Sunday, March 29, 2015

Amanda Knox and the wages of U.S. imperialism

Amanda Knox. (photo: The Guardian/Sipa USA)
Amanda Knox. (photo: The Guardian/Sipa USA)

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News
28 March 15

This story first appeared on Reader Supported News January 31, 2014. Yesterday, March 27, 2015, Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, quashed the murder case against Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in the death of British student Meredith Kercher. The decision by the Court of Cassation is permanent, final and not subject to subsequent review. As a legal matter the case is concluded. - MA/RSN

manda Knox and the international circus that surrounds her actually matter. It's really about something bigger.

If it looks as though the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is superficial at best, there's a reason for that - it is. To say that because a speck of Knox's DNA may have been present - on a knife, or a bra clasp, in the apartment in which she resided - is absurd on its face and constitutes no evidence of anything. In addition, neither prosecutor got anywhere near presenting a viable connection between the man convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, Rudy Guede, and Knox or Sollecito. The purported collaboration was the stuff of a poorly written work of fiction. In fact there was no evidence of collaboration between Guede and Knox or Sollecito presented to the court at all.

In their totality, the combined theories presented to the three courts by two prosecutors were so illogical and utterly lacking in substantiation that it's the prosecutors, not the defendants, who should have been on trial - for misconduct.

Further, that a second prosecutor could present a second case that all but abandoned the entire premise of the first case, after the first case was thrown out on appeal, is patently malicious, and absolutely does constitute a separate/unique judicial instance and double jeopardy in a very material sense. The whole thing makes a profound mockery of the entire concept of criminal justice. 

But while there is little chance that Amanda Knox is guilty of murdering anyone, she is in fact guilty of two very important things: being an inconveniently pretty young woman and being an American abroad in the Bush era.

By the fall of 2007, Italy was in a significant state of conflict with the US over the Bush administration's policy of extraordinary rendition. Of specific note were Italian kidnapping charges against nearly two dozen CIA agents for the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Abu Omar, resulting in 23 convictions. The New York Times reported, "Judge Oscar Magi handed an eight-year sentence to Robert Seldon Lady, a former C.I.A. base chief in Milan, and five-year sentences to the 22 other Americans, including an Air Force colonel and 21 C.I.A. operatives."

Italy's decision to confront America's cavalier disregard for their borders, laws, and judicial system was in line with objections and threats of prosecution by several nations, including German arrest warrants for CIA agents in the kidnapping and extraordinary rendition case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen.

What was at issue for those nations from which citizens and residents were taken was their national sovereignty and the integrity of their judicial process. None of which appeared to matter to the Bush operatives, but mattered greatly to those nations where the crimes occurred - including, significantly, Italy.

In the midst of this international conflict simmering just below the surface of broad public view, a young American woman traveled to Perugia, Italy, to study. Her subsequent arrest and high-profile trial for the murder of roommate and fellow student Meredith Kercher would rivet world attention on the very same Italian judicial system that the US had casually disregarded throughout the Bush years.

Italy never got their CIA agents, but they got a pretty young girl from Seattle, and with her the undivided attention of America and the world to the authority of Italian justice.

It's not clear if Amanda Knox will foot the bill for the 23 convicted CIA agents, but what is clear is that Italy and many other countries view America's policy of rendition as indeed extraordinary, and they have a point to make. 

Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


+14 # Barbara K 2015-03-28 13:23
If that is how Italy runs its justice system, I will certainly avoid Italy. To have put this young lady thru all that pure hell for pure spite for something she had nothing to do with, is disgusting, to say the least.

+60 # Archie1954 2015-03-28 13:31
But Italy's judicial system has proven that it is both fair and just. The case against both defendants was dismissed. It is the US that has a politicized, corrupt and unfair system of "justice"! It also has a corrupt government and DOJ. Request for the criminal CIA agents to be returned to Italy to serve their sentences has been ignored by the US government even though Italy's request meets all the terms of the extradition treaty it signed with the US. No American has any standing to question the judicial systems of other countries, not when their own is so corrupt.
+39 # opinionaire 2015-03-28 14:14
while I cannot argue that the USA has many problems with both its justice system and its foreign policies, I cannot agree with your first statement. The Italian courts indicted, acquitted, reversed the acquittal, and generally dragged this young woman's life through years of unnecessary hell. That is not fair and just, it is abusive.
+7 # nogardflow 2015-03-28 17:36
Barbara, I think this article is more about the US justice, 'or injustice', system, rather than Italy's justice system.

+18 # djnova50 2015-03-28 14:48
Some foreign courts will do this if they do not have viable suspects. The prosecutor and investigating team did not do a good job, became embarrassed and basically tried to fix their bungles.

Amanda has led a relatively quite existence at home in WA. But, I started seeing articles about her over the last week. The articles were more about the court system in Italy.

I never believed that Amanda Knox was guilty of what the Italian court was charging her with. I certainly hope she will now be allowed to live her life without all the turmoil she encountered in Italian court system.

+41 # MidwestTom 2015-03-28 14:56
The American Justice system summed up in one short question:
"How much justice can you afford"?

0 # RLF 2015-03-28 16:22
You a carpenter Tom?

+9 # Philothustra 2015-03-28 14:57
Marc Ash is exactly correct: the fanatical anti-American tone of the police, prosecutor and blog was a reaction to building resentment in Europe over American imperialism and intrusion. The extreme rendition thing was just one factor- US jets blowing through a crowded ski lift in a north
valley was another.
Italy's judicial system is a joke. the prosecutors are given to wild flights of fantasy (the orgies, the blood feast) that defense lawyers are not allowed to protect of confess, despite lack of any evidence.

But is US "justice" any better?

+26 # WestWinds 2015-03-28 15:12
The way our government has and is conducting itself makes me totally ashamed to be an American. Once upon a time, I was a proud American, now I hesitate to admit I belong to such blatant corruption. But this is what you get when corporations run a country. May they never truly own and run the world.

+32 # turnoutthelights 2015-03-28 15:29
It's all about the religion of American Exceptionalism. It deprives us of insight to other cultures and values----much to our continuing national detriment.

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