Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Posted from Florence, Italy, September 28, 2011

The Perugia Witch Trial continues…..

Well, the façade is down. No more trying to hide it. This is a witch trial. These are not my words, but the words of Carlo Pacelli, an attorney fighting to obtain monetary damages from Amanda Knox. Pacelli finally said (in court, on record) what everybody already knew the prosecution thought:

“Amanda Knox is a witch!” 

Like the Salem inquisitions and other publicly sanctioned murders, the initial trial was based on rumors, lies, accusations, and a “confession” obtained from (psychological) torture techniques that the prosecutors in Salem would have killed for. Finally, any and all evidence clearing an innocent person was intentionally disregarded.

Patrick Lumumba is suing Amanda Knox for €80,000 for implicating him in the murder, a statement the detectives forced and beat from her after an overnight foodless, sleepless interrogation, using techniques developed by the North Koreans to brainwash U.S. pilots during the Korean War.  (See for details.) Being sued for something you were forced to do is kind of like being rammed by a drunk policeman, then being ticketed for littering because the body of your passenger is on the freeway.

So, at least it’s finally out in the open and we can go on, confident that, at least we understand each other.

In other news:

On September 28th, 2010, Pepperdine University and I parted company, at their request. I am no longer at liberty to discuss why. (But it was not a mutual decision. Pepperdine and I settled "out of court" the lawsuit I subsequently filed. I can't speak for Pepperdine, but I am very satisfied with the resolution of the suit.)

At Pepperdine, I shared responsibility for security of their worldwide campuses and the students that studied there (including those in Florence, Italy). In a magnificent display of God's sense of irony, today I find myself in Florence, Italy. 

When something you initially perceive as bad (or really bad) occurs, remember that it could be God intervening to change your course for the better. I believe this is the case with my change of direction one year ago today. I have not felt so fulfilled, at peace, and certain I was on the right side of an issue in my life. It might be the best bad thing to ever happen to me, and that's saying a lot. Pepperdine is a fine, even spectacular university and I hope and pray that they flourish all over the world. Their students are among some of the finest people I have ever met.

So, today, in Florence, Michelle and I will celebrate God's provision for us, not mark a somber occasion. 

Monday, September 26, 2011


gra·tu·i·tous Adjective/grəˈt(y)o͞oitəs/

      1.    Uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted.

For the past several weeks as the appeal by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have wound through the courts, the family of the Meredith Kercher, the victim in this highly controversial case, has begged all who would listen to remember Meredith. They have spoken lovingly of their lost daughter and decried the fact that Meredith “has been forgotten.”

Just two weeks ago, Meredith’s sister Stephanie wrote a letter to the family’s Italian lawyer Francisco Maresca which was immediately turned over to the press. Stephanie is quoted in the letter; “All those who are reading and writing about this case, please remember our beautiful Meredith.” I empathize with her; Meredith was truly beautiful and should be remembered. “We have not forgotten her,” she said in the anguished missive, “And we will continue our fight with the support of our lawyer Francesco Maresca.”  (Why she said that in a letter addressed to Maresca causes one pause.)

Later in the correspondence to her Maresca, Stephanie continues; “In the midst of all this….Meredith has been forgotten…and so everything should be for her….”

Today, someone had little heed for those anguished words. There were more important things than the memory of Meredith Kercher to one person this afternoon.

Today, in the courtroom in Perugia, at 2:40 p.m., without warning, without dignity, without any apparent concern for Meredith or her grieving family, without decency, an attorney began to display eight foot square, gruesome, lurid and obscene naked full-frontal photographs of Meredith Kercher’s blood-smeared body, lying on the floor next to her bed where she had been murdered and sexually assaulted. She lay in the very position that Rudy Guede left her after putting a pillow under her hips to assist in the sexual assault. The photos were, to say the least, explicit, and press cameras immediately began clicking, as the courtroom spectators stood and moved toward the huge screen where the large photos were being displayed. Meredith was shown from the tips of her toes all the way to her eyes, fixed in a glassy, gruesome stare above a gaping throat slash. The audience gasped. More grisly photos followed; close-ups of the deep slash to Meredith’s throat, showing the severed muscles and larynx. But still the photos continued; photos which showed graphically the sputum foam which was the result of her labored breathing as the blood from her neck drained into her lungs. The photos showed her empty eyes and her blood-caked hair.

Who would do such an abominable thing? Who would have such complete disregard for a young woman and her grieving family? Who would so obscenely desecrate Meredith and her memory with appalling, offensive, horrid images? Was it the defense attorneys?  No. Was it one of the three prosecutors who have been doing everything they can to create a case out of contrived evidence? No.

