Friday, March 4, 2011

Journalist Andrea Vogt Continues to Fuel Hate Campaign Against Amanda Knox

Journalist Andrea Vogt Continues to Fuel Hate Campaign Against Amanda Knox
Posted by Bruce Fischer

The most recent headlines for Amanda Knox highlight a comment she made to her mother during a conversation in prison. The headlines shout "I was there" or "She was there." Some will say this is perfectly acceptable because the source is credible. The headline was handed out by Italy's Supreme Court. In an unfortunate move, the Italian Supreme Court took Amanda's statement out of context and included it in the judge's report on Rudy Guede.

Anyone that has followed this case knows that Amanda's statement was not incriminating. When the words are put into context, Amanda was telling her mother she was at her boyfriend's apartment. Amanda was not talking about the crime scene. She spent the night at Raffaele's.  As reported by Candace Dempsey, this explanation has already been accepted by a lower court and the statement was not used against Amanda in her own trial. It did come up one time during her testimony when Amanda's lawyer asked her to clarify the meaning. The court obviously agreed that Amanda's explanation was truthful because it was never mentioned again.

Why did the Supreme Court feel the need to add this little tidbit of information in Guede's report? Why would this information be released to the public in this fashion during Amanda's ongoing appeal? Why did Andrea Vogt decide to ignore the facts regarding "I was there" when she wrote about the judge's report?  It was her article that spawned several others and I am sure more will soon follow.

Any journalist that would intentionally omit information in an article of this nature has absolutely no integrity. The only reason to omit vital details would be to smear Amanda Knox. Is that Andrea's job?

Articles like Andrea's fuel the Amanda Knox hate campaign that has gone on for far too long. Much of this hatred is spewed online. You will see this in comment sections of articles throughout the internet, in book reviews on, and in various blogs and commentaries. This online behavior is not unique to this case. People pop up on articles on all topics and post vile comments. That is the reality of anonymity online. Those comments are usually one and done, written simply for shock value. When you look closer at this case, you will see a far more organized effort. You will see that a group has actually come together with the sole purpose of destroying Amanda Knox. They don’t come out and say this or course. They claim their mission is to preserve the memory of Meredith Kercher. I would usually commend any group for creating a website as a memorial to Meredith. If this group is trying to preserve Meredith's memory, they sure have a strange way of showing it.

The group I am referring to assembles on a discussion board called Perugia Murder File (PMF). They also run a so called informational site called True Justice (TJMK). Peggy Ganong, a Seattle resident, is one of the moderators on the discussion board. It just so happens that Peggy Ganong and Andrea Vogt are good friends.

Peter Quennell, a Guttenberg, New jersey resident, runs the True Justice website. The two sites work hand in hand. True Justice offers up amateur analysis of the case. A poster called "The Machine" dissects the words of Amanda and Raffaele and creates lies from truth. A poster called "Kermit" uses sarcasm in a series of powerpoints to prove his case. You will not see Kermit’s powerpoint presentations on any credible news program or printed in any respectable publication. You will not see The Machine’s analysis featured anywhere else either. The same is true for all of their contributors. Why? Because their position isn’t supported by facts.

TJMK/PMF has one achievement that is honestly commendable. They translated the Massei report into English. Even though the vital parts had already been translated for those who were close to the case, it was still beneficial for the public to be able to read every word. The one opportunity TJMK/PMF had to show they were a credible group was tarnished by their behavior that followed the release of the translation. They spent weeks attacking the opposition. They spent more time talking about those who disagreed than they did about their accomplishment. I was grateful that the report was translated. When read in its entirety, it becomes even more obvious that the court got it wrong. The report is beneficial to the defense on appeal but this is a topic for another article.

Those who support TJMK/PMF are often referred to as pro-guilt or guilters. Many names have been given to those who support Amanda and Raffaele. The most recent one would be FOAker, using the Friends of Amanda acronym. I will refer to members of TJMK/PMF as guilters in this article just to keep things simple.

The hate campaign online has been nothing short of disturbing. I understand those who feel that Amanda and Raffaele are guilty will voice their opinion. Convictions have consequences, wrongful or otherwise. Amanda and Raffaele were convicted in a court of law and people have the right to voice their opinion. Even though Italy's system differs from the United States with regard to guilt, I understand those in the United States that consider their initial conviction as a sign of guilt. In Italy you are not considered guilty until all of your appeals are exhausted. It's a normal reaction for Americans to view it differently due to our court process. This is yet another repercussion of the wrongful convictions. I am a reasonable person and certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with my position. The guilters actions have a far more hate driven goal than to simply voice their opinion.

