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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.


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.


“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.


A Deeply Ugly, Inaccurate And Callous Piece Of Junk By Nathaniel Rich In “Rolling Stone”

Posted by The Machine





Who is Nathaniel Rich?

According to Wikipedia, Nathanial Rich is an American author and essayist.

He is also the son of the New York Times columnist Frank Rich, and various online commentaries about him credit that.and not talent or ethics or hard work for any success he might have had.

Still, you would think that being the son of a high-profile journalist, Nathaniel Rich would try hard to write a fair, factually accurate and balanced report. One carefully checked out, with the Italians he impugns and with no sign of obsessive pro-female-perp bias. 

But instead Nathaniel Rich and his editor Sean Woods (image below) have come out with an xenophobic, defamatory,  highly inaccurate report..

In this piece Rich comes across like the notorious Stephen Glass who simply made stories up and whose editors never cross-checked until it was too late. Except Stephen Glass that never actually showed bigotry or defamed.

It does not seem too much to ask to expect anybody writing an article about the shocking sexual assault, torture and murder of Meredith Kercher for them to have done their due diligence? And to made sure that every single claim presented has been verified by the official court documents or independently corroborated by objective and reliable sources?

And for Sean Woods and other New York-based Rolling Stone editors even in their decline to check out their writers’ claims, especially with those impugned?

In this piece we analyze just some of the numerous wrong claims by Nathaniel Rich in his article The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox and compare them (as he should have done) to official court documents such as the Micheli report, the Massei report, Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report by the Supreme Court, and testimony at 2009 trial and 2011 first appeal [later annulled].




Above: Nathaniel Rich’s editor at Rolling Stone Sean Woods

Claim 1: There were bloody fingerprints all over the apartment

Wrong. Nathanial Rich gets his first basic fact wrong in just the second sentence of his article with his claim that Guede left bloody fingerprints all over the apartment.

There was in fact not even one. According to the Micheli report, the Massei report and Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report, Guede was identified by a single bloody palm print, not a whole lot of bloody fingerprints:

b) traces attributable to Guede: a palm print in blood found on the pillow case of a pillow lying under the victim’s body ““ attributed with absolute certainty to the defendant by its correspondence to papillary ridges as well as 16-17 characteristic points equal in shape and position…  (page 5, Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report).

It is confirmed that Guede was identified by a bloody palm print in the Micheli report (pages 10-11) and the Massei report (page 43). There was not a single fingerprint of his or Sollecito and almost none of Knox at the crime scene - which consists of the entire apartment.

Rich’s “her killer” in his opening implies there was only one killer but FOUR courts including the Supreme Court insisted there had to have been three. The lone wolf theory has long been dead. This is why the defense had to drag Alessi and Aviello into court two weeks ago, to try to prove Knox and Sollecito were not the other two.


Claim 2: A provincial police force botched one of the most intensely observed criminal investigations in Italy’s history

Wrong. A Knox cult myth. Nathaniel Rich attempts to disparage the investigation in Meredith’s murder with the smearing claim that it was seriously botched (it wasn’t) and by a provincial police force. Nathaniel Rich is trying to insinuate that that the police officers involved in the investigation were unsophisticated. However, again he only succeeds in revealing his ignorance of even the most basic facts of the case.

Two separate police departments from the Italian equivalent of the FBI in Rome were heavily involved in the investigation into Meredith’s murder: a forensic team from the Scientific Police led by Dr. Stefanoni, and the Violent Crimes Unit, led by Edgardo Giobbi.


Claim 3: Sollecito finally stated that Knox could have left his apartment for several hours on the night of Kercher’s murder while he was asleep

Wrong. Nathaniel Rich’s claim that Sollecito said that Knox “could” have left his apartment for several hours while he was sleeping is simply not true. You can read Sollecito’s various alibis here. Sollecito categorically stated in his witness statement that Knox DID leave his apartment, while he was wide awake. He said she went to Le Chic at 9:00pm and she came back at about 1.00am.

“At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”(Aislinn Simpson, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2007

“Police said Raffaele Sollecito had continued to claim he was not present on the evening of the murder. He said: “I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think.” (The Times, 7 November 2007).

So Sollecito never said Knox “could” have left his apartment “while he was asleep”. The source for Nathaniel Rich’s embarrassing factual error is almost certainly the conspiracy theorist Bruce Fisher, who has repeatedly made the same false claim on his conspiracy website, a site riddled with invented claims.

Shame on Nathaniel Rich for gullibly believing another Knox cult myth, propagated by the likes of Moore and Fisher, and for being too lazy to independently verify this information.


Claim 4: Amanda Knox was slapped on the back of the head

Wrong. Another Knox cult myth. Nathaniel Rich employs the same tactic as the conspiracists Bruce Fisher and Steve Moore who are trying by all possible means to rescue Amanda Knox from those dastardly Italians.

Namely, to give what appears to be a very detailed eyewitness account of what happened at the police station on 5 November 2007 despite the fact he wasn’t even there.  He makes all of this up, including “verbatim” quotes from some unnamed police officers.