Astoundingly, it was the Kerchers' own attorney, Francesco Maresca. The same Francesco Maresca of whom Stephanie Kercher said, “We will continue our fight with the support of our lawyer, Francesco Maresca.” If Meredith was my daughter and my attorney did what he did, I would pull the plug on the projector, and end his presentation. I might end more than his presentation. If another attorney did that, I would do my best to ensure that they never again practiced law.

Don’t think for a moment that this is an Italian legal peccadillo. This was scandalous especially in Italy. A well-known writer for one of Italy’s largest daily papers disgustedly called Maresca, “A barbarian,” after the pictures were shown. A British journalist, reporting on the case for a major television network, called the presentation, “...a disgrace.” In 25 years in the FBI, I had never seen such an abominable, disgraceful display; and for it to be at the hands of the very attorney protecting the feelings, interests and emotions of the family, as well as the “memory of Meredith,” it was inconceivable. Yes, difficult things must be shown in courts, but never without the simple decency of privacy and respect. It’s the least one can do. But apparently Maresca couldn’t come up with even the least.

Why would Maresca do this? Sadly, it’s a simple equation. For Maresca, at least, money is more important than Meredith.

Maresca is not the prosecutor. Maresca is not there to prove guilt. That is not his position in court. He is a CIVIL attorney. He is there for one reason and one reason only: Money. He is there to represent and protect the multi-million Euro judgment against Sollecito and Knox and awarded to the Kerchers.  You see, if Knox and Sollecito are exonerated (as they likely will be), the only defendant left (convicted and appeals exhausted, in fact) is indigent. Maresca has been working on this case for approximately four years, and appears to stand to lose an immense commission if the right people are not convicted. The man most of the press and public at the trial believed committed the murder; Rudy Guede is indeed indigent. Knox and her family’s finances have been decimated by a four year trial and appeal in Italy. Sollecito’s father, however, is a wealthy physician. If Knox isn’t convicted, then Sollecito isn’t convicted. And if Sollecito isn’t convicted, there is no money to award to the Kerchers. And no fees for Maresca to collect. Meredith’s dignity was simply another card to play, apparently.

In case the reader might think that this display was anything but gratuitous, realize that Maresca has no obligation, no function, no reason, no excuse for attempting to prove guilt. He is there simply to help collect Euros from “whoever” is convicted.

The graphic, obscene, desecrating photographs shown today had no evidentiary value. No legitimate purpose was served by the photographs. Nothing about the murder scene was in dispute in this session. Nothing about Meredith’s death, her condition at the time of death, or her body was in play. In short, there was no reason in the entire legal world to show detailed photographs of the violated body of his clients’ child and sister. No reason except money. The display was gratuitous, designed to horrify and shock a jury. And it horrified. And it shocked. But maybe only the conscience of decent people. Several people left the courtroom, and many were left traumatized.

In any decent courtroom in the world, (and the practice in this courtroom in the past) when photographs such as these are required for evidentiary value, the courtroom (except for the jurors and the officers of the court) is cleared--out of respect for the victim and the victim’s family. But today, these photographs weren’t required, and today, the room wasn’t cleared. 

There are many reasons that courts generally do not allow such gratuitous displays. But one of the major reasons is that unless the photos of the bodies are being used to prove a point, there is no reason to show them. It prejudices a jury for the simple fact that the lifeless body is horrifying no matter who killed the person. The tactic is simply designed to raise a rage and a desire for retribution in the minds of the jurors, and to focus their rage and need for revenge on the closest people to them: the defendants. Let alone the fact that the photo has nothing to do with whether the particular defendants are guilty or not.

I understand that the Kerchers want people to remember Meredith. I applaud this. But is this how they want people to remember her? I had a gut-wrenching experience as a young FBI Agent many years ago. Several people had been killed in the course of an incident which the FBI was investigating as murder. It was my unfortunate task to witness the autopsies of the victims and to assist the coroner in the identification of the bodies. This was complicated by their advanced state of decomposition. Truly, it was a gruesome sight. The bodies were blackish green, bloated, and reeked of the peculiar smell of decomposing human flesh. The fingers, however, were almost impossible to print because of clenched fists (due to the peculiar manner of death). Ultimately, we had to remove each finger at the second knuckle with a pair of clippers and roll it individually in black ink, which produced a fairly good fingerprint.

In the midst of this horrible task, we heard a commotion outside of the autopsy room. It was the wife of the person we were currently autopsying and she was hysterical. She had been told by her funeral director that her husband’s body was horribly disfigured and that the FBI was “cutting his fingers off.” The shock created in her a rage that needed an outlet, and she burst into the outer area of the autopsy examination room. I took a quick glance at the body, and it was truly one of the most macabre sights I had ever witnessed. I knew that if the woman made it into the room, she would never forget what she saw and it would haunt her to her grave. I ran from the autopsy room to try and intercept her, covered with gore, blood and ink. But before she got as far as me, a funeral director who was at the morgue to make a “pickup” saw the drama unfold and ran to her, catching her before I had to. She collapsed to the floor sobbing in unrelenting grief for her lost love. The funeral director comforted her as best he could and repeated several times, “This is not the way you want to remember him.”