Guilters go to great lengths to attack Amanda Knox’s family members. Contests are held on the discussion board to see who can come up with the most sarcastic tagline for photos of Amanda’s family. Amanda's parents are constantly attacked for supporting their daughter.  A PMF member named "Macport" made a photo collage of Amanda’s sister crying at different stages of the trial simply to mock her. They don’t stop with the adults in the family either. Both of Amanda’s youngest sisters have been targeted on Peggy Ganong’s website. Photos of the two have been posted on their discussion board and members of the group, such as Julia Perez (Jools), a cyberstalking PMF member from Spain, have even made efforts to view their facebook accounts. Two PMF members, Windfall and Earthling, recently suggested that the girls were "acting" when they showed emotion for their older sister. These are innocent children being targeted by a group that claims to be running a site dedicated to Meredith Kercher. I would like for this group to explain to me how attacking Amanda’s family preserves the memory of Meredith.

The attacks on Amanda's family exhibit the most disturbing behavior of this group but many others are on their radar. The group does not hesitate to attack anyone who disagrees with them. Retired FBI agent Steve Moore has been targeted for speaking on behalf of Amanda and Raffaele. Even worse, his family has come under attack. Steve's daughter had her facebook account cloned in an attempt to impersonate her online. Letters were also sent to Steve’s former employer in an attempt to interfere with a current legal matter. A PMF member named "SomeAlibi" stated that his goal in life was “to bring down Steve Moore." On one occasion, when the discussion on PMF entailed Steve Moore's past in infiltrating a white supremacist group, Peggy Ganong in her absolute delirium actually insinuated that he might be a white supremacist himself. This is the level of craziness on Peggy Ganong's website that is constantly occurring. Peggy Ganong also bragged about scoping out the Knox's home and counting their shrubs. Peggy Ganong needs to explain how this behavior preserves the memory of Meredith Kercher.

Peter Quennell does nothing to hide his obsession with Meredith Kercher on his True Justice website. He also has an obsession with other attractive women that have been murdered. Photos of Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Mandala, Laci Peterson, and Sonia Marra are posted. When I first visited the site, something just didn't feel right about it. After I read a few posts, I realized it was outright creepy. He had this to say about me when he felt the need to talk about my daughter:

"Hmmm. Someone now tells me that Bruce Fisher who runs some FOA website claims to have a daughter. I have never paid much interest in him, but one has to wonder why he is slobbering kinkily over Amanda Knox while at the same time undermining those public institutions that are the bedrock of the future of his daughter and, when she has them, her own kids."

Even though many of the people that support Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are women, Peter Quennell, and others in his group, like to spread lies that the support comes primarily from middle aged men that are attracted to Amanda. This line of thinking is disgusting, but not surprising. These people are simply reflecting on their own obsessions when they describe others.

Guilters go to great lengths to attempt to discredit the support that Amanda receives. One of their favorite tactics is to exaggerate the scope of the PR firm hired by Amanda's parents. It’s time to put the lies about the “million dollar” PR campaign to rest. Amanda’s parents hired David Marriott to organize interviews with the press. They have every right to publicly defend their daughter. They did absolutely nothing wrong by hiring a firm to help them with a situation that was very new to them.

Misinformation regarding the PR firm has led some to believe that the support Amanda receives is all orchestrated and paid for. This is not true. Large groups of people have come together in support of Amanda and Raffaele. No one is being paid for their efforts. I created the website Injustice in Perugia. A grassroots organization has developed from this effort that continues to grow every day. I have never had any association with any PR firm with regard to this case. My voice is independent along with many others including various experts that have come together to fight the injustice committed against Amanda and Raffaele.

For reasons I cannot explain (other than perhaps a deep-seated obsession), guilters like to view facebook accounts of those who contribute to Injustice in Perugia, often posting screenshots of the accounts on their site. These are not the actions of a group that came together to preserve the memory of a murder victim. These are the actions of vindictive people that have built up a hatred for others they don’t even know. It's time for TJMK/PMF to stop misrepresenting their position. They need to stop stating that they started their site to pay tribute to Meredith and come clean with the truth. If this case was investigated properly, Rudy Guede would have been convicted as the lone attacker. This case would not have received worldwide attention. Peter Quennell and Peggy Ganong most likely would never have heard of Meredith Kercher and they certainly would not have created a website in her honor. Common sense tells you their group was created to spew hatred at Amanda and Raffaele. Nothing more, nothing less.

