AP Media Hoaxer Sees No Career Benefit From Parroting Knox PR

Posted by Peter Quennell


Associated Press HQ Manhattan (pending upgrade)

Colleen Barry ex Associated Press

Remember Colleen Barry of the Associated Press in Italy? Seemingly a total captive of Knox PR?

And a perpetrator of frauds on up to 2,000 media websites, as this 2013 post explained in detail.

Well here she is again very far down in the media pecking order as a lowly copy editor.

You’ll see that her AP stint and why it ended are not mentioned.

Remember Steve Shay? Linda Byron? Peter Popham? Andrew Gumbel? Michael Heavey? Ann Bremner? Francesco Sforza? Rachel Sterne? Jonathan Martin? Bruce Fischer’s gang at Ground Report? All missing in action.

And all stiffed by Knox as explained in this 2019 media overview.

In fact almost all of the once pro-Knox media gang stiffed by Knox seem down on their luck these days. Surprise surprise, it wasn’t a fast track to continued prominence.

Here’s a list (click for larger version) of most of those hapless reporters, other than the 600 or so who posted effusive reviews of the Netflix “documentary” produced by Knox PR for which we have a separate list.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/26/21 at 11:39 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (12)

New $160 Million Washington Museum Astonishing On Vast War Between Fake News And Hard Facts

Posted by Peter Quennell

Video by Agence France Presse.


The old Washington DC spy museum was a dusty predictable place with smallish crowds.

The ultra-modern “International Spy Museum” (called that because the focus is worldwide) opened two months ago, and is already one of DC’s biggest magnets for museum crowds.

It has leapfrogged such museums world-wide in the external look and the immersive hands-on experiences in numerous high-tech rooms. Maybe allow two days! Hard to see it all in one.

The design was by the London architect firm that Richard Rodgers heads. He designed various transparent and inside-out buildings that are really fun to be around, such as the London Stock Exchange and the Beaubourg Museum in Paris, France.

This expose could leave folks like us mentally rewinding it for days, as it hits home the true vast scale of today’s information v disinformation war - of which we too are a part.

A trend strongly on our side is that more and more people are becoming picky in what they accept. The more hard facts, the better, both science and website hits say. Serious media is gaining greatly from this.

There was a time when TJMK and the Wiki could have been dismissed (or sued). But we got beyond that point back in 2015 when our hard-facts posts rebutting the Marasca-Bruno sentencing report went up and when we found out about Rocco Sollecito’s role.

Posts on those has sure made some of the mafia poodles disappear!

We already have enough hard facts at hand to show up all of the biased reporters, and all of their false claims. But first, those have to be gathered into a single tough read.

See the previous post as an example of this, and see the redesigned Wiki soon.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/21/19 at 12:02 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (6)

Demonizations By Knox: How A Mismanaged VICE Media Failed To Check Out The Facts

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1. VICE Media’s Back To The Wall

Things seemed to be going so well for VICE.

This is the Brooklyn-based media conglomerate of Canadian origins which is beamed at a hip demographic and does do some good reporting at BBC and Al Jazeerah levels.

But now VICE finds itself in the middle of all of this mess.

Click for Post:  A Media Company Built on Outlandishness Unable to Create “A Safe and Inclusive Workplace”

Click for Post:  Dozens Of Female Vice Employees Coming Forward With Terrifying Sexual Harassment Claims

Click for Post:  Amid Sexual Harassment Claims, Top Editors, Executives Out At Vice Media.

Click for Post:  Vice Media Reportedly Missed its 2017 Revenue Target by More than $100 Million.

Click for Post:  Vice Investors Getting Antsy for Company to Turn a Profit as Cable TV Struggles

Click for Post:  Vice Media’s Shane Smith out as CEO, Being Replaced by Nancy Dubuc

Welcome to the notorious Scourge of Knox. Wait till VICE finds out that it is being used as a mafia tool….

2. Failed Due Diligence On Knox

With lawsuits and firings also ongoing, the turbulence is still playing out.  Maybe getting worse. So maybe its no surprise that VICE’s journalistic principles really took a back seat in Knox’s case. 

No checking out at all of Knox’s demonization claims when she was offered a gig on VICE’s Facebook Video interviewing women who were genuinely demonized?

No realization that there are few people on the planet who have done more demonizing than Knox herself? Why did three years in prison for felony demonization not ring a bell at VICE?

Knox’s demonizing record (much of it still chargeable; the legal process has not yet played out, as Sollecito recently found) could fill a book. In fact her demonizations and stalkings do fill much of a book!

The one by Knox herself. Some of those 90 instances will be checked out in future posts.

3. Summary Of Knox Demonization Trial

Given every chance over more than two years, Knox monumentally failed to explain at trial, with half of Italy tuned in, why she spontaneously framed Patrick for murder and had shrugged that off for two weeks.

By that time the evidence assembled with zero help from Knox was overwhelming that she had lied. And so Patrick finally walked free - to face the havoc in his business and life which Knox had maliciously rained down on him. .

Knox had no Italian work permit, and Patrick was in fact risking his business in kindly hiring her.  But in Knox World it seems no kind deed goes unpunished - and so she wrecked his business anyway.

4. Explanation Of Demonization Charge

Knox was prosecuted by the Republic of Italy, not by Lumumba, for FELONY demonization. Machiavelli explains. 

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone”Ÿs reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

5. Knox Guilty At Trial & Served 3 Years

Over the next several years Knox butted her head against a brick wall in trying to get the guilty verdict and sentence reversed. No luck. Her appeal failed on this front in 2011 and the Supreme Court closed the books in 2013.

So Knox served her time. And although the Fifth Chambers knew they had no further jurisdiction in 2015 the European Court of Human Rights was tartly told they could have no further role.

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 05/04/18 at 02:12 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (2)

Why Did The Mainstream Media Enable A Takeover By The Conspiracy Nuts?

Posted by The Machine



How Seattle is misinformed. Exoneration? Riiiight….

Rampant Conspiracies

This condemnation is written in light of the ever-growing wave of translated transcripts.

They show how extremely good the investigation and case at trial really were. And how extremely wrong were too much of the press. Why did mainstream media organisations allow so many conspiracy nuts to spout their unsubstantiated and ridiculously far-fetched claims?

Mainstream media organisations have known for a while that the general public has an insatiable appetite for documentaries about allegedly innocent people who have been convicted of murders they didn’t commit.

A cursory glance at the selection of true crime documentaries on Netflix provides evidence of the appeal of this specific genre. Amanda Knox, West of Memphis and Making of a Murderer are all hugely popular.

The Serial podcast about the Adnan Syed/Hae Mine Lee case is one the most downloaded podcast of all time. Sarah Koenig presented the case from the defence’s perspective and concluded there isn’t enough evidence to convict Adnan Syed of Hae Min Lee’s murder. 

The juries in the respective cases above listened to the prosecution and defence present their cases in court.

They weighed the testimonies of the experts and witnesses for both sides and they were all convinced that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Damian Echols, Jesse Misskelley and Jason Baldwin and Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and Adnan Syed were all involved in exceptionally brutal murders.

There is damning evidence against all the people mentioned above. But many journalists don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story.

Among The Worst

Paul Ciolino admitted in a question-and-answer session about the Meredith Kercher case at Seattle University that CBS News didn’t care whether someone was innocent. The only thing they care about is the story.

I work for CBS News. I want to tell you one thing about CBS. We don’t care if you did it. We don’t care if you’re innocent. We like a story. We want to do a story. That’s all we care about.

It was recognised as far back as 1999 in the legal profession that journalists have an inclination to slant their reports in favour of the defendants.

P. Cassell, “The guilty and the ‘innocent’: An examination of alleged cases of wrongful conviction from false confessions”, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 1999:

...academic research on miscarriages should not rely on media descriptions of the evidence against defendants. Journalists will all too often slant their reports in the direction of discovering “news” by finding that an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted.

The default position of mainstream media organisations in the US was that Amanda Knox is innocent despite the fact that the vast majority of journalists who covered the case weren’t in a position to know this - they hadn’t regularly attended the court hearings or read a single page of any of the official court reports.

The news organizations in Seattle was so partisan in their support of Amanda Knox that they were effectively just mouthpieces for the PR firm of David Marriott that was hired by Curt Knox to influence a credulous and naive local audience who felt duty-bound to support the hometown girl.

Lawyer Anne Bremner couldn’t resist the temptation to use the case to promote herself in the media. Judge Michael Heavey was recruited so he could use his position as a judge to sway the public.

The vast majority of people in Seattle were kept completely ignorant of the basic facts of the case by all their newspapers and all their TV news, so they were not in a position to realize that both Bremner and Heavey got basic facts wrong.

Many American journalists who reported on the case hold the ridiculous belief that the US legal system is the only competent and just one in the world, and that no US citizen charged by a foreign court with any crime can possibly be guilty of it or ever receive a fair trial.

The claim that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by corrupt officials in a foreign country by her supporters was manna from heaven for mainstream media organizations in America.

It was a sensational story that was guaranteed to enrage and entertain a gullible American public in equal measure.

It’s not possible to ascertain precisely who originated the story that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by a corrupt legal system.

But it almost certainly came from someone within or very close to Amanda Knox’s family. Jan Goodwin was one of the first journalists to make the claim after interviewing Edda Mellas for Marie Claire in 2008.

Studying abroad should have been a grand adventure. Instead, Amanda Knox has spent a year in jail, accused by a corrupt legal system of murdering her roommate.

Goodwin didn’t offer any evidence to substantiate her claim that the Italy legal system is corrupt, presumably the word of Edda Mellas was good enough for her.

It transpired that the word of Edda Mellas and ex-husband Curt and Amanda Knox’s supporters was good enough for the vast majority of journalists who covered the case on both sides of Atlantic.

They unquestiongly accepted everything they heard without bothering to do any fact-checking whatsoever. Time and again not a single investigator or court official in Perugia was interviewed.

This explains the reason why so many articles about the case are riddled with factual errors and well-known PR lies.

Other media organisations wanted to get in on the act and claim there was dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

CBS News allowed a couple of zany conspiracy nuts to spout their nonsense without providing any evidence to support their wild-eyed claims. Here’s Paul Ciolino again:

This is a lynching ... this is a lynching that is happening in modern day Europe right now and it’s happening to an American girl who has no business being charged with anything. (Paul Ciolino, CBS News.)

Here is Peter van Sant.

We have concluded that Amanda Knox is being railroaded… I promise you’re going to want to send the 82nd Airborne Division over to Italy to get this girl out of jail. (Peter Van Sant, CBS News.)

The reporting was invariably tinged with xenophobic sentiments. Italy was portrayed as some backward Third World country whose police force was comically incompetent. Here’s CBS’s Doug Longhini.

But in the case of Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murder in Italy last December, the Via Tuscolana apparently failed to separate fantasy from truth. Too many Italian investigators rivaled Fellini as they interpreted, and reinterpreted facts, to suit their own, surrealistic script.” (Doug Longhini, CBS News).

WHERE in all the transcripts is that proved?  Doug Longhini’s pompous and pseudo-intellectual comments are meaningless and lack any substance, although he was no doubt very pleased himself for his “clever” reference to Fellini.

Ironically Longhini was unable to separate fantasy from truth when he produced the error-ridden American Girl, Italian Nightmare for CBS News. The documentary includes the familiar PR lies about satanic rituals, the 14-hour interrogation sessions, and Knox not knowing Rudy Guede.

Lawyer John Q Kelly seemingly forgot the Latin maxim “semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit” - “he who asserts must prove” - when he claimed that Knox and Sollecito were being railroaded and evidence against them had been manipulated.

My thoughts, Larry, it’s probably the most egregious international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It’s just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.

“There’s been injustice here. There’s been injustice in other countries but this is just beyond the pale. The manipulation of evidence; the most unfavorable inferences drawn from the most common of circumstances and conduct was just a gross injustice here.”

(John Q Kelly, CNN).

Judy Bachrach was also allowed to claim there was a conspiracy to Amanda Knox on CNN.

Everyone knew from the beginning that the prosecutor had it in for Amanda Knox, that the charges are pretty much trumped up…

From the beginning this was carefully choreographed, they wanted to find her guilty, they’ve kept her in jail for two years even before trial and they did find her guilty. This is the way Italian justice is done. If you’re accused, you’re guilty.

There isn’t an ounce of hard evidence against her and all of Italy should be ashamed actually.” (Judy Bachrach, CNN).

Arguably the craziest conspiracy nut - and the competition is fierce - is the former FBI agent Steve Moore in early retirement.

Steve Moore claimed the Perugian police, Guilano Mignini, Dr Patrizia Stefanoni, Edgardo Giobbi the head of the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome, Judge Massei, and the Italian Supreme Court were all part of a dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox.

Moore claimed the following on his blog.

For this to happen, though, pompous prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, forensic perjurer Patrizia Stefanoni, and mind-reading detective Edgardo Giobbi (and others), must be prosecuted for their corruption. The judge who rubber stamped the lies in the first trial, Massei, must be also called to the bar of justice-or back to law school.

In a discussion with lawyer Paul Callan on CNN Moore actually claimed the Supreme Court was involved in the conspiracy.

Paul Callan: “And now “¦ and they (the Perugian police) got the Supreme Court of Italy involved in this conspiracy? You know, that’s like saying that “¦ [Steve Moore interrupts]”

Steve Moore: “Yes, they do. Yes, they do. You are being naive. You don’t understand the Italian system. You don’t understand it. You are defending something you don’t understand.”

Barbie Nadeau reported Moore’s claim that evidence was manipulated for The Daily Beast.

The evidence that was presented in trial was flawed, it was manipulated.

Steve Moore has never provided any evidence to support his wild-eyed hysterical claims there was a huge conspiracy involving a prosecutor, different police departments, Judge Massei and judges at the Italian Supreme Court to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

It’s no wonder TV legal analyst Paul Callan was smiling, desperately trying not to burst out laughing, when he discussed the case with Moore on CNN.

Moore provided irrefutable proof in the short time he was on CNN that he is ignorant of the basic facts of the case, and that he hasn’t read any of the official court reports. He falsely claimed “the DNA that they said was Raffaele’s was actually a woman’s DNA.”

No expert claimed this at the trial.

Sollecito’s DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. David Balding, a professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was “very strong”.

Moore told Erin Burnett: “The second trial proved with independent experts that the DNA that they claim was the victim’s was not on the knife.”

A number of forensic experts - Dr Stefanoni, Dr Biondo, Professor Novelli, Professor Torricelli, and Luciano Garofano - have all confirmed that sample 36B which was extracted from the blade of the knife WAS Meredith’s DNA. The independent experts did not carry out a test on this sample. 

In England there were deranged conspiracy nuts claiming Amanda Knox was framed too.

Amy Jenkins bizarrely claimed in The Independent that Knox and Sollecito were the victims of a miscarriage of justice because Knox was a young woman, the Italians didn’t like the fact Knox snogged her boyfriend and someone needed to save face or something.

The truth is, Amanda Knox’s great crime was to be a young woman ““ but mainly it was to be a young woman who didn’t know how to behave. She was 20 years old, she was suffering from shock, and she was in a foreign country. She was interrogated with no lawyer and no translator present. She made a phony confession.

Clearly no saint, she wasn’t a Madonna either. That’ll make her a whore then. She snogged her boyfriend; she was slightly provocative on Facebook; she turned an inappropriate cartwheel. In a Catholic country, it’s clearly not such a leap to go from there to stabbing your room-mate in the neck during a violent sexual assault ““ because that’s the leap the prosecution made.

To save face, Knox and her poor boyfriend had to be somehow levered into the frame. As the whole juggernaut of injustice chugged on it became harder and harder for the six lay judges who acted as a jury to destroy a case that had been constructed over two years by prosecutors who were their close working colleagues.” (Amy Jenkins, The Independent).

Conclusion: READ THE DOCUMENTS

More and more the translated documents prove that all of them have been wrong. The conspiracy theorists predictably haven’t provided one iota of evidence that there was ever any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

I suspect the producers at mainstream media organisations like CBS News and CNN knew there never was any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox all along, but they didn’t get care because they wanted a sensational story. 

Too many people within the media perversely see murder as entertainment. Rather than providing balanced and factually accurate coverage of murder cases they want to outrage and entertain the masses with melodramatic stories of conspiracies involving corrupt prosecutors and cops who want to frame innocent people for murders they didn’t commit instead.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the popularity of Making of a Murderer on Netflix. It filled a vacuum after Knox and Sollecito were acquitted in 2015.

I have no doubts that journalists from mainstream media organisations are currently looking for the next alleged case of someone being framed or railroaded for a murder they didn’t commit.


Why Smart Feminists Much Prefer To Keep Amanda Knox At Arms Length

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Smart Feminist Selene Nelson, quoted below

1. First Choice For Trophy Victim?

Who does Martha Grace Duncan for example see as the victim here?

Clearly not Meredith. Clearly not Meredith’s family. Clearly not Patrick, whose business Knox wrecked.

Clearly not the inconvenient Sollecito or Guede who she almost forgets to mention - although Italians almost universally blame Knox for conning that hapless pair into the attack, wielding the fatal blow, and wrecking their lives as a result.

Martha Duncan as we already know has read none at all of the vast trove of court documents.

So she will presumably be surprised that Sollecito made this statement in writing to Supervising Magistrate Matteini, just 48 hours after their arrest.

I never want to see Amanda again. Above all, it is her fault we are here.