To the Kerchers, I ask; did you approve your attorney’s actions today? If not, something must be said. Maresca went too far. You have begged that Meredith not be forgotten. Is this the way you want Meredith remembered? Unless Maresca’s actions today are addressed publicly, the questions about motivation will haunt not Maresca, but the family; the most immediate being;

“Is this really still about Meredith?”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011



DEAR EDITOR: I am around 8 years old (give or take 60 years). Some of my little friends say that there is no evidence against Amanda Knox. Barbie and Andrea say, “If you see it in the Daily Mirror, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; is there really evidence against Amanda Knox?

Seattle, Washington

PEGGY, your little friends are wrong. There is evidence against Amanda Knox. And she is guilty. Your little friends have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they know to be factual. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds, or proven through science and reliable testimony. All minds, Peggy, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, PEGGY, there is evidence against Amanda Knox. It exists as certainly as hate and greed and avarice exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its greatest illicit thrill. Alas! How dreary would be the world if Amanda was proved innocent. Can you imagine if decisions had to be based on reality and truth? Shudder. There would be no blind, irrational faith then, no injustice, no quick, expeditious solutions to complex problems to make profitable this short existence. No wild, inaccurate headlines, no paychecks for byline articles, no book sales, no huge legal fees, no big ratings, no air time, no ego inflation and no promotions. No lynchings, no torch-bearing mobs. We should have no satisfaction, except in alcohol and laughter at the misfortunes of others. The eternal equation in which denigrating others makes you feel good about yourself would be null and void.

Not believe in Amanda’s guilt! You might as well not believe that you are superior to others! You might get a “negotiable” prosecutor to hire men to say any and all manner of falsehood against her, to stage false evidence, and to destroy exculpatory evidence, but if that was all uncovered and exposed, what would that prove? Nobody has ever seen any real evidence against Amanda Knox, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t guilty. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the evidence there is unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the best real science that ever existed, could tear apart. Only fantasies of sexual games gone wrong, imagination, internet threats, hate, slander, can push aside that curtain and view and picture all the sick hatred, avarice and jealousy that put Amanda in prison. Is it all real? Ah, PEGGY, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

Amanda Knox innocent? No! She’s guilty in your little mind and ours; and you and your little friends can believe it as long as you like, regardless of the truth.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

noun /səˈvilətē/ 
1.    “Courtesy in behavior or speech”

Last week, I posted my response to the Ann Coulter 'drive-by op-ed' on this blog, and later that week, on Since then, it has received more than 3,500 views. I am gratified at the response, but suspect it had much more to do with the name Coulter than it did with the name Moore. 

Less gratifying, unfortunately, were many of the comments I received about the article. If you read the article, you may remember that my hypothesis was that people should be judged one at a time, and not by any group with which they are affiliated. Affiliation with a group is not tacit endorsement of everything done by everything in that group. I am a Christian, but I don't endorse abortion clinic bombings; or for that matter violence of any nature in the name of God.  Nobody wants (or deserves) to be judged by the actions of everyone in a group they belong to, or worst of all, a family into which they were born. That's prejudice, bias and sometimes hatred.

While I did not tally up the 'for' and 'against,' in the comments, it appeared to be about two-thirds in favor of the article, and the remaining one-third.....well, they hated my guts. With the exception of one or two actual attempts to debate the subject matter, the rest (50 or so) were simply personal attacks. And not just on me, but on my wife, too! Where did that come from?  The bottom line, however, is that the dissenters on this article either didn't read the article, or are heroically trying to prove me right. They also illustrate why I have elected not to receive comments on my articles on this blog.

I present some of the more entertaining (and less threatening or vulgar) comments, solely to strengthen the hypothesis of my article.  Enjoy.

My Favorites:

“Moore can go on over to Red China and enjoy retirement with his Commie peers” (Is California an acceptable substitute?)

“Not only do you not speak Italian, but you have never even been to Italy.”  (True. I do not speak Italian. How I ever thought I could investigate a crime is beyond me. Good thing the FBI never asked. As far as never being in Italy, several airlines owe me a refund.)

We know you are not very well educated, Mr Moore”  (This is not my fault, private universities are not what they used to be.)

"You and your eccentric wife….. are useless, publicity-obsessed clowns." (We are not useless.)

