with a van loaded to the top with propane cylinders, the rains hit the whole country for three months straight, and the biggest floods in over a century inundated large parts of Southern England. Yet wherever we went, there was sunshine…This is the dichotomy of healing, that there can be sunshine, but also, darkness.

I had already arranged to go back to the UK for a month as a consultant. I returned to Canada on October 31.

The very next day, on November 1, 2007, British student Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, was murdered in Perugia, Italy. Her roommate, Amanda Marie Knox, was convicted of the murder, as was her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Hermann Guede, a drifter from the Cote de Ivoire in Africa.

I hadn’t read much about the case and trial, but came across it on the pages of Huffington Post, the social news website. Here was a full blown narrative: Amanda Knox was innocent of the crime, she was the victim of a corrupt Italian prosecutor, and Rudy Guede was the sole perpetrator (All untrue, btw)

What piqued me was the fingerprints of an extensive PR campaign to manipulate public opinion so as to influence the outcome of a trial in another country. Appearances by Knox’s family on Oprah, calls to boycott Italy, politicians trying to intervene in a judicial process, oh my.

And the comments on the numerous Amanda threads were funny, and so sad. These people were, in a word, disturbed. They were even foul mouthed about the victims parents, for daring to say they felt justice had been served. And they had no compunction about blatant lying and slander either.

I’d seen this so many times, the ease with which people could be led to believe, on the basis of something they saw or read, the most outlandish things.

Now I really do believe that trying to convince True Believers is a waste of time. (But arguing with them can be er, illuminating:) I’m interested in the process by which they come to that belief, but any good book on mob psychology can give you the basics, and of course, you must always read Orwell’s 1984. The same principles of propaganda used to create support for war can also be used to support a position, no matter how wrong it might seem to the intelligent observer.

So I looked at the facts of the case. Amanda Knox had falsely accused her black boss, Patrick Lumumba of the crime, she and her boyfriend had provided alibis that were later disproved, there was a staged break in to mislead the investigation, and there was sufficient DNA, blood and foot prints to prove the complicity of the other two accused.

Two courts, led by Judges Micheli and Massei, had already looked at over 10,000 pages of evidence to conclude that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had also been involved in the murder. And, the most compelling DNA evidence, Raffaele’s DNA on the victims bra, and Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s on the murder knife found in Raffaele’s flat.

The Supreme Court of Italy, while affirming Rudy Guede’s conviction, had already established that more than one attacker had been involved, and that DNA attributed to Knox and Sollecito had already been found.

I also noted that the Wikipedia page on Meredith Kercher, once reflecting the findings of guilt against all three accused, had now been hijacked by, let’s say, Amanda Knox partisans.

I have to thank the two websites TJMK and PMF for the fine work they have done compiling and translating the vast volume of Italian language transcripts of the trial and summaries of evidence. Without them, my technical knowledge of the case would have been quite inadequate. I can’t recommend them highly enough for anyone interested in learning about the case.

But I formed my opinions way before I found their sites, and I say this out of respect: I don’t want their work compromised by association with my own views.

What I write about here is first and always, spiritual in nature. I may use logic to confirm something, I will look at evidence, but ultimately I look at disturbances in the fabric to search out imbalance and untruth. And I learn to trust my instincts. It is only afterwards that I look at other factors, and if I need to adjust my views, so be it. But the patterns and the coincidences, are fascinating.

First, the Astrology. Meredith Kercher, born Dec. 28, 1985, and Rudy Guede, December 26, 1986, are both Capricorns. Raffaele Sollecito, March 26, 1984, is Aries, and Amanda Knox, July 09, 1987, a Cancer. Their signs form a T-Square, at 90 degrees to each other, which are widely seen as indicators of stress and incompatibility. The day of the murder saw widespread stressors on all their horoscopes which would lead to murder, detection, conviction and imprisonment. The Astrology even shows Raffaele’s drug dependency and mental confusion on the night of the murder, the conflict between Amanda and Meredith, and the violence and rage that simmered just below the surface of Amanda Knox’s psyche.

And the night of the murder, November 1, 2007, saw Saturn and Venus in the house of emotional excess, Uranus in the house of sudden death, and Jupiter/Pluto, in the sexual house, in an almost exact T-Square to each other. The close conjunction of Pluto to the Milky Way’s Galactic Center shows the potency of this murder in attracting the public imagination, and also, the trigger for the murder.

But Astrology is just one of many tools in Humanistic psychology. It shows patterns, yes, but mainly it gives a picture of motivations and stages of development. And sometimes, it tells us what might happen. For me, there are many tools: Psychism to know, and other tools to understand.

So I will say this about all four:

Amanda Knox’s profile is that of the self destructive individual who will fall from ‘the shattered tower’ due to her associations with others. Btw, her July 09 birthday is the same as OJ Simpson’s and they Both Wielded Knives, hmmm!

Raffaele Sollecito has powerful friends who won’t be able to help him. He almost had it too easy, and his drug use took him into some deep dark spaces. Note he wasn’t just using cannabis, but more likely a potent form called skunk weed, plus heroin and cocaine.

Rudy Guede may actually turn out to be a sympathetic individual. His is the one chart I see that leads to redemption and indescribable potential. He is, quite frankly, the most believable of the three, even though he did lie, and he was rightly found guilty.

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher was greatly loved, had the intellectual capability to go far, and would have, if she hadn’t been murdered, been a bright blazing star. RIP Meredith.

