Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unarresting the Arrested:FBI Profiler John Douglas on the case against Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito

This is an excellent interview of FBI Profiler John Douglas conducted by journalist Krista Errickson.
The interview originally appeared on her blog, Woman on a Wire, and is now available on Ground Report (linked below).
From Krista: This article was originally supposed to be published for Il Messaggero. It was given to me as an assignment, after the editor and legal expert of the newspaper saw the Maxim interview with famed FBI profiler, John Douglas, in the January 2011 issue.

When the article was turned in, albeit shortened, my editor told me – “this article is too dangerous to print in Italy”. 

Hunting the Hunters

There are two kinds of hunters: the hunter that waits and the hunter that tracks. The difference of two is the complexity of their hunting techniques though both aim for the same thing; bagging the prey.

Hunters who wait prefer to lure their prey into range. This is usually the preferred method of serial killers. They watch, and wait for the chance to pounce. Hunters who track their prey, involves a more detailed approach; knowing the specific differences, patterns and behaviors of the hunted, and calculate their next moves. John Douglas is of the latter. However, he pursues a different kind of animal: serial killers. He is the investigator and legendary criminal profiler known as “The Mind Hunter”.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Amanda Knox and the Architects of the Foxy Knoxy Myth

Nick Pisa & Barbie Nadeau

Freedom looks to be on the horizon for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, in Perugia, Italy. Both were convicted in 2009 for the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher. Both have adamantly denied any involvement in the murder.

Where the original trial was a prosecutor’s dream come true, the appeal has been a complete disaster, where the prosecution has lost every key issue. The prosecution’s most important witness from the first trial admitted that he was a heroin addict on appeal and told the court, quite unashamedly, he was using heroin on the night in question----a humiliating blow to the prosecution, prompting Judge Hellmann to cut his testimony short and have him escorted out of his courtroom. 

The most damaging blow to the prosecution came from independent experts appointed by the court to review the DNA evidence. The experts’ testimony discredited the alleged murder weapon and a DNA laden bra clasp used to secure the convictions of Knox and Sollecito.  Knox’s father Curt Knox summed it up best when he told CNN “the prosecution has no case left.”

The Architects of “Foxy Knoxy”

While the common wisdom is that the tabloid media played a major role in spreading lies and misinformation, the reality is that a trio of yellow journalists have been the worst offenders.  Those journalists are Nick Pisa, Barbie Nadeau and Andrea Vogt.  These three journalists were the chief architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth and have fueled the Anti-Knox fervor working as mouthpieces for Giuliano Mignini, the corrupt and convicted prosecutor that secured the convictions against Knox and Sollecito.

Media coverage of this case played a role in the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox was mistreated horribly by the media with disparaging headlines that were endless.  These disparaging headlines and salacious articles were not confined simply to common tabloids, but to well known magazines as well, such as Newsweek.

Nick Pisa

Nick Pisa

Nick Pisa, a freelance journalist from the United Kingdom who writes often for The Daily Mail, has recently shifted his opinion in the case, now leaning toward innocence.  Regrettably however, his change of heart is too little too late because of the damage he has already caused. in In fact, he was the first reporter to use the name “Foxy Knoxy” after browsing Knox’s MySpace page looking for dirt. The catchy nick-name was very attractive to the media helping to fuel the myth that Amanda Knox (Foxy Knoxy) was a satanic ritualistic sex crazed killer.  However, Amanda Knox was actually given the nickname as a child for her moves on the soccer field. By the time the world came to realize who the real Foxy Knoxy was, it was too late. The damage was done.

Pisa’s tabloid sensibilities were loud and clear in the most recent appeal hearing when Knox appeared to bow her head momentarily in court. This prompted Pisa to contact the family, looking to see if Amanda had “passed out.” As it turned out Knox was completely fine leaving Pisa without his shocking headline.


Barbie Nadeau

Barbie Nadeau

Barbie Nadeau, who reports for the Daily Beast, did not disappoint her fans with her rapid fire tweeting from the pressroom at the most recent hearing. In fact she earned the award for most tasteless tweet for this gem: “Court discussing the appropriate way to cut a bra off a dead body. Where is a mannequin when you need one?”

In recent months, Nadeau has exhibited an obvious bitterness during the appeal----a resentment that most likely stems from being on the wrong side of history.  Nadeau, who published a book under the laughable title: “Angel Face:  The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox” must feel pretty awkward for being so blatantly on the wrong side of history.  At one point, Nadeau hilariously tweeted that she was actually objective, somehow forgetting the title of her horribly written book.

