Netflix ‘Amanda Knox’ 2016 and The Lizard King Donald Trump

donald-trump-amanda-knox

How Amanda Knox bites the hand that feeds her

Amanda Knox has been in the news a great deal recently, riding on the crest of an ‘exoneration’ campaign, culminating with the Netflix film, six years in the making, released in Sept 2016.

Netflix caricatures

In the film, the factors that led to her so-called ‘wrongful conviction’ (she claims) included Nick Pisa’s tabloid reportage in that most middle class of UK comics, the  <fx crucifix and garlic>  DAILY MAIL.  Much loved for its doomladen headlines, to the extent GUARDIAN pop hackette, Julie Burchill, famously nicknamed it ‘THE DAILY HORROR’, wherein the non-GUARDIAN-reading masses could immerse themselves daily in an entertaining round of ‘illegal immigrants and asylum seekers flooding the country’, ‘family of 27 given 50-roomed mansion’ and that most loved standby of all, ‘Benefit Scroungers’.

Bearded ‘modern parents’ GRAUNIAD readers, on the other hand, in their peep-toed sandals and chomping of organic vegetarian nut roasts lap up Simon Hattonstone’s bleeding heart eulogies for the wrongfully imprisoned one.  Thus: GUARDIAN hack, good.  Pisa bad.

Then there is the plodding Italian Prosecutor, a Dan Brown-style Italian Catholic  with a paranoia about masonic cults and devilish conspiracies, who sees himself (the film makers claim) as Sherlock Holmes.  So that explains his lurid interest in her!  Not that there is a shred of evidence she had anything to do with Meredith Kercher’s murder.  Yes, it’s all about priggish, obsessive tyrants, still living in the Italian equivalent of the Victorian ages.

Swept along on a wave of her own lies, see above, we are now entertained by the spectacle of Knox claiming that Donald Trump’s support for her, after her original conviction, only made it worse for her, because after all, the Italians were riding on anti-American feelings in convicting her and Sollecito.  But not anti-African, as Rudy Guede did do it.  That’s different.

Knox is now claiming, in her fervent support for the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton, that she despises Trump for his views on the Central Park Five, whom he still refers to as ‘guilty’, despite their exoneration, as contrasted with her, whom he described as ‘completely innocent’.  She sees racism in his stance.  Oh, the irony of Knox fingering an innocent black man for Meredith’s murder.  Paradoxically Knox seems to be saying, they are innocent and Trump calls them guilty, whereas I am guilty and Trump calls me innocent.  All because he’s a racist.  Knox vocally states she does not stand with Trump and why should she vote for him, just because he supported her and helped fund her defence?  These are all good commendable points.  But before we get carried away, whoa!   Let’s stop and take a reality check.

Gift Horse

For the astonishing fact to come out of all of this, is that Knox should indeed be grateful to Trump.  Of course, not to agree with his political views.  However, had her conviction been upheld by the Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court, as all the legal experts expected, Trump, as President of the United States has the power to refuse her extradition.  Not directly, as that is a veto for the State Secretary, but that power is there.

We saw it when Maria Cantwell, senator for Seattle put out a press release – which was taken up globally – calling for the then-State Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration that the USA should intervene to free Amanda Knox because of the clear anti-American sentiment of the Italian judicial system, she states.

Maria Cantwell even made an appointment to see Clinton saying she had been strongly petitioned by friends of Amanda Knox.

Didn’t the makers of the Netflix film ‘Amanda Knox’, 2016, assert it was the tabloid journalists who had bullied the Italian police and courts?  We see immediately that, true, whilst the mass media is intensely powerful in influencing opinion, it doesn’t actually do anything, except reflect social mores.  The real movers and shakers being politicians and political advisers.

From day one, Amanda Knox had the full weight of American politicians behind her, and, rather than Nick Pisa being responsible for her conviction, it is surely the likes of Donald Trump and influencers in the US State Department responsible for getting her off the charges?  It can be readily seen Knox has a debt of gratitude owing to these shady enforcers behind the scenes.

Senator Cantwell declares war on Italy

Tom Ford of THE WASHINGTON POST writes 06 Dec 2009:

 As angry Americans promised to boycott Italian holidays, wine and food, a vociferous support group calling itself Friends of Amanda Knox urged people to email Barack Obama to ask him to support her appeal.

Maria Cantwell, a US Democrat senator for Washington state has said she plans to bring her own concerns about the trial, including possible anti-Americanism, to the Mrs Clinton’s attention.

Mrs Clinton, the Secretary of State, said on Sunday that she had not yet looked into the case as she had been preoccupied with Afghanistan policy.