I hate to make predictions. Human beings will always have the capacity to alter the future (though truth be told, not as much as they like to think) My prophecies have to do with the future of this planet and humanity’s ability to survive and regenerate itself.

But on June 27, Rudy Guede will face Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in their appeals trial, and for the first time, be forced to answer questions directly. I believe this will be the day he begins to redeem himself.

(Update: And on that day, he placed Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the crime scene)

On June 30th, the DNA experts will present their findings. This will be one day before the solar eclipse in Cancer. I predict bombshells in court.

(Update: the expert’s report was presented a day earlier, on June 29, and it was interesting, to say the least. It disputed some of the DNA findings accepted by the previous court and one would think from the media reporting they prove Knox and Sollecito’s innocence. From my reading of the report, it does no such thing, only places ambiguities on some of the evidence. There definitely will be fireworks in court, as the prosecution tears into the many errors of the report)

I am struck by the coincidences of the cases I outlined: allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, disputed forensic and DNA evidence, racism and political interference, your standard trial. But they all, held a special place in the public imagination.

But in spiritism we see that it is the unquiet spirit of the victim that calls to us, and we can only hope and pray for their peace. Justice is always done.

And one can only look back at them with sadness, for what might have been.

Posted by Ergon on 07/06/11 at 07:36 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Various hypothesesThe psychologyThe officially involvedComments here (10)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Explaining The Massei Report: How Motive For The Crime Is Addressed By Judge Massei

Posted by James Raper




The March 2010 Trial Sentencing Report

The Massei Report in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder.

Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence. Since this pointed to a sex attack he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak.

Micheli, the judge who committed Amanda and Raffaele to stand trial, was more certain in his mind as to the roles played by these three. He said that there was “an agreed plan”, “to satisfy sexual instincts” with “murderous intent” and that effectively Amanda was the instigator and catalyst.

Motive is largely an area of speculation but it is surely possible to draw inferences from what we know?  As Micheli did.  The Appeal Court and ultimately The Supreme Court of Cassation may well adopt the same reasoning and conclusion - maybe go further.

And there were, to my mind, undoubtedly many factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address. I have always been interested in the possible dynamics of just how these three came to murder poor Meredith. Pro-Knox campaigners once made much of “No Motive”. Now not so much, because the issue draws people in to a discussion of the evidence and of Amanda’s personality.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” (my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the Cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies. The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda, he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith, and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate? Knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there, and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Proven at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them. It is as if the Judge (well, the jury, really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case, and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be.

What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial. A theft just prior to the murder significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaele, and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder. It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved: not premeditation as to murder, but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous “let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not yet have access to trial records. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence, or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses to whom we can refer. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her. She gave evidence that, the rent being due very soon, she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros, and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony. I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so, that would as I have said been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie, and that the bank records corroborate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money.

I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money, or Meredith’s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. And the credit cards? Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that a call was placed to her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede. Why? I have to concede that there is no single obvious reason and that it may be more likely than not that the call was entirely unintentional.

But if, as may seem likely, the credit cards were kept with her handbag, and the money in her bedroom drawer, then on discovering that her money was missing she may have called her bank in a funk, only to remember that the cards were safe and that no money could be withdrawn from her account.

The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her, and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc. What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room.

Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better. His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have, ie no point denying that he was there, or that he had sexual contact with Meredith: his biological traces had been left behind; and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage, ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money, not in the circumstances referred to in his statement, but because Meredith has already discovered the theft, and worked out who has had it, and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive. Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

Although Micheli thought Guede was a liar from start to finish, he did not discount the possibility that Guede was essentially telling the truth about the money. Guede expanded upon this at his appeal, telling the court that Amanda and Meredith had an argument and then a fight over it. It is a thread that runs through all his accounts, from his Skype chat and initial statements in Germany to his final appeal.

Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration at Amanda’s and Raffaele’s trial. Although he was called to give evidence he did not do so. Now his “evidence” and the findings and conclusion of the courts which processed his case come in to play in the appeal of Amanda and Raffaele.

When were the money and credit cards stolen?

I have to accept that, as to the money, at any rate a theft prior to the murder is critical to sustain the following hypothesis. The credit cards were in any event probably taken after the attack on Meredith.

According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s, and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there, as was Filomena.  Filomena left first, followed by Meredith to spend the evening with her friends, and Amanda and Raffaele left some time afterwards.

So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money any time after Meredith left and before she returned at about 9.30pm - the day of her murder. Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money, apart from the obvious one of profit?

There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained during questioning that their confusion and hesitancy was due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs. Mignini says that they were both part of a drugs crowd.

Because her own financial circumstances were deteriorating, and to fund her own rent contribution?  She was probably about to be sacked at Le Chic, where she was considered by Lumumba to be flirty and unreliable, and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked and trusted by all, whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane. 

But maybe Amanda just also wanted to get her own back on Meredith.

Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other.

Here are some quotes from from Filomena in “Darkness Descending”.

At first they got on very well. But then things began to take a different course. Amanda never cleaned the house, so we had to institute a rota… then she (Amanda) would bring strangers home… Meredith said she was not interested in boys, she was here to study.

Meredith was too polite to confront Amanda, but she did confide in her pal, Robyn Butterworth. Robyn winced in disbelief when Meredith said that the pair had quarreled, because Knox often failed to flush the toilet, even when menstruating. Filomena began noticing that Amanda could be odd, even mildly anti-social.