Recently Nadeau wrote an article for the Daily Beast suggesting that Meredith Kercher’s actual killer might receive a get out of jail free card if Knox and Sollecito were allowed to walk. To anyone who understands the forensics in this case, this line of thinking is beyond absurd as all credible evidence in this case points directly at Rudy Guede. Unfortunately, Nadeau has little choice but to go pursue the “Amanda got away with it” angle. Whether she likes it or not, Nadeau is one of the main faces of the yellow journalists who forced Knox’s guilt down her readers’ throats, all while distorting facts, using sloppy analysis and in some cases stating outright lies. 

Recently, best selling author Douglas Preston who wrote the Monster of Florence, confirmed Nadeau’s feelings for Knox and her family when he revealed that Nadeau openly admitted that she despises Knox’s family and she called the Friends of Amanda support group a "cult." Nadeau made these comments almost three years ago, yet she continues to present herself as an objective journalist with regard to this case.


Andrea Vogt

Andrea Vogt

Andrea Vogt, who has written freelance pieces for and attended much of the first trial, has been conveniently absent during most of the appeal.

Currently, Vogt is working on a documentary about Amanda Knox which is expected to air after the verdict. In an amazing and ridiculous course of events, she actually sent an email to Knox’s family saying that they had her permission to ask to be in her documentary.  Yes, you read that correctly. The family of Amanda Knox was told they could ask to be in Andrea Vogt’s presumably horrible documentary which is about their own daughter!  Keep these ridiculous things in mind when you hear certain journalists talk about how objective they are.

Vogt has had an intimate relationship with Anti-Knox bloggers since as early as 2008, interviewing them as objective sources without disclosing that they had been blogging under fake names about their belief in Knox’s guilt long before she ever even had a trial.

Vogt’s propensity for quoting anti-Knox bloggers as legitimate sources had not been confined to isolated incidents.  Rather, she has kept up this pattern consistently for years.  Very early in the case, Vogt quoted a woman named “Laura Wray” under the guise the she was an objective source, when in fact she had been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites as early as 2008.  Additionally, Laura Wray only possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in science.

However, “Laura Wray” was not the first Anti-Knox blogger Vogt would quote as an objective source.  In January of 2009, before Knox had even been tried for murder, Vogt wrote an article for the Italian publication Panorama in an article entitled “Meredith’s Murder Divides Seattle”.  In the article she quoted a man named Randy Jackson, who is now the moderator of an Amanda Knox hate forum called Perugia Murder File.  Vogt quoted Jackson as if he was an objective source without revealing that he had been blogging about his belief in Knox’s guilt for some time.  That same article quoted a woman named Kris Arneson who had also been blogging on Amanda Knox hate sites quite frequently.  Again, this fact was not revealed.  One would assume an objective journalist would give some sort of disclosure in all these instances, but Andrea Vogt never did any such thing.  Her consistent interviewing of Amanda Knox hate bloggers raises serious questions about her honesty and closeness to these sites.

The Architects Feast at the Table

The architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth, (Andrea Vogt, Barbie Nadeau and Nick Pisa) were recently interviewed together along with an Italian television producer, Sabina Castelfranco, for Dateline Australia. Pisa appeared blatantly uncomfortable throughout the video as Vogt and Nadeau spoke of well-known falsehoods as if they were common facts----the largest being that there was mixed blood found at the crime scene (100% not true).  To Pisa’s credit, he managed to interject a little common sense when he said that the case would have never gone to trial in the UK due to a lack of evidence.

However, Pisa threw journalistic ethics out the window when he pathetically attempted to explain away his horrendous reporting on this case by placing the sole blame on the authorities in Perugia, espousing the principle that you should just write what the police tell you:

"If you're getting some information from a primary source - like a police officer, like a prosecutor - you've got to take it at face value, you've got to believe what you're being told"

Of course this logic is beyond ridiculous.  If this were a journalistic standard to strive for, we wouldn’t need journalists in crime cases----rather we could just have the police write the articles themselves.

In the jaw dropping video, Vogt and Nadeau continue to promote one of the most egregious lies to be seen in this case: there was mixed blood at the crime scene. Both frequently repeat that Kercher’s blood was mixed with Knox ’s blood in several different places in the cottage. Mixed blood was never claimed by the prosecution, and no testimony was heard at trial.  But Nadeau, being the advanced forensic scholar that she is wouldn't let facts get in the way, giving case followers possibly the dumbest analogy ever uttered by a reporter:

"I live in a house with three people (my two sons and my husband); I guarantee you I have never mixed blood with any of them anywhere in the house; I don't bleed where they bleed; we never bleed at the same time."