Two female officers, who had been chatting informally with Knox, invited her to an interrogation chamber.

“Let’s go back over what you did that night,” they asked her. “Start with the last time that you saw Meredith.”

“Again?”

“Again.”

But they went slower this time.

“What did you do between 7 and 8 p.m.?” they asked. “What about between 8 and 9?”

“I don’t know the exact times,” said Knox. “But I know the general series of events. I checked my e-mail, I read a book, we watched a film, we ate dinner….”

More officers kept entering the room. An interpreter showed up. The tone sharpened.

“But Raffaele says that you left his house that night.”

“What? That’s not true. I was at his apartment all night.”

The interrogators became angry.

“Are you sure? Raffaele said you left his house.”

“I didn’t.”

“If that’s a lie, we can throw you in jail for 30 years.”

“I’m not lying.”

“Who are you trying to protect? Who were you with? Who was it? Who was it?”

This bit went on for hours.

There was now chaos in the room. The Italians were shouting at her, arguing with one another, calling out suggestions.

“Maybe she really can’t remember.”

“Maybe she’s a stupid liar.”

“You’re either an incredibly stupid liar,” said Knox’s translator, who was sitting right beside her, “or you’re someone who can’t remember what you know and what you did.” The translator, changing tactics, explained that she had once been in a gruesome car accident in which she broke her leg. The event was so traumatic that she suffered amnesia.

“Amanda,” said the translator, “this is what happened to you. You need to try to retrieve those memories. We’ll help you.”

Knox, ever-credulous, started to ask herself what she might have forgotten.

“C’mon,” said the interrogators. “You were going to meet Patrick that night.” “Remember. Remember. Remember.”

“We know it was him.”

Knox shook her head.

“Remember.”

Boom “” someone slapped her on the back of the head.

So Nathaniel Rich includes the false claim that Knox was slapped on the back of the head. All the witnesses who were present when she was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at trial in 2009 that Amanda Knox was NOT hit even once.

Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda Knox had not been hit: “There were pressures from the police, but we never said she was hit.”  He never ever lodged an official complaint.

Nathaniel Rich should have pointed out that Knox claimed this hitting only long after, when she was trying to explain why she had framed Patrick Lumumba. He should not have repeated it as if it were incontrovertible truth.

And he should have pointed out that both Amanda Knox herself and both her parents are enmeshed in separate trials for doing that. 




Above: Rolling Stone aggravates defamation - this tweet was sent March 2013

Claim 5: Amanda Knox finally broke down and accused Diya Lumumba of murder at 5.45am

Wrong. Nathaniel Rich clearly does not know the chronology of events at the police station on 5 November 2007. His false claim that Knox finally broke down at 5.45am gives the impression that she had been subjected to a continuous all-night interrogation.

In fact Amanda Knox very rapidly “broke down” and claimed that Lumumba was “bad” and had murdered Meredith when she was still only a witness, not a suspect, and was told Sollecito had pulled the rug from under her alibi. She signed a statement at 1.45am, not at 5.45am, when she repeated the claim voluntarily. (She also repeated it later that same day in writing.)

Amanda Knox’s questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect. She wasn’t actively questioned again that evening. However, several hours later she decided to make an unsolicited spontaneous declaration. Mignini was called at 3.30am and he observed her declaration. Knox makes it explicit in her witness statement that she was making her statement spontaneously:

“I wish to relate spontaneously what happened because these events have deeply bothered me and I am really afraid of Patrick, the African boy who owns the pub called “Le Chic” located in Via Alessi where I work periodically.” (Amanda Knox’s 5.45am witness statement).

Claim 6:  The knife was selected at random by a detective from Sollecito’s kitchen drawer

Wrong. Nathaniel Rich regurgitates another prevalent Knox-cult myth with his claim that the double DNA knife was selected purely at random. However, the person who actually selected the knife, Armando Finzi, testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him. (Seattle PI,



Claim 7: The confession, in violation of Italian police policy, was not recorded

Wrong. Another Knox cult myth. The police weren’t required to record Amanda Knox’s interrogation on 5 November 2007 because she was being questioned as a witness and not as a suspect. Mignini explained that Amanda Knox was being questioned as a witness in his letter to reporter Linda Byron:

“In the same way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.”

She came in to the central police station voluntarily and unasked that night when Sollecito was summoned for questioning, and police merely asked her if she could also be questioned as a witness. She did not have to agree, but she did. No recording of witnesses is required, either in Italy or the United States.


Claim 8: Amanda Knox refused to leave Perugia

Wrong. This Knox cult myth is actually contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she said she was not allowed to leave.

“i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”

Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation.

“ I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight’” (The Massei report, page 37).





Above: Rolling Stone aggravates defamation - this tweet was sent September 2013

Claim 9: Mignini suggested that the victim had been slaughtered during a satanic ritual

Wrong. Another Knox cult myth. He did no such thing. Mignini has never claimed that Meredith was slaughtered during a satanic or sacrificial ritual, and that’s the reason why neither Nathaniel Rich - or anybody else for that matter - has been able to provide a verbatim quote from Mignini.