Shut up, Moore - you fat clown.(I thought you had to be tall and intelligent to get into the FBI.) (You do. I got a waiver.)

·         "....moronic, delinquent three-year-old...."  (You forgot about the part in the article where you disagreed with me. You know, what I'm wrong about?)
·        "Shut up Michelle - you Moron." (Apparently, one reader felt that a pro-Steve poster was actually Michelle. It wasn’t)
"Don't forget that as well as Mr Moore's extensive career and military credentials, Jesus would also like him for a sunbeam." (That hurts, as it obviously came from a Baptist. Or a Nirvana fan.)

"You are raving…... Calm down and find a job." (I was excited until I found out the word wasn't 'ravishing.')

"Wasn't smart enough to go to EITHER med school or law school." (Again, an obvious requirement for investigations or opinions. Not sure if I was or was not smart enough. Never applied to either. I did get a congressional nomination to the Air Force Academy. Again, education failed me.)

"...Pilot that became a campus security guard..."  (I just always wanted to ride in golf carts)

"I feel sorry for your shallow intellect."  (Mom? Is that you?)

"What, are you a Communist now that you're out of the FBI, which you infiltrated." (Confused. Did I infiltrate the communists or the FBI?)

"You are a self-destructive nut without a cause.....
mercurial madness...." (The "mercurial madness" allegation made me really mad. Then, it didn't. Then it did again.)

"Are you trying to kill your own mother?, what an opening to your crappy opinion piece." (How is that tin-foil hat working out for you?)

"You gonna plop on your fat behind. Roll down the hill, baby…." (Stop looking at my butt.)

"You've always hated women. Now it's Ann Coulter alias your Mom. Maybe Mom and Ann both have gunsafe fuller than yours, that the problem?" (Mom's gun safe can't hold a candle to mine.)

"When are you going to turn on Michelle and Megan(sic)?" (I already turn-on Michelle. Meg will always see me as just "dad." But thanks for the gross question.)

"Steve was reassigned as a pilot and is awfully young to have "retired" from the FBI."  (Awwwwww.....shucks. Thank you.)

"I feel genuine pity for the man and hope that he can find effective treatment."  (Doctors have determined that the most effective treatment for me involves hand-rolled cigars and single-malt scotch. I accept donations care of I KNOW some of you are from the UK. Give 'till it hurts.)

"You are clearly beyond educating, Moore. Find yourself an easy job and leave the serious stuff to clever people." (I'm looking into politics.)

"Mr Moore and his wife lost every single shred of credibility outside of the US bible belt when they said they were doing God's work….[they] should be ignored immediately due to their over reliance on myths and 2000 year old fairy stories.  If you want to get any respect back Steve, start listening to reason as opposed to God or your wife." (Remember, ignore Steve because he believes in God, not because of facts. Obviously, nobody who believes in God can be competent. I sincerely hope your next airline pilot doesn't believe in God.)

"Go read some Richard Dawkins, Phillip Pullman and Douglas Adams then laugh at your bible and start living your life without fear of someone who doesn't actually exist."  (Let's bet on the whole 'existence of God' thing. No money, we've already got more than that riding on it.)

"To begin with you say you are a career FBI agent. OK so why is it, given your age, you are no longer employed by the FBI?" (How old do you think I am?)

"You state that you have all these qualifications. (Helicopter pilot etc;) So how come you are not gainfully employed ferrying workers out to oil rigs in the gulf?"  (Have you ever been to Morgan City, Louisiana?)

"An undercover agent! How exciting, and how long did you sit in the car wearing a suit as a disguise while eating donuts?" (Not sure if Apple Fritters are officially donuts.)

"A certified sniper. Congratulations upon being able to hit a barn from the inside..." (I think you are unclear on the concept....You don't happen to live in a barn, do you? Would you mind terribly standing next to one?)

"Thank God your wife is working, probably at MacDonalds (sic)."  (So that's where you've been Michelle?)

I'll finish with something that will (regrettably) enrage some of my new "fans:" A closing analogy which mentions both guns and God.  

When I was on SWAT, my son once asked me what I would do if a gang-banger tried to shoot me with a machine gun. (That's the gun part)

     "I would thank God," I said. (That's the God part)

     "Why??" He asked, incredulous. 

The answer was very simple. Once the trigger is pulled, a machine gun is about as controllable as a fire hose (which is frequently manned by two fire fighters.) Unless a person is highly trained, machine guns cannot be aimed once it starts firing. And firing at 800 rounds a minute, they will empty themselves in about two seconds. So all the bullets go over your head, and the shooter is unarmed almost immediately. The shooters who concerned us were those who were careful, deliberate, held a gun properly and seemed to know what they were doing.  The individuals who responded to my article are like those machine-gun-toting gang-bangers. Their 'weapons' apparently made them feel powerful, yet ultimately, their responses were un-reasoned, out of control, and completely ineffectual.  I'm almost disappointed, because the facts are on my side.  