Yes, she actually said this on video.  Whenever you read something this ridiculous, it is no wonder the media has gotten this case so wrong.  With utterances like these, we are not exactly dealing with sophisticated minds amongst the guilt purporting journalists in this case.

The truth is Kercher’s blood mixed with residual DNA that was already present in the cottage long before the murder took place. Knox was examined by the police and no wounds were found on her body. Knox was not bleeding, but more importantly, she was not there. Knox’s blood never mixed with Kercher’s blood anywhere at any time.

After nearly four years, if the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth still cannot understand simple falsehoods like these, is it any wonder why the public has been so misinformed in this case?  Readers deserve better than the tabloid principles of Nick Pisa, the illogical musings of Barbie Nadeau and the terribly sourced articles of Andrea Vogt.

Hopefully, when Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are acquitted, it will be the architects of the Foxy Knoxy myth who will have to finally answer some tough questions of their own.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

At Long Last, Ms. Coulter, Have You No Sense Of Decency? By Steve Moore

Steve Moore has written an excellent blog post in response to a recent article written by Anne Coulter. 

At Long Last, Ms. Coulter, Have You No Sense Of Decency? 
By Steve Moore

This is a difficult article to write. It’s kind of like being a cop and finding out that the burglar you’re looking for is your mom.

You see, I’m a lifelong Republican. I tell you this not because I want to pick a political fight, argue ideology, make you like me, or certainly make you dislike me. I tell you this because I am having an identity crisis. For years, you see, I watched Fox News, and for a while I even listened to Rush. I thought Ann Coulter was irreverent, a little over-the-top, but generally right, though I occasionally winced at her statements.

I was a career FBI Agent, the son of an FBI Agent. I was a SWAT team-member, a certified sniper, an undercover agent, and a helicopter pilot. I followed terrorism investigations overseas into Pakistan and Indonesia. I have (and wear) American flag lapel pins. I own guns. I haven’t voted for a Democrat for president since….well, ever. I am a member of the National Rifle Association, and I am an NRA certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor.  I do not buy carbon credits. I have never even sat in a Suburu. My current car has 300 unapologetic horsepower. I love animals but enjoy a good steak. 

Click here to read the rest of Steve Moore's post.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's time to let them go! Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have played by the Italian Rules

By David Kamanski, Esq.

In November of 2007 the 21 year old English student Meredith Kercher was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted in her apartment room in Perugia, Italy by a young, inexperienced burglar, Rudy Guede, whom the cops had already begun to know, but for unknown reasons had never arrested. A shocking crime to her family, her friends, the town of Perugia, and over time many who learned of it throughout the world. Perugia with a university population of 40,000 students had a lot to lose by an unsolved murder of a female student, and many families had their children pack and leave within days. Like many violent crimes that occur in most towns or cities, the authorities set out to do their jobs and find some level of justice. The grieving Kercher family so conflicted in their emotions and highly distracted by the senselessness of such a horrible murder trusted that the Italian authorities would search for the truth and solve the crime with professionalism & integrity. Unfortunately, the many usual assumptions made by good people all over the world turned out to be very wrong, and the authorities fabricated a case within four days to include roommate Amanda Knox & her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. They announced the entire crime solved, despite having no forensic evidence, and as expected the students decided to stay and the police were seen as heroes. 

Meredith Kercher's father was a tabloid writer for the English press and as such had many friends in the often-criticized business, who felt an immense loyalty to help out the stricken writer in virtually any way they could. The local Perugia & Roman authorities saw a nightmare coming and were also facing many personal issues that were now worsening, unless they took some major shortcuts and quickly solved the crime.

What happened next was a sick perversion of the truth and justice, of a proportion rarely seen in modern times.

Not only did the authorities make many errors, mistakes and manipulations to improperly blame an entirely innocent roommate, American Amanda Knox and her recent Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, they spread their fabrication with the world using a hungry press, looking to help out their fellow colleague, using every dirty trick in their books. As the perversity spread, and many simply bought it because after all we are all trained to trust the authorities, the evil functioning of an uncaring press spread the perversity, proud to help their friend, regardless of the monumental destruction they were all inflicting on an innocent young woman, her boyfriend and all of their families & friends.

