A Family’s Story: Adventures in Laos

As the news of our website begins to spread to those involved in the POW/MIA Issue, more and more family members are coming forward with their stories about Ann Mills-Griffiths.  Over the weekend we were contacted by a family member and former member of the National League of Families with an incredible story of just how far Ann was prepared to go to maintain control.

According to this family member in the early 80’s some 12 to 15 individuals that were involved in the issue, many POW/MIA parents, received invitation packets to spend three glorious weeks in Laos through the OxFam organization. Oxfam, an international organization whose mission statement is to, “find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice” around the world, invited this hand-picked group to bring supplies and other gifts to the Attapeu Province of Laos.

Another organization, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), also played a role in this trip by partnering with OxFam.  AFSC was founded in 1917 during World War I as an avenue for conscientious objectors to still serve the war effort without enlisting.  Many served as ambulance drivers, attended to the wounded or stayed behind after the war to help with the rebuilding of Europe.

The purpose of the trip was to impress the provincial chief of Attapeu in the hopes that he would then be more cooperative with information and possibly facilitate the release of  some of the American POWs who were believed held in the area.   The 30 some paged packet gave details of the all-expense paid visit, a background on the cultural aspects of the trip and the tentative schedule of events and travel itinerary.

The family member we spoke with found the packet’s arrival somewhat unexpected.  After a call to the contact number at OxFam to ask just how the organization came across their name and address, it was discovered that the list of those to be invited was given to OxFam by none other than AMG. This of course sent up a red flag as the family member and AMG were not the best of friends, to put it mildly.  Therefore, the idea of AMG submitting names to OxFam was suspect to say the least.

The family member then called AMG to confirm the information and also to ask why AMG would give their names and addresses to the international organizations without checking with them first.  In typical AMG fashion, she made light of the “oversight” and spoke of the great opportunity this would be for all involved and its’ once in a life time implications.

The family member we spoke with, upon seeing the list of invitees, considered it a who’s who of AMG’s least favorite people.  In the end, no one took the bait and the trip did not take place.  Yet there are two important pieces of information that caught our attention as we discussed this story with the family member.

1) On the list of invited was Errol Bond, the Vice President of the Support Our POW/MIAs organization, someone who had questioned AMG with regard to the money laundering via the Support Our POW/MIAs non-profit.  Mr. Bond resigned from his post with that organization because of AMG’s questionable decisions with regard to the Support funds. .

2) The dates and location of this trip to Attapeu coincided with one of the POW rescue missions led by Bo Gritz.

Imagine what would have happened to that group of POW/MIA family members and activists if they were caught flat-footed in Attapeu, Laos in the wake of a POW rescue attempt.

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