And Michelle, please bring home a Big Mac. Combo. And Super-Size it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

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

            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.

            I consider myself a Christian. I believe God loves me in spite of my weaknesses and failures, not because of their absence. I depend on God daily to teach me, to give me guidance, and to shape me into a person who cares more about others than I do myself. I am not there yet, by the way, but that’s not an excuse not to keep trying.              
And now, to my amazement, I’ve just found out that I’m a “Liberal.”

This comes as a terrific surprise to me, but if Ann Coulter says it, it must be true, as she’s never wrong. In fact, not only am I a liberal, but according to her, I’m suffering from a “psychological disorder.” According to her, I’m also “demonic” because I “intentionally defend the guilty and impugn the innocent,” I “side with barbarians,” because “a fair and just system of law challenges [my] hegemony as a “judge of the universe.” As you may understand, this has come as quite a shock to me. How did this happen? How could I have been so wrong about myself?

Apparently, this radical change happened when I discovered that an innocent person had been convicted of murder and I tried to do something about it. Maybe it happened to you, too. (If so, don’t tell Ann Coulter.)

            In an article on September 7, 2011, mean-spiritedly entitled “Amanda Knox: The New Mumia,” Coulter uses lists of long-discredited, flat-earth-society “facts” to postulate the guilt of Amanda Knox, the American College student railroaded for murder in Italy in 2007. Coulter initially branded Knox as guilty several years ago, based on Knox’s alleged purchase of bleach on the morning after the murder of her roommate. This type of American press savagery is partially why Knox is still in prison four years later. Because this alleged bleach purchase never happened: No bleach was ever found, no records of any such purchase exist, the checkout employee flatly stated that Knox was not in the store that morning; and regardless, the crime scene that Knox is wrongly accused of causing was not cleaned with bleach. I knew these things about the bleach at the time Coulter said them, but I simply chalked it up to the fact that investigating violent crime wasn’t a hobby for me. But I was still disappointed, because Coulter and I shared some conservative political views and I trusted her. (Now that I realize I am a ‘liberal’ I am not sure how this could have been possible.)

After Coulter’s unfounded bleach “fact” was shown to be apocryphal, she fell into a long silence about the case. I naturally assumed that she had learned that the facts on which she based her conclusion were wrong, and that she therefore changed her opinion and was weighing how to best help this innocent girl. Instead, Coulter fired back this week with a list of even more incorrect, discredited facts; an article simply breathtaking in its naiveté. The problem with this isn’t simply that people more knowledgeable about the crime than her (lawyers, FBI agents, judges, scientists, DNA experts, senators, FBI profilers, almost a dozen members of the Italian Parliament, Pulitzer-prize winning journalists and New York Times Best-Selling authors) have all come to the conclusion that Knox is innocent. The problem is that Coulter is quoting “facts” discredited over a year ago. The other problem is that that if you disagree with her, you are evil.

Coulter alleges in her 9/7 masterwork; “Now liberals are howling that the DNA evidence was "contaminated,….” For the readers’ edification, here is a short list of just some of the ‘liberals’ who have spoken out in favor of Amanda Knox’s innocence: Megyn Kelly, Shepard Smith of Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, Geraldo Rivera, and Donald Trump, who recently attended a tree-hugging, “pinko” rally held by a group calling themselves the “Tea Party.” In fact, a recent meeting between me and another “liberal” who believes Knox was railroaded was held at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, because both of us are inexplicable admirers of the man.

In her magnificently naïve article of the 7th, Coulter quotes more than a dozen “facts,” all of which she says proves Knox’s guilt, and all of which have been thoroughly deconstructed. If not, the fact that the DNA evidence was false would not have any bearing on the case, and the release of Knox would not be imminent. I have no intention at this point of going point by point through Coulter’s charges, which appear to say something, but hide the real truth. I would rather argue with a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. (Or have dental surgery in Somalia.) There are only so many times I can stand to say the same thing to a stone wall. If you care to see the real facts of the Knox case, visit

But what is more striking than Coulter’s incredible ignorance about the case is her startlingly bigoted assessment of anybody who disagrees with her. She leaves the intelligent reader speechless and just a little afraid.

But this shouldn’t surprise us, really. Coulter is becoming a pariah even to conservatives. Until 2001, for instance, Coulter was a columnist for National Review Online, a sharply conservative publication. But she was fired. Why? Jonah Goldberg, editor at large of NRO said at the time; “We did not ‘fire’ Ann for what she wrote…we ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship and loyalty.”