Mignini specifically denied claiming that Meredith was killed in a sacrificial rite, in his letter to the Seattle reporter Linda Byron:

“On the “sacrificial rite” question, I have never said that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.

Mignini also made it quite clear that he has never claimed that Meredith was killed as part of a satanic rite in his interview with Drew Griffin on CNN:

1’03” CNN: You’ve never said that Meredith’s death was a satanic rite?

1’08” Mignini: I have never said that. I have never understood who has and continues to say that. I read, there was a reporter ““ I don’t know his name, I mention it because I noticed it ““ who continues to repeat this claim that, perhaps, knowing full well that it’s not like that.

I have never said that there might have been a satanic rite. I’ve never said it, so I would like to know who made it up.

In fact Mignini has zero history of originating satanic-sect claims despite Doug Preston’s shrill claims. The notion of a secret satanic sect in Florence goes way back into history and many had declared the Monster of Florence murders satanic because of the nature of the mutilation long before Mignini assumed a (minor) role.


Claim 10: Mignini referred to Knox as a sex-and-drug-crazed “she-devil”

Wrong. Another laughable wrong fact. It wasn’t Mignini who called Amanda Knox a “she-devil”, it was Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer who represents Diya Lumumba, at the trial in 2009.

Carlo Pacelli’s comments were widely reported by numerous journalists who were present in the courtroom. Barbie Nadeau describes the moment he referred to Knox as a she-devil in some detail in Angel Face: 

“Who is the real Amanda Knox?” he asks, pounding his fist in the table. “Is she the one we see before us here, all angelic? Or is really a she-devil focused on sex, drugs, and alcohol, living life on the edge?”

“She is the luciferina-she devil.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 124).



Conclusion

Nathaniel Rich has published a sloppy callous error-ridden piece of pure propaganda straight out of the Knox cult handbook, complete with a gushy fawning reference to Amanda Knox in the title.

The piece includes an inflammatory mischaracterization of the extreme caution of the Italian justice system and the various officials working on the case.

There is no mention at all of the never-ending nightmare of Meredith’s family or the fact that she is NEVER coming back. Rich doesn’t seem to have the requisite emotional intelligence or reporter skills to realise that he may have been duped and used by the money-grubbers and killer-groupies of the Knox-cult campaign.


Not For The First Time Has Zombie-Like Behavior Afflicted American Crime Reporting

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Comedy Channel’s Jon Stewart commenting on the media’s role in the Duke Lacrosse framing case 12 April 2007]


The headline yesterday on the NY Times’s Perugia reporting: “Appeal Trial Of Amanda Knox Opens In Italy”.

You can see the image in one of yesterday’s posts. Believe it or not the paper version of the NY Times today includes the exact same headline.  We have been getting the NY Times delivered for over 20 years and swear by most of the reporting.

For some reason its crime reporting really sucks.

The Times’s poor crime reporting is a direct cause of my knowing about Meredith. I was following another gladiator battle between one solitary blog and a lot of ranting media, the NY Times included, over accusations of group rape by the male lacrosse team at Duke University.

Nearly a year after it was obvious that the woman and the prosecutor were framing the team, the NY Times STILL took the position that there was strong cause - that they were really guilty. The trial would simply rubber-stamp this.

Other media followed the NY Times’s lead in this, as they often do in the US. See above. This caused untold havoc in the lives of the boys and untold millions in legal fees and the boys will have a cloud over them for life. 

Commenters on that blog (Durham in Wonderland) said maybe the same thing was going on here - maybe in Meredith’s case there was a media rush to judgment that Knox and Sollecito were being framed.

The NY Times has never ever published a kind word about Meredith or her family or supported the Italian authorities in their unenviable task.  The only examples of reports that we point to of the NY Times are truly mischievous and contemptible. Take a look at these for example.

How The New York Times Caused Unneccesary And Unhelpful Anger In Italy

The Second Misleading New York Times Comment On The Case

Had the NY Times said the case is in order as it should have done 18 months ago the wild pro-Knox ride of the rest of the American media would have been cut off at the ankles. The NY Times allowed the mishievous floodgates to open.


Committee To Protect Journalists Responds, But Provides No List Of Sources Or Interview Transcripts

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the response by Nina Ognianova. Comments are open below that CPJ post and both Kermit and Doug Preston have taken advantage, Kermit gracefully, Preston petulantly..

Nina Ognianova does not address Kermit’s contentions, though she did link to TJMK, and really responds only in broad generalties. She still leaves standing the smears of Giuliano Mignini and other Italian officials that the Committee to Protect Journalists chose to broadcast globally. 

We can find zero evidence that CPJ interviewed anyone in Perugia, except presumably for the strenuously anonymous blogger “Frank Sfarzo”  (real name Sforza) who the CPJ may actually realize now is not a real journalist and who posts mostly mischievous nonsense under an assumed name. 

Nina Ognianova does not explain why neither Mr Mignini not anyone in the police or judiciary were interviewed before the CPJ smeared Mr Mignini in an open letter sent to Italy’s President and a number of other notables worldwide.