In really weird contrast Martha Duncan comes across as besotted, even blinded by Knox. She works overtime to identify herself with her little darling.

Clearly it is KNOX and ONLY Knox that Martha Duncan sees as the victim here. Wow does Duncan go the extra mile for her.

2. Join The Line Martha Duncan

This is not the first time that a faux feminist has performed contortions with the truth to make this case all about Me-Me-Me & Amanda Knox versus All Those Mean Men.

Nina Burleigh went the same way. See this post among others.

So did Judy Bachrach. See for example this post.

So did Linda Marie Basile. See this post rebutted in full below here.

So did Jan Goodwin. See this post.

So did Amy Jenkins. See this post.

So did Katie Crouch. See this post.

So did many of the suspiciously clinging Amanda Knox groupies - though some woke up and took off on her. Remember Maddy Paxton? Long gone.

Who does the best work at taking these faux feminists down a peg?

No surprise here. Invariably other women. So many women simply dont trust Knox or like her. Rather more women than men dislike her in our experience and say so.

For example among others media favorites like Nancy Grace and Wendy Murphy and Ann Coulter were scathing about Knox and the groupies on TV shows. Almost all the most objective reporters have been women. We’ve depended on them a lot.

Here are two who were pretty scathing in correcting the opportunists and dupes.

3. Selene Nelson Decries Faux Feminism

Huffington Post

Why Feminists Owe Amanda Knox Nothing

26/06/2014 14:42 BST | Updated 25/08/2014 10:59 BST

By Selene Nelson

In May the Huffington Post published an article titled Where Are All The Feminists? Why Amanda Knox’s Story Is About More Than Murder. Lisa Marie Basile begins her piece: “Amanda Knox is innocent of murder,” before going on to suggest that Knox was targeted only because she was “sexually active and good looking”. The reason Basile cares? Because she is “a human and a feminist.”

I am also a human and a feminist. I too believe that Knox suffered inexcusably sexist treatment by the media. I also happen to believe that she is unequivocally guilty. As someone who has followed this case for many years, I take offence to the misinformation that riddles Basile’s article. Where, Basile wonders as she laments Knox’s fate, are all the feminists?

We’re right here, Lisa. Basile’s implication - that those convinced of Knox’s guilt do so because of gender prejudice - is laughable. Not only does it demonstrate astonishing ignorance of the facts of this case, but Basile’s entire article is suggestive of the role her own prejudice plays in forming her opinion of guilt or innocence.

Basile is correct that the issue of sexism towards Knox should be addressed. Continually portrayed as a sexual object by the media, the fact that Knox deigned to enjoy casual sex was held up as an indication of her deviancy, and when the press discovered that she kept a vibrator in full view in the bathroom, you could almost hear the collective intake of breath.

The media’s unwavering determination to paint Kercher and Knox as Madonna/Whore figures is also troubling. While Knox has been portrayed as manipulative and sadistic, Kercher has become virginal, passive, saint-like. This is unsettling. Would Kercher’s death be any less tragic had she shared Knox’s penchant for casual sex? Does a woman’s sexuality make her guilty? Does her presumed virginity redeem her? Kercher was an innocent victim, regardless of her sexuality; she does not need to be canonised for this murder case to be any more tragic than it already is.

However, as shameful as the prejudiced handling of the “Foxy Knoxy” persona was, it has no bearing on the evidence against her. The vast majority of people who believe Knox is guilty do not figure her sexuality into their reasoning. Her sex life has zero bearing on my belief of her guilt, nor, I doubt, the opinion of the 20+ judges who have found her guilty. Her two convictions have nothing to do with vibrators, Satanism, cartwheels or kisses, but the mountain of evidence against her. Evidence Basile simply ignores.

To claim, “There is no credible evidence” against Knox is absurd. It is actually ludicrous. Basile dismisses 10,000 pages of it as neither credible nor realistic without even acknowledging it, imparting a string of passionate pro-Knox statements that are criminally unsubstantiated.

What Basile misses is the point that were Knox unattractive, let alone a minority or male, she would have a fraction of the support she has. People want to explain the evidence away, or ignore it completely as Basile does, precisely because they don’t want to think a nice pretty white girl could commit a crime like this. Basile has conveniently neglected the fact that Knox’s femininity and attractiveness have helped her far more than hindered her, because in order to believe Amanda Knox, you have to overlook the following:

Her DNA mixed with Kercher’s blood in five spots; Knox’s fresh blood, and Kercher’s blood, smeared in the bathroom; Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra; Knox’s DNA on the handle of the murder weapon, Kercher’s on the blade; the footprints matching the bare feet of Knox that contain her DNA mixed with Kercher’s; the staged crime scene with glass on TOP of the clothes and a near impossible window entry point; Knox’s false accusation of her employer; her total lack of alibi and multiple lies; the phone and computer records that prove dishonesty; her utterly implausible account of the morning after the murder; the frantic call she made to her mother in the middle of the night that she “forgets” making; her email home; the witness testimony; the fact Knox knew multiple details about the murder she couldn’t possibly have known; the evidence suggesting Kercher’s body was moved and the scene staged hours after her death when Rudy Guede, the third person convicted of the murder, was long gone.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence but is just an indication of how embarrassing these “no evidence” claims are. Blind ignorance of the subtleties of this case seems to have spread across a great deal of America like some kind of mental epidemic. What has prompted this trust of Knox, so entirely out of place considering she is a convicted liar and slanderer? Even the 2011 appeal that acquitted her (and was subsequently thrown out by the Supreme Court for being inaccurate, illogical and biased) increased her sentence in this respect. The urge to believe the Italian courts have now twice convicted two young people without evidence is shocking and reeks of xenophobia.

Basile then tries to defend Knox’s “false confession”: “We should remember that Knox was interrogated for many hours without food or water [and] slapped and screamed at in Italian,” she writes sympathetically. What nonsense. It is a fact that Knox’s interview was at most two hours long; minimal research would have told Basile that the torturous, lengthy interrogation story was utterly fabricated. So fabricated that her parents face criminal defamation charges for claiming otherwise.

More importantly, this wasn’t a false confession now was it; it was the flagrant false accusation of an innocent man. As soon as Knox learned of Sollecito’s alibi withdrawal for her (another fact conveniently ignored by her supporters and Basile), out came the finger of blame, the same finger she kept pointed at her employer for over two weeks while he languished in jail. Two weeks. This was not a “false confession” blurted out on impulse: Knox let an innocent man suffer for a fortnight.

Basile gives free pass after free pass to Knox, justifying her lies, excusing her behaviour, dismissing the evidence. Why? Why is Knox’s word enough?

She may argue this: “There was no hair, fibre, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Amanda Knox in the room where Meredith Kercher was killed,” as her attorney stated. “That tells you unassailably that she is innocent.”

Sounds compelling. That is until you realise that applying that logic to all the evidence, rather than just that which incriminates Knox, presents quite the conundrum:

“There was no hair, fibre, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, DNA of Rudy Guede in the blood-stained bathroom where there is the blood and DNA of Knox. That tells you unassailably that Guede did not do the crime alone.”

Or this:

“There was no hair, fibre, footprint, shoe print, handprint, palm print, fingerprint, sweat, saliva, of Knox in the bedroom where she slept…That tells you unassailably that Knox never even lived in the cottage.”

Aside from the inaccuracies throughout, what grates most about Basile’s piece is the title, the suggestion that feminists have failed Knox. What total short-sightedness; what utter blindness to the sensitivities of this case. Feminists owe Knox nothing and to suggest we do is ignorant and insulting. She had a hard time in the press, yes, but frankly it’s not the point. I too have been angered by what the media too often chooses to focus on, but for entirely opposing reasoning: it allows her supporters to deflect the actual issue. It allows them to gloss over the unequivocally incriminating evidence that Amanda Knox either murdered Meredith Kercher herself or, at the very least, played a devastating part.

Her “Foxy Knoxy” status is an irrelevance. No one has “failed” her. She has failed herself, and she fails the Kercher family each and every day she protests her innocence. There is only one female victim here - Meredith Kercher - and how dare Basile allow Knox’s PR spin, and her own wilful ignorance, to conceal that.


4.Law Expert Nicki In Milan Decries Faux Feminism

14 June 2009. Posting from Milan where we also have been watching Knox testify in Italian.

Here are just three of the disbelieving headlines on the testimony that have been appearing in the Italian press.

  • All of Amanda’s wrong moves (La Stampa)

  • Amanda growls but Patrick bites (Il Giornale)

  • Amanda: I am innocent. But many “I don’t remembers” start popping up (ANSA)

As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public.

It is true that the Italian media and public opinion in general have not been very benign with Knox. But not for the reasons that the American media seem to want to push.

Let’s make it clear, Amanda Knox is not on trial because Italians are unaccustomed to or even “jealous” of her freedom and lifestyle”¦ The first time we read these “explanations” we found them quite laughable.

But for many or most Italians the initial amusement has now given way to a profound irritation. Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is shared by hundreds of thousands of Italian girls, who like partying and sex as much as she does - or even more - and they live a happy carefree life with no fear of being perceived as “bad girls.” They behave no differently from any other girl of the same age in America or in any other Western country.

Dear American media, welcome to the 21st century and to globalization!  Please put aside pseudo-romantic and passè vision of a country where all men chase American girls because Italian women are not as approachable for “cultural” reasons: Italian men are into foreign girls no more but no less than Italian girls are into foreign boys.

They generally greatly like Americans because of their great interest and curiosity for a country and its people that many Italian youngsters have only known through books or movies. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”. She could even be from the North Pole as far as Italians are concerned.

What really matters to them is to find the truth about Meredith’s murder and to do real justice for her terrible death. Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence - and they perceive this even more-so after this last week’s court hearings.
 
In addition, the US media’s seemingly endless bashing of the Italian justice system, and of the whole country, most recently by CBS and ABC, has definitely made things worse.

The Italian police are NOT known to be particularly violent - although, agreed, it may happen when they’re dealing with violent males suspects from Eastern Europe or Africa, or in the streets when they have to deal with a riot. Violence is NEVER used with white, female college students from Italy, America or elsewhere.

And Italy is a sovereign state with a great juridical tradition. Receiving condescending lectures by the media of a country where the death penalty is still applied in many states comes across as more than insulting - it is utterly ridiculous. Before you judge the “backwardness”  of the Italian justice system, you should at least first read Cesare Beccaria’s amazingly humane Of Crimes And Punishments (written in 1764) and perhaps you’ll reconsider.

If the American media just cannot understand that there are alternatives to the “American way “, that may not be so bad after all. But they should at least show some respect for a foreign, sovereign state and its people.

If the media can’t even manage to do so - and they really want to help Amanda - the best thing to do now is to go quiet and let the Italian justice work at its pace and according to its own principles. If Amanda is only guilty of arrogance, callousness and narcissism, she will be free soon.

Dear American followers of Meredith and, for that matter, also friends of Amanda Knox. May I speak right to you, and right past the media?

There has been no character assassination, no demonization, no great wave of hate and revenge, no mad prosecutor, no Satan theory of the crime, no invented evidence, and no massive bumbling.

What there has been is a whole stack of evidence and a VERY careful process. Kernit in effect described all the evidence in his extraordinary 150 questions.

And on Friday and Saturday, Amanda Knox for better or worse chose to answer NONE of them.


5. TJMK Poster Hopeful Decries Faux Feminism

Explaining Why Smart Feminists Have Rightly Been Extremely Wary Of Amanda Knox

First posted 5 June 2014.

1. Late Joiner Of The Dwindling Knox Parade

A week ago in the Huffington Post Lisa Marie Basile asked why feminists are not storming the barricades for Knox.

The gullible Lisa Marie Basile had obviously swallowed whole Knox’s avid self-promotion and serial demonizing to create a muddled article at best, confused about feminism, poorly researched on the case, nasty to good Italians who are in no easy position to defend themselves, and hugely disrespectful to the real victim. 

I want to explain what real feminists are seeing that the faux feminist Lisa Marie Basile has managed to miss. Above all feminism means justice to women, and the many women who post on and support sites like TJMK are upholding justice, for the only woman who counts in this case.

2. An Attack With Indisputable Sex Aspects

Remember, Meredith is the innocent woman who was slain by an undeniably jealous and unhinged fellow female who used two males as her henchmen. No Italian court disagrees with that, and Italian courts (except when hijacked as with Hellmann) are extremely careful. .

The victim was left partly nude and in a staged position on the floor to suggest to whoever found the body that it was a sexual attack. Has Ms. Basile forgotten this actually was a sex crime for which all three were charged and sentenced? This surely opened the door for examination of the sexual behavior of the former suspects.

There was no “gendered expectation” among Italians investigating this crime, only a ” truth expectation.”

Articles like “We Are All Amanda Knox” which Basile mentioned try to normalize and even exult in Amanda’s behavior as a wild woman, but she is not at all the norm there.

Raffaele had led a more restrained sexual lifestyle, actually more typical of a coy young woman than a randy man. Raffaele, in keeping perhaps with the church doctrines in which he had been reared, had not taken any sexual partners except possibly for one, other than in his extensive fantasy life.

Guede’s sex act on Meredith was never in question, as he left behind his DNA to prove he had no boundaries. His nuisance behavior hitting on girls in nightclubs in Perugia was fully discussed, and he got no breaks from anyone on any front.

Knox herself bragged about her liberation ethics and fast work with men. Nobody else turned her into a “filthy, sex-obsessed slut” but herself. The media mostly rather neutrally reported the facts, and even when her track record of casual sex became clearly documented, it was never made a focal point of the trial at all.

What was focused on was Knox’s alibi, her lies that her boss had killed her “friend” and her phone records. Knox was under the microscope for her DNA being found mixed with Meredith’s blood in five locations of the cottage.

Knox was not questioned in court about how many boyfriends she had, or her one-night stands. She was never ever questioned about her sex partners or asked to list them, simply about what males had visited the house who might have had an interest in Meredith.

Again, this after all was staged to look like a sex crime, and had signs of sexual activity on the body. The Italians were hardly rushing off on detours for false reasons of prurient interests.

3. Morphing Into A New Knox Persona

For several years starting in Seattle Knox had adopted a dangerous and very irresponsible lifestyle, which she first bragged about but has tried to back away from since she left Italy. She pretends now to have a monogamous relationship with James Terrano.

Now Amanda manages to visit the television studios in a somber manner without cartwheels or doing splits and laughing. Amazing how serious she has become about her own tragedy while telling it to microphones for the world to hear after giggling about Meredith’s death and sticking her tongue out sitting on a male lap in the police station, making fun of it all when it wasn’t her death involved.

Amanda’s “offness” as Ms. Basile refers to it raised a red flag of disrespect for the victim, which was why it was significant.  Her lack of dramatic weeping outside of the cottage was never an issue.

Italians are very savvy. They are hardly the logic challenged numbskulls that Ms. Basile seems to fear they’ve been painted. Her hints that a godfearing Mignini is somehow inept shows her own bias to the godless and ruleless, the lawless and the stupid. I won’t even go into issues of spiritual faith, it is too divisive. Surely we can all agree with the mandate “Thou shalt not kill.”

4. There Was No Witch Hunt Or Inquisition

Sadly Ms. Basile has bought into Knox’s warren of lies about “forced confessions” (in actuality accusations of an innocent man!), and the cleanup that was somehow “impossible” and a “tortured five days of brutal interrogation”.

All have again and again been proven false and didnt stop her serving a three year sentence. Amanda Knox was challenged on her alibi, the presence of her blood at the scene, and her ownership of a key to the non-broken-into cottage.

She herself brought forward her alcohol and drug use, and blamed it for intoxication and lost memory for the night in question.

To rid herself of her most fundamental misconception about Amanda Knox, Lisa Marie Basile should read this series on the interrogation hoax which Knox still pushes and Basile gullibly swallowed.

5. Why Respect The Virtues Of Sexual Purity?

Modern Italian women are more fast, colorful, liberal and worldly than Americans may realize. They certainly dress a lot better. Naturally they try to live out their Catholic faith as best they can, even if we all fail to meet our highest ideals.

At the same time Italians tend to arrive at very close loving enduring families. How women prepare themselves is a very big component of this success - a success which Americans could use a lot more of. 

Here are some practical reasons why Italians value sexual responsibility, which have nothing to do with faith, religion, or patriarchy, but only the safety of innocent children.

Italians as all cultures do, prefer women who are cautious and circumspect with their sexuality, as a sign of the woman’s self-discipline, a natural caution toward males as a survival instinct which she will pass on to her offspring.

A female’s self-discipline in sexual matters is a hallmark of her personal self-respect and a sign she is able to envision her larger future as the wife of a dignified man.

Most such men hope to marry a woman clean of physical disease who also carries little emotional baggage from multiple sexual affairs and heartbreaks with multiple men.

The fewer of those encounters before marriage, the better chance the children she bears him will be in no doubt of their parentage.

This is supremely important to the man, who will be working to pass on his entire life’s work and heritage to the children he feels he has truly engendered and who carry his genes and his bloodline.

The children will more likely have a safe lifestyle of similar circumspect behavior and self-discipline inculcated by their mother who will be a large influence on their morals.

The mother’s reputation can add or detract from her children’s social position and can expand their opportunities as people of trustworthy background or its opposite.

There can be a safety aspect. A woman who has had a raunchy past may have unfinished business with various men who may possibly come back into the area, begin to harass, taunt, spread rumors, or even physically threaten and cause difficulty for a new husband’s family, suspicious that perhaps one of the offspring is his own.

