Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Messing With The Justice Process In Perugia Does Not Seem At Front And Center In Politicians’ Minds

Posted by Peter Quennell

Is it arrivederci Mr Berlusconi?

The Italian prime minister is now reported to be downbeat and disempowered in the face of 80-percent-plus negative ratings, a mere shadow of his former self. 

Berlusconi himself appeared a shadow of his former ebullient self on Friday as he announced Italy’s second austerity budget in as many months, blaming the global economic crisis….

For Italian daily La Stampa, the cuts and tax increases, which must now be approved by parliament, are another nail in the coffin of the scandal-weakened prime minister. “A funeral has been celebrated where the man officiating and the man buried were one and the same ““ Silvio Berlusconi,” it wrote…

Analysts say the latest spending squeeze could prevent the economy from expanding for the next two years. “The budget cuts are likely to have quite negative effects on [the] short-term GDP-dynamic, given the already-fragile situation of private sector’s financial balances. We expect Italian GDP growth to slow to close to zero in 2012 and 2013,” said Giada Giani, of Citigroup.

The Italian electorate goes to the polls in 2013. Chances of Mr Berlusconi’s party regaining popularity are remote in the face of his hugely expensive and decididly unpopular cave to the European Central Bank and his lack of compelling insights for bumping Italian growth.

Mr Berlusconi faces four personal lawsuits in Milan and all the magistrates overseeing the cases so far have been taking a hard line.

Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno seems very frustrated with Sollecito’s appeal which is doing her no good politically. With the bizarre claims of “superwitnesses” Alessi and Aviello on the stand and thereafter (one of which is that the Sollecito family offered Aviello a bribe, not yet rebutted) and an “independent” DNA report seemingly channeling Greg Hampikian and already partly discredited, she seems far short of landing a knockout blow.

And the junior Berlusconi-party MP Rocco Girlanda, who sits on Giulia Bongiorno’s Justice Committee, seems to have been very quiet about Amanda Knox since the President of the Italian Republic failed to even acknowledge his petition to intervene.

In what might seem a cynical move to gain favor with his party leaders, he is now reported as seeking to whittle away at the Italian justice system, specifically police wiretaps, which he wants to reduce or eliminate “for budgetary reasons”.

“In 2010 the cost of wiretapping by the prosecution amounted to 270 million euros, helping to increase the debt of the Ministry of Justice, where the deficit amounted to 360 million, which is why I asked the Minister of Justice to quantify, in economic terms and sentences, the effects of using this tool….

In a time of crisis like the current one, which requires a careful review of public spending and prudent management of resources allocated to various departments, including that of justice, which is one of the most sensitive from the point of view of the need for investments, almost half of the total debt is caused by increasing appropriations obtained by prosecutors, like Milan and Palermo, for wiretaps.”

Milan and Palermo? Hmmm. Mr Berlusconi’s four trials will take place in Milan, and Ms Bongiorno has been invited to run for mayor of Palermo. But no connection. Of course.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/16/11 at 02:25 PM in The wider contexts


Now that we’re waiting for the Appeals trial to resume, I find the technical details of DNA and mixed blood samples, while fascinating and enough to convince me of Amand Knox’s guilt, already argued through quite well. What fascinates me are the unanswered questions: what was she thinking, what do we know about the mind of Amanda Knox, what can we glean about motive and psychology?

One, deep rooted psychological issues. We know from accounts of her public behavior, background, writing and actions that she might have been a ticking time bomb, waiting for a trigger to set off a spiralling sequence of violence.

Two, she would have been feeling insecure around Meredith. The academic differences, Meredith’s obvious intelligence, being told she wasn’t very clean, would have been enough to set off feelings of inadequacy and effect on her ego.

Three, she may have been about to be fired. When even the Lifetime movie had to show Meredith wowing Patrick Lumumba with her mixology than I personally feel it might have set off a jealous rage to think she might be no longer the center of attention. This is all speculation on my part, since I have never met her personally. But I have treated enough cases of psychosis to know she has certain borderline traits.