It seems that Amanda did not like it when she was not the centre of attention. It was observed that, comically if irritatingly, she would sing loudly if conversation started to pass her by, and when playing her guitar would often strum the same chord over and over again.

On the evening of Halloween, Amanda texted Meredith enquiring as to whether they could meet up. But Meredith had other arrangements. Meredith appeared to be having a good time, whereas Amanda was not.

Indeed there has been much speculation that Amanda has always had deep seated psychological problems and that after just several weeks in Perugia her fragile and damaged ego was tipping towards free fall.

With Meredith’s money, both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke, and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba, and she was supposed to turn up that evening for work, but perhaps she no longer cared all that much for the consequences if she did not.

Again I speculate, that she, with or without Raffaele,  met Guede at some time - perhaps before she was due at work, perhaps after she learnt that she was not required by Lumumba -  and discussed Meredith’s “availability” and agreed to meet up again on the basketball court at Grimana Square.

The notion that Amanda and Guede hardly knew each other seems implausible to me. We know that they met at a party at the boys’ flat at the cottage. Guede was friends with one of those boys and was invited there on a number of occasions. He was ever-present on the basketball court in Grimana Square, which was located just outside the College Amanda and Meredith attended, and just metres from the cottage. He was known to have fancied Amanda, and Amanda was always aware of male interest.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards?

Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening. However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money whilst she was out.

Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money was missing and would put 2 and 2 together.  What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it, but logic has its way, and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia uncomfortable for Meredith? Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith. Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed, but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here.

Amanda may have fantasized that Meredith would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome, I leave you to judge, but the hypothesis is that they were starting to think and behave irrationally and that this was exacerbated by the use of drugs.

In the event there came a point when neither Amanda nor Raffaele had any other commitments anyway. They got to the basketball court. They waited for Guede.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court the evening of the 1st November. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second lay witness. He was not precise about times but thought that they were on the basketball court between 9.30pm and 10pm and may have left around 11.00 - 11.30pm and then returned just before midnight.

In any event he testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over. What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website, and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the iron gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this?  Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why?

There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present around 11.00pm. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We of course cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele between the time of them leaving the cottage and their departure from the basketball court to return to the cottage. It has to be speculation, but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before leaving the basketball court does not look like a coincidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money.

It is my opinion that at the cottage Amanda came off worse initially: that she got caught in the face by a blow and suffered a nose bleed.

Experts Stefanoni and Garofano both say that there was an abundant amount (relatively speaking) of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom washbasin, and to a lesser extent the bidet.  Whereas most of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom was mixed with Meredith’s, the blood on the washbasin tap was Amanda’s alone. Both of a quality and quantity to discount menstrual (from washed knickers) or bleeding from ear-piercing. Their conclusion was that Amanda bled fairly profusely though perhaps briefly at some stage.

Possibly Amanda may have cut her feet on glass in Filomena’s bedroom but if so it’s difficult to see how blood from that ends up as a blob on the basin tap and in the sink, and cut feet are painful to walk on and she did not display any awkwardness on her feet the next day.

Amanda’s blood may have come from a nick by a blade to her hands. I think the nick would be obvious the next day. If so, she was not hiding it. She was photographed the next day outside the cottage waving her hands under the noses of a coterie of vigilant cops.

She might have got a bloody nose during the attack in Meredith’s bedroom save that there is no evidence of her blood there.

On the other hand if she got into a tussle with Meredith (say in the corridor outside their rooms and where there was little room for other than the two to be engaged) and was fended off with a reflex blow that accidentally or otherwise connected with her nose, Amanda’s natural reaction would be to disengage immediately and head for the bathroom sink to staunch the flow of blood.

A nose-bleed need not take too long to staunch, especially if not serious and if there is no cut (certainly none being visible the next day). Just stuff some tissue up the offending nostril. A nose bleed is not necessarily something of which there would be any sign the next day.

Raffaele fusses around her, whilst Rudy briefly plays peacemaker. But Amanda is boiling. As furious with Raffaele and Guede as she is with Meredith. She eggs Guede on and pushes him towards Meredith.  Raffaele proudly produces his flicknife, latent sadistic instincts surfacing.

Is a scene like this played out inside the cottage or outside? I think of the strange but sadly discredited tale told by Kokomani.

In any event motive is satiated and the coil, having been tensed, is sprung for the pre-planned, but now extremely violent, hazing of poor Meredith.

I am also thinking here of Mignini’s “crescendo of violence” and where a point is reached where anything goes ““ where there is (from their warped perspectives) almost an inevitability or justification for their behaviour. A “Meredith definitely needs teaching a lesson now!” attitude.

Psychology is part of motive and there is much speculation particularly with regard to Amanda and Raffaele. They have both been in prison for well over three years now and during this time psychological assessments will certainly have been carried out.

Based on specific incidents and and general patterns of behaviour, speech and language, and demeanour, some preliminary conclusions will have been reached correlated with the facts of the crime.

If their convictions are upheld, these assessments may be relevant to sentence insofar as they shed light on mitigation and motive.


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thoughts On Meredith’s Tragic Case And Its Significance In The Bigger Scheme Of Things

Posted by Saskia van der Elst


As one of the regular commentators on this forum once pointed out, the question we all are trying to answer regarding the pointless murder of the talented and beautiful Meredith Kercher in Perugia is: What is it, that keeps on drawing us to this case?