In this day of twitter, instagram, Facebook, email, and YouTube, sordid rumors that were once easily squelched now become known worldwide on digital media.

It is simple logic that if a woman while in the heyday of her youth and good looks in the full bloom of health and optimism, could not make attachments or command loyalty and devotion despite going all the way to sleeping with a man, that this person somehow has her radar broken or uses poor judgment.

Perhaps she simply prefers the lust for pleasure over saving herself for marriage to the man who would one day do her the most good and with whom she would develop a lifetime relationship. At any rate, she may have a sex drive that overwhelms her judgment. It may motivate her even after marriage, to break the ties of marriage.

The husband of such a woman will also inherit her personal history and may grow to resent behaviors in her past that might tarnish his future and their children’s.

This is merely a common sense outlook on why it is smart to abstain from sexual intimacies with lots of strangers who have no ongoing goodwill toward the person whose body they use, nor any commitment to the offspring of such union financially or physically.

A woman’s body at any time could conceive despite using birth control.

In each normal sex act she takes the risk of facing the horrendous consequences of pregnancy without emotional support, finances, and then she faces 15 to 20 years of her life required to raise the child while trying to introduce him to various father figures who may never feel the natural bond to the child that a married father would.

Talk to single moms anywhere, their path is no piece of cake.  To choose this hard path by one’s own lack of self-discipline and lack of insight is a foolish act. Society is left buying the diapers and formula and helping the exhausted young mother survive her day job and come home to night feedings.

In other words, all the hard duties of childcare are foisted upon those who didn’t ask for them, who may be tired from raising their own legitimate offspring, a hard enough job with two parents committed and working on the children’s behalf.

Social services are stretched hard enough when emergencies, accidents, death or desertion of the male parent leave women and children stranded and abandoned in financial straits.

To jump over this cliff by choice or lack of foresight is foolish of a woman who knows a child needs two devoted parents. It’s self-absorbed, pleasure loving behavior with refusal to delay gratification.

It is selfish to the community.

Governments have to chase down these fathers for non-support of their own children.

Taxpayers and others who had no joy of the sex act or the union however brief it was, are forced for decades by welfare agencies (and basic compassion) to fork out child support dollars for strangers, rather than see the infant starve.

The child of these hasty and ill-fated unions already may face for a lifetime the hardship of feeling unwanted by his father. He or she may suffer embarrassment at his mom’s unwise youthful choices that were predicated on her lack of logic or poor self-control and willful betrayal of her children’s best future for one of difficulty and poverty.

Where is the love? It was love for self, not others.

An aside: Thank goodness God in heaven does love us all, no matter what our parents made a mess of. All can be resolved in peace and love, but the path of natural life will be much tougher and more limited when the child will not learn problem solving skills from two parents of the opposite sex nor have the benefit of the greater security. “Two are better than one, for they have more reward for their labor.”

6. Precisely WHO Are Today’s Feminists?

There are many forms of feminism. Oddly Ms. Basile is determined to argue for the imparting of partiality and favoritism to a woman who has been found to have killed another woman using two males as proxies. Ms. Basile’s biased view is based on Amanda Knox being wrongfully condemned because Basile thinks she is attractive and sexually free.

But this never happened. There was hard proof against her in DNA in three rooms and a corridor in the house and on a knife handle and upper blade..

Where are all the feminists? Those who have their facts right are allowing justice to take its course, that’s where. Justice is blind, and does not favor the pretty over the ugly or the rich over the poor. Yet all these things may be factors in the cause of any crime.

There are as many flavors of feminist as there are ideologies in the world. Consider this list.

  • Liberal feminism

  • Radical feminism

  • Conservative feminism

  • Ecofeminists

  • Separatist feminism

  • Materialist feminism

  • Socialist feminism

  • Marxist feminism

  • Anarcha-feminists

  • Feminist punk movement

  • Feminism as a social construction

  • Lipstick feminism

There are dozens and dozens.  There are Christian feminists (I am one). All are equal before God, Mary is the mother of the Church, she was allowed to usher in the Savior of mankind. God uses women to restore what women through Eve lost.

Look at Meredith’s heel being exposed under the duvet. (see Genesis 3:15 prophecy from God that the seed of the woman would crush Satan’s head, but Satan would bruise his heel.)

Meredith was even worried she’d packed no socks when she first came to Perugia, and she told friends she hoped her dad would bring some, revealing concern about uncovered feet. .

There are the early feminist suffragettes who worked for women’s right to vote and birth control.  The second wave campaigned for legal and social and political equality for women. Equal work for equal pay. The second wave feminists declared, “The personal is political”.

The second wave in about 30 years splintered off into various feminist camps divided on the issues of pornography *is it exploitative of women or a celebration of sexuality?, male equality versus misandry, homosexuality, the racial issues of women of color, the cultural (some Islamic, some Jewish, some WASP, etc.) women in developed countries versus poverty stricken nations.

Feminism is not a monolithic entity. Arguments abound whether we’re now living in a postfeminist society, whether gender equality has been achieved.

Then there’s third wave feminism.

7. Feminism In The Case Of Meredith’s Murder

The truth of whether a person committed a crime rises above all of these feminist ideologies. All of them. It is not a traditional role problem, it is a problem of no respect for Meredith’s particular life.

If she had been male, the bullies would not have dared.

So it was her femaleness that made her a target. Ironically her vulnerability was caused by another female’s envy and anger management issues and extremely irresponsible lifestyle.

Knox is a very misguided cause for smart feminists.


As Fake News Is Increasingly Not Being Bought Into, Seeming Painstaking Media Wins

Posted by Peter Quennell

Co-founder David Mikkelson of snopes.com a main debunker of fake news 

1. People Increasingly Avoiding Media That OBVIOUSLY Lies

Fake-news seems to be the only hard-news topic on American news channels these days. Our poster Hopeful said this about it last Thursday:

Fake news, a dreadful new trend. It makes slanted news stories seem tame in comparison with outright lies. Believe only half of what you read, stay cautious and consider the source. That will be my new mantra.

Hopeful is far from alone, it seems. Particularly in the financial industries, professionals just cant risk betting on what might be myth-making. Fox News long blamed as a main cause of it is moving to a new place under the sons of Rupert Murdoch.

2. But Main Media With Bad Record On Our Case Gains

Although the New York Times and Associated Press are among the LEAST reliable on the Perugia case and have published more than their share of fake news, they are benefiting too.

This is a report by the influential Seeking Alpha investment site.

Fake News Will Boost The New York Times by Duane Bair

Apparently, in the year 2016, an alarming number of Americans are unable to decipher the difference between obscure conspiracy theories and actual world events.

While I won’t comment on how profoundly sad that statement reads, it is worth discussing its impact on traditional media. The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) remains the most read and one of the most respected news outlets in the country.

With such high levels of uncertainty regarding basic facts, Americans are increasingly turning to media brands they know and trust. The years of declining revenue may finally begin to reverse as the new normal in political discourse emerges.

The Oxford dictionary named ‘post truth’ as the word of the year for 2016. Anyone tuning into recent world events can immediately understand the context of that decision. With the seeming explosion of “fake news” and little to no desire by social media companies to rein it in, traditional media may grow in stock as it has maintained a relatively solid reputation for fact-based reporting.

In an attempt for higher ratings, many traditional media networks and newspaper have stepped into dangerous territory, by giving voice to untrustworthy sources that regularly misinform. Many in the public have been able to recognize this phenomenon. The select news outlets that resisted are being rewarded with massive subscription bumps.

As other news outlets continue to cut costs and eliminate high expense in-depth journalism, The New York Times is investing in this space. Readers are noticing and subscribing to the times while abandoning some peers. Subscribers are longer lasting and reflect a more positive outlook than simple viewer gains that are inevitable in the lead up to an election.

Over the next four years, we are likely to see an onslaught of misinformation from formerly fringe elements of the media. If the 2016 campaign period was any indication, the next few years will likely see a blurring between uncontested facts and skewed innuendo.

A recent Buzzfeed poll (don’t worry, the methodology is sound) of 3,105 respondents found that 75% of regular news consumers were unable to distinguish a fake news story from the truth. The new administration may, in part, be adding to the confusion.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/14/16 at 09:39 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (8)

How Bob Woffinden, Aggrandizing Investigative Journalist, Attempts To Perpetrate Innocence Fraud

Posted by The Machine



Said to be Bob Woffinden - as a pop music reporter, some years ago

Added in 2018. Bob Woffinden died on 1 May. He never reversed his false claims about Guede. His website was later taken down.

1. Woffinden and innocence fraud

These days innocence fraud is a very real thing.

A stern warning was issued to crime laboratory administrators that some post-conviction exonerations may have been secured by innocence activists using malicious tactics, or ‘innocence fraud’, creating potential public safety threats as convicted felons are released from prison.

In this post, I will analyse another example of innocence fraud, this time by British journalist Bob Woffinden on Meredith’s case. Woffinden has done this on other cases before.

He specialises in alleged miscarriages of justice, and has written articles for The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman and authored a number a books about high-profile murder cases: Miscarriages of Justice; Hanratty: The Final Verdict and The Murder of Billy-Jo.

Woffinden’s default position when it comes to controversial murder cases seems to be to assume a miscarriage of justice, and to claim someone has been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.

He’s claimed that James Hanratty, Jeremy Bamber, Barry George, Sion Jenkins and Jonathan King are all innocent. Reflexively anti-police, Woffinden as I described in the post linked to above on the James Hanratty case has a history of putting victims’ families through considerable pain.

2. Woffinden On Meredith’s case

Here he tries to prove that Rudy Guede is innocent of murder, and falsely claims he was convicted because he was black. He also tries to cast doubt on the hard fact that Meredith was sexually assaulted - or that the police got anything right.

Anyone who has read the official court documents and court testimonies with regard to the Meredith Kercher case will be able to assess Bob Woffinden’s professionalism and credibility and ethics as an investigative journalist article by reading his contorted take.

To those who really do know the case, it is immediately apparent that he’s pretty ignorant of the main facts, and that he hasn’t bothered to read the official court documents or the court testimonies available in English here.

He mindlessly repeats various endemic Friends of Amanda PR myths. For example, he erroneously claims the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.

“The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault ““ and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito ““ they [the prosecutors] concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Dr Mignini didn’t ever say anything about there being a sex orgy that went wrong when he presented his scenario to the court at the trial in 2009 and the numerous hearings (which Woffinden seems totally unaware of) in the 15 months before.

Instead he gave the court a detailed chronological account briefly summarized below of a vicious physical and sexual assault on Meredith, which culminated in her dying some time after the killers left and locked her in.

23:21: Amanda and Raffaele go into the bedroom while Rudy goes to the bathroom.

23:25: A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard, as shown by wounds to the skull. She resists all this. Rudy Guede enters.

23:30: Meredith falls to the floor. The three try to undress her to overcome her; they only manage to take off her trousers. The girl manages to get up, she struggles. At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other, however, a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.

23:35: The assault continues. Sollecito tries to rip off the English girl’s bra.

23:40: Meredith is on her knees, threatened by Amanda with the knife while Rudy holds her with one hand and with the other hand carries out an assault on her vagina. There is first a knife blow on her face, then straight away another. However, these blows are not effective. The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.

There is a harrowing cry, which some witnesses will talk about. Amanda decides to silence her, still according to the video brought to court by the prosecutors, and strikes a blow to the throat with the kitchen knife: it will be the fatal wound. Meredith collapses on the floor.

23:45: Meredith is helped up by Rudy and is coughing up blood. The English girl, dying, is dragged along so that she can continue to be undressed.

Why is Woffinden unable to substantiate his claim that the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong with a verbatim quote from Mignini or Comodi?

Because they never claimed this at all. A competent and ethical professional journalist should be able to support every claim they make.

Woffinden regurgitates another popular PR myth by claiming that Rudy Guede pleaded guilty late in 2008.

“Even as he [Rudy Guede] pleaded guilty, he vehemently asserted his innocence, saying, “˜I can’t talk about things I haven’t seen and that didn’t happen to me’.”

Rudy Guede has never pleaded guilty or confessed to Meredith’s murder. He has always denied killing Meredith. He opted for a fast-track trial in mid 2008 because he could escape a blatant attempt to frame him as sole perpetrator by the Knox and Sollecito defense.

It meant he would automatically received a third off his prison sentence but at the time he had no idea what that would look like.

Bob Woffinden gets yet another fact wrong when he claims the Hellmann appeal court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence.

“...the Italian court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence on which they had been convicted.”

It did nothing of the kind. Hellmann merely asked Carla Vechiotti and Stefano Conti to review two pieces of DNA evidence - the knife and bra clasp evidence.

They didn’t review the bloody footprint on the bathmat, the bare bloody footprints which had been revealed by Luminol, or the five samples of Knox’s DNA or the blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage.

Yet another wrong “fact”. Bob Woffinden claims that a police officer flushed away Rudy Guede’s faeces and thus destroyed evidence.

“His recollection that he had leapt up from the toilet seat the instant he heard the scream was bizarrely corroborated by the fact that there were faeces still in the pan when the police arrived. Needless to say, one officer activated the toilet, thereby flushing away important evidence.”

Needless to say? In fact this claim is complete and utter nonsense. The faeces in the toilet wasn’t flushed away. It was carefully collected as evidence and tested. However, it didn’t yield any results.

“The faeces present in the toilet of that bathroom did not, however, yield any results, and Dr Stefanoni, the biologist of the Scientific Police, explained that the presence of numerous bacteria easily destroys what DNA might be found in faeces.” (The Massei report, page 43).

Why would Woffinden make these and other demonstrably untrue claims? It seems obvious that he wants to portray the Italian National Scientific Police (much respected by the FBI) as the Keystone Cops, in order to ridicule the forensic investigation, seemingly his purpose here.

Woffinden makes yet another false claim by stating that Guede made only one inconsistent statement.

“Guede’s solitary inconsistency was this. He did comment at the outset of the investigation that “˜Amanda doesn’t have anything to do with it’. But, at that stage, perhaps he couldn’t believe that she did have.”

Judge Micheli, who found Rudy Guede guilty of sexual assault and murder in October 2008, pointed out in his sentencing report of January 2009 that Guede’s accounts were unreliable and varied a lot.

“Analyzing the narratives of the accused”¦he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.”

Bob Woffinden also seems to be pushing the wrong notion that Rudy Guede didn’t implicate Amanda Knox until much later - which is another FOA PR myth.

Guede first implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito whilst on the run in Germany on 19 November 2007 in an intercepted Skype conversation with his friend Giacomo Benedetti:

Giacomo: “So they [Knox and Sollecito] killed her while she was dressed.”

Guede: “Yes, here it says that they [clothes] were washed in the washing machine, but that’s not true. She was dressed.”

Bob Woffinden makes the erroneous and offensive claim that there’s no evidence that Meredith was sexually assaulted,

“In their investigation, prosecutors made a series of blunders. The first serious mistake was their assumption that Meredith was sexually assaulted. If one takes cognisance of Guede’s account, there is no evidence of this. The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault ““ and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito ““ they concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Had Bob Woffinden actually bothered to read the key Massei trial report, he would have known that several medical experts - Dr Lalli, Professor Marchionni, Professor Bacci and Professor Gianaristide Norelli - testified that there were indications of sexual violence on Meredith.

Such conclusions were further explained [by Dr Lalli] at the hearing of April 3, 2009, in which it was highlighted that signs were present of sexual activity with characteristics of non cooperation by the young woman, which can be derived from the lesion pattern at the vulvo vaginal level (page 40 of transcripts).

[111] These signs were present in the purple ecchymotic type spots detected on the inner surface of the labia minora, the area where they are usually produced. It is the first point of contact for the sex organ or object including fingers penetrating the vagina and therefore the point at which an action ... performed without the full cooperation of both actors would produce purplish spots of this kind. (The Massei report, page 116).

He [Professor Marchionni] noted in this regard that, even without lubrication injuries of this nature are not the result of consensual sexual intercourse, and he argued that the cause of these lesions had originated from a “forcing” that could have been done by the penis or by hands (page 21, hearing on April 4, 2009). (The Massei report, page 117.)

With regard to sexual violence, he [Professor Bacci] referred to the inspection of the genital area conducted by Dr. Lalli at the morgue operating room. On the internal surface of the labia minora, attention was focused on areas of discolouration, which can be interpreted as small bruises, small abrasions associated with small haemorrhages indicative of “small lesions” (page 16, transcripts) consistent with a violent action of friction, pressure an typical of sexual violence and, while affirming the absence glaring signs of typical sexual violence (page 16, transcripts) he concluded compatibility with non-consensual sexual intercourse’ (page 16, hearing, hearing on April 18, 2009). (The Massei report, page 121.)

He [Gianaristide Norelli] further underlined the presence of a slight bilateral suffusion in the area of the iliac spines, i.e. in the areas corresponding to the anterior lateral part of the flank, which represent the end/terminal parts of the wings of the [pelvic] basin and the fact that “lesions in this area are fairly characteristic of seizure [grasping] and immobilisation”; [it is] an area which is “˜highly suggestive’ in the context of the investigation of sexual assault. (The Massei report, page 124).

It should be stressed that the the doctor who actually performed the autopsy - Dr Lalli - believed Meredith had been sexually assaulted.

“The prosecution focused on Lalli’s statements that he believed there had been non-consensual sex.” (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 2009).