            Coulter’s syndicated column was dropped by the Arizona Daily Star in August 2005, because, “Many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives.”
            It’s not simply the bigotry inherent in her statements that is disturbing. It is the propaganda-like nature of her tactics. Propaganda is defined as “Information of an intentionally misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” The best propaganda is that which has the ring of truth, but hides the salient facts. In that way, propaganda is like a bikini; what it shows appears to be important. But what it hides is crucial.

In short, propaganda is not defined so much by what it says, as by what it hides. For instance, Coulter never mentions (conveniently) that the prosecutor in the Knox case has been convicted and sentenced to prison for malfeasance, and was under indictment at the time he prosecuted Knox. His crime? The abuse of the rights of innocent suspects and random, vicious threats and accusations. You would think this germane to the conversation, would you not? But Coulter leaves that gem out. As Coulter herself said in 2002, “I don’t pretend to be impartial or balanced….”

            Coulter also conveniently omits that the loss of the DNA evidence she blames on American liberals was actually at the hands of court-selected Italian (not Italian-American) DNA scholars designated as independent experts by the Italian judge. The only American officially involved in the case is Amanda Knox.

But still, it is “liberals” who are trying to spring a ‘guilty’ Amanda. As an example; Coulter spews the following; From Tawana Brawley, Mumia and the Central Park rapists, to the Duke lacrosse players and Karl Rove, liberals are always on the wrong side of a criminal case. A few times could be a coincidence; every time is evidence of a psychological disorder.” Let’s be clear on this; I was outraged by the Brawley lies, I believe Mumia was guilty, and I find justice and immense peace in the fact that murderer Leonard Peltier will die in prison. But I also know from a quarter-century in the FBI that most criminal cases do not split on party lines.

As described in her (eponymous?) book "Demonic," Coulter alleges that “liberals defend the guilty and impugn the innocent not only because they side with barbarians, but because a fair and just system of law challenges their hegemony as judges of the universe.” This hurts me now that I find that I am a liberal. And because I have friends who are liberal. It also hurts me because it’s stupid. It’s a statement that might fit some (on both sides), but as a blanket statement, it is pure bigotry. (Let alone the fact that in the Duke case, Coulter is still defending the guilty and impugning the innocent, even though the facts are well known.) Not surprising from a woman who famously stated in the British newspaper, “The Guardian,” “[The United States] would be a much better country if women didn’t vote.” Maybe it would be a better country if this particular woman couldn’t communicate.

What Coulter has written bears more similarity to a drive-by shooting than it does to a journalistic endeavor. Denigrating and dehumanizing those who disagree with her is really not original, it was used with flair in the early 1950’s when Senator Joseph McCarthy went on a reactionary rampage using as his antagonist not “liberals” but “communists.” But the methods were the same; if you disagreed with McCarthy, you were obviously a communist. And like McCarthy’s rampage, innocent, real people are getting hurt.

It is to the conservative movement’s shame that they did not ‘self-police’ the problems with Joseph McCarthy. I hope to become a conservative again, notwithstanding Ann Coulter’s permission. But now I know how peaceful Muslims feel about Al Qaeda. If I, as a conservative, stay silent about Coulter and other demagogues, then the ideas in which I truly believe will be viewed not on their merit, but by the people who espouse them. I don’t want people to think of Ann Coulter when they hear the word “conservative” any more than many “liberals” want be defined by Michael Moore (I hope.)  I also wish that when people heard the name “Jesus” they didn’t think of politics.

Maybe Coulter’s own words will do the trick. It took Edward R. Murrow, other senators and McCarthy’s own excesses to ruin him. Murrow’s words about McCarthy seem strangely prescient in this instance:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”

Finally though, the most appropriate rebuke for McCarthy, and again, strangely fitting for Coulter, was a moral rebuke, and came from Chief Counsel of the United States Army Joseph Welch during a senate hearing. Welch had recommended a young attorney to work for the very committee that McCarthy was using as a career springboard. But McCarthy found out that the attorney was a member of the “Lawyers Guild,” which McCarthy maintained was a communist front. He then attacked this young attorney in public, not with real facts, but with innuendo, attempting to destroy his career to further his own; a type of political vampirism. Finally, Welch had had enough. With deep emotion, Welch rebuked McCarthy during a hearing in one of the most dramatic moments in congressional history.

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us…..”

“Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Welch speaks eloquently for us today. Until Coulters September 7th article in which she attempts to sacrifice an innocent girl’s future on the altar of the god who would guarantee her own, I had really never gauged her cruelty and her recklessness. Amanda Knox is a fine young woman who was railroaded by a deranged prosecutor in Italy in a failed attempt to save his own career. Ann Coulter is now using that tragedy to further her own career. So now we are left with just one question;

“Have you no decency, Ms. Coulter? At long last, have you no sense of decency?”