The attempts to hook up with Meredith the day before. She seems to have had a competitive relationship with her mother, and I think Meredith reminded her of that. Once rejected, did she plan the rape prank and hazing? Was she under the influence of drugs and alcohol so all inhibitions fell away?

We may never know. For all that she has done, justice will be served. Meredith Kercher was murdered, and all the evidence and reasonable inference points to the fact that the crime was instigated by Amanda Knox.

But once that has been done and the final verdict handed in, one can feel almost sorry for her.

Posted by Ergon on 08/17/11 at 06:04 AM | #

Has anyone here checked the Conti-Vecchiotti Report that was translated by the pro-Knox folks to verify that the translation is correct?
knoxdnareport dot wordpress dot com

Posted by brmull on 08/17/11 at 09:12 AM | #

Hi Ergon
Great insight in your post.

My take on her psychology is simple. I believe that we have given Amanda Knox more credit for intelligence than is warranted.

The most compelling reason (Her competitive relationship with her mother aside.) is that up until arriving in Italy she had had it more or less all her own way. In other words her manipulation of others in Seattle had always come second nature to her, also it had always worked.

Imagine then her confusion and dislike when faced with Meredith who saw through her straight away. Consider the annoying aspects of Knox, playing the same chord on guitar over and over, being free and dirty since she didn’t have her mother around to clean up after her, and also she could do what she wanted such as bringing strange men back to have sex with etc;) This behavior I believe she had used before to gain attention and control. Now all it garnered was avid dislike from the other girls in the apartment.

I believe Knox chose Meredith over the other girls because of her deep seated psychosis based on white supremacy (Guede Lamumba as fall guys etc;) Also nobody else in the house was black or of mixed race. Rather obviously too an avid dislike because Meredith was in every way a better human being who saw Knox as just a sordid immature little girl and said so.

If it hadn’t been Meredith then I fancy that Knox would have chosen someone else provided that race was a factor.

In the mind of Knox it would have been a huge joke to have Meredith raped by a black person thereby proving to Knox that Meredith was just the same as every black person Knox had been brought up to revile, or at least dismiss as being inferior. “After all how can this inferior person have the balls to criticize me.”

Of course this is just conjecture on my part but it would, at least, explain Knox’s confusion concerning what all the fuss was about. After all how many black people/Jews etc; were in Knox’s circle of acquaintances when she was growing up.

Last night I watched the very biased movie on the History Channel concerning the case from an American point of view. At the end Curt Knox stated that when the guilty verdict was read and the jury filed out “Nobody on the jury would meet his eye.” At which point he also stated that “The jury knew there had been a miscarriage of justice.” This sad comment is indicative of the denials eminating from the family when all the time the jury was just sorry they had to deliver the undeniable guilty verdict they did.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/17/11 at 02:02 PM | #

Ergon you have written many things that I think all who have followed have wondered about and had thoughts about. Your points are spot on and if I may add one of my own. It seems she was obsessed with having as many boys do her as was possible along with her proud display of her vibrator(s). Possibly this was somehow an subliminal attempt to even her mind’s tally between Meredith and possibly others that she lagged behind in intelligence, poise, and class. Often this type of behavior in young women is spawned when no sigificant father figure has been a real part of their upbringing. That seems to fit in AK’s circumstance when one looks close. Then partnered with a young pimple face pervert who watches animal porn and instantly worships her….the evil was completed.

Posted by friar fudd on 08/17/11 at 02:04 PM | #

Hi brmull. Yes and our main Fly By Night will have a second post on the report coming up soon.

We did our own translation of all key parts and this was Fly By Night’s first post.


The bias toward American defense positions on LCN DNA which have already failed in State Supreme Court, while largely ignoring the more advanced European position, goes against a specific instruction by the judge to the team as Mr Maresca has pointed out.

The consultants have already been made to admit that the DNA profile from the blade of the knife is Meredith’s and that they have no proof of contamination.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/17/11 at 02:12 PM | #

One last point. In 1966 I worked as a musician in England at a so called ‘Holiday Camp’ Holiday Camps provided a means of cheap holidays for middle class people. Everything was provided for and organized in such a way that people had no need to leave for the week they stayed.
The musicians were housed with all the chorus girls. The vast majority of which had never been away from home before. As a result morals did not exist at all and over fifty percent of the girls, about 9 or 10 got pregnant only to be replaced. The musicins came back every year while the girls didn’t.

