Author Topic: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?  (Read 78672 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #375 on: February 22, 2008, 03:31:00 PM »
I would say eyewitness testimony is the LEAST reliable.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable...

Offline Annie

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #376 on: February 22, 2008, 06:05:03 PM »
I would say eyewitness testimony is the LEAST reliable.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable...

So true.

Remember this article:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dna/photos/eye/text_06.html

How does memory work, and why does it fail? Scientists generally agree that memories are formed when neurons link together to form new connections, or circuits, actually changing the contact between the cells; in the process, memories are stored. Long-term memories, which include experiences that happened just a few minutes ago to information several decades old, are stored in mental "drawers" somewhere in our brains. No one knows exactly where, although it has been estimated that in a lifetime, long-term memory can hold as many as 1 quadrillion (1 million billion) separate bits of information.

The "drawers" holding our memories are obviously extremely crowded and densely packed. They also constantly being emptied out, scattered about, and then stuffed back into place. Like curious, playful children searching through drawers for a blouse or pair of pants, our brains seem to enjoy ransacking the memory drawers, tossing the facts about, and then stuffing everything back in, oblivious to order or importance. As new bits and pieces of information are added into long-term memory, the old memories are removed, replaced, crumpled up, or shoved into corners. Little details are added, confusing or extraneous elements are deleted, and a coherent construction of the facts is gradually created that may bear little resemblance to the original event.


Memories don't just fade, as the old saying would have us believe; they also grow. What fades is the initial perception, the actual experience of the events. But every time we recall an event, we must reconstruct the memory, and with each recollection the memory may be changed--colored by succeeding events, other people's recollections or suggestions, increased understanding, or a new context.


Truth and reality, when seen through the filter of our memories, are not objective facts but subjective, interpretive realities. We interpret the past, correcting ourselves, adding bits and pieces, deleting uncomplimentary or disturbing recollections, sweeping, dusting, tidying things up. Thus our representation of the past takes on a living, shifting reality; it is not fixed and immutable, not a place way back there that is preserved in stone, but a living thing that changes shape, expands, shrinks, and expands again, an amoebalike creature with powers to make us laugh, and cry, and clench our fists. Enormous powers--powers even to make us believe in something that never happened.


Are we aware of our mind's distortions of our past experiences? In most cases, the answer is no. As time goes by and the memories gradually change, we become convinced that we saw or said or did what we remember. We perceive the blending of fact and fiction that constitutes a memory as completely and utterly truthful. We are innocent victims of our mind's manipulations.

[/color]

The parts in red especially explain what I've been trying to say about the people getting the height of the singer wrong, (therefore the accounts of FS's height are unreliable) and the people who all remembered the color of my jet tub wrong (proving that the hair color and other details of FS may well have been inaccurate) and so on. Again, the 'mountain of evidence' (aka Mount Trashmore, the mountain made of landfill garbage) that AA supporters hang onto is really just a house of cards that falls easily when the wind of reality blows. It is sad to see them list it as 'fact' and believe it challenges the DNA. It does not.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 06:10:06 PM by Annie »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #377 on: February 23, 2008, 12:31:52 PM »
But unless the current suspect's DNA points to more than a sexual relationship (in other words it was present in fingernail scrapings, in bodily fluids outside the victim's body or in other abnormal ways) might it  be insufficient to convict, assuming, again, a reasonable jury?