You need just an ounce of common sense to know that murder victims who were also raped or sexually assaulted didn’t consent. The Kerchers’ lawyer Dr Maresca made this very point:

“Sex that ends with someone dead is not consensual.”

Dr Maresca also highlighted the fact several medical experts said there were signs of sexual violence in court. Dr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses

“sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”

Unbelievably, Bob Woffinden regards Rudy Guede as a reliable and credible witness.

I’m surprised anyone would believe Guede’s ever-changing versions of events when they are so blatantly untrue. Guede gave two different accounts of arranging a date with Meredith and they’re both demonstrably false.

Meredith didn’t go to the Halloween party at the Spanish students’ house on 31 October 2007.

Guede then changed his story and claimed that he had met her at Domus, but Meredith was with her friends continuously and none of them saw her with him. None of Guede’s friends saw him with her either.

“He [Rudy Guede] stated that he met the girl on Oct. 31 in the house of some Spanish students and did not meet her later in the “Domus” pub, that the next day, shortly before going to the date with Meredith…

In the third interrogation, by the P.M. [public prosecutor] on March 26, 2008, he changed the place of his meeting with Kercher on Oct. 31 from the Spanish students’ house to the Domus pub” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, page 17).

“...and also because none of Meredith’s friends (Amy Frost, Robyn Butterworth and [10] Sophie Purton, with whom she had gone out on the evening of Halloween, Oct. 31, 2007) nor any of Guede’s friends (among others AC and PM) had ever seen them talk to each other.” (Judge Giordano’s sentencing report, page 10).

Meredith had NOT arranged a date with Guede at the cottage on Via della Pergola on 1 November 2007. She and Sophie Purton left their friends early that evening because they mistakenly believed they had lectures the next day.

“They [Meredith Kercher and Sophie Purton] were to meet on the morning of the second at around 10:00 am for a lecture at the university…:” (The Massei report, page 35).

“Meredith was tired from the day before when she had come home about five in the morning; the next day she supposed that she had a lesson at the University at 10 am and she needed to prepare for this and she had to also think about resting” (The Massei report, page 58).

Judge Massei explained at length in his report why Rudy Guede’s claims he had a date with Meredith were not credible.

“Speaking of Meredith, there has already been occasion to make mention of her personality (serious, not superficial, with a strong character), of her romantic situation [i.e. her love life] (she had not long beforehand begun a relationship with Giacomo Silenzi), of the plans she had for that evening (studying, preparing for the following day believing that there would be classes at the University, finishing a piece of homework, as her mother recalled during the hearing of 6 June 2009, and resting).

None of the people she frequented and in whom she confided (her relatives and her English girlfriends) testified that Meredith had made any mention to them at all of Rudy, for whom, therefore, she must not have felt any interest. With regard to the totality of these circumstances, it must be considered that Meredith could only have made an outright refusal to Rudy’s advances” (The Massei report, pages 365-366).

In rejecting Guede’s final appeal Judge Giordano succinctly summarised the reasons why he was found guilty of sexual assault and murder in his Supreme Court report. It had nothing to do with the colour of his skin.

“The judgement rationale thus proceeds through rigorous logical steps, quite consistently, with no possibility of misinterpreting evidence, distorting significant data, or disruption of the overall probative reasoning. Meredith Kercher, before being slaughtered with the deadly blow at her throat, was the victim of a series of wounds, of forced restraining of her limbs, especially the left hand and arm - and on the cuff of the left sleeve of the sweatshirt she wore clear traces of DNA of the defendant are found ““ aimed at overcoming her resistance to sexual violence, of which the traces of DNA of Guede of the vaginal swabs are evidence, which then led to the violent behaviour of the deadly slaughtering.

The version of the accused is totally unrealistic because, even apart from the obvious omissions and contradictions detectable in his many statements, his previous acquaintance of Meredith, shaped in his story by a meeting on the night before the murder at the Domus pub, by a kiss between the two and by a date for the evening of the following day, is clearly disproved by a whole articulated testimonial structure, [19] coming from several people and indicating that: the two did not meet at the Domus (indicated by the testimonies of all the friends who were accompanying Meredith), even less did they converse, even briefly, at the Shamrock pub during the match between England and South Africa broadcasted the day before (indicated by the testimonies of AC, PM and F), and Kercher never confided anything, as would have been natural, to her friends about a date with Guede, not even on the afternoon of Nov. 1, as she had done in other occasions about details of her personal and love life (indicated by the testimonies of Robin Carmel Butterworth, Sophie Purton).

This is consistent with the portrait of Meredith’s character; she avoided sexual relations with other men apart from Giacomo Silenzi with whom she had begun a relationship that she absolutely did not mean to betray, as stated by her friends, especially not for unimportant adventures.” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, pages 17-18).

Some conclusions

Bob Woffinden has made a name for himself by publicly championing the causes of convicted killers and sex offenders. Mainstream media organisations such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman have given him a certain degree of credibilty and respectabilty by publishing his articles. Many people will trust him and assume that he’s a reliable and trustworthy journalist.

However, their trust is misplaced. His lack of due diligence with regard to his article about Rudy Guede and the Meredith Kercher case is disturbing and unacceptable. He doesn’t get the basics of journalism right - which is astonishing for someone who has worked as a journalist for decades. He gets basic facts wrong and he has made numerous demonstrably false claims.

A professional journalist should be able to substantiate every claim they make. Bob Woffinden is unable to do this because he has relied on some of the numerous factually inaccurate articles and the massive defense and PR spin about the case instead of the official court documents and court testimonies.

It defies belief that he accepts Rudy Guede’s fairy tale version of events. You don’t expect such childlike naivety from an adult let alone an investigative journalist. He’s obviously blissfully ignorant of the fact that Guede gave contradictory and confllcting accounts.

It seems he has a deep-rooted psychological need to believe in innocence and police malfeasance, which completely clouds his judgement to the point where he blindly supports and campaigns on behalf of people who are blatantly guilty of sexual assault and murder like James Hanratty and Rudy Guede.

If there’s a more sloppy and self-serving journalist in the world, I haven’t come across them yet.


The West Memphis Three: Another Instance Where A Strong Pro-Guilt Case Is Being Garbled For Profit

Posted by The Machine



Above: Still under a cloud: Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols

1. Overview of the series

In my last post on how media hype can badly tangle crime cases, I examined Sarah Koenig’s biased coverage of the Adnan Syed case for the Serial podcasts and her flawed approach to assessing the evidence against him.

In this post, I will analyse a critically acclaimed documentary about another alleged miscarriage of justice: West of Memphis and associated media hype.

The Peter Jackson documentary claims three men known as the West Memphis Three (the WM3) were wrongly convicted as child killers and points the finger at another man.

2. West Memphis 3 background

In May 1993, three eight-year-old boys - Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore - were found dead in a ditch in West Memphis in the US state of Arkansas. There is a crimescene video at the bottom here.

They had been stripped and bound. Steve Branch and Michael Moore had drowned and Christopher Byers had bled to death after his genitals had been mutilated and partially removed.

Three teenagers - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley - were arrested following a tip that Echols had been seen covered in mud the evening the boys disappeared and Misskelley gave a confession.

The WM3 were convicted of murder in 1994 (see the judge and courthouse below) and sent to prison.

However, they were freed in August 2011 after taking an Alford plea. This is a deal which allowed them to maintain their innocence while agreeing prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them.



Above: the three 8-year-old victims

3. The media campaigns

There have been high-profile campaigns to free the WM3 and cast doubt on their convictions. HBO Television made three films about the case: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2 Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. CBS News produced a documentary about the case entitled A Cry for Innocence.

A number of celebrities and musicians supported the WM3, including Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, James Hetfield from Metallica, Henry Rollins, actor Johnny Depp, Natalie Mains from The Dixie Chicks, and film director Peter Jackson.  Do any of these celebrities put forward a compelling case for innocence?

In a word - no.

Johnny Depp and Henry Rollins basically say they could relate to Damian Echols.

“I immediately related to Damien and what he went through growing up. He comes from a small town from Arkansas. I come from a relatively small town in Kentucky. I can remember being kind of looked upon as a freak or, you know, different because I didn’t dress like everybody else. So I can empathize with being judged by how you look as opposed to who you are.” (Johnny Depp, A Cry for Innocence, CBS News).

“Damien liked to hang out alone and wrote he was depressed. Hello! He liked to listen to weird music. Check! He was a wise ass in the face of law enforcement. Are you kidding? It could have been me.” (Henry Rollins, West of Memphis)

.

After reading some of the comments in the media about the WM3 case, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Damien Echols was only a suspect because he wore black, listened to Metallica and read Stephen King books.

This comment by Guardian journalist Emma John is a typical comment by the supporters of the WM3

“At their subsequent trial, evidence introduced by the prosecution included the fact that Echols wore Metallica T-shirts and read Stephen King novels”

Several documentaries angled to exonerate the three have been widely promoted on HBO and Netflix including this one.



Above: one of the documentaries

Emma John and countless other journalists, as well as the producers of Paradise Lost and West of Memphis, completely ignore Echols’ startling mental health records - Exhibit 500 - that show he was a seriously disturbed and violent individual.

He was sent to a mental health hospital on three separate occasions. He threatened a number of people with violence and on occasion attacked others. For example, he threatened to kill his parents and to eat his father alive and he admitted trying to “claw the eyes of out” of a student. According to a report, Echols sucked the blood from the wound of one of the boys in Arkansas Juvenile Detention Center.

Damien Echols’ lawyers presented his mental health records as evidence in the sentencing phase of his trial, presumably to convince the jury he was mentally ill and not fully responsible for his actions, in order to spare him from the death penalty.

4. The West of Memphis production


West of Memphis
is available to watch on the streaming for-pay movie site Netflix. Netflix flatly states that the West Memphis Three are innocent.

“They spent 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit—and the real killer is still out there.”

There’s no legal basis for such an unequivocal claim. The WM3 accepted the court’s judgement of guilt. They were not acquitted by a jury or exonerated by the Supreme Court of the United States.

West of Memphis doesn’t provide any credible exculpatory evidence to support Netflix’s categorial assertion that the WM3 are innocent. No-one should expect this to be the case because if there had been any exculpatory evidence, it would have been presented in court.

A couple of the prosecution’s witnesses recanted their testimony, but that doesn’t mean the entire case against the WM3 collapses. In the Perugia case Judge Massei didn’t find two of the prosecution’s witnesses to be credible, but he and the other judges still found Knox and Sollecito guilty of Meredith Kercher’s murder. 

The Telegraph and Empire gave West of Memphis five stars out of five. The Guardian gave it four stars. Does the documentary deserve such high ratings from these mainstream media organisations?


If you compare West of Memphis to Andrea Vogt’s documentary about the Meredith Kercher case is Amanda Knox Guilty? (which is the gold standard for true crime documentaries because it’s balanced and factually accurate) you have to conclude that it’s light years away from being anywhere near as good as Andrea Vogt’s documentary.

The producers haven’t made a balanced and objective documentary that lets the audience make up their own minds. As with all documentaries about people who have been convicted of murders they allegedly didn’t commit, the cherrypicked story is told primarily from the defence point of view.

This isn’t surprising - Damian Echols and his wife were two of the producers.

I strongly suspect this is also the reason why most of the evidence that led to the convictions of the WM3 is completely ignored. When I found this out, I felt that the producers had been sly and dishonest. Their commitment is clearly to the WM3 - and not the truth. 

If you want to have an informed opinion on the WM3 and to understand why they were convicted, you need to read the official court documents and witness statements, and then consider all the pieces of evidence as a whole.

When you research the case for yourself, you will discover that Damian Echols didn’t become a suspect because he wore black, was different, and a bit of an outsider.

When he was questioned in connection with the murder of the three boys, he failed a polygraph test.

A ten question polygraph test was formulated and three polygraph charts were conducted. The test contained the following relevant questions:

Q.#3. At any time wednesday or wednesday night, were you in robin hood hills? “No”

Q.#5. Were you present when those boys were killed? “No”

Q.#7. Did you kill any of those three boys? “No”

Q.#9. Do you know who killed those three boys? “No”

Q.#10.do you suspect anyone of having killed those three boys? “No”

It is the opinion of this polygraph examiner that this subject recorded significant responses indicative of deception when he answered the above listed relevant questions in the manner noted.

Conclusion: deception indicated.

By reading the official court documents, you will also discover that Echols knew specific details about the crime.

“Detective Bryn Ridge testified that Echols said he understood the victims had been mutilated, with one being cut up more than the others, and that they had drowned. Ridge testified that when Echols made the statement, the fact that Christopher Byers had been mutilated more than the other two victims was not known by the public. The jury could have reasonably concluded that Echols would not have known this fact unless he were involved in some manner.

“Echols took the witness stand, and his testimony contained additional evidence of guilt. When asked about his statement that one victim was mutilated more than the others, he said he learned the fact from newspaper accounts. His attorney showed him the newspaper articles about the murders. On cross-examination, Echols admitted that the articles did not mention one victim being mutilated more than the others, and he admitted that he did not read such a fact in a newspaper.”

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas)



Above: Judge (now State Senator) David Burnett

The police obtained further corroboration that Damian Echols had been involved in the murder of Steve Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers when his friend Jessie Misskelley told them that he, Echols and Jason Baldwin had attacked and killed the boys.

“On June 3, or almost one month after the murders, Detective Mike Allen asked Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr., about the murders. Misskelley was not a suspect at the time, but Echols was, and it was thought that Misskelley might give some valuable information about Echols. Detective Allen had been told all three engaged in cult-like activities. Misskelley made two statements to the detective that implicated Echols and Baldwin, as well as himself. The statements can be found in Misskelley v. State, 323 Ark. 449, 459-61, 915 S.W.2d 702, 707-08 (1996).”

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas).

It should be noted that Jessie Misskelley repeatedly claimed that he, Echols and Baldwin had killed the boys before and after he was convicted. On one occasion, he confessed despite being warned not to by his lawyer.

This should trouble anyone who believes the WM3 are innocent because Misskelley wasn’t threatened or promised any deal by the investigators.

He may have a low IQ, but he wasn’t hallucinating when he made these confessions. In short, they were voluntary statements made over a significant period of time - from 3 June 1993 to 17 February 1994.

Furthermore, Misskelley also knew specific details about the crime. He told the police that Christopher Byers had been castrated in an interview on 3 June 1993.

RIDGES: Cutting him in the face. Alright, another boy was cut I understand.  Where was he cut at?

JESSIE: At the bottom

RIDGE: On his bottom? Was he faced down and he was cutting on him, or

JESSIE: He was

GITCHELL: Now you’re talking about bottom, do you mean right here?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: In his groin area?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: Okay

RIDGE: Do you know what his penis is?

JESSIE: Yeah, that’s where he was cut at.

RIDGE: That’s where he was cut.

GITCHELL: Which boy was that?

JESSIE: That one right there.

GITCHELL: You’re talking about the Byers boy again?

JESSIE: Yes

GITCHELL: Okay

RIDGE: Are you sure that he was the one that was cut?

JESSIE: That’s the one that I seen them cutting on.

RIDGE: Alright, you know what a penis is?

JESSIE: Yeah

RIDGE: Alright, is that where he was cutting?

JESSIE: That’s where I seen them going down at, and he was on his back. I seen them going down right there real close to his penis and stuff and I saw some blood and that’s when I took off.

Jessie Misskelley’s claim that Christopher Byers was castrated was corroborated by the autopsy report.

“The skin of the penis, scrotal sac and testes were missing. There was a large gaping defect measuring 2 3/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch. The shaft of the penis was present and measured 2 inches in length. The gaping defect was surrounded by multiple and extensive irregular punctate gouging type injuries measuring from 1/8 inch to 3/4 inch and had a depth of penetration of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.”

In West of Memphis, it’s claimed that turtles might be responsible for the missing genitals. I found this theory to be fanciful to say the least.

According to the medical examiner, Chris Byers bled to death because his genitals had been mutilated and partially removed. I believe Jessie Miskelley that this happened before he was thrown into the ditch.



Above: the courthouse about 100 miles north of West Memphis

In the same interview, Jessie Misskelley told the police officers that one of the boys was cut in his face.

RIDGE: Okay, now when this is going on, when this is taking place, you saw somebody with a knife. Who had a knife?

JESSIE: Jason

RIDGE: Jason had a knife, what did he cut with the knife. What did you see him cut or who did you see him cut?

JESSIE: I saw him cut one of the little boys

RIDGE: Alright, where did he cut him at?

JESSIE: He was cutting him in the face.

Prosecutor John Fogleman highlighted the fact that Jessie Misskelley knew facts that nobody else knew in his closing argument. He pointed out that Misskelley knew one of the boys had been cut in the fact and that this specific detail wasn’t mentioned in any of the newspapers.

Nothing in there [the newspapers] about a boy being cut in the face. Said they were beat up real bad, but nothing, nothing in there about somebody being cut in the face. He [Jessie Misskelley] says, “Yes, one of them was cut in the face.”

Jessie Misskelley also claimed that Damian Echols grabbed one of the boys by the ear and that the ear was discoloured as a result.

MISSKELLEY: He [Damian Echols] grabbed one of’m by the ear, I don’t know which one, he grabbed on of’m by the ear trying to pull his ear off or something. He grabbed’m pretty tight. It turned kind of red.