I mention this to illustrate what I believe happened to Knox. Edda Mellas has come across as being a very controlling personality. Also I believe that Chris Mellas is cut from the same cloth only worse. This would explain Knox’s inescapable karma and deep seated anger and resentment and in all liklyhood her future was preordained i,e if it hadn’t been Meredith it would have been someone else.

Also I believe that eventually she will be involved in future crime. The lessons of childhood never leave us but manipulate how we interact with the world and our view of it.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/17/11 at 02:34 PM | #

Hi Grahame, let me guess you played the Wurlitzer 😊

Posted by Helder Licht on 08/17/11 at 03:27 PM | #

I wish. No I played in the pit orchestra. We used to call it the ‘Open Grave’ The only way to get ot it was underthe stage through the bar. Bad move

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/17/11 at 03:48 PM | #

Timely reminder of Fly By Night’s first post in Peter’s remarks, above.  A deeply competent survey. Here’s a few lines which at the time astonished me.

“...The Italian expert report references quite a few relatively obscure… American resources [including] the State of Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Manual, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Evidence Guide, the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory Manual, the New Jersey State Police Evidence Manual…”

It’s incredible on the face of it to think that these professors, ON THEIR OWN, could ever conceivably consult, to mention only one example, the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory Manual.

So the question remains: Who cited these sources? Who first called them to the professors’ attention?

Not inconceivably, it may have been the Court itself (ie, the Judge.) (a) An unsourced American complaint may have reached the court, citing such references. (b) And the judge, out of simple fairness, may have called this to the professors’ attention. (c) They in turn may have felt obliged to mention them—Point is, it could all have arisen on the part of court & university experts in an effort to bend over backward in demonstrating fairness.  If so, bias & tendency may not enter in.

But Fly By Night’s comprehensive post shows a weakness in Giulia Bongiorno’s position—if she tries to dismiss murder weapon & bra clasp. My own belief (apart from such detail) is that the evidence will hold.

So yes, Amanda held the knife & thrust it into Meredith’s vulnerable neck with force enough to leave her mark. She may have done so with sudden energy after Meredith’s scream.  Because the evidence IS THERE.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/17/11 at 06:00 PM | #

@ Grahame

I seriously thought Rhodes referred to your piano . . .

Posted by Helder Licht on 08/17/11 at 06:31 PM | #

Two things about motive and psychology that struck me, that I could not ever forget, were

a) the false accusation and b) the staged break in.

I think any hint of rejection would affect Amanda Knox even more than jealousy.

Some time during the night Amanda bled in the apartment. I like to believe that Meredith, trained in karate, fought back and hit her on the nose.

There is one unanswered question, though, and it is a tantalising one: Who let Rudy into the apartment? I don’t think it was Meredith, which leaves Amanda. Seeing as how Rudy and Amanda’s cell phones were in the same vicinity prior, did Amanda set Rudy up? Did she arrange a drug drop through him? Did she hint that Meredith might be available to party?

It is that question which might better help us understand what happened that night.

Posted by Ergon on 08/17/11 at 09:10 PM | #

The real pity is that everyone has to have an agenda. Bongiorno likely doesn’t give a toss for knifeboy, she has her eye on success, and her client has not handed her an easy chance at it. Rocco has not received the fanfare he anticipated, so his jets have cooled, along with his passion for the young American
I am currently rereading Darkness Descending, which points up the early competition between the Italian Press and the Perugia detectives to suss out witnesses and clues. We can be thankful, at least, that Rupert Murdoch’s reach did not extend into Perugia, or we may have seen hacking into Meredith’s phones. I hope her family have not been subjected to similar indignity.

Rejection is an Achilles heel in one as needful of approval as little Miss Dean’s List. All the boys loved and wanted her. Why not the girls?