Sunday, September 4, 2011


jus tis [juhs-tis]
The quality of being just, impartial and fair.

“Do the accused have a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty?”

“Do the accused have the right to defend themselves in court?” If you believe they do, then read on. (If you believe they don’t, keep surfing.)

It stands to reason that if a person has a right to a trial, then they have the right to all the appeals and other legal processes allowed under their system of justice.

Meredith Kercher, a beautiful, and by all accounts vivacious, intelligent and special woman was brutally murdered in November of 2007 in Perugia, Italy. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were arrested for the crime before the results of any physical evidence examinations were received. This is not my opinion, it is the statement of the police themselves: “We knew she was guilty of murder without physical evidence,” Chief Investigator Edgardo Giobbi embarrassingly admitted on TV, in a scene awkwardly reminiscent of Ashlee Simpson’s lip syncing scandal on Saturday Night Live. Much as Ashlee’s humiliation began when her tech people cued up the wrong song, Giobbi’s began when the evidence finally arrived and showed he had cued up the wrong “murderer.” The DNA of a burglar known to carry a knife (and unknown to Amanda and Raffaele) was found in the victim. But that didn’t stop the embarrassed police/court. They convicted Amanda and Raffaele on what most worldwide observers now consider contrived or even planted evidence. Then they passed the Kool Aid around and everyone drank.

Not surprisingly, both Knox and Sollecito appealed their conviction. Then, something incredible happened. John Kercher, the victim’s father, appeared to decry the fact that Amanda and Raffaele were given an appeal. He used his press contacts to post article after article in the British and Italian press complaining of the burden and the pain the appeals process was having on their family.  To which, I have to ask:

“What’s the point?”

Certainly, a decent, honorable man like John Kercher was not advocating that Amanda and Raffaele don’t or shouldn’t have the right to their legally-guaranteed appeal. So what was his reasoning? Was he simply cathartically emoting in the press? Or was there another reason? The statement was not made when the appeal was announced; the statement by John Kercher was released by the press at the beginning of the appeal, and the timing therefore feels somewhat calculated.

I tread carefully on the thin ice of questioning the statements of bereaved people. I have not endured the pain that has been foisted on the Kerchers and pray to God I will never have to. I respect and admire the dignity with which they have dealt with the tragedy. I pray for them. I ache for them. I do not think they should be criticized. However, this does not mean that their statements are sacrosanct or should not be examined for the sake of justice for Meredith and for Amanda and for Raffaele. Frankly, and I think this point has been largely ignored, if one has to make a choice between; A) Ensuring that all people involved in this case get the full measure of justice to which they are entitled, or B) Protecting the Kerchers from further pain, justice must prevail, as distasteful as it is to think of Meredith's family going through more pain. 

        Disagreeing with the Kerchers, even publicly, is not disrespect. While much has been written about the Kerchers' "dignified silence" in this case, it should be noted that while they have been dignified, they have not been silent. Especially, they have not been silent at strategic moments, frequently in the weekend prior to important court proceedings. Tomorrow, the final stage of Amanda and Raffaele's appeal begins, and true to form, a statement has been "leaked" to the British press from a member of the Kercher family.  

This statement was from a letter written by Stephanie Kercher decrying the deconstruction of the prosecution case. But the letter, curiously, was not written to the prosecutor in the case. It was written (according to the Daily Mail, who got a copy of the letter) to their attorney, Francesco Maresca. Maresca is not simply sitting by and monitoring the case, but is actively cross examining defense witnesses, unusual to say the least. Maresca will also take a share of any of any collectible part of the multi-million Euro settlement awarded to the Kerchers. “Collectible” is the operative word here. Not surprisingly, the letter was “leaked to the press.”

In this letter, Stephanie pleads; “Please don't let Meredith's death be in vain.” But candidly, if Meredith’s own innocent friends are convicted for her murder, her death will not only be in vain, it will become a by-word for injustice. But Meredith’s death does not have to be in vain, it will in some way give greater light to the world in the long run if:

1.     Judicial systems around the world learn from the corruption, the travesties, the ignorance, and the attitudes in this small courtroom in Perugia.

2.     More innocent people are cleared and more guilty are convicted because of this case.

3.     People learn not to pre-judge cases before a trial starts.

4.     Justice becomes even a little more “blind” as a result of this case.

The Kerchers are good, decent people who have suffered more than humans should have to. But in their grief and their pain lie the reasons that the family members of victims are not allowed on the jury that tries the suspects in their case.