Please keep this in mind when reading anything posted online that directly attacks Amanda and Raffaele. Please consider the source.

Why am I giving these people attention? I have asked myself this question many times. Several people that I respect greatly have told me that it is best to ignore them. It's important for people to realize the hatred they see being spewed at Amanda and Raffaele comes from a very small group of people. The internet is a wonderful tool. It brings information at lightning speed. The benefits highly outweigh the negatives, but the internet also has the power to deceive.  One person can be made to appear as a group or a small group can be made to appear as a larger group offering a general consensus. TJMK/PMF is a small group. Many that initially signed up on their sites have moved on. I would imagine that most people quickly see that the sites are misrepresenting themselves and they move on. Those that remain have fully bought into the groups true intentions.

Even though some within the very group that I am a part of will disagree, I believe TJMK/PMF has caused damage throughout the internet. They do this by spreading misinformation anywhere and everywhere they can online. They do this using various screen names but the most notorious has been “Harry Rag.” The person posting as Harry Rag is one of the group's main contributors. On TJMK/PMF he is known as "The Machine." This person posts misinformation and outright lies every chance he gets. His actions are fully supported by Peggy Ganong and Peter Quennell.

Harry’s lies can be seen below in red. Harry spends a great deal of time cutting and pasting lies and misinformation anywhere and everywhere he can. If you ask me, those two terms are one in the same. In my opinion, if you knowingly post misinformation or intentionally post statements out of context to try and manipulate a different result then you are telling lies. Hiding behind a fictitious name while posting lies and misinformation for the purpose of harming others is the behavior of a coward. The individual behind this campaign of hate is a coward. 

The first set of quotes are all in regard to the hand written letter that Amanda wrote November 6 2007.

Harry: "Amanda Knox's voluntary confession that she was involved in Meredith's murder and the fact that this confession contained significant elements of truth."

Harry: "Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007"

Harry: "Amanda herself admitted she was present when Meredith was murdered in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November."

Harry: "Amanda Knox admitted on several occasions that she was at the cottage on the evening of 1 November and she voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November"

Truth: The letter was far from a confession. Keep in mind that this letter was written on November 6th. Her Illegal interrogation at just ended earlier that morning. She had minimal rest and then wrote the letter. She was still suffering from exhaustion and was still mentally traumatized from the interrogation. With that said, she in no way confessed to anything. Harry conveniently leaves out the part of the letter printed below,

Amanda's wrote: "If there are still parts that don't make sense, please ask me. I'm doing the best I can, just like you are. Please believe me at least in that, although I understand if you don't. All I know is that I didn't kill Meredith, and so I have nothing but lies to be afraid of."

That doesn't sound like a confession to me. 

You can read the entire transcript here: The Illegal Interrogation of Amanda Knox

Listed below are just a few of Harry's quotes regarding the footprints. He repeatedly claims the footprints were made in blood. He also states the prints can be attributed to Amanda. The stains detected with luminol can be attributed to no one. These were undated stains that were most likely made at a different time from someone walking around after taking a shower. Many cleaning products such as those used to clean showers will cause luminol to react. The stains mentioned by Harry all tested negative for blood. Those tests don't seem to matter much to Harry. 

Harry: "There were two different size bloody footprints in the apartment, indicating that there was more than one person involved in this crime. Not even the defense attorneys are disputing that, even though they do claim that the bloody footprints are not Amanda's or Raffaele's."

Harry: "The bloody footprints at the crime scene also implicate Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Knox’s footprint was set in Meredith’s blood in the hallway outside Meredith’s room."

Harry: "Amanda Knox's footprints were set in Meredith's blood in the hallway"

Harry: "Amanda Knox’s footprints were found set in Meredith’s blood in two places in the hallway of the new wing of the cottage. One print was exiting her own room, and one print was outside Meredith’s room, facing into the room. These bloody footprints were only revealed under luminol"

Harry: "The five instances of Amanda Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage in Via della Pergola: the bathroom, the hallway, and Filomena’s bedroom, where the break-in was staged."