She told ABC News: “Of course I’ll meet with Senator Cantwell or anyone who has a concern, but I can’t offer any opinion about that at this time.”

cantwell

Seattle Senator Maria Cantwell

The dastardly DAILY MAIL writes 8.12.2009:

After the verdicts, Knox’s furious father Curt Knox vowed to fight to clear his daughter’s name and spoke of his ‘anger and disbelief’ at the Italian justice system.

His campaign seems to be gaining support on Capitol Hill. Senator Maria Cantwell, from Washington state, declared there were ‘serious questions about the Italian justice system’.

She said she was concerned there had been an ‘anti-American’ feeling at the trial and said she would be raising her concerns with Mrs Clinton.

‘The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Miss Knox was guilty,’ she said. ‘Italian jurors were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Miss Knox.’

Mrs Clinton was asked about the trial in an appearance on a U.S. news programme.

She said: ‘Of course I’ll meet with Senator Cantwell or anyone who has a concern but I can’t offer any opinion about that at this time.’

She said she had not expressed any concerns to the Italian government. Last night, Knox’s Italian lawyer distanced himself from the senator’s claims. Luciano Ghirga said: ‘That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved. I have the same political sympathies as Hillary but this sort of thing does not help us in any way.’

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said: ‘This senator should not interfere in something she has no idea about. I am happy with how the trial went.’ 

Enter the cavalry

Business mogul, Donald Trump tweets 30 Sept 2011:

trump-tweet

In a tv interview with Fox News Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump explains:

“I helped the family out — I felt very, very badly for that family and for her — I never thought she did it,” Trump told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “I watched very intently, like everybody else, and there was just no way she was involved in that.

“And so I did help them out — I feel very, very happy about it — in fact, I said boycott Italy until they release her,” Trump said. “It was really an injustice — and I would get on that plane so fast if I were her and get out.”

Van Susteren asked Trump whether he had ever spoken to her parents. Trump said he had and “well, they’re lovely people.”  Newsmax 4th Oct 2011

Ingrate

Whilst Knox has been complaining loudly about the intervention of Donald Trump the ingrate laughs in the face of the Kercher family who had to struggle financially.  John Kercher writes:

How Foreign Office let us down

We were surprised at the lack  of financial help available from the British Government as  we dealt with the aftermath  of Meredith’s death.

We had received tremendous support from the British Consulate in Florence,  which arranged translation facilities and made transport arrangements, but despite our pleas, we did not receive any financial support from the Foreign Office.

A number of MPs campaigned on our behalf for some contribution towards our flights, but their efforts were to no avail.

Indeed, it seemed this was a policy decision, one that did not affect just us, but anybody who had suffered an ordeal such  as ours. This lack of help was despite the fact that we were obliged to provide testimonies  in court.

Nor could we expect any help from the Italian government. Before Meredith was murdered, EU states had said they would sign an agreement to compensate the families of foreign nationals who were victims of a violent crime committed in their country. 

However, of all the states, Italy failed to sign the agreement in time.

Financially we were alone and it made the business of attending the trial, and seeking justice for Meredith, all the more problematic.  Daily Mail Femail, 15 April 2012

The GUARDIAN has been influential in giving Amanda Knox, in particular, a sympathetic ear.  Nick Richardson GUARDIAN COMMENT writes

 From the outset the innocentisti accused the colpevolisti of anti-Americanism. Following the trial the US senator Maria Cantwell wrote to Hillary Clinton to alert her to the anti-Americanism at work in the courtroom – though Sollecito, an Italian, was being tried too. Was there anti-American sentiment among the colpevolisti? The resentment, even, of a former great imperial power towards the current hegemon? Almost certainly.

But the anti-Italian sentiment flowing in the other direction has been just as concentrated. The managers of Knox’s downfall have come in for savage caricature: Giuliano Mignini, a Perugia public prosecutor, has been portrayed as a senile fuddy-duddy; Monica Napoleoni, head of Perugia’s murder squad, a vindictive bully; Patrizia Stefanoni, who was responsible for collecting forensic evidence from the crime scene, has been slammed for incompetence, though at the time of the crime she was well respected in her field.  Cantwell stated that she had “serious questions about the Italian justice system”, though the state she represents, Washington, currently holds eight people on death row.  30.1.2014

A blogger on My North West astutely ripostes:

 I was intrigued by a press release that came out right after the guilty verdict. Senator Maria Cantwell issued a statement in which she said “I am saddened by the verdict and I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial.”

Anti-Americanism??? I can understand how that could have been a factor during the Bush years when the world hated us.