There’s been good commenting starting about here about this already on PMF where some are warming to the idea of a public hearing in Perugia (“Frank Sfarzo” goes on trial early in May)

Maybe “Frank Sfarzo” and Doug Preston can be made to finally put up or shut up. This may not be the result the hornswoggled Joel Simon was intended to deliver..


Deja Vu All Over Again: In A Time Warp Linda Byron Is STILL Actively Misleading Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for the “scoop” by Linda Byron and an out-of-date and unrelated video.

Linda Byron has in fact had the extraordinary Massei Report on the evidence and the sentencing reasons for Knox and Sollecito for THREE WEEKS and she even acknowledged it with thanks and said she would be sure to read it.

But apparently not yet. Amazingly, Linda Byron does not even MENTION Judge Massei’s Report here.

Linda Byron’s “scoop” on an FBI agent turns out to be about (surprise, surprise)  a claimed ex-FBI agent “Steve Moore” who (if he actually exists) seems to have zero track-record and reputation among current federal and local law enforcement who are watching the case.

Precisely these same few shoot-from-the-hip claims were made by “Steve Moore” several months ago on a website. Nothing new, nothing corrected, and still riddled with errors and false claims. They are so easy to shoot down that the posters over on PMF hardly even bothered to laugh at them before moving back to their usual careful in-depth discussions.

The Massei Report that Linda Byron studiously ignores now contradicts in very great detail the same few claims that “Steve Moore” makes - the evidence collection, the possible motives, the scenario on the night, the physical evidence, and the true nature of the interrogations.

And he simply leaves out altogether huge areas. Perhaps 80 percent of the whole.

The multiple alibis that contradicted one another and STILL contradict one another. The allegations that Knox made IN WRITING against Patrick when alone in a cell. The extensive luminol evidence and the extensive mixed-blood evidence. The telling behavior on the several days after. The sad facts of Meredith’s autopsy. The very extensive and very damning mobile phone records and transcripts. The computer records and recorded times it was switched on and off. The various eye-witness accounts. The facts and the reasoning that showed that there is no way that Rudy Guede could have acted alone. 

The few supportive comments below Linda Byron’s piece seem desperately grateful, and ultra-shallow on the real facts.  More hate-speech about Italy, of course. “The italian government and (in)justice system is regarded as one of the most corrupt in the first world. she would have gotten a fairer trial in mexico.”  Both those claims are untrue. Also as usual, very heavy promotion of a tainted and misleading FOA website apparently paid for by Curt Knox.

Ex FBI agent “Steve Moore” really should download and read the Massei Report and see why ALL of his claimed former colleagues consider this case to be closed.


The Second Misleading New York Times Comment On The Case By Egan

Posted by Skeptical Bystander



No prizes for guessing that this is Italy’s wonderful Venice.

1. Seattle-ite Egan Gets It Bady Wrong, Again

Timothy Egan of the New York Times came back with a follow-up justification to his first post.

The cat was out of the bag at that point, of course, and the first post was being widely ridiculed as untrue and unfair both in the US and in Italy.

Egan’s second post makes me wonder if he actually even read the comments under his first post before firing off his second round. It also makes me wonder if Egan has any idea of how badly his “contribution” was received in Italy, let alone why.

Frankly, I was surprised that a “Pulitzer prize winning” journalist would make these basic mistakes and write such a shockingly bad article to boot.

I posted this NY Times comment on that second post addressed at his first piece, lamenting the number of basic factual mistakes he made, though without enumerating all of them.

From memory, there are at least five major errors in Egan’s blog entry still not corrected

1. Egan claims that no translator was present for the Nov 5 questioning. This is false. Granted, Edda Mellas and others have made this false claim on the record, repeatedly, even after the Italian police formally challenged it. (Note to Egan: check the CNN world news website once in awhile.) Finally, Edda and others had to change their tune in light of the undisputed facts, but they did so by shifting the claim from no interpreter to no “professional” interpreter. This too turns out to be false. How can Egan continue to claim that no interpreter was present when at three were called upon by the prosecution to testify under oath as witnesses to the session of questioning where Egan wants us to believe there were no interpreters? Incidentally, they—like all of the other relevant witnesses—have stated under oath the Knox was not physically abused or maltreated. Conversely and as a reminder, Knox is not testifying under oath.

2. Egan also claims that there is forensic evidence against Guede only, and not the other two suspects. This, as everyone else except official FOA spokespeople know, is false. For anyone who is interested in knowing what it is, this non-profit website would be a good place to start. It is too bad that Mr. Egan did not do more than just consult the new afterword to Doug Preston’s Monster of Florence book. In fact, Egan’s blog entry serves as a friendly review in a way.