We all have our own reasons. According to me, a murder case seldom has so much in common with an old school murder mystery, or “whodunnit”. A victim that you instantly sympathize with, several suspects, each with their own particular background, ethnic origin and possible motives, a tragic event taking place on the day of the Death, a charismatic prosecutor, who himself is the center of some controversy, and all of this set in the stunningly beautiful medieval hilltop town of Perugia, with its two universities, its relatively small population and its many temporary residents, studying and partying in the small town center.

All are ingredients for a captivating story: a small universe, that can easily be explained to an outsider and once you heard the beginning of the story, you crave more. More information, more depth, more color. For those that have a normal, healthy brain, there comes a point in any murder mystery where you are convinced of the guilt of one or more of the characters in the story and as you near the end of the story, there might be an unexpected twist, but you can rest assured that you will find out who did it.

Of course, in real life stories don’t follow formulas, most of the time they don’t have a definitive ending and in the case of the murder of Meredith, the book is not closed. The three perpetrators of the crime have been convicted to a total of 67 years in jail between the three of them, but all three maintain their innocence. We all know that three cannot keep a secret, so it is a matter of time until one of them reveals more about the exact events that took place on the 2nd of November in 2007.

Each of the three perpetrators will go through a process of maturing in prison. Once they feel they have paid a significant price for their crime, they may realize the graveness of they crime and realize that they made bad decisions in their past. Not until that moment, they can find redemption and may feel the need to let the world know that they have changed as a person. All three perpetrators were immature in their own way when they committed their crime, so it might take a while for them to mature enough to be able to face reality.

Rudy might be the first one to reach that point, since he is more or less an orphan, with no controlling relatives, friends and others with vested interests in the lies that have masked the truth. Nobody will lose face if he decides to confess his participation in the crime. The same thing, but to a lesser degree,  is true for Raffaele. Since he never even cared about clarifying all inconsistencies in his stories, he implicitly has already admitted his involvement. He too, doesn’t affect many people if he opens up and gets clean. The only close relatives he has are his father and sister and they have not publicly expressed a strong believe in his innocence.

Amanda is in a much more difficult position, because of the amount of people that was mobilized to defend her. By now she has been the income generator for quite some people and although nobody envies her parents, they have a clear mission, that keeps them occupied and that gives their lives meaning. The moment Amanda would confess her involvement, the parents would be forced to exchange the “free my innocent daughter” banner for one that reads “I raised a murderess that is serving two and a half decades in a foreign prison”.

On top of the above, the process of coming clean might be a slow one, because all three suffer from uncertainty about how the other two are doing. That uncertainty might cause postponing the advance, until they are forced to speak up, because one of the others did so first.

The result for those that are following the case is that we know we don’t have all information yet and for us to fill in all the blanks and be able to understand what exactly has happened to Meredith we need that information. Until we have it, we cannot accept the story as is as it leaves us unsatisfied. Of course we are talking about a true story here and not about a work of fiction, but for the rational part of our minds that doesn’t make a difference.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Don’t Perpetrators Say They’re Sorry? A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Posted by Carol Poole


[Image: In downtown Leeds, a city in which Meredith was extremely happy]

A disclaimer: I do not intend these remarks as commentary on any specific individual(s). I’m offering them as food for thought, for anyone who (like me) struggles to understand both the human capacities for destruction and for healing

Why don’t abusers apologize when they’re caught? Even when it would be in their own best interest to show remorse?

Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes people own their crimes and take responsibility. The less shameful the crime, the more likely this is. As Johnny Cash sang, “I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die.” When he sang at Folsom Prison, no doubt his audience nodded along, sharing a general sense that shooting or getting shot in a bar is the kind of thing that any man might find himself doing on a bad day.

But no one sings about molesting a child. Or rape. Even the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, was offended when officers suggested he had raped the women he murdered—women, most of them young, all of them working the hardest of jobs and deserving much better.

So there are some crimes that no one brags about—or apologizes for, either, which is a shame, since the survivors and loved ones are left to try to understand what has happened. In my work as a psychotherapist for trauma and abuse survivors, I seek answers for this difficult question: how can people do such terrible things to others, and show no remorse?

This is especially hard when the perpetrator seems like a nice, “normal” person, a respected member of society. We can more easily understand when an act of violence is committed by someone in the grip of a psychotic delusion. It’s just a terrible accident then, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Likewise, we don’t lose sleep trying to understand a coldly sociopathic attack: we don’t have to wonder why a mugger steals a purse.

But it baffles and hurts us deeply when someone we should have been able to trust commits violence against one of us. Especially when the crime is covered up by denial, adding injury to injury by robbing the injured parties of something they need in order to heal: acknowledgment of the truth of what’s happened.

Dori Laub, a psychoanalyst who survived a childhood in concentration camps in the Holocaust, observed that when our faith in goodness is shattered, we feel abandoned by the world of goodness, and lost in a kind of desert of the soul, a deathly state that feels empty of all life except for the malign presence of the perpetrator.

And he pointed out something he must have learned by experience: there is something about trauma that messes with our ability to recognize it when it’s happening. Our minds sometimes cannot see it, refuse to put together the picture that is right in front of our eyes, perhaps because we fear that if we see the truth, it will destroy our hope that the world is the good place we need it to be.

This, I believe, is why good people sometimes collude with abuse by refusing to see it. The refusal is happening at such a deep instinctive level that it’s rarely an entirely conscious choice.