This was also corroborated by the autopsy report for Chris Byers. According to the report, he suffered injuries to his right ear:

“Head Injuries:

The right ear was abraded and contused. The inferior aspect of the right ear showed multiple linear abrasions measuring 1/2 inch to 1 1/4 inch.”

When you find out the three boys were stripped and two of them had injuries to their genitals, it’s natural to assume there must have been a sexual motive. Jessie Misskelley told the police that Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin sexually assaulted two of the boys.

JESSIE: Then they [Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin] tied them up, tied their hands up, they started screwing them and stuff, cutting them and stuff, and I saw it and turned around and looked, and then I took off running, I went home, then they called me and asked me, how come I didn’t stay, I told them, I just couldn’t.

John Fogleman also drew the jury’s attention to the fact that Jessie Misskelley knew that two of the boys had been sexually assaulted - something that was also corroborated by the autopsy reports. Chris Byers and Steve Branch had injuries to their genitals.

Finally, in talking about the boys being sexually abused, Inspector Gitchell says, “So they both did it to all three of the boys?” Jessie: “Just them two as far as I know.”



Above: bridge west from Memphis; crime scene is just one mile ahead

According to Lisa Sakevicius - a criminalist from the state lab - the three victims were tied with three different knots.

Her testimony would seem to rule out that the three boys were killed by a single attacker and indicate there were three attackers.

Jessie Misskelley didn’t just confess to the police. According to his friend Buddy Lucas, Misskelley also confessed to him.

Lucas - so we sit there, sit there, and I said, he said man me jason and damien we went walking last night in the town of west memphis, I said why didn’t you all come by and get me? we will we uh, we were in a hurry and everything go up there and come back home. I said alright I understand (inaudible) now since I found out I’m kinda glad he didn’t come by and get me

Ridge - okay, what did he tell you he do?

Lucas - we…. he told me that uh, that he got in a fight, that’s what he told me at first

Ridge - okay

Lucas - I said damien and jason they helped you? He said um-yea and everything so I said well did you all hurt anybody? And he said yea, I didn’t think it was those 8 year old kids or anything, so I turn around and come to found out that jason he was with jason and damien when they sacrificed them little kids. I was come and tell you all

Ridge - he tells you he’s in some trouble?

Lucas - uh-huh

Ridge - and what did he tell you he was in trouble over?

Lucas - that he really, he said um, we hurt, uh…. uh we hurt a couple of boys, that jason and damien killed

Ridge - okay

Lucas - couple, I said was you involved? He said yea, I said what did you do? I finally got it talked out of him what did he do, he said I hit uh, a couple in the back of the head

Ridge - okay, and

Lucas - and everything to keep them from running and everything

Ridge - and that’s what he told you?

Lucas - yes sir

Two witnesses claimed that Damian Echols admitted he had killing the three boys.

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.”

The testimony of these two independent witnesses was direct evidence of the statement by Echols. These witnesses were cross-examined by Echols counsel, and it was the jury’s province to weigh their credibility.

(Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas,Supreme Court of Arkansas).




5. Alternative perp Terry Hobbs

The producers of West of Memphis make a case for Terry Hobbs - the stepfather of Steve Branch - being the killer and that his friend David Jacoby was a possible accomplice. However, Hamish McKenzie points out in an article for The Atlantic that the filmmakers are guilty of hypocrisy.

“But the rave reviews miss a dangerous hypocrisy at the heart of the film, which was paid for and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, and directed by Amy Berg. In their quest to clear the names of the “West Memphis Three”“”Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. who were teenagers when they were convicted for the 1993 killings””the filmmakers decide that they have found the actual murderer: Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the murdered boys. And in publicly making the case against him, they perpetrate a similar sort of injustice to the one they originally set out to correct: relying on questionable evidence to prosecute in the court of public opinion.”

The producers of West of Memphis point the finger at Hobbs because he has a history of domestic violence, he gave inconistent alibis and they think two hairs found at the crime scene implicate him and his friend Jacoby. However, Thomas Fedor, one of the defence experts, called the hairs weak evidence.

“The two hairs that I know about ““ the one that could have in fact come from Mr. Hobbs and the one that could have in fact come from David Jacoby ““ constitute what I call weak evidence. Because there are other people it could have come from and there isn’t any way to really prove our selection of possible sources for that hair.

I don’t think ““ my personal opinion ““ I don’t think that that hair evidence would be enough to convict Mr. Hobbs or Mr. Jacoby or anyone that would be in a similar situation because it’s simply not strong enough.

The percentages I gave of people who could be the source of those hairs are 1.5% of the population in the respect to one hair and 7% in respect to the other hair. That’s not particularly strong evidence and especially in the context of what most people are accustomed to with DNA testing.” (Thomas Fedor, Forensic Serologist).


6. Some conclusions

Concluding the WM3 are innocent on the basis of watching West of Memphis would be like concluding Amanda Knox is innocent after reading Waiting to Be Heard. The documentary is clearly biased and one-sided.

The producers did not address most of the evidence that led to the convictions of the WM3 let alone refute it. This is not surprising when you consider the fact that Damian Echols is one of the producers.

The defence lawyers assessed the evidence and recommended that their clients accept a court judgement of guilt. Surely if there was no credible evidence against the WM3 they would have opted for a new trial. If they had been found not guilty, they would have been able to sue the state for millions of dollars.

The supposedly exculpatory evidence was that some DNA was recovered from the crime scene was not attributable to any of the victims or the WM3. Since it is not known to whom that DNA belongs, one cannot say what that person’s role, if any, was and whether the evidence would help the defendants.




Above: from freeway, crime scene is by a creek within trees in left background

7. Valuable Sources

Click: ‘West Memphis Three’ freed after 18 years in prison

Click: Damien Echols: Statements and Polygraph Reports (May 9-10, 1993)

Click: Supreme Court of Arkansas

Click: Closing Argument of John Fogleman

Click: Damien Echols - mental health records - Exhibit 500

Click: Peter Jackson’s West of Memphis: the tale of three wronged men

Click: Damien Echols: how I survived death row

Click: West Memphis Three Facts

Click: The Unsettling Recklessness of Peter Jackson’s ‘West of Memphis’

Click: Misskelley v. State

Click: Statement of Jessie L. Misskelley, Jr. (June 3, 1993 at 2:44 P.M.)

Click: Statement of Jessie Misskelley, Jr. February 17, 1994

Click: Autopsy report for Steven Branch

Click: Autopsy report for Chris Byers

Click: Autopsy report for Michael Moore

Click: Lisa Sakevicius’s testimony

Click: A Skeptic’s Guide To The West Memphis Three Documentaries

Click: Is Amanda Knox Guilty?


[Below: The crime scene about 1 mile west of Memphis - warning, images of the murdered boys are included]

Posted by The Machine on 08/25/16 at 06:32 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (19)

How A Major Media Controversy In The US Augurs Well For The Imminent Reframing Of The “Knox Case”

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1. The Wisconsin Case Now In Dispute

1. The Netflix Report

In mid December a pay-per-view documentary about a murder case in Wisconsin was put online.

Millions of people in the US and elsewhere have paid up and watched the 10-hour Netflix report. Convinced that they are experts now on the whole case, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions to the President and the State Governor requesting that the convicted Steve Avery be released.

Some viewers have even taken to berating and threatening the investigators and the prosecution both online and in telephone messages and texts.

Their take seems to be of the investigators and the prosecution corruptly making many, many things up during the investigation and trial. Their supposed motive was to cover their tails in a previous case where Steve Avery was indeed wrongly convicted, for which they could now face court and loss of jobs.

Furthermore some reports claimed that a juror had said the jury felt intimidated and were never convinced of guilt.

2. Reaction Of US Media

A growing wave of reports and articles have been aired and published online in effect saying most of the hardest evidence was left out.

The lead prosecutor has been quoted as saying “90 percent of the evidence” against Avery and a relative convicted as an accomplice was not even mentioned in the report.

So a wave of fact-checking is going on.

Even though it is still early days here and here are Time Magazine. Here is the Los Angeles Times. Here is the New York Times. Here is On Milwaukee’s website. Here is the International Business Times.

Several TV documentaries contradicting the Netflix report are reportedly already in the works. See the reports here and here and also here.

And the juror has now denied that the jury was intimidated and did not do an honest job. So far, all the jurors seem to be standing by their verdict, in the face of a lot of heat.

Oh and on those petitions which Netflix stirred? President Obama’s spokesman has said it is not a Federal case so he will not intervene, and the Governor of Wisconsin has said he will not intervene either, as the state has good justice systems in place.

So they will ignore opinion that was deliberately muddled for commercial ends, and instead leave matters to the courts.

2. Parallels To Reporting Of The “Knox Case”

The parallels to the Perugia case are in fact immense.

The prosecution case in 2009 was extremely persuasive and the entire jury (panel of judges) voted for guilt. They sat through the very tough and convincing 1/4 of the trial that was held behind closed doors.

A majority of Italians still believe that Amanda Knox led a cruel pack attack on Meredith and (to Guede’s and Sollecito’s seeming considerable shock) landed the fatal stab in Meredith’s neck.  They watched Knox on the stand for two days, in fact doing herself great harm.

In contrast, almost the entire American media followed the Netflix route.

Main media have struggled to report the trial for language and local-staff reasons, and the Associated Press carried by 2000 media outlets actively misled. Main media presented almost no reporting of the very painstaking judicial checking by ten judges that preceded the case ever going to court.

Main media have still not translated not even one major document (the Wiki and two PMFs and TJMK have translated hundreds of documents now and are still not done) and have left hundreds of evidence points unaddressed.

Main media have also misreported the overturning of the Hellmann outcome and the Nencini appeal. They have especially misrepresented the supposed complete Marasca-Bruno reversal for the Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court.

As lawyers for Dr Mignini and three of our main posters (James Raper, Machiavelli and Catnip) have shown, in fact the Fifth Chambers (a) should not even have had the case; (b) broke two laws, (c) misinterpreted a few elements of the evidence, (d) left literally hundreds of evidence points out, (e) went against strongly established Italian legal precedents, and (f) even ridiculed plain hard science.

And even so, they still placed Knox right at the scene of the attack at the time, and Sollecito probably so. Accessories before or after the crime. Felons in their view in fact.

So here’s a prediction on what Americans will see in the media soon on this case.

The widespread media reaction against Netflix will be reflected in a major correction in the main media against the serious under-reporting and misreporting of the Perugia case.

We have some idea of what is already in the works. Stay tuned.

 


Dupe Watch: Professional Fraud Exposer Benjamin Radford Himself Gets Seriously Duped

Posted by Peter Quennell



Despite vast, easily accessible evidence to contrary, Radford regurgitates proven Knox lies

1. Who Is Benjamin Radford?

Benjamin Radford is the deputy editor of the popular Skeptical Inquirer which has very active Twitter and Facebook presences.

In normal cool-minded mode, he is an effective and useful exposer of hoaxers and dupes and a good entertainer. He himself has seemed fairly impervious to hoaxes. From his website here are his career highlights.

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written over a thousand articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and media literacy.

He is author of six books [including]: Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking; and Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us; and The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes…

Just our kind of guy, right? In this case, so badly needed. Such a huge opportunity for him. And yet…

2. Radford Swallows The Interrogation Hoax

A dozen deliberate PR-inspired hoaxes (there are also others) to the advantage of Knox and Sollecito are taken apart on TJMk under this right-column heading.

Radford would seem to have very fertile territory there. But instead, Radford himself becomes the latest dupe of the Knox Interogation Hoax.

Instead of actually doing any checking, Radford simply quotes one of Knox’s numerous dishonest and easily disprovable accounts which have already cost her three years in prison and the prospect of more court action ahead for her.

This false statement appeared yesterday in an article by Radford on the Discovery Channel website titled NYC Murder Trial: The Problem With Confessions

The Amanda Knox Confession

False confessions can, of course, have serious consequences for the person who wrongly confesses, but can also pose a real threat to innocent people. That’s what happened in the case of Amanda Knox, the American woman arrested for the 2007 murder of student Meredith Kercher in Italy.

After an extended interrogation Knox confessed to police that she was there during the time of the murder. She implicated not only herself but also Patrick Lumumba, the owner of a bar she worked at, saying she was present when Lumumba murdered Kercher and could hear her screams. Lumumba, however, was cleared weeks later when a university professor came forward to report that he was with Lumumba in his bar at the time of the murder.

Knox later claimed that her confession had been false and coerced: “In regards to this “˜confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly”¦. it was under this pressure and after many hours of confusion that my mind came up with these answers.”

Based in part on that confession, Knox was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Appeals and retrials lasted years, and last month the Italian Supreme Court overturned the previous guilty verdicts, effectively ending the case.

Confessions don’t need to be beaten or tortured out of a person; sometimes they can come after hours of psychological pressure and exhaustion. When someone is put under sustained pressure, they may tell their interrogator whatever they want to hear to make it stop, whether truthful or not.

There was no “hours of psychological pressure and exhaustion”. Nor was there any confession - only a false accusation. In fact (see below) there was not even an interrogation.

And the Supreme Court did not overturn all previous guilty verdicts. That court had no power to overturn the guilty sentence and the three years Knox served for lying about the interrogation, and for falsely blaming Lumumba.

3. Hard Realities Of The Interrogation Hoax

Based on numerous court transcripts (see Part 4 below) this is a TRUTHFUL account of what happened at Perugia’s central police station on 5-6 November 2007.

This sequence led into her arrest and eventually to her three years in prison for calunnia, a sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court - a well-known fact which the avid researcher Benjamin Radford appears to have ignored, misunderstood, or been unaware of.

Prior to the night of 5 November Knox, Sollecito and many others had sat voluntarily with police officers to help them to build a complete picture. None were suspects and none were put through interrogation.

Knox’s claimed hours associated with this questioning included a lot of time spent waiting around - in Knox’s and Sollecito’s cases the hours mounted because they were conspicuoslu eager to be there. 

Senior Inspector Rita Ficarra testified that she arrived back at the police station late on 5 November, and finds her way blocked by a cartwheeling Knox.

She rebukes Knox, who testily responds that she is tired of the investigation. Rita Ficarra tells Knox to go home and get some sleep. Knox refuses.

Shortly after, Ficarra suggests to Knox that if she really wants to help, she could add to the list of possible perps - men who Meredith knew and who might have visited the house.

As the defenses acknowledge during their cross-examinations of key investigators present on the night, this was merely a recap/summary, a simple checking of facts with someone who might be helpful which could have been done on a street corner. It was not a witness or suspect interrogation.

Knox eagerly agrees. So they begin on the list.

This goes slowly because of language problems, until an interpreter, Anna Donnino, arrives. In total Knox and four others (three of them women) are present. Knox builds a list of seven people and adds maps and phone numbers (in evidence) in a calm proceeding. These were the names: Peter Svizzero, Patrick, Ardak, Juve, Spiros, Shaki and “a South African [Guede]” who played basketball near the house.

At several points in the evening Knox is provided with refreshments. No voices are ever raised, no bathroom breaks are refused. A number of efforts are made to help Knox to keep calm.

Inspector Napoleoni and a couple of colleagues are seeking facts from Sollecito in a separate wing. Shown conflicts between what he has said and what his phone records show, Sollecito backtracks and declares that Knox made him lie. Knox is gently asked about this, and nobody reports any reaction. Knox defense lawyers in cross examination do not go there at all.

Suddenly, to the considerable surprise of all present, Knox has a yelling, head-clutching conniption (the first of several that night) when they observe a text she had denied sending, saying she would see that person later. Knox explains that it was Patrick, along with a torrent of accusations.

Warned she should not do so without a lawyer, Knox insists on a recorded statement which says she headed out to meet Patrick that night after he texted and she accuses Patrick of killing Meredith.

Knox is put on hold, given more refreshments, and made comfortable on some chairs so she might try to get some sleep.

A second session ending at 5:45 is intended as merely a reading of Knox’s legal rights, with Dr Mignini presiding. No questions are asked.

Having just been warned she should not do so without a lawyer present, Knox insists on a second recorded statement which also says she went out to meet Patrick that night and also accuses Patrick of killing Meredith.

Just before noon, now under arrest and about to be taken to Capanne Prison, a third statement this time in English, and seemingly gleefully hands it to Rita Ficcara. She yet again accuses Patrick but also ponts some suspicion toward Sollecito.

Knox’s lawyers never substantially challenge this version, leave standing that she insisted on all three statements, and they dont pursue any claims that she was pressed.

In July Knox herself tried to challenge the scenario but was disbelieved and for the calunnia framing of Patrick Lumumba Judge Massei sentenced her to a year more than Sollecito, later amended by Judge Hellmann to three years served.

4. Trial Transcripts And Other Evidence Against Knox

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #2: Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #3: More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #4: More Hard Realities Fron Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #5: Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #6: Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #7: Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini On The Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #8: Testimony Of Interpreter Anna Donnino On Events Night Of 5 November

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #9: Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #10: Challenge To Readers: Spot The Two Landmines For Lawyers & Knox

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #11: Why Prosecution And Defenses Never Believed Knox’s Version

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #12: Proof Released That In 5-6 Nov Session Knox Worked On Names List

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #13: The First Two Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #14: The Third Pre-Trial Opportunitty Which Knox Flunked

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #15: Dr Mignini’s Knowledge Of Knox “Interrogation” Explained To Media

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #16: The Fourth Pre-Trial Opportunity Which Knox Flunked

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #17: Sollecito April 2008 Before Supreme Court Again Coldsholders Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/15/15 at 01:37 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesHoaxes Knox & team16 Interrogation hoaxComments here (37)

Columbia University Journalism School Blasts Fabricated Story - But What Of Hundreds In Our Case?