I am not sure what type of forensic evidence they found in the Masters case, whether it was just DNA from semen or they also used nail scrapings, etc.? In any case, I believe the way that went was that they used the blood type of the tissue sample found on the victim to convict him (everything else was circumstantial evidence I believe, in conjuction with eye witness accounts(?)). This tissue sample they used to convict him later proved to be from someone else - with the help of DNA....
This of course is not to say that it definitively proves innocence (IMO it does not), but it at least shows that he may have been innocent since someone else's DNA was found there, and none of his. Which gave the jury a definite reasonable doubt, which means he shouldn't have been convicted, hence he was freed. As far as the opposite goes, i.e. would they be able to convict the person whose DNA it is, that would be a whole different ball game. They would have to show of course that the DNA they found couldn't have just ended up there from casual or sexual contact, so stuff like nail scrapings, etc. most likely would have to be present in order to convict. In other words, it's alot easier to create a reasonable doubt and exculpate someone with DNA evidence than to convict someone with the same evidence, due to the factors you mention. Masters may still be guilty, but he was convicted on false evidence, which DNA later demonstrated. They had to free him because of that. And this is how The Innocence Project works. DNA overturns earlier convictions because it is stronger than all other evidence.

Having said all that, the types of cases we are most concerned with in this discussion are not like the Masters case, but of trying to establish identity (or disprove identity) from a confirmed tissue sample. There is no question that DNA can give us the definitive answer in these cases, which is the point of this discussion - the fact that DNA remains the strongest forensic evidence the courts use (contrary to what some Anna Anderson supporters like Peter Kurth continue to preach in order to plant doubt about her DNA test results).
« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 12:49:00 PM by Helen_A »

Offline klava1985

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #378 on: February 25, 2008, 08:48:18 PM »
So... let's talk about "facts."

What would provide factual evidence that AA was not AN?
   -DNA mismatch. Check.
   -The corpse of AN. Check.

What would provide factual evidence that AA was FS? 
   -DNA match. Check (close enough).

What would provide factual evidence that AA=AN was a deliberate fraud?

  -Diary entries admitting to the plot
  -Letters admitting to or discussing the plot
 -Confessions

What would NOT provide evidence of fraud?
  -Improvements in the physical appearance of the subject in photos over time
  -testimony about an alleged confession or confidence from one of the principals to a third party (that would be on the same level of quality as testimony that someone had heard AA speaking Russian...though I'd be interested in such testimony about fraud if it existed)
 -Inferences about what "must" have happened, given this and given that (we had the same logic applied to the AA=AN argument)


Let's lose the witch hunt. If you want to know why some people are persuaded by "facts" that can't be objectively established, Annie, that's an interesting philosophical and psychological discussion. We could use your own rhetoric as the text for further analysis of this question.


I guarantee that if the DNA had matched, we'd all be looking at these same photos wondering how anyone could ever have proposed that AA looked like FS... :)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 08:57:28 PM by klava1985 »

Offline Puppylove

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #379 on: February 26, 2008, 10:02:23 AM »

I guarantee that if the DNA had matched, we'd all be looking at these same photos wondering how anyone could ever have proposed that AA looked like FS... :)


I believe there's some truth in what you say here and I speak from my own experience. I knew virtually nothing about AA until I came to this forum, although my brothers, sisters and I loved the idea as children that our grandma might be the grand duchess because her name was Anastasia, she was an immigrant, she spoke Russian and cooked fantastic Russian foods. (Never mind that she was from the Ukraine, as I learned here you don't allow any obvious facts to get in the way of a good survivor story!) So really I never took the AA story seriously one way or another. But in the back of my mind, I do wonder, if the DNA results were not published on this forum, could I have been persuaded that AA was AN? All I can say is I hope not because it would have been heartbreaking to learn that the grand duchess had morphed into a somewhat disgusting, obviously unbalanced and utterly pathetic cat-cremating old lady.

Annie, out of respect for Christine M's wishes in the author's obligations thread, I'm going to sneak this in here, your posting of the Kurth letter sealed the deal for me re a plausible agenda.

Jenn

"The censor's sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression." Earl Warren

"...and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #380 on: February 26, 2008, 07:38:18 PM »
... if the DNA results were not published on this forum, could I have been persuaded that AA was AN?