And in a sense, it’s also why perpetrators of the worst crimes so rarely own what they’ve done. Research has shown that abusers have a curious relationship with remorse: they may have formidable defenses against feeling guilt, which is feeling bad about what you’ve done. But they are highly prone to shame, which is feeling bad about who or what you are.

The kind of people who are most likely to abuse others are those who are absorbed by a damaged sense of self. They lash out in a crude effort to fend of feelings of being bad, in a kind of magical thinking: If I put the badness in you, it won’t be in me anymore. If I make you hurt, then I won’t have to hurt. To a very childish state of mind, to hurt is to be bad. We all make that equation when we’re very small, but most of us grow a mature sense of self that integrates our many different feelings into a whole picture.

Having a mature sense of self means being able to say, “I sometimes do things that aren’t good. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. At least I can try to repair the harm I’ve done, and learn not to do it again.” The same sense of integration is what prevents us from acting out our worst impulses. We can safely want to strangle people from time to time, knowing we will never do it.

When someone’s sense of self is so badly damaged that they can be violently abusive, they aren’t able to hold together a whole story about themselves, or about what they’ve done. It’s only after years of therapy (or other means of growth) that such a person might become able to really put together the picture of their own violence, and take responsibility for their actions.

Which means that people who have been harmed by violence have to find ways to take care of themselves and heal, even though the perpetrator has an infuriating, baffling way of seeming not to have been there at all. It’s as though nothing happened.

It’s natural to wish that the perpetrator would be sorry. It would help so much to hear their apology. But there’s a trap, too, in waiting for help from that quarter. It’s no good trying to get such a person to hear you or understand that gravity of what they’ve done. It’s like trying to get a clear reflection out of the fragments of a shattered mirror.

Instead, what helps survivors and loved ones heal is to tend their souls, and work their way back toward everything that makes life full: love, trust, gratitude, hope. Which means finding a way to grieve the losses.

We don’t grieve in the cold shadows of the death zone; we grieve when we remember our love and our hope for the future.

It helps to have a sense of community acknowledging our loss. It helps if we can find a way to bring something good out of the devastation—if we can at least bring some meaning to the loss by letting the tragedy inspire us to do good.

It’s only at the end of the movie, when the mother and child embrace, that we can let down and weep for everything they had to go through to find each other again, and weep too for the ones we miss.

Posted by Carol Poole on 01/28/11 at 02:55 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Various hypothesesThe psychologyComments here (7)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Claims Amanda Knox’s Confessions Resemble “False Confessions” Not Backed Up By Any Criminal Research

Posted by Fuji



[Above: Perugia’s central police station where Knox, Sollecito and Guede were all interviewed]

Meredith’s case is absolutely riddled with fabricated false myths. 

They are now found by the hundreds on some misleading websites, and they simply make experienced law enforcement and criminal lawyers laugh. 

For example “Police had no good reason to be immediately suspicious of Knox simply because the murder occurred at her residence”.  And “The double-DNA knife is a priori to be disregarded as evidence, because no murderer would retain possession of such a murder weapon.”

One of the most strident and widespread myths is that Amanda Knox’s statements to the Perugian investigators on 5 and 6 November 2007, placing her at the scene of Meredith’s murder, are to be viewed as the products of a genuinely confused mind imbued with a naïve trust of authority figures.

The apparent certainty with which many of Amanda Knox’s most vocal supporters proclaim that Knox’s statements are actual “false confessions” as opposed to deliberate lies is not supported by even a cursory reading of the pertinent academic literature regarding false confessions.

What actually are “false confessions”?

Richard N. Kocsis in his book “Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences” (2009), on pages 193-4 delineates three different kinds of false confessions:

First, a voluntary false confession is one in which a person falsely confesses to a crime absent any pressure or coercion from police investigators….

Coerced-compliant false confessions occur when a person falsely confesses to a crime for some immediate gain and in spite of the conscious knowledge that he or she is actually innocent of the crime….

The final type, identified by Kassin and Wrightsman (1985), is referred to as a coerced-internalized false confession. This occurs when a person falsely confesses to a crime and truly begins to believe that he or she is responsible for the criminal act.

The first problem facing Knox supporters wishing to pursue the false confession angle as a point speaking to her purported innocence is epistemological.

Although much research has been done on this phenomenon in recent years, academics are still struggling to come to terms with a methodology to determine their incidence rate.

The current state of knowledge does not support those making sweeping claims about the likelihood of Knox’s statements being representative of a genuine internalized false confession.

As noted by Richard A. Leo in “False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Implications” (Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009):

Although other researchers have also documented and analyzed numerous false confessions in recent years, we do not know how frequently they occur. A scientifically meaningful incidence rate cannot be determined for several reasons.

First, researchers cannot identify (and thus cannot randomly sample) the universe of false confessions, because no governmental or private organization keeps track of this information.

Second, even if one could identify a set of possibly false confessions, it is not usually possible as a practical matter to obtain the primary case materials (e.g., police reports, pretrial and trial transcripts, and electronic recordings of the interrogations) necessary to evaluate the unreliability of these confessions.

Finally, even in disputed confession cases in which researchers are able to obtain primary case materials, it may still be difficult to determine unequivocally the ground truth (i.e., what really happened) with sufficient certainty to prove the confession false.

In most alleged false-confession cases, it is therefore impossible to remove completely any possible doubts about the confessor’s innocence.

