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31 January 2014


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Listening to the local talk radio this morning, the two talking heads were discussing this and unable to understand why Assad wouldn't just give up and what he was stalling for. This was followed by the usual blather about how great democracy is for everyone, and then something Syria using its chemical weapons against Israel.

Truly a thoughtful discussion. Kerry HAS to be drinking his own kool aid - I imagine State is just as bad with the group think as it was back in the Bush II years, if not moreso. Its just that instead of fanatic neocons running the show, now we get fanatic progressive utopians calling the shots.


I suspect Kerry will have one "success." He will tell us soon that despite his efforts the Israelis don't have a partner for peace. It helps if the networks supress inconvenient truths like: http://news.antiwar.com/2014/01/30/israeli-mp-kerry-peace-efforts-driven-by-anti-semitism/

Mr. Secretary, please come home now.

John Gavin

Not only should we refuse to extradite Amanda Knox to Italy, we should also encourage a travel boycott.


Italian "justice" observed via The Guardian, BBC, and google-y sources seems like a parody and a muddle designed by incompetents to annoy and/or amuse the masses; a pox on 'em all and send the maid to a nunnery.

Will Reks

Is it really a failure if there was no hope of success in the first place? I'm trying to think of what else Kerry could be doing that would be useful but I'm drawing a blank there too.


Actually, we may have no choice in extraditing Ms. Knox back- we are party to a treaty with Italy. I also think that the U.S. press has presented a rather slanted view of the trial. I have been in Europe for a good part of the trial and have followed it through European and UK media,as well as U.S. media- and you get a different picture over there. I also understand that knowledgable U.S.legal observors are satisfied with the Italian judical system. Readers on either side of the Atlantic seem to be divided by the media coverage- probably based on the sources of information.
If Ms. Knox's conviction is upheld at the next level- only then would an extradition hearing be held. She won't be extradited now. And frankly, it will be hard to posit that Italy does not have a legitimate legal system and deny extradition. Also, we are in a bit of a pickle with Italy anyway on extradition, with the Marine EA-6 flyers who hit the ski gondola and killled 20 people and the 22 CIA people that Italy wanted extradited. We didnt' extradite in those cases, although in the Marine case, the SOFA prevailed. (Nice things those SOFAs). We also are trying to get Snowden back to the US and denying a legitimate extradition of Knox would not be helpful. Finally, if Ms. Knox was not an attractive young woman, would there be such a media outpouring for her? A number of legal observors note that factor- and not the case itself.


How many trials does Amanda Knox have to bear. JG's idea of boycott sounds just.


Italian "justice" observed via The Guardian, BBC, and google-y sources seems like a parody and a muddle designed by incompetents to annoy and/or amuse the masses; a pox on 'em all and send the maid to a nunnery.

Medicine Man

If there is no indication that the Italian authorities botched the investigation or the trial(s) then yes extradite her.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, Col. Lang, I believe it would be a good idea to extradite her to Italy where she can spend the next 28 years contemplating the moral lesson that other human beings are not her sex toys.

She is guilty as Hell.


Would extraditing her constitute a double
jeopardy or in this case a triple jeopardy
violation of our laws ?

Edward Amame

1. We have no idea idea what we're doing in Syria. Maybe Obama should hand over the whole mess to blogger Josh Landis of SyriaComment who least seems to have a clue.

2. There is a lot of local anger in Tuscany and Umbria towards foreign students who are overrunning the place. This latest verdict is revenge. I love Italy and Italians (esp the south along the Amalfi Coast), but the whole Knox thing has been a travesty of justice. They got the actual guy who did it and the prosecutor who invented the crazy sex thing with Knox and her boyfriend was been documented as a nut with ambition in print by a reporter before the Knox case.

At least Knox was acquitted so double jeopardy means that she can't be extradited.


Double jeopardy may not be dispositive here, although it will be an issue, to be sure. The US-Italy extradition treaty ONLY protects Americans from extradition to face prosecution again in Italy for an offence that has already been dealt with by the US legal system.
“This is not applicable in this situation,” according to Professor Julian Ku, who teaches transnational law at Hofstra University.
For extradition candidates like Ms Knox who have already been convicted, the treaty states that Italy must merely produce “a brief statement of the facts of the case,” as well as the text of the laws governing the crime committed, the punishment it would receive, and its statute of limitations.
Her conviction would “easily satisfy the conditions of the treaty,” said Prof Ku. “So it would be hard for the US to explain why she should not be handed over”.
Italy might not want to cause a row with the U.S. and decide not to extradite- but this would be a difficult political question that would cause ripples domestically. Also the UK would have thoughts on this as well.

And they 'didn't get the guy that did it.' They put another person in jail for short time based on the testimony of Ms.Knox. They later released him- and she got 4 years more on her sentence due to 'slander' on that person.


I stand corrected, Rudy Guede was convicted, another man was jailed and then released.It was Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, Congolese owner of pub where Knox occasionally worked, who was jailed after being implicated by Knox and then released. Guede is serving a 16-yr sentence, having been conivcted on the fast track.