Posted by mimi on 08/19/11 at 05:29 AM | #

@Mr. Ernst - the obscurity of the sources struck me as well.  I’ve wondered why two European experts would seek out American manuals, and especially state-specific ones.  I don’t speak from a place of knowledge, since I have absolutely no idea what sort of resources DNA experts have available.  But as someone who’s done a fair bit of graduate work, it would seem more logical to me to consult works with a non-controversial status in the specialized community and which have universal applications.  Also, I would made a point to consult EU manuals and standards, since the point of the report was to evaluate the work of a European scientist.  It seems to me that there isn’t such a thing as a complete international manual everyone goes to, so localizing their research seems very important.

I’m hesitant to jump on the conspiracy train (i.e. that sources were suggested to them by an American intermediary).  The alternative is not much better, since it involves certain undergrad practices that people with PhDs shouldn’t engage in.

Posted by Vivianna on 08/19/11 at 12:26 PM | #

There has been so much conjecture regarding motive or “What was she thinking?” Why and what etc; Seems to me that this is a classic example of ‘Lord of the Flies’ revisited. I often wonder just how Chris Mellas met Edda Knox and at the height of the first love affair how Amanda Knox felt. I would guess that rejection would be not too far from the truth.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/20/11 at 04:38 AM | #

We hold our various views on the state of Amanda’s mind preceding her rape-at-knifepoint with the assistance of two stupid willing males.
My hope is that her psychiatric evaluation will be released at some point. The court will have its own reasons for withholding it, no doubt.

Meanwhile, I think this of Amanda’s pathology:

She does not require a motive in the usual sense. Her motive arises from within herself like the fabled demons of the Gospels.
Meredith did not “become” her enemy for any reasons that would be intelligible to us.  She was chosen. After Meredith, there would always have been the possibility of yet another such choice.
Deliberately, Amanda seeks to rile Meredith but why so?  She must elicit Meredith’s very ordinary complaints of a sort that would of course be expected (Why won’t you flush the toilet? And do stop bringing strange men home, one after another. It’s not safe.)
Even the least such complaint strikes at Amanda’s vulnerability which is concealed beneath her persona as a sexy young female, very free with her favors, & out for adventure & a high good time.  In a word, Amanda’s social personality rests on a foundation deeply within which is quivering with insecurity, misgivings, doubt.
So it’s not a sex game she chooses.  That’s just public fodder.  She chooses rape, cruelty, pain, humiliation, animal viciousness, injury—anything to defile the latent sacredness of another young woman.
Death necessarily follows. In that sense & because the rape is planned (however hastily) & deliberately chosen (but in no sense provoked) she has engaged in premeditated murder.
And for no good reason—from the viewpoint of an ordinary psychology.

Unfortunately, because her parents with supreme unwisdom reinforce her in her stance of lying (as if they hadn’t long since come to understand what happened) she is as far as ever from redemption.

I don’t mean Heavenly redemption or forgiveness at the throne of God—those matters are beyond my ken.  But there is a kind of human redemption we may sometimes seek, or even require, before our lives have value to ourselves.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/20/11 at 04:19 PM | #

    Thank you so much for this. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Indeed, I couldn’t have said it period.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/21/11 at 05:08 PM | #

    Behind Judge Micheli’s decision to hold Knox & Sollecito for trial, as he somewhere remarks,
is a sort of prudent apprehension that this pair might do the same kind of thing over again.

That in turn would reflect a pattern sometimes found in pairs of murderous psychos who seem intent on sexual defilement.
As if having once tasted that satisfaction they crave it again.

You are ahead of me on Lord of the Flies because I haven’t read it. What’s the intended comparison?