But once we elected Obama, the world fell in love with the United States all over again. We were once again “welcomed into the world community”… and “no longer a pariah on the world stage”…

How could Senator Cantwell suggest that anti-Americanism played a role in this verdict. Barack Obama is our president – THERE IS NO MORE ANTI-AMERICANISM!!!

I guess the other possibility is that Knox actually whacked the gal…Dori Monson http://mynorthwest.com/75674/amanda-knox-guilty-how-could-this-happen- under-obama/

The ‘abominable’ DAILY MAIL – according to the Netflix film makers – writes:

This high-profile case though, brings a particular set of problems for the Obama administration because of the high emotions if elicits on both sides of the Atlantic – not just in Italy and America, but in the United Kingdom too.

The United States and Italy enjoy a successful extradition relationship, with cooperation high on busting organised crime.

It would cause a potential diplomatic row should the president and John Kerry choose not to send Knox to Italy if her appeal fail.

However, on the flip side, Italy may choose not to anger their most powerful ally over such an emotive case.

Knox herself has said that she would not return to Italy and that would only do so, ‘kicking and screaming.’

Regardless, any decision on whether to extradite the 26-year-old from the U.S. is likely months away, at least. Experts have said it’s unlikely that Italy’s justice ministry would request Knox’s extradition before the verdict is finalized by the country’s high court.

If the conviction is upheld, a lengthy extradition process would likely ensue, with the U.S. State Department ultimately deciding whether to turn Knox back over to Italian authorities to finish serving her sentence.

So far the State Department has refused to be drawn on a position regarding the outcome of the Knox re-trial.

Spokesman Patrick Ventrell was asked in March last year what would be the likely decision and only offered that the verdict was still months away.

‘We can’t really comment beyond that,’ Mr Ventrell told reporters according to the Daily Telegraph. ‘We never talk about extradition from this podium in terms of individual cases.’

 31 Jan 2014

Trump now

So, we see that the decision to extradite would now have been in the remit of Trump’s new Secretary of State – currently in the running are Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani – whether or not to extradite, and with the power to override any treaty with Italy or US court.  From what we see of Trump’s attitude towards the legally exonerated ‘Central Park Five’ and his public disregard in continuing to label them guilty and to refuse to apologise for the ads he took out in four main newspapers calling for the death penalty, it is a short step to his overriding any guilty verdict by the Italian Supreme Court.  Indeed, some observers are convinced of the invisible hand of the US State Department in the background in the recent shock acquittal of the pair.

Another disturbing aspect is the issue of press releases by Maria Cantwell calling on Italy to free Knox.  The question arises, on whose authority was she given permission to issue press releases about sensitive international legal matters?  It seems she then had to petition Hillary Clinton during the appeal process, who prudently declined to comment.

Matt Ford, The Atlantic.com analyses the issue in fine detail 31.1.2014:

Slate’s Justin Peters hypothesized that the U.S. could use Article X of its extradition treaty with Italy, which requires the requesting nation to prove “a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offense for which extradition is requested,” to block her extradition.

There are more drastic options the U.S. government could take to protect Knox, though. Could Congress and/or President Obama override the extradition treaty with Italy to shield Knox, for example? Yes, says Julian Ku, an international law professor at Hofstra University, but they’re unlikely to do so. “I doubt there will be any need for Congress to intervene,” he said. “If the political winds blow so strongly in favor of Knox, Secretary [of State John] Kerry has all the authority he needs to keep her in the U.S.”  

But even if Italy does request Knox’s extradition, Kerry can still simply refuse regardless of whether there are legal problems, says Ku. “It would be a real diplomatic blow, and a bad policy decision in my view, but neither illegal nor unconstitutional.” 

Earlier this year, Peter Quennell, of TJMK writes:

 Compare with how the UK government reacted after Meredith died. Basically it looked the other way. Many in Italian justice were amazed at how totally disinterested the UK government was in the case in all the years since Meredith’s death.

The US government sprang into action to help Knox and to make sure she was treated right, though there was no proof the Italians would do anything but. They found her a Rome lawyer with good English (Carlos Dalla Vedova) and monitored all her court sessions and her four years in Capanne.

This came at a probable cost of over half a million dollars. And that is just the public support. Nobody ever said “the Federal budget cannot stand this”.

The extent of the British government in pushing justice for Meredith and her family? Exactly zero over the years.

Nothing was ever paid toward the legal costs or the very high travel costs of the Kercher family to be in court as the family finances ran into the ground. Nobody from the Foreign Office in London or the UK Embassy in Rome observed in court except in Florence, just the once.  14 Feb 2016 http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/C350/

In more recent weeks Knox made a powerful denunciation of Trump in the wake of Clinton’s presidential election defeat.