Reuters is running a story that two senior Western diplomats fed them the BS about Syrian CW shipment delays. In fact the US provided ship that will dispose of the chemicals has not yet reached Syria. pl


When voters elect a government in free and fair elections in a democracy ins't justice sure to follow? Didn't we all learn this in political science 101? Why our Nato ally and democratic partner Italy is just another fine example of democracy and justice flowing from free and fair elections.


All Andrew Tabler the WINEP operative, was just on the Newshour saying that the Syrian government's "delaying tactics" over CW will be taken back to the UN on the basis that the issue is already in the first Geneva communique. So, basically, Kerry is peddling Bibi's policy. Is this a quid for some gesture over the Palestinian thing. pl

The beaver


How much can we bet that it is Laurent Fabius ( or one of his ilks) and someone from Foggy Bottom?
This is the same M.O that is practiced at the UN in NYC, Reuters, AP and an American Network in bed with Araud, the French Ambassador and Powers.


for those who's like more on the Knox thing, Turely has it and links to more http://jonathanturley.org/2014/01/31/amanda-knoxs-conviction-reinstated-by-italian-court/#more-75369


Pat - Typepad put me through several hoops when I first tried to comment on the Knox thing, 1st wanting me to sign up with Typepad, which didn't work, then accessing through my wordpress blog, which didn't seem to work, before finally Typepad let me comment w just my 1st name and email address. I see two nearly identical posts from me as hans, then hanshowe and I think this describes how that came to be, through of course not the why of it (the why probably has something to do with cosmic rays or dark matter - too deep for me.)

Alba Etie

Col Lang
Even if the neocons /R2P crowd gins up another false sh-t storm about CW and the evil Assad - I still strongly believe that the Congress Critters in an election year will not give President Obama a Syrian AUMF . And the likelihood of the Executive to take unilateral action in Syria , IMO , is almost zero . President Obama I further believe is now worried about his legacy . Its also very likely IMO that the Russians would find away to keep the administration from doing something stupid - up to and including a credible threat of force . But then again I have been faulted here at SST before for my misplaced optimism . We shall see.



The talks in Switzerland provide an opportunity for Assad to pull marginalized rebel groups over to supporting the Syrian government. These discussions will obviously not take place in the public eye. Promises will no doubt be made and depending how many are kept he may be able to accelerate defections back to the government.

Brien J Miller


In regards to the extradition of Amanda Knox; having availed myself reading the proceedings I note that the original case as tried in Italy was fraught with confusion, uncertainty, and excess of prosecutorial “theory crafting” alongside a tragically inconsistent if not contradictory defensive case. The subsequent appeals court review tore apart a large portion of the state’s case pointing up procedural problems as well as issues with the evidence, in particular what appears to be a gross misuse of DNA material. This last review overturned the first appeal because the panel found that the first appeals review did not “holistically” look at the entirety of the case as tried originally. “Holistically” is a concept that is rarely employed in the legal appeal systems of the United States, Great Britain, France, or Germany.

In short, the overturning court’s rationale (which has not been released nor do they have to release the details of it for at least ninety days from the time of verdict) appears weak and only adds more confusion to the already chaotic case the Italians crafted. Using their own rationale, that of looking at something “holistically,” and stepping back and looking at some of Italy’s lesser-known proceedings, including the conviction of geologist for failing to predict an earthquake (!), It is hard not see that the Italian system of justice is itself holistically flawed and subject to a lack of rigorous jurisprudence, process, and protections.

Given the above as my observation, I would, as the Department of Justice, look closely and with grave concern at the fairness and appropriateness of executing an extradition in this case. With the caveat that I have not, nor has anyone yet outside of the appeals court read the rationale document for the overturning of the case, I disfavor extradition.

The above opinion is made without regard to guilt or innocence of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito as determined/not determined/determined by the Italian system. However, I remain troubled by the presentations and protestations of both the prosecution and the defense sufficient to leave significant doubt as to the case in general, and in the words of one famous American trial “if it doesn’t fit, can’t convict.”

In all matters, is a tragically sad case for the family of Meredith Kercher.


The Syria talks are a failure? It's a bit of a miracle that they've happened at all. They have served the purpose of having each side state its position, and unsurprisingly, neither side is willing to give up and go away. Let's also remember how many months it took to agree on the shape of the table at the Paris Peace Talks.

I believe that a second round of talks is already scheduled. There could be several smaller issues that could be productively discussed - like exchanging prisoners, permitting shipment of humanitarian aid, or securing a safe corridor for the evacuation of chemical weapons. Continued negotiation on smaller, discrete subjects might create the space for broader negotiations. But I don't see either side agreeing to put down their weapons or relinquishing power.

Kerry should behave a bit more professionally and diplomatically. He has a habit of making some fairly rash accusations that are unhelpful. Perhaps there is some method behind all the shouting, smoke and arm waving. Maybe that's how the US incentivizes other countries to carry our water these days. And some of what Kerry is doing may be calculated to keep Israel retrained from any more overt provocations, which would rally people to Assad's side.

stanley henning

I think the Amanda Knox affair reflects a total failure of the Italian legal system. They somehow lost control over the real suspect and focused falsely on Knox. She should not be extradited.

As for the Syria situation, it is another garbage pit from which we should extradite ourselves, but insure the clearing out the poisonous gas in the process.

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