The next problem Knox supporters face is that, even allowing for an inability to establish a priori any likelihood of a given statement being a false confession, the kind of false confession which is usually attributed to Knox is in fact one of the LEAST likely of the three types (Voluntary, Compliant, and Persuaded, as Leo terms the three different categories) to be observed:

Persuaded false confessions appear to occur far less often than compliant false confessions.

Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, Knox and her statements do not in fact satisfy many of the criteria researchers tend to observe in false confessions, particularly of the Persuaded variety:

“All other things being equal, those who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to confess falsely. Individuals who are highly suggestible tend to have poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and low assertiveness, personality factors that also make them more vulnerable to the pressures of interrogation and thus more likely to confess falsely…

Highly suggestible or compliant individuals are not the only ones who are unusually vulnerable to the pressures of police interrogation. So are the developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired, juveniles, and the mentally ill….

They also tend to occur primarily in high-profile murder cases and to be the product of unusually lengthy and psychologically intense interrogations… ordinary police interrogation is not strong enough to produce a permanent change in the suspect’s beliefs.

Most significantly, there is one essential element of a true Persuaded False Confession which in Knox’s case is highly distinctive:

To convince the suspect that it is plausible, and likely, that he committed the crime, the interrogators must supply him with a reason that satisfactorily explains how he could have done it without remembering it.

This is the second step in the psychological process that leads to a persuaded false confession.

Typically, the interrogator suggests one version or another of a “repressed” memory theory.

He or she may suggest, for example, that the suspect experienced an alcohol- or drug-induced blackout, a “dry” blackout, a multiple personality disorder, a momentary lapse in consciousness, or posttraumatic stress disorder, or, perhaps most commonly, that the suspect simply repressed his memory of committing the crime because it was a traumatic experience for him.

The suspect can only be persuaded to accept responsibility for the crime if he regards one of the interrogators’ explanations for his alleged amnesia as plausible.

Knox did not in fact claim drug or alcohol use as the source of her amnesia - rather, she claimed to have accepted the interrogators’ attribution that this was due to being traumatized by the crime itself, and she offers no other explanation for her selective amnesia:

This is from Knox’s statement to the court in pretrial on 18 October 2008 with Judge Micheli presiding.

Then they started pushing on me the idea that I must have seen something, and forgotten about it. They said that I was traumatized.

Of course, Knox’s initial statement went far beyond being that of being merely a witness to some aspect of Ms. Kercher’s murder, as the interrogators at first seemed to believe was the case.

Rather, her statement placed her at scene of the murder during its actual commission while she did nothing to avert it, which naturally made her a suspect.

In other words, in the absence of any of her other testimony which indicated that she was only a witness to the murder, her own self-admitted rationale for providing a false confession was that she was traumatized by the commission of the murder itself.

Perugia judges will be familiar with all of the above and we can be sure that they brief the lay judges on the remote circumstances and incidences of false confessions.

If I were a Knox defense attorney, I would find it to be a far more fruitful line of argumentation to argue that she was simply lying, rather than claiming the supremely unlikely provision of an actual internalized false confession.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Report Students Studying Abroad on Average Double Or Triple Their Alcoholic Intake

Posted by Peter Quennell


American embassies and other nations’ embassies abroad get to hear of hundreds of cases a year of students who got in over their heads.

In the past couple of years, there have been TWO notorious murders by foreign students in Florence alone. Florence is about one hour’s drive north of Perugia. The embassy simply shrugged and moved on as Italian justice worked its careful process through.

Both perps happened to be American, and both were high. There were no cries in those cases of anti-Americanism. Howvever, there was some troubled talk in Italy of the excesses foreign students go to.

And a lot of tightening up by the colleges who send a lot of students abroad, including the University of Washington (Amanda Knox’s college) and Pepperdine University (Steve Moore’s former college - this helped to seal his firing.)

Amanda Knox is one of the rare ones who shrugged off all home-college supervision, presumably with the okay of her parents. Meredith was closely watched over by the Erasmus scheme, which sadly did not save her life.

Now the University of Southern California’s student newspaper carries this report on one root cause of students facing foreign judges.

Students traveling abroad can keep glass half full

By Kelsey Clark of the Daily Trojan

According to researchers at the University of Washington, American college students who study abroad are likely to increase “” even triple “” their alcohol consumption while traveling internationally.

Students over the age of 21 doubled their intake of alcohol from an average of four drinks per week on campus to eight drinks per week abroad, according to a study published in the October issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. The overall increase in surveyed students’ alcohol consumption was 105 percent, while those underage students tripled their drinking with an increased consumption of 170 percent….

By consuming alcohol in excess, particularly in an unfamiliar country, the risks for students are greater than those traditionally associated with a night of drinking at USC.

Though instances of injury, crime and sexual abuse do occur as a result of binge drinking at USC, such severe ramifications are comparatively rare within the university’s party culture. Some of the more prevalent woes are students who slept through class because of a hangover or ruined a cell phone by jumping in a pool.

But students who travel abroad must take additional precautions as the heightened risks include becoming lost, getting pick-pocketed or otherwise taken advantage of.

And of course bumping some poor innocent person off.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Is The PR Campaign Finally Now Pushing Amanda Knox Very, Very Close To The Edge?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Things seem to be getting increasingly tough for Amanda Knox.

We have already posted that she seems increasingly adrift. Now consider all that is about to hit her.

1) Next week a book of interviews with Knox will be release by an Italian politician, Rocco Girlanda (image below), who we hear comes across as more than a little obsessive toward her. 

