Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two Victims Ride High - With No Thanks To The Conspiracy Theorists

Posted by Peter Quennell

Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart with the sustained help of their appealing families are right now two of the most admired women in America.

Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped from California’s beautiful South Tahoe area (image below) in 1991 and kept captive east of San Francisco through late 2009. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her north-east Salt Lake City home (image below) in 2002 and sprung from her captors in March 2003.

Both girls seem to have been affected by the Stockholm Syndrome, Jaycee Dugard by way of the physical abuse of her captors, and Elizabeth Smart perhaps by way of the religious claims of her male captor, though she claims it was only the physical abuse.

Both women put on a very determined and self-confident performance on the witness stand, and both saw their captors put away for good. It may have been tougher for Elizabeth Smart because she had to endure years of argument over whether her male captor was mentally competent. The jury agreed with prosecution witnesses that he was simply putting on a skillful act and they returned a very quick guilty verdict.

Jaycee Dugard wrote a fearless and unflinching best-seller about her experience. Similar books have been written about Elizabeth Smart, who was married to a Scotsman a few days ago (bottom image) amid reports that said they looked like royalty.

Both have been interviewed frequently on American TV, with Elizabeth Smart pushing back strongly against CNN’s Nancy Grace. Both want to raise awareness of female kidnappings.

Jaycee Dugard’s kidnapping happened when the internet was in its infancy and the conspiracy theories targeting her family were mild and did not slow her mother’s determination. Elizabeth Smart’s parents however were really targeted by the conspiracy theorists, and rants against both her father and herself became absolutely endemic.

Any comparison between these two and Amanda Knox here? We dont see it. Most of the internet abuse has flowed from Knox’s own “supporters”. They have too often made demented personal attacks which absolutely cannot help her with Perugia’s top prosecutor, or the Supreme Court which she soon faces.

And many months since she returned home after the first appeal court released her, she still has not had the courage to face the TV cameras, or to do other than announce a book which sounds like a work of fiction.

Learn something from these two, Amanda Knox. Get classy. Or understand why you and yours will never be widely admired.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/29/12 at 09:15 PM in The legal followupsHoaxers: media groupsCNN Network


So now she was tortured, this this the first I’ve read of this. In her shoes I’d have been screaming it from the rooftops from the getgo - I certainly wouldn’t have been as understanding if I’d endured such humiliation.

” the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received.”

Why didn’t she tell her mother when she was on her first visit - the fact that PL was in prison under her false testimony seemed to have weighed more heavily on her mind. If this were true wouldn’t the discussion gone as follows:

“Mom they wouldn’t let me use the loo, and they treated me like a performing monkey - giving me treats for turning cartwheels - as a result I’d no choice but to come up with a name and PL was the first one that came to mind.”

If this had happened it would’ve come up in court Ghirga would’ve been all over it and all of the Police personnel would’ve been in the frame for assault [or similar]. She did say under oath she was treated well - she didn’t have to say that..

Posted by Melanie on 03/01/12 at 11:50 AM | #

Hi Melanie. That made me laugh. Certainly torture claims are surreal this late in the game, when a whole new cast in Rome and Perugia is handling the case.  So are the claims about Mignini who has explained himself at great length (see our translations) and comes out looking pretty good. He had zero reason to frame anyone (especially an Italian like RS) because he never had anything to fear from the trumped-up charges in Florence and few tough Italian prosecutors make it through their careers without some attacks like that.

The idea that Knox’s behavior offended any Italians is ludicrous. She was barely on anyones’ radar for one thing and she was plain and colorless and charmless by most Italian girls’ standards. The only Italian man she could connect to was a solitary loser into beasty porn. Not only did Ghirga and Dalla Vedova not believe Knox’s long-after-the-fact claims and not pursue them - they even publicly warned her to stop making them, because they were digging her in deeper and making their job harder. 

That is ignored in “Denver’s” anonymous Bruce-Fischer-like and Steve-Moore-like rants. Also ignored: (1) Mignini was not even there when AK first “confessed” and (2) Mignini appointed a very senior co-prosecutor (Comodi) who did half the work in seeking the nod of many judges on the evidence and presenting it to the court.  Memo to “Denver”: when your idol is in a really deep hole… stop digging. We thought the word on this had gone out from Knox Central.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/12 at 03:56 PM | #

Lake Tahoe is where some of the “Godfather” scenes were shot. The image is from the top of a ski lift. It looks like a crater lake but in fact it is not. Historic land-shifts walled off the north end of a valley and the water was retained there.

The lake is extremely deep and cold and it is said that the few people who have drowned and never been found are probably down there perfectly preserved.

To the east are two cities (Reno and Carson City) which are at an altitude about the same as the BOTTOM of the lake. It is odd being down there and looking up and thinking that the entire volume of the lake is above you. .