3. Egan stated that a 6-person jury, with two judges among them, would decide the fate of Knox and Sollecito. Ii shows Egan’s sweeping and sweepingly ignorant indictment of the Italian criminal justice system. In fact, the correct numbers are 6 lay jurors and 2 judges, for a total of 8 individuals - and thereafter two automatic appeals. Does this make a difference? Only insofar as it is definitely better to demonstrate a grasp of the basics of the system one seeks to criticize. Instead of quoting Rachel Donadio, who was in fact talking about Italy’s Prime Minister, Egan would have been better off trying Wikipedia or, better still, a comparative law website. There are tons of them out there.

4. Egan states that Amanda Knox only suggested that Patrick Lumumba maybe killed Meredith Kercher. In fact, Knox did far more than that. She firmly accused him of killing her roommate, twice orally, and then three times in writing. The written statements were not coerced, and testimony from half a dozen other people (again, under oath) refutes Knox’s claim that her oral accusation was coerced. An investigation is underway, ordered by one of the two prosecutors. In fact, Knox admitted on the stand that her third written statement was not made because she was hit - it was a “gift” to the police who supposedly tortured her, whatever that means!

5. Egan failed to point out that two prosecutors are working side by side on this case. If Mignini has to step down because of the verdict in a pending matter, the case will go forward in the able hands of Manuela Comodi who is handling more than half the testimony. I hear she is clean as a whistle: not so much as a slap on the wrist during her career. Instead of just repeating what Doug Preston writes, Egan could have told us in more detail about the charge pending against Prosecutor Mignini.


2.  Enabled By Heavey, Bremner and Ciolino

Allegedly, some individuals—like Paul Ciolino, whom Egan quotes in his rebuttal (?) entry—speak of a “pattern” of misconduct, but I have been unable to find any other example of possible “abuse of office” except for the one related to the Monster of Florence case.

Wouldn’t it be great if an investigative journalist of Pulitzer prize caliber were to take the time to find out what the facts are in the longstanding feud between Mignini and Spezi, Doug Preston’s friend and associate? That would really add substance to this fake debate.

Paul Ciolino’s paid work for 48 Hours on this very case has been laughably poor. Forgive me for not taking the time to count the ways.

In a Seattle fundraiser for Knox he stated that legal experts in the US and Italy believe Mignini is “mentally unstable”.

What this really boils down to is the following: one quote in Italian by an Italian judge that was taken out of context (that’s the Italian legal expert (singular)), and statements made by two people from the Seattle legal community, Anne Bremner and Judge Michael Heavey, who have never set foot in an Italian courtroom but who happen to be members of FOA (Friends of Amanda).

Heavey, a neighbor of Knox’s, actually wrote a letter to the authorities in Italy asking for a change of venue. That letter ““ which incidentally was written on Heavey’s official Superior Court Judge letterhead—was so full of errors, and was so embarrassing to Knox’s own defense team, that Heavey is said to have written a second letter in apology.

The first letter, after being prominently displayed on Anne Bremner’s website, was then quietly removed. As if it had never existed. Never apologize, never explain, as Flaubert said. Where is that letter of apology? Why is it not displayed on Bremner’s website? Was it too written on official letterhead? As a King County taxpayer, I’d sure like to know.

Where are those Pulitzer Prize winning journalists when you need them?


Plight Of CBS Network: Anti Justice For Meredith Is Increasingly Bad Business

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: billionaire Sumner Redstone, largest CBS stockholder and big loser]

For the record TJMK, our not-for-profit tribute to Meredith, has been one of the fastest-growing new websites in the world.

At 1,669,013 world-wide now (out of about 7 million) it has more than twice the readership of any other site on the case except pro-Meredith PMF.

But it is less easy being an American television network in this day and age.

In the last three months of 2008, broadcast networks lost nearly three million viewers, or about 7 percent of their total audience. Overall television viewing is up, however, and some big cable networks, like USA and TNT, are attracting new viewers.

Broadcast networks still bring in the largest audiences, but now they are facing a deep advertising recession that is hitting both the networks and their local stations.

That sorta explains why over two years the stock of CBS which broadcast last Saturday’s trashy report has really tanked. 

While the US stockmarket as a whole is down less than 40 percent, CBS stock is now down by MORE THAN 80 PERCENT.

Which may help to explain why CEO Leslie Moonves (image at bottom here) is now running scared for his job.

CBS has a classy and successful lineup among the evening drama shows. But its evening news broadcast (with Katie Couric) is relentlessly at third place, and its prestigious “60 Minutes” expose franchise has seen better days.

And CBS’s tabloid “48 Hours” expose franchise, which broadcast the trashy “Amanda Knox Show” last saturday night at 10, is really down there in the bargain basement.

The “48 Hours” report rarely breaks into the top 20 among CBS’s own shows And it rarely breaks into the top 100 among all US television shows - it was 101 overall last year.

CBS seem to have tried very hard to promote its “48 Hours” on the Perugia case. But there’s zero buzz in the US and, as our poster Nicki reported from Italy, the “48 Hours” was just a tiresome yawn there.

So far, I haven’t seen any report of the scandalous 48 Hours show on this side, and this indifference speaks volumes to me”¦ In the collective imagination, the FOA PR machine has done a great job in representing America at its lowest: arrogant, xenophobic and unreasonable.