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Damage From False Media Reports

Once a false meme is put out there it can do immense harm and be almost impossible to turn around.

Public relations houses try to propagate memes, and if they are false that is sleazy and unethical but usually does not contravene criminal law.

But serious media spreading such memes have a very strong moral mandate and at times a legal mandate to check, double-check, and check again.

Often the real damage extends way beyond immediate victims and witnesses and families and friends. It can chill and distort right across law enforcement and the justice system and deeply affect paranoia-prone minds.

2. The Rolling Stone Article Report

What was misreported in the fortnightly Rolling Stone is described chronologically today by Rolling Stone itself here.

Essentially, an experienced reporter with a valid story did not go the extra mile to check if her highly inflammatory flagship claim was true.

There seems no question now that it was not.

The first report that the story did not smell right was posted by a respected reporter here. A week later, the Washington Post reported serious discrepancies here and here.

A few days later Rolling Stone itself cautiously began to ‘fess up. The story was indeed untrue. Neither the reporter nor the editor had checked, double-checked, and checked again.

Its owner Jann Renner contracted with the Columbia University Graduate Journalism School to publish an in-depth report.  The supposed victim was increasingly contradicted by her own friends and shown to have changed stories a lot. On 23 March local police reported that their investigation turned up no sign of a crime.

Yesterday the journalism school published their conclusions on “What Went Wrong” and they will make available and summarise the full version of their report on April 8th.

Damage has rippled on and on not least to women who have a huge interest in being taken seriously when they have a complaint.

The University of Virgina is in full damage control mode (that campus is about one hour’s drive southwest of Washington). Who could now be charged or sued is discussed here in the Washington Post. Many reputations have come out looking worse.

3. Relevance To Meredith’s Case?

On 27 June 2011 (right in the middle of the Hellmann appeal) Rolling Stone published one of the least accurate and most damaging and defamatory of literally hundreds of inaccurate reports.

Nathaniel Rich reported only in English, of course, from safely across the Atlantic, and there was zero due diligence by the editor at Rolling Stone (the same editor as today). His false claims were very widely quoted elsewhere. See here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

Rolling Stone inflamed public opinion through false claims.  It added to the perception that an extradition battle could drop two governments in the soup. That may have impacted the Supreme Court.

Yes, this case of mass misreporting seems every bit as bad.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/06/15 at 03:59 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesThe wider contextsN America contextComments here (10)

Nencini Juror Genny Ballerini, Translated: She Misled, Oggi Misled More, UK Media Misled Even More

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Interpretations Of The Interview

In reading the translation by Miriram these points may be worth bearing in mind. They are largely based on advice from Yummi in Italy.

Genny Ballerini comes across to Italians as someone not especially educated who is more than a bit lost on the law and the case. She herself admits she may be naive and had not followed Meredith’s case. She was surprised to end up on the jury for Knox’s and Sollecito’s “trial”. She voices no concern for Meredith or her family.

A former factory worker, she had been unemployed for some months, and she appreciated the small fee the court paid her for jury duty and apparently also a fee that Oggi paid her for the interview. She had to be persuaded by Oggi to do the interview, and she seems unaware that it may have been illegal.

The lead judge and side judge, the professionals, remained neutral and impartial and promoted no particular outcome. There were no arguments among the jury. She seems to be drawn toward Sollecito without any very logical reason. (Hmmm. Sollecito had addressed her and the others directly and he was standing right in front of her looking at her.)

She repeatedly refers to a “trial” and to previous “trials” for example “when the trial started” and “I formed my beliefs studying the three files of the previous trials. Not only. During the trial I kept a diary for every hearing”. She never once uses the word for “appeal” or wonders why there were no prosecution exhibits and witnesses.

The Oggi headline is misleading. Almost of her doubts are described in the past tense and she admits she voiced them to the other jurors early in the “trial” because things were not clear to her. She had folders of evidence to poke though; these may have related only to the appeal points the defenses had filed.

At one point she says “we discussed to reach an agreement” and at another point she says she voted against the verdict. It is not clear in what order, and she may finally have joined in a total consensus. She seems to connect the punishment to the supposed amount of evidence rather than the barbaric nature of the attack.

Please see Part 3 below for how the UK media has managed to report this even more confusingly.

2. The New Translation By Miriam

Miriam has carefully translated the original interview in Oggi for us.

“Not Enough Evidence For Such A Heavy Sentence”

On January 30th of last year, the appeal Court of Florence sentenced Amanda Knox to 28 years and 6 months of imprisonment and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years for the murder of Meredith Kercher. 12 hours of deliberation were needed for the eight judges - two professional judges (the President Alessandro Nencini and Doctor Liliana Cicerchia)  and six Lay Judges - to wrap up that decision.  Among the lay judges was Genny Ballarini, a 48 year old,  worker from Prato. After long negotiations and courteous refusals, on the eve of the decision by Corte di Cassazione, she accepted to speak to Oggi.

Twelve hours, half a day: a lifetime for who judges and for who is judged. Without entering into detail, as not to violate the secrets of the “camera del consiglio”, what can you tell us?

We went through all the documents, drew the conclusions, in order to arrive at an agreement.

And then?

I certainly had many doubts about the guilt of the two young people. I wasn’t an upholder the defendant’s innocence, but I thought and said to the others: “The evidence we have is not enough to inflict all these years of prison. Where is the evidence to send them to prison? Maybe I was naïve, but before pronouncing such a heavy sentence I wanted to see clearly. There was not enough, according to me, to justify a such a heavy sentence: questionable proof, odd testimony and uncertain evidence”. 

And of the motive, what ideas did you arrive at?

“That of the inadequate cleaning of the house? Nonsense. You do not massacre a girl because she complained about a bit of a smell in the bathroom. Anyway, at the end of every hearing we would sit down and discuss, we would reconstruct the facts on the basis of the timing, the cell phones, the statements of the accused that indicated how Amanda and Raffaele could be at the scene of the crime. I would ask ” But is it enough to convict them?” Against Raffaele, beyond the hypothesis, remained the discussed trace on Meredith’s bra clasp. How could you not have doubts? “What was the motive that could have pushed Raffaele to participate in the massacre of that poor girl”?  I asked.

The prosecutor in the first trial described Sollecito as “depraved”, putting him inside of the erotic game ending in a tragedy and he was depraved, argued the prosecutor, because he was a fanatic of Manga, the Japanese comics that mix eroticism and violence. 

“But if he is a murderer you need to prove it!” I noted. “It is not enough to read comics or watch cartoons. And then it was the same prosecutors that reminded that Amanda was not a tranquil young lady because she once received a fine for nocturnal racket. It seemed to be, excuse me, more nonsense”.

One of the controversial points is that in that small room in which Meredith was murdered, there was not even one trace of Knox. How do you explain that?

“They claimed that Knox had removed her traces by cleaning. Who knows! Today when I think about it again I have even more doubts”, she said. When the trial started the atmosphere in the “camera del consiglio” was accusatory. Maybe I am naïve, but I had doubts. I thought: what we have in our hands it’s not enough to send them to prison for all those years.  May be Amanda was there, but she didn’t participate. I listened to Raffaele and he seem to me a fine young man, he seemed to me sincere”¦ At the beginning I had no opinion: I have never liked crime news and I had read just a bit on the case. I formed my beliefs studying the three files of the previous trials. Not only. During the trial I kept a diary for every hearing. I wrote down everything that was happening and at the end I would add my impressions.

How did you interact with the Court’s President?

He and the side Judge did not express an opinion till the end. During all those months I never managed to understand what they thought about the case.

So they did not influenced the Lay Judges?

Absolutely not. They would explain only the things that we could not understand. I understood what they thought only when the verdict was decided, but my doubts remained. At a certain point, I stressed that Rudy Guede left on the crime scene more traces than Raffaele and Amanda and yet he was given 16 years instead of 25. They explained to me that he was judged through a fast track trial, that provides a reduction of the sentence. 

And what do you think of Guede?

I think that he gave three different versions of the facts and he never said that Amanda and Raffaele were with him. How can you take into consideration Rudy to establish the guilt of the other two?

What did you think when the verdict was decided?

Right away I said that I did not agree and it was noted. On the increasing on the sentence even other Lay Judges did not agree, but it was explained to us that it could not be any different.

Did you ever fight among yourselves?

No, never.

You said that you do not like crime news and the speculations on blood related crimes? Why than did you accept to became part of the Lay Judges of a trial so complicated and a such media driven event?

I was drawn. I could only refuse only for health reasons. I accepted even for economic reasons since at that time I was on unemployment check. On the other hand they had told me that in that session, from July to September, usually the “Corte d’Assise” has scheduled trials of less importance. I would have never imagined that we were going to end up with Meredith’s murder.

You implied to economic reasons. You worked seven months from July to January with burdensome hearings. How much did you received?   

In all 1.500 Euro: 200 Euro a month! I received them from the Department of Justice seven months after the conclusion of the trial. Not much, but needed: I spent them for a sensitive surgery.

3. How The UK Press Reported This

The Mirror and Daily Mail cherrypick the most sensational claims, make them sound current rather than nearly 18 months old,  and dont publish the whole interview.

In effect they leave out almost all of the context in Par 1 above, dont explain why Italians are unmoved, and omit the essential point that this was NOT a new trial and the jury did NOT hear the case presented in depth with exhibits and witnesses as the trial jury did.


Media Miss Why Nencini Juror Genny Ballerini Was Confused: The Appeal Was NOT A 2nd Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell



Umberto Brindani, the editor of the weekly Italian magazine Oggi

1. Explaining The Broad Context

A rogue juror has mischaracterized the outcome of the Nencini appeal in Oggi.

Very odd, as the consequence of this very unusual action is that she could be charged with vilipendio, with an illegal action to poison public opinion to lean upon a court process to affect its outcome. To help explain what may be going on here, think of Italy as two factions.

  • A very large faction which is comparatively very law-abiding and very forgiving and which greatly admires Italian law enforcement and judges and prosecutors.

  • A relatively tiny faction consisting of such unsavory elements as corrupt politicians and businessmen, the mafias, rogue masons, satanists (yes there are some) and others who, by any means fair or foul, seek unfair breaks for themselves and their associates.

The Perugia courts, being close to Rome, and the Florence courts, being very large and very competently staffed, have particular roles in matters of national-level justice. Anyone who manages to throw sand in the wheels of those court systems may have won one for some in the small and unsavory faction at the cost of the very large pro-justice faction.

MP Rocco Girlanda is a great example of how this works. The member from Gubbio once of Berlusconi’s party used his parliamentary privilege to “check Knox’s conditions” in Capanne dozens of times. Apparently even the Knox-Mellases found Girlanda’s advances pretty creepy, and someone from the family is said to have headed for Italy in a hurry.

Girlanda not only wrote a creepy book about Knox and took a creepy position on panels of the Italian-American Society in Rome which he once headed. He also tried to monkey with Meredith’s case by petitioning the President, and by attempting to reduce the national Department Of Justice budget. But some of his closest political colleagues from Gubbio are on trial now and may entangle him, and see Andrea Vogt’s tweet the other day that Florence prosecutors are investigating Girlanda, for corruption at a national level.

The Sollecitos also incline toward murky incitement outside the courtroom. Think of the bag of cash the witness Aviello said was offered. Think of conversations caught on tape discussing the capturing of politicians who might lean on the Perugia justice officials. For this Vanessa lost her job and the Sollecitos may still face charges.

The Sollecitos seem to have made a beeline in 2008 for Giulia Bongiorno, a longtime defender of some of those in the smaller faction, for her political clout, although some of her actions in handling the case, such as shrieking at Judge Nencini with a knife in her hand (the same judge who will execute Cassations decisions) seem daft in the extreme.

The Sollecitos may - may - now be a party to some strange media developments in Italy, such as the fawning Porta a Porta show of a few days ago. 

2. The Court Pressure Oggi Faces

The editor of Oggi Umberto Brindani seems to take malicious glee in Oggi’s reports to its weekly readership that put Italian justice in a bad light, perhaps to bring Italian justice down a peg and win one for some in the small faction.

Now although no other Italian media would risk repeating in Italian the lurid conspiracy theories of the Knox PR in English in the United States, Oggi did choose to go there - and was slapped with charges as a result.

Our posts here and here explain how Brindani’s taunting has bitten him in the tail. Oggi quoted defamatory and inaccurate claims from Knox’s book which are a magnet for diffamazione and vilipendio charges, as Brindani found out.

If Brindani goes down against the Bergamo prosecutor for this, as seem inevitable, both the Oggi house of cards and the Knox-Mellas-Sollecito house of cards are put at risk. Oggi may face fines and civil damages for a lot of Euros. More especially, Oggi’s credibility and future would take a knock.

3. Enter The Rogue Juror

This Daily Mail report is in fact 100% quoting the latest edition of Oggi. (Gee, thanks, Daily Mail; for obvious reasons Oggi try hard never to put their own scurrilous stories online.)

Essentially Genny Ballerini is complaining that it was an unfair “trial” and she didnt see a case being made or a motive explained.

On the face of it, this makes absolutely zero sense.

What happened in Florence just over a year ago was an APPEAL by RS and AK, not a second trial. It was tightly focused only on a couple of points the defenses wanted to quibble about (unsuccessfully, as it happened).

The prosecution presented next to nothing of the case it had already presented in great detail in 2009. There were no similar summations, no recreations of the attack on Meredith, no witnesses of its own examined in court, and almost no exhibits.

And guess what? Genny Ballerini didnt even set eyes on Amanda Knox or Rudy Guede!!

Working under strict instructions from Cassation, Judge Nencini guided his lay judges to examine and vote on ONLY the points the defense had tried to prove to their advantage.  They all knew, or should have known, even this rogue juror Genny Ballerini, that any attempt to act as a second trial jury on the lines of the Hellmann appeal jury would be illegal, and was not why they were sitting there.

Unless she is seriously daffy the surprise surfacing of Genny Ballerini in Oggi of all places only makes sense in the light of what Part 1 above explained. Genny Ballerini seems to be being used to muddy the waters to the hoped-for advantage of some in the smaller faction. 

4. The Guts Of Ballerini’s Claims  

Our main poster Chimera checked out Genny Ballerini’s individual claims, and at that level also shows that Genny Ballerini is either out to lunch or working as a tool for Oggi and by extension some in the small faction.

(1) The juror did not ‘‘help convict’’ Knox/Sollecito at the 2013/2014 Florence appeal.  The court merely confirmed the trial verdict of Giancarlo Massei (2009).

(2) ‘‘She slams the prosecution’s case, citing questionable proof, flimsy evidence, and bizarre testimony’‘.  This was only a defence appeal, which is a HUGE detail to omit.

When the defense files an appeal, essentially they are saying there is something wrong with the prosecution’s case as presented back at trial.  The prosecution PROVED their case, they don’t have to again.  So yes, the burden is on the defense.

If she does not know this (and these comments may be deliberately misquoted), then Ms. Ballerini doesn’t understand the purpose of an appeal or her role in it.

(3) Knox was 20 at the time of the murder, not 19.

(4) The article says they served 4 years before being freed on appeal, but it leaves out the fact that they had been convicted at trial.  While technically correct, it implies something that is not the case.

(5) The article says that Knox rebuilt her life finding love with Colin Sutherland, and working as a journalist.  While true, they were only recent developments (late 2014).  Knox had been released 3 years prior to that.

(6) The appeal court reinstated the guilty verdict?  Wrong.  Again, the March 2013 Cassation ruling annulled Hellmann’s ruling, but it left Massei’s trial conviction intact. The appeal court actually confirmed it.

In other words, AK and RS weren’t forced back to Florence for a new trial.  They themselves chose to redo their own appeal, rather than accept the 26 and 25 year sentences.  Big difference.

(7) ‘‘The evidence is not there to inflict all these years in prison’‘?  Frightening, if she actually made these statements.  The appeals court is ONLY to look at errors, not to retry the case.  Did she not read her job description?

(8) Ms. Ballerini says of Sollecito: What possible motive could he have for participating in that murder? 

A better question would be: why he did refuse Judge Nencini’s invitation to testify?  Come on, he just did a freaking book tour.  And Ms. Ballerini was there in court ... did she not have an urge to ask him questions?

(9) ‘‘She insisted that the 2 professional judges had not tried to sway the jury.’’  Can you think of why that may have done so? Perhaps back in late 2011?

Part of me thinks this story is a plant, her words and conclusions sound almost verbatim from the FOAK crap that has been coming out for years.

If it is true (a big if) it is frightening that someone so limited could be on a appeal jury.  Either she does not understand the purpose of an appeal, or she is being used as a sockpuppet.


5. Present Conclusions

This aint over. Investigators will already be checking out Genny Ballerini to see what makes her tick and decide if she should face charges. We will keep you posted.


Genny Ballerini is the lay-judge on the left

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/20/15 at 05:14 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in • Comments here (36)

Rabid “Ground Report” Owner Rachel Sterne Haot Works For A Prominent Italian-American

Posted by Peter Quennell



New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, brother of CNN’s Chris Cuomo, with the President of the US

Haot “Secretly” Owns Inflammatory Ground Report

The shadowy founder and owner of the bitterly anti-Italian Ground Report “citizen journalism” website works for one of the most prominent Italian-Americans in the United States.