These fabricated efforts of providing evidence of guilt included the attempted use of an alleged knife handled by Amanda at Raffaele’s apartment that the DNA test fail to show how it has any connection to the crime, the alleged presence of an extremely tiny amount of Raffaele's DNA on the victim’s bra clasp that independent experts say is wrong and/or from contamination, a heroin user was the only sort of eye- witness who claims Amanda & Raffaele were not in Raffaele's apartment as claimed all night, and he saw busses that did not run the night of the murder, a very wrong time of death confirmed by failure of recently eaten food to digest, and a really pathetic unscientific claim that when they found Amanda's expected DNA in her own bathroom, in a few samples it was really her blood mixed with Meredith's. The "mixed blood" argument was shown by forensic experts to be essentially such a joke of an argument, but it demonstrates how desperate people will lie for sick reasons. We all leave DNA in our bathrooms and no tests show Amanda's DNA to be from blood where it was found mixed with Meredith's blood, such that assuming that or saying that it is despite the clear lack of proof is really disgusting and purposely meant to harm Amanda for no reason whatsoever. They also attempted to argue that the commonly found false positive Luminol tests made from a few footprints shows evidence they were made of blood until it was learned, dispute efforts to hide the information, that the footprints were absolutely negative with a second and equally sensitive test TMB, ruling them out as being made by blood. No specific test ever proved they were made from blood and those in the forensic field know how common false positive Luminol results are from many household chemicals and common cleaning products that include bleach or other similar materials. And one more major blunder among many others put forth by the cops & prosecutors was the arrival time of the postal police that they used to argue Raffaele called for police after their arrival. This was shown to be pure fabrication by the police. These are all very common matters we attorneys are very familiar with and make certain the improper and wrongful prosecution that the authorities and press tried to fool the public and jury with, just so they could have their way, regardless of the enormous consequences.

There are so many other examples of misconduct in the prosecution of Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito, and yet finally this year members of the Italian congress have demanded that the improper conduct be investigated, as the reputation of democratic Italy had suffered significantly. There is also no doubt the authorities continue to try and cover their tracks or sue anyone who voices disapproval. We have recently learned that they tried to fool Raffaele Sollecito's sister in a letter sent to her, and we still await Milan's response to lawful discovery requests for information they have on Rudy's conduct there. And perhaps one of the ongoing major insults is the conduct of civil attorney Maresca who attacks the independent experts who were selected by the presiding Judge of the Appeal. There is a time to shut-up, and he has never learned the meaning. There are dozens more examples of inept prosecution and made up crap, but they have all failed, they purposely tried to hide evidence of innocence, made up lies, and they did so miserably. It's now obvious why!

The many errors, mistakes and manipulation by the authorities have now all been completely discovered and proven, with perhaps the exception of testing presumed semen stains found under Meredith's hips (outrageously neglected) and ruling out if anyone truly helped Rudy commit the crime. However Amanda Knox & her friend Raffaele Sollecito remain wrongfully convicted and in prison for almost 4 years. And while all indications appear to suggest that a very smart Appeals Judge gets it, and an innocence verdict will be announced this month, a few questions remain.

Will John Kercher and his family ever see & understand why and how they were so misled, why they were made to believe in a wrongful conviction with the total lack of any credible evidence, and how the local Italian authorities along with the friendly devoted media, helped a colleague press member, for many selfish, greedy and disgusting reasons. They all lied to the world, simply because they thought they could. As the dust clears, and truth along with Justice prevails many frustrating experiences persist. And the world continues to look at John Kercher & his family and ask in all sincerity, do you now finally understand the truth, the truth that brings true justice for Meredith Kercher? In my opinion it will take a major break through for many to understand that their alleged Italian attorney, Mr. Maresca and the prosecution are betraying the Kercher’s trust, and not seeking justice. And finally, whether for money, greed, career growth or perversion, will those who perpetrated this gross injustice ever be held accountable?

Since the initial guilty verdict in December of 2009, Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito have remained in prison, presenting their appeals, and doing all they can, the Italian way, to obtain their freedom. Italian law says that all persons are innocent until proven guilty by competent proof/evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. They have no evidence Amanda Knox and/or Raffaele Sollecito were anywhere other than Raffaele's apartment, as both claim. They left no forensic evidence at the crime scene, no DNA in the murder room, nothing, absolutely nothing. No witness saw them do anything to harm or contribute to killing poor Meredith Kercher. They simply have no proof of guilt whatsoever. It is time to set them free, they are innocent!