Evidently the Italians have got past indignation and are bored of being lectured about the serious flaws of their judicial system and their third-world-country incompetence level. They’ve got more important thing to worry about, like the recent earthquake and the economic crisis to name a few.

So, let the Perugia trial take its course, and the guilty be sentenced to the maximum penalty. This is what the general feeling is on this side of the ocean.

Viewers of the trashy “48 Hours” were few in the US, probably below 4 million. And by the look of the advertising that the show carried, they were mainly elderly and of lower income.

Very nice people of course, but not really the demographic the networks would now die for.

In strong contrast, the prestigious NBC Dateline expose franchise did a wonderful job of explaining the case while remaining highly objective.

  • Meredith’s memory was respected by Dateline, rather than repeatedly trashed with the use of very sick images
  • There was no one-note Captain Ahab on a manic vendetta, obviously way out of his depth on the actual evidence
  • There was no spurious recreation of what a witness heard that got the basic facts about her very seriously wrong.
  • There was no piling on to Italy and all things Italian - and some real live Italians were interviewed for the piece.

And guess what? The audience for NBC’s Dateline was MORE THAN TWICE AS LARGE as CBS’s. And a lot more upscale and sought-after.

NBC very deservedly came out ahead on the heavy investment in its painstaking report. And NBC certainly did not have to get down into the gutter to achieve it.

Learn something from this please, CBS, before you become a dinosaur in the tar-sands.

There is no longer a profit to be made out of trashing poor Meredith.



[above: Leslie Moonves, the beleagured CEO of the CBS network]

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/15/09 at 03:38 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesMedia developmentsHoaxers from 2007More hoaxersComments here (7)

CBS Report Sets New Record For Trashing Of Meredith, Xenophobia, Multi-Inaccuracies, Possible Libels

Posted by Peter Quennell



[above: the CBS producer Doug Longhini]

Those who really know the case well were widely appalled at this vicious and highly misleading piece of propaganda.

A number of complaints have been registered. In the next several days, we’ll be analyzing the CBS report and the reaction at length.

Meanwhile, for those who did not see the CBS report and would like to, try clicking on the image above. It should just open and play.

And if it does not work for you, please tell us, or download and play this zipped version.


Rumors In Manhattan About Ludicrously Bad CBS Report

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Click above for the CBS promo for a “48 Hours” report this Saturday night.

Early in the case CBS seriously shot itself in the foot. Now Manhattan lawyers and media people who are following the case are really amused that CBS seems to be about to do it again.

And CBS is said to be very, very nervous at putting itself out on such a limb. The best report by a US network so far would have to be that put together by NBC. And the worst report by a US network so far would have to be that put together by CBS.

The previous CBS report was confused on many of the basic facts of the case. And CBS tried to trash a key witness who gave some very convincing testimony a few weeks ago.

The apparent mainstays of this new report? The old chestnuts again. Prosecutor Mignini is REALLY evil!  And Amanda Knox was somehow coerced into fingering Lumumba - and that in the course of a 14-hour interrrogation.

Talk about time-warp.

Not only have the claimed hitting of Knox and the endless interrogation already been discredited at trial by a number of witnesses. But the “evil” prosecutor has initiated an investigation into whether she committed slander against the interrogators.

More after the CBS broadcast. This should be most interesting.


Ominous Happenings At Hearst, Seattle PI’s Parent Company

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above and below, the attractive Seattle PI building, on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront.


And here are two shots (scroll down for the second) of owner Hearst’s attractive Manhattan headquarters.

We remain pretty intrigued by the Seattle PI. We can’t seem to see that it’s serving either Seattle’s or Hearst’s best interests right now.

The PI runs some of the very best stories on the Perugia case in the United States, filed by its cool, dispassionate reporter in Rome.

It also runs on its website what one reader called “the most dishonest blog in America” which is notorious for its fact-challenged one-sidedness and for fronting a secret book deal on the case.

And it has run no in-depth reporting at all on the Seattle angles of the case. 

Back here we mentioned the seemingly shaky economics of the paper, and the recent quite extraordinary drop in its readership.

Papers sold dropped by about 8 percent, in a period where the national drop was less than four (mostly related to the economic cycle), and where some media companies even saw real readership gains.

Our contacts in Manhattan’s great journalism schools seem to think the media industry’s best way forward for survival and growth is class journalism. Dig deeper, and avoid the vicarious thrills of, for example, blogs with an agenda

Our contacts regard the international Perugia case as a truly huge story. An absolute heaven-sent opportunity for the Seattle-based papers.

And they reckon that serious and imaginative handling of that story and its many intriguing Seattle angles could have dug the Seattle PI right out of its hole. And attracted a whole row of Pulitzer prizes.

Ball dropped. In a very serious and possibly life-threatening way.

So what is happening at Hearst’s HQ in Manhattan that relates to this?

Well, Hearst is privately owned, by a Hearst-family foundation, and they control most of the director seats on the board. They are said to be VERY unhappy with group performance.