He is Andrew Cuomo, the very pro-Italy governor of the State of New York. Brother of Chris Cuomo who in his CNN TV persona has twice interviewed Amanda Knox, each time seemingly unconvinced and underwhelmed.

In contrast, for Rachel Sterne Haot it has been a case of rabid pedal-to-the-floor Knoxiana and rabid anti-Italian demonizing for the past few years to boost her anemic readership and to try to make a buck. Other website owners with better judgment had previously kicked off these dangerous crazies.

See very typical examples of false accusations of serious crimes by Italian officials here and here and here and here and here. If any media request this help, we can provide links or captures for 150+ more.

Pro-justice pro-Italy pro-Meredith points of view have been remorselessly edited out for nearly four years. Protests of defamation have been repeatedly brushed off with the claim that “a lawyer” who is never named says the defamation is just fine.

This new post below on Ground Report was by the (of course) anonymous “Jay Rap” and represents his sixth inflammatory and highly defamatory post in just three weeks. 

Later in the Interrogation Hoax series, when we have finished laying out what really happened, we’ll take apart all such misleading and defamatory posts. May note be taken of them in Albany and Italy.

The Rudy Guede Hoax

Here’s a quick rebuttal of Jay Rap’s untethered rant about Rudy Guede, who will be the subject of a second hoax series soon. Prior to the attack on Meredith, police had no knowledge or written record of either Rudy Guede or Patrick.

Dr Mignini had never even heard of Guede till analysis days after the murder of his handprint surfaced who he was (Knox didn’t name Guede but carefully pointed at him, as this series of transcripts shows).

Guede did not ever work for the police. Guede did not ever get even one break in this case.

Milan police released him after he was found staying overnight in a Milan pre-school only because he had no prior record, not because anyone in Perugia told them to. In 2009 Guede offered to testify against RS and AK at trial in exchange for a break. HE WAS TURNED DOWN. No breaks at all.

“Knox Was Intentionally Framed By Italian Police”

Rachel Sterne Haot may wish to note that Jay Rap’s made-up accusations here go away beyond what already cost Amanda Knox three years. Everything shown here in bold (and more) is untrue. All of Jay Rap’s histrionic posts are pure fiction. 

If you are following our Interrogation Hoax series, you will see immediately how wildly wrong this all is. If not, scroll down to “2. How Knox helped police with recap/summary”

Following up on the Italian police motive, this series will explore the positive indications that the Italian police intentionally framed Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Here we review the pre-planned illegal interrogations of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. This is a summary of a review here (link).

Again, the motivation for framing Knox and Sollecito is to deflect attention away from Rudy Guede in the killing of Meredith Kercher, so as to conceal the culpability of the Perugian authorities and Giuliano Mignini for having protected and thus enabled Guede to murder Meredith Kercher. In short, self preservation. (For a review of the Police motive for framing Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher, please see this previous article (link), or a summary of that article here (link).

The first indication of intentional framing by the Italian police, is the text book characteristics of the intensive and regimented pre-plamnned program of interrogations that were conducted by the police, resulting in falsely incriminating statements from the defendants.

It should first be said, that no confession taken under any circumstance whatsoever, can overcome the overwhelming physical evidence that the murder of Meredith Kercher was committed only by Rudy Guede. The lack of any physical trace of anyone else in the tiny blood soaked room where Meredith was killed, renders it a scientific impossibility that anyone but Rudy Guede, and he alone, killed Meredith Kercher. There is no evidence of a “˜staged break-in’, that claim is simply a distraction from this basic and obvious truth. Having said that, let’s discuss the interrogation.

It is undisputed that in the five days from the discovery of the Kercher murder, to the arrest 5 days later, Amanda Knox was subjected to 43 hours of questioning by the Italian police. The last overnight session went from 10:30pm to 6am the next morning. We need look no further than Steve Moore’s analysis in his contribution to the book; “The Forgotten Killer; Rudy Guede and the Murder of Meredith Kercher”, to understand this process and objectives.

One of the most striking elements of Moore’s narrative, is the extraordinary degree of consistency between the program of interrogation applied against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito by the Italian police, and that described in a declassified FBI manual discussing techniques for “brain washing” used by the communists in North Korea.

Moore, quoting the FBI the manual; “Deprivation of sleep results in more intense psychological debilitation than does any other method of engendering fatigue. The communists (North Koreans) vary their methods. “Conveyor belt” interrogation that last 50-60 hours will make almost any individual compromise, but there is danger that this will kill the victim. It is safer to conduct interrogations of 8-10 hours at night while forcing the prisoner to remain awake during the day. Additional interruptions in the remaining 2-3 hours of allotted sleep quickly reduce the most resilient individual.”

At 43 hours over 5 days, the Italian police interrogation of Amanda Knox is perfectly consistent with the formal brain washing techniques favored by the North Korean communist totalitarian regime. It is a clear violation of human rights in any civilized country operating under any recognizable rule of law.

Moore also draws special emphasis on the last day of the interrogation, the overnight session. Remarking on the number of detectives, he writes; “The fact that there were twelve detectives in the police station overnight is an indictment in and of itself. If you are going to have twelve detectives available all night for an interrogation, you need to let them know well in advance. You need to schedule them, to change their days off, etc. You need to pay them overtime. In the real world, twelve detectives all night is something that has to be signed-off on by higher ups. What does that tell us? It tells us the interrogation was planned well in advance and intentionally overnight.” (emphasis Moore).

That this process was pre-planned, is also suggested in Amanda Knox’s own account in her book, “Waiting To Be Heard”. When speaking with Rita Ficarra, whom Knox describes as “˜her main interrogator’ and has identified as the officer who twice struck her during the last crucial session, Knox had asked if she could leave Perugia to stay with her Aunt in Germany, and Ficarra’s response; “You can’t leave Perugia. You’re an important part of the investigation”. When Knox inquired how long she would be needed, Ficarra’s reply; We don’t know- maybe months”. When Knox responded that she was planning to go home for Christmas. Ficarra’s response; “We’ll decide if you can do that. We’ll have to hear what the magistrate says when he calls in three days”. This conversation occurred on the morning of November 3rd, the day after the crime was discovered. The decision to specifically target and frame Amanda Knox, was likely made no later than on the evening of November 2nd, 2007, the same evening of the day the crime was discovered.

Regarding the last overnight interrogation, Moore continues; “The reason they interrogated Amanda all night was to break her. Not to get the truth, not to get answers, not to make Perugia safer, but to break her so that she would say what they wanted her to say.”

Reflecting on the overall process, Moore adds; “Amanda Knox was interrogated for eight hours. Overnight. She was denied food and water. She was denied the use of a bathroom. In a police station. In a foreign country. In a foreign language. By a dozen different officers. Without being allowed a lawyer.”

Moore continuing; “The inquisition Amanda Knox endured in Perugia was no more legally or morally defensible than the Salem Witch Trials. No rational person should believe that the results of what she went through are reliable evidence. If you gave me the same amount of time with Knox’s prosecutor (Mignini), I could have made him confess to the crime.”

Moore’s contribution and the book itself are well worth the read for anyone wanting to understand the injustice of the case against Knox and Sollecito, but let’s turn lastly to Moore’s comments on why an interrogation stops.

Moore; “There are two reasons an interrogator stops an interrogation: 1. He/she gets what he/she wants, or 2. He/she gives up. If the interrogator gives up, there is no written statement by the suspect. Therefore if the interrogation ends with a signed statement, you know the interrogator got what he/she wanted and can easily determine what that was. And what did Amanda say that satisfied her inquisitors? “˜I confusedly remember seeing Patrick come out of Meredith’s room.’ So what did they want? They wanted to implicate Patrick Lumumba.”

Moore explains; “Amanda did not bring up the name of Patrick Lumumba. The police did. And they repeatedly told her to “˜imagine’ Patrick and herself being at the cottage that night. Amanda did not give in to the brainwashing. But the police achieved enough with her to obtain a statement that let them do what they had intended to do all along: arrest Patrick Lumumbra”

As has been said, the motive of the Italian police and Mignini was to defect attention away from Rudy Guede, but in any event, to absolutely deny that Rudy Guede acted alone. For that to be the case, the break-in had to be staged, because otherwise, its just Rudy all by himself breaking in, and killing Meredith Kercher.

But by embroiling multiple people in the crime, the police could if not keep Rudy out of the crime entirely, they could at least minimize his role. If Patrick Lumumba had remained as a defendant, no doubt all the judges would have put the knife in his hands. But since Rudy Guede could not be kept out of the picture, it became necessary for someone else to play a more dominant and leading role.

And of course such a person had to be someone capable of manipulating others, and who better for that role ““ in the mind of Mignini, than a seductive manipulative woman. So in the fantasy world of the Italian prosecutors, judges, police, and an unfortunately significant segment of the populations of Italy and the UK, the knife that killed Meredith Kercher ended up being placed in Amanda’s tiny hands, in their fantastic false imaginings.

Of all the lies that have been invented and repeated in this case, among the worst is that of those who misuse the confused statements that were extracted through psychological torture, as evidence of deception on the part of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Solecito. It is the exact equivalent of blaming a rape victim for the consequences of a violent sexual assault. This lie is repeated by major news outlets, unscrupulous or careless reporters, and has become part of the lexicon of the case. It’s both tragic and profoundly unfair.

The cruelest and most criminal hypocrisy of Mignini, the Italian police and judiciary, is to blame Knox for the confused statements induced through these abusive coercive means. The Italian police charging Amanda Knox with Calumnia, after forcing her to name Lumumba as part of their process and their own objective, must surely be a violation of human rights that all civilized countries and people must deplore.

When Knox herself testified to the ordeal she was put through at trial in her own defense, she was further charged with calumnia against the police, a charge which the prosecution itself would be allowed to investigate, an obvious conflict of interest. In Italy, defending oneself against fraudulent charges by the prosecutor, is apparently a criminal act.

The criminal, brutal, illegal, and supposedly unrecorded interrogation by the Italian police should shock the conscience of the civilized world. Yet this criminal conduct by the Italian police must again be concealed by blaming the victim. Charging Knox with calumnia for being tortured into naming Lumumba, is the arrogance of unrepentant criminals. And it is a marvel to behold how pliant and cooperative the Italian, UK and international media have been in simply passing along the prosecution’s malicious self-serving slanders.

It may be the Italian authorities simply no longer have the ability to recognize the wrongfulness of their own behavior.

Knox’s final conviction for calumnia by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation is being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, where we must all hope this shameful miscarriage of justice will finally be corrected.

The last word is perhaps best left to Moore: “How could this happen? It is either inexperience combined with poor training or corruption ““ or both. I have had rookie FBI agents come out to the field and conduct vastly superior investigations to what happened in Perugia in this case. I do not think the Italian system is inferior. In fact, if I thought so, I would not be criticizing those detectives in this manner.”

Significantly, Moore concludes; “Every country has prosecutors and investigators who make mistakes. Every country experiences the shame of corruption. No country should be judged on whether these things exist; it should be judged on how it deals with them.”

When Patrick Lumumba was released, and Rudy Guede was brought back from Germany, Rudy was substituted in for Patrick in the prosecution’s case. But now the role of chief instigator would pass from Patrick, and be applied to Amanda Knox. Because from the perspective of the Perugians authorities, Mignini, the Italian police, and the Italian judiciary, Rudy Gude could not have acted alone (which is why the break-in must have been staged), or at worst, Rudy must have been a lesser player in this crime which was as has been stated, was by necessity a group effort in the prosecution’s theory ““ for otherwise, the Italians themselves are responsible for Meredith Kercher’s death.

Other commenters have said that the police erred by not changing their theory of accusation, when they slotted in Guede for Lumumba, that they suffered from “˜target fixation’ or other innocent mistakes. I disagree. There never was an “˜accusatory theory’ in the sense of one supported by evidence. The police objective of minimizing Guede’s role, and therefore their own culpability in the murder of Meredith Kercher, was intentional, premeditated, and ultimately unaffected by Guede’s formal emergence as a culprit. The Italian police objectives remained unchanged; under no circumstances, could Rudy Guede be found to have acted alone, because otherwise, Kercher’s killing was the fault of the Italians.

There has never been an investigation in the usual sense of the word. It has been an exercise from the beginning of intentionally framing two innocent people for crimes they had nothing to do with, to deflect attention and criticism away from Mignini and the Perugian authorities ““ and there is a clear conflict of interest in allowing the Perugians and the Italian judiciary, to investigate themselves.

And so, the frame-up proceeded accordingly.

With Amanda’s and Raffaelle’s coerced statements in hand, now all that was necessary for Mignini and the Perugians, was to fabricate the evidence, and build their “˜case’.



Below: the eager host to the dangerous Knox crazies Rachel Sterne Haot


Did The Bungling Guardian Check Sollecito Enabler Andrew Gumbel’s Myriad False Claims?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Did Gumbel Mislead The Guardian’s Editors?

Gumbel co-wrote Sollecito’s book.

In the Guardian he has a strident piece accusing Judge Nencini of getting a couple of minor facts wrong in the prefinal draft of his excellent report..

So Knox deserves “a new trial”?  This is the same third-rate reporter who has damaged not only himself but Knox and Sollecito with myriad false claims over two years. He fails to mention to the Guardian and its readers that he has a major vested interest here.

Gumbel seems quite incapable of getting even simple plain facts about the case right.  First, note two false claims right there in the Guardian: this was a new trial, and the protracted legal process is Italy’s fault.

Actually no. This was Knox’s and Sollecito’s own first appeal.

And in the UK and US any approval of any appeal after the very decisive trial outcome of 2009 would have been extremely unlikely. The Hellmann court was in effect hijacked, and the courts all know this, and Hellmann is paying a price for it. That added several years to the process.

And in the appallingly inaccurate book Honor Bound which Gumbel co-wrote with Sollecito, he included factual errors and false criminal accusations on every page and often in every paragraph.

The Gumbel and Sollecito book was released in English on 18 September 2012 and within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.

Bruno Vespa, the persistent host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show (for the equivalent of which American TV cries out) forced Sollecito’s father in national prime-time to admit that at the core of the book was a huge lie.

Other claims about the case and the officials were shown to be wrong on that show too.

Huge numbers of professional book reviews and Amazon reader reviews swallowed Gumbel’s and Sollecito’s false claims in the book whole. The nastiness toward Italy and its justice system and officials was ratcheted onto a whole new plane.

Charges Expected Against Andrew Gumbel

For the legal reasons explained in this key post an investigation by the Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office was mandated to begin.

In that same post it was warned that for the period the investigation would require, it would be taken below the radar, so that the Sollecito and Gumbel team would have no way to respond through dishonest PR or legal dirty tricks.

A not-unsurprising result of that stealth move was that in the meantime, in the last year, very full of themselves and feeling no constraint, Sollecito and Gumbel went hog-wild in adding more crazy claims.  And still more.

Now Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued his announcement of the conclusion of his investigation. Felony charges will be brought, though the specific focus has at present not been revealed except to the defenses.

As we reported several weeks ago, the defense had 20 days to say something, such as to request that Sollecito or Gumbel be interrogated or allowed to declare or explain something.

Then the prosecution will file charges against Sollecito and Gumbel, and possibly their foolish book promoter, Sharlene Martin, and Simon & Schuster, their sloppy and highly irresponsible publishers in New York.

Which precise false claims Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has made the target of his report we do not know. But this is a target-rich environment, that is for sure:

Examples: 20 False Claims In Seven Pages

These twenty examples of felony claims all appear in the book’s preface which is only seven pages. Such claims continue throughout the book at approximately the same rate.

1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. Subsequent to Patrick, AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously with Tedeschi present and refused Sollecito’s release.

3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperienced and pliable business judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially funny or pretty or bright?  That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do””and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed””was murder Meredith Kercher.

Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.

Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she””not Meredith””might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us””Amanda especially””as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.

Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.

There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.

Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.

11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.

Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution””“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”””it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.

13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm””the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita””could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system is seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.

15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.

16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts””tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays””are the most reviled institution in the country.


As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.


Sleazy Magazine Trick To Sell More Copies Results In Angry Reaction In Germany

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Cover of German magazine Aktuelle; the banner headline translates as “Awake!”] 


As we have seen, bad reporting can cause real harm. Here is an encouraging example of other media hammering the originator of a hurtful, tacky reeport.

The German Grand Prix driver Michael Schumacher, the winningest of all time, is a huge hero in Germany, and known and liked throughout the world. He amassed a fortune close to $1 billion and had started many projects with his money to make a difference to many peoples’ lives.

The 44-year-old retired driver who is currently fighting for his life in a Grenoble hospital following a skiing accident has long made large but low-key donations around the world.  Here are some examples from the NewsTalk site.

UNESCO

The former Ferrari driver is a Special Envoy for Education and Sport and donated €1.5 million to the organization.

In a 2002 interview with the organization he explained his dedication to funding projects: “I really want to help the ones people don’t know about. Nowadays, certain projects attract lots of donors. Then there are others you never hear about. Those are the ones I’m interested in.”

He also once told F1 magazine that: “It’s great if you can use your fame and the power your fame gives you to draw attention to things that really matter.”

Senegal

In 2002, Schumacher funded the construction of a school in a poor slum in Dakar, the capital of the West African state of Senegal.

Sarajevo

In 1997, Schumacher opened a clinic for child victims of the Balkans War. The clinic provides artificial limbs for amputees as well as psychological support.

Peru

In 2002, he funded the construction of a ‘Palace for the Poor’ in Lima, Peru which caters for homeless children and provides education, food and medical treatment for street children.