Harry: "Amanda's bare footprints set in Meredith's blood"

Harry: "It should also be noted that a mixture of Amanda Knox? DNA and Meredith?s blood was also found in Filomena?s room"

Harry: "bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox and Sollecito’s feet"

Truth:  Meredith's DNA was not detected in a single one of the bare footprints revealed with luminol. The prosecution's expert, forensic biologist Patrizia Stefanoni, claimed these stains were never tested for blood, however in July 2009, Stefanoni's notes confirmed the stains were tested with tetramethylbenzidine which is extremely sensitive for blood. All of the stains detected with luminol tested negative for blood. The stains detected with luminol were not made in blood.

Harry: "The woman's bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith's body matched Amanda Knox's foot size, but was incompatible with Meredith's shoe size."
Truth:  Every print, set in blood, in Meredith's room belongs to Rudy Guede. There were eight shoe prints, set in Meredith's blood, found in Meredith's room during the investigation. Six of the shoe prints were agreed to belong to Rudy Guede. Two of the shoe prints found in Meredith's room were disputed. The prosecution's expert believed that two of the prints belonged to Amanda and Raffaele. Raffaele's forensics expert Francesco Vinci showed in great detail, in court, that those two prints actually belonged to Rudy Guede. You can view Vinci's full report here.

Harry repeatedly misrepresents the mixed DNA evidence found in Amanda's bathroom at the cottage. 

Harry:  "Amanda's DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood on the ledge of the basin, mixed with Meredith’s blood on the bidet, mixed with Meredith blood on a box of Q Tip cotton swabs

Truth: Meredith's blood was visible in several areas in the bathroom. I believe that Rudy Guede used the bathroom to quickly clean himself up. When he did this he left behind small amounts of Meredith's blood. Three of these samples were mixed with Amanda's DNA. This is completely understandable because the bathroom was used daily by Amanda. To put this in perspective, think about your own bathroom. Swabbing your bathroom sink in the bathroom that you use daily would unquestionably yield your DNA. When Gioia Brocci, photographic agent of the Questura of Perugia, collected the samples from the bathroom she swabbed large surface areas to clean up the blood. When doing this she also wiped up Amanda's DNA in the process. When collecting samples, Brocci actually advanced the mixing process. She used the swabs like a cleaning rag. You can view photographic and video evidence here.

Harry has fine tuned his language regarding the bra clasp that was separated from Meredith's bra. He now refers to the clasp as a small piece of Meredith's underwear.

Harry: "An abundant amount of Sollecito's DNA was found on a small piece of Meredith's underwear."

Truth: The DNA was not abundant. Raffaele's DNA was found on the clasp along with the DNA of at least four other people. The DNA sample is actually low copy number DNA (LCN).  After viewing the video showing the discovery of the bra clasp, I am amazed that it was even allowed to be entered as evidence. The clasp was not discovered until 47 days had passed. The clasp is seen in several different locations on the floor. The investigators made a mess of the room in previous searches for evidence. You can view photographic and video evidence here.

Harry continues to post refuted information and outright lies about the footprint found on the bathmat in Amanda's bathroom.

Harry: "Two independent imprint experts categorically excluded the possibility that the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat could belong to Rudy Guede. Lorenzo Rinaldi stated: “You can see clearly that this bloody footprint on the rug does not belong to Mr. Guede, but you can see that it is compatible with Sollecito.” 

Harry posts information that he knows has already been discredited. The prosecution's expert measured the footprint incorrectly. Inspection of the bathmat clearly shows that the tip of the second toe blended with the top of the big toe. The prosecution's expert, Dr. Rinaldi, measured  the big toe including the top of the second toe. This error caused the width of the toe to measure 30mm. Dr. Rinaldi did not observe that the second toe had blended in with the big toe on the bathmat. Raffaele’s big toe measured 30mm and is therefore incompatible with the measured foot on the bathmat. When measured correctly, the print on the bathmat measured 24.8mm.  It is impossible that Raffaele’s foot made the print on the bathmat. You can view photographic evidence here.

This is just a small sampling of Harry's lies. Harry Rag is not an independent voice. His campaign is fully supported by TJMK/PMF. Groups like these are fueled by disingenuous news outlets that misrepresent the facts, ignore the truth, and instead rely on sensationalized headlines to achieve success.

There are no standards set for blogs and opinion websites. As vile as the hate campaign run by TJMK/PMF is, there isn't much that can be done about it. Journalists must be held at a higher standard. We must not allow journalists like Andrea Vogt to write whatever they like without consequence. We need integrity from those who claim to be journalists. I encourage anyone that agrees with me to contact Andrea Vogt and let her know how you feel.