Duplicity, Ann Mills Griffiths Style

Many of you may have been privy to the email that Mrs. Patricia Hopper sent to members of the Board of Directors of the National League of Families (NLF) on Tuesday outlining the situation of the apparent illegal elections that took place last month within the NLF.  If you did not, read it here:  Hopper Letter to NLF Officers.  Mrs. Hopper did a phenomenal job of explaining the illegal nature of the elections and how it needed to be rectified in order for the organization to move forward in an ethical and legal fashion.

To summarize, AMG knowingly allowed Susie Harvey, who is no longer a legal family member, to continue in a family member status and run for the Board of Directors of the NLF after Ms. Harvey remarried (twice) and severed her legal relationship with her now ex-brother-in-law SSG Stephen Geist, USA who is still POW/MIA.

Ms. Harvey erroneously argued that because she had been given some sort of power of attorney from her ex-husband to represent him in the POW/MIA case of his brother, SSG Geist, somehow makes her the PNOK and re-establishes her status as a family member.  After reviewing the NLF’s by-laws for a definition of a family member and after speaking with several attorneys and paralegals (we live in different states) not one supported the NLF’s stance on Ms. Harvey being a legal family member per the law.  The NLF even considers Harvey’s third and present husband a family member as well.

Interestingly enough, we also received an email from a wife of a missing man who, in the mid 80’s, after almost two decades of waiting for her husband to come back from Vietnam, finally remarried.   When she called the NLF offices and spoke with AMG regarding a question in the paperwork to renew her NLF membership, AMG was quick to inform her that now that she had remarried she was no longer a family member.  She was then told that if she wanted to continue as a member of the NLF, it would have to be as an associate member, not a family member.

UPDATE: We just received an email (8/1/11) from the POW/MIA wife mentioned above.  She asked that we correct the piece with the following fact.  Apparently AMG cashed her check for associate membership after their phone conversation yet never put her on the mailing list even as an associate member.  So, AMG pulled a “take the money and run.”  Interestingly enough, money will be the theme of our next post. 

This clearly shows that AMG cherry-picks through the by-laws of the NLF and uses them to her advantage when she pleases with no regard for the by-laws of the organization that has supplied her with a salary, pension and many other benefits over the years.   This also presents a complete disregard for the rationale for having by-laws in the first place – to prevent individuals from randomly making decisions for their personal benefit, not those of the organization and its membership.

As if this all weren’t enough, we received a forward of the email reply that was sent to Mrs. Hopper from the NLF’s Mark Stephensen:


Patty,
 
After reading your four page rant, I found it to be irrelevant, baseless and without merit.  Please stop wasting our time.  We have work to do.
 
V/R,
 
Mark Stephensen, Past Chairman, Current Treasurer
Board of Directors
National League of POW/MIA Families

It is clear that Mr. Stephensen shares the same disregard for the by-laws of the NLF and the organization’s membership as AMG.   I wonder what Mr. Stephensen thinks about the family member who contacted us above about being downgraded to an associate member after she remarried per AMG?

If Mr. Stephensen sees respecting and clearly adhering to the by-laws of the NLF as “irrelevant, baseless and without merit” then we certainly have to question his agenda as well.   If an NLF Board Member sees the important work of the Board to be something outside of enforcing the by-laws and responding professionally to the real concerns of its membership, it is no wonder that so many family members have disassociated themselves from the NLF.   Year after year, cavalier behavior like this toward members is the reason why so many families felt disenfranchised by those who were purportedly representing them.

One final thought, could this little fiasco be the reason why, during the Membership Meeting last week in DC, the Board floated the idea out there to allow concerned citizens to have family member status within the NLF?  While no one seconded the motion and even Dick Childress stood up and said he didn’t agree with it, was the Board already aware of their faux pas and looking for a backdoor to grandfather in their mistake?  After decades with the legal definition of family member being enforced – the timing of this is suspect to say the very least.

Mr. Stephensen certainly proves that it is time for a change at the NLF.

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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.

Professor Paul Marx: An uneducated viewpoint of the POW/MIA Flag

iraq pow flag The POW/MIA Flag: Obviously still has meaning for our present day warriors

 

Linked here is what the Baltimore Sun seems to feel is an appropriate op ed piece for Memorial Day Weekend. *eyes rolling*

University of New Haven Professor Emeritus Paul Marx, now a freelance writer, has once again shown the ignorance of academia in respect to the POW/MIA Flag. It also supports my long-held personal opinion that simply referring to oneself as ‘a writer’ certainly doesn’t make one omnipotent nor judicious.

Marx refers to our flag as “ugly, political and of very limited meaning”, “It continues to be flown despite the fact that the war ended 34 years ago and there are no Americans held prisoner in Vietnam” and “It continues to be flown out of ignorance or indifference.” I almost don’t even know where to begin except to truly wonder if the editor of the Baltimore Sun was on vacation the day this piece was submitted for publication. 

Mr. Marx, you bet our flag is political. Because of politics, lack of true governmental oversight and the DoD’s desire to cover their mistakes, both past and present, we fight for the full accounting of our loved ones. It may be limited in meaning to you because you do not understand its meaning, purpose or intent and didn’t take the time to go to Google and find out.

It is called the POW/MIA Flag, in honor and remembrance of those who were POW and or MIA from Vietnam who are still unaccounted for.  Over time it has become a symbol for those who are missing from all military conflicts.  Uncle Sam may want America to believe that there are no prisoners left in Vietnam, yet the over 900 live-sighting reports that have been all uniquely discredited make for interesting discussion to say the least.  Furthermore, the MIA reference is still pertinent due to the fact that there are still over 1700 American servicemen who the US and Vietnamese have not accounted for from the end of the war to present day.  Many were known to be held into captivity, photographed in captivity and have had live sightings reported well into the 1990’s.  The only thing that seems to be limited is your grasp of the topic of your op ed piece.  How many times have you, as a professor, critiqued your own students for making such an agregious error?

The only ignorance I see here in on the part of people like you and select others who have taken their cursory understanding of our flag and the POW/MIA Issue exclusively to add yet another published work to the list of your post-retirement publications. Indifference, well that characteristic can again be  attributed to you due to your refusal to educate yourself on the topic before you and then to have the audacity to pass it on for publication. You, Sir, have the luxuries of ignorance and indifference with regard to the POW/MIA Issue for the simple fact that our loved ones and thousands more since colonial times died for this nation and what it stands for to give you the right to be an educated idiot.

Incidentally, if anyone would like to email Mr. Marx, pppmarx@comcast.net.