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/21/11 at 06:44 PM | #

Hi Ernest
      The basic premise behind ‘Lord of the Flies’ concerns a school of British upper class school boys who are the only survivors from a ship wreck. All their parents and guardians are dead. They soon revert to the basic insticts of survival of the fittest for without adult supervision they form into two camps who are at war with each other. This mind set, while a game in the beginning, soon descends into the real thing with actual killing.
My point was that without adult supervision Knox soon descended into her real phychotic state since she didn’t have to hide anymore. I indicated this some time ago when it became obvious that Knox’s phone call home to Edda Knox was a cry for help.
It has also seemed to me that Sollecito and Knox are their own worst enemy since together they form a toxic couple. Knox would never have been able to kill Meredith alone since she would not have had the guts. Anyway Ernest thank you for the response and as always

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/22/11 at 01:02 PM | #

Ernest, it is fascinating to watch how our forum gradually homes-in on better-and-better words to describe Amanda’s psychopathology.

Your words here:

“Her motive arises from within herself ....”;

“Meredith did not “become” her enemy for any reasons that would be intelligible to us. She was chosen….”;

“Amanda’s social personality rests on a foundation deeply within which is quivering with insecurity, misgivings, doubt.”; and,

“She chooses .....anything to defile the latent sacredness of another young woman.”

are soooh…....right.

Grahame’s “Lord of the Flies” analogy aptly furthers the description

May I submit a word, or two?

How about “Death follows because of Amanda’s ignarrogance”; and,

“she has engaged in premeditated malice - of a degree that could eventually result in death.” ?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/22/11 at 04:35 PM | #

    Thanks to you in return.
Good point about Lord of the Flies & I will recommend it to my youngest daughter, an honors grad & prize winner who teaches high school English. She specializes in troubled students.
My own descent into the depths (no joke) came in consequence of my very serious struggles in the ministry which had presented me with a kind of success that I couldn’t continue to accept (social esteem & endless distraction in the midst of severe inner doubts.)

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/22/11 at 04:36 PM | #

  Thanks also for your insights.
Our “timings” overlapped.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/22/11 at 04:38 PM | #

Vivianna, Ernest Werner, et al.
…. the Faculty of Medicine of La Sapienza in Rome …. isn’t …. exactly …. the best faculty in Italy ….



You can read about the selection held in Rome in 2002 for seven positions of “ricercatore” ie “assistant professor”, the third is Stefano Conti, who isn’t, then, “professor”, here :


Here you can read about the selection held in Naples in 2001 – failed by Carla Vecchiotti – for a position of associate professor:


Here you can read about the selection held in Bologna in 2005 for a position of associate professor won by Susi Pelotti and the following Vecchiotti’s “call” in Rome in 2007. More precise documents seem not available online for the moment:


Posted by ncountryside on 08/22/11 at 04:43 PM | #

    Very true. It has always fascinated me how confusing the human psych is and how it works. For example how many people have we known who are tremenously egotistical only to discover that at their core they are scared and full of self doubt concerning their own abilities.

This would explain Donald Trump and many others by the way who wanted to eclipse their fathers, or in Knox’s case her mother who rejected her father to replace him with a man not too much older than Knox herself.

This manifested itself in Knox’s desire to be attractive to the opposite sex in the only way she knew how.

Enter Meredith who had it in spades without even trying at all since she didn’t need to.

Incidentally I have always been confused by the curious American penchant for egoism. Ayn Rand certainly struck a responsive chord with regard to that.

Thank’s Ernest as always Grahame

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/22/11 at 04:59 PM | #

Hi, Ernest. Regarding Amanda Knox’s psychopathology I have noticed increasing numbers of troubled children entering the school system. Sadly, parents are often in denial or stuck in their own dramas, and refusing to see children’s faults which are often a reflection of their own.

I am not excusing her actions in any way, but I see this as a combination of psychology and neurology. Is there a difference between the criminal’s brain and the normal person’s brain I believe there is, though I also say it’s a balance of nurture and nature.

It wasn’t Amanda Knox’s mother who left, but rather her father who did by having an affair and marrying his lover when Amanda was very young. Then, when Edda got a young husband, I think the missing father and confusion about her mother led to deep feelings of insecurity.

Lastly, I believe that Meredith somehow brought up all her feelings about her mother, and, exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, it only was a matter of time before tragedy would strike.