We are told that an active Italian MP is in fact legally forbidden from meddling in an ongoing case, and it seems he started the interviews with Amanda in Capanne without her even realising she was being recorded. Who knows how this book will come across in Italy, and how she will then be regarded?

2) Next week also the slander trial of Knox’s parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, may get under way in Perugia. We have posted repeatedly lately on what seems the real reason why Amanda Knox accused Patrick Lumumba: Sollecito had just destroyed her alibi.

Only very much later did Knox start to claim that she was driven to make her demonstrably false accusation because she was being harrassed by an interrogator. This is supported by no witnesses at all. The tough confident insouciant Amanda Knox who took the witness stand last June did not manage to make this claim sound remotely credible.

In the echo-chamber occupied by such shallow grandstanding self-servers as Steve Moore (Machine’s post below) this belated accusation somehow morphed into Prosecutor Mignini himself leading the harrassment, which was said to go on for hours and hours, with no food, no water, no lawyer, and no interpreter present in the room.

So Amanda Knox herself and her two parents are now facing their separate slander trials - Knox’s own trial will recommence in November. All three seem to be between a rock and a hard place. Either they must look all of the cops right in the eyes and say “Yes you did this” or visibly freeze or melt down emotionally on the witness stand, and end up facing possible legal punishment.

3) The Sollecitos increasingly seem to be going their own separate way. The Sollecito family trial for illegally releasing an evidence video to Telenorba showing Meredith naked at the crime scene (which stirred considerable dislike for them all across Italy) will recommence on 24 February in Perugia. Raffaele’s sister Vanessa, who was fired from her job in the Carabinieri (federal police) for trying to get politicians to use their influence for Sollecito, will also be facing her own hearing.

As we have explained so many times before, Raffaele Sollecito has NEVER endorsed Amanda Knox’s final alibi - that she was with him at his place all night. The Sollecitos do NOT like Amanda Knox or her family, and they have no time at all for the strident anti-Italianism of the PR campaign, which has done them nothing but harm.

4) Amanda Knox is now said to be pretty desperate to talk in person or on the phone with Raffaele Sollecito. This has just been approved. For each, it will be their one approved phone-call a week, and it will be monitored.

Although some of the Italian media have made light of this - that this may be a sign of love’s hot embers - the far more likely explanation is that Amanda herself and the inner Knox team are desperately worried that Sollecito could cut them adrift, and come out at appeal with a show of penitence and even a sort of explanation.

So Knox reaches out to Sollecito now in what seems to be growing desperation.

5) Hayden Panettiere is hanging around in Rome waiting for the shooting of the Lifetime movie to begin, grinning vacuously for the cameras as she thoughtlessly heaps still more pain on Meredith’s family and her friends and shows zero concern for the real victim.

To their considerable credit, Amanda Knox’s own lawyers in Perugia seem to have taken a strong dislike to Hayden Panettiere, and to the timing of the Lifetime movie. We have just now heard that they have said no to a request from Hayden Panettiere to meet with Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison. This film is likely to stir enormous controversy unless it sticks to the facts, and the facts hardly seem to favor Amanda Knox.

6) There is less sign now than there ever was that the US Rome Embassy or the State Department are inclining to intervene, even if there was an obvious way open. They know the case from end to end and they believe last year’s trial was a perfectly fair proceeding.  Just a couple of weeks ago the State Department did move actively to help some other Americans in foreign trouble, but in light of the strident anti-Italianism and the Massei Report, it just isn’t going to happen here.

7) The depth and detail and precision of the Massei Report is a nightmare for the Amanda Knox defence team. Even if all the DNA and other forensic tests are repeated, the result are very unlikely to be fully in their favor, and there’s a real chance new tests will work against them.

And now we are hearing that the opportunistic prisoners Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello, one of who claims he was a cellmate of Rudy Guede who heard him confess, and the other who claims he is the brother of the “real” murderer, may STILL be the defense’s star witnesses at the appeal starting late in November. Both are very much reviled in Italy for their crimes, and each has a known history of lying.

So good luck to the Knox defense team with this one. Their appeal statement seems weak and disjointed. Amanda surely picks up on their despondent vibes, which hardly helps in her own struggle for emotional stability. 

***

So what do we ourselves hope for here? We hope that Amanda Knox finally breaks. Not calamitously, of course, but in a totally new direction. Maybe a shorter sentence for her. And certainly relief to the thousands this cruel senseless act toward Meredith has so very much damaged.



Thursday, September 09, 2010

Conspiracy Theorists Follow A Well Known Pattern - They ALL End Up Out Of Steam And Ignored

Posted by Stilicho



[above: conspiracy theorists don’t want you to believe that is an aircraft]

Conspiracy Theories And Those That Surround Meredith’s Murder:

What do the Apollo moon landings, the JFK assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and Meredith Kercher’s murder all have in common? 

They have each attracted the vigorous cult-like attention of conspiracy theorists.  Despite the cold hard fact that in each case there has been ample documentation to support what might best be called the official story. 

We know from independent and highly credible and very respected sources that the Apollo missions were successful, that a lone gunman shot and killed the US president in Dallas, that a terrorist group was responsible for hijacking of four aircraft, that the World Trade Center complex was destroyed by the subsequent fires..

And that Knox, Sollecito and Guede attacked and killed Meredith in her rented room in Perugia on the first of November in 2007.

