Thursday, September 09, 2010

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

Posted by Stilicho

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

Conspiracy Theories And Those That Surround Meredith’s Murder:

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

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

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

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

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

A Commonality: Lack Of Any Coherent Alternate Narrative:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Commonality: An Aversion To Respecting Good Science:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Commonality: Lack Of A Credible Alternate Suspect:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusions About Conspiracy Theorists

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

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

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

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

Posted by Stilicho on 09/09/10 at 03:40 PM in The wider contextsN America contextThe psychologyMore hoaxers


Hi Stilicho,

This is an excellent piece. Conspiracy theorists like Steve Moore, John Q Kelly, Judy Bachrach and Amy Jenkins haven’t provided any proof to support their wild-eyed claims that that there was dark and sinister plot to frame Knox and Sollecito.

The time has come for them to either put up or shut up. I doubt they will do either.

Posted by The Machine on 09/09/10 at 04:54 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I agree, this is a great piece and an interesting angle.  I had never thought of applying the term “consipiracy theorists” before, but it does seem to fit.

As a scientist I always find the attacks on the science and Dr. Stefanoni very nasty.  Science simply is - the analysis and interpretation of the evidence is down to the court and both of the defence teams had appropriately qualified consultants in court to discuss and argue their case, however their arguments did not pass muster. 

Reading the Massei Report shows the incredibly detailed scrutiny the science and evidence was subject to in the court - there is no conspiracy, merely cold, hard fact.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 09/09/10 at 05:00 PM | #

When one reads well-written conspiracy theories that provide very believable details about the authors’ reasons for their opinions, like with Lady Di’s sad death, or the origins of the Pyramids of Giza, or the (real?) reasons for invading Afghanistan and Iraq - then many of these opinions make for good reading and become very entertaining to the intelligent and inquiring mind. Even David Icke makes for interesting and fun reading, in a mad sort of way.

However, the campaign to slate the (entire!) Italian justice system and refute or ignore ALL evidence, and the complete lack of a viable alternate theory is so shallow in its approach and was doomed to failure.

There is nothing interesting here. Only sad reality. A mother and father who looks into the eyes of their child, especially having done so many times in the last 2 years, will know the truth. They will know this truth every time they put their heads down on their pillows at night.

As a parent, and disregarding the filthy campaign waged by the FOA clan which is unforgivable, I feel very sad for Amanda’s mother and father, that they must forever carry this truth.

Posted by Terence on 09/09/10 at 05:19 PM | #


No offense but I can not feel sorry for AK’s parents. Please get the book Darkness Descending it explains a lot on all 3 of their life.

To me Edda taught Amanda how to lie when she would lie about things and didn’t have to answer to her lies until now.

And Curt has been a joke of a father since he divorced Edda. He wouldnt even pay child support and Edda had to take him to court time and again just to get what he owed her.

These 2 parents taught AK how to lie and not worry with the truth.

Look at AK’s mom Edda, she knew Patrick was innocent, did she go to the law and let them know he was innocent? No, she left him sitting in the cell.

Posted by jasmine1998 on 09/09/10 at 07:33 PM | #


‘.. Edda knew Patrick was innocent ..’  Is this definitely an established fact (ie where is it written/proved) or just supposition? Is it in any of Knox’s writings?  Did the lawyers know this? I have obviously missed this on my reading.  Could you give me some pointers as to where I could find information on the record about this.


Posted by Lola on 09/09/10 at 09:44 PM | #



This is a great post. Timely, too (9/11).

Steve Moore could see this Impressionist painting of a case if he stood back a little distance. He should take off the distorting lenses of his past immersion in Rubik’s cube intrigue.

Conspiracy nuts have a desire for Byzantine or Machiavellian designs, rather than follow a simple thread of truth. The rejection of scientific proof is a sign of absent or prejudiced intelligence. None so blind as those who will not see.

In Steve Moore’s work with the FBI, he was exposed to international connections and odd strategic alliances such as drug cartels with Russian crime syndicates, and more. Everything in terrorism involves complex cases, the globetrotting nature of it.

He may have become so paranoid that now he sees plots everywhere, and wants to believe in political interests behind   Amanda’s conviction for this murder. Yet he defends the characters most obviously linked to her murder.

He seems addled, with facial expression a mix of confused anger, intense fear, inner embarrassment, and belligerence to try to counteract these. He impresses me as being extremely uncomfortable during TV interviews. Chalk that up to stage fright, some of it, but seems more than that.

With the Knox case, Steve Moore is too close to see the big picture.

Best to stand back a distance to view an Impressionist painting.

Posted by Hopeful on 09/09/10 at 09:49 PM | #

Hi Lola,

Amanda Knox acknowledged that it was her fault Diya Lumumba was in prison and that her accusation was unjust in an intercepted prison conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007. It is mentioned in the Massei report on page 388.

Posted by The Machine on 09/09/10 at 10:46 PM | #

Lola: Here is a link, you will find a transcript from an interview with Edda Mellas. Just read it, the answer to your question is there!

Posted by Patou on 09/10/10 at 05:59 PM | #


Edda Knox claimed she didn’t tell police what she had learned from her daughter, i.e. Patrick had nothing to do with the murder, because “she can’t speak Italian” .

What a hypocrite! This woman is a liar just like her daughter. She makes me sick.

Posted by Nicki on 09/10/10 at 08:30 PM | #

Just weeks later after Stilicho’s post which refers to the WTC towers coming down, I was in Washington DC and on the saturday there was a science and technology fair in tents all along the mall in front of Congress.

Way off to the side by the museums was a solitary tent for those who believe the 9/11 takedown of the twin WTC towers was a government-engineered thing.

When the twin towers came down, I was across the Hudson (I got several calls after the first plane hit asking if I could go check) and my binoculars put them at about 500 yards. I saw the 2nd aircraft hit and both of the towers come down.

Left out of all the conspiracy theory literature is that both towers actually wobbled for at least five minutes. When the floors began to crash down the structures were already very weak. And zero signs of any dynamite being used. There was no strength left to stop those floors crashing down.

Stilicho is right. These guys with a craving for importance just make stuff up.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/11/11 at 04:18 PM | #


Peter, that’s stunning! You actually saw the Twin Towers fall!! amazing.

Posted by Hopeful on 01/11/11 at 05:22 PM | #

Hi Hopeful. A majority of those who died lived in Jersey - whole villages suffered terribly - though we lost not one in this large complex across the Hudson from midtown.

My wife Hope is a VP in a software company on Madison one block east of the Empire State Building. I thought that might be next. Communications were cut before 9:30 am and I had no idea where she was until she called that evening from the Amtrak station in Newark.

We were all in a trancelike state that day but being witnesses to the huge cleanup and normalization of downtown seemed to re-empower everyone not affected forever by a fatality and I myself dont know anyone with lingering phobias.

Except some who don’t like to look at aircraft in flight and jump when there is a very loud bang. I was in an elevator yesterday at Grand Central going down to the deepest subway and there was a bang, and the other guy in the elevator must have jumped two feet.

We know a nuclear or chemical device might make it here one day but we don’t think of moving elsewhere and I know of no-one else who does. It is the contents of the great museums that worry me the most. Everything else might be rebuilt. Not that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/11/11 at 05:38 PM | #
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