2004 Tsunami

Along with his two sons, Schumacher’s bodyguard lost his life in ihe 2004 Tsunami following the Indian Ocean earthquake. Schumi donated over €7 million in aid which meant that he gave more money than many individual countries, sports entities and organizations.  .

Schumacher has remained in a coma in a French hospital for three months since a ski accident which initially seemed minor led to bleeding in the area of his brain. This is a particularly difficult time because for some weeks doctors have been trying to wake him up.

There is an unprecedented number of ongoing tributes to Michael Schumacher by friends and fans around the world and all the Grand Prix cars at present are carrying a message of hope.

A majority of brain surgeons now feel his waking-up will be a long shot at best, but Schumacher’s very loyal wife Corinna is having a $10 million medical facility built in a hurry at his estate several miles north of Geneva, Switzerland, on the west side of the lake. [Though widely reported his manager has just denied this.]

What has caused the outrage in Germany is the banner headline on the cover of a women’s magazine saying “Awake” implying that Schumacher himself has woken up. From the Eurosport site:

Outraged Michael Schumacher supporters have bombarded a magazine with furious complaints after a front page showed the F1 legend smiling with a horribly misleading headline - ‘AWAKE!’.

The magazine’s content, which was actually full of stories about other people who had woken from comas has infuriated Schumacher fans, who saw the smiling photo of the star cuddling wife Corinna as “abysmal”, “tasteless” and “insulting”....

Dr Gerd Hartmann, a regular reader, wrote in the comments section of popular news portal News.de: “Such magazines are simply terrible, especially given that the chances of survival with this type of therapy are abysmal.

“Out of 10 patients 5 would never recover, 3 will be severely disabled and only 2 might recover.”

Another user, posting under the name SchumiFan, added: “I can’t believe they are cashing in on this tragedy - there should be a law against this type of shoddy, sensationalist and downright insulting journalism.”

Meanwhile, German media ethics expert Christian Schicha said: “This is a clear attempt to deceive the readers. It is an obvious attempt to make money out of a sick man.

“It is completely tasteless. It is ethically completely out of the question. “Die Aktuelle blatantly makes the impression through the headline that they know something new about the case. It is completely irresponsible.

“Schumacher’s family have suffered enough without this kind of story circulating.”

Another cruel media trick of the kind that hurts the victim’s family the worst.


[Below: Schumacher and his wife Corinna were legendary for being together at every possible moment ]





Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/14 at 02:04 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesMedia developmentsComments here (9)

Obstruction Of Justice? How The Guardian Poisons Public Opinion Against The Italian Courts

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Alan Rusbridger has been the overall Guardian editor throughout the whole period described]

1. How the Guardian got itself on a roll

The Guardian has a daily UK print run of around 180,000 which places it 12th among Britain’s 13 national newspapers. (Last is The Independent, which may soon fold.) The Murdoch-owned Sun has a print run more than 10 times the Guardian’s. The Daily Mail’s print run is 9 times, the Mirror’s is five times, and the Times’s is two times.

Seemingly stuck at the back, the Guardian has worked hard to get a lot of people to beat a path to its website, especially Americans, and to become addicted to it. Website readers now run neck-and-neck with its hardcopy readers. Its website comes second in readers among UK newspapers after the Daily Mail, thanks largely to those Americans, and that jumps the overall readership of the Guardian from 12th to 5th place in the United Kingdom.

In another attempt to boost circulation, the Guardian has become triumphally missionary. It is doing a lot more than the old-fashioned reporting which most other UK newspapers stick to. The Guardian assisted Julian Assange’s Wikileaks to publish a number of secret documents “borrowed” from governments, although it has since turned on him and has been attacking him and Wikileaks ever since.

The Guardian also spearheaded the media investigation into the phone-hacking by Robert Murdoch’s News Of The World which led to that newspaper’s demise and the ongoing parliamentary and police investigations into other phone hacking by other Murdoch media vehicles.

2. The Guardian’s substantial pro-Knox campaign

The Guardian’s campaign against Italian justice on behalf of Amanda Knox is another triumphalist campaign, but this one often takes it very far away from the truth, and almost certainly outside Italian law. Less obviously a campaign at first glance, but undeniably one in progress when one connects up the dots as we shall do. 

The resources the Guardian allocates to it are quite astonishing. Since 2007 the Guardian newspaper and website have been averaging several long reports, videos, opinion pieces or brief mentions every day for a grand total according to Google’s site-search application of over fifty thousand separate items.

Well over a dozen reporters have their names over stories and opinion pieces, and some have filed reports from London, Seattle and Italy that now number in the dozens and dozens.  At least three of the Knox PR shills (Nina Burleigh, Doug Preston and Andrew Gumbel) have managed to have over-the-top opinion pieces published in the Guardian,  with no explanation at all of their vested interests and family links. 

Only the volume of the Daily Mail’s coverage of the case comes anywhere near the Guardian’s - and the Daily Mail coverage shows little sign of being a consistent campaign. The Mail publishes pro-Knox and anti-Knox trivia and gossip and photos with equal enthusiasm, and attracts frequent irritation from the pro-Knox forces.

In sharp contrast to these two UK newspapers, the top American newspapers and websites have averaged at most one-fifth the number of items since 2007 and, with the possible exception of CNN, none of them seem nearly as fixated upon the Knox cause as the Guardian is.

From late 2007 to around mid-trial in 2009 the Guardian was about as even-handed and tentative in its coverage as the Times was. Then bias suddenly moved into overdrive. These headlines below are representative of the Guardian’s coverage from mid-2009 to the present day.

3. Notice the typical pro-Knox headline bias here

  • 2009 “Amanda will get out eventually” exclusive interview with mother Edda Mellas | Hattenstone

  • 2009 The friends back home intent on telling the ‘real Amanda Knox’ story | Paul Harris

  • 2009 Police beat me, Amanda Knox tells jury as she takes her turn in the witness box | Kington

  • 2009 Cold comfort in jail as Amanda Knox begins 26-year sentence | Kington

  • 2010 Unanswered questions over Amanda Knox’s conviction | Deborah Orr

  • 2011 Amanda Knox ‘crucified’ for crime she did not commit, lawyer tells court | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox begs judges to ‘do justice’ in emotional final plea | Hooper + Kington

  • 2011 Confident and optimistic, Amanda Knox waits to hear the final verdict | Kington

  • 2011 Amanda Knox was a ‘faithful woman in love’ says defence lawyer | Hooper

  • 2011 Yes, Amanda Knox is guilty. Guilty of being sexually active and female | Carole Cadwalladr

  • 2011 Amanda Knox ‘could make millions from TV and press deals’ | Lisa O’Carroll

  • 2013 My penpal Amanda Knox and me | Simon Hattenstone

  • 2013 Amanda Knox: I went to jail naive and came out an introspective woman | Esther Adley

  • 2013 Amanda Knox: what happened to me could have happened to anyone | Shiv Malik

  • 2013 Read all about Amanda Knox ““ except in neurotic Britain | Nick Cohen

  • 2014 Amanda Knox will not return to Italy to serve sentence, say parents | Lizzy Davies

  • 2014 Amanda Knox: ‘They’ll have to pull me back kicking and screaming to prison’ | Hattenstone

  • 2014 Amanda Knox: I feel stranded and trapped since new guilty verdict | Hattenstone

  • 2014 Amanda Knox vows to fight Meredith Kercher murder conviction ‘to the end’ | Hooper etc


4. Notice the typical anti-Italy headline bias here

  • 2009 Amanda Knox case is typical of Italy’s inconclusive justice | Tobias Jones

  • 2009 Call for solitary confinement of pair accused of killing Meredith Kercher | Kington

  • 2009 Cold comfort in jail as Amanda Knox begins 26-year sentence | Kington

  • 2010 Amanda Knox appeal: ‘Italians are embarrassed by this case’ | Preston

  • 2010 Unanswered questions over Amanda Knox’s conviction | Deborah Orr

  • 2011 Amanda Knox: victim of Italian code which puts saving face before justice | Preston

  • 2011 Amanda Knox is a witch? Sorry, are we living in 1486? | Joan Smith

  • 2011 Amanda Knox trial was flawed at every turn, says appeal judge | Kington

  • 2011 Amanda Knox: police under fire over botched investigation | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox’s lawyers hit back at police and prosecutors | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox ‘is lucky Italy doesn’t have death penalty’ | Hooper

  • 2011 Amanda Knox case is typical of Italy’s inconclusive justice | Tobias Jones

  • 2011 Amanda Knox: what next after 1,450 days of wrongful imprisonment? | Hooper

  • 2013 Amanda Knox’s retrial puts Italian justice in the dock | Joan Smith

  • 2013 Knife key to Amanda Knox trial had no trace of Meredith Kercher’s blood | Lizzie Davies

  • 2014 Knox and Sollecito case delivers harsh verdict on Italian justice | Andrew Gumbel


5. Meredith’s friends demand extreme bias be ended

This unprecedented objection to the Editor of the Guardian which had been signed by over 100 of Meredith’s friends was published on Tuesday 4 February.

The Guardian’s repeated casting of the Meredith Kercher murder trial as a gross miscarriage of justice for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is disturbing (Reports, 1-4 February). Undoubtedly, the case is complex and shrouded in ambiguity and uncertainty. However, there are at least three points which are certain.

1) During the pre-trial, trial proper, and retrial, different judges and juries have, after close and prolonged examination of all the evidence, concluded there is enough evidence against the defendants to find them guilty of the murder charge against them.

2) The appeal in which the defendants were acquitted was overturned after the supreme court found it to have “multiple shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies” and that the “evidence against [the defendants] had been underestimated”.

3) At the same time as she was originally found guilty of murder, Amanda Knox was also found guilty of slander and subsequently sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for having accused an innocent man of the crime. Although acquitted of murder on appeal, the slander charge was upheld.

At the time of the acquittal, Ms Knox had spent four years in jail, ie she effectively served the slander sentence while on remand. Therefore, she has not in fact served any time in prison for a crime she did not commit (although the same could not be said for Mr Sollecito if the final outcome of the legal process were to find him not guilty).

Assertions such as those made by Andrew Gumbel (himself a co-author of Sollecito’s autobiography) that Knox and Sollecito have been reconvicted “without a shred of evidence to substantiate the verdict” are untrue and undermine the gravity of the case, as does a one-sided interview with Ms Knox during which the evidence against her is barely addressed.

Only those in the courtroom are in possession of the full facts; it is only they who should make pronouncements on what the outcome should or should not be. Until then, the best course of action would be to wait for the (admittedly, grindingly slow) Italian legal process to come to its conclusion.

Guardian staffer Chris Elliot (image below) offered only a whiny and dishonest response. Our next post will start with that in identifying the Guardian’s many illegalities.


Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 03/07/14 at 10:39 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Hoaxers: media groupsUK GuardianComments here (30)

“Popular Forensic Crime Writer Says AK Is Innocent” But Misconstrues Evidence Pointing To Guilt

Posted by FinnMacCool



That headline above is from a KOMONews report on Patricia Cornwell’s take on the case about seven weeks ago.

On her promotional tour for her latest novel (see the video above) Patricia Cornwell made the following comments about the pursuit of truth: “If you stumble upon a truth, I don’t know what case it is, maybe this is the old journalist in me, I feel I am obligated to say something about it…”

Many of us can sympathize with those words, particularly readers of a website devoted to securing justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered in 2007. Cornwell went on to make reference to this very case, bringing some of her own experience to bear as regards time of death:

One of the things that has frustrated me about [the Meredith Kercher case], they’ve made a great big deal about the victim’s stomach contents and how they placed the death at a certain time because her food had not really digested all that much.

It’s like, ‘Hello, when you go into flight or fight mode, your digestion either shuts down completely or at least it slows, because all the blood is going to your extremities so you can defend yourself or run.’ And if somebody is being assaulted, their digestion quits.

I’ve seen it in the morgue where somebody who ate 8-10 hours earlier - their food is exactly as they swallowed it.

Cornwell may be a talented writer, but she shows herself here to be a less than careful reader, because the point she makes here supports the prosecution case, and it undermines that of the defense.

It was of course the Knox/Sollecito defense teams who claimed that the victim’s stomach contents placed her death at an earlier time (to a point close to when their clients still had an alibi), while the prosecution successfully argued along the same lines as Patricia Cornwell, that stomach contents cannot be used to establish time of death with such precision.

Here is the way Knox herself describes the defense position in her memoir Waiting To Be Heard:

Meredith had been murdered by 10 P.M., based on her stomach contents, but the prosecutors invented a scenario in which Meredith was home alone between 9:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. According to their argument, the sphincter between the stomach and the small intestine tightens at the moment of trauma, and digestion temporarily stops. (WTBH: 222)

In other words, Patricia Cornwell’s expertise in this area leads her to agree with the prosecution’s argument, and undermines the case of the defense. Nevertheless, Cornwell claims to have followed the case closely, and to be of the opinion that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, with Rudy Guede the lone sexual predator.

The PR firm hired by Amanda Knox’s family (Gogarty-Marriott) will be pleased that such a high profile commentator has reached that conclusion, but they will also be hoping that people just read the headline quoted above, without looking too closely at the contradictory substance of Cornwell’s remarks.

Courts of law look at evidence; courts of public opinion listen to soundbites.

In the Meredith Kercher case, a succession of courts (with one annulled exception to date) have found, just as Patricia Cornwell’s experience suggests, that the bulk of the evidence in this case supports a guilty verdict for all three defendants.
 
Patricia Cornwell claims to care about truth and justice, and to support the rights of victims to have their stories told. It would be an honorable move on her part, then, to correct the impression given by her recent interview that her expertise supports the defense case rather than that of the prosecution. As Cornwell herself puts it:

The truth should never be hidden, particularly in heinous crimes. It’s never too late for it to come out even if we can’t prosecute anybody for it any more. We owe it to those who were brutalized, or assassinated, to tell the true story about what really happened.

She is of course far from the first expert to be misled by cherrypicked “facts”. See for example here.


Another Highly Misleading Associated Press Report By Colleen Barry Appears on 700 Media Websites

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



{Above: the AP headline. At bottom: the AP reporter, Colleen Barry; will she correct the report?]


Read here what Colleen Barry of the Associated Press (image below) falsely claims.

How exactly does a second proven DNA trace of Amanda Knox on the knife prove that Meredith’s proven DNA on the knife wasn’t there?  The correct facts on the three DNA samples were posted here.

Nothing - nothing - that was said yesterday in court affected that. Two samples of Knox and one sample of Meredith on the knife are confirmed. All three are there.

In fact, Judge Nencini leaned hard on the bumbling Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova to make him stop. Dalla Vedova was repeatedly trying to trap the Carabinieri experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti into saying that Dr Stefanoni did something wrong in her test of Meredith’s DNA.  Judge Nencini had not even instructed the Carabinieri labs to look into that.

Dalla Vedova and Colleen Barry of the AP have apparently forgotten that defense observers were there at the Scientific Police labs test and testified that they saw Dr Stefanoni do nothing wrong. Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was indeed found on the blade of the knife..

Judge Nencini clearly believes that firm evidence of Meredith’s DNA is there in front of his court, and that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei got it right. Meredith’s DNA really was proven to be on the knife. He would not allow a clumsy red-herring argument from Dalla Vedova which lacked the slightest bit of proof.

Unlike Reuters, the Associated Press is not a public company. It issues no stock.

It is instead a co-operative jointly owned by about 1000 media groups, and its reports are carried on up to 1000 sites. It is financially not very well off, and many of its media owners are in the same boat. The AP and many of its owners are increasingly cutting corners to save a buck. Increasingly they are under-researching, failing to check, and so their viewers and their readers are ending up misled.

Does financial strain excuse the AP for hyperbole and seriously wrong claims, for reprinting of false public relations handouts and false lawyer claims as hard fact? As it has too often done before?

Would it not be better when facts are in doubt and justice on the line to not report at all?


{Below: Colleen Barry of AP Germany was the writer of the misleading piece]


CNN’s Jane Velez Mitchell Has A Nervous Sollecito And Then TWO Guests Who Think He Did It

Posted by Peter Quennell



A lively debate! CNN Headline News tonight around 7:30. No “I wuz beaten up by meanie policemen” claims this time by Sollecito.

Mistakes were made by all the speakers, but super-lawyer Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page gave the case for guilt their best shot. Even the third commentator thinks the timing of the book is insane.

Wendy Murphy didnt know about the Meredith book, but it was published only in England and transgressed no Italian law. She did vigorously get across just how much evidence there is, and not for the first time. See her tough article here and tough interview here where she assesses Knox as dangerous.

Jane, Mignini is NOT in a ton of trouble and never was. No satanism, repeat, no satanism. Your senior CNN colleague Nancy Grace believed Knox did it. Your CNN colleague Drew Griffen set Mignini up. See here and also here.

There were no leaks - at least not by Mignini. He never leaks. There were no tabloids, at least not in Italy. The only 2-3 were in the UK, and they affected no jury. There was no invented Foxy Knoxy - that was her own Internet presence.

Sollecito couldnt get his story out? But he maintained a code of total silence for four years - could THAT have been the problem? And Sollecito did NOT support Amanda’s alibi - he sold her down the river in a heartbeat when a policeman looked at him funny (kidding - just a little).

And what’s with your squealing, Jane?! He isnt THAT adorable. Not if you are at the wrong end of a knife.


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