Six months ago the CEO was forced out. And now there is a report that the interim CEO doesn’t meet with the family’s approval either. 

Expected outcome?

A new Hearst CEO who is expected to be be very hungry for more circulation and more Pulitzer prizes at Hearst’s seriously under-performing papers.

Such as, of course, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Time to get serious, guys…



Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Now On The Defensive?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Seattle tip: The newsroom seems to despise the blog “reporting” described below and to think it is hurting the paper. If incorrect, newsroom, and you really do love it, please feel free to correct it.


[click for larger images]

Above at the right is Seattle PI editor David McCumber. Seems like a nice guy, with a distinguished career.

Yesterday we received a rather tart email from a staff-member. The tone made us curious. It seemed a little defensive. So we have taken a closer look.

We’ve already posted here on the paper and the case. We noted then that the paper is part of New York’s privately-owned Hearst empire. Our header box on the post noted this:

Normally, the Hearst papers are famous for CHAMPIONING victims’ rights and memories. Not for abusing them, in a defense blog they host.

We gave the paper an F grade for that performance. And an A grade for the excellent post-Guede-trial reporting indicated here.

The Seattle PI’s circulation has taken quite a dive this year. The paper has seen a drop of 7.8 percent in papers sold, to just 117,572 in October.

Its one competitor, the Seattle Times, also privately owned, saw a similar percentage drop, to 198,741 in October.

However, the Times sells a lot more newspapers, and it seems fundamentally stronger. 

Since 1983, the P-I and The Seattle Times have been run under a “Joint Operating Agreement” (JOA) whereby advertising, production, marketing, and circulation are run for both papers by the Seattle Times Co. They maintain separate news and editorial departments. The papers publish a combined Sunday edition, although the Times handles the majority of the editorial content while the P-I only provides a small editorial/opinions section.

If only one Seattle newspaper is left standing in the long run, which one might that be?

And might the Seattle PI be vulnerable, by way of that blog? It seems possible that its own legal people now think that it might be.

The so-called “reader’s blog” to which we have recently drawn attention is actually copyrighted. It has just bred a book deal, without consultation with the Kerchers. And it runs with some very high-impact paid advertising, flashing right alongside.

The paper seems to shrug the blog off as none of their business. Lawyers in New York here seem to doubt this attempted separation would carry far.

The blog was much criticized by readers in its early days, for seemingly being unable to mention the victim’s name. It’s attempting a lot of catch-up now, which seems to be fooling no-one.

It also has a bizarre history of ridiculing the prosecutor. Not something we’d have thought helpful to the ill-served Amanda Knox, now sitting in jail, awaiting his case against her.

And the blog has seen repeated waves of purges of comments in the past. HTML captures of the blog prior to these purges (there are many such captures) suggest the point of them is to eliminate any dissenting opinion or correction of wrong facts.

And perhaps to give a wrong impression of the blog’s viewpoint to any first-time readers. Or of the increasingly convincing state of the evidence.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer seems to host THE ONE NEWSPAPER SITE IN THE WORLD to carry comments deeply hostile toward the Kerchers themselves.

Not by the blogger, true. But they were long allowed to stand, and their right to stand was defended.

In the past several days, however, they have suddenly disappeared. And the google search below now no longer produces results.

Hmmm. Is yet another of the website’s many comment purges going on here? And this time, a legally-inspired purge?

Covering your tails, finally, are you Seattle PI? Legally, it makes very good sense. But another F grade for now.

One day we might upgrade you. But it’s the reporting we want to see change. And the blog toast.


Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Is The Editor Banning Truthseekers From Website? DRAFT

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above at the right is Seattle PI editor David McCumber. Seems like a nice guy, with a distinguished career.

The posts in question.

************


[click for larger images]

David, David, David:...

We have had such very high hopes for you out there at the Seattle PI. There our paper is, right at the heart of the of the brightest, wealthiest and most influential media markets in the world.

Our paper absolutely could be one of the flagships. Conveying what an exciting, beautiful, cultures and caring Seattle really is. Making the readership so proud to be part of it. Making those who might visit so keen to actually do so.

So we are a little stunned at your circulation down 10 percent, when the average loss is less than five and some papers actually are doiung very well.

So we let’s see here.

And here we have this incredibly moving and tragic case with a victim who has to have been one of the most sweetest and loveliest girls in the world - young and defenseless, exactly the kind of victims


Wow! The Serial Italy-Smearer Strikes Once Again!

Posted by Peter Quennell




Peter Popham of the UK Independent. Yes that Peter Popham.  And (wow!) that Peter Popham.

Ridicule of Italy has been a huge and hugely mistaken main arm of the Friends of Amanda strategy.

In the early days of the case, Peter Popham wrote quite rationally and dispassionately about it. He came across as an okay reporter, and he managed to maintain a detached point of view.

He actually noticed the victim and her much-suffering family.

And then he sat with Knox’s parents for an interview and seems to have been never quite the same since. Seemingly that Kool-Aid started its work on him right about then.