Knox went on to say that Trump called for the death penalty to be reinstated in New York during the Central Park Five case.

“Is it because I is white?”

“Even now, he views (the suspects) as guilty, though they were exonerated when the true perpetrator, a serial rapist, confessed to the crime,” she wrote. “Why did Trump defend me and condemn them? Is it because I was an American on trial in a foreign country? Is it because I’m a white woman?”  www.wftv.com

Stand by me

So, when Amanda Knox declares her opposition to Trump, are we to take her seriously?  Any more so than her claim it was, ‘Nick Pisa wot got me jailed’?

Knox has had all kinds of senior and anonymous political figures involved in her rescue from justice: Cantwell, Kerry, Clinton, Ventrell, President elect, Donald Trump, and faceless officers of the US State department, the latter who appear to have issued a press release to the global media, circa 31 Mar 2015, that they would refuse to extradite.  We need to ask, on whose authority were all these press releases circulated?

It kinda takes your breath away when Knox claims – and as reported in the national press – that she is not ‘standing by Trump’.  To claim firstly that the likes of Nick Pisa is more powerful than US politicians really exposes the manipulative lies of Knox and the Netflix film makers.  Donald Trump is reported in the Italian press in recent days as being ‘bitter’ about Knox’ comments about his donation towards her legal costs, and who can blame him?  Sure, she doesn’t need to share his views, but a little gratitude may have been the better part of valour.

Trump and his views on law and order

THE WASHINGTON POST interviewed Kevin Richardson, one of the five 8 Oct 2016

Trump became a part of this widely reported and closely followed crime story when, two weeks after the teens were arrested, he spent a reported $85,000 placing full-page ads in all four major New York daily newspapers.

“Just like those ads, that speech was a call for extreme action based on a whole set of completely false claims. It seems,” Richardson said, “that this man is for some strange reason obsessed with sex and rape and black and Latino men.”

This week, when confronted again with just how wrong he was about the Central Park Five, Trump not only refused to acknowledge widely reported and well-known facts or the court’s official actions in the case. He did not simply refuse to apologize: He described the men as guilty, and then demonstrated, once again, that he is a master at the dark art of using long-standing racial fears, stereotypes and anxieties to advance his personal and political goals.

He used the Central Park Five to differentiate himself from his political opponent. He stoked support for solutions inconsistent with the law. And he refused to admit any error.

<snip>   Wise — who served the longest term of all the wrongfully convicted teens and eventually crossed paths with the real Central Park rapist in prison, setting off a chain of events that got the convictions tossed out — said the content of Trump’s campaign is really a continuation of those 1989 ads.

central-park-five

THE WASHINGTON POST also interviewed Yusef Saleem 12 Oct 2016

At the time, our families tried to shield us from what was going on in the media, but we still found out about Trump’s ads. My initial thought was, “Who is this guy?” I was terrified that I might be executed for a crime I didn’t commit.

Another man, Matias Reyes, eventually confessed to the rape and was definitively linked to the crime through DNA. Because of this, we were exonerated in 2002. New York City paid us $41 million in 2014 for our false imprisonment. (As is customary in such settlements, the city did not admit liability.)

Trump has never apologized for calling for our deaths. In fact, he’s somehow still convinced that we belong in prison. When the Republican nominee was recently asked about the Central Park Five, he said, “They admitted they were guilty.” In a statement to CNN, Trump wrote: “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty.  [= This applies to Knox – confession – and Sollecito!~ KG] The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.” (Meili, for her part, told CNN in 2003: “I guess there are lots of theories out there, but I just don’t know. . . . I’ve had to come to peace with it by saying: ‘You know what? I’m just not going to know.’ 

It’s further proof of Trump’s bias, racism and inability to admit that he’s wrong.
When I heard Trump’s latest proclamation, it was the worst feeling in the world. I couldn’t breathe. <snip>

I realize, too, that I’m not the only victim. Trump has smeared dozens of people, with no regard for the truth.

Should politicians intervene in live murder trials?

Trump’s intervention in the Central Park Five case illustrates how imprudent it is for a politician to attempt to intervene in legal cases.  He can have little idea of the evidence presented before the courts.  Trump’s gung-ho White Knight charge-to-the-rescue of a fellow German-American – and backed by physical funding – is based on irrationality, emotion and jingoism, “the last refuge of a scoundrel”.  How dangerous and meddlesome for Cantwell to demand a defendant be released regardless of the facts of the case.

No, Knox doesn’t stand by Trump, but it’s thanks to the likes of him she is free.

I am the Lizard King
I can do anything
I can make the earth stop in its tracks
I made the blue cars go away 

~ Jim Morrison

 

 

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