Posted by Ergon on 08/22/11 at 06:09 PM | #

    I was unaware of Knox’s father leaving first. This is interesting because it would explain Knox’s desire to use men as a way to resolve the conflict within her ie Hate=Love=Hate etc;.
As to neurology I believe there is something at least initially, that creates an imbalance. For example some of the more silly posts I have seen run along the lines of,
“She doesn’t look like a murderer so how could she be.” forgetting such well known people as John Wayne Gacy, or the West Coast Hillside Stranger Kenneth Bianchi whos accomplice Angelo Buono was convicted by a single eyelash even though he had scoured his house of blood and semen before forensic teams had examined it. That eyelash sent Buono and Bianchi to prison for life without any possibility of parole.
Sound familiar! The cleanup I mean. A single eyelash eh! There is of course a large boatload of evidence here so after the fifth I imgine there will be some wringing of hands at the FOA.
Cheers Grahame

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 08/22/11 at 07:58 PM | #

@Ergon & Cardiol (again)

Ergon, I enjoy your posts. As to Amanda, I think her brain is much like my own.  She & I are on the same human spectrum.  So her pathology (to state a belief) betrays a warped development which I put down to parents & society, both. Big subject, that, as you are well aware.

She is deficient in the humane qualities to a surprising degree & it would cost her a major crisis to awaken to that. But unlike a Jared Lee Loughner, she is not incapable of it.

CARDIOL, I think your own formulation (quote) that “she has engaged in premeditated malice - of a degree that could eventually result in death” covers everything I would wish to say also.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/22/11 at 11:14 PM | #

O/T I am looking for a picture of the Brocchi law offices where Guede supposedly broke in. I know I saw one here in the posts or in one of the Powerpoints? Does anyone know where that is?

Posted by brmull on 08/23/11 at 12:02 AM | #

Thanks, Ernest. I’m writing an article on “The Criminal Brain” that I hope will help answer some of the questions I see asked on these forums.

Many scientists have started investigating the biological links that may be causative factors in the act of criminality. After decades of avoidance when scientists propagated the false science of Eugenics they now appear ready to postulate a genetic predisposition, so they can look into future manipulation of DNA to “eliminate” criminality. As per usual, they’re barking up the wrong tree.

You can have identical twins, with the same DNA and upbringing. One might be a psychopath, the other a saint. At what point do we start looking at the existence of the soul and free choice?

Yes we may all have similar brains. Yes, imbalances in brain chemistry, unusual EEG readings, deficiencies in the ‘empathic brain’, can all be mapped with stunning accuracy. But some will become depressive, some have wild mood swings, and a relative few, turn to outright criminality.

It still will be a reflective piece though. I no longer am interested in the dogmas of science or religion. What interests me is the philosophy of science, where rational, and not rigid, minds can meet.

Posted by Ergon on 08/23/11 at 01:10 AM | #

@ Ernest - Thanks.

Glad to advance the cause of formulating the right words to describe Amanda’s psychopathology.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 08/23/11 at 04:33 AM | #

@ncountryside - Thank you for the links.

Does anyone know how these two experts were selected? Were they simply appointed or was there a selection/application process?

Posted by Vivianna on 08/23/11 at 12:34 PM | #

On reflection, I think that the period of Amanda’s confinement may be increased & that Sollecito’s sentence may be reduced because (probably) Amanda will be seen as the instigator.

She has entangled herself in her own contradictions. These are a matter of record.  How can they be withdrawn?

Tellingly, her false accusation of Lumumba has been exposed & she has acknowledged that. It would have worked to her advantage to make him the killer. Nor could she set him free by confessing to her lie without further implicating herself.  She was trapped in the lie.

And the jurors have observed her behavior in court, much of it calculated to attract attention. Her dress & her varying expressions, nods, gestures,
the frequency with which she presents her profile to the cameras—the jurors see all that.
And by now it is all simply involuntary. She seems to offer sly smiles with a face tilted down.

Moreover, the weakness of the case presented by the last two experts must fail to carry weight with the jury. In effect, they would discount forensic evidence on grounds of its possible contamination while blaming the police for carelessness in collecting it.  This overshoots the mark.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 08/25/11 at 10:54 AM | #

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