If you are in a mood for gruesomeness here is some more. Directly ahead in that shot over those mountains is the Donner Pass where a settler wagon train got snowed in for the winter and the survivors were the ones that ate their fellow family members.

In that same direction is the only freeway over the Sierra Nevadas (Route 80) which ends up right here in New York, and also a spectacular railway built largely with Chinese labor.

Jaycee’s kidnappers would have come up Route 50, a regular highway that climbs the Sierras starting south of Sacramento and entering the lake area dramatically at top-left of that photo.

Not obvious in the shot is that the east end of the town which is in Nevada consists largely of casinos and hotels. They begin inches from the state border. Her mother moved here because she thought it was safe and seems as big a hero as her daughter.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/12 at 04:32 PM | #

Here is one of the milder examples of the demonization of Elizabeth Smart’s father Ed Smart.

It’s yet another case of a white knight wanting to be the one to step in and be lauded for cracking the case and rescueing the victim - in this case, as much from Elizabeth’s “controlling” dad (he wasn’t) as from the guy who got put away for kidnapping her.

Here are three more examples which suggest she might have run away willingly to attach herself to the fundamentalist preacher.  He had stated he intended to seek 49 wives (7 x 7) and Elizabeth was in effect the second, and he may have run into her and her sister earlier the same day (she unaccountably missed a harp recital).

Also a long-form article from just before the trial which neutrally pointed out some mysteries.

Elizabeth Smart then seemed to tell it how it was before and at trial, unflinchingly and in extreme detail, and she pretty well nailed the conspiracies at one stroke. She walked out on one of the defense psychologists who really do seem to have been addled by the kidnapper.

She met her new husband in Paris three years ago when they were both ringing on doorbells for the Latter Day Saints, and he did not know about her history for a long time, which probably helped both of them to get to know the other as normal and made her trust him.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/12 at 04:58 PM | #

Call me an optimist but I am convinced that with the passage of time AK will be seen for what she really is, that being just a sleazy manipulative bottom feeder from just another dysfunctional family who does not deserve the time of day. It is my fervent wish that the truth will be exposed one day as I am sure it will, and on that day she will be exposed as the murderer she is.

Jeffrey Dahmer was also viewed as being quite innocent by so many since he flew under the radar for so long, that is until he made the mistake that finally exposed him. Knox, on the other hand, must be terrified in case she makes some slip-up so that her entire house of cards comes tumbling down. This must be eating away at what ever remains of her soul and I believe it will result in her claims of innocence be turned upside down.

Call me an optimist if you like, but me and people like me who believe completely in her guilt will never go away and never stop keeping Meredith in the spotlight of reason and justice.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/01/12 at 06:40 PM | #

A commenter below the Scott Carrier piece in Mother Jones (last link above) disputes Stockholm Syndrome in Elizabeth Smart’s case, because she headed back to normality so fast once separated from her captor Mitchell. (Jaycee Dugard in contrast initially defended her kidnapper when separated, said in effect he was a great guy.)


Comment by DarkMatter20

I strongly disagree with the Stockholm Syndrome suggestion. Stockholm Syndrome involves a ‘voluntary bounding’ or agreement with the captor and the captors objectives, after standard capture and holding techniques: guns, threats etc. However Elizabeth’s case was more closely related to torture, extreme fear and degradation caused by sexual abuse. If you torture someone long enough and degrade them with what they hold most sacred (cause feelings of worthlessness) they will do whatever you want them to do and the torturer has full control until that link is forcibly broken and the victim is removed from his control.

That happened with the Sandy police separated her from BOTH Mitchell and Barzee but didn’t when the SLCP detective just questioned here in front of Barzee first and then in front of Mitchell. When that link is broken its as if nothing ever happened (apart from memories) which is why Elizabeth could go back to normalcy without apparent side effects. But people with Stockholm will continue to be bonded to their captors for years even to the point of not testifying against them or testifying that “they did this but couldn’t help himself because he was trying to be good” etc.

I agree with Ed Smart in not believing its a Stockholm case because she reacted differently once that link to Mitchell was broken and he was thrown in prison.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/03/12 at 03:13 AM | #

I’ll always be troubled by the actions of the entire Smart family in this case - not releasing a current photo of Elizabeth at the time, refusing to work with Klass Kids, the way they treated the SLPD and Richard Ricci when they knew he was not involved. There is a smell about this case in my view. Glad to see Elizabeth getting on with her life, but I’ll always wonder what was going on the night she disappeared with her family and later. One day perhaps she’ll feel strong enough to address some of these questions, but I suspect the family and community pressure will be too great.

Posted by mojo on 03/03/12 at 04:22 PM | #

@ Peter - Lake Tahoe is the 3rd deepest lake in the world. The famous Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed spots on the Lake.

@ Grahame Rhodes - “Call me an optimist but I am convinced that with the passage of time AK will be seen for what she really is…”

I agree with you!

Posted by bedelia on 03/05/12 at 06:22 PM | #
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