Among the dozens of similarities between the Meredith case conspiracy theorists and others, we will focus on those made most apparent by the words and actions of those advocating for Knox and (occasionally) Sollecito.

A Commonality: Lack Of Any Coherent Alternate Narrative:

The court was obliged to create a logical narrative supported by the evidence.  That narrative, briefly, states that Knox and Sollecito encountered Guede after they found they had no obligations that evening, consumed drugs that lowered their inhibitions, and entered Meredith’s room. 

What followed was a sexual assault upon the young British woman, the active participation of each of the three accused, Meredith’s attempts to scream for help, and the silencing of the victim by covering her mouth, throttling her and finally stabbing her in the throat.  The three assailants then departed after locking Meredith’s bedroom door. 

Her mobile phones and keys were taken by Knox and Sollecito to be discarded in a remote location. Once it was apparent that the authorities had not responded to Meredith’s screams, Knox and Sollecito returned to the cottage to stage a break-in and to obscure as much evidence of their presence as was possible.

Those advocating for Knox and Sollecito have never supplied a coherent narrative to refute the official story.

Similarly, 9/11 truthers have never been able to agree on much apart from their strident belief that the official story simply must be wrong.  Various hypotheses have been advanced and withdrawn in the face of objections by scientists, engineers, and even rival truther factions. 

There is a no-planer faction that argues there were no planes hijacked and that all the video and film evidence was created in a government production studio.  There is a controlled demolition faction that argues government agents secretly wired unknown explosive devices in one of the busiest office buildings in the world while nobody noticed.  There are others who believe the leaseholder of the site ordered the demolition because of concerns about asbestos replacement.

When asked how Guede gained entry to the cottage, conspiracy theorists promote three main theories without selecting the one they all agree upon. 

They argue that Guede entered through Filomena’s window OR that Meredith let him in the house herself OR that he entered by unknown means and was there before she returned home at roughly 21:00.

Because conspiracy theorists are not constrained by the requirement for a logical narrative they will pick any of the three available and contradictory claims.

A Commonality: An Aversion To Respecting Good Science:

The Apollo moon landing hoaxes have a lot in common with the advocacy sites proclaiming the innocence of Knox and Sollecito. 

Apart from the development of the atomic bomb, there has likely been no human technological achievement so intensively documented as the Apollo programme.

Among the many claims of the conspiracists is the position that late-Sixties technology and instrumentation was insufficient or too bulky to allow the moon landings to take place.  They compare the size and power of 21st century computing hardware and software with that of 1969 and make their conclusions based on a perceived inadequacy of the previous era’s equipment.

In Meredith’s case there are several advocacy sites that criticise the scientific police on exactly the same basis. 

The techniques employed by (mainly) Dr Stefanoni, in determining the presence of Meredith’s DNA on a knife found in Sollecito’s drawer, are attacked partly because the equipment had not been used this way before. 

Just to be sure of their position, however, they add confidently that she simply could have faked the results or kept her tweezers in a beaker of Meredith’s DNA accidentally left in the laboratory.  It matters little to the unscientific mind of the conspiracy theorist that Stefanoni’s techniques were fully documented and observed by an independent party as required by law.

A Commonality: Lack Of A Credible Alternate Suspect:

Wrongful convictions happen.  There are dozens of them documented on a site operated by The Innocence Project, an American advocacy group.  Its banner proudly proclaims that 258 convictions had been overturned. 

The foundation seizes upon several important facets of wrongful convictions including DNA evidence and improper defence counselling. In almost all the 258 cases there is another common feature:  a credible alternate suspect.

JFK conspiracy theorists have never been able to establish a credible alternate suspect - and neither have Knox/Sollecito advocates. 

The latter have not yet gone so far as to accuse the Mafia, Fidel Castro, the Teamsters Union, LBJ, Nixon, the CIA and a man carrying an umbrella in Dealey Plaza.  But their attempt to establish Guede as the sole perpetrator accomplishes the same thing. 

Just in case the ‘lone wolf’ doesn’t make any sense, they are not beyond implicating even Filomena, falsely claiming that it is only her word against that of Knox that Meredith did not normally lock her bedroom door.

There was only one attempt to identify an alternate suspect and that was made by Knox herself.  She told police investigators that Patrick, her boss, was the killer. 

She is one step ahead of those proclaiming her innocence; she knew better than they that without another explanation it is she and Sollecito who remained the prime suspects.  She also knows, more than her supporters, that naming Guede instead would invite reciprocation.

Conclusions About Conspiracy Theorists

As briefly illustrated above, the length and depth of those being falsely implicated by the mostly anonymous Knox/Sollecito conspiracy theorists, untethered by the 80,000 pound gorilla in the room, the Massei Report, now knows few bounds.

This has now reached such levels of absurdity that they are increasingly being laughed at or, for the most part, ignored.  Nobody - really nobody - in either the Italian or American governments is paying them even the slightest attention. 

Meredith’s case is showing to the clear-thinking and objective world that Italy has an enviable justice system, that it is very careful and very humane, and that its scientific and forensic techniques are among the vanguard in applied criminal research.

And with no obvious way of obtaining special gains for themselves (or for that matter of hitting back against the anonymous attacks) the very fine police and investigators and prosecutors and judges and juries in Italy are doing the very best they can for Meredith.

Posted by Stilicho on 09/09/10 at 03:40 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsN America contextThe psychologyMore hoaxersComments here (12)

Page 2 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3 >