I never thought she looked one bit like the real Anastasia, no matter how I tried to see it. I know other people see it, but I don't at all, and never did... Based on that alone it would have been difficult for anyone to persuade me that she was Anastasia, I know that people just don't change this much! A  person's facial features don't change this much. I suppose that with all the evidence that is always presented to convince the reader that she was, it would not be so difficult to persuade many people who already want to believe it. But we have to keep in mind that every single piece of this evidence is circumstantial, so not fully reliable... I think I would believe my own eyes more than most circumstantial evidence, and my eyes definitely told me that Anna Anderson was some random lady but definitely not Anastasia.

Offline Puppylove

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #381 on: February 27, 2008, 11:17:02 AM »
... if the DNA results were not published on this forum, could I have been persuaded that AA was AN?

I never thought she looked one bit like the real Anastasia, no matter how I tried to see it. I know other people see it, but I don't at all, and never did... Based on that alone it would have been difficult for anyone to persuade me that she was Anastasia, I know that people just don't change this much! A  person's facial features don't change this much. I suppose that with all the evidence that is always presented to convince the reader that she was, it would not be so difficult to persuade many people who already want to believe it. But we have to keep in mind that every single piece of this evidence is circumstantial, so not fully reliable... I think I would believe my own eyes more than most circumstantial evidence, and my eyes definitely told me that Anna Anderson was some random lady but definitely not Anastasia.

Helen, your Joan of Arc rocks! So appropriate. But I'm a little worried that you may be suffering from delusions of grandeur; remember that pesky charge of mental instability? You do realize you're not St. Joan, right? Right?

You have a good eye. If you presented me with the photos of AA taken before she realized she was royalty, I wouldn't find one physical characteristic beyond gender to suggest she was Anastasia. Or Tatiana. Or Nicholas II's phantom illegitimate child. But there are a couple of photos where the shadows and angles are staged just so perfectly they do suggest a resemblance to me. The photos without shadows and angles, no resemblance whatsoever.

But even if someone is another person's doppleganger (emphatically not the case here), it doesn't make her the other person. Value of physical resemblance stacked up against all other evidence negating the claimant's claim: ZERO.
"The censor's sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression." Earl Warren

"...and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #382 on: February 27, 2008, 11:18:34 AM »
Helen, your Joan of Arc rocks! So appropriate. But I'm a little worried that you may be suffering from delusions of grandeur; remember that pesky charge of mental instability? You do realize you're not St. Joan, right? Right?

Well... I mean, I know those voices .. they're real.... aren't they? 

:-)

Offline Puppylove

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #383 on: March 02, 2008, 10:45:03 PM »

"Can we use just DNA alone in our court of law to convict someone?  No.  Why?  There needs to be more information given.  Remember,  I'm surrounded by lawyers who know about such things."

Sorry for my poor pasting skills, the quote is from AGRBear in the author's obligations thread.

FA or anyone who knows, is it true DNA evidence alone cannot convict someone? As I understand it you can have a mountain of evidence in addition to DNA results, and if the jury so chooses they can disregard all of it and convict or acquit solely on the basis of those DNA results. I've never heard of a case where an indictment or information was obtained based on nothing more than DNA, but is it legally possible? I offer the following scenario because it's the strongest one I can think of:

A doctor examining a female infant or young child discovers the presence of semen inside the child, forwards a sample to the lab; the lab extracts DNA from the sample which matches a known male in the database. Would it be possible to prosecute absent evidence unrelated to the DNA? I'm only asking if it's possible, not saying it would be wise.

Thanks to anyone who can answer,

Jenn
"The censor's sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression." Earl Warren

"...and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #384 on: March 03, 2008, 11:36:47 AM »
FA or anyone who knows, is it true DNA evidence alone cannot convict someone?

Not sure of whether DNA alone can convict, but it can sure exculpate someone who has been convicted based on a bunch of other evidence. That's the whole point I was trying to make earlier (see my earlier posts) and that's the whole point of The Innocence Project... But AGRBear is wrong, DNA does have to power to stand alone against all other evidence.