On Saturday (slow day, Saturday - you think maybe his editors were trying to bury him?) Peter Popham devoted 20 heated paragraphs to a blogger with a masonic conspiracy theory of the case. The “masonic theory that put Knox in the dock”.

The kicker?

[Prosecutor] Mignini does… have the benefit of a cracking story. And in Italy that counts for a lot.

They are all sheep, you see? Silly people. And the blogger? A catholic.

Well! Has Mr Mignini really sold this cracking story? And have the judge and the Italian population really bought into it? 

Let’s see here.

There has been just about zero serious reporting of this masonic theory in Italy itself. Many (we included) knew it was out there. It was fundamentally just not very interesting or convincing.

And the Italian population seem to be coolly and compassionately aware of how Meredith probably did die and why. They did not seem to need lurid conspiracy theories to bring them to this point.

No clear influence of the blogger over Prosecutor Mignini on this case has been shown. Mignini apparently did make a few remarks about Halloween. But Halloween is Halloween, and masons are masons, and there is a difference if you actually look.

And there is no influence over the jury, because (American commentators, please get this right) in place of a jury, there is just a very well-informed judge.

And seemingly there was ZERO influence over this judge, and his judgment on Rudy Guede, and his overall take on the case.  The judge has already explained that he went on the physical evidence and ONLY the physical evidence.

And from just that evidence these conclusions derive:

[Judge] Micheli agreed with prosecutors that more than one person took part in the sexual assault and murder, dismissing claims that the 47 bruises and knife wounds on Kercher’s body could have been made by a single attacker.

He upheld the testimony of a neighbour who heard more than one person fleeing Kercher’s house, adding that while footprints there might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.

He stood by forensic evidence indicating Kercher’s and Knox’s DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s house [hidden in a shoe box] which investigators suspect is the murder weapon, and ruled Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra strap as reliable evidence.

He dismissed as “fantasy”, the claim that Knox, Sollecito and Guede planned to involve Kercher in an orgy inspired by “Halloween parties” instead describing the fatal encounter as unplanned.

What really is the truth about the state of the evidence?

Well, much of it even now is not yet in the public domain. But what we already do know is pretty exhaustive. It hangs together nicely. It has been independently vetted. And it is very convincing.

And if there had not been a huge clean-up in the wee hours of the morning (the evidence for that is quite overwhelming) there would have been a great deal more.

And what really is the truth about the motives for the crime?

Probably that they were really very simple. What looks like a toxic blend of drugs, jealousies and guilt-free pathologies.

But more importantly, do they even matter? Does the prosecution have to PROVE a motive, lurid or otherwise?

Actually, no.

Here is an excellent take on this vital point by Michael, one of the very knowledgeable moderators of the Perugia Murder File forum.

The fact that in this case, we still do not have a ‘proven’ motive, nor do we have a proven and logged episode of the three suspects being together before the murder, is irrelevant.

It is the fact that the crime itself was carried out clearly by more then one individual, that all three can be shown to have been there either during, or very shortly after the crime, finished off by the fact that there was a clean-up/staging of the murder afterwards by someone who was ‘not’ Rudy Guede, that provides the necessary proof to convict Guede and refer the other two to trial.

One ‘starts’ at the crime scene itself, because that is where the ‘evidence’ proves them to have been. Not only what ‘is’ there, but also what is not..

To simply say ‘Well…we cannot prove a single time and reason before the event that all three met, therefore we must ignore and throw out all the evidence at the crime scene that indicates more then one person’ is simply ridiculous….

I’ll draw an analogy… If the ground violently shakes, causing the buildings to collapse around us, we have to say that this was an earthquake. It’s no good saying there was no earthquake because we are not anywhere even close to a faultline, or there’s no volcano nearby.

The proof of an earthquake is there. It simply means we then have to consider other possible reasons as being a cause of the quake, even if we cannot technically prove those new theories, because the quake as a ‘fact’ has happened. We then must simply take whichever of those theories is possible and the most likely and apply it as the explanation.

This indeed is what Micheli did in this case, when he said the protagonists may have met at some earlier point in the pubs and clubs. Despite the fact there are no witnesses who have come forward to relate this event, it is not an ‘unlikely’ event to have occurred, considering the close proximity of everyone to everyone else, especially as Knox already knew Guede…

Indeed, it is one of Micheli’s reasons for referring the case to trial. As he has said, a full trial may be able to answer those questions better. But still, that is not what is important, what is important is the defendants prove [now if they can that] they were not at the crime scene during the murder and involved in the staging afterwards.

Cracking story, Peter Popham. But it’s close to game over. Smarter people than you are folding their tents.

Perhaps it’s now time that you did the same.


Why CBS Should Report Better - Way Better - On This Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

Pizzey makes at least two mistakes in this gushy little report from Rome on CBS News

  • The short-form trial can normally result in a 1/3 reduction in the sentence - the 2/3 claim appears to be baseless.
  • Rudy Guede “admits” to having sex with the victim - better make that “claims” to have had sex, widely disbelieved.

CBS continues its abysmal track record of being one of the most factually-challenged sources on the case.

Click here for the rest