Justice is blind for a reason. Only in the penalty phases can the pain and grief of the family be taken into account. A trial is not about retribution. A trial is about the finding of facts. Emotion is corrosive to facts. Mixing emotion with fact degrades fact, not emotion. If emotions are allowed to influence fact in a trial, all is lost. And this is the reason that the involvement of victims’ families are always against their own best interests.

Again, Stephanie Kercher’s statement is the best example of this problem:

The defence seem to be focusing on these DNA aspects but we want, for a moment to remember who this case is about: My sister, a daughter brutally taken away four years ago, and a day does not pass when we do not think about her and can bring this to an end”

Look at the statement. She decries that the defense is focusing on facts; DNA (physical evidence), and she begs us not to concentrate on the evidence, but that her sister is dead and they need closure. “Please,” she seems to be asking, “don’t pay attention to the evidence, listen to our emotion, end our pain.” I have dealt with bereaved families dozens of times, and they are without exception devastated with grief and hoping for the pain to end and closure to arrive as soon as possible. 

The hard truth is that quick justice usually brings no closure. And this case is possibly the greatest example of the truth of this axiom. Justice must be blind. Blind not just to the suspects, but to the victims. Justice cannot take into account anything but the facts, or else the victims themselves are once again victimized, even if the victims themselves beg for Justice to peek from below her blindfold.

The Kerchers would have had some peace and closure by now if the investigators and forensic personnel had lived up to their responsibilities and the trust given them by the people of Italy. They would have closure if the attorney they hired, Maresca, had no financial interest in an outcome in which a wealthy person was convicted instead of an indigent person. They would have had closure if Judge Hellmann presided over the first case.

If fingers of blame are to be thrust out for the Kercher family’s extended agony, they should be pointed at Rudy Guede, the man who murdered their daughter. At Giuliano Mignini, who saw in this case a chance to cynically resuscitate his shattered career. At Patrizia Stefanoni, whose gross incompetence, (or worse) deprived Amanda, Raffaele, Meredith and the Kercher family true justice. The right of the wrongly accused to appeal their sentences is not, and has never been the cause of the Kerchers’ pain, it has been the result of the police and prosecutors’ malfeasance which made an appeal necessary. Had the police and Mignini gotten this right the first time, had waited just a few days for the physical evidence, Rudy Guede would be in prison for a long, long time, and the Kerchers would have had closure almost three years ago.

The Kercher family has the right to speak. They have been through an unimaginable hell since November 2007. But the world has the right, and frankly, the duty, to look past the statements of grieved family members—whoever they may be--to see beyond the darkness of the agonized cries of a family so wrongly victimized and toward the light five hundred years of legal experience and wisdom, of common law that was written in the blood of victims of criminals and victims of vigilantes. The legal traditions of England, Italy and the United States are the products of hundreds of years of trial and error, and they must not be, cannot be, discarded or disregarded simply due to the emotion implicit in a single case. It has been said that fences are only needed when the cattle are pushing against them. The legal system is a fence which must hold to the facts when emotion pushes against it.

They courts and the juries have the obligation to look dispassionately at the evidence, and not at the victim or the grieving families, because the family will be grieving whether the real murderer or a wrongly accused person is in the dock. The fact that a victim’s family is grieving has no probative basis in a court of law. Only a reasoned, dispassionate analysis of real evidence will bring true justice to Meredith Kercher.


The original case was about Meredith. The prosecution had ONE shot to find the right perpetrator and secure justice for Meredith and her loved ones. They couldn’t get it done. Justice was ‘a bridge too far.’ Wrong persons, no justice. The corruption and the sick avarice and hatred of the court of first incidence denied Meredith "true justice." Done. Over. Tragedy. You cannot resurrect justice for Meredith any more than you can resurrect Meredith herself. Meredith died in November, 2007, and any hope of justice for her died in December 2009.

          The APPEAL has to do ONLY with Amanda and Raffaele. Justice for them has not died. Meredith should never be forgotten. However, the appeals courtroom is not the place to keep her memory alive. Frankly, a courtroom in any murder case is the one place in which the murder victim loses all their privacy, dignity and humanity. 

Tragically, the evidence tells us that justice for Meredith is a lost opportunity. She was murdered by a man who appears to have made a deal with the prosecution for leniency in return for testimony he knew to be false. By some accounts, Meredith’s murderer could be on the streets again in just three years.

Women in painful labor say and do things at which they later marvel, frequently regret, and sometimes laugh at. Anybody who has “coached” a woman through labor knows that extreme pain does not lead to reasoned statements or cautious actions. Care for the Kerchers. Ache for the Kerchers. Pray for the Kerchers. But carefully evaluate what they say—and when they say it. It is our duty, not just to Amanda and Raffaele, but to Meredith.